Tag Archives: virginia

Tent City: The Unknown Community Of Woodbridge, Virginia

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Steven Lewis Hardeman
Credit: Ryan Garza

Tent City: The Unknown Community Of Woodbridge, Virginia

At Midlothian, VA

Tent City: The Unknown Community Of Woodbridge, Virginia

 Jun 27, 2016

What’s it like to be homeless in one of the wealthiness counties of Virginia?

Welcome to Tent City, the homeless camp of Dale City, Virginia.

It’s just 25 miles from Washington, D.C., hidden along the forest of Dale Boulevard. Minutes away from the shopping and dining epicenter of Prince William County sits a neighborhood not many are familiar with much less, ever heard of. Tent City. I took a journey into this unknown territory to speak with its residents and discover what life is like for a small dozens of the hundreds of homeless in one of the wealthiest counties of Virginia.

Upon first entering I received glares acquainted only with the roar of vehicles coming from the always busy I-95 that is less than a mile away. The silence was broken by an older man yelling, “You look too clean to be here.” At this moment, I didn’t know whether to laugh or turn back. I informed them that I was there for a story and in exchange, I’d give any help I could offer. My introduction was less than ideal but was enough to get me so called “right of passage” an outsider needs to enter into this community.

I walked through this area nearing almost 50 acres. Flags, various banners, old carpets, and tents consumed the space. The only thing I could compare it with was something seem out of an post apocalypse movie or video game. The first gentleman I spoke to, who chose to remain nameless, is 38 years old and has been living here for the last three years. “I don’t know how it happened … Nobody’s goal in life is to be homeless… I was a regular guy then one day my life started crumbling before I knew it, I was here.” The man was very open about his experiences and seemed somewhat eager to show me his living space. He showed me his tent and explained how there might be anywhere between 10 to 18 in one tent. “It’s not much but it’s home,” he stated. Continuing through his area, he showed me a grill he said, “The funny thing about this grill is that its never cooked any food, only to start fires when it gets cold.”

The second person who was open to speaking with me was a 28-year-old woman, Destiny Grear, who has been a resident of the community for the last year. “This is my 3rd camp, there’s tons of em’ around here…”Unless you’re out here you don’t know how hard it is in the forest. All you’re ever worried about is just surviving, just getting by … People really don’t think this is real but it is.” Destiny said she has tried going to different types of shelters in the area but explained how you can only be there so long until you are forced to relocate. “I’ve been homeless since I was 23. Nobody could comprehend how hard it is for a young female to have to live like this … I’ve had to do things I’m not proud of at all sometimes you run out of options and make bad choices, that’s how you end up here I could I gone to school and done what I was supposed too, that’s my burden to carry everybody goes through stuff this the hand I’ve been dealt I don’t blame anybody.”

The last two individuals I spoke to that really struck a cord with me was a couple. Christopher and Donna Wise were once normal happy homeowners in Woodbridge,Virginia. “I grew up since I was a little girl went to Garfield High School, was a homeowner all my life then lost my home to foreclosure, my husband lost his job and couldn’t find any work that was the preamble… It sounds crazy, one day you got everything and the next, you’re dying for just a shower. ”

Day to day life for these people consist of holding a sign asking for any spare change. One resident said he’d be lucky to get $5 in a week’s time. What amazed me the most was the diversity of the community people of all backgrounds, all walks of life called this tent city home. Everyone I spoke to shared one thing in common they said they do anything for just some fresh water or a night without having to rummage through a dumpster for something to eat. People as young as 18 and as old as 58 are living in conditions that would barely be acceptable in some third world countries. Even through these hardships every member of this community was just that, part of a community. Everyone looked out for one another and through a bad situation became a family. Still fighting day after day. These people have to endure through freezing winters and scorching summers year after year. Somehow, whether through perseverance or an ever-lasting ounce of optimism they held their head high. Self-aware of their pain but strong enough and unwilling to express it.

