Next Tuesday, the LightHouse community at large will be treated to a private descriptive tour and performance at Audium on Bush St., near Franklin in the heart of San Francisco.
After exploring artworks in the lobby, imagine yourself seated comfortably in a domed space in the pitch dark. There, you journey through San Francisco neighborhoods, from the Tenderloin to Ocean Beach, through a series of artistically modified soundscapes.
Audium’s website describes the wonders of their theater space, “Audium—the first theater of its kind in the world—has been pioneering the idea of live sound movement for over 50 years. The installation consists of a foyer, sound labyrinth and main performance space with over 176 speakers in total. Sounds are “sculpted” through their movement, direction, speed and intensity on multiple planes in space.”
In years past, the LightHouse community has visited Audium to experience their innovative sound theater. Audium offers a rare opportunity to experience the shape of space eyes-free. Indeed, the minds behind Audium challenge special sensibilities of all people willing to explore.
This half-century of sound innovation started with its two creators pushing the limits of sculpting music, and now continues going strong as a family business. In fact, the son of one of Audium’s creators will be offering the LightHouse community a free, private afternoon tour of the space followed by an opportunity to ask questions and share about the experience.
What: Audium – Immersive Sound Experience When: Tuesday, August 9 from 1:45 pm to 3:30 pm (Performance will start promptly at 2:00) Where: 1616 Bush Street, San Francisco Please note: The restrooms at Audium are unfortunately not wheelchair accessible. RSVP: By August 6 to 415-694-7608 or email email@example.com.
San Francisco’s scenic and historic waterfront is revamping the space and creating a new community-led project entitled the Aquatic Park and Pier Project. The Maritime National Park Association is working towards realizing this area’s full potential and creating a beautiful and safe recreation area for families and visitors of San Francisco for generations to come, but they need the community’s help.
Last week our Media and Accessible Design Laboratory (MAD Lab) director, Greg Kehret, represented the LightHouse at a discussion attended by several people in the disability rights community. The group discussed the renovation of Aquatic Park and Pier in San Francisco. Those in the disability rights community are concerned with getting input from people with disabilities to ensure the park is inclusive and accessible to all park goers. They have shared a link to a survey, Aquatic Park and Pier Vision Study, and are encouraging the community to provide feedback on the details of the project and desired park features and, as well as general concerns.
The results of this survey, along with an upcoming Visioning Session on August 11, at 6:00 pm will be compiled into a report given to the National Park Service for their consideration. The visioning session is open to the public, so all are welcome to attend. For more information about the Aquatic Park and Pier Project, including getting involved, providing feedback, or volunteering you can visit the website link.
And, of course, if you know of a local park, public space or other large venue whose accessible design could benefit from the tactile maps and input provided by Lighthouse’s MAD Lab, feel free to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting our website.
If you need support in completing any forms or navigating websites in order to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination appointment, please reach out to LightHouse and we’ll pair you with a volunteer to assist you in completing these documents. We have volunteers on hand who will be able to assist you in your appointment scheduling needs. Reach out to our Volunteer Services Team at 415-694-7320 or email@example.com.
Please note: LightHouse volunteers are not health experts and they cannot answer any questions about the vaccine itself or its health implications. If you have questions about the vaccine and your health, please contact your doctor.
In addition to helping students access vaccine appointment signups, LightHouse offers a variety of volunteer services. As Allyson Ferrari, Volunteer Manager puts it, “While we continue to shelter in place, we have volunteers volunteering in place! We do still have committed volunteers who can help you with whatever support you may need.”
You’re invited to a community gathering on Thursday, October 3, to learn more about and give input to the Better Market Street project.
When: Thursday, October 3, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. Where: LightHouse Headquarters, 1155 Market St, 10th Floor
Better Market Street is the City’s multi-agency project to transform 2.2 miles of Market Street, from Octavia Boulevard to Stuart Street, enhancing safety and accessibility, improving transit performance, replacing aging infrastructure, and revitalizing the corridor’s streetscape.
The project is advancing toward approval this fall and in the coming months, team members from San Francisco Public Works and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will be joining us for community meetings to provide updates on the project.
At our first meeting, we’ll hear an overview with an emphasis on the first phase of the project, Market Street between Eighth and Fifth streets, right in front of LightHouse Headquarters. The team will also discuss proposed transit stops and passenger drop-off zones, as much of these streetscape improvements may affect the travel of blind pedestrians. This meeting is a key one in which we all can give input.
Please join us at 1155 Market Street, 10th floor, on Thursday, Oct. 3, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.
On Sunday afternoon, the halls of LightHouse reverberated with the deep, breezy sounds of yacht rock. “Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be,” crooned DJ Dan’s tune “Sailing” by Christopher Cross. A San Francisco State student with an interest in all things aquatic, Dan’s final performance on Sunday transported the audience to a tranquil expanse and back again, reflecting Dan’s personality with quirky, upbeat folk and country tunes perfectly suited for the sailing life.
Each student entered the weekend with no knowledge of DJing, and left equipped with sufficient knowledge to assemble a twenty minute set. Our blind instructors Byron Harden and Clarence Griffin from Chicago-based I See Music introduced students to the software Deejay Pro and taught them the basics of a fully accessible and non-visual DJ method. Their program, designed by blind people for blind people, is the only in the nation that offers a comprehensive audio education curriculum for blind and low vision learners.
