Blog Archives

Berkeley Beats Poetry: Short Term Implementation

The first five years will need to focus on the actual execution of our various interpretive plans. Planning, implementing, and revising will be key steps during the first few years to successfully get the interpretive plans off the ground. There are bound to be numerous problems that we could encounter at the beginning, therefore troubleshooting issues, distributing surveys, and having an open communication of feedback with the users and visitors of our plans should be key practices to uphold.

For the implementation of the audio tour, we would want to be sure that not only the technical aspect of the app is in working condition (ensuring that the app works well, GPS location and navigation is accurate, narration stays up to date, etc), but also that our audience is understanding our main message and enjoying the experience. The production aspect of creating an audio tour needs to be emphasized when we begin implementing this project. Questions to focus on in regards to our own audio tour include: Why did we choose to place a certain piece of narration or other sound clip at this point in the tour? Therefore, what did we want to evoke by doing this? How are we using place to create a dramatic story—especially since the original buildings are no longer there/have been transformed into something else? What themes are we incorporating with this tour and how does it relate to Allen Ginsberg and the Beat movement?

With the crowd sourcing app we intend to encourage users to write their own poems and express what they are passionate about, so the app’s format and narrative must be open and free of expecting a presumed, singular-linear experience. The app should therefore not ever be a static piece of media technology but should be dynamic and change as the political and social culture in Berkeley changes. Typical updates, maintenance, and troubleshooting with such an app would need to be done as necessary to ensure the app continues to run properly without any serious performance issues.

For the poetry slam, it will be important to spread the word about the events and get a good following early on. This will help it gain popularity and momentum, and allow the slam to maintain a constant number of interested participants and audience members. The short term implementation plans of our sites seek to guarantee that these planned activities get off the ground, gain the attention of the public, and are constructively revised for their betterment so that they will survive into the future and create a lasting and meaningful impact.

For the execution of text installations of Ginsberg’s poems at the Berkeley Trader Joe’s, Ginsberg’s apartment on Milvia Street, Sconehenge Café, and the California College of the Arts, it is important that we take into account the selected piece of text and what and/or who we want its relevance to apply to. It would probably be best received if the various pieces of selected text retained its past significance to the Beat movement and socio-cultural aspects, while referencing today’s events and relating to the people of the local Bay area community as well. The specific location of these installations should be in a place that can be easily located and read.

Read about our Long Term Implemetation

Berkeley Beats Poetry: Long Term Implementation

After we implement our interpretive plan, it is our hope that these sites will remain in the same condition for the next 25 years. The audio tour could continue to be used as long as the sites did not drastically change their location, function, or exterior aesthetic. As most of the audio tour’s narration discusses the history of Ginsberg and his poems, small changes to the sites will not affect the narration as it mainly talks about the past. The pictures shown during the tour will all be from the 1950s, so they will always be relevant and will not need to be updated over time. The narration will have to be altered (ex: markers need to be modified) if a site changes enough that it no longer matches the description in the app. The application will also require a feature that allows it to update and sync with any changes in navigation and GPS, as well as general technology updates to stay current with the ever changing technologies and devices continuously changing and becoming obsolete.

The crowd sourcing app would ideally be used in concert with visiting each of these sites and being inspired by Ginsberg’s site-specific poems. If the sites remain in their current form, the app can continue to be used in this same manner, although regular updates with technology would be necessary. However, the app would still serve an important and effective function even if the sites were altered or destroyed. It will also encourage users to write their own poems and express what they are passionate about in different ways, which can be aroused by an ever-changing culture as much as by a dynamic place. Just as Ginsberg fought for free speech and personal expression through poetry in the 1950s, the app can be used to express support or opposition for whatever issue is currently facing users and their community. It could then be used as an interesting digital archive, documenting and digitally storing the thoughts and feelings of users over many decades.

Assuming that the Sconehenge Café and California College of the Arts remain in their current condition, the slam poetry showcases could continue into the long-term future, assuming a positive community turnout to the event occurs. As with the crowd sourcing app, the showcases’ content and forms of expression may change over time. However, regardless of how the political and social culture in the Bay area changes, the ability to express oneself in a manner similar to slam poetry will remain popular and important. If the Sconehenge Café is turned into a Honda showroom, it may be necessary to end the slam poetry showcases at this location and hold them only at the old Greyhound station.

Having text about Allen Ginsberg and his poems installed into these sites will only be effective in the long term if these sites do not change. Since most of the sites are not expected to change, we expect that installing text into these sites can be enjoyed for the next 25 years. For the old Town Hall Theater location, which might be reconstructed into a Honda Showroom, we hope that any installed text could be moved into a future renovated and repurposed building and stand as a symbol of the historic importance of the location. It is important that each of these sites retain a physical indication of their relation to Ginsberg and the Beat Generation so that locals, visitors, and tourists alike can understand and enjoy the location’s significance for decades to come.

