April 6th, 2002


13th Street Dialogue

The area under what’s left of the Central Freeway is a natural place for art and political posters. While it doesn’t have much foot traffic, thousands of cars drive by on any given day. One of my fondest memories of that area of the city was a No Business as Usual poster from 1984. Smiley faces morphed into skulls superimposed over the image of a mushroom cloud. "Stop World War 3 No Matter What it Takes!" was one of the first political slogans I learned. Unable to take it completely to heart, my friends and I were too chicken to skip school for the protests it advertised so we built an anti-nuke display in the school trophy case instead. That poster remained up on a support girder near Mission Street, peeling and flaking but readable, until just a couple of years ago.

The Homestead Ravioli cow is gone now too. It was an educational tool, teaching our German friends that in this country a cow statue means sausage not milk chocolate. Some jerk artist painted half of it gold at some point for an exhibit on naïve art but it was still sad to see it go.

Sometimes one wonders about what the wheat-pasters were thinking. A slew of "Don’t Buy Fur" posters with a cute, but tortured and pained mink went up down there also. They pasted them facing the sidewalk though so only the guys in line at the VA job placement office and the people in the homeless encampment could see them.

There ‘s a huge wall across from the Folsom Street entrance to Rainbow. It’s an obvious and inviting canvas for political graffiti. This week it’s been a battleground. The first piece was half a block long saying something like, "Without US aid, Israel could not carry out the occupation. Stop killing Palestinians!"

That night it was spray painted over with diagonal slashes in each direction.

The next day it was a simpler message. "Stop Aid to Israel!" When I got to work the morning after that it had been painted over and read, "Stop Terrorism! Support Israel!"

And when I left work 10 hours later someone had crudely changed that to read "Stop the occupation! Support Palestine!" Crudely changed, no doubt, because they repainted it in the middle of the day on the wall of a rental car place open for business.

It seems like just a matter of time before both groups meet there at the same time.

Whatawaytodie is doing a great job of linking good articles on the current situation. http://www.livejournal.com/users/whatawaytodie/ (you can increase font size in the "view "section of your Mac if it’s too small to read). How obviously fucked up and tragic is the situation if the U.S. is telling Israel to back off?