inside art san francisco visual

Clare Rojas at Gallery Paule Anglim

Lots of intrigu­ing stuff at Clare Rojas's open­ing at Gallery Paule Anglim tonight. Wood­land crea­tures, naked dudes in tai chi pos­es, an excel­lent video of Peg­gy Hon­ey­well play­ing a slow sad song at a rag­ing frat par­ty filled with beer bongs and keg stands, Amaze, Bar­ry McGee, and much, much more. Worth it.

Clare Rojas - It's hard out there for a penguinI call this one "It's Hard Out Here For a Penguin."
Clare Rojas - UntitleableI think this one is unti­tled, but it should be called "Unti­tleable."

Gallery Paule Anglim is at 14 Geary in down­town San Francisco.

baseball san francisco


I've said it before: I don't like Bar­ry Bonds. So it may seem strange that I want­ed to be there when he hit home run num­ber 756. But con­sid­er this: I love base­ball; the record for career home runs is, like it or not, one of baseball's hal­lowed mile­stones; Bonds plays in my city; the Giants were begin­ning a home stand as he was poised to break the record. Too many stars were aligned for me to NOT try to get into a game. I could always boo, right? So, on Tues­day, August 7, I rode my bike to AT&T Park, hop­ing to get lucky and fig­ur­ing that I wouldn't. Imme­di­ate­ly, I got real­ly lucky, scor­ing an amaz­ing tick­et in the club lev­el (a $70 val­ue) for the price of two AT&T Park beers. At that moment, I had a good feel­ing. A cou­ple of hours lat­er, Bonds faced a 3–2 count, and I decid­ed to join 45,000+ oth­er fans in point­ing my dig­i­tal cam­era at the plate. Up to that point, I made sar­cas­tic remarks about medi­at­ing the expe­ri­ence in that way. Now I'm post­ing my crap­py ver­sion on the Inter­net. Why? I don't know. Any­way, a moment lat­er, Bonds drilled the pitch into deep, deep cen­ter field and the stranger next to me grabbed my arm and start­ed jump­ing up and down.For the next five min­utes, I high-fived a lot of peo­ple, and some­one gave me a hug as I was film­ing the cel­e­bra­tions. Fire­works explod­ed over McCov­ey Cove; stream­ers rained down; the Nation­als left the field; Hank Aaron con­grat­u­lat­ed Bonds asyn­chro­nous­ly through a pre-record­ed video. It was sur­re­al, but fes­tive and exciting.Of course, there was also a weird vibe. Peo­ple seemed to feel per­son­al­ly grat­i­fied that they got to wit­ness his­to­ry, but few seemed real­ly, tru­ly hap­py for Bonds. Few peo­ple said: "Wow, good for Bonds.†Those who did were either peo­ple who pos­sessed amaz­ing capac­i­ties for for­give­ness and seemed gen­uine­ly hap­py, or younger guys with way too much bit­ter­ness who saw Bonds as a kin­dred spir­it. The rest of us said: "Wow. I can't believe I saw that. Wow. This is real­ly weird." After hit­ting the home run, Bonds left the game. It was the 5th inning, and the Giants had a 5–4 lead; the Nation­als came back and won. My ques­tion: Who does that? Hank Aaron? No. Dimag­gio? Nev­er. Ted Williams? God no. Sort of a per­fect end­ing to a con­flict­ed, sur­re­al night.

architecture san francisco the ancient past urban

San Francisco / Maps and earthquake shacks

San Francisco in Maps: 1797 - 2006

This week­end I got an incred­i­ble book about San Fran­cis­co called San Fran­cis­co in Maps & Views. I usu­al­ly avoid glossy cof­fee-table his­tor­i­cal books because they're so often filled with dis­ap­point­ments — bad col­or, bad print­ing, messy lay­out, unin­spired writ­ing, PLUS they're real­ly expen­sive. But THIS ONE. This one is dif­fer­ent. The maps are very well-repro­duced, high-res and col­or­ful, and all are sup­port­ed by detailed and sur­pris­ing­ly engag­ing com­men­tary. After I got over the ini­tial thrill of using it like a flip-book and watch­ing my neigh­bor­hood evolve, I start­ed to notice small­er trends in land-use evo­lu­tion — a plot labeled "orphan asy­lum" became "hos­pi­tal;" many things labeled "cemetary" became "park" or "civic cen­ter." "Dunes" become "the Sun­set." I was also intrigued by the use of pub­lic places as refugee camps after the big one hit in 1906. Appar­ent­ly, SF car­pen­ters sprang into action and built thou­sands of makeshift cot­tages for the earthquake/fire refugees, turn­ing many well-known SF pub­lic spaces into refugee camps, includ­ing South Park, Dolores Park, and Precita Park, and lots of the then-out­ly­ing, unde­vel­oped areas, like the Rich­mond and the Sunset. 

