Talks: Historical Perspectives / 2006-2009

Primary Source

Shaping San Francisco hosts Public Talks on a variety of topics on Wednesday nights, about 18 times a year. One recurrent theme has been Historical Perspectives, which covers all sorts of topics that delve into our shared and disputed understandings of what shaped our world. Here are the Talks we held at CounterPULSE at 1310 Mission Street in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

December 16, 2009

Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes of the East Bay

Continuing our annual holiday excursions through lost films of the Bay Area, Rick Prelinger takes us across the water to the East Bay. Rarely seen clips and recently rediscovered home movies make an evening of participatory film and history investigation!

no audio.

November 11, 2009

Alcatraz: 40th Anniversary of Indigenous Occupation

Mary Jean Robertson, of “Voice of the Native Nations” on KPOO FM radio (3rd, 4th, and 5th Wednesdays from 6-8pm) and Tony Gonzalez, of AIM-West and the International Indian Treaty Council, revisit the historic occupation of Alcatraz, tell stories, and most importantly, connect this important historic event with the decades of organizing and political resistance since that time, which ultimately led to a maelstrom of events including the historical United Nations General Assembly adoption of the “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” on September 13, 2007. The first part of the audio is the soundtrack from the movie “Alcatraz is Not an Island” by Jim Fortier.

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30" frameborder="0"></iframe>

September 9, 2009

Final Tap: An Unofficial History of Beer

The rise of microbrewers in American is preceded by a rich social and revolutionary history of beer and brewing, spanning from the Mayans to the Mayflower, from the Founding Fathers through Manifest Destiny, and from Prohibition to the corporatization of beer. Artists John Jota Leaños and Sean Levon Nash give a zany and surprising look at their take on the history of beer!

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30" frameborder="0"></iframe>

February 11, 2009

Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes III: Film Fragments of San Francisco

Rick Prelinger of the Prelinger Library and Archives returns to present Year 3 of the Lost Landscapes program. This year's potpourri of rarely-seen city scenes and activities includes new material, including family life in the neighborhoods and newly-discovered color footage of the Golden Gate International Exposition. Drawing from silent and early sound films, exuberant early 1960s city views, diverse home movies and industrial films, this program includes rarely-seen views of San Francisco and always invites the audience to help identify mystery scenes.

no audio.

January 21, 2009

FoundSF: San Francisco History Wiki Workshop

Explore FoundSF, the new living archive of the City’s history with Chris Carlsson and LisaRuth Elliott. Listen to a demonstration of how to use it, and find out about areas needing focus and attention.

no audio.

November 12, 2008

The Invisible Public Legacy of the Great Depression

Government agencies created to lift the U.S. out of the Depression built important public works that we all use every day without realizing it. Local historian, geographer and author Gray Brechin of California’s Living New Deal Project gives an opinionated and sharp tour through the hidden legacy of the New Deal in San Francisco and California. He looks at buildings, murals, and more, with a clear exposition of the different agencies that organized the work: CCC, WPA, PWA, etc., 75 years after Roosevelt inaugurated the New Deal.

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30" frameborder="0"></iframe>

September 17, 2008

SF State Strike 40th Anniversary

The student/faculty strike at San Francisco State in 1968-69 was a seminal event, ushering in Ethnic Studies in higher education, contributing energy and activists to dozens of San Francisco political movements, and much more. Original participants in the strike, Margaret Leahy, Roger Alvarado, and John Levin talk about being involved, and where it has taken them.

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30" frameborder="0"></iframe>

December 19, 2007

Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes: Film Fragments of San Francisco

Rick Prelinger of the Prelinger Archive and Library returns to reprise his popular show with some new surprises. Drawing from silent and early sound films, exuberant early 1960s City views, diverse home movies, and industrial films, this program includes rarely-seen views of San Francisco with the audience helping to identify mystery scenes.

no audio.

April 11, 2007

Lowriders: When the Mission was Low and Slow

Back in the late 1970s and early ‘80s Mission Street was home to a wild scene of lowriders every weekend. Bouncing, shimmying, and gleaming cars full of excited kids and long-time Missionistas would fill the boulevard for miles and hours. A unique public space erupted every week for several years in the face of police harassment, created and maintained by the ever resourceful youth of Latino San Francisco. Original participants, filmmakers, and today’s young activists introduce rarely seen footage, and the trailer for a new documentary, Why We Ride: From Low to Show. Hear also about the changing nature of youth culture, street life, public space, and life in San Francisco’s Mission District.A special screening and talk by members of the Mission Archives to benefitMission Archives/Conscious Youth Media Crew, providing facilities and video training for local youth.

