Archive for the ‘Nob Hill’ Category

Writers with Drinks, Pamela Z, Easter vigils

pamela_zTonight Writers with Drinks features Pam Houston (Cowboys Are My Weakness), Stacie Boschma (Happy Rainbow Poems from the Unicorn Petting Zoo), Laurie R. King (Touchstone, The Art Of Detection), Sean Stewart (Cathy’s Key, Yoda: Dark Rendezvous), Regina Lynn (SexRev 2.0, Sexier Sex), and Minal Hajratwala (Leaving India: My Family’s Journey From Five Villages To Five Continents). As usual, it’s at the Makeout Room, 3225 22nd. St. near Mission in San Francisco, starts at 7:30 pm, and benefits the Center for Sex and Culture. I’d go just to hear Pam Houston read — she’s always terrific.

If you’d rather see something artsier, experimental music maven Pamela Z (pictured at left) is presenting the second in her ROOM series of performances, tonight at 8:00 pm at the Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa St. at Harrison.

And if you’re up for something mystical, dark and theatrical, attend one of the many Easter Vigil services held at Christian churches tonight. Classically, a congregation would meet in the “undercroft” of the church, the sub-basement where the skeletons are buried, to remind them of the tomb from which Jesus rises. Nowadays you’re more likely to find yourself in a candle-lit church basement, but the service is still great theater, with scripture readings that move from the creation to the exodus from Egypt to the passion and resurrection. Good bets are Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in North Beach, 8:00 pm; St. Gregory Nyssa Episcopal Church on Potrero Hill, 8:00 pm; Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill, 8:00 pm; or St. Francis Lutheran Church in the Castro, 7:00 pm.

Lower Snob: The Hipsters Are Coming?

Hipster Invasion

Above: the first sidewalk stencil I’ve seen in the Lower Nob in three years, snapped late one night wandering Jones, near the new oh-so-politic bookstore infoshop, Babylon Falling. Because there weren’t enough places in this city to posture radical theory-blah-blah. I’m actually all for radical theory-blah-blah, too. I just can’t deal with Yet Another Anarchist Front that only stocks the books that “angry” white dudes with the cash to blow on them want. What about some shelf space for the messy, dirty, beautiful radical underbelly of the neighborhood itself, of rebel whores and hustlers? Of queers and queens? You know, the people you don’t see around these parts so often these days? You think we could at least embalm them (edit: us) in a little clever window display.

And god, just hating on trust fund kids and hipsters probably just makes it worse. That’s the insidious thing. You’re either part of the problem, part of the solution, or some jack-off stenciling slogans.

Just a few things I saw today

Today I went to Chinatown in search of Szechuan pepper. My search was successful, and I also got a mortar and pestle with which to grind it. Even better, I got some pictures! More after the jump.

(Also, even though it has nothing to do with what I saw today, a few days ago I heard somebody yell “HEY, PAUL! I’LL TRADE YOU THREE PLAYBOYS FOR A LIGHTER!” over on Hyde, near the library. Gotta love the Tenderloin.)


God Jul!

God Jul: Merry Christmas in Swedish. Tomorrow is a fabulous party, the Swedish Christmas Fair in San Francisco. Lots of crafts, food, and fun Christmas activities. Put on by the SWEA- Swedish Women’s Educational Association. All info at that link- basically at the Cathedral of St. Mary’s, Gough Street, 9-4. More random Jul – Svenka stories… after the jump.

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).

Cable Car Museum


I think I love this museum because it’s really small and intense. You can walk it in about 5 minutes. At the corner of Mason and Washington, where all cable car lines meet, are these large sheaves- pronounced “shivs”- that keep the cable lines constantly running. Another great thing is that it’s so loud you’re overwhelmed by the noise and can’t hear anyone talk. It also smells of metal. FREE! Go downstairs to see how the lines work underground- they have clear panels to the underground sheaves. The interpretation is a little long winded and technical- not for kids- but everything is obvious and visual when you get there. I brought two kids- age 5 and 9- and afterwards, on the street, tried to find the “arm” that grabs the cable from beneath the car, and to see the running live wire in the middle strip. I have to say the concept of how the cable car worked never really hit home until I visited the museum and saw it in action.
Another tidbit: Hallidie, the guy who invented the cable car, did it because he pitied the horses that climbed the steep hills. Also, horse manure was a big issue. No shit. Ha ha. From the site:

“[the] rail system was conceived in 1869, after witnessing horses being whipped while they struggled on the wet cobblestones to pull a horsecar up Jackson Street.”

This may blow your mind: a map of the cable car line coverage in its peak, 1890.

Historical Plaque: RLS


I ran across this plaque on the Chinatown Treasure Hunt this year, and again on Friday happy hour at Tunnel Top— a cool bar right on top of the Stockton Tunnel. I just love it that SF has a great literary legacy, and perhaps people don’t know, but we lay a claim to Robert Louis Stevenson. Notable works: Treasure Island, and In the South Seas. rlous_awy_2.JPG

I didn’t know that he had such a passionate reason to come to California:

In August 1879 Stevenson received a cable-gram from Fanny Osbourne, who by that time had rejoined her husband in California. Details are vague, but there seems to have been some last attempt by Osbourne to break with Stevenson; the contents of the cable were never revealed by either to family or friends. With the impetuosity of one of his own fictional characters, Stevenson set off from Greenock, Scotland, on 7 August 1879 for America. On 18 August Stevenson landed, sick, nearly penniless, in New York. From there he took an overland train journey in miserable conditions to California, where he nearly died. After meeting with Fanny Osbourne in Monterey, and no doubt depressed at the uncertainty of her divorce, he went camping in the Santa Lucia mountains, where he lay sick for two nights until two frontiersmen found him and nursed him back to health. Still unwell, Stevenson moved to Monterey in December 1879 and thence to San Francisco, where he fluctuated between life and death, continually fighting off illness.

from “Robert Louis Stevenson Biography”

The Big Four

Driving home tonight, not thirty minutes from now, witnessed a tall guy in white and blond (bleached) hair get arrested by some cops, two patrol cars were there, in front of the Big Four. This is the bar at the base of the Huntington Hotel, at Taylor and California, across from Grace Cathedral. The mind races. What could he have been doing? Singing Barry Manilow off-tune? Purse snatching some Junior Leaguers?

The Revigator: Nob Hill Goes Nuclear

In the early twentieth century, there was a San Francisco concern called the Radium Ore Revigator Company. Their business was selling water crocks, and in particular, radioactive water crocks:

For Every Home


Cops go to Starbucks, and, Police Shortage

The police situation in San Francisco is affected by generational trends. I guess we’re down right now (cop cap is 1971– oddly enough, the year I was born.), because a slew of them retired once they hit a certain age determined by a retirement package, and it originally started getting clumpy with WW2 vets, etc. Now a new rush of cadets are in schools.

(starbucks stuff after long rambly bit about ME)

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