Making noise and empowering girls: 15 years of Women’s Audio Mission

By Joanna Ladd : 48hills – excerpt (includes video)

Founder Terri Winston speaks about educating young women in recording studio technology—and WAM’s big fundraising bash, coming September 21.

ALL EARS For 15 years, the sound engineers at SoMa neighborhood-based Women’s Audio Mission have been applying their skills to one of the field’s trickiest problems: how to get girls involved in STEM. (That’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, for you English majors out there.) WAM, a pitch-perfect acronym, is a professional recording studio, run entirely by women, that doubles as a playground where 1500 girls and women a year learn how to create the media they consume every day. Terri Winston, WAM’s founder and executive director, is an electrical engineer who designed the studio and much of the recording equipment herself. She laughs while revealing the simple hack that all the adults in STEM seem to keep missing: “You guys aren’t even talking to the girls.”

On September 21, WAM celebrates its 15th anniversary with—what else?—a benefit concert at the Brava Theater, which shares WAM’s mission to support women in the arts. Winston asked the luminous duo St. Beauty to headline the event, after she and her students were invited to the soundcheck for Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer tour and were blown away by St. Beauty’s opening set. The Bay Area’s own Diana Gameros will start the evening with a set of traditional Mexican songs that she recorded at WAM last year. Proceeds from the event will fund WAM’s expansion to a new location in Oakland, where they expect to double the number of girls they reach.

In WAM’s gadget-filled studio, Winston mapped out how she became a sound engineer at a time when training programs like WAM didn’t exist. It takes a special kind of brain to see building a recording studio from scratch as the simplest way to fix intractable gender bias. Fortunately, Winston’s path started in the same sort of technology wonderland that she has created for her students…(more)

 

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Mission nonprofit seeks to buy historic Redstone Building to keep tenants in place

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Mission Economic Development Agency is seeking to purchase the Mission District’s more-than-a-century old Redstone Building after its owner put it on the market earlier this year, placing its nonprofit and artist tenants at risk of displacement.

Formerly known as the Redstone Labor Temple, the historic building at 16th and Capp streets once served as the organizing hub for city unions and now houses over a dozen community groups and many independent artists.

MEDA, a nonprofit Mission District housing developer, is currently involved in negotiations with longtime landlord David Lucchesi over a potential purchase of the building in an effort to retain it as a community resource.

“The Mission cannot afford to lose this vital asset, so we are currently exploring public and philanthropic financing options — contingent on ongoing feasibility studies of the property and feedback from tenants — so that MEDA can preserve the Redstone for our community,” MEDA Senior Project Manager Feliciano Vera said in a statement on Monday…(more)

This is the story in all gentrified cities. Out with the old and in with the new money. Is it any wonder America has turned to “fake news” and comedy for relief?

Pioneering machine artist Kal Spelletich is being evicted: Help save his robots!

By Marke B. : 48hills – excerpt

kal

The teacher and inventor who brought robots and flamethrowers to Burning Man must leave his home and studio of 25 years.

“On a troubling note, after 25 years, I am getting evicted from my home base and studio space,” artist Kal Spelletich tweeted this morning. “I provided housing and/or studios for countless artists, freaks, traveling activists, and radical journalists. Save Kal’s Robots here:  Thank you thank you Thank You”

So much of Bay Area arts culture is indebted to Kal, from Survival Research Laboratory shenanigans like giant fire-spewing robots (he was the first to bring both robots and flamethrowers to Burning Man) and interactive machine art that helped pave the way for today’s creative developments, to constantly helping and hosting artists (he teaches at the SF Arts Institute) and causes like Green Party fundraisers, Streetopia, and so many more … well, this just sucks… (more)

Kal is probably being evicted to build a new art school facility or student housing for such. That is what San Francisco real estate has turned into. Dog eat Dog or Demolish the Old and Rebuild it again for the next artist sucker, who will have a limited time before they go the way of Kal. The lesson in this game is buy what you can afford and don’t get attached to anything you don’t own. I only hope it is better somewhere else because it sucks here.

 

Resistance and feminism: what to expect from this year’s Armory Show

By Nadja Sayej : theguardian – excerpt

The much-anticipated contemporary art fair hits New York with a range of provocative pieces, taking aim at Trump and highlighting the work of female artists.

It’s that time of year again, when black-clad art enthusiasts descend upon New York’s Armory Show, the labyrinth-like contemporary art fair at Piers 92 and 94 in midtown Manhattan. Kicking off 8 March, over 200 international art galleries will set up their booths in the white wall jungle to dazzle, sell and sizzle on Instagram. Let’s hope they have free wifi.

On top of your painting and photo fare, there will be tech-inspired artworks in the new Focus section, where 34 artists imagine a post-human world. From 3D-printed sculptures to digital spiritualism, it’s curated by Gabriel Ritter, who is fascinated by our online personas… (more)

The new direction of art in a world of tech and the internet shares the stage with traditional media in a show of international moods and modes. Art as always leads the way into our future. This is a good show to catch if you can.

Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen?

By John Harris : theguardian – excerpt

Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen?

One source of angst came close to being 2017’s signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab spring, and is in retreat.

If you want a sense of how much has changed, picture the president of the US tweeting his latest provocation in the small hours, and consider an array of words and phrases now freighted with meaning: Russia, bots, troll farms, online abuse, fake news, dark money.

Another sign of how much things have shifted is a volte-face by Silicon Valley’s most powerful man. Barely more than a year ago the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, seemed still to be rejoicing in his company’s imperial phase, blithely dismissing the idea that fabricated news carried by his platform had affected the outcome of the 2016 US election as a “pretty crazy idea”. Now scarcely a week goes by without some Facebook pronouncement or other, either updating the wider world about its latest quest to put its operations beyond criticism or assuring us that its belief in an eternally upbeat, fuzzily liberal ethos is as fervent as ever…(more)

Now that the traditional media has been replaced by online content, online entrepreneurs are the news gatekeepers, and they could be more dangerous than the traditional media lords were as they have a broader reach. All media follows the same stories. There is very little difference between the channels

Younger minds more impressionable minds are being targeted in the race to spread influence, as very young children are given smart phones and are encouraged to “start learning” by playing games. How young is too young for impressionable minds? Are humans at risk for developing strange maladies from over-dosing on wireless technology?

As we write the new history of our creative society will our voices be heard or are we pushing our thoughts into a mirror in order to content ourselves that we tried to warn the world? Can our creative efforts make a difference?

Recent developments and stories like this on “mainstream” media sources like the guardian give us hope, as do stories by youthful journalists as they uncover the truth about how governments manipulate them. Here is the latest from the SF Bay View News. You may recognize a similar plan in your city that needs to be exposed. Transportation gentrification:  How Bus Rapid Transit is displacing East-Oakland/

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.