Uncle Weed shares an annotated version of the HempenRoad: Cascadia Journey (imdb) film featuring the 1997 commercial industrial hemp symposium in Vancouver, BC, Canada / Cascadia.
Includes clips from notable speakers, an interview with HempWorld pub/ed/writer Mari Kane along with discourse about borders, eco-systems, harm reduction, and bits of transportation and sustainability mixed in.
Then an extended montage of (lousy early generation) digital camera snaps of important entrepreneurs diligently building businesses to utilize hemp in all forms. Along with the documenting is Ms. Kane’s report from the event, with UW”s comments – including the conundrums around organizing groups and importance of diversity.
Includes loads of magazine, artifacts, ephemera, and anecdotes from California to Yap. Come along this Cascadia Journey.
Blurb: In the historic kura barn studio in provincial Japan, digging into the archive from 1996/7 documentary film “HempenRoad”, Uncle Weed shares the backstories of the project with a binder full of artifacts, reviews, plans, scripts, etc
Then plays a “producer’s cut” of a segment from Olympia, Washington featured Dennis Peron on the road promoting ground-breaking California Prop 215 at the Capitol Dome – along with diligent activists out the rain and Lt Governor candidate Bob Owen of WHEN.
Next a visit to a pioneering Internet Service Provider (OlyWa) for a peek at a (now vintage) data center with modems(!) and remarks about the importance of the (new) word wide web for disseminating information about cannabis.
Finally, riffs about how the film was produced with analog and digital tools, the importance of “showing up” and working with all parties to effectuate positive change and a personal manifesto of sorts about UW’s objectives and edicts when becoming a dedicated activist in 1990.
Questions welcome about the film – segments from Vancouver, Victoria, Portland, Eugene and more to come – as well as logistical inquiries about making creative projects.
Gist: I’m collaborating with some pals on a new Cannabis Community project – its all metavers-y and NFTs and such as and while that’s not my forte, sharing stories from rambles, campaigns, and creative riffs is (fer sure) so here’s the firestarter video to spark the project series. Links below to get in on the hi-jinks. So happy to be getting studio barn set-up with all the wires, dongles, adapters, extenders, lights and mics. Catch all the topics in the riff below and come on along!
Written as a letter to a friend, somehow thought good idea to put here so i don’t lose it. Not sure but hey… no one’s paying attention anyhow.
I hear you on these hypocrites, bootlickers and carpet baggers who talk a big game but at the end of it, they spend all their “organizations energy on managing the organization” rather than actually doing stuff.
I learned a long time ago (somehow) in my punk rock youth that “talk minus action equals zero” and in that same youth, was idealistic enough to want to actively support a lot of different organizations in Utah and BC but every time I went to volunteer my (then healthy and strong) body for action (i.e. put me on those anti-whaling ships! send me out on desert missions! put me on a lookout tower!) the only answer was “you can help with fundraising… Why don’t you go door to door and ask for money?” Not impressed.
And, years later, I still see the same organizations spending all their money begging for money. E.g. After all my years of working to normalize cannabis, I see the suits and celebrities jumping into the mix and congratulating themselves and I wonder: where the fck were you on those rainy days at the capital decades ago? Where were you lobbying and writing letters and to policymakers and showing up at inane committee meetings? I hear you are running your mouth about stock prices and making cute branded labels for your factory growing weed blah blah blah.
As such, somehow I realize that despite my usual social and community-building nature, when it comes to getting shit done, I just do what I want to do on my own terms and float out into the world and don’t expect to see an impact for decades later. Been this way for my documentary films, punk rock fanzines, chap books of poetry and other arts and crafts… + Realized that I could be an artist who spends half of his time applying for grants and sending and submissions to be rejected (another quarter of my time complaining about the injustice of it all) or else I could just go hustle some day job for temporary times (goodness know i’ve had a few) and make art on my own terms and put it out there without any expectation of acceptance or money. Fuck Stats, Make Art.
Somehow I almost accidentally ended up this way as I teased with a flirting level of fame before vanishing again. Seldom seen indeed. I think of Henry David Thoreau self publishing 100 copies of Walden, dead at 37, no one remembers his contributions to pencil making or the impact that came hundred plus years later. That’s the kind of hero.
After being gone for Utah from sometime and ending up back there in recent years after my Mom died and hiding out, i saw all the precious places polluted by REI shopping yuppi3s and credit card wielding “ski bums” who think they’re making a difference by voting for “that other party”, left again as fast as I could and proclaimed my lifelong dream to never go back to Logan (the only town I’ve ever been busted for weed).
I even went to my favourite holy sacred hot spring up fifth water diamond fork on trails that I literally helped build and pools that I hauled up bags of cement to shore up the rocks to find it overflowing with BYU students, I stripped down to my naked self and took a nice shower in the waterfall and all my splendour and quickly cleared the area out for a nice leisurely soak. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
All this is to say that I see you and hear you and admire you and you got a guy out here respecting your work and your life and understanding what you’re laying down about Lycra knuckleheads with their lawyers and mortgages.
Told a younger friend the other day who’s getting caught up in the rat race that all these asshole billionaires that end up in the news about not paying taxes or going to space, they’re all bunch of workaholics who never see their family, never just to get hang out in a barn with an illicit smoke and some used records, and hell my mother-in-law cooks as well as any restaurant and the best views are for free. And if you want to be all fancy, I built a house on a tropical island one time for $50K and another time for $70K, you can’t buy a carport most places for that. You can get your own campland near Gary’s outpost near Shasta for under 100… I’ll tell you about Paradise, the way John Prine sings about it. Move to the country, grow peaches… work little except for the real work.
