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Oct. 30, 2020

PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL, VOLUME FIVE

Our final [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL installment is here, and we wanted to end on a note of empowerment in these oft-deflating times. Our selection of films, articles, and, this week, a podcast explore the thoughts and processes of revolutionary thinkers, past and present. We hope the golden thread of community power that runs through these selections will run right into you, too.

Thanks for joining us for the [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL this month. We can’t wait to see you in person again.

WATCH

THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE (1967-1975)
Directed by Göran Olsson, 2011

From 1967 – 1975, a Swedish filmmaking crew traveled across the Atlantic to explore the American Black power and anti-war movements. The reels sat unused for three decades, before another Swedish filmmaker, Goran Olsson, discovered them in the basement of the Swedish National Broadcasting Company. Weaving together original footage with contemporary interviews with Black artists, activists, and scholars, BLACK POWER MIXTAPE presents valuable insight into an often maligned moment in the ongoing fight for Black liberation.

Watch on YOUTUBE

FREEDOM ON MY MIND
Directed by Marilyn Mulford and Connie Field, 1994 [not-rated]

 

FREEDOM ON MY MIND chronicles the Mississippi voter registration campaign from 1961 to 1964, an inspiring push against the one-party totalitarian rule of the Jim Crow South. The film covers the violence wrought by whites in power upon the activists looking to register and enfranchise Black Mississippians — including the murder of civil rights activist Herbert Lee by a state senator in 1961 — as well as the ingenious political and logistical maneuvering of the state’s young, Black organizers. The film is a reminder of the dictatorial reality of American politics through much of the 20th century, and the uplifting power of an organized and principled resistance.

Watch on VIMEO

READ

THE CARCERAL STATE

Ameer Hassan Loggins, PhD, writes in Level about the connection between the the horrors of the African slave trade and the horrors of the modern day carceral state in America — and the levers of control that link the two. Historically informed and beautifully written, his piece illuminates the injustices baked into our institutions and the need for an activism that extends beyond electoral politics. After all, California, with it’s Democratic supermajority, still relies on prison labor to fight its wildfires, a modern form of slave labor.

THE FREE BREAKFAST PROGRAM

In a piece from October 2019, KQED’s Pendarvis Harshaw interviews Billy X Jennings, longtime archivist of the Black Panther Party, about the Panther’s Free Breakfast Program, a revolutionary yet radically simple program serving school kids. Founded in Oakland in 1969, the program was simultaneously targeted by the FBI and replicated across the country as a permanent entitlement program in 1975. Reflecting on the ongoing crises of homelessness and food insecurity, Jennings calls for neighbors to be more solution minded:
“You start programs, you take care of your people, and then you start a clinic. The professional people from our community who went to college, or went and got the skills, you give them an institution where they can provide, where they can help, you know?”

A FUTURE FOR HOUSING

Matthew Bernard reported this lengthy piece on a group of Minneapolis tenants who, through collective action, organization, and sheer willpower, purchased their apartment building from their landlord to convert it into affordable, collective housing. The article explores the long and tumultuous history of housing rights in the United States, and the recent rising tide of tenants’ organizations blooming nationwide. An incredible showing of determination and community solidarity, this story makes clear that new futures can be forged through community activism – starting with thinking beyond what we feel is possible.

LISTEN

THE BLACK LIFE PODCAST

The BLACK LIFE PODCAST is an endeavor by the BAMPFA that explores the vitality of contemporary Black culture in the Bay Area and beyond. Hosted by Oakland local Ryanaustin Dennis, the series includes interviews with Black artists, activists, and creators about their work and lives to further flesh out their present conditions and future aspirations.

You can listen to a recent interview with Oakland producer and artist MAHAWAM here, or check out their archive of episodes here.

ACT

PEOPLE’S BREAKFAST OAKLAND

People’s Breakfast Oakland is a grassroots, community-led group that feeds, clothes, and provides hygiene packs and tents to anyone who needs them. Their model of building community capacity is inspired by the work of the Black Panther Party, and includes a community garden to work towards food autonomy. Check out their linktree for ways to contribute, and tune into their Hella Black Podcast for political education.

EAST OAKLAND COLLECTIVE

East Oakland Collective is a community organizing group investing in addressing racial and economic inequality in deep East Oakland. Their work and programming focuses on civic engagement and leadership, community empowerment, and homeless solutions and services — to change the political and social landscape within their community. You can support their work here.

STAMP OUT

STAMP OUT is still running at PROXY through (at least) November 3rd. John McNeil Studio’s civic installation creates the opportunity for you to support the US Postal Service through its time of need and symbolically (and literally) stick it to the craven Republicans that would seek to defund it. Come out, buy some USPS stamps and join in stamping out corruption, racism, greed, fascism and nepotism.

THOUGHTS?
As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at info@proxysf.com.

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Oct. 23, 2020

PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FEST, VOLUME FOUR

We are proud to present the fourth volume of the PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL, delivered directly to your inbox. This week’s films center the experiences of women existing in worlds too often defined by men. The accompanying articles address the path forward for reproductive and contraceptive rights in America, and the power of oft-overlooked queer female stories in changing public perception.

WATCH

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
Directed by Céline Sciamma, 2019 [R]

Céline Sciamma’s masterful third feature film, PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, is a treatise on perception. A period piece set in 18th Century France, the film tracks an artist who is sent to paint a portrait of a woman reluctantly engaged to a Milanese aristocrat. Their model-painter relationship develops into a romance that exists entirely within a world defined by men, but only as a background presence, a sense of structure and control separate from their shared gaze.

Watch on HULU

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
Directed by Eliza Hittman, 2020 [PG-13]

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS concerns Autumn, a 17-year-old in Pennsylvania who needs an abortion. Alongside her cousin Skylar she travels to New York where she can access the care she needs without parental consent, a requirement made solid by her troubled home life. The movie makes clear the inhuman rigidity of a world that would require a teenager to cross state lines to access vital healthcare. Director Eliza Hittman ties the labyrinth of banal rules that Autumn faces to a larger fight for women’s emancipation in this stunning feature.

Watch on VUDU

 

READ

THE FUTURE OF ABORTION IN AMERICA

In a New York Times opinion piece, Joan C. Washington, professor of law at UC Hastings, considers the recalibration necessary for activists staring down the potential repeal of Roe v. Wade after Amy Coney Barrett joins the US Supreme Court. She makes an interesting argument that the battle for abortion access has long been fought in the state legislatures by its opposers – and that the gutting of Roe will force abortion supporters to join the fight at that level. This argument is supported and expanded upon by the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGil Johnson, in this fascinating interview on the podcast Sway.

WIDENING GAPS IN REPRODUCTIVE CARE

Edna Bonhomme writes in The Nation about the need for active vigilance around the gap in reproductive and maternal healthcare for women of color, especially with an unchecked pandemic continuing to throttle the country. Her article touches on the very different experiences of Black mothers in this country, including higher infant mortality – a terrifying notion given the lack of access that women of color have to contraceptives and abortions. This is an excellent crash course on the shameful treatment of Black mothers in this country and the urgent work that’s needed.

CÉLINE SCIAMMA

Céline Sciamma, director of this week’s FFF selection, spoke with Vox’s Emily VanDerWerff about the the history of lesbian activism, the power of the female gaze, and the cyclical nature of women’s oppression throughout history. Of particular interest for film nerds is the discussion around using digital cameras to shoot a period piece and the inherent queerness that has afforded The Titanic it’s long cultural tail.

LISTEN

This week’s playlist was put together by Eric Heiman of Volume Inc., a graphic designer, collaborator, and friend of the studio. Eric sent along this accompanying note:

“Inspired by these two films, I began to see more metaphorical dimensions that could inform its structure — Mirrors / Möbius strips / Memory / Muted emotions — simmering like water in a kettle, set to slow boil on a stove. Start at the beginning or start in the middle. Just make sure you set it to loop!”

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

ACT

CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

The Center for Reproductive Rights is an advocacy organization fighting for reproductive rights around the world. Their work has been instrumental in expanding and maintaining equal access to safe abortions and reproductive care both through the courts and by directly engaging policy makers. Consider making a donation as they gear up to defend our rights here at home in the face of a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court.

MAKE A PLAN TO VOTE

Those who make a plan to vote are far more likely to end up actually voting than those who wake up and wing it on election day. Don’t know where to begin? Vote Save America is here to help. Just enter your address here and the app will guide you through your specific ballot — from our next president down to the plethora of state and local measures.

STAMP OUT

STAMP OUT is still up at PROXY through November 3rd. John McNeil Studio’s interactive installation offers a tangible and satisfying way to support the US Postal Service and strengthen our democracy. Come out, buy some USPS stamps and join in literally stamping out corruption, racism, greed, fascism and nepotism.

Created, cared for, and curated by ENVELOPE
PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FEST, VOLUME FOUR

We are proud to present the fourth volume of the PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL, delivered directly to your inbox. This week’s films center the experiences of women existing in worlds too often defined by men. The accompanying articles address the path forward for reproductive and contraceptive rights in America, and the power of oft-overlooked queer female stories in changing public perception.

PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
Directed by Céline Sciamma, 2019 [R]

Céline Sciamma’s masterful third feature film, PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, is a treatise on perception. A period piece set in 18th Century France, the film tracks an artist who is sent to paint a portrait of a woman reluctantly engaged to a Milanese aristocrat. Their model-painter relationship develops into a romance that exists entirely within a world defined by men, but only as a background presence, a sense of structure and control separate from their shared gaze.

Watch on HULU
NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS
Directed by Eliza Hittman, 2020 [PG-13]

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS concerns Autumn, a 17-year-old in Pennsylvania who needs an abortion. Alongside her cousin Skylar she travels to New York where she can access the care she needs without parental consent, a requirement made solid by her troubled home life. The movie makes clear the inhuman rigidity of a world that would require a teenager to cross state lines to access vital healthcare. Director Eliza Hittman ties the labyrinth of banal rules that Autumn faces to a larger fight for women’s emancipation in this stunning feature.

Watch on VUDU

THE FUTURE OF ABORTION IN AMERICA
In a New York Times opinion piece, Joan C. Washington, professor of law at UC Hastings, considers the recalibration necessary for activists staring down the potential repeal of Roe v. Wade after Amy Coney Barrett joins the US Supreme Court. She makes an interesting argument that the battle for abortion access has long been fought in the state legislatures by its opposers – and that the gutting of Roe will force abortion supporters to join the fight at that level. This argument is supported and expanded upon by the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, Alexis McGil Johnson, in this fascinating interview on the podcast Sway.

WIDENING GAPS IN REPRODUCTIVE CARE
Edna Bonhomme writes in The Nation about the need for active vigilance around the gap in reproductive and maternal healthcare for women of color, especially with an unchecked pandemic continuing to throttle the country. Her article touches on the very different experiences of Black mothers in this country, including higher infant mortality – a terrifying notion given the lack of access that women of color have to contraceptives and abortions. This is an excellent crash course on the shamefu treatment of Black mothers in this country and the urgent work that’s needed.

CÉLINE SCIAMMA
Céline Sciamma, director of this week’s FFF selection, spoke with Vox’s Emily VanDerWerff about the the history of lesbian activism, the power of the female gaze, and the cyclical nature of women’s oppression throughout history. Of particular interest for film nerds is the discussion around using digital cameras to shoot a period piece and the inherent queerness that has afforded The Titanic it’s long cultural tail.

FALL FILM FEST 2020 V04 PLAYLIST
This week’s playlist was put together by Eric Heiman of Volume Inc., a graphic designer, collaborator, and friend of the studio. Eric sent along this accompanying note:

“Inspired by these two films, I began to see more metaphorical dimensions that could inform its structure — Mirrors / Möbius strips / Memory / Muted emotions — simmering like water in a kettle, set to slow boil on a stove. Start at the beginning or start in the middle. Just make sure you set it to loop!”
Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
The Center for Reproductive Rights is an advocacy organization fighting for reproductive rights around the world. Their work has been instrumental in expanding and maintaining equal access to safe abortions and reproductive care both through the courts and by directly engaging policy makers. Consider making a donation as they gear up to defend our rights here at home in the face of a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court.

MAKE A PLAN TO VOTE
Those who make a plan to vote are far more likely to end up actually voting than those who wake up and wing it on election day. Don’t know where to begin? Vote Save America is here to help. Just enter your address here and the app will guide you through your specific ballot — from our next president down to the plethora of state and local measures.

STAMP OUT
STAMP OUT is still up at PROXY through November 3rd. John McNeil Studio’s interactive installation offers a tangible and satisfying way to support the US Postal Service and strengthen our democracy. Come out, buy some USPS stamps and join in literally stamping out corruption, racism, greed, fascism and nepotism.

THOUGHTS?
As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at info@proxysf.com.

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Oct. 16, 2020

PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FEST, VOLUME THREE

We wanted the 2020 PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL to serve as a call to arms, to inspire folks to push back and demand a better and more just world in these times of layered crises. Our first two installments sought to highlight institutional efforts to dampen the vote and cement minority rule, to bring you to your feet in anger. This week, we’re taking a bit of a different approach. It’s important to allow ourselves time to breathe during these ceaselessly chaotic times. Our suggestions this week weave together portraiture, films and articles that tell human stories of connection, resilience, and creativity — to remind us of the comfort found in community.

WATCH

MR. SOUL!
Directed by Melizza Haizlip and Samuel D. Pollard, 2018 [not-rated]

MR. SOUL! is a celebration and examination of SOUL!, a groundbreaking Black variety show that showcased Black dancers, creators, writers and intellectuals produced by PBS from 1968 to 1973. Focusing on its creator and host Ellis Haizlip, the documentary deftly explores the dynamics of Black television at the time and the show’s cultural impact on American media. Inspiring, righteous, and hilarious, the film is a light shined on an often overlooked vanguard of variety television.

Watch online and support BAMPFA

MISS JUNETEENTH
Directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples, 2020 [not-rated]

MISS JUNETEENTH is an intimate portrayal of the support system connecting a mother and daughter, and how it tests the relationship it was built to sustain. Turquoise is a single mother living in rural Texas, where she hopes her daughter Kai will win Miss Juneteenth – an annual beauty competition that includes a scholarship to a historically black college. Having won the competition in her youth, Turquoise wants her daughter to have – and perhaps make better use of – the opportunities that the title affords. The directorial debut of Channing Godfrey Peoples, Miss Juneteenth showcases Peoples’s masterful ability to capture quiet, devastating moments on film.

Watch on YOUTUBE

 

READ

24 HOURS ALONGSIDE AMERICAN WORKERS

The Washington Post has a well reported and beautifully shot project out this week covering 24-hours in the lives of American workers who cannot work from home, drawing attention to the myriad ways the pandemic has wrenched further the class divide. Spending time with a public defender in Memphis, a meatpacking union rep in Nebraska, and a Doordash driver in Davis, the multimedia story illuminates the pride and despair of daily work amidst a pandemic.

STREET SPIRITS

Street Spirit, the East Bay publication dedicated to covering homelessness and poverty from the perspective of those most impacted, has a semi-regular series on the vendors who sell their papers throughout the Bay Area. The feature from this summer on Ken Jones, a 70-year-old vendor who regularly sells on the streets near the Berkeley Repertory Theater, is a portrait of the transformative power of joy, faith, and positivity.

MY MUSTACHE, MY SELF

Critic-at-large Wesley Morris has a piece in the New York Times magazine beginning with a rumination on the most handsome of all COVID novelties – his quarantine mustache. What begins as a personal lambasting evolves into an thorough discussion on Black men’s facial hair, the role of respectability politics in the civil rights movement, the false safety of assimilation, the harm of a cultural system that equates “whiteness” with “goodness”, and Morris’ own experiences with Blackness as a gay Black man working in historically white institutions.

 

LISTEN

FALL FILM FEST 2020 V03 PLAYLIST

This week’s playlist, constructed by PROXY founder Douglas Burnham, is a meditation on the legacy of Ellis Haizlip and a celebration of the rich American history of Black artists and poets. Enjoy!

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

 

ACT

YOUTH SPIRIT ARTWORKS

Youth Spirit Artworks is a job training program in Berkeley that, along with publishing the Street Spirit newspaper, aims to empower and uplift low income and homeless youth in the Bay Area through art jobs and training. They have several ongoing projects in support of these goals, including a campaign to build 100 homes for homeless youths. You can check out their initiatives and support them financially here.

FOOD INSECURITY

Food insecurity across the nation has exploded since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly in cities. The lack of a coordinated relief effort by the federal government puts the onus of support on local communities. We’ve highlighted these orgs before, but their work is as important now as ever – consider donating time or money to the SF + Marin Food Bank, GLIDE, or any number of other organizations working to relieve food insecurity in San Francisco.

STAMP OUT

STAMP OUT, John McNeil Studio’s interactive installation at PROXY, offers a cathartic way to support the US Postal Service and strengthen our democracy. Through November 3, buy some USPS stamps and join in literally stamping out corruption, racism, greed, fascism and nepotism.

 

THOUGHTS?

As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at info@proxysf.com.

 

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Oct. 9, 2020

PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FEST, VOLUME TWO

Welcome back to the PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FEST! This week, we’re pushing forward two Spanish language films that touch on themes of institutional violence, displacement, and repression. Our suggested reading this week explores how political manipulation influences the institutions that shape our daily lives.

WATCH

SONG WITHOUT A NAME
Directed by Melina León, 2019 [not-rated]

The feature-length debut of Peruvian writer-director Melina Leon, SONG WITHOUT A NAME concerns Georgina, a young Andean woman whose newborn baby is stolen from the clinic where she’s just given birth. When the clinic disappears as well, Georgina takes her story to a local journalist, whose search for answers uncovers a web of silent judges, faceless government employees, and unbothered airline officials. Beautifully shot, and set against the political unrest in 1980s Peru, Song Without a Name lays bare the divide between the deep human suffering inflicted by corrupt institutions and the marginal shifts in policy we celebrate as progress. How many lives are trampled before meaningful change can happen?

Watch on FILM MOVEMENT

I’M NO LONGER HERE
Directed by Fernando Frías, 2019 [not-rated]

I’M NO LONGER HERE follows Ulises, the 17-year-old leader of a small gang in Monterrey, Mexico. He and his friends are Kolombianos, a local term for young folks who listen to slowed down Cumbia music, host dances with massive attendance, and sport some of the best hairstyles ever put to film. When Ulises is smuggled out of Monterrey and moves to New York for his safety, following a misunderstanding with a local gang, he is left to fend for himself in a world that is not his own.


Watch on NETFLIX

READ

WHO GETS TO VOTE IN FLORIDA?

The current state-based, winner-take-all format of the Electoral College creates a reality in which only a couple of “battleground” states affect the outcome of national elections – a situation vulnerable to manipulation through targeted voter suppression. In his recent piece, The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkin details how the GOP used Jim Crow-era laws banning felons from voting in Florida to seal the 2000 national election for George W. Bush, and how Republican officials are currently working to ensure the continued suppression of Florida voters, despite popular support among Floridians for changing the rules. Be warned – this article might make you very, very angry.

ERASURE OF DHS RECORDS

The Intercept’s Alice Speri covers the recent push by the Department of Homeland Security to designate as “temporary” a host of internal records of abuse committed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents — a change that would allow for their destruction in as few as four years. This obfuscation of institutional abuse is especially concerning given that CBP is the country’s largest law enforcement agency, with 44,000 agents and a budget of $17 billion. Speaking with immigrant advocates, historians, and scholars, Speri drives home that what’s at stake is the ability of future generations to reckon with and make right potential criminal abuses carried out by an agency already operating in the shadows.

MINORITY RULE AND THE SUPREME COURT

It is almost certain that Amy Coney Barrett will become the fifth Supreme Court Justice appointed by a president who lost the popular vote in a national election. Especially egregious, her confirmation rests in the hands of a Senate controlled by Republicans, who gained two seats in 2018 even as Democratic candidates received 12 million more votes. Minority rule is alive and well in the United States, and it will allow the Republican party to create a 6 – 3 supermajority on the highest court in the land. Law professor Nicholas Bagley explores how that majority could be used to obstruct Democrats in office for years to come, using a recent example in Michigan.

LISTEN

FALL FILM FEST 2020 V02 PLAYLIST

PROXY founder Douglas Burnham put together this week’s playlist to foster the mutual resilience we will need to make it through these next few weeks. Listen and reach out to each other!

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

 

ACT

FLORIDA RIGHTS RESTORATION

In the 2018 midterm elections, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to allow people with former felony convictions to vote. Six months later, the Republican legislature passed a bill requiring former felons to pay all outstanding fees related to their convictions before voting, effectively disenfranchising over 750,000 Floridians, about half of whom are Black. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is working to correct this. You can support their efforts to pay down these fees here, and keep an eye on ways to support the fight against these poll taxes in the future.

STAMP OUT

John McNeil Studio’s interactive installation, STAMP OUT, is now up at PROXY and throughout the city. Buy some stamps to support the USPS, and add them to the murals and posters to literally stamp out corruption, racism, greed, fascism and nepotism in the highest levels of the government.

THOUGHTS?
As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at info@proxysf.com.

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Oct. 2, 2020

PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FEST, VOLUME ONE

Welcome to the 2020 PROXY [virtual] Fall Film Festival! It’s still unsafe to gather in our walk-in theatre, so we’re bringing the festival to your inbox every Friday for the next four weeks. While we wish we could see all of you in person, we’re happy to stay connected and offer up some inspirational independent films, curated music, and thought-provoking articles in the run-up to the November 3rd election.

This week, we’re bringing forward two documentaries exploring activism, community, and a search for the truth in the face of an increasingly plutocratic world. The accompanying selection of music, articles, and action items are here to challenge each of us to take on the attempted squashing of the democratic process.

WATCH

CRIP CAMP: A DISABILITY REVOLUTION
Directed by James LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham, 2020 [R]

CRIP CAMP: A DISABILITY REVOLUTION tracks the lives and historic activism arising from Camp Jened, an upstate New York summer camp for teens with disabilities. Featuring original footage, news hits from the 1970s and 80s, and contemporary interviews, Crip Camp outlines the youths’ outsized impact on disability activism and the passage of the ADA in 1990. Come to learn about the 504 Sit-In that began in 1977 with the occupation of the San Francisco Federal Building; stay for the touching portraits of lifelong friendship and community.

