Artist Activist Quandry

This letter is dedicated to all those artists, historians, and humanitarians who find themselves in this quandary of deciding what is important and what is not. I certainly do not have the answer. I do not believe there is one, only questions about the role history plays in the life of our planet  Earth.

Does preserving material artifacts and records of our historical achievements and failures have a lasting effect on the living? How important is it to preserve our art and historical and cultural history? Is it worth losing a life over? Many lives? Like I said, this is not an easy question to ask and impossible to answer, but, if we do take a moment to think about it, it may help us get past our own limited abilities long enough to feel we have a path forward that make sense because we took some time to think about our actions and our reasons to care.

Let us start at the beginning, or the beginning of history as we know it. How do we know it? We look at the ancient material things that were left by earlier civilizations and we ascertain much about how they lived on this earth. But, we do not actually experience any of these physical realities. We rely on “expert” humans who claim to know what the bones of dinosaurs mean. We rely on scientists to explain would they suspect happened when observe the remains of these civilizations and the physical pieces of what is left to indicate they existed. Few of us will ever see any of these articles in person or visit the ancient world and if we do we are not “educated” to understand what we are looking at…

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San Francisco Celebrates Pot instead of 70’s Peace and Love Culture

50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love Festival was denied a permit… but San Francisco’s 4/20 Marijuana Festival Will Be A City-Permitted Event

video news link

If Peace and love of the 70’s is your thing, you may join the Summer of Love Club to share your memories: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DoYouRememberThe70sFanClub/

“Gem of the South” Veronika Jackson


message from Veronica Jackson

It is so nice to be contacting you again, after being out of touch for a while. I hope all is well with you. I have been performing and keeping alive the grassroots music of American folk blues. As an artist who enjoys performing and entertaining music lovers from all walks of life. Please visit website for future performances. See you around the festivals and music rooms!

Veronika Jackson
contact @ VeronikaJackson.com

UC Berkeley ponders People’s Park for housing in controversial move

By Nanette Asimov< : sfchronicle – excerpt

People’s Park near UC Berkeley, where questions over its fate have inspired student protests for decades and led deputies to kill a man and blind another on infamous “Bloody Thursday” in 1969, is again being considered for development.

This time, UC Berkeley is eyeing the grassy 2.8-acre park as one of nine sites for development to alleviate one of the worst shortages of student housing in campus history…

Another great park up for grabs with a ton of history some want to bury. The Grateful Dead and Country Joe and the Fish among many others played here for free long before they were discovered. Many battles were fought to preserve this park.

Last photos I shot of the Pinellas site.

This brings up a question about the old Beaux Arts site. Is it still a park as it was last time I was there or has the city developed it?

Is San Francisco Losing Its DNA?

By Stefanie Doucette : thebolditalic – excerpt

The iconic DNA Lounge club may be facing the end of its days.

… Currently, the interior of DNA Lounge is looking a little grim and stressed. Jamie flips over a chair to examine a wobby leg and fiddles with it. He’s working hard to fix a lot of things. No one there is trying to hide the fact that the club is in a hard spot, despite seeing moments of massive success over the years: public recognition from Mayor Newsom in 2010, multiple Best of the Bay awards and stage appearances from some of the most famous musical acts in the world.

“We need a quick fix because I am out of money. I can’t make long-term investments because I don’t know how I’m keeping the lights on in the short term.”…

San Francisco has harbored counterculture communities for decades. Where did they all go?

A lot of them are at DNA Lounge — those who have found it, anyway. It’s in the heart of SOMA, at the intersection of 11th Street and Howard, next to Slim’s and along the path of the Folsom Street Fair. To get there you have to walk past several blocks of tents made from plastic tarp and old furniture, strung up underneath the concrete pillars where 101 meets I-80. Over the years, the streets around DNA Lounge have seen these shanty towns grow in proportion to the shiny condos towering over them(more)

No matter which city you live in or near, the gentrification factor is present along with the growing shantytowns, now tent cities. Look around you and you will see the dying DNAs amid the soulless towers and homeless encampments. Who do citizens turn this trend around? We are looking at LA and their Measure S to slow development in that city for answers. In a few hours we will know if they won or lost the battle.

