Friday, January 25, 2008

The Battle Over Parking Lot 4

photos and text by ~Bradley

As you literally may of heard, on January 23rd, the Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra and fellow drummers provided rhythm for the weekly community gathering in the Cathcart parking lot during the Santa Cruz Farmers Market. A vegetarian soup was provided to all interested by a renown local chef and supporter of peaceful community gatherings. The mushroom soup was able to soothe hunger and warm up the cold, although not rainy, afternoon and break the ice while people were beginning to gather around and wonder what was going to happen. Without needing any cues, the Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra got the party started and slowly but surely more and more people began playing music, dancing, sharing food, poi spinning, hacky sacking, talking, documenting and spectating.

One woman was arrested, for reasons that were unknown to her and witnesses to her arrest, by SCPD officer Cline. At least four police cars and a police SUV were stopped in Cathcart Street immediately after the arrest, but they decided to keep on rolling down Cathcart and left the community gathering and drum circle alone. In response to police harassment at the drum circle in previous weeks, a poster taped on a tree urged people to support the market drummers and asked Mayor Ryan Coonerty if having the SCPD issue citations for drumming was his way to Keep Santa Cruz Weird.


You can read more about the weekly gathering in the Cathcart parking lot (Lot No. 4) on Wednesday, January 23rd and watch video at:

Taking Back the Tarmac--Santa Cruz Reclaims People's Parking Lot #4

For further background information, see:

Santa Cruz Police Hassle Drummers During Farmers Market

Keep Santa Cruz Weird?

Mayor Coonerty... is THIS how you
Keep Santa Cruz Weird?

Santa Cruz Police Hassle Drummers During Farmers Market

Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra



Is was unclear why this woman was apparently singled out, quickly arrested, and taken away in a police car by SCPD officer Cline.




Community Cart

The Community Cart, a project of the Wellness Community Transformation Center of Santa Cruz, kindly provided hot tea and exchanged visionary ideas with people.

by ~Bradley Friday Jan 25th, 2008 4:02 PM
Drum Circle

Hacky Sacking

Parking Lot


Poi is a form of juggling, or object manipulation with balls on ropes, held in the hands and swung in various circular patterns, comparable to club-twirling. It originated with the Māori people of New Zealand (the word poi means "ball" in Māori). Women and men used it to increase flexibility, strength, and coordination. It developed into a traditional performance art practiced mostly by women. This art, in conjunction with others including waiata a ringa, haka and titi torea, make up the performance of kapa haka (Māori culture groups).

Food Not Bombs


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Trash Orchestra Defends the Market Drum Circle

by Tim Rumford

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download video:

trash_orch.wmv (33.2 MB)

This is a video from Wed the 9th 2007. Traditionally this has been a place where Food Not Bombs has fed and musicians gathered. Before the new parking lot trespass law, as far as I am aware, there have been little to no complaints or problems. Its reminiscent of the days when the people were allowed to dance in streets in front of the Copper House and street music was and accepted part of our culture which is being ripped from underneath us.

More important is the taking of our right to use public property and not allow the City to use unnecessary laws aimed at the poor, and unconstitutional in nature.

I am disabled and find myself in my car resting and paranoid I will be cited. There is already a law for anything that can happen in a parking garage or lot. This ordinance can and will only be selectively enforced. Its a waste of time, money, resources and is just another way to slowly take away all our free speech and rights the commons have traditionally throughout history been used for.

Thank you all who attended and fought for all our rights to use our own public space without a 15 min time limit.

Thank you Trash Orchestra and all the other musicians and community members that attended. I believe it was your numbers that kept surveying officers at bay. There was one incident with a woman who attacked some of the drummers, but I left it out because although she screamed " I just want to shop!" over and over, and did attack and spit on people, I believe she was mentally ill, and its not appropriate to post. If others feel differently or need the video for legal reasons, just let me know. I appreciated the drummer who got the brunt of the attacks comments afterward. It showed someone who is truly dignified and peaceful.

Tim Rumford
Sleepisarigh [at]

And the Beat Goes On at the Cathcart Parking Lot

Report and photos by ~Bradley

Most people consider saxophonists, drummers, sitarists, tambourinists, guitarists and other musicians in a drum circle alongside the weekly Farmers Market to be an enjoyable aspect of the downtown Santa Cruz cultural mix, however some people interpret this musical gathering as a noisy disruption to their marketing experience.

