The Mission, Part 3: Whimsy

Not all of the murals you’ll find in the alleyways of the Mission district of San Francisco have an overt message.  Some are whimsical and fun.

Below we have a rooster wearing a crown and angel wings while having his morning coffee.  Above him reads “Protecting our home from gentrification.”  Is he the winged avenger out to save the community from yuppies?  Or is he the developer hell bent on gentrifying the neighborhood? Heck, maybe he’s just a figment of the artist’s imagination.

The following two are side by side.

Okay … scratches head.  Pink feathers orbiting the sun?  Sun dispensing pink feathers?

Hum, Death Star breaking through barriers to join the Donut Galaxy?

Other murals (in the gallery below) seem to depict a skateboarding Spider Man, Che Guevara fighting a deer-headed man, a space ship taking off, man-sized thorny flowers, a drug deal gone sour, and an elephant god holding pink parasols. (click on any image to see them full size)

Feel free to add your interpretations in the comments.  My favorites of the murals tomorrow.

The Mission, Part 2: Unity

Today’s offerings of street art (I like that term) were not painted on garage doors (see Part 1) but on the brick walls of a parking lot. Below is a portrait of residents of the area coming together in unity beneath the black and grey images of the leading voices of Civil Rights movement.

The following murals seem to reflect a much earlier era, however, note the wall and beyond, towns on the hills out of reach.  The graffiti on the wall reads “We didn’t cross the border; the border crossed us.” How true.

It was impossible to capture the following mural without including the top of someone’s car!   Note that, although it appears to depict an Aztec priest holding an orb of some sort, in the lower middle is a man with a backpack. Hum, what to make of that?  (I jest.  That is an actual man with a backpack who somehow got into the picture without me noticing. He shows how large some of these murals are.)

The owners of the Victorian across from the parking lot were obviously trying to blend in.

Below are images that I really couldn’t make sense of.  Can you?

Next time some of the more whimsical murals.

 

The Mission, Part 1

Alleys are generally not on a tourist’s “must see” list.  In fact they’re generally on the “do not enter” list.  Muggers and bums live in alleys.  Trashcans overflow in alleys.  Drug dealers hang like vampire bats in alleys.  But in an area of San Francisco known as The Mission and famous for the annual Castro Street faire and the Brazilian inspired Carnaval  a network of alleyways is slowly becoming a must-see.

These are someone’s garage doors.  Most of the homes and businesses in this area back up to alleys, providing a graffiti artist’s paradise. 

And then gradually the area began to attract muralists.

Because this area is heavily hispanic, many of the garage doors are blessed by the Holy Mother.

Many of the murals cover not only the garage doors but the entire back and sides of buildings and the alleys are narrow.

Thus it’s difficult for a spot-and-click photographer such as myself to get the entire image. The garage doors are beneath the GG Bridge.

Many of the murals have political or socioeconomic  messages.

This one pertains to the Palestinian struggle although I’m not sure what the arrows on the right mean – no way out?

Okay – these are the best from the first alley.  There are three more to go.  Checkout other doors over at Norm Frampton’s ThurdayDoor event. 

 

This Beloved Earth

Another great post

tin hats

When I was younger, nature was something I took for granted.  It was eternal in rain and green grass and the fox’s scream.  My great-grandparents owned a place called Bull’s Creek Ranch.  It sat on both sides of the river and was about 4,000 acres.  Over the years my grandfather sold off much of the ranch and when he was down to the last section, the depression hit and he couldn’t pay his debts, so the bank auctioned off what was left of the land.  It went for about four dollars an acre.

My father was little when the final sale occurred.  For him it was the death of all that he knew and cherished.  No more would he run his dogs along the river in search of coons.  The fox, squirrel and bobwhite hunts also came to an end.  The family moved to town and he fell in with…

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Touching the moon

Superman can't find a phone booth

“Closer”, the father said to the boy.
The boy dutifully moved to his father’s instruction. “Better?”
“Yes, now stand on your toes and reach as high as you can.”
Again, the boy obeyed his father. “Am I touching it?”
“Yes, son. You are.”
There was a audible click as the camera snapped the photo of his index finger touching the full moon that he and his family had been admiring at the end of a wonderful family day on the beach.

For a short, magical time the boy actually believed that he had touched the moon. After all, there was a picture in the family album of it. But eventually he realized that it was only an illusion.

