Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Global Warming and Vivienne Westwood
In Golden Gate Park, the cherry blossom trees have undergone an early blooming this year.
Thanks to global warming, the all-important Cherry Blossom Festivals in Japan are arriving ten days earlier than usual, according to a number of news accounts.
Wandering through Golden Gate Park is always a joy...
...except when trying to cross the miles of four-lane highways that snake through the place like poisonous rivers.
There is currently a raging controversy over whether to close a 1.7 mile section of roadway on Saturdays in the east end of the park as is now done on Sundays, giving walkers, joggers, bicyclists, roller skaters, and wheelchair riders a break from the "car is king" culture we live in.
However, the sense of entitlement among those who use the park roads for their personal use is not to be denied, and the socialite Dede Wilsey, along with other colleagues on the Fine Arts Museums board, has decided the Saturday park closure will not happen.
The craven "San Francisco Chronicle" is even editioralizing against the Saturday road closure in this morning's paper. Though there is a huge, new underground parking lot underneath the museum complexes, they still insist on having a freeway next to their institutions, the public be damned.
This seems like a cut off your nose to spite your face kind of gesture, since attendance on Sundays when the roadway is closed nearby is actually higher than on Saturdays when the roadway is open, but let's not look for logic here.
Recently, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco mailed me a membership renewal request, and though I'd like to rejoin, there is no way that I am going to do so if they insist as an institution on being such backward, ugly citizens. In fact, if I do return, it will be with a protest sign.
My artist friend David Barnard, who is chatting up one of the museum installers in the photo above, came up with a perfect compromise since it really is the rich bitches like socialite Dede Wilsey who are keeping this very modest gesture at car curtailment from coming to fruition.
"How about if they close it to all traffic except for limos and licensed town cars? That way Dede and her friends can have their cake and eat it too."
Currently at the deYoung is an exhibit of the British designer Vivienne Westwood's "36 Years in Fashion," a touring show that has been around the world, most recently in Bangkok.
Though I have next to no interest in fashion, the exhibit of outrageous costumes ranging from her 1980s punk rock days to her couture for rich ladies in Paris period is stunning, and one of the most artfully installed shows I've seen in the museum. My only criticism is that the first half of the show is so dark that the place feels a bit like a haunted house display, and I was waiting for someone to trip and go flying through the spiked leather mannequins.
It was a relief to flee the place and hang out at the nine-hole golf course on the western edge of the park, where you can play a silly game, drink beer and eat barbequed pork sandwiches, and above all be away from the frigging cars that seem to define our civilization.