For me personally, sometimes the hardest part of my day is finding something to watch on Netflix and its luxuries that are taken for granted every day. In Prince William County alone, there are reportedly over 500 people who are homeless. Most of us, I think, don’t take the time to even consider how real of an issue it is here in Northern Virginia new restaurants and stores are being built at an staggering rate and what will happen when these make-shift wooded camps for the homeless are eventually torn through in order to build the next apartment complex? If I want there to be any takeaway from this article apart from raising awareness, is next time you see someone in need of help, don’t be afraid to lend a helping hand. You just don’t know what they could be going through the residents of Tent City I spoke to said the hardest thing to find was simply help. The first thing that’s seen when coming into Dale City is a welcome sign that reads The Friendliest Little Town Around. Maybe its time we start acting on that motto a little more.

#tent_city#woodbridge#virginia#steven_lewis_hardeman#homeless#ana_christy#beatnikhiway.com
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COOL PEOPLE -THE CARTER FAMILY

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The Carter Family

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BIOGRAPHY

The most influential group in country music history, the Carter Family switched the emphasis from hillbilly instrumentals to vocals, made scores of their songs part of the standard country music canon, and made a style of guitar playing, “Carter picking,” the dominant technique for decades. Along with Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family were among the first country music stars. Comprised of a gaunt, shy gospel quartet member named Alvin P. Carter and two reserved country girls — his wife, Sara, and their sister-in-law, Maybelle — the Carter Family sang a pure, simple harmony that influenced not only the numerous other family groups of the ’30s and the ’40s, but folk, bluegrass, and rock musicians like Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, the Kingston Trio, Doc Watson, Bob Dylan, and Emmylou Harris, to mention just a few.

It’s unlikely that bluegrass music would have existed without the Carter Family. A.P., the family patriarch, collected hundreds of British/Appalachian folk songs and, in arranging these for recording, enhanced the pure beauty of these “facts-of-life tunes” and at the same time saved them for future generations. Those hundreds of songs the trio members found around their Virginia and Tennessee homes, after being sung by A.P., Sara, and Maybelle, became Carter songs, even though these were folk songs and in the public domain. Among the more than 300 sides they recorded are “Worried Man Blues,” “Wabash Cannonball,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “Wildwood Flower,” and “Keep on the Sunny Side.”

The Carter Family’s instrumental backup, like their vocals, was unique. On her Gibson L-5 guitar, Maybelle played a bass-strings lead (the guitar being tuned down from the standard pitch) that is the mainstay of bluegrass guitarists to the present. Sara accompanied her on the autoharp or on a second guitar, while A.P. devoted his talent to singing in a haunting though idiosyncratic bass or baritone. Although the original Carter Family disbanded in 1943, enough of their recordings remained in the vaults to keep the group current through the ’40s. Furthermore, their influence was evident through further generations of musicians, in all forms of popular music, through the end of the century.

Initially, the Carter Family consisted of just A.P. and Sara. Born and raised in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, A.P. (b. Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter, December 15, 1891; d. November 7, 1960) learned to play fiddle as a child, with his mother teaching him several traditional and old-time songs; his father had played violin as a young man, but abandoned the instrument once he married. Once he became an adult, he began singing with two uncles and his older sister in a gospel quartet, but he became restless and soon moved to Indiana, where he worked on the railroad. By 1911, he had returned to Virginia, where he sold fruit trees and wrote songs in his spare time.

While he was traveling and selling trees, he met Sara (b. Sara Dougherty, July 21, 1898; d. January 8, 1979). According to legend, she was on her porch playing the autoharp and singing “Engine 143” when he met her. Like A.P., Sara learned how to sing and play through her family. As a child, she learned a variety of instruments, including autoharp, guitar, and banjo, and she played with her friends and cousins.

A.P. and Sara fell in love and married on June 18, 1915, settling in Maces Springs, where he worked various jobs while the two of them sang at local parties, socials, and gatherings. For the next 11 years, they played locally. During that time, the duo auditioned for Brunswick Records, but the label was only willing to sign A.P. and only if he recorded fiddle dance songs under the name Fiddlin’ Doc; he rejected their offer, believing that it was against his parents’ religious beliefs.

