Thursday, March 19, 2009

They Did It...

The Daly City History Museum Opens March 15
The History Guild of Daly City/Colma will have the Grand Opening of its new "full size" history museum on Sunday, March 15, 2009 at 2:00 pm. The new museum is located at 6351 Mission St. in the original John Daly Library building at "The Top of the Hill". The hours of the musem will be Tuesdays from 12:00pm to 3:00pm and the first Saturday of the month from 12:00pm to 3:00pm. Admission will be free. Guild members will serve as greeters and hosts. The museum will have expanded displays that afford an overview of local history from 1859 to the present. Special seasonal and commemorative exhibits will be featured.

They did it...I was there. BIG congratulations to Mark S. Weinberger, President -- pictured below, preparing for the ribbon cutting on the Ken & Bunny Gillespie Room. Well done, Mark!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Creative Commons and Internet Archives

Last Friday I had a great MAGNES day. I went to go meet with Mike Linksvayer at Creative Commons with Perian Sully and Francesco Spagnolo, with whom I work at MAGNES.

The office was cool and very low key, on Second Street in a building that felt like an old converted loft office in SoHo. So much about the meeting made me feel like a kid again, making my way in NYC in my twenties.

Francesco showcased some of what he had developed for delivery through flickr and other applications, namely the Jewish Digital Narratives.

Mike dug what we were doing and encouraged MAGNES to connect with Fred Benenson and others with Creative Commons, maybe even to be part of a Creative Commons Salon in S.F. Schuh-weeeeet. Dig it -- Benenson helped to found I blogged about that sh^t an' MAGNES a looooong time ago. Last October even...o.k., not that long ago.

From Creative Commons we drove on to the Presidio to join the Internet Archive Friday lunch. Perian helped get MAGNES invited as guests.

Again, I felt like a kid, full of the promise of technology. It was uplifting to be with Brewster Kahle and to see how he gets his team going.

Looks like the Internet Archive is going to help MAGNES get a large portion of illustrated books scanned in short order and viewable like THIS:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Italy dig unearths female 'vampire' in Venice

Italy dig unearths female 'vampire' in Venice
By Ariel David, Associated Press
ROME — An archaeological dig near Venice has unearthed the 16th-century remains of a woman with a brick stuck between her jaws — evidence, experts say, that she was believed to be a vampire. The unusual burial is thought to be the result of an ancient vampire-slaying ritual. It suggests the legend of the mythical bloodsucking creatures was tied to medieval ignorance of how diseases spread and what happens to bodies after death, experts said.

The well-preserved skeleton was found in 2006 on the Lazzaretto Nuovo island, north of the lagoon city, amid other corpses buried in a mass grave during an epidemic of plague that hit Venice in 1576.

The cool article above ran in my Oakland Tribune with the pic of the poor lady with the brick in her mouth.

Then there was a review of the Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese exhibition at the MFA Boston in another paper.


(b. 1518, Venezia, d. 1594, Venezia)
St Louis, St George, and the Princess
c. 1553
Oil on canvas, 226 x 146 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Warhol Live

Last Saturday Karen, Li’l E and I went to the de Young to see the Warhol Live.

We’d just been a couple of weeks ago to see the Warhol Prints down in San Jose.

Recently there was an exhibition of Warhol’s Jews at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. That one seemed to miss the mark, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Ken Baker:
The exhibition title "Warhol's Jews" grates on my ears by its proprietary ring. Granted the title derives from an ensemble of Andy Warhol's works, but it seems to give credence to the long-discredited notion of certain people belonging to others.

On the other hand The New York Times did a decent write up on Josh Kornbluth's "Warhol: Is It Good for the Jews?" monologue:

...Mr. Kornbluth didn’t attend a synagogue and never had a bar mitzvah. His mother spoke Yiddish, but culturally his family members identified more as Americans than as Jews. His father rejected his Jewish faith and taught his children about Marx, Engels and class struggle.

