the making of a march

i’ve just spent a series of days in the company of good and inspiring people, and have been reminded of the courageous, beautiful, attitude-shifting, and deeply thoughtful work that many of the rest of you have been doing out in the world through (not because of) facebook posts, phone conversations, and event notices. i’ve been watching the unfolding events in egypt, libya, wisconsin, and beyond with a metaphorical raised right fist, remembering being on the picket lines with my mother – a lifelong teacher who was engaging in collective outrage against layoffs – when i was still in a stroller and what lingered was the understanding that there are things you have no choice but to fight for. it’s worth saying that the basis for my existence is thanks to her teacher’s salary, benefits, and pension.

eric drooker's bold lines and color calling all of us in

i’ve been following the unified bristles of paintbrushes translating the courage, outrage, and ongoing stand for justice of the workers of immokalee into brilliant banners and puppets since mona caron and david solnit are now on their team! i’ve been brainstorming with bicycle activists about how to best show our solidarity with the dozen bicyclists in porto alegre, brazil who were taken by surprise and severely injured when a car plowed into a celebratory critical mass ride from behind last month. i’ve been connecting multiple dots for and between people to further creative projects, fulfill desires to be of service, and help visitors in a new city navigate unknown geographies.* i’ve been thankful to find myself in the midst of engaging community, tribes of people who are taking action in creating the lives they want to have, which they want others to benefit from too.

that was the initial reason to begin sending these event listings out, to invite folks i enjoy spending time with to experience some of the endless array of compelling events happening in this City with me. to say, “hey, here’s where i’ll be, come join me!” of course, i’ve realized the more successful way to get people to hang out with you is to invite folks personally, and so this email method of getting people together has not really worked out toward that end. but the listing has taken on a life of its own in the couple years i’ve been compiling it, and it seems it is missed when i don’t make it happen. now i see it more as a showcase of what a lot of people i know and respect are doing, or subjects and happenings i am intrigued by. i no longer can be found at ALL of what i list, and also it can never be exhaustive when there are so many amazing things taking place concurrently. in fact, there’s a ton of space to get out into the unknown of our city/bay area, as rupa urged at the end of her high energy set on friday night: to go and hang out into spaces and with people we wouldn’t ordinarily, cuz we’re gonna have to reach outside our comfortable communities if we’re ever gonna make a change!

*there’s been not nearly enough dancing in these revolutionary activities. help me change this!
what’s on this month:
a project i was working on from mid-2008-early 2010 with mona caron will be showcased in the short film, A Brush With the Tenderloin, which is screening tuesday, 8 march at the hobart building downtown. it’s showing with other short films about women in celebration of international women’s day. variety club screening room, 582 market st (at 2nd), 7:30 PM, $12 at the door. [this event sold out, but the community benefit district in the TL is planning a special screening of this 22 min. film. it was fun to see myself and mona at all the stages, listen to the eloquence of mona describing various elements, and remember what a fun and epic project this mural painted in the tenderloin was!]

i didn’t get this listing out in time to tell you about the benefit festival at the subterranean arthouse celebrating their 2nd anniversary this past weekend, but it’s a place i highly recommend checking out because it’s an intimate place to see music, hold events like screenings or gallery shows, and in general absorb the vibe of what a small community art space puts out. the bene-fest was a rollicking affair – during the rare moments i stopped dancing on saturday night i could feel the floor bouncing! one of the bands that put folks in a frenzy, zoyres eastern european wild ferment, self-described as eastern european folk music/free improvisation/jazz/rock/d-n-b group will be mixing the essential ingredients for deliciousness at another beloved art space on friday, 11 march. get there early to get tickets before it sells out! red poppy art house, folsom and 23rd sts, 8 PM, $10-$20 sliding scale.

another place i’ve been already, but want to HIGHLY recommend, is UC davis’s theatre and dance department production, come hell & high water, which is the most creative piece of theater i’ve seen in ages. it’s an epic on the US as seen through the eyes of a prisoner – as a teenager when he’s newly in jail, and as a 100 year old man and against the backdrops of a flood and hurricane katrina. what they do with water is brilliant, it’s directed by tony-award winning french director-in-residence dominique serrand, and worth a trip to davis for during its last weekend, friday – sunday, 11 – 13 march. one shields ave., fri/sat 8 PM, sun 2 PM, $13/$17 (students/general).

fusing together paintings and shadow imagery to showcase balinese mythology, the asian art museum is hosting two full length performances featuring a 70 member company of musicians and dancers and shadow puppeteers on friday, 11 march and saturday, 12 march. this is just one of the ways to experience the latest exhibit on bali at the museum. i now have a membership, so please invite yourself along as my guest sometime! 200 larkin st., friday performance 7 PM, saturday performance 2 PM, $10 (museum members) $27 (nonmembers). [sold out!]