Beginning with a static-y 1996 AM radio interview during a power outage on the island of Guam Micronesia, then checking in from a goat farm in Japan decades later, then again from tiny isle in Indonesia, Uncle Weed weaves hempen stories and personal anecdotes about life on this remote USA “territory” including: selling hemp bags at Jeff’s Pirate Cove, advocating for legalization of cannabis in all forms, weird jobs (and quitting same), and current situation as Grassroots activists seek to fulfil will of voters for medical and recreational uses.
Bob and Otto ran up to Uncle Weed shouting, “Wow, you could probably get a ten count against Jimmy Superfly Snuka!”
“Is he as great a wrestler as Gene Kiniski?” Uncle Weed asked, arching an eyebrow but enjoying the boys’ compliment. “Ah, stop it guys,” he shrugged sheepishly.
Then continued brightly, “Hey, go gather up a bunch of survey stakes and three long, skinny branches,” he instructed, then in passing added, “And,… maybe you should let me explain what happened to your parents myself.”
The boys wondered what the big deal about telling their parents, they had fun and weren’t injured or scared, plus they learned a lot about methods of protecting nature.
Then, following the instructions, gathered up armloads of discarded survey stakes before helping Uncle Weed arrange them in a rock-ringed fire-pit.
Then, under a sliver of moon, the three compadres sat around a little fire, eating creamsicles, roasting marshmallows, and talking. Talking about what they had seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, and thought that day.
It was a good night, indeed a good night for just about anything.
Inside the modified shipping container trailer, he propped the security man’s exhausted body up against the refrigerator and duct-taped him securely to it, snug, but still allowing ample space to breathe.
“Well that ought to hold you for the night you silly civil servant,” said Uncle Weed.
“MmmmMMMmmm,” struggled the man. Then, opening the freezer, Uncle Weed selected a variety of creamsicles, fudgesicles and drumsticks. From the cupboard, he borrowed a handful of popcorn kernels and half a bag of marshmallows.
“Listen, my misguided captive,” said Uncle Weed, “I would think twice before I pursued this further. I’d be quite embarrassed if I was you, being defeated by a skinny longhaired,… what did you call me…weirdo hippie? Yeah, think of what your buddies will say when you and your gun were brought down by the likes of me! Ha, I can just see the court-hearing now, even the Judge will get a chuckle I’m sure. They might even put you back on garbage patrol on account of this slacking. I would sure hate to see that happen, for your sake that is. Well, goodnight and cheerio!”
Then Uncle Weed stepped out the door, leaving $3 on the counter for the snacks.
“Oh one more thing,” popping his bearded face back into the fluorescent-lit trailer, your bulldozer might have a hard time starting tomorrow, you might want to consider giving it a good cleaning before firing it up, and probably invest in locking gas tank caps. As old Ed would often say, ‘sand works better than sugar!’”
“MmmmMMMmm,” mumbled the gagged man.
He tipped his hat, walked out and secured the outside door handle with the barrel of the gun.
The man continued blasting off his blunderbuss, shouting with wheezing lungs, “Gosh dang it, you terrorists! Thieves! Bad guys! Criminals! Justice obstructers! Malcontents! You won’t get away!”
Uncle Weed crept up behind him and leapt into action, quickly tackling him to the ground, grabbing his weapon, and tossing it safely away. They wrestled, kicked, yelled and worked up a furious cloud of dust.
“C’mon Uncle Weed!” Bob and Otto cheered, “Give him a wedgie! Pile drive him!”
“How am I doing guys?” Uncle Weed called back while in the midst of showing off his wrestling moves learned during his time on the community college, junior varsity team, “Should I pile drive him? Or maybe a supplex?”
“Arghh!” the man said, “You won’t get away, let go of me! Don’t hurt me! I’m just following orders from my superiors at the head office,” the man huffed and puffed.
“Hey, don’t worry fella, I mean you no harm,” said Uncle Weed as he hauled his struggling body into the government issue, corrugated-steel trailer.
The man stood in the clearing confused for a moment, muttering “Son of a gun, where did that madman feller go?”
He spit on the ground, kicked some rocks, then seemingly confused, he started blasting his shotgun all over the place and shooting at nothing and everything while screaming, yelling.
“Fools, hippies, radicals! You can’t win! You just won’t win! It’s not in the orders! That’s just the nature of the way things is! This is not in my instruction book! We always win in the end!” he bellowed, his voice shaky and rough.
“Yikes, what are we going to do, where’s Uncle Weed? He didn’t ditch us did he?” Otto whispered nervously.
“Relax, he’s over there doing something with that big bulldozer,” answered Bob pointing over to a shadowy shape in the dark.
The new voice spoke again, “I can see you so stand up and walk towards me with you hands up or else they’ll be some real problems. Serious problems.”
“Bob, what are we gonna do, I think we’re in trouble.”
“Don’t worry, he’s just trying to psyche us out, he’s bluffing, he doesn’t really know where we are. Uncle Weed won’t let us down, we’re safe here… I think.”
The man spoke softly now, “Ah, I see, there’s the culprit, there on the dirt machine. One of them monkeywrenchers,… toying with the equipment.” He rushed over towards the action, muttering to himself, “Well I ain’t letting this maniac radical get away this time I tell you for dang sure.”
His shotgun made the noises it does before it fires, a loud CLUCK-THLUNK, and with that noise, Uncle Weed disappeared again. Vanished into the darkness.