Friends @ Home Art Docent Webinar | Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art
Jun 14 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Please note: Registration for this event is required and is available here:


Long before Bollywood films, dance played an exceptionally important role in the religious and cultural traditions of India and its neighbors. Dance has inspired the visual arts in the categories of destruction and creation, devotion, subjugation, glorification, and celebration.

Through July 10, 2023, the Asian Art Museum presents Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art, inviting all to discover the power of dance in the visual arts of India, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas, where dancing plays a significant role in religion, mythology, and ceremony. Using objects from various geographic areas the exhibit shows dance as a ubiquitous art form impacting cultures in India and beyond. We are pleased to present a virtual docent talk on this exhibit. Our guide will be Asian Art Museum docent Steve Zilles.

Steve has long had an interest in Asian art and culture. He has travelled extensively to Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India, Tibet, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Korea, and Japan. He is a Computer Scientist by profession. For 20 years he was involved in the development of standards for the World Wide Web, focusing on support for all the world’s languages. Steve has been an Asian Art Museum docent since 2014 and storyteller at the museum since 2009.

Friends @ Home Author Webinar | Torie Bosch Discusses ‘You Are Not Expected to Understand This’
Jun 28 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
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Few of us give much thought to computer code or how it comes to be. The very word “code” makes it sound immutable or even inevitable. “You Are Not Expected to Understand This” demonstrates that, far from being preordained, computer code is the result of very human decisions, ones we all live with when we use social media, take photos, drive our cars, and engage in a host of other activities.

Everything from law enforcement to space exploration relies on code written by people who, at the time, made choices and assumptions that would have long-lasting, profound implications for society. Torie Bosch brings together many of today’s leading technology experts to provide new perspectives on the code that shapes our lives. Contributors discuss a host of topics, such as how university databases were programmed long ago to accept only two genders, what the person who programmed the very first pop-up ad was thinking at the time, the first computer worm, the Bitcoin white paper, and perhaps the most famous seven words in Unix history: “You are not expected to understand this.”

Torie Bosch is the First Opinion editor at STAT. She was previously the editor of Future Tense, a collaboration between Slate magazine, Arizona State University, and New America that covers the intersection of technology, policy, and society. She also founded State of Mind, a Slate-ASU partnership dedicated to mental health, and was a lecturer and editor in residence at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is the editor of “You Are Not Expected to Understand This: How 26 Lines of Code Changed the World.”

Torie will be joined in this conversation by one of the essay contributors to the book, David Cassel. David has been writing about technology for more than 25 years, with articles appearing everywhere from CNN and the Wall Street Journal’s site to popular tech news sites like Wired, Gizmodo, and Salon. Since 2015 he’s also been a contributing writer for The New Stack, covering the culture of technology (and ways it intersects the broader popular culture), while also dabbling in computer programming and app development.


Friends @ Home Art Docent Webinar | Layers of Color: Unfolding the Beauty of Woodblock Prints
Jul 12 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
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Woodblock printing made art accessible to the masses. Japanese art is known for the beauty and variety of its woodblock prints. The techniques and characteristics of woodblock prints have influenced other art forms, especially the Impressionists, and have evolved over the years. They served multiple purposes from advetising posters to printed books to promoting fashion icons. Take a journey to heighten appreciation of the beauty of woodblock prints, and understand the elements which had such influence. From the Asian Art Museum we present a docent talk on this fascinating art. Our guide will be docent Jim Brown.

Jim is a retired Executive Recruiter who for the past 20 years has specialized in placing senior level and middle management executives for Bay Area pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies and vendors. He also has extensive cruise industry experience, working for French Line and Royal Viking. During his career, he has traveled to more than 48 countries throughout the world.

Jim previously served as a volunteer at Berkeley Rep’s docent program where he gave pre-performance talks during the week and also moderated post-show discussions following weekend matinees. He is currently a docent at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, where he gives public and private gallery tours for both students and adults as well as actively participates in the museum’s community outreach speakers program.

Friends @ Home Author Webinar | Saket Discusses ‘The Great Escape’
Jul 19 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
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In late 2006, Saket Soni, a twenty-eight-year-old Indian-born community organizer, received an anonymous phone call from an Indian migrant worker in Mississippi. The worker was one of five hundred men trapped in squalid Gulf Coast “man camps,” surrounded by barbed wire, watched by guards, crammed into cold trailers with putrid toilets, forced to eat moldy bread and frozen rice. Recruiters had promised them good jobs and green cards. The men had scraped up $20,000 each for this “opportunity” to rebuild hurricane-wrecked oil rigs, leaving their families in impossible debt. During a series of clandestine meetings, Soni and the workers devised a bold plan. In The Great Escape, Soni traces the workers’ extraordinary escape, their march on foot to Washington, DC, and their twenty-three-day hunger strike to bring attention to their cause. Along the way, ICE agents try to deport them, company officials work to discredit them, and politicians avert their eyes. But none of this shakes the workers’ determination to win their dignity and keep their promises to their families.

Saket Soni is the Executive Director of Resilience Force, the national voice of the resilience workforce — workers whose labor helps us prepare for, and repair after, climate disaster. He is also a member of the the Board of Greenpeace Inc. The Great Escape was published by Algonquin Books in January, 2023.



Friends @ Home Art Docent Webinar | What’s So Interesting about Houses and Cars? The Art of Robert Bechtle
Aug 16 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
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Painter Robert Bechtle grew up in Alameda and began producing highly realistic paintings showing both houses and cars in the early 1960s. The works depict specific Bay Area neighborhoods, and locals will have fun speculating where they are taken from. These images evoke a wide array of responses, making us think of our own histories with these places and the unseen people connected to them.

Museum tour guide Rodney Paul provides information to help audiences understand the context in which these works were created. He will be joined by fellow guides and plans to spark a discussion in which participants are invited to share their perspectives. We all see things differently, and by hearing the responses of others to works of art, we are able to work together to mine them for meaning.