Category Archives: Community

The Call to Climate Action

The science is in: climate change puts our entire civilization at risk, and scientists warn us that we only have 12 years to avoid a global catastrophe. Global warming has become the defining issue of our times, and it’s up to all of us to solve it.

And yet it seems most of us are still in a state of denial and are not doing enough to fight this climate crisis. A majority of Americans now think global warming is happening, but only 40% think that their own lives will be harmed by climate change, according to a recent Yale study.

Our main challenge is psychological: we are irrational creatures, swayed by our emotions, we don’t care much for facts, and our cognitive biases discount this urgent threat. Because we don’t feel the effects of global warming in our own lives, we assume it won’t happen to us and we don’t make the radical changes needed to turn this crisis around.

How can we help people overcome this psychological challenge and take climate action? Can creativity, playfulness and human connection make a difference?

Throughout 2018, I tried to answer those questions by organizing or participating in a series of art and activism events about climate change.

Here are a few that inspired me, because of the creative ways in which they engaged people to take climate action.

Earth Day 2018

I started this quest by co-producing Earth Day 2018 in Mill Valley last spring, hosting an afternoon of art, music and talks about protecting our environment, with hundreds of participants of all ages. Our community celebration featured the Art Float for Social Change, young singers like Emma Spike and the Twinkling Stars, musician Reed Fromer, informative speakers like Mark Squire and Crystal Chissel, young activists from the Marin School of Environmental Leadership, and environmental partners like Drawdown Marin and Sustainable San Rafael, to name but a few.

People told us they really enjoyed this event, its creative energy, and the combination of entertainment, information and community. Survey responses show they liked the art, music and meeting people the most, and also liked the partner tables and speakers. The majority of participants thought the event helped build a community of activists, promoted environmental causes, welcomed young people as citizens and helped each of us take action.

So this mix of art, information and personal connections seems really effective for stimulating personal and collective climate action. Kudos to our lead partners Eco Warriors of MVCAN, Good EarthTam Makers and Tamalpais High School for making this wonderful event possible!

Later in the year, I joined a number of other climate events that also broke new ground, each taking a slightly different stab at combining creativity, community and activism. Here are some of my observations, photos and videos of these promising innovations.

Art and Activism at the Climate March

Climate action took center stage in the Bay Area this September, as tens of thousands of people joined the inspiring Rise for Climate March in San Francisco, to coincide with California Governor Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit and thousands of affiliate events.

All around San Francisco’s City Hall, climate activists created some of the largest street murals ever made, covering five blocks of city streets with dozens of colorful scenes illustrating possible solutions to global warming and inspiring us to fight for climate justice.

Each mural was designed by a different community group, and painted on the ground in large 35-feet wide circles, with washable tempera paint. For example, the Sierra Club’s mural invited us to “Keep close to Nature’s heart”, while the UC Berkeley student mural asked that we bring on the light (“Fiat Lux”). See more mural photos in my Art and Climate Action album.

Everyone was welcome to join and it was a sight to behold. Participants ranged from veteran environmentalists to young activists, with very diverse backgrounds, coming together from all across California and beyond.

This wonderful blend of art, music and activism brought us closer together and engaged us to challenge our leaders to cut back on fossil fuels. Kudos to art director David Solnit and his team at  350.org for guiding the creation of these murals and many of the signs for this march — inspiring a diverse community of citizens of all ages by showing them how to make climate art.

Coal + Ice

A stimulating combination of art, science and politics took place at Coal + Ice, an amazing multimedia installation and event festival, held in September 2018 at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco.

Curated by Susan Meiselas and Jeroen de Vries, this large-scale exhibit visually traces the trajectory of climate change — from coal mines and the burning of fossil fuels to the melting Himalayan glaciers, rising sea level and extreme weather events — showing the costs of climate change through immersive images, videos and thought‐provoking events.

Coal + Ice featured the work of over 40 photographers and video artists, such as Gideon Mendel, who took moving photos of flood survivors in their homes, waist deep in water (see photo above). His “Drowning World” collection of submerged portraits explores the personal impact of climate change within a global context.

Clifford Ross’s monumental “Digital Wave 9” featured dramatic, computer-generated videos inspired by hurricane waves, displayed on two 18 x 18 foot LED walls. This pioneering artwork was mesmerizing and offered a powerful visual reflection on the impact of global warming (see video).

The Solutions Zone (shown above) displayed interactive exhibits about solving climate change, created by our friend Nancy Hechinger and the Humans Of Tomorrow design team at NYU ITP. Solutions on display included an algae globe that lights up when you breathe your CO2 into it, as well as solar silk and a playful waste recycling activity, all spread out in a bright room filled with natural light, plants, and optimism. View more photos and videos of our visit in my Coal + Ice album.

This amazing space was also used to host a wide range of events, including seminars, panels, symphony and opera. One event was an fascinating talk about Art, Activism, Activation on Wed. Sep. 5th, featuring conversations with artists and activists from #Dysturb, Magnum Foundation, and CultureStrike, discussing how art and culture can engage people to take climate action by reaching their hearts, not just their minds.

Another stimulating talk was the Long Conversation on September 9, featuring some really interesting speakers, such as Stewart Brand, Orville H. Schell, Peter Schwartz, Alexander Rose, Paul Hawken and many more leaders from the arts and sciences, discussing what our world may look like thousands of years from now.

Together, these Coal+Ice exhibits and events offered a stunning call for climate action, aiming to amplify the conversation about climate change, masterfully organized by the Asia Society. This visionary, multi-disciplinary production broke new ground in many ways, by touching our hearts and our minds to help us understand the scope of the problem and do something about it.

Youth-led Town Hall for Climate Action

Young activists from Generation Our Climate hosted an inspiring Town Hall for Climate Action in September 2018. They spoke passionately about the current state of our climate and the need for more environmental activism and education. I found them more effective in engaging us to take action than many adult speakers I have heard on this topic.

Watch this video of their full presentations, which I shot and edited so they could share their work with others — as well as develop their presentation skills.

These high school students have testified in front of state, county and city governments, urging them to adopt renewable energy policies and help consumers switch away from fossil fuels. Our own Mill Valley Mayor Stephanie Moulton-Peters has even asked them to consult on our city’s climate action plan.

Speakers included Nick Morgenstein, Milo Wetherall, Mimi Lawrence, Luci Paczkowski and Caroline Schurz, who study in different high schools in Marin — from San Domenico to Tam High and Branson. They were drawn together by shared concerns about climate change and a deep sense of responsibility for addressing this critical issue. Consider making a donation to support their work.

Their free town hall took place at the Mill Valley Community Center on Tuesday, Sep. 4, at 6pm, attracting a diverse group of citizens of all ages. View more photos in our ‘Generation Our Climate’ album, which also include pictures of their protest at the Climate March (see below).

Kudos to their mentors Daniel Heagerty and Donna Rogers Lawrence for coaching them, with multimedia support from yours truly. I volunteer for these young leaders because of their commitment to curb climate change, and to take responsibility for our world.

