Posts Tagged ‘Luis R. Cancel’

Giant Buddha of Civic Center Not So Tough After All – Loses a Head and a Couple of Its Arms

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Seeing how it was built makes me feel it has less power now, like it has less control over me. In my daily nightmares it usually has a solid core of molybdenum or that Terminator II kind of metal. And sometimes, on a few nights, the good ones, it’s creamy nougat.

Mmmmmm, nougat.

But, as you can see, it’s mostly just air in there, it’s not solid at all:

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You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, bless you! God bless you all to Heaven!

And Steve Rhodes has the video of an arm disassembly. (Not so tough now, are you, Buddha?)

Ten-Foot Tall Cyclone Fence Keeps the Great Buddha of Civic Center Safe from Giants Fans and Vandalizers

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Thank Gaia that Rec and Park is keeping our Giant Buddha safe from the madding crowd today:

See the fence? It should come down by tomorrow, November 4th, after the crowd has left:

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UPDATE: Oh no, blogged too soon! Appears as if some fans managed to get a better vantage point, at the risk of enraging Gaia, the Earth Goddess:

See Comments.

Our Graffitoed Giant Buddha in Civic Center Got All Cleaned Up Yesterday

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Remember back earlier this month when people promoting Kodak’s version of a Flip camera thought it was all viral to vandalise the giant 15-ton Buddha down in Civic Center? Well, the sculpture is all cleaned up now. Let’s take a look.

Here’s a screen grab from the now-censored Kodak viral marketing video. (You can still see the shorter, censored 4:13 version here.) 

Click to expand.

No attempt was made to clean things up for a while so here’s the way it looked when I was taking some girl to the Costco on Wednesday:

See? (There was other graffiti elsewhere of course.)

Well, check it, it’s all cleaned up now. They must have done this Thursday A.M. As it looks today:

Sacrilege never looked so good.

I’m calling this an A-one clean-up job.

Censored Viral Video for Kodak Play Sport Camera Shows Giant Buddha Graffiti Culprit

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I haven’t seen the “Jesus is the Onegraffito on our giant Shanghai Buddha down in Civic Center, but I did manage to catch some tagging and stickering.


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Now yesterday, Jackson West pointed out that a stickerer of the Buddha was “caught on tape” (so to speak) on one of a series of videos being used to promote Kodak’s new Flip-like digital video camera, the rugged, waterproof Play Sport Zx3. But then, somebody edited the vid, so now you can’t see the culprit on the video.

Oh, wait a sec, how about this? Here is one of the scenes that was visible yesterday but not today.  So, who are “those are the dipshits who would tag the big buddha statue?” Here’s the answer from my video cache (so to speak) of the Uptown Almanac:


Sadly, it appears that one of the scenes featuring this green-screen gentleman got cut. (Really, it’s an awesome video all-around. Thanks Kodak Marketing Department!)

It seems our corporate overlords are always trying to think of new ways to get to us, huh? Oh well.

Will the giant Buddha-heads start crying due to all the abuse?

Only Time Will Tell.

Christian Fundamentalists Consider Our Giant Buddha Sculpture a Sign of the Rapture

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Well, “Three Head Six Arm Buddha” by Shanghai artist Zhang Huan has just arrived in Civic Center but the Internets are already burning up with talk of the Rapture.

Why? ‘Cause this 15-ton monster portends the arrival of the Antichrist Maitreya (or something). And then things will go downhill fairly quickly after that, apparently. (Actually, we were supposed to get the Rapture on January 11, 2009, because of Barack Obama of course, but then….)

via tofuart

(That Five Doves website doesn’t look like much, but it gets more traffic than this one anyway.)

The End is Nigh. So don’t forget to bring  a sacrifice to tomorrow’s Grand Celebration. (Goat skin chaps optional.)

See you there!

Shanghai Surprise: Giant Buddha Sculpture Set to Debut on May 12th in Civic Center

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

[Welcome, Christians. Whatever you do, don’t click here.]

Looks like all systems are go for the fabled giant known as Three Heads Six Arms (2008). Look for it starting Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 10:00 AM in Civic Center.

But since these 15 tons of copper are 26 feet tall and 60 feet long, you probably won’t be able to miss the spectacle.

All the deets, below.

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A dedication ceremony will be held on May 12, 2010 at 10 a.m. in Joseph L. Alioto Performing Arts Piazza, located across the street from San Francisco’s City Hall.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 14, 2010 – San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Arts Commission President P.J. Johnston and Director of Cultural Affairs Luis R. Cancel will dedicate a new temporary sculpture by celebrated Chinese artist Zhang Huan at a public ceremony on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 10 a.m. Presented in conjunction with the Shanghai-San Francisco Sister City 30th Anniversary Celebration, Zhang’s colossal Three Heads Six Arms (2008) will make its world premiere in the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center, the Joseph L. Alioto Performing Arts Piazza, which is located across the street from City Hall. Three Heads Six Arms, courtesy of the artist and The Pace Gallery, New York, will be on loan through 2011. The Asian Art Museum and the Arts Commission will sponsor a FREE public program featuring Zhang Huan in conversation with Museum Director Jay Xu on Wednesday, May 12 from 7-8:00 p.m. at the Asian Art Museum (200 Larkin Street in San Francisco), see below for further details.

