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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Arts + Action

Fourth Annual Do-It-Yourself New Year’s Takes the Streets
by Last Night DIY ( info [at] lastnightdiy.org )
Monday Dec 15th, 2008 12:23 PM
Decentralized celebration still refuses permission to bring spontaneous parade to Santa Cruz streets
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Santa Cruz, CA, December 15th, 2008: In what is rapidly becoming a homespun Santa Cruz New Year’s tradition, the Last Night DIY Parade and Street Party will take over the streets on New Year’s for the forth straight year. This year the do-it-yourself, grassroots celebration returns with hopes for a parade, street party, entertainment, and performers to take over downtown for a whole evening of DIY adventure and entertainment.

In your near future: a New Year’s eve crammed with jugglers, clowns, samba drums, pirates, bikes, and marching bands. The usual city- and corporate-sponsored New Year’s eve event? Hardly. This is Last Night Santa Cruz, a people’s parade and street party. It is a do-it-yourself celebration that goes beyond the now-defunct First Night event.

Three years ago, the Last Night DIY celebration erupted into the national headlines when it was discovered that Santa Cruz Police had illegally spied on community meetings for months and gathering information about activist groups and other unrelated activities.

This year, the celebration returns with an unabashedly defiant point-of-view. A manifesto published on the Last Night DIY website states, "Last Night is a completely organic event, organized and put on at a grassroots-level. No city-sponsorship. No corporate donors.”

The Last Night website (lastnightdiy.org) states, "“We are not asking for permits and permission, nor are there any limits on participation. Our entire community is invited to participate and celebrate together.”

This year on New Year's Eve, the celebration will meet at 5pm near the Saturn Cafe parking lot on Pacific Ave and Spruce Street.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Last Night DIY
( info [at] lastnightdiy.org ) Tuesday Dec 23rd, 2008 6:42 PM
This year, will be interesting. A truly do-it-yourself event. Where in years past a relatively small group of people has gotten together to organize some of the details of the Last Night DIY parade, this year is different.

This year, while people may have gotten together to plan what they were doing in the parade and celebration, no meetings have yet materialized around planning details of the parade itself. Which is okay, but might feel a bit chaotic on the day of.

What does this mean? It might mean that if you see something that needs to be done, you take it on. No more waiting for someone else. Do=it-yourself takes on its true meaning, the reason we are doing this as a community in the first place.

I'll try to spell out what we did last year.

Meet at the Saturn Cafe lot, Pacific & Spruce
5pm Sunset on New Year's Eve
Parade will take off at 5:30pm
and end in a street party at Pacific & Cooper

Last year's street party was a fabulous end to the parade. I hope we turn Santa Cruz New Year's Eve into a fabulous do-it-yourself Festival. All night long, happenings. Music, dance, fireworks, parade, street party, performance, food, art! All free, all participatory, all do-it-yourself. Not just mere spectacle, but people expressing themselves and connecting with each other.

So we hope to serve as a spark to the powder keg. In other words, we feel like the beauty of this thing is that we do it together.

Love,
Last Night DIY
by Kathryn Agnone
Tuesday Dec 30th, 2008 3:01 PM
I am the Special Event Coordinator for the City of Santa Cruz. After I read the article in today’s Sentinel regarding your Last Night parade, I wanted to contact you to see how we can work together.

Although there is not much time, I want find a way to provide information to you about requirements for special event permits and see if you are interested in meeting.

It is important to me to work with groups throughout the City, such as yours, fairly and equitably on special events for the public.

The SC Municipal Code Chapters 10.64 and 10.65 have the purpose to promote public safety and welfare, to provide the city with a minimum amount of time to logistically accommodate events, and to assure that the First Amendment rights of those who wish to peacefully participate in events on City of Santa Cruz public property are preserved and protected.

These ordinances can be found in entirety at the following link: http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/SantaCruz/.

Many other community groups have submitted applications for parade events and these have been successful, active and well-represented marches/parades. There have been many special events, such as SC High’s Homecoming and Gault’s Halloween and the Virgen of Juquila parade, that have required fees for police staffing due to traffic control.

