oh, october… coming on the heels of the great yearly speed up that is september, a month when everyone either (a) goes back to school, (b) settles back into work, or (c) decides to throw every event imaginable. me included on (c).
it was an epic last week of september throwing the big 8-day birthday party for 20 years of critical mass in sf. bike art, bike rides (crazy bikes and crazy bicyclists), interviews in print and on the radio and tv, more bike rides (accompanied by spontaneous brass band concerts in golden gate park), music shows, tall bikes, more bike rides (transit history tour), visitors who crisscrossed this country/coast/continent to get here for the celebrations, controversy, more bike rides (with sf’s mosquito abatement crew), a book release, movies, a symposium, a photo contest, more bike rides (down to san jose/along the east sf bay), poster/tshirt/book sales, and a final bike ride to the beach. and of course, the event no one planned, invited anyone to, or organized: the probably 10,000 cyclist strong 20th anniversary ride. as co-editor of the accompanying book, Shift Happens!: Critical Mass at 20, and as part of the welcome committee for the week, i had the distinct pleasure of getting to know so many ambassadors of rides all around the world who have connected me to the vibrancy of the bike rides that have emerged over the past two decades. it’s encouraging and exciting that a core concept developed here—of people coming together spontaneously to ride bikes through the city—is still so adaptable to the needs of urban cyclists confronting car-centric and car-congested cities everywhere. after feeling like the ride has lost a lot of its dynamism here in this city, it is also great to see all the energy generated by new generations of cyclists the world over.
now the smoke of the week has cleared, and i am delving into my own projects again, and catching up on what this city has to offer otherwise. october is just as full…
first of all, if you haven’t yet joined me for one of my lisaruth’s lovin’ from the oven breadmaking instruction evenings, consider yourself invited to bake with me. i have five evenings planned for the fall, the first of which happens THIS thursday, 11 october. up to five lucky people will have dinner at my house, learn how to bake their own delicious bread. there is another workshop on thursday, 25 october with a couple spots left still if you can’t make it this week. (two more in november and one in december in time to learn for your holiday meals, as well.) write me for location and to RSVP, 6:30 PM, FREE (contributions to the dinner welcome).
though this weekend of events surrounding indigenous peoples day has already come and gone, you still have a chance to catch up with the ohlone—the original inhabitants of this peninsula—on wednesday, 10 october at a shaping san francisco public talk that i organized as part of our fall programming. the ohlone profiles project directors and members of the tribe will talk about the truth and reconciliation process they are initiating with the city of SF and issues facing the ohlone peoples’ return. 518 valencia st. (at 16th), 7:30 PM, FREE (donations appreciated).
also on wednesday, 10 october, our friends at the green arcade bookstore are hosting the SF book release and reading for Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5, 2007 Bombing of Baghdad’s Street of Booksellers, an anthology which looks to contain pieces from most of the major women poets of the last half century, contributions from a friend of mine, and a history of this historic baghdad bookselling street known as the literary and intellectual heart of that now-ravaged city. 1680 market st. (at gough), 7 PM, FREE.
the amazingly prolific and talented rebecca solnit has just had the honor of seeing her book, a paradise built in hell, selected by the sf public library as this year’s one city one book choice. this means that there are plenty of opportunities over the next few months to have creative discussions about disasters and how they affect communities (might you just be single-handedly preparing us to deal super-gracefully with the next “big one” and its effects, rebecca?). on wednesday, 10 october there is a book discussion at the intersection for the arts, and on thursday, 11 october you can hear rebecca in conversation about disaster and democracy with the SF fire chief, also a woman, at the main library. WED: intersection for the arts, 925 mission st. #109, 7 PM, FREE. THURS: SFPL main branch, 100 larkin st., 6 PM, FREE.
also at the library are a couple great exhibitions, one in conjunction with one city one book. it’s called street food and looks at the 1906 earthquake kitchens that kept the city fed after the quake and fire here. find out about these spontaneous service centers put together by ordinary people, and the panache they added to their fare. (SFPL main library 6th floor, sf history center, through 1 november, FREE (of course)) i highly recommend catching the tail end of the exhibition, the plastic in question, ending thursday, 11 october (hurry!) involving displays of plastic combed from the point reyes seashore since 1999. the local collectors have created super informative installations about the plastics we so readily toss away without a thought. SFPL main library floors 4 and 5, FREE.
speaking of books, and the written word, san francisco’s annual literary festival, litquake, also started this past weekend. there are way too many events to list here, but the best concentration of events will be on saturday, 13 october at the lit crawl. it will happen in three phases, with things likely getting more interesting as the night goes on. readings will happen in bars, alleys (clarion!), restaurants, the police station(!), galleries, video stores, good vibes, and EVEN in bookstores! various locations around the mission, 6 PM, FREE (donations help).
the day before, on friday, 12 october, the museum of craft and folk art initiates the second part of a fabulous exhibition, fiber futures: japan’s textile pioneers (the museum is an institution not long for this world, i’m afraid. sadness colors these words like a flower-based dye on alum-prepared silk cloth, since the museum is closing its doors in december after 30 years. i can’t tell you the quality of the curated shows i’ve seen here over the past decade. the effect that weaving in the museum space had on me is reflected in the fact that i bought my own backstrap loom soon after. it’s impossible to say where the electric charge of inspiration i had looking at new works there will have on my own creations—from paper art, to lace work, to bojagi, to weavings, to all sorts of textile designs. and after years of admiring my favorite resist dye technique, shibori, i got to try it out last week at a workshop there.) the first part of this show was in-cred-i-ble, so i’m awaiting the next installment with excitement. 51 yerba buena lane (at mission between 3rd and 4th sts.), 5 PM – 8 PM, FREE.