“The installation of Zhang Huan’s spectacular sculpture in the Civic Center marks a high point in the Shanghai-San Francisco Sister City 30th Anniversary Celebration and a milestone for the San Francisco Arts Commission,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “By bringing this incredible work of art to the City, we underscore Shanghai and San Francisco’s bond as two of the world’s most important centers for arts and culture.”

“We are deeply honored that Zhang Huan chose San Francisco as the site for the sculpture’s world premiere,” said P.J. Johnston. “Bringing such an impressive work by an artist of his caliber and renown to San Francisco is a tremendous accomplishment for the San Francisco Arts Commission, and we are delighted that we can provide city residents and tourists with the opportunity to experience this colossal masterpiece in person.”

According to Luis R. Cancel, “Zhang Huan is one of the world’s foremost contemporary artists whose haunting and poignant artworks are layered with existential questions and social commentary. While many people are familiar with his performance art through photographs, not many have had the occasion to experience works that are more representative of his traditional art practice. Three Heads Six Arms is Zhang’s largest sculpture to date, and we are absolutely thrilled to bring it stateside and show it for the first time.”   

Ever more deets, after the jump


Upper Crust Sculpture from Patrick Dougherty in Civic Center Continues – Docent Tour Today

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Luis R. Cancel, director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission, would like you to know that Patrick Dougherty’s Upper Crust, which was supposed to end yesterday, has been extended through February. Here’s what it looks like.  

And there’ll be an official, one-hour First Tuesday of the Month Docent Tour to explain What It All Means starting at noon today, Tuesday, December 1, 2009. Just head to Civic Center and find the group of people looking up at the eucalyptuseses.

Like these. Those branches added to the trees? That’s part of Upper Crust.*


via Shapeshift

(Hey, whatever happened to our Civic Center Victory Garden this past summer? We had one last year, right? Isn’t this kind of thing a “growing movement” or whatever? So what gives? Speaking of which, when is the Great Lawn of Civic Center going to come back? We lost it ’cause of Victory Garden ’08, but now we have no garden and no lawn, we’re left with just a plane of plain gravel. Mmmm…)

Anywho, if you can’t make it to the tour, SFMike’s Civic Center Blog has lots and lots of info.

All the deets after the jump.

*I was s’posed to tell you about this exhibit last year, but the official photos that I was going to post (from a City-favored “woman/minority-owned business contractor” or something) were unusable in a unique, headache-inducing OMG-Canon-SLR-with-a-bright-flash-but-the-body-is-not-in-Manual-Mode kind of way, so I forgot about the whole thing. My bad. Could I provide The City with list of hungry-for-work women/minority-owned small businesses that would have done a competent or better-than-competent job? Oh yes, easily. Oh well.


Language of the Birds in North Beach Recognized as One of America’s Best Public Artworks

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Have you seen this one yet? Read all about it, below.

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via Steve Rhodes

The San Francisco Arts Commission’s The Language of the Birds Recognized as One of America’s Best Public Artworks at the 2009 Americans for the Arts Convention in Seattle.

San Francisco, CA, June 26, 2009– Luis R. Cancel, director of cultural affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission, is pleased to announce that The Language of the Birds, a permanent site-specific sculpture by San Francisco artists Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn located at the intersection of Broadway and Columbus avenues, was selected as one of the best public artworks in the United States at the 2009 Americans for the Arts convention held in Seattle from June 18–20. During the annual Public Art Year in Review session, two independent art experts, artists Janet Echelman and Mildred Howard, presented 40 of their top choices for the most innovative permanent or temporary public artworks created or debuted in 2008. The Language of the Birds was chosen from more than 300 entries from across the country.

“Since its dedication in November, The Language of the Birds has brought excitement and poetry to a dense urban streetscape, transforming one of the City’s busiest intersections into a destination. The artwork also set a new precedent as the first solar power-offset public artwork in California,” stated Luis R. Cancel. “We are proud to receive this honor as it brings national attention to San Francisco’s community of pioneering local artists and exemplary Public Art Program, which is deeply committed to enriching our City by commissioning new artworks of the highest standards.”

In addition to Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn, San Francisco-artists JD Beltran and Scott Minneman’s recent project Downtown Mirror located in downtown San Jose and Teresa Camozzi’s Now Becomes Memories, Tomorrow Becomes Now at the Haggard Library in Plano, Texas also received recognition at the Public Art Year in Review session.

According to Supervisor David Chiu, “The Language of the Birds has become an iconic landmark for District 3 where locals and tourists alike stop to marvel at the installation. I congratulate Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn along with the other San Francisco-based artists on achieving such an honor. Their work has helped distinguish this City as a world-class destination for arts and culture.”  

