Category Archives: Events


I love people who know pain. I ran a night club on 6th Street for five years. In case you don’t know, this is the heart of the Tenderloin, one of the most infamous neighborhoods in California. One time I was standing in the alley with my homey Chris.  He did the sound at the club and was the best man in my wedding. The sun was setting on 6th Street and the streets were about to come alive with pure debauchery. I was very much at home among the crackhead transvestite hookers and D-boys. I knew many of them from county jail and various drug rehab programs we had been in together.


Chris and I were smoking cigarettes and contemplating the long night ahead of us. From the very back of Jessie Alley, next to the club, walked a man who had covered himself in a blanket. This was not too strange because there was a whole camp of homeless people living at the end of the alley so we just went about what we were doing and so did he. Directly across the street from us sat a woman on a stoop almost as if she were on her knees. In one fluid motion, the man who emerged from the alley slowly walked up to the lady on the stoop and opened his blanket, swallowing her up beneath it in what seemed almost a crackhead Blackula monster movie scenario. Then she started blowing him under the blanket with such voracity that his eyes started to bulge out of his head and his bottom jaw pushed out to the point that we could see all the details of his face from across the street even though we were in a dark alley. As fast as it started, it was over. The ferocious bobbing from underneath the blanket slowed to a sporadic spastic motion. Then with the same speed as he consumed the lady with his blanket, so he left her but returned to that slow pace, dragging his feet as if he had not a care in the world. Chris and I looked at each other like what the fuck? Then I was like shit, I gots to get me one of those blankets. And we laughed. What else can you do when you witness such an event?


I could go on and on about the crazy things I saw in those days but the most amazing thing to come out of all that shit was this photo project. We had an old carnival-style photo booth in the club.  While I would wait for daytime deliveries, I started asking people from the neighborhood if I could take a picture of them.  They would come in, have a beer, chat and sit in the photo booth.  For a couple of flashes of light, the day’s grind went away and all that was left was a smile, a captured moment of childlike innocence.  I have collected hundreds of these photos and I have always cherished them because they encourage me to smile no matter how hard things feel.  This has offered me the ability to love the people around me for who they are on the inside. I believe that my photo booth project shines through the hardships and dilemmas of our human experience to see the smile. The photo booth was able to catch that one moment of their humanity.  


Art Exhibit: “The Secret of the Ninth Planet” 4-24-09


CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice Reveals *The Secret of the Ninth Planet*

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009, by Brenda Tucker

Organized by the nine graduating students in CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice

The Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts will revealThe Secret of the Ninth Planet from April 24–May 24, 2009, at two San Francisco venues simultaneously: Queen’s Nails Projects (3191 Mission Street) and Photo Epicenter (26 Lilac Street).

An opening reception is planned Friday, April 24, from 7–11 p.m. at each location with a shuttle running between. Additional programming at Galeria de la Raza (2857 24th Street, San Francisco) will include a lecture by the astronomer Andrew Fraknoi on April 26 and a live performance by Lucky Dragons and Avocet on May 22. These programs and presentations are free and open to the public.

The Secret of the Ninth Planet takes its title from a 1959 Donald A. Wollheim novel of the same name. In the book, evil colonialist curators display in vitrines captured members of various intergalactic cultures. Operating counter to this model of the curator as authoritarian cultural anthropologist, CCA’s nine graduate student curators instead focus on works that deal in one way or another with ideas of time, space, and travel. They are in a variety of media—from video and sound installation to (in the artist Suzanne Treister’s words) “delusional, time-traveling watercolors.” The galleries are illuminated not by overhead lighting, but by light emitted from (the majority of) the pieces.

The metaphor of liberation extends as well to the show’s organizational premise. As opposed to the traditional concept of an exhibition as a zone of stable definition and order, The Secret of the Ninth Planet is united, somewhat paradoxically, by a disavowal of order. The dual-venue installation is also a deliberate attempt to offer expanded possibilities for interpretation of the works’ layered content.

Artists in the exhibition: Raymond Boisjoly, Chu Yun, Jasmina Cibic, Maryam Jafri, Yael Kanarek, Kitty Kraus, Gabriel Lester, Euan Macdonald, Gianni Motti, Kamau Patton, Dario Robleto, Sham Saenz, Tokihiro Sato, Suzanne Treister, Matt Volla, and Hillary Wiedemann.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with an essay by the renowned theorist and curator Lars Bang Larsen.


