The Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza will soon be getting a 50-minute sound installation by Thea Farhadian (pictured) and Dean Santomieri called A New Sense of Place. Photo: Dean Santomieri
Museums are shuttered and theaters remain silent as the tomb, but the arts in Berkeley are not kaput. The city is moving forward with plans for new public art and, in a recent special meeting, approved grants for nearly 100 artists, organizations, and festivals totaling almost $580,000.
The catch? In order to proceed, artists and festival organizers must show they wont allow any groups to congregate you know, basically what festivals and the performing arts are all about.
Its really challenging; however, people are rising to the challenge, said Lisa Bullwinkel, chair of Berkeleys Civic Arts Commission. They got their grant money and have been asked to file a new report about how theyre going to I hate to use the word pivot but that seems to be the vernacular right now pivot onto some other platform.
I think its so important we do support these arts organizations for a couple of years, she said. And it IS going to be a couple of years until were able to meet in theaters again or in big groups outdoor at festivals or concerts. Its going to take a long time, not only for the vaccines and medicines to work but for people to feel comfortable psychologically to be in a group like that.
The city originally wanted to allocate zero funds for festivals this year. But it changed its mind and released $80,000, about half the usual annual amount, after realizing that some festivals could go online.
Not all of them translate, however. Chahar Shanbeh Suri, the Persian New Year celebration that has people ritualistically leaping over bonfires, will not have an official Berkeley analog in 2021. There was no way that could pivot and go online, Bullwinkel said.
But some of the larger ones are proceeding in transmogrified forms. The Bay Area Book Festival, for instance, is holding an online, one-day mini-fest on Oct. 4 called Berkeley Unbound featuring local activists and luminaries like Steve Kerr, W. Kamau Bell, Alice Waters, and the legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky. (Watch the teaser.)
Were at this real inflection point in the history of our country, I mean probably more than since the Civil War, said Cherilyn Parsons, executive director of the Bay Area Book Festival (for which Berkeleyside is a media sponsor). Here in Berkeley we have extraordinary intellectuals and thinkers and writers, so we thought, What does Berkeley have to say about this really key point? What is its vision for forging a better society out of this time?
Theater lovers are also in luck, as local troupes seem to be adapting to the new age.
The theaters are uniquely dangerous places to be when youre in a space with somebody who has COVID, says Patrick Dooley, founding artistic director of Shotgun Players. One person coughing in the back of the theater with the HVAC blowing air all over the building could infect a hundred people a night, you know?
Commuters on I-80 might notice something missing in the public-arts landscape soon. Berkeley Big People, the grand-scale figurative sculptures that have guarded the pedestrian overpass to the Berkeley Marina since 2008, are getting the heave-ho as reported by Berkeleyside last year. We were in the process of planning that when COVID struck, said Jennifer Lovvorn, the Civic Arts Commissions secretary. But it will be happening at some point in the future maybe this year or next year. Ive offered the city to refurbish them with no cost to the city and maintenance-free for 15 years, says the sculptures creator, Scott Donahue, who indicates he might still be in negotiations with Berkeley about the artworks future but cant offer more due to legal advice.
So what Dooleys group is doing is delivering props, sound equipment and green screens to its players so they can erect their own home studios. A costume designer virtually rifles through their closets to see what clothes they should wear. The actors then stage performances via Zoom that are sprinkled with the magic of live theater.
I saw a cat come and kind of walk through once, says Dooley. Weve had dogs barking, phones ringing, neighbors knocking on the door. You think youve worked out everything, and then somebody starts ringing the doorbell.
People bold enough to go outside can expect to see some new public art this year, too. The Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza will soon be getting a 50-minute sound installation by Thea Farhadian and Dean Santomieri called A New Sense of Place. The artists say they hope that people traversing the plaza will appreciate encountering something familiar, or something strange, coming from the multichannel, overhead speaker array, and for some moments be roused from their thoughts, conversations, or devices by the unexpected gift of music. (Thea Farhadian is the featured photo for this story, taken by Dean Santomieri. Hear two audio excerpts from the composition.)
