Saturday, June 09, 2012

Biograph Times: The Handbill War of 1982

The Handbill War of 1982 tells a story about defending art and live music in the Fan District 30 years ago. Although some might say it was about defending trash and trash culture. The story is part of a collection of stories I've written called Biograph Times.
It felt to me like the City of Richmond was not only trampling on my freedom of speech rights, but it was trying to destroy the nightlife scene in the Fan District. The local authorities were trying to scrub away what some in Richmond had come to see as an undesirable element. 

Which meant I decided to go on stapling fliers to utility poles, more or less to invite a bust.

It wasn’t long before a polite cop showed up at the Biograph with a flier for the movie we were playing, “The Atomic Café.” He said he had removed it from a pole in the neighborhood. I admitted to putting it up and was issued a summons. Due to procedural delays, it took over four months for my day in court to arrive.

Which was fortunate, because I used that time window to build my case.
Click here to read the entire story.

The project of documenting selected shards of time from decades ago is nearing completion. I've got a few more pieces to finish, then there will be some tidying up to do to pull it all together.

After all that, I hope I will have the makings of a book about a time and culture I thought I understood when it was happening. Of course, writing about it now makes me laugh at that notion. Whatever mistakes I've made in recalling the events described in Biograph Times were unintentional, at least on a conscious level.

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