Month: September 2015

James Patton Martizian arts and culture martinez

Stoking Arts Culture: The Martizian

I can relate with someone juggling multiple creative projects at once with no monetary guarantees. I see myself in James Patton, editor of The Martizian, a digital window into local art and its potential for reviving Martinez, CA. In addition to launching the new online publication, he’s also a musician, graphic designer and business owner. People like James define the Bay Area, a region crackling with creative life, but in economic and cultural transition.  After reading about The Martizian in my free community paper, I had to reach out. We caught up and walked about town. His thoughts on firing up the arts: Convening through New Media The idea for The Martizian came out of working together with someone named Tony Rishell on the Main Street Martinez Committee for Economic Restructuring. We wondered how we could tap into spheres of influence as they relate to culture and community here. A lot of people have pride in Martinez, but the community wasn’t engaged around an identity.  What everyone wants is to revitalize the area. Not just …

Music Festivals in SF Coming Up!

Get over your fear of crowds, packed public transportation, port-a-potties and get to one or both of October’s music festivals this year! San Franciscans are used to seeing large numbers of people flocking to the city, whether for standard tourist fare or to the many technology events hosted here each month. But it’s not only the tech events that bring out crowds to SF. Massive music festivals draw the crowds, including Hardly Strictly Bluegrass October 2, 3 and 4, and Treasure Island Music Festival October 17-18. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is a big, three-day festival in the Golden Gate Park and it’s FREE! The festival is a love child of philanthropist Warren Hellman who founded the festival in 2001. Just be prepared for a lot of people. The crowd is eclectic: locals, tourists, old hippies, nomads, hipsters, children, etc. Treasure Island Music Festival is considered the smallest and one of the best music festivals by many. You get to enjoy a great line-up, sweeping views of San Francisco with both bridges and amazing sunsets. Don’t forget …

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Cross-Cultural Unity for Decent Housing

Lessons from fights past can stir us to continue pressing for housing rights. In the late 1990s, a mixed immigrant community banded together and won a lawsuit against an Oakland slumlord.  On Saturday, Locally Grown Docs at the New Parkway Theater screened Oak Park, a short film chronicling the struggles of largely Cambodian and Mexican tenants in Oakland’s San Antonio neighborhood against extreme property negligence.  They won their suit in 2000, and the film wrapped in 2010. But the housing struggle in a landlord’s market resonates strongly today. Oak Park, named after the collapsing Oakland apartment complex, documents the abject conditions tenants fought to resolve. These included rot, infestation, leaks, mold and their ensuing health consequences. In multiple languages, tenants recount waking up in puddles of raw sewage. (The production required ample translation to capture voices from a microcosm of Oakland’s most diverse neighborhood). Watching the battle, I was both humbled and inspired that these tenants fought back in spite — or in the face — of traumas and fears from their different immigrant experiences. During …

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Housing Leader Takes the Helm

The debut of evening rain in the Bay marked the debut of Gloria Bruce as executive director of East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO). Supporters and the curious, including me, came out to meet her and party with the EBHO staff and board. I could hear them from around the corner, as board members extolled Bruce and the crowd cheered statements for urgent solutions to Bay’s crushing housing crisis. Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf also turned out for the festivities. Building strong communities starts at home. Bruce thanked her wife and gave a shout out to her two boys as the foundation of home. She also cited her father, a Washington, DC native like Bruce, as inspiration in shaping her stance on advancing cities where people “are not lost.” Two paths brought me to EBHO. First, its encyclopedic policy director Jeffrey Levin generously helped me in my research for the Zero 2016 campaign to end chronic homelessness in Contra Costa County. Second, in my accidental conversation with him, Representative Mark DeSaulnier referred me to EBHO as a …

Big Book Sale Coming Up!

