Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Little...Surfing...

Last night after a truly crazy day...where nerves were shot and almost insurmountable red-tape was dealt with...Stagg and I had an evening meeting with a film company who wants me to do some assistant direction work.

So there we are in Andersonville "Little Sweden" and Stagg wants to check out this restaurant I was telling him about so he goes off while I begin my interview. When he gets back he's carrying a pizza! He said on the way to the restaurant he noticed a pizza store and bakery was looking for workers so he applied for a job on a whim. the staff were closing and they had an extra pizza they were jusst going to throw out and asked him if he wanted it. Of course he did! When he tells me and the producer this story, Im like, "My husband, the freegan!"

So today I kind of was surfing around about "freeganism". I found all kinds of amazing histories at Wikipedia. We have been slowly working our way through the U.S. Parks documentary on PBS and it's narrator is Peter Coyote. I've been interested in this actor since readign an amazing book called They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam America 1967 by David Maraniss. This book was a wonderful comparasion of one segment of time at Madison University (where Dick and Lynne Cheney attended) andit's war protests to an initial invasion of U.S into Vietnam. The book follows several real people in each location. It's just a mind-blowingly good book I read in 2003.

On the weekend of the book in University of Wisconsin at Madison when student protesters tried to stop Dow Chemical, the maker of napalm, from recruiting on campus at that weekend an actors troupe was at the school and one of the actors was Peter Coyote. He has always stayed in my mind and I noticed with interest as he narrated the documentary about U.S. National Parks.

So...I googled "freeganism" and got wikipedia stuff...which led to a group that Peter Coyote was in in San was really cool stuff I'd never heard of before...he are some odds and ends...

"Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers (often referred to as simply "the Motherfuckers", or UAW/MF) was an anarchist affinity group based in New York City. This "street gang with analysis" was famous for its Lower East Side direct action and is said to have inspired members of the Weather Underground and the Yippies.

The Motherfuckers grew out of a Dada-influenced art group called Black Mask with elements of another group called Angry Arts. Formed in 1966 by painter Ben Morea and the poet Dan Georgakas, Black Mask produced a broadside of the same name and declared that revolutionary art should be "an integral part of life, as in primitive society, and not an appendage to wealth.""

"The Diggers were a radical community-action group of Improv actors operating from 1966–68, based in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Their politics were such that they have sometimes been categorized as "left-wing." More accurately, they were "community anarchists" who blended a desire for freedom with a consciousness of the community in which they lived. They were closely associated with and shared a number of members with a guerilla theater group named the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

The Diggers took their name from the original English Diggers (1649–50) who had promulgated a vision of society free from private property, and all forms of buying and selling. During the mid- and late 1960s, the San Francisco Diggers opened stores which simply gave away their stock; provided free food, medical care, transport and temporary housing; they also organized free music concerts and works of political art. Some of their happenings included the Death of Money Parade, Intersection Game, Invisible Circus, and Death of Hippie/Birth of Free.
The group was founded by Emmett Grogan, Peter Coyote, Peter Berg (see, and other members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe including Billy Murcott, La Mortadella, and Butcher Brooks.

The group sought to create a mini-society free of money and capitalism. The Diggers provided a free food service in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park in Haight-Ashbury every day at 4 p.m., generally feeding over 200 people who had no other source of food. They served a stew made from donated and stolen meat and vegetables behind a giant yellow picture frame, called the Free Frame of Reference."

"They threw free parties with music provided by the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and other bands. They also staged street theater events, such as driving a truck of semi-naked belly dancers through the Financial District, inviting brokers to climb on board and forget their work. In October 1967, they staged The Death of Hippie, a parade in the Haight-Ashbury where masked participants carried a coffin with the words "Hippie--Son of Media" on the side. The event was staged in such a way so that any media that simply described it would be transmitting the Digger message that Hippies were a media invention. This was called "creating the condition you describe" and was used skillfully by the Diggers to control the media. Their own publications, notably the Digger Papers, are the origin of such phrases as "Do your own thing" and "Today is the first day of the rest of your life". The Diggers fostered and inspired later groups like the Yippies."

"Freeganism is an anti-consumerist lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on "limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources". Freegans "embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed."[1] The lifestyle involves salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket dumpsters, known as dumpster diving. Freegans salvage the food for political reasons, rather than out of need."

The word "freegan" is a portmanteau of "free" and "vegan". Freeganism started in the mid 1990s, out of the antiglobalization and environmentalist movements. The movement also has elements of Diggers, an anarchist street theater group based in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in the 1960s, that gave away rescued food.


Four Dinners said...

I enjoyed that. Very edificational...;-)...cheers Minxie

Seen Peter Coyote in a few things. Sphere in the late 90's(?)

More recently in Doctor Doolittle movie that had Dr Doolittle s daughter instead of the man.

Coyote played the President. He was quite good but the movie was incredibly bad as nobody else in it appeared to have a scooby how to act....

Beej said...

Wow Candy! Very informative!

(How was Stagg's freebie pizza?)

Candy Minx said...

Four Dinners, I had never heard of the groups "The Diggers" or "Up Against TheWall Motherfuckers" (love that name!) before...I think it's such a weird time period. It was just fun following the hyperlinks at Wiki...

Beej, his pizza was fabulous (I didn't like the crust, whole wheat) but otherwise it was really good. A place called "HOMEMADE PIZZA".

Greg S. said...

Interesting post. When I checked out the Wiki entry on Freeganism I came across an interesting link to Carrboro NC, the working class suburb of Chapel Hill. It started up after I had left town, but the Old Mill had always attracted a more alternative crowd and had a fresh market, too. The co-op market's website was down, but this article was also linked:

Sort of a variation on a theme.