THE FUTURE IS NOW!
AND THINGS ARE LOOKING WEIRD.
Returning from a greater success
than anyone anticipated...
the second annual How Weird Street Faire took place on Sunday, May 20th
2001: a street oddity
|schedule||vendors / contact||eviction!||map||pictures/video|
The Internet economic boom changed the face of San Francisco. As the center of the digital revolution, the Bay Area was home to many computer and Internet companies that prospered in the late 1990's. That prosperity was fueled by Dot-Com speculation, expansion, and greed. More and more high paid workers entered the area. This created an atmosphere where landlords began charging outrageous rates because they could find people who at least on paper were wealthy, and it looked as if the economic boom would continue forever. Now the economy has turned the other way, but the housing and warehouse issues haven't. Artists and non-profits are still losing their spaces, individuals are still having a hard time making rent, and greed is still the law of the land.
The Consortium of Collective Consciousness (CCC) is an artist warehouse space. It was founded in February 1995 as an experiment in communal and creative living. It is home to the non-profit World Peace Through Technology Organization (WPTTO), as well as writers, artists and musicians. The landlord, taking advantage of the housing situation, attempted to increase the CCC's rent by nearly 300%, making the space financially unavailable. After a year of drawn-out legal battles, the CCC will close its doors on May 31, 2001 — ending over six years of amazing music, art, and events.
As part of the How Weird Street Faire, the WPTTO's annual event, there will be a tribute to the CCC and all the artist and non-profit spaces lost in San Francisco due to the economic boom ... whether by eviction or massive rent increases. We invite all members of art or non-profit spaces lost to come pay tribute to your organization, by bringing flowers or other objects to place next to individual tombstones and memorials commemorating all the "dead" spaces — the victims of the last Dot-Com Gold Rush to hit San Francisco. The exhibit / performance will be in front of the historic CCC warehouse at 1559 Howard St.
The tribute ceremony took place
but it could have been saved!
Last fall the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, led by Tom Ammiano, passed an historic measure to create a multi-million dollar rent subsidy fund for non-profit organizations threatened with eviction due to skyrocketing rents. This honorable legislation was passed by the SF Supervisors and was to be administered by two groups: the California Lawyer's for the Arts (ArtHouse); and the Mayor's Office of Community Development (MOCD). The ArtHouse grant was set up specifically for artist organizations and the MOCD grant was set up for non-artist groups. The criteria for both nonprofit organizations' eligibility was simple: document the landlords' demand of a substantial rent increase; serve San Francisco residents; be a 501 c (3) organization in SF for at least 2 years; be financially stable; and show letters of community support.
World Peace Through Technology Organization (WPTTO) is the group that sponsors the How Weird Street Faire. This non-profit organization met all the above criteria perfectly. We in the organization cheered when these grants were implemented, and we were among the first applicants to request guidelines. Since the CCC artist space was the home of the WPTTO, we applied for the ArtHouse grant first and were turned down because our mission statement did not contain the word "arts". We took this news in stride because the WPTTO was set up as an educational non-profit, but when we were turned down for the MOCD grant, the two-sided face of the Mayor's Office became apparent. First off, the petty reasons why the WPTTO was turned down for the MOCD grant were: "you are in litigation with your landlord", and "your organization does not have enough money in the bank." Apparently, only wealthy organizations NOT being evicted were eligible. This double-edged sword could conveniently eliminate any qualified group in the throes of eviction who were small enough not to be a well-established non-profit corporation. Lastly, we discovered that many of the non-profit groups who have applied to these emergency rent-subsidy assistance programs were also being denied for slight reasons. The news that the Mayor's Office was sitting on the money instead of allocating it prompted this social protest.
Worthy non-profit groups like the WPTTO were turned down because the eviction crisis was perceived to be over. Two days after Pamela David of the MOCD said there was no chance for a WPTTO appeal, we were forced to settle with the landlord and set our move out date for May 31st, only 11 days after the second annual How Weird Street Faire. Now the historic CCC warehouse is closing forever, BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED.
PLEASE VOICE YOUR DISSATISFACTION TO THE DIRECTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR STALLING SF NON-PROFIT GRANT ALLOCATIONS. AS A CONCERNED CITIZEN YOU CAN DEMAND THESE MONIES BE ALLOCATED TO THE REMAING NON-PROFITS BEING EVICTED IMMEDIATELY. WHILE THE CCC ITSELF CAN NO LONGER BE SAVED, OTHER GROUPS APPLYING TO THIS FUND CAN BE HELPED. YOUR VOICE COUNTS!
From the Tom Ammiano office, these are the two primary directors holding up the distribution of money to nonprofits:
Please contact these bureaucrats and voice your disapproval with grant money allocation to worthy causes like the WPTTO! If enough people pressure these directors to action, perhaps the WPTTO can find a new home in San Francisco and continue producing the How Weird Street Faire.
Dozens of organizations, hundreds of art and music groups, and thousands of individuals have lost their space in SanFrancisco during the last two years, as a result of the ecomonic boom. We wish to pay tribute to all who have lost their home, including:
WPTTO MISSION STATEMENT:
contact information until this office closes 5/31:
Brad C. Olsen