Talking with Bay Area-Born RT America Anchor Abby Martin About Art and Life

Categories: Art, Politics

Evan Thompson
Some of Martin's artwork at her SF art show

You probably know Abby Martin as the RT America anchor who ended an episode of her show Breaking the Set a few weeks ago by stating her personal opposition towards the Russian militant occupation in Crimea. What you probably didn't know is that she's also an artist.

Born and raised in Pleasanton, Martin grew up in an artistic family, but didn't start to really experiment with art herself until she was out of high school. Inspired by nature, National Geographic photos, and artist Andy Goldsworthy (you know, the guy who makes really cool rock balancing formations in nature), Martin "started painting abstract, weird things," she said. "Art became my therapy. It's an amazing outlet."

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"Wrestling Jerusalem": Telling the Complex Palestinian-Israeli Story

Ken Friedman
Aaron Davidman, wrote and performs 'Wrestling Jerusalem'

With "Wrestling Jerusalem," his solo show at Intersection for the Arts, playwright and actor Aaron Davidman wants to do something seemingly impossible -- present the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, one of the most entrenched of our time, in a nuanced way- as a story rather than a diatribe.

"I like to say my play is not a protest play unless it's protesting polemic, in which case it is a protest play," he said. "To realize things aren't so black and white -- that's the new radical."

Davidman, former artistic director of the now defunct Traveling Jewish Theater in San Francisco, has written two other plays about the issue, which he feels is a central one for American Jews. Plus he thinks it makes great drama.

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SF Weekly Goes International, Interviews North Korean Expert

A common North Korea meme.

There's something fascinating about North Korea. A country with a government that controls almost all of the available information, ruled by a family dynasty of repressive dictators, is so foreign to western society it begs to be examined. It's kind of like a wreck on the freeway -- we just can't help but slow down and stare.

Of course, North Korea isn't something we can simply drive past. A United Nations panel recently found the country's boyish leader Kim Jong-un personally liable for crimes against humanity, and recommended that he be referred to the international criminal court. The regime has also been pursuing nuclear weapons for decades.

The Commonwealth Club of California hosts a discussion Friday about North Korea with Robert Carlin, a visiting scholar from the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation. As a primer for the event, SF Weekly caught up with Dr. Gloria Duffy, the president and CEO of the Commonwealth Club. Duffy is an expert on U.S.-North Korean relations, and a former nuclear arms treaty negotiator.

We spoke in her office.

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Former Miss Venezuela Leaves San Francisco Production Because of Tea Party Values

Categories: Politics, Theater


María Conchita Alonso has always shown her dedication to Latin culture through everything she does, including recording songs in Spanish, acting in Spanish-language theater productions, endorsing anti-immigration gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly -- wait, what?

Alonso resigned from her lead role in a Spanish production of "The Vagina Monologues" on Friday, January 17, after receiving a negative response to her appearance in a recent campaign video for Donnelly, in which he wears a cowboy hat and says things like "I want a gun in every Californian's gun safe."

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"Storefront Church" is the Last in John Patrick's Trilogy on Church and State

Monique Carboni
John Patrick Shanley, author of 'Storefront Church'

Along with winning a Tony and a Pulitzer for his play, "Doubt," and an Oscar for the screenplay of Moonstruck, John Patrick Shanley has another honor that means a lot to him -- a street named after him in the Bronx, where he grew up.

"As stuff like that goes, it was pretty cool," he said.

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Tourism for Locals: Diego Rivera Mural Satisfies the Eyes and Wallet

Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
Top Half Panorama of Diego Rivera's SF Mural: "Pan American Unity"
Want to experience the vibrancy of museum-worthy visual art but live on a street art budget?

In this week's "Tourism for Locals" entry, we bring you a massive piece of modern art that was commissioned specifically for San Francisco by one of the greatest modernist painters of the 20th century: Diego Rivera.

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Aurora's "After the Revolution" Questions Whether Political Idealism is Just Another Family Myth

David Allen
Ben (c. Rolf Saxon*) and Leo (back, Victor Talmadge*) and Emma (front, Jessica Bates*) in Aurora Theatre Company's production of 'After the Revolution'

Rolf Saxon, one of the stars of Amy Herzog's After the Revolution at the Aurora Theatre Company, came to acting in high school. Only it wasn't really acting that interested him.

"I was 17 and a bit of a class clown, and a very pretty girl suggested I sign up for acting classes," Saxon says. "She never showed up, but I got good friends and a career out of it."

Saxon joined the first class at American Conservatory Theater's Conservatory, and went on to numerous roles in the theater, television, and films, including Saving Private Ryan and Mission: Impossible.

Saxon says he loves acting in every medium, but with theater something special can happen.

"You get such a immediate connection with an audience," he says. "That's better than drugs or drink or anything."

David Allen
Miguel (l. Adrian Anchondo), Emma (r. Jessica Bates*) and (back, Rolf Saxon*) in 'After the Revolution.'

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Son of Russian Political Prisoner, Pavel Khordokovsky, to Address Navalny Conviction at Commonwealth Club

Categories: Events, Politics

A protester dons a Navalny paper mask at a 2011 Moscow rally

Protest is never easy. Witnessing the violent Trayvon Martin protests in Oakland on Monday or the City College strikes last week proves that citizens' voices aren't always enough to prompt change, not even in the land of free speech.

To which we say: at least you're not trying to change Russia.

At 6 p.m. tonight, Pavel Khordokovsky, the son of a noted Russian political activist, will appear at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club to discuss the plight of his father and address the larger issue of political oppression in his native country.

Before his arrest in 2003, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia and a loud critic of Vladimir Putin. He's remained active behind bars; in fact, wrote activist Martha Gessen in 2012, Khodorkovsky's 10 years in jail have turned him into "Vladimir Putin's biggest political liability."

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S.F. Voted Best City for Same Sex Marriage, But the Fight Ain't Over

The engagement cake of Movoto CEO Henry Shao boasts jaunty gay extraterrestrials
While the streets of San Francisco looked like one big gay rainbow this past weekend with the throbbing throngs of Dionysian revelry, something more serious than a party was happening.

Now that DOMA is dead, San Francisco is the place to be, according to a new study by Movoto, which has deemed S.F. the best damn city in the nation for same-sex couples to tie the knot.

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International Museum of Women Launches New Exhibit Muslima, Tackles Boston Bombing Backlash

In a city that serves as a progressive paragon, it's easy to forget that American women didn't get the right to vote until 1920. And that's just one facet of the tumultuous history and continuing struggle for women's rights -- here and abroad.

The International Museum of Women (IMOW) -- an innovative online museum based in San Francisco -- has been championing female-focused issues since 2006, but its history of fierce feminism has roots stretching back to 1985.

First founded as the Women's Heritage Museum, this nascent organization operated as a museum "without walls" for 10 years, producing exhibits, sponsoring an annual book fair, providing fodder for teachers during Women's History Month, and of course, celebrating the lengthy lineage of women throughout the past, long overlooked for their accomplishments.

Elizabeth Colton, original founder of IMOW
In 1997, a Bay Area woman named Elizabeth Colton was hoping to take her daughter to a museum dedicated to women's contributions to society...but she couldn't find anything. She called up Gloria Steinem, a noted feminist activist, who she didn't know, and asked her if such a place existed.

"Gloria told her 'no, but I think you should [start] one!'" says Catherine King, Vice President of Exhibitions and Programs at IMOW. "Elizabeth took that has a call to arms." Elizabeth soon corralled a group of Bay Area teachers equally disappointed by the current feminist offerings and established the International Museum of Museum.

"She thought, 'lets expand the mission, let's get global.'"

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