Crosscurrents

Melanie Young

With the start of a new school year, families all around San Francisco are sending their children off with hopes for a good year and a bright future. But according to Carolina Guzman with the nonprofit Mission Economic Development Agency, or MEDA, children in the Mission District struggle on every rung of the education ladder. She says half the children entering kindergarten aren’t prepared to learn.

Judy Silber

If you remember the early 1970s, you remember the long gas lines during the Middle East oil embargo. The crisis was a sharp reminder of U.S. dependency on foreign oil. Soon after, the government began investing in alternative energy.

California entrepreneurs saw potential in the gusty winds that blew out at the Altamont Pass, between the Central Valley and Bay Area. By the mid-’80s, the Altamont was the country’s biggest wind farm. To many, the turbines were more than a new technology. They were symbols of hope, a sign of progress and a world that no longer relied on fossil fuels.

Elizabeth Young

So what? I’m a little obsessed with pigeons. I’m not sure when it started exactly, but at some point I realized I couldn’t keep my eyes off of them.

I take photos of them whenever I get the chance: making patterns in the sky as they play in the wind; huddling on telephone lines; bathing in the dirty water that pools on the side of the road. I think it’s fascinating to see how they survive alongside us, in all of our filthy urban glory.

Under CC license from Flickr user Scott Beale.

The Bay Area is constantly evolving. We've gone from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley; shifted from boom to bust, and back again. It can feel a little bit like déjà vu. Back in 2000, just before the dot-com bubble burst, unemployment in San Francisco was at an all-time low of 3 percent. It’s nearing that again – approaching what economists call "full employment," meaning, statistically anyway, there are jobs for everyone who wants one.

Flickr user Eugene Kim

The latest news of possible problems on the new Bay Bridge? Steel rods anchoring the 6.5 billion dollar span have shifted and might threaten its stability in the case of an earthquake.

This is just the most recent in a laundry list of problems on the bridge. In recent months, Caltrans has come under fire for faulty welds, failed rods, and leaky decks. Jaxon Van Derbeken, an award-winning reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, has reported extensively on the Bay Bridge. He sat down with KALW’s Ben Trefny.

Isabel Angell

Four people have been killed by cars on Van Ness Avenue in 2014 – more than half of the pedestrian deaths in San Francisco this year.

One ran into traffic after an argument. Another was a hit and run. One didn’t appear to use a crosswalk. Stories like that seem to support the idea that pedestrians are often to blame. But in San Francisco, motorists are at fault in almost two-thirds of pedestrian collisions.

Nicole Schneider is the director of the pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco.

A musician, going deaf, fights for a life in music

Jul 21, 2014
Rachel Wong

 

 

From the moment Sandy Mix wakes up in the morning, she is thinking about music. Over coffee, she plans the day’s lessons.

“I can’t believe how lucky I am, because everybody wants to do the thing that they love, and hardly anybody gets to do it,” she says.

 

Oliver Jacobson started playing violin when he was six years old. At 18, he enrolled at Berklee College of Music, one of the top music schools in the country. Back then, he wanted to be a star. But he had a sense he might be able to use his talent for something more.

“I was in the practice rooms for four hours a day,” he says, “trying to be the best jazz violinist I could be, and just feeling kind of hollow in that.”

Chinatown Tenants Gather Strength

Jul 15, 2014
Melanie Young

Tenants are facing a tough time in San Francisco. The city has some of the nation’s highest rents and laws like the Ellis Act have made evictions front page news. But there are pockets of affordability, like in Chinatown, where the average rent is one third as much as in other neighborhoods.  

But the neighborhood is also one of the country’s most overcrowded and tenants claim that landlords violate health and safety codes.

Courtesy of Grant Avenue Follies

From the 1940s until the 1960s, San Francisco’s Chinatown was home to a thriving Chinese American nightclub scene. The clubs had names like Forbidden City, the Chinese Skyroom, and the Shanghai Low. They had showgirls, ballroom duos, comedians, jazz singers, and magic acts -- all featuring Asian-American entertainers. These clubs had wide appeal: celebrities like Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, and Lauren Bacall were all spotted over the years, along with tourists, businessmen and locals.

Crosscurrents: June 25, 2014

Jun 25, 2014

Raising children with psychological disabilities, a San Quentin Prison report on giving care to disabled prisoners, and a jazz perspective on Jason Moran.

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The San Francisco Shipyard: Undoing the toxic legacy

Jun 12, 2014
Luiza Leite

Marie Harrison is very familiar with the health issues in Bayview Hunters Point.

"I've lived and raised children in Bayview for almost 50 something years, and honestly for as long as I can remember there have always been complaints. Because no one really understood the relationship between their illnesses and where they lived," Harrison says.

The San Francisco Shipyard: Who gets the jobs?

Jun 11, 2014

Freddy Carter is working on block 51. This is one of the first buildings in the reinvention of the historic Hunters Point Shipyard that will come on the market.

Under CC license from Flickr user Chris D 2006

Linda Richardson is sitting in her car just outside a huge, fenced off, construction zone. This is where Lennar Urban is slowly building a new development at the site of the abandoned Navy shipyard. 12,000 homes by 2021. Richardson, a long time resident and community activist, wants to show me who will be most affected by the redevelopment.

Ira Glass spends an hour with KALW News Director Holly Kernan geeking out about radio, with stories about the early days of radio, Radio Havana in the Mission, and the first bi-lingual radio program.  Today at 5pm.

