Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Poetics of Security: Skateboarding, Urban Design, and the New Public Spaceby Ocean Howell
Skateboarding is a thorn in the side of landscape architects, planners, and building owners; so much so that there are now design workshops that teach a series of defensive architectural tactics for deterring the activity. The type of skateboarding that plagues these architects and the spaces they create, "street skating," has only existed for about 15 years, and in fact was born out of the barren, defensive spaces created by redevelopment. Viewed in this light, it is clear that street skating is not only an impetus for defensive architecture, but also a symptom of defensive architecture. Recognizing that redevelopment spaces fostered pathologies, cities and corporations have begun to build more friendly spaces in the past couple of decades. But they have been careful to ensure that the spaces are only friendly to a select subset of the public, namely office workers and consumers. To create such spaces requires knowledge of the minutest details of undesirable behaviors—a knowledge that can only be gleaned through surveillance. Because the resultant spaces appear open but exclude the vast majority of the citizenry, they represent a restrictive discourse of publicness. Although the destructive effects of skateboarding have been exaggerated, the purpose of this essay is not to argue that skateboarding should be permitted in public space. It is by virtue of its status as a misuse of these spaces—and because it is a symptom of defensive design—that skateboarding is exceptionally good at drawing attention to the quietly exclusionary nature of the new public space. Ultimately, skateboarding affords an observer glimpses of the larger processes of surveillance and simulation by which public space, both physical and cultural, is produced.
FOLLOW LINK AT ORIGINAL POST (MY BLOG) TO CONT.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
was put to death yesterday by lethal injection, while family members of the victims watched through a wall of glass.
He had joined the Army in 1985. He did not take special sniper training but earned an expert rating in the M-16 rifle — the military cousin of the .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle used in the D.C.-area shootings.
He took his motives for the killings to his meditated grave. I wonder if the kid will talk.
Posted by QUINN AVERY DAVIS at 10:27 AM
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Open Letter to Mayor-Elect McGinn: Foot Patrols Pronto, Please (UPDATE)
November 10, 2009
Open Letter to Mayor-Elect McGinn;
First of all, congratulations on your win. We appreciate your willingness to take one for the team, and accept one of the hardest jobs in the state. It always amazes me that there are multiple candidates willing to consider the task, so thank you.
Now on to bugging you, already. Crime. We’d like less.
Guns/violence, gangs, property theft, drugs, prostitution and the like are a constant source of chatter right here at our RVP. As a matter of fact, one of the more lively (and long) comment threads of late was devoted to a local establishment, Angie’s in Columbia City; specifically the City’s recent consideration of revocation of its liquor license.
The commentary seemed to me to boil down to a question: Is the management of Angie’s responsible for the nefarious activity going on in that pocket of Columbia City? Personally, I think they’re being made into a non-chevre producing sort of goat (an unpopular variety.)
Some would like to see the joint shut down. Refusing to renew their license would be a particularly tidy and expedient way of disposing with what was deemed by some of our commenters, a “cesspool” and “dump”. Others shared their experiences at being offered (sometimes aggressively) drugs and other “vices” outside and around Angie’s doors.
Yet other commenters pointed out the fact that there is a Youth and Family Services Center next to Angie’s that could be complicating a clean implication of Angie’s. Additionally, the mere proximity to an alley and parking lot at the far end of a typical CC visitor’s pedestrian tour makes for a convenient “vices to-go, drive-thru.” Location, location.
Still, one has to wonder if that’s really the issue. Tutta Bella, Columbia City Ale House, Wabi Sabi and soon-to-open Spice Room make for quite a cozy, comfortable yuppified quadrant of gustation in our jewel of a business district.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be rapping my fingers on Spice Room’s windows like in that commercial, “Open! Open!”
Yep, Angie’s is “retro”, and not in a “we-hired-people-to-make-it-look-like-this” way.
Combine this with the perception that crime down here is at a level where people are looking for a good, old-fashion, town-square burnin’. Catharsis can feel good, but the aftermath isn’t often what we’d anticipated.
