[UPDATE: Just bought my tix to this; only a handful left!]
Rick Prelinger is a San Francisco native who is known as a historian and “guerrilla archivist”, because he collects random bits of old video of the city and puts them into collections known as the Lost Landscapes of San Francisco.
On Friday, December 4, Rick will present his fourth installment. He’ll share an eclectic montage of rediscovered and rarely-seen film clips showing life, landscapes, labor and leisure in a vanished San Francisco as captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen and industrial filmmakers.
Rick is also a longtime resident of the Richmond District, and this fourth series will include footage from a video collection from a Chinese family that lives in the neighborhood. In a recent interview with spotsunknown.com, Rick describes the footage he discovered:
We’re going to have a bunch of footage from a Chinese-American family that actually lives across the street from us in the Richmond District who started shooting home movies in 1945, when they lived in Chinatown. And there’s great footage of life in Chinatown, and visits to Playland and to the playground at Golden Gate park – really beautiful, evocative, and it’s a very sweet family, too…
And I just looked [at the footage], and there was a fender bender at 15th and Balboa in the ’50s, with all these old cars all over the place, and everybody watching. There was a pickup band of kids playing on the sidewalk, both Anglo and Chinese-American kids all playing music together, just on the sidewalk, on 15th Avenue in the early ’60s.
In the interview, Rick also talks about why he likes living in the Richmond District:
Richmond is great. It’s quiet on the residential streets, but it’s busy and full of life on the busy streets. It’s very diverse. It’s much more diverse than other parts of the city. I think it’s more diverse than the Mission in a lot of ways. It’s not as crowded. You know, you don’t have that unbelievable density that you have in the east side of town. You can walk to the ocean. You can walk to Golden Gate Bridge. We’re a block and a half from Golden Gate Park.
In 2004, Rick and his wife founded The Prelinger Library, located downtown and described as “an appropriation-friendly, browsable collection of approximately 40,000 books, periodicals, printed ephemera and government documents.” Much of the collection is online at archive.org.
For Rick, pulling together archival footage of San Francisco isn’t necessarily for nostalgic purposes. In the interview, he says, “The funny thing about Lost Landscapes is that it would be wrong to say that it’s all about the past. It’s not intended to be nostalgic. It’s intended to be a look back at the way people lived. But I’m especially interested in it because the past can be predictive. I’m interested in looking at how the present has been constructed out of the past, and because of that, how the present is going to construct the future.”
Lost Landscapes of San Francisco Pt. 4 screens on Friday, December 4 at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Avenue. Doors open at 7pm, with Rick’s lecture and screening from 7:30 – 9pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance.
Sarah B.History | 3 comments
For several years now, the Balboa Theater has put San Francisco Food Bank collection barrels in the lobby during the holidays. They’ll do it again this year, encouraging neighbors to donate food items for those battling hunger in the city.
The foods most needed are rice, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, canned tuna and meats, soups, stews, chili, peanut butter and cereal. They must be in unopened containers and not be perishable. No glass containers or items that require refrigeration please.
The SF Food Bank estimates that 150,000 people in San Francisco face hunger every day. They provide food to over 132,000 people every year through 600+ community food programs, from working families to senior citizens.
With the help of community drives like the one at the Balboa Theater and private donations, the SF Food Bank will distribute over 33 million pounds of food this year.
So the next time you’re in the grocery store, pick up some extra items and then drive by the Balboa to donate during their business hours (~2pm – 11pm every day). The Balboa Theater is located at 3630 Balboa Street, between 37th and 38th Avenues.
Sarah B.Community | Comments Off
There are thousands of trained NERT volunteers across the city, but the Outer Richmond is particulary understaffed. After an earthquake, city services are overwhelmed and depend on help provided by trained volunteers, like those in NERT.
Based on a neighbor helping neighbor approach, NERT volunteers are trained in the basics of personal preparedness and prevention. The training also includes hands-on disaster skills that will help individuals respond to a personal emergency as well as act as members of a neighborhood response team.
The training consists of six 3-hour sessions (one per week), and at the end of the six weeks, you are certified and are given a helmet, a snazzy reflective vest, and gloves.
The SFFD holds regular NERT trainings, but if enough neighbors (15-20) in the Outer Richmond are interested, they can hold special sessions in the neighborhood.
Contact Outer Richmond District resident and NERT coordinator Gabriel Lampert at email@example.com for more information.
Sarah B.Volunteer | 1 comment
A reader named Michele wrote in to tell me about a SF Department of Public Works project to replace the dozens of street trees planted earlier this year that died due to lack of water.
The trees were planted by a private contractor who guaranteed them, so they will now be coming back to replace them.
We need your help in identifying the affected trees in your area of the Richmond. The trees in this program were planted along Anza, Balboa and Cabrillo Streets and on some intersecting Avenues. You can recognize them by the three wooden pole supports that surround each tree.
If you have a tree nearby that matches this description (refer to the photo) and it is not showing new leaves, it is probably dead and due for replacement.
To ensure that the DPW project includes all affected trees in the replacement program, please send specific location information on the dead tree to Carla.Short@sfdpw.org by Monday evening.
Remember, the particular trees in this project should be surrounded by three pole supports as pictured here. When emailing, include the closest street address to the affected tree.
Sarah B.Green | 2 comments
There has long been speculation about how the boy king died. Egyptologist Zahi Hawass posted to his blog today the long awaited findings from his CT scan of King Tutankhamun’s mummy.
One claim was that Tutankhamun had been murdered, and many believed the hole found in the back of his head was evidence of this. Hawass disagrees:
Recently we CT scanned the mummy of King Tut to examine his life and death in depth and determine how he died. We found that he died at the age of 19, and that he was not murdered, as people have long speculated… Studies of the CT scans show that this hole was made in the back of his head in order to pour the liquid used in mummification into his body after he died.
During the CT scan, Hawass found something else – a fracture in Tutankhamun’s left leg. Previous scholars believed this fracture was caused by the handling of the mummy when it was first discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. But Hawass’ CT scan showed the fracture was actually “the result of an accident that happened shortly before he died”.
From artistic and historical sources, we know that King Tut used to go hunting and riding in the desert around Memphis. Now the most likely scenarios are that he fell off while riding and broke his leg, or that he was fighting in a war and was injured. The broken leg most likely led to complications that resulted in his death.
Mystery solved! Check out the video below for more on Hawass’ research. And if you haven’t yet, be sure to see the exhibition Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharoahs at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.
cbs5.com reports that an elderly woman was run over and killed by a passenger van turning from 9th Avenue onto Geary Boulevard at about 8:15 this morning.
Willy Wong, the manager of the Shell gas station across the street heard a loud bang, and then saw the woman lying on the ground, underneath the vehicle’s two front tires.
Wong said two customers from the gas station went to try to help the victim before authorities arrived. cbs5.com spoke to one of them in their video report.
The victim was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where she later died from her injuries. Police are investigating the incident.
The SF Examiner has identified the victim as Jon Kong, a 70-year old resident of the Richmond district
Sarah B.News, Traffic | 2 comments
Thanks to Wolfgang, a reader who captured the shots below on the scene. Fire crews had to cut through the roof to get to the 3-alarm fire. See video from the fire
More from the Chronicle: The building was a vacant duplex under renovation at 607-609 2nd Ave. 15 residents from the neighboring buildings were temporarily displaced by damage caused by the fire.