Monday, July 21, 2008

the rhizome collective

thursday was a long day of travel, and so incredibly pleasant! i set strong intentions for a smooth transition, spent 2 days packing and preparing carefully, 3 hours preparing travel food and lots of time breathing and grounding. it was a true portland send-off, with the bus riders rallying to deliver me quickly and conveniently to the nearest airport bound MAX (lightrail) station (the website was wrong, go figure). my new friend Gordy helped me carry my bags and we chatted amiably, discovering that his co-worker's son lives at the Emma Goldman Finishing School in Seattle.

i also had an extremely absorbing book with me, on loan from laura W. called Caucasia, its an amazing portrait of a biracial family living in Boston during the racial tensions of the 70's and 80's. the dad is black, mom is white, one daughter dark and the other light. Danny Senza manages to dig deep into the reality and theory of racial identity from all sides, in addition to homophobia and classism.

of course austin is hotter' en hell, the firey sun boring down at mid-day. it took a bit of time to adjust, and to adjust to our new temporary digs at the rhizome collective. rhizome is housed in a giant warehouse. there's a bunch of rooms where folks live, in addition to an extra kitchen space for food not bombs, an events/performance space, a bike shop (for bikes to mexico), a book and work space for inside books project, gardens, a GIANT and very ugly turkey, and a radio station.

folks that live here are supposed to be working for one of the organizations that uses the space, and the founders do RUST trainings (Radical urban sustainability) twice a year. its collectively run by reps from each of the organizations that uses the space, and a resident rep. pretty awesome, though its quite in the summer b/c its so f'n hot that everyone splits. we're camped out in the zine library with a giant fan to fend of the mosquito hordes and move the hot and heavy air around.

so far we've found pretty good bike routes, including a nice walk/bike path along both sides of the charles river. heat survival tactics include dunking at barton springs, a natural spring on the west side of the city, lying in front of giant fans, and drinking tons of iced kambucha.

austin is very arts and music oriented, and folks are decoratively tattooed and pierced. it feels alot smaller than portland, and sleepy under the summer heat, but i like the southern/spanish vibe.