the unifying trait of American food
Thursday, October 5 2006
Rosendale might be our proud local people's republic but New Paltz is where it's really at when it comes to acting out Republican nightmares. Most people in America don't know much about New Paltz other than that it was an early site for gay marriage back before the practice was systematically snuffed out everywhere but in Massachussetts. Today New Paltz hosted a "Sick of Bush Festival," which Gretchen and I attended. The event had been organized by various New Paltz artists and craftspeople, and consequently there were lots of artisans and political organizers with booths selling either crafts or lefty politicians. Most of the people in attendance were your usual suspects (or your usual suspect types): people still wearing long nappy hair, tie dyes, and patchuli as if it was still 1845 or whenever that was the fashion. There were folks with drums, lots of people with dogs (we hadn't brought ours), and people with signs that said such things as "Make Peace Not War" (a guy with a long sensitive ponytail carried that one) and "Bush is a Dope." There was also a stage where people sang non-metaphorically about the specifics of what is wrong with America today. It's possible there were some non-converted people that this preaching was reaching, but they were either in the medieval-themed wooden playground nearby or they were members of a security detail that accompanied Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D, NY), a man whose old neckties I occasionally wear on formal occasions (his former wife gave them to Gretchen).
Our first item of business was to go over to a place where three kids wearing Bush, Cheney, and Condoleeza Rice masks could be pelted by paint balloons by anyone willing to pay a dollar. Gretchen took some pictures and I nailed the kid in the Bush mask, though I was trying for Cheney. Actually two of my three attempts failed to explode the balloon because it didn't hit one of the two shields embedded with spikes held by Condoleeza and W.
After some bad Phil Ochs covers performed on stage, Maurice gave a rousing speech. Meanwhile members of the armed and uniformed security detail stood cross-armed and a teenage girl in a pink dress writhed unnoticed in the grass nearby. At one point the dress came completely off and she proved to be wearing a sparkling mini-dress underneath. Her arms were covered with a stamp that depicted a marijuana leaf with the word "LEGALIZE." That was all well and good, though I suspect that the drug she was on was ecstasy. An annoying hippie dude was going around with that rubber stamp trying to get people to offer him their hands so he could stamp them. This was how both Gretchen and I came to have the stamps on our left hands; we hadn't known what the stamp would say until we got it. It would have been funnier had it said "support your nearest pederast congressman."
We'd made arrangements to meet Gretchen's friend Susan (the author/English professor, not the German translator) and Susan's new boyfriend Dennis (a photographer in his late 70s whom Susan met at a function Gretchen organized back in the spring). They showed up a little before Maurice Hinchey gave his rousing speech and we all stuck around for the subsequent speeches, including one by New Paltz's Green Party mayor, Jason West, the activist who proactively solemnized gay marriages in the village until some retro-activist judges forced him to stop. From there the speeches went steadily downhill, ending with a rambling vaguely-coherent guy named Dennis Morrisseau from Vermont. He's running for its statewide house seat independently from a party he calls "Impeach Bush Now." Showcasing his imperfectly-considered idealism, he urged all of us to run for House seats in our respective districts.
After we'd had enough of the Sick of Bush Festival, the four of us met at a new restaurant called the Main Course. There'd been rumors that it was a vegetarian place, but judging from the leg of lamb and Black Angus steak on the menu, that rumor proved false. There was very little Gretchen could eat, so she held out with just a "Zengria" (a sangria-like beverage made with sake). For my part, I drank two Hurricane Kitties and wolfed down an unexpectedly large platter comprised somehow of cubed mango and calamari which was suprisingly delicious.
For our second try at dinner, Gretchen and I went by ourselves to a new Mexican restaurant called Blockhead's near the Starbucks. Like Starbucks, it's a well-organized chain, with friendly, competent staff, clean surfaces, and cans of crayons with line-drawing-adorned placemats to color. (I quickly covered the background behind my monkey's head with the names of various drugs include "quaaludes," "LSD," "coffee," and "beer." While my two margaritas were excellent and affordable, I wasn't impressed with the presentation of my burrito. It was put in front of me like a dead sea creature on a plate, something I'd have to eat with a knife and fork, the way the French supposedly eat their Big Macs. This isn't the approach I like to take with my burritos. It's un-American. The unifying trait of American food is that it can be eaten with your bare hands.
Kids dressed as the three horsemen of the stupidcalypse.
Click to see me hurl balloons at those fuckers.
This picture contains parts from several shots to show Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D, NY), a member of his uniformed security detail, and an unknown woman striding through the scene.
In the foreground is a teenage girl wearing a pink dress and rolling around as if on the popular raver drug ecstasy.
One of Gretchen's friends from Blue Mountain Center sent her hundreds of little blood-drop-shaped magnets reading "Oil." The idea is to place them inside the loop on stupid pro-war car ribbons. It's an act of tair that hurts no one!
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next