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Featured The Church Of Carl Sagan Squat

Discussion in 'Squatting' started by Matt Derrick, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    Despite having heard countless stories and read many books about often wonderful squatting scenes in Europe and elsewhere, the majority of squatted buildings I've lived at in the United States have been hideouts. Only a few have been overt campaigns that were welcomed by the community. The rest of the time it's mostly just been a bunch of punks trying to find shelter somewhere they won't get harassed by cops.

    So when I was invited to the Church of Carl Sagan, I was excited to see another real life example of anarchist philosophy along the lines of what I'd heard of and read about in other countries.

    Now before we begin, I just want to point out that the Church of Carl Sagan is a pseudonym, and a bit of a inside joke. Since I first posted this article back when StP had a blog, I've gotten a lot of requests from strangers asking to know where it is, and if they can stay there.

    The answer is basically, no. When the home of a group of individuals exists in such a grey legal area, it's not something you generally advertise to the world. Finding one to live in is either a matter of starting one yourself or becoming involved in the communities that surround them.

    There's no sign up sheets or WWOOFing-style websites, you just have to get involved in the (mostly) anarcho-punk movement and keep your ear to the ground. It's not difficult to pick out the tourists from those with a genuine passion for something, so your opportunity will present itself if it's something you really care about and want to become involved in.

    Now with that out of the way, let's move on. My original intention when I came out to Oakland was to film a documentary about squatting for the StP audience. Although after I spoke to a few people in the Oakland squatting scene, it was pointed out to me that there'd already been a boat load of similar things done before.

    Now I realize that I could (and should) have gone along with my idea for the learning experience if nothing else, but this was told to me in the kind of snooty-activist fashion that basically insinuated I was stupid for even attempting; which took the wind out of my sails to say the very least. Looking back on it now, I regret not telling her to fuck off and move on merrily forward as I had intended.

    Instead, I abandoned the idea assuming she was correct in that it was not very original. With suddenly no clear direction or goal in mind, I decided to do a simple photo shoot of the squatted home I'd been invited to stay in.

    Living room pano 1_10-08-2013_007.
    Living room pano stairs_10-08-2013_016.
    The house itself was felt like it was built somewhere between the 1930's and 50's, but the interior held the furniture of the 1970's style furniture you'd expect to see at your grandparent's house. Most of it came with the house when it was first squatted, with a few other curbside couches added later on.

    Middle room pano_10-08-2013_033.
    The length of the house reminded me of row houses in Baltimore I'd lived in, but with the width of a 'normal' house that wasn't competing for space with it's neighbors.

    olde english and red bull_10-08-2013_074.
    The living room was obviously the focal point of the house, with rarely a moment going by without it being occupied.

    40 oz of freedom_10-08-2013_001. 99 bottles of beer on the wall_10-08-2013_044. Beer bottles along the wall_10-08-2013_004.

    Beer bottles lined the walls in what seems to be an unspoken tradition in most punk houses.

    Bike in front of fireplace_10-08-2013_030. Bikes and closet_10-08-2013_022. Bikes in the room_10-08-2013_006.

    The pictures above seemed to capture the clusterfuck of free transportation methods being used at the house.

    Chair to middle room_10-08-2013_021.
    I actually love old furniture like this. Anything I can lie in sideways and dangle my feet over.

    Cutting board_10-08-2013_038. toaster and microwave_10-08-2013_041.

    I hate it when people assume squatters are just inherently dirty people, it's fucking bullshit. Although this kitchen was heavily used, it was cleaner than most punk houses I've been to.

    Dumpstered food_10-08-2013_039 (1).
    Honestly I wasn't used to being around so much awesome dumpstered food. This is one of the things I miss most about communal living :)

    graffiti painter's computer desk_10-08-2013_073.
    Even though I only photographed the two bedrooms of the house (the two that I was invited to), I still felt a little awkward about it, but got a few good pictures in the process.

    rusty in the caboose_10-08-2013_067.

    This is my favorite picture of Rusty in "The Caboose" one of the bedrooms on the top floor.

    Black Flag_10-08-2013_068.
    beds and covered window_10-08-2013_057. damage done_10-08-2013_064.
    writing on the wall_10-08-2013_061. You only live once_10-08-2013_059.

