Degradtion on the South Shore
The world is full of mayhem. Seriously unbelievable acts of lawlessness happen around the world everyday, and I’m sure three-fourths of it all happens in the good old U.S of A. Sometimes it’s political, and a political spectacle, violent or not, is always inspiring. I don’t know if that opinion is shared by the entire activism community, or mainly by anarchists and militants. For all I know the only one who is inspired by a good riot is me. For one thing, I never have a chance to be a part of it all, because all of the good, positive demonstrations happen half-way across the country. These people are fighting for the cause, against the power hogs, and when they have run out of ways to make themselves known, they fight. It’s not negative, and if you think it is, your not reading between the lines.
Then you have the ugliest of the ugly demonstrations. No real cause and no real effect, but it almost certainly always leaves an ugly scar wherever it takes place. It happened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the cold, depressing month of February. A lot of people think that summer makes people go crazy from the heat. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that winter in Wisconsin is the most hellishly depressing periods one can try and live through. The cold makes everyone who needs to walk the streets, and even those who have warm cars, go manically depressed and there’s only two solutions after that. If you’ve got the money you can move down south for the winter. If you’re stuck here, like me, you’ve got no choice but to try and drown it out. I’d usually hibernate in my house, smoking off of my pipe, going out when I absolutely needed to. The majority of Milwaukee already has there own solution. Alcohol is already part of the foundation of Wisconsin.
At the end of February in 2006, a radio station rented space at the Milwaukee Art Museum on the South Shore for a small festival called Martinifest. The name is pretty self-explanatory. The gallery halls were lined with vendors, serving nothing but gin and vodka martini’s. For those who aren’t familiar with what a martini is, ask your grandfathers. They’ll know. My grandpa drank them all through the day. A martini is made up of gin, vodka, and what’s known as “martini mix”. It comes in tiny glasses, and the drink is so strong you need to take it down like a shot, only a glass of martini is much more sophisticated than a shot of vodka. Only anyone could get in, as long as they paid thirty dollars for the cover charge. Seems kind of steep to get into a museum, right? With thirty bucks, you not only buy yourself into a classy night at the Art Museum, pretending to be in a social class you don’t really belong in. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, because I know at least ninety or ninety-five percent of the patrons weren’t there to seem like there upper-class citizens, because most lower class citizens resent them, anyways, but your paying for all-you-can-drink martinis.
Like I said before, alcohol is one of the biggest bricks in Wisconsin’s foundation. There’s a bar on every street, and you can’t walk through the streets of Milwaukee without kicking a beer can down the over littered sidewalk.
When Martinifest officially started, and everyone began walking the new Santiago Calatrava addition, drinks in hand, it was all relatively peaceful. I’ve found that whenever you have a large mass of angry-blooded, one-sided people [I want to say Americans], there’s always going to be a conflict, physical, verbal, emotional, or spiritual. No one started a conflict at Martinifest--no cause, no effect-- , but the night was young. I’m sure no one bothered with the art until they were good and staggering drunk, because they were probably too lazy to wonder too far away from the vendors. A mob of Milwaukee alcoholics won’t turn down the chance to get as trashed as they want without sitting at home or in a seedy bar with people who will almost definitely want to cause conflict. When you think about it, it’s a pretty good way to get trashed in public, without worrying about pushy police.
Other than the fact that everyone was drunk, the halls of the Art Museum were packed, wall-to-wall with patrons. The party swung into full affect, and everyone began to roam. The volume raised as much as the spirits of the people, and that’s when it got out of control. People began pushing in the lines for the vendors, and before you knew it, they had run out of gin and mix. Party’s over. You-don’t-have-to-go-home-but-your-drunk-ass -needs-to-get-the-hell-out! Wrong!! Why stop the shindig when there’s still straight vodka left, by the quarts?
The animals kept the party going, and started taking straight shots of vodka from their martini glasses, and that’s when a full-blown, chaotic fuse blew, and mayhem took over. The halls were swimming with drunken patrons and everywhere you looked, some other form of disorder was taking place. Not everybody was joining in, however.
“We were sardines in a can,” said one witness, “People, boy, they wanted their martinis!”
“It just seemed right off the bat that thing were chaotic,” said another witness, “The crowd got rowdier and Rowdier by the hour.”
Fights erupted, verbal confrontations started amongst the patrons, who were now tanked on vodka, and the mayhem was just fine to them. The famous bronze statue “Standing Woman” could prove to be a perfect witness, if she could talk. A group of young men began to climb on the statue, and if she could talk, she’d probably scream.
“The young men started climbing all over her,” said a disgusted, female patron, who witnessed what would’ve been sexual assault, under different circumstances,
“and then they started playing with her boobs, and someone just took pictures of it al with their cell phone ”
It didn’t take too long for the cops to bust in and sort everything out, but by the time they got there, the Art Museum had nearly turned into a full-scaled riot. A young woman had tripped and fell, smacking her head on the ground, and cracking it open. She was rushed out of there in one of four ambulances. The chaos was ended before the violent demonstrations got worse, and nobody made as big of a deal about it as they should’ve. I’m sure the Art Museum won’t ever serve liquor in their galleries again, that’s for sure. I guess, when it comes down to it, you would have to acknowledge the slow and painful death of the American Dream to appreciate such an ugly demonstration.