Friday, November 28, 2008

a little time off...

...and painted for the first time in what feels like forever. Angus Young commission. She's gonna see AC/DC and is hoping to get it signed!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Times Pome

Y'know, I can't really say it's the new administration yet, and I guess I know that The Times only prints what its supposed to, but what a news day! ...according to The New York Times:
There's dancing on the streets of Baghdad. Because "Pact, Approved in Iraq, Sets Time for U.S. Pullout"

Karim Kadim/Associated Press
Iraqi policemen danced with a United States Army soldier in Baghdad on Sunday, the day Iraq’s cabinet approved a security pact.

Dan Rather "...has unearthed evidence that would seem to support his assertion that CBS intended its investigation, at least in part, to quell Republican criticism of the network."
Germany’s Green Party Elects First Ethnic Turk as Leader

Jens-Ulrich Koch/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Cem Ozdemir, whose parents immigrated from Turkey as guest workers, joined Claudia Roth on Saturday as party co-leader.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Frances Dinkelspiel at the J School, UC

After 8 years of work-Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California comes out...officially...tomorrow!

Be the Media

After I posted the piece below "Facebookedness First Finale (part III): The 80s Punk Rock Made Me Do It," I got "friended" by a David Mathison.

His "Google Alert" went off, because I quoted Jello Biafra saying, "Don't hate the media, BE the media." Mathison's self publishing a book entitled Be the Media.

David wrote, "Yeah I got a Google alert set for "Be The Media." Your tweet and blog came up, thought we should connect. I quote Jello in my book,, of course ;-)"

You gotta check out Mathison's photo gallery. It's him all runnin' around the country holding his book out in front of web-and-otherwise celebrities. Included are Slash of Guns & Roses (bring on the Chinese Democracy! and the free Dr. Pepper...) and there's a great shot of Mathison and Bill Moyers pushing each others' book forward at what looks like a book buyers conference. Also on deck are Vint Cerf, Arianna Huffington, Garrison Keillor, "Larry" Lessig, Craig Newmark and our man Rushkoff!

Lovin' that Mathison's reaching out is one of those funny innernetz stories, like my old friend David Hantman finding me in three minutes and forty-five seconds and thanks, too, to Google Alerts.

Thanks, Google Alerts.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

MAGNES Friends & Family Day!!


About a new book by Jed Perl concerning Watteau NY Times reviewer Richard B. Woodward writes,

"Among his finds is a taped conversation about Watteau from 1956 in which Jean Cocteau tells Louis Aragon that “all that smoky beauty somehow predicts the storm to come. The people at those parties of Watteau’s are like people coming together as a result of a railway accident, or during a halt or bombardment when they have left their cars on the road.”

Overall the review is harsh. I am not a fan of Jed Perl's. But I LOVE this quote above. (Click the pic to read the full review.)

Facebookedness First Finale (part III): The 80s Punk Rock Made Me Do It

The day after Rosh Hashanah I went to hear Jello Biafra and V. Vale speak at the all-ages, Berkeley, mainly punk venue called 924 Gilman.

(When I was growing up in the eighties, Jello Biafra -- lead singer of one of the most important U.S. Punk Bands the Dead Kennedys -- was the biggest thing…at least amongst the “punks” in my progressive high school.

I never got to see him or hear him in-person, though. None of us did back in Baltimore.

The Dead Kennedys did not come to my town, so getting to hear him finally and see him twenty years later as an adult now living in the Bay Area meant a lot to me.)

924 Gilman was so intimate. The evening made me want to find old friends with whom I had lost touch. And the New Year made be circumspect.

Like a lot of forty or almost-forty somethings, I sent pictures or “mobile blogged” what I had from my cell phone. I wrote in my blog:

“This evening was some real lo-fi, D.I.Y. …that reminds me of the youthful energy that's got me to where I'm at on this planet…”

The next thing I did was I sent a link to the post on my blog about hearing Jello Biafra and V. Vale speak at 924 Gilman to a “friend” -- “J.S.” -- on Facebook, with the following note:

“I cannot even tell you how much this evening of seeing Jello Biafra was the realization of a life's dream, cultivated in [your] home(s) in Baltimore.....and it was all that and more. the joint was so much like Jules'...and THE was all just a coupla kids?! c.1985 was like a time capsule…”

J.S. is one of my oldest friends, in tenure; but we have not been in direct contact for over twenty years. We went to High School together in Baltimore with a pretty tight group of friends.

A long exchange ensued. We reveled in each other’s successes, shared memories and it helped to ameliorate unresolved issues, mainly of lack of communication.