Earthquake_shacks_in_Dolores_ParkA shack on Biki­ni Ridge would have been puh-ret­ty sweet. (This is Dolores Park, believe it or not). Pho­to: West­ern Neigh­bor­hoods Project

As the city began to return to nor­mal a year lat­er, a few of the refugees decid­ed to use the cot­tages — or, "shacks" as they were com­mon­ly known — as more per­ma­nent res­i­dences. Some indus­tri­ous peo­ple com­bined mul­ti­ple shacks into one res­i­dence. Incred­i­bly, a few shacks are still around, and nat­u­ral­ly folks have orga­nized to pre­serve them. (Here's a 2002 Chron­i­cle arti­cle about efforts to save some shacks in the out­er Sun­set).

Cumby_shackI believe that this is the house that is list­ed as 300 Cum­ber­land on the West­ern Neigh­bor­hood Project's list of known shacks. The crazy thing is that this is at the top of an insane­ly steep hill, like un-bike-ably steep and long, so it must have been built there rather than trans­port­ed from Dolores Park. On the oth­er hand, who knows? Peo­ple were crafty back then, right?

Final­ly, here's a map of the loca­tions of the known exist­ing earth­quake shacks. Seems like a good project for a week­end afternoon.

san francisco tech visual

Google street-view meets new apartment

Mara and I just moved into the Low­er Haight ear­li­er this month, and Google just released a new Maps fea­ture — Street View — that has a pic­ture of our place. If I weren't writ­ing about this, I'd be speech­less. Wow.

Our new place on FillmoreOur place is the yel­low two-sto­ry walk-up that is bustin out of the top of the frame. I love that it was cap­tured on one of those semi-sun­ny days where lit­tle wisps of fog drift through. So nice to not live in the fog belt. Inci­den­tal­ly, here's the Chronicle's fog fore­cast. Doesn't look good.

Street Lev­el seems like use­ful func­tion­al­i­ty, esp. for fan­cy mobile devices, which I don't have. The con­trols are pret­ty straight­for­ward and easy to use on a desk­top, but I won­der about the ease with which one could nav­i­gate up and down the streets with those tee­ny arrows on a Palm or Black­ber­ry. This is real­ly nit­picky, but I think it would be effec­tive to intro­duce more map nav­i­ga­tion into the image, i.e. skip­ping to the next inter­sec­tion, return­ing to the orig­i­nal des­ti­na­tion, etc. Future-wise, it would be awe­some to be able to do stuff with the images — eas­i­ly insert them into oth­er things, string them togeth­er in con­nec­tion with direc­tions, etc. What I want to know is: How the heck did they do it? Thx, kot­tke.

san francisco the ancient past visual web

Living all over / Google-mapping my life

All over the place

So how come I just now learned that you can cre­ate your own Google Maps mark-up? As a lover of both maps and per­son­al doc­u­ments, the abil­i­ty to cus­tomize an online map has the poten­tial to have a Shabu-like effect on my life. The above map has all the places I've lived in the Bay Area. Check out the com­plete, inter­ac­tive thingy here. It has essen­tial, all-impor­tant com­men­tary on each place. Maps I want to make: killer runs in SF; fun night-time wan­der­ings in SF; lit­er­ary locales of SF (from fic­tion and from real life); TV/movie locales of SF; (this guy already made a cool music-relat­ed his­to­ry of SF); crazy work trav­el trips of the past few years; places I want to go; a bur­ri­to tour of the Mis­sion; the list GOES ON.

flickr music san francisco visual

Music / Lightning Bolt explodes 12 Galaxies

Flickr photo

A few years ago, it would have been sur­pris­ing to see a San Fran­cis­co indie crowd move its feet around in a dance-style motion at a live show. Last week, Light­ning Bolt got peo­ple mov­ing at 12 Galax­ies; it wasn't exact­ly "danc­ing" but (from my van­tage point in the bal­cony), it appeared kinet­ic — lots of mass mov­ing back and forth, a lit­tle crowd-surf­ing, a lit­tle flail­ing around. I took a lot of pic­tures from my perch above the drums.

inside art san francisco visual

Missed former SF locals / Chris Johanson

Chris Johanson

Once upon a time, a San Fran­cis­co res­i­dent strolling around these chilly city streets could brush by Chris Johan­son pret­ty often. Even before I knew who he was, I'd seen him around the Mis­sion a lot; when I final­ly con­nect­ed the dots, I real­ized that he was the guy who had drawn lit­tle signs and bits that I'd been lov­ing for years. As I recall, he drew a lit­tle guy above the uri­nal at the Uptown (or some­where I peed a lot); either way, his sim­ple fig­ures and their cryp­ti­cal­ly expressed thoughts would be burned into my brain for hours after I saw them. He moved to Port­land a while ago, and San Fran­cis­co has been a lit­tle less visu­al­ly excit­ing ever since. For one thing, his beard is an inspi­ra­tion to any aspir­ing bear­do, and his lead­er­ship in this regard will be sore­ly missed. More: A cool pro­file of Chris from Spark, a local PBS art show.