I think young activists can play a very important role in engaging people to take climate action. They usually speak from the heart about protecting their future, and can be quite effective in getting governments to support good environmental policies. They can also inspire other young people to join our cause — and nudge their own parents to change their ways. 🙂

Resilient Neighborhoods

Recently, I joined the wonderful climate action workshops led by Tamra Peters and her team at  Resilient Neighborhoods in Marin County. I am really impressed by this unique program, which supports both individual and collective climate action, combining behavior change, practical information and team interaction in a playful way.

Their free workshops work a bit like Weight Watchers, helping people reduce their household’s carbon footprint by gradually changing their consumption habits and tracking their progress. And they add a creative twist: workshop participants get to work as a team, scoring points together, based on their combined reductions of CO2 emissions. Each workshop team picks a fun name like “Creekside De-Carbonators” (our team’s name), or “Gerstle Park Carbonnaughts” (Tamra’s team, see photo above). Teams from different workshops compete informally with each other for bragging rights about who reduced the most carbon and scored the most resilience points.

But the real winner is the public: altogether, over a thousand people have reduced over 6 million pounds of annual CO2 emissions in Marin.​ That’s enough to keep an acre of Arctic Sea ice from melting every year — or taking over 800 homes off the grid permanently!

Besides offering a very creative and effective on-ramp for people to take climate action, they now have a large group of trained activists who can coach others to do the same in our area. I hope we can help them scale this invaluable program, so more people can benefit from it.

In December, Tamra and her husband Bill Carney hosted a fun holiday party with community members in their lovely home (see above). We celebrated all their achievements with a wonderful group of environmentalists and activists, who are working hard to help solve climate change in our area. See more party photos in our Resilient Neighborhoods album.

The party also featured sing-alongs with the Freedom Singers, a political singing group led by my climate mentor Marilyn Price, with Greg Brockbank and Wayne Lechner. We joined our voices together to sing classic tunes for a better world, as well as original songs like ‘One Small Planet’ by Dave Fromer. This fun activity is another example of how art and music can engage people to take action, as you can see in these videos of other Freedom Singers performances, and in the Earth Day photo below.

Insights

After reviewing all these promising approaches to help people take climate action, I’ve observed a common thread that could be helpful to other groups seeking to fight global warming.

It seems that experiences that bring people together and engage them through creative, playful and rewarding activities can be more effective than the negative messaging of some ‘calvinist’ environmental organizations, who sometimes scare people with too many doom-and-gloom warnings, overwhelm them with too much information, or shame them with stern moral imperatives.  

I think this negative messaging is one of the reasons that the environmental movement is having a hard time getting their point across, even if it’s factual, well-reasoned and clearly urgent. The typical disengaged citizen is likely to tune out and recoil in horror as soon as they hear about apocalyptic news or if they feel they are being forced to make personal sacrifices.

As a rule, human beings respond better to positive messages that make us feel good about improving our lives — rather than negative messages that make us feel threatened and overwhelmed by global warming. Most people want something positive to look forward to, like feeling appreciated, saving money, getting a job, or just doing something fun with others. When we see the positive benefits of climate action, we are more likely to do something about it.

So I propose these general guidelines for future community engagement programs. In today’s society, it’s better to use a carrot than a stick, and to reach people’s hearts, not just their minds. Solutions that make it easy for people to connect with each other through creative and community interactions are likely to get a lot more people to act, especially if we give them some form of reward when they do. More on this later. Onwards!

Best of 2018 at Tam Makers

2018 was an exceptionally fun and busy year for Tam Makers, the community makerspace which Geo Monley and I co-founded a couple years ago!

We welcomed new teachers, including our first student teacher. We created an award-winning art float for social change with over a hundred volunteers. We started a teen maker club and other activities for high school students. Our community members amazed us with cool new projects.

Here are just a few highlights of what happened this year at Tam Makers, with photos and shout-outs to community members who made them happen. If you live in the Bay Area and would like to join the fun, sign up for our new classes and workshops for adults and teens in 2019.

We’d like to thank all of our community members who made Tam Makers so special this past year! Your energy keeps our shop alive with activity and it brings us great joy to work and play with all of you. Happy New Year!

January 2018 – New Teachers and Classes

Several of our community makers took on new roles as regular instructors at Tam Makers. Furniture maker Pierina Dell’Avo led our You Can Build It workshops. Creative director Chris Krueger taught CNC Router classes at Tam Makers and made many improvements to our makerspace this year.

To learn more about our teachers, visit our Community page — or just sign up for their classes.

February 2018 – Community Table and Benches

A group of volunteers organized by Julia Dorn built this picnic table and benches, and set them up by Tam High School’s music building. This was just one of the community projects that took place at Tam Makers this year. See photos of our latest projects in our Tam Makers album.

March 2018 – Creating an Art Float for Social Change

In spring 2018, we created an Art Float for Social Change, to inspire people to participate in democracy. This community art project was built by a team of over a hundred volunteers, led by Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley at Tam Makers. We are grateful to them all — and to Tam High School for hosting this project and presenting it at the student center on Earth Day. To see how we created this float, view our project slides and photo album, as well as this Independent Journal article.

April 2018 – New Shop Tools

This spring, the Tam shop acquired new equipment for machining metal and plastic. Students used these Sherline milling machines and lathes to make a variety of parts, such as marble mazes and these handmade joints for our Art Float. See more photos in our Tam Makers album.


May 2018 – Art Float at Memorial Day Parade

The Art Float for Social Change made its debut at the Memorial Day Parade in Mill Valley. Our unique parade float featured Mother Earth and a circle of waving hands, spinning on a carousel of art pulled by a giant feathered serpent. Dozens of volunteers marched with us and our partners at Good Earth, MVCAN, Pataphysical Studios and the Youth Poster Contest. We received the Best Community Spirit Award for this collective art project, which invited people to vote and create a better world! To see the Art Float in action, watch this video and event photos.

June 2018 – New Student Projects

Tam High students created a variety of cool projects this year at Tam Makers, under the guidance of Geo Monley. Rebecca designed a beautiful bowl on Adobe Illustrator and cut it out on the laser cutter. Will designed and built this practical desk out of incense cedar and epoxy resin. To learn how to create projects like these, sign up for one of our classes for adults and teens.

July 2018 – Art Float on Fourth of July

People loved our Art Float at the Fourth of July Parade! We strolled down the streets of Larkspur and Corte Madera, showing off our giant earth and dragon of change to inspire thousands of spectators. Tam High student Emma Spike and the Freedom Singers performed classic protest songs on our float podium. Folks sang along, cheered us and responded to our call to “vote, speak up — and be the change!” See more parade pictures in this Art Float media page and in this photo album.


August 2018 – Planning Our Next Steps

To plan our next steps for Tam Makers, our core team held a retrospective this summer, with Chris Krueger, Fabrice Florin, Geo Monley and Meryl Rubinstein (shown from left to right on the photo above). They are holding the First Prize trophy we won for our Art Float at this year’s Fourth of July Parade in Corte Madera.


September 2018 – Our First Student Teacher

Tam High student Niles Wertz became our first teenage instructor this fall, with his ‘Introduction to Wood Turning’ class. An experienced wood turner, he showed adults how to make objects such as wooden pens, mallets, candlesticks, spinning tops, and bowls. He sells his own creations at local arts and craft shows, such as the Mill Valley Fall Arts show, where the photo above was taken.

