Apr 212016

Hello Everyone,

I feel compelled to comment upon the loss of both Prince and David Bowie in this short period of time this year. Perhaps my most immediate reaction this afternoon to the news of Prince’s passing has been to stagger backward a couple steps recognizing what a colossal artistic void is left in his wake after his passing, much like I did after I heard the news of David in January. And as the confirmation of the news streamed in through my usual sources on the tv and the internet I found myself acknowledging how so many people around the world will endure feelings of bereavement on this day. Many will leave work early, I think. Many will contact family and friends to share in the mourning, just as we do when a beloved family member dies. In these moments in families many members mourning the loss no doubt think of how this void can possibly be filled ever again. Many perhaps recall suddenly trivial yet vital parts played by that person and wonder things such as who will play Santa for the kids this year? Or who can even hope to bake all those pies at Thanksgiving? Indeed, with such a void, with such a gap now created that cannot possibly be filled by any single one of us, how do we bridge this loss? How do we help the young ones to understand, many will find themselves thinking.

It’s this sort of family loss that seems like the only psychological template that comes even close to matching up in these cases for many of us. For me, with David Bowie it’s always been the Ziggy Stardust record that I know best. It’s one that I played exceedingly frequently during a certain time of my life. Even now, when I hear “Ziggy played guitar. Jamming good with Weird and Gilly, and the Spiders from Mars…” I laugh and think of how the personifications of “Weird and Gilly” and I strummed guitars sitting in my living room many times at various different times in my life. And with Prince I recall feeling sparked by the lyrics “You don’t have to be rich to be my girl. Don’t have to be cool to rule my world.” And then in the last verse, with the ferocity of an unquestionably riled-up African-American woman, and in an upper vocal register I cannot even begin to hit, he exclaims: “Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with!!!” Well, you know the rest. “I just want your extra time, and your kiss.”

Wow. These poetic musical moments and so many more by them both have stuck with me for many years, and I expect they’ll be around in my mind’s theater for many more years to come.

So I see these two passing as a great loss. It’s something I feel compelled to comment upon, and it’s something I think the artistic community in particular must view as one where they wonder who among them can possibly even hope to bridge the void now left in their wake. It’s a tremendous emotional experience for many of them, I believe. And I think as this mourning and acceptance sinks in with artists around the world, they will— as artists will do— respond to their emotions by creating art. Much like we saw after David Bowie’s and other artists’ passing, there will assuredly be numerous tribute performances made by many musicians. But what I suspect, and what I hope for, as we all right now feel the whoosh from the cosmic wake of the appearance and passing of these incredible talents, is that artists around the world will respond less by performing tributes of Prince and Bowie songs, and MORE by producing NEW WORKS of their own perhaps inspired by the emotions they feel— inspired by their gratitude at sharing a moment in the continuum of time with these legendary artists.

Just as with the loss of a beloved family member, we ultimately recognize how blessed we’ve been to share time with that person, for however long it lasted in life. Their wakes are often bigger than we think we can endure sometimes when they pass, and they seem to come when we think we are prepared for them least. And in the case of the passing of these two giants, I think the legacy each of them would most likely prefer to see bestowed upon them is that we commemorate their loss not by dwelling in what they take with them (and away from us), but in what NEW each of us might create that is perhaps inspired by our sharing a place in time with them. “Go be YOU,” I think they would say. You know? It comforts me to think that’s what they’d want.

Rest in peace Prince and David, and heartfelt condolences to all who love them.

Sep 022014

Looks like we’ll be seeing them in the Lionel J. Wilson Building near city hall:

Laurel Book Store has been an important venue for community events since its launch in 2001, and is well known for its selection of independent and locally published books. However, the store recently announced a move from its namesake district to a larger space in downtown Oakland. The bookstore will keep its name — owner Luann Stauss credits her friends and customers in the Laurel district as the reason for the store’s growth. The new space is expected to open in October, at about the same time as the business’ thirteenth anniversary. The bookstore also has launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign that will run through September 24 with a goal of raising $50,000 for the move.

Source: East Bay Express

Jul 122013

For you underground cartoon buffs.  Check it out from SF.FunCheap.com:

2013 Underground Cartoon Carnival & Stop Motion Sideshow

Sunday, July 14, 2013 | 7-11 pm
The Tannery, 708 Gilman St. Berkeley
Free, but donations are welcome

This is a unique opportunity to sit back and enjoy three reels of rare, very subversive early shorts from some of the most creative personalities in animated film history. The night will feature the works of: Winsor McCay, Wallace Carleson, Otto Mesmer,Walt Disney, Paul Terry, Otto Foky, Jiří Trnka, Norman McLaren, and others, all on 16mm film.


Jul 122013

Looks like an interesting one for seeing the works of aspiring film makers, and could make for a fun night out in the Mission District.  From FrozenFilmFestival.com:

The San Francisco Frozen Film Festival is held every summer in the heart of the Mission district in San Francisco at the Roxie Theatre. Filmmakers whose work is accepted into the festival are invited to come to the city by the bay in the dead of summer to screen and discuss their work.

