A few days ago I posted the pic below, which shows the sentence “the beginning is always today” made out of tape along a chain link fence on Capp Street. A mutual friend connected me with one of the apparent artists, who sent in their initial explanation and a follow up. I wonder if the DPW would consider this art or vandalism, since it is made out of placed objects, and thus easily removed. Maybe it’s just littering.
[by Eric Wise]
An ordinary chain-link fence, sandwiched between a garbage-filled sidewalk and private parking lot, provides a dreary backdrop for over half of the Capp Street block between 22nd and 23rd street. In an effort to bring some life to the neglected block, we kicked off a temporary installation project at the site of the fence. The first piece was completed in November – artistic signage made of simple flagging tape. The process of installation, over the course of a few weeknights, proved personally rewarding in its own sense. Curious neighbors and strangers approached with questions and exciting ideas of their own. The project connected me to neighbors I had lived close to for many years but had never met. Jesse, a neighbor who introduced himself to me during installation, expressed how meaningful it was to see the first words “the beginning” completed the same day his son was born. The ongoing installation project seeks to spark more conversation not only among the neighbors but also about how we can collectively shape and encourage the already fantastic community within our neighborhoods.
WEEKEND UPDATE: The project was installed in November as a temporary piece, and we planned to take it down after a month. However, for now, we’re leaving it up because the feedback from the neighbors (all types) has been overwhelmingly positive and many say they never want it taken down. As a complement to this first artwork, last weekend we (myself + different crew) installed a Spanish phrase in orange. Unlike the first English phrase which the neighborhood loves, this new Spanish one was cut down within 48 hours. The seemingly neutral phrase read “merece lo que sueñas”, a quote by the famous Mexican writer Octavio Paz. We don’t know who cut it down or why, though some friends believe the phrase was mistaken for a gang message (sueñas is very close to sureñas) and if so, was cut down by the rival gang. Interesting experiment that proved it’s worth realizing how differently certain groups (especially in the still diverse neighborhood of the mission) may interpret the same thing.
The next day she followed up with this:
This morning the original artwork is being taken down by the US Bank building (who owns the fence). The City finally saw photos of the fence and informed the neighborhood that it is a $2000+ fine…
Well, that makes sense. The bank owns the fence and can do what they want. If we want to look at this in black and white terms, they did something illegal and it got removed at the expense of others. But if we believe the above account, it would be worth a moment to think about the way little expressions like this can add to the quality of life in the neighborhood. Something that some people did for their neighbors or anyone who walks by, without desire for money or attention in return. Something that makes the experience of the street hopefully better, and we know that Capp can use it. I would posit that little things like this are a big part of what made this neighborhood desirable to a lot of the current residents. So the law is upheld, but at what long term cost? Yeah, it’s just some tape on a fence, but it’s a nice gesture, made with good intentions. Maybe there’s a compromise somewhere here? How does this neighborhood grow without losing the little bits of intrigue, the touches of magic here and there, the space to communicate in different ways, to remind each other that it’s okay to try something? I know that sounds pretentious, but little gestures inspire me, a lot more than $10 cocktails or $5 lattes.
UPDATE: I got a response from a neighbor who was not very fond of the fence art. Uptown Almanac’s Kevin Montgomery is a noted fan of SF street art in general, but wasn’t really feeling this particular appearance. Though he was almost inspired to change it himself.
@eviloars Unwelcome is relative. Having a glorified motivational poster across the street is annoying. "Gin Is Always" is at least whimsical
— Kevin Montgomery (@kevinmonty) January 22, 2014
Kevin also caught the fence getting used in some kind of birthing porn shoot.
— Kevin Montgomery (@kevinmonty) January 22, 2014
But we were lying in the blazing sun in the park all day doing absolutely nothing. Didn’t even take a pic!
Courtesy of our good pal (and musician, DJ, and bartender extraordinairre) Josh Yule. Just please don’t go knocking on their door for za at 3am!
I was walking down the street yesterday, and my friend was telling me a story. As we passed a couple of guys who seemed to be cleaning out a garage, my friend was saying, “Technically–”
One of the guys whirled around and started yelling at us:
“TECHNICALLY?? FUCK TECHNICALLY!!”
“DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO RUB TWO STICKS TOGETHER TO MAKE A FIRE??”
“BULLSHIT! TECHNICALLY, FUCK!”
“DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO START A CAR??”
We kept walking. Gotta be careful what you say out there in the Mission.
(Technically, we were on our way to a lavish brunch at Beretta, and my friend was telling me a story about how her parents are having to fight back against a proposal that would allow more public access near their secluded beach house, so.) (But there’s no way that guy could’ve known any of that!) (Fuck Google.)