Watch on NETFLIX

I AM (NOT) A MONSTER
Directed by Nelly Ben-Hayoun, 2019 [not-rated]

Nelly Ben-Hayoun’s third feature film, I AM (NOT) A MONSTER follows Nelly’s search to find the origins of knowledge – but with several twists. A handheld camera follows Nelly around the world on her quest, accompanied by the spirit of political philosopher Hannah Arendt, whose thoughts on authoritarianism and the banality of evil are as timely as ever. The film features interviews with Noam Chomsky, Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, activist and politician Magid Magid, and many others in a multi-faceted journey to unearth the origins of human knowledge.

Watch on VIMEO

READ

ALICE WONG

Local activist and researcher Alice Wong is a gem who should be on every San Franciscan’s radar. Wong is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, a curated site dedicated to creating, fostering, and uplifting disability media and culture. Her work is varied and far reaching, and all worth checking out, but the most prescient and moving are her recent piece for Teen Vogue on the frustration disabled voters are experiencing, her 2017 New York Times essay on the importance of Medicaid, and her article on how the ‘quality of life’ considerations raised early in the pandemic devalue vulnerable populations.

A FAILED SYSTEM

Writing for The New York Times, Maggie Astor recently reported on the suppression of disabled voters through policy and negligence, and how the mismanaged pandemic has heightened obstacles they face. She cites a Rutgers study that found that 38 million eligible voters — roughly equal to the population of California — have disabilities, and are at even greater risk of disenfranchisement in a year when the Republican party is sowing confusion and mistrust in the electoral system.

FAITH IN DEMOCRACY

The Atlantic’s George Packer lays out the president’s gameplan in this coming election — spew poison into the ears of likely voters, and hope it depresses enough Americans for him to eke out an Electoral College victory. The article reinforces that it remains very difficult to steal an election, and highlights some of the gains made in increasing turnout during the pandemic, including the expansion of vote-by-mail in 11 states. The president would like us to believe that our votes don’t count, simply because he can’t win an election where all votes are counted fairly.

LISTEN

FALL FILM FEST 2020 V01 PLAYLIST

For this week’s playlist, we asked John McNeil Studio — the team behind the STAMP OUT installation at PROXY — to put together a selection of music to pair with this week’s films. Their selections strike a chord of gruff rage and boiling rebellion – listen and take action.
Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

 

ACT

STAMP OUT AT PROXY

Longtime Envelope collaborator John McNeil Studio is launching STAMP OUT, a city-wide campaign to combat the President’s naked attempts to dismantle the USPS. In an effort to financially support the Post Office, JMS wants YOU to buy a sheet of stamps and use them to quite literally stamp out corruption on a mural wall being installed at PROXY on October 4th and staying up through the election.

There will be a series of posters, each targeting a different base instinct of our President – corruption, racism, greed, nepotism, and fascism – that you can STAMP OUT at PROXY.

THE ARC SAN FRANCISCO

The ARC San Francisco is a non-profit learning and career development center for adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Seeking to raise the quality of life for their clients through lifelong learning, personal achievement, and independence, the ARC has served San Francisco since the 1950’s. You can support their work in several ways, detailed here.

BECOME A POLL WORKER

Fifty-eight percent of the nation’s poll workers are over 61 ,raising concerns about the ability to properly staff polling sites in the midst of the pandemic. If you are able and meet the city’s requirements, signing up to be a poll worker in San Francisco can help ensure that every San Franciscan has their vote counted.

 

 

THOUGHTS?
As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at info@proxysf.com.

 

 

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Sep. 23, 2020

Join us for the PROXY [virtual] Fall Film Festival

We aren’t able to gather in person for our annual celebration of new independent film, so we’re bringing the festival to your inbox each Friday in October. Sign-up today to receive our weekly offering of movies, music and more.




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Sep. 11, 2020

PROXY_in between, volume three

volume003_09.11.2020

We’re back with the third volume of PROXY >IN BETWEEN<, our curatorial initiative for these unprecedented, in-between times. In volume two, we covered how explicitly racist urban planning policies shaped the Western Addition and Hayes Valley. This week we’re exploring another part of San Francisco where institutional injustice and neighborhood advocacy are foundational to its history — Bayview Hunters Point.

Forming the southeast edge of San Francisco and literally segregated from the rest of the city, Bayview Hunters Point was for decades a resilient center of industry. From San Francisco’s earliest days, the neighborhood went through several iterations as a farming, fishing, and meatpacking district before ship-building became the dominant industry in the 1920s. When the Navy purchased and vastly expanded the shipyard in 1940 to support the war effort, Navy officials recruited thousands of workers — approximately half of whom were Black — from across the country to move to the city and work the yards.

Racist redlining policies and the proximity of work made Bayview Hunters Point one of the few neighborhoods where Black San Franciscans could settle. After the war, white workers moved out of Bayview Hunters Point and found homes elsewhere, an option that was not available for Black residents. Many Black San Franciscans began moving out of Navy housing and buying homes in Bayview Hunters Point in the 1950s, and the community grew even more after the de facto destruction of the Western Addition in the late 1960s. By the late 1980s, the neighborhood had the highest rate of Black homeownership in the city.

As both a historically industrial and a predominantly Black residential neighborhood, Bayview Hunters Point has faced longstanding struggles for social amenities and environmental justice that more politically-connected districts receive as a matter of course. These subtle forms of disenfranchisement became all the more apparent after the Civil Rights Act of 1968 strengthened laws banning racial discrimination in the sale, rental or financing of housing. While this landmark legislation marked the beginning of the end for practices like redlining, institutional disregard and neglect for the neighborhood would prove more tenacious. In the 1950s, ambitious plans for a web of freeways around and through San Francisco threatened to sever vital connections between Bayview Hunters Point and surrounding neighborhoods, prompting activists to accuse The State Division of Highways (now Caltrans) of trying to contain the growing Black community through the construction of the 101 and 280 freeways. Historians Kelley & Verplanck summarized the freeways’ impact in a Historical Context Statement written in 2010:

“Interstate I-280 was largely in place by 1968, providing yet another major barrier, severing many east-west streets that once led to adjoining districts, and effectively walling off Bayview-Hunters Point from the rest of the city. The isolation was more than just physical; with freeways reducing the need for others to enter the district, and public transit options almost non-existent, Bayview-Hunters Point became a place where few outsiders would ever go outside of the occasional game day at Candlestick Park.”

The history of Bayview Hunters Point is rife with stories of community advocates taking on this insidious institutional disregard, including the shutdown of the Pacific Gas & Electric Hunters Point Power Plant and the environmental cleanup of the former India Basin Naval Shipyard. One struggle that continues today centers around the Southeast Treatment Plant, the city’s largest wastewater treatment facility. Built in the early 1950s, the facility initially only served the southeast area. After Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, concerns around the city’s antiquated sewer system lead the San Francisco Department of Public Works [SFPUC] to expand the plant, making it large enough to handle 80% of the city’s wastewater and sewage.

The Environmental Impact Report prepared at the time noted the residents’ vehement opposition to the plant’s expansion. To mitigate the environmental and social impacts of treating a majority of the city’s wastewater in one neighborhood, the city proposed building recreational facilities on top of the digesters – a plan that fell through in 1976 due to its escalating costs and lack of community support. Finally, a community effort led by neighborhood leader Dr. Espanola Jackson forged a new mitigation plan with SFPUC, including the construction and maintenance of commercial greenhouses and a skills-training center. The Southeast Community Facility opened in 1987 at 1800 Oakdale Avenue.

Today, the neighborhood still deals with the foul odors and increased truck traffic associated with the Southeast Treatment Plant — and still has to hold the city accountable. In 2015, after years of discussions with the community and Southeast Community Facility Commission, the SFPUC announced plans to replace the Southeast Community Facility’s outdated building with a five-acre campus at 1550 Evans Avenue. Three years later, emails between the mayor’s office and developer Build, Inc. revealed a secret proposal to shoehorn housing onto the site. Disregarding years of community engagement and trust, this scheme would allow the developer to meet the affordable housing requirement associated with its nearby India Basin development.

Community uproar caused the city and the developer to retract all plans, and the new campus is now in construction. Yet, this very recent example of neighborhood disenfranchisement shows the continuing influence of white supremacist power structures on Black neighborhoods spanning seventy years in San Francisco. The tireless work of neighborhood activists fighting for environmental and social justice in Bayview Hunters Point is inspiring and deserves commemoration. However, it’s long past time for San Francisco as a whole to accept the burden of being accountable to all its neighborhoods.

WATCH

DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST

Directed by Julie Dash, 1991 [PG]

“We are two people in one body. The last of the old and the first of the new”

DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST is a transcendent exploration of family and place, following the Peazant family, a multi-generational Gullah matriarchy living on a chain of islands off the Georgia coast. Set at the dawn of the 20th century, the Peazants contemplate their history of slavery, future in the North, and changing faiths. The feature film debut of director Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust was the first film directed by a Black woman to receive widespread theatrical release.

Watch on KANOPY

PROXY [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL 2020

We are gearing up for our [virtual] FALL FILM FESTIVAL at PROXY, running from October 2nd to the 30th. As of today, it doesn’t yet seem safe to host film screenings in person, so we will bring the festival to your inbox every Friday with a newsletter of movies, music, articles and more to pair with our film selections. Stay tuned for more!

LISTEN

PROXY >IN BETWEEN<_VOLUME 003 playlist

Listen on SPOTIFY or APPLE MUSIC

 

READ

RACIST HOUSING COVENANTS IN THE BAY AREA

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Justin Phillips speaks with two local residents who have found anti-Black or anti-Asian language in the deeds to their houses. While the language is legally unenforceable, it is costly to remove, and serves as a stark reminder of the work still needed to rectify centuries of white supremacist rule.

UPSTART, BLACK-OWNED FARM IN BAYVIEW

A small-scale, urban farm was founded in the Bayview this Spring to bring healthy, local food to one of San Francisco’s food deserts. In an article by Chronicle restaurant critic Soleil Ho, the founders discuss their intention to be a community resource for their neighborhood, both through this pandemic and beyond, and the outpouring of community support they’ve already received throughout these foundational months.

THE BLACK LIVES NEXT DOOR

Jon Rothstein, author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, explores the path towards reparations for explicitly racist housing covenants that banned integrated communities in the 1950s and 60s. Using San Mateo as an example, Rothstein deftly traces the racist history of several neighborhoods to the original developer, a firm still in operation, and points to a path to justice.

 

ACT

THE SF + MARIN FOOD BANK

The SF Marin Food Bank continues its heroic work to ensure that every San Franciscan has access to food — and they need some extra hands. Consider volunteering at a local pantry or visit their website to learn about other ways to lend your support.

FIRE SEASON

Extensive fires throughout the West mean we need to double down on our support for fire crews and affected communities. See KQED’s helpful list for donation points and give what you can today.

Mask Oakland is a grassroots effort to support houseless folks in the Bay Area who are at higher risk of exposure to smoke due to their living conditions. In 2018 alone, they handed out 85,000 N95 masks across the Bay Area. Their direct community aid format is a shining example of how mutual aid networks can carry us through this pandemic and election season. They have put out a call for donations to support their 2020 fire season and COVID-19 responses.

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Jul. 10, 2020

PROXY_in between, volume two

volume002_07.10.2020

We’re back with the second volume of PROXY >IN BETWEEN< to share things we’re seeing and hearing during this in-between time. It’s been eight weeks since we last reached out, and it has been a time of necessary and important demonstrations and discussions about racial injustice in our city and across our country.

At PROXY we are reflecting on the history of this site and our role in contributing to a different future for our city. The white supremacist foundations of our country continues to have tangible effects on the development and composure of cities across the country, including San Francisco. And we are confronting the legacy of explicitly racist lending policies and urban planning programs that shaped Hayes Valley and the Western Addition over the 20th century.

This map shows redlined districts of San Francisco in 1937. Agents of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, a government-sponsored entity, created this map to grade the neighborhoods of cities across the country for development and lending purposes. The criteria HOLC applied were explicitly, if not predominantly racist, and banks wouldn’t lend in areas graded the lowest. Here is the description of the zone that included the site of PROXY:

“It has a highly congested population consisting of Japanese, Russians, Mexicans, Negroes, etc. having a very low income level. In the north-central part of the area is the largest concentration of Japanese in the City, and Negroes predominate in its northwest section. The southern part is much less affected by the racial situation which has been described, and has many of the qualities of Area D-4.”

While white San Franciscans could access capital to purchase homes or improve their properties, redlining denied this access to their Black and new immigrant counterparts. A cycle of growing disparity ensued.

The suppression of Black San Franciscans’ path to wealth and opportunity took another dramatic turn following World War II, when the City enacted a redevelopment plan for the Western Addition focused on the historically Black area around Fillmore Street, then celebrated as the Harlem of the West. The plan led to mass displacement of the Black community, and the destruction of scores of homes that, over time, would have made their titleholders millionaires.

This was not by mistake. In 1947, the City commissioned local planner Mel Scott to create a plan for “revitalizing” the Western Addition. In his 70-page report, Scott notes:

“The presence in the Western Addition District of a high proportion of negro and foreign born families presents a special problem…. In view of the characteristically low income of colored and foreign-born families, only a relatively small proportion of them may be expected to occupy quarters in the new development.”

This travesty took place just a short walk away from the corner of Hayes and Octavia where PROXY sits today. (Read more about this regretful chapter in this neighborhood’s history — and the incarceration of Japanese Americans that preceded it — in this paper.)

These are only two of countless instances of white supremacist policies suppressing the Black community of San Francisco. As a site born out of another legacy of racial injustice, the proliferation of freeways, PROXY is a part of this system. It is not simply enough to recognize this reality: We must work to actively dismantle it — like the freeway where PROXY now stands — and remake it. As a curatorial experiment, we can continue to show films and host installations from a range of diverse perspectives. As a physical space, we need to ensure that Black San Franciscans feel welcome in this place, and that our offerings fully embrace the entirety of our city. This isn’t something that is a quick fix: we are committing to a longer learning process, one that will benefit from ongoing community collaboration.

This week, we’re sharing some films, music, articles, and actions with this new imperative in mind. We hope you join us!

WATCH

THE WATERMELON WOMAN

Directed by Cheryl Dunye, 1996 [not rated]

THE WATERMELON WOMAN follows Cheryl, a young Black filmmaker as she probes into the history of “The Watermelon Woman,” a 1940’s Black actress who Cheryl discovers in her day job as a video store clerk. As Cheryl searches for more information to try to make her the subject of a documentary, she begins to see similarities between their lives and their work. This debut film from director Cheryl Dunye won Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1996.

Watch on Kanopy

HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING

Directed by Ramell Ross, 2018 [not rated]

An intimate portrait of African-Americans in the south, HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING challenges the conventions of filmmaking to create a sense of place and personhood that is palpable through the screen. Director Ramell Ross focuses on the intimate, the profound, the mundane, the extraordinary to expand the typical portraiture of documentary filmmaking and illuminate the lives of his subjects.

Watch on Kanopy

LISTEN

PROXY >IN BETWEEN<_VOLUME 002 playlist

Here are some of the tracks we’ve been listening to over the past several weeks — solemn at the beginning, growing to a growl, and ending with a tenacious hopefulness. – dB

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

 

READ

COVID-19 AND JUSTICE IN AMERICA

Authors Deanna Van Buren and F. Javier Campos-Torres make the case that the early release of some inmates to stem catastrophic COVID-19 outbreaks in our prisons point to an urgent need for a comprehensive re-imagining of our justice system. They write: “Without a long-term plan for true decarceration, at a larger scale, and the necessary infrastructure to support both returning citizens and their communities, we will inevitably backslide and refill these institutions.” To start, they outline a path to building a more equitable system, one “crafted in collaboration with the communities most impacted.”

SAFE STREETS ARE NOT SAFE FOR BLACK LIVES

Transportation planner Destiny Thomas cautions her professional peers and “safe street” advocates that the celebrated “slow streets” response to the pandemic overlooks the relationship Black communities have with their streets as places of violence, oppression and life-threatening pollution. By overriding genuine community engagement, the hastily deployed networks, like their the precedents of pop-up bike lanes and guerrilla-urbanist interventions, risk deepening inequity and mistrust in underserved communities and substituting feel-good gestures for truly transformative change.

ON THE LIMITS OF CARE AND KNOWLEDGE

Yesemi Umolu, the artistic director of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, reflects on the limits of care and knowledge in museums and other cultural institutions that are reacting to the current moment. She argues that creating a new world will take more than diversity initiatives in staffing and curation; it will require institutions to relinquish their authority and rethink their role in the fabric of a city. She asks “What would our museums be if they were to center community in place of audience?”

A LETTER TO SAN FRANCISCO

In an open letter to her city, pediatrician and born-and-raised San Franciscan Zea Malawa lays out her dream of raising her children in a changed San Francisco. She speaks to the real effects of decades of abuse, exclusion, and oppression of our city’s Black community, and fantasizes of a future in which San Francisco leverages its considerable political and economic power to become a sanctuary city for Black people — one that not only invests in the lives of its Black residents, but invites more in. What does the future of San Francisco look like beyond this moment?

ACT

SAN QUENTIN COVID-19 OUTBREAK

San Quentin State Prison was free of COVID-19 up until five weeks ago, when a transfer of inmates from a facility in Chino led to the first reported cases within its sprawling cellblocks. Since then, at least 1600 prisoners have tested positive for the virus and six have died. Activists inside and outside the prison have released a set of demands to slow the spread of the virus, alongside a media toolkit that includes instructions on how you can help, including email and social media templates to increase pressure on the prison and the governor.

KEEP MUNI FUNDED

Our beloved SF Muni is expected to lose more than 40 of its lines if it can’t find a new source of revenue, according to this SF Chronicle report. Muni is integral to the health and equity of our city, and is an essential resource for many San Franciscans. Check out this document for help in voicing your support of Muni and consider getting involved with SF Transit Riders, a grassroots organization that advocates for better transit systems in San Francisco.

GLIDE

GLIDE is a social services provider in the Tenderloin and the anchor of a caring community for folks experiencing homelessness. Throughout this crisis, they are continuing to supply three daily meals free of charge to those in need, and have recently launched a free COVID-19 testing program in their Tenderloin headquarters. You can support their efforts here.

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May. 15, 2020

PROXY_in between

05.15.2020

Everything is still up in the air, but it won’t be forever. We are now in week nine of sheltering in place in the Bay Area, and it’s almost beginning to feel like a new normal. The COVID-19 crisis continues to require self sacrifice, and while Mayor Breed has outlined steps towards a return to the previous normal, all signs point toward a long tail of social disruption. As we ride out these coming months separately, yet together, we wanted to pop back in to share what we’ve been watching, reading, working on, and supporting.

WATCH

SPACESHIP EARTH

Directed by Matt Wolf, 2020 [not rated]

In 1991, a group of scientists quarantined themselves in a closed-loop, self-sustaining ecosystem – the Biosphere 2. Intended to test the ability of humans to exist in harmony with artificial recreations of the Earth’s biomes, Biosphere 2 began to face issues as systems failed and human divisions rose. Matt Wolf’s documentary captures the project through contemporary interviews with its participants and original footage from inside the compound, weaving together a story of hope, control, and ultimately, failure.

Watch on Youtube or Hulu

LISTEN

The Natural Experiment

A new episode of 99% Invisible explores how the COVID-19 shutdown is creating research opportunities of completely unexpected dimensions. From silent oceans and clear skies to naturally occurring boredom, scientists and city governments have new windows into a range of concerns. The final segment looks at the City of Oakland’s bold decision to close 74 miles of city streets—to give residents more room to get outside while staying six-feet apart. The overarching question is whether things will ever be the same.

PROXY >IN BETWEEN< v001

Here’s a new playlist, curated by PROXY founder Douglas Burnham, for you to enjoy while social distancing.

Listen on SPOTIFY or APPLE MUSIC

 

READ

HOW THE CORONAVIRUS CAN CHANGE FOOD JOURNALISM

In her recent recent dispatch, the Chronicle’s restaurant critic – and 2020 James Beard award nominee! – Soleil Ho covered the positive changes in food writing during the COVID-19 crisis, and what she would like to see going forward. She notes that the Chronicle’s coverage has included more frugal home cooking recipes, more conversations with restaurant wage workers, and more thorough explorations of the business of restaurants. Plus, she offers some great local takeout recommendations! Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC FOREVER

Just five artists have had a Top-40 single in each of the last four decades, according to Billboard: Madonna, Michael Jackson, U2, Kenny G, and “Weird Al” Yankovic. The song-spoofer was profiled in the New York Times Magazine last month in a piece that tracks his nearly four decade career that has at different times drawn from – and defined – American pop culture. Working in a medium that is inherently fleeting, Yankovic has kept himself relevant for longer than many of the bands that he has parodied – while making space for the goofy among us along the way.

ENJOY

NOW HUNTERS POINT

We wanted to share an update on our COVID-19 response at NOW Hunters Point, our project in Bayview Hunters Point sponsored by Pacific Gas & Electric. Since April 23, we have given away more than 770 grocery bags full of produce and 200 children’s books to families in need. These Family Food events are made possible by the generous support of The SF Market, which is providing free produce to many community organizations with help from the City’s Soda Tax Fund. We’ll be back with more Family Food Giveaways at NOW Hunters Point each Thursday at least through May 21.

ACT

We’re stronger together during these challenging times, and we can help those in need even while staying in.

SF + MARIN FOOD BANK

The San Francisco + Marin Food Bank continues to provide our vulnerable neighbors with the food they need. They are matching all donations through May 31st, so consider donating and doubling your impact.

FOOD RUNNERS

Food Runners is a San Francisco based organization dedicated to alleviating hunger and ending food waste by connecting food donations – from businesses as well as households – with community serving organizations. With your help, they can continue to provide 20,000 meals to San Franciscans every week.

INDEPENDENT MUSIC VENUES

Independent music venues in San Francisco are shuttered due to the crisis, pitching their staff into unemployment with no clear end in sight. These folks are stewards of San Francisco’s vibrant concert culture and the spaces that are necessary for community vitality. Consider donating to Staff Relief Funds for the Rickshaw Stop, the Great American Music Hall, Noise Pop Industries, or the Chapel.

HAYES VALLEY HELP

Are you looking to lend a hand to a neighborhood resident in need? The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association has an email account to match volunteers with those needing assistance. Please reach out to hayesvalleyhelp@gmail.com to get involved.

THOUGHTS?

As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at info@proxysf.com.

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Apr. 17, 2020

PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES, VOLUME FIVE

PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES
VOLUME FIVE

We’re back with the final week of the PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES to keep you engaged and occupied during the shelter-in-place order. We’ve so enjoyed doing this that we will be returning regularly with some bi-weekly programming suggestions to help us stay connected while we continue to stay apart.

