D Tour Comes to GAFFTA

I’m happy that independent film showcase Cinema Speakeasy is bringing rock ‘n dialysis story D Tour to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts screen on Thursday.  The film follows musician Pat Spurgeon as he tours with Rogue Wave and awaits a second kidney transplant, and both filmmaker and subject will be on hand at the evening event. Healthcare issues and hard rock to be discussed.

Mega Fun at Southern Exposure

Southern Exposure’s annual fundraiser and art auction MEGA MEGA MEGA isn’t limited to a single fancy gala (though there is one on Saturday night) but is to include music, creative projects, and live and silent bidding. The roster of participating artists reads like a who’s who: Lisa Congdon (she of A Collection a Day), Libby Black, Todd Hido, Mel Prest, et al. Browsers and collectors alike can see the 160 pieces up for auction through Thursday, and the “famously fun” weekend gathering provides direct support for the organizations public art and education programs.

Cool Collecting

“A Collection A Day” doesn’t read like other books, and that’s because it’s not like other books, coffee table or otherwise. Illustrator and general creative type Lisa Congdon has assembled a softcover series of a year’s worth of ephemera, and its presentation in a small metal box reminded me of my own sets of Girl Scout badges and POGs.

Inside a set of photographed and drawn “small treasures and curious things” includes vintage art supply packaging, old and colorful prayer cards, and plastic and wood rings. But that’s not all. “Mid-century paperbacks with awesome cover design and typography”! Japanese notebooks! Candy jars! It’s well worth a flip through the digital preview to see the breadth of Congdon’s inspiration–but I’d suggest owning one (or the corresponding 20×200 print) to appreciate the bizarre wonder of baby doll hands, aggregated.

Beverly Pepper Wows Women Who Frame the World

At this week’s ODC conference Women Who Frame the World: A Symposium on Creativity, I was deeply struck by the work of sculptor and creator Beverly Pepper. It takes a lot to stand out in a group of presenting artists that included novelist Carol Gilligan, sound artist Kui Dong, and documentarian Eleanor Coppola (even a sampling of the total group reads like a coffee table book about major creative contributors, no?).

Pepper’s talk–Monumentality, A Life in Art–at the B’Way Theater focused on her “amphisculpture.” It includes very large scale sculptures with watercolors (“Sol y Ombra,” Spain, top right), cast iron, stones (the Italian “Omphalon,” top left), and steel. She’s as humble–“when I think about bodies in conjunction with my work, it’s mostly how I can’t get hit by it during the construction”–as she is visionary.

How does she know when one of her large scale pieces is complete? “When you step away from it and the only reaction is ooooohhh.” The same went for her dialogue with local lady artists.

Giselle Returns

This weekend the San Francisco Ballet opened Giselle, and I’m glad they brought it back to the stage after its local premiere in ’99. While the villager costumes in the first act felt overdone, they made the bride spirits in their white veils that much more striking at the start of the second act. Principal dancer Yuan Yuan Tan is fantastically dynamic to watch as the doomed protagonist, and you can see why she’s been the lead in Swan LakeRomeo & Juliet, and The Sleeping Beauty among other area performances. You only have until Valentine’s Day to see her in action.

Art Auction to Free All Three

When multimedia storyteller Pauline Bartolone reached out about a photo-centered art auction fundraiser she’s hosting for friends detained in Iran, I was ecstatic about the idea. Saturday night’s event at SOMArts Cultural Center has 80 local artists presenting in the name of freeing documentary photographer Shane Bauer and fellow hikers (you can learn more at FreeTheHikers). And buy art–just know that I call dibs on Camille Seaman’s “Uneditioned,” below.

On Support for Digital Arts

I try not to post promotional video content with too much frequency, but the latest from the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (“social consciousness through digital culture”) may just have you friending, favoriting and donating. The Tenderloin-based educational and art space can’t be quickly described in terms of reach or single medium, and that’s how I know it’s needed.

Starting tomorrow, it will host Global Game Jam, 48 hours of game dev and experimentation fun. Institute for the Future’s game researcher Jane McGonigal will kick off the weekend, whose schedule promises “WORK!” of the best kind from 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM for the better part of three days.

Women Who Frame the World

It may be months away, but I’m most excited for ODC’s creativity symposium with women artists slated for April. The day and a half event “Women Who Frame the World” will bring creators and artists to the Oberlin Dance Company (as in, the Ohio university for which the now Mission-based theater hails). Performer Laurie Anderson, feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan, and novelist Mona Simpson will be presenting, and after seeing ! Women Arts Revolution this week, I’m looking forward to Lynn Herhsman Leeson’s talk in mid-April.

! Women Art Revolution Provides an Education, and Then Some

When I wrote about ! Women Art Revolution last year, I anticipated that artist Lynn Hershman Leeson’s documentary would be an education. Despite writing regularly about women in technology and media, I fall with the majority of Americans who are hard pressed to name a handful of female visual and performance artists (Frida Kahlo and Marina Abramović come immediately to mind, but the exercise prompted by the film wasn’t as simple as I expected).

Forty years of footage of the work of historians, creators and curators were compiled for this feature-length look at Feminist Art premiering this week at Sundance. It was fun to learn about activism I didn’t know about (including that practiced by the Guerilla Girls, creators of flyers like the one at right that called for changes in the composition of major exhibitions); intriguing to consider the future of work like Iranian artist Shirin Neshat (whose film Women Without Men was one of the most intriguing of last year’s festival); and devastating to hear about the violence that many of these women faced. I’m glad that the film will be coming to the San Francisco Film Festival this year and have a slew of friends–women and men–I’ll be taking to it.

i live here:SF Retrospective

I’ve long been a fan of photographer Julie Michelle’s set of portraits and stories about San Franciscans and am happy to see a selection of her 170 series shots make their way to SOMArts on Friday night. The full image and bio pairings on i live here:SF are worth a long look (including Wardell’s city-themed vehicle and musings by performance artist Michelle Tea), but should you drop by the event as a first time viewer, Julie’s description may set you up well:

“[The project] is an exploration of the city through the visages and stories of the people who participate, and through it, I have learned so much about San Francisco and its myriad of nano-neighborhoods and micro-climates.”