Artists' Television Access

The California Chronicles

Thursday, May 10, 2012, 8:00 pm, $6-$10 sliding scale

The California Chronicles is the true story of sublime nature writ large across the West, and writ small on the page. The concept is simple: since May, three friends—Bob Glass, Darryl Jones, and Eliot Rose—have been chronicling their journeys into California nature, both around the Bay Area and further afield, and keeping a blog with sketches, poems, and prose from these excursions. Instead of describing their experiences with nature in terms of numbers like latitudes, longitudes, miles hiked and elevation gained, Glass, Jones, and Rose distill them to images and poems. Their aim is to restore a spirit of discovery to an age where every inch of the terrain is mapped by GPS and guidebooks.



This show celebrates a year of chronicling with a retrospective of the trio’s favorite images, haiku, and stories. The California Chronicles have taken inspirations from magic lantern lectures that were produced by artists and writers like Walter McClintock and Laura Gilpin in the early twentieth century, which stirred romantic notions of the disappearing western frontier among urban Americans. Glass, Jones, and Rose present themselves as explorers returning from the far-off land of California; not the state of suburbs and malls that is familiar to many, but a green and granite country full of wonder.

This nod to the past is more than just nostalgia. Many of the state parks that were established throughout the last century to preserve stretches of the disappearing frontier are now threatened with closure due to California’s budget crisis. One goal of the California Chronicles is to help keep these threatened areas open by spreading the word and showcasing their wonders, just as the writings of John Muir and the photographs of William Henry Jackson sparked the creation of the first national parks. Toward that end, proceeds from the show will go to the Portola and Castle Rock Foundation, which aims to save two state parks in the Bay Area that have been a source of inspiration for The California Chronicles and for many others.