21 August, 2010

Things Are Looking Up

A bit of yarny whimsy on a chain link fence. The K looks a bit like a Q, but I have to admire the effort. It's always nice to come across something like this in an otherwise bleak block. Wishful thinking or vision of the future? Either way, it's a welcome distraction from l'eau de urine.

19 August, 2010

The Clay

It would be very easy for this blog to become some sort of "in memoriam" site for all of the lost landmarks of San Francisco. I don't really like dwelling on things I can't change.
Peering at old photos, wistfully imagining what it would be like to visit Playland at the Beach, Sutro Baths, the City of Paris store or the Fox Theatre, is a favorite pastime... and not a very productive one. What really makes me melancholy, and feel even more helpless, is witnessing the end of an era and an establishment that was a part of my life for many years. Landmark Theatres has just announced that it's closing the Clay Theatre on Fillmore Street at the end of August. The Clay is a very modest place but it's also one of the oldest cinemas in The City. It's been around for 100 years, so it's been part of the lives of many San Franciscans. I've spent an enormous amount of time in the movie houses of this city over the years and I watched dozens of single-screen theatres fade away. After each closing, for some reason, I've imagined that whatever cosmic force is devouring them will finally be sated. Alas, that just isn't so.

15 August, 2010

Fruit Fly (The Movie)

In this blog I generally try to avoid promoting things like movies as there are plenty of sites devoted to pushing Hollywood Product©, but this is the rare exception. It's an exception because the film is anything but "Hollywood" and it's by a film maker who obviously loves San Francisco and its denizens. I had an opportunity to see the movie at the Castro Theatre this last week; it's called Fruit Fly and it's by the very talented H.P. Mendoza. He writes, directs, scores, edits and co-stars in the film (I might have left something out). This combo is generally a recipe for artistic disaster, but in this case, his very real talent and enthusiasm more than carry the day (or the film). The cast is remarkable, as well; especially notable is the performance by the beautiful and gifted L.A. Renigen. The film really captures the flavor and energy of The City and was filmed in locations that you won't find in the usual SF-based RomCom. Also check out his previous opus, Colma:The Musical. It's a joy, as well.
Fruit Fly is currently making the usual indie theatrical circuit and will be available in October from TLA Video.

13 August, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

It happens so often in the BIG (ish) CITY; you're away for a couple of weeks and when you return, a little piece of your world has gone missing. That little bit of San Francisco was Bob's Broiler on Polk Street. Bob's wasn't the sort of place you would recommend to others. The food was mediocre, at best. But it did have something going for it. I don't know whether it was the comfortably-worn gray vinyl booths or the hand-written signs or the mangy houseplants, but Bob's was truly a part of the character of Polk Street. It was the kind of place you ate at because it was there and it was open. A few years ago there was a wonderful essay by Mike Weiss in the Chronicle on the closing on Herb's Fine Foods on 24th Street. I think it captures the sense of loss of a place like Bob's better than I can. Bye Bob's.