Movers and Shakers

June Movers and Shakers

by Erin Carlson

Six high achievers on our radar this month, from Bay Area heavyweights to the next generation shaking things up

Paul Holes
Paul Holes

Paul Holes

The retired Contra Costa investigator helped unmask the suspected Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo using open-source genealogy website GEDmatch with genetic information provided by one of DeAngelo’s relatives. Holes’ killer instinct, combined with his telegenic looks, have made him an overnight celebrity among true-crime fans known as “Holerinos.” The 50-year-old forensics phenom, who is married (sorry, ladies!), has been fielding multiple offers from Hollywood and literary agents fascinated by his decades-long investigation. “First, absolutely flattered by #HotforHoles,” he tweeted recently of the trending hashtag. “Second, I’ll see how I can get that blue check mark so everybody can feel confident this is me.”

Billy Curtis
Billy Curtis

Billy Curtis

June is not just any month in San Francisco — it’s Pride Month! And Curtis is a community grand marshal, chosen by the SF Pride Board of Directors for his activism and advocacy. Nearly 20 years ago, Curtis was hired as UC Berkeley’s first full-time director for LGBT resources and currently leads the university’s Gender Equity Resource Center. He has served on a number of boards, including with Vitality, a network of LGBT business professionals, and the SF LGBT Center. He also volunteered with Project Open Hand and has participated in the inspiring, 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle ride from SF to LA. Curtis intends to use his SF Pride honor to raise funds and awareness for underserved LGBT students at Berkeley. “All of this is about visibility,” he says. “I’m calling the alumni back.”

Tessa Edwards
Tessa Edwards

Tessa Edwards

This summer, Edwards marks her fifth year as director of individual giving at Festival Napa Valley­ — and remains committed as ever to the event’s inclusive mission and providing the sort of experiences that folks remember, like when Bill Murray and the cast of Hamilton performed at last year’s Arts for All Gala. “Festival Napa Valley offers an extraordinary range of artists and programming,” she says. “But what I really love is working with an organization that cares about bringing the transformative power of the arts to everyone. So far we have donated more than $1 million to art programs in Napa County’s public schools. We are not only producing stellar events, but also keeping the arts alive in our community.” We’ll toast to that.

Jim Knowlton
Jim Knowlton

Jim Knowlton

Congratulations to the new director of athletics at UC Berkeley! Knowlton previously held a similar position at the United States Air Force Academy and won the Athletic Director of the Year award from his peers in the collegiate sports world. “By virtue of his experience, values and personal attributes, Jim stood out in what was a large and deeply talented pool of applicants,” raved Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ. “He is an excellent communicator who thrives on challenges, and shares my commitment to excellence, integrity and diversity. I am certain he will be the thought partner I sought, and the leader our campus needs at this pivotal time so that we can, together, usher in a new era of excellence for Cal Athletics.”

Arthur PitaArthur Pita

The Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk, perhaps more famous for the iconic swan dress she wore to the Oscars than her innovative music, helped inspire South Africa-born choreographer Pita’s “Björk Ballet” at the San Francisco Ballet’s Unbound Festival, which featured the world premieres of 12 new exciting new works. The Björk superfan had long aspired to set her songs against his choreography, and seized on the opportunity for Unbound — since Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson hails from Iceland, there perhaps seemed no better sign that he should go for it. The standout show, which included “Hyperballad,” “The Anchor Song” and “Bachelorette,” received glowing reviews, further cementing Pita as an artist to watch and Björk as a muse for those who dare to be different.

Yolanda Norton
Yolanda Norton

Reverend Yolanda Norton

Queen Bey can certainly draw crowds of worshippers. More than 900 people flocked to Grace Cathedral for a recent Mass featuring the icon’s transcendent pop repertoire. Norton, who teaches a course called “Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible” at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, delivered the guest sermon, using the superstar as a touchstone to talk about how black women interpret biblical texts. “We weren’t trying to deify Beyoncé,” Norton tells the Gazette. “What I’ve seen in her work is an evolution of her growing into herself as a black woman.” On the set list: “Survivor” (one of Beyoncé’s earliest hits with girl group Destiny’s Child) “Listen” (from Dreamgirls) and “Freedom,” a track from the 2016 masterpiece Lemonade. Norton had only expecting 50 to 100 in the audience at Grace, but thanks in part to social media buzz, the event became a sensation.

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