Tag Archives: Community

What Robocop Tells Us About the Neoliberal City, Then & Now:

Tropics of Meta

Robocop 1987 vs 2014

The recent release of Jose Padilha’s reboot of the RoboCop franchise offers ToM another opportunity to indulge in extreme historian geekiness. As an unabashed lover of the original 1987 RoboCop, I jumped at the opportunity to write a dual review of both films, reflecting on their contrasting messages and cultural commentaries.

Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 version was a masterpiece. No, seriously. Taking place in an unspecified, but not too distant future, the film is set in a dystopic, post-industrial Detroit. The film’s Motor City is riddled with crime and drugs, where police are killed with shocking regularity. The thinly veiled illusion to urban blight during the Reagan years is hard to miss.        RoboCop ’87 is a biting indictment of neoliberal urbanism. The central villain of the film is the Omni Consumer Products (OCP) corporation, whose maniacal plan is to bulldoze the slums (which seems to be most of the city)…

View original post 2,301 more words

1181 Durfee Avenue: 1983-1986

Tropics of Meta

Print

Between the fourth and sixth grades, you are seized by three deep and compulsive obsessions:

            Marvel comic books (all things Daredevil and X-Men and Spiderman).

BMX bicycles (yours: a second-hand Mongoose, unwieldy and spray-painted black after you stripped the frame down to its bare chrome-moly tubing).

And video games.

Your parents find all three activities doubtful.  Comic books are allowed since they get you reading something else besides MAD magazine and therefore seem remotely educational.  And when you’re on your bicycle, you’re out of the house, out of your parents’ way, and doing something sort of athletic, even if the extent of this athletic activity is you and your friends racing up and down Parkway Avenue, seeing whose tires can leave the longest skid, and assembling ramps from plywood scraps.  (One day, your friends will shove a few extra bricks under one of these ramps, raising it higher than…

View original post 2,115 more words

The Motor City at War: Mobilization, Wartime Housing, and Reshaping Metropolitan Detroit

Tropics of Meta

life-detroit-car-makers-world-war-II-1942_8_chrysler-tanks

“New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling. But there are other cities. Detroit. Poughkeepsie,” commented former Punk rock queen Patti Smith in recent weeks. “New York City has been taken away from you. So my advice is: Find a new city.”  Today, Detroit usually receives attention for all the wrong reasons: industrial decline, corrupt mayoral administrations, and racial tension to name only a few issues assailing the city.  Add the seemingly ubiquitous spread of ruin porn – photography that tends to capture Detroit as if it were nothing but municipal ruin and squatters – and Detroit’s main attraction seems to be, at the moment, its desperation. Desperate New York of the 1970s and 1980s produced Basquiat, CBGBs, Blondie, Jay McInerney, and the Ramones, among others. What might a distressed Detroit produce?

Whatever its value as a future center for artistic creativity, as evidenced by the…

View original post 4,085 more words

Where No Google Buses Go

Pueblo Lands

For every word written about the gentrification and displacement that is tearing San Francisco apart, there should be ten words written about the the poverty, environmental racism, and financial predation battering the smaller industrial cities of Contra Costa and Alameda counties. In suburban hinterlands north and east of Silicon Valley and San Francisco are the bankrupted municipalities of the Sacramento Delta and Carquinez Straight. We’re talking Stockton and Vallejo. Even closer are other cities devastated by the economic crisis, places like San Pablo, or Richmond from where you can see the rising skyline of San Francisco across the Bay, growing with towers of luxury apartments as it is.

Black and Latino residents have already been pushed to the fringes of San Francisco, both geographically and in the employment ranks of the new tech-centric economy. Fleets of Silicon Valley company buses that clog San Francisco’s streets picking up and dropping off…

View original post 1,554 more words

The Green Dream 2014: Washington State Buys a Blacklight Poster, Now Loves Pink Floyd…

druglawyer

this incredible article comes courtesy of the Associated Press:

SEATTLE (AP) — Surrounded by thousands of packages of marijuana, Seattle’s top prosecutor sought some advice: Which one should he buy?

A new day, indeed.

Twenty months after voters legalized recreational cannabis for adults over 21, Washington state’s first few licensed pot shops opened for business Tuesday, catering to hundreds of customers who lined up outside, thrilled to be part of the historic moment.

The pot being sold at four stores in Seattle, Bellingham, Prosser and Spokane was regulated, tested for impurities, heavily taxed and in short supply – such short supply that several other shops couldn’t open because they had nothing to sell.

Pete Holmes, Seattle’s elected city attorney and a main backer of the state’s recreational marijuana law, said he wanted to be one of the first customers to demonstrate there are alternatives to the nation’s failed drug war.

“This is a tectonic shift in public policy,” he said. “You have to honor it. This is real. This is legal. This is a wonderful place to purchase marijuana where it’s out of the shadows.”

Dressed in a pinstripe suit, Holmes stood inside Seattle’s first and, for now, only licensed pot shop, Cannabis City, south of downtown. The shop was sweltering. He fanned himself with a state-produced pamphlet titled “Marijuana Use in Washington State: An Adult Consumer’s Guide.”

