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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

I’ve often speculated about the De Avila Elementary school on Haight street. It has a striking facade, vibrant and colorful, but it seemed to sit empty, abandoned. Turns out the elementary school was axed by the Board of Education after the 2004 – 2005 school year, in an effort to close the $22 million dollar budget deficit. The campus was designed to hold 500 students, but only had 150 enrolled in ’04 – ’05. Last academic year, Aim High Academy, a school for underprivileged, homeless and “at-risk” sixth graders , occupied the DeAvila building, but has since moved to another location.

The facility will soon fill with students again, but of a different age-group. According to the Haight Ashbury Beat, “As early as January 2007, a portion of City College’s soon-to-be-renovated John Adams campus will move, temporarily, to the De Avila school building at 1351 Haight St.”

I wonder how how long ‘temporarily’ will be. I’ve written before about my desire to see a centralizing locale for theatre and performance art. The De Avila School, centered squarely in one of San Francisco’s most artistically vibrant neighborhoods and easily accessible by MUNI, is the perfect candidate.

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Too Much to Do

There is never enough time to do all there is to do in this city. Here are just a few of the recent events that have moved across my line of vision:

365 Plays/365 Days
Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Suzan Lori-Parks wrote a play a day for one year. The plays are now being presented in a year-long nation-wide festival, which had it’s kick-off in San Francisco last night, November 16. Suzan Lori-Parks attended the event at the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, and spoke to the audience afterward.

One: An Earth Installation
Stanlee Gatti, a lauded local artist, designer, and event planner, has created an exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers that ‘reflects on the interconnectedness of all living things.’ The exhibit runs until April 15th, however the opening was last night, November 16th. Incredible amounts of food and wine assisted the V.I.P. attendees in finding their reflective nature. Among the attendees were Yomi Agunbiade, General Manager of the Recreation and Park Department; Willie Brown, former Mayor of San Francisco; and Leah Garchik, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Embarcadero Center Lighting Ceremony
Tonight, Friday, November 17, the city turns on its holiday spirit. The skyline brightens during an event that will include a performance by SF Jazz All Star High School Ensemble, an ice show, a special guest performance and a ‘spectacular’ pyrotechnic show. San Francisco loves its pyrotechnics.

San Francisco Hip Hop Dance Festival
This is going to be awesome.

Mafia Made Trunk Show
Bay Area crafters and do-it-yourself artists show and sell their wares at this Russian Hill Craft Mafia event. Drool over colorful little items that are so cute you wish they were edible, and get a head start on your holiday shopping.

And then, of course, there are a million local bands to see (Minipop play The Bottom of the Hill on Saturday the 18th), and a ton of theatre (anyone seen “Edward Scissorhands” yet? Is it any good?).

In addition to some of the things listed above, I am going to eat some Brazilian food at Canto do Brasil, and see The Science of Sleep.

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Arts Forum exists to lift arts and culture into the forefront of public policy. Recently, Arts Forum developed a survey for all San Francisco supervisors up for re-election, to gauge their commitment to the arts. Read the results here.

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Something San Francisco Needs

I’ve had some conversations recently about what the San Francisco live art scene lacks. There are many local theatre companies, and several theatre houses. But there is no central hub. For avant-garde theatre lovers, New York City is the place to be. One doesn’t need to do much wandering around to get an understanding of what the city’s theatre scene has to offer. There are more than one centralizing hub of the community. On any given night, a New Yorker can go to P.S. 122 and choose from a number of shows by a number of different theatre companies. Or they can go to HERE, and do the same thing. In those two spaces alone, one will be able to learn what there is to know about New York theatre, and what other performance spaces exist in the city.

San Francisco has a lively theatre scene. There are many performance spaces, and more companies than can fill them. But there is no centralizing hub for the community. There is no single place where one can go to sit in a cafe and have a coffee or a beer before wandering around the art gallery, and finally stopping at the bulletin board of city-wide show announcements and the table of flyers, before filing in to one of the several theatre spaces to see their chosen show.

The closest to this kind of experience in San Francisco is Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.  The community element isn’t there, though.  It’s uninviting, too big, too squeaky clean, to mall-ish.  When I want to immerse myself in the local experimental theatre community, I don’t say to myself, “I’ll just head down to Yerba Buena, grab a coffee and see what’s going on.”

I like to daydream about what could be, and where.  Laughing Squid posted this notice today:

—-/ The Tentacle List /—————————–

“NEW” Historic Chinatown Theater Available

SAN FRANCISCO– The historic Great Star Theater, the last of SF
Chinatown’s major houses, will be holding tours for prospective
renters/ partners on FRIDAY 10/20 and SATURDAY 10/21 at 3pm and by
special appointment. We invite you to give feedback on future
upgrades (or just book the theater!).

RSVP to Jon Lowe — GreatStarTheater@yahoo.com — for exact address.
Please forward to film/ video/ theater/ dance/ etc people who may be
interested.

The Great Star Theater was built in 1925 as a Cantonese opera house.
Film screenings were added in 1940. The main floor holds 574 seats,
with 125 more in the balcony. There is a working fly system, full
crossover space, and dressing rooms below the stage. Lighting is
rudimentary. There is no sound system. The film projectors have not
been touched since 1999. The projection screen is still in place,
upstage of the linesets used for live performances.

Some office space is available for rent to long-term partners.

Theater rental will be on a sliding scale, tbd. Our goal is to make
the theater accessible to the greater community.

Online images coming soon…

—-/ Contact Info /—————————————————-

Jon Lowe
greatstartheater@yahoo.com

——————————

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