It is time for some everyday heroism! Perhaps you are a decision-maker who wants Oakland to be a place where small businesses can actually survive, and knows of a place they can and should move to have a shot at thriving again. Do you speak Korean and English and find yourself able to help with getting the facts straight in order to tell their story to English-only speakers? Are you a journalist , or do you know a journalist who would want to fit this story in the super-important larger narrative? Are you involved in property, law, or both, and able to help them pro bono to explore their options thoroughly? Do you know anybody who might fit the descriptions above or have some other gift to offer these good folks in crisis?
Thanks for acting now! Please do any/all of the following:
- Add your name to the many at https://www.gofundme.com/henrysgallerycafe (with or without a donation) to let Jung know he is not isolated, then share with your networks asking that they act now.
- Like/share/RT/etc https://twitter.com/bdwc/status/888109817625157632 and https://www.facebook.com/lynettemcelhaney/posts/1364593910321149
- Go eat there, take friends, and tell them about the support they are getting but can't see/feel.
- Keep asking in public the questions (above) that will help them find the help they need.
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr. appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @otisrtaylorjr
Emailed via http://www.sfchronicle.com/author/otis-taylor/
I truly appreciate your decision to report on Luan's bookstore. The story is most helpful in that it provides evidence that Oakland decision-makers' support for "revitalization" is lackluster at best. In reading it, I wished that you had noted that their efforts are devoted mostly to big-dollar interests (like the new monster high-rise going up at 17th and Broadway), rather than increasing the traffic and financial infrastructure support that small businesses actually require to flourish. May I ask that you do a follow-up in that direction, and report about the perfect storm of crises that are about to kill another pillar of the community in Oakland? https://www.gofundme.com/henrysgallerycafe
Ripe: Ensemble With Juice
I am newly planted and just peeking through my own leaves. Though I have been following Ragged Wing Ensemble for years, I've always kept a distance, cultivating my own concerns. Now I am on the inside. As the new Communications Director, I am amazed at what I find, inundated with the juciest creative fruit possible, and not just the fruit but the secret making of that bounty, a creative community process that is ready to be shared with multitudes but is, for the time being, savored by only a local few. I go to sleep and wake up with the taste of it on my lips, knowing that a secret like this cannot keep, nor should it.
There are times when a group of people is ripe. When circumstances consipre to yield a bumper crop, a tipping point when conditions are perfect for growth, anticipating a harvest of creativity that is culture-changing, leaning like a fruitful branch bends toward a deeper grounding and more humane understanding of what living can be. Ragged Wing Ensemble in Downtown Oakland is beautifully ripe, and needs your hand to reach out and pluck and share the available bounty. It needs patrons in seats and small donations, but it is profoundly ready, in a way that even most insiders cannot know yet, for the deepest and most sutainable kind of support--big giving from the heart--the expressions of hope and appreciation that make institutional growth possible.
It almost doesn't matter how you reach out. Just bump the branch with a casual donation in the final days of the current campaign, or seed the fertile soil with a significant amount or money and time. Share with your friends and the world the power and generosity of passionate creativity in a world growing more mean and grasping. Whatever you decide: act now. Don't wait. The birds and bugs of Bills will be buzzing and binging. Don't assume that somebody else will put up what is so sweet. It cannot be preserved because it is Alive and must be shared now. The company is preparing the Fall season...seeds need water that only you can provide...to harvest even more original work that brings out the best by working creatively through the thorniest of issues. That is what our era seems to be starving for, and it is in your hands to support runaway creative integrity today and through the upcoming season.
It is my great pleasure to announce that i am now the Communications Director for an essential theater company, Ragged Wing Ensemble, which has established a flourishing creative community in Downtown Oakland, called The Flight Deck, that is home to several other theater companies and organizations. The Flight Deck is also home to Association Building Community, for instance, which continues to offer my Peace Practices curriculum in the heart of Oakland and in schools and professional environments around the SF Bay Area.
I call this creative community "essential" because their continued existence and work is a success story that can inspire anyone. They ignore the odds against them, and rely on creativity and solidarity to make the everyday world a more humane and generous place to live together. Any theater, all theater has unique potential to work this way in the world, but these people continually bring the potential of theater to life, and I'm in love with them, so please allow me to gush for a moment.
Someday, the powerful and rising alike will agree that the Ragged Wing - Flight Deck community has moved from hopeful experiment to institution, a jewel in Oakland's crown, like Chicago's Goodman, Houston's Alley, or the Dallas Theater Center. That transition to sustainability could happen something like this: more and more people from around the Bay Area open their hearts, wallets, and networks to Executive Diretor, Anna Shneiderman, and Artistic Director, Amy Sass, to ensure that the throngs who already launch their creative work at the Flight Deck will continue to do so. So many more people of every age, level of capability, and from every possible background and orientation will benefit from working with or near this innovative company. For many, they will find here the very first opportunity to unfurl their ragged wings, initiating creative and sympathetic explorations of human dilemmas and being. The companies at the Flight Deck do the impossible but essential work of waking us all to the world and skins we live in; and they do on a tiny and always tenuous budget. You know the story, and how it usually ends.
