Peter Dobey

Alva Noë  is a professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley with a background in cognitive and brain science, so it makes sense that he writes about the nature of consciousness and human experience.

Philosophy Talk asks about Dance as a way of knowing

Oct 2, 2015

Is dance a form of perception? Is perception a form of dance?

When you walk around town, you’re sure to see large posters pasted to construction sites and the sides of buildings. Many are advertisements for movies, records, or cars. Occasionally, you’ll see a poster that isn’t selling anything: It may be there to rally people for a demonstration or make a point about affordable health care. But no matter what the intentions of the poster are, these pieces of public art draw mixed reviews from political artists, store-owners, and city workers. 

The Art & Queerness of Burning Man

Aug 20, 2015

Why do tens of thousands of people trek to a temporary camp city in a remote Nevada desert every August? Is Burning Man worth the heat and dust storms? What's queer about it? On Thursday's Out in the Bay (7pm PDT 8/20) Eric Jansen's guests are Jennifer Raiser and Sidney Erthal, writer and photographer, respectively, of the book Burning Man: Art on Fire; and Foxy, past mayor of Camp Beaverton, the main lesbian camp in Burning Man's "gayborhood." (This interview first broadcast Aug. 14, 2014)

Poet laureates reign across the country, representing different cities and states like kings and queens of the written word. Often, they’re college professors with knee-deep resumes. Not so in Oakland, where being a professor would actually disqualify you: Oakland’s poet laureate has always been a high school student. 



LGBTQ rights made huge strides recently with the supreme court’s historic decision on same-sex marriage. But an ongoing situation in San Francisco’s Mission District shows that there’s still pushback, even in the most liberal of cities.


Ask artist Favianna Rodriguez to describe the food she grew up eating in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, and her response is akin to poetry.

“It’s two tortillas,” she says. “They’re soaked in a little bit of grease ... you have some carne asada and you just bite into them and you can taste the simplicity of a good taco.”

Colin Peden

Punk rock started as a kind of music for people who didn’t fit in. San Francisco, a city that has long been a place for outsiders to make their own communities, was one of the centers of this movement.

San Francisco was also on the forefront when it came to women joining the punk scene.  Enter Penelope Houston. In 1976, she and some friends started one of the most influential San Francisco punk bands ever—The Avengers.

San Francisco native and graphic journalist Wendy MacNaughton set out to uncover the city's hidden stories in her book, Meanwhile in San Francisco. It’s a collection of drawn portraits of San Francisco residents and their favorite hangouts, including written observations from interviews. 

Provincetown Tourism Office


How did Provincetown, Massachusetts, get to be so "gay, gay, gay," as the Provincetown Business Guild puts it? Let the locals fill you in! 7pm Thursday, hear from the lounge pianist who's been there 50 years, The Fabulous Dyketones founder, the activist-artist who made a dress out of tampon applicators, the town clerk who married 200 couples in one day, and more. You'll hear about Portuguese sailors and innkeepers, fine art history, sand-filled cars, mass same-sex weddings in 2004, the dunes, "the dick dock" and more on this documentary-style romp with Out in the Bay host Eric Jansen, edited by Nora Elmeligy, through what is probably the gayest little city in the world - at least per capita! Airs 7pm Thursday April 16, 2015. 

StoryCorps: Two artists fall in love

Apr 2, 2015

Jena McRae, a dancer with the Embodiment Project, first met David "Dublin" Schwirtz, a vocalist with the Shotgun Wedding Quintet, during a rehearsal at the Treat Street Social Club. They sat down with StoryCorps and shared a few highlights of how their relationship evolved over time, into love.

Daily news roundup for Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Apr 2, 2015
Daniel Mondragón / Mission Local

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

California Drought: Governor Orders First-Ever Water Restrictions // SFist 

Todd Whitney

If you have walked the streets of the Bay Area recently -- you might have seen posters featuring the names and faces of Oscar Grant, Renisha McBride, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, among others. 

They are plastered across building walls, store windows, and telephone polls by their creator, Oakland based artist Oree Originol. The simple black and white posters are meant to honor the lives of unarmed black and brown people who have who have been killed.




On the December 9th, 2014 edition of Your Call, we're discussing creative responses to displacement. Median rent in San Francisco is over $3,000 a month. The city is now one of the most unequal urban areas in the country. Many long-term renters have been evicted. From 2000 to 2010, San Francisco’s black population dropped by 19 percent. What place does art have in the fight against gentrification? It's Your Call, with Rose Aguilar, and you.


Unlike apartments, businesses and non-profits in San Francisco don’t have rent protection. This year more than 4,000 businesses will be forced to close or relocate in the city.

