Airfare to São Paolo: $1,000
Brazilian visa: $200
World Social Forum registration and space rental: $450
Co-organizers flaking on you: Bummer of the Year
For months, Ginger Dunnill, aka DJ Miss Ginger, had been planning and fundraising to bring the Santa Fe/São Paolo club night Funk the System to the "Woodstock of the left."
The 2009 World Social Forum—held Jan. 27 through Feb. 1 in Belém, Brazil—attracted approximately 100,000 anti-imperialists, indigenous rights activists and socialists, including the presidents of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Brazil. In the end, Dunnill didn't make it.
"I was so bummed that I didn't get to go," Dunnill tells SFR. "It was kind of one of the biggest heartaches of the year for me, you know?"
Funk the System had all but its turntables packed and ready to go: The visa was approved, the space booked, the event published in the WSF listings. When Dunnill's co-organizer, Pricilla Bertucci, backed out, Dunnill was faced with a choice: go on her own—without Bertucci's São Paolo posse—or cancel the trip.
"Bottom line I learned: Don't plan anything you cannot accomplish on your own fully, because it's a bitch relying on other people when you are flying across the world," Dunnill says. "Then you have to explain yourself like a million times and begin to beat yourself up about it."
Another lesson she learned: Always check the time stamp on YouTube videos.
Even after Bertucci pulled out, Dunnill still planned to go—until Bertucci forwarded her a news clip of civil unrest and riot police in Belém, and the message that the city was unsafe.
"Is violence everywhere!!!" Bertucci, who lives in Brazil, wrote. That message, Dunnill says, finally convinced her.
The video page Bertucci sent her did not include the date. However, SFR discovered that the original YouTube post was nearly a year old.
"Are you fucking serious?" Dunnill says after being informed of the video's date. "That trips me out. I looked up the documentation of the World Social Forum and it looked like so much fun. People were walking around and flying their flags, all that kind of shit. I was like, 'Man, they must've been in some corralled-off area.' That sucks!"
Dunnill had thrown a hip-hop variety night, "Dinner and a Rap Song," at Backroad Pizza in mid-December to raise money for the trip. The gig—featuring Dunnill's band Creature of Routine, hip-hop artist Lady Processor and the indie rock band Marty McFly & The Time Machines—brought in only about $400, Ginger says. She broke even on another fundraiser held on a Santa Fe Southern Railway train car.
"I'm so sad she didn't go," Emily Crawford, who threw the train car party, says. "I wanted to help her any way I could…Anything that Ginger does is always wonderful and I'm always happy to participate in any of her events."
When Dunnill cancelled her trip, she took a $500 loss on the plane ticket. She says she donated her prepaid space at the conference to a Navajo arts collective from Arizona. Dunnill would not release the group's name due to "respect to their tribe's sacred rights."
Of the $400, Dunnill says $175 is still left. She tells SFR she is hoping to organize a mini-social forum at Warehouse 21 with the money or put it toward decking out the next Funk the System event, which will be sometime at the end of May.
Musicians who played the Backroad Pizza fundraiser did not return MySpace messages sent by SFR. However, at least one attendee isn't asking for his money back.
"She's somebody who gives pretty selflessly to her community and has provided so many really just positive situations for people to get together and have fun," Santa Fe artist Nicholas Toll says. "I have no doubt she'll use the money to do something that will totally just give back to the community that was ready to support her."
And Dunnill is grateful for the love.
"I'm trying to turn my life into more about music than anything else and just kind of embrace being the starving artist," Dunnill says. "I think the Brazil thing really showed me that the support of a community can make it possible."
Airfare to São Paolo: $1,000