October 2018 – Teen Maker Club

This fall, we started the Teen Maker Club, a new weekly afternoon workshop for students ages 12 – 17. As a result, many young makers have started to use the shop to create their own projects after school. They get to learn laser cutting, 3D printing, electronics, robotics, woodworking and more in activities supervised by Tam Makers director Geo Monley.

November 2018 – Automata Workshop

Last November, we led a fun workshop on how to create automata — or kinetic sculptures. Geo Monley hosted a group of North Bay Maker Educators, who learned how to make their automata move round-and-round, side-to-side or up-and-down. They designed their own animatronics, such as this animated cat, using bamboo sticks attached to foam cams, sliding through 3D-printed guides in their wooden boxes. We hope Marin students will enjoy creating their own automata as much as their teachers did! See also our short video, photos and lesson plan.


December 2018 – Meet our Community

Meet some of the folks who make our Tam Makers community so special! The week before Christmas, a few of the regulars joined open shop sessions to build projects that made us happy. For us, the best holiday gift of all was the act of creation, in the company of like minds.

We’re a community of makers and artists who like to build things together and learn from each other. To meet some of our makers, visit our community page. To learn about our activities, visit our classes page. And to stay in touch, sign up for our newsletter.

Happy New Year from all of us at Tam Makers!

This page was created by Fabrice Florin and originally published here on the Tam Makers site.

Getting Out The Vote in Modesto

Democrat Josh Harder ran for U.S. Congress in California’s 10th District in the 2018 midterm elections. I supported this amazing progressive leader by donating, phone banking and canvassing for him all the way up to Election Day.

Thousands of volunteers came together in Modesto, California to get out the vote for Democratic candidate Josh Harder on the last weekend before the 2018 midterm election. Josh Harder ran for a U.S. House seat in California’s 10th District and is one of the young democratic leaders who show real promise for fighting the conservative regime that is harming the Central Valley and our country. 

Josh greeted us with a rousing speech, shown in the video below.

Watch this short video of Democratic candidate Josh Harder, who spoke to a thousand volunteers at his campaign field office in Modesto.

It was great to hear Josh tell us about his progressive platform: Medicare for all, investments in jobs and public schools, fair and humane immigration reform, and clean water in the Central Valley. Learn more about his priorities

Josh Harder greeted us in person and made us feel welcome in his campaign, getting us all fired up to get out the vote for democracy in the Central Valley.  

I have met Josh a couple times over the past few months and think he’s a true democrat, who will work for the people, not for big business — unlike his opponent, Republican Jeff Denham. He reminds me of his mentor, Barack Obama: he’s honest, kind, a good listener, and demonstrates a deep understanding of the issues, as well as great problem-solving and communication skills.

My canvassing partners Karen and Arlene came from different parts of the Bay Area to get out the vote and help win another house seat in this swing district.See more photos.

This was also a great opportunity to connect with many old and new friends, who drove hundreds of miles to help this exceptional candidate. Together, we canvassed all over Modesto and its suburbs, knocking on over hundreds of thousands of doors in just a few days, breaking new records for civic engagement in this sleepy Central Valley farming community.

We walked through diverse Modesto suburbs for several days, knocking on hundreds of doors to ask folks if they needed help voting in this critical election.

In the process, we met with many voters from over a dozen different ethnic groups. Most of the folks we talked to said they had already voted for Josh or were about to take the whole family to the polls, to vote for the full Democratic ticket. 

A Modesto voter signs her ballot, so we can take it to the polls for her.

Many people we spoke to were fired up to vote Republicans out of office, and particularly concerned about the GOP’s attacks on health care. Three of them gave us their ballots, so we could take them to the polls for them.

We knocked on over a hundred doors on the last day before the election, with my friends Howard Rheingold and Susan Barbour.

On the last day, we knocked on a hundred more doors in Ceres, getting out the vote for Josh in our VoteMobile (shown below).  

Our VoteMobile and our fearless canvassing crew, with Howard Rheingold and Susan Barbour. 

This whole experience made us feel hopeful about democracy— a fragile social contract they needs to be actively fed by connecting with voters as we just did. We hope that together we can help win back the House in CA-10, and regain control of a U.S. Congress that has lost its moral sense under Republican rule.

Activism helps build community and is good for the soul. 

This outreach gave us a chance to connect with voters outside of our bubble, as well as get more involved in community action — first through phone banking with our friends at Democracy Action Marin, and then canvassing with the help of partners like MVCAN and Swing Left. We’re very grateful to them all.

California’s 10th congressional district election was an important 2018 midterm race for the U.S. House of Representatives for a number of reasons: 1) this race was identified as a key battleground for democratic control of the U.S. House in the 116th Congress (Source: Ballotpedia); 2) it triggered an unprecedented level of civic engagement, with tens of thousands of Bay Area and local volunteers phone banking or canvassing for Josh Harder, in part because California 10 is the swing district closest to San Francisco (Sources: New York Times, SwingLeft); 3) Josh Harder represents a new model for candidates from the business world — smart, early-in-their-career moderates who are willing to give up making big money to run for office (Source: Recode).

UPDATE 1: As of Friday, Nov. 9 at 5pm, it appears that Josh Harder is now leading Jeff Denham by nearly 2 points (50.95% vs. 49.05%), ahead by 3.3k votes after trailing by -1.1k votes last Wednesday. This is based on combined results from Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, as shown in this tweeted graphic by California Target Book (see above). 

This unofficial result is confirmed by Stanislaus County’s latest tally as of Nov. 9 at 5pm, showing 72k votes for Harder vs. 69k votes for Denham. 
As predicted, this reversal is largely due to mail-in ballots: 54k Harder vs. 50K Denham. 

UPDATE 2: On Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6pm, the Associated Press declared that Josh Harder has just won the election in California’s 10th District. With votes continuing to be counted, Harder’s edge had grown after Denham grabbed a slim lead on Election Day. After the latest update, Harder had a 4,919-vote lead out of about 185,000 votes counted, a margin too large for the congressman to overcome with remaining votes.

Woohoo! Way to go Josh and all the tens of thousands of volunteers and staff which made this possible!

It was great to work with so many dedicated activists to phone bank and/or canvass for Josh Harder this year. Thank you for your service — and for being such wonderful partners. 🙂

I think Josh will do a lot to improve the lives of people in the Central Valley, who have suffered too long under a pro-business Republican representative.

Just as importantly, this local election can ripple all the way up to the U.S. House of Representatives to bring more sanity in our country — and around the world. 

Vive la démocratie!

Check these related links:

• See more photos of Getting Out The Vote in Modesto.

• Watch the video of Josh Harder’s GOTV speech.  

• Learn more about Josh Harder

• Check our GOTV team plan in Modesto

#ca10 #CD10 #canvassing #democrat #flipthehouse #gotv #harderforcongress #joshharder #modesto #resist #swingleft

Whole Earth Flashbacks

Meet the creators of the Whole Earth Catalog and the community they inspired. We invite you to watch Whole Earth Flashbacks, our video history of the Whole Earth culture, which covers 50 years of collective innovation in just a half-hour.

