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Thanks so much to everyone who has shown support for my lifestyle and my art these past couple days! It has been very very encouraging. But it also occurred to me today that nowhere in the Huffington Post article, or even in my own extended bio, did I mention the NAME of my solo music project (GioSafari) or leave LINKS for people to check out my music!

First things first, I want EVERYONE to download my newest single for FREE on noisetrade.com, it's called Vagrants & Vagabonds, Outlaws & Thieves

You may also leave a tip there if you feel so inclined. Some people have asked whether there are ways they can financially support my work. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Here are links for mp3 downloads and/or support:

iTunes
Amazon


I am also more than willing to send you my music for free and/or for donations via paypal. Email or connect via paypal at giosafari@gmail.com.

Finally, here are links for updates, networking, videos, and streaming:

Facebook
YouTube
Twitter 
Last.FM
MySpace

Following the huffpo article, many questions have been asked on this blog regarding freeganism, busking, my faith, etc. I will absolutely respond to many of these questions in due time! Expect that blog entry within the next week. Thanks to you all for your support, I appreciate it very much!

Peace,
Gio

 
 
Great news! I was featured in this week's HuffPost Food Informants Series! Read about a week in the life of a freegan! 

The editor did use a bit of editorial license with my diary, which I'm fine with. And they've tried to represent my motivations in the introductory bio, but there is much more that could not be included in its entirety for sake of brevity. So I do hope you'll read below the full bio that I sent the editor. It paints a more complete picture of how and why I came to busking and freeganism in NYC...

I'm a writer, artist, musician - this is my existential calling, what I was born to do, so to speak. As a Christian, I believe God has given me the special ability, skill, passion to do this and it would be downright disobedient for me not to do it! 

Unfortunately in this society (in every society?) artists don't get paid much. It's our job to show others how sick, twisted, and depraved society has become - we have a special eye for this - and also to offer better alternatives, to show the way things could be. The problem is that the people who have power and money are precisely the ones who do not want anything to change! So you may call me a conspiracy theorist if you wish, but I doubt it's a coincidence that artists like myself have a difficult time surviving in a society such as ours, despite the great amount of labor, thought, and love that we put into our craft. As a society, we are conditioned to believe that artists are just fantastical idealists, unrealistic weirdos; and that our work, our art, is worthless on a pragmatic level - why would anyone financially support that which they perceive as worthless? Indeed, why would governments support art programs in schools over worthwhile and pragmatic pursuits like math and science?

Since I refused to compromise my calling and my time (by, say, getting a crappy part-time job), I had to find alternative ways of living. I became freegan. 

I believe I'd always been a freegan in ideology, at least since high school, but I sought a community of people with whom I could practice this alternative lifestyle. I was involved with the radical freegan group Food Not Bombs in Orlando, where I first dumpster dove and began to see the waste in our economy and its backwards priorities - profits over people. Indeed, OFNB has been in a long-standing legal battle against the city of Orlando which illegalized the sharing of food and feeding homeless people in a public park, hoping to quell the fears of classist and xenophobic business owners and upscale residents in this heart-of-downtown neighborhoodI recently wrote a song about the situation as 30 of my friends have been arrested in June and July for doing nothing more than feeding the homeless. Here's the link for that poem: http://gandollo.weebly.com/1/post/2011/07/lightweight.html

After a few months of living in NYC and seeking part time work, I decided to pursue my music and art wholeheartedly. I would have to take freeganism much more seriously! So I attended a freegan.infomeeting in December 2009 and I've since grown in sympathy with the Freegan cause, especially its concern for the abuses inherent in current economic systems: waste of resources, exploitation of people, degradation of the environment, calloused treatment of animals, commodification of time, labor, even war (thus human life in wholesale). Of course I write songs about these issues, among many others; I also write blogs.

The one I most prioritize currently is my personal blog and portfolio at gandollo.weebly.com. In it, I document almost everything that I'm doing in my life - past and current projects, GioSafari (my solo music project), new poetry, videos, updates, powerful quotes, and more. Another blog is atfreenyc.weebly.com, which is all about how to live on a shoestring in an expensive city like New York. I talk about dumpster diving, busking, living hand-to-mouth, the financial struggles that I face on the day-to-day; but also about the joys I find in experiencing nature, determining my own schedule (including waking up at 6am), bartering and volunteering, and freedom from running the hamster wheel of capitalism. 

