Tag Archives: Los Angeles

A Magical Journey in the West


Yesterday, Matt and I took an epic ride from Los Angeles to Mesa, Arizona.  It wasn’t our longest trip to date, only scheduled to take seven and a half hours. From the very beginning, however, something special was in the air.  Maybe it was some of that LA magic (which we had experienced while walking down the street the day before.  As we were crossing the street downtown, a couple in a Beetle convertible invited us to a party the next day with the promise of (and I quote): “So many b*tches!”).  Maybe it was the hot desert sun (it’s expected to be over 100 in Phoenix this weekend).  Whatever the reason, as we boarded the bus with the last two tickets, we knew we were in for a treat. 

Here’s a run-down on the first (and much calmer) half on the bus:

  • Matt is stared down by a women sitting in front of him.  The interaction began without incident, with the women (we’ll call her Deb) talking to a women sitting next to Matt.  Then, without prompting, Deb violently shakes her head and stares bug-eyed at Matt, only to turn around disgusted and cover her head with her jacket. (I received a wink and smile from Deb later in the trip).
  • As we’re approaching a bus stop, Bonnie, Matt’s seat mate, faces him, rubs his back and says “What’s your name, sweetie?”
  • During our food break, I saw what I believe was a man eating a raw piece of chicken while on the bus.  
At this point, the ride gets a little out of control, with a screaming match, police phone calls and a cab driver named Troy.  Look for part two soon.




Filed under 30-in-60 Bus Tour

State Radio serves alongside Tom Morello on Justice Tour

We just caught wind of this great on-the-road service moment from Boston-based indie rockers State Radio.  They’re currently touring in support of The Nightwatchman (the solo project of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello). 

I first caught The Nightwatchman with Boots Riley of The Coup at the National Conference on Media Reform in Madison, WI in 2003 and was blown away by Morello’s raw, gritty approach to activism.  Unlike Rage or Audioslave, he does it simply with an acoustic guitar and the sound of his voice.  According to Morello, “Each night of this tour is going to be a freedom party.  We are going to create a little bit of the world we’d like to see.”   

Here’s the report from Los Angeles from State Radio bass player Chuck Fay:

besides the magnitude of players that are coming out for these shows, the real meat of Justice Tour is the local social activism that’s going hand in hand with the performances. on monday, a crew of people from the tour went down to a los angeles PATH facility to serve dinner and hang with the people rolling through. chad, mike, and i got dessert duty, obviously never a bad place to be, which consisted of cutting up and serving some good ol’ fashion pie. (insert cartman voice)   

Hit up State Radio’s Tour Blog entry #18 (to the left) for the complete story. 

chad urmston of state radio and tom morello (aka the nightwatchman) process their experience, photo by chuck fay  chad urmston and mad dawg of state radio do the dishes, photo by chuck fay  the result of some sick service, photo by chuck fay 

Now why service?  “There has been much talk about change this election season, but real change must start with people, not politicians. No matter who is elected, we the people must create justice on the ground,” Morello says. 

We at ServeNext.org couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we’re pushing for the expansion of AmeriCorps by 100,000 members and calling for increased support of the Peace Corps, Senior Corps, and Learn & Serve programs… so that people have the opportunity to serve full-time for year at places like PATH and can be impacted by the transformative power of that experience. 

No stranger to the National Service community, State Radio participated in several events at last year’s City Year convention in Manchester, NH and has made a point of encouraging fans to get involved in public service by inviting local organizations to have a regular presence at their shows.  We’re going to try to catch up with the Justice Tour this weekend in Boston, where The Nightwatchman and State Radio team up for a Sunday evening gig at Berklee Performance Center.

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Filed under AmeriCorps, Human Interest, Making the Case, National Service in the News, Stories of Service Impact