Our video retrospective takes you on a dazzling journey through time, from the first Whole Earth Catalogs to the Co-Evolution Quarterly, the Whole Earth Review, the Hackers Conference, the Well, Wired, Burning Man and the 10,000 Year Clock. 

Whole Earth Flashbacks features insights from thought leaders like Stewart Brand, J. Baldwin, Lloyd Kahn, Ted Nelson, Doug Adams, Howard Rheingold, Wavy Gravy, Kevin Kelly, Larry Harvey and Danny Hillis, to name but a few. They empowered people to change the world, by giving them access to tools and ideas.

Watch the full half-hour video, right here:

This final release version is also available here on YouTube (35 minutes).

If you’re short on time, watch the quick preview for this video (17 minutes).

If you like Whole Earth Flashbacks, please share it widely in your community. It’s a great way to spread the word about this amazing culture and what we all accomplished in just a few decades.

Thousands of people have watched the video already, and their responses have been really positive, with hundreds of likes, shares, retweets and comments.

It’s also been covered here by some of our friends in the press:

• San Francisco Chronicle, by Leah Garchek

KPFA, by Victor Bedoian

• Wired, by Bruce Sterling

The New Yorker, by Anna Wiener

Here are a few other links you might enjoy:

Whole Earth Lightning Talks (featuring alumni like Larry Brilliant, Carolyn Garcia, Wavy Gravy and more, recorded by my friend Gary Yost)

• Whole Earth Event Livestream (featuring public evening talks with Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly and more, starting at 16:45, after our preview)

• Whole Earth Photos (with 450+ historical photos from our community)

Whole Earth Event Photos (with 500+ mug shots of alumni at the event)

Whole Earth Collection on the Internet Archive (hundreds of articles, sample issues, interviews and other gems, curated by Robert Horvitz)

You can learn more about our video retrospective on our planning page, which has all the production details you could ever want.

Whole Earth Flashbacks was created by Fabrice Florin, with a world-class production team: Ahmed Kabil, David Lawrence, James McKee, Robert Horvitz, Susan Ryan, Mark Petrakis, Matisse Enzer and Phyllis Florin, to name but a few.

Over 60 community members and friends graciously shared their images, videos, sounds and comments to make this retrospective possible. They are listed in the credits below. We’re very grateful to their generous contributions.

Our video premiered at the Whole Earth Catalog’s 50th Anniversary on October 13, 2018, at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Many thanks to Stewart Brand, Ryan Phelan, Danica Remy, the Point Foundation and all the amazing volunteers who organized this event and made this community creation possible! To support this worthy cause, consider making a donation to the nonprofit Point Foundation.

Whole Earth Flashbacks has the potential to become an open-source documentary, which we hope will keep evolving over time, so that it may inspire people to take action for the next 10,000 years! If you have important footage or information for this living document, or if you would like to help create another edition, please email us.

Thanks again to all the creative minds who made this production possible!

———————————————

THANKS TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS!

We are deeply grateful to all our 60+ gracious contributors for donating your content and your time to this community production. None of this could have happened without you!  

Here is our credit roll for this project. 

Producer/Director: Fabrice Florin

Executive Producers: Stewart Brand, Ryan Phelan

Video Editors: Fabrice Florin, Ahmed Kabil, David Lawrence

Sound / Music Consultant: Jim McKee, Earwax

Researchers: Robert Horvitz, Susan Ryan

Story Consultant: Mark Petrakis

Production Crew: Matisse Enzer, Phyllis Florin

VIDEOS

Ecological Design: Christopher Zelov / Brian Danitz

Lama Commune / Saline Valley: Stewart Brand

Inside the Catalog: Lloyd Kahn

Demise Party: Ant Farm, Raindance, Media Access Center, Media Burn Archive

Hackers: Fabrice Florin

WELL Party: David Kennard, InCA Productions

Cyberthon: Cyberthon Doc Squad, KO Beckman, David Lawrence, Michael Naimark

Wired: Kevin Kelly, Louis Rossetto, Wired

About Long Now: Long Now Foundation

10,000 Year Clock: Jimmy Goldblum, Public Record

Revive & Restore: Ryan Phelan, Revive & Restore

Earth Footage: NASA, International Space Station

MUSIC

Chocolate Coffe Pot: David Gans

Logical One: Rama Kolesnikow, Cruelty Free Sound

Bell Studies: Brian Eno

Eternal Structures: Asher Fulero

Vision: Christopher Willits, Ghostly International

PHOTOS

Stewart Brand, Matisse Enzer, Kevin Kelly, Ryan Phelan, Danica Remy, Howard Rheingold, David Wills contributed the most images.

Other photo contributors include: Jeanne Campbell, Hilarie Coate, John Coate, Vickisa Feinberg, James Fulton, Carolyn Garcia, Matt Herron, Art Kleiner, Isabella Kirkland, Tiffany Lee Brown, Kathleen O’Neill, Tom Parker, Alexander Rose, Don Ryan, Susan Ryan and many more!

SPECIAL THANKS

Diana Connolly, Colleen Fiaschetti, Isabella Kirkland, Art Kleiner, John Markoff, Danica Remy, Alexander Rose, Peter Schwartz, Jason Sussberg, Andrew Warner

Copyright © 2018 Point Foundation and its licensors.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.


#wholeearth50 #wholeearth50th #wholeearth #wholeearthcatalog #coevolution #well #wired #burningman #longnow #stewartbrand #pointfoundation

The Time Machine

We are creating a Time Machine at ‘Pataphysical Studios, our art collective in Mill Valley, where surrealism meets the maker culture.

The ‘Pataphysical Time Machine invites you to travel through time and meet characters from the past, present and future. We hope to engage our guests in a fun interactive experience that combines art, multimedia, theater and technology.

This 3D fly through video illustrates the experience we are creating. We invite our guests to go through a short interactive ritual during their visit: walk around the exhibit, step into our magic portal, pick a time to visit, travel to that time, meet its characters and return back to the present.

Through this experience, we hope to enchant guests of all ages and cultures. We typically host time travel expeditions with small groups of up to six people at a time, lasting between 10 and 20 minutes. To insure we don’t disrupt the delicate fabric of time, we ask that our guests do not exit the machine during our time travel journeys. We usually return our guests safely back to the time they came in from. Time travel is not for the faint of heart! 🙂

Press the buttons on this time travel dashboard to jump to different periods, which are shown on the illuminated screen above. 

Exhibit

Our Time Machine exhibit is inspired by steampunk and art movements from the early 20th century: Pataphysics, dada and surrealism.

Here are some of the artifacts we’re now building for our exhibit:

  • a mysterious, glimmering time capsule and cockpit
  • a violin-shaped dashboard with time travel buttons
  • an illuminated main screen to view scenes from distant times
  • animated figures of Anubis and the Creature from the Future Lagoon
  • frescoes of hieroglyphic characters from across the ages
  • crazy clocks spinning at random and singing about time
  • collages of time travel images and stories against the walls
  • mechanical iris portholes revealing mysterious apparitions

… and many more time travel artifacts!

