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.
Archive of past talks
Online audio archive of past talks, listed by type:
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 will also have 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.
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!
Historically, the Presidio and South of Market are filled with single men, soldiers, sailors, and miners. New archaeological research into 19th-century SoMa and the Spanish Presidio highlights how women and children participated in the hard work of everyday life. Archaeologists Kari Lentz and Teresa Bulger of William Self Associates and Heritage Technician Montserrat Osterlye of the Presidio Trust present their new findings about early San Francisco.
Enrique Reynoso of Mexico City’s Organización Popular Francisco Villa de Izquierda Independiente (OPFVII), also known as “los Panchos,” will tell 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 political parties they promote urban self-government, community safety, and autonomous education, culture, and health. Join Enrique Reynoso and Alejandro Monzón of the Mexico Solidarity Network. Co-presented by The Mexico Solidarity Network
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!
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, neighbors and everyone. Costumes welcome! (come as your favorite historical character)
At the Presidio Dialogues at the Presidio Officers’ Club
Chosen for the Presidio Book Club in 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 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.
The incomparable Guillermo Gomez-Peña comes to our Art & Politics evening to share 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.
Ina Coolbrith, California’s first Poet Laureate (1915), was a contemporary of many male writers who defined 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.
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. Guerrilla grafter Margaretha Haughwort shares her efforts to preserve urban space as a 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, shares the joy of foraging and the commitment to enhancing the environment we glean from.
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 United Nations was the last of President Roosevelt’s attempts to extend his New Deal to the world. Dr. Gray Brechin will examine what has happened to the UN in a new century of perpetual war.