27 December 2013


With a friend, I went to the Hockney exhibition at the De Young for my fifth visit, and his first (and only, probably). It was refreshing to be with someone unmoved by the art ("candy," he called it; "sweetness"), and unimpressed by The Great Man, of whom he had not heard previously. I admired his independent spirit, his refusal to be swept along by popular enthusiasm for Hockney. I've never been in such a large crowd at the gallery. The museum was busier than an airport before a holiday.

24 December 2013

Nativity 1990

When I first came to southern California, in 1990 after 22 years of Central Canadian winters, I found the weather on Christmas Day impossible to believe: 72F, sunny , flowers blooming in the gardens, green grass in the lawns, leaves on the trees! Nah! A movie set, surely! Not real. To complete the effect, I took myself to Santa Monica, to walk along the beach. Ever since, every Christmas Day, I head for the ocean, even in northern California. Tomorrow, I will visit Ocean Beach, only a few blocks from home. Ah, winter!

22 December 2013

December 22, 2013. Ketchup.

A Sign of the Times, outside a restaurant on Church Street: Roses are red! So is ketchup! Buy a burger, vegan, veggie, beef, chicken or turkey!

December 17, 2013. Caltrain.

On Caltrain this afternoon, the conductor announced our approach to one station thus: "Belmont! Belmont! Party town! This is Belmont!" And the next station: "Hillsdale! Home of a really big mall! Go shopping! This is Hillsdale!"

December 10, 2013. La Promenade Cafe

Café Zephyr, my usual hangout in the neighborhood, has a new name: La Promenade Café. The interior walls are being painted, a little each day, to create a French street scene, as though the cafe were out of doors. The owners have another location, Café Enchanté, at 26th and Geary, embellished in the same way.

December 4, 2013. Moishe's Pippic

I went by Moishe's Pippic on Hayes this afternoon, intending to have a meal there, since I had heard that it would close December 31. But, alas, I discovered that it had closed on the 2nd. Workmen were dismantling the interior. Feeling rather melancholy, I took myself to Hayes & Kebab nearby. There's very little left of the Hayes Valley neighborhood as I knew it in the early 90s. Sic transit.

02 December 2013

November 28, 2013. Something in the Water

I heard Linda Ronstadt say on the radio this morning, that "there must be something in the water up there in Canada" to account for all the great poets and singer-songwriters in the country.