Another wonderful day

Yes, the world is burning and we’re about to enter WWIII. That said, I have enough money to not work for a year without touching my 401K, the weather is perfect, kids are lovely, I have at least two interesting undone crafting projects, my craft table is finally complete (because I also have an amazing spouse, yes), and today was great. In fact, last week was pretty good as well.

Over the course of the last week I tried hard to eat a pandan bun at the SF MOMA cafe. I failed spectacularly and with great enjoyment.

I went to Yerba Buena gardens and through the beautiful passage besides the Jewish museum.

I saw the lanterns in Maiden Lane

I went to Chinatown and counted the Taiwanese flags. Lately there’s far more of those than of the Chinese flags, which makes me happy.

I had a perfect breakfast. It included a beautifully sweet and sticky ginger bun, an ideal selection of chocolates, and milk tea.

I went to up to the Coit tower and down to Levi’s plaza.

I visited the last lodging of the Emperor (long may he reign in our hearts) and saw the SF Historical Society museum ( )

I went to the Exploratorium and finally explored the Tactile Dome – which was completely unlike what I expected. The experience of having one sense turned almost completely off was similar to hiking the Golden Canyon in Death Valley. I went through it twice. I want a bean-bed badly. It’s incredible.

I learned that the Misalignment Museum is nowhere near where the Apple map thinks it is and that I love coxinhas (a Brazilian chicken pastry shaped like a drumstick) and crepe-on-a-stick. And that crepe-on-a-stick is a thing.

I learned that Bi-Rite ice cream, while lovely, is not really life-changing. And that while balsamic strawberry is nice I’m not really a fan of salted egg and mulberry flavors in ice cream. I bought a wonderful sweater and wandered around to my heart’s content.

And none of it brought me any closer to the pandan bun. In fact, SF MOMA is nowhere near Valencia or the Coit tower. Ah well, I’ll just have to keep on trying :))))

Mission Bay

One of my favorite neighborhoods in SF – clean, futuristic, walkable, and full of tasty things.

This is a futureform called Orbital that expresses optimism about the future with diversity, equality, and inclusion. Its makers also describe it as a contemporary folly. I don’t think they thought through the more cynical ways one can interpret this, given that “folly” is not just foolishness, but one that specifically results from lack of foresight or practicality. Arguably, it’s not even a folly, since follies are, by definition, buildings, and this is more of an installation or a sculpture. But it’s lovely and joyful and it made me happy today.

This is Ichiren-Bozu, “a mythic character that implies consciousness by Masako Miki. It also implies growth and prosperity, which I choose to take as a good sign as I enter a period of conscious (get it? get it?) growth.

I love SF 1% art tax almost as much as I love SF’s POPOS.

It paid for this installation, as well as the Mokumokuren at right. The idea of continuous eyes, a demon that leaves in torn shoji until it’s repaired, being actually a protector is pretty awesome. I believe it’s the artist’s own, since in the legends I read the eyes were anything but protective.

The ghosts of the old umbrella and back-scratcher below also seem very friendly and helpful.

Today’s aesthetic experience has been brought to you by taxation, as are so many of the other things I enjoy, which is probably why I’ve never felt bad about paying taxes.

One thing I learned today is that the Bay Trail is already 350 miles long, and projected to be 500. I think this would be a fun walk and should definitely remember it as a future project.

Dear San Francisco

Dear San Francisco is an amazing show. We went to see it today and I’m probably going to go at least once more.

It’s the second 7 Fingers production we’ve seen, the first being the Passengers. I liked this one a bit more, because it is more joyful and about San Francisco (also possibly because we had better seats), but both were just right.

It’s circus (specifically acrobatics and juggling) slightly leavened by theater set to really great music (Colin Gagne). There is some very light audience interaction – we got candy and a couple of words from the performers, which is about the enjoyable level of interactivity for me.

The most impressive act was diabolos juggling by Shengnan Pan and her husband Enmeng Song. They did unbelievable things with diabolos, including catching one thrown across the hall, very touchingly thanked their teacher, Lu Yi, and told the story of meeting and falling in love in San Francisco while she taught him diabolos (apparently a female-only pursuit in China), and introduced one of their children.

On the other hand, Chloe Sommers Walier twirled a number of hula hoops in complicated patterns while holding one upright on her nose, and (not at the same time) while being carried on someone’s shoulders, so perhaps that was the most impressive act.

The “humorous” act was cringy and clashed badly with the rest of the show, but was probably necessary to let everyone rest.

The other acts, trapeze, hoop jumping, pole acrobatics were also impressive and all seemed amazing to me, but the best part was how charming the actors were while doing them. It’s what I really love about circus – the firgun of watching people do impossible things and be happy and proud that they’ve done them.

Chinese Historical Society of SF

Today was an awesome day. I went with a friend to the Chinese Historical Society Museum on Clay St to see their collection of miniatures by Frank Wong and they happened to be having an exhibit on Bruce Lee.

The miniatures were even better than I expected. Here’s a 3D view of the biggest one. Do check it out, it’s mind-blowing. The whole thing is smaller than a carry-on.

