Archive for October, 2006

The surburban splendors of a random party-crashing

pirate house!

Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

Just up the street from me, about 6 blocks away, there’s a house with the most extreme giant halloween decorations ever. Instead of trick or treating at their door, it was clear we were supposed to walk up the driveway into their back yard which was an enormous pirate-themed haunted house AND a party, with dry ice and a fire pit, bowls of candy, snacks, booze, bewildered people standing around, people who were clearly friends of the party-throwers. Party complete with sobbing children scared witless yet still greedy and curious enough to keep going into these strange people’s house past the glowing-skull-decorated rabbit hutches, animatronic zombies, and mysterious grownups covered in fake blood who jump out at you. Spiderwebs. Strings of tiny lights. Candles in paper bags, like Christmas luminarias. Those giant inflatable things. They had everything. They even had a Rodent of Unusual Size.

I really loved the idea of pushing the idea of suburban trick-or-treating way past where it usually goes – throwing a party and putting on a show for random people in your neighborhood, for all ages. To some people it’s a holiday about shallow display of costume, unhealthy greed & consumption. To me it has this beautiful aspect of performativity and the celebration of generosity, public trust, and abundance. Anyway, I’d heard that “those people up on Myrtle” threw some great block parties in the summer. Our little group of trick or treaters was lucky to stumble across the madness.

So, thanks to Sue for a cool experience! I got in her face, demanding her name, screeching, “Who ARE you people?!” Can I put my kid to bed, sneak out of the house, and go back to their party. Does it sound like I’m totally making it up?


Fire in the Mission

I’m at the top of Dolores Park right now and just watched this go up in flames. It’s burning even more out of control as I write this. Anyone have information? The flames are HUGE, looks like 18th street…

Update: Here’s a link to video I just shot. Five minute delay due to slow wifi in the park. Flames are dying down, smoke looks like it’s being hit with water but something is still burning.

Breaking: Mick Jagger’s throat

jagger.jpgThis just in: the Rolling Stones concert in Oakland, scheduled for Sunday, has been postponed til Monday due to throat irritation problems for their lead singer.

Lead singer Mick Jagger is 63.

Concerts in other cities, including Vancouver and Honolulu, have been (respectively) postponed or cancelled. However, the band did manage to play a special show in New York for Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday on Sunday.

Just goes to show: don’t try to keep up with Clinton at a party. You’ll be toast afterward.

Your Halloween Newsvendor


This is the newsvendor at Church & Market with a hella creepy mask on.

Nob Hill Purse Snatch

I got this in this week’s Central District Captain’s blotter and I loved it because it was a foiled purse snatching – and there are Citizen Commendations! Yay!

On 10/28/06 at 10:30 AM a suspect snatched a woman’s purse at Washington and Hyde Streets. The woman and her friend chased the suspect, calling for help as they ran. Three young men witnessed the events and intervened, stopping and holding the suspect until police arrived. The suspect listed as 6’2 180 pounds with no address was booked for Robbery. A citizen’s commendation will be recommended for Jim Truitt, Andrew Blachman and Ryan Axelson.

In other notes: if you want to volunteer for the homeless count, ping it’s for tomorrow (Wed).

Castro Halloween — early 90s

I was in the Street Patrol from fall 1990 until sometime in late 1992 or early 1993, and this was a way for me to attend Castro Halloween without having to dress in costume (though the SP did have a uniform of sorts: a Street Patrol t-shirt, usually worn with a leather jacket, and a fuscia beret). About a dozen of us marched two-by-two through the party, and especially around the edges where bashers might target a lone pedestrian, from about 9 pm until the last stragglers had departed — way after 3 a.m. It was crowded, exciting, exhausting and, as it got later and later and the number of drunks grew larger and drunker, a pain in the ass.

I remember one exciting moment when we did apprehend a psychopath who was brandishing what turned out to be a screwdriver. But to tell you the truth, most of the protecting we did was protecting the drunks from themselves or each other. They would get in stupid fights — it wasn’t gay-bashing so much as two or three drunken queers jabbing at each other — and we would break the fights up. I also like to think that our presence discouraged some gay bashing.

Boo cabs. Hooray bowling!

I’ve wanted to go bowling for awhile now but it’s not an activity which ever really gets worked out in San Francisco. That’s partly because there’s not a bowling alley that’s really convenient – the ones I know of in the city are expensive and either seem to keep odd hours occupied mostly with leagues (Metreon) or are not near public transportation options (Presidio). But a friend of mine turned twenty five this past weekend and there’s something about that quarter century mark that makes some of us kids panic and think we better do something a little bit kid-like, so I finally got invited out bowling. And, although it was something of an ordeal figuring out the getting there and back part, it was absolutely wonderful fun!

Mural Maintainers Mooch on Muni


While I was riding the N Judah home this evening, a man who I later discovered was writer and bike mural guardian Joel Pomerantz hopped on and began a spiel about donating small amounts of cash to support maintenance and restoration of the Duboce Bikeway Mural. A Bay Area Reporter article tells more about the maintenance work underway.


Living without a winter coat

Of all the things I have had to get used to, the weather is the main one. Personally, the steady temperatures are one of the reasons I moved out here from NYC in May. As the holidays grow closer though, a lack of snow has given this farm girl a bit of a mind f**k. I’m supposed to be thinking about presents already? Even though Halloween is my favorite “holiday”, it completely blindsided me this year and I have done zilch to “celebrate”.

As a fellow yogi put it, you feel like you are frozen in time. The temperate weather doesn’t lend itself to seasons as in the Midwest (where I was born) or the East Coast. I’ve moved seamlessly from spring to fall without having to change a thing about my wardrobe. Heck, I didn’t even bring a winter jacket with me when I moved and I’m glad I didn’t – it would have been a waste of space. Though the pleasant weather does make it easier to plan any activity (just bring a spare jacket), it might be my undoing on this city. While I plan to stay in the area for at least another three years, I might end up moving further out just to have snow again.

Art car with coffin

car with antlers and coffin

Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

The antlers on the front grill of this car made it bonily Cthuloid, and the coffin on top painted in green camo, well, I asked the people who got out of the car what the coffin was for and they replied in unison, “The President.”

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