“Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”  ~Bertolt Brecht

BLESSED UNREST: a day of arts, activism and community

-Meet organizations to volunteer with

-Experience Incredible Art

-Connect with Community

This year's event explores the question, “How can we make a difference in our local communities while continuing to resist the current oppressive administration?” 

What to expect:
• 10 performances by incredible bay artists working at the intersection of art and social change, including Embodiment Project, Dance Brigade and Youth Speaks
• Leading nonprofits showcasing their organizations and recruiting for volunteers
• Breakout sessions for attendees to connect and other empowering community activities

Presenting Artists Include: Embodiment Project, Marvin K. White, Dance Brigade, Shea Freedom, Eileen M Torrez from Youth Speaks, Sean San Jose, Larry Bogad, Deezbaa O’Hare, Melanie DeMore, Frankie Lee III

Presenting Organizations Include: Code Tenderloin, Glide, 826 Valencia, Larkin St. Youth, St. Anthony’s, HERliograph, Seismic Sisters, GreenPeace, Rebuilding Together SF, Bioneers, St. Francis Homelessness Challenge

Come for half day or full day!

Session 1: 11-2pm
Performances by: Marvin K. White, Larry Bogad, Deezbaa O’Hare, Frankie Lee III
Closing Concert with: Shea Freedom

Session 2: 3:15-6:15pm
Performances by: Embodiment Project, Dance Brigade, Eileen M Torrez/Youth Speaks, Sean San Jose
Closing community song circle with Melanie DeMore

JOIN US FOR AN OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION on Friday Feb 23rds w/ a community open mic hosted by Skywatchers in the Tenderloin National Forest (509 Ellis St), 5:30-7pm. Skywatchers is performance-based ensemble of Tenderloin residents. Celebrate community and our shared humanity as we break bread, drum, dance, sing, and share our stories, truths, and talents at the mic. All are welcome to perform. 

Tickets: $10-$35

Blessed Unrest is made possible through generous support of the Zellerbach Community Arts Grant and HERliograph- 'Reflecting the light on everyday heroines' Learn more at: www.herliograph.com





Blessed Unrest is made possible through generous support of the Zellerbach Community Arts Grant and HERliograph- 'Reflecting the light on everyday heroines' Learn more at www.herliograph.com


Participating Artists Include:


Embodiment Project

Embodiment Project is a hip hop dance theater company based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our mission is to promote an appreciation and understanding of various street dance forms by presenting original, multi-media works to diverse audiences while challenging traditional approaches to concert dance. We use movement, live song, theater, and spoken word to create emotionally transparent and autobiographical narratives that serve as unifying political acts and vehicles for social change. 



Shea Freedom

In song or as a speaker, you can find Freedom advocating for foster youth, transgender and environmental issues.

Born in Los Angeles Freedom was raised in California’s foster care system where he was subject to 28 different placements. Like 68% of foster youth, Freedom emancipated into homelessness. No doubt the early instability would prepare him for the fast paced life on the road. He has found his home on stages across the nation. Freedom has traveled solo all over the United States via thumb and motorcycle, collecting stories from the back of shrimp boats in the Gulf of Mexico to the festivals upon the shores of Hawaii. Freedom brought the love on tour in 2016 opening for world renowned artist Trevor Hall in Arizona & California.

As a member of the LGBTQ community Freedom was awarded the 2016 Rising Star Award by Black Trans Men Inc and has shared the stage with renowned LGBTQ artist Goddess & She who were featured on the Showtime hit series "The L Word." In 2015 Freedom was invited by sisters Chloe & Leah of Rising Appalachia to tour in AZ, CA and CO. You can find Freedom out sharing songs and workshops at festivals alongside artist such as, Nahko & Medicine For The People, Arise Roots, Earth Guardians, Tribal Seeds, Dustin Thomas, Mike Love and many more influential artist.



Melanie DeMore

Melanie DeMore: Vocal Activist - is one of the most outstanding vocal artists of today helping to preserve the African American Folk Tradition through song and Gullah stick pounding. She was the subject of a documentary called 'Stick and Pound which showcases this tradition.She has a career spanning 30 years dedicated to teaching, lecturing, mentoring, conducting, directing and inspiring children and adults about the power of song as social and political change. Melanie is a sought after presenter, conductor and soloist at national and international choral and music festivals, including Festival 500 in NewFoundland, Canada and Chorus America.

She is sought after as a song/ prayer facilitator, creating spontaneous choirs for The Trinity Institute, The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and the Powell Foundation as well as many varied spiritual and faith based organizations.She is adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies, lead teaching artist for CalPerformances at UC Berkeley, a featured presenter for SpeakOut! the Institute for Social and Cultural Change and the Artistic Conductor of The Oakland Children’s Community Choir with Living Jazz. She was a founding member of the Grammy nominated, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir and has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with such varied artists as Odetta, Richey Havens, Pete Seeger, the Trinity Choir, MUSE Cincinatti Women's Chorus and many others. Melanie DeMore is a singer/songwriter, composer, conductor and vocal activist, who believes in the power of voices raised together.