one exhibit i’d like to recommend (from this month’s oakland art murmur) celebrates women’s history month through a judy chicago-inspired installation. like judy chicago’s dinner party, a project intended to teach women’s herstory through art, which consisted of plates and table runners created as a tribute to the feminine and influential women throughout time, the box at warehouse 416 is a collection of vagina portrait place settings inspired by the contributions of women. opening night is saturday, 12 march. 416 26th st. (betw. broadway and telegraph), 6 – 9 PM, FREE (you could bid on a bowl or textile setting).

also on saturday, 12 march the burmese american democratic alliance is putting on their annual burma human rights day benefit featuring a burmese dinner, a documentary, and two exiled burmese speakers. presentations will focus on the ongoing fight for freedom, human rights, and what life is like after the 2010 election. berkeley UU hall, 1924 cedar (at bonita), 6 PM, $15 suggested donation (to benefit HIV/AIDS shelters in burma).

on the film festival circuit, the sf asian american film festival is here. being in its 29th year puts its beginnings in 1982, in the wake of all the exciting social movements about identity politics that were emergent in the 1970s (which is interesting to me since i’ve been working a lot on the history of those movements lately). i have a looong list of films that look good to me. it may be possible for me to fit one or two of the following list in my schedule, and any interest from other folks will shoot specific films to the top of the list:
saturday, 12 march, The Taqwacores (US). clay, 5:30 PM, or Dog Sweat (Iran/US). kabuki, 6 PM, or I Wish I Knew (China/Netherlands). clay, 8 PM.
monday, 14 march, Saigon Electric (vietnam). kabuki, 8:30 PM.
tuesday, 15 march, Tales of the Waria (indonesia). kabuki, 4:45 PM, or The Imperialists are Still Alive!(US), viz cinema, 6:30 PM. all films $12 each (six-pack $60).

thinkwalks AKA joel pomerantz, is offering a walk on the watersheds of laguna honda on sunday, 13 march. if you’re curious about SF water history, how the landscape of SF has changed, or want to traverse some topography west of twin peaks, you can’t go wrong with a thinkwalks tour! start at garden for the environment, 7th ave. (at lawton), 1 PM, $10 – $40 suggested donation.

on wednesday, 16 march, another local history scholar and mapper, johnny of the popular bernal/mission/la lengua blog burrito justice, is doing a slideshow and talk for the bernal history project. community history is getting to be the latest coolest thing, so jump on the bandwagon and learn about where you live! bernal heights branch library, 500 cortland ave (at andover), 7 PM, FREE.

i’ve got a soft spot for the monthly concerts at the cadillac hotel. there aren’t that many places you can see live music for free, or at midday on a friday, and that’s definitely true if you’re a cadillac or tenderloin resident. this month, on friday, 18 march they’re featuring the unidentified flying quartet, who i’ve seen perform there before and they’re fabulous! cadillac hotel, 380 eddy st (at leavenworth), 12:30 PM, FREE.

i’m tempted to go see the new 35 mm restored battleship potemkin on the big big screen on friday, 18 march or saturday, 19 march… i don’t think i’ve seen it since a very hazy adolescent moment in a classroom in suburbia. i’m sure it will have more meaning for me, or at least i’ll have some perspective, now! the castro theatre, 429 castro st., fri & sat: 7:30 PM, 9:30 PM, sat: 2 PM, 4 PM, 5:45 PM, $10. [this was very fun to see with a group of smart people who dissected it with me afterwards. we discussed at the use of cinema in such a didactic way, marvelled at the succession of homoerotic imagery, had different opinions on the location of the schism or the point on which everything hung, wondered about the anti-semitic comment by a figure in the film who got caught up in the revolutionary moment then got pummelled by the crowd, noticed both the traditional role of women as wailers as well as women starting to get a space on the platform, and that tense moment when the potemkin appealed to the squadron not to shoot… this viewing was much more enjoyable than i remember it to be in the ’80s.]

ok, dancing on the agenda! non stop bhangra is back on saturday, 19 march. i’ve taken one of vicky virk’s dance classes, but have never been to this sweaty mess of an event which appears to create an insane endorphin rush, if the feedback i’ve gotten on this event is to be believed. shall we join the throngs? it’s st. patrick’s day weekend, so wearing a green sari might be in order. rickshaw stop, 155 fell (betw. van ness and franklin, 9 PM – 2 AM (bhangra lesson at 9:30 PM, live music 10:30 PM, djs at 11 PM), $10/$20 (pre-sale/at door).

