Interview: Edith Hillinger: Building a Life in Art June 2006 When I first met Edith Hillinger several years ago, I was quickly charmed by her openness, intelligence, humor and her quiet, but obvious, inner balance. Born in Germany, her family fled the Nazis and made their way to Istanbul where her father, an architect, found work with Bruno Taut who also had fled Germany. Hillinger grew up in Istanbul and later, at the age of sixteen, immigrated with her mother to New York City.       Besides having been an architectural project manager for UCSF, Hillinger taught both at the School of Visual Arts in New York ... Jun 24, 2006, 13624 reads


Art and Ethics: Phil Chan Phil Chan was born in Canton, China in 1946, lived in Hong Kong and moved to the U.S. in 1956. He became an American citizen in 1973. Chan received his MFA from U.C. Berkeley in 1976. He taught at many colleges and universities and retired from teaching at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Chan received NEA grants and NEH grants and his work has been widely exhibited in the U.S. and China. He is now living in San Diego. "Art and Ethics" is a complex topic. It can focus on the legalistic balance between the freedom of expression and ownership, and as society enters the ... Sep 14, 1998, 16868 reads


Cevan Forristt: On Gardens and Taking Chances In a San Jose neighborhood of single-story cottages and bungalows one may encounter the anomaly of a dense stand of forty-foot high timber bamboo reminiscent of Southeast Asia. The stand effectively obscures any view into the lot which lies hidden behind it. The bamboo and a berm of earth hide the forward garden wall of massive granite blocks of various sizes and finish behind which lies one of the most amazing private gardens one could hope to find.      Cevan Forristt’s garden is not open to the public, but not unsurprisingly it's well-known among many serious ... Mar 2, 2000, 8963 reads


The Meaning of Proportion: Terrance Galvin I met Terrance Galvin at Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown’s symposium, The Oakland Table, in September 2000. The topic of the first symposium was "space versus place" and addressed questions about the distinction between a sense of place and the merely abstract idea of space. Specifically, how did this distinction play out in urban planning? The two result in very different urbanscapes.      During 1988, Galvin lived and worked in Villa El Salvador, a low-income residential district on the southern outskirts of Lima, a shantytown populated by immigrant ... Sep 18, 2000, 66765 reads


Interview with SaÏd Nuseibeh: The Bond of Mystical Beauty One afternoon I got a call from DeWitt Cheng - there was some interesting work at the Scott Nichols Gallery—photography by Saïd Nuseibeh. A few days later I went over to see for myself. DeWitt was right. Nichols was there and I asked him how to contact the photographer. He picked up a phone, dialed a number and handed me the receiver. Nuseibeh was on the other end. A week later I found myself standing outside Nuseibeh’s front door high in the inner Sunset District of San Francisco. It was foggy and there was a chill in the air. We'd already met a couple of days ... Aug 1, 2005, 44819 reads


Interview: Carl Worth: Birth of an Art Center, May 19, 2007 This was a public program at the Berkeley Art Center celebrating its 40th anniversity. Keynoting the evening is an interview with founding director, Carl Worth, by Richard Whittaker.  Director Jill Jimenez:  Hello, everyone. This is one the events I was most looking forward to here at our 40th Anniversary Celebration. Richard Whittaker has been doing our Berkeley Treasures Interview Series for about two years. It’s a wonderful series because it puts us in touch with some of the people we hear about, but don’t ever have access to. When we were talking about ... Sep 28, 2007, 16276 reads


Two Jewelers of New Mexico: Interview: Rod & Andree Moen, Jemez Springs, New Mexico Last August my wife and I were in Jemez Springs, about an hour west of Santa Fe, for a family get-together. After a few days of family catching up, I started exploring the local scene with the intention of striking up a few conversations with locals. I’ve seen over and over how, with just a few questions and an attitude of sincere listening, amazing worlds can open up.  The interview here is the result of going against the uneasiness of striking up conversation with strangers.   It wasn’t more than five minutes after walking into the little gallery, Shangri La ... Mar 6, 2008, 34514 reads


Kilo Charles Six VHU: I received my first Amateur Radio licenses in January of 1991 at the age of 49. As a kid in the mid-west I had a radio shack in the wash house, an outbuilding where the women folk did laundry; it was filled with old Atwater-Kents, Philcos, Crosleys and whatever else I found in the junk yards. I'd go there at night and sneak cigarettes. I could bring in WSN in Nashville, Tennessee, XERF Del Rio, Texas and other far off stations. I could bring in some DX (foreign stations) on 41 meters and some hams on 40. The aerial was a run of wire I thumbtacked to the peak of the house roof ... May 18, 2008, 9881 reads


Conversation with Ruth Braunstein: A San Francisco Doyen Aug. 5 2004  San Francisco I met with Ruth Braunstein at her house in San Francisco. Before taping a conversation I was treated to a tour of Ruth’s extensive art collection accumulated over forty plus years. She is perhaps the senior art dealer in San Francisco. Braunstein/Quay Gallery was founded in Tiburon in 1961 and by 1965 the gallery had moved to San Francisco where it has been ever since. Although Ruth represents artists working in all mediums, she has always had a very strong base with ceramic artists and represents the late Pete Voulkos as well as Robert Brady and ... Jan 20, 2005, 10904 reads


