Earlier this week, I bought tickets to see a concert in September (Gogol Bordello!) and wanted to see the view from our seats. I discovered that the venue, San Francisco's legendary Warfield, has a terrific 360-degree virtual tour of the entire theater, backstage and all. It's a bit of a rabbit hole but totally worth a look. Not only can you see the view of the stage from anywhere in the theater but you can also visit its green room (spacious), "Jerry's Room" (Jerry Garcia's "second home"), and this Autograph Room. The theater calls it a "hidden gem" and it sure is! Zoom in closely to the walls (and ceiling) to try and spot the Sharpie-d art and autographs of famous people you know. I was able to find both Penn and Teller's and Beck's fairly easily.
(The seats I nabbed have a fantastic view, by the way.)
screenshot via The Warfield Read the rest
Last weekend, long-distance runner Lenny Maughan ran 28.93 miles through the hilly streets of San Francisco to complete this mapped portrait of Frida Kahlo. Visible through the Strava fitness app, his "Frida Run" took him six hours and eight minutes to finish and was carefully planned out before he left his house. This isn't his first specially-mapped run, he's added over 30 pieces to his "Running Art" project in the past three years (some of those are visible here).
He describes the process of planning a piece as pretty analog. He prints out a paper map and highlights his route. He usually goes through several different iterations of the map before he sets off on a run. While he's on the road, he must be very careful to follow it – if he makes a wrong turn it has the potential to ruin the whole piece.
"You can't see the lines drawn until after you finish your run, so it's such a joyful feeling when you put in all of that work and you finally finish and get to see what you envisioned at the end," recounts Maughan...
"San Francisco is my canvas. I use the streets as framework for what I want to do, find shapes, and make it work. Kind of like how little kids look up at the clouds."
image via Lenny Maughan/Strava
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In the Dept. of It's About Time: Attendees to San Francisco's upcoming Outside Lands festival will not be allowed to wear Native American headdresses anymore. The festival banned the headwear and included it in a long list of other no-nos such as fireworks, totems, and selfie sticks.
In a statement, organizers of the three-day event explain why this form of cultural appropriation will no longer stand. KPIX:
Out of respect for Native American heritage and culture, we do not allow headdresses at Outside Lands. We are committed to creating a safe, respectful and inclusive environment for all.
Controversies about white people wearing Native American headgear at music festivals dates back at least five years, when the Bass Coast Festival chose to ban such headdresses out of respect for the fact that the festival was occurring on tribal lands. But the blog Native Appropriations has been calling out festival-goers since 2010. In 2017, one young woman who was called out on Instagram by Native Appropriations for her Coachella headdress issued a public apology that was picked up by Teen Vogue.
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Peter Glanting's illustrated guide to San Francisco's most unusual statues is an annotated delight, even if, despite its length, JWZ wrote, "They skipped a few of my favorites."
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You don't want to miss the technicolor "rainbow of love" that is Verasphere: A Love Story In Costume. This new KQED Truly CA short documentary film made me smile, laugh, tear up, and want to pull out my glue gun and start making costumes again, all in the span of 20 minutes.
[It] follows two San Francisco artists, David Faulk and Michael Johnstone, who fall in love at the height of the AIDS epidemic. While most of their community is overcome with grief and rage, David and Michael discover an unlikely joy through the creation of Mrs. Vera, an outrageous costumed character made from found materials. What began as an intimate art project and a way to pass the time while they faced an inevitable death, soon took on a life of its own. Now 25 years later, a large and diverse community has evolved around Mrs. Vera, all centered around one day of costumed celebration in the San Francisco Pride Parade.
For SF Pride this past weekend, Mrs. Vera and Michael Johnstone rode in the parade as Community Grand Marshals, followed by colorful members of the "Verasphere." Put on your sunglasses because the photos are super bright!:
Mrs. Vera and Michael Johnstone
Marcos Sorensen and Isabel Samaras
Andy Cowitt and Michael Wertz
Also, don't miss Mrs. Vera's Daybook, an ongoing series of photos by Michael of David as Mrs. Vera.
Thanks to Ruby Rieke for the SF Pride photos! Read the rest
San Francisco passed a law requiring owners of multi-unit buildings to choose which ISP they use, ending the practice of landlords selling access to tenants to ISPs, locking in the tenants to ISPs who don't have to keep them happy to keep their business.
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San Francisco-based Juul and other e-cigarette companies were given a swift kick in the stones today by the Golden Gate City as San Francisco became the first city in the United States to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes within its borders. Read the rest
My friend John Law is a legend of San Francisco's underground with an incredible resume of culture jamming brilliance. In the 1970s, he was an integral part of the Suicide Club, a Dadaist group of urban explorers and adventurers that eventually led to Law's co-founding of the Cacophony Society, Burning Man, and the Billboard Liberation Front. Over 40 years, he's also co-founded or contributed to Communiversity, Dark Passage/Ars Subterranea, Seafoam Palace LLC, SF Cyclecide Bike Rodeo, Survival Research Laboratories, SantaCon/flash mobs, Madagascar Institute, SEEMEN, Laughing Squid, and The Bronx Pipe Smoking Society. And he's still keeping the SF Bay Area's high weirdness torch burning even amidst the city's massive (and mostly unfortunate) transformation.
Starting tonight, celebrate John's contributions to the counterculture with SIGNMAN: John Law, a three-month long retrospective of Law's life of art (and art of living). The exhibition at Oakland's Pro Arts Gallery will include "rare documentation of events, pranks and explorations, neon art, and multi-media installations." Complementing the exhibit through the summer will be public programs that include lectures, film screenings, book signings, and, I would bet, some unexpected surprises.
