Saturday, July 14, 2018

Beach Volleyball on the Bay

Lean and tall was the dominant impression from the AVP professional beach volleyball tournament last weekend.

The three-day event was held at Pier 32 on the Embarcadero with the Bay Bridge as background.

The admission pricing was strange, with shaded VIP sections being sold at $80-$115 a seat, while General Admission was free.

The VIP sections looked empty...

...while the two large General Admission bleachers were nearly full.

We arrived too late for the center court pro matches, but watched a quartet of teenage athletes from the Santa Cruz High School Beach League play.

The people watching was fun...

...and even the corporate team building competition looked enjoyable.

This tournament is an annual event, and you should consider checking it out next year during a walk on the waterfront.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Two Murals on Olive Street

The Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater strip club has long had rotating murals on the back of its building flanking Olive Street which is actually a three-block alley.

The current mural is Archon's Dream, a fabulously psychedelic offering from Max Ehrman who goes by the nom de plume EON75. At his website opening page, there is a wonderful little video showing him marching out his front door, crossing the city, and painting the wall (click here).

Across Polk Street, flanking a parking lot, is an ironic Summer of Love mural by Italian artists Jorit Agoch and Leticia Mandragora. (Click here for a great article about the piece and the artists by Jonathan Curiel at SF Weekly.)

The red paint is fading fast, but "LOVE" has been crossed out and "HOMELESS" is scrawled above. According to Curiel's interview with the artist: "The poverty I saw in San Francisco shocked me, not so much because of the material poverty, [which] I encountered in other parts of the world, but because of spiritual poverty due to the lack of sense of community and morals."

On the Fourth of July, the pair above had drunked/drugged themselves too early, and were a perfect complement to the wall art behind them.

Friday, July 06, 2018

An African Army in Civic Center Plaza

A conceptual art installation has arrived in Civic Center Plaza with the unwieldy title, Black and Blue: The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness. The Invisible Man refers to the Ralph Ellison novel and the Masque of Blackness to a lavish, racist pageant put on by the 17th century Queen Anne of Britain.

The artist Zac Ove is a Londoner who is originally from Trinidad, and he is the rare artist who can explain his art well, as you can see in this YouTube video and in this video which shows the same installation on a perfect English lawn.

As a child, he was taken for a visit to West Africa with his father, and they brought back a 42-inch sculpture which Zak grew up with as a token of his changing height over the years.

In this art installation, the original figure has grown to twice its size, seven feet.

And there are 80 of them, constituting a small surrealist army.

The African dudes will be hanging out until November in Civic Center Plaza, and if you're interested, the artist will be in town on July 19th from 5-9 PM for a public opening. There will probably be dull political speeches and proclamations, but you can meet the artist and welcome his strange inspiration to town.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Put This Baby in Jail

In towns and cities across the United States, there were public protests last Saturday decrying the sadistic behavior of immigration agents at our southern border.

The San Francisco edition marched from Dolores Park to Market Street and then down to City Hall on Polk.

The marchers were allowed on the north side of Market Street, and the continuous funnel of people lasted for over an hour.

They still managed to snarl traffic, particularly at the Octavia Street freeway onramp, where a sympathizer got out of his vehicle and honked his horn continuously to encourage the crowd.

A couple of vehicles tried to drive through the crowd, but they ended up being detained by sheriff's deputies.

There was lots of signage with Nazi analogies...

...which are unfortunately apt.

Babies and small children being ripped out of their parents' arms...

...has horrified anyone in this country with a conscience...

...and for parents of young children it is a particularly potent nightmare.

The reactions on view ranged from angry... funny... defiant.

There were a few welcome, makeshift marching bands...

...and a broader range of ethnicities than usual.

The sign above sadly encapsulates what some of us are feeling on this Fourth of July, usually my favorite holiday because it's all about summer fun, unless you live in San Francisco and are shrouded in fog.