Oh, and this went on for days! One “friend” wrote another,

“I doubt anyone would refute that you were at the center of much of what was going on those days. I think that was when your life as a Maven started to take off.”

More confessions unfolded. Then J.S. found old flyers, scanned them, posted them to flickr then shared on Facebook.

I proclaimed, “o.k. I just have to say that I am awash with emotion over all of this. I am learning. You are all my heroes. I am only sorry there's something about the internet that says -- read ‘ironic.’ Right now I am being quite serious. I am way too glad this thread got started, good friends, it's meant a lot to me. there's much love for you here.”

And later I added, “...that's how this all got started!...I mean, my question to Jello Biafra (and V. Vale) was, ‘o.k., since you started the DIY phenomenon and on-the-ground community sh*t...’ do you feel about the internet where now every kidz got the power to publish from Poughkeepsie to Peoria?...and what about the new viral media, Obama's use of it and all that... Jello's quote was ‘don't hate the media: BE the media.’ i hadn't thought about it all like that until then....and, until now.”

At that point, one of my “friends” created a Facebook group called “Eutaw Street Clubhouse (Baltimore 1984-86),” and we all joined. The group’s numbers went to fifty-five in a couple of days almost doubled to ninety-five. Now it is at well past one hundred "kidz." So at the end of all this we organized, created and made a space for others.

While I do not pretend to fully understand all that’s at play here and this may seem like a minor event there are major implications. And while there’s certainly something about Facebook and all those tools that appeal to a kind of addictive behavior, I am confident that I am a better person after this recent exchange. Along with resolution, there was product.

And I have to say I was inspired both by finally getting to meet Jello Biafra and V. Vale and the encouragement of the Jewish New Year. Now I am healed.

Facebookedness First Finale (part II): New Day Rising

Maybe with the possible exceptions of Chuck Klosterman and Douglas Rushkoff, few writers have spoken for me.

Maybe there ain't much to say. Or it's all been said before.

What is now intriguing to witness is that history, with the tools at-hand, is being written "live," on-line and together.

Soon we will all move to video almost completely, but till then there's still a lot of writing go on. Not just to focus too much on writing/typing, but it's a part.

With these tools, we are scanning the analog and making it digital for us to share with each other. This is happening thanks to Amazon and in our living rooms.

And on the other end, the Christian Science Monitor just announced this week that they are doing away with their print version entirely to continue on-line in perpetuity. There is certainly a movement afoot.

While my story may be personal, the societal implications are huge. Think of it like the thesis of one age – 80’s grassroots alternative rock and progressivism – joining the antithesis – 90’s corporate acceptance – and synthesizing in a new, grassroots progressivism working within an accepted corporate framework at the beginning of the 21st century.

This is no joke – scientists and think tanks have defined the “Pro-Am” era as being upon us, a time when, thanks to the massive proliferation of microprocessors, professionals and amateurs work side by side now. Think SETI project, for starters.

Think of the Obama campaign. Think of the new forty-ish leadership, like Daniel Sokatch founding the Progressive Jewish Alliance and now heading up the massively well-endowed SF Jewish Federation or thirty-five year old Ben Jealous heading up the NAACP. Did someone say "new administration"?

I mean, c'mon...the revolution is beyond televised now -- go to The paradigm has shifted. It’s outpacing pornography.

*read read on*

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Facebookedness First Finale (part I): Naked in High School

Right around Yom Kippur this year, I did something on-line that felt really good. I was “social networking.”

Over the past several months social networking sites like Facebook have overtaken porn sites in popularity, according to Reuters and an article last week in the UK Guardian. The article has been posted a lot on Facebook profiles and received a lot of diggs at

Everybody’s doing it, or at least “three in four US online adults,” according to a recent report by Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research.

And that’s what is so amazing. The massive proliferation of Facebook and LinkedIn has brought it closer to the white pages than any earlier iteration of America On-line or other “services.”

I been doing things on-line for years, right? But something was different this time. What did I do on Facebook? I atoned. I made recompense.

And I reconnected with a group of old high school friends through Facebook about a stretch of time when we all defined ourselves together for a moment.

Together we attended a small, progressive, predominantly Jewish high school in Baltimore. It’s was the 80’s and we were very into politically progressive, grassroots punk rock music.

With all this necessary and remarkable talk about the growth in networking utilities, like twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn -- what really amazed me about this exchange was that I was accessing formative years in a way that was new and psychologically instructive. I learned so much about others, with whom I had been out of touch for decades, and myself. I made peace with my past.