kicking off another year of sanctioned street takeovers, catch sunday streets on the embarcadero on sunday, 20 march. explore the bayfront, and come say hi at pier 39 where i’ll be parking bicycles all day! from fisherman’s wharf to mariposa street all the way down in dogpatch/potrero hill, 11 AM – 4 PM, just requires your human power to get there! [rain kept most of the hoardes away, but the joke was that most of the day was actually quite sunny and beautiful along the waterfront. we valets were mesmerized by an acrobatic troupe which performed the same show to the letter four times in a row. it had nothing to do with the six pack and accent that the main young guy sported…i swear.]

on sunday, 20 march, join the haiti action committee for a talk on haiti and honduras: the fight for democracy in the americas. with pierre labossiere, HAC and porfirio quintano, hondureños en resistencia del norte de california. sf friends meeting house, 65 ninth st, 5 PM – 7 PM, donation. [it’s fair to assume that pierre labossiere was probably not at this event, since i heard reports that he accompanied jean bertrand aristide back to haiti!! this didn’t seem to affect the elections, but the coming months and years will be really interesting to watch!]

join rebecca solnit, her infinite city authors, and green apple books for a fancy dress atlas cocktail party on thursday, 24 march. this evening of local writing, art, and lore will be a fun chance to place yourself and rub elbows with the fantastic group of folks who rebecca brought together to map this amazing city of ours. tosca cafe, 242 columbus ave, 7 PM, FREE.

i mentioned the horrible critical mass in porto alegre, brazil where a car driver knowingly sped through a crowd of cyclists, sending dozens flying. he has now been indicted of attempted murder, which is hopeful, since for many days it was only being called an “accident.” a video i watched showed people young and old on a leisurely ride, enjoying the time together, bringing along pets in their baskets, only to be horrified and surprised by a speeding car that came from behind. this month, on friday, 25 march, the sf critical mass is dedicating our ride to the victims of the senseless violence and to advocate for conviction of attempted murder. meet at justin herman plaza, ride starts 6 PM ish, FREE!

one of san francisco’s most cogent performance artists and thinkers, keith hennessy, is part of the cast of an improvisation with dancer/choreographer meg stuart on friday and saturday, 25 and 26 march called auf den tisch!/at the table! i’d translate it as “throw it out there! what you got?!”, and that’s the spirit in which they’ll be performing, yes, ON a giant table which the audience will sit at and contribute in a collaborative way, encouraged to work with the performers. sounds terrifying, and that’s why i should probably go! yerba buena center for the arts forum, 8 PM, $20/$25 (ybca members/nonmembers). [just back from the intimate sneak preview dress rehearsal on thursday, and this show is smart, funny, engaging, full of ironic costumes – and many costume changes – and everything you’d want in a date, if not an improvisational dance performance. worth it. go.]

homesteading, urban farming, and permaculture are on everyone’s tongues of late, and if you’re feeling a little skill-deficient, there’s a USF/SF Arts Commission collaboration which has an online repository of short how-to films just for you. how-to homestead is also “on tour” in SF this year, spreading good ideas and unearthing underutilized community spaces in every district of the 7×7 place we call home. on saturday, 26 march they’ll be in district 3 with a solar oven workshop, potluck, and contra dancing. telegraph hill neighborhood center, 3 PM – 10 PM (check for schedule), FREE (bring a potluck dish to share).

on saturday, 26 march, adriana camarena, jaime cortez, and rebecca solnit will focus on the mission facets of the atlas that is infinite city. galeria de la raza is hosting, and you bet it will be an epic ride through the neighborhood, if jaime and adriana’s previous readings are any indication! 2857 24th st. (at bryant), 4 PM, FREE.

for more local SF history, and if you missed the chance to hear about the book last month at our shaping san francisco talk, head on down to the green arcade on saturday, 26 march for a presentation on vanished waters: a history of san francisco’s mission bay. chris carlsson has been working on this book with the mission creek conservancy and will present with the stalwart duo, and mission creek houseboat dwellers, bob isaacson and ginny stearns. they’ll cover the indigenous presence in this bay area, the flora and fauna of times past and the regrowth of the area, and chris will talk about the transformation of this area of town – mission bay – we no longer know as a body of water. it’s a spectacular book, and you can pick one up at this and upcoming events in april. green arcade, 1680 market (at gough), 7 PM, FREE (book sells for $25/$35 (paperback/hardcover).

the international home theater festival hits 24th and folsom (right after the storm hit one of the humongous street trees and sent it crashing across the road) on tuesday, 29 march. sweat lodge, south american slide show and curiosities, and something special on love by keith hennessy are the performance installations to witness and influence with your presence. inside the artists’ homes… pigeon palace, 2842 folsom betw. 24th and 25th, 7 PM – 10 PM arrive anytime, $5.

