Free Public Talks
Wednesday evenings 7:30-9:30 unless otherwise noted.
At Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics
518 Valencia Street (near 16th), in San Francisco
A place to meet and talk unmediated by corporations, official spokespeople, religion, political parties, or dogma.
Our Public Talks were made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and are also partly underwritten by City Lights Foundation and The Seed Fund.
Download the Spring 2017 calendar as a pdf.
Archive of past talks
Online audio archive of past talks, listed by type:
To subscribe to our Talks as a podcast, paste the link into your favorite podcast software (iTunes, Podcast Addict, etc.)
Confused about podcast subscribing? Go here for an explanation on how to do it.
Visual and conceptual artist Packard Jennings talks about his work, through which he has reimagined and revisualized the world around us, shaking up our concepts and assumptions of how things are through humor and the reappropriation of pop culture imagery. Packard talks about his work which ranges from digital subversions to quiet mail-in actions to large scale, space interventions on billboards. He also speaks about work that gets made and that which doesn’t. This is part of a series of solo artists giving a behind the scenes and in depth look at what inspires them in the interrelationship between art and politics.
photo: courtesy Packard Jennings
Citizen Science/Extinction Culture
Doing science and making culture are increasingly intertwined as more and more amateur naturalists crowdsource the multi-layered experience of life on this planet. Authors of two new books Mary Ellen Hannibal (Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction) and Ursula Heise (Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species) illuminate the tangled, dynamic processes of thinking and doing that help us understand where we are and what we can—or ought to—do about living through this heartbreaking Great Extinction.
Lost Landscapes Marathon!
EIGHT YEARS — EIGHT SHOWS — TEN HOURS
SPECIAL BENEFIT, $20–$50 sliding scale donation requested
Rick Prelinger started compiling feature-length programs of archival San Francisco film footage for Shaping SF in 2006. As word spread, the shows migrated to larger venues, and have now played for tens of thousands of people. Now Lost Landscapes of San Francisco returns to Shaping SF as a marathon screening! The past eight programs (2009-2016) will play in order, combining in a festive 10-hour panorama of San Francisco life, landscape, culture, work, activism, and celebration from 1906 through 1980. The audience makes the soundtrack — so watch, comment, question, and discuss what you see and hear. Enter and leave any time during the day. Program notes describing the contents of the shows will be available at the screening.
(Bring a cushion!)
photo: Castro and Market with snow on Twin Peaks. Still from Lost Landscapes of San Francisco
Crossing centuries and social mores, editors Ivy Anderson and Devon Angus (Alice: Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute) and author Clare Sears (Arresting Dress: Cross-Dressing, Law, and Fascination in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco) take us into 19th Century San Francisco’s underworld of prostitutes. We look at how normative gender and sexuality were policed and created by widespread mid-1800s laws as well as challenged by gender defiers. Our panelists share the fascinating detective work of the archival research process uncovering these complex and often hidden stories of history.
Local History in Your Ear
Podcasts are shaping the presentation of history through audio delivery. Hosts of several local series tell us why they chose this new technology to delve into the past and how they gauge success. Hear clips of each program in a special podcast challenge! With David Gallagher and Woody LaBounty (The Western Neighoborhoods Project Outside Lands San Francisco), Liam O’Donoghue (East Bay Yesterday), and others TBA.
We've Done This Before:
The fight against the Reagan administration’s war build-up, emergency response against Central American wars, birth of the Peace Navy, stopping the USS Missouri, creating sanctuary cities, AIDS and Anti-Nuclear activism. We bring it up to climate justice & no nukes today. With activists and archivists Marcy Darnovsky, Steve Stallone, and Lincoln Cushing.
photo: The Peace Navy obstructs the USS Missouri during a contentious campaign to homeport the ship in San Francisco in the 1980s. By Bob Heifetz
Agents of Change!
Fred Glass (From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement), takes a long look at the labor history of California with Chris Carlsson (Foundsf.org), who focuses on the ebb and flow of class war in San Francisco.
With videos and debate!
photo: Members of the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union in a Hiring Hall in 1952, courtesy San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
From the Delta to the Bayshore: Adaptation Infrastructure and Rising Seas
Tim Stroshane (Restore the Delta) and Brenda Goeden (San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission) discuss the politics and prospects of facing our rapidly changing future around and health of the bayshore. Wetlands restoration, Sea Level Rise, Delta Tunnels, Clean Water Act, future of EPA, and more.
photo: Sears Point wetlands with San Francisco in distance. By Chris Carlsson
May 31, 7:30 pm
Summer of Love or
Music, Art, & Politics of 1967: Was it all peace and love or did the anti-war movement really define the era? A conversational antidote to the narrow interpretation of a memorable summer in the City. With Calvin Welch (author, activist, and USF Faculty), original Digger Judy Goldhaft (Planet Drum Foundation), Mat Callahan (The Explosion of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance and Social Revolution in SF, 1965-75), and Pam Brennan (Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tours).
photo: 1967 at the corner of Haight and Masonic. Part of the Charles Cushman Collection, Indiana University Archives (P15560)
Kent Minaut's "Diggerly-Do's"
Kent Minault tells of the explosive first six months of the San Francisco Diggers. Featuring stories of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Tim Leary, Huey Newton, Emmett Grogan, Lenore Kandel, Richard Brautigan, and Gary Snyder. His chronicle charts the first Digger free food in the park, tense encounters with the police, the opening of the Digger Free Store, and the Invisible Circus at Glide Memorial Church. Accompanied by photos by Chuck Gould, and music by Peter Coyote. The evening chronicles a turning point in SF and the transformation of a youth into a life-long activist.
photo: Back cover of Issue 2, Diggers' Free City News street sheets distributed in San Francisco 1967–68. Courtesy Digger Archives
Shaping San Francisco is fiscally sponsored by Independent Arts & Media, a California non-profit corporation.