Providence to pass wide ranging Community Safety Act ordinance

The ordinance passed its first vote, second vote scheduled for June. Summary below was copied from the Providence website [full text of the ordinance]


Key Points of the CSA

Prohibition on racial profiling and other forms of profiling

Police cannot use race, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, physical or mental disability, or serious medical condition as a reason to suspect someone of a crime.

Standardized Encounter Form

Every time police stop someone, they must fill out a card with race, gender, and age of the person stopped; reason for the stop; if there was a search, and the results of the search; how long the stop lasted; results of the stop (ticket, arrest, nothing); and officer’s name and badge number. They must provide a copy of the form to the person who was stopped.

Video Recording by Police

For dashboard cameras, body cameras, and any other devices, recording must start as soon as the officer tells someone to stop, or arrives at the scene where a person is stopped, and recording continues until the stop is ended or that officer leaves. On duty police CANNOT use their personal phones to record anyone unless they are subject to the same policies as department cameras.

Video Recording by People

Police cannot interfere with, harass, or intimidate members of the public who are recording audio or video of police activity in any place that person has a legal right to be.   Any officer who violates this section may be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a jail term of up to 15 days.

Traffic Stops

Police have to tell the driver why s/he was stopped before they ask ask for any documents and can only ask for driver’s license, car registration and proof of insurance, unless they have probable cause of a criminal offense. Police can’t ask passengers for ID without probable cause of a criminal offense. If the only criminal charge is driving without a license, police cannot arrest the person; they can only give the person a summons to appear in court. Traffic violations are not enough to arrest someone.


Police cannot ask for consent to search a person, his or her car, or belongings without probable cause of some criminal activity. Police must ask the person what gender officer is appropriate to search the person. No canine (dog) searches allowed without probable cause of criminal activity.

Surveillance and Privacy

Providence Police cannot collect or store information about individuals or groups, or engage in electronic or physical surveillance, or undercover infiltration, without reasonable suspicion that the activities they are monitoring relate to criminal activity.

Privacy – Youth and Immigrants

Police cannot ask youth for proof of identification beyond name and address and cannot photograph juveniles (except as part of the booking process if the youth is charged with a crime or through the automatic cameras, like the ones used in police cars).  Police may not inquire about an individual’s immigration status, and any identification issued by a government outside the U.S. like a consular ID, foreign driver’s license, or passport, will be accepted the same as an ID from a U.S. government agency.

“Gang” list

Police must have a written, public list of criteria or factors before they mark someone as a “gang” member on any list or database. “Associating” with someone else on the list cannot be one of the factors.   If police put someone on the “gang list” they must send that person a form to appeal. If the person denies being a gang member, the accusation may not be shared with anyone else including schools, courts, or prosecutors. If the person is not convicted of any crime within two years , his or her name must be removed. Every year, Providence Police must produce a report with the total number of people on the “gang list,” and a breakdown by age, race, ethnicity, and gender, and the number of people who have appealed being put on the “gang list.”

Language access

The Police Department will create a language access hotline. Officers who don’t speak a person’s language fluently, may not question that person until a qualified interpreter is present. Police may not use family members, friends or bystanders as interpreters except in emergency. No Police Department employee may serve as interpreter during interrogation. Miranda Warnings, and all other important written materials, will be available to a person in her or his primary language. At each police building signs must be posted in the most commonly spoken languages stating that interpreters are available free of charge.

Collaboration with other law enforcement agencies

Formal agreements between Providence Police and other law enforcement agencies must be approved by City Council and posted to the PPD website. The outside agency must comply with all the terms of this ordinance. No one acting on behalf of the City of Providence shall assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law or gather or disseminate information on the immigration status of individuals. The Providence Police Department will not honor requests by ICE to arrest or detain any individual.

Accountability and Enforcement

Quarterly reports of all violations of this ordinance will be posted on the Police Department website and provided to the City Council. The Providence External Review Authority (PERA) will have power to review and recommend that Public Safety and Police Department budgets be reapportioned toward youth recreation and job training programs for failure to enforce this ordinance.

