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I'm serious / by Ari Spool

New York City readers of The Media: on November 5th, I want you to get out and vote. Not for Christine "Bloomberg Two: Electric Boogaloo" Quinn or Joe "I Quit the MTA after Sandy Because My Name Was In the Paper" Llota or whichever tightwad wins these stupid major party primaries. They don't want to change New York – they want to maintain the city's propulsion into the Chipotle and Chase Bank capital of the world. Instead, I think you should vote for me. 

My name is Ari Spool, and I am running for mayor of New York City.

Here's the facts about me, if you must: I'm twenty-eight years old. I'm five feet tall. I live in Ridgewood, Queens. So far in my life I've been a writer, a cook, a babysitter, an event producer, a non-profit board member, an editor, a dumpster-diver, a tour manager, a database architect, a thrift store wage-slave, an archivist's assistant, and a lesbian bar bouncer. I have no formal history in politics, unless you count half-in-the-bag party rants and four consecutive failed bids for high-school class president, but I know I'm prepared to be your mayor.

Aren’t you tired of having the richest man in New York, a man who’s boner for power would poke the moon in her dusty eye, tell you what to do? Perhaps you think anybody would be better than this Wall Street Napoleon. 

I am that anybody.

A vote for me is a vote for the opposite of boring, do-nothing technocracy. First of all, I believe that money is poison, and that if you vote for any major candidate in any major race, you are voting for this deadly substance. All candidates and elected officials are forced to spend the majority of their time currying favors for cold hard splash cash. Anything they say they will do for the city is untrue, unless there’s money in it. For instance, according to the neat finance watchdog web site Influence Explorer, Anthony Weiner’s largest campaign donors are real estate magnates. That’s how you can tell that he’s not going to do shit for the middle class in New York, for whom rent is the biggest obstacle. Everything he says is instantly rendered cow pie, even without inspecting his actual character. (Also reprehensible, I’ve heard!)

But none of that is news. Politics in New York City have been money-poisoned since the Dutch jerked those natives. Politics are money-poisoned everywhere, but now, more than ever, that witch's brew is not only legal and on the books, but a point of pride. Voters are bought like massive Beanie Baby collections, and that makes them just as worthless. It's gotta change. In New York City and beyond, we need candidates who believe in less than money. I am one of them!

If elected mayor of New York City, I promise to make changes that will be felt by the entire population. In fact, I promise to make anything happen that the residents of New York City demand – just ask for what you want and you will receive. A mayor should aspire to Oz. My promise to accomplishment ratio is bound to be just as high as any other candidate, and they aren’t even using . . .

Perspectives on a global movement from Girls Rock Philly / by Grace Ambrose

It is 4:00 on a Wednesday afternoon at an art school in downtown Philly. I’m watching a newly formed rock band of young girls practice, when a call goes out over the counselors' walkie talkies. Down the hallway, DJ Crew ATM wants an audience for their set. After a quick band meeting, my campers decide they can spare the practice time to go dance, but just for a little bit. A few classrooms away, the soundtrack is cycling from "Cherry Bomb" to "We Are Never Getting Back Together" to the "Cha-Cha Slide" and back to Taylor, only this time it's "I Knew You Were Trouble When You Walked In." I am suddenly caught in the middle of a raucous dance party. And then just a few minutes later, it's back to practice – working on song lyrics, learning guitar chords. This is the third day of Girls Rock Philly, an annual weeklong summer camp, and there is a lot to be done before the week is through.

Girls Rock Philly is one of over fifty rock camps that make up an international movement of empowering girls through music. In addition to our summer programming, which is in its sixth year, we also offer year-round after school programming at our headquarters, which is home to two practice spaces, offices, a lending library, a craft room and lots and lots of musical instruments. But camp week is what we all look forward to most. This year, I was lucky enough to volunteer as a counselor and band coach, helping guide a group of thirteen and fourteen year old girls through the rollercoaster that is rock camp.

Rock camps worldwide share a basic structure: girls learn how to play an instrument, form bands, and perform original songs at a showcase at the end of the week. Campers arrive with various levels of experience

Illustration by Supriya Gunda

and many have never touched their instrument before Monday morning, but by Saturday afternoon, they are playing in front of 700 screaming fans. What seems frightening to us is second nature to them. They succeed at playing music and making noise and taking up space because no one has ever told them that they aren't supposed to.

This year, for the first time, we had a camp theme: time travel. We looked to the the past, to the hidden histories of women in music and the events that helped shape who we are today. We looked at the present, at the ways in which we respond to the pressures that surround us. We looked to the future and imagined what future sounds might be and what future worlds might look like. Together, we built an alternate reality, a space where the rules were different from the everyday. 

Rock camp is not like the real world (but the real world should be more like rock camp). It is a place where campers, volunteers, and staff alike wear their preferred gender pronouns on their name tags, where young girls learn self-defense and how to practice self-care and hip-hop free styling, where rooms are named after notable feminists and musicians. On the first day, we gathered in a large

black box theater in the university building that housed us and came up with a list of group agreements, an alternative to rules. The campers wrote a code of conduct together, which we referred to throughout the week, including my personal favorite, "be a croissant, not a bagel" (i.e. be open, not closed). On the last day, we sat in that black box theater again and asked each other to not let this alternate reality disappear. It was there that one camper said that returning to school was like returning to a "bagel shop."

I do not remember much about being a thirteen-year-old girl, but I do remember that feeling of isolation, of yearning for acceptance. I turned out alright without rock camp, but this past week made me wish more than ever that it had existed when I was growing up. The transformation in the girls throughout the week was remarkable. As one of my campers said, "I am naturally a defensive person. The world makes you have to be defensive. Halfway through the week, I realized that you don't have to be defensive here, that everything you do, mistakes included, is supported by us all." My heart broke and soared simultaneously.

Some of the most poignant moments of . . .


Songs for a Panic Attack
Hope this helps.

by Jill Spisak
My feral Furby 2k13 B movie dream.

Feedback from our first 15 issues by Liz and Faye
Are you being the radical alt-weekly webpaper you wish to see in the world?

Quilt @ Dreamhaus
The dreamiest tunes at the dreamiest house.

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