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Preview: SFGate: Sam Whiting

Sam Whiting


Emergency loan saves KPFA from seizure for now

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 01:59:32 UT

The parent company of listener-funded radio station KPFA-FM is aiming to keep the station on the air with an emergency $2 million bridge loan to pay off a legal judgment for back rent on a New York transmission tower. A New York judge had ruled that Empire State Realty Trust could begin seizing assets of the Pacifica Foundation to cover a $1.8 million judgment against WBAI, the New York sister station of KPFA. Empire State Realty Trust had filed a motion in California to follow through on the seizure after a 30-day waiting period. The motion was to have gone into effect Monday.

RayKo Photo curator Ann Jastrab lands with show at Jenkins Johnson

Wed, 3 Jan 2018 21:21:51 UT

When independent curator Ann Jastrab called gallery owner Karen Jenkins-Johnson to ask if she could bring a photography class by for a tour, Jenkins said sure — in exchange for putting on a show at Jenkins Johnson Gallery. This was not a barrier to trade for Jastrab, who has been without a space since RayKo Photo Center, where she was gallery director for 10 years, closed last May. She had been wanting to base an exhibition on the poem “I Need, I Need,” by Theodore Roethke, and quickly rounded up nine Bay Area photographers willing to put their pictures to the text. The confluence of all these factors is “There Is No Alas Where I Live,” a searing group show of 80 images on display through Jan.

Ray ‘Bones’ Bandar, biologist and skull collector, dies at 90

Wed, 3 Jan 2018 01:59:59 UT

Ray “Bones” Bandar, a biologist and high school science teacher who kept 6,000 animal skulls in his basement and moose antlers in the bathtub of his San Francisco home, has died at 90. Bandar died Dec. 23 at home at his request among his bones, said niece Faylene Bandar. The cause of death was congestive heart failure, she said. For 60 years, Bandar was a volunteer field associate in the department of ornithology and mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. He loaned 1,800 specimens from his collection to curate the first “Skulls” exhibition at the academy in 2003. That exhibition was such a hit that it returned for an encore when the building reopened in 2014.

Light touch keeps drawing fans to the new Conservatory of Flowers display

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 23:01:09 UT

The Summer of Love has given way to autumn frost, snowflakes in winter, budding bulbs and a spring bloom, all in 12 minutes at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. The moving light display, splayed across the natural white canvas of the conservatory, is a new work called “Photosynthesis: Love for All Seasons,” which runs nightly from 30 minutes past sunset until midnight. It follows the psychedelic light show that ran all summer and was extended through Thanksgiving as part of the citywide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. The advantage to lights in winter as opposed to summer is that you don’t have to wait until 9 p.m. for it to get dark enough to start the show.

Country Joe McDonald claims he’s fixin’ to retire — maybe

Mon, 25 Dec 2017 21:07:28 UT

The Chapel marquee read “Country Joe’s 50th Anniversary & Farewell to San Francisco Show,” and when the doors opened, a long line of fans rushed to get seats near the stage. Nobody noticed the expressionless man in the plain pullover sweatshirt and fedora sitting at a table by the door. It was Country Joe McDonald himself. He estimated that the Friday, Dec. 22, show would be his 3,000th concert, and he was selling CDs for $15 during the opening act outside the Mission District music hall. “It’s my last club show, that’s for sure,” said the 75-year-old musician, seated alongside his wife, Kathy. “It’s just too hard. I’m done.

Rod Dibble, bar pianist at the Alley in Oakland, dies

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 03:19:51 UT

Rod Dibble, the hands at the keys of one of the last piano bars in Oakland, has died, ending a half-century run at the Alley, a dimly lit dive on Grand Avenue. “I’ll never retire,” Dibble told The Chronicle’s Peter Hartlaub in a 2011 interview. “I’ll be very happy to die right behind this piano here.” He was good for his word right up until he fell and broke his hip two years ago. After that he could no longer maneuver his way through the bar and behind the piano. He made a determined comeback this year, and the regulars rejoiced, packing the bar. For two hours, he played and everybody sang along to the favorites like “The Oakland Song.

Brown keeps Christmas tradition of pardoning felons

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 01:57:21 UT

Honoring a holiday tradition, Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned 132 people for their crimes and commuted the sentences of 19 more, his office announced Saturday.

3-month-old baby dies after falling ill on BART

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 01:53:49 UT

A 3-month-old girl riding on BART with her parents Saturday afternoon suffered a medical emergency and did not survive.

