September 27, 2010

From the Desk of 21 Grand (in Oakland)

A lot of rumors have been spreading about changes at 21 Grand so here is the official news update:

After 10 years working as both Executive and Programming Director of 21 Grand, Sarah Lockhart has stepped down. She has left her indelible mark on this institution and the East Bay’s cultural landscape, and will be sorely missed here. 21 Grand would not still be in existence without her invaluable efforts.

In addition to Sarah's departure, 21 Grand recently received a “cease & desist cabaret activity” letter from the Oakland office of the city
administrator. 21 Grand has subsequently been forced to cancel all but a of live music shows that were scheduled. Until the permit issues are resolved, there will be no more live music shows at 21 Grand.

Events scheduled for October 24 (Fred Frith & Patrice Scanlon with
special guests) and November 20th (Lexa Walsh’s Kackala and Charming
Hostess) will be held pending special event permits.

This is a serious issue for 21 Grand, hindering our ability to continue to serve the experimental arts community. It also removes a major source of income that keeps our doors open. We are still figuring out how to proceed as an organization.

21 Grand currently has zoning clearance for the categories of “community assembly” and “cultural non-assembly”. So, if anyone has anything in mind for lectures, workshops, or renting for private rehearsals – please keep 21 Grand in mind. Live shows were a major part of 21 Grand’s activity and income; that time is now available, and other activities to help fill the gap are welcome.

Next Sunday, October 3, there will be an emergency rummage sale from
noon - 8pm. Come by and help us make up some of the budget shortfall
caused by the cease and desist! All our unused items in storage must go.

Stay tuned for further announcements on how you might help. 21 Grand
needs your support now more than ever.

Please direct any inquiries to:

Darren Jenkins
Director, 21 Grand



September 22, 2010

It's Mid-Autumn Day in China, which means I get an extra day off this week. I'm putting it to good use by waking up at 4 am for no real reason. However, I have started reading Rosalind E. Krauss' Perpetual Inventory (October, 2010) this morning. I've also been reading Allen Deloach, ed., Intrepid: A Decade and Then Some (Intreprid, 1976). It's interesting to read old anthologies to get a good sense of how the different writers' work pushed and pulled at the questions of the era.


September 12, 2010

The Rem Koolhaas Mandarin Hotel


September 10, 2010

One of the old biddies who daily just hangs out in the parking lot on a couch with the other elderly ladies in my complex is full-throatedly singing Beijing Opera for what seems like no good reason other than to do it. I do like this neighborhood.

September 10, 2010

Dongpin Han, The Unkown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village (Monthly Review, 2008).

Mobo Gao, The Battle for China's Past: Mao & the Cultural Revolution (Pluto, 2008).

In both these books, the authors argue that the rural poor's lives were greatly improved during the Cultural Revolution and that a wholesale re-evaluation of that time period is necessary. But what I think makes this new trend in Chinese historical thought interesting is that it comes in an era when the current economic and governmental structure have allowed the wealth gap to go beyond the recognized warning levels on the Gini Coefficient scale. I expect a lot more work in this vein, as direct criticism of Beijing's current policies may result in punishment; whereas, pointing out how many of the Cultural Revolution's policies focused directly, however flawed, on uplifting the rural poor and actually attained some of those goals (education) isn't really going to ruffle too many feathers.



September 8, 2010

Re-reading Richard Brautigan. He always breaks my heart sideways.


September 7, 2010

Some photos from the north of Xinjiang. I wrote a bit of text, which I lost. I'm still getting used to how Blogger and Macs work together.

A lot of the north of Xinjiang reminds me of the American northwest or the Canadian southwest: mountains, glacial lakes and rivers, and forests. Xinjiang had a surprising amount of white birch.


September 6, 2010

So I had a trip to Xinjiang (where Uyghurs, Kazhaks, and Mongolians outnumber the Han by a good deal) in mid-August.

1. Urumqi, the capital has a good atmosphere; although, the local market / bazaar has been Han-ified into just another tourist market for cheap touristy crap, like in Beijing.

2. Spent a good deal of time on a bus going through the desert. All the oil machinery made me wonder why this province is so poor.

3. On the bus, I read Ryan Murphy's, The Redcoats (Krupskaya, 2010). I lost my notes on it, but I did like it.

4. More later.