Wednesday, December 06, 2006

BEACH IMPEACH EVENT WITH HELICOPTER AND 1,200 PEOPLE -- DECEMBER 10, OCEAN BEACH, SAN FRANCISCO


TOPICS (full text below):

-- UPDATE -- WEDNESDAY NIGHT, DEC 6
-- THE THING(S) ABOUT "REGISTERING"
-- ALL THE INFO FOR DEC 10
-- PHOTOS from helicopter
-- YOU TUBE VIDEO... it's "UP"!
-- PLEASE REGISTER FOR DEC 10 EVENT
-- MASS EMAIL INVITE TO PASS ALONG TO FRIENDS



-- UPDATE -- WEDNESDAY NIGHT, DEC 6

Sixty-six people registered as I head to bed. It takes 68 to fill the "I" in IMPEACH!... Right now, with all the people who have told me they are coming but that they never register for ANYTHING, I'm confident of having 200 people, and am developing strategies for how to deal with the various possibilities. We need 350 bodies to "outline" the whole thing, 700 to fill it "loosely", 940 to fill it "densely", and 1200 to pack it solid...

But everything's in place. Gave my credit card number to the helicopter company. Have the photographers lined up. Now all we need is decent weather, and a big crowd... Invite everyone you know...


(This next story is from yesterday...)

What a roller-coaster! Tuesday morning, I'm up early -- 5 a.m. -- finally take my first look at the weather forecast for Sunday -- cloudy, with a 40% chance of rain. Not good. Look at number of people registered: 54. Not optimal. I know more people than that who say they are coming but have not registered, who say they don’t ‘register’ for ANYTHING. And THAT, I completely understand.

Drive daughter to school. Another parent dropping off her son tells me she (not registered) is coming with three people -- and just a few minutes ago she sent the invitation to fifty of her friends.

Back home, check weather again: now the forecast is for NO rain on Sunday. Emails from two more people who say they’re coming, bringing friends –- I don’t see either of their names on the registration list.

I take dog, Maggie, a black lab, and walk three miles in the quiet of the hills behind Oakland, sit down on log and think about the 10 years it took me to find a publisher for my book “Take Me With You”; think about the friends who said, “Give up – Move on”; recall that I never for a minute surrendered on that project, even though it did look cloudy and bad-stormy a LOT during that decade. But I thought it was too good a book, too good an idea... And now I recognize that I’m committed to the Beach Impeach Project in the same way -- it’s too good an idea. I’ll see it through.

Walk three miles back to car, drive to bagel shop. On the sidewalk a young guy, Dave, is canvassing for the group Environmental Action. I give him $10, and start to tell him about this Sunday’s event. I’ve said no more than eight words when he steps back, eyes alight:

“You’re Brad Newsham!”

I’m shocked -- I’ve never seen this fellow before. “I am...,” I say.

He says, “I emailed you from Mongolia this summer. I was traveling and I emailed you and asked if you had any advice about how to get across the border from Mongolia into Tibet…”

It doesn't sound familiar. “I do get a lot of email from travelers…” I say, uncertainly.

And then he puts me into hysterics with this: “You emailed back, ‘All good stories have at least one taxicab!’” And I recognize this immediately as one of my own little darlings.

A little later Dave says, “Oh, you bet I’m coming to the beach on Sunday -- and with a carload of friends. I put it up on myspace too… You should get a myspace account…”

I come home, call or email every media person I can think of, begging for attention. I have no idea how Sunday will turn out -- how many people, the weather -- but I do know I’m committed to the project the way my dog is committed to her tennis ball.

And today, Wednesday, the Volunteers For Change group will send the invitation out to their list of over 25,000 local activists/volunteers, and I’ll just keep plugging away.




-- THE THING(S) ABOUT "REGISTERING":

-- I know more people who are NOT registered (who tell me that they never register for ANYTHING, which I completely understand), but who also say they are coming on Sunday, than there are people who HAVE registered (58 as of Wednesday a.m.)

-- If you don’t want to register, no problem, but please COME ANYWAY! (and please, if you will, SEND ME AN EMAIL telling me approximately how many people to expect in your party).

-- Your registering (OR sending me an email) allows me to prepare contingencies depending on the number of bodies we’ll have. Here are the numbers.

“Outline” (350 minumum): To outline the entire message requires approx 350 bodies.

“Loose” fill (700): We can completely outline and also do a respectable fill-in with 700. (This number might satisfactorily complete this project.)

“Complete” fill (940): This is the “real” number I’m shooting for. 940 bodies will fill the lettering 4 bodies across. (I’m figuring that each person, lying down with arms slightly spread, will fill, on average, a space that is six-feet by two-and-a-half-feet).

“Dream” number: 1200. With 1200 bodies we can pack the lettering like a can of squirming worms.

-- If we get less than 400, however, I’ll have to make some difficult decisions about what will make the best option for getting photos that will encourage a full crowd if/when there is a “next time” – in early 2007.

As you can see: BODIES COUNT! And registering (OR sending me an email) will really help.



-- ALL THE INFORMATION FOR DECEMBER 10

A mass email that I have sent to my big list is posted in the next entry on this blog (it's titled: 'EMAIL THIS TO WHOMEVER...") -- it says most everything there is to say -- please feel free to copy it and send it to anyone you'd like.

But the overall gist is this: Last Thursday the Park Service issued me a permit for the Beach Impeach event on Sunday, Dec 10, (designated National Impeachment Day by many activist groups). I'm permitted to have to 1200 people at the beach. You're invited. Come to Ocean Beach the morning of Sunday, December 10, 2006. By 10 a.m. or so, I'll have "IMPEACH!" outlined clearly in the sand in letters 100-feet tall (or maybe taller). Please arrive no later than 10:30 a.m. Prepare to lay your body down inside the lettering: "IMPEACH!"

The helicopter -- weather permitting -- is due overhead at 11 a.m. My goal for this project is to get AT LEAST one good visual, one good icon, for the impeachment movement -- "IMPEACH!" filled with bodies in the sand, with the San Francisco skyliine and the Golden Gate Bridge, too, in the background. If we don't get a good image on Dec 10, I'm putting this project off until after the new year. The new Congress convenes on Jan 3, and will certainly need some direction from we the people.

I'll get some logistical information up in the next couple of days.



-- PHOTOS:

Photographer David Page, who was one of the Backpack Nation finalists from 2002, gave me a disc full of photos he took from the helicopter during the Nov 11 "run-through." I'm terrible with computers, and have managed to post just three of them, but they do give you a sense of the power and potential of the Ocean Beach site and of this project. To view, please go to:

homepage.mac.com/bradnewsham/PhotoAlbum2.html



-- YOU TUBE VIDEO... it's "UP"!

My old friend Jamie Cavenaugh was in the helicopter during the November 11 "run-through". He's posted an impressive two-minute video on You Tube. To view it, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlZAYOqYXIw



-- PLEASE REGISTER FOR DEC. 10 EVENT

If you think you even MIGHT be able to attend, please register for the December 10 event at www.bodiescount.org. Go to the the "signup" bar at the top of the page, go to "View events calendar" (this is the only event scheduled for 12/10), and follow the simple registration steps (should take about 60 seconds). You can register for friends who may be coming with you, too. Thank you.



-- MASS EMAIL INVITE TO PASS ALONG TO FRIENDS

The next entry in this blog (it's titled: 'EMAIL THIS TO WHOMEVER...") is a mass email I've sent to my big list. Please feel free to copy it and send it far and wide.


And please stay tuned.

Brad

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