[via Kyle Skelton] [Thanks, Luke!]
[via Kyle Skelton] [Thanks, Luke!]
Seriously, did someone just roll by and pour concrete here to make their own mini skatepark? How does one even go about doing that? And who goes around tagging “Dodger” in this town???
(Spotted by our pal Jason, the dapper gentleman pictured here holding my bike)
SFist took a look today at @TechHateCrimes, which documents aggression towards “techies” in various forms, though nobody seems to be able to tell if it’s earnest or a parody. Meanwhile, we were alerted to this bit of analog social media conversation responding to the rich people of the city and the “Gentrifuckation”.
Beau tweets “Found on my way to the Women’s Building last night. Class tension on the rise in SF.” This, like some MM comment threads, could just be one person with a couple of different pens, or a legitimate call and response. No way to tell. Either way it’s graffiti and it’s a crime. I don’t condone crime. I also have problems with the way that this city caters to the rich and has not done enough to reach out to support the residents with less financial means, and is not reacting quickly enough to address the problems that arise when the income gap inflates as quickly as it is right now. People with a lot of money are able to commit crimes that have large scale repercussions and get away with them. The city is reacting swiftly to graffiti vandals, however, by moving to make sure they pay for the damages if caught. Which makes sense, sure. But is graffiti one of the big issues that we, all of us, are dealing with right now? It’s a big issue for property owners, that I understand completely.
I find it understandable that some people can feel like San Francisco doesn’t care about them, that they are not spoken for, not represented, and not cared for by their city. These feelings can leave some people with little hope and little trust that they will be able to truly advocate for themselves by playing by the rules. Unfortunately this drives some people to feel as though they need to write on a utility box to be heard. I wish that wasn’t the case.
Here’s the newest dispatch from our vigilant theatre goers, Brittany & Katie. I really love musicals, but I just wasn’t able to join them for this one. That sounds sarcastic when you read it in your head. It’s not supposed to be sarcastic, I really do love musicals. Seriously. Anyway, here’s their report:
We love seeing and supporting new theatre. Especially new works premiering in the Bay Area. One performance space that’s full of innovation is Z Space, a beautiful hub for artists and audiences on Florida Street in the Mission. We were pumped to see their latest world premiere, Hundred Days, “A Folk Rock Odyssey about Love, Life, and Loss”. We were excited for a rockin’ evening of Drama Talk & Drinks.
Katie: The music was amazing, but but the story was lacking! But dammit they were talented musicians and amazing singers.
Brittany: I would totally buy the CD to that musical.
B: Really cool music, it reminded me of Mumford and Sons or The Decemberists.
K: Yeah, or the Lumineers.
B: And it’s very different from almost any play I’ve seen. I guess it’s most similar to Tommy by the Who. Or maybe Tom Waits’ musical adaptation of Woyzeck. It’s got songs that you could hear on the radio, and not know that they’re part of a musical, and still enjoy them. The music definitely doesn’t have that “musical” sound to it, which is great. It’s very accessible, it breaks the mold of what you think a musical can be.
K: That’s why I was so excited about it. I love the idea of a musical that I can bring my non-musical theatre friends to.
B: Maybe I’m just a traditionalist though, but I liked that the second act was more like a traditional musical and not like a concert. I didn’t like the first act. They tried to make it like a concert, and that didn’t work for me. I think I get what they were going for, maybe you can bring in a new audience if it doesn’t feel like a play, but the story got lost for me in the first act. I loved the second act. Really cool staging, you got to see the couple living out their life together in 100 days, and you really got to see their beautiful story unfold.
K: Yeah, the first act was rocky. They were acting like they were in a band, and just performing a concert, and very artificially tying in their own story to the play. But It didn’t have the spontaneity of a concert, and all of the banter came off as very scripted and forced. The lead singer was even looking at her script! I loved some of the songs in the first act, but I didn’t care about the in-between commentary or even the acting. I didn’t think they were very believable.
B: It’s strange, because that was actually true. They really are married, and they really are in a band, but for some reason that felt so much more false than when they were just performing the play. I don’t understand why they felt it was necessary to shoehorn in the conceit of an artificial concert. It was so much stronger when they were just telling us the story and letting the play evolve. They were great performers, but maybe not the strongest actors.