After all, if what is going on outside of Angie’s was really our concern, shouldn’t we be addressing this as a community issue? Not just a problem for the proprietor of the establishment where a few do-badders stop for a brew (though Angie’s has a responsibility to run an especially tight ship at this point.)
Mr. Mayor-Elect, you are a lawyer. If the owner of Angie’s starts refusing service to customers on the basis of “suspicion of being a drug dealer, pimp or prostitute”, how long do you suppose it would take for them to accumulate a stack of lawsuits?
Even if they hire a goon squad to stand around outside, the goons can only move the unsightly “business” down a door or two. Get ready Wabi Sabi, welcome to the South End! Or even better, “business” moves on down the road right in front of everyone’s favorite new ice cream joint. Great for the kiddies. MiNt cHiP anyone?
Some have suggested a private security force for Columbia City. Should neighborhoods with customers who can afford to throw in for private security have the privilege of shuffling their drug dealers and pimps down the street to become someone else’s (Hillman City’s) problem? Do-badders know that private thugs won’t follow them down the street. They’ll just waive at them from the block they’re being paid to stand on.
I hold no degree in criminology. I am not a cop. I have little but my gut and some encouragement from our veiled anonymous contributor, “South Seattle Cop” to go on here, but in your own campaign you have cited making a police presence in the community a priority. There is something to be said for seeing “Blue” on street level, at non-motorized speeds. Maybe even getting to know a local cop or two, by name. It makes the do-gooders feel warm and fuzzy, and the do-badders feel… not so much.
A presence on the street might signal a new era for the do-badders. One where doing bad has higher risks, because cops are “about”. And the citizenry is chummy with the cops, making the info flow a little easier. Maybe the risk reward calculation for doing bad can be fundamentally changed, for a few. In the least perhaps doing bad out in the open for our children to witness will be less of an everyday, “Well, Johnny, ducks like the rain… Don’t stare at that hooker selling crack!” kind of occurrence.
I believe in specific requests so here’s mine:
Foot and bike patrols for Southeast Seattle. Friday, Saturday and Sunday during “peak” hours on Rainier Avenue South, between South Alaska and South Orcas. If that goes well, maybe shuffle patrols around as “activity” shuffles around. Let’s try that before we go boarding up peoples’ livelihoods.
Thanks for giving it a think.
P.S. Please go to McGinn’s idea engine website: www.ideasforseattle.org and search for this “idea”. The title will be, “Foot/Bike Patrols for SE Seattle.” Vote for it. Easy as pie. C’mon my RVPeeps, UNITE! The site’s highest ranked issue (last I checked) had 66 votes. We can beat that. Or write your own letter with your own reasoning. That would be lovely too. Maybe if we all ask for the same, simple thing, we can get somewhere.
Ahow is a frequent contributor to the comments section side-show of the RVP. She resides in the Rainier Valley with her animals (husband, two kids and BIG dog). Read more of her stuff here.
UPDATE (4:45 pm): After just a few hours, Ahow’s idea for foot and bike patrols in the Rainier Valley has jumped to Number 2 on Mayor Elect McGinn’s Ideas for Seattle web site. Go here to vote now!
Posted by QUINN AVERY DAVIS at 9:29 PM
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Google is whimsical and mystical....
Was reading Gene's book last night and got to the chapter where he talks about the Confederate flag, etc. This reminded me how often I've heard people question whether Skynyrd was a bunch of Southern racists.
I can tell you absolutely, they were not. Around 1970, or so, Skynyrd was in Chattanooga, TN playing at McCaully Military Academy for their prom or something, and afterwards, they came to a small club where my band was playing. The club was called Natty Bumppo's. They listened until we took a break and then asked to sit in. This is a whole 'nother story in itself, but to the point, Ronnie really liked our guitar player, an excellent musician named John who played with James Brown and some other R'n'B bands. He could play our set list in the style of Hendrix one night, Jeff Beck the next, The Meters the night after that, etc.
