The theater of real life in the Tenderloin [SF Chronicle]
SF Chronicle Arts and Entertainment writer, Ryan Kost, writes about neighborhood artists, Skywatchers, in preparation of their current work, "I Got A Truth To Tell" which runs at CounterPulse (80 Turk) on October 26 and 27th.
Anne Bluethenthal began working with and collecting stories from Tenderloin SRO residents in 2011, as part of an art practice in the newly conceived Tenderloin National Forest. The work continued over the years, evolving into regular meetings in community rooms with artist facilitators and artist residents, lending a vehicle of artistic expression to daily experience. From there, the work has served as a platform for advocacy. With a recent NEA grant, Bluethenthal and the entire Skywatchers ensemble hope to take that advocacy to another level.
From the article:
. . . The members of Skywatchers have managed to turn these alienating experiences into a complex examination of how San Francisco treats its most vulnerable.
“I want the audience to feel,” says LeRoy Staples II, a Tenderloin resident who has been in Skywatchers for nearly five years. “I want them to hear the story we’re talking about. It may look beautiful, but it’s telling the story of plight.”
He wasn’t alone in that. Alexis Jones, like many of the residents involved in the piece, says she hopes viewers might leave “with some knowledge. I’d like to see a lot of people being woken up by it.”
Previous Skywatchers productions have taken place at The Tenderloin National Forest, Tenderloin Museum, and throughout the neighborhood. Learn more, stay up to date, or contribute to their work here.