my favorite SF bass clarinetist, aaron novik, was almost giddy about the thought of a new band when i ran into him on the street the other night. his innovative, accessible, yet virtuosic style and ability to bring together highly skilled musicians who want to get down is inimitable. check out dante counterstamp on wednesday, 30 march. viracocha, 998 valencia st. at 21st, 8 PM, $5-$10.

one option for thursday, 31 march is to discuss street designs that prioritize space for pedestrians and bicyclists. i’m gonna be tooling around town in a bus that night, but the transit nerd in me would sure like to be at studio for urban projects listening to streetsblog, REBAR, and great streets folks throwing down the wisdom and telling us what to look for in terms of changes to come in making the city more livable. 3579 17th st. at dolores, 7 PM, $5 – $15 suggested donation. *RSVP to*

as part of the 2011 human rights watch film festival, a film about the angola 3, in the land of the free…, will be shown on thursday, 31 march. these three prisoners have been targeted for organizing as black panthers in prison in the 1970s, fighting against segregation and terrible prison conditions. come learn more about these men who have spent almost as long as i’ve been alive in solitary confinement, convicted of a murder they are adamant they didn’t commit. yerba buena center for the arts screening room, 7:30 PM, $6/$8 (ybca members/nonmembers). [i’m gonna miss this, so if you go see it, please let me know what you think.]

and, in case i don’t get to the next month’s listing before april begins, rupa and the april fishes are playing their annual april 1st show on, no joke, friday, 1 april! this year it’s an international roma celebration with roma artists and is a benefit for the voice of roma. get your tickets now, it’ll sell out! the independent, 628 divisadero (at grove), 8 PM, $20 (buy at box office for no service charge!).

also, 1 april is the deadline to nominate women for flyaway productions’ (an aerial/apparatus-based dance company) 10 women campaign, of which rupa was one in 2009! they are looking for women tending the city: urban activists in Bay Area cities, who are working to promote justice in housing, education, law, financial reform, juvenile justice, healthcare, and the many other fields in need of urban social change. they are seeking women of all ages, sexual orientations and ethnicities. you must know at LEAST a handful of women who fit these criteria! send the following to
HER NAME/ HER EMAIL/ HER PHONE plus THE WORK she is doing and why you are nominating her.

multiple offerings:
we at shaping san francisco are hosting a bevy of authors from PM Press for our Public TALKS! series on wednesdays in march. on 9 march The Struggles of the Balkans and Romani in Fact and Fiction will be on the table, on 16 march we’ll discuss the creation of new movements and the idea of political generations as well as the book moments of excess, and on 23 march you too can come envision radical futures of the book (is there life after ebooks?). i’ll be hosting all of these with our co-presenter ramsey kanaan from PM press. and to finish up the month, on 30 march we’ll see what’s happening in the world of watersheds as related to culture and reciprocal bioregionalism. all events at counterPULSE, 1310 mission st. (at 9th), 7:30 PM, FREE (donations appreciated).

garden for the environment continues to offer fun and practical classes just in time for spring planting and gleaning. saturday, 12 march they are offering instruction on perennial vegetables for SF (10 AM – 12 NOON) and discovering wild edibles (1 PM – 3 PM). saturday, 19 march the have an intro to organic veggie gardening (10 AM – 12 NOON). check them out on saturday, 26 march to learn to grow salads from seed to harvest (10 AM – 12 NOON) or an introduction to urban beekeeping (first in a series of four, 1 PM – 3 PM). all classes at 7th ave (at lawton), and are $15 each.

vocalist lily taylor, described by one reviewer as “a smoky, noir heroine, straight out of a back room jazz hall with dirty floors and a secret password to get in” will be performing at several locations in march: on saturday, 12 march as part of fact sf/counterfeit (554 capp st., 7:30 PM, $15), sunday, 13 march with karina denike at the rite spot (folsom at 17th, 8:30 PM, FREE), and at the stud on friday, 25 march (399 9th st, 11 PM, $5).

i’ve been helping a friend of mine, pam deluco, on a fun project she conceived of for, and produced with, the band cake to create a handmade book for a single off their latest album. not only was the band fun to meet and work with, but the various stages of bookmaking – from papermaking, to colormatching, to binding, to offering the finished product have been super fun. the book will be for sale on cake’s website soon!

somewhere you might run across me is at alemany farm on our weekend work days. i finished my year-long ecological horticulture apprenticeship last weekend with a great lesson in fruit tree pruning, grafting, and care. we also planted this year’s crop of onions, composted fava bean cover crops, and left with a bountiful harvest. if you want to come out for a work day, just show up! 1st and 3rd sundays, 2nd and 4th (& 5th) saturdays, 12 NOON – 5 PM, mondays 1 PM – 5 PM, just your sweat and strength needed.

so, there you have it, all the ingredients you need for making a march – inspiring artwork, issues to organize around, directions to get there, and community if you choose! go to it!

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