Live Streams Every Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm.

Tongo

Friday, July 9 – 10pm
Tongo Eisen-Martin & Friends

Poet/Educator/Activist Tongo Eisen-Martin, San Francisco Poet Laureate, hosts six individuals who we’re proud to present in the shop tonight.

Audience welcome.

A live stream will carry the event for those not comfortable venturing out, whether due to dark of night, lack of transit or any other reason. But rest assured, the in-person experience will be rewarding indeed, for you and for the artists. View the live stream here!

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$10-20 sliding scale cover charge cash at the door

byob&glass: please pack it in/pack it out. please wear a mask if you’re unvaccinated, otherwise, relax and know you’re welcome here!

$5-10 donation requested to view the livestream: youtube / fb

no one turned away for lack of funds, but please do what you can to help us compensate the artists and sound engineer! donate here

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jxtheo (j-thee-o), also known as Jean (JT) Teodoro, is an environmentalist, proletarian internationalist, poet and educator. They were born in Quezon City, Philippines and raised in both QC and Unceded Ramaytush Ohlone Land (San Francisco, CA). They are a founding member and vocalist of the hip-hop & rock band Boondock Squad. They are also a founding member of Anakbayan San Francisco and have worked as an instructor in social sciences, creative writing, literature and boxing.

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Free Press
is a diverse jazz/world/blues/soul/improv collective that performs at venues including, ironically, Le Colonial as well as Club Deluxe, Revolution Cafe, Lost Church, Cadillac, Britt Marie and Kapwa Gardens. The band comprises:

  • Annelise Zamula, (flute/sax), who has toured the U.S., Canada, and Europe with the Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet, performing at the Lilith Fair in Vancouver, B.C. and opening for the Indigo Girls at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. In 2008 she performed with the Montclair Women’s Big Band at the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Dave Mihaly, (percussion/guitar), who has performed with the End of the World Coretet, Jolie Holland, Sean Hayes and also teaches music.
  • Christie Harbinski, (vocals/bandleader), who sings in gospel choirs such as Glide, numerous jazz groups such as Free Press and the Aida Jazz Trio.
  • Jibril Alvarez (piano), who is a San Francisco-born Filipino Community & Cultural Ambassador, musician, bandleader and producer, as well as house pianist at the International Hotel Manilatown Center in downtown San Francisco. Classically-trained from the age of seven, Jibril now explores musical genres from the timeless African & indigenous Filipino “Kulintang” traditions through Gospel, Blues & Jazz, to Funk, Hip-Hop, World Music, Sound Therapy and beyond.
  • Phillip Ryan (guitar), who has played at cafes and open mics with Jibril for 10-plus years including Jack London Square.
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Tongo Eisen-Martin, named San Francisco’s eighth Poet Laureate in 2021, is a revolutionary educator and organizer whose work centers on issues of mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings of Black people and human rights.

He has taught at detention centers around the country and at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, and holds an M.A. from Columbia.

His books of poetry include the include the forthcoming collection from City Lights Blood on the Fog, as well as his debut book, someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press, 2015), nominated for a California Book Award; and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, a 2018 California Book Award, was named a 2018 National California Booksellers Association Poetry Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize.  In their citation, the judges for the Griffin Prize wrote that Eisen-Martin’s work “moves between trenchant political critique and dreamlike association, demonstrating how, in the right hands, one mode might energize the other—keeping alternative orders of meaning alive in the face of radical injustice… His poems are places where discourses and vernaculars collide and recombine into new configurations capable of expressing outrage and sorrow and love.”

From an interview following his appointment as Poet Laureate:

In your inaugural address, you said “unity is the only thing” and “individualism at its core is about selective humanization.” Can you say more about that?

Just to take our conversation, for example, I’m speaking as Poet Laureate: “Let us speak about these issues pertaining to poetry and application of some kind of public embrace of poetry.” Even my identity. I have this identity as a poet, or this or that, and not just a person that is actually talking to you live from unceded territory. If you think about it, there’s so much genocide, and so much slavery, there’s so much exploitation, that we psychically turn a blind eye just to go on about our daily business.

That’s the individualism that’s dangerous, because that ignoring — I mean, “ignoring” doesn’t even cover it — that delusion actually adds to the consent that makes all this oppression and repression possible.

I mean, even think about the kids in the cages. Are they still in the cages? The three-year-olds and the five-year-olds of the asylum seekers, are they still in the cages?

This has been in our face for three years now, at least. Right? We talk about a billion things other than the fact there are, within driving distance, there are kids in cages. This is that kind of individualism that oppression — that oppressors — thrive on. And that’s what we have to turn our attention to, or at least take our efforts, whatever our individual assertion is, whatever our talents, our interests, whatever our skills, and synthesize it with some kind of acknowledgment of the total social picture.

This is what I’m at the gate yelling.

Maybe people feel like they have to turn a blind eye in order to function in society.

Right, definitely. In order to fit your psyche in the structure, it requires you to take some of your mind and leave it at home. And this is how we’re socialized. This is what’s rewarded, right?

To not acknowledge the humanity of some is rewarded. And really it’s been rewarded since the settler colonial project began. And when you look at what’s not rewarded, nine times out of ten, it’s people who decide that what’s going to be the center of their day is the humanity of all.

Some might call them revolutionaries, but that’s really all it is, right? Someone who’s just entering everybody’s humanity. Because if I center everybody’s humanity, well, now my day looks different. I’m going to have to do something different with it.

Regarding his forthcoming collection Blood in the Fog, Mahogany L. Browne said,

“San Francisco Poet Laureate is only a title unless you are willing to fight for a people’s freedom. These poems be an archive of survival. These poems be a bridge. And they do the profound work of serving an eclipse of literary measure. Whether speaking rhyme in slant, calling forward Medgar Evers, or the spirituality of an oppressed people, Eisen-Martin offers stanza after stanza as a sunrise. Each poem leads us towards our liberation. This means these poems are heavy in their desire to free our current state of stoic apathy. This means Tongo Eisen-Martin’s poetic legacy will live forever.”

Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.

The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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