Maria Gilardin jokes about capitalism

August 7, 8:57 PM
by Debby Richman, Oakland Hills Examiner
Who is Maria Gilardin?  She’s a well-known radio host in progressive political circles, who grew up in Oakland.  Surprisingly, Maria’s a great artist with a sense of humor too.  While her radio shows are quite serious, her visual artwork provides an amusing counterbalance.

Maria Gilardin Artwork  (NoneSuch Space)

New Oakland Art Exhibit:

Gilardin's multi-media talents are now on display at NoneSuch Space, in a one-woman show entitled Toasting the End of Capitalism .  There’s a mix of collages and art exhibited, along with a three-hour audio segment that’s part of a joint project with Lawrence Ferlinghetti .

Stephanie Welch, who oversees NoneSuch Space, is pleased to feature works from this home-town renaissance woman.  In the SF Chronicle , she says that Maria “does a lot of questioning of the free-market system.  The collages are a fun and ironic way of raising questions about capitalism and globalization and where that is taking us."

The East Bay Express describes Maria as “an engaged political and satirical artist” and I agree.  Her social commentary is quite funny, with competing forces at play.

For example, in the midst of war she took a photo with camouflaged TV sets.  She also decided that an over-sized cockroach should hang on a Capitol-like dome.  How can you not smile?

In the next few weeks, plan to visit NoneSuch at 2865 Broadway, second floor ( map ).  The exhibit runs through August 23rd, and is opened Monday-Saturday, from 1pm-6pm.  Please call 510-625-1600 for more info or to arrange a special viewing.

Time of Useful Consciousness Radio:


Maria Gilardin's day job is radio production, and she's been in broadcasting for decades.  She currently delivers a weekly broadcast free to all radio stations, and some 60 independent stations have carried her programs.

After joining Pacifica Radio in 1980, Maria produced shows at KPFA-FM (Berkeley) for many years.  By 1993, she was banned from any Pacifica station because she questioned their finances and corporatization.

At that point, Maria established TUC Radio as an independent entity, and has produced weekly radio broadcasts from her San Francisco base since then.  Her weekly half-hour programs are available via satellite and MP3 today.

TUC Radio survives through donations from radio stations and individuals.  This enables Maria to focus on what’s important versus popular, and these sometimes intersect - such as global warming or anti-war coverage.

Maria appropriated the TUC acronym, which stands for Time of Useful Consciousness, from airplane pilots.  She declared that "I love those three words. Time is very magical to me -- how things unfold in time; and Useful , my grandmother always used to say, Do something useful with your life!  And Consciousness , I still don't know what that is, but if it's awakened it can move us to make a huge difference in our lives.”

You might expect a very bombastic style from Maria, who clearly follows her North Star.  Yet she has a soothing manner which pulls you into her subjects and reports.  When you listen to Maria, you will be surprised that she sounds like a European transplant.  This is not an affectation, but the result of being raised by a Swiss grandmother in Oakland.

Maria Gilardin Speech  (Willits TV) 

Goodbye, City Life:

After five years in transition, Gilardin has nearly completed her move from San Francisco to Mendocino County.

She is practicing more of what she preaches these days, by moving into her hay-bale home in the sticks.

I’m impressed that the entire home cost only $15 grand to construct, and she documented everything from the bales arriving from the farmer to the cozy results.

Now Maria’s hoping to deliver her weekly programs “off the grid” when she raises another $10 grand for solar panels and converters - and she's around halfway there.

She’s still keeping everyone informed, from her more rural outpost.  This spring, Maria presented How Local Defeats Global  to Willets residents, and you can view the hour-long presentation here

In addition, she has aired interesting repeats during her summer break.  Some of the ones that quickly caught my eye include John Nichols, who authored The Impeachment of Bush and Cheney (parts one and two ); and Daniel Ellsberg on The Threat of War on Iran (parts one and two ).

Maria makes a habit of finding and sharing what leading influencers are saying, and frequently covers interesting subject matter that's not in the headlines too.  Her move to Mendocino probably won't change things much for listeners, as long as they support her progressive mission.