Archives for category: Charlottesville

DHSKMdzVYAANuF2It’s Sunday, August 20th and this has been one really tough week for the city of Charlottesville. Yesterday the media finally cleared out and we are left alone to grieve for our city, and to try to heal.

I might not be able to adequately express what this week was like. I might fail miserably at it, in fact. But I have to try.

My family and I struggled with whether or not we were going to stand up to those invading our town…whether we should brave the streets of Charlottesville in the name of equality and inclusion. My daughter and I had attended the KKK rally back  in July. It was certainly hectic, and I thought of that crowd multiplied by 5. That was scary enough.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.59.02 AMThen I woke up to this on Saturday morning and the decision was clear…hubby and I felt the risk was too great, so we hunkered down in front of CNN and MSNBC to watch the events unfold.

It was exhausting. Watching the streets I have walked on, streets right around the corner from my office, being invaded by verminous thugs wearing riot gear, carrying guns, sticks, and batons was sickening.

We were in the middle of watching a live interview on CNN with a clergy member when she suddenly said, “I gotta go!” and was literally yanked out of the camera’s view and hustled to some safe location. Shortly thereafter, the shit hit the fan.

ss-unite-the-right-rally-20-546p-rs_3788f269ac38bbdd88b5e2d735866d15.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000We’ve all watched the images of water bottles flying through the air, fist being thrown, and clouds of pepper spray. See that newspaper box flying through the air? That is the paper I work for. And the other box with Real Estate Weekly on it? That’s mine too.

la-na-charlottesville-beating-20170813-1Once the police finally broke it up, the madness didn’t stop. We watched as some poor dude got the shit beat out of him at the entrance to the Market Street parking garage. We watched as he struggled to get away, tripping and falling repeatedly, with blood down his face.

It wasn’t even noon yet.

When I first saw the footage of the car attack my stomach hit the floor. I’ve walked up that street a thousand times – my office is just 4 storefronts away from that intersection. Cars traveling down that street are required to stop and wait, for no matter how long, until pedestrian traffic on the Downtown Mall is clear before you can proceed.

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I am AMAZED that nobody else was killed. That is a one-way street, so there is no need to see if traffic is coming from the opposite direction. My family and I spent the rest of the afternoon in a zombie-like state, staring at the TV and checking social media.

We are local, so we were getting reports from friends who were in Charlottesville that day. Hell, 5 of my coworkers were in and around the scene reporting for our paper. Facebook and Twitter were invaluable sources of information on that day.

And then trump went on the air. I cannot tell you how disgusted I was by his statements. Many sides. Fuck you. While I’ll admit Charlottesville folks were throwing punches, we were DEFENDING our city. We didn’t march in with clubs, guns, tiki torches, shields and bottles filled with urine.

If this vermin had never slithered into Charlottesville, our good people would have been spending that Saturday morning eating breakfast at Bodo’s, milling around the City Market with their baskets and man buns, or sipping coffee at the Mud House.

Do we not have the right to defend our city?

Sunday, August 13th
We headed into town. We felt the need to be there…to clean up if need be, and to support local businesses. There was still a very large media presence in town. The photo below was where most of the fighting had happened a mere 24 hours earlier.

20170813_121843Market Street, which the day before had been filled with Nazi slime, was now pretty much empty. I was glad to see our celebrate and embrace diversity banner was not torn down the day before.

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20170813_122011This is my poor little C-VILLE box…all battered and bruised from from being treated like a volleyball on Saturday. It actually held up quite well – the door wouldn’t open, but it held it’s shape surprisingly well.

At 2 pm we attended the Jason Kessler press conference. What a shit show that turned out to be. Lots of people were milling about, jockeying for position in front of City Hall. Hubby managed to get a spot right behind a CBS news crew.20170813_135916.jpgDavid Begnaud, who spent a lot of time covering these events, was right in front of us. I’d see him quite a few times around town over the next few days. Kessler, shown in the background of the photo above, was jeered from the second he stepped foot outside the building.

20170813_134147Snipers were at the ready…

20170813_135753.jpgIt didn’t take long for him to be approached and chased out of town. It was sort of angry mob-like, but without the violence and tiki torches. And let’s be fair. Kessler had tweeted “Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist. Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time.” He’s lucky he left town with his ball in tact.

And we visited 4th Street. This is what it looked like on Sunday.

20170813_120640This is how it looked on Friday…

IMG_0375The entire street is a chalk tribute to Heather. It is sort of a sacred spot, which is why a couple of do-gooders erased the “Burn in Hell” over Jason Kessler’s name, along with the suck dick comment to the left.

