Monday, 19 November 2012

Getting Alt-Mediated at the I Heart Alt Media Fundraiser

If I was ever curious as to what happens when you collide a bike repair shop, a campus newspaper, a public interest group, some local talent and really, really cheap beer, that void in the life would have been fulfilled last Thursday night at the I Heart Alt Media Fundraiser . The jam of energized young do-gooders and $3 bottles of import-quality brews made this one-of-a-kind event something its organizers should be proud of. I, for one, arrived armed with a camera and tad bit of ‘I’m with the band’ snobbery, blissfully unaware of the fact that after a smooth serenade from the oober clever (and sexy) duo Houses for Birds my face was going to melt off by the proverbial heat generated by edgy pop-cult smashing politically driven rhyme generators Lee Reed and Test their Logik.

Lee Reed blowing people's minds on Thursday night.
A musical performance at Bike Pirates......Makes sense, right? Actually, amidst the shelves of wheel hubs and greasy tools a perfect stage was set to kick off the ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ conference held conjunctively by the York University and Toronto chapters of the Ontario Public Interest Group (OPIRG). The conference has set its intent on creating connections between dynamic and change-activating groups from across Toronto and Canada for the purpose of ‘rebuilding’ the shape and impact of social movements. Certainly the mix of support at Friday’s event is indicative of its all-encompassing mammoth-sized reach.

Another organization involved in the organizing of the evening was the York University Free Press, an alternative newspaper originating from the student body at (you guessed it) York University. The YU Free Press is now in its eighth year of challenging mainstream media and offering new and interesting information that transcends the corporate model. Ashley Grover, Layout Editor and key organizer at the Free Press, commented that “The editorial collective at the Free Press was extremely grateful for the turnout at the event and all the effort that OPIRG Toronto and OPIRG at York put into it. We believe that the university is a sphere that should reaffirm the student voice while taking care to include complex discourses on social justice and alternative thinking. We also love lolcats a little too much and hope after this event we’ve got all of you asking “I can has Free Press?”

Don’t worry, Ashley.....I’m on it.

I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t the only person who had a good time at the I Healt Alt Media Fundraiser and that Toronto needs more opportunities that allow people to learn about how media can be a force for social change. Events like this are crucial to the survival and scaling out of media that matters; information that is mediated by real people and not Fox News. Because as a blogger and writer, I know it’s not always about what you read but who wrote what you read.

Safe Travels,

Aaron Turpin

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