Sunday, October 31, 2010

Behind the Signs and Costumes

Photo Courtesy/Kim Mahoney
We arrived at the rally several hours before it was scheduled to start, but the streets were already packed. When we stepped from the metro we suddenly became a part of a stream of people rushing to the National Mall. The first person who caught our interest was Hassan Francis, resident of Bronx, New York, as he was holding a sign and gesturing violently in order to convey the impact and significance of his speech.
Francis was protesting against illegal immigration, believing that politicians were doing nothing to solve the problem, calling them “spineless and cowardly.”

“It’s about time that we stand up for our country before it’s too late,”  Francis said. After collecting a pamphlet, we continued on our way.

Photo courtesy/Kim Mahoney
As we walked to the National Mall, we met a variety of characters. Brian Craigie of Hoboken, New Jersey was adorned in pirate attire and held a sign which read “People who are different than me are scary. Keep fear alive.” Craigie said: “I’m here to have fun and maybe to tell people to take it easy.”

Photo courtesy/Kim Mahoney
 A man who wished to remain anonymous, but gave us permission to call him “V” also shared his motivation for attending the rallies. “I’m looking forward to some sanity for people to think for themselves,” he commented.

Although many people depicted grievances with government or society, there was an overall acknowledgement of desire for peace among all.

Nate Cotanch of Colorado greeted us with smiles and the promise of “Free Hugs” which radiated from his sign in bold letters.

Photo Courtesy/Kim Mahoney
“If you want a free hug, come get one,” Cotanch said.

We could all learn a lesson from this act of kindness.
- Molly Moser
- Kim Mahoney

Interview After the Rally

As I hurried from the security check at Baltimore-Washington International, I assumed my rally exposure was over, mostly because I doubted anyone would have been crazy enough to try and book a flight as soon after the rally as I did. I arrived at my gate about 10 minutes prior to boarding after going everywhere as fast as I could from the moment the rally ended. I leaned against a large stone pillar to rest and put my belt back on after taking it off for my special bonus security check and pat down. A minute later, a man with a little bit of rock-star style carrying a guitar case walked back from the help desk to lean against the same pillar. We each inclined our heads about a quarter inch to acknowledge the other's presence as cool cats or those attempting to look like cool cats are wont to do.

Looking towards my Stewart/Colbert t-shirt and my Keep Fear Alive pin, he asked if I went. I said that I had, and asked if he had been there as well. He told me very nonchalantly that he was on the stage. Doyle Bramhall, 41, has been accompanying Sheryl Crow on her most recent tour for the past several months and, naturally, was in her band at the rally. Upon learning this, I stopped my attempt at seeming quite as cool and asked if I could do an extremely quick interview with him. I would have asked for a normal speed interview, but the flight started boarding in a few minutes and I assumed (correctly) that he would be flying first class and one of the first to board.

Bramhall said he was enthusiastic about performing for the rally because what it stood for in a time when the divide in political structure seems to be forcing every candidate to act the same as every other. “No matter who you vote for, it doesn't really make a difference,” he said. He also noted that several other musicians he knows that were interested in participating in the rally. He explained that, “A lot of musicians I know down in Florida wanted to come up. Not even to play necessarily, just to be a part of it.”

As boarding was just about to start, I wrapped up the incredibly short interview by thanking him and asking if things like this, being interviewed, especially by random people, ever got annoying. “Not really. I don't get recognized too often,” he said. Then he cracked a smile, “After all, I recognized you. You didn't recognize me.” I laughed and pointed out that I was flying the colors of the day in my outfit. He smiled, laughing a bit, then went to board the flight.

-Max Wynne 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Outside of the Gates

After being ushered away from the barricaded area in front of the stage, we noticed growing desperation among those outside the gates trying to attain even a glimpse of the rallies.

“It is very frustrating. There is a lot of space right there,” Justin Hill of Temaqua, Pennsylvania said while pointing his finger toward the unoccupied space within the gated barricade. The crowd soon became frantic with frustration and an almost comic scene unfolded before us.

People began to chatter about sneaking through the gates, making plans that involved distracting police officers or even starting a movement of protest. People began to climb on top of the Sani-Huts to get visibility.

Others, though, had a different attitude about the blockage.

“You’ve just got to improvise," said Michael Kemp of Wisconsin. "We’ve found some good people to allow us to share a part of their bench.” Many others agreed that a bit of flexibility is key in a situation like this.

“It is kind of frustrating but we are all trying to be reasonable,” said Debra Turton of Maryland.

“It is pretty typical of any sort of event. What are you going to do?” Greg Volbe of New York said with a smile and a shrug.

-Kim Mahoney

Interviews conducted by Molly Moser and Kim Mahoney.

Stewart's closing speech at the Rally

Rally photos from

Rally photos from Talking Points Memo

More photos from TPM

Full coverage of the rally from The Washington Post

Friday, October 29, 2010

At the airport...

Within only three hours of leaving Reno we found people flying to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive. While sipping cappuccinos in Salt Lake City waiting for our second flight, we noticed a woman with purple hair wearing a tag with a familiar face on it and bold words that read “Rally to Restore Sanity.
Tracie and Terrie Wallace. Photo by Molly Moser

We scrambled through our bags to find our notebooks and quickly brainstormed interview questions. Once we had our questions, we followed her back to her seat and introduced ourselves. She was more than happy to accommodate our questions. Her name is Terrie Wallace, 61, of Modesto, California, and she is going to the rally because she believes that it is a good opportunity for those who are not extreme to congregate.

“I want the experience of seeing so many people coming together in a positive way,” Wallace said.

She introduced her daughter, Tracie Wallace, 29, of Berkeley, California. Tracie is also looking forward to the rally and seeks to gain perspective on this social movement of the people. “It’s a good excuse to mobilize,” she said.

Tracie Wallace also shared her opinion on what she finds insane.

“What ticks me off is ignorance. We can choose to be an educated populace and we choose not to be," she said.

Our conversation was cut short as they had to leave to check their baggage. We thought about the significance of mother and daughter embarking upon this trip across the country. Not only are they willing to travel all the way from the west coast to be a part of this movement but they are also representing two separate age groups. People assume that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert attract a younger populace but it is evident from this encounter that this assumption is simply false.

- Kimberly Mahoney and Molly Moser

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


As we prepare ourselves for the upcoming journey to Washington D.C. as extremely amateur journalists, we paid a visit to Professor Larry Dailey (Reynolds Chair of Media Technology) for a quick lesson on photojournalism. Below is a list of tips every aspiring journalist should review!

#1. If your photos are not quite up to par, by all means, get closer! This will give you the opportunity to take a picture that tells a story rather than one that is just a chaotic and meaningless landscape.

#2. When photographing people, ask for their name before you do anything else. “If you do not have a name for the caption, you do not have a story!” according to Dailey.

#3. Pay attention to the lighting! If you are outside, notice the position of the sun. The sun should never be behind your subject.

#4. Be patient and wait for the person you are photographing to act normal. Eventually they will stop “hamming it up” for the camera and you will be able to achieve a picture of honesty and of their true character.

#5. Always, always, always take more than one picture.

#6. Last, look for a picture within a picture. This will usually consist of your primary subject along with a background. By looking for both, you create a story within a story which, in the end, will give you a more compelling story to tell your audience.

Well, that is all for now! I await this opportunity to share this exciting journey with you all!
Kim Mahoney