Version Art Auction/Raffle April 17, 2009

Friday April 17, 2009 7pm to midnight
@ Country Club
1100 N. Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

The event is called "The Version Festival User-Directed Super Raffle and V-Bay Buy-it-Now Art Auction!"

We are holding an event this Friday to raise funds to pay for Version festival. http://www.versionfest.org.

The awesome must-have works and services are available due to the generosity of Version festival friends and participants. You can win something pretty amazing for just a few bucks. Or buy the work right off the wall. The raffle begins at 10pm!


Featuring work by:
Cody Hudson
Juan Chavez
Michael T. Rea
Tyson Reeder
Aron Gent
John Duda
Rod Hunting
JJ Stratford
Rand Sevilla
Logan Bay
Adrianne Goodrich
Conrad Freiburg
Mathew Hoffman
Benjamin June
James Jankowiak
Albert Stabler
Emily Clayton
Chris Robertson
Stephanie Burke
Peter Skavara
Chad Kouri
Dave the Lightbulb Man
and many others

The deal: Donate at the door and get raffle tickets ($5 for 2 tickets/ $10 for 5 tickets)
Put tickets in the envelopes underneath the items you want (art - objects.)

At 10:00pm or so, WE WILL START picking winning raffle tickets from each cup.
You must be present when your ticket is drawn, or another winner will be chosen.

Or, if you really must have it, pull the ticket with the "BUY IT NOW" price, bring it to the Reception desk and pay cash (or check) on the spot.

Hopebroken and hopesick, Obama fans need a new start

The penny has dropped: hope alone won't save the world. Time for a fresh lexicon. And to hope less, demand more

Naomi Klein
The Guardian, Friday 17 April 2009

All is not well in Obamafanland. It's not clear exactly what accounts for the change of mood. Maybe it was the rancid smell emanating from the US treasury's latest bank bailout. Or the news that the president's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, earned millions from the very Wall Street banks and hedge funds he is protecting from re-regulation now. Or perhaps it began earlier, with Obama's silence during Israel's Gaza attack.

Whatever the last straw, a growing number of Obama enthusiasts are starting to entertain the possibility that their man is not, in fact, going to save the world if we all just hope really hard. This is a good thing. If the superfan culture that brought Obama to power is going to transform itself into an independent political movement, one fierce enough to produce programmes capable of meeting the current crises, we are all going to have to stop hoping and start demanding.

The first stage, however, is to understand fully the awkward in-between space in which many US progressive movements find themselves. To do that, we need a new language, one specific to the Obama moment. Here is a start.

Hopeover. Like a hangover, a hopeover comes from having overindulged in something that felt good at the time but wasn't really all that healthy, leading to feelings of remorse, even shame. It's the political equivalent of the crash after a sugar high. Sample sentence: "When I listened to Obama's economic speech my heart soared. But then, when I tried to tell a friend about his plans for the millions of lay-offs and foreclosures, I found myself saying nothing at all. I've got a serious hopeover."

Hoper coaster. Like a roller coaster, the hoper coaster describes the intense emotional peaks and valleys of the Obama era, the veering between joy at having a president who supports safe-sex education and despondency that single-payer healthcare is off the table at the very moment when it could become a reality. Sample sentence: "I was so psyched when Obama said he was closing Guantánamo. But now they are fighting like mad to make sure the prisoners in Bagram have no legal rights at all. Stop this hoper coaster - I want to get off!"

Hopesick. Like the homesick, hopesick individuals are intensely nostalgic. They miss the rush of optimism from the campaign trail and are forever trying to recapture that warm, hopey feeling - usually by exaggerating the significance of relatively minor acts of Obama decency. Sample sentence: "I was feeling really hopesick about the escalation in Afghanistan, but then I watched a YouTube video of Michelle in her organic garden and it felt like inauguration day all over again."

Hope fiend. With hope receding, the hope fiend, like the dope fiend, goes into serious withdrawal, willing to do anything to chase the buzz. Sample sentence: "Joe told me he actually believes Obama deliberately brought in Summers so that he would blow the bailout, and then Obama would have the excuse he needs to do what he really wants: nationalise the banks and turn them into credit unions. What a hope fiend!"

Hopebreak. Like the heartbroken lover, the hopebroken Obama-ite is not mad but terribly sad. She projected messianic powers on to Obama and is inconsolable in her disappointment. Sample sentence: "I really believed Obama would finally force us to confront the legacy of slavery in this country and start a serious national conversation about race. But now he never seems to mention race, and he's using twisted legal arguments to keep us from even confronting the crimes of the Bush years. Every time I hear him say 'move forward', I'm hopebroken all over again."

