From 2012 to 2015, I wrote obsessively on the dangers of the ultimate “creative city,” the much-touted “post-gentrification era” and what it meant to become a foreigner in my own neighborhood, waiting for the inevitable eviction notice. This updated 2016 manuscript remix has been expanded and restructured as a series of literary postcards. They are meant to be performed live, on radio or for video, without a particular chronological order.
This merits a response
First: Gentrify my love.
“You haven’t seen it? Wait, you have to see it.” We interrupt our regular Pigeon Palace weekly co-op meeting to break into a “Google Google Apps Apps” viewing party. It’s 2013 and bodacious queens scurry across a screen in my top floor rent-controlled apartment in the Mission to the dance beat of “gringa gringa apps apps” with punctuating bellows of “I just wanna wanna be WHITE!”
The exhibit Take This Hammer: Art + Media Activism at the Yerba Buena Cultural Center in San Francisco reveals the intersection of art, activism and culture in a light that is by turns brilliant, bleak and critical. Featuring the work of local artists who put their communities and social movements at the foreground of their work, the exhibit uses a variety of media to express ambivalence and aspiration about the massive cultural evolutions that the Bay has undergone.
This week marks the 100th birthday of one of the iconic thinkers of the American city, Jane Jacobs. Back in the 1960s and 70s, before words like "gentrification" had been popularized, the "development' of cities was spreading a deep malaise to which urban denizens like Jacobs bore witness: whole neighborhoods were being uprooted and displaced, and "slum clearance" and "urban renewal" (aka Black Removal) was being deployed by municipal planners and real estate moguls to essentially atomize and liquidate the population of the unwanted masses.