tv Bay Area Focus With Susan Sikora CW July 21, 2013 8:00am-8:31am PDT
si t summer >> welcome to the show, i'm susan sikora. if you want great summer grading, the season of the witch could be your best start. now in paper back, this historical account reads like a novel. it is filled with characters you know, but may be filled with stories you are not. while san francisco's summer of love is long over, it shaped who we are, our value, an our influence on the rest of the country today. meet the author of season of the witch, david talbot. he also created salon.com.
hi david. >> hi susan. >> i haven't finished the book, but i love it. why have you decided to cover the years be67-82? >> i thought this was the revolutionary period in san francisco's history. it radically transformed itself and then the world. medical marijuana, immigrant sanctuary, livable wage. bicycle friendly streets. all of this began here in san francisco. gay marriage. of course the city went through great turbulence to work this all out. people were not bourn with flowers in our hair, we went through blood and stripes to get here. >> how did you do the research? a lot of people say i know about jim jones and harvey milk
and all this stuff. this is stuff we know. it's familiar, but it is new stuff. >> two things, one thing is i'm a historian, but i'm also a journalist. i like to e books about recent history where enough people are around to who remember and are alive. so i interviewed the significant figures in that period. willy brown, members of jefferson airplane. the grateful dead, some of the great gay activists of the time. cleave jones who work with harvey milk as a young man. when you talk to people and hear their stories, that history comes alive. >> i'm sure they had a lot of texture around these things and some of these figures, harvey milk, people who have passed on, they often become more saintly as time passes.
were peoplreluctant to give you the less than perfect sides of these characters? >> i still have great respects for our city's martyrs. people who were shot down on that horrible day. but the truth is when you look at them like all political figures, there are dark sides. they made a deal with the devil basically. in return for the support of people's temple, they packed a lot of clout. jim jones, he turned people out in the streets, he turned out voters. some people think he helped steal the election back in 1975. i found a letter in the fbi archives. a very sad letter. even after jim jones has taken
his flock and take enthem to the jungles of ghiana, jim jones was stealing social security checks and using them to fund. >> is there a hesitance on your part to put this stuff in the book? >> you want your hero to be heros an your villains to be villains. life is not ziplock and white. you have to be as accurate as possible. yes, i did it. i was disappointed to see this letter that harvey milk had written saying calling people the jones town settlement an
idealic retirement community. this is very disappointing, but on the other hand, they moved the city forward. that is their main legacy. do we want a city that was exclusive way it was before? run by an old irish italian catholic old boy's network? they bust that open. they brought in women, gays, minorities into the halls of power in this city and that is really today, we owe them. >> well, the characters certainly that end up here, not to mention all the young people that came here in the 60s and everything was love and flower power and all the stuff we heard from other parts in the country. i was in new jersey and you were in la at the time. i guess it is ... you wonder why. what was it about this place that was such a magnet for so much drama, for people who felt they could be freer here? >> well, there's a imaginer
about san francisco that goes back to its origins. we were the wide open wild city in the gold rush days. it drew all sorts of people. all sorts of outcasts, swindlers, you know, people who are out for a quick buck. >> how about people who are desperate? >> absolutely. so look, this was the wild west. this was the far fringe of civilization. and san francisco to its credit kept some of the best aspects of that. it was the kind of city where the old expression was you can do anything you want. just don't frighten the horses. [ laughter ] that i think is alive and well today. >> that's good advice! okay, well, we are going to take a break and when we return, we will talk about what makes our city so unique and if the legacy is being threatened by a economic trend going on, as a matter of fact, stay with
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the national book sellers? >> it was the independent book sellers. >> if you don't like reading history, this is not that kind of book. this is the kind of thing that is a page turner. my husband had two days off and read the whole thing right away. okay, let's get back to how san francisco is now perceived and is that changing? we have been perceived as liberal and we are still that place. it is like those san francisco values, those bleeding heart liberals out there. is that still the perception of the rest of the country? >> i think it is. we are still a city fox news loves to hate for our values. very civilized values, i think, of tolerance, openness to change. values that made the city great. and yet, i think the thing challenges that now is not the tax from the right wing and that sort of thing, but actually, how the city is
changing economically and demographically because of the new tech boom. and suddenly, you have all this new wealth in the city and i was part of the first one back with salon.com back in the 90s . i see how this can change things. >> you are tech friendly. >> i am. i am very tech friendly. look, i would still be stuck in a dying newspaper job if the internet hadn't come along so i jumped ship with my friends and colleagues from the old san francisco examiner and we started salon book in 1995. it empowered us. so i will always be grateful to the geeks and the geek culture for liberating me. >> because anybody can get out there and write a opinion. >> that's right. it empowers people to such a great extent. i'm not antitechnology by in
means. i love the soul of the city and what makes any city great is diversity. all different classes of people and races coming together in some great magical blend. that is that i think is threatened by the fact we have the city too expensive to live in. >> you said ... in fact, wrote wrote a piece in the san francisco magazine back in october saying a lot of the young digital elite come here, get these jobs, they are paid astronomical amounts of money. it almost feels like here comes the bubble again, and yet they are able to put down money on a house where maybe a couple, you cited a teacher an a library yap wanted to buy a house but they couldn't find it. they were out bid. and this squeezes out the middle class, the teachers, the firemen, the police, the hairdressers, the nurses, all the people squeezed out of their homes. >> that's right.
