WRIR Co-founder’s Final Mission: Battling Stage Four Cancer and Climate Change

by | Mar 22, 2024 | COMMUNITY, ENVIRONMENTAL, OUTDOORS, POLITICS, RICHMOND GLOBAL, RICHMOND NEWS, SMALL BUSINESS, VIRGINIA NEWS

Chris Maxwell is the best of us. He’s one of the co-founders of WRIR,  our beloved local indie radio station and community rallying point for RVA initiatives and movements. About a month ago, Farid Alan Schintzius approached me with an idea of conducting an interview with him in retrospective of his long history of championing progressive ideals in Virginia, activating constituencies to alter near-certain political outcomes – flipping districts, getting out the vote, being a one-man Anarchists Cookbook. He’s the real deal.

Here’s the gut punch. He’s reached the last lap in his long race. Stage four cancer will have its way with him and there’s no reasonable hope to change that course of fate. The amount of wisdom, experience, motivation, cleverness, and goodwill to all people that stands to be erased from memory is staggering. Read this, and after you do, find a way to contact him. Learn what he knows. Pass it down. He has a lot to say. He’ll make you wish you had three ears to hear it all.

Also, you can support his GoFundMe HERE

Chris Maxwell Interview by Christian Detres_RVA Magazine 2024
Photo courtesy of Chris Maxwell

Christian Detres: Let’s start at the beginning, because There’s a generation in Richmond that knows exactly who you are and what you’ve done, but I think there’s a lot of people coming up that may not have been introduced to you.

Chris Maxwell: Yeah, I agree. That’s very likely. I’ve kind of dropped out of the spotlight quite a bit.

CD: Yeah, well, shit. Haven’t we all? So give us your greatest hits. Tell us what are the things that you’re most proud of being a part of. Give us the greatest hits. 

CM: I mean, of course, WRIR would have to be my number one favorite thing. I’ve had some amazing moments of just pure dumb luck. For example, after starting the LPFM journey, it came to my attention that the big broadcasters, the National Association of Broadcasters and the manufacturers, had cooked up a plot. They had cooked up a plan to convert the FM and AM broadcasting dial into a subscription service. They were gonna eliminate free over the air broadcasting. They planned to do it with a technology called IBAC, which stands for In Band Adjacent Channel, where they were going to saddle each analog broadcast signal with two digital sidebands and force a conversion to Digital Audio Broadcasting

This was in contrast to the way everybody else on the entire planet was going to do it. The global consensus was to establish a whole third band for Digital Audio Broadcasting and leave the FM band alone. Let’s say you’re listening to “University of Rich Kids” soccer –

LOL, you mean U of R? I grew up listening to 90.1. Back then, I didn’t have any concept of the differences between University of Richmond and VCU. Fontaine used to have a show on it. The first time I ever heard pretty much most of the bands that I love right now was on that station. But WRIR really filled in some  gaps when you guys came on. Not just playing really good music from all over the world, but also from a lot of different standpoints. It was tied in with activism, which made sense considering you and Alan’s involvement. There was always something real going on surrounding the station. Some real deal issue was always being addressed, a movement being promoted, and charitable events announced. It was more than a discovery zone for obscure bands, it was a community organizer – and an effective one. 

I knew there was a push to take away the established relationship that every citizen has to AM/FM radio bands, specifically the fact that they’re free. These are open channels that you can broadcast on. There’s standards of course, but at the same time, it’s like air. It’s a fundamental right, as far as I’m concerned, and always has been my entire life. So the fact that anything was being done to change that in the name of making some giant corporation a few more dollars is disgusting.

CM: You’re right. And so I was so floored that I actually made a website called digitaldisaster.org, which no longer exists. I let it go once I was done. 

But let me backstroke half a moment. When you hear people talk about conspiracy theories, I call them conspiracy fantasists unless they can actually back it up. Like, “here’s the link, here’s the name of the document.” If they can do that level of detail, then it’s time to listen. One of the most childish responses to asking for validation is saying “oh, go do your own research.”  

CD: Yeah, seriously, just tell me what you know. 