To see our work in progress, view photos below, and our photo album for the Time Machine. To learn about other artifacts, visit our exhibit design spec for the physical structures. To learn more about the interactive experience, read our time travel design spec.

If you liked our ‘Pataphysical Slot Machine, we think this new art exhibit will transport you even further. Fire in the hole!

Animated figures of the ancient god Anubis and the Creature from the Future Lagoon are here to guide your journey through time.

To make our art come to life, we are now developing new media and technologies that will animate the exhibit with animated characters, lights, sounds, motion and videos of the different times you will travel to.

Media

Our growing video library already includes dozens of short clips for different time periods, to create the illusion of time travel.

This Belle Époque video takes you back in time to Paris at the start of the 20th century, when the arts and sciences flourished, along with a “joie de vivre” (joy of living) that is music to our ears.

This short video is just one of the scenes you can visit with the Time Machine, and its authenticity is confirmed by copious historical footage from a variety of sources. Other scenes in our prototype  include videos of the Big Bang, Dinosaurs, Ancient Egypt, the French Revolution, A Trip to the Moon, Dada Cafe Voltaire, Trumpocalypse — and many more. Here are some of the other time scenes we‘re considering for the next version.

Meanwhile, our sounds library now includes many time travel soundtracks, as well as musical quotes about time (e.g. “Time!” by the Chambers Brothers, “Crying Time” by Ray Charles, etc.).

To learn about our multimedia plans, visit this media overview.

Technology

We will combine many different digital technologies to support the Time Machine experience: Arduino and Raspberry Pi for artifact devices, NodeRed for the central host, MQTT for the messaging protocol, EasyESP firmware and other tech.

Learn more in this infrastructure document, programming guide and technology overview.

Meet the team

About a dozen creators are building the Time Machine together. We’re artists, engineers, makers, performers, poets, organizers and multimedia innovators. Over the years, we have grown into a world-class troupe of interactive artists, who like to make things together and learn from each other. Most of us are members of Pataphysical Studios and listed in this community page

We work in small creative teams to design and build the different parts of the Time Machine, combining interactive art with lights, sounds, motion, and videos of different times. Besides Pataphysical Studios, some of our fabrication work takes place at at Tam Makers, our community makerspace in Mill Valley, where we use a wide range of tools, from laser cutters to CNC routers and milling equipment.

Learn more on our planning page and project lists.

Join us

This is the most complex art project that our team has taken on, and we could use more help. We are now recruiting a few more creators to contribute to our community project, so we can complete it together in coming years.

If you would like to help build this interactive art experience with us, email us at info@pataphysics.us. We’re particularly interested in collaborators who you live in the Bay Area and can join our weekly work sessions in Mill Valley on Saturday afternoons. But if you live outside the Bay Area, we can also collaborate on a variety of tech and media projects. Let’s talk!

It’s a true pleasure to help new teams come together to design and build the various parts of our Time Machine. That’s what collective art is about. We can’t wait to see what it will look like in a year!

For more project updates, we invite you to subscribe to our mailing list — and/or follow us on Facebook. Learn more at pataphysics.us. We hope to see you soon, online or in person.

Vive la ‘pataphysique!

Fabrice Florin (a.k.a. Dr. Fabio)

On behalf of Pataphysical Studios

_____________________________________________

PHOTOS OF THE TIME MACHINE CREATION

To see more photos of our work in progress, visit our photo album for the Time Machine.

This page was republished from our Pataphysical Studios site.

Hackers

Hackers is a classic documentary about the midnight programmers who created the personal computer revolution, as a labor of love.

I produced this documentary in 1985, to give tribute to these unsung heroes, from the first MIT hackers to popular Silicon Valley inventors, through interviews with twelve computer pioneers: Steve Wozniak, designer of the Apple II; Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld, designers of the Macintosh; Homebrew Computer Club leader Lee Felsenstein; MIT hackers Richard Stallman and Richard Greenblatt; and many more.

All interviews were shot at the first Hackers Conference, over a long week-end in 1984, in Gerbode Valley, California. The event was hosted by Whole Earth Catalog editors Stewart Brand and Kevin Kelly, and was inspired by Steven Levy‘s classic book Hackers – Heroes of the Computer Revolution. This historic gathering brought together for the first time several generations of hardware and software designers, who collectively changed the world we live in.


For a quick preview of ‘Hackers’, watch the short trailer above. 

Hackers is not about malicious code-crackers. It is about a “hacker ethic” that led to major breakthroughs in technology, and forever changed our world. And although these interview were shot over a decade before the advent of the Internet, many of the issues we discussed together remain unresolved today.

Producing this show also transformed my own life, leading me to join Apple Computer, where I helped start a new form of expression through interactive multimedia. With the help of HyperCard creator Bill Atkinson and other gracious collaborators at the Apple Multimedia Lab,  we created some of the first multimedia applications of Macs and CD-ROMs, to help people learn by engaging all their senses, with photos, sounds, videos and interactivity. Our work inspired millions of people to learn and play with this new medium, and the multimedia revolution spread like wildfire in the decade that followed. More on this later.

Video


Watch the full half-hour ‘Hackers’ show above. 

Hackers is freely available on YouTube and the Internet Archive, for personal, non-commercial viewing purposes only. For commercial uses of Hackers, please contact Fabrice by email. Our partners at Getty Images offer high quality clips for licensing to film and TV producers.

Hackers was produced and directed by Fabrice Florin, in association with KQED. Camera by Wes Dorman, sound by Gerry Berkowitz, still photography by Matt Herron. Special thanks to Phyllis Florin, Kevin Kelly, Ryan Phelan, Andy Hertzfeld, Steve Wozniak, our partners at KQED and Whole Earth, our many sources of historical footage and our sponsors at Apple, Broderbund, Hercules and PCWorld, to name but a few.

Reviews

“Hackers is the most charming, endearing, downright winsome documentary on public television in quite some time. It is a tribute to the men and women whose brilliance, perseverance and ethical sense not only created the billion-dollar personal computer industry, but an entire culture along with it. …I defy you not to be won over by their enthusiasm.”
Philadelphia Daily News – David Friedman – April 25, 1986

“To Florin’s credit, he allows the achievements and spirit of the assembled specialists to bleed through their apparent on-screen quirkiness … Showing the hackers’ eccentricities without comment, in fact, lets these talented people’s warmth come through; they not only bubble with the passion of their calling, but also with an extraordinary collective motivation.”
San Francisco Chronicle – Calvin Alghren – April 20, 1986

“Hackers offers a pleasant way to peek into the hearts, minds and keyboards of the ultratalented computerniks (a.k.a. “hackers”) who spawned the personal computer revolution … For a quick introduction to the best and brightest of them, Hackers is a quality bet.”
Washington Post – Michael Schrage – April 20, 1986

“Hackers is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen on our industry; it’s destined to become a classic. I strongly urge everyone to watch it.”
PCWorld/MacWorld – David Bunnell – April 1986

“An affectionate and enjoyable trip through the minds of some of Hackdom’s biggest successes… Hackers is television worth watching.”
San Jose Mercury News – David Rosenthal – August 27, 1985

“A solid, informative, … byte-sized production.”
Chicago Tribune – Clifford Teny – April 28, 1986

“A look at one of our most fascinating sub-cultures”
Wall Street Journal, April 17, 1986

“The most interesting and effective body of intellectuals since the framers of the U.S. Constitution.”
Whole Earth Review – Stewart Brand, circa 1985

“In this short film “hackers” is used in its original MIT meaning for someone who comes up with an ingenious or daring “hack” or invention, shortcut, or prank. Not coincidentally, some of the hackers here are legends in the digital era …”
True Films – Kevin Kelly – April 4, 2006

Screenshots

    

   

Art Float for Social Change

The Art Float for Social Change approaches the judges at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade, where we won the ‘Best Community Spirit Award’. Photo by Dana Dworin.

