29 July 2010

3 places to create in the city

San Francisco has so many great places for creative collaboration.  Here are just three of them:

1} It's brand new ~ the Levi's workshop opened up this month in San Francisco's Mission District.  Their website says they provide all the good things mentioned above and more, such as field trips for schools and collaborations with Bay Area groups, businesses and individuals.  Anyone can book a Sunday workshop day even though they probably fill up fast. They're located at 850 Valencia Street.  I can't wait to visit!

2} Just down the street is another fountainhead of community creativity, the writers' den at 826 Valencia, which is cleverly hidden behind the well-stocked, independent Pirate Supply Store.  Pass through the red, velvet curtains to find talented and dedicated volunteers tutoring kids after school, encouraging them to write and publish their work.  They also conduct workshops for teachers and field trips for schools (which is how I arrived there, once upon a time, bringing a group of middle school students to write a screenplay).

The pirate shop in front is an excellent place to buy beards, eye patches and barrels of lard ~ all your basic pirate needs ~ and proceeds help keep the writing center afloat.  I bought a charming T-shirt on my last visit with this witty pirate-ism:



{People are frightened by my message every time I wear it, and I suspect that they suspect that I might be a real pirate.  Sometimes they are impressed that I have been somewhere as hip as 826, but either way, they view me with renewed respect and surreptitiously glance at my hand to see if it's a gleaming hook.}

3} Finally, in a quick return to the main subject of this post, we cannot forget the San Francisco Center for the BookWorkshops and lessons in antique letterpress printing, calligraphy, book binding, book altering, rubber stamping, embossing, and so much more ~ it's a place close to heaven for creative souls.  They also offer machine rental and have two-hour long field trip workshops for kids.  Personally, I'm interested in the Letterpress classes (amongst other things).

Someone I know just happens to be having an event there tonight as well.  The SFCB has an Imprint department and invited print artist Mike Wertz to create a small, limited edition letter press book.  It's titled Dog Dreams and you can meet Mike and pick up a copy at the release tonight.  You can even bring your (well-behaved) dog along with you!  But if you can't make it, then I definitely recommend looking through his portfolio for all its colorful, graphic goodness.

And if the reason you won't attend is that you're a staunch cat person, then may I recommend another Wertz-illustrated book:  A Curious Collection of Cats.  Betsy Franco's poems explore the many attitudes, triumphs and peculiarities of felines and are perfectly illustrated by Mike Wertz so that each becomes a concrete poem as well.  When I saw this one, I had to go to the book-signing, I had to have my own copy ~ and I'm not even a cat person (being quite partial to bunnies myself).  It's really that good.

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