San Jose is working to shed its image as the other city where the John and Jane Does of the tech industry live. It’s redefining itself as a community of collaboration where musicians, small business owners and artists celebrate creativity and cultural diversity. The expansion of local tech companies and small businesses into the downtown area isn’t as contentious as it is in San Francisco. As a result, events like Creative Convergence Silicon Valley (C2SV) and the SoFA Street Fair have emerged in the last couple of years in an effort to bring all kinds of people together.
C2SV is a four-day technology conference and music festival consisting of several micro-events, including tech talks, music showcases and the SoFA Street Fair that take place in the heart of Downtown San Jose. It's been going on for three years, two as a music festival and one as a music and technology event. C2SV is about keeping Silicon Valley innovative, livable and inclusive. Community engagement is an important component of the event. Creative Convergence contributes to 28 An Jose nonprofits, including Children's Discovery Museum, LGBTQ Youth Space and Ballet San Jose.
This weekend will no doubt capture the unique experience of San Jose and how it differs from Silicon Valley's other cities. The event will conclude with the SoFA Street Fair on Sunday. Over 50 artists will perform on three outdoor stages and in multiple indoor venues. This weekend has a lot to offer plus, it's all free. Here are five things not to miss:
1. Talks on some of Silicon Valley's most pressing social issues
The conference kicks off this Thursday (Sept. 11) with a discussion led by Yasha Levine, a tech journalist who coined the term Surveillance Valley. Levine will talk about surveillance and the risks of mass data collection (something was writing about well before Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton’s nude pics started floating around the Internet). Maybe this will be the push you were looking for to finally start encrypting your data.
On Friday, Entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa will give a talk entitled Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology with Elisa Camahort Page of BlogHer. It would be nice for a talk of this nature to address the issue of underrepresented minorities like women, African Americans and Hispanics in tech. It would also be nice for a female speaker to lead the event and share the stage with a male speaker, not the other way around. The talk is still worth attending and hopefully these issues will be addressed.
2. Adam Rogers on alcohol
Rogers is an articles editor at Wired Magazine. He just came out with a book titled Proof: The Science of Booze. He'll open the conference on Thursday, with a talk on the civilizing effects of alcohol. Myths of how alcohol works are so common, it will be nice to sort fact from fiction with this Rogers.
3. Breathing Patterns at the local music showcase
Community is an important aspect of C2SV. The local music showcases provide an environment for Bay Area bands to shine and catch the interest of the musically curious who are looking to bolster their support of local artists. San Jose band Breathing Patterns is slightly more chilled-out than the other rock bands performing in Saturday and Sunday's showcase. Most of their songs, like "Here's to you Dr.Seuss," are slow and dreamy with vocals that blend into the background music. In other tracks, like "Synthetic Hope" off their EP Tin, the guitar and drums are the main focus as they build to an upbeat climax just before the end of the song. Breathing Patterns will play on Sunday (Sept. 14).
Listen to Breathing Patterns' EP Tin.
4. Ruckatan at the Latin Music Showcase
Here's something for world music and fusion lovers who are looking to do a little more than some light swaying and head-bopping. Ruckatan is a Latin Rock group from Alameda. You can experience Ruckatan's dance-oriented blend of Latin, reggae and rock music at Chacho's on Saturday night (Sept. 13). Just try to keep your shoulders still during "Sin Ti":
5. Fishbone at the SoFA Street Fair
Fishbone is headlining Sunday's SoFA Street Fair. They're from LA and have been around on the alternative scene for a few decades. These guys blur the musical and cultural lines between punk rock, ska, and funk. Plus, they're great performers. Here’s Fishbone performing a couple of weeks ago at AFROPUNK in Brooklyn, NY:
Creative Convergence Silicon Valley runs Sept. 11-14, 2014 at various venues in downtown San Jose. For more information, visit c2sv.com.