Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mill Avenue Nights Friday November 28th 2008

Tonight the Ave was dead in every way that matters.

The ASU/UCLA game littered the branched streets from Mill Ave with scalpers lurking with their tickets amidst streetlamps, asking all passersby if they wanted to get into the game. Having started at 7:30 p.m. and tickets running $30 - $50 even when I paced the strange, back ways on my path to Mill I ran across several asking if I wanted tickets. And had to turn away every one.

Fireworks boomed and scattered bright motes into the dark sky, crackling and punctuating the time as I wandered around Mill, looking for people. The crowds tonight were actually thick, but without interaction. Their eyes glazed over with intent, talking only to themselves; it was if the spirit of the place had been suspended.


Our favorite, lovely hippy girl was out today with her wares. I meant to talk a lot longer with her, but it didn’t work out quite that way. It is extremely good to see her back on the Ave, in good spirits, and selling her items. In fact, she did manage a sale while I was there. I will try to get some photographs of her beadwork to display at some point. The relaxation of police harassment of people like Dawn, merchants, buskers, and other entertainers. I criticized this behavior broadly when it started up (possibly by pressure from the Mill Avenue District council.)

The news that the mayor himself may have been telling the police not to mess with them tells me that at least he is coming around to what Mill Ave means to everyone. In the midst of this economic downturn the presence of these merchants, buskers, and entertainers creates on Mill a microcosm that is different than any other place. It is also the most accessible route to entertainment for the college students for all of ASU. This is only one layer of what can make Mill prosperous—even in the face of the Tempe Marketplace.


Found Vince today again. He regaled everyone with long stories about how he had is driver’s license returned to him (which had been suspended via a legal snafu) by way of some time and money expense (angling up to two thousand dollars) and about how his life is going. Which looks pretty good on the up-and-up. We sat around the Post Office, chatting betwixt Thanksgiving/football crowds and fireworks, which is really how I like to spend my time.

He did spend a bit of a time talking about the various doctrines of the evangelicals, although I’m not sure the provenance of a lot of his thoughts on the matter. He went into the mythology of the Rapture (an interesting apocalyptic belief common to contemporary Christian mythology) and some of the variations and schisms of the mythos by philosophies about how their gods work (i.e. the Trinity and other elements of doctrine.) But, really, without the evangelicals on Mill it didn’t hold the same sort of weight, because they are really the only bastion of that mythology who visit.

Ah, did I mention someone?

The evangelicals? They did not appear—in spite of having a possibility of giant crowds, numerous passersby, children, parents, elders… Nobody.

Surely, the Mill Avenue Resistance were probably disappointed, but I did find one of this giant bill tracts on the ground at some point. Kazz jokingly said, “I smell preachers.” To which I responded with the “Fe Fi Fo Fum,” but nothing came out of the discovery.


Thanksgiving and football crowds are widely variant. The usual mass of the students (the 20-something) are gone from the Ave, replaced by middle-aged groups, and family groups. Numerous two-parents and children groups were to be found, as well as small clusters of teenagers. But mostly it was middle-aged men in threes and fours, guppering and cavorting around. However, here and there were small groups of late 20s heterogender groups, generally very inebriated and stumbling out of bars.

Lastly the street rats. We had our fair share out tonight, but all of them were constantly on the move. Nobody wanted to stay put in the environment of this night. Between the dead-sight crowds, the fireworks, the biggest group we gathered in front of the Post Office was probably five people at most (not including the visit from the Resistance when they came past on patrol) but even in the sight of this lost night, discussion was good.

I would not have changed tonight much, especially not when I had a chance to see Vince, Dawn, and others.

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