RELATED:

An Elegy for Caffe Med, One of the Last Outposts of 1960s Counterculture (Photos)

The iconic Berkeley hangout — where Black Panthers held meetings and Allen Ginsberg penned “Howl” — closes its doors for good

Telegraph Avenue has been in flux (some might say decline) for decades as long-standing businesses capitulate to fast-food eateries and chain retail. The biggest blow was probably when Cody’s Books closed.

Cody’s Books — along with Moe’s Books, Shakespeare & Co, and Black Oak Books — was a core member of the group of independent booksellers clustered around the north end of Telegraph. Alice Walker, Salman Rushdie, Maurice Sendak and Norman Mailer, among others, all did readings at Cody’s. During the tumult of the ’60s and early ’70s, the store served as a shelter and first-aid station for anti-Vietnam protesters. Its closure in 2006 was widely perceived as the beginning of the end for the avenue’s local and independent businesses. And of the four major bookstores formerly located on and around Telegraph, only Moe’s survives (more)

Ok. This is seriously sad. Caffe med was the first coffee shop I experienced in Berkeley when I got to California. I probably had my first late there.

Artist and Scavenger Stronghold Booted from SF Mission

By Laura Waxmann : missionlocal – excerpt

The new year marked the end of an era for the proprietors of Junko’s, a once clandestine thrift-store cabaret in the Mission and a two-decade stronghold of the city’s underground scavenging movement that unearthed everything from a letter from Ronald Reagan to a manuscript by Beat icon Neal Cassady.

The owners, Derek Felten and Michael McQuate, made careers out of a shared passion for dumpster-diving. They cited a city-mandated seismic retrofit of the property as the main reason for shutting down the converted storefront at 3527-29 20th St. near Mission Street.

It is a two-story commercial space that they built out and stewarded as a thrift store for 21 years, a time when it became the home for the city’s misfits and creatives.

On Wednesday, Felten, a performer and musician, and McQuate, a carpenter by trade, were rummaging through piles of stuff and sorting out valuables. But instead of salvaging thrown away treasures, the self-styled “scavengers” were reluctantly downsizing.

“They’re using [the seismic retrofit] as an excuse to get us out,” said McQuate, who was renting the space on a month-to-month lease. The building is managed by Greentree Property Management, a management firm that took over after the building was sold three years ago, said McQuate.

Adjacent to Junko’s, a 27-year-old botanica called Lucky Candle, also managed by Greentree, was evicted at the end of last year because of seismic retrofit work… (more)

This sounds so much like Beaux Arts and Tom I had to post it. Unfortunately I never heard of it and it is too late to check it out now, but it sounds interesting, flashy and chic at the same time. Add the history of film screenings piles of trendy trash, dumpster diving, and cats and you have a pretty close proximity to Tom Reese and his Beaux Arts.

At least Tom got to live out his years in his own place. He never got kicked out of his home. That is what is happening now to the elderly. They are the first to go. Rent control is no protection.

Continue reading “Artist and Scavenger Stronghold Booted from SF Mission”

In tribute to Tom Reese and Rational Radicals Everywhere

I am so understanding the confused state of mind Tom must have had when he, as a Navy Veteran from WWII who was stationed in England during the war and experienced the bombing in London, was confronted by the anti-war hippies that invaded his place during the 1960’s. As an earlier Beat, he probably took a less political stance at first. Gradually he was drawn into the other side.

I am feeling that confusion now, with the new administration we are facing. In many ways I am feeling that confusion as I have been dealing with the excesses of the Democratic Party and their embracing of the development industry that is destroying our cities.

Living in San Francisco my perspective is shattered. How can a benevolent society that takes on the mantel of being so open to freedom and choice, be so connected at the hip to the digital industry that is responsible for the robotization of our society and the surveillance state that we are fast becoming against our will?

I hope that the readers of this site will respond with art and poetry that we may share to express our feelings on these matters. At this strange time in history it feels like we need to rely on art more than ever. Please think of this as an invitation to send your art and your feelings about what feels like a cultural revolution. Go out and make films and write songs and send me your links.

Sincerely,

Mari Eliza, A keeper of the Tom Reese tradition of radical rational politics in these troubled times.