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IMG_0370Her memorial on Wednesday had the Downtown Mall packed once again. It was a sea of purple, and thank goodness was void of any vermin…they had said they were going to “protest” her memorial. Fat chance fuckers…

IMG_0341The gentleman in the bow tie is Heather Heyers boss.

20170816_110151During the memorial, those who could not get in to the Paramount stood in solidarity outside.

IMG_0380.jpg I don’t know how long it’s going to take my town to get over this. There is going to be much finger pointing and much arguing. After seeing what happened in Boston yesterday, it’s apparent that the rallies in Charlottesville could’ve been handled a lot better.

The police stood by for most of the violence, only intervening when they were given orders to. Where were they when a newspaper box was a projectile weapon? Where were they when a man was getting the living shit beat out of him in a parking garage A MERE 15 FEET FROM POLICE HEADQUARTERS???

When the KKK came to town, they had barricades set up to keep the two sides apart. Why wasn’t that done this time? Why in the world was 4th Street, where all those people were run over, open to traffic?

There are lots of questions. This might not be over for a long, long time.

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20170606_163147I am not ashamed to admit it…I love my job.

Sure it can get frustrating constantly dealing with deadlines, and clients who get their ad materials in an hour before press time. Sure it sucks when your sales rep gives you the bare minimum of information when designing an ad that you spend an hour on, only to have the client say “it’s not what they were looking for.

But when it comes down to the proverbial brass tacks, I love my job.

Take today…I am working from home. I already work from home every Wednesday, which is our slowest production day, but this Friday our sales team met their goal, and they have the day off. My publisher, the fair and reasonable gal that she is, told us we could work from home as well. So I sit here in my jammies, mug of tea by my side, writing this rather than driving into town to the office.

This happens frequently. On days where she can our newspaper and magazines are in good shape, she’ll send us home early. This is because she knows that when we are swamped with ad builds, we work weekends and after hours to get proofs out. She acknowledges that, and gives us time off when we are slow.

This is something my other bosses never quite got. Hell, at my last job if I needed to leave early because family was coming in or I had a doctor’s appointment you had to SHOW you made up the time. The fact that I came in 1/2 hour early every day, or sometimes never took a lunch break escaped their notice. They were slave masters when it came to hours.

I also love my job because I respect the product we put out. My newspaper is the heart of Charlottesville…the alternative to your basic newspaper, we cover topics that others won’t touch. This was the cover of our last issue of 2016…12_28_2016 CVILLEWEEKpg01It took BALLS to put this out there for all of Charlottesville to see….to boldly show that we do not agree with what is going on in Washington and around the country. We got a lot of flack for this cover. There are still a few advertisers that refuse to do business with us. But that is why I LOVE our product. They are not afraid to tell it like it is.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 7.42.22 AMThis is another one of my favorite covers from a previous year. Colorful and fun, promoting equality and diversity…and with a drag queen front and center.

My paper sponsors a lot of awesome events in town as well. Not only the Pride Festival, which this cover was promoting, but the Tom Tom Founders Festival, our local baseball team, the Tom Sox, along with a plethora of other community events. They are very invested in our town, and I really dig that.

My company also shows a ton of appreciation for it’s employees. We are fed often…There are always snacks on the table – actually, I’m not sure if this is really a good thing…

My boss is taking my coworkers and I to lunch next week – this after she bought a whole bunch of us lunch just a few weeks back. We frequently have work time-outs where we play games, drink wine and snack for an hour or so at the end of the day. They plan outings for us as well. In a few weeks we will all meet at a TomSox baseball game for a barbecue and drinks.

Yes, there are perks a plenty! Gift cards, free concert tickets and tickets to lots of community events are handed out frequently. During the spring my family got to attend an outdoor barbecue that costs $75 per ticket. I got my daughters free tickets to a Parachute concert a few months back.

Ooops! It’s 9 am! time to log in from home and begin my day. You know what they say…when you love your job you don’t work a day in your life.

 

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This past Saturday the KKK came to my town of Charlottesville. They were protesting the removal of two confederate statues, one of Robert E. Lee, and one of Stonewall Jackson.

There were several counter protests organized, as well as events celebrating love, equality and acceptance throughout the city. My youngest daughter and I attended the counter protest by the Stonewall Jackson statue.

When we arrived there was a man with a large sign on a microphone screaming that gays were going to hell. There was a man in a green diaper dancing in front of him. People were dancing and playing drums. It was kind of amusing at first…a sort of circus atmosphere.