She says:
'A song can hold you up when there seems to be no ground beneath you".


Sean San José

Sean San José is co-founder of Campo Santo, the award-winning resident theater company of San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts. Program Director of Theatre for Intersection for the Arts, San José has helped create and curate a new program called the Hybrid Project, formed to bring together artists of all genres, merging differing and emerging styles of performance in order to find a new performance language. He also conceived the theater project Pieces of the Quilt, a collection of short plays confronting the AIDS epidemic. San José organized and created the AIDS Service Arts organization Alma Delfina Group-Teatro Contra el SIDA, to distribute funds and present benefit performances. As Founding Director he has worked, commissioning these pieces and then presenting the plays in theatres, schools, libraries, clinics and community centers. He has recently been awarded one of the Audrey Skirball-Kennis TIME Grant Awards to support the development of his new work. He has also been awarded a San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Commission, two residencies at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from the Wattis Artist Residency, a Bay Area Critics’ Circle Award, the DramaLogue Award, Backstage West, the Cable Car Award, and the Bay Guardian Goldie Artistic Achievement in Theatre Award. Productions he has conceived, created and produced have also garnered numerous awards in excellence, including; the Bay Area Reporter Best of the Season, Cable Car Award, DramaLogue and Bay Area Critics’ Circle Award.

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Deezbaa Andrea O'Hare

Deezbaa Andrea O'Hare is of Diné (Navajo), Shoshone and Irish-Swedish ancestry. Her work within indigenous community-led wellness programs, native foodways, cultural and healing arts, and women's circles has deepened her commitment to wellness spaces, creative artivism, indigenous rights, and strengthening environmental integrity. She has worked with many change-making organizations that revitalize native lifeways, are dedicated to youth and women's empowerment, creative arts expression and are leading solutions rooted in social justice and change. Deezbaa has shared performances at the Native American Arts Festival at Idyllwild Arts Academy, Blessed Unrest Festival 2016, Bioneers 2016, San Francisco Unified School District Indian Education Program, and many community-based art and cultural spaces. She learns from the collective creative expression, beauty, and strength of her ancestors, elders, relatives and community.

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Dance Brigade

Founded in Oakland in 1984, Dance Brigade is the Bay Area’s original feminist, political dance theater company known for works that explore the intersection between art and social issues through the creative elements of ballet, modern dance, martial arts, song, text, visuals and Taiko drumming. Under the artistic direction of Krissy Keefer, Dance Brigade works address issues such as war, poverty, the environment, women’s history, death and dying, spirituality, racism, and homophobia, while also provide inspiring messages of hope, resistance and solidarity. In 1998, Dance Brigade took over the management of Dance Mission Theater at 24th and Mission in San Francisco, which has since become a cultural hub for many different communities and includes adult and youth dance instruction programs, studio and rehearsal space, a fully equipped 140-seat black box theater, and the Grrrl Brigade, a performing ensemble and arts education program for girls aged 6-18.


GRRRL Brigade

GRRRL Brigade is an intensive dance and leadership development program designed to provide high quality dance training, performance opportunities, and a sense of self-empowerment for San Francisco girls ages 9 to 18. Our goal is to give the girls, their parents, and our audience the inspiration, magic, and hope only evocative dance theater can spark in creating a just and peaceful world. The program provides instruction in diverse dance forms and taiko drumming, performance opportunities, a chance for girls to create and present original works on issues relevant to their lives, pre-professional coaching, and paid internships in the arts. GRRRL Brigade was founded in 2004 by Dance Brigade to extend its mission of building community through the arts by creating and teaching dance-theater that explores complex issues confronting contemporary Americans. The program was originally for girls 13 - 18 years and received such great support and encouragement from the families and our audiences that in 2006 we expanded to include girls 9 - 12 years old. Starting with 10 girls in 2004, we currently now have over 80 participants.


Frankie Lee III

Frankie Lee III received his BFA from the North Carolina School of the Arts & has since then been a bi-costal freelance dancer, performer, choreographer, faculty assistant & dance teacher/instructor. His brand is, “.fLEE dance” which stands for fleeked, loving, enlightened & educating. He has dance for "dawsondancesf", "dendy/donovan projects", "Zest Collective", "Emote Dance Theater", "RAWdance SF", "Rising Rhythm Project", "Juxtashade", "Man Dance Company", “Gaspard & Dancers” & many more. He has taught classes/workshops at Alonzo King Lines Ballet Dance Center/Training Program, Dance Brigades Dance Mission, RAE Studios, SF MOMA & many more. He has attended & assisted faculty for the American Dance Festival, Springboard Danse Montreal, CSSSA, Alonzo King Lines Ballet Dominican University/Training Program/Summer Session.


