Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Flaneuring Among the Fog and Fauns

Spent a lovely day wandering the foggy avenues, visiting friends, cafes and the many haunted corners of the city where I more or less became who and whatever I am

Breakfast with one of my brothers of the craft (above), the novelist KM Soehnlein

Lunch with Mark Abramson, who greeted me at the door and asked with rasied brows, "You're not a vegetarian are you?" He'd made beef stew, about as carnivorous a meal as there is. I reassured him I am a 'jack' vegetarian, which means I cheat and am averse to dogmatism (jack mormons drink, jack catholics fornicate). I also explained I'd lived in Buenos Aires and would have expired on a meatless diet, so I was primed for and 'acostumbrado' to beef. We will be reading together on Thursday at Books Inc, and discussing San Francisco in the early 90s, as Mark, though primarily a mystery writer, will be reading from his work-in-progress AIDS memoir

Strolling the streets of the Hayes Valley and finding David Dupree not home, I heard a honk and a shout behind me as I peered in the window of his Victorian flat. It was David in his stretch limo Lincoln (probably a '76 or so, don't know how or why he keeps this thing, though it's very SF original/eccentric). That's a mural behind him at the African American Art & Culture Complex (if that's a Freudian syndrome, I've got it..keep reading), where he took me on a incredible place...I especially liked the photo exhibit of old ladies over 90. Indeed 'black don't crack'...they all looked about 60.

Then there was the exhibit "Black Woman Is God"...very cool stuff, with a theater (they do a lot of Shakespeare with black actors), and even an Activism Alley to remember and encourage activism. A very empowered place in the city's Historic Jazz Preservation District...the Fillmore--home to 'Coco, my chocolate sister' and  'Yolanda, hellbitch from the Mo', some of my fave grafitti from the 90s. I just came off a fundraising gig with the Critical Race Studies program at UCLA Law School where we had a fundraising event emcee-ed by W. Kamau Bell, a SF comedian, and where I met some amazing young students who are and will  be changing our fast-changing society, so I was very much feeling my 'diversity thrills' or 'african american culture complex' and treasuring what is best about this country, which is multiculturalism and the 'long arc of history bending toward justice' to paraphrase MLK, Jr.

The building that it's housed in, which was once a brewery, has old WPA murals as well.

Back at David's house, a block south, I snapped a photo of one of my mentors and our mutual friend, the late Roger Corless, a brilliant elfish man, professor of Buddhism and tireless advocate of ecumenism and joy

Speaking of elves, I met for a drink or two with Marilyn Pittman, radio personality and comedian, and one of the funnest and funniest people you will ever spend an hour with. She interviewed me back in October....

Jeff serenaded me with his flute playing (very faunic :)


The brilliant 18-year-old Joel who held his own with a roomful of his father's middle-aged gay friends (Jeff and Darin are a couple who adopted Joel and Adam when they were 3 and 5)


Then it was off to Contra Costa County to see the folks (left and center) and gird myself for arguments about Obamacare and the new pope. To my surprise, John McCord, an old family friend, arrived to join us for dinner and wanted only to talk about his gay grandson and how important it was to welcome our children into being themselves. He's struggling to get his son to deal with it, and we're going to continue our conversation. Ah yes, even Contra Costa County stumbles forward...and indeed, WE ARE EVERYWHERE....such a moment heals years of pain and alienation... and makes you feel that all the activism and commitment to the truth does push us along that long arc toward justice

While my mother is not yet decorating in fauns, I did come across these cupids in the guest bathroom, so she's moving in a Roman direction.
And speaking of we are everywhere, so is Maria Elena Durazo who I work with via the nonprofit I do fundraising for in LA ( is a powerhouse who came up through the UFW movement and is probably the most important woman leader in the labor movement today as head of the LA County Federation of Labor....below is her pic that I chanced upon riding the BART train--she is being celebrated by her alma mater St. Mary's College in the East Bay...her story of how her farmworker parents scrimped and saved so she could go to college is inspiring and always makes me tear up when she tells it...

The below grayish Victorian (I lived in a cottage behind it) is where I lived for 8 years in San Francisco, and where A Horse Named Sorrow was born long ago. Faun was not yet conceived, although while residing here, I did in fact become a faun :)

Below, looking very Neal Cassady as he gets into his ancient K-car, is Kevin Killian, a deligthfully talented and influential writer and San Francisco character who just put out a book called 'Tagged' which yours truly is fortunate enough to be in and which is also a visual art show, currently exhibited at 2nd Floor Projects on 25th St....
He's also the author of Spreadeagle, a 2013 Lambda Lit. Award finalist for fiction

I hid out in Luv a Java, my favorite SF Cafe for the past few years, on Dolores & 26th. It's run by the sweetest Yemeni guys, who play nice mellow Arabic music and make an amazing hot salsa. A perfect quiet corner at which to read, write or fall in love. I'd like to say I did all 3, but I left my heart in Argentina. Two out of 3 ain't bad.

Every once in a while, the universe tosses you a relative who ends up one of your favorite people in the whole world. Such is my cousin Tevis McNally :)

(pic to come)

Enjoyed chatting in Spanish with Jaime at a great little spot, Radio Habana Social Club, on 
Valencia St., which featured twisted and morbid pop art, doll zombies and clowns, a favorite genre of mine

Painter Alex Nowik, one of the magical beings of my SF days, who is one of three people to whom I dedicated 
A Horse Named Sorrow

No comments:

Post a Comment