And then the troublemakers showed up.

20170708_140158I pointed them out to my daughter…two men who have been at every rally of every kind in town carrying signs, and I told her that things were going to get all sorts of nasty now. Within minutes people were screaming at him, and I came very close to having my phone broken.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 3.11.04 PMWatch the video here

Things escalated after that. Before long I noticed a crowd that had surrounded a woman and her husband, both wearing bars & stars hats. They were being screamed at by no less than 20 people, because they were not in favor of removing the statues.

My daughter and I stood amongst the crowd, watching the woman attempt to defend herself, while a fat woman in a tutu and a push up bra screamed in her ear non-stop. The couple were being protected by police officers, and this enraged another young woman, who began calling them “killer cops” and yelling the names of African Americans who had, in essence, been murdered by police officers.

But this wasn’t why we were here. We were here to denounce the KKK, right? Her rants, while valid, seemed out of place. The police were simply trying to protect a couple from Maryland who did not share the opinion of the majority of protesters.

As the protest continued, I saw some of Charlottesville’s best…folks who were handing out free water, fruit and sandwiches to fellow protesters. It was hot and sunny that day, and if you ran out of water, you were craving some quickly. One man walked around saying “The KKK is hydrated today…are you?”

Other people were gathered in song, or parading through the small park and surrounding sidewalks carrying signs and chanting peacefully.

But I have to tell you, I saw more of Charlottesville’s worst that day. At one point my daughter and I witnessed the same man and woman, now joined by a younger couple, who were obviously statue supporters. They were surrounded by police, but there was a crowd of at least 50 people screaming at them.

20170708_152438Watch the video here

I said to my daughter, “I feel really sorry for those poor people.” It was then that a woman began to argue with me, and my use of the word “poor.” According to her, they were getting what was coming to them, and were not “poor.” I didn’t understand her at first, maybe because her argument sucked.

I turned to her and explained that just because they had a different opinion, it did not give that angry mob the right to treat them that way. We were here to protest the KLAN…were they klan or just some passionate southerners who don’t think it’s right to take down statues of Confederate Generals? In the end, they are human beings and deserved to be treated with more respect than they were being shown.

I also told her that Charlottesville was showing its ugly side and that I was ashamed. She didn’t like that one bit and skulked away.

Perhaps I’m a bit naive, but I think people should be treated fairly…I hate to see anyone surrounded by a mob – I’d have handed them a water, but my daughter, fearful that the crowd would turn on us, begged my not to.

The Klan showed up and we booed and chanted, but in the end, they kind of won. They had complete protection, cordoned off by barricades and a wall of police, and seeing the angry crowd in a complete frenzy probably gave them huge erections…even the women.

The whole day left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m glad I went because it was a very interesting experience, but I’ll tell you…there are some nasty, angry people in this town.

Vacay

Charlottesville, VA, the town that I live right outside of and work in, has become somewhat of a racial hot bed in the past few months. You see, we have a few confederate statues in town, and like they did in New Orleans, Charlottesville is having them removed.

Not only are they removing the statues, but they have renamed both parks, which were named after confederate generals. However, the new names they picked really suck. I doubt they’ll stick.

In any case, we had one white supremacist rally last month led by white nationalist Richard Spencer. They showed up burning tiki torches – it was a pretty fucked up thing to happen in our little artsy fartsy fairly liberal college town. The photo below was taken one block from my office…from where I sit now writing this…and it’s a pretty daunting sight. However, because they were burning tiki torches, one spectator said, “the air was heavy with both hatred and citronella.”

http---o.aolcdn.com-hss-storage-midas-81e85007b128e965a97fb7cb321d4def-205265721-Screen+Shot+2017-05-14+at+10.21.14+AM.pngThe following night,  hundreds of Charlottesvillians took back the park in a peaceful candlelit protest. It made me super proud of our community. We don’t take kindly to this hate stuff.  Had I known the counter rally was going on, my girls and I would have been there with candles ablaze.

C_1HJnOXoAE3uMv.jpg-largeSo it turns out the KKK wants to jump on the bandwagon. They have a protest scheduled in the same park on July 8th. My paper, C-VILLE Weekly is running an article on it this week. You know, I sit a few desks in front of the reporter who did the research for the article. It was very interesting to listen to her interview actual KKK members via telephone. It sure beat what was on the radio.

To quote the article (which doesn’t come out until tomorrow or I’d post a link), the reason the KKK is coming to Charlottesville? “We think it’s a shame they’re erasing our Confederate history, our white history,” says Jones. “It’s a spit in our face to take down our monument.”

