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The City That Was: The First Ever Art Surprise!

Updated: Apr 15, 2015 15:01
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In The City That Was, Bohemian Archivist P Segal tells a weekly story of what you all missed: the days when artists, writers, musicians, and unemployed visionaries were playing hard in the city’s streets and paying the rent working part time.

Usually I tell a story about what the city was like when it was full of arty people and cheap apartments and we could spend a lot of our time playing as creatively as possible. Today I’m going to tell you about something else, something that hasn’t happened yet, has never happened before anywhere, and even more importantly, why it’s happening:

The First Ever Art Surprise.



 It was terrible to realize that I had plotted this event on exactly the same day as our Editor-in-Cheap, Broke-Ass Stuart’s, Kinda Late Show, April 23rd. I certainly don’t want to take away from his adoring fan base. However, we are offering two different kinds of fun. There are limited tickets for both, so if The Kinda Late Show sells out, you have an equally entertaining option for that night.

The Art Surprise is the first fundraiser for my nonprofit, Bohemia Redux, which I started to create low cost housing, studio space, and venues for artist, musicians, and writers in this city. Most of the artists I have known here have been driven out, over the last few decades, and there are very few of them left. Those of us who are still here are hanging on to our rent controlled apartments for dear life, and the ones who had to leave can’t move back until they’re famous, perhaps after they’re dead.

I set up Bohemia Redux to launch The San Francisco Art House Project, which will actually make this city a world-class center for creative work, and create a new model for the intersection of philanthropy and housing. The model I’ve come up with works for all housing issues, but I’m starting with artists, because our culture doesn’t view them as an asset, even though they give us all that stuff we love. Consider this: we’re the only first world country with no arts secretary on the Cabinet.

Then we have the city’s trumpeted new “arts district” on Market Street. To install all these art organizations, and, of course, tech companies and tech employees,  big buildings full of actual working artists got evicted. That’s just brilliant, San Francisco. Good work. Make a special place for the arts organizations, and get rid of the people that are their reasons for existing.

You can read reams of blogs I’ve written about why artists and bohemia are good for cities, but I can give you one example. Think of your neighbors: do they care about you or what you like? Are they even nice? But if you have a painter, musician, or novelist living next door, they only want to create something that you’ll absolutely love. They want to give you something great. That’s a decent neighbor.



So now we’re doing the first fundraiser, The First Ever Art Surprise. To my knowledge, no one has ever done this before. It’s in a phenomenally attractive place, and if you’re willing to buy the pricey ticket, you get to choose a piece of art to take home with you—art for the most part made by artist friends who no longer live here, but would really like to come back. And since this is the first ever event of this kind, anywhere in the world, if you come to it, you can say, “I was at the first one.” It will be like saying you went to Burning Man in 1990.

Or you can just buy a ticket to both events and go to The Kinda Late Show instead, in which case you’ll get a random piece of art in the mail (if you get a Patron of the Arts ticket). But if you select one of the wrapped packages at the event, and unwrap it there, you have the chance to look at what other people got and trade for something else.

There are three reason why this will be a great event. One: you will have the chance to meet and swap with other people who get this idea and are probably really interesting. Two: The food, the view, and the newness of the experience will be memorable. Three: there’s lots of parking at the top of Twin Peaks—one of the things you can hardly say about any other event in this town.

So please go here and push the little donation button. If you tell the bartender you’re a Broke-Ass Stuart reader, your first drink is on me.

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P Segal - Bohemian Archivist

P Segal - Bohemian Archivist

P Segal is a San Francisco native, writer, therapist, and life coach. Literary agents have called her a clever niche writer, but none of them can figure out what the hell her niche is.