Art and activism were intrinsically linked long before Robert Zimmerman picked up an acoustic guitar and warbled out poetic diatribes against the status quo. Lucky for us, many local music fans and musicians still subscribe to the belief that together they are greater than the sum of their individual parts.
UCSD's Che Café is, of course, entirely built on this foundation, and on Saturday, Aug. 30, they are hosting a going-away party of sorts for Sherman Austin, a 20-year-old activist from Sherman Oaks who must report to Federal Prison on Sept. 3 to begin serving a one-year sentence. He's been found guilty on felony counts of "distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction with the intent that such information be used in furtherance of a federal crime of violence." Translated, the conviction stemmed from a link on his website (www.raisethefist.com). Austin, a political activist, posted a link to a protest guide that included a small portion on how to make explosives.
In addition to the year in prison, Austin will serve three years strict probation, during which his access to computers will be severely limited, and he must pay $2,100 in restitution fines. The money raised at the benefit will go towards paying these fines and covering his legal expenses.
Former Rage Against the Machine lead instigator Zack de la Rocha is among those scheduled to speak at the event, and musical guests include a mixed bag of local and other artists spanning genres from hip-hop to hardcore. Confirmed acts include Death to W, Yellow Republic, Fight Club, Freedom Smugglers and more. Guests of honor include Sherman himself, his family and close friends.
The festivities (if that's the proper term for a sendoff to the federal pen) will kick off at 5 p.m. Admission is a $6 donation. For more information about the man and the case, check out www.raisethefist.com.
Sistahs are doin' it for themselves
While no one in particular is getting sent up the river, 10,000 years of The Man swinging and poking his mangy phallus all over the place is reason enough for the S/He Collective to throw a daylong art and action festival.
S/HeZAM is the second such S/Hindig (that one was my own, sorry-at least I'm not pigheaded enough to call it a ""ho-down"), following last year's Army of S/He Festival. This year's event will feature live music, dancing, arts, crafts and workshops that work toward the collective's stated goals of advancing gender equity, righting the under-representation of women in the arts and affecting positive social change.
The epicenter of the daytime activities is the LGBT Centre, which will host music, spoken-word and dance performances, as well as a number of cool-sounding workshops like "Girls, Girls, Girls: Raising Ofelia in the 21st Century" and "D.A.M.N., Grrrl!!: Digital Audio Manipulation for Novices." The do-it-yourself ethic will also be in full effect, with presentations about D.I.Y. songwriting and 'zine publishing.
The party carries on and moves east during the evening, with DJs and dancing at Café Calbria and live music at Scolari's Office and North Park Deli and Coffee. The Scolari's show alone sounds like quite a hoot, with performances by The Vaginals, Tender Buttons and others. The three venues' proximity to each other makes it easy to skip around and ensures a particularly interesting evening at the always hoppin' intersection of 30th and University. www.theshecollective.org
The Teeth bro down with Black Flys
In perhaps the unlikeliest union since Yoko sold John out to Nike (OK, so maybe it's not that big of a deal), local band The Teeth have struck a sponsorship deal with Black Flys, the sunglasses/clothing company that produces those sweet wrap-arounds so often seen below the bleached-blonde hairline of a head boppin' to the latest blink-182 single.
It's strange because The Teeth-a raucous, harp-driven dirty rock band with deep and deliciously displayed roots-hardly play the kind of music you'd expect the company's core clientele to listen to. It's even harder to imagine the members bro'd out in the latest beach gear and snowboarding goggles.
"The owner of Black Flys heard our demo from a friend who works there," Teeth guitarist Marcelo "Tito" Dacal said of the situation. "They asked us to play a show for his birthday party with Boobie Trap and Drive by Smile. After we played that show, he said he'd like to sponsor us.
"We get free sunglasses, shirts-all the stuff that they sell," he continued. "They're really cool about it and they haven't even asked us to promote their stuff. There's no contract or anything, we just play shows for them and they give us free stuff."
Dacal and company feel the sponsorship in no way compromises their street credibility and isn't tantamount to selling out:
"For bands like us who have no money and do this for the pure love of it, there are no compromises. I see it more as a stepping stone. Having too much pride is a crutch for insecurity. If someone wants to help us out we're going to take it. We do the same in return when we can."
The Teeth's debut album, We Will Kill You, will be out in the near future, and promises to be one kickass chunk o' the rock. www.theteethkill.com.