Keene’s Music Fest Combines with Art in the Park This Saturday

Keene Music Festival 2015Two of the biggest events of the Summer in Keene have come together on the same day – “Keene Music Festival” and “Art in the Park” are both this Saturday!

Both festivals are still in their respective locations, with Music Fest‘s stages being spread throughout downtown Keene from 11am to 10pm and Art in the Park in nearby, beautiful Ashuelot Park from 10am to 4pm (Art in the Park also happens Sunday).

According to the president of the Monadnock Area Artists Association, Wendi Hulslander, the decision to hold both events on the same day was deliberate. Seems like a smart move – lots of people come to town for each festival, so why not have them on the same day so people can cross-pollinate between the two and enjoy a big day full of art in Keene?

If you love music and visual art, you won’t want to be anywhere but Keene this weekend.

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State Reps Hold Contest for Kids to Find NH’s Dumbest Laws

NH State House

What is the dumbest statute in NH?

Liberty-friendly state representatives have come up with an interesting idea for a contest for children in NH. Instead of encouraging them to think up new laws, they’re asking kids to find NH’s dumbest laws. The contest is already making headlines.

Max Abramson, a liberty-oriented state rep from Seabrook told the Seacoast Online, “All New Hampshire students have until Sept. 15 to post a law they’d like to see repealed on the event’s Facebook page called New Hampshire’s Dumbest Law. Sept. 15 is three days before the deadline for lawmakers to file legislation.”

In an interview with Free Keene, Abramson added, “The class that comes up with the silliest or most ridiculous law gets to have a bill sponsored to repeal it.”

Dozens Attend “Free the Nipple” on Hampton Beach, Despite Cold & Rain

Free the Nipple Hampton

Free the Nipple 2015, Hampton Beach, NH

After making international headlines and despite a major facebook mistake and bad weather, approximately two-dozen ladies persevered and came out to Hampton Beach today to stand against the social stigma associated with women being topless in public.

Free State Project early mover Jessica Wardell traveled all the way from Henniker to join the topless ladies and their male supporters today and had this to say about the event, “It was lots of fun, there were about 20-30 girls participating, and I didn’t receive any negative criticism. Mostly people were curious about what was going on, and everyone that I talked to seemed to support the idea- especially when I brought up breast feeding.”

The event has already received coverage from the Daily Mail, which focused on the dozens of topless equality events taking place internationally, Reuters, Boston.com, NECN, as well as in Manchester’s Union Leader. Seacoast newspaper “Fosters” was dismissive of the event in their article, calling it “a bust” (yuk, yuk) and claiming only a dozen women came out. How many actually attended? Wardell claims 20-30 ladies in her estimate, with 40-50 additional supporters, including topless males. While more than 1,300 had claimed they were attending on the facebook event, facebook event attendance estimates are almost never close to the actual turnout. Many will indicate they are attending on facebook simply to show support for the event.

Free the Nipple Hampton 2015

What day at the beach would be complete without sand boobies?

The ladies who set up the Hampton event, Kia Sinclair and Heidi Lilley, deserve a lot of credit for doing a great job promoting it and fielding media interviews in advance. Sadly, a major mistake was made early this morning when someone canceled the facebook event! The night prior, one of the admins posted a warning that they were going to cancel the facebook event this morning, but told people that did not mean the event was actually canceled. (Apparently, the FB event was canceled due to heavy trolling of the comments, however this could have been solved by only allowing admins to post.) Of course, only a fraction of the event attendees saw that post, so when the event was cancelled, EVERYONE on the event received a notice this morning from facebook saying the event was canceled with no explanation. This, in addition to the cold, rainy weather was likely a major contributing factor to the turnout. Two dozen topless ladies in bad weather actually seems really good, all things considered!

Organizer Kia Sinclair agreed, saying in a Free Keene-exclusive interview, “I am really happy about the turnout despite the weather. There were actually quite a few topless women around the beach at different times throughout the day. Because of the rain, a lot of women took shelter at the seashell stage. I will say that it was slightly intimidating being stared at and photographed by so many people. Its actually silly that just us being topless made so many people want to take pictures. If the weather was better I don’t think it would have been quite like that. But either way there were a lot of supporters despite the rain.”