Sukey Lewis

We all throw stuff away—about four and a half pounds of garbage a day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

We’ve gotten used to hearing the three commandments of waste management: recycle, reduce, and reuse. But recently, the term “up-cycle” has come into vogue. That’s the idea that you can take waste materials and turn them into something valuable and even beautiful.

Mosaic artist Daud Abdullah up-cycles pieces of trashed pottery, tile, mirror, and glass to make public art on garbage cans in Oakland and Richmond.

This story is set to the music of Bay Area shakuhachi player Masayuki Koga, who runs the Japanese Music Institute of America. It’s from an album called Eastwind. All poetry in this piece can be found in the book Tamalpais Walking, by Tom Killion and Gary Snyder.

Remixing Reality on Philosophy Talk

Aug 16, 2014

For decades, literary critics have been questioning the relevance of the novel as a literary form, with some going so far as to declare its death. But if the novel is dead, it’s not clear what new form can take its place. Should we treat the popularity of the memoir as a sign that what readers want is more truth, less fiction? Or is the memoir, like ‘reality TV,’ mostly just fiction dressed up as fact? In these fragmented times, when everything has already been said or done before, can there be any truly original innovations in art and literature?

Rhian Miller

I’m sitting at a table with Walter Kresnik and Quintin Rodriguez. They’re bent over big sheets of paper with pencils and markers and paint, drawing hearts.




On the July 24th, 2014 edition of Your Call, we'll talk about a recent report that found that 76 percent of public grant money in San Francisco goes towards arts programs with primarily white audiences, even as people of color make up over half of the city's population. What’s the right way to decide who gets public money for the arts? Do the criteria need to change to ensure that the broadest public is served? It's Your Call, with Hana Baba, and you.


Philosophy Talk asks: Is it Art... or mere Obscenity?

Jun 12, 2014

What do Marcel Duchamp, Damien Hirst, and Andres Serrano have in common? They’ve all created modern works of art that have shocked and outraged the general public, causing many to question whether these works have any artistic value at all. But isn’t it the purpose of art to incite inquiry and question conventional moral wisdom? If so, then a strong public reaction would seem to prove the artistic merit of these works. So, is there a clear line to be drawn between genuine art and mere obscenity? Or has shock value simply replaced cultural value in the world of contemporary art?


Giant Robot at OCMA

It used to be that the terms “nerdy” and “cool” were at opposite ends of a spectrum. Collecting comics was for losers, listening to punk rock was for cool kids. But these days, there’s a kind of intersection of hipness and geekiness-- from the high-tech devices in our pockets to the sci-fi and comic-inspired entertainment we consume, “cool nerd” culture is really having its day. But back in the mid-90s, there was a magazine that was already bridging that gap: Giant Robot, which brought together video games, collecting, music, and art with a uniquely Asian American perspective.

Youth Radio: Ballet is a sport too

Apr 30, 2014

From our partners at Youth Radio.

Philosophy Talk is back at The Marsh Theater in Berkeley on Sunday April 13 for the next two live recordings in our 2013-14 season.

Academy of Art, SF

Sophia Sattar was born in Karachi, Pakistan to an Indian mother and Pakistani father who were both doctors, and she loved to paint. But, living in a world where you were groomed from childhood to become a doctor or an engineer, being an artist was out of the question.

In 2002, Oakland Mayor, now governor, Jerry Brown started Oakland School for the Arts (OSA) with the hope that students would have an outlet to express themselves through art forms like dance, theater, and visual illustrations.

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling experimental. My arms and ears are open to what the universe has to offer, and luckily this weekend, the Bay Area is brimming with new options: from sounds by young producers, to a vast selection of fresh tastes on the world's most popular, brewed beverage. Let's go adventuring this Arts/Culture/Weekend!

Tim Anderson, Bay Area DIY superhero

Nov 19, 2012

There’s a sprawling industrial park on the waterfront in Alameda that once was a Navy air base. What had been the base's air traffic control tower was taken over by a gaggle of MIT engineers working on a variety of high-tech projects. One is an airborne wind turbine, being developed by a company called Makani Power. Tim Anderson refers to himself as Makani's pro bono night watchman. He feels strongly America needs to get off petroleum, and he has other ideas about other changes this country should make.

Lorenzo Bynum has the “baller" build you might see on the cover of GQ, without the swagger. He’s clean-cut, 5’10”, wears two small earrings and has a muscular frame. It’s a Wednesday afternoon in Marin City, and the 23-year-old is digging frantically through a 10’ by 10’ closet. He’s hunting for a parachute large enough for a game with 15 third graders.

Wednesdays are busy days for Bynum. He clocks in at three part-time jobs: two hours directing elementary school children, two hours coaching track and field, and two hours coaching middle school boys basketball.