You can now conjure up the past. It’s palpable, even dream-like.

But rather than reliving seminal moments and walking through your old high school naked, only to wake up and find it’s time to go to work -- now, with the new social networking tools so well "populated," you are there again.

With Facebook especially, you can really and truly uncover those once locker-bound legions and write them in a way that is new a rich with content.

There are no more six degrees of separation (LinkedIn likes to play of the “degrees of separation” concept). It seems like now you really can now connect to everyone you have ever known and everyone they ever told you about.

You can say, “Sorry.” You can convey a crush and thank them for helping to form your life. Long harbored resentment can now be released and redirected.

What unfolded from there was a series of discussions about relationships that might have been lost to memory and isolated recollection without Facebook.

To quote a friend who I share this story with, “This is SO much cheaper than therapy.” And in some way it is really. You are connecting with your past and actually exchanging information in a meaningful way, full of metaphor, scents, memory, confession and the wisdom to compliment and admire others.

*read on*

MAGNES Makes It in Today's Oakland Tribune

Angela Hill writes in today's Oakland Tribune:

Whenever my brain needs a good teasing, I turn faithfully to San Francisco conceptual artist and all-around cerebral confounder, Jonathon Keats, well known in Bay Area art circles for such works as punching a time clock whenever he had a thought, or producing "intergalactic art" from radio signals from outer space, or developing a prototype voting booth out of a Ouija board.

Now he's done it again with his latest public art installation called, "The Atheon: A Temple of Science for Rational Belief," which will be up through February inside a two-story downtown Berkeley building at Harold Way and Kittredge Street.

Right now, you can only see it from the outside as the building undergoes rehab to become the new Judah L. Magnes Museum. And to the naked eye, the Atheon appears merely as pretty blue stained-glass windows. But wait. There's more. The blue glow is actually an enlarged version of a cosmic microwave background image, originally generated by NASA, mapping very slight differences in temperature over many millions of years. Variations which ultimately resulted in the formation of the universe, the planet Earth, bacon ultimate cheeseburgers, us and chimps, but not necessarily in that order.

(You can also access your own personal Atheon by going to

Basically, the Atheon is a thought experiment, giving science religious trappings like windows and liturgies. It's an attempt to "explore the shape a religion might take in which the content of the religion is science," Keats said.

Ow, my brain.

"It's a merging of worlds that seem very different from each other, but are perhaps not that different. At some point, we will have to reconcile the great divide between religion and science," he said. "Science, which is to some degree mysterious and miraculous, does have a component that is truly religious by nature. And those with a religious persuasion can find the miracles in it. There's this sense of awe at the cosmos, which is what people seek out in religion."

Keats' work is such that you don't always know if he's serious, or just messing with your mind. Maybe both. "As many of my projects are, this is a prototype at this point," he said. "You know how hard it is to get funding for new religions, much like for new Ouija-board voting systems."

Goldsworthy's Spire

In case you have not already read about it Andy Goldsworthy's got a major commission in Ess Eff and it's a spire.

Ken Baker wrote about it in the Chronicle. (Sorry, but his piece sorta sucked...but its got some interesting details.)

Today could not have been a prettier day to take the spire in, with the smog as thick as cream. The best view's gotten by pulling over at Inspiration Point, turning off Arguello in the Presidio. (Those are pretty words to type.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Jesse won! Jesse won!

Man, this guy's so grassroots, it is what we should all aspire to...

Rock on, Jesse "D.J. Luscious" Townley! Rock on.

I am a 19 year Berkeley tenant. I was Executive Director of the non-profit Easy Does It, which provides Emergency Services to people with Disabilities. With the non-profit venue 924 Gilman & the non-profit Independent Arts & Media I’ve expanded low-income access to arts. Councilmember Dona Spring appointed me to the Disaster & Fire Safety Commission in 2003, which prepares our community (and our pets) for hills fires, earthquakes and pandemics. Tenants and landlords need massive help in preparing for the next earthquake & wildfire, including Community Emergency Response Team training & emergency supply caches. As Chair I gave input to the Soft Story Ordinance that will retrofit many unsafe apartment buildings, & to new single family home standards called Plan Set A. I will protect tenants in apartments & houses from outrageous rent increases while encouraging landlords to retrofit. I will bring to the Rent Board disaster preparedness expertise derived from my tenant perspective. I will expand the greening of all rental units by pushing composting, recycling, and solar power. I will encourage the Berkeley FIRST solar program to target multi-unit building owners.