Mr. Kornbluth began pondering the themes of rejection, marginalization and ideological struggle in his own life. “I’ve been doing a kind of Jewish 101 this last month,” he said. “I’d thought that because I’m not a religiously observant Jew, then I’m not a Jew...”

...And ultimately, Mr. Kornbluth said, the experience of thinking about the portraits gave him a greater appreciation of and curiosity about his Jewishness. The art validated him.

“What Andy Warhol has taught me is that I am a Jew,” Mr. Kornbluth concludes at the end of the show. For that, he says, he is in debt to the artist. “I guess you could say that I am a Warhol Jew,” he adds.

Hmm -- I was not a big fan of that display, but I got friends involved there and I wish them well...

The print show at San Jose was fantastic, a stop-you-in-your-tracks type terrific, at least in the first gallery where an early self-portrait and four flowers were so basic, primal, essential.

(I had never quite seen how much the four flowers looked like anuses. Dig it, Ms. O’Keefe.)

And the other cool thing was the Dipity station developed by Chris Alexander. (Please read Chris' beautiful story of technology in the San Jose Museum of Art by clicking here.)

The coolest thing about Warhol Live was how the exhibition captured the various media that made up Warhol’s oeuvre. When I got the end I realized the exhibition had been organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Karen and I saw a Cocteau exhibition there that had, with equal success, taken on a remarkable personality, some illicit content and interaction of drawing, film and a sense of time and place, Cocteau’s circle and Warhol’s Factory.

In the middle of Warhol Live there was this trip out room -- a sofa, lights like out of a party for the Velvets. I was dancing around in a room designed for getting high in -- though no one was doing that -- with my 2 1/2 year old son chasing the psychedelic lights while I sang to Venus in Furs. Life goes on.

And Lynne and Marc Benioff were lead sponsors -- great to see them get into the fray.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Lists Go on and on...

My 20 Albums:
It's the annoying new Facebook thing! Here is what you're supposed to do: Think of 20 albums, CDs, LPs that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. Dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wasu, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean. Then when you finish, tag 20 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill.

Top 20 records for facebook: nomi made me do it

First, I love how this is a kind of infantilism, a celebration of the adolescent, a way to collect records on the brink of forty when I haven’t listened to a “record” in maybe twenty years and haven’t had time to listen to anything other than npr in the morning and Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs at night in like two years.

That having been said…and not exceptin’ the warm graces of YouTube playing live Roxy Music like I’da killed to see in high school in the background at night while I work on my MBA in the wee hours, here goes:

1. Roxy Music, Roxy Music -- one of the best things ever

2. Brian Eno Here Come the Warm Jets -- THE best thing ever. Adam, how did this arise to save our lives?

3. Bob Dylan The Times They Are A-Changin' -- Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol's a great American epic in 5:47.

4. Joy Division Unknown Pleasures -- "Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders" life story

5. Pavement Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain -- Listening to "Stop Breathing" while your mother expires? Life goes on. Somehow.

6. Flaming Lips Soft Bulletin -- A greatness that carried me from partying in the nyc to being a dad with the car seat. One of my 2 1/2 year old son's faves when I can get it in the machine in the car.

7. Minor Threat Out of Step -- Started it all for me...I now FINALLY have a shaved head and live straight edge...back then? NOT.

8. Bruce Springsteen Greetings from Asbury Park -- Whitman.

9. T-Rex The Slider -- Rocking my big black cat in my arms while mourning, singing just to him, "Are you my main man, are you now? Are you now?" He eventually died, too.

10. Thelonious Monk Solo Monk -- the finest tunes, all together.

11. Prince Sign "O" the Times -- If I was your girlfriend? Oh c'mon...evokes the very smell of sex and death, maybe even taxes..."not that your's jus'..."

12. Hüsker Dü Warehouse: Songs and Stories -- even if their weakest record maybe, it meant so much to me and SO MUCH Hüsker Dü at one time?! and I saw them at the beginning of this tour in D.C. then at the end in nyc. Important transitions.

