Today I went to a brunch at Eric and Mitcho’s place near Noe and 15th Street. It was a brunch with mimosas and fruit salad and stuff for folks going to the Up Your Alley Fair (the fair formerly known as the Dore Alley Fair).
I had a great time at brunch, then went off to a benefit for queer conscientious objector Stephen Funk, organized by Tommi Avicolli Mecca and others. Funk, a reservist who refused to go to war in Iraq, received a standing ovation from attendees at the event. I told him of my draft registration stance in the early 80s, donated $50 to his defense fund, and wished him well. His attorney was also there and spoke about the case.
I met Zach Syzmanski, a Bay Area Reporter reporter at the Funk benefit. We ended up hanging out for several hours afterwards talking mostly about gender and sex, some fascinating stuff. We walked to the Mission, ate at Pakwan, and had warm beverages at a cafe that I hadn’t tried before on 16th Street near Valencia I think.
By that time, I was too exhausted to go to the Up Your Alley Fair, so went home. I relaxed for awhile, conversed with Cob who will likely meet up with me on Wednesday, then watched Part II of Ken Burns’ American Experience program about the woman’s suffrage movement, which was truly excellent. I treasured the way the documentary brought alive the stories of the untiring dedication of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, their love and their conflicts with one another, as well as the eventual achievement of the right for women to vote in the U.S. after both of their deaths, culminating decades of activism.
Yesterday was one of those uniquely San Francisco days. I woke up and biked out to the bimonthly queer longhair brunch after which I delivered a check and contract to Roger on Online Policy Group business (we’re moving our servers from San Francisco to Fremont).
Next I went to a house on Church Street for a ritual and reception to celebrate the publication of “Direct Action,” a historical novel about San Francisco Bay Area activism in the early 1980s. The author, “Luke Hauser,” organized a wonderful ritual of envisioning what our future could be like, followed by lots of great conversation and food. I ran into Anthony from the faeries, as well as Luna, a witch I had seen previously at the Pagan Surprise action in Union Square, along with her daughter.
Rather than biking all the way home before the next event, I spent some time hanging out at Muddy Waters Cafe where I discussed politics with a few people. Overhearing discussion about how to organize for change in San Francisco, I handed them one of the Free State of San Francisco leaflets and much healthy debate ensued.
Finally, I biked over to the New College for Social Research where I saw a film called “Straight Outta Hunter’s Point” by director Kevin Epps, a Hunter’s Point resident whose best friend was shot and killed during filming. The film focuses on interviews of Hunter’s Point residents and a description of the music, gangs, politics, drugs, homicides, police abuses, naval shipyard and sewage treatment superfund site pollution of the local environment and its effects on the population, and community revitalization efforts in the area. It’s an excellent view of the community there that I would never otherwise be able to access. Donations given at the free showing of the film went to a youth center in Hunter’s Point.
Last night, I finished reading “Gaviotas: A Villlage to Reinvent the World” by Alan Weisman. The book is a beautiful chronicle of the events surrounding the founding and evolution of a town in the Columbian llanos, thought to be a virtually uninhabitable large rural savannah region. The villagers transform the landscape into a thriving town based on sustainable agriculture and renewable energy inventions and principles, many of which have been recognized by international development agencies and implemented elsewhere in the developing world. According to this account, university-educated engineers and scientists mix with the local native Americans to produce a unique culture and community including a school that teaches slum children from the city basic skills of rural development in an atmosphere that encourages music and dance as well as constructive community work and chores. Although there is some controversy about the veracity of the documentary, I feel that, even if parts are overstated, the Gaviotas project is a wonderful example for others to follow. It reminds me of my visit to the New Alchemy Institute in Massachusetts many years ago.
Wow! I managed not to write any blog entries for more than a month. I guess I’ve been just a wee bit busy.
Most recently, I’ve had a nasty cold or flu. Two days home from work with a sore throat, headache, achy muscles, and fatigue. Just well enough to get up for a work meeting this afternoon.
Typically strange San Francisco moment… I’m on a Muni bus commuting to work and the bus plays a recording, “thank you for riding Muni.” a homeless guy eating goldfish crackers says, “You’re welcome!”