Anyway, after Ed left the band Ronnie, who had gotten John's mother's number that night, called him up and offered John the gig. John said something like, "Are you crazy?", I can't see me standing on stage in Waycross Ga. under a confederate flag playing 'Sweet Home Alabama' for your redneck fans!". Ronnie assured him it wasn't like that and that it would be OK. But John stayed in Chattanooga.
I never doubted John's voracity, but if I had, I would have known the story was true after the crash when I saw him. He was visibly shaken. "I would have been on that plane", he said. "I would be dead".
I forgot to mention, John was black. Skynyrd thought he was great. Ronnie apparently wanted him in the band. Enough said.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
One of my favorite photos that I have taken. John Daily. Non-skateboarder. Except when he is doing airplane grinds on my favorite old Silverdale spot, Red Curb. Not a creative name for a spot, but a creative way to grind. (Side note: it's on an old purple Natas with my first Slimeballs that I no longer own. A true loss.)
Found down the street. There had been a "drive-by" there, where they shot 5 rounds into the air. Luckily. I wouldn't want to take a 38 Special slug to my persons. Not even in the ass, which seems to happen a lot around my neighborhood. Run zig-zag, catch one to the bun. Apparently, not all G's carry 9mm Glock 17, semi-automatics. The cops all got those, while they are getting the police hand-me-downs...
This little guy is going to be an art project. Can't decide what to do with it.
Posted by QUINN AVERY DAVIS at 12:02 PM
Friday, November 6, 2009
Did this in 1993, high school. Seemed a cool idea at the time, because there was a lot of generic Legalize It hoopla going on to sell t-shirts and whatnot at Above The Belt, etc., and I thought this could be a counter to it. I thought it also kept me sort of separated categorically from my other straight edge friends.
The interesting thing about this is, because it got such a good overall response from people, I mailed it to myself, to budget-copy write it. I eventually forgot about it, until I saw a Think Skateboards hat with the exact same idea (it more resembled a curved one I did that looked more like a pot plant, I'll add it later if I can find it) embroidered on it. I was dumbstruck. It was so similar.How did this happen?
The copy write was buried somewhere for years.
But I wasn't alone, it didn't end there. My artist buddy Dan had also done up a very unique graphic, a half of a skateboard carved out of a tree stump. A nice drawing, which I believe Marley had done a quick-run graphic for. But, soon after, Think Skateboards came out with the exact same graphic. Dan hadn't secured a copy write. But still, even if we both had legit copy writes, I don't know if we were prepared at the time to go head to head with Greg Carroll....
Thanks for sending it over, Dan. I can't find the Think versions so far.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
A friend gave me this postcard of Rodney from an old skate buddy. A stand-still ollie impossible (still can't do it) with a smile-laden Hosoi-style eye-contact. Somewhere I've got a photo of him by Grant doing an impossible over the camera....The card is from Forbundet Gastrikegatan. (Stockholm....duh.) It says he was trainer at the 1984 Summer Camp, and, "The best freestyler in the world." Like, "fyi." But it was true. One of those statements that would, under normal circumstances (e.g., the best engineer in the plant), seem either plainly obvious, or, in this case, profoundly the case. No single person has created more, dynamically, in skateboarding than the Mutt.
I got a freestyle board for the same reason I used to do rock-n-rolls on a one foot jumpramp, riding a mini boneite Tony Hawk, imagining being on the Chin ramp: pure inspiration, however grossly protracted. And yet, I was mainly looking up to, and trying to emulate, the street skaters: Natas, Gonz, Guerrero, Thibeau, Stranger. I'm glad I was into any and all forms of skateboarding. And I will forever be in awe and gratitude to Mullen, and his type of creative drive.
Well, maybe, also, I got a freestyle board because I grew up in Washington, in a rain shadow, and my skate area consisted of a 20' x 25' partially covered slab of concrete. And Rodney Mullen blew my fucking mind. The power of drive, combined with naive imagination, does wonders for the soul...
Segway to the restoration project
So far, can't match the red.
To be continued....
Posted by QUINN AVERY DAVIS at 10:48 PM