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Here Is Where I Walk: The Walk as Re-creation in the City

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Thu, Dec 13, 2018
4–6 pm
(free and open to the public)

Yerba Buena. Beautiful garden. It was San Francisco’s first European name, offered by the Spanish missionaries and soldiers who arrived to create a fort or presidio. How does beauty in an urban context align with ideas of entertainment and recreation? This walk, led by Leslie Carol Roberts, will focus on ideas of “re-creation” and how we walk to “re-create” ourselves and on how we adjust our gaze and disposition when we walk deliberately and with the lens of the “voyager” as opposed to the “worker.”

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It is in the Presidio National Park in San Francisco, California, that Leslie Carol Roberts walks. The Presidio, America’s only residential national park tucked wholly into an urban setting, is a fading historic forest. Here is where Leslie’s memories of other places, people, and travels emerge. Here is where the author’s home has been for more than a decade and here is the place she raised her two children as a single mother.

In this thickly textured literary treasure, Leslie turns her daily journeys, rich with observation and recollection, into revelations of deeper meaning. Through her daily walks into the Presidio, Leslie accepts the invitation of the beckoning trees and finds herself colliding with the urban coyote, the peculiar banana slug, and the manzanita. She notes both ridiculous and poignant aspects of human ecosystems—parents bragging about Austrian ski vacations, grocery stores packed with nannies—all in pursuit of what it means to live a life of creativity and creation.

The twelve episodes, each connected to a month of the year and interwoven with field notebooks, explore everything from Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone in the fields where he spoke with the birds to the work of Western botanist Alice Eastwood. Leslie reflects on the high school art teacher who first inspired her thinking about aesthetics, the tragic accident that left her severely injured, her subsequent work as a college professor teaching writing, and the loss of a beloved student to cancer. In all this, places of exquisite beauty and complexity provide her with exactly the scaffolding needed to survive, with nature serving as a tonic. Here Is Where I Walk provides a vivid answer to how we can find our place, not only in nature but within ourselves and the world we walk.

Call + Response is an open invitation to Bay Area cultural producers in fields of design, architecture, humanities, civic affairs, urban planning, and more who want to connect with Curatorial Research Bureau to insert their ideas into the public realm for dialogue. The format speaks to a long history of democratic participation, projecting thoughts and ideas in public gatherings where speaking and listening—call and response—are equally valued as essential parts of public discourse.

Earlier Event: November 21
Shoghig Halajian