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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Celebrate Filthy, Disease-Ridden Street Pigeons -- With Pot-Luck Dinner!

Posted By on Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 7:30 AM

Happy Year of the Urban Street Pigeon! - IMIN YEH
  • Imin Yeh
  • Happy Year of the Urban Street Pigeon!
Who can name all the cultural luminaries with an inordinate fondness for street pigeons? There's Bert the Muppet, Mike Tyson, Terry Malloy from On the Waterfront ... well, that's three. Good enough for a trend story.

Yet this is not a trend story. A cavalcade of San Franciscans with a fondness for dirty, disheveled, hobbling, malodorous, destructive, swarming street pigeons will soon be gathering -- and celebrating their common obsession with food. Will pigeon be on the menu as well as the mind? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, don't tell Mike Tyson.

As bemused visitors of BART's event-finder "My BART" Web site may have noticed long ago, the food-centric Mission community art space 18 Reasons is hosting a "Year of the Urban Street Pigeon" pot-luck and festival from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday. While the in-house text advertising the event mentions Muni-flattened birds and a "street food" feast in the same sentence, rest easy: No one will be scraping dinner off 18th and Guerrero. That's not what's meant by "street food," apparently.

"If people bring pigeon [for the pot luck], it won't be the pigeon you and I run away from. It won't be roadkill," insists 18 Reasons co-curator Rosie Branson Gill. "I know there are roadkill food festivals around the country, but..." Her voice trails off. Long story short: This isn't one of them.

What's going on instead is an opening night event for local artist Imin Yeh's "PowerAnimal New Year Celebration" -- a series of Bizzaro World Chinese New Year animal totems including the "Three-Toed Sloth," Angler Fish," and, yes, "The Urban Street Pigeon."

Yeh's work, the curator notes, "investigates identity and the commodification of Chinese culture." And, if anyone brings a cooked, domesticated pigeon, then there's a tie-in to the commodification of pigeons, too.

But don't tell Mike Tyson.

Image   |   Imin Yeh

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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