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OUT of Site, performance-driven walking tours, March and May 2018

January-June 2018

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 are partly underwritten by City Lights Foundation, The Seed Fund and Rainbow Grocery.

Download the Spring 2018 calendar as a pdf


Archive of past talks

Online audio archive of past talks, listed by type:

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March 28

Saving the Bay from “the Future”!

From the weird madness of the Reber Plan to dam both ends of the Bay into freshwater lakes in the 1950s to the Save the Bay movement of the early 1960s that helped create the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, we’ve come a long way in a half century. Today’s open shorelines, closed trash dumps, and returning wetlands honor and preserve our greatest public resource. Chuck Wollenberg, Paul Kumar from Save the Bay, Steve Goldbeck from BCDC.

Image of Reber Plan

April 4

Insurgent Country Music and its Roots in the Golden State

With the twang of a steel guitar, the whine of a fiddle and the plunk of a banjo comes an instant association; the pick-up truck, the cowboy boots, the rolling hills, dusty fields, lonesome highways and the flag. For many, it has also come to signify conservatism, “traditional values,” American chauvinism, and even racism, bigotry and the confederate flag. Although one wouldn’t realize it from listening to today’s pop Country radio stations, Country music has been anything but a rightwing soundtrack. To the contrary, the roots of Country lie firmly in resistance to capital, freedom from government interference, and in defense of the right of workers, poor farmers, and the dispossessed to live their lives in dignity. Jesse and Glenda Drew will discuss the radical roots of Country, and explain how California is historically more central to Country music than Nashville. Also: special musical accompaniment!

Photo: California migrant farmworkers during 1930s depression, still frame from Jesse and Glenda’s upcoming film Open Country: The History and Politics of Country Music.

April 25

Universal Basic Income, Is It time?

Touted by the tech industry as a way to preserve livelihoods in a time of automation replacing workers, Universal Basic Income (UBI) is not a new concept. As a poverty alleviation idea, it has resonance in the EPIC program of 1930s California, and similar ideas were floated by leaders of social movements of the 1960s, including MLK, Jr. and the Black Panthers in their Ten Point Program. Through a discussion of UBI we take a look at the nature of work and classifying invisible work as work, and open up a larger conversation around economic and racial inequalities. Proponents see UBI as a way to get at a new social contract in the U.S., one that builds trust and a chance for truth and reconciliation. Christian Nagler discusses his research into UBI, including performative economics, economic futurity and forecasting, and the divergent political ideologies held within the perceived prefigurative communitarian movement. Anne Price discusses how UBI differs from the social welfare system in being steeped in racial justice rather than race, and how her work at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development in Oakland is addressing economic security. Third panelist TBA.

Photo: From Christian Nagler's 2011-12 economic performance art project, "Market Fitness".

May 9

Platform Cooperatives

More of our lives are being tightly integrated through the commercial social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, private corporations that are monetizing the enormous creative and cooperative activity that takes place there. A movement among tech workers and cooperative activists to create real alternatives through building self-managed platform cooperatives is taking shape. Yes, Virginia, there IS an alternative! The micro-rental economy masquerading as "sharing" is unmasked, and another way forward is explored. Neal Gorenflo of and Melissa Hoover, director of the Democracy at Work Institute (and other TBA).

Photo: Money falling, online clipart

May 23

Archives and Memory: New Ways of Making History

How do we “hold” (record/store) history now compared to the past? How do we “tell” history now, and has the relationship between archival sources and narrative arcs/presentation changed with digitalization? What do we learn from narration-free archival materials (a la Prelinger home movies, foundsf photo pages, etc.)? And popular attitudes towards history: who cares about footnotes? How are archivists beginning to shape new ways of making history public? Film archivist and librarian Rick Prelinger, and city archivist/librarian Susan Goldstein, scholar Howard Besser.

Photo: Smithsonian

June 9

Unsettled in the Mission (Special Offsite event)

Shaping San Francisco is co-sponsoring Adriana Camarena’s reading at the Paseo Artistico from her series “Unsettled in the Mission,” appearing in the pages of El Tecolote as well as on her website Crisscrossing the neighborhood’s history and present-day conundrums, Camarena presents a penetrating literary dissection of the inequality, racism, amnesia, and cultural confusion of our time.

Photo: El Tecolote