Whenever I do one of my long weekends in another city I always come back to the Bay Area with a renewed energy for all the amazing art and culture going on right here in my own backyard, and the way I'm feeling post-Chicago is no exception. This weekend I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and hoofed it from one end of the city to the other, taking in street fairs and art installations alike. Because I'm feeling lazy (and a little woozy from all that sunshine) here on a Sunday night I'm distilling the highlights down to bullet points instead of doing full write-ups for each one. You will quickly notice that food and drink constitute a strong theme:
Tour de Fat in Golden Gate Park - One New Belgium Hoptober golden ale. To benefit the SF Bike Coalition and the Bay Area Ridge Trail, naturally.
Expo for Independent Arts in Golden Gate Park - A chatty stop by the KALX table, and a free scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream from Ben & Jerry's thanks to a random benefactor.
Altered Barbie at Shotwell 50 Studios - Always a fun show, but Alis Cumming's creepy-cool voyeuristic photos of dolls in compromising positions (one of which is pictured above) genuinely knocked my socks off.
And since that means I'll be missing the parade tomorrow I headed out to the Civic Center earlier this afternoon to get a little bit of Pride on. For me SF street festivals are really just an excuse to eat, so I grabbed some delicious corn cakes topped with plantains, black beans, and cheese from Pica Pica and wandered around taking in the politicized vibe this year. Anti-8 clipboarders were literally everywhere, as well as those unfortunate American Apparel "Legalize Gay" t-shirts. There were plenty of smiles and good cheer as well, however, no doubt in large part because of the glorious sunshine, and I collapsed on the grass in it myself for a while equipped with a frozen strawberry margarita. As more states across the country move to grant same-sex couples marriage rights, I have to have faith that by this time next year we'll be able to call ourselves "Equalifornia" once again, and for good.
Last night after the Cherry Blossom Festival I walked from Japantown down to the Shooting Gallery to check out the opening of their massive Draw group show. Without even borrowing space from White Walls next door the gallery is hung floor-to-ceiling with over 350 works of art in every imaginable style, most of them created with nothing more than pen or pencil. None who know this blog will be surprised to hear that the standout piece for me was Barry McGee's heart-stopping rendering of Hemingway, which was wisely screwed directly to the wall right next to the gallery attendant's desk. But I also adored a deceptively simple piece by Yuri Masnyj called Day and Night that used the repetition of a single shape as well as negative space to create abstract patterns in gradations of non-color that ran from gray to black. Amy Franceschini contributed two lovely drawings that referred to her commitment to radical gardening and alternate energy, and Tae Lee's portrait of a selkie also caught my eye. I really did take my time looking but with that much input my overloaded brain literally blew a fuse. Like I completely missed the submission by Richard Serra, much to my chagrin.
And then this afternoon I made my way out to the Potrero for one of my favorite San Francisco Easter traditions: the Bring Your Own Big Wheel race. Last time I attended two years ago the event was still being held on Lombard, but resident complaints have driven the intrepid participants to the twisty stretch of Vermont at 20th Street, which I think actually has more intense switchbacks than Lombard anyway. I only stand on the sidelines, but it's impossible not to get caught up in the spirit as dozens of costumed riders at a time go careening down the street and a roar goes up from the crowd every time someone spectacularly wipes out into a wall. Even though I do value my unabraded skin I think next year might be the year I finally bring some plastic wheels of my own. I promise I'll wear a helmet, Mom and Dad.