Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Infinite Beauty: Rebecca Solnit Reads at Woodward's Garden with Mapmakers & Essayists from "Infinite City"

Wednesday, May 18, 6pm, $45 per person, 3-courses 

Like Venice, San Francisco is small; they are vast not in territory but in imaginative possibility. 

-Rebecca Solnit, Infinite City

I have been sitting with Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City for months now. I dip in randomly, lovingly gaze at its queer, gorgeous maps, read favorite essays over and over. It mesmerizes that way.  To this longtime San Franciscan, Infinite rings true in infinite ways. It gets the ever-shifting subtleties of place; of neighborhood (of course Solnit would). It is a muli-visioned, nuanced poem to our stunning, fragile city.  After getting caught in its infinite cosmos, you can't help but think that every city should be lucky enough to have its own beatifying Solnit.

And in a stroke of pure poetic random, Solnit has also written extensively on Muybridge (River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West), who not only haunted 19th century SF himself, but 'mapped' our city keenly, and whose gorgeous photos of the original Woodward's Gardens (1866-1891) - our namesake - are infamous.  They are images we used in our original menus.

So how perfect that Solnit - along with some fellow Infinite essayists and mapmakers - is coming to our SF Garden (located on the border of 'Love of Sex' and 'Desire for Liquids' according to the Phrenological SF map!) for an evening of dinner, readings and mappings. We'll talk zen, butterflies, gardens... We'll also make a menu of classic San Francisco dishes.  

At Woodward's Garden, Wednesday, May 18, 6pm, $45 per person, 3-courses (does not include wine, tax or tip). (415) 621-7122.

                                'Entrance to Woodward's Gardens' - Muybridge

                               ‘Animals at Woodward’s Gardens’ (1870) - Muybridge

Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of thirteen books about ecology, environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory, most recently the bestselling Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, a volume of 19 essays and 22 innovative maps, for which she commissioned and coordinated contributions from 27 writers, artists, and cartographers. Other books include A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a contributing editor to Harper's and regular contributor to the political site Tomdispatch.com.

Atlas contributors Genine Lentine ("Dharma Wheels and Fish Ladders" essay and map), Paz de la Calzada (Phrenological San Francisco's hair), Lisa Conrad ("The Names Before the Names" essay and map), Ruth Askevolt (Once and Future Water map), and Alison Pebworth (Phantom Coast map, cover, title page) will be joining Solnit.

Paz de la Calzada

1 comment:

Sam Breach said...

Hi Dana. Thanks for hosting the Rebecca Solnit dinner last night, it was great to meet you and listen to the people who created Infinite City. I really enjoyed the evening and the food was great, as usual, thanks.