SanFrancisco Ballet “Cinderella”


Friday, April 28, 2017 SF Opera House

April 28-May 7, 2019

Cinderella” On Stage

San Francisco Ballet’s concluding production of the 2017 season is a remounting of Christopher Wheeldon’s “Cinderella,” last seen here in SF in 2013. It is not the ‘fairy godmother’ Cinderella but it refers to some aspects of the original Grimm fairy tale. Wheeldon makes much of the tree burial site of Cinderella’s mother. The birds who assist Cinderella in the original story become “Fates”. The production is elaborate and complex in its stage effects. It adds two prologues concerning the early years of both Cinderella and the Prince. What saves this current performance was the brilliant dancing of Frances Chung as Cinderella, Joseph Walsh as the Prince and Taras Domitro as the Prince’s friend Benjamin. The choreography is dull;  the dancing great.

Wheeldon’s efforts at making the step-sisters (Sasha De Sola, Ellen Rose Hummel
) and the step-mother (Jennifer Stahl) into funny characters often falls flat, since the humor dissolves into ‘kick in the pants’ action. The step-mother, drunk at the ball, is not funny at all.

But the lovely lyricism that Chung brings to the tile roll is fascinating. She is a fine actress and a brilliant dancer. She brings real but gentle projection to each scene. Walsh matches her, partnering with chivalrous care even through the complex lifts Wheeldon provides. Taras Domitro as the Prince’s friend brings the real comic element to the show. He poses as the Prince so that Cinderella’s character is tested and is a lively jester throughout.

The four “Fates” provide the magic we usually attribute to the Fairy Godmother. (Actually none appears in the original story. The tree and the birds provide the dresses for the ball.)  Daniel Deivson-Oliveira, Francisco Mungumba, Mingxuan Wand and Wei Wang as the “Fates” are masked figures who bring about Cinderella’s release.

The scenic, costume and lighting personnel deserve huge credit and applause for the elements that dominant this production. Julian Crouch is the Scenic and costume designer; Lighting, Natasha Katz, Production design, Daniel Brodies and scenic associate, Frank McCullash. Basil Twist creates a special sequence for the amazing effects to produce a life-like tree and a magic carriage. It is worth of applause and admiration. But, alas, the effects often eclipse the gorgeous dancing.

Martin West and the orchestra provided fine accompaniment for the familiar Prokofiev score. SF Ballet’s “Cinderella” is a visual delight.

Frances Chung and Joseph Walsh in “Cinderella”
Photo: Erik Tomasson








Joanna G Harris, PhD
2714 woolsey st berkeley, ca 94705
510. 205-6065

Risa Jaroslaw & Dancers – “Touch Bass”


Risa Jaroslow & Dancers with Lisa Mezzacappa

ODC Theater San Francisco

April 27-30, 2017

Down to Basses

Dancers often collaborate with musicians as composers, accompanists and performers. We have seen many dances accompanied by pianists onstage, and sometimes small chamber groups. But Jaroslow/Mezzacappa’s “Touch Bass” brings three bass instruments together with three dancers. All six, musicians as well as dancers participate in the delightful playful activity.

Jaroslow’s mother was a bassist and she grew up hearing and seeing the instrument. Mezzacappa is a San Francisco composer, bassist, bandleader and producer. The two had immediate inspiration to “see if we could make them equal presences on stage.” They have succeeded.

The bassists are Mezzacappa, Eric Perney and Matt Small. The dancers are Brendan Barthel, Tara McArthur and Lauren Simpson. (Scott Marlowe helped in the development of the project as a dancer, but could not perform.) All six play together in many ways. The dancers handle the instruments as if they were partners. The musicians respond to the contact of the dancers. At one point the dancers accept the instruments atop their bodies as the musicians ‘pull strings’ to make some extraordinary sound. The process is always very friendly.

McArthur and Simpson take the stage as primary performers. They make contact with each other and the instruments, on the floor with many balances, falls, rolls and jumps. The technique used seems very easy throughout. Barthel joins them occasionally for a trio and adds a dimension of length and strength. During one interval, the three change partners often. This and the many ways they relate to the players, makes for great delight.

