Wednesday, July 17, 2013

YxYY, Year One

The seed of the idea
I first heard about a friend
Who thought I looked like I needed it
Came out of disaffection for an event
grown too large
too self-involved
too sure of itself

to have meaning

What if you took all the good stuff
distilled the essence of all the good experiences you missed
and poured that into one place
then told all the people you always hoped you’d run into
to come there,
far away, in the desert,
beyond obligation
Just for a long weekend
a weekend too short

Just to be

Just to be, with others who also wanted to be

To be children again

Away from jobs and titles
Away from business opportunities
Away from striving
Away from fear

Away from the alienation that a hyperconnected world breeds
unaware of its own inherent irony

What would happen if
Only if

If only 5 good women would come together to heal the world
and put on a show
where 400 of their closest friends
(some unknown to them prior)
could come, and share, and just be

And remind us not to forget childish things
And remind us that the being is in being


with like-inspired people
each separately minded
with much to share

in a space where magically
there is no fear
there is no other
there is only


The intimacy of an old friend

The abilitiy to be naked, without shame, in ourselves as they are

and, just as on a long forgotten playground
we once asked,
“What’s your name?”
“Do you want to play? I’m making a castle.”

Why do we forget?
What is it about this strange becoming we call adulthood
that makes us close to others, to armor
And take those castles of childhood,
the ones we know from fairy tales
And remodel them into fortresses
like real castles are
full of fortifications and battlements
meant to keep out prying eyes
and secure ourselves
in maddening isolation
unsatisfyingly defended
from any incursion
from any human touch
from wonder

I guess it’s no surprise.
The adult world brings with it struggles for power
struggles for control
struggles for dominance
The day to day struggle to satisfy basic needs

The children we were
The children of middle class affluence
We were sheltered
We did not have to wonder where our next meal was coming from.

But neither do we now.

And yet, we persist in operating in worlds of scarcity that only exist in our minds.

Why do we hold on to our alienation?
Why do we hold onto our fear?

Of connecting…

Why do we construct a world where such fears are warranted?

Here, they were not.
Together we wove a community
of trust
of honesty

Immune to the few who didn’t quite get it, or see what was happening.

Hakim Bey has his model of a temporary autonomous zone.
And in this nutrient rich environment, a new entity flourished,
Through the benefits of a hyperconnected space
Filled with calls of,

“Wait, how can you not know her already?”

“I haven’t seen you in 15 years.
…And it feels like no time has passed.”

“How can you possibly not know each other already?”

“We must do this again. Every day from now on.”

And as the miles stretched out below the jet plane
As we returned to our everyday lives

There lingered…

Something very special.
A newly discovered or rediscovered portion of ourselves.

And a connection shared.

We now must watch and see
How the corrosive forces of quotidian existence claw at us
And whether we truly can hold the space

Between us

I know we can, but will we?

I hope we will.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another South By

Another South By in the can.

The blur of ethanol, the madding crowd
The alienation of multitudes

Bad music lauded
Good music ignored
        Talked Over
                All to share
                        a banal insight
                        garnered from
                a mediocre talk
        more pitch than provocation
more aggrandizement than analysis
A failure
                of the wisdom of crowds

Or the occasional amazing transformative insight
        from someone who
                against all odds
                        came to share a passion
                        that the panel picker popularity spectrometer
                failed to suck dry
                        or perhaps who
                                at the last moment
                        filled in for a sick friend
                                or was pulled into a panel as an easy mark
                        to provide texture

And instead provided
           a point of view
                                  that for once


And whom should we find
        in the trenches
        of hormone warfare
        among the barricades
        of Sixth Street

        a friend

        from long ago

        whom we discover
        has been living
        for five years now
        two blocks away, in the mission,
        and walks her dog
                in Precita Park
                        like us
                impossibly, minutely out of phase

Then, in line at the Mohawk
        that same friend we saw
                two years ago at Stubb’s
        when we swore
                to spend more time together
                        back home in SF

And whom
                        we haven’t seen…

but once
        at a conference
                in Tokyo
                        on a panel, which we shared.

There is a reason
                we find our people
        at South By

I think it’s that Temporary Autonomous Zone
We create there

The Enterprise Edition of Burning Man
In a desert devoid of cabs
In the corporate gift economy
Of freely flowing booze and banners and branded USB keys
With huggable firefoxes and Curious George
        and the odd Xtra Normal cat

It’s the space find
        at the center of the maelstrom

The space we make
        In our lives

To be together

As people
        in an NDA Free Zone
                beyond companies and agendas

Where we set aside four days
        and the hard core come for 6
Just to be


Beyond our obligations
To brand and company