Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another Day At Which I Marvel

Astonishing Occurrence #1: I step in for sick staff and do vendor orientation yesterday morning for the first time in a few years. It's like riding a bike. There are three people in attendance: a really nice hippy-chick who has temporarily dropped out of the middle class for reasons I'll never know; a charismatic hobo guy who, having learned that I started the paper, keeps repeating "Dude, you've done an amazing thing." His wife, a hard drinking good hearted woman of "a certain age," is moved to tears during the Real Change video. She smiles and cries throughout the orientation.

Astonishing Occurrence #2: One of our volunteers shows me a paper that was published by a group of 50 academics in Los Angeles that bills itself as a "reality-based approach to ending homelessness." They lead with supporting fair wages and creating employment and protecting and expanding housing stock, and call for an end to the deplorable treatment of homeless people in LA. Southern California increasingly looks like the front lines of the war on the homeless, and people are fighting back in very interesting ways. This is encouraging.

Astonishing Occurrence #3: Sherman Alexie reads from his new book at Town Hall to benefit Real Change. He has a sense of timing and an ability to work a crowd that blows my mind, modulating through various moods (levity, wonderment, solemnity, anger, hope) with a facility I have never really seen in another speaker. He does stand-up comedy that looks and feels completely conversational and natural. His technique is so well honed it never looks remotely like technique. He is masterful. He advises white liberals to consider voting with people of color instead of pursuing "romantic bullshit." We could destroy the Republican party for decades to come this next election, he says, if stupid liberals can just once refrain from fucking things up. "Vote to destroy," he says. He trashes The Weekly up one side and down the other for their dumbshit Real Change article. "I'd just like to say Fuck the Seattle Weekly," he says. The crowd goes wild.

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