For nine years the Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America, has recognized public artworks.  The artists and commissioning organizations involved in creating and citing the recognized public artworks will receive letters of recognition and congratulations from Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch.

For more information about The Language of the Birds, visit the “Press Release” section at or contact Kate Patterson at

Established by charter in 1932, the San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts in San Francisco. Led by the belief that a creative cultural environment is essential to the City’s well-being, the Arts Commission programs permeate all aspects of City life. Programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Arts & Education, Cultural Equity Grants, Public Art, SFAC Gallery, Street Artist Licensing, and summer in the City Concert Series.
The Arts Commission’s Public Art Program was established by the City Arts Enrichment Ordinance in 1969, as one of the first of its kind in the country. The Public Art Program seeks to promote a diverse and stimulating cultural environment to enrich the lives of the city’s residents, visitors and employees. The Program encourages the creative interaction of artists, designers, city staff, officials and community members during the design of City projects in order to develop public art that is specific to the site and meaningful to the community.

Gavin Newsom Names San Francisco Poet Laureate #5: Diane di Prima

Friday, May 15th, 2009

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and City Librarian Luis Herrera honored Poet, Prose Writer, Playwright and Teacher Diane di Prima today at the recently refurbished Richmond Branch Library on 9th Avenue. She is now officially the fifth San Francisco Poet Laureate.

The mise en scene – our new old Carnegie Library at 361 9th Avenue betwixt Geary blvd. and Clement. FYI, the Grand Re-Opening is tomorrow at 1:00 PM. Click to expand:

The San Francisco Poet Laureate program was started up by former Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown. Others so honored over the years have been Jack Hirschman, Janice Mirikitani, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and devorah major.

Reading Rant from Pieces of a Song: “The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All other wars are subsumed in it.”

Some of Ms di Prima’s original paperbacks are quite pricey these days. Here’s what’s she’s been up to:

A bibliography

This Kind of Bird Flies Backward, Totem Press, New York, 1958
Various Fables from Various Places, (editor), G.P. Putnam, New York, 1960
Dinners and Nightmares, Corinth Press, New York, 1961
The New Handbook of Heaven, Auerhahn Press, San Francisco, 1962
The Man Condemned to Death, (translator), no press listed, New York, 1963
Poets’ Vaudeville, Feed Folly Press, New York, 1964
Seven Love Poems from the Middle Latin, Poets Press, 1965
Haiku, Love Press, Topanga, CA, 1966
New Mexico Poem, Poets Press, New York, 1967
Earthsong, Poets Press, New York, 1968
Hotel Albert, Poets Press, New York, 1968
War Poems (editor), Poets Press, New York, 1968
Memoirs of a Beatnik, Olympia Press, Paris and New York, 1969
L.A. Odyssey, Poets Press, San Francisco, 1969
The Book of Hours, Brownstone Press, New York 1970
Kerhonkson Journal, Oyez, Berkeley, 1971
Revolutionary Letters, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1971, 1974, 1979
The Calculus of Variation, Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 1972
Loba, Part I, Capra Press, Santa Barbara, 1973
The Floating Bear: a Newsletter (editor), Laurence McGilvery, La Jolla, 1973
Freddie Poems, Eidolon Editions, Point Reyes, 1974
Brass Burnace Going Out, Pulp artforms-Intrepid Press, Buffalo, 1975
Selected Poems: 1956-1975, North Atlantic Books, Plainfield, VT, 1975
Loba, Part II, Eidolon Editions, Point Reyes, 1976
The Loba As Eve, The Phoenix Book Shop, New York, 1977
Selected Poems: 1956-1976, North Atlantic Books, Plainfield, VT 1977
Loba: Parts 1 – 8,  [Book I] Wingbow Press, Berkeley, 1978
Memoirs of a Beatnik (revised), Last Gasp Press, San Francisco, 1988
Wyoming Series, Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 1988
The Mysteries of Vision, Am Here Books, Santa Barbara, 1988
Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1990
Seminary Poems, Floating Island, Point Reyes, 1991
The Mask Is the Path of the Star, Thinker Review Internatl, Louisville, 1993
Loba, [Parts 1 – 16, Books I & II] Penguin, New York, 1998
Dinners and Nightmares [expanded edition], Last Gasp, 1998
Recollections of My Life as a Woman: The New York Years, Viking, NY 2001
Fun with Forms [ltd. ed.] Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 2001
Towers Down (with Clive Matson) Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 2002
The Ones I Used to Laugh With, Habenicht Press, San Francisco 2003
TimeBomb, Eidolon Editions, San Francisco, 2006

Look for Diane at the Excelsior Branch Library in Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 7:00 PM for an “informal talk/ reading” called “Taking Dictation.” 

And a more formal inauguration of her new title is forthcoming.

Congratulations Diane di Prima!