Whew! The tour is finally over! Well, it’s at least half over. We were in five cities in nine days. Seven if you count Nogales twice, since it is both in Mexico AND Arizona. We closed with one of the best shows of the trip in Madison, Wisconsin, where we got a crowd who was definitely, LATM friendly. We spent the day at Fighting Bob Fest, watching speeches by a variety of people from the left push their brand of liberal politics in our faces and then rub our noses in it. Flippin’ socialists! Fighting Bob Fest is basically like Liberalpalooza. It was in a basketball arena filled with progressives, angry about the state of America… but in a good way. Thom Hartmann, Greg Palast, Bernie Saunders, and others. AND BECAUSE NATO AND JANINE HAD TO GET COFFEE WE JUST MISSED CORNEL WEST!!! (No hard feelings at all, of course.)
Now because Fighting Bob Fest is in Wisconsin, it was overwhelmingly white, but because it was a day of progressive team building, it felt like a Tea Party rally minus the fear of others.
As usual, we started off the day with a loose plan: Go to Fighting Bob Fest; pass out flyers for our show that night, & shoot interviews with whoever we could get. Well we managed to finish the day with an overstuffed hard drive of interviews and random interactions. According to Mike and Evan, the filmmakers, they are going to have to buy new hard drives because we are taking up (and talking up) so much space. The only interview we had scheduled was with Peter Rickman, a community and labor organizer from Wisconsin’s AFL-CIO. but while we were walking around the arena, I heard someone shout, “Kamau!” I looked and it was John Hershberger, my number one Facebook friend. John had generously donated to our Kickstarter and we got a few minutes on film with him talking about everything that is going on with the unions in Wisconsin. After we finished and he had walked away I heard him call back to us, “You need to interview him.” And he pointed at a man who I soon found out is the longest serving state legislator in the country, Fred Risser. State Senator Risser very kindly talked to us. And he didn’t seem to be phased by the fact that in the middle of the interview, Nato taped me out, so he could take over with his stentorian tones and aggressive intellect. The best part was when Nato told St. Senator Risser that we learned in Arizona that many of it’s problems are the fault of retirees relocating there from the midwest, State Senator Risser exclaimed, “Hey! Don’t blame Arizona on us!” Thank you for entertaining our questions, Mr. Risser.
That night we did our show at The Bartell Theatre in Madison, and we got OUR crowd. A bunch of liberals and progressives with a senses of humor, who didn’t always agree with us, but didn’t mind us pushing them or us steering them down alleged comedic alleys with dead ends. Afterward we took the advice of Eide Alwan from the mosque in Dearborn and we passed the hat for donations to help us get this crazy documentary finished and the audience politely filled our hat… uh… basket.
Later we went out for some Wisconsin sausage and beer, and gorged ourselves. It is amazing how well it feels like this first week went, and we all anxious and excited to do the second leg of the tour in November. But we are also in desperate need for time to recover. See you all again soon.