CM: What I tell them is, “I did do my own research, and I realized that you ain’t got nothing”.

CD: Your accomplishments in Richmond are myriad. You’ve been involved in, or at the center of, a lot of progressive initiatives-

CM: Wait, wait, I didn’t get a chance to finish the FM thing.

CD: Oh, please do. Please, please do.

CM: The very vague basics are they wanted to convert the FM and AM band to digital and the way they were going to do it was by adding those sidebands. Adjacent channel means that any adjacent station that’s weak like 90.1 was interactive with the next band over. Any adjacent station that’s really powerful nearby would wipe out your ability to ever hear that smaller, weaker station ever again. So they would be eliminated. About a third of all stations would disappear from people’s ability to receive them. 

CD: Could you imagine even coming up with that plan and thinking that’s okay?

CM: Oh, they don’t care. 

CD: But still, I mean, we still live in a society for Christ’s sake. I mean, they still live there, too, you know?

CM: There was an anthropologist who said that, I think it was Margaret Mead, the first sign of human civilization was a healed femur. And the reason for that is, in the wild, if you break a large bone, like your femur, you’re toast. That’s it, game over. Either from microbes or bigger critters, or both. And so the fact that they found a human femur that was healed, meant that somebody took care of it. That is the first sign of human civilization. You form a civilization to protect the group from predators – be they foreign predators, or like the dude down the street that’s having a meltdown. That’s the whole point of a civilization. 

If you define it that way, I would say we’re actually not in a functioning civilization. We have lost so many protections against predatory behavior, like the one from the broadcast guys I just told you about. They realized that that title gave them away. If you understood anything about FM/AM broadcast technology, you realize that anything that’s an “adjacent channel” is going to destroy stations. They wanted stations to buy their technology. So if you have a technology whose very title says “we’re going to destroy your station” it’s not going to sell well.

CD: I mean, that’s if it’s marketed truthfully. But that’s always the problem too. 

CM: Yeah, that’s another issue right there. Well, you know, they renamed it HD radio for marketing purposes. 

CD: Well, there you go. That’s exactly what I was getting at. 

CM: I actually wiped out an actual conspiracy. 

CD: You’re gonna have to tell us how you did that. Because this is lesson time, listen up kids. How did you achieve that? 

CM: I would literally figure out where they’re enabling a test radio station, and I would drive the perimeter of its reach and make audio recordings of how it impacted nearby stations. Then I posted that to the web. Then I went to their congressional hearing. Luckily, I live just two hours south of DC so I could go. One day, I was in one of the hearings, where one of the National Association of Broadcaster engineers was testifying officially to Congress. Maybe it was just dumb luck but I happened to park myself in exactly the right position in the Gallery right behind him. I could see his laptop screen. Just feet away from me, right? I couldn’t read the print on his screen but I recognized the software he was using. It was the same software I use to make audio for WRIR. Oh, I see what he’s doing. So I started taking photographs. When he testified to Congress, he said, “This is what it will sound like if we let LPFMs (Low Power Frequency Modulators) get on the air. We should be doing digital broadcasting.” Instead, he played the file. And so I photographed him lying to Congress using software to mimic what he claimed was going to be the effect. I took the photos, submitted it as an addendum into the official record for that hearing.  (ed. Note: Maxwell’ response starts on page 90) 

Chris Maxwell Interview by Christian Detres_RVA Magazine 2024

I said he’s misrepresenting the nature of FM technology. FM technology has what’s called the capture effect. And you’ve probably experienced this where you’re driving along and listening to an FM radio station and all of a sudden it flips to another station and then back again. Sometimes really quickly, That’s the capture effect, when your receiver locks into one signal, and you’re right between two stations. Maybe there’s a hill in the way or there’s a big metal thing like a water tower or aircraft. Something is reflecting the signal, and momentarily making it stronger. You’re on the same channel but all of a sudden, it’s another station. That’s the capture effect, right? 

So, he just mixes two audio files together on his laptop. I’m like, that is not how FM works. I blew his testimony out of the fucking water. I just labeled them a bunch of liars in the official record for the hearings for Congress.

CD: That must have felt amazing.

