Friday, April 24, 2009

a warm san franciscan night....

The San Francisco of the 1960's was a place that oozed hip. Music and art came together in such a perfect union it is easy to claim that the Hippie movement of this era inspired a sound that to this day is not only revered, but copied and built upon.

Two heads really are better than one!

the LIVE version!!

Awesome song!!

its my grammar school....St. Stephen!

QMS - Edward the Mad Shirt Grinder circa 1970

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lollipop Concerts

As a child, it was my good fortune to attend Catholic grammar school (insert nod or laughter here). One of the many perks this status provided was the opportunity to attend one of the San Francisco Symnphony's many children's concerts. I honestly don't know how many they actually had that were geared towards kids, but it seemed the only one they ever took us to was "Peter and the Wolf".

Why they were called lollipop concerts I never understood - no free lollipops were distributed and no lollipops were down on stage making music - I am pretty sure those were in fact people. Maybe it was because we were all "suckers" for having to go. Perhaps it was just a code word that meant "this is a kid friendly concert!" But then I am left to wonder, what sort of concert could the S.F. Symphony POSSIBLY present that was NOT child-friendly? Were there some sort of midnight performances at the Market Street Cinema that none of us were aware of?

I remember absolutely nothing about the concerts we went to, all I remember was the vastness of Davies Symphony Hall, getting lost (twice), and all that glass.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh, how the great have fallen

I really wish I could find someone to explain to me why it is that San Francisco feels this ever growing need to destroy and forget its past.

One of the most disturbing trends that has swept San Francisco in recent years is the snowballing closure of local single screen and small scale theaters. The Coronet, The Alexandria, The Metro, The Royal, The Alhambra...the list goes on and on.

These are the places we visited as children and again as young adults; it was where we got a glimpse at diversity and culture, while already growing up in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. These landmarks were historic treasures built with craftsmanship and beauty. How and why did this happen?

Overdevelopment happened. People decided they needed BIGGER and BETTER...LOUDER and FLASHIER. In gaining these things we have lost pieces of our past, replaced by mega-gyms and parking lots. They really DID pave paradise....

Luckily, there are organizations that work to fight such abominations, such as the Friends of 1800.

But look on the bright side!!! Many of our classic theaters remain. At last glance, the list included the Presidio, the Marina a.k.a. Cinema 21, the Clay on Fillmore,the 4 Star on Clement (running Asian films now), the Red Vic on Haight, the Roxie on 16th, the Lumiere on Polk, the Empire on West Portal and a handful more. Get out and about in your neighborhood to see which ones are near you!

As far as historic movie houses go, only one true "palace" remains, and that is the one and only Castro Theater. This theater has been completely restored and kept so beautiful...the orchestra pit even still has a Wurlitzer organ which still plays pre-show (as far as I know)! I was lucky enough to see a few great films here such as Casablanca, Yellow Submarine, and one of the infamous midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Please do your part to keep these important pieces of San Francisco history alive and thriving! Instead of heading to the Metreon this weekend with the masses, how about a cozy independent/foreign film at your local neighborhood movie house? Isn't that what being a San Franciscan is all about?

Here's to the ghosts of yesteryear. Cheers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

San Francisco Columbarium

I had always wondered what this building was...and now I know!

The Columbarium of San Francisco is a repository for human ashes owned and operated by the Neptune Society of Northern California. Built in 1898 by architect Bernard J.S. Cahill, the Columbarium is a beautiful example of Neo-Classical architecture. The copper-domed Columbarium holds the remains of some of San Francisco's most prominent founding families, and memorials to such notable individuals as Harvey Milk. It is the only non-denominational burial place in the City of San Francisco with space available.

The Columbarium is at 1 Loraine Court, near the intersection of Stanyan and Anza Streets, just north of Golden Gate Park. It is open to the public.*

* File and photo courtesy of

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A mini monument moment...

It is no surprise that the City by the Bay is full of many well known monuments...The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Washington Square Park, etc etc. But what about the ones that aren't so famous? Here's a few not-so-famous points of interest:

Lotta's Fountain

Lotta's fountain was dedicated in 1875 at the intersection of Market Street where Geary and Kearny Streets connect in downtown San Francisco, California.

The cast pillar with a drinking fountain at its base was donated to San Francisco by the entertainer Lotta Crabtree. It served as a meeting point during the 1906 earthquake and fire.

Commemorations of the earthquake, including a dwindling pool of survivors, are held every year at 5:12 a.m. on April 18th at the intersection.

In 1999, the fountain, which had suffered neglect in the past decades was totally refurbished to its 1875 appearance.*

Anton Szandor LaVey's infamous "Black House"

Many locals recall the eerie black house at 6114 California St. owned by the Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey. As a child, my mom would tell me stories of how she would pass him on the street while taking a walk with me in the stroller (we lived on 24th Ave) and crossing the street out of sheer fear because she would notice him coming towards her walking two full grown tigers down the sidewalk!! Can you blame her? Sadly, this curious S.F> landmark was demolished in October of 2001.

Stow Lake @ Golden Gate Park

This beautiful lake is nestled in the cozy confines of Golden Gate Park. I have wonderful memories of Wright's pink popcorn and my dad renting the motor boat, only for me to drive the damned thing right into the reeds. I can still hear him yelling at me...

But apparently Stow Lake isn't all fun and games. Legend has it that the statue which sits near Stow Lake titled "Pioneer Woman with Children" is incredibly haunted. The story goes that sometime in 1915, a mother drowned her young children. Some locals say that late at night, if you listen, you can still hear the children crying. NOw this is all merely heresay, but I know I have yet to venture out on the lake at night - alone.

If you'd rather enjoy the lake from home, this site offers a breathtaking 360 degree panoramic view of Stow Lake.

*Information provided by

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