Web links related to the Back of the Book program of June 29, 2009

It's Wednesday morning, July 22, 2009, 10:15, and at long last this Web page is finally done. I've updated this Web page with more about the Christopher St. Liberation Day March and more about the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, I'd previously updated it to reflect the new deadline for becoming a candidate in this LSB election and to post an E-mail from the Local Elections Supervisor. I'd also updated this page with the soggy saga of our having looked for a specific spot in lower Manhattan and I'd previously added the information about the location of the July 8, 2009, LSB meeting. So better late than never it's done. And what follows is the original top paragraph of this Web page ⇒ It's our annual Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans Pride Program! We marched. I'm fried! We'll get to the below topics and more on this program. Updates will follow.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of many of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've recently updated this stuff a tiny bit.

There was a sudden Town Hall meeting held on Monday, April 13, 2009, at 7:00 PM at The Fortune Society, 630 Riverside Drive at 140th St. in Manhattan. Here's a flyer that was passed out at the event.

The next WBAI LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 8, 2009, at 7:00 PM, at the Cathedral Parkway Towers Community Room, 125 W. 109th Street in Manhattan.

There was a regular meeting of the WBAI LSB held on Wednesday, June 10, 2009, at 7:00 PM, in the community room of Cathedral Parkway Towers, 125 West 109th Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues in Manhattan.

The faction that's rapidly losing its stranglehold on the radio station is going all out because their faction boss isn't around anymore. So the faction operatives on the LSB, and the crowd they'd brought to the meeting, the FoBs, once again disrupted the meeting.

And once again I'll say that I think that some of the people involved with that faction just have a driving desire to mistreat other people. And since that sort of behavior is in line with what the FoBs consider their political actions those miscreants get verbal support from the higher ups in that faction and so act out.

The faction operatives disrupted the meeting and delayed things and then complained about the meeting not getting to an issue they'd wanted to get to.

There was a continued meeting of the WBAI LSB on Thursday June 25, 2009, at the Judson Memorial Church Assembly Room, 239 Thompson Street in Manhattan. The faction said it was going to bring all of its community organizations to this meeting. But we only saw a few extra people at this meeting. There were disruptions and there was the usual nastiness from the FoBs. The LSB passed a motion about finding new, permanent Management for WBAI. The faction certainly didn't like that.

The 2009, WBAI LSB elections are under way at Pacifica. So for the next number of months we'll be seeing the FoBs trying to regain a majority on the LSB and the PNB in an effort to reinstall their faction boss and turn back the clock for WBAI and Pacifica, which would of course result in the destruction of both, which may be exactly their goal.

At its January 21, 2009, meeting the LSB voted to hold its meetings on the second Wednesday of every month and/or the last Thursday of that month, subject to change by the LSB, which gives us the following schedule:

All of these meetings are set to begin at 7:00 PM.

WBAI has a program schedule up on its Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

WBAI has an official Web stream of what's on the air at any time! You can go here and pick which type of stream you want! If this stream isn't working let me know. The stream was working at 9:58 PM last night.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to the program any time for the next couple of months. When you first go to the Web page you'll only see the WBAI programs for the past 7 days. If you want to see older programs you can click on one of the “See ALL Shows” buttons.

Back of the Book is now one of the programs that you can download, as well as listen to on line.

I'm glad to announce that with a new person doing the archives there have been some positive changes. In the table on that Web page Back of the Book and Carrier Wave are both in the Show column. The “Date and Category” column shows the date of the program. After the program I go in and write the details of the program and say which program it is. Of course I'd recommend that you just listen to both programs in this time slot!

The 2009 Local Station Board Elections Have Begun!

The Local Station Board (LSB) is the primary governance body for WBAI. When meeting as delegates the LSB members elect the Directors of the Pacifica National Board, which is the governance body for the entire Pacifica Foundation. The Pacifica Foundation owns WBAI.

Here is the official time table for this crucial election.

UPDATE #1: at its June 8, 2009, meeting the PNB extended the deadline for registering to be a candidate in this election. The new deadline is reflected below as well as the other changes in the timeline that the PNB approved.

UPDATE #2: The National Elections Supervisor and Local Elections Supervisor are now saying that the deadline for getting your nomination petitions, and everything else required, in is July 15, a day later than previously stated.

Follow the links below to get the forms to become a candidate.

Here's a link to the official WBAI Web page for this election.

Here's a link to the Web page where you can download the forms to register as a candidate for the WBAI LSB.

Note that you need to register as a candidate by July 15th. If you want to run for election to the WBAI LSB you must register right away.

Why you should consider becoming a candidate for the WBAI LSB.

This election is crucial for the survival of WBAI and Pacifica. WBAI and Pacifica are in a precarious position right now as current Management attempts to reverse the death spiral that the station and the network have been in for years. If some bunch of chuckleheads gets a majority on the WBAI LSB they'll be able to change the composition of the Pacifica National Board and revert to corrupt, incompetent and malfeasant Management, they might even sell WBAI.

