Archive for August, 2008

Galleries: "Abraham Obama" by Ron English

Abraham Obama
[Photo by Ron English himself, presumably.]

This just went up the other day on the outer wall of the Shooting Gallery, on Larkin facing Myrtle Street. (It’s half a block south of Geary.) Mr. English is a Popagandist, as it were.

Related: the Shooting Gallery has a Shepard Fairey show coming up soon. I’ll keep you posted as I find out more.

[Via Juxtapoz, as usual.]

Another takeover robbery, this time in Daly City

Either the bandits who are terrorizing East Bay restaurants finally scraped together bridge fare, or the fad has spread to the West Bay: This morning three men in hoodies robbed a Denny’s in Daly City, taking the contents of the cash register while making everybody lie on the floor.

Being robbed at gunpoint — that’s a good story to tell around the water cooler. But being made to lie on the floor at a Denny’s: yuck.

They got “a very small amount of money,” say the cops, but I have the feeling they just don’t want to encourage them. If they said they got $3000* then you’d have even more robberies. View a Google map of all the restaurant takeover-style holdups this summer.

* A figure I just made up, and not intended to be taken as the actual amount of money stolen.

Who’s going to space?

Wired magazine has a hilarious and fascinating piece on training for space tourists, those wealthy former businessmen who cashed out companies and thus have $30 million to blow on a year in training and a week in space on the shuttle. (One of the men profiled in the piece — and they’re always men — refers to himself using the ghastly neologism “thrillionaire.”) As a Russian press liaison says about the attitude toward these dilletantes: “People say it is better to send monkey.”

Then there’s the old-fashioned way: earn it. Not the money, but the job. Meet Megan McArthur, Ph.D. (pictured at right), who went to high school in Mountain View and whose parents live in San Jose. McArthur will be blasting off in October to operate the Big Robot Arm — I’m sure it has a less colorful NASA-like acronym — on a mission to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope.

Cow Palace wrestling in a bygone era

During the 1960s, professional wrestling was huge at the Cow Palace. There are vast websites devoted to the phenomenon, which was part of a circuit that included Sacramento.

Now a new book, When I Shot Good & Bad Guys Who Wrestled at the Cow Palace, commemorates the era. The book collects photographer Jim Fitzpatrick’s work documenting the bouts held by promoter Roy Shire, a former wrestler who became the biggest wrestling promoter in Northern California in the 1960s (scroll down in that page to “The Beginning” for Shire’s story).

You can order When I Shot Good and Bad Guys here.

Galleries: Common Descent at 111 Minna

Common Descent
[Images above by the artists named below, respectively, from left to right. Montage by 111 Minna.]

The group show Common Descent, currently on view at 111 Minna, is set to close August 31st, so there’s only a short time left to check it out before it comes down for good. The four artists involved — Brett Amory, Seth Armstrong, Andrew Hem, and John Wentz (no website available) — have never shown at the gallery before, but each is an emerging talent with a strong body of work, and some really nice pieces in the show are still available, if you’re into collecting. All the artists but one are based in the Bay Area — but don’t let local pride put you off of Andrew Hem’s whimsically weird work, which I’m particularly fond of — all those distorted figures and faces set against such soothing pastels make for a viewing experience that’s simultaneously comforting and unsettling. Always a winning combination for me!

Plus, 111 Minna is a nice place to go for a drink after work, as Metblogger Anthony Riva pointed out here a few months ago.

[via Juxtapoz.]

North Beach Block Threatened by ADA Suits

North Beach Chatting with XOX owner Jean-Marc Gorce about how all of the local shops are either closing up or feeling a serious pinch – he laid off 3 workers- because of a rash of ADA suits against them for non-compliance. Written up in June in the Chron, and covered on CBS (though not aired yet), it seems very sad. There’s a slanted step near his doorway that is in question, and he can’t provide a ramp as he can’t touch the sidewalk. North Beach Sushi across the street has the same issue. Their ramp is deemed too steep. I’ve seen the ADA racket threaten businesses in other towns, and they ended up closing. The owner has never gotten a formal complain from a wheelchair-bound person, except for this suit. Every business on the block has issues. It’s sad that we can’t get the city to help mom & pops get in compliance. Anyone from the handicapped community want to chime in on what’s going on? I welcome the viewpoint.

Interesting follow-up articles:
The Price of Access: Part 1: Visionary law’s litigious legacy in the Sacramento Bee
PBS: A Decade With the ADA
ADA Filing Mills: Drive By Lawsuits in the blog OverLawyered

Dukakis alert

Who’s in town? Former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, whose daughter Kara lives in San Francisco. Buried in this pre-convention interview with the 1988 loser is the news that “Dukakis, a railroad buff and former Amtrak board member, and his wife are joining two of their grandkids in San Francisco and riding the California Zephyr train back over the Rockies to the convention city” of Denver.

Anybody see Dukakis around town?

Local man’s screed given credence by MSM in slow news week

It’s dead August. Congress is not in session, schools are empty, and your shrink is still on vacation. Without the Olympics, the newspaper would be six pages long, and four of those pages would be filled with wire stories about dead gorilla babies.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel, the Wall Street Journal fills its Page One easy-reading column — a slot where whimsical news offers the ruling class a daily relief from the seemingly endless financial doom-and-gloom — today with a typically silly idea from San Francisco nutball Rob Anderson: Encouraging bicycle commuting leads to more pollution because “Cars always will vastly outnumber bikes, he reasons, so allotting more street space to cyclists could cause more traffic jams, more idling and more pollution.”

I guess by that logic, by driving less I’m actually encouraging drilling in ANWAR because my saving gas is hurting oil comapnies financially, thus making them more desperate for oil profits. Or how about this one: By giving the Olympics to China, the rest of the world is actually encouraging progress in human rights there, because the media attention will make them less likely to oppress people openly. D’oh!

Anderson mentioned previously on sf.metblogs here, here, here, usw.

Bay Area Olympian of the week

That’s the Giants’ Nate Schierholz — born in Reno but schooled in baseball at San Ramon Valley High and at Chabot College in Hayward — kicking the ass of China’s catcher Yang Yang in yesterday’s Olympics win by the US team over China. Schierholtz has labored all year in the minor leagues — though he’s likely to be called up at the end of the month when rosters expand — but today baseball fans all over the country know he plays hard.

The hard play at the plate came in a game when China pitchers hit three US batters, including Schierholtz.

The joke you seek is in your hand

Residents and shopkepers of the Castro district are getting tired of tour buses full of “gawkers,” reports the Chronicle’s C.W. Nevius. It wouuld be one thing if they bought lunch, but a deli owner reported:

They come in here, 15 or 20 at a time. They look around, take a picture, and then they walk out. In the last three months I’ve sold one bottle of water. It is not worth having so much traffic.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty says the plague can be exorcised by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. But let’s not forget the famous response of the Summer of Love hippies on Haight St, as recalled by Mick Sinclair in his book San Francisco: A Cultural and Literary History:

On Haight St. some hippies responded to the busloads of gawping tourists by holding up mirrors, inviting the “straights” to look at themselves.

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