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Bumping beats in SF at Burning Man Decompression

I spun this funky, jazzy, and tribal house set at the SF Burning Man Decompression on Saturday, October 14, 2017. The setting was surreal: playing a concert-sized sound system at the base of the access ramp leading to the pier gave me the chance to set the tone for every person who arrived at the venue for the first hour after the doors opened!

Calling out corruption from the FBI to Taser Corp.

News outlets covering the FBI and corporate weapons contractors quoted me this month, in stories about the FBI attempting to evade federal privacy law, and about Taser Corp. unleashing new havoc on a criminal "justice" system already pervaded by systemic bias.

On September 21, the Intercept ran a story about a new effort by Taser Corp. to expand evidence available to law enforcement agencies through crowdsourcing. It included:

Spreading love & consciousness at TransFOAMation in Black Rock City

I recorded this live DJ & MC set on a Saturday afternoon at TransFOAMation in Black Rock City (the site of Burning Man) just a few hours before the Man burned in 2017. I had the honor of opening for Steve Raskin from Fort Knox Five for the second year in a row, and was blessed to share microphones with our camp mayor & resident hype man, A.B. This set was unforgettable to me not only because the crowd was among the largest I've ever played, but also by virtue of its ecstatic energy, remarkable diversity, and (audible) receptivity to consciousness on the mic.

My rhymes addressed police violence (at 8:00), global resistance to our kleptocratic President and climate justice (48:20), and opportunities to build our own culture (9:55, and again by request at 1:17:05), and inspire & care for each other (1:06:45). I riffed on gratitude & memory (at 15:15), how solidarity relates to peace, love, unity & respect (at 1:29:15), and my own thanks to the crowd (when wrapping up at 1:32:00).

Hyping social justice in Black Rock City

Each August, tens of thousands of freakniks congregate in the Black Rock Desert about 3 hours northeast of Reno, NV for something resembling an annual pilgrimmage. Burning Man is a phenomenal experience, and I was proud to promote social justice through several projects this year. My musical performances raised various political themes (especially my Saturday afternoon set at TransFOAMation, where I spit a new rhyme amidst others addressing issues from police violence to climate change and intersectional solidarity), and I was thrilled for the chance to publish a blog post about a week before the convergence to explain and promote the otherwise disparate actvities of several camps dedicated to racial, immigrant, climate, and gender justice.

Que Viva brought together activists in the movement for black lives, Red Lightning included indigenous elders and activists from Standing Rock, and TransFOAMation (my camp) joined forces with Gender Blender to give thousands of burners an intro to gender expression and the history of trans resistance. In the few days since returning home, I've heard several former burners explain that they stepped away from burner communities because their hedonism seemed self-indulgent. To that, I would simply remind anyone that life in general, or any experience--including Burning Man--is entirely what you make it!

Agency (March and August, 2017)

(with Samantha Rebecca Cohen)

Are we all
Bugs
Trapped
In a urinal?

With wet wings
Frozen to ceramic
Our legs
Frantically

Joining a group of sheroes

I'm excited to announce that I've accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors of the Center for Media Justice, a prolific organization based in Oakland, CA working to establish democratic media ownership, fundamental communication rights, universal media and technology access, and accurate representation in news and popular culture for everyone.

CMJ's work spans many of the issues on which I work at EFF, but brings to struggles for digital rights the voices of vulnerable communities and individuals impacted by government or corporate abuses. The Center works not only on challenging the mass surveillance paradigm that has largely defined my career, but also on principles such as net neutrality and media representations of communities of color.

West Coast jurisdictions advance community oversight of police surveillance

My latest writing for EFF examines a series of campaigns up and down the west coast challenging secret, unaccountable mass surveillance by local police. From Seattle to Los Angeles, cities are taking action to impose public control on the acquisition of police surveillance tech, and the entire state of California is in play.

These measures not only shift the law governing the millions of people living in those jurisdictions, but also represent crucial oversight principles strikingly absent at the federal level. With Congress forced to consider NSA mass surveillance this year by the scheduled expiration of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, these campaigns (alongside others in cities across the country) could not come at a better time.

Darkness Rising (August 2017)

I see darkness rising
up close and in slow motion
horrors happening every hour
life flattened by profit
one family evicted
one species erased
neither even warrants a headline
We move chairs in elaborate
patterns as our ship both sinks 
and collapses around us on
all sides growing corporate
corn waiting for the pathogen to
strike earthquakes in the last
lands stolen from natives
where having long ago killed
all the buffalo now we
hollow out the ground
and squeeze the Earth dry
while hurling our trash
en masse
into the One Water
We drink our own piss
not because we're dehydated
wandering in the desert
but because we're so stupid
we'll follow any advertisement like
the gospel bio-tech crosses
between sheep and lemmings
attaining self-realization in
the air mere moments before

My first time playing live electronica

I had a chance last month to participate for the first time in a regional Burning Man event in the northeast, Firefly. In between a few DJ sets on Thursday and one on Saturday night / early Sunday morning, I had a chance to embrace a new musical experience that remains among my most memorable highlights from the event.

Disappointment...or the Birth of Flight (July 2017)

Dreams are visions
they take effort to chase
gray hair and sweat
furrowed brows and
sore limbs
inspiration and effort
to first bring
to mind
and more to then
bring to fruition

Dreams are targets
for passion objects
of longing prompting
extension of
self across 
space and (as one
might hope in any
moment for) also
maybe time

Dreams are like
hanging
in the
air
before
one's foot 
finds Earth
that sometimes
just
is 
not
there.

 

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