2012 has brought some substantial, and potentially unsettling, changes – new work directions, romance (blush), a brief but weird illness, a full schedule of many non-paid ventures – and most everything is pointing to welcoming risk, staying open to a sense of adventure, and fully inhabiting myself. the several months leading up to the new year have offered more than a general shake up of circumstance, though. they’ve served to highlight the strong foundations i have built up over time, both in my skills and my resource-rich community, and remind me to trust my flexibility, my wisdom, and to continue to keep my heart open and unafraid. in a year marked by a creature breathing fire, look for some moments where my own projects are illuminated. i’m usually the one in (or painting!) the background, making things happen for others, and i’m quite comfortable there, but this year i’m watching as multiple invitations offer themselves for me to shine and share. here’s to full embodiment and the brightness of being!
while we’re on the subject of brightness, don’t let the slippage of the occupy movement from the limelight fool you. for some insight into recent local occupy events, their controversies, and the continued commitment to act as a concerned civil society, there have been some masterful texts written in the last month. chris carlsson, in his infinite ability to synthesize multiple messages and points of view takes on the questions of tactics, and rebecca solnit starts things out with love, as well, in her piece clarifying a whole lot of things we should already know but have somehow lost sight of in the shadow of sensationalism around occupy. coming at these same issues of hegemony and resistance is the ever-eloquent antonio roman-alcalá‘s critique of prince charles’s attempt to comment on the current industrialized food system (from HRH’s position well-rooted in worldwide capitalist domination, as antonio points out). and the farsighted artist mona caron’s current weed project pulls up the resilient harbingers of growth on the margins and shines a whole new light on those unwelcome and invisible guests in the cracks of our urban reality. i am constantly pushed and inspired by these people i am honored to call friends.
the place to start the month was thursday-saturday, 1-3 march at the subterranean arthouse in berkeley,where they’re celebrating their third anniversary in a three day benefest. i attended the star-studded friday night’s variety show with professor burns and the lilac field, seth eisen, and more… check out what they have to offer during their fourth year! 2179 Bancroft Way, (support your local artspace!).
for those of you needing to gather more tools to add to your stress-reduction toolbox, how about some that jon kabat-zinn laid out and my good friend augusta hopkins is now passing on to the rest of us? augusta’s mindfulness-based stress reduction daylongs also include some thich nhat hahn meditation and are happening on saturday, 3 march and sunday, 11 march. 9AM-4PM (3 mar), 614 alabama st. & 10AM-5PM (11 mar), 2150 allston way, berkeley, $50 each day.
i haven’t seen my banjo picking friend jordan klein play music in awhile, but he kindly just sent me an invitation to see a band he plays with, front country, at the atlas cafe on thursday, 8 march. such a friendly venue, such friendly musicians. 3049 20th st., 8 PM, FREE!
sunday streets rolls into 2012 on sunday, 11 march along the embarcadero. it’s always surprising to me how exhilirating it is to just be in public space along one strip of closed off road with other people who have flocked there for a (mostly) non-market based activity. surprising that something this simple works, really. it’s a nice confirmation of my sense that this could be true if most streets were suddenly closed to car traffic. fisherman’s wharf to mariposa street, 11AM-4PM, car-FREE!
wednesday, 14 march is one of those days where you have to decide what to do from too many good things. with the shaping san francisco wednesday night public talks series, i’m locked into one of the choices, but i think the others are just as worthy of your time should you choose not to come to our event:
first, on wednesday, 14 march, shaping san francisco is hosting a very exciting discussion – rebooting the rainbow – on the topic of current popular movements against the historical backdrop of the black panthers, the rainbow coalition, and the book Hillbilly Nationalists. we’ll not only see art of the rainbow coalitions, but some really inspirational folks are on the panel. 1310 mission st @ 9th, 7:30PM-9:30PM, FREE (donations appreciated).
second, keith hennessy is back (twice this month) with his super in-depth dance/art history lessons. it’s all part of his dissertation research and boy am i glad he has chosen to “teach” it and share his process with the rest of us. he’s consistently brilliant and assumption-blowing in his explorations of most anything, and i’m sorry to miss the first installment of IQ | ID (inquiry into dance) on wednesday, 14 march, str8 white contact. kunst-stoff arts, 1 grove st. (under the BK), 7PM-9:30PM, $5 (no-one turned away).
third, local fingerstyle folk bluesman mokai will be playing in fairfax on wednesday, 14 march. he suggests you show up for dessert and drinks. if you’re up that way, check out his toe-tapping tunes and story-rich lyrics or listen to them online. the sleeping lady, 23 broadway, fairfax, 9PM-midnight, get some grub.
