Tourism For Locals: Ina Coolbrith Park Honors S.F. Poet Pioneer

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Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
The view from Coolbrith's Park
In the San Francisco poetry world, there's a woman that embodied the sayings of "women rule the world" and "behind every great man is an even greater woman," and that woman was Ina Dona Coolbrith.

Coolbrith was a revolutionary poet who brought local speech and sights into her work and broke barriers for women in the arts. She even inspired and mentored some of the greatest writers in American literature, which include Jack London and Mark Twain.

Coolbrith had many firsts in her lifetime, most notably of which include being the first poet laureate of California (and for that fact, any state in the U.S.), and the first female poet laureate back in 1919.

The San Francisco park dedicated to her namesake is first rate as well, and boasts breathtaking views that reach poetic heights.

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Tourism For Locals: Robert Frost Monument Marks Origin of Poet's Life

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Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
Understated monument to the simply profound poet Robert Frost.

He was a revolutionary poet of the 20th century and achieved what few poets could in their lifetimes: fame and recognition for their work.

Robert Frost became an American institution and his prolific repertoire of poetry collections won both the critics' respect and the public's support and affection. Frost's writing style is known to capture the diversity of American speech/colloquialisms while also depicting honest and accurate portrayals of New England rural life.

But why are we writing about Frost, who seems to be associated only with the East Coast? Well, looks (or in this case poems) can be deceiving, because the great American poet was originally from San Francisco, and not New England.

April is National Poetry Month and here at Tourism for Locals, we're going to highlight monuments and locations that either shaped or pay tribute to those who have contributed to the San Francisco and national poetic canon. For this week, we're visiting the Robert Frost Monument near the Embarcadero.

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Ben Tarnoff's The Bohemians Makes Mark Twain S.F.'s Own

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Its the 1860s and San Francisco is booming: the Gold Rush has fueled the economy of the City and everything is growing and expanding at an exponential rate.

San Francisco is getting larger -- not just in infrastructure but in population. Innovative technology and overflowing wealth attract multitudes of outsiders and San Francisco is sprawling with cultural and linguistic diversity.

With these hoards of people, there is a surge in literary demand, creating the ripe and perfect environment for writers and poets.

And it's in this plush, literary haven -- brimming with stories and characters -- where Ben Tarnoff's begins his recently published historical novel: The Bohemians.

In his book, Tarnoff chronicles the early begins of four important writers in early frontier literature: literary golden boy Bret Harte, struggling gay poet and travel writer Charles Warren Stoddard, gorgeous and haunted poet Ina Coolbrith, and the leader of these bohemian bards -- a young Mark Twain who was fleeing his draft for the Civil War.

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The Litography Project: An Interactive and Evolving Multimedia Map of Literary S.F.

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mockup of the splash screen

Why can't we explore the San Francisco Bay Area's rich literary traditions through a central hub that allows stories and multimedia projects to be sorted by people, places, events, and ideas -- with local authors being commissioned to contribute their stories?

Well, we may be able to soon. (It seems like this is something that should already exist, doesn't it?)

Everyone knows the Bay Area has one of the richest concentrations of literary interests in the world, and is able, uniquely, to host a diverse constellation of literary groups (nonprofits like Small Press Traffic, RADAR Productions, and Quiet Lightning), impressive university programs (try SFSU's digital poetry archive or UC Berkeley's Holloway Series), and underground readings and open mics. But no one has been able (or inclined) to try to bring it all together until now.

Writer and radio producer Ninna Gaensler-Debs has developed a momentous something she calls The Litography Project, an interactive literary map, that just launched a Kickstarter campaign.

Gaensler-Debs was kind enough to answer a few questions about this project:


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Contemporary Jewish Museum's Homage to Yiddish Radio

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Harvey Varga

San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum will put a 21st century spin on 1930s radio this Sunday; a hearty band of actors and musicians will take to the stage of the CJM's auditorium for a delightful afternoon of laughter and tears as they enact actual scripts from the Golden Age of Yiddish radio.

