Friday, September 28, 2007

field trip: haight ashbury

haight ashbury is about six or seven blocks from the university of san francisco which can only mean one thing - field trip!

in intro to media studies we recently finished print culture (newspapers, magazines, books) and are making our way towards electronic culture (sound recording, radio, film, and television). in class on tuesday, we traced a (modest, incomplete) history of rock and hip hop, and spent extra time on the 1960s, protest cultures, haight ashbury, and the psychedelic scene. on thursday, with digital cameras and digital video, we tripped through the haight.

we arrived as a class but explored the haight in pairs, in groups, and in small, adventurous posses. our goal was to find and document haight ashbury past and present. we walked up and down the street, in and out of shops and alleys, and down through golden gate park. we interviewed homeless people, shopkeepers, and tourists.

walking back to campus, we stopped at the panhandle. i reminded my students that media studies @ USF means analyzing media and making media and assigned them their homework. before leaving, i asked the students if they were interested in additional field trips.

YES! was their answer.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

job @ usf: introductory scriptwriting

The Film Studies Program, part of the Department of Media Studies at The University of San Francisco, is currently seeking an Instructor to teach Introductory Scriptwriting spring semester 2008.

This course is an undergraduate Lab (limited to 12 students) focusing on narrative scriptwriting technique. Students are expected to complete a feature length narrative script in the 16-week semester. Qualified candidates need to have undergraduate teaching experience in the area of narrative scriptwriting and professional experience in Narrative Scriptwriting. M.F.A. preferred, however candidate with at least two years of professional experience plus undergraduate teaching experience will also be considered.

Please send letter of interest, resume and example of scriptwriting syllabus by November 1, 2007 to:

Lydia Fedulow
Media Studies
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117

If you have any questions please email Film Studies Director Melinda Stone: stone [ at]

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

eleven young farmers

today i gave a blogging workshop for the garden project - a living-learning community at USF that includes eleven first-year female farmers, two professors, and a staff member. the goal is to plan and grow an organic farm on campus.

this class rocks. expect great things.


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Sunday, September 23, 2007

b turns six

today in palo alto was my nephew b's sixth birthday party.

it was a baseball birthday: baseball hats and jerseys were worn, (wiffle) baseballs were hit, baseball cupcakes were eaten, and a big baseball piñata was smacked.

for the second time in a row, our present was a hit. b was so excited with (and so handsome in) his new soccer uniform.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

literacy for environmental justice

yesterday, i attended a talk on campus called "environmental justice in san francisco." it took place in the fog 'n grog and was brought to life by USF's african american studies minor and jennifer dever. i attended the first hour but had to leave for the second.

the speaker was anthony khalil from literacy for environmental justice, or LEJ. anthony manages heron's head park, LEJ's educational program, and their native plant restoration project.

LEJ is an urban environmental education and youth empowerment organization located in sf's bayview hunters point district. bayview hunters point is the part of san francisco most of us want to ignore. located on the east side of the city, district ten is 50% african american, 30% asian, 15% latino/a, and 5% white.

it is home to 2 superfund sites. it has 325 known toxic sites. it treats 80% of the city's sewage. it has 2 major freeways running through it. 1/3 of the people who live in bayview hunters point are children - 20% of those children have asthma.

the place was packed. between forty and fifty students, faculty, and staff showed up.

anthony talked about environmental justice - a blend between social justice / civil rights, environmentalism, and public health. he talked about the right of all people to have equal access to basic needs: safe energy, healthy food, clean water, open spaces, non-toxic communities, and equitable educational and employment opportunities.

he talked about hunters point: "this is our hurricane katrina right here." he talked about community. he talked about community outreach. and he talked about community outreach that is based in the environment - within nature, within parks, within gardens. he spoke truth: "we've got white collared jobs, blue collared jobs - we need green collared jobs!" he talked briefly about LEJ projects like heron's head park and the living classroom.

like an expert teacher, anthony balanced between sharing with us the horrific environmental / social / health conditions of bayview hunters point and sharing with us the inspired environmental / educational / cultural programs of LEJ. i left both moved and motivated.


