Bernal Author Emily Chang Tackles Silicon Valley’s Boys Club

If you keep up with the literary reviews in publications like the New York Times, the Financial Times, or the San Francisco Chronicle, you’ve probably noticed that Emily Chang’s new book Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys Club of Silicon Valley has been getting a lot of attention lately.

Brotopia examines the male-dominated workplaces of the technology industry and looks at how gender-based discrimination  and sexism have become part of the culture of Silicon Valley. As technology plays an increasingly central role in our lives, the status of women in tech has become an important topic. As the New York Times put it, “This is more than a work force issue, and “Brotopia” is more than a business book.”

Brotopia has generated a lot of buzz, so we were pleased (but not at all surprised) to learn that Emily Chang is also a resident of Bernal Heights.

Neighbor Emily tells Bernalwood:

I started writing Brotopia two years ago, long before Trump and #metoo and had no idea this issue would explode in the public consciousness just as I was about to publish. I have been covering Silicon Valley for eight years on Bloomberg TV and, while tech has changed our lives in so many wondrous ways, I was perplexed by the staggering underrepresentation of women across this supposedly progressive industry. Women account for 25% of computing jobs, 7% of investors, and women-led companies only get 2% of funding.

As I began researching the topic, I discovered a lot that surprised me about how and why this happened. In fact, women were well-represented in tech’s early days and programmed computers for the military and NASA (think Hidden Figures, but industry-wide) and then, for various reasons — which you’ll have to read in the book! — they got pushed and profiled out. The book examines how and why women have been left out of the biggest wealth creation in the history of the world, why it matters and what we can do about it. It includes over 300 interviews with everyone from Sheryl Sandberg to Tim Cook and engineers at companies like Facebook, Google and Uber.

I spent many afternoons typing away at Progressive Grounds (chai tea latte and turkey/sundried tomato sandwich please!) and holing up in our Bernal bedroom listening to my three sons wreak havoc downstairs while my incredibly supportive husband tried to keep the peace. It wasn’t an easy endeavor — talking about sexism is kind of like walking the third rail — but I hope this book starts a meaningful conversation.

This is an industry that is controlling what we see and read, how we shop and communicate, making our children’s video games and social media. It’s not just tech’s problem, but everyone’s problem and I fully believe the people who changed the world can change this too.

See the Film Adaptation of Neighbor Clane Hayward’s Childhood Memoir

Still from Lane 1974, a film adaptation of Neighbor Clane’s memoir.

Neighbor Clane Hayward is a Bernal resident on Gates Street who wrote a memoir called “The Hypocrisy of Disco.” The book chronicles her chaotic childhood spent growing up with hippie parents while shuffling between communes in Northern California.

Neighbor Clane’s book was recently adapted into a film called Lane 1974, and the film will premiere on October 9 at the Alamo Drafthouse on Mission  Street as part of the 2017 Litquake Festival.

Neighbor Clane told Bernalwood what it was like to have her book transformed into a film:

Seeing The Hypocrisy of Disco adapted for film and then becoming a whole new story as Lane 1974 has been SUCH a trip.

When SJ Chiro, the director, first got in touch with me, I told her that I always saw the book as a film. In my mind, the first page, in which a group of feral hippie kids jump off a porch, was set in slow motion like in Goodfellas.

To see it now in film after SJ put years of work into it, as an entirely new story, is — I can’t even find the right words — stellar. The stories are different. They’re both dark and visceral. The movie has its own pacing and the book has its own unique vernacular.

But where the book is a tale of a disintegrating center, the movie is the story of a girl who is forced to become her own center. The young actress, Sophia Mitri Schloss, is brilliant, speaking volumes with her face alone.

The best part about the movie is how truly good it is, despite being made with baling wire, luck, chewing gum, donations, and fervent prayers. The best part about my book is that it’s available at our Bernal branch library!

Alas, the debut screening for Lane 1974, at 7 pm on Oct. 9 is already sold out.. But you can still buy tickets for the 10 pm screening, right here. That’s also expected to sell out, so you’re advised to hurry. Hurry!

Bonus! Here’s the trailer for the film:

Thursday: Bernal Author Beth Reichmuth Reads at Pinhole

You may recall that a few weeks ago, Bernalwood told you about Bernal Neighbor Beth Reichmuth, and her new book called I’m Jay, Let’s Play.

As you may also recall, I’m Jay, Let’s Play is a gender-fluid children’s book that models gender fluidity as a normal and delightful part of the lives of young children.

Now, on Thursday, June 15 from 4-5 pm, Neighbor Beth will do a reading from her book at the fabulous Pinhole Coffee (231 Cortland). Copies of I’m Jay, Let’s Play will be available for purchase at a discounted price of $15.