Eventually, Maybelle Carter (b. Maybelle Addington, May 10, 1909; d. October 23, 1978) — who had married A.P.’s brother Ezra — began singing and playing guitar with Sara and A.P. Following Maybelle’s addition to the Carter Family in 1926, the group began auditioning at labels in earnest. In 1927, the group auditioned for Ralph Peer, a New York-based A&R man for Victor Records who was scouting for local talent in Bristol, TN. The Carters recorded six tracks, including “The Wandering Boy” and “Single Girl, Married Girl.” Victor released several of the songs as singles, and when the records sold well, the label offered the group a long-range contract.

The Carter Family signed with Victor in 1928, and over the next seven years the group recorded most of its most famous songs, including “Wabash Cannonball,” “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes,” “John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man,” “Wildwood Flower,” and “Keep on the Sunny Side,” which became the Carters’ signature song. By the end of the ’20s, the group had become a well-known national act, but its income was hurt considerably by the Great Depression. Because of the financial crisis, the Carters were unable to play concerts in cities across the U.S. and were stuck playing schoolhouses in Virginia. Eventually, all of the members became so strapped for cash they had to move away from home to find work. In 1929, A.P. moved to Detroit temporarily while Maybelle and her husband relocated to Washington, D.C.

In addition to the stress of the Great Depression, A.P. and Sara’s marriage began to fray, and the couple separated in 1932. For the next few years, the Carters only saw each other at recording sessions, partially because the Depression had cut into the country audience and partially because the women were raising their families. In 1935, the Carters left Victor for ARC, where they re-recorded their most famous songs. The following year, they signed to Decca.

Eventually, the group signed a lucrative radio contract with XERF in Del Rio, TX, which led to contracts at a few other stations along the Mexican and Texas border. Because of their locations, these stations could broadcast at levels that were far stronger than other American radio stations, so the Carters’ radio performances could be heard throughout the nation, either in their live form or as radio transcriptions. As a result, the band’s popularity increased dramatically, and their Decca records became extremely popular.

Just as their career was back in full swing, Sara and A.P.’s marriage fell apart, with the couple divorcing in 1939. Nevertheless, the Carter Family continued to perform, remaining in Texas until 1941, when they moved to a radio station in Charlotte, NC. During the early ’40s, the band briefly recorded for Columbia before re-signing with Victor in 1941. Two years later, Sara decided to retire and move out to California with her new husband, Coy Bayes (who was A.P.’s cousin), while A.P. moved back to Virginia, where he ran a country store. Maybelle Carter began recording and touring with her daughters, Helen, June, and Anita.

A.P. and Sara re-formed the Carter Family with their grown children in 1952, performing a concert in Maces Spring. Following the successful concert, the Kentucky-based Acme signed A.P., Sara, and their daughter Janette to a contract, and over the next four years they recorded nearly 100 songs that didn’t gain much attention at the time. In 1956, the Carter Family disbanded for the second time. Four years later, A.P. died at his Maces Spring home. Following his death, the Carter Family’s original recordings began to be reissued. In 1966, Maybelle persuaded Sara to reunite to play a number of folk festivals and record an album for Columbia. In 1970, the Carter Family became the first group to be elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is a fitting tribute to their immense influence and legacy. ~ David Vinopal, Rovi

KEN KESEY’S SON IS PLANNING A SEQUEL TO HIS DAD’S LEGENDARY,ACID FUELED BUS TRIP

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 Ken Kesey’s Son Is Planning a Sequel to His Dad’s Legendary, Acid-Fueled Bus Trip

By River Donaghey

 

Photo of the new bus courtesy of the Kickstarter page

In 1964, Ken Kesey—intrepid psychedelic traveler and author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nestpiled into a multicolored school bus with his friends and a bunch of drugs and drove from La Honda, California, to New York City for the premiere of Kesey’s new novel. The gaggle of proto-hippies traveling with Kesey were dubbed the “Merry Pranksters,” and their goal was to freak the fuck out of Middle America and document the whole thing for a feature-length film.

