Archive for November, 2004
No, not that kind of swingin.’ I haven’t added an appropriate category for that kind of post.
My birthday brought out weird vibes in me this year. After another day of flat hunting, I ventured out to a place my friend Jeremy
has often talked about – the Doghouse
on Mission in San Francisco.
Every Saturday they have a healthy five hours of swing dancing. Sadly, its a DJ and not the 16 piece orchestra I grew accustomed to in my early days of swing in greater Boston. But the music grabs you nevertheless…….and, it doesn’t let you go.
When you have a birthday and the “floor” knows about it, you are thrown into what’s called a “birthday jam” by the dance community.
What’s fabulous about a jam, is that in one four minute dance, you experience a few ‘swing outs’ and turns with nearly every man in the place. They line up, throw a few moves your way, duck out and the next one comes in.
I realized as I drove to the venue that I had not been to an “official” swing dance in close…
I discovered Glen Park, another San Francisco neighborhood, not far from Portrero Hill, my temporary abode. Known to have a low profile, it’s the first area this side of the bridge I drove around and thought, “this is California.” It’s also the first area inside the city I experienced “real burbs.”
It’s much less urban that surrounding areas and the rent is a tad less than Noe Valley, Portrero, Bernal and South of Market properties. The downside is its distance from quaint streets lined with shops, supermarkets, coffee bars and restaurants like Noe and Pacific Heights offers.
Glen Park does have a small center that sits at the base of Chenery; you can read a bit about its history here
Two charming things worth a mention include its corner creperie and Bird & Beckett
Books & Records, a quaint bookstore less than a block away. While ordering my traditional mushroom spinach favorite, I met a local writer. Although he mainly writes for non-profits, he recently wrote a chapter of The Political Edge.
Bird & Beckett plans to do a book reading discussing the book on November 30 at 7 pm. The Political Edge
is a collection…
and San Francisco friend Brad Nye
has been inviting me to his ArtSFest
events for years. Primarily based in LA and San Francisco, its rare that I’ve been in town the same day one is being held….and even then, there were always other things to distract me.
I finally made it to an ArtSFest shindig, which is a non-profit that produces an annual arts festival and works year-round with artists, performers, art patrons, arts organizations, civic agencies and businesses to promote the Bay Area art scene and advance its economic potential.
The theme? Hard to say. I found myself surrounded by dark lights, blue light overlay and a back-drop of “MusicMatch Skin-like” images on a screen.
Tonight’s event, with exhibitions by Debra Walker, David DeRosa among others, was held at the Blue Cube
on Mason, which is a dingy, seedy pocket of town…..an area where you don’t feel that knives will start flying, but you also don’t feel like wandering around alone or leaving…
I’m starting to grow fond of this Portrero Hill neighborhood in San Francisco, between the Atlas Cafe, which I wrote about
last week, to Farley’s Funky Cafe
for great coffee, games, magazines and newspapers to the strip of little bistros and restaurants along 18th Street.
Inside Farleys Cafe:
And while not as many dogs as you see on London and suburbia streets, its not uncommon to find people walking their dogs during the day and dragging them out to cafes such as this one in the evening.
Outside Chez Maman this evening:
A hazy view of new friend Elisa Camahort through the window, who also has a blog
French culture follows me to the West Coast, as I’m served by the third French waiter in a week – all in the same neighborhood.
Chez Maman is a tiny French bistro with bar seating and two small tables that face the window. They mostly serve salads and crepes, with a selection of main courses where you can get…
Tonight, after another discouraging round of looking at expensive flats with those berber carpets San Francisco landlords seem to love, I ducked into Atlas Café
on the corner Alabama and 20th in Portrero Hill.
One of my fears is that Starbucks, like McDonalds, will make it harder for places like Atlas Café and unique coffee bars like it to exist.
You can’t imagine my truly wonderful neighborhood experience in a place where I was taken to a romantic lake, Paris, Budapest, New York and then back to San Francisco.
Was it the music that took me there? Ah yes, the music. The blend was so unusual, that as I sat at the bar watching the two handsome Mexican chefs with backward facing baseball caps, preparing my salad, I started to have a surreal moment, one which lasted a couple of hours. Perhaps it was just pure and beautiful imagination. Perhaps the music tore me open, as it should.
At first, I thought that Bach was playing in the background, but then I started to hear the Accordian — Hawaiian style. As I closed my eyes, I went to a tropical island, until of course the track turned Vaudeville.…
Around the corner from my Portrero Hill sublet, Farleys Cafe
is symbollic of the neighborhood’s character and personality. So un-Starbucks like.
A few blogger friends are facing some heat over their steady flow of anti-Bush posts. Where do we draw the line? How much of our personal side should we show on our blogs? Or should we not express our feelings about causes, politics, economics and religion on a blog that also represents us professionally?
Isn’t that the idea of a blog? I didn’t start a blog to leverage my business although it certainly could and may be a great idea. Many newcomers are drawn to blogging as a business tool or publicity stunt.
And yet, that’s not what drew me and many I know to the world of blogging. Despite the fact that the ‘role of the blog’ has changed over time and will continue to morph as their value unfolds, I’m not sure the “feeling” that creating a blog post invokes for so many of us will change.
We may create new blogs with different voices on different topics as the tools evolve. Today, I see the blogging experience in a way that many women view the world.
I remember sitting in the hallway floor as a kid, listening to my mother and her friends talk in this 1940’s…
Check out The End of Faith
by Sam Harris for an enlightening read.
The author presents a clear concise view of faith, perhaps the most important discussion since Descartes. Harris writes that we are in a time when so many people are moving toward faith as their anchor, and not enlisting reason in their governing of life’s potential. He presents an alternative universe to those that wish to perpetuate dogmatic ritualistic beliefs that undermine progress and more to the point, human happiness. You can find out more about Harris and his novel here