Flickr Commons

Can you name California’s State Song? Are you even aware that California has a State Song? Well, it does, and it used to be sung widely at special events, such as the Inauguration of the Governor. If you know anyone who went to school in the Golden State before the 1960s, they can probably still sing part of it, because classes started each day with students reciting the Pledge to the Flag, along with the song, “I Love You California.”

Written on the Dock of the Bay is your weekly guide to literary and bookish happenings in the pleasantly literary and bookish Bay Area.

BAY AREA BOOK WORLD BREAKING NEWS

Written on the Dock of the Bay: May 25, 2013

May 25, 2013

Written on the Dock of the Bay is your weekly guide to literary and bookish happenings in the pleasantly literary and bookish Bay Area.

Saturday, May 25

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters is having its 38th annual conference right here in San Francisco May 29th through June 1st.  KALW will be well-represented on the opening afternoon for a special session called “recipe for good listening.”  Among the panel participants: KALW’s Martina Castro, co-founder and senior producer of Radio Ambulante, the spanish-language podcast that features compelling, sound-rich radio stories from everywhere Spanish is spoken.  Details at nfcb.org.

Women learn the art of a knock out

Apr 25, 2013
Impact Bay Area's website.

One Sunday afternoon at a fitness center in San Jose, a chorus of yelling and cheering can be heard: “Leave me alone. I don’t know this man. This man in the blue shirt is bothering me. Go away.”

It sounds like someone is being seriously threatened but instead it’s eight women demonstrating what they’ve learned after 22 hours of self defense training with Impact Bay Area, at the Morning Crane Healing Arts and Fitness Center.

KALW's Nancy Mullane spent the last year touring the most secure prisons in California, including death row at San Quentin, the Protective Housing Unit at Corcoran, and Pelican Bay State Prison. 

She sat down with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) deputy secretary Terry Thornton to discuss why these stories aren’t told more often.

Today's local music: Slim Jenkins

Apr 22, 2013
Slim Jenkins promo photo

If you’re looking for old-style Voodoo Blues and swing, look no further than Slim Jenkins.

The group is part of this spring’s “Swing in the Square” dance and concert series. They play a free show on Wednesday 24, April, at San Francisco’s Union Square.

Dance lessons are at 7pm, with Slim Jenkins taking the stage at 8pm.

According to Slim Jenkins' website, the band is a celebration of great American roots music.

Golden Gate Toll Booth

Apr 18, 2013

Bikes are a common sight around San Francisco, and one of the most celebrated city experiences is biking across the Golden Gate. If you do that on a regular basis, you’ve surely noticed that there are no more toll collecting officers on the Bridge. Earlier this month, we spoke with Jacquie Dean who worked for 18 years in a Golden Gate Bride Toll Booth. After airing her story, we asked what listeners thought about the new toll system.

Today’s Local Music: Los Trovadores

Apr 18, 2013

That voice? It belongs to Fito Reinoso. He’s the singer for a new Bay Area group that performs Cuban Son, Danzon and Boleros. They call themselves Los Trovadores, and they’re playing acoustic dance music on Earth Day this Saturday, April 20, at Rhythmix Cultural Works on Blanding Avenue in Alameda. The music begins at 8:00pm.

Proposed museum would shine light on New Deal

Apr 17, 2013
Works Progress Administration

In the coming months, San Francisco’s grand Presidio park will announce a new tenant. The space up for grabs is the commissary building on Crissy Field, currently occupied by Sports Basement. And while George Lucas’ proposal for a museum of illustration has gotten the most press, there were 15 others, including a plan for a global observatory, a center dedicated to play, and a National New Deal Museum.

Today's local music: Rupa & The April Fishes

Apr 1, 2013
www.theaprilfishes.com

A worldly ban with a worldly sound, is Crosscurrents' band for Monday April 1. 

San Francisco-based band Rupa and the April Fishes is a collaboration of Aaron Kierbel and Safa Shokrai, Misha Khalikulov, Mario Alberto Silva, and is headed by Rupa.

Summoning ghosts at the Oakland Museum

Mar 14, 2013
Photo by Frederic Larson, courtesy Port of Oakland

If you’ve traveled out of Oakland airport, you’ve probably seen a beautiful piece of artwork – graceful, long-legged cranes painted on the windows in Terminal 2. It’s called “Going Away, Coming Home.” It’s a piece about being of and from two places at once, about the in-between existence we inhabit in transit. By looking at it, you’d probably never imagine that the artist once risked her life to make paintings like this.

Access to legal counsel proves challenging for immigrants

Mar 12, 2013

You would never notice it if you were walking by, because there are no signs, but San Francisco's immigration court is on the eighth and ninth floors of a nondescript office building here on Montgomery Street in the city's financial district. Immigrants can get a notice to appear here if they are facing deportation or applying for asylum. The people outside are here without lawyers. When I asked a man if he had a lawyer, he told me he wasn't sure if they'd let him see a judge or not.

Sarah Cahill is considered one of the architects and champions of the new music scene in the Bay Area. She founded the annual Garden of Memory concert at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, which is one of the many ways she tries to make contemporary music more accessible to a wider audience. She also does that Sunday nights on her radio show Then and Now on KALW on Sundays at 8pm. Cahill spoke with KALW's Martina Castro and played some songs for her, as she described why she ended up leaving the more formal classical world, for the freedom of the experimental genre.

Today we're featuring the Bay Area band Hot Einstein. They claim to be old and new, at the same time. That’s partly because some band members have known each other a long time, while others are new. You can ask who’s who if you show up at Disco Volante in Oakland on Saturday, March 23. Hot Einstein plays there the third Saturday of each month. Music starts at 9pm.

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