Behold the Art Float for Social Change! 

We created this unique parade float to engage more people to participate in democracy. It features a spinning earth, waving hands and an art carousel, pulled by a colorful dragon. Live performers on our podium invite you to sing along, vote and “be the change.”

The Art Float has inspired thousands of people to participate in community life, through its original display of art, music, and technology. This year, we presented it at Earth Day, the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade (where we won the ‘Best Community Spirit Award’), the Fairfax Parade and the Fourth of July Parade in Corte Madera (where we won First Prize for Adult Motorized Floats). We hope to bring our traveling art show to other events in coming months.

As shown in this video, our Art Float delighted thousands of spectators at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade, with performances by Emma Spike and the Freedom Singers. Video by Luis Costa, Fabrice Florin and Marin Weatherspoon.

Over a hundred volunteers of all ages built the Art Float at Tam Makers, our makerspace in Mill Valley, with the support of Good Earth Natural Foods, the Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN) and Tamalpais High School.

This community art project was led by artists Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley, along with our creative partners at Tam MakersPataphysical Studios and the Youth Poster Contest — and live performances by the Freedom SingersEmma Spike and Cooper & Bounds, to name but a few.


The Art Float for Social Change performs in front of the judges at the Fairfax Parade. Photo by Dana Dworin.

To see the float in action, visit the Art Float Photos and Video page, with our favorite images from each event and development phase. For more photo coverage, visit our full albums for Fourth of July, the Fairfax ParadeMemorial DayEarth Day and Art Float Creation.

A group picture of the Art Float cast, crew and supporters at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade. Photo by Suz Lipman.

Thank you!

Thanks to all our friends, neighbors, partners and community members who made this project possible! 

Kudos to our float construction crew, led by David Barr, Pierina Dell’Avo, Chris Krueger, James Long, Chris Scofield, Pam and Stan Weatherspoon, to name but a few — they all worked tirelessly, above and beyond the call of duty, to bring you this experience. Tip of the hat as well to Howard Rheingold for creating the colorful Quetzy dragon, in collaboration with Fabrice Florin, Freddy Hahne, Jean Bolte, Phyllis Florin, Mark Petrakis and others at Pataphysical Studios.

Our parade cast and crew at the July Fourth Parade in Corte Madera (where we won First Prize for Adult Motorized Floats): Gary Appell, Ruthanne Ranz Appell, Greg Brockbank, Dana Dworin, Wayne Lechner, Teresa Marquez, Geo Monley, Tim Pozar, Marilyn Price, Grace Severtson and Emma Spike. Photo by Dana Dworin.

Many thanks to our talented performers Emma Spike, Sheri Cooper and Clancy Bounds, Reed Fromer, as well as Greg Brodbank, Wayne Lechner, Marilyn Price and all the Freedom Singers. We are also very grateful to our wonderful videographers Luis Costa, David Donnenfield, Bob Harlow, Tim Pozar, Kim Spencer and Marin Witherspoon, as well as our gracious photographers Dana Dworin, Vickisa Feinberg, Fabrice Florin, Suz Lipman, Howard Rheingold, Grace Severtson and Martha Ture.

Special thanks as well to our partners Jessica Hurtado at Good Earth, Eileen Fisher at MVCAN and Bruce Burtch at the Youth Poster Contest. We are deeply grateful to our event team Carol Korenbrot and Marilyn Price — and to our ‘art float widows’ Phyllis Florin and Meryl Rubenstein — for keeping us organized, happy and well fed. Last but not least, we wish to thank all our gracious parade organizers: Larry ‘The Hat’ Lautzker, Paul Moe and Erma Murphy (Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade), Cynthia Briggs (Fairfax Festival), Judy and all the nice folks at the Corte Madera Fourth of July Parade for hosting these important community events, year after year.

We really appreciate all your creativity, enthusiasm and generous support. We hope this community art project will inspire even more people to participate in democracy.

Learn more on our Art Float Photos and Videos pageplanning pageslides and design spec, as well as in this Independent Journal article. For more info, email us at float@tammakers.org

Be the change!

Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley

Co-founders/Teachers, Tam Makers
Team Leaders, Art Float for Social Change

This page was adapted from our project page on the Tam Makers site.

Earth Day 2018

We celebrated Earth Day with a wonderful afternoon of art, music and talks about protecting our environment. Hundreds of activists, artists, environmentalists and youth gathered to pay tribute to Mother Earth at Tamalpais High School’s Student Center in Mill Valley on April 22, 2018. For a quick overview of our community celebration, watch our video slideshow (shown above).

We started the day with the first public showing of our Art Float for Social Change. This unique parade float was created by Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley with over a hundred volunteers in the Tam Makers collective, to inspire more people to participate in democracy. Pictured here is young singer Emma Spike, who performed ‘Custodians’,her original composition about climate change.

A large globe spun over a circle of hands and a carousel of art, pulled by a colorful dragon. The feathered dragon was inspired by Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wisdom, and created by Howard Rheingold, Fabrice Florin and friends at Pataphysical Studios and Tam Makers (see photo below).

Activists of all ages stood on the decorated stage to share their ideas for a better world, including young singer Emma Spike (shown in the cover photo), Kayla Campbell, Mimi Lawrence, Eileen Fisher and more.

Many more painted original posters about the earth, which were featured on the float carousel. We are grateful to Bruce Burtch and his team at Youth Poster Contest (he is pictured below), for working with our volunteers Sarah Acker and Vanitha Sampath to coach young people in this art activity.

Dozens of environmental partners showed participants how we can all take action to reverse global warming — organizations like the Drawdown Marin (pictured above), Sierra Club, Resilient Neighborhoods and 350 Marin, to name but a few.

Our guest speakers were Mark Squire from Good Earth, Crystal Chissel from Project Drawdown, Marin Supervisor Damon Connolly and young local activists: they gave informative talks on a wide range of solutions to curb climate change.

Participants also learned to plant a veggie garden, ride an electric bike, while others registered to vote (we helped 5 teenagers pre-register to vote at this event) .

We ended the day with music performances by the charming Twinkling Stars of Singers Marin, led by Dana Cherry (pictured above), as well as young singer Emma Spike (see cover photo).

Music director Reed Fromer (pictured above) led moving sing-alongs with the Freedom Singers and Mill Valley Seniors for Peace (see photo below).

