Notes from underground, 2008/2009

Subterra logo

What a difference a year makes … the venue’s the same, another New Year’s Eve at SomArts in SF, and Liam’s playing again in the psytrance room.  The rest of the world, and my frame of mind?  Very different.

I’ve been rereading a lot of my posts from the last year as we work on wrapping up our first draft of Tales from the Net … the ones on psytrance may or may not wind up in the book, but in any case they’re an amazing lens for the year.

It’s the Fourth of July, and we’re fighting for our civil liberties is at the midpoint, balanced between two cities and two causes: the happiness of Pink Saturday in the Castro in the aftermath of the unanimous California Supreme Court marriage equality decision, and the blossoming of Get FISA Right and social network activism — it was the day after Senator (now President-elect) Barack Obama had responded to our open letter.  It brings tears to my eyes when I reread it now.

October and November’s HOTwired Seattle, tonight!, Notes from underground (Hallowe’en pre-election version) and The weekend after bracket the election, with Obama’s incredible victory and a repudiation of Bush and the Republicans … as well as the stripping of civil rights of hundreds of thousands of LGBT Americans by state propositions including California’s Prop 8.

During the bleakest years of the Bush Administration it sometimes seemed to me like psytrance parties were one of the only refuges from the sense of oppression ….  I was rereading something from my journal in late 2003, a night at (((thump))) with Didje Kelli at the DNA Lounge, where the ATM was flashing “The U.S. Constitution isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than what we have today.”  Indeed; and now when I think back on the black-lit surrealistic environment it’s a reminder that while there’s still a long way to go we may have turned a corner.

2008 was the year where social network activism broke through, first with the Obama campaign and Voces contra las FARC and in Egypt, then with Get FISA Right and Join the Impact.  It’s less than three years since Deborah’s talk at Andrea’s Data Devolution conference.  This stuff really is a chance for a rebirth of freedom.

“I’ve gotten so political,” I said to Deborah.  “Looks like I picked the right year to spend a lot of time being an activist.”

“I’m glad you did,” she replied.

Me too.  I can’t wait to see what next year brings — and I can’t wait to share it with her!

Happy new year, all!