Interview: Ed Johnson: Beauty and Science Jemez Springs, NM —August 13, 2007 The opportunity to interview Ed Johnson, a renowned molecular biologist, appeared almost by chance last year on the occasion of a family get together. To my delight, thanks to an invitation from my brother, John, Ed was there with his wife Becky. Ed and my brother go back over forty years. Both are passionate fly fishermen, and the friendship between fly fishermen is something like a family link. Ed I knew had been Nobel Laureate, Paul Greengard’s, first graduate student at Yale and had participated in research integral to Greengard’s ... Jul 10, 2008, 14026 reads


Live/Work/Play: Interview: Kevin Nierman (Berkeley, CA 2002) John Toki first introduced me to Kevin Nierman. Some twenty years ago, Nierman founded a program for teaching children how to work with clay as a creative medium. He called his program Kids n Clay. As usual with friends whose work John admires, he was enthusiastic about Kevin. And it was John who introduced me to Nancy Selvin, also, another friend and fellow clay artist he admires. Nothing impresses John more than the spirit of generosity and especially when it's combined with creativity. And so, when visiting Selvin not long ago, I discovered she'd interviewed Nierman, I thought that ... Nov 25, 2008, 5376 reads


To All Artists, Known and Unknown : I remember seeing a threadbare individual sitting in the cafe of the San Francisco Art Institute in 1992. He was very different from the rest of the students and staff personnel. He was old; old in hard years, not with the mellow patina of the well ensconced. He was in the cafe every day I came in, always sitting alone, always smoking and nursing a cup of coffee. Most striking in his appearance was the discrepancy between his physical, and what seemed to be his psychic, circumstances. He was worn, his physical being was worn, his clothes were fragile, almost brittle, garments different ... Nov 30, -1, 19068 reads


Night Shift: It had been a long, hot August day. We'd driven over six hundred miles and it was nearing 11 pm as we entered Kingman, Arizona. We pulled off and picked a motel. Much to my surprise, it being mid-week, the deskman informed me they were full. Next place, same story. This time, I asked the clerk for suggestions.      "Try the Hampton Inn."       At the Hampton we were greeted with, "We're booked. Sorry."      "What's going on?" I asked. "Is there some kind of convention in ... Oct 5, 2009, 7868 reads


A Miracle Cure: Interview with Richard Lueker, M.D. I met cardiologist Richard Lueker at Karma Kitchen one Sunday afternoon in Berkeley where he was doing service as a volunteer waiter. The moment I'd stepped into the restaurant, that day's volunteer maitre d', Viral Mehta, said, "It's great that you showed up today. We were going to call you because there's someone here we want you to meet. Be sure to ask him about his story."       I looked around the restaurant—always lively on the Sunday afternoons it's taken over by Karma Kitchen volunteers—and spotted a tall, distinguished-looking, ... Dec 25, 2009, 122520 reads


Why Write?: Mud Pie The feel and look of mud pies in the summer, in Colorado. Cool and wet, thick, with the sweet smell of damp clay I'd later experience as a novice potter. Sitting on the ground in shorts and sleeveless shirt, maybe five years old. Pure happiness, because these wet pies were perfect for the hands to form. You had to make sure there were no dry spots. And made well, they looked exactly like thick, shiny, irresistible chocolate. They had to be not too thin or too thick--about 3/4 inch thick was just right. They could be enjoyed and imagined about only as long as they stayed wet in ... Oct 3, 2010, 8401 reads


Music Outside the Music Box: Interview: Cheryl Leonard by Mary Stein, SF, October 15, 2010 I first met Cheryl Leonard more than ten years ago when she joined the martial arts dojo I belonged to and began practicing aikido with us there.  She caught on to aikido quickly, and I soon learned that she was already an experienced rock climber, often leading weekend expeditions into the mountains.  A little later I learned that she was a musician and composer with an unusual interest in making music with pine cones, feathers, sea shells, bones or any other of the myriad objects she found on her excursions into nature. Since then I've watched her perform several times and been ... Feb 23, 2011, 24110 reads


Interview with Paul Reynard: Beyond Beauty I remember the first time I saw Paul Reynard's art. It was sometime in the late 1970s and I had not known that side of him in any direct way. Our personal friendship had developed mainly around our interest in the ideas of the spiritual teacher, G. I. Gurdjieff, and around our beginning efforts to offer public workshops dealing with art, philosophy and everyday life. Certainly it did strike me as unusual that he spoke so little and in such abstract terms about his own actual work as a painter.       My own experience with serious artists-and I had met a few of ... Oct 10, 2011, 16247 reads


Transcendental Vision in Sand City:  This an exhibit you might be interested in, the email read—Transcendental Vision. And there was something else. The exhibit was in Sand City. Sand City? What could be a better metaphor for this world of shifting impermanence? Where could transcendental vision be more needed? As I paused to take this in, memories of Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” started rising from the shadows—with its far and level sands stretching far away. And there was a movie, wasn’t there? Woman in the Dunes, where the wind never ceased blowing in a dream-like world of sand. It ... May 11, 2012, 18606 reads


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 730471 views

The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 146652 views

Say Grace I am deeply delighted to live on a planet that is so big and varied that I can ... Read More 7712 views

Cotton and Silk Vorbeck quilt, detail I’m working on the last panel of a pair of ... Read More 9791 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 67355 views


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 730471 views

Interview with Bill Douglass—Jimbo's Bop City and Other Tales At the time I'd first gotten to know the widely respected jazz musician Bill ... Read More 365581 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 298645 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 190329 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 151732 views