And here’s my favorite one – the Chinese New Year.

Besides the miniatures there were also some really cool and funny murals celebrating Bruce Lee and an adorable collection of miniature models of imaginary statuary by the local students. The statues were LEGO-sized, made of anything from cardboard to 3D printing, and celebrated important figures of progress. I am not quite sure how these are connected to Bruce Lee, but that’s probably because I did not have the time to watch the accompanying videos yet.

The We Are Bruce Lee exhibition in general was very interesting and heavily tilted towards showing his importance as a builder of good inter-racial relationships, his impact on race relationships, and his all-around good-guyness. I think I understand better why he was so beloved during his life time and will probably watch some of the movies. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one and that is obviously an oversight. The exhibition included a short excerpt from Fist of Fury where Bruce Lee kicks a “No Dogs Or Chinese Allowed” sign – it looked awesome, especially the complete indifference of the Japanese woman who is seeing her entire escort smashed up.

What really made the exhibition for me is the digitally-enhanced giant mural. It is a triptych, with the side pieces being entirely digital and showing things like rain, hills, trees, and quotes from Bruce Lee, and the center piece showing Bruce Lee as the Burning Bush.

The underlying mural is awash with motion. The dragon moves. The fire running over his body is occasionally replaced by lightning. There is rain and flood. Neither my words nor the picture below, nor the picture accessible through the 3D view of the exhibition can convey the least part of the mural’s magnificence.

This is Bruce Lee as God. The accompanying text says that he transcends space and time and is worth reading in its entirety.

It was so amazing to be able to share the experience of seeing this worship with a friend. It is impossible to describe, and the moment of stunned amazement is so much better when shared.

Here are more art works by the Macro Waves Collective.

We continued to lunch at the Hang Ah Dim Sum which has been on my list for awhile. It’s over 100 years old, and is the first Dim Sum place in SF. After tasting the shrimp and coriander dumplings I fully understand why they lasted so long. After lunch we dropped by the Fortune Cookie Company to see the cookies being made and get one of the hot crispy discs. It was very hard to resist buying a bag of glazed cookies, but the long line helped.

Overall a perfect outing and now there are two more places on my “love to visit” list.

Yet another good day

Garden at the Black Bird Bookshop and Cafe

Went to see Sargent in Spain. Legion of Honor often shows non-representative works (e. g. gaunt men by Rubens, or full-length mythological males by Greuze), and this Sargent exhibit was not an exception – not a single socialite! (OK, there was one pre-teen boy, but).

Sargent loved flamenco, so much of the exhibit is flamenco dancers, with paintings accompanied by thoughtful and interesting notes by members of a Roma advisory group. Consequently one learns almost as much about the mode of living of Roma in Spain as one does about Sargent’s ditto.

Some of the notes are merely informative, some are amusing (e. g. the facial expression of the Spanish Roma Woman is said to be difficult to understand, or some words to that effect. I think the difficulty in understanding is due to the lack in English of the words “все достало”. Others are poignant, such as when the notes author addresses the Spanish Roma Family to tell them of his worry that his daughter will not grow up to be Roma.

This speaks to me very directly, because, unless something horrible happens, my children will not grow up to be Jews in the visceral way that I am a Jew. They are aware of their Jewish heritage, but I think it’s no more real to them than the (theoretical) Vikings somewhere up the Russian side of my family tree are to me. To my grandchildren it will probably be even less. I feel that this is a loss, but cannot explain why, or what it is precisely being lost. Certainly I myself do not feel the lack of a visceral attachment to my Slavic heritage as a loss.

Getting back to art, it’s really amazing how much better art is in conveying an experience than realistic representation, how much more real it is than reality. Compare this video of La Carmencita dancing with Sargent’s portrait of La Carmencita dancing – the video does not really let (me, now) understand why her dancing ( to contemporary eyewitnesses) felt “wild” and “breath-taking”, but the second at least gives an idea of the wildness and beauty they experienced.

After Legion of Honor I went to the Black Bird Bookshop, which, besides a most beautiful and peaceful garden, has an unusual and lovely selection of books. I got Igbo Mythology for Kids; Forests, Fairies, and Fungi Sticker Anthology, and an amazingly lovely The Eyes And The Impossible. I don’t even know what it’s about, but I couldn’t put it down.

I have the hardest time resisting beautiful books.

Today was a perfect day

Saw the Gregangelo museum for the first time (and will definitely come back). It’s an overpoweringly beautiful place, there’s so much color, texture, detail, so many reflections and little surprises, so many hidden meanings and references. We spent 1.5 hours there and saw what Gregangelo Herrera (whom we were super lucky to have as a guide) says is approximately 1/3 of the rooms/installations.

It was infinitely better than I expected, and is now firmly on my list of favorite places in the US.

It’s odd how many things lately turn out to be even better than I expect them to be. Perhaps I need to raise my expectations.

We were additionally lucky to have the kids with us – originally we planned an outing without them, but this is exactly the kind of thing I’d want to share with them.
That being so we followed with games and snacks, and then I got a half-hour to meditate looking at one of my favorite views.