Past Events

Palimpsest: The Layering of a Man’s Life in San Francisco
Monday, April 1, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

After writing 16 books of nonfiction, including 5 on San Francisco history, Charles Fracchia has written a novel: Palimpsest: A Man’s Life in San Francisco.

The novel is a “going to age” (as opposed to a “coming of age”) work of fiction. It deals with the life of a man in late middle age who seeks to re-establish the vibrancy of his youthful years, dealing with issues of sexual potency, work, relationships, and other concerns that mark advancing age.

Fracchia spent the first 25 years of his career in investment banking (he was one of the founders of Rolling Stone Magazine) and then more than 30 years as an academic, teaching at San Francisco State, USF, and City College of San Francisco.

A talk by Charles Fracchia, historian and professor.

The Monumental Challenge of Preservation: The Past in a Volatile World
Monday, March 25, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Monuments—movable, immovable, tangible, and intangible—of the world’s shared heritage are at risk. War, terrorism, natural disaster, vandalism, technological obsolescence, and neglect make the work of preservation a greater challenge than ever before. In her most recent book, The Monumental Challenge of Preservation, Michèle V. Cloonan makes the case that, at this critical juncture, we must consider preservation in the broadest possible contexts.

Preservation requires the efforts of an increasing number of stakeholders. Michèle will give many examples of dilemmas presented by monuments large and small, from the built environment to individual objects. Examples include the Book of Kells, the buildings of Louis Sullivan, the AIDs Memorial Quilt, the Vietnam Memorial, and digital heritage. She will also discuss the role of collectors in cultural heritage preservation. Every day we make preservation decisions, individually and collectively, that have longer term ramifications than we might expect.

A talk by Michele Cloonan, dean emerita and professor.

The Chinese American Democratic Youth League’s Local Theatrical Productions and their Ephemera
Monday, March 18, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

The Chinese American Democratic Youth League was active in the 1940s and 1950s in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The group, known by its Cantonese abbreviation Mun Ching, had a large library, a theatrical troupe, a choral group, a science club, a dance team, and other social clubs. It served as a community center for Chinese-speaking leftists who were isolated both culturally and politically from broader American society. It also became the focus of attention from the FBI after the Korean War broke out, when its members were suspected of working on behalf of Communist China.

In this presentation, illustrated with slides of original ephemera, Alexander Akin, an historian of China and co-owner of Bolerium Books, will discuss the role of theater in Mun Ching’s community work, and examine the programs, scripts, and other surviving materials that document its activities.

An illustrated talk by Alexander Akin, co-owner, Bolerium Books.

*Left photo: Cover of the Mun Ching newsletter for June 21, 1958, a special issue promoting an Arts Night they held every year featuring theater, song, and poetic recitations.

LACMA So Far: Portrait of a Museum in the Making
Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 5:30–7 PM
*A Southern California Program

Hospitality at 5:30 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Suzanne Muchnic draws on decades of experience as a Los Angeles Times arts writer to relate the complicated story of how the Los Angeles County Museum of Art emerged as the largest art museum in the western United States. Her in-depth reporting, fleshed out with private interviews and archival research, offers a lively tale about the convergence of art, money, people, and buildings that has produced a museum perpetually in the making.

An illustrated talk by Suzanne Muchnic, journalist and author.

At the Women’s City Club of Pasadena, 160 N. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

Bright, Bitter, and Boozy
Monday, March 4, 2019, 5-7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Duggan McDonnell, author of Drinking the Devil’s Acre, shares San Francisco’s vibrant cocktail history and its’ drinking preferences from the Barbary Coast to the Farmers Market.

A talk by Duggan McDonnell, writer, cocktail educator, and historian.

Introducing Dooby Lane
Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 6-8 PM
*At the Commonwealth Club of California

The program featuring the lively art and wit of the ever popular activist Gary Snyder and Goins, is a conversation, reading and slide show with book signing of Dooby Lane Also Known as Guru Road, A Testament inscribed in Stone Tablets by DeWayne Williams. This is their latest collaboration.

A conversation, reading, and illustrated talk by Gary Snyder, poet/activist, and Peter Goin, Photographer. Moderated by Jack Shoemaker of Counterpoint Press.

*At the Commonwealth Club of California
110 Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

Cost/Tickets: 415-597-6705 or order online here
BCC Promo Code: BookClub

Yosemite People
Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 5:30–7 PM
*A Southern California Program

Hospitality at 5:30 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Described as street photography in the wilderness, Yosemite People is a photography project and book by Jonas Kulikauskas. Carol McCusker, curator of photography at the Harn Museum of Art, describes the project best: “For the first time, a photographer is entering Yosemite as the WPA documentary photographers of the 1930s might, with a shifted priority on people rather than on nature.” The evening will also feature a small pop-up exhibition of photographs.

