We've all been assaulted by them, but those pervasive billboards with the cheerleading poodles may not be the intellectual abyss we think they are. They demonstrate, with their horrible concept, insipid production, and overall asinine feel, that there just isn't enough soul in the financial-services community. Lots of money there, obviously, but the whole campaign is lacking in the dignity, love, and righteous anger departments. And to make images that have any integrity at all, it helps to have those things.
Having all that and more may be the reason the labor movement consistently turns out powerful, enduring images that inspire people to make the world a better place, while "CEO-based art" has, uh, never really taken off. To celebrate Labor Day this year, "At Work: The Art of California Labor" displays some of the best work-related art the state has to offer. In its two gallery shows (a historical perspective at the California Historical Society and contemporary work at SFSU later this month) the exhibit pulls out the heavies: Dorothea Lange and Tina Modotti prints, explorations of Diego Rivera's The Allegory of California, the Coit Tower frescoes, and the once-controversial murals at the Rincon Annex Post Office. The accompanying book has impressive reproductions of all of the above plus tons of commentary and the work of many other artists, including Bay Area favorite Pele DeLappe.
Admission is free-$3
The Labor Day Fest begins at 11 a.m. Monday at Yerba Buena Gardens, Third & Mission streets, S.F. Admission is free; call 642-8066.
Of course, it wouldn't be a celebration if it didn't have music, so organizers have put together an impressive lineup for the giant outdoor Labor Day Festival, which also features poetry readings, children's activities, and the ubiquitous Wavy Gravy. Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band, folk singer Holly Near, and Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Choir are scheduled to perform. They, like everything about this event, can be safely thought of as the anti cheerleading poodle.