The workshop participants performed sets that were each as unique in tone and style as the students themselves. We heard an uplifting, pop-centric set by Maycie, a thumping, rhythmic set from Jenna and hip hop and R&B tunes from Juan. Traveling from all around Northern California, the students came from as far as Sonora and Sacramento, taking full advantage of the LightHouse’s cozy residential facilities for the 3-day workshop.
Maycie, 20, was thrilled to find out about Audio Academy because it marked a departure from many other inaccessible or antiquated audio workshops. She had researched a variety of music schools, but none could provide appropriate accommodations. As a vocalist, producer of her own songs and aspiring DJ, Maycie sought an educational avenue for audio skills.
“Blind people kind of get stereotyped a lot as musicians,” she says. “Not every blind person is musical, but for those of us that are, there need to be more opportunities.”
She says that the workshop provided a comprehensive basic understanding of the DJ software, DJ methodology and tools, adding that the workshop solidified her interest in DJing professionally.
“It was a pretty amazing feeling, to be honest: I had this picture in my head of actually performing a DJ set, and no one would have to help me — I could do it fully by myself.”
Jenna, 21, says that although she wasn’t certain what to expect for the weekend, she was glad to have participated and introduced herself to a set of skills to enhance both her recreational and vocational interests.
“This has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for me with my pursuit of a career in music and I’m excited to attend more Audio Academy Workshops in the future,” she says.
Juan, 23, says that the workshop was fulfilling as an opportunity to learn new skills in a new environment, and add another skill to his musical toolbox of piano, guitar and percussion instruments. Over the weekend, he learned to mix and edit a set of songs using DJay Pro in conjunction with accessible technology, including VoiceOver.
“I like to listen to music, so DJing seems like a possibility, and I felt like the teachers were putting good emphasis in the stuff they taught us,” he says. “I want to buy the DJ equipment and start practicing at home. And, I want to actually do what the instructors do. They get gigs and stuff like that, and I want to actually DJ professionally.”
Byron and Clarence collectively have a wealth of knowledge and experience in audio production, DJing and music. Byron created I See Music to foster independence, equality and opportunity through their instruction and example of professional success.
Daniel, 22, says that having blind instructors was a defining part of the workshop. He was pleased that their knowledge of both the DJ and accessibility softwares rendered the workflow relatively seamless.
“I felt the program was really good. I really learned a lot, and I think that it was a good opportunity for people,” he says. “You could get hands-on experience there with somebody that really knew the software. I might use the knowledge as a radio DJ, or might just do some DJing on the side just for fun.”
In January, LightHouse started offering TMAP — on-demand tactile street maps — for order at our Adaptations Store (1-888-400-8933). We have been hearing some amazing stories about how our maps are being used, so we wanted to share them with our mapping community. Order yours today by calling 1-888-400-8933.
When Sheri Wells-Jensen was a child, she got one book per week. That was how it worked, for a blind kid – a braille reader – who relied on braille lending libraries. Each week, Sheri would bound out of her front door, crashing through her front yard and into the mailman’s truck, to get her hands on one new book. Now a linguistics professor at Bowling Green State University, access to language and information has become a passion of Sheri’s, as well as other cool things like aliens and ukuleles.
She also loves exploring cities. Depending on how you see it, Market Street in San Francisco can feel like a boulevard of first-world efficiency or a medieval circus. At times, it feels like both at once. This wild, eclectic fusion can be intimidating for some, but this crazy hubbub is what Sheri loves most about visiting the city by the bay. On a recent trip, we had the pleasure of printing out her first-ever TMAP.
It was right before she was taking off to catch the bus back to her hotel. The bus stop was a few blocks away and Sheri, her own most cheerful but fierce advocate, exclaimed when we told her we had a tool to help her learn the neighborhood in just a few minutes – and that it was something she could bring with her, should she get lost or just want to explore.
“Having an accurate,accessible,hard copy map to explore saves endless frustration,” Sheri says. “It changes the rules of the game: without the map, I get directions and learn a route, hoping to fill in details later on. With the map, I learn the neighborhood and then decide how I want to get to my destination.”
Holding her TMAP in front of her, pressed against her torso as she inspected the braille labels and learned the many swerving diagonals of the area, it was impossible not to feel the infectious sense of satisfaction that comes from unlocking so much knowledge with such ease – especially for a kid who grew up on only one book at a time.
As Sheri sees it, maps and tactile aids are a crucial tool for anyone who needs access to information. And when she wants to learn an area, she thinks it’s better than talking. “I basically have two choices,” she explains. “I can sit some poor unsuspecting fellow down and grill him relentlessly about every intersection and every street name (most of which he won’t remember) – or – with a map in my hands, I can transfer the whole picture of the area straight into my head, thereby saving time and preserving my friendships.”
To order a map, call our product specialists at 1-888-400-8933 and specify the street address of the map you’re interested in receiving. Within two business days we’ll ship you your map, or make it available for pick up at the Adaptations Store (1155 Market St., 10th Floor, San Francisco, CA). Each TMAP package is $19.99 per address.
What’s in the package?
You will receive 3 map versions printed at simple, moderate and dense map scale ratios
A tactile map key
An introductory page
All materials are printed on 11” X 11.5” sheets of embossed paper and include ink / large print labels in addition to braille