Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Conflagration on Mission Street

In the later afternoon of June 18th we heard what sounded like the sirens of every fire engine in San Francisco heading for our neighborhood. We looked out over the Mission and saw nothing so we went to the end of our yard and looked back at our hill. There was an enormous plume of smoke in the sky. We could not see where it was coming from, because of the intervening hill, but it seemed to be coming from Mission St.

In the 19th Century, when Bernal Hill was a pasture, it was bounded by streams and marshes on all sides. In the 21st Century it's bounded by city thoroughfares and freeways on all sides. The thoroughfare to the west is Mission St. We soon learned from the internet that multiple building were burning. It took hours for the Fire Department to get the fire under control. Fifty Eight people were made homeless. The firemen used so much water that neighboring 29th Street was under a foot of it.

We learned about all this from the internet. It wasn't until two days later that we saw the destruction with our own eyes. The building in the center, Cole Hardware and the Mexican restaurant on the left, Plaza Azul, were completely destroyed.

The Mexican restaurant, El Paisa, on the left is repairable.

This building, which has a taqueria called El Gran Taco Loco and an ancient neighborhood bar called The 3300 Club on the ground floor and a SRO Hotel, called The Greywood, on the upper floors is also repairable but it will probably take a long time. In a dark irony, several of the residents were formerly homeless and now they are again.

The invaluable neighborhood blog, Bernalwood, has posted photos shot from a drone that give a much truer sense of the desolation than my eye level photos.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016


According to the SF Chronicle the Gangway has been a nautical themed bar since 1910 and a gay bar since 1961 but now it's been sold and will become something else, which is how things go these days.

A nautical bar gives us an easy transition to the beach. Mme Le Chef and I went out to Ocean Beach this past Sunday and discovered something we had not known existed. Beach Soccer!

The sky was grey but it was not cold and the players seemed to be enjoying themselves.

It occurred to the bureau chief that if there can be Beach Soccer, there can be Beach Dogs.

Beach Erosion.

The Beach.

And Beach Kites.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

It officially re-opens on May 14 after having been closed for three years to add an addition to it. Since we are members of the museum, we got to tour it on May 1. It seems to be twice as large as it used to be. The top floor had been the fifth but it now has a sixth and a seventh floor, both enormous. The new main entrance is now on Howard St. and the first work of art that greets you is Richard Serra's "Sequence".

Madame Le Chef and I took the elevator directly to the seventh floor which has a balcony.

It allows new views of SF''s downtown towers, both old and contemporary.

The new floors house the Fisher collection which is the raison d'etre for the addition to the museum. They collected a lot of modern German art.

And American of course.

Also photography.

After a lot of galleries, I felt in sync with this piece. I have a 90 minute window in which to view art and then I have to come back another day.

None the less we visited a new sculpture garden with a very cool living wall.

I will take us multiple visits to this "new" museum to really get a sense of it. Finally, let me say that these are not the graves of starving artists.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Eastern Spring 2016

On my recent trip to Richmond VA I learned that the color of new leaves is Chartreuse. Like these.

This is a part of Maymont, which was some rich people's estate and is now a very nice park.

I had not known that there was a sub-genre of porn that involved someone having their head squeezed between Griffins' butts. I found sculptural evidence at Maymont.

This is a great wall.

 Turtle island

A mausoleum with a very nice view.

Monday, March 14, 2016

New Art

New murals get painted over old murals, sometimes by the same artist, and exploring new streets and alleys leads to new discoveries. This is on a wall next to a bar owned by Kink.com.

A building of unknown function.

New work on a bar where the murals change a lot.

Danielle O'Malley, a name to conjure with.

I recognize the hand.

A jewel.

He was almost 103. The mural was painted by his grandson.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

February Roundup

Odd sign.
Cool VW.

Cool dog.

 Pot delivery billboard.

Falling blossoms.