The next chapter in this story must be Lift Off. We are due for a cultural renaissance, a developmental transformation, a next step into flight, rising up from the deck of organizational birth, wings shaken dry in the sun so that everyone around can point to and participate in beauty nearby, local and mature artistry, name and proudly claim admirable friends, and invest time and treasure in building a city and people ready to be known for rising up and taking wing.
Ragged Wing Ensemble is proud to welcome to The Flight Deck a new Communications Director, Brandon Williamscraig. In 2015, he brought his Peace Practices project and non-pofit, Association Building Community, to live at The Flight Deck, and has stepped into the rather difficult to fill shoes of Lisa Drostova, who will continue to be a beloved part of our creative community. Brandon brings a twenty year career in the professional regional theater, a Ph.D. in psychology and mythology, many years of leadership, communications, and development work in the nonprofit sector, as well as an internationally recognized, all-ages communication curriculum, called Peace Practices, that teaches children and adults Conflict Done Well through aikido, improvisation, and facilitation. Please welcome and help him spread the good word about our work together!
A thought experiment and creative fiction/ritual of resistance to "That's Just The Way Things Are"
What if a well-known design team, known professionally as The Creator"™, contacted you and asked you to join them for an interview? What if, surprising you with an offer of full partnership, they recommended that you study some of their work and influences while making your decision, at least a collection of ancient stories and current tropes, significant images and songs, earlier relationships and projects that changed their way of working together?
As you look into it, you discover that they have been asking a huge number of other people across the globe to work together for years following a hidden agenda to morph daily life as we know it to fit their social change agenda. Faced by you with this information, they present results from hundreds of years of study: neither giving in to nor fighting popular obsessions seems to work, simply causing compulsions to become more entrenched. Few people seem to take the team up on their offer, because the only way to keep up with them is to identify as Creative and collaborate to make truly and deeply beautiful changes, both individually and collectively, so that that way of doing things becomes a new habit.
If you decide to go the distance, how will you stay relevant alongside your new colleagues as the design team continually innovates? What would your daily creative rituals look like, if all of this were true?
"Emotions are not something that happen to people, but rather, emotions are constructed in our brains" seems to dodge the autonomy of soul, the work of metaphorical gods, but "often with much more nuance than we readily acknowledge" opens the door again to multiplicity in this very interesting recording. You may be interested, in particular, in the sense of certainty about brain as network--no function belonging exclusively to any particular region, but almost always tracing the interaction of several. - Brandon WilliamsCraig
Emotions Are a Construct of the Brain, Says Psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett
Imagine that you’re driving South on 101 when you see blue and red highway patrol lights flashing behind you. Do you feel worried? How about anxious, horrified or scared? According to psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett, emotions are not something that happen to people, but rather, emotions are constructed in our brains, often with much more nuance than we readily acknowledge. Feldman Barrett joins us to talk about how emotions are made, the link between language and feelings and why assigning emotion to facial expressions has negative effects on everything from childcare to the justice system.
Lisa Feldman Barrett, distinguished professor of psychology, Northeastern University; author, "How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain"
In the rich imaginal ground that is the winter holidays, I give you one of my favorite and most lucid senior colleagues, Dr. @Mary Watkins:
"[Knowledge] picks an argument where there is no need. Myth speaks about an imaginal reality using aspects of his material reality. Her statements are not meant to be mere literal, concrete descriptions and opinions about this world. She wants to convey her reality. When he takes some aspects away from her, she must chose others. The more he denies her expressions the more she must use his own words. Though he can discredit her means of expression and make her look foolish to his friends he cannot destroy that which she seeks to express. His inability to distinguish between the concrete level of the symbol and what the symbol refers to leaves him open to her use. It leaves her totally misunderstood. She hides in what and how he studies and her reality begins to come from his own mouth, although he does not hear her inclination.
In our confusion we, as students of Knowledge, have tried to separate the scientific from the metaphorical, matter from spirit, behavior from psyche, the real from the imaginal. They pretend to yield, and in so doing trick us. They have not separated at all, these lovers. What we find flowing down our sinks is our awareness of our participation in myth at every moment of our being in reality, of psyche in our every action. We mistake our confusion for straightforwardness and clarity. What we have packed away in those boxes is not the imagination and the mythical but our recognition, acceptance and conscious valuing of it."
