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Chris Carlsson /
Shaping San Francisco


"What's That Smell?"

A walking tour of the industrial North Mission

Date(s) & Time(s):
Saturday May 11, 81:00pm
Duration: 100 mins w/out intermission
Location: 2840 Mariposa St, SF, CA 94110
Venue: Theatre of Yugen

Ticket Information

Early Bird: $20, Advance: $25, Door: $28

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Artist Information

Guide: Chris Carlsson

Funding Credits: Shaping San Francisco depends for the vast majority of its budget on individual donations. We also receive annual funding from the City Lights Foundation and Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, as well as a half dozen individuals.

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Artist Sample Video

Chris Carlsson

Production Details

"What's That Smell?" A walking tour of the industrial North Mission

Chris Carlsson, long-time grassroots historian and guide to San Francisco's lost, forgotten and overlooked histories, takes participants on a walk around the old industrial sites of the North Mission. Pungent odors such as ammonia, baking bread, and roasting hops, once common, are now only memories. We'll visit breweries, bakeries, and an old baseball field site, uncovering stories of how the underlying ecology shaped the kinds of work that came to be done in this once-thriving neighborhood crisscrossed by railroads and streetcars. Ultimately the dialectic interplay of nature, immigration, capitalism, and unplanned development brought a certain neighborhood into being, that is now only visible in the ghosts and remnants of the built past.

Artist Biographies

Chris Carlsson
Chris Carlsson, is a writer, San Francisco historian, “professor,” bicyclist, tour guide, blogger, photographer, book and magazine designer. He’s lived in San Francisco since 1978 and has been self-employed in various capacities since the early 1980s. He has written four books (When Shells Crumble, Hidden San Francisco: A Guide to Lost Landscapes, Unsung Heroes, and Radical Histories; After the Deluge; Nowtopia) edited six books, (Reclaiming San Francisco, The Political Edge, Bad Attitude, Critical Mass: Bicycling’s Defiant Celebration, Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco, 1968-78 and Shift Happens! Critical Mass at 20), and co-authored the expanded second edition of Vanished Waters: The History of San Francisco’s Mission Bay. He helped co-found Critical Mass in September, 1992, and has ridden with Critical Mass rides in more than a dozen cities on three continents since then. His book Nowtopia, along with his role in Critical Mass, propelled him into extended world travels since 2002, and he has had three of his books translated and published in Italy and one in Brazil. His frequent public appearances are well-represented online at Youtube and in various radio and audio archives. He has directed Shaping San Francisco since its inception in the mid-1990s, and continues to be co-director of the archive of San Francisco history at He also conducts award-winning bicycle history tours and walking tours a dozen times a year, and hosts an ongoing Public Talks series in San Francisco. Beginning in 2020, he has been hosting Bay History Cruises. Since 2011 he has been an intermittent “road scholar” in his capacity as an adjunct professor at the San Francisco Art Institute, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and most recently, the University of San Francisco.

San Francisco International Arts Festival
Phone Number: 415-399-9554 | Email: [email protected]
1222 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109



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