All posts filed under: Imagine

Little Things Matter. They Really Do!

Gözde Efe is a San Francisco based multi-talented Turkish young woman; artist, singer, photographer and filmmaker. She also makes tiny books. “I fell in love with bookbinding while attending the San Francisco Art Institute. Although it came into my art practice late, it was around the same time of my discovery of the world of little things. I have always wanted to write and publish books, but I never felt right with traditional publishings. When I made my first handmade book, It’s Between Me and San Francisco, each page had only a few words, and some of them just a dot. I wanted people to embrace each and every word. I wanted them to be slow. Little things are the core of this world. It is all in the momentarily gestures, words, kindness, silence. One by one, and one step at a time. They are what makes this world lovable. “Tiny books, big thoughts.” made by you, me, trees, ocean, and the sky with love.” Please visit www.tinypublishings.com and join her email list. Gözde will …

Christmas Gifts with a Difference

  The feeling of excitement and Christmas joy has somehow disappeared from my life a few years ago. I don’t go through the mad shopping spree, the long lines at the cash register, the gift wrapping, etc. But I do look forward for the holidays and to hanging out or doing fun things with my kids. They don’t spend a lot of time on their iPads but I prefer minimizing it by engaging them in arts and crafts activities so they can make gifts and Christmas cards for their cousins and friends.  A few days before the school holidays start, I browse the web in order to find hands on activities for my daughters and here’s what I’ve found so far. Most of these activities can be made by recycling used or old things, like socks and sweaters, old toy cars and mason jars, etc.          

foster youth oakland body work tattoos

Foster Youth Tattoos – Marking Life

In the photograph, a young man in a white tank top sits atop a toilet tank. The photo pulled me in, its inscription stopped me still. “Russell is a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation, a father to his daughter and son, a student at Cal Berkeley double majoring in Anthropology and South and Southeast Asian Studies. Collectively, Russell’s tattoos signify his search for permanency…” – from Tribute, an exhibit of the Foster Youth Museum running through Friday at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland. Earlier this year, we covered the launch of the Foster Youth Museum and its inaugural exhibit, Lost Childhoods. Museum founder Jamie Lee Evans met me at Pro Arts Gallery to talk about Tribute: Foster Youth and Tattoos, its third exhibit. At first reluctant to bring in a non-foster youth to take portraits for Lost Childhoods, Jamie found herself won over by photographer Ray Bussolari’s approach. “He took time, he conducts interviews with the youth to really find out who they are…his photographs told the story so well.” The black and white photographs …

pleasan hill library reading

Nonstop Learning at the Public Library

Learning rocks and never stops at the public library. Libraries have evolved from being book warehouses to learning labs and one-stop-shop community centers for all ages. Patrick Remer, Senior Community Library Manager at the Pleasant Hill Library, grew up in Pleasant Hill. “As someone who used this library when I was a kid in the eighties, for me it was this awesome edifice filled with books. Now it’s an explosion of resources. Kids come to talk to authors, they come for hands-on learning, our Lego Club, our Maker events.” I’m here for a virtual author event for the library’s Citywide Read program. The library is “Skyping in” children’s author and comedian Chris Grabenstein from his apartment in New York City. His book Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library takes us on an adventure through the radically high-tech, old school universe of a fantasy library. At first, I feel weird sitting among tweens and teens, their parents and an array of yellow balloons. Soon, though, the room’s enthusiastic discussion about books and writing and the kids’ bottomless …

