I beleive very much in the cause of increased community participation and i also feel very strongly about natural building materials. I have gone to the VBC since it's inception and found it a valuable, worthwhile event. This week, though I went to the VBC and found the whole thing seemed as though a group of new age ravers took over the event and kicked out the community activists.
rather then being in a school or at least somewhere close to the communities involved, the main event space is a warehouse on 3rd and Burnside. When I got there, I got in line and started talking with the folks who were waiting. After waiting for a half of an hour after start time, all of the organizers came out of the back of the building and came around, surrounded the line, and started having a meeting, they then piled through us back through the front gate we thought that it was time to go in, but were barred from entering. eventually we were alowed in, and it turned out the price was $20 a night. This is way too much for me but I support city repair and felt I could manage if I only went to a few of the nights. the person in front of me was unemployed and was on disability. the folks at the door wouldn't take any less. she offered to do worktrade and they said okay if she worked 4 hours THAT NIGHT she could get in for one night at a maximum of three nights.
after walking in to the (very beautifully decorcated) space I was barred again by a dude with a tuning fork who wouldn't let any of us enter until he had "tuned our aura." i didn't want my aura tuned, but it was either leave or go thourgh with it. I think it is rediculus for this organization that tried to be outward reaching into the community to put this extremely woo-woo barier to getting in. I'm sure that any non-new age community member who was used to the extremely level of diversity at previous events would have to work through a lot to decide to come back.
I figured, for $20, i was paying for dinner and the presentation as well as putting money towards the VBC's expert builders who come and teach all over town. Well, those builders are there, and the show the first night was great, but the food was uncooked rice and pinto beans. The food has been so good in the past, I don't mean to complain but what the hell were they thinking? If they want us to be strong to help build for them the next day and we are paying to do it, at least give us nourishment! there was better food available but it cost extra.
The talk was good. Mark gave the same talk he has given since the day I first saw him in 1999, but it's a classic and it always reminds you of something you hadn't thought of for a while. There was a good skit that someone gave about community initiatives that reminded me how much I like what City Repair is trying to do. and the talk From Malik from Common Ground in New Orleans was good too.
Most of the speakers this year are not like speakers from previous years. there are empowerment workshops and Naka-Ima and cocounseling "sustainable hedonism" "New Paradigm Consciousness" The next couple of nights were horrible! Nothing about being effective and tangable in our rebuilding of our community, only new age power games disguised as liberation.
I know that this is trivial, but I'm also very annoyed by the use of madeup words and the constant use of expressions like Wow! Hyper Nowwow, power of now (from Naka-Ima if I'm not mistaken) and Village of Nowwow. What the hell does all this mean, it make me feel like i'm dealing with a wall-mart greeter on acid. The filers and literature is writen like the intro to rave rather then an event my community activist mom would go to. (She took one look and said- "Twenty Bucks a Night for this Mind-Fucking Bullshit?!")
anyway, I'm disappointed. I read the upset dialog between former organizers and current organizers that happened a week ago and i didn't know WHAT the dissenters were talking about. Now i do and I don't think that the current people will listen.
Oh, gotta go, have to get my aura tuned...