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Transaction Net Ultimate Resources: Cultures

[Beautiful Skyline of San Francisco
created by my good friend John Hartong]

  • One of the best ways to explore San Francisco's rich diversity is to patronize the local museums and galleries which specialize in ethnic art.
    • Start by visiting the Mexican Museum, which is currently located in Fort Mason but will soon be moving to a much bigger space near the Yerba Buena Gardens by the year 1999.
    • You can also visit the Galeria de la Raza, which is dedicated to bringing Chicano and Latino art to the people.
    • More of an artist's colony than a gallery, the Artists Community at Hunters Point, located in a predominantly African American area, includes many artists of color who are happy to showcase their modern artwork.
    • Though it rarely presents works by local Asian artists, the Asian Art Museum is the western world's largest museum devoted to Asian art, representing well over 40 Asian countries.
    • Outside of San Francisco, a visit to the Magnes Museum in Berkeley is in order. Founded in 1962, it's the third largest Jewish museum in the U.S. The Oakland Museum located in the East Bay regularly features art by local ethnic artists.

  • Dance, theater, and music are other ways in which you can enjoy and learn from the rainbow of ethnic cultural groups that make the San Francisco Bay Area their home. Over the past 28 years, Seiichi Tanaka and the S.F. Taiko Dojo have developed taiko from a primitive folk art to a powerful, sophisticated synthesis of rhythm, harmony, and body movement. La Pena, located in Berkeley, devotes most of its programming for live shows to ethnic ensembles and local talent, including Chicano bands like S.F.'s own Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeno band. The Scottish Cultural and Arts Foundation, based in S.F., promotes and produces the artistic talents of Scottish and Scottish-American artists.

  • San Francisco's cultural diversity can perhaps be best experienced in the context of its neighborhoods. From one block to the next, San Francisco offers a dizzying array of ethnic foods, shops, cafes, and more.

    • Start by visiting San Francisco's famous (and crowded) Chinatown.
    • For a cozier experience, head over to the predominantly Latino Mission District.
    • Rich in history and largely uncrowded is San Francisco's Nihon-Machi, or Japantown, where you can find Japanese and Japanese-American treasures and the best sushi in town.
    • The Castro has been the main en-"camp"-ment of queer life in the City since the days of Harvey Milk, and a very nice place to live for long before that: Queer folks from all over the world visit and enjoy their honorary "dual citizenship" there--a place to love openly without fear or harassment--and some like it so much they decide to stay.
    • Italian-flavored North Beach, main outpost of the city's beatniks, whose free-spirited ("obscene") poetry made this city's bohemian attitude an institution.

  • LatinoLink is a fabulous resource for Latinos from around the country. Based in S.F., this e-zine is devoted to Latino San Francisco clubs, venues, restaurants, and events.

  • The Bay Area African American Internet Crossing page has only begun to be assembled, but it promises links to African American shops, restaurants, and networks in the S.F. Bay Area.

  • Given the large number of Russian emigres to the Bay Area in the last few decades, it's no surprise the San Francisco Bay Area Russian Community Network is as extensive as it is. Links to restaurants, shops, and resources.

  • Located in Chinatown, the Chinese Culture Center is a wonderful resource for those interested in exploring their own heritage or learning more about the history and artistic contributions of Chinese Americans in the Bay Area. They've put together a beautiful web site.

  • The South and Meso American Indian Rights Center (SAIIC) exists to ensure that the struggles of Indigenous peoples for self-determination are heard. You can visit them and check out their activities and resources in Oakland, CA.

  • Also in the East Bay, Arab World and Islamic Resources is a non-profit dedicated to the awareness of Arab and Islamic culture.

  • The Jewish Bulletin of Northern California is a wonderful online resource to everything Jewish happening in the Bay Area.

  • These sites will help you stay up-to-date on queer life in San Francisco without leaving the comfort of your chair:

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