The annual Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz happens at, yes, sunrise on Thanksgiving. Boats ($14) leave Pier 33 beginning at 4:45 a.m. for the Rock, where attendees will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the occupation of Alcatraz by (what were then called) American Indians.
I missed this LA Times travel piece when it came out a month ago — a nice little writeup on how many San Francisco landmarks were built during the Great Depression of the 1930s, from the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower to the Opera House. Here is a beautiful photo gallery.
Other newspapers are still reprinting the piece: for example the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal, whose website today highlights one curious 1930s San Francisco landmark: Alcatraz, which opened in 1934. Their headline says Wonderful creations emerged during the hard times of the ’30s, with a picture of Alcatraz right underneath. Somehow I doubt the copy editor who wrote that headline has been to Alcatraz.
Anyway, the piece nicely totes up the number of Diego Rivera murals in the city, including the one at the San Francisco Stock Exchange (“What were the stockbrokers thinking?”) — and the one at City College.
This Friday night the Red Vic hosts the San Francisco premiere of “The Black Rock”, a new film that explores the largely undocumented history of the African American prisoner experience on Alcatraz. Heralded local filmmaker Kevin Epps has shifted his documentary lens from previous subjects like life in Hunters Point, and the Bay’s Hip Hop underground, to life in SF’s notorious offshore federal lock up.
The film, presented in starkly haunting black & white, had it’s first public screening earlier this month in the actual Alcatraz mess hall for 300 lucky guests of Epps and The National Park Service. Now, having been released from it’s island prison exile, it can reach mainland audiences and will run at the Red Vic on Haight St this week through March 5th. The NPS has indicated it will soon use portions of the film in the permanent exhibits and tours of the historic prison.
Fascination with Alcatraz permeates pop culture and the crumbling prison ranks high amongst San Francisco’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting more visitors than the city’s total population each year. Epps’ new film approaches the prison from a very different socio-political angle than the usual Hollywood fare, and pulls together tales that are unique amongst the plethora of prison videos, books and memorabilia that already clutter local gift shops.
For More, Including A Peak At The Trailer, Read On… (more…)
It’s standard Republican operating procedure to call everything they don’t like “liberal” and to consider San Francisco the capital of the loony liberal universe, so this probably shouldn’t be too surprising: at least one Republican congressman has suggested that if Obama wants Guantanamo closed, he knows just where the US should put its dangerous inmates. “Alcatraz would be a good place to put these people,” suggested Florida Rep. C.W. Bill Young. (Courtesy SF Gate)
He’s probably not serious, so don’t go suggesting that you could think up plenty of places, like maybe Disney World or Clearwater (the latter being the world HQ of Scientology), that would be just as good. The people of Florida already suffer enough. They have to live in Florida.