I am a Liar

I am a liar.

I am a liar, as far back as I can remember I have been a liar. You have to understand, a liar of my caliber has been lying for so long that he lives in full flight from reality. I am putting this on paper to find the truth.

The inner-city offers very little in the way of role models so you end up coping with life using the tools available to you in the street. I found the spike.

My mom is a junky. I don’t say that out of bitterness, she just is. She stands about 5′ foot tall with brown skin and big brown eyes that hold the suffering only a female junky can know. She gave birth to me when she was sixteen years old. Soon after, she got a tattoo of two hearts connected on her back that symbolized her and I. We grew up together, as far as I could tell. Her development was arrested and mine was to be stunted.

One time my mom and I were at my grandparents’ house where I was living. She was visiting and we were alone. Somehow she had disappeared then reappeared and went into the bathroom. I was laying on the bed, on my belly, my face as close to the TV as I could get it. This was a treat for me – papa did not allow TV on the weekdays. For some reason it was a sin and I would go to hell for it. I lay on my belly watching Gomer Pyle in black and white not because Gomer Pyle was in black and white but because my TV was black and white. Out of nowhere, I heard my mom cry out for me. I sprang to my feet and ran to her. She sat on the toilet, her small frame at odds with the world. To this day I can remember the moment with clarity, partly because I maintained an overwhelming state of panic as a small boy and in that state images are easily seared onto the mind’s eye. Her body was surrounded by a gray aura that separated her from the pastel pink and baby blue bubble bath bottles, bathmats and towels of my grandmother’s bathroom. She held an old rubber tie in her mouth and a broken off syringe in her arm. Gritting her teeth together to hold the tourniquet, a tear rolling down her face, she whispered “help me.” I felt so sorry for her. She said “push it in”, as she looked at the half cracked syringe held together by rubber bands. I pushed the broken-off plunger into the spike until it was done. She opened her mouth to release the tie. It snapped, hitting me on the arm. She fell to her knees and the syringe flew out of her arm and hit the floor. She looked up at me to tell me to get out but I was already backing up and closing the door. I went back to the bed and to the TV. Instead of dread, I felt that she had let me into her world to know the woman I longed for so much. Soon she came into the room and spooned me. I was so happy to have connected with her on her level and then to be near her. For a moment in time I felt her love and we fell asleep together.

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 http://www.burgerworldchronicles.com.