Respect Revolution and a note on the CAMMIES

Previous Next

Today’s news: life is beautiful, too As an unapologetic (and sometimes delusional) optimist, Arts DEVO is not fond of looking at the world as some irrevocably messed-up place. There is shit, and there is Shinola. As it was and ever shall be. I just try to keep my eyes on the flowers and keep my nose open and my shoes as clean as possible.

I understand, however, that the stench can sometimes get overwhelming, making it seem like there’s nothing but crap on the horizon. And—even though they might wish that I wasn’t connecting their work to my somewhat crass metaphors—that’s where Gerard Ungerman and Stacey Wear come in. The local couple have started a project called Respectful Revolution with the goal of documenting “positive actions throughout the United States with short video portraits.” The thought being that there are plenty of stories told in the media about how messed up the world is due in no small part to humanity’s lack of respect for just about everything. The aim here is to focus on those who are working from a place of respect and taking positive actions to benefit others, and in the Respectful Revolution, “their stories need to be told so their actions can be seen, used for inspiration and replicated, hopefully on a scale that will create meaningful change in our world.”

Last June, Ungerman started the journey by climbing onto a motorcycle in Daytona Beach, Fla., and spending two months driving across the southern half of America to San Francisco (with Wear joining him for a couple of weeks in New Mexico), filming, as he put it, “people who are doing good things” along the way.

Wear and Ungerman (who is an experienced documentary filmmaker, with credits that include works documenting environmental and social-justice issues) are in the process of editing the 70 or so vignettes that were recorded, and have already posted many of them on their smart looking website at

Some of the four-to-five-minute videos include: a fifth-generation cattle rancher raising all-grass, all-forage beef in Greenville, Fla. A woman in Durango, Colo., who started a refuge where she teaches people to forage for edible wild plants, and serves up examples in her on-site café. And there’s even a local guy, Ron Toppi, who organizes the community bike swap at Chapman Elementary, and who opens his short story cheerily introducing his intentions: “Hi, I’m Ron. And I’m from Chico, California, and I want to change the world, one bike at time.”

Shut it ahead of time All right, friends, the 2013 Chico Area Music Awards nominees have been announced (see p. 17), and before I hear the chorus of “The same bands get nominated every year!” raining down on the sunny days ahead, I want to make a plea for restraint. Yes, there are many familiar names on the list. We are a small town, and we can’t avoid the fact that the really good bands that stick around are still going to be good one year later. But, look closer—at names like Big Slim, Dylan’s Dharma, Pageant Dads, Low Flying Birds—and you will see 19 new nominees. If you don’t count the all-inclusive punk category (which has several new bands as well), there is 25 percent new blood on this year’s ballot, which is in line with what the numbers are every year. And a 25 percent changeover each year sounds about right to me.

So, let’s all just relax and enjoy a few cool new tunes on the local-band play list this CAMMIES season.