HOW WEIRD STREET FAIRE
April 23rd, 2000
4:20pm Speech by Brad 'Santosh' Olsen
A Peaceful GatheringTwo weeks ago I was relaxing in a small Parisian hotel room in the Latin Quarter, only a few blocks away from the Notre Dame Cathedral. This was my last day in Paris and a typical "power stomp" day, as I call intense movement periods. This day I traveled to the Chartres cathedral an hour south of Paris, came back to the city and visited the graveyard where Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison are buried, then bolted down to the Palace of Versailles for sunset. By the time I got back to the Latin Quarter for dinner, I was ready for one last adventure on the European continent. Tending the blisters on my feet from walking so much, I decided a night of bar hopping on my own was not as productive as the time I should spend writing this speech. A speech I would deliver in exactly 14 days to the hour at the How Weird Street Faire.
Before I tell you a few more anecdotes from this trip, I'd like to preface this moment by telling you how the CCC, the World Peace Through Technology Organization, and this street faire began, and it all has to do with electronic dance music and world travel. In 1993 I was traveling solo through India as part of a solid 3-year excursion around the world. It was in the former Portuguese colony of Goa where I met Jovis, Paul and Carlo on Vagator Beach. We all turned on to electronic music together that year and became good friends in the process. Fate would have it that the four of us would move to San Francisco the following year with an interest in leasing a warehouse and starting a techno community together. Jovis came up with the name "Consortium of Collective Consciousness" and shortly thereafter he and I discovered that warehouse right over there. That was just over 5 years ago, and those of you who know the CCC know that those have been truly magical years. What started as a vision among a few travel buddies has manifested into something that has clearly affected many people's lives. The CCC has morphed and changed in many unique ways over the years - we have hosted several new friends from around the world, produced amazing artwork and parties, and shown that ordinary people can make a big difference with their lives.
Another vision that has manifested out of the CCC is the World Peace Through Technology Organization, the sponsor of this street faire today. The goal of this organization is to create festive events like this across the nation, then take the events worldwide. We call this the Peace Tour, and www.peacetour.org is where you can find more information about this organization. The mission statement of the Peace Tour is "to inspire world peace through the benevolent uses of technology." Those benevolent technologies include: communication devices, the Internet, modern transportation like bicycles that don't pollute, and, of course, electronic dance music.
What we see here today is a peaceful gathering of like-minded people who have come together to enjoy electronic music. I look around and I see people smiling and having fun. This IS world peace through technology. We can take the best of the best and use it for entertainment and to help us grow. We recognize what is good technology, and what is harmful technology. When people are enjoying their lives, aided by modern luxuries, they are more apt to pause and give thanks to just how good we have it in the United States during an economic boom. And we have it good. Anybody who has traveled to India or the poor countries of the world knows this.
Yesterday was Earth Day, a day the citizens of our mighty nation reflected upon the state of the world environment and how we may lessen our collective impact. Well, here is a "How Weird" idea - let's say that today is Earth Day too, and tomorrow and all the rest of the days of the year. Let's say that from this day forward we are all going to make the conscious choice of what Taoists call "right living" or the "correct path" - by realizing we are all masters of our own selves who may take a position of apathy or action. In this power we may choose negative thoughts or positive thoughts. We may choose to serve ourselves or we may choose to serve others selflessly.
San Francisco has a proud tradition of being a city of goodwill and world peace. Before being settled, San Francisco's Nob Hill was a sacred site to the native American tribes of Northern California. Various indigenous people would convene near Nob Hill to drink from a natural spring, but would not live there. When gold was discovered in the Sierra foothills and the greatest migration in modern history was underway in 1849, San Francisco and the Golden Gate served as a welcoming beacon for many generations of immigrants and newcomers. Shortly after World War Two, the leaders of a conflict-weary world gathered a few blocks away at United Nations Plaza to establish a proclamation of national harmony and cooperation. The United Nations was created 55 years ago, and still today remains the largest peacekeeping and humanitarian organization on the planet. Elsewhere in San Francisco there are testaments of various peacemakers. Look for the Caesar Chavez murals in the Mission, the Mahatma Gandhi statue near the Ferry Building, and quotations from Martin Luther King Junior at Yerba Buena Gardens. Around the Bay Area there is Muir Woods named after the tireless environmentalist John Muir, and People's Park in Berkeley where protesters began voicing conscientious objection to the US military involvement in Vietnam. We citizens of the Bay Area appreciate the men and women of goodwill who devoted their lives to the cause of world peace. It is these people who were not afraid to stand up to adversary in a nonviolent fashion, in the hopes their efforts would inspire others by example. Their example is not forgotten here today - only enhanced. GIVE PEACE A DANCE!
Finally, I want to end with world travel, something I feel very passionate about. Not only because I write and publish books on the subject, but because I think travel is something that is facilitating greater understanding and compassion for all people -- near and far. Travel brings us closer together as a human race, in this, what I call the Golden Age of touring planet Earth, when modern transportation is more accessible than ever, and most nations are at peace. Travel is the best form of interpersonal education because it puts people in a position of excelled learning, enhanced by the daily excitement of being in a faraway land. My recent European press trip took me to France and Spain, and when the group itinerary was finished, I took the opportunity to visit some of the attractions I preferred to see. What interests me now when I travel are sacred sites and places with techno communities - somewhat like the CCC here in San Francisco. The community I had on mind for this trip was the island of Ibiza off the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Luck would have it that our English-speaking guide in Valencia had a friend in Ibiza, whom she put me in contact with. It turned out that Mamen, that was her name, was a trance party promoter on Ibiza and we shared some of the same friends. Last summer a few of our friends in San Francisco stayed with Mamen, and some of her friends have been to the CCC. She showed my travel partner Bruce and I a great time on Ibiza, demonstrating to me once again that there are wonderful people everywhere. Our new friends taught us a common Spanish saying, day puta mandre, meaning the best of the best. Let that be our mantra as we dance through the rest of this day. Have fun at the How Weird Street Faire enjoying our version of the best of the best. Day puta mandre!