Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupying Iowa City

This past Saturday, I, along with two of our top contributors, set off on an electric journey to Iowa City. Our goal was to visit and re-connect with long-time friend, C.C.I. representative, and former Purple Asteroid Cadillac guitarist, Jason Burkhardt. Jason had been stationed (near-rhyme) at College Green Park, about two blocks east of downtown Iowa City. Bearing no more than a pack, a nearly new mandolin, and a relaxed, wholesome, zen-like demeanor, Jason is one of many who have contributed time and played a vital role in the Occupy Iowa City movement.

Bearing no single leader, Occupy Wall Street, or more specifically their Iowa City chapter, is a collective of dedicated men and women who have grown intolerant of the ludicrously wealthy 1% of the nation who choose to squander important funds and dilute the spirits of our nation with avarice. One of the most vivid examples of this fiscal mishandling came to us from a gentleman named Ralph, a student at the University. Ralph, who was more of an audience than a participant in the community, told me a tale of a 39,000$ backpack.

On September 30th, Mary Kate and Ashley Olson's top-tier fashion line, The Row, released an alligator-skin backpack that retailers tagged at around 39,000$. When questioned about the pricy bag, Ashley noted that the only business not affected by the last U.S. depression was a purse-line by the name of Hermes. This backpack was supposedly a modern adaptation of yester-year's purse, with the primary function that allowed women to 'use their hands' while on the move for activities such as talking, texting, and checking e-mail.

Sound absurd? Here's the kicker --
This bag sold out within a week.

Foreclosed home? No thanks, we'll take the backpack. This is a stone-etching of the 1% who toss money to profound luxuries. A strange example, yes, but a vivid one.


After briefly reminiscing with Jason, he departed to his tent, citing that he had the responsibility of securing the park between two and five a.m. I'm not sure when I'll see him next, but I do know that he's doing a great thing. Whether it was the march of signs, the personal intolerance of Corporate America®, or a trail of chalk messages (such as "We are the 99%", or "FREEDOM"), Occupy Iowa City left a chilling message that resonated with everyone at the Industry.

** You can find Occupy Wall Street's official website here.

*** You can find Occupy Iowa City's official website here.

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