We need decent people on the WBAI LSB who will be interested in preserving the station, not in selling it or running it into the ground. Don't assume that someone else will step into the breach to save WBAI, please seriously consider registering as a candidate for the LSB today.

The Local Elections Supervisor will be at WBAI until midnight Wednesday, July 15, to collect nomination petitions and forms. In addition there will be a public petition signing event on Wednesday from 3:00 to 7:00 PM as per the below E-mail.

From: Ethan Young
Sent: Jul 13, 2009 3:32 PM
To: Les Radke
Subject: From the WBAI local station board election supervisor

To all prospective candidates:

We will be collecting signatures and documents at a PUBLIC PETITION SIGN-IN on Wednesday!

3pm-7pm at Union Square by the Gandhi statue, sw corner of the square.

Please get all completed documents to me by Wednesday night. I'll be in the office until midnight.

-cover sheet
-signed fair campaign provision sheet

If WBAI doesn't have them, you will not be on the ballot.

Ethan Young
Local Election Supervisor

2nd Pride March sticker
Sticker for the 2nd Christopher Street Liberation Day March

This will be Back of the Book's 23rd annual Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trans Pride program!

As always we'll start off the program announcing that “You're listening to all Freaking Fag Revolutionary Radio, WBAI New York!” The phrase “Freaking fag revolutionary” comes from a declaration made by one of the prosecuting attorneys in the infamous Chicago 7 trial. The phrase was picked up by various people involved in the gay liberation movement and in 1970, was a phrase used in defiance.

So Pickles of the North and I went to the march today. I think that this time set a record for the lateness of our area going onto Fifth Ave. We didn't get onto Fifth Ave. until 3:11 PM! I don't know why it was even slower this year, maybe it was just a bigger march.

On the left I've posted a scan of the sticker used to let people know that the second Christopher St. Liberation Day March and Rally, the rally was called a “Gay-In” then, was going to happen on Sunday, June 27, 1971.

It was important to let people know that a second one was going to happen. Only one had occurred before this and so the tradition hadn't actually started yet.

I suppose you could say that with this march the tradition of doing it every year on the last Sunday in June really became a reality.

It was difficult to get the word out in those days. Back then The New York Times refused to use the word “gay” so you weren't getting much ink about the upcoming march then. Others thought that the second march probably couldn't be pulled off. So those of us in organizations that were members of the Christopher St. Liberation Day Committee, which the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was, were tasked to plaster these stickers all over the place to let folks know about the march. Of course the stickers weren't the only media used to get the word out, but they were certainly a part of it. We pasted I don't know how many thousands of these things all over Greater New York and the surrounding areas.

I suppose that these stickers were something like the viral Internet efforts of the 21st Century. Of course in 1971, most people didn't have access to the Internet.

R. Paul Martin Digital ID: 1602617. New York Public Library
R. Paul Martin, age 23, with sign

Thanks to a listener we've found that there are some photographs of me in the New York Public Library's exhibit about the gay liberation movement. Here's one that actually has my name attached to it. I'm carrying the sign about supporting the Clingan-Burden bill, which was the early name of the first piece of legislation introduced to add “sexual orientation” to the New York City omnibus civil rights law. This was the first legislation of its kind introduced anywhere. Some GAA members who actually understood how politics works had gotten a couple of New York City Council members to sponsor the bill. After a while it got a couple of more sponsors and became Intro 475, which had an entire saga attached to it all on its own. The bill finally passed in 1986.

The library is showing an exhibit of my old pal, and former GAA President, Richie Wandel's photographs from those days. Here are links to some more shots of me, and to the entire exhibit.

You can start looking at the entire exhibit by going here.

At one time I was said to have the most famous back of the head in the movement. This photograph shows that again. That's the back of my head on the right. Arthur Evans, Marty Robinson and others are yelling at the guy.

Here I am after the above photograph. I'm past the guy in charge and I'm looking for what to do next.

Here's a photograph of an action in Suffolk County where we, GAA, picketed the police. I've had a serious haircut by this time.

crowd shot of the march
Long View of the 2009 CSLD March Down 5th Ave.

So Pickles of the North and I talked about being in this year's Christopher Street Liberation Day March, known to most as the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered Pride March. No, I'm not against pride, but now and again I think I should mention the roots of this movement.

For the years that the march has been on Fifth Ave. I have always taken a moment to look down the hill that runs from midtown to Greenwich Village. And some years I even get a photograph of the sight, as can be seen to the left. It is amazing how this event has grown over the decades.

I was at the first annual march in 1970, and we had people there in the low thousands, which surprised a lot of people in New York who hadn't known there were that many gay people in the world!

