Decentralized Freedom Festivals Rise in Friendly Competition to Porcfest 2017

Will Coley's Five-Hour Rave at Somaliafest & Shirefest 2017

Will Coley’s Five-Hour Rave at Somaliafest & Shirefest 2017

Last year at the Porcupine Freedom Festival, Will Coley of Muslims 4 Liberty threw and was the DJ for what people have said was the best party at Porcfest 2016. This year, Will again performed at Roger’s Campground as an electronic music DJ and played for five straight hours, two hours of which was beyond the campground’s “quiet time” of 11pm! However, Will’s party was not held during Porcfest 2017 – it happened during the new decentralized festival(s) that are taking place before Porcfest happens.

Depending on who you asked, the people on the campground from Friday June 16th through Tuesday the 20th were either attending Somaliafest or Shirefest. Other festivals sprung up over the weekend as Shire Dude proclaimed that the rule of Shirefest is that every attendee has to have their own fest. Some people were having fun with this idea, and it really encompasses the decentralized nature of these friendly competitors of the longtime king of Summer camping freedom festivals, Porcfest.

Please note, this article is not intended to be an attack against the people who have run Porcfest over the years. They did their best in a largely thankless role to make the various Porcfests successful. I’m writing this to assess the question of whether centralizing Porcfest harmed the event and introduce the competition, which are not centralized.

Despite generally philosophizing about the benefits of decentralization, some libertarians have embraced centralization in the process of creating the liberty movement’s largest and most successful camping freedom festival. Depending on what needs to be done, centralization can provide some benefits. However, there are costs involved. Some would argue the centralization of Porcfest’s organization led to its decline. Let’s look closer at what happened. First, for those of you newer to the ongoing New Hampshire Freedom Migration, a little history: (more…)

Does “Valerian” Top “Fifth Element”?

Valerian Poster

Me Gusta

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

How did the new Luc Besson movie “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” compare to the now-two-decades-old film of his, “The Fifth Element“? Both were very funny and action-packed. It would be interesting to ask someone who saw the two movies but Valerian first. With that said, here are my impressions:

Valerian might as well have been played by Keanu Reeves, since the actor is basically channeling him. Actor Dane DeHann will inevitably be compared to Fifth Element’s much-older-than-the-female protagonist Bruce Willis. However, this time it is Valerian’s co-heroine Laureline who feels more like Willis’ “Corben Dallas”, doing both cracking-wise and kicking-ass. Actress Cara Delvingne apparently sang a song for the soundtrack, too, which is always fun. (That happened in a similarly trippy action fest from 2011, “Sucker Punch“, too.)

It has similar pacing, production design, fun dialog, and incredible visuals, just like Fifth Element. However, though the scale is much more grand – Valerian spans planets and thousands of creatures – the movie just doesn’t feel quite as important.

Both films have the process of a character coming to understand the horrors of war. In the Fifth Element, its “Leeloo” who in a heartbreaking scene, experiences it through a super-speed computer history lesson. In Valerian, it’s an entire group of tribal, peaceful characters who explain in a narrative flashback that they, after having their planet exterminated by an unrelated war from space, learned about the self-destructive human race who caused the genocide. It’s the same theme in both films, but Leeloo’s eye-opening scene just felt more important, perhaps because Fifth Element focused on just her individual evolution in that scene.

Leeloo is just more lovable than the tribe in Valerian.

Leeloo is just more lovable than the tribe in Valerian.

It’s such a powerful paradigm shift for Leeloo that actress Milla Jovovich cries. In Valerian we’re told the same thing about the human race’s penchant for war and hate, but during a flashback about a group of characters, none of whom we really have any attachment to or character development for, so it’s just not as moving. One can still empathize for the tribe’s plight, but by the time the evolution in understanding happens to Leeloo, the viewer is already in love with her character.

In addition to being one of the main protagonists in the Fifth Element, Leeloo is also the title character and essentially the MacGuffin (the object around which the plot centers), all in one. However, as we learn in the film’s climax, the final element is more than just Leeloo – it’s love. Without it, they’d never have saved the world. In Valerian, the MacGuffin is a little creature that can reproduce and multiply whatever you stick in its butt. Besson’s message about love is present however, just in another way. In a movie with more than one self-important government agent character, Laureline is the character who puts love over the law at the climax of the film, in one of the film’s deeper moments. (more…)

Former FSP President Performs Stand-up

Artsy Fartsy is a recurring event in Manchester, New Hampshire where free staters and their freaky friends gather to socialize, to showcase talents and to share history.

Old videos of Artsy Fartsy performances can be seen here. New videos are being produced by Shire Dude at ShireDude.com.

Here is the most recent performance from the new batch.  Former Free State Project president Carla Gericke tries her hand at a stand-up comedy set, joking about reporters, free staters and the Illuminati.

