Friday, August 7, 2015

Roots Division, Poetry Marathon, Lava Thomas in Berkeley and more



The focus for this Bay Area weekend events is on the quirky, the offbeat and the unusual. Outside Lands will be holding its annual 3-day musical bacchanal at the outer edges of Golden Gate Park. "Pistahan 2015: Filipino Cultural Festival and Parade" will be marching down Market Street to SF's Civic Center, featuring ceremonies, festivals, dance and food.

Roots Division prepares to open their new space with a hymn of tongue-in-cheek praise to the Mission’s old, slow and sometimes unruly No. 14 Bus. “14 Rapid: Transit & Transition” Mission Themed Art & Performances “

In "14 Rapid: Transit and Transition," twelve artists consider the #14 Bus line, and the evolution of Mission Street in a variety of media including performance, video, painting, sculpture and photography. Mission Street is a main artery through a variety of the fastest changing neighborhoods in San Francisco. The #14 Muni bus line runs from Daly City to SoMA and carries passengers representing the enormous cultural diversity that San Francisco’s Crocker Amazon, Excelsior, Mission District and SoMa residents represent.

The exhibition will be presented at 2293 Mission Street, a restaurant space made available for their use. Root Division are partnering with Citizen Fox, the newest restaurant project by longtime Root Division supporter Deborah Blum, to offer an evening of art, and innovative plant based food. 2293 Mission St, San Francisco, CA. Reception: Saturday, August 8, 6-10 p.m.

Bay Area Poetry Marathon: Co-founded and curated by poet Donna de la Perrière, the Marathon began in Boston in 2001 and has taken place in various gallery and performance venues around San Francisco, including Alley Cat Books, Artists’ Television Access, The Emerald Tablet, The Lab, & The Writer’s Studio at California College of the Arts, since 2004.

Saturday, August 8.  7:30 p.m. 
Artists’ Television Access, 992 Valencia (in the Mission) Guest curator: Zoe Tuck. Readers: Elana Chavez, Madison Davis, Rob Halpern, Geraldine Kim, Tessa Micaela, Monica Mody, Maisha Quint, & Cosmo Spinosa

Saturday, September 26 – 100 Thousand Poets For Change. Curator: Donna de la Perrière. Readers: Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Lisa Cattrone, MK Chavez, Steffi Drewes, Rachelle Linda Escamilla, Daphne Gottlieb, Erika Staiti, & Elizabeth Treadwell


The Mask of the Artist: Works From Our Stable of Ten." Ten artists were given a free hand to portray themselves in any disguise they wanted. The mask can hide, disguise and even transform the public persona – what lies behind the mask? Maybe only Alexandre Dumas knew. The San Francisco Gallery. 441 Jackson Street San Francisco, CA 94111, USA Wednesday, through Saturday, August 29, 2015


Lava Thomas at the Berkeley Art Center. Like her recent show at MoAD, Lava Thomas mines African-American history to make viewers reflect, preferably uncomfortably but certainly thoughtfully, on African-American identity in America. "Looking Back and Seeing Now" challenges the viewer to consider the tambourine not only as a simple instrument used in folk and gospel music, but also as a tool of protest and a repository for resistance and hope. The tambourine provided the rhythm for protest songs ad marches during the civil rights movement. It also recalls the complicated role that the church has played as a locus of community. Together, the drawings and the installation serve to connect past and present, artist and audience, in an ongoing revelation of shared histories, struggles and aspirations.

The tambourines, adorned with mirrors and digital drawings of eyes, are hung from the gallery ceiling,  The drawings are inspired by a discovery that Thomas made when she was in Decatur, Texas, attending the funeral of her best friend’s mother and visiting the family graves. While she was there, Thomas found an album of her grandmother's. The photos in the album were of early 20th century African-American women. She was immediately drawn to the women, feeling that discovering their images in an unmarked photo album was no accident was no accident.

“I don’t know if the women I’ve drawn are actually relatives of mine or not, but I suspect they are,” says Thomas. “I was struck by the arresting power in their gazes, their defiance, power and also sadness.” She spent 18 months carefully drawing two women from the album, then incorporating the tambourines (which Thomas played in church as a girl) “as a kind of elegy” and, finally, the mirrors — “so I could see my own reflection, and the reflections of the drawings,” says Thomas.


Lava Thomas: "Looking Back and Seeing Now." 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Through Aug. 23. Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut St., Berkeley. (510) 644-6893.

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