It started in an old house in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Hayward Hills when a group of creative people gathered regularly to play music, draw, write and philosophize about the how’s and why’s of this universe, often all at the same time. These sessions grew into larger happenings, and in 1995 they launched the first GAME (Gumbo, Arts, and Music Encounter) in downtown Hayward.
From sidewalk Gumbo and kiln-fired Raku pottery to street art and live bands, the GAME showed what’s possible when artists of all different backgrounds get together and let their creative juices flow freely. While it’s great to see art in galleries and museums, there was something pure and even a bit subversive about putting it all out into the street, causing people to stop, turn their heads, and join the fun. That same premise of letting different ideas coincide led to two more GAMEs, a movie series at a Mexican restaurant, a local art zine, and the dawning of Chemystry Set, a band that would come to defy musical boundaries and inspire the possibility for human understanding and compassion for the next 13 years.
In 1996, German native Sven Eberlein, one of the driving forces behind the Hayward House, was working on a translation for a wilderness book publisher, when he had an epiphany while mulling over the chapter about surviving on roots, bulbs, and tubers. The image of an underground vegetable sending shoots through the earth felt like the perfect metaphor for the budding creativity that was happening all around. The Hayward House turned into Tuber Creations, and along with Chemystry Set ran its shoots into San Francisco’s Mission District.
Tuber Creations continued the tradition of raising consciousness through the arts, organizing events like Acoustic Democracy and Connecting Worlds, producing five Chemystry Set albums, and publishing its first book, Dancing on the Brink of the World – A Star Waltz in the Keys of Canvas, Music, and Myth. With the tools for sharing inspiration and creativity through the world wide web becoming ever more powerful and far-reaching, it seemed only natural for a metaphorical underground vegetable like the tuber to spread its roots digitally. So this is where we are, right here and now, continuing to sow the seeds for creative change. The medium may have changed, but the message remains the same.