Friday, November 21, 2008

Mill Avenue Nights Friday November 21st 2008

Dawn, Shamancat, Sebastian, Vince

It’s been a while since I’ve seen Dawn and her dog. They used to come out to Mill Ave pretty much every night years ago, but since I haven’t seen her around much at all. It wasn’t long after I reached the red bricks that I found her sauntering past, hippy skirt and dusty-gold dreadlocks in her wake.

I managed to stop her for a bit and inquire as to her health and whereabouts, which are both good. Apparently she’s spent most of the summer in Chicago. A place rapidly getting cold so she’s returned herself to these warmer climes—which has precisely been my idea on the matter.

She used to spend her time selling hemp jewelry bound up with the requisite glass and plastic beads in interesting designs. However, two years ago or so she stopped due to harassment by the local police who had taken to mistreating transient-looking individuals and Mill rats in order to “clean up the streets.” Even now there are propaganda messages posted alongside some of the Mill information signs.

This has changed slightly, according to Dawn.

“Yeah. I was set up near ASU the other day and the police came to tell me that I couldn’t sell there. ‘Go to Mill Ave,’ they told me, ‘It’s okay. We know who you are and we like you, it’s okay.’ In their words a Mill Avenue Council has been set up and word has come down from the mayor not to mess with vendors selling stuff on the Ave. The shops and culture have taken several major shakeups and hits due to the economic downturn; and he’d like to see a return of musicians and other reasons for people to visit our little carnival. However, they still don’t like spanging (panhandling)—but it’s interesting to see this change in attitude by the distant powers-that-are.

Sebastian Rain Valintino is an interesting fellow who I’ve seen a few times on the Ave already and it was good to be able to stop and talk to him. He has close cropped hair that curls in tight bunches—possibly due to his Italian ancestry. Looking at him from a distance you’d think that he had a very light goatee or beard, but really it’s a carefully pinned tattoo around his lips that extends in sharp fang-like markings. At first it reminded me of a Celtic brooch pin, but upon closer inspection it’s designed from two bridled-arcs and fangs around his mouth. He also has his left eyebrow tattooed (no hair) and a small teardrop from his left eye.

By way of explanation the tattoos around his lips are an Irish-Italian mixture relating to a Bear Clan and Wolf Clan, hence the fangs. I did not properly document his reason for the eyebrow—but he explains that the teardrop is for his uncle who is in a Federal penitentiary for killing several police officers in a firefight.

I also ran into Shamancat who was standing around with an older gentleman. We didn’t discuss much but he might be making his way down to Sedona. Which, he suggests, that he might go see the “spaceships.” Sedona is well known for its alien and UFO cults, occultists, esotericism, and other supernatural activity. It’s a real hub of the weird.

Vince appeared on the Ave today. He was wearing a gigantic tweed/wool trench coat that reminded me of a German barrack coat. Grey and dismal, but possibly massively warm. Turning him into a giant, woolen version of Cousin It.

I also had a moment to visit with some of the other newer street rats. One in particular, a girl who kindly warned me not to sit on the ground due to an anti-homeless law that the police do like to enforce. She mentioned she’d had a wound on her foot, thus her boot was loosely tied. I couldn’t get her to let me look at it, but the skin lividity in the area was fine, no visible signs of infection (shooters or puffiness) outside of the region. She also promised to go to the medical van tomorrow and get it checked out.

The Preachers Tonight

Out tonight were Jim and Valerie. They brought with them a number of props. I had some discussions with Valerie about typesetting, desktop publishing, cover design. A lot of the things that go into my prints of Mill Avenue Vexations—my seminal work that is attempting to capture the evanescent zeitgeist of Mill Ave in fiction.

I gave her a book but warned her that she might be outside of the audience. Being neither street-rat nor goth.

She described an interesting in writing but never knew how to properly get it printed. I told her about how manuscript creation is often very separate from the editing required to produce a book. Fortunately, when writing a work thou need concern thyself little with how it’ll format when it’s done—it’s the words that matter. Let the typesetter and binder (even if that person is thee at a later date) worry about that when it comes around. Plus, Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop can be used to produce an extremely professional work and the learning curve is only a few months.

Maybe she’ll decide to write something and take my advice. I even explained to her that booklets come in pages of 4. Since every letter-sized page is folded in half producing two pages to a side, and two-sided, meaning each sheet creates 4 pages.

They eventually got set up with amplification in front of the Post Office and the SFTS showed up to talk to them. Pretty much tying them up the entire night.

The rest of my observations of them is available on my Better than Faith observations blog.

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