Many years have passed. Now an adult, he sat on the wall of the beach at low tide and looked longingly at the sky. It was his favorite spot, it made him…

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Chocolates in the Snow

I just received an email about a writer’s conference to be held in Kauai in November.  Generally I stay clear of writer’s conferences because they include meets and greets with agents more interested the anguished memoirs of bi-racial transgender youths than anything from a boring old white women.  Some of them reject you nicely but most have a look that reads: “what a complete waste of time it is to even look at you.”  I get enough rejection for free; I don’t need to pay for it.

But Kauai beckons.  I’ve only been there once and the purpose of my visit was definitely not fun and games, but I felt at home, at peace there.  And so I told my husband that for my looming and hideously repulsive birthday I wanted go to the conference and I didn’t mind going alone.  He’s not an island person.  He claims island fever drove both his brother and nephew to drink. 

“Oh no. You’ll attract someone.” Poor fellow is on the waiting list for much needed cataracts. 

I had to explain to him that not even Danielle Steele would try use a literary conference as a setting for one of her romances. Imagine this entirely believable synopsis:

Trevor couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the beautiful and sexy Dinah Dimlight of Dimlight Productions sitting in the audience listening to his reading from Forty Years of Hell, My Life Fighting Ebola.  When she said she could sell the concept to Disney with a few slight changes, he fell instantly in love. But she had more than a few slight changes in mind and so, enraged, Trevor turned to Sophie Goosebury, a fellow writer, for solace which she happily provided on the beach that night, under a thousand stars and listening to the barking sands.  But Goosebury had an ulterior motive – she wanted Trevor to promote her manuscript Kitties Armed With Assault Weapons to Dimlight as a possible cartoon series.

After I explained to Joel that two writers could never make a relationship work because the weight of propping up ailing egos would destroy at least one of them,  he said to me: “But you’re so confident.”

Holy Crap.
holy, holy crap
piss into the wind
unholy crapola

My husband is making the same assumption as many people:  I know what I want to do and I’m doing it. But being a writer in the age of a billion blogs, when you can’t go to a party without running into someone who is also a writer or wants to be a writer is like standing in line waiting to be chosen for a basketball team.  If you’re the last chosen, you’ll be sitting on the bench. But you keep on improving your skills.  You support the team and try not to be negative.  You have confidence that you’re doing what you want to do but uncertain you will ever have a chance to play on the court.

I’ve had old friends say  “I don’t have any special gifts or talents like you.”   They act as though I’m writing and blogging because I think I’m special. I am not special. I was the last kid chosen for basketball.  I was the girl whose guidance counselor suggested might make a good housewife.  I was the child whose father threw a birthday box of chocolates into the snow because she was getting chubby.   I am nothing special. 

I can still see those chocolates in the snow.

B-sides and Backslides

Guess what I received in the mail today all the way from Singapore…

This book was sent to me by a lovely lady named Damyanti Biswas whose blog Daily (w)rite  focuses on subjects of far greater import than mine.  She’s also a acclaimed author whose work seems to span many genres.  And (as if that wasn’t enough) she is the force behind We Are The World, in Darkness, be Light, a group of bloggers from around the world who inspire to restore faith in humanity through stories of hope. 

From time to time, Damyanti also hosts guest bloggers.  Recently the title of one of those guest posts caught my eye.  Dear Writer: Are you a Good Scavenger?  Here’s a teaser:

Conversations overheard and snatched. Tying down the balloons of scattered thoughts. Finding a wry insight into an unusual sight. Turning over an image for a pun. Decoupling couplets. Allowing a rhythm to run rings round your head.

They’re the poetic equivalent of doodling, writing exercises you do to limber up. – Felix Cheong

At last, I thought,  another writer for whom a cafe is a place to eavesdrop!  Another writer who sees a stranger on the bus and can’t help imagining where they’re going and why.  I responded that I when I scavenge thusly, I feel like a vampire wantonly taking what is not mine. I guess he liked that comment because Damyanti sent me an autographed copy of his book (with a very nice note from her).

B-sides and Backslides is a collection of poems which Mr. Cheong wrote between 1986 and 2018 and put on the back burner.  We all have those pieces we’re sure aren’t good enough. But we can’t quite throw them away because either we may be wrong or because we hope at some point to have the wisdom and skill to figure out what they’re missing.  And so with that in mind, Mr. Cheong has “remastered” his early pieces “for contemporary consumption, complete with my own version of liner (linear) notes.” 

(don’t know what this hashtag means though, do you?)

Anyway, thank you Damyanti and Felix!  I’m sure I will enjoy the read!