Interview with Fredric Fierstein: An Outrageous Act The story leading up to this interview includes the influence of my having read Peter Kingsley's A Story Waiting to Pierce You. In his book, Kingsley hypothesizes that a mysterious figure, Abaris, traveled from Mongolia to Greece to meet Pythagoras. Abaris is mentioned in several ancient texts, usually carrying an arrow, a symbol of shamanic power.       A few years before having read Kingsley's book, I'd been bicycling around the Berkeley marina one day, when I was surprised to come upon a warrior archer astride a mythical beast that looked ... Feb 23, 2011, 53063 reads


Interview with Painter Michael Beck: by Razi Mizrahi Sunday In The Park, oil on canvas Sometimes life gives us with a chance to reconnect with a harmony once heard as a child and, as an adult, explore variations that the mature self can hear and appreciate. Reconnecting with Oakland (CA) painter Michael Beck, a long-time family friend, has been just such an experience for me.      Michael was a teacher at my mother’s preschool more than four decades ago, when I was a child. Over the years, I enjoyed glimpses of Beck’s work as his career and vision developed through reports from family and friends, ... Nov 30, -1, 52989 reads


Paintings of Robin Rome:   These two little paintings jumped out at me at an exhibit at the Berkeley Art Center. For me, the cloudlike Godzilla (Gozira) figure immediately evoked dire visitations of global climate change. But at 12" x 12" inches, the two paintings charm, and the scale makes them seem harmless. It's as if the threat of climate-induced disasters are off in the distance, as in a children's book. Maybe this allows one to be drawn in. And perhaps it's only later that the thought arises: Fukushima. Weren't those nuclear reactors with their meltdowns producing ... Oct 12, 2011, 51473 reads


Interview: Americ Azevedo: The Truth Demands To Be Lived A few years ago Americ Azevedo sat in a college classroom with about 15 students. It was a meditation class and he was the instructor. This past fall, that same class enrolled 603 students and took place in one of the largest lecture halls on the UC Berkeley campus. A philosopher, author and lecturer of peace studies, Americ slips through all of these categories. Serendipitously he became the acting CEO of a company in a field for which he had no formal training. He's taught an unlikely mix of university classes (philosophy, religion, leadership, finance, business and ... Feb 11, 2013, 51469 reads


Interview: Quincy Troupe: A Poet's Journey I'd already met and interviewed artist Mildred Howard when she told me about her friend, the poet Quincy Troupe. You ought to interview him, she said. Well, maybe we could do that together, I suggested. Mildred is one of those people, full of life and engagement, and it didn't take a lot of insight to know it would be a great plus to have her involved. Mildred liked the idea and some weeks later, I got a call from her. "Quincy is in San Francisco. Let's do the interview!" The timing clicked and Mildred and I headed over to a hotel near Chinatown to meet Quincy and ... Apr 2, 2002, 51224 reads


Conversation: Emmanuel Vaughn-Lee: Deep Water  Most of us in the west take clean water for granted. And generally we're equally asleep to the profound role water plays in our lives. In an interview with Sam Bower of [issue #18] I brought up the question of water. He mused, "If you think of what we are, I mean we're made up of cells and each little cell contains a drop of seawater. In some ways, all the little creatures that emerged from the seas found each other, bound together and found a way of collaborating and sharing the recipe over and over with helpful modifications, and here we are today! Every ... Jun 13, 2011, 47301 reads


Interview: Godfrey Reggio: A Call for Another Way of Living One Friday morning I happened to tune in to KQED’s morning program Forum where an interview with Phillip Glass and Godfrey Reggio was underway. They were in town for a weekend showing at Davies Symphony Hall of Reggio’s Qatsi Trilogy: Koyaanisqatsi, Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi. Phillip Glass, along with his ensemble, would be performing the music he had composed for the films.          Koyaanisqatsi left a deep impression on me when I’d first seen it in 1983, as did Powaqqatsi, which came out five years later. This full-length, commercial ... Feb 18, 2006, 45591 reads


An Art of Joy: A Conversation with Gale Wagner:  Early in 1992 I got an unexpected call: "Why don't you come over to the studio tonight at 6:30 and bring some food. There will be lots of artists here." It was Gale Wagner. I'd met him only a week or two earlier at Peggy Williams' place in Alameda, the Courtyard. In those days her restaurant and gallery was where Alameda's art flame was protected and fed. One day a heroic statue of Peggy will stand at the foot of the High Street bridge, gateway to the island's East End. Or it should. If Gale wasn't an Oaklander, maybe his would be there, ... Jun 17, 2010, 45339 reads


Art 12: A Day in Drawing Class with Jane Rosen Rosen, a New York artist and teacher, after living, exhibiting and working in SoHo for twenty years, moved to a rural horse ranch on the San Mateo Coast to allow her work with nature—especially her interest in relating animal nature to the possibilities of our own "better nature"—to be informed in a new way. Rosen now lives in California full-time, has retired from teaching and offers drawing workshops at her 40 acre ranch several times a year. Following is a transcript from a day in one of her drawing classes at UC Berkeley. "I was driving up Highway One ... Mar 14, 1999, 44756 reads


Carlo Ferretti's Cove: Mr. Ferretti was apologetic, but yes, if I didn't mind entering a construction zone, we could meet at his home which was not so far away. He was doing some remodeling, he explained. Something about the way he spoke reminded me of an impression I'd gotten from his email notes. A kind of gentility, a degree of understatement perhaps, a manner from a different culture. Of the photos he'd sent me of his work, one stood out, a piece of public art he'd completed in the town of Albany where he lives, a small community just north of Berkeley. On the phone giving me directions, ... Oct 6, 2003, 43062 reads


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720666 views

The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 140389 views

Cotton and Silk Vorbeck quilt, detail I’m working on the last panel of a pair of ... Read More 8030 views

Say Grace I am deeply delighted to live on a planet that is so big and varied that I can ... Read More 4908 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 60403 views


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720666 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 363112 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 293594 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 188890 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 150246 views