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FILMS

PROXY SPRING SERIES SELECTION

Disaster Playground

Directed by Nelly Ben Hayoun, 2015 [not-rated]

In a time of global pandemic, let’s think about something a little bit more charming: meteors! DISASTER PLAYGROUND explores the little known system that monitors near-earth asteroids and assesses the risks posed should they make impact with the Earth. Director Nelly Ben Hayoun plays with the inherent comedy of the complex chain of command – from NASA to SETI to the United Nations – as she introduces who is (and who isn’t) watching the skies.

EXTRA: We’ve curated a playlist to match the film – check it out below

Watch on Vudu

International Space Orchestra

Directed by Nelly Ben Hayoun, 2013 [not-rated]

We are recommending another film from director Nelly Ben Hayoun this week because we are big fans of her work. A “designer of experiences”, Ben Hayoun uses documentary filmmaking to probe and provoke institutions that are often out of view of daily life, inserting herself into the narrative. INTERNATIONAL SPACE ORCHESTRA follows a team of space scientists – organized and directed by Ben Hayoun – as they compose and perform an original piece of music honoring the moon landing.

Watch on Amazon

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ARTICLES

AUCTION HOUSE METEORITES

Last month, the New York Times reported on a hot new item taking over New York’s finest auction houses – meteorites! The article explores how meteorites – traditionally the domain of scientists searching for clues about universe – have captivated wealthy collectors whose high stakes bids are driven by differing values.

LIBERATING OURSELVES FROM USEFULNESS

Jenny Odell and Wendy Liu – authors of How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy and Abolish Silicon Valley, respectively – released an email exchange they had for LitHub around the ways in which capitalism is often incongruous with personal and ecological health. Their work pushes for a reevaluation of what is seen as “productive”, an important notion to consider as many of us find our work upended in this crisis.
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Created, cared for, and curated by ENVELOPE

PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES
VOLUME FIVE

We’re back with the final week of the PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES to keep you engaged and occupied during the shelter-in-place order. We’ve so enjoyed doing this that we will be returning regularly with some bi-weekly programming suggestions to help us stay connected while we continue to stay apart.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
FILMS

PROXY SPRING SERIES SELECTION
Disaster Playground
Directed by Nelly Ben Hayoun, 2015 [not-rated]

In a time of global pandemic, let’s think about something a little bit more charming: meteors! DISASTER PLAYGROUND explores the little known system that monitors near-earth asteroids and assesses the risks posed should they make impact with the Earth. Director Nelly Ben Hayoun plays with the inherent comedy of the complex chain of command – from NASA to SETI to the United Nations – as she introduces who is (and who isn’t) watching the skies.

EXTRA: We’ve curated a playlist to match the film – check it out below!

Watch on Vudu

International Space Orchestra
Directed by Nelly Ben Hayoun, 2013 [not-rated]

We are recommending another film from director Nelly Ben Hayoun this week because we are big fans of her work. A “designer of experiences”, Ben Hayoun uses documentary filmmaking to probe and provoke institutions that are often out of view of daily life, inserting herself into the narrative. INTERNATIONAL SPACE ORCHESTRA follows a team of space scientists – organized and directed by Ben Hayoun – as they compose and perform an original piece of music honoring the moon landing.

Watch on Amazon
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
ARTICLES

AUCTION HOUSE METEORITES
Last month, the New York Times reported on a hot new item taking over New York’s finest auction houses – meteorites! The article explores how meteorites – traditionally the domain of scientists searching for clues about universe – have captivated wealthy collectors whose high stakes bids are driven by differing values.

LIBERATING OURSELVES FROM USEFULNESS
Jenny Odell and Wendy Liu – authors of How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy and Abolish Silicon Valley, respectively – released an email exchange they had for LitHub around the ways in which capitalism is often incongruous with personal and ecological health. Their work pushes for a reevaluation of what is seen as “productive”, an important notion to consider as many of us find our work upended in this crisis.

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LISTENING

SPRING SERIES PLAYLIST, VOLUME FIVE

PROXY founder Douglas Burnham provided an accompanying note for this week’s playlist:

“This week’s DISASTER PLAYGROUND playlist is built as a lively, beat-driven soundtrack to our very own rolling disaster. Like so many of us, I am filled with a rush of feelings about our new unreal reality: grief, awe, despair, hope and anger, to name a handful. While I am hopeful that the Great Pause will bring about some positive change — and am greatly heartened by the heroic actions of so many — I’m also outraged over our lack of preparedness as a country and the utter failure of our federal government to lead us through this crisis. Yet directed anger, coupled with grief (and a little fear thrown in), can be a strong motivating force, and we have joined others in pivoting our practice to help tackle the mounting needs in our community.

This playlist is more akin to the playlists I make for my weekly trail runs and, like the original Ed Banger Records electronic music soundtrack, it creates a playful sonic alert to a narrative of potential planetary doom. Sometimes you need a forward driving beat to keep going against the wind, to scale that crazy hill. It now feels like we are all leaving on a long distance run in the wilderness, going places we’ve never been before. I hope this playlist helps you meet the challenges ahead and that it adds moments of pleasure to your journey.”

— dB

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

FLOODLINES

The Atlantic launched their first narrative podcast in March, Floodlines. Host Vann R. Newkirk II looks back at Hurricane Katrina and its effects on the people of New Orleans. Rigorously reported and at times deeply upsetting, the podcast tracks the failures of people, policy, and systems in the botched response to the hurricane, a record of memory that is more important now than ever.

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ACTION

Each week we’re pointing to opportunities for you to support those most impacted by the crisis at hand. Take a look and get involved.

BUY SOME BOOKS

Many bookstores across the Bay Area are struggling right now to make ends meet. To keep these important cultural forces alive through the crisis, consider placing an order online with your favorite independent bookseller! Many shops are also running GoFundMe campaigns to supplement their income – including Alley Cat Books, Adobe Books, and Dog Eared Books to name a few. Find your favorite bookstore online and chip in if you can!

THE SF + MARIN FOOD BANK

We are going to keep the SF + Marin Food Bank in our action items this week, because there has never been a more important time for their services. Consider donating time or money to support this essential component of our city’s safety net.

GLIDE

GLIDE is a social services provider in the Tenderloin that creates a caring community for folks experiencing homelessness in the Tenderloin. Throughout this crisis, they are continuing to supply three daily meals free of charge to those in need. You can support their efforts here.

HAYES VALLEY HELP

Are you looking to lend a hand or a neighborhood resident in need? The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association has an email account to match volunteers with those needing assistance. Please reach out to hayesvalleyhelp@gmail.com to get involved.

 

THOUGHTS? As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at info@proxysf.com.

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Apr. 10, 2020

PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES, VOLUME FOUR

PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES

VOLUME FOUR

The city continues to stay united by staying home – and we’re still here to support you through the extended time inside. Check out this week’s offerings of films, articles, music, and action items to keep you fulfilled.

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FILMS

PROXY SPRING SERIES SELECTION

HONEY BOY

Directed by Alma Har’el, 2019 [R]

The feature-length debut of director Alma Har’el, HONEY BOY follows the stormy childhood and adult years of young actor Otis Lort as he struggles to reconcile with his father. Shia LaBeouf wrote the screenplay and stars as his own father in this deeply empathetic film.

EXTRA: We’ve curated a playlist to match the film – check it out below!

Watch on Amazon

LEAVE NO TRACE

Directed by Debra Granik, 2016 [PG]

Will and his teenage daughter, Tom, have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom realize that they may never restore the delicate balance of their previous lives.

Watch FREE on Kanopy

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ARTICLES

QUIBI EXPLAINED

In a piece for Vox, Emily VanDerWerff explains and explores the latest streaming service – Quibi. VanDerWerff begins with the shortcomings of the service itself, but ultimately poses a larger critique of the ways in which money distorts the tech and entertainment industry at large.

TIPS FROM A SOCIAL DISTANCING MASTER

As the only resident of Gothic, CO, an abandoned silver mine in the Rocky Mountains, Billy Barr regularly goes days at a time without seeing other people. He shares his tips with NPR for ensuring a fulfilling human experience without human interaction. His final tip in particular is something we can throw our weight behind!

HOMELESSNESS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

Vox contributor Roge Karma speaks with Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, about the heightened risks facing the unhoused during the coronavirus pandemic. Yentel argues that the health of those experiencing homelessness cannot be separated from the health of society at large, and offers ideas fors how people at home can help. See below for some local points of action.
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LISTENING

SPRING SERIES PLAYLIST, VOLUME FOUR

For this week’s playlist, PROXY founder Douglas Burnham wrote an accompanying note:

“We like to think about our film nights at PROXY as a gift to the city. All of our programming at PROXY is free and open to the public, and we’ve figured out a way, through very scrappy means, to craft unique experiences every time we show a film. Our pre-show playlists are one of the things we use to create a sonic space, as people gather and wait for the sun to set with anticipation. We build these playlists around the ideas, themes or just the zeitgeist of each film.

For HONEY BOY, we began with the haunting feeling conjured by the film — an overall sense of tension, but also a yearning for the relationships that we need, but often can’t have. This feeling, and the fact that FKA twigs (whose music we like) is in the film, brought to mind tracks that we started to string together and build into a two-hour flow of sound.

As with all of the curatorial choices that we make, we are sharing things that are contemporary and timely – to invite a different kind of public dialogue, one rooted in community and ideas. In this time when we can’t gather together under the stars (or, the fog) at PROXY, we hope that these playlists connect us through the inner space of music. And, we hope that you enjoy them!”

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music
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ACTION

Each week we’re drawing out opportunities to support those most impacted by the crisis at hand. Take a look and get involved.

NOW HUNTERS POINT RESOURCE DRIVE

Envelope is launching a resource distribution drive for residents of the Bayview neighborhood, operating from NOW Hunters Point, another site we activate. The drive will distribute fresh produce, food, and daily necessities to those in need – and we are seeking partners to supplement what we have available. If your organization can donate cloth masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing products, shelf-stable food or other items, or if you know someone who can, please get in touch at info@proxysf.net.

THE SF + MARIN FOOD BANK

The SF + Marin Food Bank continues to do important work throughout the city, adding pop-up emergency pantries at various locations to reach the growing number of those in need. Consider donating time or money to support this essential component of our city’s safety net.

PROJECT HOMELESS CONNECT

Project Homeless Connect connects San Franciscans experiencing homelessness with the care they need to move forward, including food, mental health services, and financial assistance. They are completely privately funded and your donation could go a long ways.

 

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Apr. 3, 2020

PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES, VOLUME THREE

The Bay Area’s shelter in place policies are already working to flatten the curve! High-fives to everyone who has done their part by staying in, but our work is not done – the city has extended the shelter-in-place order to to May 3rd. As we continue to support our healthcare workers by staying in, we’re back with our third offering of films, articles, music and action!

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FILMS

PROXY SPRING SERIES SELECTION

THE FAREWELL

Directed by Lulu Wang, 2019 [PG]

BASED ON AN ACTUAL LIE

A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is given a terminal diagnosis. She struggles with her family’s decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time. Director and screenwriter Lulu Wang first told the story of her family’s real life lie to This American Life.

BONUS: we’ve put together a curated playlist to listen to beforehand – check it out below!

Watch on Amazon

 

KANOPY

Kanopy is a streaming service that partners with libraries to make films available for free. If you don’t have a library card, fear not. The San Francisco Public Library is issuing temporary digital cards through May 31st – just follow the directions here or check with your local library.

A couple of suggestions for films to watch on Kanopy:

LADY BIRD

Directed by Greta Gerwig, 2018 [R]

A past PROXY SPRING SERIES selection, LADY BIRD is a warm comedy set in early 2000s Sacramento about a teenager who navigates a turbulent relationship with her mother.

THE BEACHES OF AGNES

Directed by Agnés Varda, 2008 [not-rated]

Legendary French New wave director Agnés Varda offers up a cinematic self portrait with rich perspective on life, art, and cinema.


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ARTICLES

WERNER HERZOG HAS NEVER THOUGHT A DOG WAS CUTE

In an interview with David Marchese of the New York Times, renowned filmmaker Werner Herzog reflects on his legacy as a filmmaker and ascension as a cultural icon. Herzog approaches everything – from his recent role in Mandalorian to his well covered feuds with Klaus Kinski – with the same plodding resolution.

ESCAPE FROM QUARANTINE WITH A WESTERN MOVIE

The Atlantic’s David Sims has a recommendation for pushing back the claustrophobia that many of us are feeling — watch a Western! In addition to a convincing explanation of why Westerns can offer an escape in these times (think: great open vistas), the author muses on the best examples from all eras of Hollywood.

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LISTENING

SPRING SERIES PLAYLIST, VOLUME THREE

This playlist has been specially created and curated to accompany this week’s original Spring Series selection, THE FAREWELL. Give it a listen in the early evening, with the sun shining low through your windows, before taking in the movie.
Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

HOME COOKING

The Bay Area’s own Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, has teamed up with podcaster Hrishikesh Hirway to release HOME COOKING, a podcast to help you figure out what to cook during quarantine and keep you company while you do it. The first episode tackles beans, latkes, and a litany of puns.
Check out the podcast here.

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ACTION

Each week we’re highlighting opportunities to support those most in need during these challenging times. Take a look and get involved.

THE 2020 US CENSUS

The US Census is underway, and for the first time, we can respond online. The census informs congressional representation and the distribution of $216+ billion in federal funding. With so much at stake, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Art+Action coalition has launched Come to Your Census, a campaign to bolster participation through public outreach and artists’ actions. Check out this site to complete the census today, then learn how you can get involved.

PROJECT OPEN HAND

Project Open Hand has provided meals to seniors and the critically ill in the Bay Area since 1985, and their nonprofit services are more important now than ever. To lend your urgently needed support, visit their volunteer and donation pages today.

HAYES VALLEY HELP

Are you looking to lend a hand or a neighborhood resident in need? The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association has an email account to match volunteers with those needing assistance. Please reach out to hayesvalleyhelp@gmail.com to get involved.

 

THOUGHTS? As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at info@proxysf.com.

 

 

 

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Mar. 27, 2020

PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES, VOLUME TWO

PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES

VOLUME TWO

 

With the Bay Area continuing to stay in, we’re back with our second offering of virtual programming. Here is this week’s line up of films, articles, music, and calls to action.

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FILMS

PROXY SPRING SERIES SELECTION

TRANSIT

Directed by Christian Petzold, 2018 [not-rated]

Adapted from the 1944 novel of the same name, TRANSIT merges past and present in this alluring puzzle from Christian Petzold, which follows Georg (Franz Rogowski), a refugee from fascism who pursues Marie (Paula Beer), the wife of the dead man whose identity he has assumed.

BONUS: Set the mood beforehand with our curated pre-screening playlist below.


Watch on Amazon

 

CAROL

Directed by Todd Haynes, 2015 [R]

An adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel “The Price of Salt”, CAROL follows two women who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. Featuring exquisite performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, the actors explore the “unimagined notions of what love between women might even look like” that drives the plot of the original novel.

Watch FREE on TUBI

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ARTICLES

HOW HOLLYWOOD IS COPING WITH COVID-19

We’ve been following the news out of Hollywood as the film industry adapts to the new reality. Eric Ducker has a great article in The Ringer covering some of the machinations behind delayed releases, early video on demand releases, and what it might mean for the future of the industry.

 

JUST GIVE IN TO ALISON ROMAN

Amidst this wave of uncertainty, a well crafted recipe lends a comforting confidence. Molly Fischer recommends Alison Roman, author of Eating In and Nothing Fancy, as the voice of culinary authority that we all need in these times of mandated dining-in. Read the article here.

 

HOW THE PANDEMIC WILL END

Writing in The Atlantic, author Ed Yong offers up an important, birds-eye view of the COVID-19 pandemic, touching on how we got here, what is required now, and what we can expect going forward. Disconcertingly frank at times, Yong explores the myriad ways in which the outbreak could forever change American culture.

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MUSIC

SPRING SERIES PLAYLIST, VOLUME TWO

Here is this week’s playlist, specially created and curated to set the mood for our original Spring Series selection, TRANSIT. Have a listen as you wrap up you work, get settled in, and imagine the feeling of a warm spring evening spent outside.

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

 

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS

Austin City Limits is the longest running music-program in television history, broadcasting performances weekly on PBS since 1974. To ease the blow of cancelled concerts over the coming months, they have made 45 of their episodes free to stream online. The selection includes all episodes from the past two seasons, as well as a couple high-demand archival releases (B.B. King and Tom Waits!)

Check out the selection here
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ACTION

Each week we’re highlighting ways we can support those most in need during these challenging times. Take a look and get involved.

UCSF

UCSF is asking the public to donate any PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to cover shortages at local hospitals. Needed are N95 masks you’ve stockpiled for the next fire season, gloves and other items! Check out their COVID-19 page for a list of donation sites, and a path to donate financially.

STREET SPIRIT

Street Spirit is a local newspaper that elevates the stories of the homeless and homeless activists throughout the Bay Area. With the Shelter in Place order in effect, vendors who rely on income from selling these papers are struggling financially. Consider donating to this GoFundMe organized by the editor of the paper.

MUTUAL AID

The office of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has put together an insightful guide to creating a mutual aid network in your community. While geared towards her constituency in New York, the guidelines are applicable everywhere, and include tips on how to be a force for good in your neighborhood while limiting the spread of the virus.

HAYES VALLEY HELP

Are you looking to lend a hand or a neighborhood resident in need? The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association has an email account to match volunteers with those needing assistance. Please reach out to hayesvalleyhelp@gmail.com to get involved.

THOUGHTS?

As always we welcome your feedback and ideas. You can reach us at info@proxysf.com.

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Mar. 20, 2020

PROXY [virtual] SPRING SERIES

With Bay Area residents doing their critical part—staying home to stem the coronavirus outbreak—we’re pivoting to an online take on our PROXY Spring Series. Here is this week’s line up of films, music, distractions, and calls to action, for you to explore.

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FILMS

PROXY Spring Series Selection

PARASITE

Directed by Bong Joon Ho, 2019 [R]

A modern fairytale from Bong Joon Ho, PARASITE touches on the underlying forces that push and pull everyone in the grasp of capitalism. The less you know about this film, the better. Suggested aperitif: the curated pre-screening playlist below.

Watch on Amazon

 

BURNING

Directed by Chang-Dong Lee, 2018 [not rated]

Another South Korean, class-conscious thriller, Chang-Dong Lee adapted BURNING from a Haruki Murakami short story for his first film in 8 years. Jong-su bumps into a girl who used to live in the same neighborhood, who asks him to look after her cat while she’s on a trip to Africa. When back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met there, who confesses his secret hobby.

Watch on Netflix

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MUSIC

One of the subtle touches of our PROXY Spring Series is the curated playlists we create to set the mood for each film. Music and memory share a deep connection; it can conjure the magic of a night spent outside in the company of friends and neighbors. Listening together from afar, maybe can create a bit of that same magic?

Listen on Spotify or Apple Music

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STAY ACTIVE

PROXY vendor Public Rec has developed an app to allow widespread access to their training courses. In an effort to help San Francisco stay active, they are offering free access to their workouts for 30 days. Just log in at Workout Daily and get moving.

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ACTION

We’re stronger together during these challenging times, and there are a lot we can do to help those in need even while staying in. Here are just a few ideas.

SFUSD

The San Francisco Unified School District is providing free meals to all students throughout the school closures to ensure that kids who depend on the district for regular meals remain cared for. Pick-up sites are open from 9-10AM each day with meals ready to go — no proof of enrollment is required.

To support this essential service, please donate to the SFUSD Student Nutrition Services to support the program.

SERVICE WORKERS

Local businesses need our support more than ever. The San Francisco Chronicle has built a web page to track Bay Area restaurants offering takeaway during the shelter-in-place order. Purchasing a gift card to use later is another way to support the restaurants that feed this wonderful city.

SF + MARIN FOOD BANK

The San Francisco + Marin Food Bank provides our vulnerable neighbors with the food they need, and more volunteers are desperately needed to help meet the growing demand. If you’re healthy and able, you can help fill the gap by signing up here. Those unable to volunteer can lend their support by donating here.

HAYES VALLEY HELP

Are you looking to lend a hand or a neighborhood resident in need? The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association has an email account to match volunteers with those needing assistance. Please reach out to hayesvalleyhelp@gmail.com to get involved.

THOUGHTS?

Our team at Envelope welcomes your feedback and ideas. Just drop us a line at info@proxysf.com.

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Mar. 20, 2020

2020 PROXY Spring Series Cancelled

We founded PROXY in 2010 with a mission to bring people together. And it’s with our community in mind, and in our hearts, that we announce the cancellation of the entire 2020 PROXY Spring Series of free outdoor film screenings, scheduled for March 20 through April 17.

Our local and state leaders have emphasized that each of us can play a crucial role in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak, and many of us are already doing our part. We’re staying home, doing the elbow bump, and washing our hands like never before. Canceling large public gatherings like our events at PROXY is another important measure.

While we may not be able to get together, let’s join in staying informed, checking in with our neighbors, and taking care of our loved ones, our community and ourselves.  In the next several weeks we’ll be sharing some playlists, movie ideas, things we’re reading and observations as we weather this unusual time together.

As always, we’re stronger together.

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Mar. 20, 2020

2020 PROXY Spring Series

The 2020 PROXY Spring Series of outdoor cinema kicks off Friday, March 20th at the PROXY Walk-In Theater.

Presented by HERE FOR NOW, the FREE, Friday evening film screenings begin at dusk with ‘doors’ opening at 6:00 pm.

Come early to claim a good spot, enjoy an ice-cold Fort Point Beer (all beer proceeds support outdoor cinema at PROXY!) and tasty offerings from Del Popolo pizza and The Chairman.

Bring a blanket and your friends, because it’s going to be a good night.

Check out our tips for enjoying movies outside at PROXY.

Special thanks to Fort Point Beer Company for their generous support again this season!

2020 PROXY Spring Series
Every Friday | March 20th to April 17th, 2020
PROXY, 432 Octavia St, San Francisco
FREE

Friday, March 20th
PARASITE

Directed by Bong Joon Ho, 2019 [R]
Korean w/ english subtitles

Parasite, which centers on two families on opposite ends of the economic scale whose lives become intertwined, melds Bong’s trademark talent for defying genre categorization and his cutting examinations of capitalism into a film that will take your breath away

– Karen Han, Polygon

A pitch black modern fairytale from Bong Joon Ho, PARASITE touches on the underlying forces that push and pull everyone in the grasp of capitalism. The less you know about this film, the better.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, March 27th
TRANSIT

Directed by Christian Petzold, 2018 [not-rated]
German with english subtitles

This could as easily be the past, as viewed through a hall of mirrors, or an apocalyptic near-future, positioning the events on screen either as recontextualized history or timely cautionary tale.

