Month: April 2015

Jazz Open Mic, Backed by Pros

The Bay Area is synonymous with music, music that starts at the roots and works its way into the world. With open mics across the region on any night of the week, musicians and aspiring musicians bloom. Laurie Winestock describes her path to the jazz open mic community and shares where anyone can join in the sounds. LW: I was trained as a visual artist. I had never done any music at all. About three and a half years ago I was in Brazil and I thought, “I’d love to sing.” Later on someone had handed me a postcard for a general open mic that a woman hosted at the City Club in Berkeley. It was a little over two years ago, and I didn’t expect to sing. But at the end everyone was asking, “Well, aren’t you going to sing?” and I said, “Okay… I guess I can sing this one song.” It was a Gershwin song. Specifically, I wanted to do jazz, that’s what I love. I sang, and people were really supportive, …

Under Freeways, Policing Police

I was not expecting the man to pull a gun. I was not expecting to post this today. It was noon and I was sitting in my parked car, bent over the cell phone, waiting for a conference to begin. Around me, in SOMA’s tech pocket, workers on their lunch break passed by in high-priced fleece and tooled leather shoes. Lined up between two of the overpass pillars stood a row of make-shift shelters, tents, a camp of homeless amid the surrounding profits. In front of me, a tall slim man (he could have come off break from Trader Joe’s), was searching for change in his car.   The search got a bit frantic, and I noticed, when I bothered to look up, that he’d tossed the floor mats onto the street, then brought them round to the trunk. I could only sympathize, parking here is expensive and the short time limits have you running back and forth. But then, what was he doing halfway in the front seat with pliers and cables?  Then, the …

Sound Story

communication (n.) late 14c., from Old French comunicacion (14c., Modern French communication), from Latin communicationem (nominative communicatio), noun of action from past participle stem of communicare “to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,” literally “to make common,” from communis (see common (adj.)). Sound surrounds. It diligently delivers the raw data of our perception field. Simply, it communicates the basic properties of nature, location and nuance of physical existence.  Sound is the raw testament to the dynamic range and pulse of life processes, cueing us to the trickling mutations in our personal, manmade and natural spheres. We are the chosen addressee for the sounds on the street, the shifting seasons, our internal dialogue – all in constant motion – they depict, emphasize, fight for a place in the ear of the beholder, inviting us to pick our moment’s residence among a myriad of possible worlds, some familiar, others taking our attention to lands undiscovered. Sounds can captivate us, scatter, leave us inspired, heartbroken, frozen or frazzled. Hidden within basic air pressure displacements …

Where the Heart Is

Home is physical, a built structure, a roof, four walls, a web. Home is a place at the table, nourishment. Yet, home remains a mere dream for those who experience its absolute absence. Many in the Bay Area find themselves homeless. In the months ahead, we will explore the ways people and organizations in the Bay are trying to make headway to house more people who need it. We’ll also take a closer look at displacement, the byproduct of gentrification and the yawning gap between income and housing costs here.  Laura McCamy of OaklandLocal has been covering the issue as it plays out in Oakland and Alameda County.  At yesterday’s SPUR event, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) shared highlights and findings from its State of the Region, chronicling the growing pressures on transit and housing, and the promise and downside of employment trends. BayMozaic will circle back to the report in the weeks ahead. Behind every set of statistics lives a methodology, and more importantly, thousands of stories of lives affected. (Haleh, photos …

House to House

The doors to Warehouse 416 invite a broad span of light. Greeting visitors as they pass through, Jamie Lee Evans welcomes each as if to her home. To feel welcome, to feel at home, wanted. How differently we understand these terms, based on our earliest memory. The path of light leads to the The Foster Youth Museum’s inaugural exhibit, Lost Childhoods. Along the brick surfaces, curator/photographer Ray Bussolari presents assemblages of objects marking the experiences of foster youth. They fall into themes of developmental disruption, institutionalization, powerlessness, loss and hope. Within each theme, a constellation of evidence surrounds a large black and white photo, evidence of hurt, invention, aspiration: teddy bears, makeshift shoes, a college degree. I don’t know what resilience means. But the exhibit asks me to consider it, to move beyond moving on too quickly from pain or the pain of others, to recall those moments of having experienced it, both the pain and the coming through it. Here in this space, apart from the usual bustle of Oakland’s Uptown, I face what …

