Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mill Avenue Nights: Saturday, October 9th 2010

I spent much of the night discussing the finer points of Mill Ave ecology with my friend, Vice, who situated himself in front of Urban Outfitters. He’s started up a website for his spray paint artwork business along with Bruce Cormier (who has been spray painting scenes on Mill Ave for quite some years now.)

Spaced Out Studios

(Giant Flash applet and sound warning.)

He spoke of rumblings in the general population that the police might start cracking down on Mill Ave vendors. Especially those, he expects, who simply go to local 99¢ stores, set up blankets of those products, place a tin with the word “DONATION” on it and then attempt to sell them to passersby for an asking price of around $2-$3. Rumor has it, the local vendors have been complaining about them taking sales away from them. Vince believes that it will take a route similar to the gentrification and eventual regulation of the vendors at the Roosevelt Row First Friday Art Walk.

The Mill Avenue Resistance and Clothing Give Away

I’ve finally had a chance to witness the Mill Avenue Resistance free-clothing drive apparatus. With a rolled out blanket covered in folded shirts and a single rack of dresses and some pants, they served the entirety of the Ave from pretty much 9pm until 1am. Gadfly primarily manned the station with a beaming grin and friendly greeting for anyone who stopped to peer over the offering of free garb.

Although I don’t know that many people took any piece of clothing, many did avail themselves of toothbrushes and other sundries.

Mill Avenue Resistance and the Street Preachers

The usual Tom and Al show appeared along with a cadre of various others. They took turns on the microphone through the night with Kazz and Rocco intermittently manning their own megaphone to respond—according to the Resistance, the large mounted speaker failed to operate due to possible battery burnout. Another street preacher named Walter, dressed in jeans and a cowboy hat, also stood up to speak his piece.

As usual they handed out money for trivia questions and engaged people with The Good Person Test (a grossly immoral propaganda tool).

Some people stopped to cheer on the preachers, others passed by, plucked tracts of various design from the Resistance, or dallied to check out the free clothing.

Willow, a well known member of the immune response to this on ASU campus, also came out. She waved a sign for the passing crowds, “FREE HUGS FROM A TATTOOED LESBIAN” and got quite a few takers and come-ons in the process.

Mill Ave Blog Mentions

Looking around the Internet today, I found a mention of Mill Ave and the Resistance—and he also appears to have noticed our hug-bearing tattooed lesbian as well. He mentions Willow, her sign, the Resistance, and the street preachers over in a blog at Homebrewed Theology, “Street Preachers and Tattooed Lesbians”.

It probably took me a good 15 minutes to comprehend what I was seeing…. it truly was that surreal.

Prior to engaging the dueling bullhorns, I got my free hug, told her I was a straight ally, and then went over to talk with the atheists handing out clothes and stuff. I told them that of all the people on that corner, they had it right. They were there simply serving their fellow man expecting nothing in return. They were very gracious and said, “even though we’re atheists, I know where you’re coming from and we really appreciate it”.

Next up were Rocco, the atheist shouting back through his own bullhorn, and Walter, the street preacher. It was readily apparent that they were talking past each other, both standing firm on their own literalist interpretation of scripture, resulting in a conversation that was going absolutely nowhere. Honestly, it made me a little angry.

So, in a move I honestly never thought I’d pull off myself, I raised both my hands and shouted “Enough!”

I missed this exchange myself, but no doubt Rocco had a great time with someone else to actually engage in conversation. A common complaint that I receive from the Resistance about the preachers that they protest is about their enculted and recalcitrant behavior—they rarely change, they have little to say beyond their own inexpert myopic misunderstanding of their topics, and use a deck of disingenuous scripts.

Someone with some actual sense, or even something thoughtful to say, would probably give them great cheer.

The article I cite from continues on for quite a bit of culture centered discussion between Christians, so I’m not going to go into that. However, I will have to interview Rocco about his encounter with Mr. Homebrew.

Bringing something lively and interesting to the Ave.



A photograph of the Mill Avenue Resistance clothing rack, the tiny pieces of paper visible on the sides read: “FREE CLOTHING.”



Group shot: Center has some members of the Resistance, Willow and her sign, Barbara, Gadfly, a few others semi-visible; on the right happens to be Al, with Kevin peeking out.


Center: Rocco; Right: Kevin. Not exactly the best candid shot, but I was running my camera in burst mode in order to get some pictures of crowds. In front of the Post Office hanging out and chatting.


This is Marcus standing in front of Al’s crucifix—I really need to interview them at some point about this new phenomena. Marcrus’s crucifix is visible on the left, flashlight strapped to the top. He had it set to “emergency signal” mode so it generated a sort of blinking-rave-light effect.


Christian Salafia said...

Last night was definitely a surreal experience. I'm glad I stopped to talk to someone from each of the seemingly disparate parties (street preachers, rocco, Willow (tattooed lesbian), and the those associated with Mill Ave Resistance.

Cool night and definitely one I'll always remember.

Christian (Mr. Homebrew)

Kyt Dotson said...

I am overjoyed to see people have a good time on Mill Ave. It's our cultural center and I hope it always remains a healthy melting-pot of the urbane and exotic.

And also, just as Vex would say, "It's been surreal!" which is the way that I myself prefer it.

Thanks for commenting! And thank you for enriching our community with that blog article.