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Sunday, March 6, 2011

California residents: Save sharks, save the oceans - support AB 376

The Times has a story in today's paper about the Assembly bill to help protect live sharks from having their fins cut off before they're thrown back to die in the water. This practice isn't only cruel, it's threatening the species and the health of ocean ecosystems worldwide, and it's growing as the Chinese middle class swells and demand for shark fin soup rises. 

The bill, supported by a consensus of environmentalists, scientists and animal advocates, is cosponsored by Assemblymember Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), which should lend at least some comfort and cover to those of us concerned about the multicultural issues this legislation treads on. 

Opposed to the legislation is Senator Leland Yee, who would like to become San Francisco's next mayor. In my email to him (find him here and here, I suggest that the prospects of running for that post from an anti-environmental, pro-animal cruelty posture will be precarious. 

More about what you can do to help the sharks here:

Dear Senator Yee, 

I urge you to reconsider your stand on AB 376. I recognize the importance of the issue to the Chinese-American community, but the environmental and animal-cruelty issues here are too grave to ignore. 

I am sure I don't stand alone in saying that this issue will be determinative in deciding whom to support in future elections. There isn't that much that differentiates candidates in my native city of San Francisco, but environmental and animal-cruelty issues are so emotional they will flip a vote in a heartbeat. 

Yours sincerely,

Paul Festa
3482 22nd Street, Apt. B
San Francisco, CA  94110

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Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”The New Yorker; “Stunning”Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des R├ęcollets.