the city becomes more one dimensional. now the threat is that san francisco will become the bedroom community. the suburbia for silicon valley. you see the huge google buses and aming buses coming through the city and sticking them down 101 to silicon valley. is that all we are meant to be? every wave ... san francisco is like a city that is invaded again and again and it causes traumas any time. let's not say the digital invasion is unique. when the hippies came here in the 60s , all hell broke loose. when the gays settled in. there was another human cry about that. but i think each one of those invasions brought something unique and wonderful to the city. the hippies brought music and culture. gays brought a great sense of political activism and
arttistic creativity and the city changes for the better each time. at this point, the jury is still out on the tech elite. what are they giving back? >> that's the question and based on some of the ins and outs you found out, you are probably understanding of san francisco is enhanced now. do you think the legacy is threaten to the point where it will go away completely? is there the motivation for the activism to come back in the occupy movement for one. but i think somebody said they made $40,000 or something? >> i'm an optimist. i live in a great vibrant neighborhood with a good mix of people. there is an activist movement there run by a great man i have known for years. at some point, i think there will be push back. mayor lee was a housing activist in china town when he
first started out. at some point, the city will stay enough is enough. we need to take care of the working people who the city really relies on. >> until we do that, until that takes hold, um, i would worry that maybe the people who might be the movers and shakers for change will not be able to couple here because they can't afford it. >> i see in my own home, both my sons are very creative kids. they went to a public school, school of the arts here in san francisco. kids doing all sorts of creative things and you know, they are all living at home. my kids are living with me. their friends have moved in with us. i'm running a commune again like back in the 60s . i'm the old guru i guess in this commune. [ laughter ] but, that's true for more and more families. young people trying to get a foothold in cities like san francisco can't afford it. >> and you look back in the 60s , i remember, in college, students were doing that.
now they are working to pay for the astronomical costs of what it is to go to college. there is not time to do the rally in city hall and downtown. >> i was actually in the park in new york when occupy really exploded. the occupy movement last year: and i saw, actually, how a lot of it was motivated by young people in debt carrying the student debt and they think of themselves as modern slaves. they are slaves to the banks and the credit companies that demand them to service that debt. these young people for years and years. >> so the site of san francisco, how much of a threat is it? the identity? >> i'm an optimist. i still see the magical quality of the city. all you have to do is wake up and go across the hills and see the fog roll in and the great energy. >> the geography, the weather, the beauty of the place. i worry that some of these
folks who are very digitally inclined are it ising at a machine all the time. they are missing some of that. not all of them i. don't mean to generalize. >> yes, you have to get out. i wrote about how twitter is now based in the mid market section of san francisco. they have this beautiful building. they renovated. they are up there in the clouds literally. they have everything they need. wonderful meals. they never have to leave. but i know the people at twitter are encouraging people to go out and get involved. to help get involved with the homeless and so on. so you know, that social consciousness is not dead in san francisco. we just need to light a fire under it. >> okay. well, david talbot, you are also the ceo of salon.com. do you where for that often? >> i'm still on the board and it is my baby so i'm rooting for it from the sidelines but the writes is now for the books. >> the book is called season of
man: i remember the moment. -i'll never forget that moment. man: that moment. woman: it was a moment that changed my life. i'd been training with my team for months and, now, we had been called up for the first time -- the real deal. wildfires were getting dangerously close to homes. at that moment, i got my first taste of just how important the guard is to my community. announcer: see how the guard can be an important part of your life, at nationalguard.com. stern grove festival - now >> welcome back, one event that keeps san francisco's music alive is the stern grove festival now in the 76th season of free summer concerts. here to tell us about the lineup is stern grove festival's director steve
