Thursday, June 6, 2013

A perspective from Istanbul, Turkey

From Shabnam Mojtahedi:

Dear friends and family,

I have gotten relatively few emails and fb messages from you all and I only assume that it's because the media is underreporting the events unfolding in Turkey.  Since many of you have visited me or have planned to visit me in the future, I thought I would give you an explanation on what is happening. 

Since I arrived 9 months ago and even much earlier than that, the AKP government led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been passing a series of laws that are Islamic in nature. The AKP is an Islamist party with slightly over 50% of the vote, but Turkey is historically and constitutionally secular, so this has stirred some feathers (to put it mildly).  The most recent law passed was a sweeping regulation that would drastically limit the sale and marketing of alcohol. It seems to me that the AKP has been pushing these types of laws more aggressively in the last few months.  In addition, AKP has been accused of crony capitalism, whereby development in the country goes unchecked with big contracts going to companies that are AKP supporters.  Well, the list of complaints doesn't end there but I don't want this email to turn into a book. 

About a week ago a small group of protesters gathered in Gezi Park which is in Taksim Square. If you've been to Istanbul you've probably seen it.  The protesters opposed a government plan to cut down trees and build a shopping mall at the site of the park.  Let me say now, Istanbul/Constantinople is a really old city and its green spaces are few and far between.  However, the number of shopping malls is currently at 87 with 25 more under construction (including the biggest in the world supposedly).  This is what makes Istanbul such a popular tourist destination for Iranians and Arabs, but it's a bit much, even for a city this size.  No other large city comes close in shopping malls per capita (this is me ranting, I can never find a park to picnic at here!)  

Police reacted fairly harshly to the group of protesters who initially were a scattering of environmentalist types.  As the news spread on twitter, the protest increased in number over the course of 3 days, until tens of thousands had gathered on Friday. By that point, the protest was no longer just about Gezi Park but what the park represents: AKP's abuse of power and the suffocating level of development in the city. 

Police have been bombarding protests with tear gas and shooting canisters directly at people instead of at the ground.  They have beaten people with batons and have shot water mixed with pepper spray from cannons. Over one thousand people have been arrested and hundreds injured (more than 400 injuries in Ankara alone).  Amnesty reports 2 deaths. The media outlets here are probably on a gag order with only one station seeming to be reporting what's happening in full, but they have a CHP slant (the opposition party), so their coverage is CHP focused.  Since international media have cut back on their foreign correspondents, it feels like twitter is the only place to get good information on what's happening throughout the day. 

On Saturday the police withdrew from Taksim on President Gul's request, and so far Taksim has been peaceful. I am cynical and think that this is because the government realized that too many tourists and foreign journalists were around the Taksim area.  However, police brutality continued in other areas of Istanbul and other cities of Turkey.  The worst hit seems to be Ankara where I have some friends involved in the protests giving me updates.  It's bad.  They say the main parks and squares look like war zones. 

Despite what some protesters are saying, Erdoğan is not a dictator. His government has been voted into power legitimately due to his charisma and ability to force Turkey through some really tough problems. And Turkey has gone through dramatic changes, both good and bad, under his leadership.  The problem is not him being a dictator, but what his view on democracy is. He calls the protests anti-democratic because he thinks that once the people have voted him into power, he can do as he likes. According to him, any and all opposition needs to be expressed solely at the polls.  His view means that his government is writing a new constitution behind closed doors, the AKP passed the alcohol bill in the middle of the night to avoid controversy, and he is agreeing to this brutality in order to silence opposition.  

I am telling you this because Turkey is a regional power with close ties to US and European countries. Also, Turkey's economy is based on tourism.  Please spread the news about what is happening on twitter and facebook.  This is a huge turning point in Turkey's democracy.  This can't be called a Turkish Spring or whatever else reporters have been saying, but it 1. exposes Erdoğan's tactics in dealing with opposition (which is to jail or sue) and 2. shows that people can try to change the policies of their government without the possibility of a military coup (ironically enough because Erdoğan neutered the military's ability to do so).  So many groups that normally hate each other (including rival football clubs) have joined forces. I'm not a Turkey expert but according to my Turkish friends here, they have never seen or heard of anything like this before happening in their country. 

Erdoğan's twitter handle is @RT_Erdogan. Send him a message if you'd like. Maybe even tell him you won't support tourism in Turkey unless he listens to the demands of his people instead of allowing blood to be spilled. 

Thank you for reading through this email. Please don't worry about me, I am far from the centers of protest.  And I won't go join the protesters because this isn't my fight, so this is the least I thought I could do to help my friends and students here.