Artists And Activists Gather In Manchester’s Underground Club

Artsy Fartsy, a long-running tradition in Manchester, New Hampshire, is an event where a plethora of performances take place. Free staters and their friends gather to socialize, to showcase talents and to share history.

Many videos of Artsy Fartsy performances can be seen here.

Shire Dude has commenced production on the latest batch of recorded performances, starting with his infamous helicopter story.

Subscribe to Shire Dude on YouTube to see more performances as they are produced.

Keene Activism Decentralizes: SLAP Shuts Down, Real-Life Meetups Expand

KAC Logo 2010

The former Keene Activist Center logo

About a year ago, after five years of service and many good times (and challenging times) the Keene Activist Center shut down for good. Not long after, Free Keene blogger Rich Paul launched the Church of the Invisible Hand’s Society for Love and Peace in the same historic location.

This Summer, the board of the Shire Free Church Monadnock, which owns the property at River and Leverett opted to end the activist experiment and we parted ways with Rich Paul, converting the property back into a home for rent. It quickly filled up with liberty-friendly New Hampshire natives. Plus liberty-minded folks now occupy another house on the street as the Free Streets Project has officially begun in Keene and Manchester.

While some have mourned the loss of the historic center for Keene activism, ultimately the movement in Keene is now more diverse, with even more regular real-life activist meetups than has ever happened in Keene:

  • Social Sundays – The longest running social gathering of liberty-minded folks in New Hampshire continues at 6pm each Sunday at Local Burger (they accept bitcoin!)
  • Taco Tuesdays – This super-popular gathering was created in Spring of 2016 and happens each Tuesday at Mi Jalisco at 7pm.
  • Bacon Breakfast Buffet – Early risers meet up at Keene State College’s Zorn Dining Commons at 8:30am every Wednesday when school is in session.
  • Keene Bitcoin Network

    The Keene Bitcoin Network “Floating Meetup” Visits Lindy’s Diner

  • Keene Bitcoin Network – Twice monthly real-life meetups happen on the first Sunday of every month before Social Sundays and also on the 21st of each month at 3pm at a new location each month.

For a handy calendar listing many of the public meetups we have each month, check out the Keene Activist Calendar here.

In addition to the regular meetups, Keene activists are pushing forward in the area of online organization. While many libertarians are stuck on Facebook and are suffering from it, Keene activists have been successfully using Telegram and two-way radios for years for instant communications, plus we’re now experimenting with Trello for project organization. (more…)

Beer Pong Event Planned for Keene’s Railroad Square This Saturday!

Beer Pong Girls

Maybe it should be strip beer pong instead? Photo courtesy theCHIVE.

This Saturday, 9/17 at noon, activists will gather in Keene’s Railroad Square and play beer pong in protest of the open container ordinance. The event will be in the spirit of 2010’s Drinking Game, which resulted in my arrest in the city council chambers for “disorderly conduct”, but the charge later dropped. Inspired by the past actions, a new batch of movers to Keene will be taking up the banner of protesting the ridiculous ban on open containers of alcohol.

There are many towns and cities where open containers are allowed, including some right here in New Hampshire. Nearby Westmoreland, for instance, does not have an open container ordinance. The oppressive ordinance is just an excuse to target college students and poor people, give them tickets, and reap thousands of dollars into the system from the victims. It doesn’t stop drunk people from being on the streets, nor does it discourage them from drinking. The ordinance merely takes advantage of drunk people. It’s shameful and needs to be abolished.

I spoke with the beer pong event organizer, Bob Call, today about his motivations. He said, “I think the law is unjust and it’s ridiculous that you can sit outside at local businesses in Keene and consume alcoholic beverages legally, but not if you consume your own alcoholic beverage.”

Open Container Officer

Labeled containers are likely probable cause for a search. Don’t carry them around.

I’m no attorney, and this is not legal advice, but if you are ever targeted by police for a suspected open container of alcohol, DON’T CONSENT TO A SEARCH! This is the number-one mistake made by the police’s victims. Law enforcement officers are trained to intimidate. If you are walking with a drink in a bottle or cup that is not clearly an alcohol container, the officer will likely approach and say something like, “I have to ask you to hand that over.” At that point, most people will hand it over, consenting to a search of their container.

Take note of the careful wording of the officer’s statement. “Have to”, plus it being spoken in an authoritative manner makes is sound a lot like an order. However, it’s not. He says “ask”. If you’re ever uncertain about what an officer is saying, you have a right to ask, “Is that a request?” or whatever other questions you want. If you are clearly carrying am actual beer bottle, that’s likely enough probable cause for a search, and they won’t have to ask. On the other hand, if there is no clear way they could know by looking that it’s likely a container of alcohol, they have to get your consent to search. Don’t do consent. Politely decline their invitation, ask if you are free to go, and walk away.

See you Saturday 9/17 at noon at Railroad Square in downtown Keene for the beer pong event!