Interview: Erik d'Azevedo: Culture Shock I met Erik d’Azevedo at his studio and home in west Berkeley. d’Azevedo is small in stature, intense and articulate. As usual, there is too much to say, too many connections and failed connections. Too much experience, struggle and history—over 35 years of painting. And before long, we’re going back even further, to some of the artist’s earliest memories from the age of four and five. d’Azevedo’s father was an anthropologist, a fact which has had profound effects on the artist’s life. When Erik was quite young, his father took the family to ... May 3, 2004, 42530 reads


Reflections and Reconfigurations: Conversation with Lisa Kokin Enjoying the sunset on a serene Bay Area country road in late summer while driving to interview Lisa Kokin, and pulling up the driveway of the secluded home she shares with her partner, I once again took note of how artists have a way of seeing the possibilities in things and places that others have overlooked. This was elaborated in our conversation about the many phases of her art career. Found and collected objects, the throwaways of our culture, have been the foundation of her work for many years now. After a tour in Lisa's recently built studio with many examples of her work, new ... Nov 21, 2010, 41929 reads


Karma Kitchen, A Taste of the New Counter-Culture: Richard Whittaker It was my first time at Karma Kitchen's new place, A Taste of the Himalayas, in Berkeley. I was ready for the upbeat atmosphere, the heady energy set free by a group of strangers experiencing a small holiday from business as usual. The holiday comes thanks to an unusual inversion. The key moment comes after all the courses have been served, after seconds even, after the smiles, the good cheer and all the attentiveness of the waiters. That's when the bill is presented-amount due $0.00. There's a note with this bill: your meal has been paid for by someone who came before ... Sep 8, 2011, 41615 reads


Interview with Donald Schell: Risking Song I first met Donald Schell on the mat of the dojo on Clement Street in San Francisco where we both began practicing aikido almost thirty years ago. As the years went by, I heard about his work as a rector in a local Episcopal church on Gough Street, and then about the exciting work of building St. Gregory of Nyssa, on Potrero Hill, an extraordinary  church designed to provide space for the congregation to move and dance and sing during the service,  with portraits of dancing saints of all hues and faiths—from Christ to Gandhi and Sojourner Truth—painted on a mural ... Dec 15, 2012, 40917 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, 40230 reads


Interview: Brian Rood, Avenue Books: Losing Ground, Berkeley 01/16/04 I’d heard the end was near for Avenue Books, the kind of intimate bookstore that now seems to belong the past—Brian had told me himself. It had to be a depressing event, but Rood had not lost his dry wit. I took it as a matter of character. Nothing to be gained by dragging customers into the sad story.  One evening some years ago I’d been strolling north along College Avenue toward the U.C. campus when I discovered the place. Tucked neatly in between neighborhood businesses it could easily have been missed—another feature of its charm. It didn’t ... Jan 16, 2004, 39939 reads


WHO AM I? AND FOR WHAT?: From a talk at the Toronto Institute of Noetic Sciences About James George: Although perhaps best known as a distinguished Canadian diplomat and an effective environmental and political activist, James George is first and foremost a spiritual seeker. He has been a devoted student of the Gurdjieff Work for more than fifty years and was a close disciple of the late Madame de Salzmann, one of Gurdjieff's primary students. With her encouragement, he and his wife, Carol, explored the spiritual traditions that formed the foundation for Gurdjieff's early training. While stationed in India, Sri Lanka, and the Middle East, the Georges met with ... Aug 13, 2013, 39663 reads


A Conversation with Professor Ron Howard: Waking Up Prof. Ronald Howard directs the Decisions and Ethics Center at Stanford University. He founded the field of Decision Analysis in the 60s, and has been teaching this subject for almost five decades now. In addition, he also teaches classes on voluntary social systems and ethics. His approach to each of these three subjects is often considered life-changing by those who take it.   I first met Ron as a Masters student in front of the elevator. I was a nobody, and for some reason, he stopped to say hello. We got chatting, and the next thing I knew, I was telling him my story. It had to ... Oct 17, 2013, 39509 reads


Who Makes Originals, Ever?: A Conversation with Viola Frey   I first saw a piece of Viola Frey’s work at the Oakland Museum many years ago, a large ceramic figure—maybe nine feet tall, a man in a suit. The figure leaned forward stiffly, shoulders hunched up, and wore an aggressive, threatening expression. The encounter made a lasting impression which settled somewhere in a strangely equivocal inner space.         What was the meaning of the brightly colored glaze on this menacing figure? I tried to read into the oversized, cartoonish figure some knock on the bourgeoisie, but it didn't feel ... Aug 8, 2000, 38623 reads


Interview: Milford Zornes: An Artist's Life Claremont CA Sept. 16 2005 I was in Claremont, California—a town I knew well from my college days. But now my visits were to see my mother living there in a retirement community. Having gone into town to pick up something for her, I was strolling along Yale Avenue when I noticed a sign: Claremont Fine Arts. Peeking through the window, I saw a room full of conventional landscapes and still lives. Stepping through the door, all was quiet. I found myself alone among the paintings. No one seemed to know, or care, that a customer had come in.       Below the ... Jul 11, 2008, 37771 reads


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720750 views

The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 140481 views

Cotton and Silk Vorbeck quilt, detail I’m working on the last panel of a pair of ... Read More 8083 views

Say Grace I am deeply delighted to live on a planet that is so big and varied that I can ... Read More 4989 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 60495 views


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720750 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 363193 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 293652 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 188901 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 150257 views