7/24/2005

I met Borf - sort of


borfdupont
Originally uploaded by squidpants.
so I decided to go down to the Meet Borf thing on saturday at Dupont Circle to see what the deal was. At first, all I saw was a sign that said "Borf is not caught," but then walking around the fountain, I saw a bunch of kids hanging around and a bunch of spray paint cans and pamphlets.

There was a decent crowd, maybe 10 kids who seemed to know something and 10 or 20 curious bystanders, as well as about 10 cops lingering nearby. Some of the kids were talkative and chatting with random folks, some of who, like me, were asking questions about Borf, some seemed to be debating a little bit with the kids, and some who'd never heard of Borf. so I asked a couple bystanders what was going on, then talked to a few of the knowledgeable-seeming kids. The kids all seemed like 18-22 year old hip art student types, and they were friendly but a bit reluctant to answer my questions, which I guess I can understand. The ones I talked to said they were Borf, I was Borf, and everybody was Borf, and didn't really answer my questions, such as "who was the person that was arrested?" and "who is the face in the stencil?" they'd usually say "I don't know," or along the lines of "it's an ongoing case so I don't want to say." I asked one of the kids what Borf was, and he said "it's a feeling," and I replied, "more than a feeling," like the Boston song, so maybe he thought I was making fun of him. But they encouraged me to take some spray paint, which I declined, but I did draw some with chalk they had provided, a little cloud, and later when some people walked on it, I said "hey hey, you you, get off of my cloud." I actually didn't, but I thought it.


There was a lot of brochures and things piled up as well, like some anarchist stuff, which I avoided, and some things about graffiti, which were the ones I took. Some of them have sensible advice, like bring a lookout and don't be conspicuously radical-looking, but one is pretty funny, it's called "Give Graffiti the Thumbs Up," and is written like a cheesy sales brochure, with topics like "How can I get graffiti artists to beautify my property?" and "I have noticed that when the lighting around my property is bright at night graffiti writers don't around much. Why is this?"

But despite the pro-graffiti message, I wasn't too sure these kids were really Borf and not just pulling everybody's leg or copycats. The kids seemed knowledgable and all, talking about wanting to do graffiti to take back their environment, but it wasn't until I saw some of the kids draw with the chalk that I thought they were probably telling the truth, as a lof of the things looked like various Borfs I'd seen, such as the bubble letters: . And they didn't say anything bad about the arrested guy (John Tsombikos), so I figured he must have been part of their crew, or at least not just some person claiming to be Borf. Though my theory is that he's one of the main guys. So I hung around a bit more, taking a few more webcam pics and listening in on various conversations. Gradually a few policemen came over and chatted with the Borf kids, apparently about the stuff they were drawing with chalk, like people, various BORFs, some animals and things, nothing crazy or offensive, and both sides seemed pretty laid back and respectful, which was good. Then I got a green tea frappuccino at Starbucks, which was tasty but probably negated any healtful effects of the green tea.

Below are a few more various pictures:

A sign

The police

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