The movie they wanted to make never quite came to fruition, but the trip, and the Pranksters’ subsequent LSD antics, were cemented in history in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Prankster adventure, and Kesey’s son, Zane, is looking to raise $27,500 to take the Pranksters’ psychedelic trip all over again. The original 1939 Harvester bus—named “Furthur”—is currently rusting in a swamp behind the Kesey Farm in Oregon, but Zane has a new one, and it’s even more decked-out than the original. If you want to get on the bus, you can donate $200 or more to be considered for the trip. And if you were off the bus in the first place, as Kesey once said, then it won’t make a damn.

If the Kickstarter hits its goal the new bus with its new Pranksters will be swinging through America later this summer. I called up Zane to learn a little more about the trip.

VICE: Hey, Zane. How long has the Kickstarter campaign been going on?
Zane Kesey:
Like three weeks. We’re around halfway to our goal and have a week left.

Do you already know who will be onboard?
There have been 20 or 30 applications sent in. If you donate $200, we’ll give you a bunch of cool Prankster stuff—but you also get to apply to ride on the trip with us, be part of the movie that we’re making, and become a Merry Prankster. Even if we don’t choose you, we’ll still send you a Merry Prankster laminate. It will get you on the bus whenever we go parading through your town.

I know you haven’t planned the whole journey out yet, but are any stops lined up?
We’re going cross-country and hitting a few really good festivals along the way. Lockn’ Festival in Virginia is a big one. Furthur, the Grateful Dead side project that is named after the bus, is playing.

That’s cool.
We’ll be at their only concert this year, at the final Allman Brothers concert, and then at Phases of the Moon Festival in Illinois. Then we’ll head to this art festival called Great North up in Maine, which has the best artists from across the country. We’re hoping they will paint on the bus.

This isn’t the first Furthur bus, right? This is Furthur 2.0.
It’s not the 1939, no. This one is from 1947. My dad had it for a long time. He actually put way more miles on this one than he did on the original one… even took it to England and Ireland.

A lot of the toys on the bus—like the short-wave radio broadcaster—are either going to be fixed or upgraded. We want it to have WiFi so we can be working on the blog and posting pictures and videos from the road.

The original Furthur bus

What can people do to maximize their chances of making it onto the bus?
If you’re good at being a character or if you have equipment and want to come film, you’re going to rise to the top of the people we need. We also need people taking pictures for the blog and updating the website and blowing bubbles for the kids. All that stuff is really important.

Will riders be chosen for the whole stretch?
People will mostly be chosen for weeklong legs of the trip. So far there are only two or three of us who are essential. Derek Stevens is the tour manager. He is the one who talked me into this. I thought it was impossible, but after about a year of discussing it, he made it sound like it could really be fun.

Your dad’s original trip became a huge part of the story of the 60s. Will this new adventure be about preserving the legacy, or will it be a whole new chapter?
There are two different things that we’re after: One is we want to create a movie of us out there—having fun in the moment. We’re also trying to remind people of that innocent seed that started the 60s. The Pranksters weren’t out there trying to end the war or change the world; they were trying to have fun and go across the country just doing their thing.

Right.
In the 60s, everything was all so new and so fresh that it couldn’t be ignored. Now they don’t mind ignoring us at all. The hippie movement has fractured. People look at us now like we’re these dirty, confrontational people who just want to argue about government and taxes and the environment. That’s not necessarily where the movement started.

We need to get some of that innocence and fun and approachability back. Once we do that, we can reclaim some of the power that the 60s had.

The Furthur 50th anniversary Kickstarter ends on May 28. Donate here and hit the $200 mark for a chance to get on the bus.

Follow River Donaghey on Twitter.