Unsure what to buy, he asked the owner of the company that grew it, Nine Point Growth Industries of Bremerton, who recommended OG’s Pearl. The strain tested at 21.5 percent THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive compound.

The shop’s 26-year-old twin salesmen, Andrew and Adam Powers, explained its benefits to Holmes: mainly, that the taste is not too “skunky” to turn off the occasional user.

Holmes noted it had been quite some time since he smoked pot. He paraphrased a line from the “South Park” cartoon series: “Remember, children, there’s a time and place for everything. That place is college.”

He spent $80 on 4 grams, including $20.57 in taxes.

Washington is the second state to allow marijuana sales without a doctor’s note. Voters in Colorado also legalized pot in 2012, and sales began there Jan. 1.

Washington’s Liquor Control Board began working right away to develop rules governing just about every aspect of the industry, from what fertilizers can be used to how extracts are produced.

But the board has been overwhelmed: Nearly 7,000 people applied to grow, process or sell pot, and those licenses are being reviewed glacially by the board’s 18 investigators.

Fewer than 100 growers have been approved, and only about a dozen were ready to harvest in time for the market’s launch. As for the stores, most first had to get lucky in state-run lotteries for 300-plus retail licenses being issued. Then they had to strike deals to buy product from the growers – in many cases at exorbitant prices.

Much of the marijuana being sold Tuesday cost at least twice the $10 to $12 per gram offered by the state’s unregulated medical dispensaries.

In Seattle, hundreds of people waited in the warm sunshine outside for Cannabis City to open at noon. Store owner James Lathrop declared it time to “free the weed” and cut the ribbon – actually yellow police tape strung across the shop’s door.

His first customer, 65-year-old retiree Deb Greene, hugged and thanked Alison Holcomb, the author of Washington’s marijuana law, before placing her order for 8 grams, totaling $160 with tax. Greene said she got excited and bought twice as much as she intended to.

The hype surrounding the pot shop openings was unwelcome in some quarters.

Derek Franklin, head of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, said it can “normalize” marijuana use for children. He lamented that the state only recently scraped together some money for a digital and radio advertising campaign to urge parents to talk to their children about marijuana.

“This kind of messaging, not only is it too late, but it’s not nearly in-depth enough,” he said. “If we’re the big marijuana social experiment, well, there’s no experiment I’m aware of that you go into without informed consent.”

colorweedcop

Bellingham’s first store, Top Shelf Cannabis, made more than 400 transactions by late afternoon. It opened at 8 a.m., when Cale Holdsworth strode to the counter and bought 2 grams for $26.50.

“This is a great moment,” said the 29-year-old from Abilene, Kansas, as a swarm of reporters and television cameras recorded the moment.

Holdsworth was in town with his girlfriend, Sarah Gorton, and her younger brother for her grandfather’s birthday.

“It’s just a happy coincidence and an opportunity we’re not going to have for a long time,” said Gorton, 24. “I’m really thrilled to be a part of something that I never thought would happen.”

The trio planned to head back to their relatives’ house and sample the purchase.

“We’re probably going to break open a bottle of wine, sit on the porch and enjoy this,” she said.

***

(JW)

Fighting for Leisure: African Americans, Beaches, and Civil Rights in Early 20th Century L.A.

Tropics of Meta

00001270-thumb-630x426-72604 Caption reads: “Verna and Sidney in the segregated section of Santa Monica beach known as the Ink Well.” | Shades of L.A. Collection, Los Angeles Public Library

“These people worked on the railroad, they saved their money, they put up a resort, and they lost everything,” lamented Bernard Bruce in 2007. “How would you feel if your family owned the Waldorf and they took it away from you.” Bruce, the grandson of former beach resort proprietors Charles and Willa Bruce, spoke to the Los Angeles Times after a contested Manhattan Beach city council vote of 3-2 confirmed the city’s official commemoration of his parents’ beach resort as a historic landmark. “There’s a kind of tension,” longtime resident and local historian Robert L. Brigham added, “between people who are very conscious of the history of Bruce’s and those who would rather forget about the whole thing.” 1

Indeed, the story of…

View original post 2,995 more words

Mi Placer (Puerto Rico)

puertorico1

Amanda Mininger

The first thing I do is find out where I’m going.

My boyfriend is watching the in-flight movie but I’ve got the airline magazine in my hands, scanning and re-scanning the maps at the back. For some reason, the location of Puerto Rico does not want to stick in my mind. Near Cuba? South of Florida? Geography and globes and maps lure me—I want to know the world—so the fact that Puerto Rico is still an unknown feels itchy. All I know is that Hunter S. Thompson wrote Rum Diary after living in San Juan for a time. And anything for which my only reference point is Hunter S. Thompson surely needs more studying.

As we cruise at 37,000 feet, I try to guess the flight pattern from Dallas to San Juan. We must be flying along the coastlines of Louisiana and Mississippi, then down across the Gulf and over…

View original post 2,360 more words