Saturday, December 22, 2007

Five Brave Bitter Cold for Vigil Against Violence


Four people joined me for the Vigil Against Violence that I organized Monday in observance of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Two of these came in response to the email announcement I sent to the Green Party of Philadelphia's discussion list (among others), and the Industrial Workers of the World list to which the first person forwarded it; someone who works at Penn saw one of the flyers I posted there (among other places) and brought a friend along.

This turnout isn't bad at all considering the short (maybe three days') notice and frigid weather; I look forward to something bigger next year, when I'll start the planning earlier.

Pictured here are Charles Sherrouse (left) and yours truly.

Eric Hamell

P.S. The location for the vigil was chosen in response to the atrocious ruling by Judge Theresa Carr Deni a couple months ago. Her courtroom is in City Hall.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vigil Against Violence

Vigil Against Violence:
Respect Sex Workers' Human Rights


December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex
Workers. Join SWEET (Sex Workers are Entitled to Equal Treatment) on Monday for a
candlelight vigil to honor and mourn the sex workers who have died
this year and raise awareness of the violence faced by their community.
Current and former sex workers, friends, and allies all welcome.

Monday December 17th 5-7pm
On the steps on the west side of City Hall, facing 15th and Market Streets.
Wear red or bring a red umbrella.

For more info about December 17th: www.swopusa.org/dec17.

This seems particularly timely in light of the recent outrageous ruling
by Judge Theresa Carr Deni, reducing charges from rape to "theft of services" in
the case of a sex worker forced at gunpoint to have unprotected sex
with multiple partners. She works in room 284 of City Hall.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

$pread magazine sent me the following message:

December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex
Workers. Join $pread and SWANK (Sex Worker Action New yorK) on Monday for a
candlelight vigil to honor and mourn the sex workers who have died
this year and raise awareness of the violence faced by our community.

Current and former sex workers, friends and allies all welcome.

Monday December 17th
5-7pm
On the steps of Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, New
York, NY

Wear red or bring a red umbrella

For more info about December 17th:
www.swopusa.org/dec17

This seems particularly timely in light of the recent outrageous ruling in Philadelphia, reducing charges from rape to "theft of services" in the case of a sex worker forced at gunpoint to have unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Also upcoming:

Dr. Ted Daeschler, who discovered the transititonal fossil Tiktaalik, will be addressing the Delaware Valley chapter of Mensa 8pm Friday at the Police Administration Building, 750 Race St., at an event that will be free and open to the public. I'll probably be somewhere else, but it sounds fascinating.

On Tuesday the 18th at 9pm, PBS will be premiering An Unreasonable Man, the excellent documentary about Ralph Nader.

Eric Hamell

Call for Art Work for ICSA 2008 Conference

The International Cultic Studies Association sent me this announcement. --Eric

If you are an ex-member of a cult or high demand organization, The Phoenix Project, presented in cooperation with the International Cultic Studies Association, is pleased to invite you to participate in our next annual exhibit, scheduled for the last weekend of June 2008, at the ICSA Conference in Philadelphia , PA. This call for work is for those works of art that are related to the cult, or high demand organization experience.

You are invited to submit proposals of your visual art, drama, dance, music, video, or literary works that illustrate the world of the cult survivor, including the previous (group) world, healing or recovery, or aspects of the time of transition from the cult or high-demand organization.

Creations may be in any art form, including but not limited to: literary (such as poetry, drama, short story, or other writings), music of any kind, dance, and the visual arts (such as paintings, drawings, collage, sculpture, fiber arts, photography, film, video, or multi-media).

If desired, this work may be presented anonymously, through another presenter.

We hope that not only will this exhibit illuminate the reality of life in a high-demand organization or cult, and of its effects on individuals, but that it will provide an empowering experience for participating artists, who will have the opportunity to tell their own stories in their own ways.