13. Replacements All Shook Down -- lots think it's the weakest, for me -- maybe THE desert island disque

14. Clash Sandinista -- there is nothing else. NOTHING else. (except for every other Clash record. Not sure they wrote one bad song. But that's a different story.)

15. Elvis Costello & The Attractions Imperial Bedroom -- my first "alternative" record in a sense...when I hear the words I am there again. I saw Elvis live like three times and each time it was better.

16. Carpenter’s Gold -- tip of the hat to being a kid. I have a real soft spot for Abba, too and Britney Spears for all the same reasons.

17. White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan -- see notes for Carpenters. The White Stripes ARE, in fact, the Carpenters.

18. Everclear Sparkle and Fade -- Saw Everclear a couple of times on their first coupla tours...this record meant a lot to me when it came out.

19. Nirvana Nevermind -- will never forget the first time. it was moving Billy across town in New York with friends...I never had a car in the city. we played smelt like teen spirit over and over and over and over, cranked! it was US, then.

20. Dead Kennedy’s In God We Trust Inc. -- 14. And it took 25 years to meet Jell-O in-person. Shout out to Joshua Schreier who made me a part of who I am, whether he likes it or not.

O.K. -- I coulda done that different, I guess. Do you get another chance? As I started typing I realized I was going for the real “white” list so I figured I’d keep that trend and not look for any real diversity. The jazz, funk and junk thing’d be quite different. It’s all saccharine, poppy and un-cool…in many cases what some folks’d think is any one of these bands “worse” record. I am reminiscent of myself right now. And I am done. Even undone.

a strange assemblance what tells parts of my desire

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sokatch at Tehiyah Event

I was at an intimate dinner Sunday night to benefit Tehiyah Day School. I'm on the Board this year.

SF Jewish Federation CEO Daniel Sokatch spoke at the home of Andrew Greenberg of Greenberg Qualitative.

Sokatch's great. Wrote about him as new, young leader earlier.

He talked about new Jewish engagement and philanthropy as based on Four Pillars - Change, Torah, Service..and? I dunno. olomot, maybe? As in "worlds," or multiple layers of identity? He was so eloquent and fast and right now it's early on a Monday, the first Monday off of Daylight Savings...I'm gonna see if I can source his talk from either him or somewhere he's posted it.

Service was the big concept. He got all Obama-ed out. It was great! More on all this later.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The NFP Model

When asked at the Director's Luncheon at the California Association of Museum what I thought the most interesting development for museums in the year ahead, I said it was the trend nationally toward the not-for-profit model -- in the media, with new technology, inspired by our new administration.

I said we should all face the challenges ahead in our industry with a renewed pride, that I always felt like an outsider in my early career when my other friends were in business and now the world's looking at new means to better validate the bottom-bottom line, that mission-driven businesses were the new trend -- looking at what Marc Benioff is saying, etc.

I felt like I got a lot of blank looks in response. Maybe I gotta get to different conferences.

Today's NYTimes focuses on Mother Jones as a not-for-profit model.

Michael Edson's "Web Tech Guy and Angry Staff Person"

Victor Ries at 100

I am right now helping to make this a longer, feature documentary, working with a group of volunteers, supporting Bill Chayes. Victor Ries was for some time an artist in-residence at the MAGNES.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Federal CIO

From last November:

Vivek Kundra Rumored Working on Obama Transition
Nov 20, 2008, By Matt Williams, Assistant Editor

Buzz is growing among insiders that Vivek Kundra, the chief technology officer of Washington, D.C., is advising President-elect Barack Obama's transition team.

Kundra's portfolio of work appears to complement a goal in Obama's technology agenda to "use cutting-edge technologies to create a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America's citizens." Of course, Kundra's close proximity to the U.S. Capitol doesn't hurt.

