Archive for the 'Causes' Category

09
Dec
09

Dec 15th: Letters To Santa 24-Hour Benefit At Second City E.T.C.

The modern portrayal of Santa Claus frequently...

Little Haley is too polite to mention Santa's halitosis.

The blindingly popular, mom-pleasing Jeff Tweedy! The backwoods gentleman stomp of Robbie Fulks! The aching balladry of Nina Nastasia! The earnest perspiration of Horatio Sanz! Chicago, can you take 24 solid hours of world-class music and comedy entertainment? No. No you can’t. But you can show up and catch what you can, because it’s for needy kids and will run you a mere fifteen clams at the door. The 24-hour schedule and info:

The Second City is proud to announce the 8th annual event: “The Second City That Never Sleeps: Letters to Santa” – 24 consecutive hours of improvisation by Second City performers and alumni featuring a variety of special guest artists – a tradition that provides presents for needy children during the holiday season and this year wraps up a weekend of events around The Second City ‘s 50th Anniversary.

Doors will open at 5:45pm. The show will begin on Tuesday, December 15th in The Second City e.t.c. (1608 N. Wells St, 2nd Floor of Piper’s Alley) at 6:00pm and will conclude on Wednesday, December 16th at 6:00pm.

An ensemble of Chicago’s best known improvisers (along with alumni of The Second City) will take the stage for an entire 24-hour period. Improvisational games, scenes, songs, monologues and random acts of weirdness inspired by sleep deprivation will accompany performances by such artists as Robbie Fulks, Jeff Tweedy, UCB’s ASSSCAT, Bonnie Prince Billy, The Mountain Goats and The Blisters.

Listed below is the current performance schedule. For schedule updates, visit www.secondcity.com.

Performance Schedule:

12/15/09 – 7:00pm

Jeff Tweedy

12/15/09 – 10:00pm

Robbie Fulks

12/16/09 – 12:00am

UCB’s Asssscat with Matt Walsh, Horatio Sanz and Chicago friends

12/16/09 – 3:00am

Flash-mob Marching Band

12/16/09 – 6:00am

Bonnie Prince Billy

12/16/09 – 7:30am

BabyCo

12/16/09 – 12:00p

Nina Nastasia

12/16/09 – 2:00pm

The Mountain Goats

12/16/09 – 4:30pm

The Blisters

Tickets for “The Second City That Never Sleeps: Letters to Santa” are $15.00 for the 24 hour period and can be purchased at the door. The event is open to all ages. Alcohol will be available to those 21 years and older from 6:00p-2:00a and from noon-6:00pm.

In addition to raffle prizes offered during the event, there will also be an auction to win a private performance with Jeff Tweedy.

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19
Jun
09

Shooting, Or The Shot?

yeltsin-tank

One (far less visually appealing) way to climb on top of a tank

The line has been drawn.  Last night, Iran’s Ayatollah Khameni cracked his whip and demanded an end to the mass protests roiling across the country all week.  With hundreds of thousands of blue-jeaned, Chuck-Taylored protesters in the streets of Tehran, a showdown is fast approaching.

Unlike at Tienanmen, these anti-authoritarian protesters are much greater in number and spread far wider.   Also, they are urban, pro-Western,  many are reportedly pro-American, and they are likely to face the guns of their own military tomorrow.  The stakes in this nascent revolution are huge for young Iranians, already bloodied and likely to shed more tomorrow. In that, I wish them the best.

The stakes are also considerable for persons outside the country who have the greatest stake in fomenting a distorted image of a Muslim enemy.

Something about looking at the vast swathes of citizenry in the streets tells me that Iranian army commanders aren’t looking forward to this encounter, and I have an intuition – – call it a hope — that tomorrow will be bloodier for the regime than for the people.

In that case, imagine one iconic photograph, surfacing this weekend or soon after:  A young Persian woman, perhaps without a headscarf, big-eyed and beautiful in blue jeans.  She is perched upon a tank, smiling and waving.  Her Chinese-made Converse Chuck Taylors bring a touch of the Ramones to the sandy beige of the painted armor plated vehicle. She waves to her countrymen, perhaps granted this chance by an Iranian army commander who has refused orders to fire on the crowd.

If we are blessed to see that photo, not everyone will cheer.  For those whose livelihoods are dependent on what we used to insanely call “The War On Terror,” such a photo means they are going to have a bad year.  Years of PR groundwork will have been trashed in the click of a digital camera.  They’ll need to hurry back to the drawing board to gin up new demons to jiggle in the faces of those who are most susceptible to boogeyman politics.  What else can AM hate radio or the Republican party do when their treasured “Axis Of Evil” is finally represented by a cute girl in gymshoes?  How will Israel’s Likud party continue to leverage Iran into its own bloodthirst in Gaza or its settlement fever when Israel loses their photographic monopoly on hot Middle-East women posing with weapons?  What will the Pentagon and the neocon hawks do when, as happened with the Soviet Union, the opposing team packs up and goes home?