2015 Big Book Sale September 16 – 20, 2015 | 10 am to 6 pm Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, SF FREE More than half a million transactions at The Big Book Sale—combined with online auctions, two used book stores and annual events—will raise approximately one million dollars to benefit the public library’s free programs and neighborhood branch upkeep efforts. The Friends of the Library, as one of the nation’s largest used book distributors, is proving that ‘the book’ is not dead. Everything is $3 or less – $3 hard cover books – $2 paperback books – $1 DVDs / CDs / Books on Tape / Vinyl On Sunday, the final day of the sale, everything is $1 If you’d like to volunteer follow the link below for all the details: http://sf.funcheap.com/volunteer-sfs-big-book-sale-free-books/

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Editor’s Letter – Let’s Get Engaged!

It’s BayMozaic’s half-year anniversary and we are considering getting engaged. Since setting out on our publication adventure in March, Co-Editor Gohar and I have been refining on the fly. We have a mission to guide our content, but confess that data hasn’t played a big (or even small) role in our decisions. In a grand gesture of denial, I tell myself that she and our tech guru Tigran can do that anytime we want. We haven’t. So, it’s high time we got engaged. With our audience. But how? For inspiration and schooling, I attended a Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) event, Dissection 1: Impact. No, we are not an investigative reporting site (you know that already) but could learn from journalists about how they engage with readers and track response. CIR’s Lindsay Green-Barber suggested that stories or series of stories might hit one of three levels of impact: Macro – new policies are born Meso – changes the discussion/discourse about the issue Micro – individual changes (an individual boycotts grapes, for example) Their journalists seriously …

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ReOrient: Middle East on the Bay

Our last post, a chat with journalist Jamal Dajani, questioned the line between news and entertainment when it comes to reporting on the Middle East. This week we offer an alternative to news and fully embrace entertainment, namely theater, as a means to see the region beyond the headlines. ReOrient 2015, a festival of plays and a discussion forum, comes our way every two years. It opens September 10, bringing two slates of plays to San Francisco.  Golden Thread Productions will stage eight short plays, plays written and performed by artists from Armenia, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the U.S. Filming the designers, actors and directors during their first reading brought the scope of ReOrient home for me.  Participants came with a range of prior knowledge about the Middle East and a unified enthusiasm for learning and creating art. Between September 10 and October 4, ReOrient rolls out plays, talkbacks, panels, roundtable conversations, a family show, and an Arabic folk music recital.  Chosen from submissions from across the globe, …

News vs. Entertainment

The Bay Area can be regarded as one of the most important economic and cultural regions in the nation, a region generating news about politics and society because of its role as a center of change. It hosts a few broadcast news channels and newspapers. But do these media outlets help people understand the reality of critical situations here and around the world? Jamal Dajani is a San Francisco based Peabody Award-winning news producer, journalist, filmmaker and Middle East analyst. He is the co-founder of Arab Talk Radio. His Twitter and Facebook page have become a trusted news source for a large number of followers and the numbers are growing each day. This is the reason we reached out to him in this short interview: G.B. As a journalist what drives your curiosity? J.D. The lack of global news covered on mainstream media. TV coverage tends to be US-centric. Look at what you currently see on CBS, CNN, FOX, etc. these days…more than 50% of the coverage focuses on Donald Trump, while we a have a refugee …

Positive Change is On the Way!

When my employer, Netflix, recently announced a pioneering approach to parental leave laws, I felt someone there must have been watching my struggle. I’d drafted a post about my difficulties with coming back to work after baby, but never published it. Why? Maybe I thought it would make no difference, women have had to buck up and deal with limited (or no) parental leave forever. Maybe I was too exhausted from work + baby. Maybe I didn’t want to admit anything could be possibly be wrong with my decision to commit to my profession and to being a parent. With all the debate about “women and tech”, I had to use my words carefully not to affirm anyone’s wrongly held prejudice that women cannot be equal players. So here goes. In late 2013 I found out that I was pregnant, something we had been hoping and praying for for many years. From that moment on, life got much more beautiful and meaningful. I was very fortunate to have a job I really liked as a …