one of the city’s best kept secrets is nestled in the tenderloin once a month, when the cadillac hotel hosts free noontime concerts. this month, on friday, 12 october, they welcome Anna Maria Flechero, a multi-influenced jazz vocalist. it’s so great to spend time in the elegant lobby of this nonprofit SRO listening to great music and a grand piano. And there is always a raffle, you might win! 380 eddy st. (at leavenworth), 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM, FREE.
during the day on saturday, 13 october, i will be co-leading a food politics bicycle history tour with chris carlsson as part of shaping san francisco’s “cycles of history” tours this season. it will be a 2-hour exploration of everything from industrial to artisanal food production, who did the work to keep our city and state growing food, the people’s food system of the 1970s and 1980s, and even will include food tastings… meet at 518 valencia, 12 NOON – 2 PM, $10-$20 sliding scale.
together with the studio for urban projects (and local experts and friends like megan prelinger, ginny white, and amber hasselbring) chris carlsson will be speaking as part of a walking tour, exploring mission creek, on sunday, 14 october. meet at the mission creek park boat launch, 2 PM – 5 PM, $10-$20.
the next wednesday, 17 october, the shaping san francisco public talks series presents silvia federici at the end of her bay area speaking/book tour for revolution at point zero: housework, reproduction, and feminist struggle. the book is a collection of this woman’s radical writings from the 1970s until now, looking at the effects of the capitalist organization of work and women’s place in that. 518 valencia st. (at 16th), 7:30 PM, FREE (donations appreciated).
we at shaping san francisco team up with CIIS’s anthropology department and the new no nothing cinema to present a second documentary on SF history in our incite…/insight free film series (the first was about the uc berkeley students fight against apartheid in the 1980s). we’ll be showing the fall of the i-hotel, a document about the struggle to save the international hotel residents in manila town from eviction, and the building from destruction in the 1970s so that sliver of downtown could be redeveloped in the image of the city’s leaders. new no nothing cinema, 16 sherman alley (off Folsom near 7th st.), 8 PM, FREE (byodrinks).
some lovely friends who are part of solar flare get even lovelier when they are sparkling in the light of the fire they spin, and you can catch some of this flame on friday, 19 october in the middle of the city during 2 blocks of art, an art walk in and around 6th street. UN plaza (market and 7th sts.), 7 PM – 8 PM, FREE.
on saturday, 20 october, we are rolling out a new shaping san francisco walking tour on SOMA’s new transit corridor: 4th street to Mission Bay. 4th street is getting a facelift, and as part of a season focus on urbanism, we are looking at the historical changes over time in this area, and will include the new alterations of the streetscape as they are implemented over the next year here. meet at 4th and market sts., 1 PM – 3 PM, $5-$10.
the rest of that saturday, 20 october you can spend in clarion alley for the always epic block party, featuring music by some of my closest friends, and one of the most amazing concentrated collection of art in the city along the garages and walls of the alley. and ooh, it’s the 20th anniversary of the mural project on the alley!! clarion alley (betw. 17th and 18th and mission and valencia), 12 NOON – 8 PM ??, FREE.
or, you can go to to the potrero hill festival on saturday, 20 october. it’s a benefit for the neighborhood house, with food, music, entertainment, you know, the standard neighborhood block party. i have a soft spot for this village within the city (bernal hits me the same way), and the historians working over there are pretty great too. 20th st. betw. missouri and wisconsin, 11 AM – 4 PM, FREE.
this movie, the invisible men, showing in berkeley on thursday, 25 october sounds intriguing for its collection of overlapping cultural and national identities in the middle east, teasing out the palestinian/israeli conflict from a complete diagonal. it’s part of the east bay international jewish film festival. david brower center, 2150 allston way, berkeley, 4:30 PM, cost unknown.
ooh, what fun! on saturday, 27 october, alemany farm is hosting their (our!) 8th annual harvest festival with great food, bicycle powered hayrides and facepainting for kids, a spit-roasted pig, garlic planting, and live music! it’s such a great time to get acquainted with the farm, get your hands in the dirt, and enjoy some tasty food and friendly people. on the north side of alemany blvd near mission st., 11 AM – 5 PM, bring a side dish or dessert to share.
one fun way to explore san francisco’s past is to hit the cemeteries! shaping san francisco is offering its cemeteries bicycle history tour on sunday, 28 october in colma. find out where all the secrets are buried and explore san francisco outside the city with us on this spirited tour! meet at colma BART station, NOON – 4 PM, $15-$50 sliding scale.
this last weekend i was at the grand re-opening of the palo alto art center, where my talented and inspiring friend paz de la calzada is one of several artists with installations to mark the revamping of this beautiful space. you have plenty of time to check out the exhibition, community creates, as it runs through 14 april, 2013. if you want to take a little field trip, or are often around palo alto, please check out the indoor vertical garden paz has created, the patrick dougherty installation (move over andy goldsworthy!), and the other offerings there. palo alto art center, 1313 newell road, palo alto, 10 AM – 5 PM tues-sat (thurs until 9 PM), 1 PM – 5 PM sun, closed mon, FREE.
and of course, october is that magical month where artists across the city open their homes and studios and warehouses each weekend for open studios. it’s so fun to just open a random door in the city, walk into a garage, or tour artist studios and see what people have been creating. i used to go every year, and got a little tired of seeing the same things, but it’s been a few years and i’m excited to discover again this year. sat & sun, 13 & 14 october: haight, hayes valley, duboce, ocean beach, excelsior, fort mason, sunset, pacific heights, and more. sat & sun, 20 & 21 october: SOMA, TL, dogpatch, bayview, potrero hill. sat & sun, 27 & 28 october: mission, noe valley, bernal, castro. sat & sun, 3 & 4 november: hunters point shipyard and islais creek studios. 11 AM – 6 PM, FREE.