Monday, March 25, 2013

San Francisco Wraps

 Yes, that's a double entendre....meaning both completion and the burrito-ization of the sandwich that this city is slowly perfecting. My most recent was a falafel wrap generously proferred by Jim Provenzano (see his pic below) before seeing ODC at the Yerba Buena Center. They are one of the seminal modern dance companies in the bay area, and their work was inspiring and beautiful (I always want to write after seeing modern dance). Here are the dancers after the show with choreographers, taking questions

Books Inc was a great event. I read with Mark Abramson to a packed house of about 60 people and sold out all the books they had on hand (which I've never done before). Special thanks goes to Mark who delivered on every level, publicizing the event, reading from his memoir, setting up an afterparty across the street at Cafe Flor and feeding me tofu before the show (to make up for the beef stew of earlier blog). What a superb dude.

With David Robinson who I admire so much for his lifelong activism. He was my hero from those brutalest years of the AIDS epidemic when, along with his boyfriend, he created before me a picture of love and justice that has stuck with me ever since and inspired my own commitment to bettering the world. It was great to have him there as people discussed those harrowing and heart-rending times, which sadly, though much mitigated thanks to activist leaders like David, are still with us.

Maggie Ballard who I met in Chile and hung out with later in Buenos Aires, and who now lives in Berkeley

Quite a reunion here...left to right: my brother Terry, his friend and nurse from long ago, Carolyn (both were characterized in my first novel), my cousin Megan and me in one of those horrid closed-eyes photos that one gets stuck with now and again because they want to share a photo of the other people.

Kristine who does the Naked Girls Reading series

Below Joachim Mueller-Lance who I know from way back and who is a hugely talented graphic designer and artist from Freiburg Germany

Filmmaker Yuri Sivo (in hat), musician John Parsons (long hair) and the back of Kevin Drury's head

Kirk Read, performer and author, who tirelessly serves his community artistically and as an expert on public health. He co-hosts, with Larry-bob Roberts, the Magnet open mic where I was the featured reader the night before Books Inc. He is among the best emcees anywhere--a truly natural talent--and needs to become the queer alterna-Ellen.

Jack Davis (left), one of the most important queer witches here or anywhere, and a good friend to many, as well as caregiver to the late Harry Hay and John Burnside. I admire him a lot. At right, Linc Madison, who I have a torrid history with and who is the epitomy of good humor.

David Weissman, filmmaker...most recently, he made the excellent AIDS documentary, We Were Here

Luz y Patricia who work at the local coffeeshop near Tin's house, where I was staying. I got to know them over the week as they tirelessly teased me while practicing Spanish with me

Probably the most important gay bar of my generation, and still going strong. Everything happened here.

Around the corner are the offices of the Bay Area Reporter, where my friend author Jim Provenzano works (he also took me to ODC..see above). The offices are in what was once an trucker's hotel, so it's sort of laid out like a Motel 6. I am on the outdoor walkway in front of his door looking in.

Brother Horehound. We connected through poetry 25 years ago and have a heart bond that is timeless and sweet

The Baldwin Arms, where the character Vince lived in my first novel. I keep thinking it won't be there one day, but I always go by to check and see as someone I loved very much lived there once.

Grafitti in the alley next to the Baldwin Arms, which speaks pretty much for itself. 6th Street.

I collect Mona Lisa derivations...she's now in touch with aliens it appears 

I took a trip out to the Presidio, which was once a military fort, then became a national park, which it still is, but now you can actually live there as they have refurbished the formerly abandoned military housing. My friend Donn Tatum lives in one of these houses, and I journeyed out to see his sculpture of Queen Califia, mythic amazon queen that California is named for.
Donn is writing an immense and comprehensive tome on the discovery of California

Yet another painfully pretty view from a San Francisco cafe..I always take time to run off and read and write a little when in San Francisco--it has almost as many cafes as Buenos Aires.

Then it was off to see Dennis Turner, who has retired and put all his energy into his garden, which is a truly magical one. Here he's looking very Whitmanesque, relaxing among the blooms of his masterpiece.

What he sees when he wakes up each morning:

Finally, with my buddy Yuri (see above pic of him in hat), a filmmaker I met in LA, we visited the Eugene O'Neill House (, which is Danville, a suburb near where I went to high school. O'Neill wrote Long Days Journey into Night here, among other works. He lived here longer than anyplace else he ever lived (7 yrs) when Danville was just ranches and orchards. It's an idyllic spot still, and community theater is staged in the barn. 

My Dad may be 82, but his memory is as good and organized as ever. I would have forgotten this extra car key I left with him when I dumped off my '94 Ford in front of his house

Hiking in Redwood Canyon south of Moraga with Marty Doolin below

South America is never far. I stumbled off the BART Train, reading Tomas Eloy Martinez's Tango Singer and passing by this Andean musician

Later I ran into Che himself....the permutations of Che are he appears on a tote bag, the better to lug around your capitalist booty. San Francisco

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