The tents may be gone from Frank Ogawa Plaza, but they'll be forever immortalized in a new gay porn flick with an extremely catchy tagline: "Police can ban the erection of tents at Occupy Wall Street, but they can't keep us from pitching a tent in our pants!"
Looks like Third Eye Blind wasn't the only band record an Occupy Wall Street solidarity song. Here's "Witness," Oakland-based local singer, songwriter, and activist Shareef Ali's impassioned and charmingly lo-fi take on the movement, which also gets major bonus points for putting the (ubiquitous) "mic check" motif to good use:
So much for the drum circles and troubadors whose sounds dominate most Occupy Wall Street encampments. Local alt-rock band Third Eye Blind penned a song that may become the definitive Occupy Wall Street album. Frontman Stephan Jenkins — a UC Berkeley valedictorian, according to the Huffington Post — references Scott Olsen, tear gas canisters, Zuccotti Park, and Occupy Oakland. In an accompanying PSA, he declares himself a staunch supporter.
And here's the explanation:
With the publication of his new book of photos and essays, Occupants — which aims to illuminate the United States' relationship with the developing world through photos and essays — Henry Rollins has proven himself yet again to be a fascinating cultural critic and chronicler. He kindly agreed to an e-mail interview with the Express to talk about it all.
EBX: First of all, I should say that it’s great to get to chat with you, even via e-mail. You and I have the same birthday, so I’ve always wanted to thank you for giving your press such a fantastic name.
EBX: Okay, so, questions: How long have you been taking photographs? When did you get the notion that your photos could tell stories in a new and different way for you?
HR: I started when I was young. I took a photo class in school and learned how to develop photos in a darkroom. I took a lot of photos in my teen years, but never really worked on it like I have been over the last six or seven. At one point in the early 2000s, I started upgrading my gear and that was when I started getting very interested in really working hard on getting the photos to match the intensity of what I was seeing. It’s one thing to see something that moves you, it’s another to try and make someone else see it.
EBX: Much of the writing in Occupants is from others’ viewpoints, but some of it — the one called “Huck” that accompanies the boy with the painted face in Burma, the one with the photo of Jimmy Pursey in London, “This tragic moment…” — feels autobiographical. What was it about certain photos that inspired you to call up your own memories instead of getting inside the heads of others?
HR: Writing in someone else’s voice, for me, it’s an editorial. It’s a way to protest or be forceful with an opinion from a very different angle. It’s a very interesting place it puts me [in] as I write these things. I started doing that years ago as almost a writing exercise, to see what would happen; sometimes the result was nothing like what I thought it would be. There’s a bit of that in this book. Sometimes, you see something totally alien to your life and you can see something of yourself in it. Perhaps that’s what makes people go to art galleries. I tried to open myself up to many options when writing about the pictures. I had only done that once before in a book I wrote many years ago. Someone sent me a photo of a prom couple who died in a car crash on the way to the prom. I looked at the couple and started writing. I did a bit of that with Occupants.
EBX: Under what circumstances was the photo of the boy in Mali wearing a Bin Laden T-shirt taken? Looks like there are a lot of Westerners on the scene — tourists with backpacks and cameras. What was the event? And is the fact that the boy is standing in what looks like an invisible circle a lucky shot, or were people actually avoiding him?
Michael Moore isn't the only celebrity to immerse himself in Oakland's new, burgeoning political movement. It turns out a lot of local musicians are also using Occupy Oakland as an artistic muse. Including, yes, Too $hort. And rapper Kev Choice. In fact, when you consider all the bands who've performed at the tent city outside city hall this month, you might say it's become a veritable hub. We can't wait to hear $hort opine on bank bailouts and regressive taxation.
Lest you think Boots Riley and Lupe Fiasco were the only celebrities to descend on Occupy Oakland, wait 'til you glimpse Ernie, Bert, and Cookie Monster amid the hoopla. The entertainment site Uproxx just posted a full album of photoshopped images depicting your favorite Sesame Street characters as Occupy Wall Street protesters. It's gotten enough traction on Twitter to render #OccupySesameStreet a fairly popular hashtag. We dedicate this one to all our friends camping out at Frank Ogawa Plaza this week.
Here's a good reason to cut out of work early today: Coup frontman and all-around activist Boots Riley will be playing a free show starting at 4:45 at the Occupy Oakland site in Frank Ogawa Plaza. He'll be joined by Eddie Falcon, Gabby LaLa, Jabari, and MC Lovelle.