JoEllen Depakakibo, the much-appreciated proprietor of Pinhole Coffee, tells Bernalwood:

Pinhole Coffee is hosting an author reading of I’m Jay, Let’s Play by Beth Reichmuth this Thursday, June 15th 4p – 5p.

In addition, the weekend of June 17-18 and 24-25, Pinhole Coffee will be donating 100% of their revenue to LYRIC and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

LYRIC’s mission is to build community and inspire positive social change through education enhancement, career trainings, health promotion, and leadership development with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities.

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.

PHOTO: Bernal author Beth Reichmuth, in situ at Pinhole Coffee, courtesy of Pinhole Coffee.

Sunday: Bernal Author Kelsey Crowe Reads at Heartfelt &

This Sunday, May 28 at 5 pm, Miss Darcy Lee from the fabulous Heartfelt & store on Cortland (at Bennington) will host Bernal neighbor and author Kelsey Crowe for a literary event.

Neighbor Darcy says:

Bernal author Kelsey Crowe will be reading excerpts from her book “There Is No Good Card For This: What To Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love.”

I will host a question and answer session.

This event will be held on Sunday May 28th, 5:00 pm at Heartfelt &, 409 Cortland Avenue.

Please come early, as space is limited.

PHOTO: Top, Bernal neighbor Kelsey Crowe with her new book

Bernal Author Publishing Gender-Fluid Book for Children

In June Bernal Neighbor Beth Reichmuth will release a gender-fluid children’s book she wrote, called I’m Jay, Let’s Play. Neighbor Beth tells Bernalwood:

The story itself is sweet, playful, and engaging to young children. The narrator, Jay, loves playing in the kitchen, driving dump trucks, twirling in skirts, and crashing tall towers. When a friend, Casey, notices Jay’s sparkly skirt with excitement, Jay surprises Casey by pulling an identical skirt out of their backpack to share. All of the children are then inspired to visit the dress up corner and have a party together.

I originally began writing I’m Jay, Let’s Play two years ago, when there were a couple of boys in my class that really liked wearing skirts and dresses, and the only books I could find that reflected them also addressed the teasing and bullying that, unfortunately, often happens in response. I wanted a book in my preschool classroom that simply showed that we should all get to wear the clothes that help us feel good– and one that modeled to all children a kinder (and more fun!) way to respond. Illustrator Nomy Lamm painted dynamic and energetic characters of varying skin tones and abilities playing together.

On June 3rd, I’ll be hosting a Book Launch and LGBT Family Pride Party at local San Francisco preschool, The Little School. Come hear a reading and celebrate with us! All are welcome and it would be great to see my Bernal neighbors there. Find more event info and reserve your free ticket here.

I’m Jay, Let’s Play will be available in June through local bookstores and on Amazon. To learn more, please visit .

PHOTO: Neighbor Beth Reichmuth

Wednesday: Celebrate Bernal Neighbor Kelsey Crowe’s New Book


Neighbor Kelsey Crowe from Anderson Street has a new book out today, and it’s very timely.  Neighbor Mike, her husband, invites all Bernalese to the  book party tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 18 at Books Inc.:

My wife and Bernal resident Kelsey Crowe’s event next week for her new book There Is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love.

Here’s the book summary:

Written in a how-to, relatable, we’ve-all- been-there style, There Is No Good Card for This isn’t a spiritual treatise on how to make you a better person or a scientific argument about why compassion matters. Crowe and McDowell have created an essential illustrated guide to active compassion that takes you, step by step by step, past the paralysis of thinking about someone in a difficult time to actually doing something (or nothing) with good judgment instead of fear.

Kelsey will be at Books Inc Opera Plaza (601 Van Ness Ave.) on Wednesday evening, Jan 18 for a reading and Q&A — it should be a really nice event and all are very welcome!!

PHOTO: Courtesy of Neighbor Mike

Tuesday: Rockstar Artist Michael Gillette Talks About Making Art for Rockstars


Last autumn, Bernalwood told you about Drawn in Stereo, the new book by Bernal neighbor Michael Gillette which showcases his remarkable work as an artist and animator.  This Tuesday, July 12 at 7pm, you can meet Neighbor Michael in person as he talks about his book at the Bernal Heights library.

Neighbor Michael says:

Hello Bernal and beyond!

I am giving a talk on my book, Drawn in Stereo at the Bernal Heights Library on Tuesday 12th of July @ 7pm.

The book is a retrospective focusing on my music-related illustrations, graphics, animations, and paintings from the last 25 years.

I will be discussing projects for the likes of: The Beastie Boys, Beck, My Morning Jacket, MGMT, James Bond, and Paul McCartney, in the context of life as an independent artist, based initially in Britain, but in Bernal for the last twelve years.

All are welcome, and the curious can check out the book here.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Michael Gilette