In addition to our annual international film festival, the SFFFF Youth Program is specifically focused on demonstrating to underserved youth that existing pathways do exist to help them find a career in the film arts. SFFFF holds annual music and art performances, as well as youth programming and awards presentations.

Jul 122013

Arguably an important movie for many of us, especially here in the bay area, to see, you can read an interesting review here from the East Bay Express, and go see it for yourself on its opening weekend along with many who no doubt will find it a very emotionally wrenching story to revisit:

Writer-director Coogler’s goal is clear — to put a human face on Grant, to make him recognizable, to sketch in a few of the details of his life (the factual details, but also some metaphorical ones), so we can try to understand how a young man’s life can be so hurriedly wasted. We need to know who Oscar Grant is, not only to discover the truth about him, but about ourselves and our construction of everyday social reality.

Oscar, as portrayed by TV actor Michael B. Jordan, is no angel. From strategically placed flashbacks we learn that he has served time in San Quentin for drug dealing, and as we follow him in the last days of his life we see him reverting to his familiar connections, but at the last moment throwing away the bag of weed he was going to sell. Oscar has a short fuse, and there are those from his days in prison who consider him a snitch. But at age 22 he’s trying his best to patch things up and lead the family life with his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz) and their toddler daughter Tatiana, better known as T (Ariana Neal). Oscar is especially tender with his little girl, and relates warmly to his in-laws.

Jun 212013

Great wine, great views of SF, bay, bridges, etc, and another fun event in the winery’s gigantic airplane hangar!  From RockWallWines.com tumblr event website:

The Fifth Annual Long Day Short Film Festival celebrates the beginning of summer with a presentation of short films on the longest day of the year, June 21, 2013.

The Festival is committed to exposing exciting new short films to wider audiences. Last year’s packed house watched submissions from filmmakers well established in the industry as well as directors and film students just starting out.

Jun 072013

Part of the First Fridays gathering in downtown Oakland, as identified for us by the SF Bay Guardian:

Temescal Art Hop Rise Above Gallery, 4770 Telegraph, Oakl. www.riseaboveoakland.com. 6-9pm, free. The Temescal neighborhood is joining the First Friday fray — pick up a “passport” from one of the participating 20 businesses and get them stamped at the neighbors to win raffle prizes.



Jun 072013

Pointed out by the East Bay Express Weekender:

Live Oak Park Fair
A cornerstone of the vibrant North Berkeley art & crafts community, the Live Oak Park Fair showcases affordable contemporary art, fine crafts, handcrafted jewelry & accessories, couture adult and kids’ clothing, handmade quilts and baskets, plus sculptural and functional objects in clay, fiber, glass, metal and wood. With plenty of stuff to keep the kids busy as well — live music, magic shows, puppets, and face painting — great food, and more. At Live Oak Park. June 8 & 9, 10am-6pm, free.

May 312013

SF Bay Guardian points out this event for us at The Art House Gallery on Shattuck:

“Poetry Unbound” Art House Gallery, 2905 Shattuck, Berk. berkeleyarthouse.wordpress.com. 5pm sign-up, 5:30pm event, $5 donation suggested. This Shattuck gallery begins its new first Sunday series, which unites readings by seasoned writers with a brief open mic — meant to strengthen the writing community.

May 242013

From the SFweekly VoicePlaces.com Events Calendar:

Sure, standing around in the stairwell of 49 Geary drinking champagne during its First Thursday gallery openings can be fun. But it’s not a great way to see the best artwork this city can offer (unless you view getting trampled as a form of crowd-sourced, contemporary performance art). Switch your booze-fueled art cruise day to later in the month instead, when Raw SF hosts its huge, monthly exhibition of 30+ of San Francisco’s latest and greatest underground talent. Each event focuses on a different theme and brings together creators from disciplines such as painting, photography, fashion, music, and even makeup art to showcase their work. Boasting over 750 regular attendees, it’s an unmissable celebration of local talent — one that you’re likely to survive. Past shows have included: Live art from Gabrielle Rose and Brandon Hurley, “makeup manifestations” by Jessica Fraser, fashions by Gorilla Workshop, music by Boats and Rufio, and enough DJs to keep your head spinning for days. 


May 242013

Looks like something lovers of Ginsberg’s Howl would dig.  From SFweekly:

A little over a year ago, Janey Smith started putting on readings in the derelict apartment above her own: Without electricity, The Squat is lit with an abundance of tea candles and authors read from a stage composed of dirt swept up from the unfinished floors, surrounded by a huddle of attendees. The first night boasted an ossified rat on the mantle; where that disappeared to is anyone’s guess. The series, Live at 851, has from the beginning been of unusually premium quality, with people e-mailing Smith from around the country for a chance to read in the intimate and unusual setting; she has since teamed up with City Lights and indie publisher YesYes Books to put on special events. On Friday, New York-based poet Alex Dimitrov (founder of the Wilde Boys salon and recipient of the American Poetry Review’s 2011 Stanley Kunitz Prize) joins a lineup of local all-stars: Cedar Cigo, Ben Mirov, and erica lewis (sic), for a night of poetry that is sure to begin and end as a party.