Berkeley Beats Poetry: Works Cited

“1885 University Avenue Initial Study and Environmental Checklist.” (2006): Planning and Development Department Land Use Planning Division. City of Berkeley, June 2006. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

2777 Shattuck Avenue Project Evaluation (2015): City of Berkeley Planning and Development Department, 14 May 2015. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

Allen Ginsberg Project.” Allen Ginsberg Project, 2014. Web. 10 Oct 2015.

“Berkeley Home.” 1624 Milvia St APT 2 94709. Zillow, n. d. Web. 11 Oct 2015.

Dalzell, Tom. “Gone: Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.” Quirky Berkeley, 7 Oct. 2014. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

“Executive Summary 1111 8th Street.” (2013): n. pag. San Francisco Planning Department, 18 Apr. 2013. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

Ginsberg, Allen, Mary Beach, and Claude Pélieu. Reality Sandwiches. Paris: C. Bourgois Editeur, 1972. Print.

Jones, Carolyn. “BERKELEY / Neighbors Say No to Popular Market / Trader Joe’s Project Hits Snag Over Traffic, Low-priced Alcohol.” SFGate. Hearst Communications, Inc., 3 Oct 2006. Web. 11 Oct. 2015.

Lawlor, William. “Life of Allen Ginsberg.” Beat Culture: Lifestyles, Icons, and Impact. N.p.: Google Books. ABC-CLIO Pubishers, n.d. 134-35. Print.

Raskin, Jonah. “American Scream:Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation.” Google Books. University of California Press, n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.

Skeryl, Jennie. “Individual Resistance and Collective Action in the Beat Counterculture.” Reconstructing the Beats. N.p.:Google Books. Palgrave Macmillian Publishers, n.d. 41-43. Print.

Appraisal: The Current Interpretive Plan & Multivocality

              The current Interpretive Plan exists to develop new interpretations of I-Hotel history and Filipino heritage and to develop interpretations at the Manilatown Heritage Foundation Community Center. Visitors can reach to the I-hotel by driving a car, walking or taking transportation. The MUNI 8X bus stops right in front of the center and it is only a 15-minute walk from the Montgomery Street BART and MUNI station.

              When visitors walk inside the first floor of I-Hotel, where Manilatown Heritage Center is at, there is a new interactive single room occupancy exhibit, that demonstrates the actual Filipino housing, adopted from Chinese Historical Society of America’s Living in Chinatown project, and inspired by the Manongs of the I-Hotel who fit their entire lives into an 8×10 foot living space. All of furniture, books, clothes and even cigarettes came from initial I-Hotel and Philippines and are donated by an actual person who stayed in I-Hotel in the 1960’s. This mini-model of the I-Hotel tenant’s room presents nostalgia in people as well as demonstrates their confined life to visitors.

ITel_JC_photo_10 (1)

Single room occupancy exhibit, the Actual Filipino Housing, inspired by the Manongs of the I-Hotel in 1960’s.


Fight Poster of I-Hotel

Besides the single room occupancy exhibit, pictures of I-hotel’s history, activist, and real brick of the initial I-Hotel come into sight. The center features an informational gallery on the fall of the I-Hotel, in addition to hosting community events that further promote its mission. On the Club Mandaly, people could enjoy learning Ballroom and Latin dance from Benito Santiago at the I-Hotel. Also, Carlos Zialcita, who is one of the influential members of the community explore the rich musical, literacy, fashion and cultural history of the San Francisco Bay Area by being a host on Jazz Meryenda Pop-up Jazz club. In addition, the current Board-president Tony Robles, a poet, writer and prominent activist lead rest of the events on Club Mandalay with reading his latest book, Cool Don’t Live Here No More to emphasize his generational memory of San Francisco where alienation, deportations, and technological invasions. 



Fliers of movie “The Fall of the I-Hotel” by Curtis Choy

They also show a movie about I-hotel called “Fall of the I-Hotel” by Curtis Choy for visitors in order to inform them about the incident from the past, especially 1977 Elder Filipino and Chinese tenants standing up to developers to fight eviction from their homes in San Francisco’s Manilatown neighborhood. In addition, the director describes the story of people who got evicted fights, their eviction and the effects it had on the city’s tenants’ rights movement as well as the tenant’s issues now being faced and how they can fight eviction in their neighborhood and get involved. These events help advance a group’s mission, in the spirit of the tenants of the I-Hotel and celebrated the anniversary of the fall of the International Hotel, a mass eviction etched in the psyche of San Francisco. 