CM: I just happened to sit in just the right spot! “Oh, my God, I know exactly what he’s fucking doing” and took photographs. They are so pompous. It didn’t even occur to them that there’s some little small fry guy they’ve never heard of that could blow them out of the water.

CD: Isn’t that isn’t that the way of rebellion all of the time? You always find the chinks in the armor of the oppressor in their arrogance. Just being in the right place, at the right time, with the right frame of mind, you can find an opportunity to take down an entire thing. 

CM: I mean, I also had to understand the technology. 

CD: Of course, but only if you have your eyes open to the opportunity will you ever have it. You could have been sitting there and just playing on your phone and missed out on the opportunity completely, or not recognize what the opportunity represented.

CM: And I wouldn’t even know I missed it. 

CD: That’s an incredible story. 

CM: I got one more piece to add to that. I start going around to radio conferences. Go into one of these conference rooms where this guy is going to talk about the wonders of digital radio. So I flipped my nametag over so you couldn’t see it. Because at this point, I’d gotten a reputation. I go in there and I know exactly what questions they don’t want people to ask. So first, I ask those questions. When I got to the third question, the guy squinted and looked at me. He goes, “Are you Christopher Maxwell?” I flipped the nametag and said “yeah.” He closed his laptop and walked out of the room.

CD:

How does it feel to be liar repellent? That is the culmination of building a reputation as a truth teller. It’s a beautiful place of power. You’ll get people to close their laptop and walk off the stage if they know they’re going to be confronted by you. If you’re involved with an organization, it gains legitimacy and makes people sit up and take notice. I think that’s why the people that admire you pushed me to do this interview with you. The power of being Chris Maxwell is the reputation that precedes you. 

Let’s talk about how WRIR comes into comes into focus. How do you think WRIR has affected the ecosystem of Richmond?

Chris Maxwell Interview by Christian Detres_RVA Magazine 2024
Photo courtesy of Chris Maxwell

CM: Hmm, that makes me think about when Adria Scharf, who ran the Richmond Peace Education Center, first came to Richmond. She emailed me back when we first got on the air. She said, “you know, I came to Richmond because of a job interview. She said she wasn’t too sure about Richmond. She was thinking “ugh, capital of the Old Confederacy.” She’s riding around in the car looking at things, seeing the abject poverty of Gilpin court versus the ridiculous houses of Windsor Farms. Richmond has one of the biggest wealth disparities within a few zip codes of most cities in America.

She wasn’t too sure about taking this job. And she was cruising the dial and she came across the WRIR. She emailed me saying, “now I know I can live here.” because WRIR exists. To me, that was one of the best endorsements of the whole concept. That it gave people a feeling of “I can thrive here. This is a place I can be who I am.”

CD: WRIR is one of those touchstones in the city. Its very existence, the vibe that it puts forth, really creates an identity nexus for the city. Like it would be a terrible, terrible disaster if we did not have WRIR anymore. The city would have lost a part of its soul.

CM: In everything that I’ve done, I was never the perfect person. I was never the best person. I would even say I was rarely qualified. I’ve had people say, “well, who are you to talk about this? What the hell do you know? You don’t have a degree in electrical engineering? You don’t have a degree in political science?” I would say “that’s fine. Yeah, that’s all true.” You know what, it doesn’t take perfection. It just takes showing up and doing it.

CD: Let’s move forward to the now, to the current situation. One of the reasons we’re taking the opportunity to talk to you now is because  you,  one of our favorite sons, someone who’s done so much for Richmond, is in a scenario that requires us to love you back. A bunch of people may not know what you’re facing right now. Whatever you want to share with us about your situation. Tell us how we can help you for a change.

CM:

Well, I’m gonna die. My doctors have been clear. When they do a scan, it lights up like a Christmas tree with tumors. There’s a statistically nearly zero, not totally zero, but pretty much zero chance, that it could be cured. So, you know, this carcass is thinking, yeah, the motor still runs, the router still works. So I take as long as I have agency, as long as I can turn the propeller a little bit and I can still operate the steerage and keep moving. 