Don’t Doubt Yourself – Says The M Machine

Contribution by Lilit Barseghyan, Sophomore at Lowell High School. As a high school student interested in music production, there aren’t many resources available to help expand upon this interest. I spend a good amount of time trying to find classes or teachers around San Francisco to help me learn the programs and skills I need. While searching for classes, I stumbled upon a music production school, Pyramind, and spotted an announcement about a special event they were going to host at their campus. The M Machine, Ben Swardlick and Eric Luttrell, former graduates, were returning to Pyramind to host a small group session where students and others could come join and listen to how they started their career and ask questions. Seeing as how this could be a useful experience for me, I signed up and went to the event. Once I approached the building and stood in line, the first thing that struck me was how much older everyone was, either college aged students or older. As I walked into the main room where …

mural artist oakland graffiti

Protecting the Artist and Rejuvenating Community

The corner of Alice and 14th Street in Oakland has always drawn me in. When I moved back home to the Bay Area in 2000 I took dance class at Alice Arts Center. It was in a neighborhood I didn’t know, but as soon as I entered, it owned me. Alice Arts seemed like the heart of Oakland, and in its high flung rooms I felt I could fly. Years later when I had to move from Temescal (the house was about the collapse, I was told), I moved here instinctively, two blocks from Alice Arts, now Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts. I don’t live here anymore, but find myself in the area now and then. Recently a mural arrested me. It flashed its colors and held me fast. The first thing I thought – “Of course” and “a long time coming.” Dancer Ruth Beckford’s image rises high from the center, surrounded by the neighborhood’s historic layers of arts and advocacy. I had only lived through a shred of it, and my stay coincided …

Filming the Love Hate State of Home

It’s official. I can tell you. Rami Alayan’s Love, Theft and Other Entanglements is making its California debut here in the Bay Area. The Arab Film Festival brings it to us for two screenings, one in San Francisco on October 18 and the other in Berkeley on October 25th (with another screening in Los Angeles on November 15). Rami and his brother will be taking questions after the San Francisco show. After interviewing Rami this summer (here), I couldn’t wait to see it for myself. Now I can. Here’s the second part of our interview from July: Why do an independent film about Palestine? We didn’t need to do a European co-production for this film. Independent productions happen all the time there, for documentaries, but not for features. There’s something to be said for independent, do-it-yourself film making. It’s been done in America, Asia, Europe, why not Palestine? What’s true in Palestine, and it is true in other places, as much as people want to make a film, they have day jobs that pay the …

On the left, Haig Patigian with the bust of Helen Wills and on the right, Helen Wills. 

Greatest Bohemian

Contribution by Peter Garland. Peter Garland, a native of Dublin, Ireland, became interested in San Francisco history through the statues of Haig Patigian while living in North Beach. He researched the sculptor’s life and career and for many years lead two walking tours of Patigian’s works around San Francisco (Patigian created more of San Francisco’s statues than any other artist). When Haig Patigian was six years old, he told his twenty-three-year-old mother, Marine Hovsepian Patigian, “I want to be a sculptor.” He was particularly interested in human figure. His wish would be granted, often against a background of bloody persecution and death, both for his own family and for the Armenian people. His father, Avedis Patigian, was interested in visual art, too. He was the first person in Van to take up the fascinating new pursuit of photography. When the Turkish authorities spotted him walking about photographing  the picturesque city, surrounded with tall rocks that make it look like a castle, they accused him of selling photos of the towns fortifications to the Russians. Avedis Patigian, in 1888, …

“How Others See Us”

I’ve been following the work of photographer Ken Holden since the day I saw his exhibition at the de Young Museum’s Kimball Gallery in San Francisco a few years ago. The range and potential of the artist were overwhelming, considering he was a relatively unknown fine art photographer. At the exhibition, I realized that I had seen Ken wandering the museum almost every Saturday, (I used to take my kids to a Saturday morning art class there), and shoot non-stop, visitors, architecture, and textures, but not the artwork on display. Ken was also interested in how people looked through a shattered glass windowpane, or through a raindrop covered plastic tent, or the slow environmental changes throughout the museum – through this, through that as he studied the environment. It’s hard to talk about what this artist likes. But it’s rather easy to figure out what he doesn’t like: the obvious and perfect reproduction of reality. Ken doesn’t photograph the “postcard” image. Rather, he captures what lies in our imagination on the sidelines of our vision. Ken and …

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 …