Author Archives: admin

Art Made of Trash is Anything but Trashy

Jeremey Rourke video still.

While San Francisco prides itself on being one of the most environmentally conscious cities in America, a lot of unnecessary materials still end up in the landfill because we either don’t know how to sort or we fail to see the real value in what we toss. According to Recology San Francisco, the city’s primary resource recovery company (which is also worker-owned), 1,400 tons of landfill-destined waste are collected daily from San Francisco residents in Recology’s well-known green, white, and blue trucks that sport “Sunset Scavengers” on the sides. Additionally, 600 tons of compostable materials (green bin) and 600-700 tons of recyclables (blue bin) are collected daily. Continue reading

Julien Blanc Is The Rule, Not the Exception

The Internet is a remarkable means of expressing terrible ideas and feelings towards women, particularly through social networking and blog sites like Reddit and 4chan. Both have become hotbeds of this male subset where belittling women and expressing anger and thoughts of violence against them are discussed and encouraged—through various geek fandom threads to so-called “men’s rights activists” (MRA) threads. Such misogynist sentiment was the motivation to post nude pictures of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton. These women’s phones were hacked in an event titled “The Fappening,” a frivolous title incongruous to the misery inflicted. This invasion of privacy exposes a fundamental need for men to have access to women at any cost possible—and to thwart women’s success and talent by tearing down their bodies. Continue reading

#BlackLivesMatter: Find your local protest

Two grand juries that failed to indict police officers for the murder of unarmed black men—Mike Brown of Ferguson and Eric Garner of New York—have spurred to action a burgeoning movement against systemic racism and police violence in the United States. (Solidarity protests have since spread worldwide.)

The number and breadth of protests in any region is difficult to coordinate and organize, but we’ve found a number of resources for finding local protests in the Bay Area. (Note: This post will continue to update as new information is available.)

Avenue Q at Novato Theater: A Pop Culture Snack

Avenue Q was conceived of as an adult update of the classic Sesame Street, and sets out to skewer the illusions of childhood with the same formula of upbeat songs, teachable moments and (of course) silly puppets as the original. And in many ways, Avenue Q’s shortcomings mirror Sesame Street’s. Whereas Sesame Street presented an often-inadequate primer on education, multiculturalism, and how to tackle problems related to growing up, Avenue Q is a little too flippant about turning real issues into punch lines, and thereby claiming the mantle of intelligence. Continue reading

Sirron Norris: Murals With a Mission

San Francisco is a city of murals: from the Progressive Era to the waves of Latin American immigrants in the 1970s and 1980s, the city’s radical history lends itself well to splashes of life and color. By the time the Mission Muralismo movement peaked in the 1980s and 1990s, San Francisco was post-industrial, grimy, and full of artists and punks: in a sense, the perfect locale for a burgeoning graffiti and mural scene. Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Dan Siegel, Progressive Candidate for Oakland Mayor

Illustration by Kristin Jensen.

Dan Siegel is running for mayor of Oakland on a progressive platform of a higher minimum wage, housing and tenant’s rights, public internet and police reform. Siegel, a civil rights attorney with a history of organizing and activism, was voted “Most Progressive Oakland Mayoral Candidate” in the East Bay Express.

Unusual for a politician, Siegel—who referenced the idea of “radical reformism” in discussing his political views—has nuanced views on crime, gentrification and civics that hint at a deeper understanding of society and economy. We sat down with him to talk about his politics, his background working with the left, and his vision of the future of Oakland.

Marxist Mixtape: Watsky ft. Chinaka Hodge – “Kill a Hipster”

“Only hipsters like zombies,” my friend commented as she watched the zombies prance around in Watsky’s “Kill a Hipster” music video. The zombie-hipster metaphor is particularly apt given the racialized origins of both hipsters and zombies: Zombies originated in Afro-Caribbean Haitian folklore—corpses that could be reanimated through necromancy—yet in the past decade that history was mostly forgotten, as the zombie became a semi-humorous staple of Western youth culture (evinced by the popularity of media like the book Zombie Survival Guide [2003] and films 28 Days Later and World War Z).

The hipster, too, has its origins in appropriation of both African American and other cultures—something Norman Mailer first noted, but which Watsky does an effective job of illustrating. “Hummus, hummus, I’m getting hummus, hummus,” he chimes at the zombified hipsters lounging in the park, practicing Spanglish at the taco truck. Watsky and the video hipsters’ adoption of keffiyehs—a symbol of Palestinian resistance that became completely stripped of meaning after its hipster appropriation, on ironic par with Che Guevara shirts—illustrates the same kind of cultural forgetting. Continue reading

Marxist Mixtape: “Omnipotent #WaveOfAction” with Eminem, Ice Cube and Korn

The populist genre of the 1960s and 1970s was folk music. When Neil Young or Joan Baez took the military-industrial complex to task, they strummed and crooned about it; in a sense, their aching voices were the voice of the sixties, a peaceful, critical call-to-arms.

Does it make sense that, nowadays, it would be nü metal?

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Hemorrhage: An Ablution of Hope and Despair

“Hemorrhage: An Ablution of Hope and Despair”

photos by Mily Trabing

In April 1937, Mussolini and Hitler’s air forces, in compact with Franco’s nationalists, began a bombing campaign against the Basque city of Guernica. The city had no military defenses and few soldiers; hundreds of civilians were killed or maimed in the assault. While the Basque civilians were horrified at the senseless aggression of the fascists, the rest of the world barely noticed. Rather, it took a generation of artists to take to their typewriters and paintbrushes to communicate the fascists’ war crimes to a callous world.

One of these artist happened to be the Spaniard Pablo Picasso, who was living and painting five hundred miles northeast, in Paris. His response was to paint “Guernica,” perhaps his most famous canvas, an abstract depiction of the agonizing death of Guernican civilians under the wrath of the bombers. So powerful and illustrative was the painting that it is rumored to have prompted a Nazi officer to arrive at Picasso’s doorstep in Paris and ask, “Did you paint this?” To which he responded, “No. You did.”

Continue reading

Introducing: Marxist Mixtape

carl marx (new) copy

PopFront is proud to introduce Marxist Mixtape, a regular series about music, culture and politics. The goal of Marxist Mixtape is to cover individual songs from any era or genre that could constitute a contemporary popular front; that is, music that contains some progressive or leftist content, even if it’s just a blip or a few lyrics.

Pieces are short (2-6 paragraphs) and include a link to the song, usually on Youtube. For every 10 songs reviewed, we will create a Youtube playlist—an online mixtape that you can jam to from any computer, tablet or device with an internet connection.