It Began with a BOOM

root - Posted on 29 October 2001

Whispered Media Releases an important new documentary on The Dot-Com Boom in the Bay Area

by Tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia

The movie began with a bang... or should I say, a BOOm.. after a sepia tinged narrator espouses the wonderful attributes of the 1950's in the Bay Area, with the carmel-toned Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop -The audience is jarred out of this moment of collective history into the knife-like images of white men in suits spewing out bullits of real estate statistics at various dot-com conferences, such as the fact that 35% of all the "capital" in the world is here- meaning real estate "capital" and "here" being the Bay Area.

Those kind of strange large statements of financial masturbation were rampant less than a year ago - before the Dot-com- bust, that is, and whenever i overheard them,if i happened to sneak into a yuppie health food store for my daily dose of stolen bulk food, I always got a shudder in my spine- after all, in their "capital"- based reality there was no room for poor folks on welfare like me and my mom, or anyone without wealth privelege and property, for that matter in the crazy world of the Bay Area between 1998 and 2000, instead there was a concerted effort to sweep us out of here. BOOM, The New movie by Whispered Media attempts to chronicle that time from the voices of all concerned - with an emphasis on the organizing efforts of some of the coalitions formed to try to help folks like me not have to go, at least not as fast.

After a few too many of the "suits" the documentary traveled to the "other side" i.e, the organizers, the tenants, the victims of the "the BOOM"

"Most of the immigrant workers I work with live under the bridge, most of the immigrant families i work with live three families to a studio - and are getting evicted by the Dot-Comers" whispered Renee Saucedo from La Raza Centro Legal speaking to the camera until she was halted by tears by the memory of her clients plight, she continued, "we are seeing literally an invasion"

The cameras then travel to the mock funeral of Lola Mckay, an event attended by POOR Magazine staff of "insider" reporters, i.e., all of us were victims of dot-com based evictions. The Lens focused in on Ted Gullickson, a personal hero of mine who outlines the experience of poor 86 year old lola mckay, who died from the heartbreak of being evcited from her long-time residence in the outer mission.
"I loved Lola, because she didn't stop fighting, Ted relates," she said, they can't evict me - where would i go?"

We are then introduced to MAria poblet, Oscar Grande and other staff members from MAC- Mission Anti-displacement Coalition, an or ganizing coalition that grew out of the insane pace of evictions and displacement of low income folks and folks of color from the mission.

We were also introduced to a tenant sufferring from a painful eviction in Oakland - and the way the family attempts to almost be ok with it. I am unclear as to whether the filmakers lost some of the sorrow in the editing floor or the family just couldn't bare to get that deep with the filmakers- but as a gentrification victim, i empathed the families' situation of loss and confusion.

Almost at mid-point in the film we follow one of the filmakers into a potential condo purchase- this was one of the most powerful moments in the film as i start to see a world, intimately that i rarely hear or understand- and not from a perspective of propaganda- like in the begining - but from the "inside" . This position of capitalist-voyeur is thrilling, almost scary, as the realtor lists the "artistic " qualities of the live-work loft which was built on the graves of a thousand poor elders, low income artists and families of color.

The film is a powerful statement on a now-sleeping giant, high-speed gentrification and displacement, a statement that must be made so we as very low income folks with no equity, no property, and little money (read: capital) are prepared for the next invasion

For information on the upcoming showings of BOOM.Call Whispered Media at (415) 626-4942


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