I have a third blog about washing dishes (dishesdance.weebly.com) called Dance Party At the Kitchen Sink. The name comes from two popular quotes regarding revolution: 1) Everyone wants a revolution but nobody wants to do the dishes; 2) A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having! I hope to plant a church in Chicago some time in the future. That is my kitchen sink - I want to build a community that is passionate about justice, that is willing to get its hands dirty and wash the dirty dishes of our society - violence, racism, homophobia, sexism, socioeconomic inequality and injustice - but is also going to do so with a hop, skip, and dance in its step! Activists tend to take their work very seriously, to the point that their work becomes very serious. We must always remember that we are not only fighting violence and injustice (fighting - such a violent word!), we are also constructively working towards a world of peace, joy, compassion, equality, and sustainability. That's why I'm perpetually hosting a dance party at the kitchen sink!
 
 
I try to wake up each morning at 6a. I usually fail miserably. But here's a poem inspired by the few times I've succeeded!

Hark! I'm called through early dark to join the ancient choir,
to trumpet solar steeds before a chariot of fire.
I summon Dawn with shutters drawn, with sleep stuck in the corners - 
Now here she comes, the promised one, still fresh and rosy fingered.

I'll awake her with a gentle kiss,
whispering sweet nothings into the mist;

Oh, morning.

At the brown brink eastward springs, through the prisms skyscraping,
a rainbow. Awake my soul to sing.
A step to the street and down the block, downhill along the fence I walk;
Around the bend, down many steps, along the fence, up to the park.

With no entrance I threaten to intrude
because it's there I see the Spirit brood.

Oh, morning.

Over the bent world, with warm breast and with bright wings,
the Holy Ghost waves from her post across the black chain links.
But in this oasis prison it's the desert that's the fraud;
I barge to where the world is charged with the grandeur of God.

I sit amidst the trees and lift my face;
the Light and choir help me fill the space -

Oh, morning.

Click here for a blog entry from March, 2011 which is not quite so cryptic. Haha..
 
 
Every sunday morning my church congregation is led in the following "generosity liturgy," a prayer to prepare our hearts for a time of fellowship and monetary offerings. This prayer has helped shape the way that I think about money, generosity and my role as a member of the Church and of the human race, joining God in the renewal of all things!

(to God..)
There is nothing we have that You have not given us;  all we have and are belong to You, bought with the blood of Jesus. 

To spend everything on ourselves and to give without sacrifice are the way of the world that You cannot abide. But generosity is the way of those who call Christ their Lord; who love Him with free hearts and serve Him with renewed minds; who withstand the delusion of riches that chokes the word; whose hearts are in heaven, and not on earth.

We are determined to increase in generosity until it can be said  that there is no needy person among us. We are determined to be faithful stewards of such a little thing as money, that You may trust us with true riches. Above all, we are determined to be generous because You, our Father, are generous.

It is the delight of Your daughters and sons to share Your traits and to show what You are like to all the world.
 
 
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
Yeshua (Matt 6:26)

I'm still learning what it means to live in radical abandon for the Kingdom of God, to live out my calling, and to fully trust in God's provision. A large part of that has meant committing my time, energy, and thought to the office of songwriting; busking on the subway trains; becoming freegan.

Just found this note on paypal w a $20 donation attached: 

Gio, thank you for your beautiful and inspiring music. The ride in the subway yesterday was lit up by your talent and unassuming stance.

Let's just say this brought me to tears. I still struggle to trust God as I live hand-to-mouth; it often doesn't seem like it, but he always meets me halfway. The simple fact is that I love what I do, my calling, and God is good. I can rest in this.

Anyone can send me a donation or personal gift on paypal! If you appreciate what I do and how I do it, then I would really appreciate any donations in kind! They can be sent, via paypal, to giosafari@gmail.com.

You can also now get a FREE download of my debut album, Life Is A Bike Wreck (Better Wear Your Helmet), for a limited time on Noisetrade. You will also have the option there of leaving me a tip. 

If you DO decide to contribute in either of these ways, please know that 1) it will probably make me cry, 2) I'll send you free downloads and cool stuff, 3) I'll be so very very thankful!