October 6th, 2002


It's getting hot in herre . .

I helped put on a "(Pay) Off the Pigs!" party last night as a benefit for a co-worker. She had an interaction with the law recently that ended with her being shipped to Southern California on a 10 year old arrest warrant that she didn’t know about. That was, to put it in an uncharacteristically subtle way, from a very different time in her life. In the meantime she’s changed some of her troubled ways, had two kids, and is one of the most solid people at my workplace.

But that didn’t matter to the courts who have released her but put her on probation until she pays thousands of dollars in fines and penalties. My friend Bruce (see this entry ) was the main organizer, but I stood at the door all night collecting donations and selling raffle tickets. We had many wonderful prizes, including gift certificates, haircuts, knitted goods and the ability to give a public spanking to a particularly obnoxious co-worker. I brought lots of fancy-ass cheese I got from a trade show for free. Another co-worker sold shots of home made absinthe. Another wandered the party offering kisses or spankings for a dollar. Her ex-girlfriend lurked nearby snapping Polaroids to sell for the benefit blackmail fund.

One of the things that I love about my workplace is the way that people come together to help each other out when they need it. Bikes get stolen, people get ill and can’t work, unexpected situations threaten to change someone’s life and most co-workers will pitch in some money to help. We rarely raise all the money needed, but it shows that we care and that they aren’t alone. Since we’re a coop the fact that people believe in mutual aid is hardly surprising. But when I saw people (and I was collecting the $) who I know aren’t friends of a person giving money to help, it’s still touching.

And the party was a party too. It was one of the really hot SF nights that only happen twice a year or so, so "It’s Getting Hot in Herre" was played more than once. As was the unofficial party theme song "Pork and Beef" by The Coup ("If you got beef with the c-o-p s / throw a molotov at the p-i-g s / cuz they be harassing you and me / you gotta understand that we’re still not free") Then the MRR and Scam Punks showed up incredibly drunk, still in their costumes hours after the punk anti-war parade they held in the Mission. I’m talking loud-obnoxious-falling-down drunk. . . hanging-all-over-each-other-making-out-then-suddenly-fighting drunk . . . it’s-3-am-so-let’s-go-steal-some-beer drunk.

They’re so cute.

To me what makes a great party is an elusive balance of the inability of any one group to dominate it. "(Pay) Off the Pigs" had punks and hip hoppers , queers and straights, Giants fans, A’s Fans and sports haters, grocery workers and others.

All in all, a wonderful San Francisco evening. Imagine if it we had warm nights more often. . .