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The Change in San Francisco is Good, So Just Accept It and other fables

I usually take my sweet time to write, but today I’m writing a fairly hasty response to an article I just read online by Gary Kamiya for San Francisco Magazine/Modern Luxury: San Francisco is Dead. Long Live San Francisco. Gary is a longtime resident of the city and while he’s both a former tenant and landlord, and feels strongly about the current plight faced by the fading middle class, the poor, the disabled, artists, activists, mentors and anyone else who can’t afford $3,000/month studio apartment. He doesn’t see the argument as black and white and writes intelligently about the many issues at play here now, and feels very strongly about the city’s ethnic diversity and maverick progressive tradition. He even wrote a book about it (Cool Gray City of Love.)

As do I, Gary does not approach the argument monolithically, which isn’t realistic and hardly useful in the end, I agree. Yes things have heated up to an extreme; it’s easy these days for politicians, activists and corporations to all engage in street theatre designed to attract ultimate media attention. And with a few proud exceptions, it’s hard to rely on the media to provide you with a sensible examination of all the issues. Kamiya’s article is thought provoking, well written, and attempts to suggest that the current “cultural, political and class war that has erupted in San Francisco – call it The Change – strikes me as wrongheaded to the point of surreality.” He argues that more of that surreality comes from the left, that there is no enemy and that there is confusion in making the argument about hi-tech companies and employees, new construction and city policies when the reality is about capitalism, pure and simple.

For the record I was part of the dot-com boom, an employee of high tech companies that collapsed when the first tech bubble collapsed in 2001 and was laid off twice. I became unemployed, then disabled, then broke. The circumstances then were not nearly this extreme, but still, many residents didn’t appreciate the new tech workers and their high salaries. That lack of appreciation was palpable and I didn’t like it. Today I rely on Social Security and am semi-retired, a transformed struggling artist and writer trying to survive and feeling very blessed to still be living in the city in my tiny and too expensive rent-controlled studio apartment. So like, Gary, I can see and relate to both sides too. Certain aspects of “The Change,” are about undeniable economic forces that are at play and may not be able to be stopped. And I agree it’s wrong to blankly blame or attack anyone, in this case tech workers, for being the sole cause of the problem. But I think that’s where I stop agreeing with him.

I don’t agree that that city elected officials can’t do anything to navigate and regulate this issue. To say only that “City Hall is in the business of stoking new business, welcoming new people and attracting new capital.” While Kamiya is also right to have us remember what an economic slump the city was in just a few years ago, and that we should appreciate the influx of new business and investment, I think that City Hall is in, or should be in, the business of a lot more than that. City Hall also enacts laws to protect its residents, to control development and to preserve culture here. While most cities do take the “Chamber of Commerce” approach to welcoming any business or investment at almost any cost, this is San Francisco, and the writer says he knows that.

I don’t think anyone knows at this point how all of this will play out. The city has enacted an affordable housing plan to build 30,000 new homes in a few years – we need more like 100,000 and that seems unlikely. As it has always been, city activism has it’s place, as do “we” artists, writers, activists, mentors, middle-class or low-income residents. As do many residents who grew up here and have been here longer than I, I agree that not only is city preservation important, and so is sound planning and development, sufficient affordable housing.  San Francisco should continue to be a supporter and voice for diversity, the disenfranchised,  low and middle income residents. I don’t want to see more artists forced out of the city. Including me. Now I’m going to continue to think about it all, and write about it some more.

Mark Gould

 

 

Mark Gould is an artist, writer and editor following trends in art, culture, technology and digital media.

