by Joe Courter
October was breathtaking for the Civic Media Center. A lot of preparation led up to the very successful 25th anniversary celebration on Friday evening, Oct. 19, when the CMC hosted Democracy Now!’s host Amy Goodman for a double-header event; first a meet and greet benefiting the CMC’s low power FM station WGOT with the fine people from Afternoon Restaurant hosting, and then right across the parking lot at Working Food a full house of over 200 people got to hear a great talk from one of the leading journalists of our time.
For those who missed the talk, it is available for streaming at goo.gl/S78wGD., and a partial video can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/lvltotheroom/videos/690905477951209/.
At least 20 CMC volunteers were there to help out from set up to break down. Jacob Adams provided a flawless sound system. Area restaurants Leonardo’s 706, East End Eatery, Gyro Plus, Sweetwater Branch Inn, and again Afternoon, provided food. After her over-an-hour talk, Amy stayed to sign books and talked with everyone who stayed around – a very genuine, warm person. And then at the conclusion of the event, Coordinators Kaithleen Hernandez and Emily Arnold, Fred Sowder from WGOT and others invited Amy to come down to the CMC itself to take a look at what it was she’d come to support, and from what I heard she was very impressed. As much as we were with her.
That done, then came the next week and four nights of music in a row, starting Thursday with “Queer the Fest,” a CMC-produced music show featuring LGBTQ artists as sort of an antidote to the much too white, much too straight Fest, which was all over Gainesville Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, including the CMC as a venue for each of those nights. Adding to the tempo on the block, the CMC courtyard hosted a Saturday afternoon of lively ska bands organized by Vinnie from Less Than Jake, who are also residents on the block with their merchandise headquarters Paper and Plastic. Lots of fun (and work) and a lot of refreshments provided, all benefiting the CMC.
I said ska in the prior paragraph as a reference to music, but SKA has taken on a new meaning for the Civic Media Center. In this case it is a place, the Stetson Kennedy Annex. In the space vacated by Sequential Artists Workshop to the rear of the CMC, this multi-level area will now be a place for a needed expansion for the CMC. It has already proved to be an asset for hosting two events at the same time, and presently a staging area for sorting out a major book donation from the beloved Jack Price (over 40 boxes of books), who moved to a VA care facility from his home due to declining health. It was a $400 increase in rent but a major opportunity to enhance the CMC’s operations and a fitting optimistic way to begin its 25th year of operations.
As was emphasized at the anniversary program, the CMC is looking to build a monthly donor support system, a regular donation of a small amount of money from a lot of people to help underwrite the rather staggering expense of maintaining a place like the CMC. The anniversary was a big success, and we will be putting some of that into needed infrastructure such as new chairs, and better lighting and sound equipment, as music shows are proving a good fundraising tool (plus, hey, music is part of media). The CMC is a 501(c)3 non-profit, and your help is greatly appreciated!