Bruce Tomb makes it official and cuts the ribbon for the parklet. Photo by Cristiano Valli

Sunday was the ribbon cutting for the Valencia art wall’s new parklet by Bruce Tomb, the curator and creator of the art wall that lives on the face of the old Mission jail that has been his home and architecture studio since 1996.

The parklet won’t actually have seats, but it does have two podiums that face one another and that anyone can alight and hold forth.

The Phantom Mariachi and Guillermo Gómez-Peña stepped up early in the afternoon. After being introduced by artist René Yañez, the Phantom swaggered with a whip;Gómez-Peña took out a microphone and offered a silent scream/speech.

A few people walked by – one screeched and laughed. Others just watched. Tomb has been chronicling the art wall here and here.

The afternoon went on. If others have videos of later speeches, please send them on and we will post. Here is what we caught.

The Phantom Mariachi

Rene Yanez introducing the Phantom Mariachi at the Aug. 2, 2015 inauguration of the Art Wall’s parklet.

A performance by Gómez-Pena

Guillermo Gomez Pena at the inauguration of the Art Wall on Valencia Street, Aug. 2, 2015.

Photo by Cristiano Valli
Patrick made and handed out free posters. Photo by Cristiano Valli
Photo by Cristiano Valli
Photo by Cristiano Valli
The performers. Photo by Lydia Chávez
The phantom and Gómez-Peña  . Photo by Lydia Chávez

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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