Iconic Berkeley street poet Julia Vinograd emerged from the 1960’s Free Speech Movement fighting state oppression with bubbles instead of bricks. Eccentric and indomitable, often subsisting on one meal a day, the “Bubble Lady of Telegraph Avenue” pushed through poverty and polio to produce more than 70 volumes of poetry, winning an American Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, and Berkeley’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. A lifelong champion of marginalized people and an enduring symbol of non-violent resistance through art, Vinograd’s untold story is presented through the vivid historical prisms of Berkeley’s People’s Park movement, the 1980’s post-Beat Bay Area literary scene, and her own witty, incisive, deeply humane poetry.
Julia Vinograd’s poetry and unique brand of bubble-blowing activism profiles a divisive time in our past that reflects our present political climate. As historically silenced communities speak up within an increasingly diverse and inclusive United States, it is essential to tell the stories of artists like Vinograd, who was not limited by her disabilities. She wrote from the rare perspective of an artist surviving on the same economic and cultural margins as the itinerant and disenfranchised subjects of her verse. Julia’s story of indefatigable artistry and unabashed nonconformity highlight the creative potential that can emerge from difference, and asks all viewers to consider how difference is intrinsic to our humanity.