April 24, 2009
CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice announces the free, public opening reception of the exhibition
The Secret of the Ninth Planet
at two venues simultaneously (7–11 p.m.):

  1. Queen’s Nails Projects, 3191 Mission Street, San Francisco, 415.314.6785
  2. Photo Epicenter, 26 Lilac Street, San Francisco, 415.550.0701

April 24–May 24, 2009
CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice presents the exhibition
The Secret of the Ninth Planet
at two venues:

  1. Queen’s Nails Projects, 3191 Mission Street, San Francisco, 415.314.6785
  2. Photo Epicenter, 26 Lilac Street, San Francisco, 415.550.0701

Additional programming:

Galeria de la Raza, 2857 24th Street, San Francisco, 415.826.8009
Hours: Thurs.–Fri., 3–7 p.m.; Sat.–Sun., noon–6 p.m.

Art Exhibit: Bobby Hutton Memorial Benefit 11-29-08

 Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Luggage Store Gallery: Bobby Hutton Memorial Benefit.

Artists: Joe Brook, Jon Brumit, Monica Canilao, Cuba, Date Farmers, Emory Douglas, John Dwyer, Matt Gonzalez, Barry McGee, Jessie Michaels, Julio Cesar Morales, Shay Nowick, Shaun O’Dell, Nicole Okumu, Trevor Paglen, Kottie Paloma, Kamau Amu Patton, Hilary Pecis, Ricardo Richey, Rigo 23, Sham Saenz, Andrew Schoultz, Lucien Shaipiro, Swoon, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Tracy Timmins. Organized by Sham Saenz.

Comment by AB: Estimable selection of art is offered for sale to benefit the Bobby Hutton Memorial Foundation. Proceeds go to support artist fees to create a sculpture of Bobby Hutton for Oakland’s De Fremery Park. Plus special added bonus– there’s a fascinating show of vintage Black Panther era images and memorabilia. Tonight’s event is exceptionally well attended including artists, activists, aficionados, historians, and venerable Black Panther notables from back in the day.


Historical Black Panther photograph and memorabilia exhibit.


Black Panther memorabilia display.


Black Panther memorabilia display.


Black Panther memorabilia display.


Black Panther memorabilia display.


Artist/curator/organizer Sham Saenz – legendary artist Emory Douglas.


Art Exhibit: Swan Songs 7-28-07

Exploding Stars and Hatching Eggs: New SF Art Exhibit ‘Swan Songs’ Opens Tonight

swansongs1.jpg Local artist Sham Saenz took a picture of a bird’s nest outside of a nightclub, and it’s the work of a gifted installation artist, a found-filth purveyor on par with the art world’s greatest grit slingers. Yes, we’re referring to the bird. Saenz says he didn’t alter the nest, which isn’t constructed with the usual twigs but rather plastic utensils and inner-city detritus. The most shocking thing about it? The syringes. Followed closely by the two eggs sitting there in their wholly unnatural environment. Saenz’s photo, and a video of the chick that later hatched, are part of “Swan Songs,” a strongly curated show by Chris Fitzpatrick. Dealing with ends and beginnings, the exhibit also includes Yvonne Mouser’s handcrafted, charred-black table and Mark A. Horton’s text recollection of his near-death experience in 1992, which takes on new meaning now that the artist is dead. The prettiest efforts are courtesy of Robert Gendler, whose astrophotographs light up your imaginations with all their glowing interstellar dust and shining orbs. As you might think, astrophotography is not a point-and-shoot endeavor. For years, Gendler would wheel a huge telescope out of his garage, cover a nearby streetlight, and while away the nights with multi-hour exposures. Recently he lucked into a little observatory in New Mexico, and the results, such as M42, The Great Nebula in Orion, are stunning. All that work has paid off: Gendler’s work has appeared in hundreds of magazines, he’s set to receive the Hubble Prize at the 2007 Advanced Imaging Conference, and he even got a stamp (it’s a U.K. stamp, but still). An opening reception starts at 6 p.m. on July 28 (and the exhibit continues through Aug. 24) at Hamburger Eyes Photo Epicenter, 26 Lilac (at 24th St.), S.F. Admission is free; call 550-0701 or visit