Other Projects

Bridge of Hearts

Jes Richardson visited Iran in May 2007, as part of a Global Exchange “Citizen Diplomacy” Delegation. Fourteen people traveled throughout the country for a little over two weeks. What they discovered was not at all what they were expecting. The Iranians they met were kind, sophisticated, and extremely gracious … and they LOVED Americans.
Here are some of the photos of these beautiful people >

Why did Jes go to Iran?

"In the spring of 2007, U.S. aircraft carriers were heading toward the coast of Iran. It appeared that the Bush administration was about to start another war and I wanted to do what I could to stop them. I knew the media wasn’t telling us the truth about Iran, so I decided to go there, talk with the people, take pictures, and return to the U.S. to talk with Americans about what I experienced."

Rick Steves and his views on Iran

Over the past 20 years, Rick has hosted over 100 travel shows for public television, and numerous pledge specials (raising millions of dollars for local stations). His Rick Steves' Europe TV series is carried by over 300 stations, reaching 95 percent of U.S. markets. Rick has also created two award-winning specials for public television: Rick Steves' European Christmas and the ground-breaking Rick Steves' Iran. Rick writes and co-produces his television programs through his company, Back Door Productions.

Rick Steves also hosts a weekly public radio program, Travel with Rick Steves. With a broader approach to travel everywhere, in each hour-long program Rick interviews guest travel expert, followed by listener call-ins. Travel with Rick Steves airs across the country and has spawned a popular podcast. Rick has also created a series of audio walking tour podcasts for museums and neighborhoods in Paris, Rome, Florence and Venice (with more tours, including London, coming in 2010).

Ace Junkyard Documentary

This film is about Ace Junkyard, auto wreckers, artist resource and event space. It's about its owner Bill Kennedy, and the ways in which communities develop and lives transform in the most unlikely places. On a larger scale, this film addresses a current issue in San Francisco and across the Untied States: Where are all of our alternative arts spaces going?

The stereotype of junkyards suggests that they are places for grimy men, stacks of junk and scrapped metal. That is what Ace Auto Wreckers and Dismantlers started out as, but over the years, it grew to include computer parts, random defunct electronics, odd bits and bobs, an artist-in-residence known as Number 3, and in Bill's words, "the prettiest women that have ever worked in a junkyard." It provided a creative environment for the freaks and geeks in society who elsewhere are considered outcasts. It created jobs, and provided stability and structure for some that otherwise might have found themselves in unsteady places.

Ace Junkyard served as an event space for many different kinds of performances. It was an underground music and party venue for over ten years, hosting events like the Cyclecide Bike Rodeo and the Power Tool Drag Races. Fundraisers, fire safety classes, comedy events, punk rock shows and more have been staged at this unlikely place. Additionally, Ace Junkyard has made appearances in many films as a fitting backdrop for all sorts of narratives to unfold.

With so many interesting and engaging uses for this place, why did the landlady, Judy, want to shut it down? The current economic climate makes it very unlikely that the property, on 2255 McKinnon Street, an industrial part of San Francisco, will sell or be rented. Why didn't Judy just continue to rent the property, make money and wait out the recession? Now, the emptied junkyard is just another large lot, open to the sky, still lying vacant three months after its closure.

This sort of thing is becoming a common occurrence in urban areas. Everywhere we look, artist lofts and warehouses are being shut down, innovative projects and learning communities are being driven out. Meanwhile, the large buildings and lots that housed them lie empty, waiting for a renter that will never come. How much longer will we, as citizens of this city and country, put up with the banishment of our beloved community spaces? How can we resolve the ancient conflict between economics and art? When will we begin to value our artists, artisans, teachers and pioneers at the level of respect they truly deserve?

Yasmin Mawaz ~ Khan Producer/Director

A producer of short documentary and experimental films, music and promotional videos. She has shot and edited news programs for Link TV and Pacific News Service. Global Pulse (Link TV), corpo organico (Apature Film Festival), Homeless Youth (New America Media), Ping Identity.