Mezzacappa is credited as the composer as well as the main musician. She has accomplished an enchanting challenge for all the artists concerned.

The lighting design for the wide open ODC stage was by Jack Beuttler. Costumes (dancers outfits adapted to look like formal musicians) were by Mary Domenico. All are to be congratulated on their special accomplishments.


Full ensemble in Risa Jaroslow’s “Touch BassMacintosh HD:Users:joanna:Desktop:Full ensemble in Risa Jaroslow and Dancers' Touch Bass. Photo by Margo Moritz.jpg


Joanna G Harris, PhD
2714 woolsey st berkeley, ca 94705
510. 205-6065

Paul Taylor Dance Company


  • SF Performances Yerba Buena Center for the Arts,
  • April 26-30, 2017

Saving Graces

Congratulations to the dancers of the current Paul Taylor Company. Their skill, ensemble and spirit make this current appearance of the group a pleasure to encounter. Although two works on the program (Airs, 1978) and (Syzygy, 1987) have been seen often in past performances, this present group brings new vitality to the old works.

To sections of G.F. Handel’s Concerto Grossi Opus.3, the three men and four women tackle the familiar vocabulary Taylor has used in the last sixty years of dance making … the tilted torso, the small leaps and runs, soft falls, fast footwork and charming couple duets. Although the music is taped and sometimes too fast for some sections, “Airs” is a lovely series of lyrical episodes. Yet, the bare chested men and the nude-looking tops of the women may not be quite appropriate for the baroque nature of the music. Laura Halzack is outstanding as the soloist in “Airs.”

Syzygy is defined as “the nearly straight line configuration of three or more celestial bodies in a gravitational system.” The dance vocabulary here feels as if it comes from ‘cool’ ‘80s’ dance halls. It is full of ‘hang-loose’ shoulders, fighting, flailing arms, bent knees and a general wildness of gesture and relationships. The piece seems to revolve around Madelyn Ho, a small but powerful dancer who may hold the ‘gravitational system” in course. Today’s audience would call it a ‘fun’ piece.

Nothing is fun about the world premiere “The Open Door.” Taylor has sometimes succeeded with dramatic works, but this is a dud. Michael Novak is the host in some sort of party whose guests include a fat lady, a gay man, a child, an old man and woman, an athlete, a soldier, a child and undistinguished others. Each has his/her dancing turn, with or without the host. No drama ensues. There is unpleasant satire with the fat lady and the men fighting.

Although set to Elgar’s “Enigma Variations,” “The Open Door” has no charm, limited dancing and less impact. It should be stored away.

The fine company members of The Paul Taylor Dance Company are:

Michael Trusnovec, Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson, Michelle Fleet, Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney, Eran Bugge, Francisco Graciano, Laura Halzack, Jamie Rae Walker, Michael Apuzzo, Michael Novak, Heather McGinley, George Smallwood, Christina Lynch Markham, Madelyn Ho, and Kristin Draucker. Applause for them all.

Taylor employs an accomplished artist whose work shines through, no matter what the work. Lighting is by the great Jennifer Tipton. Costumes are for “Syzygy” by Santo Loquasto and for this performance “Airs” costumes were by Gene Moore, “The Open Door” by William Ivey Long.

A mix of old and new works continues through the week. The best will be offered on Saturday and Sunday; “Esplanade” (!975) to music by Bach.


Photo: Paul B. Goode

Eran Bugge (left), Robert Kleinendorst and Laura Halzack perform “Airs.”


Joanna G Harris, PhD
2714 woolsey st berkeley, ca 94705
510. 205-6065

San Francisco Ballet – Program 7


April 14, 2017 San Francisco Opera House

Made for SF Ballet

Program 7, this year’s lively innovative choreographic offering, includes works by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, an older commission (2008) by now famous Christopher Wheeldon, and a new work by a current member of the corps de ballet, Miles Thatcher. All three take their inspiration from the musical score, yet they offer varied choreographic points of view.