And Cube Space, the public-arts display in the Center Street Garage on Addison Street, is switching up exhibits this fall. The Oakland-based digital/video artist Leila Weefur is curating a next year-long show, featuring three African American artists presenting different material over separate four-month periods.
So what else is on the arts horizon for 2020 and beyond? Some of the winners of the recent arts grants chatted with Berkeleyside about their pandemic plans. (See the full list of grant awardees.)
The center is using its grant to showcase a series of digital exhibitions, supplemented by a virtual artist panel instead of a physical opening reception, about art that advocates for environmental activism. Currently on view is Art/Act: Local Wild Places, our annual juried show which features four Bay Area artists exploring the importance of connecting to nature, says Sibel Gner, communications and development manager. Our next exhibition [in October] will be Art/Act: Award, which will be on view for an entire year and features the work of National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting.
We planned to open [last] weekend, but given the announcements about school closures and all that it seemed like a really weird time to do that, says executive director Daniel Nevers. We will reopen sometime. Were watching the [COVID] numbers, and in the meantime are proceeding with our exhibition schedule, some of which were going to share online as well as create original digital content like artist interviews and digital publications. The just-installed exhibition Experiments in the Fieldfeatures art about the intersection of climate science and personal and cultural identities, and will be available to extremely small groups of people (think two, wearing masks) to physically tour by appointment.
The gallery is lettings its arts fellows transform the interior into a constantly evolving creative lab that might feature different material depending on the week you visit (by appointment only, of course). This show, titled Residency Projects in Flux, will last through September and features the works of print artist Jonathan Herrera Soto, who explores collective memory and historical instances of state-sponsored violence, photographer and book artist Sara Press, whose fascinations include dog fighting, feral children, and our co-evolution with snakes, and many others.
Shotgun Players thought about canceling their 2020 season but instead have gone all-in on livestreamed and prerecorded shows on a pay-what-you-can basis ranging from free to $40. Playing now is The Niceties, a show about a black student and a white professor debating slavery, truth, and the American Revolution. (Tickets available here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/theniceties) Up next in early August is Quack, about a doctor who runs a popular TV show for women who encounters a savage media take-down. (Tickets here: https://tinyurl.com/shotgunquack)
Shunning the Zoom craze, Aurora has decided to embrace the format of an old-fashioned audio drama. Were known for being intimate the audience is only four-rows deep all the way around three sides of the stage. Youre very close to the actors, and we bring in some of the best actors in the Bay Area to do nuanced, high-quality acting with a real emphasis on language, says artistic director Josh Costello. Trying to replicate that in Zoom didnt feel right, but an audio drama has a sense of intimacy, because its a voice in your ear. The play, which will be released on an undisclosed platform in October, is about three neighbors who all live in a Berkeley triplex due to an extended shelter in place, says Costello. And ultimately its about how people deal with a shifting world and how we move forward as a community at a time when the existing structures and systems are no longer serving us.
The organizers of the annual Juneteenth Festival in Berkeley do not have plans for an alternative event at this point.
Freight & Salvage is exploring different options for its next traditional-music fest, which will take place likely online in 2021, but in the meantime will provide free music lessons to all middle schoolers in the Berkeley Unified School District in the fall. It also has developed a robust schedule of online music classes for adults, such as this one about jug bands. The cool thing right now is were not limited by classroom size or geography, says executive director Sharon Dolan. So our enrollment is higher than it would be for some classes, and we have teachers from around the country.
The new shape of the kite festival is thousands of kitemaking kits that people are picking up for free at our solar-powered kite shop on wheels at the Berkeley Marina, says festival founder Tom McAlister. People can grab them on weekends, weather permitting, and assemble them at home. We really believe that now more than ever we should be encouraging families to get outdoors, safely, in small groups, while social distancing, and enjoy the universal wind, he says.