    "The Caboose" was probably my favorite room to photograph since there was a lot of interesting graffiti on the walls and was one of the more chill hang out spots in the house.

    Gravity got me down_10-08-2013_075. Rusty_10-08-2013_056.

    I think my only regret about the time I spent here was that I didn't get more portraits of the folks living there, but I didn't really think about it at the time. Also, I think most people would have passed on it considering the nature of their living situation, but fortunately I did get pictures the two people above, which are some of the best pictures I've taken recently.

    There's a few more pictures in the gallery below, but the ones above are really the ones I wanted to highlight here. If you like em, post a comment or follow me on instagram at http://instagram.com/squattheplanet
     
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    #1 Matt Derrick, Oct 14, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  2. Nikki

    Nikki Hungry for Knowledge

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    awesome
     
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  3. DesertRat

    DesertRat Celebrated Poster

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    Awesome pics!

    Glad to see a well-run squat.

    Next time I'm down that way I'll try and stop through and hopefully donate some supplies.
     
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  4. johnnymarie

    johnnymarie Appreciated Participator

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    Rusty??
     
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  5. XanderMenanderer

    XanderMenanderer Hungry for Knowledge

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    Always great to see a True Squat in full swing
     
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  6. OP
    OP
    Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    yep :)
     
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  7. janktoaster

    janktoaster Sir Posts a Lot

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    Impressive squat.. when I was in Oakland I slept in some small park near Pixar, it sucked
     
  8. FolkYouDad

    FolkYouDad Hungry for Knowledge

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    Crusty rusty!
     
  9. nomadlisa

    nomadlisa is getting to know the place

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    Great photos. Did they have a produce stand out front for the neighbors? I may be thinking of some place else.

    And to the kid that slept next to pixar, slightly in testing tidbit. When they moved down from Richmond in order to have a campus that stretches over five Emeryville blocks they joined the redevelopment group (all the big box stores, the mall....Novartis and Bayer etc) & had the zoning changed allowing their campus to block access through the neighborhood...With the caveat that they would build a park the public through access through it. Then they built...and when I left in October continued to build a monster campus and put the "public park" (read....A sidewalk and one picnic bench mainly used by their workers) @ the end of their campus; breaking their word to the community.

    I only know this because I worked across the street from them for years and their fucking campus made me late so many times it irked me so I found out how they managed to make it so giant.

    To be fair....The bong hits of medical my may have had something to do with my lateness as well. Lol.
     
  10. nomadlisa

    nomadlisa is getting to know the place

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    Also op... seems like u left recently? Did you hear if hot mess was still open or if they finally got evicted. I am curious. :)
     
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  11. OP
    OP
    Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    No fruit stand...

    And not sure about hot mess...
     
  12. nomadlisa

    nomadlisa is getting to know the place

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    Oh cool then it's a different squat than I was thinking of. Glad to see more nice squats in Oakland :)
     
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  13. OP
    OP
    Matt Derrick

    Matt Derrick StP Founder, Admin, and travel addict
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    Yeah they were pretty nice and really had their shit together, so invite they last a long time!
     
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  14. Gaucho Deluxe

    Gaucho Deluxe Can't get enough of the site

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    pretty cool reminds me of a punk house i used to stay in. maybe one day ill get to pay a visit.
     
  15. BobbyWatts

    BobbyWatts Just signed up

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    "The Church of Carl Sagan"! I love it! Hope it can last for awhile before some neighbor "citizens" get pissy.
     
  16. Chachi1312

    Chachi1312 is getting to know the place

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    how do i get in touch with these people, i want to see it
     
  17. RovingAnarchist

    RovingAnarchist Appreciated Participator

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    I love to see people doin' it right! One of these days, I'm going to take my tools on the road and tour around fixing up squat kitchens and plumbing. There's no reason we can't have nice places. :)
     
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  18. Decrepit

    Decrepit is getting to know the place

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    This looks really amazing..would love to visit one day
     
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    Id want to chill there for a while
     
  20. Slingshot Collective

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    Hot Mess and RCA both got evicted last year. :(
     
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