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Preview: SFGate: Sam Whiting

Sam Whiting


Rogue Aquatic Park yachtsman convicted of anchoring without a permit

Thu, 26 Apr 2018 23:13:02 UT

Rogue yachtsman Bryan Pennington was convicted in federal court Thursday of illegally anchoring his boat in Aquatic Park Cove, putting at least a temporary end to a six-month standoff with park police and swimmers who say Pennington was polluting the bay with sewage. In a courtroom crowded with bay swimmers and park rangers in uniform, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler told Pennington, “You are not entitled to keep your boat moored at Aquatic Park without a permit.” The verdict from Beeler came after a three-hour bench trial during which Pennington, who represented himself, tried to destroy the credibility of a supervising park ranger.

How biotech investor Bill Bowes gave the San Francisco Conservatory a huge boost

Wed, 25 Apr 2018 17:00:00 UT

Five years ago, San Francisco Conservatory of Music President David Stull walked into a breakfast meeting at the Pacific-Union Club to ask board member Bill Bowes for $10 million or $15 million to buy land for a student dorm. He walked back out on his way to a commitment of $46.4 million from Bowes, which is being touted as the largest gift to a music school for a new facility in American history. That will definitely buy naming rights, and at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Stull announced the Ute and William K. Bowes Jr. Center for Performing Arts. It honors Bowes, a biotech investor who died in late 2016, and his widow, Ute.

Exhibit on famous Chicano murals of LA comes to SF

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:00:35 UT

Jessica Hough was in a Los Angeles alley studying a mural on a decaying downtown wall when she heard a woman’s voice greet her from over the fence. “Can I help you?” said the voice. Turns out Hough could use the help, because as director of exhibitions for the California Historical Society, she was working on a new show, and the woman over the fence was the mother of Willie Herron III, who had painted “The Wall That Cracked Open” in 1972. That image now makes its Northern California debut in “Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/o Murals Under Siege,” in the historical society’s main gallery on Mission Street in San Francisco.

Aquatic Park yacht squatter arrested after boat runs amok

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 23:58:25 UT

Renegade yachtsman Bryan Pennington was arrested Saturday afternoon after his trimaran drifted into other boats at Aquatic Park Cove and police boarded and took control of the vessel. During the action by the San Francisco Police Department Marine Unit, Pennington allegedly became combative and was removed from his boat and cited on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. “The boat was adrift, and it was a life and safety issue,” said Robert Rueca, public information officer with the SFPD. “We were trying to make the vessel safe, and he was on the vessel and he was taken to shore.” The arrest happened at about 4 p.m.

Ann Hershey, feminist documentary filmmaker, dies

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 05:46:04 UT

Ann Hershey, a cinematographer in the 1970s who went on to make acclaimed documentaries while also performing in the renowned feminist folk trio the Plum City Players, has died at 79. She died April 6 at her home in El Sobrante, where she had lived for 27 years. The cause of death was metastasized breast cancer, according to her wife, photographer-writer Carol Osmer Newhouse. Hershey was best known for “Tillie Olsen: A Heart in Action,” for which she spent seven years traveling with and taping Olsen, the feminist author. The 66-minute documentary, finally completed in 2007, had its premiere in a packed Grand Lake Theater in Oakland and is now in the digital repository at Stanford University.

Renegade yacht breaks anchor and is towed out of Aquatic Park

Sat, 7 Apr 2018 21:37:07 UT

The seagoing saga of a yacht illegally anchored in Aquatic Park Cove sailed into new waters when the boat broke free of its anchor, drifted into the Hyde Street Pier and on Saturday was moored at a harbor run by the Port of San Francisco. Skipper Bryan Pennington, who has openly defied the laws of the San Francisco Maritime Park by anchoring his trimaran close to shore for more than 130 days, was not on board his vessel when it broke free Thursday, said Morgan Smith, acting superintendent for the National Park Service, which has jurisdiction over Aquatic Park. After drifting into the pier, the boat was towed by a private company into the Hyde Street Harbor, which is under the authority of the Port of San Francisco.

John Mack Flanagan, 1970s Top 40 disc jockey at KFRC, dies

Sat, 7 Apr 2018 05:44:10 UT

John Mack Flanagan, one of the top names in Top 40 radio at KFRC, “the Big 610,” in the 1970s, died March 31 of congestive heart failure. Flanagan died in his sleep at home in Daly City, with his wife of 53 years, Joann Flanagan, by his side. He was 71. “John was one of those people you worked with and you admired,” said Bobby Ocean, who was on the air at KFRC in 1973 when Flanagan joined the station. “You wouldn’t get to KFRC unless you were really good, and John fit in right away. He had presence, this ability to be on the air with such presence that you could feel him as well as hear him.” Flanagan spent nearly 40 years in Top 40 radio.