K: I don’t know why they had to try to tie their real-life story into the story of the play either. I don’t think it added anything, and it made it feel fake. If this play goes on to be performed elsewhere, by other groups, that’s not going to translate.
B: If the second act had continued to be staged as a concert, I would not tell people to go, but the second act was strong enough, to make it totally worth going. The lighting was amazing, the sands of time design element was really neat, and there was something very sad and sweet about the story they developed in the second act.
K: Agreed. It’s worth it just to see the band. That lead woman’s voice (Abigail Bengson) was RIDICULOUS. I would go to their concert in a second. In the first act the story was lost, and that made it not as strong a play, but still very well done and entertaining.
B: It’s a new play too, and an interesting concept, so I’m sure it will evolve. I had a great time, but there are just some kinks. Their voices were insane, the songs were cool, the staging was cool, but it could still be better. Maybe they’ll take the concert thing further and stage it properly like a concert, or they’ll make the first act fit more stylistically with the second act which was beautiful.
K: I enjoyed myself, it just needs some more development. I liked that it moved, and it left me wanting more. This could be such an amazing piece with just a few changes.
The Verdict: Go see it! The Bengson’s, the band and couple behind this play, are incredibly talented musicians. It’s a fun night of very good music, with some really beautiful lighting and staging to go along with it. Tickets range from $100 for a seat front and center on the couch, to $15 for a seat further back. It’s a loud and visually vibrant performance, so no matter where you sit you’ll have a good time.
The Drama Talk: Hundred Days is unlike most musicals. It feels like a cross between the most epic story time ever and a concert. Although some of the more concert-like elements felt forced, the engaging performances, and a strong second act made this show worth it. The songs could stand alone, and the voices of all the performers made the soulful music come alive. The story is sad, and simple, and sweet, and beautifully told by this talented cast.
The Drinks: They have a great bar at Z Space, and it’s fun to look around their gallery, so since it was a school night we got lazy and just had drinks at the venue. Brittany got a Gin and Tonic, and Katie got Champagne in a can, because that’s the kind of girl she is.
Hundred Days runs through April 6, Wednesdays and Sundays at 7pm, and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm. Right now there are tickets available on Goldstar for $10 but if those sell out, you can always get tickets through the Z Space website.
Esta Noche’s last night has come. I lived across the street from the queer Latino bar for a number of years, in the same building of my good friend Marco. We had some fun times there together, but he had many more without me. I asked him to share some thoughts and stories of the bar. We’ve seen a lot of closures recently, but this one hits hard. It’s a rare safe space for a community that doesn’t have many. Sad to see it go. Anyway, I’ll get out of the way and share Marco’s piece:
que a cada cual, le llega su hora
vive tu vida y gozala toda
that to each of us our time comes
live your life and enjoy it completely
Soon after I arrived in San Francisco in 1993, directo from Sinaloa, a gang of immigrant locas, known to me as Las Latinillas, became mi familia in all senses. Meaning, they were supportive, caring and fun to be with but also complete bitches and a beautiful hot mess. Always in your face. They will snatch your new boyfriend, get you a green card and a job, trash your soul con canciones de Juanga and uplift your spirits ala Gloria Trevi, as they revere Selena y Los Dinos and eat pupusas revueltas at Balompie. All this, a la luz del sol.
And at night, we had Esta Noche. It was my friend Mario, well, I called him La Marieta, who took me there the first time. La Marieta was dying of AIDS at the time but as he put it, “Despues de la novela, vamos a esta noche mana, hoy canta La Ronnie Salazar.” You always knew you were at Esta Noche because of a huge self-portrait of a naked Joe Dallesandro with an eternal spotlight on his even larger penis and how can you miss the Esta Noche smell . . . a mix of tequila, piss, and Chanel N°5. Running into friends, making new friends and losing friends all happened at Esta Nasty. It was the place for new immigrants like myself to listen to our music, speak our language and just for a few hours not to feel inadequate. It was also the place for young Latinos, to come out at night and join the festivities of music, drag, stripers, and drinks. But las reynas de la noche were the drag queens!
Me and my pal Corntard were eating some of those awesome new Guatemalan hot dogs in the City College courtyard the other day when all of a sudden a pair of porta-potties took flight! Here they are, soaring over the Mission:
From there they gained altitude, veered eastward and landed safely on Mission Street. It was majestic.
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!