Art, Culture, Media and Technology Notes: December 14th, 2012

news and ideas from writers around the San Francisco Bay Area this week, curated and edited by Mark Gould

Republished to the new good.is platform from YouTube by Thrash Lab: Video: (Empty America) What San Francisco Would Look Like Without Humans. This is both a very beautiful and a kind of creepy, the good kind of creepy, video (as it is intended) … in the sense that it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up; Imagine the world with no people, that’s what Thrash Lab does to beautiful effect using Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere as their tool set – these skilled digital artisans  deleted every human and moving car from all the sequences. This short, the first of a series called Empty America, shows every landmark from the Golden Gate Bridge to Fisherman’s Wharf to Lombard Street to Ghirardelli Square to the Bay Bridge, ‘wiped empty of tourists and traffic.

It’s very worth your while taking a look at Thrash Lab’s growing body of work on YouTube where they are accumulating sizable views and apparently, loyal viewers. Links to their web presence elsewhere are on that page. From what I’ve seen so far, quite the talented young group of creatives, hashtag #dreambigger

From Golden Gate Xpress: SF State artist forges storytelling craft
by Sean Reichhold

aprilcRather than simply picking one medium to master, April Martin Chartrand has gone so far as to completely create her own art form altogether.

Her art form called  ”fiberalchemy,” is her attempt to find the most personal and accurate way of expressing herself. She uses extreme heat or cold to manipulate the texture of painted fabrics to create hardened, colorful sculptures. Chartrand has been using this technique to make anything from earrings and necklaces to hand fans and wall pieces.

Her journey however, began decades ago with a simple sewing machine. (full story ->)

East Bay Express: Noise Pop 2013 Lineup Announced: Toro Y Moi, Amon Tobin, Rogue Wave, and More

by Whitney Phaneuf

2013noisepop-stackedlogo-lores-130x151Noise Pop is the music festival for people who hate music festivals, i.e. the all-day, drag-out, beer-guzzling, bro-fest that many of the weekend-long music festivals have become. Noise Pop 2013 will take place over six days, Tuesday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, March 3, 2013, and today organizers announced an initial lineup that includes Berkeley resident Toro Y Moi, San Francisco’s Rogue Wave, and experimental DJ extraordinaire Amon Tobin.
(full story ->)


 

KQED Pressrom: KQED’s QUEST Science Series Expands Nationally with $2.5 Million National Science Foundation Grant

Grant will support a six-station public media science reporting collaborative

Contact: Sevda Eris, 415-553-2835, seris@kqed.org

questSan Francisco, CA  — KQED, public media serving Northern California, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a two-year collaborative multimedia science reporting initiative, QUEST Beyond Local. The grant will support KQED and five other public media organizations in creating content under the theme of “Science of Sustainability” on television, radio and the Web, along with educational assets and community outreach. QUEST Beyond Local is scheduled to launch in January.

“We are pleased to see how QUEST, with its history of being organizationally and technologically innovative, is expanding its science reporting model,” said Valentine Kass, acting deputy division director in NSF’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings. “QUEST Beyond Local builds new capacity in local and national media channels to address current science and environmental issues with local authority and national relevance.” (full story ->)

 

 

 

SFsthetik: San Francisco Art Notes

vernond-th

 

San Francisco 49er Tight End Vernon Davis is Finally Following his Artistic Heart
via Yahoo

Growing up as he did in a tough Washington, D.C., neighborhood, San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis had artistic interests and talents that were sidetracked by living a hard life on tough streets. Davis avoided art classes in high school, because he thought that his classmates would judge him. “I figured that if I took up art classes, people would look at me differently,” Davis recently told Yahoo! Sports. “I wanted to be cool, and I didn’t know how to adapt at the time. It’s sad, but that’s just the way it was.”

He got his primary support in life from his grandmother, who raised Davis and his siblings. It was when he went to the University of Maryland that things started to come together for him in a football sense. But it was also at Maryland that Davis finally found a way to further his previously hidden interest in art. He changed his major from Criminal Justice to Art Studio, and he was on his way. “I’ve always enjoyed the idea of being an artist,” he said. Davis has set up a visual arts scholarship fund so that young people can know that it’s OK to follow your dreams into art. “You can miss out on a great opportunity if you don’t follow your heart.”

