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Explore Bay Area Social Movement History

Recent Free Public Talks
January-September 2016

A place to meet and talk unmediated by corporations, official spokespeople, religion, political parties, or dogma.

All events are free.
At 518 Valencia Street, near 16th, in San Francisco (close to 16th Street BART)

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September 28, 7:30 pm

Art & Politics: Jenny Odell,
Art as Archiving, Archiving as Art

Jenny Odell brings us an update on her ongoing project, the Bureau of Suspended Objects, which seeks an archaeological approach to the present by researching and archiving everyday discarded (or about-to-be-discarded) objects. First displayed at the dump, the objects are seen as true artifacts: crystallizations of a whole set of desires, economic contingencies, material availabilities, and abstract valuations that are more specific to their time than we could possibly realize now. As a result, all objects come to seem "limited edition," and the present is understood as imminently historical.

photo: courtesy Jenny Odell

September 14, 7:30 pm
Hunter's Point Riot, 50 Years Later

The 1966 Hunter’s Point riot has disappeared into the fog of San Francisco’s lost memories. Erupting after police shot a young African-American man running away from a stolen car, it led to martial law and military patrols in both Hunter’s Point and the Fillmore. Join us as we hear from Darrell Rogers who lived through the riot, trace San Francisco’s black community history up to the present, and examine the stark similarities between then and now with Adriana Camarena, active with several coalitions seeking radical reform of local policing practices after multiple police murders in the past few years.

photo: National Guard clearing 3rd Street, September 28, 1966, Shaping San Francisco collection

The first 40 minutes of the program consists of video clips, which are mostly embedded on Foundsf.org pages, with one on the San Francisco Bay Area Television archive at San Francisco State University. The links are here in the order they appear (in most cases you'll have to scroll down the page to find the playable videos)

1. "Take This Hammer" on http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Fillmore_Street_1960 (first 8.5 minutes)

2. Darrell Rogers on his experiences with the Congress on Racial Equality fighting widespread segregation in San Francisco 1962-64 Segregation_and_the_Civil_Rights_Movement_in_San_Francisco

3. "Point of Pride: The People's View of Bayview/Hunter's Point" (minutes 5:32 to 9:06) on http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Brief_History_of_Bayview-Hunters_Point

4. Thomas Fleming on HP Riot on http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Hunter%27s_Point_riot_by_Fleming

5. John Ross on blockading the Armory on http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Armory

6. Willie Brown at BV Community Center, and young man interviewed here: https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv/bundles/191384

7. "Race Riot of 1966" by Dante Higgins here: http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=The_Hunters_Point_Riot

May 25
Audible Cities

What can sounds tell us about the geography, people, and politics of a particular place? This panel explores the role sounds play in our everyday lives as well as how they can attune us to below-the-radar experiences and often “off the map” histories of the urban. Discover the intersection between sound and history with Jeremiah Moore and Sound Mappers Bruno Ruviaro and Christina Zanfagna.

May 11
What’s Going Right with the

Global Environment!

Will Grant researches successes in global movements on climate change and environmental solutions. His work is creating understandable paths to an economy that is sustainable and even environmentally regenerative. Meanwhile, Tom Athanasiou directs Eco-Equity, a small but vital contributor to the global negotiations over climate change. Enthusiastic hope and acerbic realism meet head-to-head in this panorama of environmentalist politics and practice.

April 27
Oil, Soil, and (Climate) Turmoil

Decades after the Alaska oil pipeline began, we’ve gone through repeated booms and busts in oil production and prices. Antonia Juhasz has studied the history of the oil business and is one of the world’s best-informed critics of the industry. She is joined by Leila Salazar-Lopez of Amazon Watch, a group confronting oil giants in the Amazon, and by Joshua Kahn-Russell, author of A Line in the Tar Sands. All three explain the current balance of forces, and the prospects for keeping the “oil in the soil.”

April 20
San Francisco, 1960s & 70s: Cultural Ecology and Experimentation

The tumultuous decade of 1968–1978 in the San Francisco Bay Area—and the experimentation and cultural shifts throughout the 1960s that led up to that time—shook the City and forever shaped who we would understand ourselves and the world around us to be. Shaping San Francisco brings together authors from Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968–1978, their collection of bottom-up histories chronicling an awakening community, and contributors to Foundsf.org, their digital archive of San Francisco history, to provide contextual history of the time period in which Lawrence Halprin and Anna Halprin were forging their paths and utopian ideas.

Author and media artist Jesse Drew speaks about the diversity of communal options that sprung up in urban and rural settings then. Nina Serrano, poet and storyteller, recalls participating in happenings with Anna Halprin and the improvisational landscape the Halprins were creating within. Lincoln Cushing, poster archivist, shows how the intersections of various social movements provided the fabric for cultural emergence. Chris Carlsson, author and historian, traces the arc of ecological awareness that moved from the early 20th century patrician conservation movement to the more left-leaning ecology movement that emerged in the wake of labor and anti-war upheavals during the early 1970s. Historian LisaRuth Elliott moderates the discussion.

April 13
Synthetic Biology: DIY Tinkering Meets Big Capital

In the midst of the ongoing tech boom in the Bay Area, the biotech industry gets less attention than social media and “sharing” unicorns. What is going on with the push for “synthetic biology”? What are the implications for politics, manufacturing, medicine? Will the boundary between life and artifice persist? How do embedded paradigms reflect deeper assumptions about the structure of modern life? with Elliot Hosman, Pete Shanks, and Tito Jankowski.

March 16
Street Names, Streetcars, and

Street Life

A deeply informed, irreverent tour through San Francisco before the automobile took over half the City’s physical terrain. Historic photos illustrate many stories, including how Haight Street was named, the City was dominated by steam-powered rail, and San Franciscans lived before parking was an issue! with Angus Macfarlane, Emiliano Echeverria, and David Gallagher.

March 9
Rise and Fall of Third Worldism

How the Non-Aligned Movement founded at the 1961 Belgrade Conference in Yugoslavia challenged the post-WWII world system based on the bipolar US-USSR Cold War. Yugoslavia, Indonesia, African decolonization struggles, Indian independence and partition, nationalism, third world socialism, and Third Worldism in the U.S. left with Eddie Yuen, Andrej Grubacic, and Walter Turner.

February 24
Art & Politics: Mauro Ffortissimo with Dean Mermell

While squatting a South Park Gulch apartment in the 1990s and experimenting with urban guerrilla art, at some point Argentinian-born artist Mauro Ffortissimo began collecting pianos. He took them apart, pushed them off rooftops, and set one ablaze on the bluffs of Half Moon Bay after a series of sunset performances. Together, Mauro and Dean Mermell now bring pianos to the streets and gardens of San Francisco. Including an excerpt of Twelve Pianos.

February 10
New (Old) Paradigms in Medicine

A discussion of our changing relationship with medical care from medieval times to today. Including long-term care at Laguna Honda, a pop-up clinic based on DIY herbalism, nutrition and self-care for Tenderloin seniors, and a small Mission District clinic serving the undocumented. with Ivy McClelland, author of God’s Hotel Dr. Victoria Sweet, Dr. Rupa Marya, and Marina Lazzara.

January 27, 2016
Easter Rebellion and

Irish San Francisco

Mat Callahan and Yvonne Moore perform their James Connolly-Easter Rising Tour 2016 singing Connolly’s songs along with others made famous in Ireland’s fight for independence. Elizabeth Creely adds stories of Irish Republicanism in San Francisco during that crucial period a century ago.