Friday, October 30, 2009

Performing Diaspora

Diaspora: A body of people dispersed from their homelands. That pretty much describes the Bay Area population in a nutshell. Beginning on November 5, CounterPULSE, the SOMA artists’ collective, presents Performing Diaspora, a series of works-in-progress culminating in three weekends of dance, music and drama featuring a baker's dozen of artists whose fresh and experimental work is rooted in cultural traditions from such diverse parts of the world as Indonesia, Serbia, the Carribean Japan and Africa.

CounterPULSE director Jessica Robinson Love says “The Bay Area has had support for artists who practice traditional forms of dance and that’s very important, especially for recent immigrants. On the other hand we have a vibrant contemporary performance community. What we were lacking was a middle ground - artists based in traditional forms who want to divert from that.”

Friday, October 2, 2009

Avant garde dance comes to San Francisco this weekend:

Taking it to the Edge
An Evening of Avant Garde Dance at ODC
By Andrea Pflaumer

To someone of lesser mettle than dancer Sara Shelton Mann, broken bones and ripped tendons might have sent them into retirement long ago. But for Mann they only served to drive her deeper into her creative well, garnering an impressive number of accolades along the way, including four Isadora Duncan awards and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Mann, one of the world’s foremost figures in avant garde dance, presents her newest production, Shapeshifter, in a concert entitled Shared Legacies on October 3 and 4 at ODC. Joining her on the bill is her former principal dancer and protégé Kathleen Hermesdorf, whose company La Alternativa (formerly MOTIONLAB) performs their piece entitled the other edge of there is here. “I’m very honored to share a show with Sara,” Hermesdorf says. “She always attracts great collaborators and has fabulous dancers.” [Mann’s lead dancer, Maria Scaroni, created quite a stir this year with an NEA-sponsored performance of a piece by Jess Curtis that had her appearing in the nude.]

(See page 16)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hey All You Environmentalists!

My friend (and webmaster) Lee Leffler has published several terrific articles about the Sustainable Living program at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. It's a wonderful school doing some important work in the field of environmental education. This is a photo of the organic greenhouses on campus.

Check it out:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Book Review in the University of Toronto Women in Judaism Journal

The Girl from Foreign: A Search for Shipwrecked Ancestors, Forgotten Histories, and a Sense of Home

Review by Andrea Pflaumer

Sadia Shepard’s remarkable memoir The Girl from Foreign is as satisfying for the personal mysteries it solves as it is unsettling for the larger geo-political questions it raises. Born in Denver, the daughter of an American Christian father and a Pakistani Muslim mother, Shepard embraces her multicultural identity (‘it’s all one God,’) in a country that welcomes hyphenation. But as a young woman embarking on a writing career she learns that her maternal grandmother, who lived with and was an important part of the family during Shepard’s formative years, was not originally from Pakistan nor was she Muslim. She was, in fact, born into the Bene Israel community of Western India as Rachel Jacobs. In her grandmother’s final years she asks Shepard to ‘tell my story,’ launching the young woman on an arduous physical and emotional journey to discover her grandmother’s roots, a voyage that became one of self-discovery as well.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Joyride Art Show Review

Published in the San Francisco Weekly on-line blog "All Shook Down"

Friday, July 3, 2009

"I'm Gonna Live Forever...."

For those of you who like that song, you may be thinking, "in this decrepit body?". Well, here's a little different twist on the subject - from ancient India - published in Michael Laughrin's North American Jyotish Newsletter

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rowing Down a River of Words

...of Children and Words

This was for the June issue of Parabola Magazine. I wrote about a wonderful Berkeley organization called River of Words that solicits poetry and artwork from children around the world on the theme of "Watersheds'. ROW publishes an annual compendium of the winning entries. Here's the listing and below this excerpt is the entire piece.

Winning Photo by Mira Darham age 10

Two things that were essential to our ancestors' well-being - awareness of the natural world and connection to one’s community - are woefully absent in the lives of many children today. Communities are now defined as friends on a Facebook page and a sense of place is variably determined by the location of the best cell phone reception.

Berkeley writer and long-time National Public Radio contributor Pamela Michael sought to remedy this situation by developing a program that encourages children to explore their natural environment and then provides the creative tools to help them express how that experience transformed them. In 1995 Michael teamed up with former US Poet Laureate Robert Hass to co-found River of Words, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote literacy, creative expression and community awareness of our local watersheds. “Watersheds are a meaningful way of looking at the whole of the natural world,” Michael explains. “We chose [water] as the basis for the curriculum because it is the absolute bottom line determining whether life exists or not. We wanted the children to understand the systems that sustain us by combining science and art -- two disciplines based on observation and experimentation."

Monday, March 23, 2009

San Francisco Bay Water Trail

This one appears in the Spring 2009 issue of Wavelength Magazine:

Yellow Bluff, a spot below the north stanchion of the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, is one of Casey Walker’s favorite kayak launching sites.

“The bay floor drops suddenly and dramatically, causing the water to roil,” says the San Francisco business lawyer. “It only happens on the strongest outgoing tide because there is an eddy right to the side of that play spot. You get into the eddy and circulate out to less rough water where you can be easily rescued. It’s not a place for beginners.”

(Photo by Jef Poskanzer)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Green Building

This was published in the East Bay Monthly last summer:

In the West our buildings seem to transform with our tastes. Thirty year old malls are razed and replced with bigger and better malls and mid-century homes are renovated to respond to the whims of the new owners. It's no wonder that 20 percent of the waste stream in landfills is made up of construction debris.