Every Lunar New Year, Chinese American women from across the country travel to San Francisco to participate in the Miss Chinatown USA pageant — an ethnic beauty pageant that’s been a national event since the late fifties.
Oakland writer Chizu Omori and her family were among the near 120,000 Japanese Americans forced to leave their homes and relocate to incarceration camps during World War II. Omori was just 12 years old when she was sent to Poston, a camp in the desert of Arizona.
Over five million Syrians have fled their homes, seeking refuge from a brutal civil war that’s killed an estimated half a million people since 2011. It can be easy to get lost in the numbers and lose perspective on the individual people living admist the violence. So how can you connect with people living around the world? Try with a shipping container, a Skype account, and a little gold paint.
Audiograph is a crowd-sourced collaborative radio project mapping the Bay Area’s sonic signature.
Audiograph tells the story of where you live, and the people who live there with you. Every Thursday, we tell you the story behind our weekly mystery sound on Crosscurrents, and here in weekly blog posts.
This is a story about one of my very first teachers, Janet Daijogo. She’s the one who taught me how to tie my shoes and how to read my first book. I’m just one of hundreds of kids who’ve passed through her kindergarten classroom in the more than fifty years she’s taught.
Like a lot of middle schools, Bret Harte’s hallways carry with them the faint scent of Axe Body Spray and the sounds of kids shuffling to class. The school sits in the middle of Oakland, nestled below the big Mormon Temple. Outside, backpacks dangle from a tall, chain-link fence encircling a busy baseball diamond.
Park Elementary School in Hayward is a cheerful place. The halls are dotted with murals of tiny green handprints and scribbled-on schoolwork, and the principal makes her rounds through the halls helping kids tie their shoes.
A gaggle of middle school girls are running around a soccer field in East Oakland. The scene is a blur of ponytails and mismatched cleats. Some of the girls wear a yellow chalky sunscreen in stripes across their face. It’s called thanaka, a powdered root that’s popular in Burma.
The Book Report is a series where we talk to local authors about the books they love. Today we hear about Katherine Dunn's Geek Love from Charlie Jane Anders, a writer living in San Francisco. Anders is the editor-in-chief of io9.com and runs the Writers with Drinks series. She's also the author of the novel All the Birds in the Sky.
The Point Reyes Light, a weekly newspaper in West Marin, is known for a lot of things. It won a Pulitzer Prize, it’s done muckraking reporting on a local cult, and riled up residents with its change in ownership. But these days, one of its most popular features is a police log that transforms people’s worries into something close to literature.
An excerpt from The Point Reyes Light Sheriff's Calls: An oak tree was reportedly dying, its debris crumbling into the roadway
Two sisters, Kathryn Sibley and Madelyn Blair, walk into the Dragonfly Ink Studio to get a touch-up on their matching tattoos. You can sense their excitement—they’re not scared of the needle and they’re not scared of the pain.
When I first started working at The Booksmith, the local independent bookstore a couple blocks from my apartment, it was a lot like what I expected it to be. Book lovers browsed, regulars came in for their daily newspaper, and authors gave intimate readings. So it came as a surprise when one night all the shelves in the back were pushed aside, two hundred or so people filed in, and Baruch Porras-Hernandez welcomed the crowd enthusiastically with: “Are you guys ready for some porn? Let’s dive in!”
Back in April, a 48 foot-long sperm whale was found on a beach in Pacifica called Mori Point. A lot of people had gathered around the whale to bear witness to its death. They inspected the animal’s internal organs, nervously poked its cracked flesh when no one was looking, and took a few selfies in the process. Mostly though? People want to know how this animal died - and if we had anything to do with it.
The Book Report is a series where we talk to local authors about the books they love. Today we hear from Adam Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer living in San Francisco, who is discussing Marlon James' A Brief History of Seven Killings. Johnson's latest collection of stories, Fortune Smiles, was released August 18th.