Monthly Archives: November 2010

Golden Gate Park, S.F.

For my birthday I was given a new camera, Micro Four Thirds.  I couldn’t resist taking the camera out for a test run while strolling through Golden Gate Park.  Enjoy!

Golden Gate Park, S.F. 11.27.10 6
Golden Gate Park, S.F. 11.27.10 11

Golden Gate Park, S.F. 11.27.10 17

Golden Gate Park, S.F. 11.27.10 12

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San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

Sculpture Garden
MOMA Garden Sculpture
MOMA Garden Sculpture 2
MOMA - Garden Bench

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Filed under San Francisco Art, SFMOMA

ImagiKnit

IMAG0227 Are you knitter?

Do you want to know a great place for knitting supplies in San Francisco?

Do you want to learn how to knit?

 
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you need to hurry on over to ImagiKnit located in the Mission Dolores neighborhood.  I visited there today, and they have two large rooms with ceiling to floor shelves full of any type of yarn and color that your heart may desire.  To add to the charm, the staff is very friendly and helpful.  They also have classes that will teach you beginning techniques as well as more advanced skills like making a hat.

Go for a visit, and while you are in the neighborhood try the Samovar Tea Lounge across the street.  You won’t be disappointed.  

Cheers!

Mike

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Filed under San Francisco Business

Historical Saturday: Japantown & Fillmore

Japantown was a thriving community after the 1906 earthquake.  It took up 24-blocks and the population of Japanese and Japanese Americans numbered around 7,000.  The makeup of this neighborhood changed forever during World War I when President Roosevelt authorized the removal of Japanese Americans to internment camps.

I was aware of this dark, racist spot in American history, and I have read the stories of how it affected these families.  Imagine, working all your life to buy a house and build up a business, and then you get a notice that says you have to abandon it all and move your family into a row of fenced in barracks where the guards have guns pointed into the complex.  Land of the free?  Many of these people were born in America and may never have set foot in Japan and still America was so insecure that we took their rights away and put them into prison.  (Whoops, I meant to say internment camp.)

How this affected the families is something I have read before, but I guess I never really thought about how it changed communities and cities.  Japantown is a perfect example of this.  Within a few weeks, this area of town was vacant and a ghost town.  Businesses and houses were boarded up, and the streets were quiet.

What is unique about this area of town is that the emptiness actually gave room for another minority population in San Francisco to grow and thrive.  The African Americans were moving to the West Coast in droves because of the jobs in the shipyards and defense plants that were plentiful in the bay area during the war.  They moved into the vacant homes and businesses and started a thriving community along Fillmore that was eventually called “Harlem West.”  They chose this area because many of the other neighborhoods did not welcome African Americans. 

During the 1950’s, San Francisco, like many other cities, experienced the phenomenon called “white flight.”  The white people were flocking to the suburbs and leaving the city and it’s old structures behind.  Economic opportunities for African Americans started to dry up and this led to the decline of the Fillmore area.  Many of the houses were condemned and torn down.  “Whole city blocks of Victorians fell to the wreckers ball.  Black residents started calling the Fillmore the ‘No More.'” (Historic Walks in San Francisco, by Rand Richards). 

Over time, new, modern structures went up, and the architecture is at times a nod to the Japantown and old Fillmore that once defined this small neighborhood.

Even the liberal West Coast is not immune to the racism and prejudice that have plagued the United States since its conception.

Note:
Researched from Historic Walks in San Francisco, by Rand Richards.   

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I Spy Waldo!

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Where’s Waldo?

I took a holiday on Monday and decided to go to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).  I could definitely do an entire post or two about that experience, but I will save the visit for a later time.  If you haven’t been, I would encourage you to go.

While I was walking across the sky bridge on the 5th floor and heading to the rooftop sculpture garden, I looked out a wall of windows and found Waldo standing among the air conditioning units on the top of a nearby building.  It reminds me of that quote by Oscar Wilde, “It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco.”

