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We are in the midst of a entertainment revolution. Radio, television, and newspapers have all seen sigificant declines in both revenues and consumers. All across the nation, traditional consumers of media have decided, “We want more interesting content, and maybe we should make it ourselves.”
The spectacle that is the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLAW) fits into this new paradigm. It is not a sports event, not community theater, and not a fundraiser. It is a sort of “wiki-theater” in which every amateur is also an author and every decision is made from the bottom up. CLAW is a spontaneously generated, self organized circus, made by amateurs for the benefit of our community.
The experience of CLAW is live, loud, and intoxicating. Billy’s images show that yes, CLAW is comprised of an eager band of weirdos; yes, CLAW is a freak show of the highest order; yes, CLAW is a Halloween cage match that goes all year long. But, in addition to these major selling points, CLAW is also something deeper: a fight song for a community of women with creative muscle to burn.
As the big entertainment companies continue to hole up in their bunkers of overpaid celebs, CGI, and stale, regurgitated content, women and men in Charlottesville have decided that we want a little more. If Big Media does not want to enrich our lives, we can do it ourselves. We make art by the people and for the people. Sony, NewsCorp, Viacom: you can stick with your reruns and reality shows. We don’t need you. Maybe we never did.