Thursday, May 13

Culture

A Turk in San Francisco
Culture

A Turk in San Francisco

By Sharon Simonson SAN FRANCISCO—Near midday on Monday, March 14, Marc Benioff, founder and chief executive of San Francisco’s Salesforce.com, paused to look up as he entered his company’s new offices at 350 Mission St. Wearing his signature dark sports vest, jeans and running shoes with a Salesforce-blue, short-sleeved collared shirt (tucked in), the 6’ 5’’ tech visionary focused on the huge (2,800 square feet) LED screen that dominated the glass-walled, 50-foot lobby. As he watched, dozens of electric-red spaghetti noodles rose from the bottom of a black screen. After a few moments, they were replaced with a slowly moving blue, aqua and white mosaic. The images—both abstractions and identifiable city scenes—are part of a first-of-its-kind artwork by Turkish-born media art...
Department of Peace
Culture, Demographics

Department of Peace

By Sharon Simonson MILPITAS—On a recent rainy January evening one of Silicon Valley’s most diverse communities made a very good start toward world peace—or at least some understanding. Inside the India Community Center on Los Coches Street in Milpitas, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Jain, Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian congregated in anticipation of the World Culture Festival in mid-March in New Delhi. India’s Art of Living Foundation, with five Bay Area centers, and its founder, “spiritual leader, humanitarian and ambassador of peace,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, expect 3.5 million world citizens. The purpose, Shankar explains in a video to launch the global event, “is to give the world a message that the whole world is one family, that we can all co-exist. To create a buzz in the world about ‘we ca...
Using World’s Art to Craft Silicon Valley Community
Culture, Demographics

Using World’s Art to Craft Silicon Valley Community

By Sharon Simonson A Mountain View community school is embracing art and artists from around the globe to appeal to Silicon Valley’s increasingly foreign-born population and diversity of cultures. Vickie Scott Grove, executive director of the Mountain View Community School of Music and Arts, said the school, which serves 22,000 children and adults annually, wants to expand its reach. ArtWorlds, the new three-event series, is conceived to offer more than a gallery experience, adding elements such as an artist’s lecture, food, wine and dance for an event to appeal to a broader range of senses and people. “Silicon Valley is so unique culturally. There is no other place like it in the United States with the tremendous influx from the workforce around the world,” Grove said. “We ha...
African-American Entrepreneurs Drive Black Global Unity
Culture, Demographics

African-American Entrepreneurs Drive Black Global Unity

By Sharon Simonson MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — When you set out to change the world—or just to start a new business—it helps to have “some audacity about you,” Fiifi Deku advises. It’s true, agreed Nneka Uzoh and Uzo Amaka. “You have to have passion,” Uzoh explains, “because you are going to hear, ‘No,’ more times.” “One thing I say to myself often: it’s another human being who told me no. Unless it is impossible, I think that I can do it,” Amaka counsels. The trio, entrepreneurs with one foot in the United States and the other in Africa, dispense their hard-earned wisdom at the first annual Innovate Africa Forum. The event at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View is a new addition to the six-year-old Silicon Valley African Film Festival, founded by the day's ...
Bay Area Professors’ Latin American Cookbook Tops Amazon Sales
Culture, Demographics

Bay Area Professors’ Latin American Cookbook Tops Amazon Sales

Luz Calvo, Catriona Rueda Esquibel to readers: '(R)esist the acculturation that tells us white bread is food.' By Sharon Simonson A cookbook written by two San Francisco Bay Area academics that presents food and health as instruments of social change has climbed to Amazon’s top slot as the best-selling new Latin American food cookbook. “Decolonize Your Diet” by Cal State East Bay Associate Professor Luz Calvo and San Francisco State University Associate Professor Catriona Rueda Esquibel counsels Mexican-Americans to return to the foods and preparations favored by the Americas indigenous peoples before the Spanish conquest, more particularly to their consumption of native legumes, fruits, herbs and vegetables. The book was published Oct. 13. The change in diet is part of disga...
African Filmmakers, Silicon Valley Bedazzle One Another
Culture, Demographics

African Filmmakers, Silicon Valley Bedazzle One Another

By Sharon Simonson MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Late afternoon autumn squalls lift the long red carpet in front of Mountain View’s Community School of Music and Arts, creating fun havoc in the opening moments of the Silicon Valley African Film Festival. Organizers rush to find heavy — but aesthetically pleasing! — objects to weight the sides. The rug rises again before they succeed. Everyone laughs and scrambles to pull it back into place. Really, it seems nothing can suppress the joy that the gathering exudes, the uplift from another perfect Northern California evening—soft light, warm sun, cool air—and the young African and African-diaspora filmmakers arriving from points near (Oakland) and far (Egypt, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Rwanda). Bonginhlanhla Ncube has traveled from Sout...
Steps In Time
Culture, Events

Steps In Time

By Sharon Simonson Leap cultural divides without breaking a sweat at “Dances of Devotion” on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose. Watch, hear, learn and feel the complexity and nuance of classical Indian and Cambodian dance in compare-and-contrast performances conceived as art — and a little bit more. Santa Clara-based Sangam Arts, the show’s producer, aims to highlight common themes in the two South Asian countries’ traditional dance forms. The evening mixes originally choreographed work with an interlude during which Cambodian Charya Burt and Indian Lavanya Ananth will speak about the history and meaning behind their dress, body movements and hand gestures. “We do an ‘artists dialogue.’ We discuss our dance histories, and we do dance demonstratio...
Spring India Day at San Francisco’s Union Square
Culture

Spring India Day at San Francisco’s Union Square

By Sharon Simonson As many as 30,000 people are expected to descend on San Francisco’s Union Square today to experience Spring India Day 2015, a first-ever showcase of Indian culture, arts and crafts in the Bay Area’s most famous shopping and tourist center. Organizers hope to bring a bit of home to the city’s Indian population and a taste of India to the broader community. “I am a really proud Indian,” said Ena Sarkar, president, chief executive and executive producer of WomenNow TV, an event platform and weekly talk show for South Asians that is carried by KTSF Channel 26 television. "I want people to understand India and Indian culture, to remember that we can create a bridge between here and India, and I want people to know how vibrant we are and how the nation has so much...