May 12, 2012

We Respond...

A Response To The "East Bridgeport Communists"


The flyers by a person (or persons) claiming to be the "East Bridgeport Communists" decrying Version Fest 12 as "gentrifying" the neighborhood has generated a lot of chatter. Now it's also produced a response.

Daniel Pugh is an artist who calls Bridgeport home, probably for longer than these assumed East Bridgeport Communists have been in the neighborhood, or identified themselves as Marxists. Pugh was also involved in the planning for Version Fest and organized Thursday night's The Art Bowl at Benton House, which saw, to your humble Editor-in-Chief, a surprisingly strong turnout.

Pugh created his own response to the East Bridgeport Communists' flyer that echoes many of the sentiments his fellow organizers and longtime Bridgeport residents have about the benefits of the festival. The text reads:

"As a West-Bridgeport-Socialist who ran last-night's VersionFest Activity, The Art Bowl, I wished you had heeded the many public calls for proposals that began in January. You might have added a strong voice to the Festival. Since January my bleeding & disorganized heart was able to put together dozens of ceramists who donated almost 200 hand-crafted bowls. A dozen foodies spent their own money to make enough soups and chili to feed a crowd of several hundred. That crowd opened their wallets and handed over $15.00 a head for those bowls and that soup. At the end of the night we had collected over $1,600 dollars. Truly a bourgeois scandal, I know.

"What's a good Socialist to do? Well, I did what I had planned to do all along. I handed over all $1613.08 to Ben from the Benton House so that it could be spent on goods for the food pantry (serving 1000 hungry families in our direct community). Here it is the day after and I am the same socialist with limited cash in my wallet but great memories and a head full of plans for how to raise even more donations at next year's event.

"So please, join us in January 2013 as we begin to plan for the next VersionFest. You have a lot of strong ideas. I am certain that with some help from others in the comm-unity you can develop a proj-ect that helps shape the Comm-unity of the Fu-ture.

"See you next year!

"PS. I don't know where the $0.08 came from but the missing $2.00 (resulting in $1613.08) was because a member of a local community center was ""two dollars short" but it was out of the question to deny them art and food."

Contact the author of this article or email with further questions, comments or tips.

East Bridgeport Communists Call Into Question Our Motives. Good for Them!

Anti-Version Fest Flyer A Feeble Attempt At Culture War


From the "Get off my Lawn" file: It appears as though not everyone in Bridgeport is happy with Version Fest 12. This flyer has been popping up across the Neighborhood of Mayors accusing Version Fest of "gentrifying" the neighborhood. The flyer, produced by the "East Bridgeport Communists," makes the usual declarations that any neighborhood improvements should be decided by the people who live there and asks for a boycott of Version Fest's participating businesses.

As someone who's lived in Bridgeport long enough to understand the inner workings of its social fabric and considers himself a practical Socalist politically, allow me to throw some shade.

This is yet another case of "hipsters, like Elvis, are everywhere."

- Of the businesses listed to boycott, only three are pop-ups. the rest are art galleries and businesses that have permanent homes in Bridgeport.

- Among the businesses the flyer demands a boycott are the Co-Prosperity Sphere and Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar. These are two places that are both permanent businesses and owned by someone, Version Fest jefe Ed Marszewski, who lives in the neighborhood.

- By bringing these pop-up businesses to Bridgeport for the festival, a person who lives in the neighborhood is starting the conversation on how to improve it and, more important, the businesses already in the neighborhood are walking the walk.

- "East Bridgeport Communists?" Seriously? I live in what's considered the east side of Bridgeport and it's littered with police officers, sheriff's deputies, firefighters, other city and county workers, and Daleys. Any communists I know in the neighborhood live west of Halsted.

- If you were truly communists you'd realize you have more in common socially and politically with Marszewski and the festival's organizers than you realize.

- Who's a communist anymore these days, anyway?

- I'll bet smart money that the person or persons who were behind this flyer are probably people who moved down to Bridgeport because of the cheap rent (and because they're career art school students), and are at Maria's every night trying to get free beer from Marszewski.

The flyer makes me wonder if the "East Bridgeport Communists" were also behind this message waiting for me and the group I led in a tour of the Henry Palmisano Nature Park last September when we made it to the top of the hill. It reads, "Chicagoist = Devil Urine."

"Chicagoist = Devil Urine" (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)

To paraphrase Bill Walton: East Bridgeport Communists, please, work on your game. Or buy your own beer at Maria's. That would help the neighborhood more than a flyer that shows you haven't progressed past campus radicalism.

Contact the author of this article or email with further questions, comments or tips.

Jul 2, 2011

Sign Of The Times: A Rube Goldberg Machine That Tweets

The fall of Rome was marked by his deep, yet meaningless, facination with the pointless.

Jun 27, 2011

A KickStarter Project Worthy of Your Support: DIYLilCNC

What is it?

DIYLILCNC is a robotic cutting machine that you can build yourself.  It works kind of like a desktop printer:  send it a file, and the device uses this information to carve out an actual object.  The lil’ CNC handles many different materials, including plastics, wood, and light metals.  The things that you can make with a lil’ CNC aren’t just pretty to look at:  they can also be strong and functional as well!  Applications include making circuit boards, mechanical parts, sculptures, toys and more.