Tutu: Unleashed!

Archbishop Desmond Tutu decided to go continue being awesome, writing a Message of Solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement. (Meanwhile, American mainstream media is throwing down "Occupy Is Over" headlines, and Democracy Now! reporters are getting beaten up by the NYPD...sigh.)

Well, I've got some solidarity to send right back at the Archbishop. Earlier this year, HarperCollins put out TUTU: AUTHORIZED, inexplicably rejecting my cover design in the process. BEHOLD, ARCHBISHOP, WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN.


OWS Barter Bazaar & Skill Share: Holiday Special!

OWS Sustainability Working Group and Evolver Present the
OWS Holiday Bazaar and Skill Share

When: Sunday, December 18th, 2011, 1-9PM
Where: City Life Wellness, 75 Frost St., Brooklyn (L train to Lorimer)

This is a FREE event! Why? OWS Sustainability and Evolver are committed to building alternative economies out of the shell of the old. Instead of relying on currency to determine value, we believe in a system that allows individuals to work together and assess value for themselves. People are encouraged to bring items or skills of their own so that they may interact with the vendors. The Holiday Bazaar will be packed with workshops and a live barter market, donation based body work, dinner and live music. Everyone is encouraged to bring an item, art, skill, or service to come and barter with. Folks are also free to accept donations as well.

The workshops included are below…and we are continuing to add more as the week goes on!!

  • Guerrilla Gardening: Seed Bomb The City, Transform The Space (OWS Sustainability)
  • Know Your Rights: Harm Reduction for Encounters with Police (Paula Segal, National Lawyers Guild)
  • Q & A with "No Impact Man" Colin Beavan
  • Introduction to Permaculture with Andrew Faust
  • Food Fermentation Workshops (Food Justice and OWS Sustainability)
  • A Presentation On Climate Science By Patrick Robbins (OWS Sustainability)
  • The Alternative Economy Think Tank (Alternative Economy)
  • How To Make Your Own Tea And Herbal Medicine (OWS Kitchen)
  • Live Demonstrations: Pedal Power Energy Bikes (OWS Sustainability and Times UP!)
  • How To Survive A Blackout: End Times Candle Making With Sarah (OWS Sustainability)
  • Fortune Telling And Life Counseling (People of Color Caucus)
  • Be Your Own Home Plumber: Rebecca Bone (Evolver)
  • Composting with Dr. Susan Rubin
  • How to Occupy A Hood (Occupy the Hood)
  • Bodywork by Donation, Including Reiki, Massage, Energy Healing, Group Meditation
  • Tarot By Donation
  • Live Music
  • Holiday Dinner (begins at 6:30pm)
  • Live Screen Printing (OWS Screen Printers Guild)
  • And more!

Can I Lead a Workshop? Can I set up a table? Can I be a vendor? YES!!!!!
Please email owssustainability@gmail.com and check out our Facebook event page to keep up to date

Can’t Wait to See You There!!!

Here's Mud in Your Eye, Mankiw

A recap of our stupendous and successful Super Fun Superfund Variety Show soon, but first: here's my very first letter-to-the-editor, written to the NYT in response to the tooth-gratingly frustrating op-ed piece "Know What You're Protesting," by Harvard econ professor Greg Mankiw (whose intro text I relied upon, and valued, in Econ100 at Oberlin). The NYT didn't publish the letter, so here it is in all its glory:

Professor Mankiw, you comment that "as with much of the Occupy movement across the country, their complaints seemed to me to be a grab bag of anti-establishment platitudes without much hard-headed analysis or clear policy prescriptions."

It’s hypocritical to malign your students for their lack of investigative acumen when your conclusions proceed from such lazy, uninformed reporting about the "complaints" of "much of the Occupy movement." Go sit in on a Facilitation meeting or GA, ask Sustainability or Trans-Equality groups, your local UAW, or someone recently foreclosed upon, why *they* Occupy. Right now your missive reads "Those Fools Rock the Boat Without Even Understanding the Physics Behind Sinking.” But the U.S.S. Status-Quo is undeniably sinking, into a future of defunded public services, engorged class disparities, and multifarious environmental catastrophes. Occupiers are trying to build an ark out of that broken ship’s spars; you’re telling them to ignore the water already reaching their necks.

