Marriage Equality (aka "No on 8") Rally, November 15

On Saturday, demonstrations were held throughout the country in support of marriage equality and against the recent passage of Proposition 8 here in California (as well as similar measures in other states). Of course our local event in San Francisco was one of the more prominent.

It was an exceptionally warm and sunny weekend here, considering that it’s the middle of November. It was already getting hot when people started gathering at City Hall ahead of the 10:30 start time.

And the crowd grew rather quickly.

Indeed, it was hard to see the speakers, or hear them. In that sense, it was a bit frustrating and gave the event a sense of poor planning. At the same time, it was great that the crowd was so large. And it was worth it to be there in support of my friends and all the other people whose marriage rights were taken away. This is part of the way to win them back.

Some more colorful banners, playing on the California and U.S. Flags (we featured the “rainbow Bear Flag” in a past Wordless Wednesday).

After a while of standing in the heat and attempting to listen to speakers, we all decided to march from City Hall along Market Street towards the Castro District.

That is where my participation ended for the day, but this is too important an issue to simply end at a street corner…

Election fun, electronic music, and seriousness

Well, we’re getting close, and things are looking good:

(This is a live link, so it will show the final results, and we’ll see how “good” things really went.)

One delightful election story that is rather apropos of this site involves Brian Dewan. He was in the news this past Saturday because of his performances of historical political folk songs (think mildly irritating songs about Jimmy Carter, Nixon or Eisenhower), but Dewan’s true claims to fame are his unqiue electronic musical instruments, including Melody Gins and Dewantrons, and “Folk Synthesizers.” We at CatSynth are delighted to see politics and our own art form crossing paths in such a direct and public way. As for Dewan’s instruments – we want one!.

This reminds me of how electronic music crossed paths for me during the previous elections, when I attended ICMC in New Orleans in 2006; and in 2004 as well, when my fellow electronic musicians and I watched the defeat at a bar in Miami. Things are looking much better this time.

We at CatSynth have also been quite amused by some of the humorous and well-designed sites that have recently appeared, most notably This Flash animation depicts Sarah Palin as President (presumably after McCain’s untimely demise) in the form of an interactive game where you click on different objects (it reminds my a lot of Myst series and similar games from the 1990s). Humor abounds, as you uncover stashes from huge shopping trips, make Palin say goofy things like “Where’s Russia” and variations on “Maverick.” It is being updated every day through November 4th, and it’s always fun to come back and see what’s new. Hours, or least minutes of quality entertainment.

One thing that is not so entertaining: a mailer I received, using Barack Obama’s image and words to support Proposition 8. He is officially against it – though he hasn’t been particular vocal about the issue, mostly because of cultural blackmail in certain regions and among certain demographics. Nonetheless, it is really troubling, hopefully it doesn’t sway anyone in this largely Obama-supporting state.

The ad seemed largely targeted at African Americans, given the images and quotes from black clergy. It made me wonder about my own ethnic hertiges and their support for marriage equality. In particular, the Indian side of my heritage. I did find this survey thanks to Prerna. It suggests a 47% vote against proposition 8, which is far higher than I expected. Given my own experience (as well as the stereotypes of Indian Americans), I would have expected far lower, as we (i.e., South Asians) have an embarrassing track record on social and cultural issues. So on that note, I am somewhat optimistic. But both Prerna and I agree, “We can do so much better.”

And that’s true for the country as a whole, we can do so much better. Hopefully, we will chose that option, both nationally and locally…