How a holiday trip to Paris shaped a career

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 20:00:00 UT

Having just started her first job as a historic preservationist in California, Anthea Hartig decided she needed to do field research at a traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Paris. So she borrowed vacation time from her employer, the city of Rancho Cucamonga, and traveled light. Just the essentials — her grandmother’s black cocktail dress from the 1960s, a journal which was also her sketchbook, and a travel case of watercolors. “Like many historians who go to archives and read diaries,” she says while thumbing through hers from 1990, in her office at the California Historical Society, “I thought, ‘Trips in particular have such a resonance with memory. I should keep track of them.

Do ‘Digital Finger Painting’ at pop-up public spots in Redwood City

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 20:11:43 UT

When you come upon a 6-foot electronic kiosk that looks like a giant cell phone with Christmas snow falling across the screen, the temptation is to reach out and touch it. And as soon as you do, you become an artist in a unique work in downtown Redwood City. Called “Digital Finger Painting,” the interactive work by Fresh AV is an invitation to draw on the screen and add your own snowballs, a snowman or ornaments on the tree. If you don’t like the snowy forest backdrop, you can switch it to fish in the ocean, or any of six landmark buildings to color in. The payoff is that your art can be posted to Instagram by using the hashtag #visitrwc.

Throng of dignitaries, everyday people honors Mayor Ed Lee at City Hall memorial

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 05:17:59 UT

Billionaires, baseball players, politicians and everyday people filled San Francisco City Hall on Sunday to celebrate the life of Mayor Ed Lee, a man remembered for his dignity, humility and passion for the city. “Our mayor had kindness, he had class, he served others before himself,” said acting Mayor London Breed. “He listened, he cared and he fought for our city — all of its people — with the quiet dignity of a man who knows exactly what he stands for.

Bokara Legendre, solo performer, socialite and Buddhist, dead at 77

Sat, 16 Dec 2017 20:37:35 UT

Bokara Legendre, a solo performer, TV host and self-described “socialite-turned-social activist,” died Dec. 3 in her Mill Valley home from an aggressive form of thyroid cancer. She was 77. Legendre built a public persona out of her background as an heiress who was raised by servants in the South, made her way into the tippy top of San Francisco society, then evolved into a spiritual seeker who was friendly with the Dalai Lama. Her memoir, “Not What I Expected,” was published in July, and in November, while terminally ill, she gave a reading at Book Passage in Corte Madera.

Cal Band director turns in his baton after 28 years

Thu, 7 Dec 2017 03:00:00 UT

After 28 years of putting on white gloves and climbing a 6-foot ladder to do his conducting, Dr. Robert Calonico is retiring as director of the University of California Marching Band, commonly known as the Cal Band. Calonico, 63, announced to his students Wednesday evening that this year will be his last as UC Berkeley Director of Bands, an umbrella that covers the smaller Straw Hat Band that plays basketball games and pep rallies, and the 60-piece University Wind Ensemble that tours internationally. “I’d rather leave too soon than one day too late,” said Calonico, whose final performance with the 240-member marching band was in November at the Big Game at Stanford.

Forgotten Japanese POW camp recalled in Chinatown exhibition

Tue, 5 Dec 2017 18:30:13 UT

The torture and travail endured on the Bataan Death March is well known. What isn’t is the torture and travail those prisoners of war were put through when they reached their end destination in China. This remembrance is the mission of “Forgotten Camp: Allied POWs of Shenyang,” a North American premiere at the World War II Pacific War Memorial Hall, inside a Chinatown storefront. The display of 200 enlarged images, along with wall text and illustrations smuggled out by the POWs themselves, comes from China’s Site Museum of Shenyang POW Camp of World War II Allied Forces, and this is its North American premiere.

Jack Stauffacher, typographer and master printer, dies at 96

Sat, 25 Nov 2017 22:30:35 UT

Jack Stauffacher, a master printer who taught himself on a mail-order press and ended up with his austere and exquisite typography in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, has died. Mr. Stauffacher died Nov. 16 at his longtime home in Tiburon, said his daughter, Francesca Stauffacher of Corte Madera. He was 96. In a nearly 80-year career that started when he was a teenager, Mr. Stauffacher worked with metal and wood type and printed everything from business cards and tickets to fine art books and museum monographs. Along the way, he was part of the North Beach bohemia that spawned the Beats after World War II.