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Wine, jazz and proletarian transit

By enelson
Friday, June 16th, 2006 at 6:05 pm in AC Transit, Buses, transit equity.


I always knew my life would make a fine film or art exhibit.

Perhaps the jury’s still out on that, but one of my recent passions, bus transit, has been discovered as a cultural treasure trove by City Space, a Berkeley-based “cultural organization dedicated to exploring the built environment through events and exhibitions in a wide range of disciplines, including design, visual art, cultural landscape research, and film.’’

Opening at 8 p.m. tonight with a jazz band at The Levin Brothers Warehouse, 2255 3rd St. between 19th and 20th Streets in San Francisco, the “Get on the Bus” exhibition will feature a variety of media but just one theme:

a reconsideration of the experience, culture, and meaning of our nation’s least-loved transit mode. Stigmatized as the transit of last resort-the realm of the poor, elderly, and infirm-the bus nonetheless moves millions of people every day. On the cutting edge in some cities, marginalized in others, the bus evokes a surprising range of emotions for people, planners, cities and artists. Get on the Bus will begin to illuminate the world of the bus as a ubiquitous but neglected arena of city life.

Our cities must have buses, but our leaders want rail because it moves the better-off from their safe havens at high speed to jobs in the heart of darkness. Or so I’ve been informed. Perhaps there will be a “Alight the rails” exhibit out in Walnut Creek that explores the cultural prison that is BART, ACE and Caltrain.

If I hadn’t gotten up at 4:30 a.m. to cover a celebration of Interstates, I swear I’d be at this thing.

The show, which features video projects, photography, “lighthearted urban interventions,’’ whatever that is, and even real buses done up as art projects. I’m not sure if that includes what sounds like a very functional bus in which all passengers must pedal to make it go.

Both AC Transit and Muni are supplying equipment for the show.

Is it art? You’ll know it when you see it.

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One Response to “Wine, jazz and proletarian transit”

  1. Joel B. Says:

    Why does the middle class tend to avoid buses? I think it’s because in terms of reliability the bus is the worst. It’s pretty much not reliable. You can wait for 15 minutes and never know when the bus is supposed to come. Trains, have a pretty specific timetable, which allows me to plan ahead, and when it’s late, I can blame the train…”the train ran late.” If I take the bus…how do I even know when I’m going to get there. Also, if I wanted to sit in traffic with everyone else, I could very well do that by driving, but on the bus I get home much slower, lastly you can’t do anything on the bus. Now, this probabl isn’t true for everyone, but I can’t read or really sleep on a bus it makes me queasy. My impression is that most people get car or “bus” sick much quicker than they get train sick.

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