– Guy Lodge, Variety

As fascism spreads, German refugee Georg (Franz Rogowski) flees to Marseille and assumes the identity of the dead writer whose transit papers he is carrying. Living among refugees from around the world, Georg falls for Marie (Paula Beer), a mysterious woman searching for her husband–the man whose identity he has stolen. Adapted from Anna Segher’s 1942 novel, TRANSIT transposes the original story to the present, blurring periods to create a timeless exploration of the plight of displaced people.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, April 3rd
THE FAREWELL

Directed by Lulu Wang, 2019 [PG]

Almost in passing, “The Farewell” is a movie about the immigrant experience, a very American movie mostly set in Changchun, China. Billi’s grandmother is Chinese. Her parents are in between cultures, and she is mostly American. But they’re all bound together in the mystical allegiance known as family. This tale of cultural transition is an American story that has been told over and over, for centuries. But it rarely gets told this well.

– Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle

A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is given a terminal diagnosis, where she struggles with her family’s decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, April 10th
HONEY BOY

Directed by Alma Har’el, 2019 [R]

Somewhere between a primal scream, a self-acceptance and even a forgiveness of sorts, this is an utterly unique bit of autobiography. Brave, bold, and a little batshit.

– Alex Godfrey, Empire

From a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf, HONEY BOY follows the stormy childhood and adult years of a young actor as he struggles to reconcile with the memory of his father over the course of a decade. A sincere and empathetic exploration of addiction, rage, and resentment, HONEY BOY is equal parts cinematic memoir and therapy session.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, April 17th
Disaster Playground

Directed by Nelly Ben Hayoun, 2015 [not-rated]

DISASTER PLAYGROUND is a real film at the edge of space fiction. The film follows scientists leading the monitoring and deflection of hazardous Near Earth Objects and the real-life procedures in place in the event of an asteroid collision with the earth.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK


Let’s watch movies outside together.

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Nov. 27, 2019

Update on the SFMTA Octavia ‘Open Street’ Project

In early December, work will finally begin on SFMTA’s Octavia “Open Streets” Project, which will close the blocks of Octavia Street alongside Patricia’s Green and PROXY. The culmination of years of testing with temporary closures and the unanimous approval of the SFMTA Board in July, the project will expand this much loved open space and further enhance walkability and sense of community in Hayes Valley. We are incredibly excited about the extra pedestrian space this will add to the Hayes Valley, and the strengthening relationship between Patricia’s Green and PROXY.

For more information, check out this announcement from the SFMTA on the project.

 

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Oct. 4, 2019

2019 PROXY Fall Film Festival

The 2019 PROXY Fall Festival of outdoor cinema kicks off Friday, October 4 at the PROXY Walk-In Theater.

Presented by HERE FOR NOW, the FREE, Friday evening film screenings begin at dusk with ‘doors’ opening at 6:00 pm.

Come early to claim a good spot, enjoy an ice-cold Fort Point Beer (all beer proceeds support outdoor cinema at PROXY!) and tasty offerings from Del Popolo pizza and The Chairman.

Bring a blanket and your friends, because it’s going to be a good night.

Check out our tips for enjoying movies outside at PROXY.

Special thanks to Fort Point Beer Company for their generous support again this season!

2019 PROXY Fall Film Fest
Every Friday | October 4 to November 1, 2019
Proxy, 432 Octavia St, San Francisco
FREE

Friday, October 4
TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM

Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, 2019 [PG-13]

As with Morrison’s books, The Pieces I Am invites multiple, maybe even piecemeal, encores, because few writers wield the capacity to leave their readers with an evolving parting message with each subsequent reread.

– Melissa Vincent, Globe and Mail

This artful and intimate meditation on the legendary storyteller examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, October 11th
THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO

Directed by Joe Talbot, 2019 [R]

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a poetic and picturesque ode to the title city, to friendship and to the universal urge to find a place to call home.

– Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Jimmie and his best friend Mont try to reclaim the house built by Jimmie’s grandfather, launching them on a poignant odyssey that connects them to their past, even as it tests their friendship and sense of belonging in the place they call home.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, October 18
BOOKSMART

Directed by Olivia Wilde, 2019 [R]

Booksmart feels innovative, inclusive, and progressive. Without a doubt, it is one of the best debut films by an actor-turned-director.

– Israel Acosta Aroche, Konexión

On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, October 25
WOMAN AT WAR

Directed by Benedikt Erlingsson, 2018 [Not Rated] Icelandic w/English Subtitles

What can one person do to combat the forces of climate change and globalized industry? Quite a bit, as Benedikt Erlingsson would have us believe in Woman at War.

– Lisa Trifone, Third Coast Review

Halla, a woman in her forties, declares war on the local aluminum industry to prevent it from disfiguring her country. She risks all she has to protect the highlands of Iceland-but the situation could change with the unexpected arrival of a small orphan in her life.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, November 1st
US

Directed by Jordan Peele, 2019 [R]

With Us, Peele has solidified himself as one of the most original voices within the horror genre.

– Jay Krieger, Cultured Vultures

Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers (Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon), Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway. Us pits an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK


Let’s watch movies outside together.

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Apr. 12, 2019

2019 PROXY Spring Series

The 2019 PROXY Spring Series of outdoor cinema kicks off Friday, April 12 at the PROXY Walk-In Theater.  This year’s series focuses on stories of resilience in the realms of art, identity, and place.

Presented by HERE FOR NOW, the FREE, Friday evening film screenings begin at dusk with ‘doors’ opening at 6:00 pm.

Come early to claim a good spot, enjoy an ice-cold Fort Point Beer (all beer proceeds support outdoor cinema at PROXY!) and tasty offerings from Del Popolo pizza and Little Green Cyclo.

Bring a blanket and your friends, because it’s going to be a good night.

Check out our tips for enjoying movies outside at PROXY.

Special thanks to Fort Point Beer Company for their generous support again this year!

2019 PROXY Spring Series 
Every Friday | April 12 to May 10, 2019
Proxy, 432 Octavia St, San Francisco
FREE

Friday, April 12
BISBEE ’17

Directed by Robert Greene, 2018 [PG]

A fascinating exercise in nonfiction filmmaking as a performative, interdisciplinary, collective act, as well as a provocative inquiry into how selective memory, ideology, shame and unspeakable trauma shape what we come to accept as official history. 

– Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

BISBEE ’17 is a nonfiction feature film by award-winning filmmaker Robert Greene set in Bisbee, Arizona, an eccentric old mining town just miles away from both Tombstone and the Mexican border.

Radically combining collaborative documentary, western and musical elements, the film follows several members of the close knit community as they attempt to reckon with their town’s darkest hour. In 1917, nearly two-thousand immigrant miners, on strike for better wages and safer working conditions, were violently rounded up by their armed neighbors, herded onto cattle cars, shipped to the middle of the New Mexican desert and left there to die. This long-buried and largely forgotten event came to be known as the Bisbee Deportation.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, April 19
KUSAMA: INFINITY

Directed by Heather Lenz, 2018 [unrated]

It may seem strange for a movie to argue that an artist who at various times has been called the world’s most popular and has set a record for the highest amount paid for a work by a living female artist is somehow undervalued.
– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

An entertaining account of one of modern art’s most unlikely success stories, Heather Lenz’s Kusama: Infinity charts the many ways Yayoi Kusama was marginalized — sometimes by the prejudices of an era, sometimes thanks to her own eccentricities — before becoming, late in life, one of the world’s most popular living artists. Part talent, part hustle, part pathological insistence on her own way of dealing with the world, it’s an optimistic narrative with plenty of colorful guest stars and should have a slightly broader appeal than the usual art-world portrait.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, April 26
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST

Directed by Desiree Akhavan, 2018 [Unrated]

Navigating troubled culture-war waters with grace, humor and compassion, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is a movie that deserves a wide and diverse audience.

– A.O.Scott, The New York Times

Based on the celebrated novel by Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night. Run by the strict and severe Dr. Lydia Marsh (Jennifer Ehle) and her brother, Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.)—himself an example of how those in the program can be “cured”—the center is built upon repenting for “same sex attraction.” In the face of intolerance and denial, Cameron meets a group of fellow sinners including the amputee stoner Jane (Sasha Lane), and her friend, the Lakota Two-Spirit, Adam (Forrest Goodluck). Together, this group of teenagers form an unlikely family as they fight to survive.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, May 3
The Last Race

Directed by Michael Dweck, 2018 [Unrated]

“The Last Race” is a high art film about a blue-collar subject, and that unlooked-for ability to see beauty in the everyday is what makes it both a surprise and a success.

– Kenneth Turran, The L.A. Times

THE LAST RACE is a cinematic portrait of a Long Island stock car race track as its octogenarian owners struggle to maintain an American racing tradition in the face of a real estate development boom. The film merges image, and sound in a unique narrative form to bring the audience into the world of grassroots racing culture and explore a story that subtly grapples with questions of blue collar American identity that have taken on a profound relevance in the current political era.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, May 10 
MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A

Directed by Steve Loveridge, 2018 [Unrated]

Loveridge celebrates the mashup aesthetic that enabled the artist to find a voice, and reveals that reconciling contradictions… is key to both Arulpragasam’s music and the life she’s constructed with audacity and wit.

– Serena Donadoni, L.A. Weekly

Drawn from a never-before-seen cache of personal footage spanning decades, this is an intimate portrait of the Sri Lankan artist and musician who continues to shatter conventions.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

 


Let’s watch movies outside together.

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Sep. 28, 2018

2018 PROXY Fall Film Festival

The 2018 PROXY Fall Film Fest of outdoor cinema kicks off Friday, September 28 at the PROXY Walk-In Theater.  This year’s series highlights a few of the best independent films of the year.

Presented by HERE FOR NOW, the FREE, Friday evening film screenings begin at dusk with ‘doors’ opening at 6:00 pm.

Come early to claim a good spot, enjoy an ice-cold Fort Point Beer (all beer proceeds support outdoor cinema at PROXY!) and tasty offerings from Del Popolo pizza and El Sur empanadas.

Bring a blanket and your friends, because it’s going to be a good night.

Check out our tips for enjoying movies outside at PROXY.

Special thanks to Fort Point Beer Company for their generous support again this year!

2018 PROXY Fall Film Festival
Every Friday | September 28 to November 2, 2018
Proxy, 432 Octavia St, San Francisco
FREE

Friday, September 28
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Directed by Morgan Neville, 2018 [PG-13]

In these troubled times, it’s a good feeling to see a funny, touching and vital doc that is both timely and timeless.  –Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

For over thirty years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer and producer was beamed daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. There hadn’t been anything like Mr. Rogers on television before and there hasn’t been since.

In Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet from Stardom) looks back on the legacy of Fred Rogers, focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation changed around him, Fred Rogers stood firm in his beliefs about the importance of protecting childhood.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, October 5
Blindspotting

Directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada, 2018 [R]

Racism, gentrification, police brutality, start-up culture, corporate branding, social media, the justice system … Blindspotting is eager to take them all on with style and wit, and it succeeds more often than not. – Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers, and when Collin witnesses a police shooting, the two men’s friendship is tested as they grapple with identity and their changed realities in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood they grew up in.

Longtime friends and collaborators, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and star in this timely and wildly entertaining story about friendship and the intersection of race and class set against the backdrop of Oakland. Bursting with energy, style, and humor, and infused with the spirit of rap, hip-hop, and spoken word, Blindspotting, boldly directed by Carlos López Estrada in his feature film debut, is a provocative hometown love letter that glistens with humanity.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, October 12
The King

Directed by Eugene Jarecki, 2018 [R]

There aren’t many documentaries that see Elvis Presley as the bruised soul of America through fun times and bum times.   – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Forty years after the death of Elvis Presley, two-time Sundance Grand Jury winner Eugene Jarecki’s new film takes the King’s 1963 Rolls-Royce on a musical road trip across America. From Memphis to New York, Las Vegas, and beyond, the journey traces the rise and fall of Elvis as a metaphor for the country he left behind. In this groundbreaking film, Jarecki paints a visionary portrait of the state of the American Dream and a penetrating look at how the hell we got here. A diverse cast of Americans, both famous and non, join the journey.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, October 19
Skate Kitchen

Directed by Crystal Moselle, 2018 [R]

Moselle’s movie is an empowering portrait of young women on wheels, but it proves no less surefooted when the wheels come off.  -Justin Chang, The L.A. Times

In the first narrative feature from The Wolfpack director Crystal Moselle, Camille, an introverted teenage skateboarder (newcomer Rachelle Vinberg) from Long Island, meets and befriends an all-girl, New York City-based skateboarding crew called Skate Kitchen. She falls in with the in-crowd, has a falling-out with her mother, and falls for a mysterious skateboarder guy (Jaden Smith), but a relationship with him proves to be trickier to navigate than a kickflip.

Writer/director Crystal Moselle immersed herself in the lives of the skater girls and worked closely with them, resulting in the film’s authenticity, which combines poetic, atmospheric filmmaking and hypnotic skating sequences. SKATE KITCHEN precisely captures the experience of women in male-dominated spaces and tells a story of a girl who learns the importance of camaraderie and self-discovery.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, October 26
Dark Light: Sundance Short Films from the Midnight Program

Presented by Sundance, [R or NR]

The art of the midnight/cult film has been around as long as movies and has flourished at the Sundance Film Festival. Join us after dark to see weird visions and underworlds from Sundance‘s recent years of delving into the mysterious. Less about shock and more about strange characters, unseen worlds and tripping out. You may learn bad habits, or maybe it’ll just be funny, you weirdo.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK

Friday, November 2
Sorry To Bother You

Directed by Boots Riley, 2018 [R]

If you’re not bothered — also tickled, irked, mystified and provoked — by Sorry to Bother You, then you’ve fallen asleep on the job.

-A.O. Scott, The New York Times

In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success, which propels him into a macabre universe of “powercalling” that leads to material glory. But the upswing in Cassius’ career raises serious red flags with his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson), a performance artist and minimum-wage striver who’s secretly part of a Banksy-style activist collective. As his friends and co-workers organize in protest of corporate oppression, Cassius falls under the spell of his company’s cocaine-snorting CEO Steve Lift (Armie Hammer), who offers him a salary beyond his wildest dreams.

RSVP ON EVENTBRITE / FACEBOOK


Let’s watch movies outside together.

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Jun. 19, 2018

Another SFJAZZ Festival Block Party in the books!

It’s not often you’ll stumble upon a block party on a Tuesday in San Francisco, especially a JAZZ block party. But when these things do occur, it’s going to be a good time.

The 4th Annual SFJAZZ Block Party at PROXY was another successful year filled with dancing, smiles, and of course, JAZZ!

The free event started with live music by Beso Negro, followed by a funky, yet jazzy set by Howard Wiley & Extra Nappy. As the sun went down, we finished the night with short, classic jazz shorts and cartoons projected on the PROXY big screen.

We want to thank everyone who came out and enjoyed this special event, especially Fig & Thistle for serving beer and wine, Del Popolo Pizza for making so many wood-fired pizzas that they ran out, El Sur for supplying the night of fresh empanadas and churros, and to SFJAZZ for throwing one of the best block parties in Hayes Valley.

Check out the SFJAZZ calendar for anything and everything jazz.

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May. 5, 2018

2018 PROXY Spring Series Success!

The 2018 PROXY Spring Series is over and it was an absolute success!

Through feature films (I, Tonya, Lady Bird and The Florida Project) and unexpected gems (Brimstone & Glory and The Road Movie), this year’s series explored the nature of place and identity. With humor, precision, and love, these stories illuminated how we shape the places that shape us.

Thank you to all 2,500 moviegoers for coming out, sharing an experience with us, and helping create the special place that is PROXY.

We’ll be doing it again later this year for our Fall Film Festival. Stay tuned for details!


COMING UP AT PROXY

Tuesday June 5 – 36th Annual SF JAZZ Festival Block Party


SPECIAL THANKS

A HUGE special thank you to Fort Point Beer Company for their generous support for the 2018 PROXY Spring series. All beer proceeds made at the Spring Series went directly to outdoor programming at PROXY!

We also would like to thank the local food trucks for serving the Spring Series:

-Del Popolo

-The Chairman

-Little Green Cyclo


WAYS TO SUPPORT PROXY

Here’s how you can help bring more outdoor movies to PROXY:

–  Support film programming at PROXY by using AmazonSmile

–  Donate directly to HERE FOR NOW

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Mar. 16, 2018

2018 PROXY Spring Series

“The lure of the local is the pull of place that operates on all of us, exposing our politics and our spiritual legacies.  It is the geographical component of the psychological need to belong somewhere, one antidote to a prevailing alienation”

—Lucy Lippard from The Lure of the Local

The 2018 PROXY Spring Series of outdoor cinema kicks off Friday, March 30 at the PROXY Walk-In Theater.  This year’s series explores the nature of place and identity: how we shape the places that shape us. With humor, precision, and love, these stories of people and place paint a portrait of our shared condition.

Presented by HERE FOR NOW, the FREE, Friday evening film screenings begin at 7:45 pm with ‘doors’ opening at 7:00 pm.  Come early to claim a good spot, enjoy a frosty Fort Point Beer (all beer proceeds support outdoor cinema at PROXY!) and delicious fare from popular food trucks.

Check out our tips for enjoying movies outside at PROXY.

Special thanks to Fort Point Beer Company for their generous support!

2018 PROXY Spring Series
Every Friday | March 30 to May 4, 2018
Proxy, 432 Octavia St, San Francisco
FREE

Friday, March 30
I, Tonya

Directed by Craig Gillespie, 2017 [R]

The Tonya Harding film you never knew you wanted.
-Jake Coyle, Associated Press

Based on the unbelievable, but true events, I, TONYA is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater, Tonya Harding, and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. Though Harding was the first American woman to complete a triple axel in competition, her legacy was forever defined by her association with an infamous, ill-conceived, and even more poorly executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan. Featuring an iconic turn by Margot Robbie as the fiery Harding, mustachioed Sebastian Stan as her impetuous ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, and a tour-de-force performance from Allison Janney as her acid-tongued mother, LaVona Golden, Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya is an absurd, irreverent, and piercing portrayal of Harding’s life and career in all of its unchecked––and checkered––glory.

RSVP at Eventbrite

POSTPONED DUE TO RAIN DELAY
Quest

Directed by Jonathan Olshefski, 2017 [NR]

An intimate and patient portrait of a North Philadelphia family […] I’ve rarely seen a movie about citizenship as quietly eloquent as “Quest.”—New York Times

Filmed with vérité intimacy for nearly a decade, QUEST is the moving portrait of the Rainey family living in North Philadelphia. Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, Christopher “Quest” Rainey, and his wife, Christine’a “Ma Quest” raise a family while nurturing a community of hip-hop artists in their home music studio. It’s a safe space where all are welcome, but this creative sanctuary can’t always shield them from the strife that grips their neighborhood. Epic in scope, Quest is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a testament to love, healing and hope.

RSVP at Eventbrite

Friday, April 13
The Florida Project

Directed by Sean Baker, 2017 [R]

One of the most effective, honest portraits of childhood you’ll ever see, and a touching, poignant snapshot of American life in 2017.—Detroit News

The Florida Project tells the story of a precocious six-year-old and her ragtag group of friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure while the adults around them struggle with hard times. Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (the outstanding Brooklynn Prince) and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) over the course of a single summer. The two live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion. Warm, winning, and gloriously alive, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a deeply moving and unforgettably poignant look at childhood. 

RSVP at Eventbrite

Friday, April 20
The Road Movie

Directed by Dmitrii Kalashnikov, 2018 [NR]

A “That’s Entertainment!” of vehicular horrors…a landscape of cruel fate and calamity from which it’s impossible to avert your gaze — though sometimes you may wish you had.
-Dennis Harvey, Variety

A mosaic of asphalt adventures, landscape photography, and some of the craziest stuff you’ve ever seen. Dmitrii Kalashnikov’s THE ROAD MOVIE is a stunning compilation of video footage shot exclusively via the deluge of dashboard cameras that populate Russian roads. The epitome of a you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it documentary captures a wide range of spectacles through the windshield-including a comet crashing down to Earth, an epic forest fire, and no shortage of angry motorists taking road rage to wholly new and unexpected levels-all accompanied by bemused commentary from unseen and often stoic drivers and passengers.

RSVP on Eventbrite

Friday, April 27
Lady Bird

Directed by Greta Gerwig, 2017 [R]

A perfect coming-of-age comedy for anyone who’s ever had teenage wanderlust, fought with their parents, fostered a love-hate tension with their hometown or popped Communion wafers in secret.
—Brian Truitt, USA Today

In Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig reveals herself to be a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut, excavating both the humor and pathos in the turbulent bond between a mother and her teenage daughter. Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated and strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working tirelessly to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job. Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.

RSVP at Eventbrite

Friday, May 4
Brimstone and Glory

Directed by Viktor Jakovleski, 2017 [NR]

Brimstone and Glory is community as catharsis and you can’t stop staring in stupefied astonishment.”
-Tim Grierson, Paste Magazine

The National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico is a site of festivity unlike any other in the world. In celebration of San Juan de Dios, patron saint of firework makers, conflagrant revelry engulfs the town for ten days. Artisans show off their technical virtuosity, up-and-comers create their own rowdy, lo-fi combustibles, and dozens of teams build larger-than-life paper-mâché bulls to parade into the town square, adorned with fireworks that blow up in all directions. More than three-quarters of Tultepec’s residents work in pyrotechnics, making the festival more than revelry for revelry’s sake. It is a celebration that anchors a way of life built around a generations-old, homegrown business of making fireworks by hand. For the people of Tultepec, the National Pyrotechnic Festival is an explosive celebration, unrestrained delight and real peril. Plunging headlong into the fire, Brimestone and Glory honors the spirit of Tultepec’s community and celebrates celebration itself.

RSVP at Eventbrite

Let’s watch movies outside together.

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Mar. 2, 2018

The PROXY Projector is Rolling

Just two months into 2018 and it’s already been an exciting year at PROXY. In February, we got the projector rolling for two pop-up events (in one week!), both for a good cause.

Up first was the Marine Layer x Protect Our Winters Charitee party benefiting POW’s fight against climate change on behalf of the outdoor sports community worldwide. A portion of the Charitee (t-shirts for charity) sales went to POW. 

The event featured screenings of Life of GlideThe Last Hill, and the feature of the night, MERU, a documentary following three mountain climbers’ quest to conquer the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru in the Himalayas. Del Popolo and Fig & Thistle served up pizza and drinks. It was a beautiful, cold night to eat, drink, and marvel at these outdoor conquests on the big screen.