Friday, April 26, 2013


Cycle Slaughterama is a sight to behold. It's participation level is amazing
It has come a long way. Yet has always been fresh and strong.
Check out mutant bike clubs tearing up the FUN Movement under the orange and black banner on the cusp of the dirty south:

SlaughteramaX-720 from dennis throckmorton on Vimeo.

Big ups to Throckmorton Golden Boy!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Vote for Bunnie Reiss Jan. 13th Alameda, CA

Sunday, January 13, 2013
1:00 pm
Alameda Hospital (2nd Floor, Conf rm A)
2070 Clinton Ave.
Alameda CA 94501

Bunnie Reiss is an artist who never rests. Her new effort to improve the lives of Oaklanders will be a big fight. She needs us, and especially Democratic registered voters in Oakland to vote this Jan. 13th in Alameda for Assembly District Delegate.

Bring a friend!
Here is the Facebook invite:

Bunnie Reiss' Platform:

After School Arts: break from strict academics, supports youth finding their voice.Benifits youth to discover their talents, and stay out of trouble
  • Benefits working parents by taking care of kids while their busy at work. Creates an afterschool/daycare program where parents will have knowledge of where thier kids are and can pick them up directly from the center.
  • Reduces Oakland Unemployment, creates jobs for artists
 Affordable Studios as Entrprenuer/Business Incubator Spaces..
  • Lowers the cost of studio/craft/business spaces
  • creates communities of interest for peer mentorship
  • Possible Allies & Examples

Murals as Public Art Create Strong Community, 

Only an Artists can advocate for Artists, artists deserve a seat at the table, politics needs them at the table. 
  • This month, Bunnie has a solo show at Redux Studios and Gallery in Alameda. Redux is a Social Enterprise of Saint Vincent De Paul, that's main focus in on recology and education of waste management.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

More from the UK Bicycle Ballet

This is new to me, but not new. 2010 is the date on the bottom.
It's a different performance than the one I have seen in a roadway (supposedly for the Queen!)

Utopian Bike City Love Song

2007 in Hawaii some girls get it.

WTF? Indoor Cycling Gymnastics?

I found this and am thoroughly blown away.

New Bikedance team spotted in Bushwick

More information PLEASE!!
Lia Macpherson's Bushwick Synchronized Cycling.
I just saw a few stills and not the whole magic.
Will someone get me in contact with this woman?!
For the love of Bikedance!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bobby Joe Ebola Videos!

Waking up is Hard to Do (NEW!):

Sweet Shit of Christ:

The Only Difference:

Time is Crawling:



Lake of Flies:

and of course, Freaky Baby!:

Welcome Back TV presents "Add Me on Flyspace":

Lost!? and Found in Space:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011 has been in TENTS!

Occupy Wall Street started it.
Tents in the face of Investment Bankers. 24-7 reminders of income disparity.
Then it became a Meme.
Here are my three favorites.

UC Berkely received an order for no tents at their strike and fought back with their new loan-infested minds.

On Lake Merritt in Oakland, folks rented a couple boats and pitched their duress:

Occupy Melbourne (#omel) wins the prize for funniest and most controversial usage of tents:

Australians were up in arms about this woman being stripped of her clothes by the police:

Friday, November 18, 2011

I just got back from Twitter

Whew! (Out of breath)

I just got back from Twitter.
Some of you have expressed an interest in knowing what goes on more in-depth, so here is what my frenetic thumbs found on the way through a tunnel on BART in the past 72 hrs.

Let's start off slow and easy.
Denver man pulled over and ticketed for honking 2-3 times in support of Occupy.
Election cycle honking is allowed though.

Politicians are getting their speeches pre-empted with resonant Mic Check's.
Gov. Scott Walker was the first of the trend. Just look at the senile clapping and sound confusion of suits so used to having silence when desired, unable to attain it this time.

For more, SEE ALSO:
Pres. Candidate Michele Bachmann:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:
Carl Rove chanting "No You're not!":

The Chamber of Commerce is the funniest one because the security guard gets real personal but these ladies are not going to stop until the message is out! Watch the laps the last lady does!

Now it's old news, but Seattle Police pepper sprayed an 84 year-old woman.
Your homework is to watch all nine minutes because this is your new role model and inspiration. Dorli Rainey. Say it again and commit to memory.

OccupyCAL students used their brain power to occupy the third dimension: SPACE!

A police tank was sighted in Tampa,FL.
Wait, WHAT?!! a Police TANK?!
To see the surreptitious Declaration of War:

The two month-aversary was Nov. 17th. 48 hours earlier at 1am the NYPD gave protestors ten minutes to get out of the park. Then came in an piled all of Liberty Plaza in a bulldozable pile.
All media was kettled far away and the CBS news helicopter was told to ground as the "sanitation" began. Reporters with NYPD press passes were denied access AND arrested.
Confirmed reports of press returning from jail and their phone and video have been erased.