San Francisco, I love your quirkiness.

Cheers,

Mike

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Filed under California, Entertainment, San Francisco Tourist, West Coast

Meeting Armistead Maupin

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One of my heroes:  Armistead Maupin

Long, long ago when I was a college sophomore in the small town of Hays, Kansas, a friend of mine sent me the Tales of the City collection of books.  I was at first shocked by what I read, but that quickly turned to fascination as I worked my way through the books and learned about the quirky lives of the people who lived in Maupin’s San Francisco.

When I came to this city a year and a half ago, I decided it was time to reread the series and relive the magic.  I was not disappointed.  In fact, I was thrilled all over again to observe the unveiling of Mrs. Madrigal’s secrets,  the details of DeeDee Halycion’s travels, and the joy and pain of Mary Ann’s rocketing career.  Since I now live in this city, I can actually picture the places mentioned in the books.

After many years, Armistead Maupin has written yet another book about the lives of all of these characters as they work, live, love, and struggle through their now “golden age” in San Francisco.  It’s called Mary Ann in Autumn, and I’m hooked and can’t put the book down.

A couple of days ago I went to his book signing and had my picture taken with him.  I’ve been to many book signings in the past and heard several authors speak about their work; it’s kind of a hobby for me.  But I sometimes find myself staring at the people in the audience with true hero worship in their eyes and wondering what it was about the author that stirred such strong emotion.  Needless to say, I think that Maupin’s book signing helped me to understand.  I was the one in the audience with blatant hero worship written all over my face.  His books meant so much to the young, twenty-something me who felt trapped in Western Kansas.  Basically, he gave me hope that there was life out there for people who were a little different or even quirky.  When I went up to get my book signed, I had to fight back my tears a little bit.  I can honestly say that I have met one of my heroes in life. 

It has been said that Tales of the City is the West Coast’s answer to New York’s “Sex in the City.”  It does have a way of bringing San Francisco into the lives and hearts of anyone who reads the series.

Cheers!

Mike

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Filed under Armistead Maupin, San Francisco Author, Tales of the City

Historical Saturday: State Politics

California State Flag

 As most of you know, Jerry Brown beat Meg Whitman for the governor’s seat last Tuesday.  Some of you may know that he served as governor from 1974-1982.  During his two terms in office, he was know as a very frugal and almost penny pinching politician.  Instead of moving into the newly built governor’s mansion, he sold it saying that the upkeep was an expense he didn’t expect the people of California to bear.  In addition, he didn’t drive around in a chauffeured limousine, but instead drove himself in a regular sedan.  California had one of the highest budget surpluses during his tenure as governor.

What I find most interesting is that he followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a politician.  Jerry’s father, “Pat” Brown,” started his work career at the age of 12 when he sold Liberty Bonds on the street corners of San Francisco.  After high school, he paid his way through law school by working in his father’s cigar shop.  Eventually he served two terms as governor from 1958 to 1966 when he lost the re-election to Ronald Reagan.  He married his wife Bernice (daughter of a San Francisco police captain) in 1930 and had four children that were all born in San Francisco.   

Say what you will about the Browns, but the fabric of this state is woven with some of the contributions from this political family.  Living in a city where everyone seems to be from somewhere else, it always amazes me to hear of people who were raised in the bay area or someone whose family has been here for generations.

Seeing the Brown family makes me wonder if we will ever see any of the Schwarzenegger kids in office someday.  Their mother, Maria Shriver, comes from the Kennedy clan, and their father has already shown his commitment to the state by serving seven years.  Unlike their father, the Scharzenneger kids could even aspire to the office of president because they are naturally born citizens.  I could be wrong of course, but it is something to watch for.  We are seeing more and more examples of how not just one, but several members of particular families are running for office.  Kennedy. Bush. Clinton. Brown.

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Filed under Historical Saturdays, San Francisco, San Francisco Tourist, West Coast