Suck it, Mista Harvard! I emailed the man himself a slightly longer version of this letter, too, that included this post-script:
You are, clearly, a sensible, knowledgeable, perceptive economist, and I respect and admire your work. So: seek better data before putting out irresponsible writing like this. Investigate why your opinions look the way they do. Get to the bottom of the suppositions you use to underpin your conclusions--in this case, the opinions held by a massive, diverse group of motivated people, a movement--before you allow yourself to publish findings that proceed from those suppositions--in this case, the cursory lambasting of that movement. We have a world to save here, after all, and it's going to take a lot of us to do it. Your help would damn well help.
His response? "Thank you for your comments."

(For another "WTF, Mankiw?" point of view, this time from an actual economist, check out Chris Bertram's post on the Crooked Timber blog.)


Get ready for an incredible lineup at the first Super Fun Superfund Variety Show! Our latest performer showcase: the talented Magic Brianone of exactly two magicians, of all the ones you see, who have ever made me think to myself, "well, maybe it's just magic." Check out his amazing promo video below, and get psyched to see him on December 10 at Film Biz Recycling!

Magic Brian Short Promo from Magic Brian on Vimeo.

Check out our Performer Roll Call tab above for more about our fabulous lineup, and RSVP with the Facebook link in the sidebar!

Super Fun Press Release!

New Cabaret Repurposes Unique Venue for World-Class Performance

WHAT: Super Fun Superfund Variety Show
WHEN: Saturday, December 10, 2011
WHERE: Film Biz Prop Shop
ADDRESS: 540 President Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY 11215
VENUE WEBSITE: filmbizrecycling.org 
DOORS: 8:00pm
SHOWTIME: 8:30pm
TICKET PRICE: $8 (includes 10% off Film Biz coupon)
E-MAIL: SuperFunSuperfund@gmail.com 
PHONE: 914-525-7056
SHOW WEBSITE: superfunvariety.com

Showcasing comedy, magic, circus, burlesque, film shorts, music, and more, the Super Fun Superfund Variety Show launches its all-new cabaret series at the Film Biz Prop Shop in Gowanus, Brooklyn, Sat Dec 10. Hosted by Ellia Bisker of indie ukulele sensation Sweet Soubrette and Josh Bisker of Cobra Gold, Super Fun presents an incredible array of talent in a one-of-a-kind setting: a 10,000 square foot upcycling center for props, sets, and materials donated by film and TV productions. Audience members will have the chance to win a hand-selected item from the Prop Shop, and each ticket includes a 10% off coupon for a future Film Biz visit.

The Film Biz Prop Shop, located in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, is operated by Film Biz Recycling, a nonprofit organization that creates socially responsible and sustainable solutions from media industry waste. The Prop Shop sells and rents a vast array of furniture, household goods, and one-of-a-kind theatrical props donated by film and TV productions, and is an outstanding resource for artists and the community at large.

The Super Fun Superfund Variety Show applies Film Biz’s mission to “reuse, repurpose, and upcycle” to the Prop Shop itself, transforming the treasure-filled warehouse space into a performance venue for a truly diverse array of artists. The show incubates emerging talent and cultivates seasoned professionals by offering filmmakers, musicians, variety artists, and other performers the opportunity to test and refine new work in front of a live audience. The show’s name refers to the Gowanus’s recent designation as a federal Superfund site, and reflects an irreverent spirit, a strong social consciousness, and the goal of contributing to an environmentally and creatively sustainable local community.


Send in the Clown!

Confirmations are rolling in for Dec. 10th's Superfund Super Fun Variety Show down at Film Biz Recycling! An evening of hilarity, horror, histrionics, and holiday cheer hosted by yours truly and his amazing sister, Ellia Bisker (star chanteuse of Sweet Soubrette, of course). You coming? You're coming. December 10th, 8:30.

Our latest sighting: one Mr. Joel Jeske, of Parallel Exit fame... SSF's shaping up into a show not to be missed!


As of Monday, I'm now an active volunteer with Time's Up! My first meeting had a lot to do with planning for the upcoming Halloween Party. I volunteered to redesign the flyers we're using, and I think they look pretty great--check out one of them below. And come to the party! Friday 10/28: a terrific, frenetic Critical Mass ride followed by a slam-down, good-time party at C-Squat, with two floors of music, dancing, and devastation - WITH (appropriately) Devastation Wagon, Ninja Turtles, R Tronika, Dog That Bites Everyone, DJ Suggested D, Heelz on Wheelz, and more...including rumors of JAPANTHER and DJ DIRTYFINGER appearances. Valet bike parking (natch). Tastee drink specials. Insane times to be had.

