San Francisco for 3 months to be creative and check out awesomeness. Low budget, Bangladesh passport. Possible?
So in my travails and research of the performance-artist life, I've noticed that a lot of people & events I find super-inspirational are for some reason based in San Francisco. I've been to the US a few times, but have only ever been to SF Airport (and even then I was charmed by the staff!). More and more, this desire to check out San Francisco and see what's going on is growing, and I'm looking for concrete ideas to make it happen.
My current Australian residency status (Bridging Visa) means that I can only really be out of the country for 3 months at a time. I have seen some great internship programs in SF, but they require a minimum of 6 months. I have a 5-year multiple-entry US B1/B2 visa, which makes things SIGNIFICANTLY easier, but I'm still not likely to be let in the country unless I can have a concrete answer to "what are you doing here for so long?". (Doesn't help that I have a Third-World Muslim-Country Passport of Doom.) I can work out ad-hoc stuff relatively easier, but need at least one major project.
I would like to time this trip with other significant events (festivals, performances, conferences, etc) that are on at the time. (SO JEALOUS I missed FemmeCon
! And it's not back till 2012!). I don't like cold weather - Brisbane
winters make me complain, and that's mild
- and I will need some time to save up and prepare, though I would like to do this by mid 2011 ish. I'd like to explore queer culture, performance art, gender/sexuality, multi-culturalism, community arts, media, burlesque, circus, anti-racism, and activist work primarily but am pretty flexible. I don't think I'm experienced enough to score an artist residency, but some sort of training/workshop program would be great too.
* Are there any organisations/groups in SF that would be open to hosting a 3-month intern/trainee from overseas? I'd imagine most will appreciate having a helping hand (if they're anything like the orgs down here) but places that actually have organised stuff like this before would be handy.
* How will I support myself while I'm there? I can't get a paying job, and getting Australian grants are out (due to residency, unless by some miracle I get permanent residency very soon). Does the US have grants that are open to temporary residents? Anyone in SF with a scholarship/stipend I could investigate?
* When's a good time of year to head to SF? (Maybe during Pride or some other fairly big community event?) How's the weather?
* What should I know about getting housing, medical care (I'm on anti-depressants), transport, etc?
* Are there any orgs I should stay away from? Already from building my research I've found plenty of names, but I don't know which are cool and which are dodgy. Any that seem good in theory but are really messy?
* Any other ways I can make this happen?
I do realise from past AskMefi questions that I have more harebrained schemes than I have accomplished, but maybe this will inspire someone else too!