An illustrated talk and pop-up exhibition by Jonas Kulikauskas, artist and photographer.

At the Women’s City Club of Pasadena, 160 N. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

The American Menu: A History of the Menu as a Literary Document
Monday, February 11, 2019, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

A menu is many things: a list, a brochure, an art-form, and even a manifesto. But menus tells us more than what people ate—but who they aspired to be. This presentation will take us through a cultural history of American menu writing from its 19th-century origins to its current artistic aspirations. By comparing two menus from the early 20th century and two menus from the early 21st, the talk will trace the evolution of American culinary language—and explore how that evolution tells a larger story of class and culture in America. The presentation will be illustrated with notable examples of historical menus from gastronomic collections.

A talk by Theodore Gioia, food writer and critic

Printing Abolition: How the Fight to Abolish the Slave Trade in Britain Was Won
Thursday, February 7, 2019, 6–8 PM
*At the Commonwealth Club of California

Michael Suarez, S.J,. is Director of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. A renowned historian, author, and worldwide leader of rare book scholarship interests, he co-edited the The Oxford Companion to the Book. Suarez will provide us with a compelling, richly illustrated description about how a group of printers were instrumental in making the anti-slavery movement happen in England. Their broadside engraving with an image diagramming the human cargo on slave-ship Brookes became a force for political change in the worldwide abolitionist movement.

A talk with Michael F. Suarez, S.J., director of Rare Book School, professor of English, University Professor, and honorary curator of Special Collections at the University of Virginia.

*At the Commonwealth Club of California
110 Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

Cost/Tickets: 415-597-6705 or order online here
BCC Promo Code: BookClub

Codex Polaris: Book Arts from Northern Europe
Monday, February 4, 2019, 5–7 PM

*A co-presentation with Codex Foundation

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Codex Polaris, established in 2013 – is an book artist group based in Bergen, Norway that creates opportunities and builds exhibiting platforms for artists who work with books in the Nordic region. Alongside the exhibition program, Codex Polaris invites guest co-organisers to work on various networking projects, and writers to contribute with textworks to raise the profile book arts spanning local and international perspectives. Founded by Sarah Jost, Rita Marhaug, Imi Maufe and Randi Annie Strand. We will be discussing past and current projects at the BCC. – www.codexpolaris.com

A talk by Imi Maufe, founding member of Codex Polaris.

Print-your-own-broadside Party
Monday, January 14, 2019, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Printing at 6 PM

Letterpress print your own poetry broadside with Mark Knudsen, Elmwood Press, and Norman McKnight, Philoxenia Press, with assistance from Li Jiang, Lemoncheese Press. The evening will feature a special Ralph Waldo Emerson poetry broadside designed by Philoxenia Press.

A limited number of broadsides will be printed. Participation on a first-come first-serve basis. No early arrivals. Doors open at 5:00pm.

Knott’s Preserved: From Boysenberry to Theme Park, the History of Knott’s Berry Farm
Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 5:30–7 PM
*A Southern California Program

Hospitality at 5:30 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Knott’s Preserved reveals exactly how the Knott family turned a berry business into one of the major theme parks in the world. The berries and fried chicken were a just a yummy lead-in to what would become a thrills capital of the world. J. Eric Lynxwiler will share the story of how a man and a woman remained true to their values, sharing profits and credit whenever they could while creating an icon California destination for thrill seekers and children alike.

An illustrated talk by J. Eric Lynxwiler, urban anthropologist and author.

At the Women’s City Club of Pasadena, 160 N. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101

Mission Murals – A Window on Humanity
Monday, January 7, 2019, 5–7 PM

Hospitality at 5 PM | Presentation at 6 PM

Dick Evans captures the pulse of life in the Mission District, the San Francisco neighborhood known for its murals and Latin American culture—and more recently for its rapid gentrification. Intimate, colorful images depict a place filled with diverse residents, stately Victorian houses, hand-painted store signs, Carnaval dancers, Día de los Muertos celebrants, political activists, and its namesake, Mission Dolores (here juxtaposed against portraits of Native people and indigenous cultural objects).

Evans’s photos highlight the growing threat to the neighborhood’s character, but they also reveal the many changes that have shaped the neighborhood into its vivacious present-day identity.

An illustrated talk by Dick Evans, photographer.

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