March on Wall Street

So right before we get off the phone, I say, "Oh! One more thing I wanted to tell you guys. I'm going to be down at the Occupy Wall Street rally a lot this week, so--and I'm not like, trying for this, but--I may end up calling you for bail."

A beat of silence, and then my mom says, "Honey?"

"They arrested five hundred people today," I say.

"Honey..." her thought trails off into a tight sigh. Then, to my dad, "Mike? Micah? Is there anything you want to say?"

"Like what?"

"Is there anything you want to say to him?"


There's another beat, and then my mom says, "Honey, you may--and don't jump down my throat!--you may want to bring some wet paper towels with you in case they tear gas you. That's how it was in the March on Washington. Just put them in a ziplock baggie in your pocket."

My dad says, "Yeah," drawing out the word, "and don't forget that the cops here are jumpy and theyc an beat the shit out of you and have it not be a crime, so be careful, kiddo."

"I will, dad."

"And they have those looooong sticks, man." My mom says "man" a lot when she is talking like a revolutionary. "Keep safe."

My dad yawns and sighs, the big dad sound he makes, like we've been talking about old movies or rock and roll songs, not me potentially getting arrested and beaten up by the police. "OK, it's getting late. I think we need to go to bed."

I love you, mom and dad. Power to the people.

Puppies on Parade!

The next event I’ll get to "Peel Back the Curtain" on is one I’ll be performing in, not just running support for—Kurt and Kristen's Hot Tub Comedy and Variety Show at Littlefield in Brooklyn. We espied this gig on another band's listserv; those guys were unable to do it, EVEN THOUGH THE DESCRIPTION ASKED THEM TO LEAD A PUPPY-HUGGING PARADE THROUGH THE STREETS. Cobra Gold stepped in to fill this obviously critical gap. Also, yeah, it's a fundraiser for the local no-kill shelter, Brooklyn's Dog Habitat Rescue.

Monday, September 12th, 8:00: Hot Tub's 2nd Annual 9/11 Memorial Puppy Hugging Parade, featuring Todd Barry, Jiwon Lee, Musical Guest Franz Nicolay, Cobra Gold, and more.

Will we really get to hug puppies? We'd better. PUPPIES.

(Perhaps it will be like this)

Tinderbox Music Merchin'

Saturday styles: merch selling with Sweet Soubrette at the Tinderbox Music Festival. My sister and her band put on a good show; “All that Glitters” (about her shameful gold-digging ways) had toes tapping all around the room (see the video below), and their haunting number about Anais Nin had everyone pretty much breathless. “Tenderness” was dynamite, but graaaah I wish she would let that song be as long as it wants to be. It is so catchy and infectious, there's not reason to cut it off so quickly. Ellia, chanteuse and songwriter, says it’s good to “leave ‘em wanting more,” and she certainly does, but, I don’t know, “leave ‘em really satisfied” also seems like a good mantra. I guess it's compulsory for siblings to disagree about stuff like this. Take a listen and tell me what you think (agree with me).

Sibling differences aside, Sweet Soubrette gave a really solid showing, the rest of the night was fun, and I sold two CDs when no one was buying nada from anyone. Why was this, you ask? Was it just the overabundance of good choices? Well, yes, but the Knitting Factory also lost its liquor license three days ago (hilarious!), leaving merch table commerce, like concertgoers, dry as a bone. But but but! To compensate for any performers' blown expectations, Tinderbox sprung for—and I’m not kidding—an RV full of beer to hang out in throughout the day. Yes, it was a little fratty (why was there a Knitting Factory dude inviting girl musicians up to "the emperor's lounge," the horrible alcove above the driver's seat?), but nice all the same for its booze and relative quiet. (Also because I got to nap in the front passenger seat for a half hour before Sweet Soubrette went on. Bonus!)

Some of the other music was great, especially Holly Miranda. I left before she’d finished, unexpectedly but unequivocally exhausted, but made sure to buy a CD before going—a small victory in my ongoing mission to stop being a skinflint about supporting local musicians. Money, go where my mouth is! I do wish I had been awake enough to stick around for Eula (whose charming, hard rocking, and now-I-am-unable-to-make-coherent-sentences gorgeous bandleader Alyse Lamb I had been chatting with earlier…my bashful highlight of the night).