For more information, please e-mail Phoenix Project Director and Coordinator Diana Pletts at:
exmemberartwork@yahoo.com

We look forward to considering your artwork for this event, and hope that you will consider working with us in this presentation of ex-cult member artwork.

Please pass this announcement on. Thank you.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stop Education Censorship

The Philadelphia Public Record last week ran a sensationalist story about an effort to have a sex education book for people ages ten and older banned from the state's schools and libraries. I immediately borrowed a copy so I could respond in an informed fashion. Here's the letter I just sent the Record:

The fractured logic of those campaigning against the book It's Perfectly Normal was evident right from the Public Record's front-page photo, which showed a sign saying the book is "not even allowed in prisons." "Not even"? Since when are prisons known for their liberal library policies?

One woman religious was quoted as saying the book is "laced with pornographic cartoons." Webster's defines pornography as "matter depicting erotic activity and intended to cause sexual excitement." Having just read the book (tenth anniversary edition, 2004), I can attest that out of eighty-nine pages, it contains exactly four cartoons depicting erotic activity (not in any detail) and exactly zero intended to cause sexual excitement. If they excited Sister Paula Beierschmitt inadvertently, this is probably just an example of the adage, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Let's compare what's said about the book with what the book itself says. Beierschmitt: It "demeans human values." It's Perfectly Normal: "It's important to respect other people's feelings about slang and dirty words or dirty jokes."

Maria Merlino: "Promotes sexual activity at an early age without emotional maturity." It's Perfectly Normal: "Waiting to have sex until one is old enough to take good care of a baby makes good sense. The surest way not to become pregnant is to abstain."

Merlino again: "An injustice to girls, demeaning them in every way." It's Perfectly Normal: "Sharing between two people who care about each other always means having respect for each other's feelings and wishes. This includes respecting each other's right to say 'No!' to any kind of sexual activity -- at any time and for any reason."

Why are the critics' descriptions so far from the reality? Perhaps because they don't know much about childhood education. Here's what some of those who do say:

"Notable Children's Book" -- American Library Association
"Blue Ribbon Winner" -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Reading Magic Award Winner" -- Parenting
"Best Book of the Year" -- School Library Journal
"A family-friendly guide" -- Child

Case closed!

If you live in Pennsylvania, you can counter this obscurantist campaign by writing your state legislators at http://www.state.pa.us/papower/taxonomy/taxonomy.asp?DLN=31786. You can write the Record at mail@phillyrecord.com.

Eric Hamell

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Time to get that electric car!

Turns out, it'll only cost you about a thousand dollars. Read how it works in this story I heard this morning. --E.

Cassendre Xavier Singing Next Friday

Go hear the lady with the beautiful voice! Friday the 14th, 8 pm at the Metropolitan Bakery, 4013 Walnut St. $8.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My First Filk Song to Be Published Next Year

I recently submitted my song "Trinity," which I wrote about three years ago, to Contata to be included in their songbook. It's based on Lois McMaster Bujold's novel The Curse of Chalion and sung to the tune of "Yesterday":

Trinity
Sainthood's not what it's cracked up to be
Thought I'd save Iselle and then be free
But the Lady had some plans for me

Suddenly
I am thrice the man I used to be
Have a demon and a ghost to tea
Now I believe theology

Why She holds Dondo I don't know
But it's to be
Tried to die a champ
Now I'm cramped with trinity

Trinity
Sainthood's not what it's cracked up to be
Thought I'd save Iselle and then be free
But the Lady has more plans for me
(Closing hum should be groaned while holding one's stomach)

Upcoming:

Thursday, 6 Dec: 7:30pm at Penn's Christian Association, 118 S. 37th St. -- Performance of a one-woman play about Jeannette Rankin, first female member of Congress and sole dissenter from the declaration of war on Japan.

Saturday the 8th: At noon there will be a demonstration on the west side of City Hall calling for a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Friday the 14th: The Philadelphia Science Fiction Society will hear a talk by John Scalzi. Program starts at 9pm and is free and open to the public.

Eric Hamell