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LOLAH Girls bring activism to web-based reality show

Lolah_justiceTruth has never been exposed in quite the way that the web-based reality show Puzzled reveals it. The popular show follows a group of female American activists as they travel the continent fighting crime with love – and the first amendment. Inspired by anti-war demonstrator Cindy Sheehan, the Ladies of Liberty Alliance, Hardcore (aka the LOLAH Girls) reveal the truth about topics including corporate greed, globalization, the war on drugs, over-taxation and free speech. Katrina Fox spoke with project founder Brooke Kelley.

13 February 2011

Who are the LOLAH Girls?

At this time there are five official LOLAH girls, but we work with a ton of other great women There is another branch of LOLAHs which includes as many as 60 girls now. We are a faction of that group which focuses on hardcore activism to bring awareness for lots of topics of social importance.

We are anti-war, first and foremost. We are anti-slavery, so we inform people about evil corporations, legal drug-pushing companies, big government and much more. So whereas the other LOLAHs work in the system, reforming government from the inside, we work on the frontlines, often getting arrested for upholding our freedom of speech and other soon to be nullified constitutional rights.

How did you come together?

We all met by working together on various projects pertaining to exposing rights violations, worldwide. Cat Bleish represents the liberty movement, Chanda Panda stands for the truth movement, Cindy Sheehan is the anti-war movement's most known leader, and Tracy Ward is your average family girl from the midwest who is fed up with the evil in the world. I am an independent activist and represent all of the disconnected people out there who feel they want more than what we are conditioned to believe we get.

What inspired you to make Puzzled?

I was one of the original Survivor fans and soon developed an appetite for reality programming. I thought it was an amazing process to put people in an open forum, where others could observe their behavior, and I believe that by watching people, you can learn from their mistakes.

With reality TV you are not closed into just getting to know your own friends, you get to know people you've never met, and this was all very fascinating to me. I moved to Hollywood for three years and applied to be on every single show in existence.

I was determined to do that, until violent martial law in Los Angeles forced me to leave the state. By the time I left I had come to the conclusion, that I could do what I wanted from anywhere in the US because some of the "characters" were establishing a great online presence, and then they would get "picked up" by shows.

After my eyes were opened to the horrible truth about martial law in the big cities, I switched immediately from Hollywood to politics, and I played around in the political arena for the last three years.

What's going on right now is that peaceful people are being demonized in the media as potential violent threats to national security. They are currently setting up people like me in the public eye, by claiming that people like Jared Lee Loughner shared our views. They are trying to categorize us with him and Timothy McVeigh. I wanted to create my own reality show to inform the people about exactly what it is that we do.

Why did you call the show Puzzled?

Puzzled is about putting all the pieces together. For the longest time I would merely observe various rights violations the world over, not really connecting the dots or seeing the bigger picture. After some time I started to fit the data I had gathered into the matrix of the whole picture in order to realize why all of these abuses were happening.

It has been an amazing process being the detective. I believe that everyone has a piece of the puzzle to offer, and I hope to cross paths with them all until I ultimately answer every single question ever stated by man. They tell you some questions will never be answered, and I think that's a deterrent to keep people away from the truth.

I believe you worked in mainstream media for over 10 years. What made you leave it to embark on a radical, activist project like Puzzled?

I had a political awakening where I realized that if we don't stand up and do something now, we won't have the cushy lives we enjoy so much. I don't even see it as an option. I learned the sad truth about exactly how much of the information the media produces is false, and my world came tumbling down.

I had to come to the conclusion that the stories that needed to be told would never get to the public if I didn't switch my tactics, fast. There are only so many pulled articles, rewritten histories, and ignored queries one can take before seeing the hypocrisy of it all. I mean, I knew from my first year in journalism that they were lying. It just took me 10 years to uncover the ultimate secret they were keeping from us all.

You’ve launched Puzzled as a web-based production in the reality genre – why did you choose this route, rather than pitching it to alternative or mainstream TV networks?

If I ever find a media source who will tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I would entertain the idea of working with them, but in the meantime, why would I compromise my values and help them suppress the truth? Would I then, not be just as guilty?

What’s been the reaction to the show so far?