Kundra declined comment Wednesday about his rumored involvement with the Obama administration.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed Kundra the District of Columbia's CTO in March 2007, and Kundra has quickly made a name for himself as an innovator who is unafraid of new ideas.

Last week, Kundra and Fenty announced winners of the district's Apps for Democracy contest, which challenged participants to design open source applications that integrate data from the D.C. Data Catalog, information that's released in real time by several government agencies. Fenty said last week the contest would save Washington, D.C., millions of dollars in software development costs.

"The greater part here is the democratization of public data, and the engagement of citizens, and the engagement of the private sector to help us drive innovation and leverage the power of technology," Kundra said at last week's Apps for Democracy press conference.

Kundra has also gained recognition for his use of hosted applications like Google Mail and his unique IT portfolio management model that tracks projects like investments in the stock market.

"We use that [stock] data to decide whether to hold on to the project, invest more or kill it -- similar to what portfolios in a private market would do as far as sell, buy or hold," Kundra told Government Technology in July. "That's brought a lot of scrutiny and moved us aggressively in terms of killing projects that won't deliver."

Kundra's focus on efficient spending could be attractive to the Obama administration as it attempts to eliminate waste from the federal budget amid a ballooning $10 trillion national deficit and what many economists expect will be a protracted recession.

It's unknown if Kundra is on the list of candidates for the new position of national chief technology officer, which is prescribed in Obama's technology agenda. Several high-profile names have been floated for the job, including two from Google: Vint Cerf, the company's chief Internet evangelist, and CEO Eric Schmidt.


Inspired by 9/11?:

Ari Folman

I can't quite get away from how much this image reminds me of a man I've worked with Lorne Buchman. Lorne's the former President of the California College for Arts & Crafts (CCAC). Lorne helped develop the SF Campus of what's now CCA. There's a plaque near the door that the Board dedicated to Lorne.

What's in a man's life? What's in a man's life story? What do we leave? A book? A movie? A collective project? Memory?

When Ari Folman was accepting his award from the Film Critics, he seemed most proud of the babies born amongst those working on the film during its production.

Lorne Buchman now heads the American Society of the University of Haifa and is President of Saybrook.

Waltz with Bashir

Israeli filmaker Ari Folman was interviewed by Deborah Solomon in The New York Times magazine back on Jan. 11, 2009.

I was struck by the interview at the time, because I knew I wanted to see the movie and thought it was important.

I've now seen the movie. I saw it with my dad when he visited last.

The main thing I liked about this interview was:

D. Solomon: The problem with therapy is that you're listening to no one but yourself. How can you learn anything?

...I liked the film.

dateline disney: benchmark 1995

"Walt Disney had built the Versailles of the twentieth century - but it was a Versailles for the pleasure of the people rather than the amusement of the nobility."
The Art of Walt Disney (1995)


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Double Booked

Tonight I went to the Naomie Kremer Opening at the DOWNTOWN MAGNES. I also went to a book signing for Here There Are No Sarahs, a Jewish partisan's life story as captured by Fred Rosenbaum and co-published by MAGNES and RDR Books. The book is the life story of Sonia Orbuch.

Complimenting the event was an installation of scanned photographs by Faye Shulman collectively entitled Pictures of Resistance put together by Mitch Braff and the Jewish Partisans Educational Foundation.

Naomie Kremer's Ghosts

As part of the Magnes WINDOWS series, the latest installation is by Israeli-born, Berkeley-living artist Naomie Kremer.

The WINDOWS series was launched to use the Magnes new facility to positive effect, namely as public art to be viewed at night: to bring more cultural content to downtown Berkeley and in the evenings when the street traffic is less -- to light up the night.

Kremer's opening was this evening and we had a really nice turn out, including important local patrons of the arts, collectors etc. Here pictured are Jeff and Jane Green, Penny Cooper (one of the Bay Area's finest collections, focused primarily on women artists with her wife Rena Rosenwasser).

Here Naomie introduces her video piece on Bluebeard's Castle, by Bela Bartok.