There are a bunch of cool timelapses out there on the web of Sutro fog, downtown days becoming night and all around the city. Local filmmaker and photographer Matt Maniego just released one that he’s been working on for the past year and it’s as amazing as any I’ve seen. Great shots, great editing. Make it full screen and check it out.
The condo construction chaos at the New Mission Theater site is displacing the Mission Community Market for a while, but it might be for the best since they get to move over to 22nd Street between Mission and Valencia, which gets a hell of a lot more foot traffic and just generally has a lot more going on than Bartlett between 21st and 22nd, where the market usually happens. Mission Local reports:
Hasel Vasquez, who runs the perfume stand in Anita’s Beauty Salon on 22nd echoed the overall sentiment: “Not only will it help the market – it will help us,” she said referring to the new foot traffic.
Vasquez said the market’s location on Bartlett is “too tucked away” and the move closer to Mission Street will give Latinos “better access.”
Katie & Brittany checked out Peter and the Starcatcher at The Curran and found that they could enjoy it more if they were able to meet the play where was, rather than trying to bring the play to them. They really liked it! Because they really do like theater, and they want you to as well! Here’s their report:
San Francisco, and particularly the Mission, has been called Neverland by some. A place where people go when they don’t want to grow up. So when we heard there was a play that explained the origins of Neverland and the Peter Pan story, we knew we had to check it out. So off to SHN’s Curran Theater we went to see their latest play Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice (based on a children’s book by Dave Berry and Ridley Person by the same name) in its first stop of its national tour.
Brittany: I’m just going to go out and say it, I liked the show.
Katie: Say it loud say it proud!
B: I wish it had been in a more intimate space. I think it would have been a blow-my-mind-amazing-play if it had been in a more intimate space . . . It took me longer to get into it because the Curran is so big, but I still liked it.
K: I liked it, it grew on me. At first I was like, “What the hell is this? There are actors talking at me really fast, are they just going to tell me a story?” For me the Second Act was what did it for me, it was great.
B: Right! I was so sad our entire row, and half the row behind us, left at intermission. I don’t know why they left, because it definitely was not a show that deserved to be walked out on, but they really missed out on the Second Act.
K: They really did, If I had left after the First Act, I would have been like “Meh, that was a cute children’s bed-time story written for adults, and I liked the stage design.” But after the Second Act I was like, “OMG this was so good, the actors were so talented, and this was so entertaining.”
B: I loved the creativity and smartness of this show. The script has lots of fun puns and wordplay. Definitely multi-layered humor for kids and adults. The staging was so creative. I liked that they didn’t sing a lot too. Sometimes musicals go too far. I thought they used music really well.
K: Yeah their transitions were very well done, and they used music really purposefully. The guy who played Black Stash (John Sanders) made the show for me, he rocked the Second Act. When he threw down the “Yeah, and I bet your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” I lost it. I think my adultness really took over in the first act, and then for the second act I was like, “Fuck it, I am just going to turn myself over to this play”. Once I did that I had a great time.
B: It’s fun when theatre can be that explosion of fun, imagination and creativity. It lets you feel like a kid again, which doesn’t get to happen enough in the default world. I love that a rope can be a wave, and a rubber glove can be a bird, and this play gives you permission to think those things and go on this journey.
The Verdict: Go see it! If you lack all imagination, hate kids, Peter Pan and everything fun, you’re probably not reading this blog anyway. [They underestimate our commenters! - Ed.] So just go see it.
The Drama Talk: Peter and the Starcatcher the play is smart, witty, and totally ties up all those Peter Pan origin questions you always had. Peter and the Starcatcher the touring show is delightful. Even though it has Broadway production quality, it falls back on the barebones of children’s theatre imagination for the staging, which is a welcome respite from high production quality shows that spoon feed the audience cinematic images. The company is tight, and fast. Jokes and puns fly a mile a minute. It’s nice to have a show that’s so fun, but still requires the audience to use their brains.
The Drinks: After a fanciful, and nautical night at the theatre (the show has all the trappings of any Peter Pan, pirates, mermaids, etc.) we thought a bar with tiki punch influences
(which was also listed as one of the top hotel bars in SF) was probably in order. We chose the The Burritt Room for our after-show cocktails. Katie got a Knickerbocker La Monsieur because that sounds fun, and Brittany got the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club because it’s a boat drink. Both were a great conclusion to a Wednesday night of Drama Talk & Drinks.
Peter and the Starcatcher runs until December 1st at SHN’s Curran Theater. For opening week they had Rush Tickets available for the show if you got there two hours before curtain, so check back on the SHN site for more promotions like that. There were also Gold Star tickets available for this show last week, at the time of writing that deal expired too, but that doesn’t mean that there might not be more.