Keep On Pushing: How Art Helps Us Overcome Life's Obstacles

Dear Reader,

Life throws all sorts of obstacles at us, and somehow, we find a way to overcome them.

In the case of East Bay musician Dax Pierson, who was partially paralyzed in a car accident while on tour, overcoming obstacles meant learning to compose music on an iPad. As you'll learn in Nastia Voynovskaya's profile this week, the hip-hop keyboardist could have given up entirely. The fact that he remained committed to his music — and has now released his first album in over a decade — seems to me to be a distinctly Bay Area story of determination.

Other obstacles aren't physical, but mental. For immigrants and people of color, "go back to where you came from" — echoed in the president's racist tweets last week — sets up psychological barriers that are hard to overcome. Still, other obstacles are financial, like Oakland's further cuts to its arts funding, even as the city enjoys a prosperous boom of development.

If you've ever suspected there was some secret obstacle to being able to buy concert tickets at face value, well, you were right: concert behemoth Live Nation last week admitted to placing thousands of tickets directly on the scalper's market to increase profits. And when it comes to literal obstacles, BART's new "inverse guillotine" turnstiles to thwart fare evaders have everyone talking about the concept of hostile design, and what it says about who is and isn't welcome in a city.

Of course, there's one person who taught a lot of us how to overcome obstacles at a young age. The upcoming Mr. Rogers movie stars none other than East Bay-raised Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, and if you need some encouragement with whatever obstacle you're facing, watch the trailer here.

Here's hoping that you're finding ways to keep on pushing. You can always email me here, and let us know how we're doing.

Gabe Meline, Senior Arts Editor

 

 

 

Gabe Meline
Senior Editor, Arts
@gmeline

 

 

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TRENDING

BART's Fare Evasion Crackdown Exposes the 'Deadly Elegance' of Hostile Design

By Lina Blanco

BART's "inverted guillotine" gates to prevent fare-evasion have sparked backlash on social media as an egregious example of hostile design.
BART's "inverted guillotine" gates to prevent fare-evasion have sparked backlash on social media as an egregious example of hostile design. (Lina Blanco / KQED)

Once you see it, you can't unsee it. San Francisco is known as a hub of hostile architecture and design. Experts say BART's new pilot "inverted guillotine" gates are a prime example of hostile design at play.

See more


NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW

 

'It's Criminal': Cultural Funding Cuts Frustrate Oakland Artists

 

'It's Criminal': Cultural Funding Cuts Frustrate Oakland Artists 
By Sam Lefebvre

 

Mayan Fashion a Feast for the Eyes in San Jose

 

Mayan Fashion a Feast for the Eyes in San Jose 
By Rachael Myrow

 

Metallica's Secret Deal with Live Nation Reveals How Artists Scalp Their Own Tickets

 

Metallica's Secret Deal with Live Nation Reveals How Artists Scalp Their Own Tickets 
By Nastia Voynovskaya

 

Watch Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers in the Trailer for 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood'

 

Watch Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers in the Trailer for 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood' 
By Gabe Meline

 


In Vallejo, 'Bureaucratic Bullying' Threatens a Nature Preserve and Unlikely Arts Hub

By Sam Lefebvre

Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve acts as an enclave for artists and naturalists alike. But new development and "bureaucratic bullying" threaten the future of arts and conservation on the island.


Dax Pierson's New Album Confronts a Near-Death Experience and Turbulent Recovery

By Nastia Voynovskaya

On 'Live in Oakland,' lurching synths and mechanical percussion convey the challenging emotions of Dax Pierson's recovery from a debilitating accident.

14 years after a serious accident that left him practically paralyzed in all four limbs, Dax Pierson has released a solo debut under his real name — his first album in 11 years.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

 

Rare Footage of Black Panthers, California Activism Digitized by Oakland Library

 

Rare Footage of Black Panthers, California Activism Digitized by Oakland Library
By Sam Lefebvre

 

Navigating Burnout? Rapper Call Me Ace Has a Few Ideas

 

Navigating Burnout? Rapper Call Me Ace Has a Few Ideas
By Pendarvis Harshaw

 

The Impossible Task of Keeping Amy Winehouse Alive, 8 Years After Her Death

 

The Impossible Task of Keeping Amy Winehouse Alive, 8 Years After Her Death 
By Rae Alexandra

 


The Timeless Feminism of Sarah Connor in 'Terminator 2'

By Rae Alexandra

When Terminator 2: Judgment Day was first released in 1991, I went to see it four times: two days in a row the weekend it came out, and two weekends in a row after that.

The reason I kept coming back? Sarah Connor. Beautiful, unhinged, muscle-flexing, pull-up-doing, one-handed-shotgun-loading Sarah Connor.

Read More


WHAT WE'RE READING

 

The Dominance of the White Male Critic via New York Times
How "Hot Girl Summer" Became Everyone's Favorite Meme Overnight via Buzzfeed News
Warren Kanders Resigns as Whitney Trustee After Protests Over Tear Gas via Gothamist
Oakland Homelessness Surges 47% — Per-Capita Number Now Higher Than SF and Berkeley via San Francisco Chronicle
Inside Hushed Museum Hallways, a Rumble Over Pay Grows Louder via New York Times
Jia Tolentino Explains It All via Elle
'Go Back to Where You Came From': Our Readers Recall Racist Taunts From Their Lives via Los Angeles Times


KQED ARTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

In honor of Fred Rogers' upcoming biopic starring Tom Hanks, KQED asked audiences which other PBS icons deserve their own movies, and which celebrities should play them?

Let's just say we had a suggestion of our own.

LeVarBurton

LeVar Burton's response

 

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