Tuesday, January 01, 2013

21 Cool, Cruel Civic Center Events in 2012 Continued

11. Charlotte and George Schultz's Carriage Entrance

Cool: In May, the married pair of power brokers Charlotte and George Schultz above left arrived in a fairy-tale carriage at the horseshoe entrance to the Opera House, which had been renamed for them. At a ceremony, they were feted by Mayor Ed Lee, former Mayor Willie Brown, Jr. and Stephen Bechtel, Jr.

Cruel: It is rare to see so much ancient evil gathered together in public.

12. Asian Heritage Street Celebration

Cool: Also in May, the relatively new Asian Heritage Street Festival set up again on lower Larkin Street in Little Saigon. It was a riot of different ethnicities, music, food and entertainment.

Cruel: The politically dubious Fang family, which publishes Asian Week, are the main sponsors of the event.

13. Gay Pride Festival Goes Straight

Cool: Thirty-plus years after the first Gay Pride protest marches, the event has become a week-long, corporate-sponsored mega-event. It seems to draw less gay people each year and more heterosexual young people who are looking for free entertainment and communal boozing. You might call this social progress, of a sort.

Cruel: What could possibly go wrong with young suburbanites of every ethnicity drinking too much alcohol in public together in the big, bad city? The event is starting to have a Halloween in the Castro vibe.

14. The New SFPUC Building Opens

Cool: The colossally expensive, green-certified headquarters for the SF Public Utilities Commission finally opened after decades of planning and construction at Golden Gate and Polk. It's the first instantly beloved new government building in years, partly because Ned Kahn's Firefly sculpture above is so striking.

Cruel: This is the house that Hetch Hetchy built.

15. Federal Persecution of Local Marijuana Dispensaries

Cool: In August, a group of mourners marched from the Haight to the Federal Building on Golden Gate to protest the continuing, incessant harassment of medical marijuana dispensaries in the Bay Area. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag was deemed worthy of her own special effigy.

Cruel: The continuing federal drug war against marijuana is wasteful and obscene.

16. Dreamforce Tent City and SF Symphony Gala Opening

Cool: On Wednesday evening, September 19th, Civic Center was the place to be. The huge downtown Salesforce convention had assembled a tent city across from City Hall for a party in Civic Center Plaza, including a large stage for a performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Hall across the street was hosting the society opening gala with parties in the lobby, in a tent, and on the street.

Cruel: The troubling trend of San Francisco Rec and Park renting out public space to private groups for days and weeks at a time upped the ante with this Salesforce event.

17. The Folsom Street Fair

Cool: There was warm, late September weather for the annual worldwide celebration of sexual kink in the streets.

Cruel: Like many street fairs, the event is a case study in claustrophobia.

18. The Mountain Dew Tour

Cool: This extreme sports competition dedicated to professional skateboarders and BMX bicyclists moved into Civic Center in October for a week of construction followed by a week of exciting events that were mostly free and open to the public.

Cruel: The footprint on public grounds was large and controversial. The lawns still hadn't grown back by late December.

19. SF Giants Win the World Series

Cool: Buster Posey is God. San Franciscans waited over sixty years for their first World Series win, and now the team has done it twice in three years.

Cruel: The second World Series win brought out an element of public hooliganism that was absent in 2010.

20. The November Election

Cool: Mitt Romney and an assortment of cuckoo Republicans were defeated nationwide, and the sound heard throughout the land was a huge electoral sigh of relief.

Cruel: California Proposition 34 lost and a whole host of dumb, expensive San Francisco propositions won.

21. The Outlawing of Public Nudity

Cool: Nudists have taken their struggle to hang out in public to the streets of San Francisco.

Cruel: The nude dudes walking and sitting in the Castro District over the last year have so annoyed Supervisor Weiner and some of his constituents that legislation has been passed to outlaw public nudity in all of San Francisco. Savonarola lives.

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