In his best-selling book, Cool Gray City of Love, acclaimed San Francisco historian and raconteur Gary Kamiya described the Tenderloin as “…the only part of San Francisco that remains untamed, its last human wilderness.” In conversation with CounterPulse’s Artistic & Executive Director Julie Phelps, Kamiya will unpack why this neighborhood continues to be both disturbing and beguiling and why San Francisco would not be the same without it. The pair will also talk about why the neighborhood has long been an incubator for emerging creative and social movements that have reverberated beyond our 49 square miles.
ABOUT GARY KAMIYA
Gary Kamiya is an author, journalist and historian of San Francisco. His new book with artist Paul Madonna, published on October 20, 2020 by Bloomsbury, is Spirits of San Francisco: Voyages Through the Unknown City. He is also the author of Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco, which won a 2013 Northern California Book Award. His award-winning history column “Portals of the Past” appears every other Saturday in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Born Oakland, Kamiya grew up in Berkeley and has lived in San Francisco since 1971. He received a BA and MA in English literature from UC Berkeley. He was a co-founder and longtime executive editor of the groundbreaking website Salon.com. Until 2018, he was the executive editor of San Francisco Magazine, where he wrote award-winning features about the tech-driven transformation of San Francisco, homelessness, the Tenderloin, the injection drug crisis, the waterfront, the new Museum of Modern Art, the controversy over the canonization of Father Junipero Serra, and legalized marijuana, among other subjects. His work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, ArtForum, Sports Illustrated, Mother Jones, and many other publications and has been widely anthologized, including in The Best African-American Essays 2010, The New Harvard Literary History of the United States, and the Longman Reader. He has also appeared as an expert on-camera source in numerous documentaries, numerous documentaries, including the national 4-hour PBS documentary Citizen Hearst and Moving San Francisco, about the history of transportation in SF. Learn more at www.garykamiya.com
ABOUT JULIE PHELPS
Artistic & Executive Director Julie Phelps has been at the helm since 2014. Working at the intersection of the arts, activism, and community development, Phelps enacts hybridity as a mode of advancing the multi-faceted mission of CounterPulse. Phelps is active in connecting the artistic works of CounterPulse to the community by coordinating panels, symposia, discussion series to promote the power of the arts to catalyze change in our society. Under her leadership CounterPulse has grown from $800,000 to $1.2 million annual budget through funding and launching curated and acclaimed programs positioning CounterPulse as a curatorial leader worldwide. She is herself an internationally touring performer, social practice artists and cultural representative, and is deeply rooted in the queer and dance communities. She was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy 2019 and 2020, was named a YBCA 100 Honoree in 2017, is a published essayist in Performance Research Journal in 2021, is a contributing author in choreography: strategies (Art Stations Foundation, Poland, 2022) and was recently interviewed by the New York Times on her unique ability to build new sources of philanthropy in the tech sector. Between 2013-2016, Phelps spearheaded the process of acquiring and renovating a new facility for CounterPulse, helping to launch a new model for placing arts at the center of community development as the pilot project of the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), with full acquisition slated for July 2022 after raising over $7 million. Learn more at www.juliephelps.net.
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