Home on the Stage

When I was doing theater photography for Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, I had the good fortune to work with director Evren Odcikin and to study his rehearsing technique and style. Over the years I grew very fond of his work, so a few months ago I invited him out for a casual conversation. We met in San Francisco’s Dolores Park one sunny afternoon and covered much ground, including theater and the meaning of home. Gohar Barseghyan: What is creativity and what’s at the center of it? Evren Odcikin: Certain people have an urge to create. You see the world, and you want to look at it a different way, you want to make it better, you want to explore what it might all mean. When I look at something I’d like to know what it is and its potential. What it could be. At the center of my creativity is the fact that I am very curious about things’ potential. GB: Where do you get your inspiration from? EO: I don’t know how …

You Belong Here

Jason Wyman on “the messiness of what it means to be in community with each other” — Jason Wyman has a big laugh. A big beard. And, big-hearted plans for changing how art and community intersect in the Bay. This is the first in a series of conversations (on art, community and intersections) with Jason and teen co-producers Izza, Trayvon and Mosiah as they get ready to host “You Belong Here” on April 11, as part of the #wheredoyoubelong project. #wheredoyoubelong unearths urgent questions of belonging in a changing Bay Area and investigates them via storytelling, films, performances, events and installations. RR: What led you to start the #wheredoyoubelong project? The genesis is multifaceted. Allow me to go on a meandering path because I’ve had a hard time telling the story! It grew out of 2 separate projects I’m involved in. Outlook Theater Project is queer ensemble theater I’ve been part of since 2010. We create original works and ‘This Many People’ was our big theater piece staged at Counterpulse about LGBT youth stories. I …

Tinker, Tailor

Maker – the label is elastic. Technologists, artists, craftspeople, engineers, tool-wielding types. And on, and on. This week’s posts show their motley range, with features and mentions of : an app developer, a painter, bike craftsmen, blacksmith, textiles artist, 3D printing master… some leaning digital, others leaning analogue Common denominator. Invention. Uncommon motives and ends. To what end? Understanding the cogs and sprockets inside our mechanized world? Rejection of disposable objects?  To make, rather than consume. To feel more connected to our world. Whoa This is getting too philosophical… … and very Bay Area. San Mateo hosts MakerFaire, the maker movement’s big shindig. Code for America‘s headquarters are in San Francisco. I hope we explore stories about positive change that comes from makers making.  How are makers designing the way to a better Bay? How does D.I.Y translate into civic planning? (Do It Together). Can we quantify the movement’s impact, are we over-hyping its promise, or is maker just a new label for inventors? Tinker on. (Haleh) Photo – Fez, where craftsmen use the same tools …

Something About Twigs & Branches

Painter Lorely Bunoan spins garden cuttings into gold. Watch her working to the sound of BART trains lumbering through East Oakland. (video) Her pieces, she says, are meant to be hung any which way.  I was torn between holding the camera and the urge to sketch a branch alongside her. Circling Lorely as she drew, though, kept me warm in the cavernous studio.  Eventually, the two of us fell into our own cadences, she tracing twigs, and I tracing the painter.         (Haleh)

We Can Make That

I had the pleasure of chatting with Albert Eloyan, a young entrepreneur, Bay Area resident, and one of the co-founders of Jargon (former Colatris), a start-up that helps mobile developers localize their apps.   He shares the pains and rewards of startup culture, including how travel, relocation and boxing (with gloves, not packing material) played a role.  (Gohar)