I headed into the city yesterday afternoon with the intention of making the SF Greek Food Festival (spanikopita! baklava!) my first stop in the Mission, but at the last minute I decided that what I really needed was a walnut tart from Mission Pie. With fresh whipped cream on top, no less. Then from 25th and Mission I walked up to Dolores Park, said hi to KALX and Mount Vicious at the Expo for Independent Arts, and then stretched out in the grass to listen to the awesomely rockin' Aerosols for a bit. Not bad for a gorgeously sunshiney day.
Evening found me over in the Haight for Sean Wilsey's presentation about his new book State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America at the Booksmith. Using the WPA's old American Guide series as their inspiration, Wilsey and co-editor Matt Weiland recruited an impressive variety of writers to contribute a new piece of writing for the book, one for each of the 50 states. So just for starters you get Joshua Ferris on Florida, Carrie Brownstein on Washington, Anthony Bourdain on New Jersey, Alison Bechdel on Vermont, William T. Vollman on California. Wilsey screened a short film produced by Powell's Books that featured 19 of the State by State authors discussing their experience on the project and reading from their work, and then he answered questions and talked about trying to get J.D. Salinger in the book and how Vollman ended up in a San Francisco S&M club in drag as research for his chapter. If you need a virtual road trip in this election year, I think this is the book for you.
I picked the Booksmith over Film in the Fog's screening of An American in Paris in the Presidio last night, but once I got home I rented the movie from iTunes and happily settled in for two hours of Vincente Minnelli's lavish candy-coated vision of love and art French-style in what was certainly a more cozy environment. I love all the familiar Gershwin tunes and that final ballet in which Gene Kelly's athleticism and Leslie Caron's elegance serve as perfect counterpoints to each other. I had forgotten how cool the Toulouse-Lautrec sequence is too, with characters taken straight out of the artist's paintings. Who cares if the whole thing was shot on a soundstage, it still made me want to run away to Paris and swan along the Seine.
Oh and I sadly won't be able to make it, but you should know that one of my favorite artists Marilyn Minter, she of the uncomfortably-realistic almost-pornographic glamour-shot paintings, is lecturing at the San Francisco Art Institute tomorrow night. Highly highly recommended.
You should also know that I'm DJing today:
3 - 6pm PST, Sunday, September 28
KALX Berkeley 90.7fm