San Francisco – Day 5

Tuesday – 9/30

I started my morning by taking a bus to Golden Gate Park and walking straight to the de Young Museum. I had asked Shaun when we were in San Jose, if I could only go to one museum, what museum should I go to. He said that though he’d never been, he’d heard good things about the de Young Museum. Additionally, after he told me this, I began to notice signs for the Modernism exhibit and thus my mind was made up. The first thing I did after getting my ticket (which was $2 off because I took a bus there) and checking my backpack at coat check was head straight to the Modernism Exhibit.

FrankStella_ChodorowIIChodorow II by Frank Stella

Once I was given the green light, I began snapping away at all the pieces I thought were interesting. Modernism can be a very hit or miss artform in that you look at some things and thing, “I could have done that.” However, that’s not the point. The point is that you didn’t think to do it and they did. Additionally there is a lot of skill involved in composting what may appear to be a very minimalist piece. Lastly, there may be deeper artistic meaning than what is immediately apparent by the image in front of you.

EricFischl_Siagon,MinnesotaSaigon, Minnesota by Eric Fischl

There were several things that stood out to me. 1) there was an artist who was born in Malden, the next town over from me, who had several pieces in the exhibit. 2) There were a couple Lichtenstein pieces, there that made me happy because a) I don’t know if I’ve ever seen his work in person before and b) because he is one of my favorite artists. The third thing that impressed me about most of the artwork is how big they were. Some of the canvases were… well… very big. Lastly, I loved that, for a lot of the pieces you were allowed to get as close as you wanted to without touching them. This meant examining the finer details that went into actually forming the art, rather than just examining it from afar as a whole.

RoyLichtenstein_PaintingWithStatueOfLibertyPainting with Statue of Liberty by Roy Lichtenstein

After finishing the exhibit I tried to make it a point to hit the entire rest of the museum. [Gay Essay exhibit and other stuff that was cool]. I didn’t speed through it per se, but I didn’t take the time to read about and fully appreciate every piece. I gazed at the ones that interested me and breezed over the ones that didn’t. Luckily, the museum isn’t that big and I was able to get through it in about two and a half hours.

StrawberryHillSkyline from Strawberry Hill at Golden Gate Park.

Once I was finished at the museum I explored a little bit of Golden Gate Park. The park is huge so I wasn’t going to be able to get to it all in one day. However, I was able to see Stow Lake and I made it a point to climb to the top of Strawberry Hill. The top of the hill was cool because it was quiet and peaceful and through the trees you got some good views of the city.

DiamondSypplyCoNeon sign at the Diamond Supply Co. on Haight street.

Once I had had my fill of nature, I walked back to a bus that took me to Haight street. Since my day was fairly unplanned and it was my last day, I decided to slowly meander through the shops. I hadn’t really done any shopping the entire trip so I thought that this was the perfect time. I went into Diamond Supply Co., not that I skate anymore or need anything, but it looked cool in there and I wanted to check it out. I also went back into the Burton store and talked with some of the employees who almost sold me a Custom.

BitchesBrewSkateDecksBitches Brew skate decks at FTC on Haight street.

I then went next door to FTC, which was zoo-ed the last time I was there because of the skate competition. The coolest redeeming factor was the painting of the Bitches Brew artwork featured above. Luckily, after that I was hungry because it allowed me to go to Street Taco (Mexican street food). I had seen this place the last time I was in the Haight but I didn’t stop in because I had recently eaten. The food there was really good, exactly how I expected it to be. So far, for my money, the best taco’s are in California.

After eating I continued all the way down to the end of Haight street only to find I was back at Golden Gate Park. Because the park is so big, I was in a completely different park of it. I waded through the hippies and the acrid pot smoke, and enjoyed the quiet, the green, and the sunlight. I somehow ended up at an enclosed Merry-Go-Round where I decided to sit outside in the shade and re-assess what I was going to do with the rest of my day.

I decided to go back up Haight street to see the rest of the shops I’d missed before heading back downtown. The first shop I went into was Amoeba Music. I’d been to the one in LA and this one was no different. It was huge and hugely overwhelming, so I pretty much just aimlessly strolled around before leaving. While walking down the street, I kept getting looks from strangers that would nod or say hi to me. Eventually, one of them just straight up said, “Need some bud?” “I’m all set,” I replied, and kept on walking. I don’t know if it was the beanie combined with the tie-dye shirt I was wearing or it they would have asked me regardless, but either way it was weird.

Super7storefrontSuper 7 storefront

The last thing I did before leaving the Haight was to go back in to Super 7. I was determined to buy something. In spite of the store not being that big, I managed to find myself wandering around it for a very long time. As cool as everything was, I didn’t need any of it. The t-shirts were great but I’d never wear them. The action figures were cool but they’d just take up more space and collect more dust. The posters were cool but I had nowhere to put them. The books were unique but I wouldn’t appreciate them.

Super7interiorSuper 7 interior

The only thing I could have bought that I would have used were the button up shirts or the pullover hoodless sweatshirts. There were only two negatives: they didn’t have any smalls or extra small, and they cost $95 and $85 respectivly. I wouldn’t have really had a problem paying that, it was more that I wasn’t going to spend that much money on something that didn’t fit me perfectly and that I didn’t love (because it didn’t fit me well).

After leaving empty handed, I took the bus to Market street where I walked to Benny Gold. I had heard of BG when he did a colloboration with The Hundreds. I had remebered about the store’s exstance while in the Haight and figured I might as well hit it up while I was in the city. The store seemed to be located in a random part of town; like in an  area where you wouldn’t go or wouldn’t expect a store like this to be.

BennyGoldBenny Gold

Unfortunately, I basically did what I always do in “boutique” stores like this, walked around and looked at the stuff for a few minutes having no intention of buying anything before getting bored and leaving. I felt bad leading the store on like that, but I really just wanted to go to say I went. Once again empty handed, I made my way back to Market street where I took the F streetcar to Fisherman’s Wharf. I was basically just wasting time at this point but I wanted to get some clam chowder at the Chowder Hut. It came in a bread bowl which made it more worth it.

The only crappy part about the experience was that I saw a homeless guy picking food out of the trash barrel I was sitting near. He literally grabbed a drink out of the bin, took a sip, and threw it away again. As I mentioned in the day 2 post, the homelessness problem there is huge and very in your face.

Trying to turn a blind eye to all that, I packed up my food and took the Cable Car back downtown for the last time. I then walked to Smuggler’s Cove where I tried there Chi Chi. I don’t know if it was the bartender or if the drink would have tasted this way anyway, but it was too strong for my liking. I only drank a third of before giving up and walking back to hotel. There I got everything ready for my departure then next morning. All in all it was a solid day and a really worthwhile trip.

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