Marvin K. White

Marvin K. White, MDiv, is currently the Public Theologian in Residence ('17-'18) at First Church Berkeley and a recent Yerba Buena Center for the Arts “Equity” Fellow ('16-'17). He is the author of four collections of poetry: Our Name Be WitnessStatus; and the two Lammy-nominated collections last rights and nothin’ ugly fly. He is articulating a vision of social, prophetic and creative justice through his work as a poet, artist, teacher, collaborator, preacher, cake baker, and Facebook Statustician.


Larry Bogad

L.M. Bogad is Professor of political performance at U.C. Davis. He is the author of the books Tactical Performance: Serious Play and Social Movements and Electoral Guerrilla Theatre, and the play COINTELSHOW: A Patriot Act. He was “Art and Controversy” Fellow at Carnegie Mellon and “Humanities and Political Conflict” Fellow at Arizona State University. Bogad is a veteran of the Lincoln Center Director’s Laboratory and cofounder of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army. He has performed on many picket lines in roles such as Saint Francis, Ronald McDonald and the Angry Banker. Bogad has written and performed for the Yes Men, La Pocha Nostra, Reclaim the Streets and many other groups. He has performed in major museums and occupied buildings, and lectured and led performance-activist workshops internationally including in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Spain, and the UK. He is the world’s best, worst, and only economusician.



Skywatchers - a performance-based ensemble of Tenderloin residents—for our first open mic of the new year! Celebrate community and our shared humanity as we break bread, drum, dance, sing, and share our stories, truths, and talents at the mic. All are welcome to perform. February 23, 2018 from 5:30-7 PM at the Tenderloin National Forest (509 Ellis Street).

About Skywatchers:

Founded ABD Productions in 2011 in partnership with Community Housing Project (CHP) and the Luggage Store Gallery, Skywatchers brings residents of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District into partnership with professional artists to create multi-disciplinary, site-specific performance installations that amplify the rich and complex stories, life experiences, and talents of community members.

Skywatchers is structured on the belief that relationships are the first site of social change. We believe that large-scale transformation begins with intimate, interpersonal exchange. We believe in the power of art and collective creative endeavors to transform lives, embody our interconnectedness, and infuse our lives with agency, possibility, and increased vitality.


Eileen M Torrez

Eileen M Torrez: Born and raised in Corrales, New Mexico, Eileen Torrez has made the Bay Area her home and the artist-activist community her family. Her poetry plays on themes of empowering all women, navigating truth and identity within a capitalist society, and uniting all people in the struggle for genuine liberation. Eileen is primarily a vocalist and songwriter, performing a blend of acoustic folk-pop and R&B-infused originals on her classical guitar. You can listen to her music and watch videos of her poetry at www.eileentorrez.com





Youth Speaks

Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Youth Speaks has long championed a local, national, and increasingly global movement of young people picking up pens and stepping proudly onto stages, declaring themselves present. Through the intersection of arts education and youth development practices, civic engagement strategies, and high-quality artistic presentation, Youth Speaks creates safe spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of societal change.



Participating Organizations Include:



826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. Our main goals are to close the academic achievement gap for under-resourced youth in the Bay Area, provide the tools and resources necessary for success in school and beyond, connect caring adults to young people in need of individualized support, and make the path to college and career less of a leap. With this in mind, we offer a range of programs, all free of charge, for students, classrooms, and schools in the Bay Area.



Rebuilding Together San Francisco

Rebuilding Together San Francisco is a local non-profit that believes every person, no matter their income, deserves a safe and healthy home. We bring together volunteers, companies and city agencies to improve the home lives of San Francisco residents through home repair and safety modifications. 


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Code Tenderloin

Code Tenderloin works with individuals left out of San Francisco’s economic gains to prepare, stabilize, and teach them job readiness and life skills for entering the workforce giving members of our community radical opportunities. Our goal is to increase employment rates for men and women of color, formerly incarcerated or homeless individuals, and to provide them with support needed to get them employed – and ultimately into a meaningful career.


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Larkin Street Youth Services

Larkin Street Youth Services works with young people experiencing homelessness to provide a continuum of care, including outreach, housing, education, employment, and wellness services, as well as a robust art program. The impact of this model is unparalleled with three out of four young people who complete our programs exit homelessness. Larkin Street Youth Services’ Art Program involves staff and community artists hosting individual and group classes, workshops and mentoring in Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Community Engaged Art practice, Music (guitar, piano, percussion, vocal arts), Music Production, Sewing and Design and Media Arts. Community partners include: Skywatchers, Cutting Ball Theater, Root Division and others.