finally, wednesday, 14 march is international day of action for rivers, and the org my friend jason rainey heads up, international rivers, is hosting an event that looks more educational in scope than direct action-y in berkeley. there is a movie screening, poetry, and dance on the schedule. check out the great work they are doing every day against dams, and for a healthy world of rivers. the recent dam removals in washington state on the elwha and white salmon have been an inspiration for a lot of us river lovers. 2120 allston way, berkeley, 6PM-9PM, FREE (donations accepted!).
one of my favorite authors for her singular approach to dialogue, gender-confusing characters, and brilliant storytelling, jeannette winterson, will be speaking on friday, 16 march. the theme this time is her own story, as she’s promoting her memoir, why be happy when you could be normal? sounds like it could be a tad bit painful to hear/read, but her ability to wordsmith through those tough life scenes will make it all worth the while. unitarian center, 1187 franklin st @ geary, 7PM, $10 (at door or in advance).
since i didn’t post this in time for you to catch the atlas cafe show, it’s a good thing that the banjo-playing jordan klein and his band, belle monroe & her brewglass boys are bringing their rollicking tunes to cafe du nord on friday, 16 march. i absolutely LOVE singing aloud at the top of my lungs to their collection of bluegrass music (in the comfort of my home), and it’s hella fun to dance to as well. 2174 market st., 8PM-11PM (they are on second), $12 (advance) $15 (door).
the super skillful and self-effacing max chen will see a few of his custom bicycle creations on stage with the ODC dancers this month. the new piece transit, in their dance downtown: program 1, showing on saturday, 17 march, wednesday, 21 march – free valet bike parking this night!, friday, 23 march, and sunday, 15 march, includes the commissions. you can see them in use at the trolley dances last year when ODC performed in front of the library in this video by the stellar videographer loren robertson!! for those of you looking to support an sf dance institution which has built up a really fine dance environment in the city, this company is really accessible and an easy bridge into contemporary dance. i like mine a little edgier, personally. i’m also fully aware it takes all kinds. ybca’s novellus theater, 700 howard st @ 3rd, 8PM, $10 (students) – $70.
another amazing shaping san francisco public talk this month comes on wednesday, 21 march when we highlight jess curtis’s body of work as part of our art & politics subseries. he’ll be in conversation with one of my favorite local aerialists and teachers, joanna haigood. jess has been on the cutting edge of so many dance moments in this city’s history, that after this talk you’ll wish you could travel back in time to be in the crowd watching both his onstage and in situ performances – or at least see all of his many notable hairstyles throughout the years! 1310 mission st @ 9th, 7:30PM-9:30PM, FREE (donations appreciated).
the inimitable kirk read, described by the sf weekly as “san francisco’s freak prince,” treats us to a solo show on friday/saturday 23/24 march, and the following weekend as well, friday/saturday, 30/31 march. computer face brings a lot of seemingly disparate topics (or are they???) all together in one unthinkable tour of words – republicans, computer addiction, satanism, risky sex, and drugs. i think you’ll come away smiling. the garage, 975 howard betw. 5th & 6th, 8PM, $10-$20.
again, the following wednesday, 28 march, you have to make a decision – or divide yourself into three so you can attend all of the following:
on that wednesday, 28 march, shaping san francisco’s public talk series, in conjunction with PM press, has the honor of hosting selma james and andaiye speaking about class and feminism, anti-capitalism, and selma’s new book sex, race, and class: the perspective of winning. selma’s late husband CLR james wrote the seminal history of haiti’s revolution, the black jacobins, so you know haiti will be one of the topics covered as well. i’m really looking forward to hearing from these two outspoken and influential women. 1310 mission st @ 9th, 7:30PM-9:30PM, FREE (donations appreciated).
of course, if you’d rather learn more about the history and lineage of dance from keith hennessy on wednesday, 28 march, you can hear about mangrove that night instead, just down the road. kunst-stoff arts, 1 grove st. (under the BK), 7PM-9:30PM, $5 (no-one turned away).
for the sustainable building/transition/how-do-we-start-to-live-responsibly oriented folks out there (and really who isn’t in that place?), perhaps on wednesday, 28 march you’d like to check out a reading at city lights of the new book tiny homes, simple shelter which showcases over 1,000 homes of 500 square feet or less focused on self-sufficiency and downsizing of resources. 261 columbus ave @ broadway, 7PM, FREE.
it’s really impossible to not suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) in this town. the slate is full on thursday, 29 march too:
in case kirk read’s show wasn’t extreme enough for you, philip huang kicks off the international home theater festival (which he founded) on thursday, 29 march (and it continues through saturday, 31 march) with his show, fart of gold. no one, and i mean, no one, can get away with the kind of humor that philip can, and i love every cringe-worthy offensive moment of it with the nuggets of universality tucked in there. 2446 dana st. #2 @ dwight, berkeley, 8 PM, $6.99 (no one turned away).