Earth Day 2008 brought together diverse groups of people who might not have connected otherwise: activists, artists, environmentalists, makers, children, teenagers, teachers and parents. We are particularly grateful to all the young activists who participated in our celebration, including Jackson Darby, Ben Kanter, Jillian Hickey and Elly Blatcher (pictured below with their ‘Don’t Bug Me’ exhibit) and their teacher Joanna Saunders from the Marin School of Environmental Leadership .

This community gathering was produced by Democracy CafeEco Warriors of MVCAN and Tam Makers, with the generous support of Tamalpais High School, Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN), Good Earth, Driver’s Market, Sloat Garden Supply and all our gracious partners, who are listed below.

Thanks to event organizers Fabrice Florin, Marilyn Price, Jennifer Tomkins, Geo Monley, Carol Korenbrot, Elspeth Martin, Grace Severtson, Laurie Riley — and all the wonderful volunteers who helped produce this inspiring event.

Special thanks to the photographers who took the pictures featured on this page: Bruce Burtch, Fabrice Florin, Bill Jensen, Howard Rheingold, Grace Severtson, Jenny Tomkins and Martha Ture (and to the videographers whose work will soon appear above: David Donnenfield, Tim Pozar, Bob Harlow and Chris Scofield). View more of their work on our Earth Day photo album

We think making art, playing music and talking with people of all ages and backgrounds can build mutual understanding and get us all more engaged as citizens. Join your neighbors to make political art and music, and take action together to create a better world!

To see more images of our Art Float in action, visit our photo album on Flickr and/or our favorite photos on Facebook. To see how we are building it, take a look at our Art Float Creation photos. Once you see how much fun everyone is having on this project, sign up here and join us!

 

Join us on Memorial Day

You and your friends are welcome to march with our Art Float for Social Change at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2018, 10am-1pm, with members of the Tam High community and the Mill Valley Community Action Network. Please RSVP here to save your spot.

Make a Donation

Would you like to help pay for the Art Float, so we can finish it this spring? Please make a donation on our Memorial Day page, even if you’re not coming to that event. Thank you!

 

 

Visit our Partners

Please visit our partner and sponsor sites, and sign up for their projects, if they appeal to you.

Organizers:

Sponsors:

Presenters:

Partners:

Democracy Cafe – Youth in Action

Sixty activists and artists of all ages gathered at our second Democracy Cafe, for a fun afternoon of art, music and politics. This free community event celebrated Youth in Action and took place at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley, on February 18, 2018.

We started by brainstorming ideas for a new art float, to be shown at public events in 2018. Participants suggested we build a large earth and a circle of caring hands, to symbolize social change.

The float will be created in the Tam High Wood Shop by students and adult makers led by Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley. Anyone who wants to help is invited to join the welcome meeting on March 1.

We then sang along with the Freedom Singers, led by Marilyn Price, in a medley of songs for a better world, including the two tunes heard in the video above, shot by Phyllis Florin: mexican folk song “De colores” and “Building Bridges”, a call to action by Wayne Lechner.

Young activists from ‘Generation: Our Climate‘ and 350 Bay Area spoke about their climate action campaigns: testifying with local and county governments to promote green energy policies, limit emissions from oil refineries and protest the new coal terminal in Oakland.

Speakers from ‘Generation: Our Climate’ included activists Caroline Schurz, Mimi Lawrence and Brendon Milan-Howells, along with their adult mentor Daniel Heagerty. Speakers from 350 Bay Area were Jada Delaney and Rosesanie Phan, both seniors at Oakland Tech High School, along with their youth organizer Carolyn Norr (you can learn about their campaign here).

To hear their speeches and performances, watch this cool 360° video by Gary Yost, with a panoramic coverage that gives a full experience, as if you were in the room with us. To look around, swipe the video (or view it with your smartphone in a Google Cardboard-style headset.) 

Young singers/songwriters Matt Jaffe and Patrick Maley took turns playing personal and politically-minded songs. Poet klipschutz and musician Joel Hamilton performed an inspiring mix of poetry and jazz, with paintings by Eun Lee in the background. For highlights of their performances, watch our 360° video above.

We loved that so many young people came and joined their voices, hearts and minds with our community. Their enthusiasm and creativity are our best hope for building a better world. Many of our young guests were moved to take political action by the recent school shooting in Florida, and created signs against gun violence — inspired by the nationwide protests that took place that week, such as the Tam High Vigil pictured below (see more of our vigil photos).

Our next Democracy Cafe will take place on Sunday, March 18, from 2 to 5pm, when we will help people of all ages prepare signs and songs for March for Our Lives, a nationwide rally to end gun violence. See poster below. Please RSVP and get your free tickets here.

Democracy Cafe is a series of creative and civic events organized a growing community of activists and artists in Marin, led by Fabrice Florin. We think making art, playing music and talking with people of all ages and backgrounds can build mutual understanding and engage us to take meaningful political action together. Learn more.

View more photos of Democracy Cafe in our full photo album on Flickr — or selected photos on Facebook. Many thanks to photographers Dana Dworin, Fabrice Florin, Phyllis Florin, Suz Lipman and Craig Love for documenting our event. More photos and videos will be posted here in coming days.

Kudos to all our wonderful performers and presenters, as well as fellow organizers Danny Altman, Carol Korenbrot, Robert Mowry, Marilyn Price and Laurie Riley for making this event possible. And thanks to all the community members who joined our celebration — many were from MVCAN, our local political action group.

Join your neighbors to make political art and music — and keep democracy alive!

 

 

Democracy Cafe

Welcome to Democracy Cafe!

We host free art, music and civic events in Marin, to help people of all ages and backgrounds drive social change through creative expression. We offer a range of activities to build mutual understanding and engage us to take meaningful political action together.

We host free Democracy Cafes on the third Sunday of each month. Each event focuses on a different theme, such as Gun Violence or Climate Change. A typical event includes a variety of collaborative activities, such as sign-making, sing-alongs, speakers and group discussions. We are now done with our spring 2018 series, but plan to host more Democracy Cafes in fall 2018.

To learn about our latest events, read below — and sign up for our newsletter.

Earth Day Celebration

Hundreds of activists, artists and environmentalists came to celebrate Earth Day 2018, for a fun afternoon of art, music and talks about the environment at Tam High School in Mill Valley. This was our last Democracy Cafe event in spring 2018, produced in collaboration with Eco Warriors of MVCAN and Tam Makers, as well as all the gracious partners listed below.

We unveiled ourArt Float for Social Change, featuring a large globe spinning over a carousel of art, and pulled by a colorful dragon. Presenters of all ages stood on stage to share their ideas for a better world. Others painted original posters about the earth for the float carousel.

Speakers included Mark Squire from Good Earth, Crystal Chissel from Project Drawdown, Marin Supervisor Damon Connolly and young local activists: they talked about a wide range of solutions to curb climate change. Dozens of environmental partners like the Sierra Club, Resilient Neighborhoods and 350 Marin helped our guests take action to reverse global warming. Participants also learned to plant a veggie garden, ride an electric bike and get people ready to vote (we helped 5 teenagers pre-register to vote at this event) .


We ended the day with music performances by Twinkling Stars of Singers Marin, young singer Emma Spike, Reed Fromer, the Freedom Singers and Mill Valley Seniors for Peace.

