...... previous day next day ......
San Francisco San Francisco

4th September 2010

A Walk through SoMa to Visit the SFMOMA, Yet More Art and Another Dose of Blues

    My intention today was to visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). I took a street car to Market Street and alighted just south of the Ferry Building in order to walk up near the financial district just to get a sense of the sheer scale and 'grandeur' of the buildings there.
San Francisco Financial District
Sperry and Bordoise Mural
    On my rambling. I came across a mural dedicated to the memory of Howard Sperry and Nick Bordoise, who gave their lives on Bloody Thursday, 5th July 1934, so that all working people might enjoy a greater measure of dignity and security. Sperry and Bordoise were fatally shot by San Francisco police at the intersection of Mission and Steuart Streets, when longshoremen and seamen attempted to stop maritime employers from breaking their joint strike. Community outrage at these killings sparked a general strike by all San Francisco unions. The maritime strike continued through the middle of summer concluding with a union victory which brought decent conditions to the shipping industry and set the stage for a rebirth of a strong and democratic labour movement on the west coast.
    I walked through the SoMa (SOuth of MArket) district up to the SFMOMA and entered into a grand atrium court, which served as the focus of the 1995 building designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta. A 125' cylindrical skylight channeled light down through the atrium creating a light and airy atmosphere in the building.
    As to be expected, the gallery contained paintings, sculptures, photography and media art. Included were works by Dali, Matisse, and Picasso. Special exhibitions included a Doris and Donald Fisher collection of art from Calder to Warhol, a man-made landscape photographic exhibition, and an immersive video installation addressing gender and global labour issues through outrageous narratives centred around real women's bodies. The movie reminded me of the Dada movement in the early 20th century.
Conversation on the SFMOMA Roof Garden
    After my fill of the museum, I weaved my way across to Geary and Post Streets to take in some of the private art galleries, until I became totally saturated for the day with art.
    To bring myself back to earth, I tried to get a ticket to see the show, Wicked. Sadly it was a sell-out, so the next best thing was a trip to the cinema to watch George Clooney in "The American", a good dose of action and intrigue; pure escapism.
    By now I was ravenous, so a quick diversion to Chinatown was necessary. After becoming jarred off at one restaurant waiting to be seated, I found a different one down an unassuming flight of stairs. It was full of Chinese folk, all the menus were displayed on white-boards mounted on a wall behind a counter, all in Chinese of course. I was immediately sat down at the counter with a few other Chinamen who were eating alone, and given a menu that fortunately contained some English text. The food was fresh and excellent, and good value for money too.
Chinese Karaoke
    Being in the vicinity of the cool blues bar that I visited the previous Tuesday, I decided to check it out again to get my fix of blues for the night. Being a Saturday night, it was heaving with people; standing room only. I bumped into the Scottish couple I had seen there the last time I visited. I also got chatting to a young woman who came from Toronto, and was in town because of work. She was an airline pilot and flew shuttles between Canada and the US. She told me that the bar we were in, The Saloon, was the oldest pub in San Francisco, and it had miraculously survived the earthquake and fire in 1906. In past times it had been a brothel. It wasn't the biggest of bars, but it had a cosy atmosphere because of its cramped conditions.
    I stayed until closing time and walked the long walk back to my hotel, passing through Polk Street on the way back, and that was still going strong at 2am!
...... previous day next day ......
San Francisco San Francisco

Uploaded from Francisco Bay Inn, 1501 Lombard Street, San Francisco CA on 05/09/10 at 18:15

Last updated 6.9.2010