Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Uncovering The Truth About The Mission's Golden Fire Hydrant

We've all heard the story of the golden fire hydrant in the Mission, the one credited with saving much of of the city from fires resulting from the 1906 earthquake.

A big component of the 1906 earthquake anniversary celebrations is a ceremonial repainting of the hydrant by survivors of that long-ago quake. I was on hand Saturday not just to capture the moment, but to separate the facts from the myth of the Little Giant.

Monday, April 20, 2009

River of Stone wins big in Idaho!

Great news!

River of Stone, a video/written series on my adventure down the Snake River, has apparently won the Take Pride in Idaho Media Award given by the Idaho Department of Commerce.

I'll be awarded at the commerce department's annual conference in Sun Valley May 5-7.

The Take Pride in Idaho Media Award was given to the director of Napoleon Dynamite in 2005 after he made his cult classic.

This news follows an announcement by the Idaho Press Club that River of Stone also won an IPC award. Which award will be announced soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Art vs. Crime: How the Mission's artists are helping neighbors feel safe after episodes of lethal violence

Discussions of the dichotomous nature of the Mission approach tedium, with shootings in front of valet stands, or the whole delicate flower thing creating enough dramatic tension to launch a thousand newspaper columns.

The organizers of the Mission Arts and Performance Project (MAPP) aren't content to just wring their hands: they're doing what they can to boost the Mission's thriving arts community while acknowledging its more challenging sides with their bi-monthly, multidisciplinary, intercultural event night.

Connecting visual artists, musicians, poets, dancers and poets, MAPP weaves together storefronts, warehouses, studios and homes to form an art walk that seems to turn into a huge multi-block party. Homeowners lay down stages in their living rooms, scraggly artists gussy up and serve hors d'oeuvres.The night of Saturday April 4, MAPP held its bi-monthly multidisciplinary, intercultural event night. Connecting visual artists, musicians, poets, dancers and poets,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Despite State Elimination of Funding, Cesar Chavez Devotees Rally Hard for His Legacy

Organizing Cesar Chavez Day festivities has never been harder than it was April 4, 2009.
After California established the labor and civil rights leader's March 31 birthday as a paid state holiday in 2000, the following year a parade 15,000-people strong marched along Market Street. Under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state has eliminated its entire multi-million dollar budget for supporting the holiday, including $50,000 to the city. The State of California has also decided it won't recommit funding to the Cesar Chavez Club, a statewide learn-through-service after school program in eight of the city's schools.
Organizer Eva Royale, with no cents to spend, relied this year on volunteers -- most of them stoic devotees -- to assemble a parade of only a couple thousand marchers. She's frustrated but, along with a groundswell of supporters who pushed Chavez's birthday to become a state holiday, she's determined to see the state holiday get nationalized under the supportive Obama administration.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Marin Breastfeeding Coalition lands international stage but at home fails to make a ripple

Breastfeeding organizers across the nation and beyond were jarred and excited by the Marin Breastfeeding Coalition's newest campaign, which involves setting up life-like cardboard cutouts of mothers breastfeeding in crowded public places.
The media descended on the campaign in February and March with equal excitement, and its coverage is leading to the coalition getting more money.
But, at the Marin Farmers Market -- one of the first staging areas -- the public adored the cutouts, as shown in my video at Passersby weren't in the least bit upset by them, nor were their assumptions challenged -- the point of the drill.
Still, because of the praise, the money and the possibility that the idea might travel to a county and state where it could increase awareness about breastfeeding, the campaign's organizers are calling the experiment in advertising a success.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March Critical Mass: Bikers and Bankers

Here's the opening of a blog I wrote for to coincide with a movie I shot of Critical Mass last Friday...

At Critical Mass last Friday, no one got beat up, a relief to the hundreds of riders who rode from the Embarcadero to North Beach to the Mission, then dispersed.

Friday March 27, 2009 Critical Mass from Cassidy Friedman on Vimeo.

But at least one guy may have deserved to be. He grabbed a standing woman's butt through her pants, in plain view of a dozen bicyclists. In disgust, she yelled, "really?! really?!" but the assault went unpunished, the offender rode on past Polk Street disappearing into crowd of cyclists all indifferent or unaware of what just happened in their informal peloton.

Bicyclists who usually ride in fear of getting run over, on Friday, seemed to feel a strength in their ever-growing numbers, tearing down Market Street and splitting up rivers of honking vehicles that ceded them the passage. Respecting the wheeling mob scene as a political protest, the cops guard the rear but they don't interfere.

Read the rest of the blog.

Mount Tamalpais' One-Man Welcoming Party

Mt. Tam Waver was one of the first videos I shot after returning to the Bay a few months ago from Idaho. Three million vehicles have passed this grey-bearded man standing on the side of Panoramic Highway waving and saluting cars, according to county records. But few people know who this icon of Mill Valley is.
I tracked him down in December at his nearby home and got the treat of a lifetime.