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30" frameborder="0"></iframe>

>February 14, 2007

A History of Land Grabs in San Francisco and Some Counter-efforts (2 podcasts)

San Francisco’s entire history is based on land grabs, within its own borders and far beyond. Sketching this history to the present, Chris Carlsson, Erick Lyle, and James Tracy also look at counter-efforts to grab land and to create open and cooperative spaces in an ever more commercially tyrannized society. Part 1 features Chris Carlsson and James Tracy. Part 2 features Erick Lyle talking about the 949 Market Street squat, the 3rd Street corridor, mid-Market redevelopment and Chris Carlsson who tells about the recent history of art spaces, evictions, institutionalization, and more.

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30" frameborder="0"></iframe>

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30" frameborder="0"></iframe>

December 6, 2006

Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes: Film Fragments of San Francisco

Drawing from silent and early sound films, exuberant early-1960s City views, diverse home movies and industrial films, this program includes rarely-seen views of San Francisco. Film is rich and often vivid evidence backing up imperfect memories and infusing institutional histories with traces of everyday life. Rick Prelinger began collecting film in 1982, and is co-founder of the Prelinger Library, an appropriation-friendly research library open to the public in South of Market. Co-hosted by Film Arts Foundation.

November 8, 2006

Sexual and Reproductive Freedom Since the 1960s

As we face another assault on abortion rights Elizabeth Creely of BACORR and Ruth Mahaney take a look at the historical context, first of the emergence of those rights in the women’s liberation politics of the 1960s and '70s, and how that politics has evolved and mutated in the decades since. They respond to the questions: What is the relationship between activist politics and changes in the law? How do street-level politics lead to newly assertive behaviors behind closed doors and how does that in turn loop back into the public realm?

June 14, 2006

Films by Calvin Roberts: A San Franciscan’s Lost History

Calvin Roberts has been shooting San Francisco’s history from the streets and making films since the late 1960s. He narrates some of his rarely seen footage about early Black Panthers, politics in the Mission District, wars in Southeast Asia, and many more surprises. Calvin was there, and he brings us along on this special retrospective night.

April 12, 2006

Black Exodus and Black Eviction in San Francisco (4 podcasts)

The Black population of San Francisco has been falling steadily since 1970. Is today’s Bayview-Hunters’ Point neighborhood facing another round of racist relocation? Community activists and historians discuss the infamous redevelopment process of the 1960s that did much to diminish a vibrant African-American community in the old Fillmore. With Kevin Epps, from Straight Outta Hunters’ Point; Alicia Schwartz, of POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights); Willie Ratcliff, publisher of San Francisco Bay View newspaper; and Espanola Jackson of Bayview-Hunters Point. All four podcasts run consecutively on this playbar, or you can skip forward or backward among the episodes with the arrows.

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30"

February 8, 2006

Philippines & San Francisco: Connected Through History (2 podcasts)

From the barely remembered American-Philippine War of 1899-1904 that killed a half million Filipinos, to the immigration of Filipino men in the 1910s and 1920s to work in the Central Valley, and including the rise and ultimate demise of Manilatown and the struggle to save the I-Hotel, San Francisco has been a vital crossroads for Filipinos, and in turn they have left important marks on the City. A discussion including Abraham Ignacio, the author of The Forbidden Book; Filipino-American scholars and activists Oscar Peneranda and MC Canlas; and Estella Habal author of San Francisco's International Hotel. This Public Talk includes an excerpt from Chonk Moonhunter’s The Fall of the I-Hotel. Part 1 features Abraham Ignacio and Oscar Peneranda. Part 2 features MC Canlas and Estella Habal continuing the discussion of the Philippines-US war and then the long wave of Filipino immigration to San Francisco.

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30" frameborder="0"></iframe>

<iframe src="" width="411" height="30" frameborder="0"></iframe>

January 18, 2006

Labor strength: Historic Bay Area General Strikes

San Francisco’s class relations were never the same after the widespread success of the General Strike of 1934. Another momentous general strike erupted in Oakland in 1946. Both strikes are described and analyzed by Gifford Hartman and Chris Carlsson.