I would hope that I can take after Union Captain Farragut, who was tasked with invading a Confederate harbor, in the Civil War. One of his ships hit a mine. They called it torpedoes back then. One of his ships blew right out of the water. And everybody’s watching that, like, “uhhh, yeah, maybe not.” And he’s like, “Oh, no, we’re doing this thing! ”His famous quote was, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

CD: Oh, that’s where that comes from.

CM: That comes from a real person in a real situation. I hope what I do fits that kind of energy. You know, I’m a sinking battleship. I still have some motor power and I still have some steering. I’m gonna ram this ship into the gearbox of the Death Star on my way down. It’s gonna choke on my bones.

CD: I mean, there’s, I gotta say, there’s no, there’s no more punk way to go. 

CM: I mean, I took down a whole industry, the Digital Audio Broadcasting initiative. Took a whole fucking industry down. 

CD: I love it. I love it. And here’s the thing. Farid Alan Schinztius told me about your situation. Tony Harris and I discussed it as well. They wanted me to sit down with you and go down memory lane with you. The one thing I knew was that if I were to come to you and cry on your shoulder or make sweet words at you in regret or in sadness of your predicament, you would not dig it. I will make this article as long as it needs to be but I want you to share some wisdom with us. We’re gonna lose you, but we’re gonna keep this conversation for a long time.

CM: I’m not the best person for most jobs. I’m the one who showed up and decided to try, period. That’s it. If a construction worker like me with four major maladies can show up, so can you. Potts, Depression, ADHD, stage four cancer – I don’t even know if you know what Potts is, but it’s really debilitating. 

CD: No, I don’t think I have heard of it.

CM: I have vertigo 90% of the time. I get dizzy and nauseous like, five, six times a day. Sometimes I go home for whole days or weeks without being able to digest food. The testosterone blockers for the cancer make it really hard to grow muscles back. So it’s a struggle. Yeah, I don’t think I would bother if I didn’t have something that I felt I could accomplish. That’s why I go through the cancer treatments. I don’t have a wife or child. Nobody’s gonna miss me like that. So why stick around? Well, this is why. Because just like with Digital Audio Broadcasting, I can see the problem and the pathway to fix it. Like it’s right there. It’s just I can see it clear as day.

It’s the same thing when I built WRWK out in Midlothian. My goal was to activate women voters to find their power. And they did. And it’s not just us. We were one among several factors. But WRWK gave the liberal women of Chesterfield County an additional way to network with like-minded people in Chesterfield. We gave them another channel to speak through. They found enough voters to flip David Brat (perfect name for him) for Abigail Spanberger. She’s the first woman ever to hold that seat in the House of Reprehensibles. 

CD: LOL LOL LOL! Sorry, man, I appreciate that. House of Reprehensibles. But yeah, go ahead.

CM: She’s the first woman ever in that seat, the first Democrat in that seat since it was either 1969 or 1961. And the first year that that district voted for a Democratic governor since either 61 or 69. I can’t remember which way the two went. But I could send-

CD: I’ll look it up. [the last Dem was John O. Marsh, elected in 1963 – 1971]

CM:

Another thing I’m really proud of is that I saw this pattern of opportunities. I realized the power of community radio. I understood how to make an antenna that normally would cost $3,800. I’d look at it and figure out how to build one out of plumbing parts for 88 bucks. 

I understand the physics of things, and I understand how to use my hands to make things that either nobody else thought of. Just tweaking technology, you know? It’s just bending the curve like that. That’s been the whole story of my life. If a construction worker can do this, so can you. That’s the story I want to leave people with.

In a weird kind of way, I’ve got a “get out of jail free” card. Because you know until something like this arrives in your life, you think “oh, my future is infinite”. You could think “my present is nothing like I thought it should be, and “oh, woe is me” because, I don’t have this or that, whatever it is that you wish you had. And then all sudden nature shows up and taps its watch at you. It’s wonderfully focusing. I can think of three dozen projects that I’m never going to get to. So we’re just going to pass those on to other people. And they’re either going to do them or not. 

