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Category: Creative Commons

The Street Is An Art Gallery: Behind The Scenes With Sleep Is Famous

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, and Journalism

Austin has many street artists, but few of them are as ubiquitous as “Sleep.”

Sleep, also known as Sleep is Famous, appears everywhere you look on our streets. His iconic image, an old-fashioned TV with rabbit-ear antenna and tiny stick figure feet, clings onto road signs, subverts fossil fuel advertising, and escapes from fires on Walmart emergency exits.

The artist behind Sleep is Famous remains mysterious and anonymous by choice, but he was willing to answer a few questions by email after I approached him about my Gonzo Giveaway. Sleep moved a few years ago from Seattle, where the very first Sleep TVs were doodles he created while he struggled in an artistic rut.

Masked Up For Your Protection: In Praise Of Black Bloc Heroes (#GonzoNotes)

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

What do you feel when you see the black bloc?

I feel pride, solidarity, and hope.

Though their faces are masked, I see a group of beautiful humans willing to get injured or imprisoned in order to keep all of us safer.

What the mainstream media wants you to feel is fear. Strangely, they want you to feel the opposite around the police, who come out to the protest dressed for war, driving military vehicles and with a sniper team ready on the roof tops. In addition to bullets, they’ve got bean bag guns, pepper bombs, noise cannons, the whole array of nightmarish “less lethal” weaponry that late stage capitalism can bring to bear.

Meanwhile, the black bloc have just their bare hands and their bodies, or if they’re lucky, a handful of flags on sticks and some homemade shields.

Reclaim Your Online Privacy: Alternatives To Facebook, Twitter & Google

Posted in Act Out!, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Video

Imagine a police state so bent on repressing dissent that people were targeted by the government just for visiting a web page or liking a page on Facebook?

This dystopian scenario isn’t science fiction, and it isn’t something happening in a far off country — it’s happening in the United States. No really, let’s take a look at a recent example: On an auspicious Friday the 13th in October, the federal government dropped its demand that Facebook turn over information about anyone who had simply “liked” a page dedicated to protesting Donald Trump’s inauguration. And while it wasn’t successful, this isn’t the first time the feds tried to target anyone who’d even looked up information on the massive January 20 protests.

While the government backed down when challenged by groups like the ACLU and cyberliberties watchdog Electronic Frontier Foundation, this was still a clear attempt to silence even the most basic forms of dissent and it’s almost certain we haven’t seen the last of this kind of thing. Keep in mind that dozens of people arrested for protesting the inauguration are STILL facing decades in prison, and we can only guess at the horrors the Cheeto Gestapo might have unleashed with access to even more information about Trump’s opponents.

And if you think this all sounds Orwellian, you are absolutely correct.

‘I Feel Like A Political Orphan’: Talking Sex Work & Cannabis With Mistress Matisse

Posted in Creative Commons, Journalism, and Sex & Relationships

“The idea that we’re protecting people by keeping sex work illegal is ridiculous,” Mistress Matisse told me. “We’re protecting no one like that.”

I’ve been a fan of Mistress Matisse for years, since I discovered her through her column “Control Tower,” which ran until 2011 in “The Stranger,” the same publication as Dan Savage’s classic sex advice column “Savage Love.” Along with a calendar of sex-positive events in Seattle (which I’d fantasize about attending from miles away Texas), “Control Tower” offered sensible advice on BDSM, kink, and nontraditional relationships.

Matisse is a pro-domme, an outspoken advocate for sex workers’ rights and, most recently, a cannabis entrepreneur. Her unique water-based THC and CBD-infused lube, Velvet Swing, is available for sale in Washington state. While Matisse reached out to me to promote Velvet Swing, I knew there’s a lot more to her than just giving people better orgasms by getting their genitals buzzed.

I most wanted to hear her thoughts on our bizarre political moment.

Security Culture And Punching Nazis In Texas (Kit O’Connell On Radical Underground Podcast)

Posted in Act Out!, Audio, Austin, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Occupy Wall Street

I really enjoyed talking with the Radical Underground podcast and the episode turned out great, full of lively conversation and fab music.

In our conversation, we talked about security culture and the ways our smartphones turn us into snitches against ourselves — but also touched on the human element, which is just as vital as technology when it comes to staying secure.

We also talked at length about the Oh Shit What Now collective, the recent incident at my “Punching Nazis” class in Houston, and other fascist and antifascist activity in Austin, Texas (including copwatching).

Activists Beat Texas GOP With Social Media & Old-School Resistance Tactics

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Yes! Magazine

Who could resist images of smiling children gathered under an ancient oak tree on the grounds of the Texas Capitol, transfixed by Democrat and Republican lawmakers doing a tag-team recitation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax?

Apparently not the good folks of Texas.

A broad coalition of environmental activists employed just such a strategy during a special session of the Texas Legislature this summer as a way of stealing the spotlight and defeating a bill meant to strip municipalities of their power to protect historic trees.

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