if you’d rather be sounding off yourself on thursday, 29 march, there may still be spots in suzanne sterling’s sing yourself awake yoga/singing class. as someone who hasn’t been very comfortable using my singing voice outside the thin walls of my own room, this class has really been liberating. i also love the way that vocalising while practicing yoga really opens my body up even more as i stretch. plus suzanne is a great teacher. cloud 9, berkeley, 7PM-10PM, $25 (preregister to get exact location).
masterful singing is in the cards in the city as well on thursday, 29 march when mark growden returns to enchant audiences at the rebuild sudan benefit concert. brick and mortar music hall, 1710 mission @ duboce, 8PM, $20-$50 (help build a school!).
and, on thursday, 29 march – sunday, 1 april, jess curtis showcases the intercontinental collaboration 5: jess meets angus, just between us–generation project episode 2. there’s a bit of a mouthful of a title, but in the clip i’ve seen, it’s actually quite a minimal show, paring down movement and words to their essence in hopes of connection between the dancers. i recently heard jess speak about the intersection of dancing and aging at a dancer’s discourse evening, and this performance promises to have a lot of the qualities that wisdom and deep knowledge bring with them. counterPULSE, 1310 mission st @ 9th, 7:30PM-9:30PM, $15-$20.
in case you chose one of the other options on 28 march, selma james and andaiye, and several other insanely inspiring social movement activists will be speaking on friday, 30 march at radical pasts, radical futures: conversation on contemporary social movements. these are the kind of evenings that make me want to read, read, read, and pull folks together in weekly salons to continue to discuss these concepts, and get out and be active. oh for more time in the day/week/lifetime to fit it all in… this symposium will be an afternoon-long affair. CIIS namaste hall, 1453 mission st. betw. 10th & 11th, 4PM-7PM, FREE (i think).
on saturday, 31 march, the circus center of san francisco is presenting their swing into spring circus show, which is an exhibition of all the students at the school from young to professional. when i arrived in sf in 1995, this was one of the first places i saw a circus performance as an adult and outside of the raggedy traveling shows that set up in my junior high gymnasium, and i’ve always been impressed with the talent coming from the center. 755 frederick st., 7PM, FREE.
the weekend of saturday, 31 march and sunday, 1 april is the yearly bay area anarchist book fair. i’m helping recruit volunteers this year, and we could always use more hands to make things run as smoothly as possible, so please let me know if you have a few hours to spare one of those days. there’s always a good roster of speakers (including many of the folks otherwise mentioned in this post), and if you are looking for something good to read, or inspiring to put on your wall, or good conversation, or a bit of an alternaculture haven for a few hours, you should come out. hall of flowers, golden gate park, lincoln @ 9th, 10AM-6PM (sat), 11AM-5PM (sun), FREE.
you can pretty much be sure that a photographic exhibition named after the title of a gil scott-heron song is gonna be thoughtful, and include some political content, and in the case of jesse drew’s SF camerawork show, winter in america: 1974-1975, on from friday, 9 march – saturday, 21 april this is true. as a young activist drifter in the mid-1970s, drew (who is a contributor to Ten Years That Shook the City) managed also to document beautifully in black and white the unemployment rallies, farm workers’ protests, and more. it’s a little eerie to see the same slogans of today on the signs in the photos, and he points out that the issues then were very similar to the crises we face in 2012. i got a chance to see the photos at the opening, and encourage a trip to the gallery to gaze into history. 1011 market st., 2nd floor, 12NOON-6PM (tues-sat), open until 7PM (fri), FREE.
for any francophiles out there, and esp. those of you who like action films, tuesday classes de cinéma at the alliance française this month feature lots of high violence dramas in french with english subtitles. the jean reno film (with patrick bruel!) has already been shown, but i’m looking forward to getting an earful of french on other tuesday nights. and yes, this has everything to do with re-familiarizing myself with the sounds of the language before i head over the pond in a month or so. 1345 bush @ polk, 6:45PM, $5.
tho i know him mostly as an adept word crafter, jaime cortez is showing his charcoal works on paper and a sculptural piece through 15 april in the show DiviNation. i’m intrigued by his exploration of art as used for nationalistic promotion, and curious about how this will come through in the works. 1201 sixth st., 2nd floor, berkeley, 1PM-4PM (sundays).
finally, sometimes after all this conceptually heavy stuff, you just gotta get your hands in the dirt. you can do that every week at alemany farm at their work days which are the 1st and 3rd sundays (12NOON-5PM), and 2nd and 4th saturdays (12NOON-5PM), and every monday (1PM-5PM).