SIGNMAN: John Law (Pro Arts Gallery)
(above photo: John Behrens)
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San Francisco: It's time again for the always-outstanding annual Kronos Festival, several days of fantastic global and experimental music curated by the seminal avant/classical/global Kronos Quartet. Every Kronos Festival I've attended has turned me on to a spectrum of new sounds, artists, scenes, and regions. From KQED:
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At SFJAZZ on June 1, singer-composer Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté of Malian group Trio Da Kali performs her new Fifty for the Future piece inspired by tegere tulon, the impromptu hand-clapping songs and dances Malian girls create in the countryside. Ethnomusicologist Lucy Duran, who specializes in African music, will give a pre-show talk contextualizing Diabaté's performance.
On May 30, the quartet will also premiere a Fifty for the Future piece by Stanford professor Mark Applebaum, whose playful compositions have been known to include junk-as-instruments, non-musical players such as florists and even a piece for three conductors and no musicians. Plus, there's a new work Fifty for the Future work by Missy Mazzoli, a boundary-pushing rising star of the classical world and the Chicago Symphony's current composer-in-residence.
Also on May 30, Kronos Quartet pays homage to the work of left-wing historian Howard Zinn. Ethio-jazz singer-songwriter Meklit, cultural critic Rebecca Solnit, folk musician Lee Knight and poet/actor Michael Wayne Turner III will accompany the musicians with readings from works by Zinn and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Zinn's A People's History of the United States highlights how abolitionists, labor organizers, feminists, civil rights leaders and other dissenters shaped American history.) Meklit performs with Kronos once again on June 1.
If you saw the critically-acclaimed 2004 documentary Dig! about the frenemy neo-psych bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, you'll remember that the real star wasn't either of the bands' frontmen but rather the BJM's inimitable, lovable tambourine player Joel Gion.
Rocking his impressive mutton chops and 60s shades, Joel has spent the last 25 years performing with the BJM and releasing his own excellent music while slinging vinyl to make ends meet in the impossible city of San Francisco. Combine that unconventional life with Joel's skewed sense of adventure, razor wit, and relentless pursuit of laughs, and you end up with some killer yarns. Joel's got stories for ages. And now he's writing a memoir to share the weirdness with the world. I've read bits of what he's been writing and it is far fucking out, a modern Beat's notes from the underground.
Support Joel Gion's Patreon so he can get it all down on paper.
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I’ve just launched a Patreon page for my book focusing on the few run-up years before the documentary-era. Click on the link on my profile page and become a patron to read over 3K words posted right now. I’ll be posting new writing or project related stuff every week. #joelgion #bjm
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Update: Shona from Gig Workers Rising clarifies: "Gig Workers Rising isn't organizing the national day of action. Drivers in each of the 6 cities taking action are coordinating the day of action together. Drivers in LA with Rideshare Drivers United Los Angeles called a strike and asked other cities to take action on the same day. Gig Workers Rising supports and educates drivers who are organizing across the state. We are not organizing drivers."
On May 8, Uber drivers are organizing a nationwide shutdown of Uber, with drivers turning off their apps in protest over low pay: so far, seven cities' drivers are signed up: Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Minneapolis, LA and DC. Uber and Lyft have both slashed pay for drivers and raised prices as they try to assuage the capital markets.
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I've had a fabulous weekend at Chicago's C2E2 festival as part of my Radicalized book-tour, and now I'm heading to San Francisco for an appearance on Monday night at Berkeley Arts & Letters at 7:30PM with Richard Kadrey. Then it's on to The Revolutionary Reads series at Ft Vancouver (outside of Portland, OR), and then the Seattle Public Library and finally a weekend of events at Wondercon in Anaheim. Come on out! (Image: Nikola Danaylov, CC-BY-SA)
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Thanks to everyone who came to last night's launch event at San Diego's Mysterious Galaxy! The next stop on my tour is an event at 7PM at The Strand in NYC where I'll be appearing with the award-winning investigative journalist Julia Angwin, who is pinch-hitting for Anand Giridharadas, who has had a family emergency.
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[Editor's note: I'm on the advisory board for Free Machine, a nonprofit that describes itself as an "LA-based collective of UX designers, artists, urban planners, and policy wonks. By using the tools of culture to shift the conversation around tech and society, we aim to shape a hi-tech future that is equitable, sustainable, and abundant." The following is from Ben Gansky, Free Machine's executive Director]
I'd like to invite you to join me at Free Machine's Future Perfect: A Postcapitalist Adventure on Sunday March 24th at 4pm at Manny's in the Mission, co-presented by Institute for the Future! What is Future Perfect? Who is Free Machine? Where is Manny's? Read on!
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A project to expunge marijuana-related convictions in San Francisco that took an entire year to pull together is nearly complete, San Francisco prosecutors said today, as they announced that 9,300 pot crimes will soon be removed from people’s criminal records.
That's a big deal. As the SF DA said at today's press conference, a felony conviction for cannabis could mean “barriers to education, housing, employment and even being barred from a child’s school field trip because of a conviction.”
San Francisco is able to do this in part because of the efforts of people at Code For America. Read the rest
Tomorrow evening (Wednesday 1/30) at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club, I'll be interviewing longtime BB pal Douglas Rushkoff about his inspiring and (as usual) provocative new book Team Human! I expect a freewheeling conversation about the optimism of the cyberdelic early 1990s, why we looked to digital media as a democratizing tool to empower the individual, and how we ended up in today's (anti)social media mess. I'm hoping that the way in is the way out.
Douglas Rushkoff: Team Human at the Commonwealth Club San Francisco
And if you can't make tomorrow, Doug will be at the legendary City Lights Booksellers tonight (Tuesday 1/29) at 7pm! Read the rest