The delightful melding of sweet treats and sidewalk art is losing its street-fair component. Were going to have people do artwork at their own homes and sidewalks and send pictures to us, and well upload it virtually, says organizer Lisa Bullwinkel. And instead of having people buy chocolate tickets and walk around to stores and eat chocolate, were just going to get prizes and gift certificates from the merchants for chocolate items that well distribute as prizes for the artwork after its judged on the website.
Theater artist Bruce Bierman received an individual-artist grant to produce the first West Coast adaptation of Sholem Aschs controversial 1906 Yiddish drama, God of Vengeance. I served as the Yiddish dance dramaturg for the Tony-Award winning play, Indecent, at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Washington, D.C.s Arena Stage last year, Bierman says. Paula Vogels play Indecent recounts the turbulent history of the play God of Vengeancewhen it first came to America in 1922 and was shut down for obscenity and the actors thrown into the slammer. Yep. First lesbian-love relationship ever seen on Broadway.
Jazz performer Faye Carol is putting together a yet-to-be-announced group of renowned musicians for a virtual concert. Im developing a suite of music around social-justice themes arranged for an all-star sextet that will premiere in December in an online livestream, she says. The sextet will feature collaborations with some amazing musicians and name artists in the jazz world. ThisYouTube video, she says, will be emblematic of what shell be doing this year.
Paulina Berczynski says shell be using my individual-art grant to continue work on an ongoing project making story quilts with unhoused individuals and communities through my collaboration Feral Fabric (with artist Amanda Walters). Theyre inviting housed Berkeley community members to help finish the quilts, if youre interested check out their website.
Lena Wolff and her graphic-design collaborator Lexi Visco are making at least 20,000 posters to promote voting that they plan to ship across the country and put on billboards prior to the November election. We see the project as a timely public-service announcement and critical public-art campaign, with the goal of boosting enthusiasm around voter engagement ahead of the most significant election of our lifetime, Wolff says.
Our main goal this upcoming year is bringing La Pea online, says fundraising and operations associate Dainiz Almazan. The center has three types of programs planned: free online classes about the organizations cultural art forms, social-justice dialogues about civic engagement and the arts, and a sponsorship program for artists to livestream content to make up for pandemic-related lost work. The center is also launching its first online program this week about immigrant detention and prison reform; find more info here.
The nonprofit book distributor plans on using its grant funds to help small-press publishers adapt to the challenges of COVID, says executive director Brent Cunningham. To that end weve started a series of SPD summer school workshops online. Were also planning to revive our reading series in online form for the fall, have added 10 new spots to our ad programs, and are featuring authors and books in our new social-media reading series, where we will be posting minute-long recordings from SPD authors of their work. And, as always, there will be new poetry and fiction books coming out in the fall, some by local authors.
The center is using its grant to sustain its weekly online dance classes for ages ranging from infants to seniors. The program includes traditional modern and ballet classes, alongside expanded styles and forms that serve more students, both locally and nationally, such as adult jazz with Antoine Hunter with American Sign Language, Big Movement in Small Spaces Contemporary for Teens with Julie Crothers, and Stepping/Body Percussion with Antwan Davis, says executive director Rebecca Johnson. Its also producing the work of local dance choreographers online and will have a virtual Queering Dance Festival in mid-September that highlights the artistic work and issues on the minds of the queer, trans and gender-nonconforming dance community in the East Bay.