Each would find new enemies, of course. That’s what paranoids do. But it would take time, and meanwhile, perhaps one repressive theocracy will have been relegated to the dustbin of history.

18
Jun
09

Great Moments In Complete Bullshit: Potatogate

47534758 On June 26, Chicago Police who were on duty during the 1968 Democratic Convention riots will hold a convention of their own. “It’s just a get-together for guys who worked together 40 years ago,” says Mark Donahue, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, the convention’s organizer.  “Nothing more.”

All I want to know is if the convention will include breakout sessions with discussion topics focusing on specific aspects of the CPD’s handling of the protesters and of the media surrounding the riots.  Will one such session focus on total fabrication of details and demonization of the activists?  Is there anything to be learned from past mistakes in that regard, one such mistake shown in this picture (Chicago Tribune archive photo)?

Here, a CPD sergeant gingerly holds a potato which has been adorned with razor blades, an alleged weapon presented as proof of the lethal force demonstrators were willing to use against the cops.

Of course, as Sergeant Spud here clearly demonstrates, if a protester were actually to throw this potato, the act of gripping it might cause his severed fingers to fall to the ground around his sandals.  This “weapon” is about a fraudulent as the Gulf of Tonkin incident itself, which was used to begin the US-Vietnam war that put the protesters on the streets in the first place.

It’s an old fight, I know, but Great Moments In Complete Bullshit don’t fade with time.  That’s what makes them Great.

15
Jun
09

Proxies and DDoS Attacks: Internet 2, Ayatollahs 0

Monitoring the Twitter tags #iranelection and #iranproxy shows some pretty historic interplay between the unrest on the ground in Iran and the modern social media fabric.  Iran can’t shut off the internet in the country, as too much of its economy is dependent upon it. So the clerics who rule Iran and to whom the President answers, have blocked sites such as Twitter in order to attempt to prevent messaging from getting out while the police and army attempt to brutally put down the insurrection.

The blocking is not working.

1) Proxies:  The blockages are implemented as a list of IP addresses that the government makes unreachable from inside Iran.  But techs around the world are offering up proxy servers as relays for Iranians to use, and new ones are showing up on Twitter at the rate of one every three to five minutes.  A proxy is a relay that the clerics don’t know about that Iranians can use to get to sites that have been blocked by the ayatollahs.  The clerics’ tech crew may run around blocking these relays by adding them to the country-wide ban, but they probably can’t keep up with this many addresses at this rate of introduction.  Twittering has therefore NOT been cancelled in Iran, despite what the clerics have attempted.

2) DDoS Attacks:

RT @brookenchain ATTACK LINK TO IRIB: http://tinyurl.com/nyutjc open and keep it refreshing till looks unreachable pleasTHANX! #iranelection

Not only has outound contact been maintained, but the election “winner” Mahmoud Amahdinajad’s own websites have been blown off the web by twitterers.  Tweets such as the above are distributed denial-of-service attacks upon Irib, an official website of Amahdinajad.  The link leads to a auto-refresher that’s ponited at the targeted website, and refreshes itself once a second.  Send this link out to a zillion twitterers, and bye-bye target under a flood of bogus traffic.  There is no defense against this since the attack comes from all over the net.  And tweets against this and other official Amahdinajad sites have been coming many per minute.

At this time, unrest is reported (mainly on Twitter — no, don’t wake up from your nap, CNN) all across Iranian cities and the situation is touch and go.

08
Dec
08

Youth Technology Corps: Combining Philanthropy, Jobs And E-Waste Recycling

ytc1
Saturday night, I attended a party thrown by Benton House, a century-old community organization I’ve done some work with over the past few years. I’m a big fan of their Sound Alternative program, a paid internship offered to teens 14-20 providing education in both live and recorded sound engineering.

One encounter really stood out: I met the principals of an innovative community group, Youth Technology Corps. The elevator pitch on YTC is awesome: take old PCs, teach disadvantaged kids how to refurbish them, and send those kids into classrooms to spread the knowledge, leaving LANs in their wake.

As worthy social causes go, I have seen very few that have as many fully-realized facets as YTC. There’s the free-market commercial appeal to excite the Microsofts (M$ donates Windows 2000 licenses for the project, but they also use open-source applications) there’s the social work / jobs creation aspect to excite government granting bodies, and there’s the green aspect addressing the growing problem of e-waste, a recycling issue that 60 Minutes recently featured, exposing a “greenwash” scandal in the process.

YTC is blessed to have lots to talk about to at least three distinct and huge constituent groups. I had a great time hearing about their efforts, and I’ll go on record as predicting big things from this group.  Nice work, Dave and Andy!




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rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

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Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende

Rob at Huffington Post

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