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Two Santa Cruz Cycling Puppeteers

Two core activists of Santa Cruz Art & Revolution, Jeff C. and Tom S., may have been among the Cycle Circus puppeteers arrested in St. Louis at the World Agricultural Forum hosted by Monsanto. Jeff and Tom have not yet established contact with their fellow artists in Santa Cruz.
If you want to send Jeff and Tom a note of support while they're in jail, or on the road, or juggling, their address is: JCaplan (at) & firestoker (at)

More exciting events are in store, on the local level, (relating to Biotech and more)...coming soon. Big Brother-Oppressor man just can't keep a good thing down!

by Morgan FitzPatrick shoddypuppet (at)

Friday, May 16th, 2003, St. Louis, Missouri:

At 9:00 a.m. nine members of the Cycle Circus Across the Cornbelt were
stopped by St. Louis police while riding through a park.
“They arrested us on the charge of ‘operating a bicycle without a
license’,? says Ben Majchrzak, a puppeteer with the Cycle Circus.
Majchrzak and the eight others were held in jail for eight hours
without access to food, telephones or lawyers. The “bike license?
charge was later changed to a summons to appear in court for traffic

Several blocks away, eight more members of the Cycle Circus were
fastidiously preparing for their upcoming month-long ride to
Washington D.C. when police raided the building at 11:00 a.m.
Residents and guests, including puppeteers, jugglers, and bike
mechanics, were all arrested. “They were charged with ‘occupying a
condemned building’,? says Majchrzak, “but that house is totally legal
and legitimate.? The house, dubbed the Bolozone by its inhabitants, is home
to several St. Louis activists. This Monday marks the start if the
World Agricultural Forum, and activists from around the globe had
traveled to St. Louis to organize a counter-conference.

“The Circus is not attending either of these conferences,? says
Majchrzak. “We’re just here as a circus.? Police confiscated all of
the Cycle Circus’ items, including notebooks, roadmaps, stilts,
puppets, and an array of bicycles, ranging from highly functional road
bikes and trailers, to eccentric velocipedes, gigantic tricycles, and
seven-foot tall bikes. “They say that we need some kind of proof of
ownership, like a title or receipt, before we can get our bikes back.?
Most of the Cycle Circus’ bikes are custom-built by the riders
themselves and bear no such documentation.

These preemptive strikes against artists come in the wake of many
similar attacks, both nationally and internationally. In April of
2000, over 100 puppets and flags were held hostage by Washington D.C.
police during demonstrations against the World Bank and International
Monetary Fund. Philadelphia police arrested 79 puppeteers, some
imprisoned for two weeks, while city officials destroyed more than 300
giant puppets slated for demonstrations against the 2000 Republican
Convention in August. In July of 2001 an international caravan of
artists were jailed en route to the G8 protests in Genoa, Italy where
one demonstrator was killed by police. The Cycle Circus is the latest
artistic casualty of government harassment. “They claim that they were
searching for weapons of mass destruction,? intones Majchrzak. “Where
have I heard that before? Our juggling pins and fire chains were
pictured on the news alongside roofing tacks and a piece of toilet
paper that some cop stuffed inside a bottle to make it look like a
Molotov cocktail.?

Majchrzak, who began his career as a puppeteer with Chicago’s Redmoon
Theatre and has toured the Americas and Europe with Bread & Puppet,
has high hopes. “We are demanding the return of our bikes and the
removal of all charges. When we leave St. Louis next week, we want a
police escort and we are inviting other cyclists to ride with us –
including bike cops.? Majchrzak is also encouraging everyone to call
St. Louis Chief of Police Joe Mokwa at (314) 444-5624. Two other lines
to try are (314) 444-5555 and (314) 231-1212..

For further information, check out: and for updates on what’s happening to learn more about what’s being discussed at these
conferences and for news about the Bike Caravan.
…and DEFINITELY look at - a most inspiring site
dedicated to bicycle-based puppetry and activism.

Assuming that they make it, here’s the
May 5-10 St. Louis, MO. Build and Mutate Machines of Glory and Wild
Abandon with Dan Greene and Juanki
May 11-18 Circus Construction and Rehearsal with the Flying Rutabagas
May 16-19 World Agricultural Forum hosted by Monsanto (evil)
May 19 St. Louis, MO. First *Circus* Show! and Dance Party (good)
May 20 Depart St. Louis -Begin Caravan Across the Cornbelt
May 21 (camp along Miss. River)
May 22 Carbondale *Circus*
May 23 (camp along Wabash river-many State Parks to choose)
May 24 Evansville IN. *Circus*
May 25 (camp west of Hoosier Nat. Forest/Ohio River)
May 26 Louisville, KY *Circus*
May 27 Louisville
May 28 Depart Louisville (camp near Farmers Retreat, IN. or
Friendship, IN. -actual names of towns along scenic route 62!)
May 29 Cincinnati *Circus*
May 30 Cincinnati *Circus*
May 31 (camp on Lil. Miami Scenic River - good idea Adam)
June 1 Yellow Springs *Circus* (lets make a push for bikers from
Dayton and Springfield to meet us there!)
June 2 Springfield, OH. *Circus*
June 3 Columbus, OH *Circus*
June 4 (camping near Logan, or south of there)
June 5 Athens, OH *Circus*
June 6 Marietta, OH *Circus*
June 7 (after a beautiful ride along route 7 and the picteuresque Ohio
river, camp somewhere near New Martinsville, WV)
June 8 (the beginning of Operation: Enduring Uphill Battles - the
ascent of the Appalachians along Route 7- parts follow railroad beds,
making the climbs gradual and the turns subtle)
June 9-12 Five Days of Climbing! No Schedule for circuses, we'll be
busy laughing at our own sweaty insanity!!!)
June 13 Morgantown!!! WV. *Circus*
June 14 Rest in Morgantown, and, why not, *Circus*
June 15-18 Four Days of Dissent!
June 19 Wash. DC *Circus! Circus! Circus!* Food Fight vs. Biotech Industry Organization
June 22 Bye Bye Picnic! or Bike Circus Summer!

…and hopefully some of them will be heading north to Baltimore and Philadelphia!

FOR SANTA CRUZ ACTIVISTS: On June 23-25 the USDA and the State Department are hosting in Sacramento a summit to which the Ministers of Trade, Agriculture, and the Environment from 180 nations have been invited.
There will also be an Expo on Agriculture and Technology (!!!)
This summit will set the ground for the WTO meetings in Cancun, in September...
Get involved in the mobilization to oppose Genetic Engineering and Industrial Agriculture!!!!
Events in Sacramento will include public demonstrations and marches, media events, street theater, public education forum and literature and direct action.

For more information on the Sacramento Mobilization:

Note: SANTA CRUZ ART & REVOLUTION is planning a "puppet-u-all" presence at this summit in Sacramento. For more information on local organizing for A&R and Sacramento actions contact: Maria Alfaro at maria (at)

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