Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mission Dolores

Mission (left) and Basilica (right)
Founded in 1776 and built in 1791, Mission Dolores is the oldest building in San Francisco.  It is the only remaining intact mission chapel along the El Camino Real (Royal Road) where twenty-one missions dotted the trail, stretching from Sonoma to San Diego.  The basilica next door was built in 1918.

Next door to the mission is the green oasis of Dolores Park.  From the steep south slope you have a great view of the city skyline.

And a glimpse of the park from across the street on an overcast afternoon

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Turk Street

Only steps from some of the big stores along Market Street, the theatre district and the opulent city hall you will find tangled fire escapes crawling up the flophouses, hole in the wall corner stores, dive bars.  Lotsa people just hangin out in the street.  An edgy vibe.  Also long lines for piled-high banh mi at Saigon Sandwiches.  No frills Indian restaurants.  A photo shoot for a musician down an art-strewn alleyway.

Supposedly the neighbourhood is so named because the cops patrolling that beat used to get extra danger pay (or bribes in another version of the story) so they could then afford to buy the best cut of meat- the tenderloin.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

dog eared memorial window

Before stepping into Dog Eared Books on Valencia be sure to take a look at the portraits in the window by Oakland artist Veronica DeJesus.  Recently some of them were collected in a book called "Hello Now From Everywhere."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

El Capitan Parking Lot

old theatre sign behind a jumble of signs, Mission Street

A few months ago I wrote a post about grand old movie palaces featuring a couple photos of the El Capitan on Mission Street.  Here is another shot of the former theatre, now a parking lot:

In the '50s there were over seventy movie palaces in San Francisco.  On Mission Street alone between 16th and 24th you could find the Victoria, Tower, Crown, New Mission, Grand and El Capitan.  Today only a few of those seventy remain.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles the El Capitan on Hollywood Boulevard where Citizen Kane premiered in 1941 was restored and is still in operation but only screens kid stuff by Disney.  Too bad it doesn't present a wider variety of films but maybe going to a show there will inspire a new generation to keep up the precious few movie palaces that are left. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Cookin' is a tiny kitchen shop on Divisadero.  It's dark and cluttered so be careful moving around.  You'll find vintage pots n pans, blenders, fondue sets, pepper grinders, cups n saucers, as well as some cooking utensils and kitchen paraphernalia you never knew existed.  I found this Taylor & Ng mug there:

Taylor & Ng was a San Francisco department store in the '70s that sold Asian cookware and mugs designed by Win Ng.  This one is a reproduction from the classic Animates series featuring a bunch of cats cuddling up together.  They certainly like to spend lots of time doing that...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lower Haight II

white washed wishy washy
bon matin a cafe du soleil

medical marijuana joint
bright house

blue house

don't step on the fish

funky gnome on fillmore

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

"The city is just as natural as the country, let's not forget it."
                                                                  -Gary Snyder

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is a wonderful urban fairy tale. And it's true!

A lost soul living among the rambling gardens and cottages of Telegraph Hill, drifting and disillusioned, never sure when he is going to be kicked out of his humble abode and be homeless again, starts feeding the wild parrots.  They become his friends and the focal point of his life and lead him on a path to true love and the realization that after years of desiring to be somewhere else, Telegraph Hill is his perfect place.

I remember loving the film when I saw it years ago at the cinema so when I happened to see the book by Mark Bittner on the shelf at the library I picked it up and was reminded of its magic.  Here is the trailer for the film which is available on DVD.