Al Robles comes home to Fillmore March 14, 2010


Al Robles honored in the Fillmore

Press Release For Immediate Release
March 3, 2010 Contact: Tony Robles

Poet Al Robles Comes Home to FillmoreDocumentary on I-Hotel Activist and Filipino American poet Al Robles to be featured at The 28th Annual San Francisco International Asian American Film FestivalSan Francisco- Community members and Supervisor Eric Mar will honor poet/activist and Fillmore District native Al Robles on March 14th 2009, at 1230pm in San Francisco’s Fillmore Plaza on Fillmore and O’Farrell Streets with music, poetry and remembrance. Al Robles is recognized as a son of the Fillmore and is memorialized with a plaque in the Fillmore Plaza. The life of Al Robles is featured in Filmmaker Curtis Choy’s film, “Manilatown is in the Heart—Time Travel with Al Robles”, a poetic documentary featured at the Asian American Film Festival Sundance Kabuki Cinema March 14th at 2pm and 15th at 7pm. The documentary is the second film project between Director Choy and Robles, the first being “The Fall of the I-Hotel” which featured Robles as the film narrator. The film follows Robles growing up with the jazz of his youth in the Fillmore with zen monks, jazz musicians and youngbloods, to his life as an activist and poet. Robles chronicled the lives of Filipino immigrants, weaving their histories into his poetic and community work, which included the fight against the eviction of elders from the International Hotel—a struggle that gave Manilatown worldwide attention. “Al Robles was the poet laureate – the heart & spirit – of the Manilatown & Filipino communities. San Francisco will never forget his tireless work supporting seniors and housing justice, fighting displacement & gentrification and nurturing youth in our communities”, said S.F. District Supervisor Eric Mar. Robles passed away in May of 2009 but left a legacy of activism and community involvement that has inspired elders and youth alike. In the words of hip hop poet Jeremy Bautista, “Much love and respect…From the Hip Hop Generation to Uncle Al, our hero!”

For more information on the Asian American Film Festival: For information on Curtis Choy’s films: For information on Al Robles:

A soul food restaurant without soul (black people)

A couple months back i went to a soul food restaurant in SF with a good friend. We were seated and scanned the menu. We sat waiting for our ribs and fried chicken. We looked at the pictures on the wall, pictures that reflected the city that we lived in. I looked at the people in the restaurant. I looked at the servers. There was something strange. Then it hit me–there were no black people in the restaurant (except for one, sitting with an Asian girl eating). But this soul food restaurant had no black servers or cooks. It was the strangest thing, almost like going into a Chinese restaurant and not seeing any Chinese people. I brought this to the attention of our server, a pleasant Asian girl. She didn’t really notice, being busy serving macaroni and cheese etc. To me it’s a damn shame, the dwindling numbers of African Americans in San Francisco, the mass exodus. It is said that the black population is approximately the same number as the seating at Candlestick Park. A soul food restaurant without black people. The food was good but it was missing something. Maybe it was soul.