This community gathering was produced by Democracy Cafe, Eco Warriors of MVCAN and Tam Makers, with the generous support of Tamalpais High School, Mill Valley Community Action Network, Good Earth, Driver’s Market, Sloat Garden Supply and all our gracious partners.

Learn more about our Earth Day celebration — and view Earth Day photos here.

Join us on Memorial Day

You and your friends are welcome to march with our Art Float for Social Change at the Mill Valley Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2018, 10am-1pm, with our sponsors at Good Earth, the Mill Valley Community Action Network and Tam High School. Please RSVP here to save your spot.

Join your neighbors to make political art and music, and take action together to create a better world!

Democracy Cafe to End Gun Violence

Our last Democracy Cafe took place on Sunday, March 18, from 2 to 5pm, when our theme was: how can we end gun violence?

We helped people of all ages prepare signs for March for Our Lives, and are grateful to all the young people who came to express their views.

We sang along with the Freedom Singers on the sun deck of the beautiful O’Hanlon Center.

Marin Supervisor Kate Sears shared her views about gun reform and led a discussion on how we can take action to end gun violence.

We heard a moving performance by young singer/songwriter Emma Spike, student at Tam High School, including several original compositions about gun violence and hope.

Music director Reed Fromer led us into song with old classics about creating a better world.

This free public event took place on Sunday, March 18th from 2 to 5pm, at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley, 616 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941.

We enjoyed meeting over 50 activists and artists of all ages for an inspiring afternoon of art, music and politics. We deeply appreciated their creativity, goodwill and intellectual curiosity, which encouraged other participants to find their voice and take action.

Here is our photo album for Democracy Cafe on Flickr, for your viewing pleasure. And here is the Independent Journal’s photo coverage of our event, shot by Sherry LaVars.

Special thanks to the volunteers so who graciously helped organize this event: Marilyn Price, Jenny Tomkins, Rebecca Brackman, David Barr and Robert Mowry. We’re also grateful to all the folks who couldn’t come, but who supported us to organize this unique civic engagement program. It’s a true pleasure working with you all!

We are inspired by all the young people who took political action to protest the recent school shooting in Florida, such as the Tam High Vigil pictured above (see more of our vigil photos). We want to support their cause and empower them to join their voices, hearts and minds for social change. Their dedication, passion and creativity are our best hope for building a better world. 

 

Democracy Cafe 2 – Youth In Action

Sixty activists and artists of all ages gathered at our second Democracy Cafe, for a fun afternoon of art, music and politics. This free community event celebrated Youth in Action and took place at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley, on February 18, 2018. 

We started by brainstorming ideas for a new art float, to be shown at public events in 2018. Participants suggested we build a large earth and a circle of caring hands, to symbolize social change. 

The float will be created in the Tam High Wood Shop by students and adult makers led by Fabrice Florin and Geo Monley. Anyone who wants to help is invited to join the welcome meeting on March 1.

 

We then sang along with the Freedom Singers, led by Marilyn Price, in a medley of songs for a better world, including the two tunes heard in the video above, shot by Phyllis Florin: mexican folk song “De colores” and “Building Bridges”, a call to action by Wayne Lechner.

Young activists from ‘Generation: Our Climate‘ and 350 Bay Area spoke about their climate action campaigns: testifying with local and county governments to promote green energy policies, limit emissions from oil refineries and protest the new coal terminal in Oakland.

Speakers from ‘Generation: Our Climate’ included activists Caroline Schurz, Mimi Lawrence and Brendon Milan-Howells, along with their adult mentor Daniel Heagerty. Speakers from 350 Bay Area were Jada Delaney and Rosesanie Phan, both seniors at Oakland Tech High School, along with their youth organizer Carolyn Norr (you can learn about their campaign here).

To hear their speeches and performances, watch this cool 360° video by Gary Yost, with a panoramic coverage that gives a full experience, as if you were in the room with us. To look around, swipe the video (or view it with your smartphone in a Google Cardboard-style headset.) 

Young singers/songwriters Matt Jaffe and Patrick Maley took turns playing personal and politically-minded songs. Poet klipschutz and musician Joel Hamilton performed an inspiring mix of poetry and jazz, with paintings by Eun Lee in the background. For highlights of their performances, watch our 360° video above.

We love that so many young people joined their voices, hearts and minds with ours. Their dedication and creativity are our best hope for building a better world. Many thanks to all the presenters and community members who participated in this celebration — and to the gracious organizers, activity leaders and multimedia creators who made this very special event possible.

Learn more about this inspiring event.

This is a 360° video of Democracy Cafe. To look around, swipe the video as it plays.
Created by Gary Yost.

Democracy Cafe 1 – Women’s March

Our first Democracy Cafe took place at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley on January 14, 2018. A creative group of 50 activists and artists of all ages gathered to make signs, art and music for the upcoming Women’s March.

In just a few hours, we created dozens of inspiring signs, blue flags and Liberty figures. We also practiced protest songs with the Freedom Singers in the beautiful sculpture garden. To see scenes from the event, view our photo album or watch the video below.

Our first pilot exceeded all our expectations. Participants gave high ratings for this event, told us they had fun, made new friends, enjoyed making art and singing together, and felt more motivated to take political action. They felt well prepared for our Women’s March the following week. Most participants wanted to join our next events, and several offered to help organize them.

The event was covered by local and national journalists, who wrote these fine articles:
• Marin activists gear up for women’s marches, midterm elections
by Adrian Rodriguez, Marin Independent Journal
• Organizing The Resistance, One Meeting At A Time
by George Osterkamp, Dan Rather’s News & Guts

This enthusiastic feedback and this favorable press coverage suggests that we are on the right track with Democracy Cafe. To learn more about our first pilot, visit our event page.

 

Join Us!

If you would like to join future events or volunteer on our team, sign up for our Democracy Cafe mailing list.

Democracy Cafe is produced by a team of Marin activists and artists led by Fabrice Florin,  with Danny Altman, Carol Korenbrot, Bruce Mowry, Marilyn Price, Laura Riley and many more. Our goal is to engage our communities to help change the world, by combining arts and politics through fun, hands-on and inspiring activities.

Thanks as well to all our wonderful participants, whose commitment to art and activism inspires us. And kudos to our gracious performers, crew and activity leaders: Jean Bolte, Jake Cohen, Mary Cosgrove, Dana Dworin, Matt Jaffe, Kurt Lipschuck, Wayne Lechner, Craig Love, Gareth Loy Patrick Maley and Gary Yost, to name but a few. We’re also grateful to Erma Murphy at the O’Hanlon for hosting our first events.

Many of us are part of the Mill Valley Community Action Network (MVCAN), our political action group in Marin. We’re delighted that so many MVCAN members are participating in this creative experiment.

Democracy Cafe shows great promise for energizing people through the transformative power of the arts, sparking our imaginations to solve problems and change the world together.

Join your neighbors to make political art — and keep democracy alive!

Photos by Fabrice Florin, Mary Cosgrove and Dana Dworin. Videos by Phyllis Florin, Craig Love and Gary Yost.

This page was updated on Feb. 21, to include more info about our first and second events.