James St N Art Crawl

Gardening wants freedom - and freedom is not something that exists in isolation.  Tonight I headed to downtown Hamilton to the James St N Art Crawl, in support of community businesses, as an ally to IdleNoMore, and to generally exercise my right to artistic freedom and free speech.

IdleNoMore calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water. We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and protect Mother Earth.

IdleNoMore is working to stop the federal government from passing laws which erode treaty and Indigenous rights but also the rights of all Canadians, laws which protect land and water and access to them. These ideals go hand in hand with my goal of ecological freedoms and I have learned some of my most trusted lessons from elders out on the land and rivers or in the bush up north.  Today is IdleNoMore's Global Day of Action, so I stopped by their Intertribal Rave / Flash Mob and sought out this exhibit at the art crawl - Storybones, Inuit and English themes woven in a storytelling narrative that is both traditional and modern.

Next I stopped in to SPEAK - a Multimedia & spoken word installation presented by the Hamilton Youth Poetry Slam and Factory Media Centre.  There's nothing I can think of that represents free speech more than Slam Poetry - a competitive form of performance poetry/spoken word.  I was at the art crawl with Dan (aka Dan Murray (aka Dan)), Canadian poet and host of HYP's monthly slams, he explained the process:

A poetry slam is, in a way, like a battle of the bands. Except the lyrics are the most important part. And there’s no music. Oh, and the audience decides your fate, gladiator style. It’s a spoken word competition in which poets step up to the microphone and share their art for 3 minute periods. Poems are generally pre-written, and often memorized – as the performance aspect of each poem is taken into account. At the end of each poem, five judges (selected randomly from the audience at the beginning of the night) hold up scores ranging from zero to ten with a single decimal place. Non-judges are encouraged to cheer or boo scores, and be as vocal as possible in identifying their favourite. At the end of the slam, scores are tallied, and the highest scoring poet often walks out with some cash as a result.

Lastly we wandered up and down James St N enjoying a mild and bright evening, wandering in and out of local businesses and through a vibrant, slowly rejuvenating, downtown core.  These are the sorts of places and civic attitudes I want to cultivate.  Attending and supporting these art crawl events is, well first of all fun, and an altruistic expression of support for my community, but also a symbiotic act - hopefully this community will return the favor and support as ecological allies.

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