Tuesday, October 26, 2010

weekend in l.a.

Los Angeles is only an hour away by plane or around seven hours by Greyhound.   I've never taken the Coast Starlight train but it is supposed to be a beautiful trip, particularly when it travels along the Pacific between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.  Here are a few L.A. snapshots...

hollywood boulevard

walk of fame

hillhurst avenue, los feliz

farmers market, third and fairfax

muscle beach


santa monica pier

leaving l.a.

Monday, October 18, 2010


You too can be a "luchadore" in the sport of Mexican wrestling.  Or at least dress like one.  These are available for sale along 24th Street in the Mission...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Farm City

Novella Carpenter spent the first few years of her life on an Idaho ranch with her back to the land parents, seeing what that kind of isolation can do to a relationship.  She shakes her head, mystified, when city friends muse longingly about their dream of a perfect place in the country.  But at the same time she loves the idea of growing her own food.  So when she and her boyfriend move to a gritty neighbourhood in Oakland she starts up a garden in the abandoned lot next door.  At GhostTown Farm she grows her own vegetables and expands to include honeybees, chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits and eventually a couple of pigs.  She gains a true and deep respect for the food she eats.  Her book Farm City is a wonderful chronicle of her urban farm experience.  She proves you can enjoy homegrown food while enjoying the city life at the same time.

When we used to live in a little ramshackle farmhouse there were lots of idyllic country moments like harvesting from the garden in the evening while a watercolour sunset spread across the western sky, a roaring fire in the woodstove on a winter night as the wind whipped through the jack pines.  But then thoughts drift to foreign films at the old rep cinema, the used bookstore open til midnight, going down to the corner for a falafel, just taking a simple neighbourhood walk where you might see old Italian guys playing bocce or a group of Chinese women doing tai chi or a cat strolling a mural-splashed alleyway; taste banh mi, an empanada, a lassi; hear snatches of five different songs in the space of one block.  Just the everyday parade of city life.  So I really enjoyed Novella's story of how she is able to thoroughly embrace the ideals of both ways of life.

Friday, October 8, 2010

city views

skyline thru the palms, duboce avenue

a bit of afternoon fog

evening light on carl street

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sugar Pie DeSanto

Sugar Pie DeSanto grew up in the Fillmore district of San Francisco, hanging out and singing with neighbourhood pal Etta James.  After many first place finishes at the Ellis Theater talent shows she moved on in her career, playing with the James Brown Revue for a couple of years and touring with the American Folk Blues Festival in Europe where she was known for her energetic performances.

Just last year the compilation Go Go Power: The Complete Chess Singles 1961-1966 was released.  It features lots of great tracks including Soulful Dress, In the Basement (with Etta James) and Mama Didn't Raise No Fools.

Here are two videos featuring Sugar Pie.  The first one is on tour in England in 1964 and the second is a performance of Hello San Francisco thirty years later.  She still does live shows today!