i was honored to be asked to guest-blog whilst our usual writers are having transcendental spiritual party experiences in black rock city. who am i? who are you? i’ve always wondered who this blog’s readers were – friends and family of alexander and suzy. i met alexander shortly after his post-college move to san francisco and finally after all these years i’ve met and spent (wonderful) time with suzy. we’ve stayed in touch and i’m proud to be one of the few people who has been mentioned by name in this blog.
suzy and alexander have consistently written about the character of the cities they live in (NYC, LA, PDX), and in that tradition, i will be writing this week about my own little corner of the world, san francisco. more specifically, my neighborhood, know colloquially as the tenderloin, lower nob hill, the tendernob, the theatre district, the union square hotel district, the ghetto, little saigon, hooker central, etc.
the ‘loin is one of san francisco’s most densely populated and poorest districts (poor by the standards of one of the wealthiest cities in the world). but recently there has been a pride movement among residents, proudly decrying the fabulous restaurants, off-beat night clubs, stunning street art, and rich history of the neighborhood. “the maltese falcon” took place here (in fact dashiell hammet lived just a few blocks from where i do now when he wrote it) and it provided the facade for the bohemian new york of the late 80s in the film version of “rent”. the ‘hood also provided the setting for “the pursuit of happyness” a few years ago. i’ll never forget the day i walked off a BART train and the entire subway station had been redecorated to how it would have looked in the mid 80s. everything from the maps to the ads on the wall – i felt like i’d stumbled into a time warp.
also in the neighborhood’s rich history is the compton cafeteria riot, which, although not having the impact, predates the more famous stonewall inn riots.
it’s a fascinating and frustrating part of the world but one that i have loved being a part of. yes it’s full of crack-heads and trash, but also families and five star restaurants (fleur de lys is a mere 25 steps from my front door; i’ve never eaten there).
over the course of the week i plan to talk about the food, the adventures, the street art, the theatres, and the crazy characters.
here’s wishing all my friends and loved ones a fabulous and safe time at burning man! i’ll take care of the homestead.