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Recent Free Public Talks
Video Archive
Fall 2019 (September-December)

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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December 11

Valencia Street as a Lesbian Corridor: Living Memories

Osento Bathhouse. Amelia’s. Artemis Cafe. Old Wives Tales. Modern Times Bookstore. Names and functions of these venues have changed, but they are part of the living memory of Valencia Street. Long before it descended into the white tablecloth, boutique-filled, gentrified peculiarity of today, the Valencia Street corridor was a hotbed of radical feminism and lesbian culture. LisaRuth Elliott moderates a conversation with some of the women who helped create the important sites and undergirded the intellectual and nightlife of the 1970s and 1980s. With Canyon Sam, Molly Martin, Carol Seajay, and Ruth Mahaney.

Video here.

December 4

Seattle/WTO Shutdown: 20th Anniversary

On November 30, 1999 the World Trade Organization was prevented from meeting in Seattle by unprecedented phalanxes of self-organized protesters who filled the streets, tied up key intersections, blockaded the convention center, and used video and the internet in ways they’d never been used before. Bay Area activists were in the middle of it all, and veterans of that experience will revisit that moment to help us rethink this moment. With Anuradha Mittal, David Solnit, Eddie Yuen, Steve Stallone, and Starhawk.

Video here.

November 13

Progress to Poverty: Land and Rents

On the 140th anniversary of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty, his land tax and radical reform of land use are worth a critical re-examination. Geographer Richard Walker along with Ted Gwartney of the California chapter of Common Ground USA, untangle what George proposed, what happened as a result of his ideas, and what the future holds. In conjunction with the San Francisco Public Library exhibit Who Owns the Earth? Henry George’s Progress & Poverty 140 Years Later

Video here.

November 6

Alcatraz Occupation: A Beginning

50 years ago this fall, on November 20, a group of people that came to be known as Indians of All Tribes began a 18-month occupation of Alcatraz Island. This act of self-determination emerged from conditions faced on reservations and in urban centers, from the activism of the Third World Strike at San Francisco State, and resulted in major changes taking place across the continent. From a new consciousness of sovereignty to at least ten major policy and law shifts, Mary Jean Robertson, host of the radio show Voices of the Native Nations, and Eloy Martinez and Debbie Santiago discuss the far reaching impact of claiming “the Rock”.

Video here.

October 23

Shellmounds, Indigenous Culture, and Ecology on the San Francisco Bay

250 years ago, life along the edges of what we now know as San Francisco Bay changed forever when the Portola Expedition came upon this hidden magnificent body of water. The Spaniards couldn’t quite understand it when they saw this marvelous sight for the first time on November 2, 1769, but this confluence of many rivers was a thriving home to thousands of people, not to mention an abundance of species of water, land, and sky. Join us to talk with Gregg Castro, t’rowt’raahl Salinan/rumsien Ohlone about the tens of thousands of years prior to European arrival, what remains from those times, and how we can honor the ways of life that persist despite centuries of colonial misuse of the land and water.

Video here.

TUESDAY, October 15

For the Record: Eyewitness Testimonies of the police murder of Luis Gongora Pat

Luis Góngora Pat was a Mayan indigenous man, murdered by San Francisco police officers on April 7, 2016 on Shotwell Street near 19th Street in the Mission. His killing came in the wake of other homicides by police of Black and Brown communities members. His family pursued every legal avenue available, including a civil case which was settled in January 2019. Three and a half years later, the story of this brutal murder is at risk of being buried because key eyewitnesses never got their day in court. But their story must be told. Two primary eyewitnesses--Christine Pepin and S Smith Patrick--will present their testimony in an open setting, getting the facts onto a public record. Adante Pointer,the family civil rights lawyers, will attend to support the narrative with facts on the record. In connection with the San Francisco Public Library One City One Book program. Co-sponsored also by Justice 4 Luis Góngora Pat and Shaping San Francisco.

Video here.

October 9

Expanding San Francisco’s Common Wealth

Rejecting the paradigms of capitalist San Francisco, let’s look at a radically expanded Common Wealth, starting here, but with implications for our entire society: A public bank, free broadband internet, a low-cost public electricity system, dense community gardens and public orchards, widespread high-quality social housing, expanded land trusts, bicycles and free public transit, free innovative childcare (actually a whole new approach to integrating play into everyday life!), a renovated public school system to match a new urban economy, and and and... Della Duncan, Julie Levak-Madding, Julia Glanville

Video here.

October 2

Storytelling and the Memory Keepers

We bring together story shapers, story sharers, and story collectors for this evening taking a close look at oral histories and memory keeping. Susan Schwartzenberg hosts a discussion series at the Bay Observatory at the Exploratorium intertwining personal stories and scientific study to understand climate change, Brandi Howell and Mary Franklin Harvin of Tales from North Beach are currently producing a podcast series to document the aging, forgotten, and hidden people and places of North Beach, and Joe Lambert has 25 years of story gathering with the StoryCenter. The panel discusses talk spaces, moving beyond the anecdotal in exploring personal memory, and forging a culture that gives space for left out and unheard voices.

Video here.

September 25

Neighborhood Corridors: Memory and Ecology

Efforts to integrate history and ecological restoration can be found tucked away in most San Francisco neighborhoods. Neighborhood greenways and corridors are most often the result of initial community-based activism to beautify an urban space, and end up becoming much more complex projects. Sophie Constantinou shares stories of creating the Buchanan Street Mall project and a newly accessible open space along the Bernal Cut, and how the different neighborhoods shaped these similar projects. Fran Martin of the Visitacion Valley Greenway talks about the years-long effort to create an educational, recreational, and green space and how that has influenced ongoing neighborhood planning.

Video here.

September 11

Art & Politics: San Francisco Poster Syndicate

The San Francisco Poster Syndicate has been creating inspiring silkscreen posters at protests, demonstrations, street fairs, art events, and parties for the past decade or more. A steady stream of new participants has kept it fresh, and tonight we’ll hear from veterans and newbies alike. Art Hazelwood, Jos Sances, Lucia Ippolito, and more!

Video here.