A friend of mine was arrested for reaching for her ID when a cop asked. Her infraction was standing on a sidewalk.

A man was kicking barricades and lost some teeth and blood over it. WARNING: BLOOD and SUFFERING. *On a serious note, you can see the blood trickling and his eyes rolling back and confused. This is a head trauma that shouldn't be treated in a handcuffed, dragged-by-police type of way.

On a lighter note, NYC City Council was outraged by the attacks of freedom. See this letter:

100 people were arrested in San Francisco for setting up a tent in the Bank of America.
In my mind they sang songs around a campfire of money in perfect harmony. I didn't see any guitars in the pictures, and I think that any songs sung would sound like a drunk frat choir, but alas, my mind can wander.

And, since all of this is happening minute by minute, I must be quick. I am missing out on other developments. I will leave you on the most confusing note of all. Hot cop on cop action.
Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis in his clean blues:!/OccupyWallStNYC/status/137140064651198465/photo/1
Why ever would he be detained? For screening? To launder him for money?
The crowd makes me feel uncomfortable. If only they knew what was going on at the time. I can imagine how it must look to FINALLY see a cop pulled away for some sort of heinous grievance. I think they call that justice. I would have cheered too.
But this is actually the opposite where they pull this man through a cattle run and tag his ears for monitoring and other invasive scare tactics.
His disappointment on his face just hurts me. He is one of the few brave to stand up in uniform and be counted with the rest, and his arrest is cheered. I think the Twitterverse is supporting him now, not speaking of this faux-pas that has come to pass.

He is on Twitter. Maybe I should go apologize for NYC protestors. It's in the next tab.
I got some snooping to do.
Hope you enjoyed this update of choice news.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The second generation in BIKEDANCE!!!!

It has always been a goal of bikedance teams to pass on the torch to the younger generations. Well the bikedance mavens, THE SPROCKETTES, did just that. Last weekend they help their girls bikedance camp and here is their official performance.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Featured in Mission Loc@l

My Buddy Keith and I were featured in a Mission Loc@l piece.
Summertime Bike Portraits:

On Bikedance

I wish! Should I contact them?

I found this in my inbox today.
I wonder if Vanilla Ice (Rob Vanwinkle) passed along my contact.
Should I call and get them to add MC Ponyland to the tour? LOL

Sir / Madam,

We have heard that you organize shows in Europe, so we have permitted ourselves
to contact you.
We are now working with well-known/ successful American rap artists.
ONYX (founder of the company), Styles P, M.O.P, Lords Of The Underground, Curtis Young aka Hood Surgeon (Dr Dre's son) and many more (please check out our website for the full list)
The legendary rap group ONYX has been touring Europe a countless amount of times.
Drawing huge crowds of over +50,000 people, they are one of the most
popular rap band over there.
You can watch our live shows on Youtube to see what you can expect
from them and the rest of the artists.
As we are preparing for new tours in Russia/Ukraine/Europe, we are
looking on adding new date(s) or even planning (many/a new) tour(s) together.
And we would be glad to work with a booking agency such as yours.

We work with a good amount of artists, so let us know which artist you would like to book.

Thank you for your time!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Mom Rules

If you are ever down, check this out and do it in front of the mirror.

Jessica's Daily Affirmation:

She made a response video:

Monday, June 27, 2011

2011: Year of the Music Video

Thanks to Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits.
They introduced me to the fun of making music videos.
It all started with Freaky Baby. One of the funnest weekends of the year, or so I thought.
Then Real Cool, Time is Crawling, Lost? in Space (more of an acid trip than music.)
In May Derailleurs cameo'd in The Real numbers PSA "The Wiggle".
Friday I got the pleasure of working with MC SpandX on his newest, "Le Velo".

When can we get together and make a Derailleurs video?
This is FUN!




Credit Reel:


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bikedance is on the way up!

I must tell you that we are making an International Bikedance Team Coloring Book!

There are many teams that have entered their flavor. All shall be represented.
It is a Movement yet you might not have heard of it.
For the first time ever, the female sport sweeping the nation is BIKEDANCE!
Generation X look out, we've got a fourthwave of all in kind of ladies and it's time they got their respect!
Teams all over Pangea have decided BIKEDANCE RULES and they are telling you why!

Check out their shows:
The Sprockettes
Different Spokes
The BCClettes
The Brakes
The VeloVixens
Chain Reaction
Vertical Momentum
The Derailleurs
Bicycle Belles
Bottom Brackettes
Les Velobici
The Greasy Gears
Heelz on Wheelz
The Racketeers

Monday, March 21, 2011

walk it out fosse

This video keeps getting lost in digiland, but it's my favorite.

My favorite dance yet.