Artist Contact: Kate Connell
415-572-3942 /
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Portola at Play:
A San Francisco Neighborhood Portrait in 4 Parts

Artists Collaborate with Movie, Game, Music and Book to
Celebrate Portola Neighborhood and Opening of
New Portola Branch Library
Saturday, April 25, 2009, 3:30–­5:30 p.m.

Where’s the Portola? Four artists from the Portola District of San Francisco—a little known working class district at the southeast rim of the city—create a multimedia portrait of a dynamic neighborhood that even native San Franciscans can’t locate or pronounce the way that Portola locals do.

When:                   Saturday, April 25, 2009, 3:30-5:30 pm

Where:                   The brand new Portola Branch Library, 380 Bacon St. at Goettingen in San Francisco — the neighborhood’s first permanent library, replacing 80 years of rented storefronts. The project can also be experienced any time at

What:                  Portola at Play: A Movie, A Board Game, a Suite of Original Music and a Book all describe a district that within living memory was filled with stables, windmills, nurseries and farms. With its location at the southeast edge of the city, the Portola District has also been the location of the U.S. Immigration Station, homes for unwed mothers, missionary colleges, and always a first home to new arrivals to the city.

On April 25, visitors to the brand new Portola Branch Library are invited to

Watch — “Out the Road and Other Portola Stories,” a movie filled with stories from the small-town history of the Portola: factory workers who sang opera at night; nursery families who raised roses, supplementing with chickens and potatoes when times were tough; long-time African American store owners; and young Asian Americans who describe what it’s like to redefine the identity of the Portola, now a very urban neighborhood.

Play — “Porto-Loteria,” the new Portola neighborhood board game with carved, painted, and drawn images of neighborhood heroes, history, flora and fauna, and more.

Listen —to “Musical Reflections of the Portola,” conveying the history of the Portola in music, from the Ohlone to the Jewish settlers along San Bruno Avenue at the turn of the century, to the Maltese Band, the Bible College, Latino rock, hip hop and the voices of today, the Portola’s school children.

Read — “The Portola: Neighborhood Pictures,” and take home free bookmarks.

Who:                   Visual artists Oscar Melara and Kate Connell, musician John Calloway and filmmaker Gustavo Vazquez have collaborated with the San Francisco Public Library to produce this 4-part project commissioned by the San Francisco Art Commission. The four artists trace their association to Mission District arts organizations over several decades. Among them, they have shown work at international film festivals, the Smithsonian, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and galleries from Paris to Havana; and have collaborated with Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Omar Sosa, Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie.

How much: All Free

Info:        , live now, complete April 25, 2009.

More:       Portola at Play was partially funded by the San Francisco Art Commission and The Zellerbach Family Foundation.


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