She has most generously provided access to her book, Waking Dreams (where this quote appears on page six) here:
The 45th precedent is an extremist, but not in the way the term is usually meant, as this implies idealism of some kind. He has taken to the extreme the cynical position that the President need not be interested or even relevant in any of the ways usually associated with presidency - care for constituents, policy success, coordination of allies, leadership, inspiration, vision, etc. The #DistractionInChief has only one real purpose, unrelated to delivering on any promises made to members of the public that supported him. By his fruits ye shall know him, and there ain't been none beyond #RazzleDazzle. He is a child in a break-away adult suit who isn't enough in contact with reality to realize he is incompetent, especially at the things he thinks are his unique gifts. As a result, he spins on whatever axis he finds himself, desperately in need of and spouting superlatives about himself, and desperately determined to externalize and prop up his internal monologue, because there is nothing else there.(1)
As long as 45 can #KeepEmSpinning, the individuals around the world who worked to put him in place are well served by his service to increase their private power and wealth. The cycle is: bluster cynically/incoherently (it only takes 140 characters or less), vacation/golf and spend, threaten something sacred/essential to those who need government to function in some way, fail publicly and egregiously so that The Opposition will at least try to continue holding things together and the pattern can continue, shift target so the abused will treat themselves briefly to a sense of relief, repeat.
His every tweet points at the sky and screams "#LOOKTheHindenburg!" We throw our hands in the air, and then onto our keyboards; we waste the life energy we could be using to work together for our children. Every time we follow the media into the serial orgy of hot-air disasters the bar is lowered and the real work behind the scenes is successfully submerged. Legislation is being passed without consultation, and often without any attention at all beyond a small circle of wonks, democratically essential institutions are being gutted as skilled staff are being jettisoned or replaced by unqualified partisans, and ecocidal projects are being pushed through without review or oversight. We help to make this the new normal because it is a culture-making ritual, each repetition of which re-writes a part of our brains, resetting expectations so that we will expect the process of government to be corrupt, exploitative, and worthy of ridicule, a loss, in short, and not worth protecting from those who are inconvenienced by the needs of the individually less powerful.
This is death, literally. Thousands of cuts to government protections make even more vulnerable those who must work to satisfy the needs they share with all humans. The "middle class" many people believed they were in is gone, if it ever truly existed. We pay life blood into a system which fails to regulate bottom(line)-feeders who scoop up public resources for private enrichment without return on our civic investment. Where is the humane concern for fellow creatures without which public service is a lethal fantasy?
We are expected to die from lack of adequate/preventative health care. We are expected to die from indirect conscription ("given the system, it's really my best/only chance for a better life") into wars for political control of other nations. We are expected to die from lack of education, which provides the tools for critical thinking and an imagination which can recognize how a system of stories works. We are expected to die early from polluted air and water force fed by The Way Things Are to each next generation, children whose only fault was to be born into families who have been raised to believe that abundance is something that only a Few can have. The truth that 45 brings is this: we are expected to die. A president doesn't even have to pretend to be a public servant anymore. All he has to do is #KeepEmSpinning.
Senators Kamala D. Harris and Dianne Feinstein,
I have not had the opportunity to make the acquaintance of Neil Gorsuch, so I must speak only to his record and the circumstances at the time of his nomination as I urge you to oppose his nomination with all the powers at your disposal.
His avowed statutory "textualism" and "originalism" are literalism in disguise, abandoning the full meaning and consequences of an idea in order to forward only the part that matches the agenda one wishes to dominate. This cherry-picking instead of harvesting understanding is not only the opposite of the discipline required to be an adequate jurist, but also abandons the equanimity that is the most central pre-requisite for public service, the lack of which leaves the dream of our United States rotting in a mire of partisanship.
I know you know that it is a perversion of the people's government, for instance, to re-interpret Free Speech to facilitate billionaires buying megaphones of unlimited size to effectively push elections in the directions that reinforce their grip on power. Likewise, corporations do not require advocacy from the very institutions established to check precisely the level of power they alone can wield.
We cannot know, but must fear that Gorsuch will be the tipping point in the movement toward ending a woman's right to choose, casting aside what remains of the Voting Rights Act, pretending clean water and clean air laws are not essential to our survival as a species, and multiplying the gerrymandering that allows those who do not represent the people to continue to pretend that they do.
The bar of what is commonplace has been re-set by the scope to which the agenda known as "Trump" is willing to wield power for its own sake, but a "ya gotta pick yer fights" approach does not work in a climate of media blitzkrieg designed to make long-view existential threats seem benign enough to accept. Please hold the line until their lightning offensive crumbles under the weight of its own unreality. We, your constituents, admire your resolve as we pray in one voice that you will struggle to make honest disagreement possible once more.