Hopelash. Like a backlash, hopelash is a 180-degree reversal of everything Obama-related. Sufferers were once Obama's most passionate evangelists. Now they are his angriest critics. Sample sentence: "At least with Bush everyone knew he was an asshole. Now we've got the same wars, the same lawless prisons, the same Washington corruption, but everyone is cheering like Stepford wives. It's time for a full-on hopelash."

In trying to name these various hope-related ailments, I found myself wondering what the late Studs Terkel would have said about our collective hopeover. He surely would have urged us not to give in to despair. I reached for one of his last books, Hope Dies Last. I didn't have to read long. The book opens with the words: "Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up."

That pretty much says it all. Hope was a fine slogan when rooting for a long-shot presidential candidate. But as a posture towards the president of the most powerful nation on earth, it is dangerously deferential. The task as we move forward (as Obama likes to say) is not to abandon hope but to find more appropriate homes for it - in the factories, neighbourhoods and schools where tactics like sit-ins, squats and occupations are seeing a resurgence.

Political scientist Sam Gindin wrote recently that the labour movement can do more than protect the status quo. It can demand, for instance, that shuttered auto plants be converted into green-future factories, capable of producing mass-transit vehicles and technology for a renewable energy system. "Being realistic means taking hope out of speeches," he wrote, "and putting it in the hands of workers."

Which brings me to the final entry in the lexicon.

Hoperoots. Sample sentence: "It's time to stop waiting for hope to be handed down, and start pushing it up, from the hoperoots."

• A version of this column was published in the Nation


Dr. O. Blogs on

(This is my first post ever).

Hello, lumpen people.
I don't know where to start.


Franklin Rosemont

The following Obituary was sent out by Penelope Rosemont.

Franklin Rosemont, celebrated poet, artist, historian, street speaker, and surrealist activist, died Sunday, April 12 in Chicago. He was 65 years old. With his partner and comrade, Penelope Rosemont, and lifelong friend Paul Garon, he co-founded the Chicago Surrealist Group, an enduring and adventuresome collection of characters that would make the city a center for the reemergence of that movement of artistic and political revolt. Over the course of the following four decades, Franklin and his Chicago comrades produced a body of work, of declarations, manifestos, poetry, collage, hidden histories, and other interventions that has, without doubt, inspired an entirely new generation of revolution in the service of the marvelous.

Franklin Rosemont was born in Chicago on October 2, 1943 to two of the area’s more significant rank-and-file labor activists, the printer Henry Rosemont and the jazz musician Sally Rosemont. Dropping out of Maywood schools after his third year of high school (and instead spending countless hours in the Art Institute of Chicago’s library learning about surrealism), he managed nonetheless to enter Roosevelt University in 1962. Already radicalized through family tradition, and his own investigation of political comics, the Freedom Rides, and the Cuban Revolution, Franklin was immediately drawn into the stormy student movement at Roosevelt.

Looking back on those days, Franklin would tell anyone who asked that he had “majored in St. Clair Drake” at Roosevelt. Under the mentorship of the great African American scholar, he began to explore much wider worlds of the urban experience, of racial politics, and of historical scholarship — all concerns that would remain central for him throughout the rest of
his life. He also continued his investigations into surrealism, and soon, with Penelope, he traveled to Paris in the winter of 1965 where he found André Breton and the remaining members of the Paris Surrealist Group. The Parisians were just as taken with the young Americans as Franklin and Penelope were with them, as it turned out, and their encounter that summer was a turning point in the lives of both Rosemonts. With the support of the Paris group, they returned to the United States later that year and founded America’s first and most enduring indigenous surrealist group, characterized by close study and passionate activity and dedicated equally to artistic production and political organizing. When Breton died in
1966, Franklin worked with his wife, Elisa, to put together the first collection of André’s writings in English.

Active in the 1960s with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the Rebel Worker group, the Solidarity Bookshop and Students for a Democratic Society, Franklin helped to lead an IWW strike of blueberry pickers in Michigan in 1964, and put his considerable talents as a propagandist and pamphleteer to work producing posters, flyers, newspapers, and broadsheets on the SDS printing press. A long and fruitful collaboration with Paul Buhle began in 1970 with a special surrealist issue of Radical America. Lavish, funny, and barbed issues of Arsenal/Surrealist Subversion and special issues of Cultural Correspondence were to follow.