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Saturday, September 15, 2007

intro to media studies

this semester i'm teaching intro to media studies. i teach two sections - one in the morning on lone mountain with forty students and one in the afternoon in the education building with thirty students.

the first week or so i tried to keep both sections at the exact same pace. i would give the same lecture, discuss the same examples, assign the same homework. the students appeared engaged but for me it felt extremely limited and limiting. too uptight.

during the second week of classes, i ran into jeffrey paris and over lunch he mentioned that when teaching two sections of the same class he significantly mixes them up. he said it was better for his students and better for him - it kept things fresh.

i took his advice and - ahhhh! in the short term, it makes more work (more prep time) for me. in the long term, though, it makes both classes more independent, more dynamic, more organic.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

the september project in salt lake city

the university of utah's september project took and takes place this week. i was thrilled to be part of it.

on monday afternoon, i gave a faculty lecture titled "campus conversations and community collaborations." i framed my talk around a story sarah and i heard two or three years ago about the salt lake city public library. in 1998, the citizens of salt lake city voted (by a 68% margin) for an $84 million bond to rebuild the salt lake city public library. before construction began, the much loved library director, nancy tessman, invited members of the community and library staff to reflect upon what they thought the library should be and to write those thoughts upon a stone. the stones were then collected and placed at the site of the new library. concrete was poured, the foundation was established, and the library began to be built - all upon the collective hopes and dreams of the residents and readers of salt lake city. apparently, nancy tessman saved one stone and kept it on her office desk until she retired this summer. the stone, here in the hand of andrew shaw, SLC public library's assistant manager of community affairs, says magic.

i used the story of the magic stone to explain three elements of good campus-community collaboration. first, listen to your communities. second, when collaboration is good, all parties benefit. and third, when collaboration is genuine, magic happens.

one of monday's highlights was an interview with the daily utah chronicle, or the chronny. clayton norlen interviewed and teresa getten took pics and together produced this: "blogger to kick off september project: effort aims to encourage discussion" (9/11/07, daily utah chronicle).

on the morning of september 11, i headed over to KCPW where lara jones, joyce ogburn (director of marriott library), and i converged. here's the podcast. (and here's last year's podcast.) lara jones totally rocks. KCPW is located in SLC's supremely cool, supremely functional library square where the public library mixes with the community radio station and the community writing center.

we raced back to campus to see how the september speak out was going. what's a september speak out? as the chronny's clayton norlen accurately describes it:

"In conjunction with the September Project, members of the OrangeBand Initiative will be giving out orange cards and bands throughout the day on the Marriott East Plaza on which students can write their opinions. The orange bands and cards are intended to spark conversations among students about issues of concern. Students are instructed to tie the bands to themselves or their belongings, and cards will be displayed in the library."

through my eyes, it looked like this:

near noon, i gave a campus lecture called "why i blog and why you should blog." the talk was held in the hinckley institute of politics. the audience included librarians, professors, staff, administration, and STUDENTS!

i talked about la biblioteca berio in genova, italy and i talked about terrebonne parish library system in louisiana, USA. i talked about these mostly white guys. and i talked about the demon dog, marriott library, and the so so cool and so so delicious one world everybody eats.

the best part was the burrito lunch that followed. around six or seven utah students joined professors, librarians, staff, and administration. these were the students who organized the september speak out. we talked about some of the issues raised by members of the u of u campus. we talked about strategies for gaining attention and action around such issues. we talked about how some issues are related and can be approached collectively. for me, that was a big time experience. i thoroughly enjoyed meeting and sharing ideas with u of u students.

a lot more happened.

university of utah september project events continue tomorrow, september 13, with a campus visit by alexander keyssar, professor of history and social policy at harvard university's kennedy school of government. professor keyssar will join lara jones on KCPW from 10:40 - 11:00 am (update: here's the podcast). at 11:50, he will give a campus lecture titled "democracy as an ongoing project: threats and challenges to democratic governance in the US." the lecture takes place in the hinckley institute of politics and is free and open to the public.

