"You would not believe the things that stores throw out," he says. Carousing for a wasteful nation's castoffs is just the latest incarnation of Lopez's desire to live outside the reach of consumer culture.
From his biodiesel car to his belief in buying locally, Lopez's daily life is an extension of his political beliefs. Lopez is an advocate of "culture jamming," a form of political and social activism in which control of the media is wrested away from politicians and corporations by ordinary citizens. Using the tools of the mass media to mock and attack it, jammers have altered billboards to promote anti-war or anti-corporate causes, and used performance art, computer hacking and graffiti to inject subversive messages into corporate-controlled daily life.
Culture jamming is also the driving force behind Lopez's snarky 10-year-old independent media group, subMedia (subMediatv.com), a kind of counter-cultural think tank where Lopez and friends dream up ways to make people question the media's elisions and deceptions. And subMedia has helped cultivate a regional alternative film scene by staging massive multimedia parties featuring independent Atlanta filmmakers.
Now subMedia is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a party.
As testament to Lopez's far-ranging interests, the evening's festivities at Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery will feature a punk band from El Salvador, fire juggling, and films by a cadre of international and local filmmakers such as Eyekiss and POPfilms. It will also mark the official launch of Molotov, Lopez's political 'zine dedicated to topics "from how to make your own ski masks for demonstrations to how to run your car on grease."
And the event may be Lopez's swan song. The filmmaker, iconoclast and winner of a 2003 City of Atlanta Emerging Artist Award is heading to Canada in May to indulge his nagging wanderlust and take advantage of that nation's great health care.
But subMedia will continue its unique form of fighting the power with divisions in Vancouver and Atlanta.
"Atlanta definitely hasn't seen the last of me."
The Molotov launch and subMedia anniversary celebration happens Sat., Feb. 26, 8 p.m. $5. Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery, 290 MLK Jr. Drive. 404-514-1165. www.eyedrum.org.
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