Read more here:
- 6 WordPress Plugins Breached by Hackers - Built In - October 8th, 2020
- Why Sales and Bestseller List Reporting Is Vital in 2020: An Overview - BTW - October 8th, 2020
- When to Get a Refinance Home Appraisal and When to Skip - Credible News - October 8th, 2020
- Why Image-Enabling the EHR Benefits Patients and Providers Alike - Diagnostic Imaging - October 8th, 2020
- Money Game: Will instruction apps ever beat one-on-one teaching? - Golf.com - October 8th, 2020
- Neuralink Is Impressive Tech, Wrapped in Musk Hype - WIRED - September 8th, 2020
- Glow & Lovely has launched its new campaign, but why does it look and feel exactly like Fair & Lovely? - Business Insider India - September 8th, 2020
- A live digital Platform behind the scenes for more effective and transparent country response - World Health Organization - September 8th, 2020
- How group streaming could look in the future - Mashable - September 8th, 2020
- Back to the books: Glen Cove Public Library is now open for browsing - liherald - September 8th, 2020
- During the pandemic, local companies help seniors bridge the technology gap - Chesterfield Observer - September 8th, 2020
- Op-ed: Privacy considerations to keep in mind with Amazon's Halo - CNBC - September 2nd, 2020
- 18 Instagram Stories Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind - Digital Market News - September 2nd, 2020
- Sean OShea: Tips for Paralegals and Litigation Support Professionals August 2020 - JD Supra - September 2nd, 2020
- Why and How Did Tik Tok Absolutely Take Over Quarantine? - The George-Anne - September 2nd, 2020
- Blasters of the Universe: Infinity Forever Is A New Free-Roam VR Shooter - UploadVR - September 2nd, 2020
- Jamia group accuses admin of not listening to queries over merit-based admissions, varsity says no decicion yet - EdexLive - September 2nd, 2020
- 'As Kids We Were Taught to Become Humans, Amit Shah Wants Us to Become Hindus, Muslims' - The Wire - September 2nd, 2020
- There's more to testing than simply testing - SDTimes.com - September 2nd, 2020
- 'We're lucky to have The Hub' - Art & Leisure - Teesdale Mercury - September 2nd, 2020
- On The Podcast: Snapchat Is The Biggest Media Company Whose Content Youve Never WatchedBut Thats About To Change - Tubefilter - August 31st, 2020
- Yes, John Carmack Will Speak Live At Facebook Connect - UploadVR - August 31st, 2020
- Grab's Asha Gourinath on why it's time for brands to re-evaluate their messaging - The Drum - August 31st, 2020
- Tired Of Looking Online? These New Business Ideas Are Mind-Blowing To Start With! - Inventiva - August 31st, 2020
- How to Record and Transcribe Audio in Microsoft Word - Beebom - August 31st, 2020
- Start with a fresh page: Former Moray journalist on life as a tour guide in Barcelona and her new book - Press and Journal - August 31st, 2020
- Using tech to define the 'new normal' in classrooms | Business Post - Business Post - August 31st, 2020
- A Day in the Life: NBA Journalists Living Inside the Orlando Bubble - Sportscasting - August 31st, 2020
- LINKS Demand Marketing Trailblazes The Bi-lingual On-demand Marketing Experience - Yahoo Finance - August 14th, 2020
- The Walking Dead Onslaught Will Be Forward Compatible With PS5 For PSVR - UploadVR - August 14th, 2020
- Ease anxiety with the sounds of bees - Los Angeles Times - August 14th, 2020
- The role of remote monitoring post-lockdown - Med-Tech Innovation - August 14th, 2020
- DLive add new emote feature - here's how to use it - Dexerto - August 14th, 2020
- As Film Festivals Go Online, a Competitive New Business Takes Shape to Support Them - IndieWire - August 14th, 2020
- The best recent science fiction, fantasy and horror review roundup - The Guardian - August 14th, 2020
- What is The Dream Bell Exchange Ticket in Animal Crossing (& How to Get Them) - Screen Rant - August 10th, 2020
- Instagram launches Reels, its attempt to keep you off TikTok - The Verge - August 10th, 2020
- Join a Virtual Race with the Northwest Broward Road Runners Club - Parkland Talk - Parkland Talk - August 10th, 2020
- Gigabit broadband rollout milestone reached - GOV.UK - GOV.UK - August 10th, 2020