With all this information in mind, I would like to work with you and your group to issue a permit. By working together, the issues of security, traffic control, clean-up and liaison with police, which you say on the Last Night website are of great importance to you, can be addressed.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Kathy Agnone
by Last Night DIY
( info [at] lastnightdiy.org ) Tuesday Dec 30th, 2008 3:02 PM
Thank you for your direct communication. I think our manifesto on the Last Night DIY web site will answer most of your questions (http://www.seedwiki.com/wiki/last_night_diy/manifesto):

A L A S T N I G H T M A N I F E S T O

Last Night is a decentralized, collective, open, public New Year's Eve celebration in Santa Cruz, California. Last Night is a completely organic event, organized and put on at a grassroots-level. No city-sponsorship. No corporate donors. It’s a do-it-yourself (D.I.Y.) parade and celebration.

We write this manifesto in the spirit of understanding, in an attempt to communicate our intentions. The parade is not merely a celebration, but a celebration of the power that we all have when we gather together to make something happen. Not just a street party, but a party to reclaim our streets.

Last Night started in 2005 as a response to the implosion of the city-sponsored First Night celebration. That year, thousands of people came out to participate in the people’s parade that marched raucously up Pacific Avenue. The parade included the Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra, martial arts displays, firedancers, the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, Indonesian music, drum circles, floats, and the Opera Lady. The parade was high-energy and peaceful. There were no conflicts with police who’s light presence remained far on the periphery. The parade and it’s organizers represented a broad cross-section of the community.

The celebration is decentralized -- no one person or group is making it happen. There is no central committee nor board of directors. No one is in charge, but we are all leaders. Decisions about route and timing and other tactical matters are made collectively by those willing to step up and make it happen. Collective simply means we all do it together.

We are not asking for permits and permission, nor are there any limits on participation. No one is in a position to restrict who can participate or in what way. People simply show up prepared to take part in a city-wide celebration. Our entire community is invited to participate and celebrate together.

The focus is on self-reliance. One of the most important aspects of the Last Night celebration is that people take responsibility for themselves and for their community. As such, parade "un-organizers" take pains to address issues such as security, traffic control, sanitation, clean-up, and police liaison.

Beyond the impossible barrier of the city's arduous and prohibitively expensive special event permit, the permit process itself is a racket. It is the process through which the city seeks to charge us for the privilege of exercising our rights to free speech and free assembly. Accepting a permit puts one person or group in the position of having to put controls on other people, lest someone damage their good standing with the authorities. Additionally, that person or group takes responsibility and liability for the actions of others. We don't want to be in that position, nor do we want someone to have that responsibility for us.

We want to live in a world full of play and celebration, where self-expression is a matter of course. A world full of surprises, in which relationships are authentic and open-ended. A world in which we share a direct connection to the world around us. Where one does not have to ask permission of authorities to realize one’s dreams of adventure and possibility.

Part of creating a new world is resistance to the old one, to the relentless commodification and control of everything, including celebration and the way we relate to each other.

When we ask permission to live our lives, to celebrate, to come together, to express dissent, we legitimate the power of institutions over us. We give up our power to make our own choices and become subject to the decisions of others who may or may not be acting in our interests.

Therefore, we are not seeking permits from the city. We refuse to ask permission to be free.

Love and Celebration,
Last Night Santa Cruz
by JDUB
Wednesday Dec 31st, 2008 8:36 PM
The permitting department of Santa Cruz has ousted two events that I have personally been a part of organizing. These events were small, but had been going on for over 20 years by organizations that have been here in SC since the 70's . The fees for all of the bullshit like extra cops, permit fees, porta-potties, etc make it virtually impossible for a small group to organize an event here. We moved our events to other cities in the Monterey Bay area with great success. We even got a small grant from the City of Monterey and they waived some of our permitting fees. The other cities made us feel welcomed. I wrote two separate letters of complaint to SC City officials with no response. It kind of sucks because Santa Cruz is my home.

As the economy nosedives, the community will get stronger and the nonsensical bureaucracy of governments will become more and more useless to the general populace. Live DIY!