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October Pleasures

Just unbelievable weather here in San Francisco this past week, culminating last night in our usual amazing, huge (4000+) Critical Mass ride in costumes (not so many as usual, but a lot more people than any time in the past year)… We also had our grand “Autumn Harvest Feast of Fools and Friends: Gourmet Meets Wild!” at CounterPULSE last Sunday, and it was again a scintillating and memorable evening, leaving everyone stuffed with amazing food and full of the crazy combinations we put together (video intro’s to the food providers, speakers, fantasic live music and zany performers, plus a coterie of sweet and gracious volunteer servers). I even made (with my pal Jonathan G.) 14 cheesecakes smothered in wild gooseberries from Alemany Farm and wild elderberry sauce we made from Oaktown Hunnie and Bolinas-gathered elderberries…

As often happens to me, getting immersed in our cultural and political life here in SF easily distracts from the dire events elsewhere, whether the gory barbarism the U.S. has imposed on Iraq, its apparently impending attack on Iran, or the unfolding repression in Oaxaca, where a guy I never knew, Brad Will, a NYC Indymedia videographer, was killed yesterday apparently by paramilitary thugs working for the state government and its hated governor. We just float along on cruise control in this beautiful place with its easy life. Obviously not everyone has it good here either, but even when you don’t, there’s no comparison to the horror elsewhere our lives here blindly depend on.

Anyway, I still think a politics of pleasure has to take the forefront or our emotional engagement won’t click in, and our ability to maintain a passionate and creative spirit to combat these madmen is compromised. In that spirit, here’s some photos, first of Critical Mass last night, then from our Feast.

First off, being Halloween, I have to show off my costume: scissors!

and here’s the punchline, closer-up…

It was a huge gathering at the outset. Here’s one angle on it, but you can’t really see how big it was.

There were dozens of great moments last night, from people playing a strange version of Marco Polo while riding up Franklin Street, to the loop around Civic Center and ultimately (I heard) a bunch of folks made it across the Golden Gate Bridge on the roadway, a Critical Mass first! Congrats to those of you who pulled that off… my evening ended earlier when a few of us grabbed some food around 9 and sat at Aquatic Park and enjoyed the bay waves lapping on the beach while we hung out and watched riders slowly trickle by on their way back, or later a huge crowd of Midnight Skaters went by too… always fun.

Here’s some Feast photos… first me and Graham Thiel (who was a huge help as the real stage manager!) confabbing about the schedule, which for a Slow Food event was weirdly on time and punctual. We finally had to insert a 10-minute gap just to give people time to digest between the Chantrelle Creme Napolean and the Wild Bars (dense with seeds and herbs gathered wild in Bolinas) and the impending main course of Venison Stew…

Here’s Kirk Read and Carin McKay. Carin was the main coordinator of all the food and what a great job she did! Kirk loaned us his kitchen, in addition to coming through with extra plates and utensils and helping making the acorn muffins and much more!…

Jini Reynolds and Matt Berry confer in my kitchen, where they and a cast of over a dozen put together our incredible meal. Jini made the venison, squash wrapped in sorrel leaves, goat cheese (we had a video of her singing to her goat as she milked it!), helped us get set with Frey Vineyards wonderful biodynamic wines, and much more… Matt also appeared in a video clip as he was gathering wild evening primrose seeds, explaining the California Bay as our local “coffee” tree; he made us the “wild bars” jammed with seeds and herbs and flavors most of us have never heard of…

We also had the pleasure of Miss Snail Pail who prepared bruschetta with escargots gathered from local yards, “the other dark meat” as she puts it, and something we’ll be glad to have if and when we see a real collapse in the oil-dependent food system…

Next Feast: Spring 2007, probably late April or early May…

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4 Responses to “October Pleasures”

  1. 1

    This SFGate article pretty much tells why Brad Will was assassinated…right before Mexican paramilitaries and armed forces retook Oaxaca: FAE1.DTL

    The revolution will not be televised.

  2. 2

    Here are a few collections of protest (massacre?) photos from Oaxaca:

  3. 3

    More repression in Oaxaca:

  4. 4

    =v= Like they said on Democracy Now, anyone involved in grassroots activism in NYC knew Brad. He was an incredibly personable guy, as well as a brave and dedicated activist. Between his journalistic jaunts all over Latin America, he’d come home and film the NYPD working to crush dissent and public spaces. He rode Critical Mass and documented the same there.

    He will be sorely missed, and we who knew him are dedicated to making sure the happenings in Oaxaca aren’t forgotten.