Monday, September 10, 2007

salt lake city

i'm in salt lake city where i spent the morning researching and walking around the beautiful salt lake city public main library. in particular, i spoke with librarians about a story i once heard recently-retired SLC library director nancy tessman tell. i was fortunate to meet up with andrew shaw, the library's assistant manager of community affairs, who confirmed nancy's story.

this afternoon i'm giving a talk at the university of utah. the talk is titled "campus conversations and communication collaborations." with luck, i'll manage to weave nancy's story - a story about community, stones, and magic - into the mix.

Friday, September 07, 2007

the september project comes alive

during september, the september project comes alive.

what: the september project is a grassroots effort to encourage free and public events in all libraries in all countries.
when: most events occur during the month of september. some events take place in october, november, and just about every month of the year.
where: september project events have occurred and continue to occur in over 900 libraries in 30 countries.
why: because we believe now's the time to gather publicly and share ideas about issues that matter. and because we love libraries.

as i shared with ACRLog, the september project has no political agenda. however, it is, of course, political. these days, to exercise any form of public discourse is political. to publicly assemble is political. to organize anything free is definitely political. to talk about issues that matter - to talk about the war, to talk about human rights, to talk about the Earth - that's political. in our times, any idea that encourages us to be citizens rather than consumers, any activity that encourages peace rather than war, is highly political.

on sunday, i fly to salt lake city to be part of the university of utah's september project. the events are being organized by marriott library in collaboration with the tanner humanities center, the hinckley institute of politics, and the associated students of the university of utah (students as co-sponsors! yes!). events include a "september speak out" in front of marriott library, a talk titled "why i blog and why you should blog" by myself, and a talk titled "democracy as an ongoing project: threats and challenges to democratic governance in the US" by alexander keyssar, professor of history and social policy at harvard university’s kennedy school of government. if you live nearby, please join us!

the september project began in 2004 which means this is the fourth september project. judging from images we've already received, this year's events are powerful, important, and quite beautiful.

the images below are clickable. click them if you're curious.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

the september project on ACRLog

ACRLog, a blog for academic and research librarians, is one of my favorite blogs. so when one of the ACRLog bloggers, barbara fister, asked me for an interview about the september project i jumped at the opportunity. today, the brief interview is featured on ACRLog.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

d turns four

today in palo alto, my nephew d turned four.

an inflatable pool, sprinklers, and some water soaker thingies turned cara and steve's backyard into a summer wonderland. there was also a scavenger hunt, a piñata, burritos, and popsicles. and sun - lots of it.

our present was four matchbox cars from my personal stash. i'm not so good with presents but this was a real winner: d asked his mom if he could sleep with the cars. it was a fine birthday.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

the magic bus

on monday, sarah, shinjoung yeo, and james jacobs leave for a two week road-trip across northern california. their schedule includes visits with ten public libraries. their mode of transportation is a magical bookmobile - one that downloads books from the public domain, prints them, binds them, and then gives them away for free.

here, i think, is how it works. first, they roll up in the bookmobile, park in front of a library, and unpack their gear.

second, through various means, including the satellite dish on the top of the bus, books and other goodies are downloaded from the public domain to the bookmobile.

the books are stored digitally on the printer. a book is selected and the printer prints.

then you bind the book. this machine takes the printed pages, applies wax, and binds.

next, the sides are cropped and the book's cover is added. having kids help out makes this stage easier and more fun.

finally, you give the book away for free.

the arms giving the book above belong to brewster kahle - the wizard behind the internet archive and the owner of the bookmobile. today at the mission branch of the san francisco library, brewster joined sarah, shinjoung, and james to test the gear and give out free books.

it resembled a circus - a free and public circus taking place on the sidewalk of one the busier streets in san francisco. free books, free bookmaking workshops, and free lessons about the public domain.

after the free festivities, there was much celebration.

sarah works at techsoup on the maintainIT project, gathering stories from librarians about how they maintain their public computers, and then distributing the tips and techniques on their web site, on their blog, and in free print guides or cookbooks. there's amazing things going on in libraries everyday, so when they can help a library in geneva, alabama find a great solution from a library in hearne, texas, they're pretty happy.

and because the cookbook is in the public domain, they can download the cookbook, make a book out of it, and distribute it for free to the librarians they visit. brilliant.

most bookmobiles carry books. this one makes them. sounds like a magic bus to me.


gone gallery