During it's 1930s heydey, Yiddish radio was enormously popular, with 30 Yiddish stations in New York City alone.

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Will Gays: The Series Be Able to Compete With HBO's Looking?

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They're Gay. And they have their own web series.

The show's title is simple and cuts to the chase: Gays: The Series is creator Peter William Dunn's self described "dramedy" web series.

Dunn, who is also the writer/director/co-star, describes Gays as being "about four twenty-something gay best friends navigating the tumultuous terrain of New York City. Growing up, screwing up, and screwing along the way."

And time will tell if New York-based Gays will steal a few viewers from HBO's San Francisco show, Looking.

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Liv and Ingmar: Talking with Director Dheeraj Akolkar About the Love Story

Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman.

On January 10, Liv and Ingmar, Dheeraj Akolkar's moving documentary about Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and his muse, actress Liv Ullmann, opens at the Opera Plaza Cinema. The film is a love story, a valentine to two great artists who inspired each other to do their best work. Decades after their romantic relationship ended, Ullmann and Bergman continued to love each other deeply and profoundly. The films they made during their post romance period continue to mesmerize film lovers.


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On the Road: Finding Main Street's Trio Release Trailer of Cross-Country Documentary

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All Images Courtesy of Dylan Ozanich
Brant Ozanich, Wyatt McCall and Dylan Ozanich chronicle their adventures in state hopping.

The motorcycle cross-country adventures of Wyatt McCall and brothers Dylan and Brant Ozanich finally have a teaser trailer of what they experienced on the road.

Finding Main Street is the collaborative project of the three San Francisco residents and recent college grads chronicling their sojourn across the United States on $500 motorcycles (purchased on Craigslist) during last summer; the trip was possible with the help of Kickstarter.

In 55 days, McCall and the Ozanich brothers traveled 10,500 miles through 28 states in a massive circle around the periphery of the continental United States. They documented the sights, sounds, and people in every region along the road with photography, video, and blog writing in search of an all-American Main Street.

See More: From S.F. to N.Y.: Finding Main Street Across America (Slideshow)

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Ira Glass Interview Podcast with the WhoreCast's Siouxsie Q

Categories: Storytelling

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The WhoreCast

By Siouxsie Q.

It was a cool February morning when I got an email from the lawyers representing Chicago Public Media and Ira Glass. My heart sank. There goes my shot. I thought. I've pissed off the most important person in podcasting and I've only been at this three months.

I had just launched my own podcast about sex work then titled This American Whore. Clever title, right? The folks over at the award winning podcast This American Life thought so as well. Turns out I was infringing on their trademark. Trademark Law is nuanced and super hard to understand, but I was still facing a lawsuit if I didn't change the name of the show. As much as the media tried to spin it as a David vs. Goliath story, it wasn't. All that really happened was our lawyers talked for awhile, Ira released a real nice statement, and then we all decided that changing the name to The WhoreCast was the best decision for everyone. We parted ways on good terms, but I continued to worry that Glass would hold some kind of grudge or think poorly of me in the future.

Flash forward six-plus months later. I get a call from the SF Weekly telling me Glass would be doing a show at the Nourse Theatre in November and asked if I would like to interview him.

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Unhung Hero: One Man's Search For The Perfect Penis

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Patrick Moote took it all off for the DVD box cover of Unhung Hero.

In Unhung Hero, his new, self-described "cockumentary," Patrick Moote admits that he's not well hung. But the guy has balls. After being rejected by his girlfriend for having a small penis, Moote, an actor and stand up comic in Los Angeles, literally travels around the world searching for a "cure" to his problem.

The result is an hilarious, yet ultimately sweet film by Moote's best bud Brian Spitz, who documents Moote's journey.

The "cockumentary" moniker was all Patrick," filmmaker Spitz told SF Weekly. "I came up with Unhung Hero."

Spitz's camera follows Moote home to Seattle, where a heartbroken Patrick tells his sympathetic mom that he's hung like a hamster. Naturally we wondered how it felt to discuss one's penis with a parent.

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