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Rising Tide Recap

I've had a few days to think about it, and I think my biggest personal gain from attending the Rising Tide 4 conference is just a renewed interest in being involved in what goes on in the city, and expressing my opinion on it. Which might not sound like much to some of you, but to me, it's pretty huge, actually.

I used to be pretty active in the New Orleans grassroots political community, via my various queer activist pursuits (LGBT Community Center, Dyke March, Lesbian Avengers, Queer Nation), attending lots of public demonstrations, and my work with Girl Gang Productions (RIP). But since the flood, living in Kentucky for three years, I've become detached, removed from much of what has gone on here, despite still spending a great deal of time here and spending an even greater amount of time reading and trying to keep up with things here. The detachment was partly due to geography, partly due to mental health needs, I think. But I've been back for a year now, and I've for the most part remained pretty detached, wrapped up in my own little world of financial stress and crafty collaboration (the New Orleans Craft Mafia has remained my one local involvement).

So, though no huge epiphanies struck me while sitting in Zeitgeist Theater's perpetually uncomfortable chairs (some things never change!) for eight hours as the culture, politics, health and sports panels happened in front of me - plus Harry Shearer's excellent keynote speech and a handful of short presentations from various New Orleans net-companies - I think what ultimately made it worth the $30 registration fee for me was discovering that I do still care, I do still have many opinions, and I do still want to be involved.

In a more tangible way, I did pick up a dozen or more new Twitter followers and followees, many of whom are members of the local blogosphere/social media mafia. So I feel just a little more hooked into the progressive group-think every day now, just reading my Twitter feed. And that's nice. Hopefully someday soon, I'll have something worthwhile for all of them to be reading too.

And the other somewhat tangible outcome of the day's proceedings is that I've decided it's time to start talking about James Perry as someone I'm liking, thus far, in the mayor's race. Granted, we only have a few declared candidates right now, but between those who've definitively said they aren't running, and the few others who've said they will be declaring soon, Perry appears to me to be the only credible option. I'm still not 100% convinced he's ready for the gig - his lack of political experience is both a plus and minus, I think - but given the other options so far, and the fact that everything Perry has put out publicly sounds very progressive and smart, I just think it's time to at least start trying to get his name out there so we can give him a fair shake. If I actually had any money right now, I absolutely would be donating to his campaign. And in fact, I'm scheming some design ideas to do a renegade stencil/poster/shirt/something to sell to raise money for him, something along the lines of what I did last year to raise money for Obama. Perry is modeling much of his campaign on Obama's success using social media as a networking and fundraising tool, so it seems to follow that perhaps those of us in the creative community that are interested in him and/or want to support him should be doing something to both heighten awareness about his campaign and/or raise money for him. So I'm thinking on it.

Aside from all this, Rising Tide was pretty fun and entertaining. I got to see and chat with friends I hadn't seen in a while, meet a few new folks, and at least put faces to many of the online names I've been reading since the flood. Plus the food was really great (Cafe Reconcile rocks), and the timing was, for once, good for me, in that I didn't have an art market that day and hadn't JUST returned from fest.

So thanks again to all the organizers of the event and to all I spoke to or Twittered with that day and since. Looking forward to Rising Tide 5 next year!

Rising Tide 4 - Blogging Conference

I'll get back to my Michfest recapping when I get more permissions to post other people's photos... but today, I am at the Rising Tide 4 conference. It's a blogging and social media conference that grew out of the grassroots blogging phenomenon that happened here in New Orleans during - and has continued since - the federal flood.

I've always wanted to go, since it began, but the timing was always really bad for me, as it happened the weekend I got back from festival - the reason being, of course, because it's timed to coincide with the anniversary of Katrina. But this year, since festival moved its dates up a week, I've had a week at home to deal with my re-entry, so I decided at the last minute to go ahead and register so I could check it out this year.

I have, as many of you know, been blogging for more than just the past four years. I had a blog on my now-defunct website for years, and then also started a livejournal several years before Katrina (which I still maintain, but keep more private than my public blogs). I also briefly tried to do a queer music blog called Stereo Homo, but I've since let that one fall by the wayside. Maybe I'll get back to that one some day. And then, of course, there's this blog, which I mostly reserve for talk about my art and craft pursuits, but occasionally I'll delve into other topics since it's the one blog that I still offers me a public voice.

We're just about to get started here at RT4, so I'll report back maybe tomorrow about how it went. If you want to follow along live, you can follow my tweets.

Back From Vacation - Fest Recap Part 1

Hey everyone! I'm back!

Michfest was a blast this year! The music was amazing, as always; the work went smoothly; the weather was pretty cooperative and moderate most of the time; and so much fun was had. I'll have more of an update coming soon, as I'm still in my whirlwind of re-entry craziness, but suffice it to say, for now, that it was one of my best fests in recent history. And I feel like I did have some epiphanies while there that hopefully I can translate to this outside world life, to both further my art/craft endeavors and also my own personal happiness.

And, yes, that's me, above, selling my wares at one of the two Worker Craft Sales. (Photo courtesy of Deb Livingston - thanks Deb!) Thanks to all of my sister workers who supported my presence at fest this year by purchasing my wares! I love you all and miss you already!

More soon, I promise.

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