A few weeks ago, I sat down at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Main Library in downtown San Jose with poet Erica Goss and read a few lines into a microphone. And that officially made me part of a pretty amazing project: "A Family Album," the poem former Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Nils Peterson put together using 100 lines sent to him by county residents.
A video version of the poem is being shown Thursday as part of "Off the Page," a Silicon Valley Reads event on video poetry at De Anza College's Visual and Performing Arts Center. This multimedia poem uses images of the valley made by Silicon Valley Community Newspapers photographers George Sakkestad and Jacqueline Ramseyer, and a narration by a number of community leaders.
Goss, the poet laureate in Los Gatos, tells me she's been steadily working over the past few weeks to blend the pictures and voices together into a coherent whole. It'll be interesting to see if there are any voices people recognize, though I'm not sure I'll even know my own.
The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. More information is available at www.siliconvalleyreads.org.
A SALUTE IN LOS ALTOS: If a corporation counts as a person, why not a foundation? That's why I've got no problem with the Los Altos Town Crier breaking its 20-year tradition of honoring a person as Los Altan of the Year and going instead with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
It's more than fitting to bestow the award this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the foundation. Back in 1964, the Hewlett-Packard founder and his wife sat in their kitchen and decided how to give away $17,000. The reach of the foundation's generosity has only grown in the ensuing decades, and it will grant more than $300 million this year, both here in the Bay Area and around the world.
The dinner celebration was held last Thursday at the foundation's new LEED platinum-certified headquarters in downtown Los Altos. The packed crowed heard from several people in the realm of Silicon Valley philanthropy, including Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Emmett Carson, CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation; Bill Somerville, the founder of Oakland-based Philanthropic Ventures Foundation; Montalvo Arts Center Executive Director Angela McConnell; Los Altos Community Foundation founder Roy Lave; Susan Packard Orr, chair of the Packard Foundation Board and David Packard's daughter; Ned Barnholt, the former CEO of Agilent; and Carol Larson, the Packard Foundation's CEO.