This focusing makes me have to pick one thing and go for it. That’s what I have energy for. One thing. And I’ve decided what that one thing to do is. I’ve seen peer reviewed science that backs me up, but what I’m about to say sounds fantastic. To the point of being not believable. I can send the peer reviewed papers to prove it though.

CD: Yup, in Scientific American. I’m gonna add the link to this article. LINK HERE

CM:

Well, there’s several. That’s one of them. There’s Cell Journal, there’s Scientific American. When I first read these reports, I felt like “wow, I feel numb.”  Literally my skin had gotten tingly and numb. 

To set the stage, we are in so much deeper trouble with climate change than people know. There is not a single, solitary, apocalyptic movie or book that comes anywhere close describing the horror we’re headed for. Nothing. Zero. We’re on a path to repeat the Permian mass extinction that wiped that around 90 something percent of all life on Earth. That’s where we’re heading. And it’s not a long prospect. The tropical parts of the oceans have lost 40% of their oxygen production capability in just the last 50 years. That’s a steep curve. Mass extinction. 

When the oxygen content of the atmosphere drops fast enough, and the natural systems can’t adapt, they just go extinct. That obviously includes a large critter like humans, but it includes a whole lot of smaller critters. We have a responsibility as this planet’s top sentient species, at least as far as we know, to reverse what we’ve done. There’s enough carbon baked into the atmosphere that we’re already heading into the Permian mass extinction, even if we just stopped. 

Say goodbye to just about everything we love, including obviously ourselves. But the good news is, the ship still has a rudder, we can still change course. We have to stop talking about reducing our carbon footprint, being carbon neutral and start thinking about reversal. To reverse the damage we’ve done.

CD: Can we do that? Do we know how to do it?

Chris Maxwell Interview by Christian Detres_RVA Magazine 2024
Chris Maxwell Interview by Christian Detres_RVA Magazine 2024
Chris Maxwell Interview by Christian Detres_RVA Magazine 2024
Taking sunlight, water and carbon dioxide as inputs, this solar tower in Spain produces carbon-neutral jet fuel and diesel

CM: It’s completely doable. Read what University ETH (in Zurich), via Dr. Aldo Steinfeld has to say in the cell journal paper. You’ll see his name on there. I make sure to tell people that this is not my invention. I’m just a popularizer. ETH Zurich has figured out that if you heat cerium oxide, which is a common thing – you can buy it on Amazon for 10 bucks, like a tub of it. Cerium oxide is used to polish jewelry and lenses. It’s just a common polishing compound. 

If you heat it to 1500 degrees Celsius, it will take carbon dioxide and water out of the air, and make syngas – which you then feed into a redox reduction oxidization chemistry set. You can make long carbon chains such as kerosene, methanol in this process. We can literally make liquid fuels for all these millions of combustion engines out there, from the air

Using the sun that makes them all functionally solar with no lithium batteries, no upgraded grid, no anything other than just the same pumps, tanks, valves – all that stuff that they’re already designed for. We’ve talked about the electric transportation revolution. I hope there’s nobody who’s seriously talking about like a 747 jet crossing the Atlantic on batteries. That’s not scalable to the things that really matter in this story. Kerosene is the basis of diesel and jet fuel. Whenever you hear somebody talking about either diesel or jet fuel, that’s kerosene with a few additives.

CD: Gotcha. But doesn’t that kind of put us back in the place where we’re coming from? We’re putting the greenhouse gases back into the air after the combustion engine has its way with the kerosene, or am I wrong? 

CM: That’s correct. You’re paying attention. That’s the not so good part, but you kind of can’t avoid it. Here’s the good part. It’s a two stage proposition. Stage one, once you’ve done it, you close the loop. You’re fueling all these engines, not from the ground. You stop digging the hole that’s taking carbon out of the ground and adding carbon to the atmosphere. You just create a cycle of bonding and unbonding the chemicals that already exist in the atmosphere. Then, you can power all these engines using the same liquid fuel they’re already designed for. I’m just sourcing it from the air instead of the ground, I’ve stopped digging the hole, I’ve stopped making it worse. 