The smashing success of the 1968 World Surrealist Exhibition at Gallery Bugs Bunny in Chicago announced the ability of the American group to make a huge cultural impact without ceasing to be critics of the frozen mainstreams of art and politics. The Rosemonts soon became leading figures in the reorganization of the nation’s oldest labor press, Charles H. Kerr Company. Under the mantle of the Kerr Company and its surrealist imprint Black Swan Editions, Franklin edited and printed the work of some of the most important figures in the development of the political left: C.L.R. James, Marty Glaberman, Benjamin Péret and Jacques Vaché, T-Bone Slim, Mother Jones, Lucy Parsons, and, in a new book released just days before
Franklin’s death, Carl Sandburg. In later years, he created and edited the Surrealist Histories series at the University of Texas Press, in addition to continuing his work with Kerr Co. and Black Swan.

A friend and valued colleague of such figures as Studs Terkel, Mary Low, the poets Philip Lamantia, Diane di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Dennis Brutus, the painter Lenora Carrington, and the historians Paul Buhle, David Roediger, John Bracey, and Robin D.G. Kelley, Rosemont’s own artistic and creative work was almost impossibly varied in inspirations and results. Without ever holding a university post, he wrote or edited more than a score of books while acting as a great resource for a host of other writers.

He became perhaps the most productive scholar of labor and the left in the United States. His spectacular study, Joe Hill: The I.W.W. and the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counterculture, began as a slim projected volume of that revolutionary martyr’s rediscovered cartoons and grew to giant volume providing our best guide to what the early twentieth century radical movement was like and what radical history might do. His coedited volume Haymarket Scrapbook stands as the most beautifully illustrated labor history publication of the recent past. Indispensable compendium like The Big Red Songbook, What is Surrealism?, Menagerie in Revolt, and the forthcoming Black Surrealism are there to ensure that the legacy of the movements that inspired him continue to inspire young radicals for generations to come. In none of this did Rosemont separate scholarship from art, or art from revolt. His books of poetry include Morning of the Machine Gun, Lamps Hurled at the Stunning Algebra of Ants, The Apple of the Automatic Zebra’s Eye and Penelope. His marvelous fierce, whimsical and funny artwork—to which he contributed a new piece every day—graced countless surrealist publications and exhibitions.

Indeed, between the history he himself helped create and the history he helped uncover, Franklin was never without a story to tell or a book to write—about the IWW, SDS, Hobohemia in Chicago, the Rebel Worker, about the past 100 years or so of radical publishing in the US, or about the international network of Surrealists who seemed to always be passing through the Rosemonts’ Rogers Park home. As engaged with and excited by new surrealist and radical endeavors as he was with historical ones, Franklin was always at work responding to queries from a new generation of radicals and surrealists, and was a generous and rigorous interlocutor.
In every new project, every revolt against misery, with which he came into contact, Franklin recognized the glimmers of the free and unfettered imagination, and lent his own boundless creativity to each and every struggle around him, inspiring, sustaining, and teaching the next
generation of surrealists worldwide.

Chomsky on the Global Economic Crisis and more

We like the recent Democracy Now broadcast with our old hero Chomsky.

A piece of the transcript that got us thinking:

AMY GOODMAN: The whole issue of populist rage, Noam Chomsky, actually, do you think that this rage is going to boil over as the unemployment figures rise?

NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s very hard to predict those things. I mean, it has a potentially positive side, like it could be like the activism of the 1930s or the 1960s, which ended up making it a more civilized society in many ways, or it could be like an unfortunate precedent that quickly comes to mind. I’ve written about it.

Take a look at Germany. In the 1920s, Germany was the absolute peak of Western civilization, in the arts and the sciences. It was regarded as a model of democracy and so on. I mean, ten years later, it was the depths of barbarism. That was a quick transition. “The descent into barbarism” it’s sometimes called in the scholarly literature.

Now, if you listen to early Nazi propaganda, you know, end of the Weimar Republic and so on, and you listen to talk radio in the United States, which I often do—it’s interesting—there’s a resemblance. And in both cases, you have a lot of demagogues appealing to people with real grievances.

Grievances aren’t invented. I mean, for the American population, the last thirty years have been some of the worst in economic history. It’s a rich country, but real wages have stagnated or declined, working hours have shot up, benefits have gone down, and people are in real trouble and now in very real trouble after the bubbles burst. And they’re angry. And they want to know, “What happened to me? You know, I’m a hard-working, white, God-fearing American. You know, how come this is happening to me?”

That’s pretty much the Nazi appeal. The grievances were real. And one of the possibilities is what Rush Limbaugh tells you: “Well, it’s happening to you because of those bad guys out there.” OK, in the Nazi case, it was the Jews and the Bolsheviks. Here, it’s the rich Democrats who run Wall Street and run the media and give everything away to illegal immigrants, and so on and so forth. It sort of peaked during the Sarah Palin period. And it’s kind of interesting. It’s been pointed out that of all the candidates, Sarah Palin is the only one who used the phrase “working class.” She was talking to the working people. And yeah, they’re the ones who are suffering. So, there are models that are not very attractive.

