Saturday, July 25, 2009

Invasion of the Google Experts

In front of the Veterans Building at Van Ness and McAllister, a new piece of signage has sprouted on the sidewalk, which has the feel of advertising but the presentation of public art.

It turned out to be the former, a placemarker designating that celebrity Berkeley food guru Alice Waters, owner of the extremely expensive Chez Panisse restaurant, has officially designated Herbst Theatre one of her "favorite places."

It seems that Google Maps has added a feature where you can see what passes for local celebrities, complete with their own identifying logos, map out their favorite places in San Francisco.

I don't mean to be rude, especially, but I really don't give a flying fig that Alice Waters likes Herbst Theatre in the Veterans Building, and don't particularly care to be reminded of that trivial fact every day as I walk past Google's sculptural ad. It will require extraordinary restraint, in fact, not to vandalize the thing.


Your driver said...

Oh, Go ahead. As you have pointed out in the past, San Francisco is a bit of a backwater. I'm really very happy that San Francisco "celebrities" are mostly minor figures. It makes them easy to ignore.

If I could recommend something in your neighborhood that I really enjoyed, on the sixth floor of the library there's a nice photographic exhibit on the history of the SF general strike of 1934. I also enjoyed some of an exhibit of modern calligraphy. Calligraphers are a mixed bunch. When they're good they're really special and when they're bad they remind me of really bad birthday cards.

If you bring the spray paint, I'll cover for you while you tag the google ad.

Civic Center said...

Dear Jon: That is very funny, and I completely agree with you about calligraphy (good and bad). I'll check out the SF general strike exhibit at the library (jeez, who goes to the sixth floor?). And thanks for offering to watch my back when tagging crappy corporate art.

sfwillie said...

Dear Mike,

Vandalism might be the only way to reduce the value of public space being sold for advertising.

Clever and invidious ad-ons (like stickers you can print at home) that turn the signage against the sponsor, and entertains the passers-by, would be hard to prosecute.

You know, like, "The Google Sucks Donkey Balls Trial," many would vie to be the defendant in that one.

sfwillie said...


Or like, Alice Waters' Favorite Place... for cunnilingus.

I'll stop now

Civic Center said...

Dear Willie: As Jon wrote, go ahead. I think Alice Waters' favorite spot for...cunnilingus is an instant classic.

janinsanfran said...

The possibilities for improving this litter are endless and intriguing.

Don't think they'd last long in my 'hood.

Holden said...

Why, oh why, do these things bug me so?

Thankfully, they'll be gone in a few weeks.