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Rebuilding: Then And Now (Opening reception 7/5/06)

Leah Garchik <>
Friday, July 7, 2006

LaborFest, a July commemoration of the General Strike of 1934, began Wednesday, and as a card-carrying union maid, I celebrated at a reception for "1906-2006 Rebuilding: Then and Now,'' a photo exhibition in City Hall's San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery.

The show, curated by photographer Joe Blum and presented by the Rebuilding S.F. Committee, has two components: photos of workers rebuilding the city after the quake, and Blum's own astounding and dramatic pictures of current work on the Bay Bridge (he's official photographer of the rebuild). The 50 or so old pictures are startlingly clear images from the Schmid-Allmond album, 410 historical photographs taken by an unspecified member of the Schmid family and given 20 or 25 years ago to Nancy Allmond by her neighbor Mark Schmid. Blum painstakingly rephotographed, tweaked and enlarged the originally 2-by-3-inch photos, so every detail is clear. Studying the images of rebuilding seemed a logical progression from the images of devastation so familiar in April, and the mood of the union stalwarts at the reception was high.

P.S.: The exhibition proudly noted that Mayor Eugene Schmitz, who was in office during the time of the quake of 1906, had been president of the musicians' union. It didn't mention that he was indicted and convicted later that year on 27 counts of graft and bribery. The conviction was overturned on appeal, however, and he was much later elected to the Board of Supervisors.


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Festival Latinoamericano de la Clase Obrera

Canadian Association Of Labor Media

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Workers World Radio Production
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Manchester Banner Theater

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Mayworks! Montréal

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New York

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