FAIL is a big deal.

The Reader's cover story Fail "How Daley and his crew hid their process from the public, ignored their own rules, railroaded the City Council, and screwed the taxpayers on the parking meter lease deal." has made waves..

The piece is brilliant for a short attention spanned blog reading public. But it underlies the sorry state of journalism in Chicago. An investigative piece that would have been a 15,000 word treatment pre Reader buyout got around 3,000 in our weekly of note. Despite this unnoticed point Lumpen tips her hat at the great work Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke.

Let a million investigations bloom.

Obama eases curbs on Cuba travel

US President Barack Obama has lifted some restrictions that will allow Cuban Americans to travel more freely to Cuba, his spokesman has said.

Cuban-Americans will also be allowed to send more money to relatives in Cuba.

The move, announced by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, comes after Mr Obama last month signed a spending bill easing some economic sanctions on Cuba.

Mr Gibbs said the aim was to promote democracy and human rights on the Caribbean island.

BBC reports


Somali Pirates' Homemade Hijacking Video

Fake People Tell Fake Stories About The Threat Of Gay Marriage

Baratunde’s Posterous posted this unwonderful video produced by The National Organization for Marriage, describing it as "Fake People Tell Fake Stories About The Threat Of Gay Marriage."

I don't know if the people are fake or not [UPDATE: They are actors], but they are assholes. One woman whines plaintively, "My freedom will be taken away," if gays are allowed to marry. What -- her freedom to be intolerant?

UPDATE: Here are the audition tapes that show these people are actors.

Postopolis, sigh.

We wish we were as cool and avant garde as the people who brought Postopolis to the universe.

Storefront for Art and Architecture and ForYourArt invited 6 bloggers to curate Postopolis! LA, a live five-day event of near-continuous conversation about architecture, art, urbanism, landscape, and design that washeld in Los Angeles from 31 March to 4 April 2009.

The 6 bloggers are David Basulto of ArchDaily/Plataforma Arquitectura, Geoff Manaugh from BLDGBLOG , Dan Hill of City of Sound, Bryan Finoki of Subtopia , Jace Clayton from Mudd Up!, and our favorite blog of the moment : we-make-money-not-art.

The coverage at We Make... and at Good magazine made us feel like it was ok not to be there even though we wish we were. Bloggers as curators makes a lot of damn sense.


Moldova!? Make it Happen!

Riot police in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, have regained control of the parliament building that had earlier been stormed by protesters.

This followed the re-election of the Communist Party in Sunday's elections.

Thousands of anti-communist demonstrators stormed parliament, smashing furniture, throwing computers through windows and lighting fires.

More protests, which President Vladimir Voronin said amounted to an attempted coup, are expected on Wednesday. "


Sign of the Times: G20 besieged

French rebels in the streets Disrupting the G20

LONDON (Reuters) - Demonstrators clashed with riot police and smashed the windows of a bank in London's financial center on Wednesday in protest against a system they said had robbed the poor to benefit the rich.

Hundreds of protesters converged on a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland, shattering windows.

Rescued by the government in October, RBS has become a lightning rod for public anger in Britain over banker excess blamed for the crisis. The protests were timed to coincide with a G20 meeting of the world's leading and emerging economies.

Even the French Gov is unhappy with the G20.

March 31st is National bankruptcy day

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) — The company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times and 58 other newspapers and online sites said Tuesday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. CNN

Report: Obama Decides Bankruptcy Best for GM, Chrysler
President is reportedly convinced that a negotiated bankruptcy is the best way for General Motors to restructure and become a competitive automaker.

some others:

KFC wants to help patch the nation's potholes

KFC's pothole fix

Colonel Sanders look-alike Bob Thompson helps a repair crew in Louisville "re-fresh" one of the estimated 350 million potholes nationwide. (KFC Corporation photo / March 24, 2009)

Everybody needs a little KFC. But maybe not Chicago.

The fast-food chain has sent off a letter to the nation's mayors, offering to patch their potholes for free. The company will leave behind a stenciled brand on the patch informing people the road has been "Re-Freshed by KFC."

"In honor of our "Fresh Tastes Best" campaign, we want to come and Re-"Fresh" your roads!" KFC president Roger Eaton says in the letter. "Every patched pothole comes with the Colonel's very own stamp of approval."

But Brian Steele, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, which is charged with repairing the city's potholes, said "We don't allow any type of printing or advertising placed on a city street or sidewalk."