Free the Nipple Hampton Beach 2015

Free State Project Early Mover Jessica Wardell, Graham Colson, and FSP Early Mover Matt Genack

Of course, all the mainstream media articles have been showing censored photos, or the ladies shot from behind, because the media are part of the problem. The social stigma against showing women topless runs deep, and mainstream media certainly won’t cross that taboo. Free Keene is not beholden to those rules. Share this article on social media at your own risk – you may get reported and banned for doing so.  UPDATE:  Facebook has targeted this article for censorship, so if you want to share it there, goto this link and hit “share” on it.  That will share a version with a censored pic that uses Graham’s breasts to cover Jessica’s.

Congratulations and thank you to the ladies who went out today despite the weather. Stay tuned to Free Keene for the latest on topless equality.  You can also join the “Free the Nipple” group for NH on facebook here.

Expected next is an as-yet-unscheduled civil disobedience event in Laconia where the city has illegally outlawed female toplessness.

Photo credits in order of appearance: Ashley Stoddard, Miranda Stoddard, Andrew Wardell

Exclusive: Federal Court Declares NH’s “Ballot Selfie” Law Unconstitutional

Ballot Selfie

No Longer Illegal in NH

In a 42-page decision, the US District Court for New Hampshire has ruled in favor of protestors including Free State Project early mover and attorney Brandon Ross who violated the state’s “ballot selfie” prohibition and were investigated and threatened by the Attorney General’s office. In 2014, Ross had taken a picture of his ballot and posted it to his facebook accompanied by the words “come at me bro”. They did, and now Ross and his co-plaintiffs state representative Leon Rideout, and Andrew Langlois are victorious in their case thanks to the NH ACLU, as the law has been overturned as unconstitutional!

The defendant in the case, representing the state, was secretary of state Bill Gardener who argued that free speech (photos of ballots) should be curtailed because voters will be either induced to sell their votes or subjected to coercion if they are permitted to disclose images of their ballots to others. Judge Paul Barbadoro denied there was any evidence those speculative objections would be the case, and even if there were evidence, that’s not reason enough to restrict free speech.

Timothy Horrigan

State Rep Tim Horrigan, Snitch

The case reveals on page 18, that it was Timothy Horrigan, an anti-freedom state rep (rated as a “Constitutional Threat” in 2015 by the NH Liberty Alliance) that both introduced the bill banning ballot selfies AND snitched to the Attorney General’s office about Ross’ facebook post. Ross, in an exclusive interview for Free Keene said Horrigan’s behavior, “shows that lawmakers will absolutely use their laws they’ve just made to try to censor people”.

Ross also said he was surprised the state actually moved against him, saying, “I gave them too much credit, thinking they would never try to enforce that clearly unconstitutional law. Joke’s on me. But, a little healthy defiance can be a good thing now and again too.”

18 Bitcoin Wallets Installed, Hundreds Flyered @ Cheshire Fair 2015

Bitcoin Booth 2015 Team

Bitcoin Booth 2015 Team

Last year, Keene liberty activists manned a bitcoin outreach booth at the Cheshire Fair. In that five days, we installed a grand total of three bitcoin wallets (though we did hand out hundreds of bitcoin flyers). This year, we did it again and installed eighteen wallets, had dozens of great conversations, and shared bitcoin intro flyers with hundreds more fair attendees! Despite a couple of minor issues, the fair outreach booth went swimmingly! A couple of people used the original Keene bitcoin vending machine at the fair, and many others were directed to the BVM at 101 Deals Thrift Store for future purchases.

Fair attendees had plenty of good questions and our professional staff of bitcoin-enthusiasts had answers, including Derrick J Freeman and Chris Cantwell. Thanks to all the folks who helped with the booth and everyone who stopped by. If you want to meet with other area bitcoiners, drop into the Keene Bitcoin Network group on Facebook.

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