Later that week, Fort Point Beer Company joined us for special San Francisco Beer Week screening of Blade Runner 2049 accompanied by Fort Point’s limited edition blended saison, Resonance.

All proceeds from the beer sales went to our nonprofit partner, HERE FOR NOW, which works to bring people together around ideas and issues, activating public space,  transcending barriers, and opening minds. HERE FOR NOW helps us keep the cultural programming at PROXY free for all to enjoy. 

Want to watch movies outside with us? Our 2018 Spring Series will kick off at the end of March! Stay tuned for more details.

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Dec. 6, 2017

MMClay Ceramics Airstream now at PROXY

If you have been around the neighborhood lately then there’s a good chance you have seen Charlie the Airstream parked on the corner of Linden and Octavia (right next to Biergarten and across from Smitten Ice Cream).  The magic happening in that Airstream is MMClay Ceramics, handmade ceramic pieces and tableware by Mary Mar Keenan.

We’re excited to have MMClay at PROXY and we hope you stop their shop and get something special just in time for the holidays!

Current retail hours are Wednesday thru Sunday from 11am – 6pm.

 

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Nov. 28, 2017

Making Magic Outside Together #GivingTuesday

2017 was another big year for PROXY + HERE FOR NOW. We presented 11 free outdoor film screenings and performances, reaching an audience of more than 4,000. Together we’re creating a place of community and culture in the heart of our city. Let’s keep the good vibes flowing. Support more free movies, music, dance and culture in 2018 by making a tax-deductible contribution.

Give Today

SPECIAL THANKS

The 2017 Spring Series and Fall Film Festival were made possible by our non-profit affiliate, HERE FOR NOW, and the support of:

BIERGARTEN
Fort Point Beer Company
Fig & Thistle
Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities and how you can support free cultural programming at PROXY visit us at HEREFORNOWsf.org.

See you next season!

PROXY + HERE FOR NOW

 

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Sep. 16, 2017

Announcing the Fall Film Festival Line-up!

It’s here! The 2017 Fall Film Festival presented by PROXY and HERE FOR NOW returns to the PROXY Walk-in Theater on Friday, September 22. Join friends, family, neighbors and fellow film lovers–outsidefor five FREE Friday night screenings of the best new independent film.

Movies begin at 7:30 PM. Come early to claim a good spot and be sure to check out these tips for enjoying the PROXY experience!

 

Friday, September 22
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
Directed by Raoul Peck, 2016 [PG-13]

“An astonishing, often challenging and sharp examination of race in the United States”
—Globe & Mail

In 1979, James Baldwin wrote to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House, a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only thirty pages of his manuscript. In this incendiary new documentary, filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished: a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, the civil rights movement, and #BlackLivesMatter.

Friday, September 29
THE BIG SICK
Directed by Michael Showalter, 2017 [R]

“The year’s most likably unlikely romcom.”
—The Guardian

Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon—the screenplay’s co-authors—The Big Sick tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (played by Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) after one of his standup sets. What they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, complicating the life Kumail’s traditional Muslim parents have planned for him. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, Kumail must navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano), while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.

 

 

Friday, October 6
LANDLINE
Directed by Gillian Robespierre, 2017 [R]

“Wise, witty and wonderful.”  —Flavorwire

When two sisters suspect their father (John Turturro) may be having an affair, it sends them into a tailspin that reveals cracks in the family façade. For the first time, older sister Dana (Jenny Slate), recently engaged and struggling with her own fidelity, finds herself bonding with her wild teenage sister Ali (Abby Quinn). The two try to uncover the truth without tipping off their mother (Edie Falco) and discover the messy reality of love and sex in the process. Set in 1990s Manhattan, Landline is a warm, insightful and comedic drama about a family united by secrets and lies.

 

Friday, October 13
A GHOST STORY
Directed by David Lowery, 2017 [R]

“Like nothing you’ve ever seen.”
—Vanity Fair

With A Ghost Story, director David Lowery returns with a singular exploration of legacy, loss, and the essential human longing for meaning and connection. Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost (Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife (Rooney Mara), only to find that in his spectral state he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s ineffable questions and the enormity of existence. An unforgettable meditation on love and grief, A Ghost Story emerges ecstatic and surreal—a wholly-unique experience that lingers long after the credits roll.

 

Friday, October 20
PATTI CAKE$
Directed by Geremy Jasper, 2017 [R]

“The Sundance and Cannes sensation”
—Deadline

In a coming-of-age story straight out of Jersey, an unlikely rapper finds her voice as a one-of-a-kind hip-hop legend in the making in PATTI CAKE$, the first feature film from acclaimed commercial and music-video director Geremy Jasper. Set in gritty strip-mall suburbia, PATTI CAKE$ chronicles an underdog’s quest for fame and glory with humor, raw energy and some unforgettable beats.

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Sep. 16, 2017

Tips for Enjoying Movies Outside at PROXY

Here are some frequently asked questions about our free film screenings at PROXY. Feel free to email us at info[at]proxysf.net with more!

> What is a walk-in theater and where is it located?
The PROXY Walk-in Theater is an open-air venue with a cinema-quality screen and projector—like a drive-in movie theater without the cars. It’s located in the heart of San Francisco, at 432 Octavia Street at the corner of Hayes Street.

> Do I need tickets?
Screenings are FREE and open to all, and because it’s outdoors, people are welcome to drop in throughout the evening. Tickets aren’t needed, but we encourage you to register on Eventbrite or Facebook to stay up-to-date on any program changes that may occur.

> Are there seats in the walk-in theater?
Most people enjoy movies at PROXY “picnic style” on blankets, sleeping bags, or low camp chairs—claiming a spot on a first come, first served basis.

> Are the films suitable for families?
Our mission is to introduce the best of new film to as wide an audience as possible. However, some themes and content may not be for everyone. We’ve provided ratings when available, but please review each film to make an appropriate personal judgment for you and your family.

>  Can I bring my pet?
We ask that your pet remains on leash and is quiet during the entire programming.

> Is food available during the screenings?
There will be a food truck and Fort Point Beer for sale onsite, with beer proceeds supporting ongoing programming at PROXY. Attendees can also pack a picnic from home or enjoy takeout from Hayes Valley’s many great restaurants. However, laws prohibit any outside alcohol at PROXY.

> What if it rains?
Rain happens. If it’s in the forecast, we’ll decide one day before whether to reschedule a screening. We will alert those who have registered by email. Otherwise, watch for updates on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our website.

> Won’t it be cold?
Evenings in San Francisco typically are cool to cold. We recommend bringing warm layers, blankets or sleeping bags, and a few friends to stay cozy.

> Is there parking close by?
Hayes Valley is well served by San Francisco’s transit systems and bicycle network. We encouraging using alternative transportation to attend all events at PROXY, but limited parking is available in nearby garages:

—Civic Center Garage: 355 McAllister Street (between Polk + Larkin)
—Performing Arts Garage: 360 Grove Street (between Gough + Franklin)
—CityPark Opera Plaza: 601 Van Ness Avenue (between Turk + Golden Gate)

> This is amazing, how can I help?
If you enjoy watching movies outside at PROXY, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to our affiliated nonprofit HERE FOR NOW.

 

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Sep. 8, 2017

2017 Fall Film Festival at PROXY

Get ready! The FALL FILM FESTIVAL returns to PROXY on September 22. Last year’s festival brought together thousands of movie lovers from around the city and around the world. Here’s a preview of what’s in store for this third annual gathering:

  • Five FREE evening programs featuring provocative independent films, fresh from this year’s festivals
  • Opening night screening of I Am Not Your Negro
  • An outdoor cinema experience unlike any other, bringing the community together in the heart of Hayes Valley.

 

SUPPORT THE FALL FILM FESTIVAL
Presented by HERE FOR NOW, the Fall Film Festival brings the art-house theater outdoors where it is open and accessible to all. Help sustain a place for ideas-driven, inclusive cinema in the public realm by making your tax-deductible contribution today.

 

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Spring Series 2017: Culture, Conscience and Community

The 2017 Spring Series at PROXY presented by HERE FOR NOW captured the mood of the moment. From challenging documentaries and fake news to a moving portrait of an unconventional family and an optimistic embrace of science and mobile filmmaking, this series sought to bring together people through a common love of film to find strength and comfort in our community. Following are highlights from the six nights of free screenings presented outside in the PROXY Walk-in Theater.

Special thanks to our collaborators and sponsors whose creative energy and support made the series possible: HERE FOR NOW (our nonprofit partner), Exploratorium, SFFILM, Indie Lens Pop-up, Disposable Film Festival, Biergarten, and Fort Point Beer.

An evening of FOOD+FILM presented by Disposable Film Festival and HERE FOR NOW.

 

NATIONAL BIRD (2016), director Sonia Kennebeck’s “deeply disturbing look at drone warfare,” presented by Indie Lens Pop-up and HERE FOR NOW.

 

Pre-screening discussion special guests National Bird producer Ines Hofmann Kanna, film protagonists, and CorpWatch Executive Director Pratap Chatterjee.

 

WHOSE STREETS? (2017) “gives voice to the people of Ferguson.” Presented by SFFILM and HERE FOR NOW.

 

WHOSE STREETS? director Sabaah Folayan and co-director Damon Davis.

 

OPERATION AVALANCHE (2016), director Matt Johnson’s “sly act of movie love for and by Kubrick fans,” presented by HERE FOR NOW.

 

2017 SPRING SERIES poster designed by envelope A+D.

 

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Apr. 27, 2017

Join the Discussion: National Bird Pre-screening Panel

This Friday’s selection, National Bird, gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors. Presented as part of Indie Lens Pop-up, a nationwide neighborhood series bringing people together for film screenings and community-driven conversations, PROXY’s outdoor screening provides a provocative setting this important and urgent topic.

Ines Hofmann Kanna – producer of National Bird
Lisa – film protagonist
Asma – film protagonist
Pratap Chatterjee – Executive Director, CorpWatch

The discussion begins at 7:45pm with the screening following at 8:20—outside, in the community, at the PROXY Walk-in Theater.

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Mar. 15, 2017

The PROXY Spring Series Returns!

Spring has sprung; time to get out, get together and be heard!

Our Spring Series of free outdoor film screenings returns to the PROXY Walk-in Theater starting March 31. Truth, post-truth, politics and social upheaval—this year’s series explores the present moment through humor, pointed observation, and stark reflection. Empowering and enlightening, these stories bring us together to take on the challenges ahead.

Presented by HERE FOR NOW, the six-night series includes new independent film and one-of-a-kind collaborations with pioneering arts institutions. The FREE, Friday evening film programs begin at 7:45 pm with “doors” opening at 7:00 pm. Come early to claim a good spot, and be sure to review our tips for enjoying movies outside at PROXY.

 

Friday, March 31
Disposable Film Festival + HERE FOR NOW

FILM + FOOD

The Disposable Film Festival celebrates the democratization of media and the power of storytelling made possible by everyday digital devices. This year the DFF joins with HERE FOR NOW to present the fifth installment of its FOOD + FILM event series: sumptuous films about food paired with delectable treats from local food trucks. FOOD + FILM shares the cultural and creative aspects of food through artistic shorts, communicating a shared love for tantalizing and sensorial expression between the two mediums.

 

NEW DATE: Saturday, April 15
HERE FOR NOW

20TH CENTURY WOMEN

Written and directed by Mike Mills, 2016
“Annette Bening gives a subtle tour de force”—Sunday Times (UK)

Mike Mills’s latest comedy creates a moving portrait of family life in a moment of upending cultural change. Set in 1979 Santa Barbara, Dorothea (Annette Bening) is a single mother in her 50s raising her teenage son Jaimie (Lucas Jade Zumann) in a sprawling home with boarders and a cast of regulars. To help Jamie navigate the rapidly changing world, she enlists the help of punk artist (Greta Gerwig) and Jamie’s troubled best friend Julie (Elle Fanning). As this poignant and funny story unfolds, everyone ends up a little wiser. View trailer.

 

Friday, April 14
San Francisco International Film Festival + HERE FOR NOW

WHOSE STREETS?

Sabaah Faloyan, director, and Damon Davis co-director, 2017
“Searing film gives voice to the people of Ferguson”
—The Guardian

When police in Ferguson, Missouri, kill unarmed teenager Michael Brown and leave him lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis County. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring together residents and supporters from around the country to hold vigil and protest, even as the national guard descends. Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising and a powerful battle cry from a generation fighting, not for their civil rights, but for the right to live.

 

Friday, April 21
HERE FOR NOW

OPERATION AVALANCHE

Directed by Matt Johnson, 2016
“A sly act of movie love for and by Kubrick fans”—Vulture

In 1967, during the height of the Cold War, two young CIA agents (Matt Johnson and Owen Williams) go undercover at NASA to investigate a possible Russian mole. In disguise as documentary filmmakers, they tap phones and break into offices while purporting to learn more about the Apollo project. But when they end up uncovering a shocking NSA secret—and a major government cover-up—they decide to embark on a new mission that may put their own lives at risk. View trailer.

 

Friday, April 28
Indie Lens Pop-Up + HERE FOR NOW

National Bird

Directed by Sonia Kennebeck, 2016
“A deeply disturbing look at drone warfare”—Washington Post

From executive producers Wim Wenders and Errol Morris, this documentary follows the harrowing journey of three U.S. military veteran whistleblowers determined to break the silence surrounding America’s secret drone war. Tortured by guilt for their participation in the killing of faceless terror suspects, and despite the threat of being prosecuted, these three veterans offer an unprecedented look inside this secret program to reveal the haunting cost of America’s global drone strikes. Director Sonia Kennebeck gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors; the films images haunt the audience and bring a faraway issue close to home. View trailer.

 

Friday, May 5
The Exploratorium + HERE FOR NOW

(RE)ACTIONS

Explore forces that propel one action to the next! From bodies in motion to catalyzing reactions, Exploratorium Cinema Arts selects an energizing program of shorts from their film collection to motivate creativity and scientific inquiry through active viewership. With a hosted screening of 16mm and video work, this will be a night filled with inspiring images and interactive experiences. Featuring a combination of experimental film, colorful animation, and incisive documentary, the program offers visual impact and radical motivation.

 

About HERE FOR NOW

HERE FOR NOW creates centers of cultural vibrancy through temporary art and design interventions. An arts institution without walls, HERE FOR NOW provides equitable access to enrichment that spans public and private spheres. Through collaborations with artists and arts organizations, we work to educate and inspire, leaving a lasting legacy of optimism, promise, and a renewed sense of community.

HERE FOR NOW is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
DONATE TODAY!

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Nov. 29, 2016

Here’s to More Movies—Outside—in 2017! #GiveTuesday

Thank you for another magical year of movies,
music, dance, and community at PROXY.

Let’s enjoy more together outside in 2017!

Free cultural programming at PROXY is made possible by HERE FOR NOW, our nonprofit affiliate, and the generous support of our donors. Please make your tax deductible contribution today.

PROXY and HERE FOR NOW are projects of envelope A+D.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

Fort Point Beer Company
BIERGARTEN
Fig & Thistle
Adobe
The Recycled Theater Project
Julia Challinor + Piet Van Pieter
Sandy + Gers Bernhard
Tom Hendrickson + Margaret Trost
Helmut Kapcynski + Colleen Neff
Erica Tanov
Joanne Yi
Anish Jina
David Pilz
Lindsey Schott
Stuart Rickard
Adam Menter
Corey O’Neal
Daniel Cowles
Kristina Coleman
Craig Hamburg
Rachel Hendricks
Liz Keim

 

 

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Oct. 28, 2016

PROXY Fall Film Festival: Closing Week Program!

Tonight’s program of shorts films is cancelled due to rain, but we’re making up for it with a special closing week program featuring two screenings and bonus selections. Stay dry, and see you next week at the Walk-in Theater.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3

The Fits

Directed by Anna Rose Holmer, 2016
“Cinema poetry in motion” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
+ short film selections

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4

Captain Fantastic

Directed by Matt Ross, 2016 [R]
Best Director, Cannes Film Festival
+ short film selections

 

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Oct. 22, 2016

SF Chronicle’s Carl Nolte profiles Biergarten

“One of the great things about San Francisco is that sometimes the changes that have swept over the city produce good things, pleasant little spots that make people appreciate being a San Franciscan.” So begins Carl Nolte’s recent Native Son column on Biergarten, PROXY and the Hayes Valley renaissance–a classic lede from a journalist who has eloquently captured the City’s quirks, quandaries and characters for the San Francisco Chronicle for decades. Enjoy the full column here.

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Oct. 14, 2016

Rain Delay

Mother nature is bringing us some rain: good for the environment, but not so good for watching movies outside.

We are postponing the screening of The Fits to later during the Fall Film Festival.

Stay tuned and stay cozy. We’ll have more details soon.

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Oct. 11, 2016

Support Hayes Valley Artworks

[Update: This event has been postponed to Saturday, October 22, due to the forecast of rain.]

Come out on October 23 from 3:00-6:00 pm  to support the arts in Hayes Valley. That’s when Hayes Valley Art Works (HVAW) and the Hayes Valley Neighborhood (HVNA) are hosting a fundraiser to sustain HVAW’s large-scale art installations and community programs through spring 2017.

The centerpiece of this public event is an auction of original artworks created on discarded tablecloths by noted artists including Jeremy Fish and Stanley Mouse. The “tablecloth canvases” were donated by the San Francisco Hotel-Nonprofit Collaborative, which redirects hundreds of tablecloths destined for landfill to new creative uses.

Proceeds from this art show and sale will benefit San Francisco Bay Area artists as well as ongoing arts programming for the Hayes Valley Art Works space at Fell and Laguna Streets.

HVAW and HVNA Canvas Fundraiser
Saturday, October 22, 2016
3:00–6:00 pm

Featured artists:
Johnna Arnold
Michelle Echenique
Daniel Farnan
Jeremy Fish
Paulette Humanbeing
Stanley Mouse
Kate Rhoades
Emma Spertus
Emily Wick

Event Activities:
> Live auction of tablecloth canvases
> Glass blowing demos and a Glass Pumpkin Patch by Public Glass
> Tours “Present Ground” with curator Samantha Reynolds
> Light refreshments and more!

 

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Oct. 7, 2016

PROXY Fall Film Festival 2016

The PROXY Fall Film Festival returns on October 7, with five FREE Friday night movies that will move, inspire and delight. It all happens outdoors at the PROXY Walk-in Theater.

Come early for our pre-screening happy hour with Biergarten and Vive la Tarte starting at 5:30 PM. Movies begin at 7:30 PM.

Check out our updated FAQ for tips for enjoying movies outdoors together. Feel free to contact us with any other questions at info@proxysf.net.

Friday, October 7
Morris From America
Directed by Chad Hartigan, 2016 [R]
Sundance 2016 Awards for Screenwriting and Acting

Morris is 13, chubby, and loves the Notorious B.I.G. His single dad (Craig Robinson) just uprooted him from Brooklyn to move to Heidelberg, Germany. As an African-American teenager who likes to spit rhymes and freestyle, he’s a fish-out-of-water, adrift in a very white, very foreign new home. When he meets a beautiful and rebellious girl named Katrin, he instantly falls in love and she challenges him to come out of his shell. As Morris rides a roller-coaster of emotions, the film captures a heartwarming and disarmingly honest look at adolescence, acceptance, and father-son relationships — and the film achieves the rare feat of being both poignant and hilariously entertaining.

Featuring a breakout appearance by Markees Christmas, and an incredibly touching and nuanced performance by Craig Robinson, who has been receiving tremendous praise for his first dramatic role. View trailer.

Friday, October 14
The Fits
Directed by Anna Rose Holmer, 2016
“Cinema poetry in motion” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Toni is a young tomboy in a black Cincinnati neighborhood who trains as a boxer with her brother at a local community center. She becomes fascinated with an elite after-school dance team that also practices there. Enamored with their strength and confidence, Toni joins the dance group — eagerly learning routines, mastering drills, and even piercing her ears to fit in. When a mysterious outbreak of fainting and swooning spells, they call “the fits”, are embraced by the team as a peculiar rite of passage, Toni must decide how far she will go to fit in. View trailer.

Friday, October 21
Tickled
Directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve, 2016
“Terrifically entertaining” — Manohla Dargis, New York Times

After stumbling upon a mysterious tickling competition video online, journalist David Farrier reaches out to request an interview for a light, puff piece for New Zealand TV. But the response he receives is not what he expected — he is answered with virulent insults about his sexual orientation and threats of extreme legal action should he dig any deeper. Shocked but intrigued, David ignores these threats and starts investigating — a journey that takes him around the world, and leads him to uncover a bizarre and vast empire of harassment and abuse. The further he goes, the stranger, darker, and outlandishly-entertaining this detective story becomes. “Tickled” is a wild and fascinating ride through a secret wormhole into a hidden world of wealth, power, and anonymity. View trailer.

Friday, October 28
Short-Lived! — A Halloween-ish selection of films about life & death

To celebrate everyone’s favorite phantasmagorical weekend, come experience a night of short films that will haunt your mind, possess your imagination, and spook your soul. The program will feature some of the best, strangest, and most ingenious shorts from recent film festivals and beyond!

Friday, November 4  CLOSING NIGHT
Captain Fantastic
Directed by Matt Ross, 2016 [R]
Best Director, Cannes Film Festival 2016 

Deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, isolated from society, a devoted father (Viggo Mortensen) dedicates his life to transforming his six young children into extraordinary adults. But when a tragedy strikes the family, they are forced to leave this self-created paradise and begin a journey into the outside world that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent and brings into question everything he’s taught them.

Viggo Mortensen shines in a fearless and emotionally raw performance, and writer/director Matt Ross (who plays Gavin Belson in “Silicon Valley” and who lives in Berkeley) delivers a heartfelt lesson about humanity in this fiercely-original and visually-stunning film. View trailer.

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Sep. 29, 2016

Fall Film Festival: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions for enjoying the PROXY Fall Film Festival. Feel free to email us at info[at]proxysf.net with more!

> What is a walk-in theater?
The PROXY Walk-in Theater is an open-air venue with a cinema-quality screen and projector. It’s like a drive-in theater only without the cars.

> Where is PROXY?
PROXY is located in the heart of San Francisco, at the corner of Hayes Street and Octavia Boulevard.

> Do I need tickets?
Screenings are free and open to all. And because its outdoors, people are welcome to drop in throughout the evening. Tickets aren’t needed, but we encourage you to register so we can alert you about any program changes that may occur.