Contact: Krista DeNio, Manager, Art Program & Youth Advisory Board | kdenio@larkinstreetyouth.org

Dedicated volunteers help us provide nationally recognized services to young people experiencing homelessness. We aim to find opportunities which connect your experience and interests with our needs. We offer traditional and out-of-the-box ways to engage. There are minimal opportunities to work directly with our young people due to security and confidentiality concerns. We hope you understand. If you have an unexpected skill, please share and we’ll try to get creative!

Contact: Clare Armbruster, Corporate & Community Engagement Manager | volunteer@larkinstreetyouth.org




Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. We bear witness to environmental destruction in a peaceful, non-violent manner. We use non-violent confrontation to raise the level and quality of public debate. In exposing threats to the environment and finding solutions we have no permanent allies or adversaries. We ensure our financial independence from political or commercial interests.


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Glide has been a pillar in the Tenderloin community for more than 50 years, with a mission of being a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization. Our methodology is radically simple: love, acceptance, and compassion, which we apply through programs in Wellness, Growth, Spirit, and Leadership.


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HERliograph is a word we created by Ms.-appropriating from he·lio·graph, a signaling device that reflects beams of light to send a message.  We found it a fitting name to capture the work of lighting up women whose stories amplify the light in us all.   Welcome to HERliograph, where we celebrate unseen or under appreciated women, who by being true to who they are have lit up the lives of those around them.  We believe in women everywhere from all walks of life shining their light, reflecting and sustaining our humanity.  Visit herliograph.com for heroic stories.



St. Anthony’s

St. Anthony’s is an organization providing essential support to San Franciscans living in poverty. We believe that supporting people in need makes the city a better place to live. Every day, with dignity and respect, we offer thousands of the most vulnerable among us the basics we all need to feel human: a hot meal, fresh clothing, an opportunity to connect with the world around us. We bring people together in this work because we know it takes a community to break down barriers and create a society where all people flourish.



Seismic Sisters

Seismic Sisters is a feminist newsletter spotlighting artists and activists shaking up the San Francisco Bay Area for good. Seismic Sisters delivers a mix of art, politics, events, and community building ideas to keep the movement informed and energized. Created by Kim Christensen, the idea sprang from her efforts to create a community of women who gather together to become more politically active and connected. Seismic Sisters is becoming a source of ideas and inspiration for feminists pushing for progress. Subscribe to the newsletter at www.SeismicSisters.org


Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge

Join Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge and the growing coalition of current and former encampment residents, community leaders, organizations, neighbors, and local businesses who are advocating for SAFE ORGANIZED SPACES on public/private land as alternatives to sidewalk encampments. SAFE ORGANIZED SPACES are community-integrated triage shelter programs with crucial services like individual shelters, security protocol, sanitation, garbage pickup, community guidelines and transitional support that work in partnership with encampment residents, neighbors and City services.




TurnOut amplifies the impact of organizations that support LGBTQ+ communities through the power of volunteerism. We conduct outreach to recruit a robust network of volunteers passionate about queer causes, and we connect those volunteers with opportunities for service focused on queer issues. We work both to support the work of local queer nonprofits and to increase community engagement and service among queer people and allies.


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Economic power is the key to breaking the cycle of exploitation among vulnerable communities. At AnnieCannons, we transform survivors of human trafficking into software professionals through a holistic program that trains and equips survivors to independently support themselves and their families.  We accomplish this mission by (i) training survivors in technology skills up to and including software development, (ii) helping them build earnings and portfolios through our Impact Agency, and (iii) building software solutions alongside them that fight the underlying causes of trafficking.




Bioneers is a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, they provide a forum and social hub for education about solutions presented through the Bioneers Conference and our programs. Their media productions leverage this content to reach millions of people around the nation and the world with their award-winning radio series, Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature; anthology book series; television programs; and our interactive website. We act as a key source for the media, including third-party films and the press. Our DVDs, CDs and other educational materials are also used by colleges and schools and by community-based and other organizations to inform and inspire positive change at the local level.

Genie Cartier is a San Francisco native with a performance background in Chinese acrobatics and aerial rope training. She was the co-creator and star of Genie and Audrey's Dream Show!, an award-winning two-woman circus, which toured fringe festivals in 4 different cities. In 2016, she performed in Crescent Moon Theater's Isabella and the Jewel Divine, a circus theater fable staged in St Gregory's church. Her most recent project is a political comedy duo show with her sister called Yesterday is Tomorrow, which will play at The Marsh Wednesday March 14th, 2018. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in English/ Creative Writing and earned an MFA in Creative Writing/ Poetry from SFSU. Her first novella Fog City Summer ran on brokeassstuart.com as a 6-part serial.