Sunday, May 13, 2007

Historic Miniature Golf Extravaganza

The Hayes Valley Green has a new temporary public art installation in the form of a miniature golf course.

It's been put together by The Wowhaus, which consists of the husband-and-wife team of Scott and Ene...

...a pair of artists working with handcrafted furniture in public spaces, among other things (check out their beautiful work by clicking here).

They even created exquisite handmade wooden putters which they offer free of charge in exchange for some picture ID.

The nine-hole course is actually situated across the street from the Hayes Green in an abandoned parking lot, partly so they can just lock the gate and not break down the course/display between its bimonthly Saturday afternoon showings/playings.

It's too bad the little art course isn't open daily because judged simply as an inventive miniature golf course, it's a great one, and genuinely delightful to play.

The design of the course is tied into an eccentric version of Hayes Valley history, starting with the sand dunes which were here originally in the first hole and continuing with a nod to the Ohlone Indians on the second hole.

Colonel Thomas Hayes, who built a huge entertainment pavilion where Davies Hall now stands, is featured... is the Greater Gethsemane Church of God in Christ at 240 Page Street.

There is a nod to Eric von Stroheim's silent film masterpiece, "Greed," which was partly shot in the Hayes Valley, and where there will be a free screening on Saturday, September 29, when the miniature course is taken away.

One of the most brilliant holes is #6, dedicated to the buildings that were demolished by the hideous Central Freeway that ran through the Hayes Valley like a poisonous wound from 1959 to 1989.

The masterpiece of the course is a hole #8, inspired by the San Francisco Zen Center at 300 Page Street, where the pamphlet explains: "No hole -- no goal -- please score yourself a 0."

The final hole is a tribute to Patricia Walkup, a neighborhood activist who started the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, who along with the San Francisco Arts Commission is sponsoring the "Hayes Valley Historic Miniature Golf Extravaganza." Both organizations should be kindly asked to extend the current hours, which are presently scheduled as 1-5PM on the following Saturdays: May 26, June 9 & 23, July 7 & 21, August 4 & 18, and September 1 & 15. We, The People, want daily miniature golf!


Anonymous said...

I particularly love the picture with the map and the Central Freeway imposed on it. It's another great reminder of how demolishing these freeways has helped us to reclaim and breathe new life into once forlorn neighborhoods -- not only Hayes Valley, but also the Embarcadero after 1989, an even more stunning example of the kind of transformation that can take place. It also makes me sad to think about other Bay Area urban neighborhoods (especially those South of Market, and in Oakland) that have not been so lucky, and are still hijacked by the freeways that violently divide them.

Thanks for an excellent piece.

Anonymous said...

What? No windmill? No clown's mouth? still looks like fun!

Anonymous said...

That looks fun!

The dome on the church looks like the one on Octavia near market, not Greater Gethsemane on Page.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's a wonderful project!

I'm so very glad you noted the Saturday September 29, "Greed" screening. It's at 8 pm.

It's not a cheerful film, so you should bring a supply of chocolate. And I remember how cold it gets in your wonderful Hayes Valley, so a blanket would be good, but the chocolate is rather more important. "Greed" features one of my greatest performances ever as Trina. I go mad, and you will, too, so do be there!

I so miss Mr. von Stroheim!

Then I had to play dotty spinsters for the next 35 years

momo said...

Witty AND fun!

Civic Center said...

I actually adore the movie "Greed," although my favorite part doesn't include Zasu Pitts. It's the great finale filmed in Death Valley in August where almost half the cast died of heat prostration and you can see every bit of it on film, blistering lips and all. Stroheim the Sadist was real.

Anonymous said...

True, it was a hard shoot and Gibson Gowland never had as meaty a role ever again, but no cast members actually died during any portion of the film's production.

Civic Center said...

Dear miriam: Thanks for the correction. I should have written "where half the cast almost died of heat prostration."

Anonymous said...

Only correcting because I like this site loads. I am sending this link to all sorts of people.

He was a stickler, old Eric! Imagine using real caviar instead of a look-a-like in "Queen Kelly"!
Portions of costumes, like underwear, that were never to be on screen had to be perfectly accurate.

Thanks for your wonderful pics, the people who are doing this are lovely! This whole project gave me a real buzz of Valley Pride.

Unknown said...

Love the gold tooth as a symbol for the movie GREED! Also impressed that Hayes Valley is reclaiming it's history! Wonderful! Many thanks to the artists and the community.