We have also noted below an eclectic mix of some of our favorite SF neighbors plus some of our current collaborations and projects.
Organizations & Communities We Work with Directly
Long one of our favorite presses and distributors, we now have a closer working relation with AK than ever before by being an outlet for many of their books, t-shirts and other products. Part of our connection is that, like us, AK is part of NoBAWC (the Bay Area Worker’s Collective), meaning it is a workers’ co-operative wholly owned by its members.
Liberation Ink is a worker-owned apparel printing and design collective created to fund social justice organizing. The collective was born out of the belief that a truly sustainable movement must be funded from within. Members of the collective are former student organizers who came together to create an enterprise whose principles, products, and profits would contribute to building a stronger movement for social justice.
Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC)
NoBAWC (pronounced no boss) is a grassroots organization of businesses dedicated to building workplace democracy in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. As the name implies, NoBAWC is comprised primarily of worker cooperatives. A worker cooperative is an enterprise that produces goods, distributes goods and/or provides services and is owned and controlled by its worker-owners. Modern Times is a proud member of this organization. For a list of other such workplaces visit the NOBAWC member’s page.
Northern California Independent Booksellers Association (NCIBA)
The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, or NCIBA, is a trade organization dedicated to supporting, nurturing and promoting independent retail bookselling. Their mission is “To promote the vitality, diversity and prosperity of independent bookselling as essential to the life of our communities and crucial to the dissemination of ideas in society.” The NCIBA is a resource for readers, book lovers and consumers. Their bestseller list, a directory of community bookstores, links to related sites, information on California literature and much more can be found on their Web site.
Prisoner’s Literature Project
The PLP is an all-volunteer group that sends books to prisoners all over the United States. It is a project of Bound Together Bookstore and Bay Area prison activists. They are always in need of donations, so contact them directly for a list of their drop off sites. Modern Times is NOT a drop off site, though we do donate our own books directly to the project and have a PLP money jar at the front counter for contributions. We also have a generous prisoner mailing policy. Books bought and mailed to prisoners through us are 20% off.
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
We think that promoting bikes and livable cities issues is really cool, and the SFBC has been astoundingly effective in their activism around these causes. The SFBC is one of the oldest bicycle advocacy organizations in the country. Founded in 1970 by a group of activists representing a coalition of environmental and neighborhood groups, the SFBC quickly evolved into a powerful alliance of individuals working for a more bicycle-friendly city.
San Francisco Community Land Trust
SFCLT is a membership-based organization whose mission is to create permanently affordable, resident-controlled housing for low- to moderate-income people in San Francisco through community ownership of the land.
San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance (SFLOMA)
SFLOMA promotes locally owned independent retail businesses in San Francisco. Their goal is to educate and inform San Francisco residents and visitors of the positive economic impact on the community, and the value to the individual, of shopping at independent retailers first. To learn more about the philosophy of Shop Local, visit the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).
Other Assorted Community Links:
826 Valencia is a literacy program for students, aged 8-18, to help them with their writing skills. They provide workshops on creative writing, journalism, film, design, photo manipulation, comics, and publishing to the Web—amongst others. And if this wasn’t literary enough…their storefront boasts a mural by Chris Ware, the internationally acclaimed writer/artist behind the Acme Novelty Library series, which is a favorite at our store.
Accion Latina is a non-profit, San Francisco-based organization founded to promote social change and cultural pride in the Latino community. Amongst other projects, they produce a bilingual newspaper, El Tecolote, that’s as old as we are. They also sponsor the highly successful annual music event, Canto Popular.
Aquarius is the oldest independent record store in San Francisco and just one block away from our store. In fact, we are both the same age! What we do with books, they do with music. Aquarius has consistently championed local artists and recognized and exposed its customers to new and challenging music, often before the music “broke,” and was involved from the beginning of and throughout the famous punk explosion of the seventies. Aquarius Records specializes in many genres… indierock, punk, metal (black, doom, sludge and all things in between), reggae, sixties psych, seventies proto-metal, international music, experimental electronic music, hip hop, field recordings, found sounds, country and bluegrass and avant garde music of all types.
Artists’ Television Access
Since the early ’80s, Artists’ Television Access has provided equipment, education, and a screening venue for independent film and video to artists and the community in San Francisco’s Mission District. Their mission is to bring the tools of the mass media within reach. They have also been great neighbors to us in the past by allowing us to borrow equipment for our events.
CounterPULSE (formerly known as 848 Community Space) provides support and low cost resources for emerging artists, serving as an incubator space to create socially relevant, diverse, community-based art in San Francisco. CounterPULSE continues to play a unique and significant role in the SF performance community offering a breadth of performance, queer art, improvised dance, cutting edge lit and word, and contemporary ritual. They are also the home of the media projectsShaping San Francisco and the Radical Media Clubhouse. We have intersected with them in various ways since their inception.
Global Exchange is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. Whether it is US companies such as Nike abusing the women who make its shoes, the US government fueling an illegal, unjustified, murderous war in Iraq, or the World Trade Organization (WTO) undercutting consumer and environmental protections, Global Exchange offers itself as a partner for peace and social justice. GX staff have given numerous talks and readings at Modern Times over the years.
Intersection for the Arts
Intersection for the Arts is San Francisco’s oldest alternative art space (est. 1965) and has a long history of presenting new and experimental work in the fields of literature, theater, music, dance and the visual arts, and also in nurturing and supporting the Bay Area’s cultural community through service, technical support, and mentorship programs. Intersection provides a place where provocative ideas, diverse art forms, artists, and audiences can intersect one another. We have co-sponsored numerous of their events in the past.
Lost Weekend Video
If Modern Times were a video store we would probably be Lost Weekend. They have a hand picked selection of foreign films, classics, documentaries, and the like and are a great place in the neighborhood to get those indie films you were looking for. They also carry Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times—the movie our store was named after. There are two other bookstores in SF with names based on Chaplin movies. Can you guess what they are?
The Marsh develops new performance. It encourages and supports all stages of this development by providing artists with an intimate performance venue and an environment that encourages experimentation, while also giving audiences a place in which to see work on the cutting edge of creativity. They also host classes, youth theater and now boast their own cafe. See a couple of their works and you’ll wonder why you EVER wasted your time watching TV.
McSweeney’s, edited by Dave Eggers , has grown to be one of the country’s most read and widely circulated literary journals. As a small publishing house, McSweeney’s is committed to finding new voices and promoting the work of gifted but under appreciated writers. We are grateful to Eggers for having been a part of MT’s fundraising series during these difficult times.
As independent booksellers, we support not only indie media production, but media activism. One of the oldest activist groups doing such work is Media Alliance, a 36 year-old media resource and advocacy center for media workers, nonprofit organizations, and social justice activists. Their mission is excellence, ethics, diversity, and accountability in all aspects of the media in the interests of peace, justice, and social responsibility.
The San Francisco Poetry Center
The Poetry Center is one of the oldest and most respected literary resource centers in the nation. It presents a series of on- and off-campus poetry and prose readings by well-established and emerging writers from a variety of literary traditions and cultural experiences. MT has been partnered with the Poetry Center for some truly literary evenings at the store.