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Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Tagging Up Denver - WESTWORD

Who are they, why do they do what they do..here's a long and thoughtful expose on Denver's hottest crew these days.... the taggers.

He is tattooed and pierced, with heavy, sad eyes and a translucent mustache. He walks with a combination of swagger and caution, his hands sunk deep in the pockets of his baggy jeans. He is in his mid-teens — not a little kid and not an adult. Old enough for trouble but just young enough to slide beyond the grip of reprisal. a new. As in ERAse my shit and I'll write it again tonight.

He glances over his shoulder and turns down a dark alley, keeping one eye on the door of a Mexican nightclub where the manager has chased down taggers with a metal baseball bat. There are a few things he's learned. If a random car or passerby cruises up while you're painting, slink into the shadows. If it's a pissed property owner suddenly on your tail — run. The cops? Fucking fly, homie. A rival crew or some writer you've got beef with? Well, that's where things get complicated. Which is why ERA scans ahead, not necessarily for authority figures, but for other taggers and graffiti artists.

"Everybody comes to this alley," he explains, nodding his head toward a series of minivan-sized pieces (graffiti-speak for "masterpieces") painted along the cinderblock walls and warehouse doors that line the left side of the corridor. The letters are warped, slanted and abstracted in tall flares of color, nearly unreadable to those outside graffiti culture. ERA recognizes several of the names: SHEWP, ACEE, IKON. He admires the particular twists, letter forms, color schemes and shading effects that serve as earmarks of individual style.

"RTD runs these walls," he says, referring to one of the largest crews in the city. RTD has members who have consistently painted for upwards of two decades and carry national reputations. To paint on an RTD wall, one has to either be officially down with the group or be a friendly member of another well-respected crew, which explains the presence of a large piece by KOZE, the head of Denver's TKO posse. Add a writer from SWS and you'd have representatives of the top three crews in the state.

Below this trifecta of RTD, TKO and SWS is an alphabet soup of local crews: KUV, L2K, SRDOT, AM, FTK, AOM, AE, to name a few. It's a wide spectrum, ranging from art-school grads and muralists who only paint approved walls to hip-hop disciples to unabashed vandals and gun-toting tagbangers. There are twelve-year-olds and middle-aged family men who tuck their kids into bed before heading out to maintain their notorious alter egos. All of it adds up to thousands of aerosol junkies in the metro area all jostling for notoriety and respect by marking their tag name and crew letters on any and all available surfaces. To "get up" — to get it higher, to get it bigger and get it longer than anyone else.

"To get up and stay up," ERA recites like a mantra.

At the top of the game sit the so-called kings, a title often claimed but granted to only the most prolific and skilled writers. To be a king is to have a reputation that rises above neighborhoods or northside/southside bullshit. The most famous graffiti writers in the U.S. have conquered not just metropolitan areas, but entire coasts. The mega-crews that recruit this top talent can have hundreds of members in dozens of cities, spreading their ambitions across entire regions and countries. Hell, why not the whole continent?

Scrambling at the base of the hierarchy are the less proficient rookies and posers, kids who just picked up a can or older hacks who still can't cut it, often derided with the most derogatory term in the graffiti dictionary: "toy." "Toys will come here," ERA explains. "But they're not good enough to get up on the [RTD] walls, so they'll tag somebody's fence." READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE Westword

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

說起這位明英宗朱祁鎮 真是好有一比:在北京高峰時酒店經紀段開車:生不完的氣。

先說年號問題,明朝皇帝在位時間再長, 酒店兼差年號也只有一個,惟獨他特殊,在位總共不過十五年,年號卻有兩個,前一個叫正統,後一個叫天順。倒不是因為他非要搞特權,兩個年號之間, 禮服店是由一大堆可氣的事串起來的。

先說正統朝,差不多是地球酒店打工人都知道的,這麼多的忠良幹才他不信任,偏寵信一個教書先生出身的太監王振, 一幹閹党把國家禍害得烏煙瘴氣。後來瓦剌犯邊,忠臣良將的苦勸不聽,偏聽死太監攛掇,非要御駕親徵, 合法酒店經紀帶著幾十萬人牛氣哄哄出了長城,按說既然親徵你就好好 打啊,他不,走到半道又後悔了,連敵人影 酒店工作都沒見著就撤兵,撤兵麼撤得快點啊,跑還沒跑成,讓人家圍在土木堡包了餃子,稀裏糊塗一場 酒店上班混戰,幾十萬大軍全死 光,連本人也當了俘虜。丟人到如此,實在可氣。

英宗被抓到蒙古高原上去啃生羊肉了, 酒店兼職爛賬總要有人收拾。皇帝讓人綁了,敵人打到家門口了,總不成學宋朝 來個衣冠南渡吧!還好喝酒 有他親弟弟給他收拾,弟弟朱祁鈺繼承帝位,改年號為景泰,可氣的正統朝總算結束了。景泰帝信用 酒店PT良臣于謙,成功組織北京保衛戰打垮敵 人,再運用外交壓力,逼得酒店喝酒 瓦剌把英宗放回來當太上皇,總算不用學宋徽宗那樣客死他鄉。折騰半天,祖宗江山差點丟了不說 禮服酒店,皇位也折騰沒了。這樣的鬧劇,怪不 得別人。

雖是傻事敗事一籮筐,但傻人總算有傻福,雖說皇位沒了, 台北酒店經紀命還是保住了,回來舒舒服服過太上皇的日子倒也 不交際應酬 錯,可他不消停,拉幫結派培植私人勢力,幾年後趁著弟弟病重搞了場“奪門之變”。奪粉味 回了皇位不說,上臺第一件事就是殺掉了功臣于謙。並把當初北京保衛戰 的功臣們來了個大清洗,掌握朝政大權的都是徐有貞、石亨、曹吉祥等一幫姦險小人。雖然過了沒幾年,這幾個人也被明英宗清算,下獄的下獄(石亨),充軍的充 軍(徐有貞) 寒假打工,被殺的被殺(曹吉祥),可明朝的政治氣象,還是一片烏煙瘴氣。

皇位奪回來了,自然就要改年號。於是,明英宗 兼差改年號為天順。從正統年到天順年,打敗仗,殺忠良,寵小人,亂國家,儘是他辦的敗事, 酒店小姐每每讀史到此,不知有多少人氣得 酒店公關直哆嗦。

可正統朝的事畢竟年頭遠了,真正給後 暑假打工世攢下麻煩的,是天順朝。

“天順”麼,按字面意思,自然有風調雨順的意思。 打工從這個意義上說,“天順”朝時代的明朝,運氣還真不 壞,別的且不說,單說綁過明英宗票的瓦剌,那在土木堡創下台北酒店經紀擊敗明朝幾十萬大軍,活捉明朝皇帝偉業的瓦剌首領也先,沒死在大對頭明朝手裏,倒在內戰中被一刀 砍死。到了天順朝時期,瓦剌又和鄰居韃靼打個不停,因此,雖然少了良將於謙,但終天順一朝的邊 酒店境形勢,還算是太平無事。