The spring season at the Headlands has been underway for a few weeks now, and I've spent the last three Thursdays up there having amazing dinners in the Mess Hall and conversing with wonderful friends both new and old. Tonight's program was particularly special, an event they called Giftivism: Art & Service. In a slight twist on typical Headlands program structure we started off upstairs in the "Officer's Club" before dinner where organizers Anne Veh and Sam Bower from greenmuseum.org and Generative Partners and Susanne Cockrell and Ted Purves of Fieldfaring introduced the evening by explaining their ideas about the gift economy and about how generosity moves us toward true sustainability and equality. The possibility of a society where goods and services are not even bartered but outright gifted in a "pay it forward" model might seem suspicious at first if not outright crazy, but the energy crackling through the midst of the receptive crowd tonight was undeniable as we feasted on a gorgeous vegetarian feast from the Headlands kitchen completely free of charge, were waited on hand and foot by the beaming volunteers from Karma Kitchen and Charity Focus, and interacted with artists (Lea Redmond, Claudia Tennyson, Michael Swaine, Zach Pine) who make gifting an active part of their practice. It's not uncommon for art to portray hope for a better world, but these individuals are taking the next step toward being the change they want to see in the world. I was also very inspired to hear Parabola editor Richard Whittaker talk about starting free magazine works & conversations to convey the feelings of transcendence he feels in the presence of great art that he found missing from the majority of art criticism. As for the rest of the crowd, I've never heard "thank you" said with such sincerity or seen as many random strangers hug as I did in the Mess Hall tonight as kindnesses were distributed with abandon by all and sundry. I feel nourished in both body and soul, and I'm currently plotting my own feats of radical generosity. That shit is damn infectious.