Tonight Lawrence Lessig — copyright warrior and one of the brilliant minds behind Creative Commons, in case you haven’t heard — will appear at The Booksmith on Haight to talk about his new book, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. (He’ll even sign copies, if you’re into that kind of thing.) The argument will be familiar to readers of Free Culture: our system of copyright places extraordinary power to control culture and entertainment in the hands of a small handful of powerful entities (can anyone say Disney?), because those entities can use the law to bring crushing lawsuits against individuals who would build on their work.
The well-supported thesis of this book is that all art is remixed art. Where would Shakespeare be without all those plot lines he cribbed from older sources? And imagine if independent artists in Renaissance Italy were barred from using Christian imagery in their work for private patrons because it would have been the “intellectual property” of the Catholic Church?
Lessig will be at the store at 7:30 PM tonight.
Detail of mural on 13th St. and Bernice St. [map] across from Rainbow Grocery. Click the image for a Google Street View showing a wider swath of the mural.
If your interest was piqued by The Gatherers, the exhibition over at the YBCA (reviews: SF Gate, Shotgun Review), you might be interested in the Artists Talk tonight at Artists’ Television Access. Two of the artists in the show — Amy Franceschini and Wilson Diaz — will discuss their collaboration, The Movement of the Liberation of the Coca Plant. SF Weekly has posted a mention of the event too, with additional info about Franceschini. If this is the first time you’ve heard of the show, let me quote Brian Andrews at Shotgun (linked above): “The Gatherers investigates urban landscapes and food systems in this era of climate change and growing organic consciousness.”
Admission: $6; Address: 992 Valencia (at 21st St).
NB: If you, dear readers, are aware of a good link to a page about Diaz, please post it in the comments.
Just a quick reminder about an unusual and exciting book event tonight that you might have missed in yesterday’s altogether too comprehensive books calendar: Chip Kidd, the world-famous book designer and author, is going to be at 111 Minna tonight at 6:00 for a special book reading and signing event hosted by Last Gasp, the publisher of Kidd’s new book, BAT-MANGA!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan.
If you’ve spent any time in the Mission lately, you’ll have noticed these babies with microchips and gumballs for brains wheatpasted up all over the place. Well, they’re by London-based street artist Paul Insect and he’s got a three-week show opening tonight at FIFTY24SF, 7:00 PM. [via Juxtapoz]
Also, in other art-plus-booze news, tonight is the monthly Gallery Crawl downtown, AKA First Thursdays. A whole bunch of galleries open their doors to the public from 5:30 to 7:30, though 49 Geary is most famous for the event, and it’s where you’ll probably want to start. Quoth Yelper Jill S.: “First Thursday is a fun time to go check this place out. Go early to avoid the drunk girls over-imbibing on all the free wine.” I don’t know, might be bad advice for some… [thanks, SFist!]
It’s tonight, and the exclamation point is mandatory. It’s the last event until next year for the Asian Art Museum’s Matcha series, and I think you can probably guess what the focus will be: “the food, music, and dance of Afghanistan.” The AAM continues:
[This grand finale is] In celebration of the highly anticipated, critically acclaimed special exhibition, Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul. See what the press is saying about this “at once revelatory and heart-rending” show (New York Times).
The Bay Area’s own Ballet Afsaneh, a dynamic ensemble whose repertory focuses on Silk Road regions in Central Asia, will perform colorful, kinetic traditional dance. See Afghanistan, go on a guided tour, make jewelry inspired by the ancient Bactrian gold on view, nibble on tasty bites, mingle with friends over cocktails from the cash bar, and much more.
The museum is on Larkin, next door to Main Library. As always, the event runs from 5-9 PM and admission to it is $5. Plus, for that awesome wallet-friendly price, you can check out any exhibit you like. The full evening schedule is here on the event page.
Sure, you can follow the election at home, on TV or — for those households with no TV — obsessively reloading CNN and the New York Times until 4 in the morning. But it’s a lot more fun to get out of the house and watch the early returns with a big crowd of people, isn’t it? Thus:
The Yerba Buena Center, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM, will be the site of a
a huge non-partisan election night party, complete with free pizza after 8, a cash bar, big walls to scribble and draw on, and live music, DJs and dance performances along with big-screen TVs tuned to PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, “and everybody’s favorite, Fox News.” (They said it was non-partisan!) Check out the event page and humorous “press conference” here. Admission is free.
Over at Mezzanine, the San Francisco Obama campaign is having its official Counting-the-Chickens-As-They-Hatch party, and you can go too. Doors at 6:00. Admission is likewise free, but you should probably RSVP here. (Although I’m betting you can probably just wander in too, later on in the night.)
Or you can go to any of these great events, too. To summarize: between Elixir, The Retox Lounge, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker’s, and Edinburgh Castle, you just can’t go wrong. And out in the Sunset at The Riptide, they’ll be playing the Daily Show election night special and offering their drinks at Depression-era prices. How appropriate!
And wherever you end up — out on the town or just out on your couch — The Huffington Post has this interesting guide to watching Election Night Results. Don’t skip it — it’s worth reading!
In a Dream, which screens at SF DocFest over the next few days (details below), is a film about the mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, who has become an icon in South Philadelphia for the massive scale and extent of the mosaics he has created there. They include, by his description, about “a hundred murals” and “seven buildings, top to bottom, inside and out.” His best-known work is Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, which represents the transformation of two derelict buildings into a labyrinthine complex that covers half a city block with winding mosaic-covered passageways and sculptures.
Zagar’s mosaics are bright, colorful, and complex, rich with a celebratory spirit towards physicality and sensuality. But the surface cheerfulness of these mosaics belies the deeper obsession and the narcissism that makes such vast, intricate works possible in the first place, and Jeremiah Zagar — the director of the film and the artist’s younger son — uncovers that darkness here with unrelenting economy. All the father’s past secrets rapidly come out in the open, culminating when one of his most shameful episodes plays out right in front of the camera: his self-centered pursuit of “passion” with his assistant, which ends with a brief separation from his wife Julia, right when their oldest son is separated from his own wife and having drug problems.
Jeremiah describes the moment: “I went home to film my parents as they picked my brother up from rehab. The stress from the situation boiled over, and my father suddenly admitted [the affair] to my mother and me … that same night, my parents separated for the first time in 43 years.” Isaiah’s admission is made directly into the camera, and it’s a moment of remarkable drama. Amazingly, Jeremiah retains his composure — he coughs and the handheld camera shakes for an instant, but that is all — and he goes on to capture every instant of what ensues. “I shot 16 hours that day and hated myself for every minute of it,” he writes. Fortunately, Isaiah realizes he has made a big mistake quickly enough. Soon afterward, he goes to stay with his assistant and, as he confesses, “within minutes, my whole being started to rebel. My whole being.”
In the end, he reconciles with Julia, and the film has a brief epilogue, highly effective in its simplicity, that shows how, after a time of healing, the two simply picked up their life together and continued on into the next adventure.
For all the darkness that Jeremiah reveals, it’s an affectionate film. He shot his footage over the course of seven years, filming “whenever something significant happened,” and he describes the result like this: “what started as an exploration of my father’s life has exposed the secrets of our entire family. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. … We know now how imperfect we really are, but also how much we need and love each other.”
The film is highly recommended. In a Dream screens at the Roxie this Sunday, October 26th at 2:45 PM, and Tuesday, October 28th at 9:30 PM. It will also screen at the Shattuck next Sunday, November 2nd at 2:45 PM.