Sunday, March 22, 2009

This year's anti-war parade

I hope this will be my last Austin peace parade blog entry--I started my old blog at stone bridge in 2005, and that year's peace march was one of my first blog entries.

Austin has seen a spring march against the war ever since 2003. The 2003 march, before the war had actually begun, was the largest. As the war went on, the spring peace march became an annual thing and has coincided with South by SouthWest, the big music/film/you-name-it cultural blowout that makes getting around in downtown Austin almost impossible for a week every year. (My, that was surly, wasn't it? We locals are always churlish about outsiders coming in and enjoying themselves at the expense of our convenience.)

In keeping with the spirit of SxSW, the peace march in the past several years has had its own brass band, drums, and a rolling amplified sound system, if nothing else the most original music venue at SxSW, if not the loudest (actually it's not even in the running in the hearing-damage department.) Has kind of a jazz-funeral feel to it.

So I made my way through the traffic this year and we gathered once again with a bunch of other war protesters at the Capitol. There weren't as many of us as previously. Most Americans--and that may still include me--seem to be willing to take Obama at his word that he will bring it to an end. We just came to help remind Obama of who elected him, and that America still wants the war ended sooner rather than later, since he seems to be preoccupied at the moment with the financial ruin left for him as a parting gift of the Bush administration.

When I got there I found that Wavy Gravy, dressed in his clown suit, was, for reasons unknown to me, the honorary master of ceremonies, before the parade, and Grand Marshall (really, that's what they called him) during it.

So anyway, a few photographs of yesterday's peace march. Click on any image for larger view.

The woman below is explaining a Civil War brass canon to her son. This is on the state Capitol grounds before the march.

Listen to your mom, Kid

Wavy Gravy as master of ceremonies

Here we go, a cross-section of Austin

Fiddler and drummers

"Keep Austin Weird" was the slogan of the old hippie Austin; some of us still try to uphold those standards

Wavy Gravy carrying out his duties as parade grand marshal

This woman is singing "Down by the riverside," really belting it out (our destination was City Hall, in fact down by river side.) As you can see she is holding on to the mike and a tambourine with her right hand. What you don't see is that the mike is rolling along on wheels, along with amplifier and speakers, so she has to keep up with it. She is holding on to her kid with her left hand. She had a great voice. I don't know who she is. (Update: Her name is Sara Hickman.)