Joel Pomerantz → writer bio
Joel Pomerantz is a writer and natural history educator recognized for his work in waterway research, local journalism, public art and community service.
Most of Joel's writing is community-based nonfiction relating to San Francisco, his home and place of residence.
To inform his writing, or maybe just to satisfy his curiosity, Joel carries out original research into historic natural features and their effects on local history. His efforts highlight the benefit of context: putting today's chaos into the perspective of global and boom-town history.
Joel has created custom presentations and walking tours for dozens of fascinating groups such as the Randall Museum, The Exploratorium, WalkSF, the employees of Twitter, the Wigg Party, and for the guides who provide City Guides walks.
His latest publishing releases include a collection of 132 geography explorations, deeply researched and written in a subversive personal style, available (August 2012) as a pair of iPhone apps called Everything Explained and Local Nerd!.
His current publishing effort (December 2012) is a reworked 3rd edition of the Duboce Mural card sets. Together, these cards form a poster of the mural with captions and a tour of the project's unusual artistic process.
Joel's current research obsession is the unprecedented storm sequence of 1861–62 that inundated the entire west coast continuously for months. His discovery of a large lake that existed near the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park is one of the results of this sleuthing.
In addition, Joel has written occasional fiction, including an illustrated book called Twice Just to be Sure (released 2011). Joel also composed music to accompany this heart-warming and playfully thoughtful 48-page tale. Authorship on his fiction works is under the pen name Uncle Pea—as a sort of "band" name, in this case working with illustrator Lance Jackson and book and font designer Amy Conger.
Spanning a substantively varied career, Joel's purpose has always been to cultivate informed democracy and public access, and to build non-profit and non-fear-based community decisions.
As co-founder of various bicycle organizations and events, Joel played a major role in planting seeds for the culture of bicycling that has seen a worldwide resurgence since the 1990s. He was a pioneer in creating access to new publishing technology when the use of personal computers was first gaining ground. He was involved in formative stages of the organic foods movement. He organized many of the public art murals in San Francisco, including the acclaimed Duboce Bikeway Mural and recruited renowned artist Mona Caron into the world of muraling. (Joel also offers social justice art history tours as part of Thinkwalks.)
He designed and developed, as founding editor, The Tube Times (San Francisco Bicycle Coalition). Joel reëstablished The Antioch Record after its collapse and was editor of The Haight Ashbury Voice and various other community print media. He designed and produced major resource manuals and outreach systems for the Smithsonian Institution, Antioch College, Media Alliance, the San Francisco Folk Music Club (a project in which he was honored by fan mail from Pete Seeger), the AIDS Legal Referral Panel and for many other grassroots efforts and small businesses.