Full story and video interview at Yahoo ->

PAPERMAG magazine: Guru(s): Artists Barry McGee and Chris Johanson

Two Legendary West Coast Artists Reunite…And It Feels So Good

PAPERMAG writes: Now that longtime friends and artists Chris Johanson and Barry McGee have transcended their underground status to become established figures in contemporary art, it seemed appropriate to see what they would have to say to each other all these years later. We’ve known them both for ages, first seeing the mayhem they wrought upon San Francisco in the ’90s as leading figures of what would be known as the Mission School. This was soon after having met them when they began showing at New York’s Alleged Gallery, and following them as they mounted their first spectacle shows at Deitch. In that period of time both artists’ work defined a generation. (full story ->)

 

Martial mastery and the African origins of Shaolin

via SF BayView

story and photo by by Malaika H Kambon

Recently I went to the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Center in San Rafael, where the famed Shaolin Warriors of China were to give a performance in display of their hand-to-hand and weapons martial skills. The troupe of 20 Shaolin monks were on the second leg of their fall 2012 North American Tour, and the performance, produced and owned by China Performing Arts Agency Productions, Ltd., was designed to be a dazzling display of gung-fu couched in a “theatrical display” of a “sacred and deadly art.”

Additionally, the Academy of Tae Kwon Do in San Francisco, where I am a student, was accorded a rare, once in a lifetime 15-minute special performance, a quarter hour prior to the show. (read the full review at SF BayView ->)


 

 

 

 

New Yorker Cover Story: Steve Jobs at the Pearly Gates

The cover of the October 17, 2011, issue of The New Yorker:

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/10/steve-jobs-new-yorker-cover.html#ixzz1aEpszDJH

 

 

SfSthetik: This week in local news

via The Huffington Post

Hugo Chavez Launches A BLOG Shortly After Joining Twitter


Hugo Chavez starts new website

Hugo Chavez Opens New Website









(CARACAS, Venezuela)  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has launched a new website and has starting blogging in an attempt to expand his online presence. Chavez said he set up the official site that debuted Tuesday partly to combat people using the Internet to spread falsehoods. Chavez’s Twitter account lists more than 435,000 followers. Full Story at Huffington Post.

The next Apple TV Revealed: Cloud Storage, an iPhone App, and a $99 price tag:

If you thought that Apple’s foray into the world of home entertainment died with the last iteration of the Apple TV, you’re quite wrong. A tip we’ve received — which has been confirmed by a source very close to Apple — details the outlook for the next version of the Apple TV, and it’s a doozy.



From Mission Local:

“A clever response Arizona’s SB 1070? Photos taken outside of 580 Valencia St. (Between 16th and 17th Streets). ” More full size pictures here at Mission Local

sfsthetik headlines – Saturday, May 15, 2010

Verizon Wireless, Google Work on iPad Rival

Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said the company is working with Google on a tablet computer, as the wireless company works to catch up with iPad host AT&T in the area of devices that connect to wireless networks.
WSJ.com http://bit.ly/9j0kZI

5-Story Hayes Valley Grocery and Condos: Approved!

Hayes Valley Mixed-Use Market at 555 Fulton Goes Back in Time. The Planning Commission approved proposed development with its original, glassy look.
Curbed SF http://bit.ly/cngzfs

Coming Up! Intersection for the Arts: May 19th – July 3, 2010
A group exhibition featuring work by April Banks, Sergio De La Torre & Vicky Funari, Suzanne Husky, Laura Parker, Favianna Rodriguez, James Reed and Banker White.

this exhibition positions artists and the act of cultural production at the forefront of the burgeoning field of social entrepreneurialism.

Intersection for the Arts http://www.theintersection.org/

New Fine Print Editions at SF Camerwork

SF Camerawork announces its 2010 Fine Print Editions. This year’s selection features a wide range of work by talented emerging and established artists. Order online:

SF Camerawork http://www.sfcamerawork.org/index.php

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