> Are there seats in the walk-in theater?
Most people enjoy movies at PROXY “picnic style” on blankets, our green turf (available for rent), or low camp chairs—claiming a spot on a first come, first served basis. There also is limited chair seating and a small reserved turf area for donors.

> Are the films suitable for families?
Our mission is to introduce the best of new film to as wide an audience as possible. However, some themes and content may not be for everyone. We’ve provided ratings when available, but please review each film to make an appropriate personal judgement for you and your family.

> Will food be available during the screenings?
We will have food and beer for sale on site starting at 5:30PM—with beer proceeds supporting ongoing programming at PROXY. Festival goers also can pack a picnic from home or enjoy take out from the Hayes Valley’s many great restaurants. Please note, laws prohibit outside alcohol at PROXY.

> What if it rains?
Rain happens. If it’s in the forecast, we’ll decide one day before whether to reschedule a screening. Those who have registered will receive an email alert about the change. Otherwise, watch for updates on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and our website,

> Won’t it be cold?
Fall evenings in San Francisco are cool to cold. We recommend bringing warm layers and a few friends to stay cozy.

>Is there parking close by?
Hayes Valley is well served by San Francisco’s transit systems and bicycle network. We encouraging using alternative transportation to attend all events at PROXY, but limited parking is available in nearby garages.

—Civic Center Garage: 355 McAllister Street (between Polk + Larkin)
—Performing Arts Garage: 360 Grove Street (between Gough + Franklin)
—CityPark Opera Plaza: 601 Van Ness Avenue (between Turk + Golden Gate)

> This is amazing, how can I help?
If you enjoy watching movies outside at PROXY, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to our affiliated nonprofit HERE FOR NOW.

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Sep. 8, 2016

Making Spaces Documentary Released!

Filmmakers Jason Whalen and Rebecca Morehiser have just released a trailer for Making Spaces, an independent documentary exploring the local roots of tactical urbanism. The film features many familiar faces from the incredible community of designers, planners and activists working in San Francisco and reminds us of what we have collectively contributed to this movement. Take a look, tell your friends, and visit makingspacedoc.com for details on screening dates.

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May. 13, 2016

A Year of Movies Outside

With the launch of the Walk-in Theater in June 2015, PROXY has fully realized our long-standing goal: establishing a a new kind of cultural institution that fosters equitable access to enrichment by dissolving barriers between art, experience and community. We want to thank all of you who joined us!

Nearly 2,000 film lovers, neighbors and visitors turned out for our Fall Film Festival highlighting the best of new independent film. Our just completed Spring Seriesfound incredible success thanks to new partnerships with The Exploratorium, KQED, McSweeney’s, Sundance, and the San Francisco International Film Festival—all celebrated institutions that welcomed the opportunity to experiment with an outdoor format.

To mark our first year of presenting film and live performances at PROXY, we will join again with SFJAZZ in hosting a Neighborhood Block Party. The festivities take place on Tuesday, June 7, from 5:00-10:00pm, so save the date and stay tuned for more details.

PROXY and the Spring Series are projects of envelope A+D, supported by HERE FOR NOW, our non-profit affiliate. Heartfelt thanks to all of our creative partners as well as our sponsors who have made the Spring Series possible: Adobe, Biergarten, Miette, and Ritual.

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May. 13, 2016

A Conversation with Sunset Magazine

The PROXY Walk In Theater was recently written up in the April issue of Sunset Magazine. Check out the article below!

Show starter

Thanks to mare than $100,000 in donations, a walk-in theater space now towers over Hayes and Octavia Streets—the intersection Proxy founder Douglas Burnham is helping transform into a cultural crossroads. This season, the architect behind Hayes Valley’s most innovative public space launches its first Proxy Spring Series, at the Proxy Walk-In Theater, with six weeks of films and cultural performances that are free and open to the public. Here, Burnham tells us what to expect. proxysf.net. -JS

Why open an alfresco theater?

It began with the Proxy project, where we turned vacant lots into a public space where culture, commerce, and community converge. The new Proxy Walk-In Theater is the next evolution-an outdoor theater that is free and open to the public. With it, we want to change people’s perception of public space, mainly that you can use minimal means to create a lovely cultural place without walls.

Tell us about the spring series.

It’s part film festival, part cultural collaboration. We’re working with some of the city’s biggest culture organizations like the Exploratorium, the San Francisco Opera, and SFJAZZ to curate seven evenings of film and live performances. It goes beyond using the space to show movies: It’s designing an event with them that is the result of a long dialogue. We might start out with the question, “What is it like to perform opera out in the city instead of, say, in a concert hall? How formal would that be?” I don’t know, but let’s see.

What kind of films can we expect?

We’re showing a selection of new films that are circulating on the festival circuit, like Sundance or South by Southwest. No blockbusters. Events will continue through June and include films from the Exploratorium’s archive that illuminate the sensory experience of the city. We’ll also be helping SFJAZZ kick off its summer jazz fest with two or three live bands followed by a related film. We want to grow from 7 films to 10 for the Fall Film Festival.

Describe the theater experience.

There’s just something magical about watching a movie outside, at night, with 450 strangers. The screen is 20 feet by 49 feet, so screen size and quality-wise, it’s like being at a traditional movie theater. The main difference is that the city is alive all around  you, which is part of the ambience. You’d think that could be a problem, but it actually adds to the experience. And the audio and visual qualities are state of the art, so don’t expect it to be the some as, say, watching Spaceballs in Dolores Park.

Are there concessions?

Yes, but it’s sort of picnic-style. Our neighbor, Biergarten, pours beers and we have one or two food trucks on hand each night, including Casey’s Pizza, J-Shack, and Lei-Feng Ramen Truck. Miette will also offer a selection of sweets. People bring their own chairs and blankets or you can buy them on-site. Plus, we rent patches of plush synthetic grass to sit on.

How does your background as an architect influence this?

As architects, we try to focus on designing immersive spaces that are connected to the culture of the people who use them. This is doing exactly that, but with live events that hopefully surprise and delight.

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Announcing the PROXY Spring Series!

With spring in the air, it’s time to head back outdoors with the PROXY Spring Series. Much more than movies alone, the series promises seven nights of cinematic treats, live performances, and visual surprises, presented in collaboration with pioneering arts organizations from SF and beyond.

PROXY is a new kind of cultural institution. Operating at the street-level where our free programming is open and accessible to all, PROXY is a platform for culture and community, connecting the arts with broader audiences.

All programming begins 7:45, but come early to claim a spot. And don’t forget to review our guidelines for enjoying movies outside together.

Saturday, March 26, 

PROXY FILM_Opening Night

Heart of a Dog

Directed by Laurie Anderson, 2015

Bring your dog night! 

Dog Adoptions from 5-7pm

“Hello, little bonehead. I’ll love you forever.” So begins musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson’s dream-like cinematic meditation on love, memory, and her bond with her beloved dog — a rat terrier named Lolabelle. Weaving together 8mm home movies, animation, photographs, and music, Anderson invites us on a hypnotic journey through her life and her mind. Both playfully funny and deeply inquisitive, the film is an unforgettable examination of the ways we make sense of our lives.

5 pm – 7 pm: Come early to meet some adorable, adoptable dogs from the San Francisco Animal Care and Control shelter.

Bring your dog with you to the movie, there will be dog treats for sale from Paw Patch Pastries

Saturday, April 2

PROXY + EXPLORATORIUM

Sense and Place

Short films presented by Exploratorium Cinema Arts

6:15 pm Pre-Show Exhibit 

Exploratorium Cinema Arts presents an interactive array of films designed to inspire wonder, play, and discovery. Drawn from the Exploratorium’s film collection, the selections include a mind-opening mix of short animations, experimental films, and sensual documentary work. This full night of visual delights features 16mm and video work rarely screened outside the museum.

Friday, April 8 POSTPONED DUE TO RAIN!

PROXY + KQED

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Directed by Stanley Nelson, 2015

7:15pm Pre-Show Conversation

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson revisits the turbulent 1960s, when a new revolutionary culture emerged with the Black Panther Party as the vanguard. A conversation with local figures sets the stage for this timely look at a pivotal movement and all its reviled, adored, misunderstood, and mythologized history.

Friday, April 15

PROXY + MCSWEENEY’S

An evening with The Organist

Featuring a live performance by Christopher Owens (from GIRLS)

Join us for an evening under the stars with The Organist, an award-winning arts and culture podcast produced by McSweeney’s and the Believer magazine along with KCRW. Featuring a musically illustrated interview with Christopher Owens (GIRLS), followed by a live set of music, along with live storytelling and performances from some of the best writers and producers on the planet.

Thursday, April 21

PROXY + KQED

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Directed by Stanley Nelson, 2015

7:15pm Pre-Show Conversation

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson revisits the turbulent 1960s, when a new revolutionary culture emerged with the Black Panther Party as the vanguard. A conversation with local figures sets the stage for this timely look at a pivotal movement and all its reviled, adored, misunderstood, and mythologized history.

Friday, April 22

PROXY + SUNDANCE

Award-winning and selected short films from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival 

A rare chance to see some of this year’s best short films, fresh from their debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Featuring staff picks and award-winners, the evening will showcase emerging talent and unique visions. Sundance’s very own Senior Programmer for Short Films, Mike Plante, will be in town to present the films and share his insights.

Friday, April 29

PROXY + SF INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Film to be announced with SFIFF Program on March 29th

Experience the SF International Film Festival outdoors with a free screening of one of this year’s official selections.

Tuesday, June 7 (5:00 pm to 10:00 pm)

PROXY + SFJAZZ

Second Annual PROXY-SFJAZZ Neighborhood Block Party

34th San Francisco Jazz Festival Kick-off

In a reprisal of last-year’s event, PROXY and SFJAZZ host a neighborhood block party to kick-off the 34th San Francisco Jazz Festival. This free community soiree features live music from Brass Band Mission and Beso Negro, accompanied by movies on the big screen, a beer garden, and food trucks.

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PROXY SPRING SERIES FAQs

Guidelines for Enjoying the PROXY Spring Series

 

Admission

Screenings are FREE and OPEN to all and are located at the PROXY WALK-IN THEATER at the corner of Hayes and Octavia. People are welcome to drop in throughout the evening and unless otherwise noted programming will begin at 7:45pm.

Content Suitability

Our mission is to introduce the best of new film and local talent to as wide an audience as possible. Some themes and content, however, may not be for everyone. We’ve provided ratings when available, but please review each film to make an appropriate personal judgement for you and your family.

Seating

Space at the PROXY Walk-in Movie Theater is first come, first served. We recommend arriving early to claim a good spot on the lot and get settled in. Bring blankets, low chairs, and anything else you need to sit comfortably on the ground, taking reasonable care not to block the view of those around you. (No barcaloungers, please!) Plots of synthetic turf will also be available to rent for the night!

Food and Drink

We will have food for sale on site, but festival goers also can enjoy take out from the Hayes Valley’s many great restaurants or pack a picnic from home. Please note: No personal alcohol is permitted at the PROXY site, but we will have beer for sale at each screening with proceeds supporting ongoing film programming and other events at PROXY.

Weather

If rain is in the forecast, check our web site for any weather-related schedule changes. Otherwise come prepared with warm layers to stay comfortable.

Parking

Hayes Valley is well served by San Francisco’s transit systems and bicycle network. We encouraging using alternative transportation to attend the PROXY Fall Film Festival, but limited parking is available in nearby garages.

 

CIVIC CENTER GARAGE

355 McAllister Street

(between Polk + Larkin)

 

PERFORMING ARTS GARAGE

360 Grove Street

(between Gough + Franklin)

 

CITYPARK OPERA PLAZA

601 Van Ness Avenue

(between Turk + Golden Gate)

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Nov. 20, 2015

It’s a Wrap!

The inaugural PROXY Fall Film Festival ended with the biggest night of the series. More than 450 film lovers turned out for last Friday’s screening of The Wolfpack, capping five weeks of free screenings at the PROXY Walk-in Theater. We’ll be back in January with a new season of screenings and multimedia programs, so stay tuned for details. Bringing culture and community together outside: Thats’s PROXY.

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Outdoor Film with FFF Collaborator + Filmmaker Malcolm Pullinger

This Friday is the final evening of the PROXY Fall Festival. Our curatorial collaborator Malcolm Pullinger shares his thoughts on outdoor movies, contemporary culture and the themes of this year’s selections.

 

Why do we love watching movies outdoors?

I’ve heard people claim it’s the modern equivalent of our ancestors gathering around a fire to tell stories, that it’s rooted in some kind of instinctive tribal behavior. I like the sound of that, but I don’t know if it’s true. Personally, I think there’s a sense of wonder and thrill in immersing yourself in the story of a film, while still being surrounded by the world of our every day life. There’s something fun in bringing those two parts of life together in one experience.

Why was the outdoor movie experience ready for reinvention?

There’s been a tectonic shift in the way we discover and watch movies. Going out to the movie theater used to be something we all did fairly regularly. Now, it’s more common for us to curl up with our laptop. This shift means that when we do go to the movies today, the experience is key. It should be special and exciting, a night out that stays with you. Here in San Francisco, outdoor movies have always created that kind of a memorable experience — but we noticed that they were usually designed to be massive events, held in a park, showing a Hollywood classic or a new blockbuster. We thought it would be interesting if we created events designed to showcase smaller, independent films, and create more of a neighborhood feel. It’s a way to bring back some of the intimacy and curiosity of strolling down the street to see what’s playing at your local movie theater. To excite people with a movie they might not otherwise see.

What were your goals in curating the festival?

We wanted to highlight new indie films with bold visions and impressive filmmaking chops — the incredible attention to detail and nuance in “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”, the storytelling uniqueness of “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”, the low-budget ingenuity in “Turbo Kid”, the strange and fascinating true story in “The Wolfpack”. All of these films are also highly entertaining and engaging, and we knew they’d work well in an outdoor setting. There’s also an homage-to-cinema theme running through all of them. For “Secret Shorts”, we wanted to shine a spotlight on edgier and boundary-pushing visions — new ideas, new techniques, new risks that filmmakers around the world are exploring in their shorter work.

The selected films have sparked some strong opinions. That’s a good thing, right?

 

I think filmmaking is at its best when it pulls us out of ourselves, and shakes us up a bit. That could mean they surprise us and show us something we’ve never quite seen before. Sometimes it means they challenge a certain expectation we have about what a movie should be. I think when we experience something different it’s an opportunity to look at our own desires and emotions and values, and I think films are a great way to get a new vantage point for a moment. Plus, there’s nothing better than a good post-movie discussion with friends over a beer.

 

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Nov. 6, 2015

FFF SECRET SHORTS (revealed)

Listed in order of appearance:
The Love Competition
(2012)
directed by Brent Hoff
+
Emotional Arcade: live presentation
{The And} – Marcela & Rock
http://www.theand.us
Forever Over
(2014)
written and directed by Erik Schmitt
Palm Rot
(2015)
created and directed by Ryan Gillis
Tumult
(2012)
written and directed by Johnny Barrington
BÄR
(2014)
written and directed by Pascal Floerks
Slomo
(2013)
directed by Joshua Izenberg
Oh Willy
(2012)
written and directed by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels
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PROXY FFF FAQ

Guidelines for Enjoying the PROXY Fall Film Festival

 

Admission

Screenings are free and open to all located at the corner of Hayes and Octavia. People are welcome to drop in throughout the evening.

Content Suitability

Our mission is to introduce the best of new film to as wide an audience as possible. Some themes and content, however, may not be for everyone. We’ve provided ratings when available, but please review each film to make an appropriate personal judgement for you and your family.

Seating

Space at the PROXY Walk-in Movie Theater is first come, first served. We recommend arriving early to claim a good spot on the lot and get settled in. Bring blankets, low chairs, and anything else you need to sit comfortably on the ground, taking reasonable care not to block the view of those around you. (No barcaloungers, please!) Limited seating also will be available.

Food and Drink

We will have food for sale on site, but festival goers also can enjoy take out from the Hayes Valley’s many great restaurants or pack a picnic from home. Please note: No personal alcohol is permitted at the PROXY site, but we will have beer for sale at each screening with proceeds supporting ongoing film programming and other events at PROXY.

Weather

If rain is in the forecast (remember rain?), check our web site for any weather-related schedule changes. Otherwise come prepared with warm layers to stay comfortable.

Parking

Hayes Valley is well served by San Francisco’s transit systems and bicycle network. We encouraging using alternative transportation to attend the PROXY Fall Film Festival, but limited parking is available in nearby garages.

 

CIVIC CENTER GARAGE

355 McAllister Street

(between Polk + Larkin)

 

PERFORMING ARTS GARAGE

360 Grove Street

(between Gough + Franklin)

 

CITYPARK OPERA PLAZA

601 Van Ness Avenue

(between Turk + Golden Gate)

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Oct. 16, 2015

PROXY FALL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED!

October 16-November 13, 2015

PROXY is pleased to announce the inaugural PROXY Fall Film Festival, a five-week series of free Friday night screenings opening October 16 at the PROXY Walk-in Movie Theater.
The festival will feature recently released, best-of-show selections from festivals like SXSW and Sundance, focusing on independent and emerging voices in film—a line up more likely to be found in art houses than outdoors, for all to discover. Filmmaker Malcolm Pullinger helped to curate the selections, which center around the importance of filmmaking in the creation of culture and shared experience.
The festival represents the next chapter for PROXY and reasserts PROXY’s foundational interest in creating a vibrant center of culture and compelling content. With the festival, envelope a+d is remaking the outdoor movie experience into one that is contemporary, familiar, and delightful. At the walk-in movie theater, families, couples, groups of friends, and solo adventurers will have access to a unique urban experience of watching movies outside together and being part of PROXY’s growing community.
All screenings begin at 7PM at the PROXY Walk-in Movie Theater. Be sure to check out our guidelines for enjoying the festival and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for weather updates, special guests, film ratings and other information.

Friday, October 16

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rajon, 2015 [PG13]

Winner of the U.S Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. 

Greg is an awkward high-schooler, trying to coast anonymously through his senior year. He spends most of hsi time making whacky parodies of classic movies with his only friend, Earl. When Greg’s mom insists he spend time with Rachel–a classmate who has just been diagnosed with leukemia—he slowly discovers the rewards and risks of true friendship. Starring: Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, and Molly Shannon.

Friday, October 23

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

Directed by David Zellner, Written by David & Nathan Zellner, 2015

Nominated for the U.S Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) and winner U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Musical Score, 2014 Sundance Festival

Kumiko lives in a cluttered, cramped Tokyo apartment with her pet rabbit Bunzo, and works a tedious job for a nitpicky boss. When she discovers a battered VHS cassette of “Fargo”, she becomes convinced that the movie’s buried suitcase of cash is real, and heads off into the harsh Minnesota winter in hopes of finding the treasure.

Friday, October 30

Turbo Kid

Directed by  Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell, 2015

Winner of 2015 SXSW Midnighters Audience Award; official selection, 2015 Sundance Film Festival

A special Halloween screening, this retro-futuristic nostalgic tribute to 80’s action-adventure films follows The Kid, a young solitary scavenger obsessed with comic books, traversing the post-apocalyptic wasteland on his BMX. After his his new friend, the perpetually upbeat Apple, is kidnapped by the evil overlord Zeus, the Kid dons the persona of his favorite hero to deliver justice and save the girl of his dreams.

Friday, November 6

Secret Shorts: Films, Live Experiences, and More!

New and unseen short films, live experiments, and interactive experiences — a team of top film programmers and installation artists will present a night of visual treats designed to delight and amaze!

Friday, November 13

The Wolfpack

Directed by Crystal Moselle, 2015 [R]

In-person appearance + Q&A with the director
Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize (Documentary), 2015 Sundance Film Festival
Despite growing up on the Lower East Side, the six Angulo brothers know little of New York City or the outside world, having spent most of their lives locked away in their apartment. Nicknamed “The Wolfpack,” most of what they know of the world has been gleaned from the films they watch obsessively and recreate meticulously, using elaborate homemade props and costumes. After one of the brothers escapes the apartment, the others soon want to follow, leading to a chance encounter with first-time film director Crystal Moselle, whose extraordinary portrait captures the thrills of The Wolfpack’s discoveries and illustrates the transformative power of movies.
The launch of the PROXY Fall Film Festival is made possible by HERE FOR NOW and the generous support of:
450 Hayes by DDG / DM Development
PG&E
BIERGARTEN
Adobe
Recycled Theater Project
Gray Area Foundation for the Arts
Fort Point Beer Company
Manual Creative
Robin Wright
Julia Challinor + Piet van Peter
Jeff Smith + Carolyn Duryea
Helmut Kapczynski + Colleen Neff
Joseph Gratz
Max Braun
To learn more about sponsorship opportunities and how you can support the PROXY Fall Film Festival, contact us at info@proxysf.net.

 

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Sep. 28, 2015

Lend Us Your Support

Our lease extension for Lot L, home to the Biergarten, is up for approval this week, and never one to count our chickens, we’re asking for your help. If you love the Biergarten and support it’s continued (temporary) presence in Hayes Valley, please consider lending your support by turning out for the meeting. PROXY is near the top of the agenda.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
10:00 am
City Hall, Legislative Chamber, Room 250
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Sep. 4, 2015

PROXY Shared Studio Portal Open Now

Shared Studios, a multidisciplinary arts, design and technology collective has just opened one of their portals at PROXY. The container adds to a roster of portals of live communication that exist in various unexpected cities around the world. Free 20 minute appointments are available to connect with portals in Honduras, Cuba, Iran and Afghanistan. They will be streaming from PROXY for the next three months and you can book your own appointment at their website here. Step in and say hi to someone you may not otherwise meet.

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Aug. 27, 2015

Reimagining Public Space with PUBLIC Bikes

PUBLIC Bikes doesn’t just make and sell stylish, practical, and enjoyable options for getting around on two wheels. The SF-born-and-based company was built in support of a vision of the world in which some of the public space that has been handed over to the automobile is reclaimed for the people.

On its blog, PUBLIC explores how this reclamation and transformation of urban space is happening around the world, so it only makes sense that they would get around to our little urban activation project happening in its backyard. Douglas Burnham, the founder of envelope A+D, the architecture firm behind PROXY, sat down with PUBLIC Bikes to talk about “how public spaces can be transformed into a dynamic places for interaction.” You can read the full interview here.

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Jul. 23, 2015

Kickstarter is over, but you can still support the #PROXYwalkintheater

We brought together a community of over 200 hundred people and raised over $80,000 during the Kickstarter campaign that ended last week. Thank you to everyone who donated! Your support shows us there is a desire for a free walk-in movie theater at PROXY—unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for us to meet our ambitious goal of $150,000. In the inimitable words of Coach Eric Taylor from Friday Night Lights (don’t fact check this, please): Go big or go home.