David Bonetti, former SF Examiner art critic, dies

Fri, 6 Apr 2018 04:47:59 UT

David Bonetti, an incisive and passionate art critic for the San Francisco Examiner in the late 1980s and ’90s, was found dead in his apartment in Brookline, Mass., on Wednesday, shortly after returning from his annual visit to San Francisco. Bonetti was discovered slumped in a chair while listening to classical music by his apartment manager who came in to change batteries in a smoke alarm, according to Amanda Doenitz, a close friend who spoke to a police detective in Brookline. He was 71. Bonetti was the art critic for the Boston Phoenix when he was recruited by Examiner Publisher Will Hearst in 1989, in a bold move to beef up the Examiner’s art coverage when it was the broadsheet afternoon daily.

‘Wild Pigeon,’ a collage of Turks in China, debuts at SFMOMA

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 20:08:19 UT

After years spent photographing a society of Turks living in the remote western frontier of China, Carolyn Drake had a portfolio honest enough for publication in a 2009 National Geographic. But she wanted to push the portfolio beyond documentary and into art. So she took her printed images to the people in the pictures, along with colored pencils, scissors and glue, then asked her subjects to mark them up, cut them out, write messages over the images and re-create them any way they saw fit. The resulting 32 photo collages form “Carolyn Drake: Wild Pigeon,” the inaugural exhibition in a gallery dedicated to recent acquisitions by the Department of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Eli Leon, scholar and collector of African American quilts, dies

Sat, 17 Mar 2018 20:19:17 UT

Eli Leon, a Bronx-born, Oakland psychotherapist who quit to devote his life to becoming a foremost scholar and collector of African American quilts, has died at 82. Leon died unexpectedly March 6 of septic shock at an Oakland care facility, leaving behind 3,500 quilts and a North Oakland home overstuffed with American ephemera, from vintage photographs to meat grinders. His death was confirmed by Jenny Hurth, trustee of the Eli Leon Living Trust. “Eli Leon turned the full force of his exceptional intelligence and visual acumen onto the field of African American quilts,” said Lawrence Rinder, director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Fabric from Christo’s famed ‘Running Fence’ resurrected in Marin exhibition

Wed, 7 Mar 2018 20:56:18 UT

It has been 42 years since “Running Fence” subdivided the rolling hills of Marin and Sonoma counties in Christo’s answer to the Great Wall of China. The 24-mile art installation lasted just 14 days before its materials were given to the ranchers whose property it crossed. Some of it is out there still, and this is how Point Reyes artist Madeline Nieto Hope came upon a swath of the white nylon fabric to turn into art of her own. Her two pieces, “Panel of Grommets” and “Fleeced,” are on display in a group exhibition dedicated to recyclables and junk at the Bartolini Gallery in the Marin Civic Center.

Yachtsman drops anchor in Aquatic Park and refuses to leave

Sat, 3 Mar 2018 03:40:06 UT

Turns out getting bitten by a seal isn’t the only danger in swimming at Aquatic Park. There’s also a renegade yachtsman to contend with. For more than 100 nights, Bryan Pennington’s trimaran has been anchored without a permit in the protected cove of San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. Swimmers say he has created a hazard by putting his boat in the marked lane and fouling the waters with human waste. “If he was cooperative and would move his boat out further, the impact of the sewage and the obstruction wouldn’t be as great,” said Reuben Hechanova, president of the Dolphin Club, as he sat on the stone bleachers at Aquatic Park watching swimmers maneuver around the boat maybe 50 yards away.

California Jazz Conservatory marks 20 years with new concert venue in Berkeley arts district

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:00:00 UT

Susana Pineda was studying vocal jazz at a university in Medellin, Colombia, when the American singer Madeline Eastman came to perform in 2013. After the show, Pineda tracked Eastman down for a career tip. “She said, ‘There’s this really cool jazz school in California,’” recalls Pineda, who followed that lead to the California Jazz Conservatory. That title suggests something more than what turns out to be the basement of a bookstore in downtown Berkeley. But downstairs, Pineda discovered the only accredited stand-alone music college devoted to jazz and related styles of music in the United States.

Hidden religious photos at hidden gallery in Berkeley

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 21:19:55 UT

For more than five decades, documentary photographer Ken Light has been shooting Americans without seeing the religion in his images. He made pictures of evangelists standing waist-deep in lake water, shot photos of back tattoos, billboards and war protesters tied to crosses or splayed out on the pavement by cops. But it took Elizabeth Peña, who teaches at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, to recognize the theme. In 2016, she brought her students to see an exhibit of his work on social justice in the 1960s, and asked Light, who runs the photojournalism program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, to show her his back catalog.

Harry ‘Hunk’ Anderson, modern art collector and philanthropist, dies at 95

Fri, 9 Feb 2018 02:10:45 UT

Harry W. Anderson, a flat-topped dorm food distributor who, on the side, built one of the most valuable collections of American postwar art in private hands, has died. Anderson died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes Wednesday at his home on the mid-Peninsula, said his daughter, Mary Patricia Anderson “Putter” Pence. He was 95. A refreshingly unpretentious man in an art world known for its pomposity, Anderson was always called “Hunk” and his wife and collecting partner Mary Margaret went by “Moo.” They were “Hunk and Moo,” and their collection grew so vast that Stanford University had to build a new museum just to show it.