The Fall of the I-hotel Trailer

Green Gulch Zen Center: Background

  What is Zen and how did it get to Marin County? In the last century Zen has grabbed the attention of the West and tends to crop up almost everywhere.  Zen is a sect of Japanese Buddhism that traveled quite the distance to arrive here in the early 20th Century. In fact, Buddhism has quite the history of travel.  It originated in India as a response to Hinduism endless karmic chain, known to Buddhism as samsara.  Samsara is the cause of the Buddhist notion of suffering and Nirvana is the cessation of that suffering.  Nirvana is the promise of Buddhism.  From India, Buddhism travelled to China along the Silk Road.  There a the sect known as Cha’an was established.  Cha’an translates to Zen in Japanese.  Japan was the next stop for Buddhism.

D.T. Suzuki is credited with bringing Zen to the West.  He was not a Zen master of Japan, but he did study under one by the name of Soyen Shaku.  Shaku sent Suzuki to the States to work with Paul Carrus as a translator for his publishing company.  His time was also spent writing about Buddhism and Zen in English.  In Japan there are several different schools of Zen Buddhism, the two largest being Soto and Rinzai.  The Zen Center at Green Gulch identifies with the Soto school.  Zen is a scholarly monastic tradition where the central participants are the monks themselves.  The Zen Center at Green Gulch has residents that live there that live a monastic style life.  In tradition of Zen, Buddhism is studied through different texts and lectures that are deconstructed in order to gain an true understanding of the Dharma, or the Buddha’s teachings.  Traditionally, monastic life was only available to men, but at Green Gulch women are not excluded.  In fact the  Roshi, or Zen Master, is a woman.  Zen has been able to travel and settle all over the world due of desire to end all suffering, the source of its adaptive nature.

Green Gulch Zen Center: Photo Gallery

Green Gulch Zen Center: Videos

An interview with Michael Ashley, our Anthropology 136e professor at UC Berkeley.

A short clip of Green Gulch taken 3/18/2011 by Allie.

Another short clip taken at Green Gulch by Allie.

Alcatraz – Media

Visiting Alcatraz

Alcatraz_movie_02 from Ruth Tringham on Vimeo.


Alcatraz Island Audio Clip 1 – Professor Anthony Garcia

Alcatraz Island Audio Clip 2 – Professor Jim Quesada

Green Gulch Zen Center: Key Players (Stakeholders)

In assessing the community contribution of Green Gulch, the key Stakeholders include: Green Gulch owners, resident monks, community visitors, practicing volunteers, surrounding Marin County residents, Marin County policy makers, and Native Americans who originally occupied the land. Green Gulch is privately owned, but it still affects the surrounding areas. Classifying stakeholders into “insiders and outsiders” the outsiders are the community visitors , Native Americans and Marin Community. The insiders who have the power over choices are Marin Government, Green Gulch owners and the resident Monks.

Green Gulch Zen Center: History and Modern Context


The Miwok, a group of Native Americans, occupied were the original inhabitants of Green Gulch. Artifacts, such as stone tools, of their culture may still be found on site.  The land was then granted to William Richardson 1838 as a part of what came to be known as Rancho Sausalito.  Green Gulch was one of five dairy ranches that were established by Richardson.  The barn built by Ray Button eventually became the zendo of Green Gulch.  The next owner, George Wheelwright, was an innovator and bulldozed the valley floor, straightened the creek, and created a system of reservoirs to aid in irrigation.  The land was then given to the San Francisco Zen Center with the help of the Nature Conservancy under two conditions: a working farming would be maintained and the land and trails would be open to hikers.  Understanding the history of how Green Gulch came to be a Zen Center is an important part of the heritage of the site.

Modern Context

For those who have visited Green Gulch Zen Center in Northern California’s Marin County, 1650 Shoreline Muir Beach, CA to be exact, the magnificence and beauty of the place speaks for itself. Located just north of San Francisco, the Zen Center provides a retreat from the city and a quiet place to experience nature, spirituality and community. The site itself is located on 115 acres in Muir Woods and provides access to Muir Beach and a number of hiking trails. The main buildings of the Zen Center are located towards the East end of the property and are the home to a number of resident monks. The gardens and farm form the center of the property, while Muir Beach and trails form the western edge of Green Gulch. In addition to being the present site of Green Gulch Zen Center, this property has passed from the Miwok tribe, Spanish ranchers, the co-founder of Polaroid and the National Park Service. Because of its rich cultural history, breathtaking natural landscape, and present spiritual atmosphere, we believe that Green Gulch should be honored and preserved for future generations. Given Green Gulch’s rich past and histories, it is important to preserve and safeguard this local heritage; “a filtered past infused with purpose in the present.” (Conkey, Meg and Tringham, Ruth. “Cultural Heritage.” Anthropology 136K. University of California, Berkeley. 25 January 2011)