We went big and we came up short, but we’re not done yet. Over the past year, we’ve been busy behind the scenes creating a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization called HERE FOR NOW (HFN). HFN is an organization that will take the lessons we’ve learned through managing PROXY and use them to activate other underutilized urban areas.

One of HFN’s first orders of business will be to continue fundraising for the walk-in theater at PROXY. You can make a fully tax-deductible donation on its website.

Thanks again for being a part of the walk-in movie theater project at PROXY. We look forward to watching movies outside together.

 

 

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Jun. 9, 2015

#FinishTheBigScreen: We Need Your Help to Build a Walk-In Movie Theater at PROXY

Wouldn’t it be great to have a place in the center of San Francisco where you could watch free movies outside with your friends? We think so too, and we need your help to make it happen.

#FinishtheBigScreen: Help PROXY Build a Free Walk-In Movie Theater in San Francisco from PROXY SF on Vimeo.

PROXY is a scrappy project that has been willed into reality by a lot of people who believe that we need more compelling places to gather together in the City that are free and welcoming to anyone in the Bay Area. Head to our Kickstarter page to learn more about the project and check out the rewards we’ve rounded up for backers.

PROXY began as a way to transform a parking lot into a hub that brings together culture and commerce to serve its community. Join the campaign and be a part of bringing the next great public amenity to San Francisco.

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Apr. 29, 2015

Coming Soon: PROXY Walk-in Theater Kickstarter!

Those steel beams have been enigmatically looming over PROXY for long enough. We’re busy wrangling and herding and networking in preparation for what will sure to be a wild 30-day ride. On Tuesday, June 9th, we’re launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to finish the the walk-in movie theater at PROXY.

The money raised will go toward purchasing the necessary elements for an eventual PROXY Fall Film Festival. Those elements include a digital projector, a screen that will be able to withstand those strong Hayes Valley gusts of wind, a sound system, and the rights to screen the as-yet-unnamed-but-totally-awesome-films in public.

As a backer, you’ll not only feel good about being a crucial part of providing free, outdoor movies to the community, but you’ll also have the chance to gain access to backer-only special  events with select filmmakers and exclusive experiences with our beloved PROXY vendors (surf lesson + juice, anyone?).

We’re also pleased to announce the creation of a bona fide 501(c)3 nonprofit organization named HERE FOR NOW. HERE FOR NOW is a new kind of arts organization that creates centers of vibrancy through temporary activations focused on art and design. One of its first orders of business will be programming the PROXY Fall Film Festival. This means that you pledges will be 100% tax-deductible.

Even though we’re not launching until June, you can help us out by making sure you’re signed up to receive all of the news and updates about the campaign. Your guide to staying current is below.

Join the event on Facebook

Like HERE FOR NOW

Like PROXY SF; follow us on Twitter and Instagram

Tell your friends! #FinishTheBigScreen #ProxyWalkInTheater #ProxySF #HereForNowSF

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Apr. 21, 2015

VIDEO: The Taste Buds Roll into PROXY

The Taste Buds, Jessica Jean Jardine and Krissy Wall, rolled into PROXY to chat up founder/architect Douglas Burnham. Jessica and Krissy took a spin on the laundromat conveyor belt inside Aether and learned how we got into this business of blending public and private space. Plus, lots of little cameos from other PROXY vendors. Check it out!

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Dec. 15, 2014

Hayes Valley Who’s Who: Russell Pritchard and the Hayes Valley Art Coalition

History has a way of losing the individuals of movements to time; only a handful of pioneers and activists will make their way into the collective memory of an era and place. The transformation of Hayes Valley—from a neglected collection of eyesores bisected by the Central Freeway to a boutique shopping and dining district with national renown—is not immune to the tendency of those looking back to glaze over details in favor of a sweeping narrative.

It’s like discovering a treasure you weren’t looking for, then, to walk into an eclectic storefront on Hayes Street and find yourself discussing vintage home decor with someone who could be said to have literally made Hayes Valley what it is today. All of a sudden, each year following the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 has a shape and a gravity.

“My roots are in Canada. I grew up on a farm and both of my parents were as committed to their community as I am to mine,” starts Russell Pritchard, the owner of Zonal, a vintage and vintage-quality home furnishings store. “It was always emphasized that you work hard for the community you’re a part of.”

Pritchard decided to make the move from New York City to San Francisco in 1990 after a good friend announced that he was moving westward. “My friend told me he was moving to San Francisco, and without thinking I blurted out that I was going too,” Pritchard explains. “I figure once you make a commitment you’d better follow through!”

Pritchard remained bicoastal for a time while he continued his work in advertising and set design, but it wasn’t long before he decided that he wanted a permanent presence in The City. “I came to Hayes Valley to look at an apartment that didn’t end up being suitable. I did see some stores, however: Victorian Interiors, Modernology, and Bugatti, which is where my shop Zonal is now. I ended up renting an apartment above Marlena’s [ed. where Brass Tacks now lives] and started looking over Bugatti for its owner. One day out of the blue I asked him if he would sell his shop to me, and that’s when I started Zonal.”

The 500 block of Hayes Street was where Pritchard met Madeline Behrens-Brigham, his longtime friend and fellow neighborhood booster. Behrens-Brigham owned Modernology when Pritchard rolled into town, and they immediately found common ground in wanting to improve the community where they both found themselves setting down roots. “We were on the wrong side of the tracks, and by that I mean the wrong side of the freeway. There wasn’t much other than junk stores, check cashing places, and our couple of shops. After the earthquake damaged the overpass, we decided to advocate for tearing it down.” After several years of building support and meeting with Cal Trans, the agency governing the Central Freeway,  the overpass was demolished and Hayes Valley was made whole again.

Knocking down the Central Freeway was akin to opening a basement door that had been closed off for years. The neighborhood’s dark and musty corners became flooded with light and fresh perspective. People could finally see the potential of a place that had such close proximity to City Hall, the fine arts district, Alamo Square Park, and the Fillmore District. Hayes Valley rode the dot com boom and weathered the dot com bust, contracting at times but carried through by the small business owners and perennial residents who remained devoted to their parcel of San Francisco’s forty-nine square miles. “We’re very fortunate that when we founded the neighborhood association and the merchants association we had a shared vision for the neighborhood that continues to this day,” shares Pritchard.

So how did Pritchard get involved in the business of art? “I’ve always supported local artists in my store. I’ve hosted openings and represented local artists.” he says. “In 2007, two years after Patricia’s Green had officially opened, an installation by the San Francisco Arts Commission had been removed. We wanted to fill the empty space with another piece, but money from the Arts Commission had dried up. So, Madeline and I being who we are, decided that if they can’t do it, we can. That’s why we founded the Hayes Valley Art Coalition.”

The Hayes Valley Art Coalition doesn’t get as much play as the HVNA and the Merchants’ Association, but their contributions to the culture of Hayes Valley are significant. “The main need we try to address is ensuring that there is always artwork at Patricia’s Green.” The group vets, selects, and fundraises for each sculpture that is installed.

The Art Coalition is also committed to fostering an inclusive art community in Hayes Valley, which led to Behrens-Brigham and Pritchard on their latest series of pop-up galleries exclusively showcasing Hayes Valley artists. The pop-ups, first at 580 Hayes and now in a shipping container at Proxy, aren’t officially supported by the Art Coalition, but that detail overlooks the fact that it’s still Pritchard and Behrens-Brigham at the helm. “We just sort of identify something we want to get done and we’re not afraid of tackling any challenge,” says Pritchard. “Do it in a vacant storefront, like the 580 Hayes gallery? Sure. In a shipping container? Why not?”

And it’s the welcoming nature of the galleries that Pritchard and Behrens-Brigham are most proud of. “I’m so excited that we’ve captured such a large Hayes Valley artist community. We love the new residents—they’re a good shot of new energy.” Pritchard continues, “Take Proxy, for instance. When Douglas [Burnham] presented the concept, we embraced it. It’s exciting. We want to make Hayes Valley the best it can be, and we think the way to do that is through community collaboration.”

You can find the works of over thirty Hayes Valley artists (some of whom you’ll be able to read about later this week right here on this blog) at the pop-up gallery at PROXY. The gallery will be open daily through December 24th from 9am to 7pm.

Photo courtesy of Madeline Behrens-Brigham.

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Nov. 26, 2014

Thanksgiving hours + specials at PROXY SF

This is about the time when we all look at each other, dumbfounded, and wonder aloud: How is it already Thanksgiving? Where did 2014 go?

The year of the Horse has indeed galloped by, but that just means that we have plenty to be thankful for. Check out our vendors’ special hours and holiday plans so that you can have a good excuse to get out of dishwashing duty.

Aether Apparel: Closed on Thanksgiving, regular hours the rest of the weekend.

Basic Training: Special Thanksgiving class at 8:30am with Alex Ho at the Palace of the Fine Arts. Register at basictrainingsf.com.

Biergarten: Closed on Thanksgiving, plus Taco Friday!

Half Hitch Goods: The Rolling Shoppe will be at PROXY  Friday through Sunday.

Hayes Valley Artists’ Pop-Up Gallery: 9am – 7pm daily; may have shortened hours on Thanksgiving.

Juice Shop: Closed on Thanksgiving, regular hours the rest of the weekend.

Ritual Coffee Roasters: Open 8am to 1pm! Fear not;  you shall be properly caffeinated when your family huddles up for the unnecessarily competitive flag football game in the backyard. Regular hours the rest of the weekend. The PROXY location is the only Ritual shop open on Thanksgiving.

Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours: Closed on Thanksgiving, regular hours the rest of the weekend.

 

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Nov. 19, 2014

Hayes Valley Artists’ pro bono gallerist: Madeline Behrens-Brigham

“Everyone is concerned I’m going to burn out,” laughs Madeline Behrens-Brigham after explaining how the Hayes Valley Artists’ pop-up gallery at 580 Hayes was conceived and implemented all in the span of three days. “And here we have four-and-a-half weeks [at PROXY] when we’ll be open seven days a week. But to have a space to show and sell art in Hayes Valley is a wonderful opportunity.”

Starting on November 26, the Hayes Valley Artists will be hosting their second pop-up gallery, this time in an auxiliary container adjacent to Biergarten at the corner of Linden and Octavia at PROXY. The holiday gallery will be open seven days a week until December 24th. Though Behrens-Brigham would insist it’s a collaborative effort, it’s hard not to identify her gumption and dedication as crucial to carving out a place for art and artists in the dynamic landscape of Hayes Valley.

Behrens-Brigham has been an energetic fixture of the Hayes Valley art community and community at large for over a quarter of a century. Twenty four years ago, she opened a store called Modernology on the 500 block of Hayes Street,  when she met Russell Pritchard, the owner of the shop Zonal. “We were the ‘bad’ block on the bad side of the freeway,” Behrens-Brigham says, referring to the elevated Central Freeway that once ran through Hayes Valley. Rent was cheap, but the shop owners needed a way to convince people to take a chance on their stretch of the street.

They turned to art. Both Behrens-Brigham—an artist herself—and Pritchard showed works from artists in their storefronts and began connecting local artists to form a tight-knit community. They started a  block party that will be celebrating its twenty-third incarnation in December. Eventually she and Pritchard were instrumental in building the neighborhood support to have the freeway taken down after it was damaged in 1989’s Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Though Behrens-Brigham closed her shop to become a design consultant and pursue her own artistic ambitions, she and Pritchard remained close. When funding dried up from the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2007, the pair decided to co-found the Hayes Valley Art Coalition in order to raise money for public art in the newly dedicated Patricia’s Green park. Since then, the organization has been the primary source of funding for all of the sculptures that have been installed in the park.

Behrens-Brigham has been widening her involvement with the artistic community beyond the Hayes Valley Art Coalition. She’s co-chairing the Arts, Culture, and Entertainment (ACE) committee in the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association. “ACE is attracting more of the young people moving in,” she notes. “It’s important to welcome all of the new people. They want to participate and play as much as the people who’ve been here a long time. Yes, there are a lot of changes, but we have to welcome them with open arms.”

The recent 580 Hayes pop-up gallery and the forthcoming holiday pop-up gallery at PROXY aren’t explicitly sponsored by any of Behrens-Brigham’s other art organization affiliations; they’re side projects that promote the kind of artistic sharing and unity that have come to characterize Hayes Valley over the past 25 years.

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Oct. 29, 2014

What do you want to do before you die?

It’s a simple question, and one you’ve certainly considered in quiet moments as you’ve shuttled under the bay on BART or looked out over the Pacific at the top of Mt. Tam. But the question’s simplicity belies the intimacy of sharing those desires in a public place, even anonymously.

The New Orleans-based artist Candy Chang came up with the idea, a wall where people share what is important to them, after losing someone close to her. She wanted to remind herself and others of what really matters, especially when the mundanity of the workday grind makes it difficult to maintain that perspective. The wall was immediately successful, and since then Chang has created a set of tools and resources for anyone to bring a “Before I Die” wall to their community. The wall has been recreated in over 30 languages and 60 countries since 2011.

San Francisco’s installment of the wall was brought to PROXY by Hayes Valley neighbor The Bold Italic.  Chang is the keynote speaker for their upcoming conference The Sum, which they “sum up” (groan) as an event that “will empower guests to see themselves, their work, their free time, and their city from fresh angles, giving them the tools and the inspiration to collectively boost their creative output”.

PROXY has long been a fan of Chang’s work; it aims to shift a person’s relationship to a place by encouraging them to participate in the community, if only briefly. In this way, the wall supports PROXY’s guiding principles of leveraging the notion of the temporary to pull people into the present moment and inserting moments of serendipity and delight throughout the city for all to experience.

Stop by the corner of Linden and Octavia before November 8th to join in the hundreds of others who have shared their dreams, wishes and hopes for what’s on the horizon.

All photos by Sierra Hartman for The Bold Italic. 

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Oct. 9, 2014

a YouTube playlist for your #HayesValley #tbt curiosity

There’s a YouTube channel called New Hayes Valley that has been posting videos of a Hayes Valley past. We love this panoramic shot of the surface-level parking lot that used to be where PROXY sits now. Such inviting barbed wire fence…Their Twitter feed is also packed with “remember when” reminiscing that highlights just how rapidly Hayes Valley has blown up.

Then there are the videos of people answering the question, “What do you think of the new Hayes Valley?”.  Authorship and intention behind the videos are unknown, though it seems likely that they’re being created by a person or people who knew the old Hayes Valley, and are using these mini-interviews as a way of investigating how newcomers to their beloved neighborhood understand Hayes Valley now.

As you might expect, the opinions expressed in the videos fall everywhere on the spectrum from “I only know the new Hayes Valley and I love it!” to “I miss the old Hayes Valley and want things to be the way they used to be!”.

It’s worth a couple minutes of your time to watch a few interviews (they’re bite-sized segments) if only to hear community members give their two cents on the hotly debated transformation of Hayes Valley and San Francisco at large, rather than another sensationalist trend piece that makes the Google Bus argument.

We’re quite obviously a part of the new Hayes Valley, but we respect the history of this place and the people and businesses who paved the way for the moment Hayes Valley is experiencing now. We created the concept for PROXY knowing that it would end in order to make way for affordable housing. We want to positively influence the community in the time that we have (until 2021 for those keeping score at home). There was a time before us, and there will be a time after us. Let’s make the most of it.

Interested in seeing how you can get involved with PROXY? Hit us up.

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Aug. 27, 2014

PROXY_ART: Transient Havens Rundown

Almost as good as having seen it in the flesh are these photos of the art exhibition Transient Havens that touched down at PROXY earlier in August. Artist Christian Valla documented his fellow SFAI artists’ works, including pieces by show organizer and teacher Valentin Ruhry, Noah Brill, Carl Martin, and Nancy Winkelmann.

Are you interested in showing your artwork at PROXY? Tell us more!

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Aug. 25, 2014

The Bold Italic’s Microhood 2014 is in the books

The second annual Hayes Valley Microhood has passed us by, and officially marks the beginning of the march toward autumn. We were happy to welcome back our friends and organizers of the event, The Bold Italic, as well as the organizations who joined us for our first Community Organizations and Non-Profits Fair, which included:

Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association

Pacific Institute/AgeSong

SF LGBT Community Center

Friends of the Urban Forest

Hayes Valley Bakeworks

Below are a few photos we snagged while enjoy the festivities, but you can find more pics in round-ups by Hoodline and The Bold Italic.

Pictured above: Aether Apparel hosted electric skateboard company Boosted Boards.

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Jul. 2, 2014

NOW OPEN: The Juice Box is live

After surviving her harrowing trip across the Bay Bridge and getting the full interior treatment while on site, the Juice Shop Juice Box swung open her doors and started slinging juice to the thirsty folks of Hayes Valley on Saturday. We were sad to see the ever-charming #Narney roll out of PROXY for the last time, but that just means somewhere else in the Bay Area is about to reap the benefits of their refreshing juices.

The hours are same (7am – 7p daily) and the juices are just as nourishing. Stop by soon.

 

 

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Jun. 13, 2014

PHOTOS: Basic Training Launch Party

After months of anticipation following a successful Indiegogo campaign, the Basic Training community fitness hub launched at PROXY on June 7th. Hundreds of people turned out to show their support for hacking the city in ways that support wellness.

Take a look at photos below of the free inaugural classes, live music and lotsa sunshine.

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May. 20, 2014

Photoshop IRL

Lot K’s history as a parking lot has had a lasting legacy, especially in the minds of people desperate for parking during peak hours in Hayes Valley. When envelope A+D got the keys to the site in 2010, the lot transitioned from a public pay lot to supporting car share companies Zipcar and local favorite City Car Share. Though more in line with our urbanist ideals, even a car sharing lot made a large portion of PROXY unwelcoming and unsafe to pedestrians and cyclists and not nearly unwelcoming enough for unwanted renegade parked cars.

We made plans to transition out of the parking game altogether, but the white lines indicating the parking spaces of the past often proved too tempting for those in search of a quick place to park while they ran an errand or two. Finally, collaborating with Basic Training to build their free community fitness hub became the impetus to stop talking about the car problem and do something about it. envelope A+D worked with Basic Training and Matt Hulme of Biergarten, a graphic designer, to create a ground graphic that would not only erase the physical markings of the former parking lot, but also support fitness and play, like agility drills and what will certainly be a number of innovative iterations of the playground classic tag. The final version of the pixelated graphic is below.

The black as black asphalt was poured over PROXY yesterday, and it looks almost too black to be real. Though the midnight good looks will be a temporary condition in our windy and dusty corner of The City, it was quite a sight to behold, especially with the imposing steel beams rising out of the ground along Hayes Street.

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May. 19, 2014

Coming up steel beams

Remember those really big holes that we drilled into the ground a few weeks ago? Their 32-feet-tall matches made in heaven were dropped into place on Friday.

In the near future, aside from being a hot Hayes Valley conversation piece, the poles will be the steady base for Basic Training‘s monkey bar wall. Potential meanwhile uses will obviously traffic in the photo trickery arena, because a frame looming that large in the sky is hard not to play with on while Instagramming your way to work.

But you’re a smart person. You can probably intuit that even for load-bearing monkey bars, this structure is a bit overkill for that intended use. You would be right, amateur sleuth, but mum’s the word until a few logistical items are ironed out on our end. Check back for more info (hint: especially as we near July).

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Apr. 29, 2014

To PROXY or Bust

Yesterday, envelope A+D’s stint as a fabrication yard ended as the Juice Box for Juice Shop was packaged, forklifted and trucked to its new home at PROXY. Though the trip across the Bay Bridge was potentially harrowing, the job went off without a hitch—perhaps because the build crew was so balanced and zen? This video of eAD freelancerTommy mindfully wrapping the box in plastic wrap is perfect for your next desk-side meditation session (bonus points for willing yourself to ignore the vertical video format).

UPDATE: now with more videos, including the crowning moment of the Juice Box rolling down Octavia Street with PROXY in its sights.

Plenty of crowd-sourced photos of the moving spectacle from the eAD staff are below as well.

meditative wrapping from PROXY SF on Vimeo.

meditative wrapping pt. 2 from PROXY SF on Vimeo.

Juice Box rolls into PROXY from PROXY SF on Vimeo.

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Apr. 21, 2014

If it’s not neon, it shouldn’t be on

 

The earth corers have left and all that remain are three unassuming plywood barriers warning passersby of the holes that lie beneath. Below are a few snap shots of what PROXY looked like on this overcast day in Hayes Valley, featuring Basic Training‘s fitness poles, the new bathroom container, and the new aluminum sign overseeing Hayes and Octavia.

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Apr. 17, 2014

PROXY x AETHER x BASIC TRAINING

Now that dirt is flying at PROXY, let’s quicken the drumbeat leading up to Basic Training‘s grand opening. Earlier this week PROXY’s retail anchor Aether Apparel released its latest in a series called AETHERfocus, which highlights people, products and places of interest to Aether’s clientele. They profiled Jenn Pattee, the founder of Basic Training. It’s enough to make  you wish it were raining so that you could put on some Aether gear and test its limits.

AETHERfocus: Basic Training from Aether Apparel on Vimeo.

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Apr. 17, 2014

Poking around

Leading up the latest round of construction in preparation for Basic Training’s fitness hub, the guys involved with the project referred to a “post hole digger” that would be making its way to PROXY. Ahem, gentlemen: that’s probably a bit of an undersell.

UPDATE: And here’s the earth corer in action.

Drilling at PROXY SF from PROXY SF on Vimeo.

 

Drilling at PROXY SF_2 from PROXY SF on Vimeo.

Drilling will continue today and concrete footings are planned to be poured tomorrow to anchor the monkey bar/TRX wall, artfully rendered by envelope a+d below.

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Apr. 15, 2014

An aluminum memo re: what’s next

If the name PROXY has done its job, even if you haven’t read the mission statements and project goals, you might intuit that it wasn’t designed to be a neighborhood mainstay for decades to come. With a hard stop in December of 2020, the project timeline feels like working in architecture dog years. It will be sooner than we expect that vendors will be lifting their containers to greener pastures, leaving room for affordable housing in PROXY’s wake.

When architectural elements, usually thought to be permanent fixtures, are changing at a faster clip, it’s especially important to keep the neighborhood informed. Both PROXY and the City of San Francisco want to give local residents and visitors to PROXY a fairer shake than explaining away the abrupt disappearance of a local favorite with “Time was up! Didn’t you read our website?”.

Cue the aluminum sign that we commissioned, pictured above. It’s being installed at PROXY this week as a visual reminder that PROXY is on borrowed time, and we think that’s the best way to serve this corner in Hayes Valley.