- GMB weather girl Lucy Verasamy parades mind-blowing curves in skintight top - Daily Star - August 10th, 2020
- Understanding files: 4 types of files and their uses - AZ Big Media - August 8th, 2020
- How to remove restrictions from a PDF with free programs? - Explica - August 8th, 2020
- Dreams PSVR Review: A Messy, Unmissable VR Playground In Need Of An Overhaul - UploadVR - August 8th, 2020
- Mind uploading in fiction - Wikipedia - August 8th, 2020
- In a future of mind uploading, will you still be you, and ... - August 8th, 2020
- The immortalist: Uploading the mind to a computer - BBC News - August 8th, 2020
- The Singularity Is Near: Mind Uploading by 2045? | Live ... - August 8th, 2020
- Eye of the Temple Reminds You How Amazing Room-Scale VR Is, Demo Available Now - UploadVR - August 7th, 2020
- Teaching: Your Questions About Hybrid Teaching Answered - The Chronicle of Higher Education - August 7th, 2020
- New Font Styles on Instagram Stories: How to Find and Use the New Font Styles - Parade - August 7th, 2020
- How to Get Cast on 'The X Factor' - Backstage - August 7th, 2020
- 'Naming The Tree' | Circle Round 103 | Circle Round - WBUR - August 6th, 2020
- Green and Growing: Plant blindness, a mower, and one unfortunate afternoon - theday.com - August 6th, 2020
- Find the Original Source Image of your Favorite Movie - News Lagoon - August 6th, 2020
- Penn law and engineering students built these accessible tech projects for Philly nonprofits - Technical.ly - August 6th, 2020
- PewDiePie shares reason behind not wanting to take photos in public - Dexerto - August 4th, 2020
- Heres how to identify the cause of your slow internet speed - KTAR.com - August 4th, 2020
- Breaking News - Amazon Studios Orders Second Season of the Hit Thriller "Hunters" - The Futon Critic - August 4th, 2020
- Start the Year With a 'Primary Focus' on Relationship-Building - Education Week - August 4th, 2020
- The First Steps in Adding Ecommerce to a Brick-and-mortar Store - Practical Ecommerce - August 4th, 2020
- The digital divide worsens the inequitable impacts of the climate crisis - GreenBiz - August 4th, 2020
- Skypath Security, Inc. Announces the Integration of a multi-functional Panic Button Alert System into its World Class Mobile Defense Platform - PR Web - August 4th, 2020
- Wealth Tech Demystified Part 5: Fee And Billing Software - Barron's - July 31st, 2020
- AI tool developed to predict, monitor and test health and safety of workforce - HR News - July 31st, 2020
- Tim Burton Had 'The Rock' In Mind For 2005 Willy Wonka Adaptation - 97.3FM - July 31st, 2020
- The complete guide to advertising on YouTube - Media Update - July 31st, 2020
- Thanks to COVID-19 cash, faster internet is coming for parts of rural Mississippi - Clarion Ledger - July 31st, 2020
- The Ultimate Ranking of The Muppets - E! Online - July 31st, 2020
- FYJC admissions: CAP committee issues instructions to ensure students face no hiccups while filling forms online - The Indian Express - July 31st, 2020
- Watauga County Schools To Open School Year With 9 Weeks Of Remote Learning - Go Blue Ridge - July 31st, 2020
- Singapore third in Asia-Pacific for mobile network experience ahead of 5G rollout: Study - The Straits Times - July 31st, 2020
- What is alt text in WordPress? How to add image descriptions on your web page to improve accessibility and website ranking - Business Insider... - July 31st, 2020
- 10 Main TV Characters Who Were Dead The Whole Time | ScreenRant - Screen Rant - July 31st, 2020
- Animal Crossing New Horizons Dream Suite: How to Visit Other Players' Islands - Twinfinite - July 30th, 2020
- AvidPlay is the First DIY Music Distribution Service to Support Dolby Atmos Music - GlobeNewswire - July 29th, 2020
- How To Upload Your Garmin Workout During the Outage - DC Rainmaker - July 29th, 2020
- Its Time to Redefine Broadband Speeds - Gizmodo Australia - July 29th, 2020
- Garmin outage: did Garmin pay the ransom to revive Garmin Connect? - T3 (US) - July 29th, 2020
- WCS to Open School Year with 9 Weeks of Remote Learning After a Vote at Tuesday Night Meeting - High Country Press - July 29th, 2020
- Things to do this weekend, from drive-in movies to the City of Steel Virtual Walk/Run - NEXTpittsburgh - July 29th, 2020