hanes. thanks for joining us steve. >> thanks. >> so everything is free. >> the mission from day one is that the performances were to be given as a gift to the city of san francisco and the residents and the visitors. completely admission free. so from the sunday concerts to the outreach programs, everything is free. >> sounds too good to be true, but it is true. how do you make it happen? people come, but then, you opened with boss, and michael mcdonald. >> great jazz legends. yes, we have a dedicated group that support us from our board of directors to individual patrons, corporate sponsors. it really is brought to the
community by the community. so, it has been that model for 76 years but we really look to the community for that support. even though it is admission free for anyone attending, it still takes millions of dollars. >> because you have to pay the performers. >> the staff, the equipment. the first concert ever back in 1938 cost approximately $1,800 to present. and now each sunday, it costs over $100,000. >> the idea the is to make the arts available to everybody. >> it is to make it accessible. the founder had this vision to create this drew sanctuary of stern grove, the park, make it completely admission free so there are no warriors for people to come out and enjoy the art and culture. >> and as we look at pictures, we see it is an outdoor
setting. it is parking easy or do you park outside the park and come early for that? >> come early no matter what. we do not offer any parking unless you are a member. >> two words, car pool. >> also public transit. take public transit. that is the best way to do it. come early. it is admission free, so first come first serve. get better seating if you come early. there are people at 6:00 in the morning waiting. >> and the weather can change on a dime out there. you are only a few blocks from the ocean. >> we are not so far at all. >> cool in the shade, hot in the sun. >> you can also have a picnic there? >> absolutely. that is the culture. people love to bring out food and wine and have a great time. we have a picnic competition every sunday to see who brings out the best spread.
>> and wear comfortable shoes and jeans. >> it's a relaxed setting. we have removed those barriers. come out and have fun. now one of our most historic performances, the san francisco symphony. >> you have the right acoustics for that? >> we absolutely do. stern grove it is sits in a wonderful little valley. the entire symphony will be there. it will be a fantastic program. we still have so many other artists coming up as well including red barat, the san francisco opera. the san francisco ballet.
the opera is out. the ballet has been our partner for decades. >> so you have a variety of talent. >> from week to week, there is always something different. we try to mirror the demographics. >> so when do you start planning? >> we already started planning for next summer. >> where do you start? a blank piece of paper? do you call in your favorites? what do you do? >> that is what is so much fun. we don't have to program to sell tickets so we can really be free. we can really be flexible with the programming and bring in artists we think will have a great appeal to the audiences so we start with a blank slate of dates. we start talking to them. we have a program director, we travel the country, look at other festivals, listen to people. it is really a great, great experience for us as well.
>> i read, you said in an interview somewhere because it is free, it is hard to know the profile of who loves what or who is your audience. how do you work that in? >> it is really challenging. we are actually considered one of the largest arts organizations in the bay area, but we don't know who our audience is. we have over 100,000 people comeing to the concert over the summer months but there is a solid core group coming every week that take hold of our mission and the spirit of it to experience the diversity of the performers and the performances. it is one of the greatest experiences for anybody. if you love music, come on out. if you are unsure of an artist, come out anyway. it is admission free. >> it has to be exciting. >> we bring artists in from around the world. we have the greatest asian
artists, african artists, it is just wonderful for anybody. >> okay, i have to cut you off. thanks for being here steve. for all the information on the free concerts, go toe sterngrove.org. we leave you now with pink martini. they perform sunday. august 11 at 2:00 p.m. i'm susan sikora, thank you for watching. ♪ gone is the romance that was so devine, just broken and cannot be mended. ♪ you must go your way and i must go mine, but now that our love dream has ended. ♪
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>> this is kpix5 news on kcbw. a day of protest for trayvon martin. the rallies demanding justice for the florida teen. >> and we have a few changes in the forecast. mostly cloudy skies on this sunday morning. sun and then completely something different from monday. >> literally as if she was running for governor, she went door to door. that is the constituency. >> our political insider with advice on how to move past the drama. >> thanks for joining us, i'm anne makovec. >> and i'm
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