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Take a culture “trip” at OMCA’s Summer Nights

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Climbing
up the steps of a bus painted in swirling, psychedelic colors, I
paused, then pulled back the velvet curtain obscuring the vehicle's
interior.

Although
it was parked in front of OMCA, and not rolling through
the streets on one of its magical multimedia tours, The Magic Bus
momentarily took me to another place. A hippy, trippy mobile theater
that whisks passengers away on a unique historical tour of San
Francisco's grooviest streets, it transported me to the 1960s via window
shades that doubled as video screens, snippets of an engaging audio
tour and the music of the era. 

Which
was a wholly appropriate place to "visit" given that the bus was at the
museum during a night of activities centering on two current
exhibitions "The 1968 Exhibit" and its companion show "All of Us or
None: Social Justice Posters of the San Francisco Bay Area."

Billed
as Summer Nights the event occurs final Fridays and features
demonstrations, talks, free films and other programming that enhances
what's on display in the galleries. It's also a fun way to spend an
evening. 

That's
what I did last month when I boarded The Magic Bus before checking out
the rest of the night's offerings, which included a silkscreen
demonstration by artist Jeff Boozer in the "All of None" gallery.
Families sat
a table making art while people milled around looking at the plethora
of vintage silk-screened posters on display. Others grabbed freshly-made
prints from a stack and brought them to Boozer to sign.

Then
it was off to "The 1968 Exhibit" where museum goers gathered around the
Huey helicopter and kicked back on bean bags to catch snippets of
classic TV. Danielle Dowers was there, checking out the "Resurrection
City" display.

An
East Bay resident, Danielle said she'd come to see the exhibit because
her brother was DJ'ing at the museum that night. There was a lot to
digest in the show, she said, and recalled being a 9-year-old in 1968. 

"I remember Vietnam. I remember MLK being shot," she said. "I remember being fearful."

Hannah
Tandeta and friends were teenagers in 1968 and laughed and pointed as
they made their way through the exhibit. "It's just great," Tandeta said
about the show. "We keep seeing things we own; that were in our parents
house. It's all so familiar."

"I
thought it was an astounding display," said Jenny. "So much genuine
sadness and so much patriotism." Edin recalled the musical "Hair" and
said nothing's changed. "It's not like we solved the issues," she said.
"It's all so familiar."

Next
was the Gallery of California Art, which like the Gallery of California
History, is open on "Summer Nights," then it was the Daniel Clowes
exhibit before drifting out into the Oak Street Plaza. The sky was a
deep lavender and people sat
in chairs, watching Sidney Poitier and Katherine Hepburn's characters
work out their differences in the classic 1968 film "Guess Who's Coming
to Dinner." It was the perfect end to a culture-filled "Summer" evening.

Catch the next "Summer Nights" tonight, Friday, June 27!
The Magic Bus will be parked in front of the museum and artists and
museum staffers Lisa Silberstein and Anthony Pinata will offer a
silkscreen demonstration in the "All of Us or None" exhibit beginning at
6 p.m. Graphic novelists Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware will be talking
with OMCA senior curator of art Réne de Guzman and curator Susan Miller
at 7 p.m. in the James Moore Theater. A book signing follows. And plan
on staying for the film "Funny Girl" which is screening under the stars
in the Oak Street Plaza from 8:30 - 10:30 p.m.