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Dunes, Trains, and Beer: The Buried History of SOMA

Saturday, July 21, 2012
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Event Type:
Jess Young
Location Details:
SOMArts Cultural Center
934 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

What: A free, all-ages walking tour (photography encouraged) of San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood
When: Saturday, July 21, 1pm–3pm
Where: Tour departs from SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th & 9th) at 1pm sharp!
How Much: Free, donations gladly accepted in support of SOMArts’ exhibitions & programming
What Else: Please visit and RSVP, space is limited.
SOMArts Cultural Center and SF Camerawork present a unique opportunity to get to know the hidden history of South of Market. In conjunction with local muralist Susan Greene’s “Bending over Backward” installation (appearing in the exhibition Performing Community, July 6–28 at SOMArts Cultural Center), Chris Carlsson of Shaping San Francisco will lead a free walking tour to help you discover lost layers of history.
From flattened sand dunes, buried wetlands, and a navigable river, to the many uses of SOMA, including slaughterhouses, steel mills, and breweries, Chris will regale participants with stories hidden in today’s landscape. He will reveal what was present in times past and how the physical city came to look the way it does now by way of industrial and neighborhood successions.
All who join the tour will be encouraged to ask questions, take photographs and interact critically with the information presented.
Leaving as a group from SOMArts Cultural Center with four main stops, the tour heads to 8th and Harrison, then to Alameda and Bryant, and then to Mission Bay along the Mission Creek channel, and, finally, back to SOMArts. Tour stops are well-documented with historic photos and there will be plenty of opportunities to snap your own.
Chris Carlsson is a writer, San Francisco historian, “professor,” bicyclist, tour guide, blogger, photographer, book and magazine designer. He’s lived in San Francisco since 1978. He has directed Shaping San Francisco since its inception in the mid-1990s, and continues to be co-director of the archive of San Francisco history at He also conducts award-winning bicycle history tours a dozen times a year, and hosts an ongoing Public Talks series in San Francisco.  He co-authored the expanded second edition of Vanished Waters: The History of San Francisco’s Mission Bay, has written two books (After the Deluge, Nowtopia), and edited five books, (Reclaiming San Francisco, The Political Edge, Bad Attitude, Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration and Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco, 1968-78).
Susan Greene is a social art practitioner, educator and clinical psychologist, using multiple media and formats to reveal, disrupt, and make connections leading to new ways of thinking, seeing and acting. Greene’s practice straddles a range of cultural arenas, new media, public art, video, and installation.
She focuses on the borders and migrations involving memory, decolonization and the relationships between creativity, trauma and resilience in the context of globalism. Greene has led or participated in more than 30 public art projects worldwide.
Originally from NYC, Greene has been a resident of the Bay Area for 25 years. She is visiting faculty and director of the Learning Center at the San Francisco Art Institute and has a psychotherapy practice in San Francisco.
Performing Community, July 6-26, 2012 at SOMArts Cultural Center, is a group exhibition which connect artists with audiences to explore and inform community building and creative placemaking in SOMA, San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. Curators Laura Poppiti and Kara Q. Smith  were selected for one of four Commons Curatorial Residencies taking place at SOMArts in 2011–12.
SF Camerawork is a non-profit artists organization whose purpose is to stimulate dialogue, encourage inquiry, and communicate ideas about contemporary photography and related technologies through a variety of educational programs. Established in 1974 to exhibit the work of emerging photographers, San Francisco Camerawork has consistently expanded the range of its services for the photographic community.
Please visit for more information
Added to the calendar on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 2:39PM
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