We were greeted with a "Welcome to the Monkeywrench Cafe," a DIY menu, and the ambiance of glowing candles and flickering from the fire. Two large rooms were quickly filled with people of all ages, from toddlers to elders. We sat near the fire and sipped tea and hot chocolate waiting for the storytelling to begin.
The apron-sporting full staff consisted of servers busily taking orders to
the kitchen crew serving up the hearty chili, a BBQ sandwich with "an extra side of a no-compromise attitude", salad with all the toppings, and dessert: pumpkin and apple pies. All Vegan. Mostly local.
We listened to a wide range of stories from activists of different ages. Some shared serious opinions on tactics and critical perspectives at the
movement's evolution. Some shared light hearted stories of pesky bear encounters while tree-sitting. Sometimes the stories were so hilarious and the tellers were enjoying telling so much that you could hardly hear the story through all the laughter. Two speakers were on the bill for the night, but with impromptu storytellers, we heard from half a dozen folks sharing memories and ideas.
Later, a singer/songwriter played a guitar singing about getting ready for battle
by way of a war pony followed by a spoken word piece on one person's experience and philosophy of forest defense.
This event was one of the more inspiring things we've experienced in regard to learning more about direct action in the northwest of late. The storytelling bridged generational gaps, revisited Earth First! history and other big events, such as the Sacramento WTO protests, and created a sense of the possibility to create opportunities for learning and innovation for the future. We are looking forward to attending future events (which are, according to one of those apron-wearing servers, at the beginning of each month), and may even don some aprons ourselves to help pull it off.