If something doesn't look "right," on the bus, in San Francisco,
let them know.
Signs of life in the little City
certainly are signs of the times. Even at a glance, the TransitWatch
posters on Muni buses and trains look like they'll appear in a museum
someday, or in a future art book about the terror era. "We can always
use an extra pair of eyes," says TransitWatch, "If something does
not look right, let us know."
On this day, I'm riding in a coach with a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence,
two women with shopping bags and a sleeping baby, a handful of Chinese
seniors, three kids in hip hop clothes, and a homeless guy who's arguing
aloud with an invisible friend with a fancy sounding name I can't
remember. Everything looks as right as rain in San Francisco in January.
Jeff Thompson is a native San Franciscan and a longtime Oaklander,
which makes him the perfect person to declare, "The City is the new
Berkeley!" Thompson is speaking of our ban on smoking in parks and
other City property and our movement to charge for grocery bags.
The latter policy is an anti-litter policy and has been cited in the
public discussion as a European custom. However, it is only recently
that most European grocery stores have had bags at all. I once had
to walk several blocks back to a friend's house in Bavaria while balancing
four potatoes, a schnitzel, and a bag of crisps in my arms because
I didn't bring my own bag to the market.
The smoking ban was inevitable. Thompson says, "Now you can go to
San Francisco if you want to smoke a joint but not a Marlboro."
According to your great email response, there are three titles necessary
to complete my list of a few weeks ago that named the worst movies
made in San Francisco. You are correct. Not even City backdrops could
save EDtv, The Wedding Planner, and an unwatchable straight-to-video
turkey called A Smile Like Yours.
Peggy Dohrman of the Metreon was ebullient at this year's Chief's
Day at the IMAX. Dohrman invited 600 kids to take in the 3D Polar
Express on the IMAX screen. Police Chief Heather Fong welcomed the
grade school children and asked each of them to pay Dohrman's kindness
Dohrman says Chief's Day provides an opportunity for kids to mingle
with police officers as members of the community. No, I did not see
the chief in 3D glasses. I don't think they're an approved uniform
accessory. However, the sight and sound of 600 children spontaneously
screaming over the preview for James Cameron's 3D Aliens of the Deep
left an indelible impression and a smile that lasted all day long.
Speaking of kids today, who knew that hope for the survival of good
grammar was so close to home? Carolyn Moore, a teacher at Mercy High
School for the past 34 years, has been named a California Teacher
of Excellence by the California Association of Teachers of English.
Moore was recognized for her ability to encourage and inspire students.
The award is the most prestigious recognition for English teachers
in the state.
School of Soft Knocks: Bob Pritikin is one of those San Franciscans
that people call eccentric because it takes too long to say, "magician,
ad man, hotelier, entertainer," and all the rest. Pritikin is also
a man of bravery, having handed over a staff and the keys to his Chenery
Street mansion to old-school press agent Lee Houskeeper for Houskeeper's
anachronistically and inaccurately titled, "Boys Night Out" co-ed
The great room of the Chenery house, which Pritikin has said he will
bequeath to the City for use as a future mayoral mansion, is an impressive
gallery of fine art and sculpture. But the guest list was even more
eccentric than even the Bufano animals, notorious Prince Philip portrait,
or giant matchbook.
Mayor of Treasure Island, Tony Hall, with Vice Mayor of Treasure Island,
Frank Gallagher, activist clown Wavy Gravy, acclaimed novelist Herb
Gold, Peggy Dohrman, chanteuse Denise Perrier, the Dons - Blue and
Sanchez, photographer Robert Altman, Dr. Hip Gene Schoenfeld, '06
quake memorial organizer Taren Sapienza, cartoonist Phil Frank, filmmaker
William Farley, and the father of the Summer of Love, Chet Helms come
to mind among the 40 or so guests.
Just as it does when it meets at Tommy's Joynt or The Stinking Rose,
this group affectionately heckled its way through Houskeeper's lengthy
introductions. "You've heard of singing for your supper? This part's
listening for your supper," said a pal.
Perrier and the Rowan Brothers entertained. Pritikin joined in with
his concert saw on "Cry me a River" and Hall got into the act, too,
before dinner was served. The late Johnny Carson was a subject of
toasts and shared memories.
At the end of a very fun evening, as others were heading back to the
piano, Pritikin was engaged in an animated discussion about the state
of locally produced newspaper cartoon strips.
In closing, here's a couple of upcoming events for anyone who loves
San Francisco and San Francisco people:
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the closing of the Valencia
Rose comedy club, Tom Ammiano, Doug Holsclaw, Ron Lanza, Karen Ripley,
and F. Allen Sawyer are scheduled to participate in "Valencia Rose
Revisited." The evening of memories and performance footage gets underway
at 6 p.m. Thursday, February 24 at the Main Library's Latino/Hispanic
Meeting Room. The Valencia Rose helped launch the careers of several
comedians including Whoopi Goldberg.
Jayson Wechter's 15th Annual Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt starts
at Justin Herman Plaza at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, February 19. Check-in
starts at 3:30. The amateur detective competition through the streets,
alleys, and history of the City also uses the Chinese New Year Parade
as a perfect backdrop. The hunt is great exercise and big fun.
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