We got an overwhelmingly amazing response just from Facebook and a few radio shows last year, and this year, I’m going all out with advertising and marketing materials and whole media plan to reach the people. Last year was just the production work.

How is the project funded?

Lolah_girlsI was very fortunate to get funding through a company that allows me all the creative freedom I want. What happened was that I up and quit Hollywood on a whim and called every single one of my clients and put in my notice.

I moved in with my friend and slept on her floor for a bit and even stayed in my sister's spare bedroom and ate her table scraps. I didn't know how i was going to make it, I just knew I couldn't continue to perpetuate the mainstream lie, not one day longer. I know there's not a ton of money for projects like this just floating around but I also happen to know that our environment is no obstacle to creating anything we want.

If you believe the lies they condition us with, you will assume there's no money to be made in [social justice], and go take a desk job. That's sad to me, because we create our realities as we go. The moment I stopped begging Hollywood producers to cast me in their show and the day I started to simply do it myself was the exact time I got the random call that the money was going to be there when I needed it, exactly as I had created it in my head: inflow of money lending me to full creative control.

Now all that said, I was homeless for five months last year, and five months in 2009. I did this by choice, because I wanted to work in this field. I have my car, a tent, I do couch surfing, and I have three movements of activists who are willing to put me up and even feed me sometimes, whenever I need it.

It was more important to me to get from coast to coast filming activists, putting my money into gas and an occasional hostel, than to have a stable home life. I have a decent budget. I’m not complaining, but there's no need to waste either. All my extra money goes to support other activists and their work.

In the season finale, you say that it is possible to push back and do hardline activism without consequences, yet many activists have been imprisoned or savagely beaten by police. There would also be consequences for a poor person with a family not paying a fine, so some people might argue that your suggestions are only really applicable to people with some kind of class privilege – what’s your response to this?

Every single person has a role to play, and every person is responsible for helping. People with children should not work on the frontlines, because that would be denying their responsibilities to their family. The good news is that we don't need everyone on the frontlines, we just need everyone to carry their own weight.

So for instance, Tracy Ward is a mom. She'll go hold signs at protests and even organize the gatherings, but when the cops come, she's not the one on the bullhorn. She steps aside. She hasn't been arrested, but she's still hardcore, because she home schools her children, feeds them an organic diet, and is running for a meager political seat in her county.

What encounters, if any, have you had with police in regards to your activism and what were the outcomes?

I was arrested four times in 2009 for speaking, practicing freedom of expression and refusing to leave public spaces. This is because in every case, I challenged authority, directly.

Lolah_BrookeIn 2010, I also withdrew a lot of financial support. I didn't get my car registered and refused to pay all the tickets I was issued. In 2011, I’m taking it a step further and pulling all finances from the state, and as much as I can possibly pull from the corporations as well.

Civil disobedience like this takes a little time to kick in. Eventually someone's going to notice that I’m not cooperating and throw a fit over it. In that case, I’m prepared to sit in jail rather than pay the debts they imagine I owe them.

The reason for this is simple: When we give them our money, we are paying for some else's enslavement.

What’s next for the LOLAH Girls in 2011?

I’m looking forward to adding new women to the mix! Right now, it's all about the show and all about politics, but I actually quit politics last month and I’m branching off into the new age culture of the spiritual movement. I don't want LOLAH to be all about crime fighting, it needs to focus more on living by example and being the change we want to see in the world.

The website is going to be reworked so that there are about eight to 12 kick-ass women, each covering a different aspect of positive living, and it will ultimately link out to their website. So for instance, I’d love to have more of a variety in the mix.

So there would be like an inspirational musician, someone who owns a food company and refuses to pay business licenses, an artist – someone who paints solely for advancing ideas of social importance, someone who is deeply spiritual who maybe practices yoga ... that type of thing.

And each of us will have a piece of the puzzle to add, so that onlookers step back and see how rights violations are attacking every aspect of human life, and that at the end of the day there are still women who are not afraid to stand up and make a positive change in the world.

Visit the LOLAH Girls website for more information.

Katrina Fox is editor-in-chief of The Scavenger.

Images: Courtesy of Brooke Kelly.




































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