Side By Side, A Bold Opening for Frey Norris

March 10, 2011 The New York Times/The Bay Citizen

Raman Frey and Wendi Norris, co-owners of the Frey Norris gallery — which just moved into a spectacular South of Market storefront space —are not fans of predictability.
Peek into one window of the gallery and you’ll see a large, sleek teardrop-shaped sculpture by the contemporary Egyptian artist Sherin Guirguis.
Look around the corner, however, and a 20th century Surrealist painting —Remedios Varo’s magical nightscape, “Portrait of Dr. Ignacio Chavez,” from 1957 — comes into view.

Hung in adjoining areas, the two side-by-side shows of contemporary and modern works are a bold announcement of Frey Norris’s much-anticipated arrival in the Yerba Buena Arts District.

On Stage and Afterward, Spotlight on Apple in China

February 26, 2011 The New York Times/The Bay Citizen

Mike Daisey’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” a provocative monologue that challenges Apple Computer over labor conditions in the factories in China where the iPhone and other devices are produced, ends a successful run at Berkeley Repertory Theater today.

But Mr. Daisey is only beginning a long conversation about what he called “a charged ethical dilemma that is literally in our pockets.”

From the lobby of the theater after the show to technology blogs to the Apple Computer shareholder meeting, the monologue has provoked intense debate. Leander Kahney, editor of the Cult of Mac blog, said posts about the show had received twice the normal volume of comments, most of them negative about the show. (more)

Steve Wozniak on ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs’

February 28, 2011 The Bay Citizen

THE BAY CITIZEN: I am eager to get your impression of Mike Daisey’s show at Berkeley Rep. As you know, it’s kicked up a lot of debate in the Mac community.  On Cult of Mac, editor Leander Kahney urged Mac “fanboys” to see the show.  But he also said he felt guilty using his iPhone later after hearing about the working conditions in the Foxconn factory. As co-founder of Apple, what did you think?

STEVE WOZNIAK: I will never be the same after seeing that show. I cried during it and I'm crying right now. I have a seed of concern and sorrow in my head that may never go away. So many things that were so important to me seem much less important now. (more)

Relics of Film and Paper Retain Their Grip Even in a Digital Era

November 27, 2010 The New York Times/The Bay Citizen

I recently saw some of my family’s home movies from the 1940s and 1950s for the first time.

The scenes were captured on color film, but I fired up my laptop to watch the men felling Douglas fir trees and my teenage dad skiing the slopes of Mount Hood. I got this new look at my own history because my highly organized sister had transferred the old reels onto DVDs.

If I have my sister, San Francisco has Rick Prelinger, one of the country’s premier archivists and an outspoken advocate of open access to information.

Mr. Prelinger is the founder of the Prelinger Archives, a celebrated collection of “ephemeral film” -- industrial, educational, amateur and other film and video footage.... (more)

Onstage interview with Ingrid Betancourt

On January 4, 2011 I spoke with former Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt about her six-year ordeal as a political prisoner held by the FARC guerrilla in the jungle of Columbia.   The interview was organized by the International Museum of Women in San Francisco.   You can see the whole conversation here.

Ingrid Betancourt, left, in conversation with me.

Digital Maps Don’t Always Tell the Whole Story

October 16, 2010 The New York Times/The Bay Citizen

Thanks to Google Earth and MapQuest and GPS and all the other digital mapping products, an image of where we are, or where we are headed, is always just a click away. These geographical services are so omnipresent, in fact, it would be easy to assume that there’s nothing left to map.

 But the blanket of digital geographic information doesn’t contain the whole story about the physical world we live in, nor does it necessarily offer an objective, value-neutral view. Bay Area map aficionados are pushing the boundaries of mainstream mapping conventions, and their work is both beautiful to behold and fascinating in the questions they raise about how knowledge is defined.

Rebecca Solnit, author of a new atlas of San Francisco called “Infinite City,” sees Google Maps and services like it, with their emphasis on retail outlets and driving data, as painting “a middle-class, consumer version” of a place.... (more)

Bold Ideas Inspire New Life for Magazines

September 8, 2010 The New York Times/The Bay Citizen

Media innovation in the Bay Area is not hard to come by, with the likes of Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter continually reinventing the way we produce and consume information.

Yet one of the venerable media forms that is threatened by the digital tsunami — the magazine — is experiencing something of a renaissance here, too. The New York-based glossy magazine business may be in upheaval, with bellwether Condé Nast shuttering five of its titles, but the art of editing, writing and visually crafting an editorially coherent, beautiful and engaging experience is not dead.

Some of the foment is made possible by MagCloud, a Web-based print-on-demand service from Hewlett-Packard that dramatically lowers the financial barriers to magazine publishing... (more)