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Explore Bay Area Social Movement History

September-December 2015

Free Public Talks

Wednesday evenings unless otherwise noted. At Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, 518 Valencia, near 16th Street, San Francisco

A place to meet and talk unmediated by corporations, official spokespeople, religion, political parties, or dogma.

Download a pdf of our Fall 2015 calendar here.

Partly underwritten by City Lights Foundation, and the Other Avenues Grocery Cooperative.

Archive of past talks

Online audio archive of past talks, listed by type:

podcast subscription To subscribe to our Talks as a podcast, paste the link into your favorite podcast software (iTunes, Podcast Addict, etc.)

September 23, 2015
Prisoners and Politics: from the San Quentin Six to Pelican Bay

California holds more prisoners than any other state while the U.S. incarcerates far more people than anywhere else on earth. During the 1960s and 1970s a political movement erupted among the imprisoned—Dan Berger’s new book Captive Nation takes us through that political history. We welcome Luis “Bato” Talamantez— an original member of the San Quentin Six, and Caitlin Kelly Henry — a local attorney who coordinates the National Lawyer’s Guild “Support from Outside the Walls” prisoner support series.

Co-sponsored by Freedom Archives.

September 30, 2015
Art & Politics: Nato Green

The boundary-pushing, “wickedly funny” comedian and formidable foe Nato Green breaks our Art & Politics tradition by giving a stand-up performance during our Talks series. It’s a free show, followed by conversation with the man… Get your brain stimulated while laughing your head off… critical thinkers, contrarians, and ne’er-do-wells welcome!

October 7, 2015
Archaeology Finds…Daily Family Life in Early SF Settlements

The Presidio - a military outpost, and South of Market - the industrial and maritime center of early San Francisco, represented worlds of single men, soldiers, sailors, and miners, right? Archaeological research into the 19th-century neighborhood, the 18th-century El Presidio de San Francisco, and recent work around the Transbay Terminal area, gives us a picture of family life and maritime wives, where women and children participated in the hard work of everyday life in these settlements. Come hear tales of Mark Twain's friend steamship captain Ned Wakeman and his wife, "the girl from Happy Valley," among other early stories.

Archaeologist Kari Lentz of William Self Associates and Heritage Technician Montserrat Osterlye of the Presidio Trust present their findings which uncover the larger picture of the population of the area that was to become San Francisco.

photo courtesy Teresa Bulger

October 14, 2015
Housing is a Human Right!

Enrique Reynoso of Mexico City’s Organización Popular Francisco Villa de Izquierda Independiente (OPFVII), also known as “los Panchos,” reports how tens of thousands of people occupy land and build thriving, autonomous communities in the heart of one of the world’s grittiest cities. Outside of political parties they promote urban self-government, community safety, and autonomous education, culture, and health.

Co-presented by The Mexico Solidarity Network

Saturday, October 17, 2015
Special Offsite Event! Litcrawl!
"Still Contrarian After All These Years: Reclaiming San Francisco"

Shaping San Francisco hosts a night of creative contrarians who will excavate themes of the City's history featured in our series of anthologies published by City Lights Books and City Lights Foundation - Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture; The Political Edge; and Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978. More relevant today than ever before, we'll look at tycoons creating an imperial city with Gray Brechin, reflections on the New! yet Homogenized! McFrisco from Quintin Mecke, and Rachel Brahinsky will look at the clearance of the Fillmore District to remind us of Redevelopment's sordid past. Editors Chris Carlsson and LisaRuth Elliott, both engaged in contemporary eviction struggles, will connect these histories to today's wave of anti-creative disruption.

Exactly where and when to be announced... check back soon!

Saturday, October 17, 2015
Special Offsite Event!
SF MOMA Celebrates its 1935 Founding During the New Deal

Enjoy tours of the Anton Refregier murals at Rincon Annex as well as a discussion of the waterfront and labor at the Maritime Museum.

Exactly where and when to be announced... check back soon!

October 28, 2015
Celebrate! 20th Anniversary Party!

It’s been 20 years since we began to work on the earliest iterations of Shaping San Francisco/ We’ve come a long way and we want to take a moment to thank our friends, supporters, and neighbors. Costumes welcome! (Come as your favorite historical character).

Thursday, October 29, 7-8 pm
Special Offsite Event!

Presidio Dialogues
The Vietnam War in
Ten Years That Shook the City

At the Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Avenue

Chosen for the Presidio Book Club in November 2015, Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978, an award-winning collection of first-person and historical essays spanning this tumultuous decade, shows how various social, environmental, and labor movements shook the City and shaped it as we know it today. In a conversation with Barbara Berglund Sokolov, the book's editor Chris Carlsson, author Peter Wiley, photographer Stephen Rees, and poster archivist Lincoln Cushing discuss various Bay Area intersections with the Vietnam War—GI organizing against the war and anti-war newspapers that helped to inform the public and end the war, local poster activism of the period, the story of the Presidio 27, and more.

November 4
Art & Politics:
Guillermo Gomez-Peña

The Mission District's incomparable Guillermo Gomez-Peña performs his latest screed, “Notes from Technotopia: On the Cruelty of Indifference” along with a brief retrospective of his work, followed by an open conversation with the audience traversing the complicated borders in which his work resides.

November 11
Literary Liberalism and
the Western Voice

Ina Coolbrith, California’s first Poet Laureate (1915), was a contemporary of many male writers we count on for our understanding of what is meant by the American West. She was also a frequent contributor to The Overland Monthly which acted as a vehicle for showcasing poets and authors exploring and constructing ideas of liberal selfhood as the United States moved westward. Biographer Aleta George and author Stephen Mexal provide a look at the literary landscape of the West and its characters, and historian Barbara Berglund Sokolov explores class and gender dynamics in the late 19th-century.

December 2
Tending the Urban Wild

Foraging is a fantastic way to learn about the urban natural habitat and cultivate our local food sources. It is also becoming a fashionable urban treasure hunt. Artist and Guerrilla Grafter Margaretha Haughwout shares some simple gestures that can generate as well as preserve the urban commons, urban agriculturalist Antonio Roman-Alcalá takes a critical look at privatization of the urban wild and the groundwork laid by grassroots activists, and Mia Andler, author of The Bay Area Forager, heralds the joy of foraging and the commitment to enhancing the environment we glean from.

December 9
United Nations and New Deal:

70 years ago the United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco, one of the most significant — and forgotten — moments in local history. How did the UN relate to the 1939 Treasure Island world’s fair, and why was its HQ not built in San Francisco or Marin as planned? The UN was the last of President Roosevelt’s attempts to extend his New Deal to the world. Dr. Gray Brechin examines what has happened to the UN in a new century of perpetual war.