In 1970, those of us who stood in the street initially were in the hundreds, many lined the sidewalks looking to see if the police were going to charge in and attack us. We did have a permit, which had been granted at the very last hour once the police and city officials saw that there were a significant number of people determined to go ahead with this march no matter what. So as that first march kicked off, and the police didn't try to interfere, people jumped in and the numbers swelled. This was actually the way the march went for a few years. And then it got established enough that people lined up in a pretty orderly manner at the start because there was no more sense that the police were going to arrest anyone for being queer or being in the street, at least on that day.

These days it's actually difficult to just jump into the march from the sidewalk. Since 9/11 the New York Police Department has made extensive use of the all steel “French Barriers” that are used in crowd control. Most of Fifth Ave. and the rest of the march route was lined with these things, and unless you're athletic enough to jump one you just can't get around them because they're interlocking.

But Pickles and I marched the entire march, after that long wait, and then we took off. And after that we came in and did this radio program.

On our last program we talked about the new High Line Park in Manhattan. In the past fortnight we've discovered that someone we know lives right next to the end of the High Line Park and is putting on a “Renegade Cabaret” on her fire escape.

NASA workers with
NASA engineers with LRO microchip
Photo credit: NASA

On the right we have a photograph of two NASA engineers with a piece of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that houses a special microchip with 1.6 million names on it. The LRO is going to scout out the Moon to help NASA figure out where and how to set up future lunar expeditions that will last for a lot longer than the Apollo landings did decades ago.

Pickles and I watched the LRO getting launched on June 18th.

The LRO will spend at least a year in a low, only 31 miles high, polar orbit of the Moon taking photographs and other readings. It has seven instruments on board to not only take pictures of possible future landing sites but also determine what areas on the Moon are permanently in darkness, and therefore shielded from the blistering rays of the Sun, and what might be in those dark places. Other instruments will search for evidence of water ice that might be under the Moon's surface.

Last year NASA solicited people to send in their names to be put on the special microchip that will go to the Moon. The engineers are posing with the LRO's propulsion module access panel. The microchip was put in a radiation resistant container that's attached to the back of this panel.

Thanks to Pickles of the North taking the time to submit our names to NASA her name, my name and Uncle Sidney's name are on this chip that's been sent to the Moon.

On the last program we talked about trying to find the exact spot from Manhattan where a photograph for a movie poster had been taken for a movie that was released in 1950. I don't think I can post that movie poster here because of copyright reasons.

Well, we did try that, but the weather was uncooperative. By about four o'clock in the morning it had started to rain heavily. We tried to wait it out but in the end we just went out and started looking.

We had a better idea of where to look than we'd had in our previous search. We had a printout of Uncle Sidney's photograph, and a printout of the movie poster. We did have one serious handicap, however. We were wandering around lower Manhattan in a torrential downpour!

We first went to 20 Exchange Place, which is a prominent building in the movie poster. We then figured out what angle Sidney's photograph must have been taken from and we moved off in roughly that direction.

The rain was coming down hard and the winds kept changing direction in the twisting, ancient streets of lower Manhattan. We were walking through streets that had originally been laid out by the Dutch when the area was named New Amsterdam!

Along some of the narrower streets they've been landmarking and preserving the buildings. In those areas the sidewalks are paved with slate and the building exteriors are from the 19th Century or earlier. On some of these streets, which are at least 350 years old, they have the roof gutters and drain spouts emptying onto the sidewalk, with a shallow trough in the slate to guide the water to the gutter. Well, on that morning these were not mere decorations. The heavy rain was filling the roof gutters and the accumulated water was rushing down the drain spouts and coming out on the sidewalk where the shallow guides couldn't contain the torrent. Much of the time during this part of our search it was like trying to walk past a fire house directed at our ankles!

We eventually found the site from which Sidney had taken his photograph, and it was in front of what had been the City Hall of New Amsterdam. We could see from comparing Sidney's photograph to the movie poster that we needed to move east of the Dutch City Hall.

We looked around in the pouring rain and we found ourselves crossing Water St. which is the street that we tend to walk down after the program anyway! We kept going and concluded that the movie poster had been shot from whatever had previously occupied the site of the current New York Viet Nam Memorial. We walked in there, I've sort of been avoiding it for years, and tried to find the right spot.

Unfortunately, the rain was coming down so hard that I couldn't open a bag and take out that printout of the movie poster. We walked here and there in the memorial, but we'd been dealing with the downpour for maybe three quarters of an hour by then and we had just had it. We couldn't even look up without getting really wet. So we ended our search and decided to try again in two weeks.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even now that the gag rule has been lifted. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.

Probably the most popular list that's sprung up is the “NewPacifica” mailing list. This one is very lively and currently includes over 400 subscribers coast to coast.

Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand. UPDATE: The bleepin' blue board has had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it's under attack by spambots. When you click on the above link you may be asked for a username and password. Type in Username: poster Password: enternow

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

Our very own Uncle Sidney Smith, whose program Carrier Wave alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2009, R. Paul Martin.