This month, we focus on musicians, tastemakers and seekers of justice — for humanity and our planet.
The often-honored coffee pro is the founder of Linea, San Francisco’s boutique cafe and roaster, which is among 2022’s Good Food Awards finalists. The winners will be honored January 14 at a ceremony at the Palace of Fine Arts. Linea (“line” in Italian, and correctly pronounced either “Lin-ee-a” or Lin-ay-a,” Barnett says) is named after the classic La Marzocco espresso machine, which he has favored since he opened a cafe in Sonoma County in 1994. In 2013, Barnett, who worked at Ecco Caffe and Intelligentsia, launched Linea in the Mission, where it serves “sweetness-forward” coffees prepared in a Northern Italian roasting style. Since its start, Linea has worked internationally with organic farmers and environmentally friendly suppliers, using business practices that “take action to protect our sweet earth.” In a 2019 Unpacking Coffee podcast, Barnett admitted, “I’m a bit of a Virgo, I obsess on things; I actually dream about coffee.”
Beth Van Schaack
Self-described on Twitter as an “international criminal lawyer, diplomat, professor, mom and yogini,” the Stanford Law School instructor has been tapped by President Joe Biden for the role of Ambassador at Large for Global Criminal Justice at the U.S. State Department. (At press time, her nomination had been sent to the Senate and was awaiting confirmation.) The attorney (whose name is pronounced “Van Skack”) previously worked in Barack Obama’s administration as Deputy to the Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues in the same office. In a post on Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In website upon leaving that job, she wrote, “I stand ready to serve again someday, perhaps under the country’s first woman president.” Whether in the private or public sector, cases involving human rights and international justice have been through lines of her career.
In November, the director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus became the third winner of the Academy Legends Archive Award, an honor presented by the LGBTQ+ social club in the Castro that promotes diversity. In announcing that he is retiring after the SFGMC’s 44th season closes in 2022, Texas-raised Seelig, 70, author of the memoir Tale of Two Tims: Big Ol’ Baptist, Big Ol’ Gay, said, “As I look back over the last decade with the chorus, the milestones are humbling. For me, the successes of these 10 seasons with SFGMC are not counted in numbers of singers or dollars, but in the lives and hearts moved by the music we have made together.” Among those milestones: the chorus’ participation in the 2017 Lavender Pen Tour, followed by Gay Chorus Deep South, an award-winning documentary about the concerts; the establishment of the Artists Portal at San Francisco’s National AIDS Memorial Grove; the purchase of the building at 170 Valencia Street, which now houses SFGMC and the Chan National Queer Arts Center; and the launch of a SFGMC educational program for youth.
The beloved 90-year-old Palo Alto environmentalist and preservationist — a cofounder of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District who served on the organization’s board from 1972 to 2018, as president for six terms — is Bay Nature Institute’s 2022 Local Hero Award winner in the Conservation Action category. The nonprofit, which celebrates individuals’ connections with nature, is planning an in-person event for honorees this spring. During Hanko’s tenure, Midpen protected nearly 65,000 acres in 26 preserves. The mother of four and accomplished pianist also assisted in establishing the Peninsula Open Space Trust and Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. In 2018, the year she retired, the Nonette Hanko San Andreas Fault Trail was unveiled in the Los Trancos Open Space Preserve. On a Midpen YouTube video that reflects on her life and achievements, Hanko shared: “You never lose that joy of building something that’s important.”
The international and local legend (she’s lived in San Francisco’s Sea Cliff neighborhood for more than a decade) will be honored January 22 at the Fog Design+Art Innovators Luncheon, which recognizes individuals who’ve made transformative contributions to their field. The retired vocalist, 75, who famously dropped country and rock at the height of her fame to successfully pursue other genres — including her first love, Mexican music — has won 12 Grammy Awards and sold more than 50 million albums. One recent project is Linda and the Mockingbirds, a documentary about a 2019 trip she made with Jackson Browne and Bay Area youngsters in the Mexican American musical troupe Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds) to Mexico, where they met folkloric dance troupe Grupo Danza Xunutzi. Speaking with Hawaii Public Radio’s Dave Lawrence, Ronstadt said, “In Mexico, the music is so good. They’re training the kids so right. They teach the music for the best reasons — which is to learn how to socialize and share feelings, process your feelings, maybe privately, and express your joys and your sorrow.”