Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fringe A No-No

Kay i have to give christine chomiak credit for that catchy title! i also have to give her heaps of credit for getting hosts of shows on cjsr to donate time to our locked out cbc show. she says the response was positive and plenty of hosts volunteered to give us 30 mins of air time. so it looks like we might get our radio show after all! will keep posted.
also we now have a local CMG edmonton site: cbcedmonton.ca (link to your left), not to be confused with our old news website edmonton.cbc.ca! too funny.
i'd just like to say before i continue recapping the past days events that we've done a pretty good job of keeping the lockout in the public conciousness. even on a saturday - today i opened the edmonton journal and found three letters to the editor on the lockout: all supportive and one by our very own kim trynacity. now what i enjoyed about reading her letter was it serves as a reminder (especially to albertans) that people should really expect more from their public broadcaster, including in our regional coverage when we're back on the air. "does the cbc need a shakeup? absolutely. too much power is concentrated on too few desks in toronto." good point - and worth letting people hear about.
anyhoo, back to picketing adventures. thursday was a gorgeous day - seemed like a great day for information picketing at the fringe festival, fringe a go-go. we knew the rules: stay outside the main area, if you go in (to use the washroom, etc), roll up your sign. if someone asked you for a postcard to sign while you were on the grounds, we didn't think anything of giving people one. and we were going to meet in the beer tent at 4pm, where radio active would have normally been. so, andree, christine, ron wilson and i spent the majority of our afternoon in an area that was fenced in that normally serves as a road, but was seemingly outside the fringe boundary. we were there 1.5 hours with not so much as a peep from anyone from the festival. at about 4, we rolled up our signs and ventured inside to see if people were at the beer tent. although we didn't see anyone, we ran into a cameraman from another station and larry mcdonald outside the beer tent boundary. we all stopped to chat, the cameraman asked to see one of our cards, then gave it back to us. we said bye, turned to leave and were jumped on by this fringe beer tent volunteer and the fracas insued:
Fringe:"you can't hand those out here! i saw you!".
Andree: "but that guy's our friend and he just wanted to see one. "
F: "well you can go meet your friends off site and give them out there!"
Christine: "but he didn't even keep it"
F: "look, this is really difficult for us and next year we hope to have you back as sponsors"
Me: "yeah this is really difficult for US too" (thinking YOU try being locked out by your employer and treated like you have a highly contageous disease by a volunteer with a god complex).
we leave.
but it doesn't end there: about 10 minutes to the end of our shift, christine and i are in the place we were before (and for most of the day), when out of the corner of my eye i see burly security guard type volunteer approaching (we'll call him Burly Security, or BS for short)
BS: can i have your business cards please?
Me: no.
BS: i need your names then.
Me: no you don't. (i wasn't born yesterday)
BS: well i need you to leave then - you're on our property and you've been told not to be here.
Me: (feeling argumentative, tired, and cranky by this point) how come we've been here all day and no one's said anything? in fact other fringe people have watched us stand here for more than 2 hours!
BS: well maybe they didn't know! look don't argue with me , just get off (starts cornering us)
Me: i'm not arguing, i'm just ASKING
we leave. BS watches us go. BS feels good about himself about bullying two girls.
christine and i head to the corner of whyte and cgy.trail. along the way we're stopped by two people who really want to sign our cards, and say how ridiculously we're being treated given how much publicity we've given the fringe in the past (thank you)- we give them two to sign. out of the corner of MY eye, BS approaches. but they finish signing and we move further to the corner to wait for the traffic light.
BS does a drive by.
while waiting for the light, we're stopped by a guy who wants to know a bit more about the situation, and tells us he doesn't like unions, and argues a bit with us (friendly though). again, i see BS approaching. by this time we've stopped talking to the guy and are just waiting for the next light to cross.
BS: i told you to leave!
Me: we're just waiting for the bloody light to change!!!! To Christine: you know we should run out into traffic, cause an accident and then blame it on him!
we cross, go to the black dog for a beer and to cool down.
BS thinks all he's learned at security guard school has now paid off.
fin

ok so whether you agree with us getting kicked off or not, i think overall the way we've been treated by them is awful. while i might be a bit biased, at no point were we ever A.disturbing the peace, or B. disrespectful to the fringe patrons. very frustrating.

so on tap for this week: a lunchtime rally/concert on wednesday in front of city hall or in the library depending on the weather. 12 -2 pm i believe.
the blog may be a little less frequent because i'm gainfully employed this week as an administrative assistant. it's just for this week, but holy crap does it ever feel weird taking on this work. not that i don't think it's important or good work, but it's not doing what i love to do, or what i'm trained to do, with the coworkers i'm so fond of. but you gotta do what you gotta do.

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