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The Punks of Toledo

On our journey across space & time, Toledo, geographically, appeared to be the perfect escape. We arranged some Couchsurfing at a local artist community, Collingwood Arts Center. This fascinating sub-sect of Toledo culture was literally housed in an old nunnery.

Downtown Toledo

Downtown Toledo

The artists had turned it into a wild, communal creation, with art dripping from the walls to the floors of the ancient & creaky convent once devoted to a different God. If you’re ever in Toledo, I recommend just driving up to the Arts Center. There seems to be a prominent “parking lot crowd” of artists & travelers who will gladly give you a tour & some advice on your stay in town!

Cullingwood Art Center ~ The Nunneries of Toledo

Collingwood Art Center ~ The Nunneries of Toledo

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A Communal Space for Toledo’s Free-thinkers & Do-ers

Our Couchsurfing host took us to another traveler’s hotspot in Toledo, the Be*Bop Records Store + Third Space, a community space with a lending library & tons of donation-based cultural events. We happened upon a raging punk show that night, featuring imported Houston Band, The Ancient Gods, as well as local funky ska artists Texas Pete & Earl Cookie.  We got sweaty & raged the night away to the ear-drum-blowing music.

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The Punks of Toledo ~ A Show at Third Space

But, mostly, we observed these punks in their natural habitat. A cigarette-butt laden, fight-erupting, black-wearing, drunken homemade-tattoo cultural black hole, where the Anarchy “A” & Nomadic “N” tattooed to your body meant you were hardcore. The dirtier the body, language & mind, the better.  It was a bit of a culture shock for me, but I tried to learn from my punk bretheren about their freight-train-hopping ways. They seemed uninterested in my interest & went back to begging for money on street corners with signs such as, “Need Money for Beer.”

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Old West End Parade ~ Toledo, OH

However, even here there was hope.  Saturday, June 1 happened to be the Old West End Festival ~ a historic neighborhood’s claim to fame as “The Mardi Gras of the North.” This brought out the festive spirit of the seemingly dying Industrial town of Toledo, & brought some life to the streets rather than the usual homeless people.

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Occupy Garden Watering System ~ Toledo, OH

Our rad Couchsurfing host ran an “Occupied Garden” that he had opened, without permission, in an empty lot to feed the masses & give these punks something to do!

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Everyone can Occupy a Garden! ~ Toledo, OH

Mad respect for the Occupy Garden & the skill-sharing workshop that was hosted, ranging in education of vermiculture to meditation!

Rock On, Toledo, you will be more hardcore than me forever, and I hope you can reclaim your town from the jaws of atrophy.

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The True Heroes ~ The Goats of Toledo

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