People say, “well, why don’t you spend your time helping with battery electric conversion? My answer is we don’t have the politics that it takes to make this happen fast enough. We just don’t. I love electric cars. I built solar systems for houses that recharge electric cars, I know exactly how it’s done. I can tell you which model parts, which size wires, I can tell you down to tech details exactly how to do it. So I know exactly what’s under the hood here. 

CD: You’re creating a life cycle instead of a death cycle. What does this setup look like? Like, what space, resources, supply chains are needed to put this tech into play? 

CM: That answer is a moving target, because they’ve only built one pilot plant in Zurich. They’re building the second pilot plant as we speak, near Madrid in Spain. So we don’t actually know the answer yet. The paper that I sent you speculates – you’ll read that in their words with their math lined up and everything. So I don’t need to repeat that. They’re trying to move from the current 4.1% efficiency rate to 20%. I think we can do it here.

CD: Really? Do tell. Lay it on us. 

CM:

First of all, as far as I can tell, there’s no patent. The EU funded it. It’s open source. It’s all laid out in the paper. It shows you exactly how to make one. Nobody that I know outside these research labs have made one. I plan to make one  in Richmond this year. I’ve got the bank account lined up. We did a small fundraiser, and obviously, we’ll need to do more. We’ve got a non-profit 501 c 3   IndieLab to manage and oversee the project  . The next phase is to just build it. If we’re not going to do this fast enough to stop destroying the ocean’s phytoplankton (that makes 70% of the oxygen for Earth) then it’s time to find a better plan. 

This is what happened in the Permian mass extinction. People say we don’t know what’s going to happen – this model says this and that model says that – well, we don’t know which one’s right. We don’t need to know which model is perfect. We don’t need to know exactly how the curve goes. It’s going in the wrong direction. That’s what we need to know. That’s the problem. The oxygen content of the atmosphere has been dropping. This is an already happened thing, like during your dad’s generation thing. We’re just noticing it now. 

When you get a sudden extra in carbon dioxide, it ends up being much faster than biology can respond to evolutionally. In the Permian extinction, a whole bunch of extra volcanoes above and beyond the normal volcanic activity level shot a whole bunch of extra carbon dioxide in the air. In our case, it’s the Industrial Revolution. Earth doesn’t care. It’s the same result. So the carbon dioxide is absorbed by raindrops and turns into what’s called carbonic acid. Carbonic acid falls into the alkaline ocean. 

Now it’s important that the ocean is alkaline because that’s how calcium critters can form calcium shells. Notice that the beach is full of shells. But when you go to a freshwater river, there’s very few shells. That’s because most calcium production requires an alkaline environment, which the ocean is, and the and the rivers are not. Right. Add carbonic acid to the ocean and it makes it harder and harder for critters that have cast shells to form them. Phytoplankton have a calcium shell that’s really thin because it’s a single celled organism. It’s a really tiny little shell. It takes very little change in the alkalinity of the ocean to dissolve them. That’s why the oxygen levels are dropping, because as we acidify the ocean, the phytoplankton fail to form. 

CD: This is terrifying, man. Some terrifying shit. Let’s talk about it from an action plan footing. 

Chris Maxwell Interview by Christian Detres_RVA Magazine 2024
Photo courtesy of Chris Maxwell

CM: This is how to get the carbon out of there. A lot of the problem with carbon sequestration is that organizations are sinking money into it and not making anything that people want to buy. Now, there’s some exceptions. There’s, there’s some there’s some processes making concrete out of carbon dioxide, but most of the carbon sequestration proposals just suck up money.

CD: Capitalist countries in general, will not move to a model that benefits us until it satisfies the bottom line of the largest corporations and energy providers. 

CM:

Yes, but keep in mind, they just invented this process a few years ago. We’ve only been studying ocean acidification on any substantial level for only like 10 or 11 years. So this is all really cutting edge stuff. A lot of people are like, “Oh, well, if you’ve got this technology, you know, just get a venture capitalist.” We’re not there yet. ‘m going to build a variation on their theme. It’s not going to look anything like what they’re proposing. I’m going to make a variation that uses water power instead of solar, because we have lots and lots of water in Richmond, and by extension, Virginia. I mean, it’s raining right now. Yeah, we have tons of freaking water. 

