Things to see in DC

I don’t have a great deal of free time, since my days are mostly being spent volunteering for the Tar Sands Action protest against the Keystone XL pipeline. Still, I would like to see a few unusual and interesting things while I am in the American capital.

Any suggestions for especially good things to see or do? Ideally, things that are a bit unusual and unlikely to be included in my Lonely Planet guide.

Pedaler’s Wager photos

Thanks to the generosity of a fellow photographer, I had access to a MacBook Pro for a few hours tonight and I was able to process and upload my photos from the Clay and Paper Theatre Company’s 2011 summer show: The Pedaler’s Wager.

The show was very colourfully and professionally put on, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. At the same time, I think it may have glossed over some of the hardships of pre-industrial life and some of the benefits of the current global economy. While there are certainly many critical problems with it, and much that needs to be done to make it sustainable, I do think it serves important human needs and that those who are most critical of it are often those who benefit from constant access to its nicest features. That includes things like modern medicine, communication technology, and transport. It seems a misrepresentation to say that the Industrial Revolution and its aftermath have transported the average person from a blissful pastoral state into a situation of agonizing bondage.

Of course, the purpose of art is not to carefully express both sides of every argument. By provoking us to think in new ways, art can give us a better overall sense of context and an appreciation for important facts that were previously concealed.

Professional organizers

The ongoing Washington protest has given me my first real exposure to an interesting group of people – professional organizers of protests. These are people who provide direct action training, run websites, work with the press, etc. The organizers are progressive people – to be sure – and I am sure they are selective about the causes they support.

The organizers are distinct from activists in that activists are usually firm believers in a specific cause. The activists in this particular protest are the people who are willing to get arrested to express their strong opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Those people are obviously necessary, but it has been interesting to learn a bit about the general logistical side of things – watching people work in dark cubicles on a Sunday, updating websites and watching the news coverage roll in.

En route to DC

The bus ride from New Orleans has already been unusually uncomfortable and filled with stress and delays. Still, it is best not to complain and be grateful that I was able to salvage some audiobooks from my recent iTunes explosion. I have been listening to Little Women and finding it rather touching.

All told, my time in New Orleans was colourful and enjoyable. I wish it had been possible to spend a few more days there, but it seems like a good idea to be at the Washington DC event right from the beginning.

I should be there in about seven hours, barring additional delays.