Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fishy Food Tour

I had the opportunity to go on an amazing cross-country art-ivism tour asking the question: Are We Eating Fishy Food? The tour (generously sponsored by Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap) raised awareness about Genetically Modified Food and demanded GMO labeling.

I actually did an interview with videographer Jack Olmsted in which I talk about the tour, which you can also find on the Seattle PI blog here:

We did our kickoff event in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC on August 5th, and you can see how pumped Dan Rabbitt and I are about the tour! (photo credit: Brian Melrose).  We are in front of K'Sup, the fishy tomato, whom you can follow on his twitter page! Although I spent most of my time in the support van, as I took charge of the loading and unloading of our camping gear and food every night, consistent with my compulsion to start organizing people everywhere I go, I did assist with driving the tomato.

In fact, I was driving the tomato when the power steering went out!  Err, I'm no expert on cars, but i think something is wrong here! Luckily we were in Pittsburgh, where we had mechanically-inclined friends of the tour to help us out, and we were back on the road that night, even though a second car also broke down. In fact, I learned a lot about cars on this tour - who knew they could break in so many ways? (I was also driving the support van at the moment the muffler decided to break, which sounds like something is going to explode.)

It was a lot of fun watching the other cars driving down the road; here's the oft-misunderstood sugar beet (no, it's not a radish) behind us.  Unfortunately, much of the sugar we eat comes not from sugar cane but from the sugar beet, and nearly all of the sugar beet crop is GMO. Apparently some activists in Oregon recently destroyed a crop of sugar beets, although there hasn't been much coverage of it.

Our first event was in Pittsburgh, tailgating at the Pirates game, and we were visited by my lovely friend Janice and her dog; here they are in front of fishy corn, which is my personal favorite car (and also the first car that was created).

Pittsburgh is gorgeous at night, with all the hills around it and bridges over the rivers. I took this from inside the fishy apple on the way to the campground:

Up next was Columbus, Ohio where we did a photo-op event in front of the statehouse. A uniformed officer guarding the capitol came out and when I went to intercept and give him a flyer he told me he liked my dreds, and apparently saw "my hairdo" (which my brilliant artist friend skubz has successfully dubbed "my pineapple") from all the way inside the building.

Across the street was a beautiful old theater (they don't make them like this anymore) know you're a burner/event organizer/ex-ravekid when you look at every building as a potential venue:

And here is an in-car shot of my friend Damien, who wrote a beautiful commentary on the tour:

     "Whether we knew it or not we began to answer the question 'What happens when a groups of burners with shared missions take the spirit of the playa and the 10 principles, cross it with a flash mob, and drive it across the country?'
     The answer is AMAZING THINGS HAPPEN! . . . 
     I'm still processing everything that happened on the tour and where to go from here, but the one thing I'm sure of so far is this: the intersection of art and activism is where Burning Man meets default world. I can only hope this is the direction the burner community starts moving as we wonder if the whole thing has grown too big for its britches or lost its heart."

Thanks Damien, I couldn't have said it better myself!  Stay tuned for more on the fishy tour!