Creating this syngas is a very old technology. It’s synthetic fuel. We’ve been making that since World War 2. There’s nothing new here except the redox chamber. That’s what I’m demonstrating. So I’m going to make one that’s a tube that I can literally carry around to conferences, Burning Man events, whatever, just to demonstrate it for people. They can hold it and be like, “wow, this is a real thing I’m holding.”

Build it, hook it up, wait 15 minutes or whatever it takes to heat up, and it lights up. That’s synthetic fuel right there. That’s it. They can take samples home. They can understand firsthand that this is a real thing. I touched it. It really exists. It’s not a video. I mean that counts for a lot in this world where deep fakes and disinformation are a thing. There’s hucksters and grifters around every corner.

CD:

This should matter to our readers as to why I’m doing this interview with you right now. I told you earlier I wanted to talk to you about you, I want to talk about your journey, where you are now, and what, as you gaze to the sunset, matters to you. Despite that intention, we have spent the last hour talking about how to make the world better for everybody else. 

That’s the reason why I’m talking to you right now. And I hope that our readers understand the legacy you’re going to leave behind. Granted, you’re not gone yet. We still have you. I’m not eulogizing you because I want you to build this thing. I want you to go to conferences. I want you to go to Burning Man and bring this thing around with you. I know there’s a GoFundMe in your name that Farid Alan Shintzius prepared. I have the link for it here. LINK HERE. I just want to tell you, you’ve got some good friends.

CM: The reason I’m alive right now is good friends, I would absolutely have died in 2018 or earlier if I hadn’t.

CD: I’m not going to let you go without insisting you tell me how we can assist you in getting you on the road and getting this thing made. I can say that I and the rest of us at RVA magazine want to see this happen, to realize this dream. I should say initiative, not a dream. It’s not a dream when you’re the guy who gets up and actually does it. It’s a mission. And I think that’s a big, big, big factor in how you have done what you have accomplished. Like you said, just getting up and doing the damn thing.

CM: I think the short answer is help me form the team to carry it past me, because this battleship is actively sinking. It still works. The motors haven’t died yet. The rudder still works. I’ll ram the shore, but somebody else needs to storm the fort.

CD: Well, thank you for giving me so much of your time with this and I hope it was enjoyable for you. I really hope we can get some actionable plans together to assist you in this. I want to put an event together where young activists can meet you and listen to your ideas. To carry your torch forward. You deserve it. You absolutely deserve it.

Again, here is the LINK to the GoFundme to help Chris Maxwell.

Also, if you are interested in contacting Chris about his ideas, you can email him at solar2dmax@gmail.com

Christian Detres

Christian Detres

Christian Detres has spent his career bouncing back and forth between Richmond VA and his hometown Brooklyn, NY. He came up making punk ‘zines in high school and soon parlayed that into writing music reviews for alt weeklies. He moved on to comedic commentary and fast lifestyle pieces for Chew on This and RVA magazines. He hit the gas when becoming VICE magazine’s travel Publisher and kept up his globetrotting at Nowhere magazine, Bushwick Notebook, BUST magazine and Gungho Guides. He’s been published in Teen Vogue, Harpers, and New York magazine to name drop casually - no biggie. He maintains a prime directive of making an audience laugh at high-concept hijinks while pondering our silly existence. He can be reached at christianaarondetres@gmail.com




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Here’s my conversation with Dr. Danny Avula, candidate for Mayor of Richmond VA. This completes the set of all my conversations with Richmond’s prospective Mayors for November 2024. One of these people is going to be leading the city next year. Who it’s going to be is...

Dystopian View of VCU’s Graduation Walkout

The Greater Richmond Convention Center has undoubtedly experienced more prosperous times. The recent walkout by Virginia Commonwealth University graduates highlighted a series of declining events in Richmond, marked by police confrontations during protests and the...

RVA 5X5 Deep Dive: Parking Decks, Debt & Trap Doors

On Wednesday afternoon at 3:00pm in City Council Chambers, City Council will vote and approve the plan presented by the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to allow the city to issue $170 million in bonds to pay for the new baseball stadium on ten acres...