There are several counter protests scheduled at the same time, and I was bummed I couldn’t be a part of it. See, that very day we were to spend the day in New York City on our way back from Martha’s Vineyard. But it turns out one of the counter protests is happening at the outdoor pavilion my husband works at, so we decided NYC can wait…we want to be a part of what could be historic happenings in our hometown. We want to be among those who stand up and say, “This is not what Charlottesville stands for.”

It’s sure to get National coverage….how often does the KKK raise its ugly head and come out from under the rock to stand up for its twisted beliefs? But I will be careful – my whole family will. To further quote the article…

 “Some members will be wearing robes,” he says, noting that it’s illegal in most states to wear the face-covering hoods. Others will wear black military garb. And many will be packing heat, he says.

And sadly, this protest on July 8th won’t be the end of white supremacist assholes flooding our fair city. There is another rally scheduled for August. Richard Spencer and his Alt-Right cronies are slithering into town with what will likely be hundreds of people to further rally against the removal of these statues.

Uff da…the bars and stars will be all over the place. That alone will make me crazy. But seeing actual robes? Not sure how that is going to make me feel at all.

Stay tuned.

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Today while taking my lunchtime walk, I was amazed by the number of people who got in my way. I mean, on an average walk in downtown Charlottesville, I may cross paths with a few people, but today? It was like Grand Central.

And it wasn’t just passing people on the street. It was intersecting at a corner where one of us had to stop or we’d simply collide. Or on several occasions I would meet up with a group of people walking together, none of whom would make room for my passage.

I have to tell you, all that stopping and starting? It got a little annoying.

And it made me think, why now? I mean, if I had left my office 38 seconds later or earlier, I may not have met up with any of these people – the sidewalks may have been all mine, or doubly as crowded. You just never know.

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When I was in high school, at least one Friday of every month was spent doing the Time Warp and screaming “Where’s your fucking neck” at a movie screen. I hadn’t seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in the theaters in probably 20 years.

I’d seen it numerous times, though. My girls and I would watch it on DVD, but it’s just not the same. The closest place to see it in the theaters is in Richmond, VA – but the thought of driving an hour for an 11:30 pm show is not what I would call a “can do” outing.

So when I saw it was playing on the night before Halloween at a theater right here in Charlottesville, it was a no duh. I was finally going to take my daughter to see Rocky Horror as it was meant to be seen…with a live audience. Sasha, a Rocky Horror fan from way back, was super excited to be going.

But it’s so cute…she was also worried. She knew that seeing Rocky Horror was a thing I shared with my friend John, and she was afraid that by our going, it was somehow going to sully those memories I shared with my best friend. Isn’t she a doll?

I was worried too. I wasn’t sure what kind of a crowd we were going to get here in Charlottesville. I mean, this is a cool town and all, but sometimes its residents can be a little stuffy and highbrow. But on the other hand, it’s also a major college town, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

When we got to the theater, there was a HUGE crowd outside, and then I knew we were in for a halfway decent show. Sasha and I filled our water pistols in the bathroom, and found ourselves aisle seats. We had all the props needed in our bag, sans rice for the wedding, which is rarely allowed anymore.

Once the movie started, I knew it was going to be a fun show….people were yelling like crazy. But they were yelling lots of stuff I don’t remember. I guess there have been developments in the Rocky Horror audience script in the past 20 years. Rather than trying to keep up, I enjoyed being somewhat of a “virgin”, like my daughter was as a first time audience participant. I just listened and laughed my ass off.

What was cool was some of the shout outs were regional – folks would crack a joke about a neighboring town that fit right into the movie script. And there were a lot of Justin Beiber jokes…something we certainly didn’t do back in the 80’s. There were many times I yelled stuff and was the only one yelling…I got a decent laugh from the crowd after one too.

But the one bummer was the Time Warp. When I used to go you would stand in a line right in front of the first row and do the dance. At this theater all you could do was stand up and do it in front of your seat, which really sucked. The other bummer was the asshole dressed as Dracula and his girlfriend sitting a few seats down from us. They must have gotten up to go to the bathroom (or the bar) at least 5 times, making us get up every time in the bargain.

But aside from those inconveniences, it was a perfect night. We wore our newspapers, squirted our water pistols, and threw toilet paper, playing cards, and sponges. It was just so much fun. It made me realize how much I missed this Friday night phenomenon, and I vowed to do it again.

But first…I need to learn more lines.