As most people know, I'm an active environmentalist. I've been called an "environmental activist". In some peoples minds I'm just a short step from being called a "terrorist". Just because I believe in protecting the planet for future generations and having clean air, water and land while I'm on the planet!
Radical terrorist ideas for sure! The "radical terrorist environmentalists" of today were the conservatives of yesteryear!
My part is basically educating people of environmental dangers and concerns, and I often pick up other peoples litter in the woods and sometimes in town. And I take photo of environmental violations. That used to be the extent of what I did that made me a "terrorist" in some peoples eyes.
But lately I added a new twist to my "environmental activities". I write and preform songs about environmental concerns! Now I can "terrorize" the "innocent corporations and their activities" with my music! I have a "weapon" of sorts!
Just a few weeks ago I heard about an art gallery that is dedicated to anti-fracking activities that was holding a "poetry reading open mic" down in Oil City Pa. It was a forum they called "Frackin' Words". It was held in the Graffiti Gallery on October 21, (2011).
So I contacted the people hosting the event to see if they might want me to bring my guitar and anti-fracking songs to the event! I got a very enthusiastic "heck yes" (I'm ad libbing here).
So my co-singer Christine and I went down to Oil City to the Graffiti Gallery and played for a very appreciative audience! It was a perfect fit for our songs.
We requested to "go last" after all the poets read their poems. I was impressed with all the poems that were read. Most of the participants were students from Clarion University and there was at least one professor there, from the University.
The room was perfect to play in! It had a very nice natural echo to the room. We didn't need microphones or amplifiers or a sound system. The seats were full and some had to sit on the entrance way steps. I had to stand in the back during the poetry segment!
All the art in the room was all about anti-fracking or Marcellus Shale drilling to be more accurate. That area is currently being destroyed by the Marcellus drillers. We did a short discussion (Christine and I) and a question and answer session and we heard some horror stories from the students who experienced this stuff first hand.
The building was quite impressive. We were led through the building to the rest rooms, and I exclaimed to the lady who gave us a tour, "man this building was definitely built with some money". She smiled and told me this story ......
She said this building previously housed a transit authority, but was scheduled to be demolished to make room for a CVS drug store and Ralph Nader heard about it and bought it to donate to Clarion University.
When I got home the next day, I was talking to a friend about it telling him how impressive the fancy wood, was, the stained glass windows, and the marble floors and the brass fixtures .... and the bathrooms that were almost too fancy to pee in!
And he said "I know that building ... that was built by John D Rockefeller for Standard Oil"!
Here is what the current occupiers of the building say on their website about the building: National Transit Building
Our location, the National Transit Building, is on the corner of Seneca and Center Streets in Oil City, PA. The National Transit Building was built in 1890 across from the bustling Oil Exchange at a cost of $90,000. The building housed John D. Rockefellerâ€™s subsidiaries of Standard Oil Company, one of the most powerful corporations of its time. Its features include oak paneling, marble floors, a circular wrought iron fire escape, pneumatic messenger tubes, vaults on all floors, Civil War cannon ball doorknobs, newel posts, wrought iron and brass fixtures and a hydraulic open-cage elevator. In 1978 the National Transit Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1997 a non-profit agency, the Institute for Civic Renewal (then owners of the building), donated rent and utilities for the first floor of the building toward the creation of OVCA. using grant funds and hundreds of hours of donated labor, we restored the space to its original splendor.
Oil Valley Center for the Arts
206 Seneca Street
Oil City, PA 16301
Well, that made my day! I loved the fact that none other than Rockefeller himself built this building for Standard Oil ..... and then .... years later, I was able to go there and play my anti-oil-drilling songs for a crowd that absolutely loved hearing them! By our last song we had the whole room participating, buy singing, clapping and stomping their feet! We got a very warm round of applause after each song.
Here are some photos:
I DO sometimes drive a car! But a very economical one at that!
Christine, the best back-up singer/roadie/tambourine player a guy could ever want!
Christine giving a talk on the dangers and pit falls of fracking
Christine is on a roll!
Part of the audience ....
Christine and I at the podium.
The art work all around the room was very beautiful. It was one of the nicest places I ever played! And I loved the irony that this building was built with "oil money" and there we were playing our anti-oil songs!
This was my favorite piece of art. It was called past, present and future.