 

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Apr. 9, 2014

It’s no Kool-Aid pitcher, but this Juice Box has reclaimed wood

For the past few months, two spots in envelope a+d‘s parking lot have been converted to an ad hoc fabrication yard to build Juice Shop‘s Juice Box, set to open at PROXY sometime this spring. 

envelope a+d is committed to closing the design loop by fabricating a lot of their designs in-house—they have a full-time furniture designer and fabricator on staff. By keeping things in the firm, envelope’s designers are able to see a project through from its inception to its completion. The vertical integration of the design/build process allows envelope’s designers and architects to more fully understand how their concepts perform in the real world, giving them more control over the final quality of the product and allowing for them to participate in a more iterative design process.

The Juice Box is also remarkable because it will be the first temporary, deployable structure at PROXY that isn’t a modified shipping container. The 10’x8′ cube is clad with exterior reclaimed redwood siding and a steel door, also clad in redwood, opens up to reveal interior hickory facing and custom cabinets. The box sits on top of a metal pallet that will make it possible for the whole kit and kaboodle to traverse the Bay Bridge by truck on its way to PROXY (and beyond).

Take a look at photos of the construction below.

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Apr. 1, 2014

PROXY “Exposed”

For those of you who stopped keeping up with Scandinavian crime thrillers once the final American film installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series was made, you’ll be glad to know that Americans are still keen on adapting novels from the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Best-selling Swedish author Liza Marklund‘s series, featuring crime journalist Annika Bengtzon, has been optioned for a pilot called “Exposed”, set to air on ABC. According to Deadline, “Exposed” “centers on an investigative journalist who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth, including making questionable alliances.”

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, starring in the role of (the Americanized) Anna, got a lot of coffee at Ritual while filming in between downpours of rain. Winstead was reportedly a hot commodity going into the pilot season and turned down a number of roles before she was cast in “Exposed”. Other projects you may remember her from run the gamut from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to the indie flick Smashed.

With “Exposed” following hot on the heels of HBO’s successful new series “Looking”, we’re looking forward to more projects looking to the hills and fog of San Francisco when it’s time to choose a location.

Is your project looking for a place to shoot? Contact Lindsey Schott for information on filming at PROXY.

 

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Mar. 31, 2014

Free wifi at PROXY that’s surprisingly good

In a town brimming with freelancers and tech folks working from home, a pleasant place for meeting and collaborating is a valuable commodity to have in your neighborhood. Thanks to the free wifi provided by the City of San Francisco’s Office of Technology, PROXY is that place for Hayes Valley. Always free, always on, and always a stone’s throw away from all of our vendors for a well-deserved diversion from work. Plus, sunshine; can’t get that in most coffee shops.

network: proxywifi ||| password: proxysf

 

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Mar. 24, 2014

Photos of PROXY: Ritual Coffee Roasters

Ritual Coffee Roasters is a popular meeting place at PROXY, and for good reason; they’ve got excellent coffee and a set of patio chairs for sipping and discussing whatever the matters at hand may be. Owner Eileen Hassi grew her business to be one of the premier third wave coffee players in the country a few short years after starting out as a barista in the Pacific Northwest. Plus, there are complimentary dog biscuits alongside the people offerings, which is a boon for the many dog lovers who find themselves strolling around Hayes Valley.

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Mar. 24, 2014

Photos of PROXY: Biergarten

If people don’t immediately know what or where PROXY is, you can usually count on things clicking into place once you mention Biergarten: “Oh yeah, the beer garden in Hayes Valley!”

Biergarten is owned and managed by Aaron and Matt Hulme, the same brothers who own and operate long-time neighborhood favorite Suppenkuche, located a block west on Laguna and Hayes. Biergarten is one of the original PROXY vendors who first established the project as a place to gather and spend time soaking up the #beerlight.

Though Suppenkuche was originally going to cater Biergarten using cargo bikes, the German bar bites are made in a container fitted with all the trappings of a kitchen. The lines often extend beyond the chevron wooden gate at the entrance, but it moves relatively quickly and any dampened spirits are lifted once a beer and pretzel are in hand.

 

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Mar. 24, 2014

Aether Apparel’s “Making of” video

Aether Apparel commissioned the talented Ryan Pettey of Satellites Receive to document the making of their first stand-alone store at PROXY in early 2013.

Check out more photos of the construction process as well as the finished building over here.

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Mar. 24, 2014

Photos of PROXY: Aether Apparel

Aether Apparel specializes in design-conscious technical outerwear that not only looks good waiting in line at Biergarten but performs when you’re backpacking in the Sierras. When they became the retail anchor at PROXY, we knew we needed to capture Aether’s urban adventurer ethos for their first stand-alone store.

We stacked and staggered three 40’ shipping containers to craft a striking urban edge rising straight out of the asphalt. The second level glass-encased cantilevered storefront juts out over the sidewalk on Hayes and lends a little bit of danger to the lounge area. To accommodate more storage in the tall and narrow space, we installed a custom vertical dry-cleaning conveyor belt system that also functions as front of house display.

So how did shipping containers become Aether Apparel’s sophisticated showroom? The photos below pull back the curtain on how it all came together.

 

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Feb. 18, 2014

proto_PROXY: Superstudio

PROXY, an experiment in flexible urbanism, inspired by the provocative visions of speculative architecture studios of the 1960s and ‘70s, seeks to answer a set of questions: How responsive to change can we expect a city to be? Are there strategies for re-imagining the urban condition that can be derived from the provocative visions of the architects who have come before us? How should we conceptualize and inhabit the space between the permanent, durable city and the (non-architectural) network of our connected devices?” 

proto_PROXY takes a look at envelope a+d’s influences and how they shape PROXY’s manifestation at the corner of Hayes and Octavia in San Francisco.

Often mentioned in the same breath as UK architecture group Archigram, Italian Superstudio similarly imagined a future where nomadist technology challenged the top-down planning favored by architecture schools and governments.

Superstudio published a series of articles in the magazine Casabella that projected a wired, interconnected construct where life, commerce and education happen in an open landscape condition. People are linked to the grid through the Supersurface: a ubiquitous interface that unites humankind across the surface of the Earth. By allowing people to directly connect to the grid anywhere it exists regardless of landscape (hello, Internet prophesy), the Supersurface eliminates the need for formal urban structures.

And, fear not if you were concerned this would be a sterile, ascetic existence: this is a future with a strong hedonistic edge: good wine, good food and communality that is enhanced by a more direct inhabitation of the world’s surface.

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Feb. 18, 2014

proto_PROXY: Marshall McLuhan

PROXY, an experiment in flexible urbanism, inspired by the provocative visions of speculative architecture studios of the 1960s and ‘70s, seeks to answer a set of questions: How responsive to change can we expect a city to be? Are there strategies for re-imagining the urban condition that can be derived from the provocative visions of the architects who have come before us? How should we conceptualize and inhabit the space between the permanent, durable city and the (non-architectural) network of our connected devices?

proto_PROXY takes a look at envelope a+d’s influences and how they shape PROXY’s manifestation at the corner of Hayes and Octavia in San Francisco.

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian philosopher and pioneer in the study of media theory. You may know his catchy expressions like “the medium is the message” and “global village”. McLuhan is well-regarded for not only turning pretty phases, but for theorizing about how media impact social interactions.

McLuhan wrote about the changes brought about by Gutenberg’s printing press in his 1962 book “The Gutenberg Galaxy”. Through the advent of movable type, visual culture was privileged over the oral/aural culture that had been dominant throughout history. According to McLuhan, this contributed to the proliferation of trends in the Western world like individualism, democracy, protestantism, capitalism and nationalism.

But, as we in the 21st century could probably intuit, the ways in which we communicate have shifted again in the age of the Internet and mobile devices that keep us on the grid at all times of day or night. Turns out, McLuhan beat us to the punch; also in “Gutenberg Galaxy”:

“The next medium, whatever it is — it may be the extension of consciousness — will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual’s encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.”

McLuhan actually lost favor among media theorists for a few decades near the end of the 20th century, but for reasons that are obvious, his work has been given more credence since the dawn of the Internet Age.

The connectedness afforded us by the Internet and our iPhones has revved up the pace of life. Yet, the city as a physical social construct seems frozen; a durable entity that is slow to adapt or respond to the advent of our networked culture and our mediated lives. PROXY aims to mitigate the discrepancy between our digital lives and our physical lives. What if we looked at the built environment as merely frames for content to flow through? Information technology borrows the word architect to describe the design of complex systems and networks; what if the transfer of ideas became a two-way street and we adopted “responsive design” as the way to build for today?

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Feb. 18, 2014

proto_PROXY: Archigram

PROXY, an experiment in flexible urbanism inspired by the provocative visions of speculative architecture studios of the 1960s and ‘70s, seeks to answer a set of questions: How responsive to change can we expect a city to be? Are there strategies for re-imagining the urban condition that can be derived from the provocative visions of the architects who have come before us? How should we conceptualize and inhabit the space between the permanent, durable city and the (non-architectural) network of our connected devices?

proto_PROXY takes a look at envelope a+d’s influences and how they shape PROXY’s ongoing evolution at the corner of Hayes and Octavia in San Francisco.

Archigram, a London-based avant garde architectural group active in the 1960s and ‘70s, trafficked in grand ideas for how we might create a more interconnected culture. Their hypothetical project Instant City re-imagined nomadism; airships, trucks and trailers travel the countryside, bringing with them all the traditional and non-traditional trappings of a city. PROXY activates two formerly vacant lots; imagine activating acres and acres of land in rural anywhere? Entertainment, information or health services not readily available could be provided during an Instant City’s tenure. Learn more about Archigram here and here.

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Feb. 18, 2014

Origin Story, Part 4: HERE FOR NOW: Call to Action

As part of AIA SF’s 2011 Architecture and the City festival titled Architecture of Consequence

envelope a+d [link to About section that mentions envelope on proxysf.net] published the zine ON SITE IN THE CITY. Made in part to supplement the exhibition, the zine supported the firm’s dialogue with Dutch Firm ZUS about how progressive design and creative problem solving can address many of our most pressing urban issues, from decreased social cohesion and unsustainable food systems to diminishing free time. 

This excerpt originally appeared in ON SITE IN THE CITY as part of “PROXY: An Experiment in Flexible Urbanism” by Douglas Burnham. 

While we foresaw the ways in which PROXY would transform the neighborhood and the city, we did not anticipate the transformative effect it would have on us. Our engagement with PROXY has altered how we understand the role of the architect as an actor in the creation of the city, and, due to this new understanding, it has fundamentally changed the structure and content of our studio. It is our sense, perhaps through direct experience, that the architect’s role in our current culture has been narrowing into one who is merely a service provider, or a stylist or packager of programs. Consequently, too much work is executed unthinkingly, not enough questions are asked, and not enough meaningful territory is staked out. Our engagement with PROXY has expanded our notions of what is possible, of what we should be undertaking, as architects, as thinkers, as active creators of the emerging urban condition.

Indeed, this project required that we assume multiple roles not only as architects, but as urban planners, developers, fabricators, fundraisers, philanthropists, cultural curators, good neighbors, and responsible citizens. Acting in these varied roles forced us to reconsider our responsibilities and relationship to the city. We learned that the larger network of conditions— the urban, the cultural, the neighborhood, the experiential, the economic—requires us to operate beyond a bottom-line mode of thinking and to consider the creation of places of quality within the city as a calling of a higher order. The ethic of a flexible urbanism extends beyond the deployment of vendors in mobile containers (or other content frameworks) to incorporate a process of thinking about the city as a vibrant, living construct that is constantly in the process of becoming.

Our motto for the PROXY project “HERE FOR NOW” is as much a recognition of the fact that we only have a short term lease on these lots (that we understand the project as having a fixed, short life), as it is a call to engage: to seize the moment, immerse oneself in direct experience, and enjoy the intensity that urban life has to offer. A full-scale, real-time experiment into the mechanisms of a flexible urbanism, PROXY demonstrates that by embracing the need for change in the city, we not only heighten our engagement with the surfaces and fabric of the city, but with each other.

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Feb. 18, 2014

Origin Story, Part 3: In Practice: Making PROXY Real

As part of AIA SF’s 2011 Architecture and the City festival titled Architecture of Consequenceenvelope a+d [link to About section that mentions envelope on proxysf.net] published the zine ON SITE IN THE CITY. Made in part to supplement the exhibition, the zine supported the firm’s dialogue with Dutch Firm ZUS about how progressive design and creative problem solving can address many of our most pressing urban issues, from decreased social cohesion and unsustainable food systems to diminishing free time. 

This excerpt originally appeared in ON SITE IN THE CITY as part of “PROXY: An Experiment in Flexible Urbanism” by Douglas Burnham. 

PROXY is being implemented in mostly discrete (but partially overlapping) phases, starting with food, then art, then retail and, finally, event/play. We conceive of the project as continuously being in the process of becoming, of constantly changing and developing new aspects. The reasons for the phased implementation of the project are both conceptual and practical. Conceptually, we are interested in the experiment of a project that is constantly in flux, thwarting the notion that the value of architecture is in its final, rarified, condition (and confounding the question: “When will it be done?”). Practically, we are not only the designers of the project, we are also its developers (though our sense of that word may be closer to “director/producer” than “developer”). Assuming this latter role has presented new challenges as well as unforeseen benefits.

Due to the economic downturn, banks would not touch this project, especially at its outset. Lacking access to conventional forms of financing, we were forced to adopt an innovative approach to funding the project: we tapped into the personal capital that we have developed in our work as architects over the past two decades. Most of the active contributors to the project have come from our clients or from word-of-mouth recommendations made by our clients and contacts. We secured a loan for infrastructure improvements (with generous terms) from a longterm client who is interested in supporting our work, and we convinced the vendors and content providers to fund the design and fabrication of their own components within the project. Upcoming phases of the project draw upon both pure philanthropy for the art component and corporate sponsorship of the frameworks and programming for retail and events. Although arduous and time-consuming to assemble, these various sources of funding have broadened the reach and acceptance of the project beyond the usual suspects to include artists and artisans, philanthropists and new business owners.

The process of realizing PROXY required not only creative funding strategies but strong relationships fostered by open communication with and between the city agencies that promote economic development and regulate the built environment. The fact that this project is on city-owned land and was initiated in response to a request for proposals from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development was critical to its actualization. However, because the project falls between so many building, health and utility company definitions, nearly every turn had a roadblock that had to be cleared through intense discussion and clarification. For example, the Building Code deems “temporary” as ninety days. Thus, under the Building Code, proxy  is treated as “permanent” and must meet the full criteria for structures that are meant to last for decades (if not centuries).

On the other hand, the utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), defines “temporary” as anything in existence less than five years, the hitch being that “temporary” projects have to pay for the cost of their utility connections up-front, whereas PG&E automatically amortizes the cost of their power connections over decades for “permanent” projects. Since PROXY is temporary in PG&E’s view, it must pay the full cost of its utility connections from the start. Moreover, Building and Planning Department fees do not distinguish between permanent and temporary uses, with temporary projects being subject to the same fee schedule as a use that will be in existence for decades longer. Any temporary project will pay more in fees per year of use than permanent projects within the city.

Given these hurdles and their likely dampening effect on creating compelling interim uses that respond to the needs of the city, our hope is that the ongoing experiment of PROXY will catalyze a more responsive set of planning, building and economic development initiatives that will simultaneously accommodate short, middle, long and very long term change within the fabric of the city.

Specifically within the planning realm, our hope is that Planning Departments will become receptive to certain temporary uses that do not require the exact same level of review applied to a permanent project. This reexamination of the mechanisms of review of temporary projects should also include a consideration of applicable fees (which could be proportionally reduced) and the required time periods for review and notification of neighbors.

Within the purview of Building Department review, we agree that temporary uses need to meet both accessibility and life safety components of the Building Code. However, Building Departments could apply lower fees for temporary uses or perhaps even develop a new category of “renewable temporary,” that involve (time-based) licenses and fees rather than full building department review. From an economic development perspective, PROXY lowers the economic barriers to entry making it possible for new small businesses to participate in these temporary uses. The encouragement of startup and small businesses within a thriving retail environment will feed back into the economic vitality of the city. Applying the PROXY model, economic development measures could  be targeted at creating incentives for short term or temporary uses of the underutilized spaces of the city.

The neighborhood in which PROXY is operating has also been critical to its success. Residents of the Hayes Valley neighborhood, active in both the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association and the Hayes Valley Merchant Association, have been strong supporters of the project from the beginning. The partnership that we have developed over years of dialogue has built a level of trust and respect that is invaluable and perhaps rare. Without the direct support and engagement of key people within the neighborhood, the project would not have gone beyond the idea phase. We trust that this partnership will continue to serve both the project and the neighborhood as PROXY unfolds.

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Feb. 18, 2014

Origin Story, Part 2: PROXY as Possibility

As part of AIA SF’s 2011 Architecture and the City festival titled Architecture of Consequenceenvelope a+d [link to About section that mentions envelope on proxysf.net] published the zine ON SITE IN THE CITY. Made in part to supplement the exhibition, the zine supported the firm’s dialogue with Dutch Firm ZUS about how progressive design and creative problem solving can address many of our most pressing urban issues, from decreased social cohesion and unsustainable food systems to diminishing free time. 

This excerpt originally appeared in ON SITE IN THE CITY as part of “PROXY: An Experiment in Flexible Urbanism” by Douglas Burnham. 

Part 2: PROXY as Possibility 

Early in the process, we called our project “PROXY” to convey the idea that what we are proposing is fundamentally a placeholder for a more permanent development and an investigation into the potential of impermanence. The primary mechanism of proxy  is the re-imagining of place: a curated, compelling and opportunistic programming of urban space so that people can start to see possibility where before there was only a void. In studying the possibilities for programming the vacant freeway lots, we quickly realized that any underutilized site—either vacant or those used for surface parking—is an opportunity to insert structures and content with interim uses that transform people’s experience of the city. Programmatic uses that create diverse experiences can be imagined and implemented on a short term basis without undermining the possibility for future densified uses, such as housing, commercial development or public uses. Moreover, programming can be used intentionally to increase the diversity, heterogeneity, and intensity of the city, satisfying both public and private interests and contributing to the larger project of a more fully programmed city.

The idea of PROXY is not only temporary but context-dependent: its development is determined by the specificity of the site. For this reason, the questions we started with in Hayes Valley were: What do these various sites want? What does the neighborhood need? What uses can be supported on each site? What site is right for which use? When we started our investigation, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood already had proposals underway for three separate urban farms, so we focused on the vacant lots that had the potential to support a vibrant urban experience that was different from, but complementary to, what already existed nearby.

For us, the lots with the most potential were along Octavia, between Fell and Hayes Streets and bisected by Linden Alley. These two lots, a surface parking lot and a vacant inaccessible lot, would allow for a multi-faceted project of both culture and commerce due to their immediate proximity to a thriving commercial district and Patricia’s Green Park. We hypothesized a slew of possible temporary programs organized under the headings art, food, retail and community and rooted in San Francisco’s specific cultural tendencies. If the model of proxy  were applied to another site it might result in interim programming of a different form such as neighborhood centers, swimming pools, or playgrounds. Still other sites, depending on the needs of the neighborhood and the condition of the site, might be turned (temporarily) into dense natural environments or spaces of contemplation.

When PROXY reaches its full potential as an urban construct, it will offer a dynamic, interactive and immersive experience with a Northern California sensibility toward the enjoyment of good food, wine, beer, art and design. In the spirit of Archigram and Superstudio, the larger goal of PROXY is to provide a framework for changing content that reflects and responds to the pace of our contemporary culture. Retail, food, art and event programming are housed in the projects’ containers and on its surfaces, with the imperative that rotating content streams will drive diverse and engaging experiences that physicalize the mediated experiences of the web. The spaces within the project also bring people together within the city in relation to the experience of food and drink, outdoor movie screenings, changing events and designed urban play environments. Within the project, the urban void receives the same densification of connected culture that the rural/natural landscape receives in the Instant City and Supersurface projects, creating a responsive content frame.

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Feb. 18, 2014

Origin Story, Part 1: Loma Prieta Makes Way for Change

As part of AIA SF’s 2011 Architecture and the City festival titled Architecture of Consequenceenvelope a+d [link to About section that mentions envelope on proxysf.net] published the zine ON SITE IN THE CITY. Made in part to supplement the exhibition, the zine supported the firm’s dialogue with Dutch Firm ZUS about how progressive design and creative problem solving can address many of our most pressing urban issues, from decreased social cohesion and unsustainable food systems to diminishing free time. 

This excerpt originally appeared in ON SITE IN THE CITY as part of “PROXY: An Experiment in Flexible Urbanism” by Douglas Burnham. 

PROXY, an experiment in flexible urbanism, came about through our studio’s response to a formal request for proposals from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development in 2009. The city wanted projects with temporary uses—between one and four years—for any of the vacant Central Freeway lots in Hayes Valley until they could be sold for residential development.

These vacant lots came to exist through a series of events that started when the elevated, double-decker 101 Central Freeway was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. After the earthquake, the fate of the elevated freeway was thrown into a contentious decade-long debate that was finally resolved through a local ballot measure. In 1999, a Hayes Valley neighborhood-sponsored measure won voter approval to remove the damaged elevated freeway and create a surface boulevard for distributing the 101 Freeway traffic into the city grid. The design of the boulevard, by planner Allan Jacobs, ended up creating a series of 22 irregular shaped vacant lots, the difference between the footprint of the former Central Freeway and the new Octavia Boulevard plan.

The San Francisco Mayor’s Office was given control of these vacant lots, labeled alphabetically from Lot A at the northern end to Lot V at the intersection of Octavia and Market Streets to the south, with the goal of bringing both market-rate and subsidized housing to the neighborhood and repairing the void left by the removal of the 32 Central Freeway. Due to the economic downturn of 2008, proposals for market-rate housing on these vacant lots (including our two-parcel multifamily residential development project on Lots M + N between Oak and Fell Streets) were put on hold by the private architect/ developer teams, and the Mayor’s Office initiated a request for proposals for temporary uses as an interim condition until the economy recovers.

Our immersion into the needs of the area and the open communication we developed with representatives of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood during the initial stages of developing our project at Lots M + N gave us a strong sense of what might be possible for programming temporary uses on other vacant lots in the area. These conversations also inspired us to think about how temporary structures might be used to bring new vitality and connectedness to the neighborhood. With this as our starting point, we began to develop an intentional strategy rooted in notions of flexibility and impermanence that could serve as a model for an adaptive mechanism of change within the urban condition.

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