Shortly after the November 2007 passage of a Santa Cruz law that makes it illegal to be in a parking lot or garage, unless you have a vehicle there (and then only for fifteen minutes), police officers began harassing people for playing music, sharing food and hanging out in the Cathcart Parking Lot during Farmers Market. The Cathcart Parking Lot, also called Lot No. 4, is located at the corner of Cedar Street and Cathcart Street in downtown Santa Cruz. People both inside and outside of cars have also reported surveillance and harassment by the police while they were in other parking lots.

With support from the Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra and others, musicians were able to bring the beat up a notch and maintain a drum circle during the Farmers Market on January 9th without any threats or citations from the police, despite their occasional presence.


For more information on the parking lot law and drum circles during the Santa Cruz Farmers Market, see:

'Parking Lot Panic Law' Used to Disperse Drummers in Santa Cruz

Shake It


Drum Circle



Tyke: People of all ages played music and had a good time.


Pasta: Customers at the Farmers Market purchase fresh pasta as drums resonate in the distance.

Cars: There was plenty of room for drivers to enter, exit and park their cars in the Cathcart Parking Lot.


Customer: A customer of the Farmers Market takes time to enjoy the eclectic sounds.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Support for Evicted Market Drummers

Last week the ever-present market drum circle was evicted from their spot under the tree in the parking lot by police using the new 15-minute law (persons cannot be in any city parking lot longer than 15 minutes). Join us to protest that eviction and reclaim that public space!

Support for Market Drummers
Wed Jan 9th 4pm
Santa Cruz Farmer's Market
(Bring percussion - resonant trash or a drum)

The City of Santa Cruz's parking lot panic law is in effect and being enforced. For those unfamiliar the law restricts the use of downtown parking lots and garages to parking and retrieving of vehicles (the person must be in and out in 15 minutes), and for pedestrians passing directly through from one sidewalk to another or a bordering store. Anything else (waiting in your car for a friend, eating lunch, talking to friends, playing music...) is trespassing, illegal, will get you hassled by Santa Cruz's finest, and, ultimately, fined.

Ostensibly to create a safer downtown, this absurd law is a further attempt to create a sterile downtown for smooth undistracted shopping. It criminalizes creative uses of public space for art and recreation.

From this article on Indybay:

On two successive Wednesdays, police have ordered the peaceful drum circle to leave their traditional spot in the public parking lot [alongside the Farmer's Market] using Mayor Coonerty's Ban on Public Assemblies in parking lots. The new merchant-backed law prohibits lingering in a parking lot or garage unless you have a vehicle there (and then only for fifteen minutes). It removed ten blocks of public space from public use.

A twisted and unjust law, but only words on paper until enforced. Uniformed fascists (some very friendly and decent, of course, as they oppress you) will try to enforce it with what they believe to be legitimate power. But we are really the ones that make the choice whether to legitimate that power or not. We choose not to go along with the program.

This is merely the newest battle of a war in Santa Cruz. A war against dissent, against the poor, against the homeless, and now against people making music. We challenge these laws and the police crackdown on undesirables -- an effort to "clean up" the streets of Santa Cruz of the young, the very old, immigrants, the unemployed, homeless, the insane, and anyone who resists.

Join us in solidarity with other musicians and friends playing music together.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Do-It-Yourself New Year's Celebration

Hundreds of people marched down Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz on December 31st, 2007, as part of the Last Night DIY Celebration while hundreds of spectators lined the sidewalks and cheered. Leading the parade was the Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra.

The Last Night DIY Parade and Street Party is a do-it-yourself, unpermited, decentralized, grassroots and open New Year's Eve celebration with a focus on self-reliance. It is not only a celebration, but a celebration of the power we all have when we gather together to make something happen.

A parade, a street party, Balinese gamelan, fire dancing, burn barrels in the streets, bone-shaking drums, dogs and skaters on the mall, brazen square dancing in the streets, pillow fights, bagpipes, encounters with "authority" in which the people prevailed, fireworks, sparkly lights, music, DIY street barricades, DIY everything, man oh man. What's not to like?

More photos: Here and here.