Thatcher’s work is most current in his use of thematic material. He evokes community themes, bringing dancers together in confronting gestures yet acknowledging that confrontation brings enmity as well as comfort. These themes lead to more extended movements of the arms and torso beyond the conventional ballet vocabulary. Sometimes the dancers hug. It recalls, to this reviewer, lost moments of the days of “be-ins” wherein groups sought affection from one another. Certainly it is current again.

Yet some of the confrontation is unrealized. In Julia Rowe and Jaime Garcia Castilla’s opening duet there is what appears to be arm wrestling and rejection. That action quickly disappears as Thatcher, as so many of today’s choreographers do, resolves the duet into spectacular lifts in which the women are thrown, held up high, moved to the ground and are generally ‘used.’ The piece continues with such top energy throughout, although the hugs and group collapses to the ground modify the energy.

The score by Michael Hyman is rhythmically monotonous ins some movements and quietly dull at other times. It is movie music, not always pleasant to the ear, but supplies Thatcher’s base for exploration. The lighting design, by Jim French is vivid and sometimes hard on the eyes. But all in all Thatcher has brought a vividness to SF Ballet which is contemporary and lively. And then, he danced in the next piece on the program! But, Why the title? Where is the ‘Ghost in the Machine?”

Wheeldon’s “Within the Golden Hour” is, by contrast, very sophisticated. Ezio Bosso and Antonia Vivaldi provide vibrant music for the various duets. Thatcher joins Sasha De Sola; Dores André dances with Carlo Di Lanno and Frances Chung with Daniel Deivson-Oliveira. They are joined by eight members of the corps and the whole proceeds with classic excitement. The SF Ballet members get better at every performance.

For the opening number Tomasson chose his own “Trio” to music by Tchaikovsky. Since ballerina Lorena Feijoo is leaving the company, she danced the first movement with Jaime Garcia Castilla with great brio and brilliance. She flirted with the audience and they cheered excitedly. Sarah Ban Patten, Tiit Helimets and Aaron Robison performed the exquisitely tender center ‘trio’ that gives the work its name and Maria Kochetkova and Angelo Greco exploded expertly in the third movement with the ensemble. This is the best Tomasson work he has made for the company.

SF Ballet completes the season with “Cinderella” through May 7. It has been a lively season complete with superb dancing from the company.


Thatcher’s “Ghost in the Machine” Program 7 SF Ballet

Photo: Erik Tomasson








Joanna G Harris, PhD
2714 woolsey st berkeley, ca 94705
510. 205-6065
www. BeyondIsadora. com

Paying for Trump’s Wall – A Modest Proposal

We all know that Trump’s Wall will be huuge. What is underappreciated is that it could easily pay for itself!

The wall will be high and mostly smooth (see below for the exception). My brother has observed that this is ideal for certain kinds of sports – handball (a love of our father’s) in particular, as well as squash and racketball. Locating playing courts along the wall with a small fee for use, perhaps with documented immigrants playing for free on certain days would bring in some income which would offset wall maintenance costs.

But, we could have larger money infustions from naming rights and from advertisements. Think of the pride you could have by naming a section for a year – The John Smith Memorial Section, or the Brotherhood of Groundhogs wall region! The advertising possibilities are endless – static painted ads for local merchants, multiple section ads for larger corporations, electronic LED signs for malls, and the occasional public service announcement or weather forecast. On big game days, seats could be arranged to watch the sports with reasonable admission fees.

Since this wall runs mostly east-west, building an overhang on the US side will provide us with some shade, while the overhang itself can support solar panels. The power generated here can be sold locally. This delightful shaded open-air space is ideal for restaurants, bars and bistros whose fees would add to the finances. Of course, a small number of sections can be set aside as complementary spaces for school children to sell lemonade.

America’s interest in fitness would be recognized by setting aside an occasional section for wall-climbing exercises, complete with the rubber padding at the bottom and precision protrustions of varying degrees of difficulty for practice.

This could turn out the be a real money-maker. We should start planning for a Canadian border version soon!