Homelessness: The Economist Holiday Double Issue

“Roughly 5,000 people live on the streets of San Francisco, a 19% rise in just two years.”

The Economist

Rachel Kushner on the Sunset District

The Mars Room, p. 33:

  • The city to me was the Sunset District, fog-banked, treeless, and bleak, with endless unvaried houses built on sand dunes that stretched forty-eight blocks to the beach, houses that were occupied by middle- and lower middle-class Chinese Americans and working-class Irish Catholics.

Tee-Hee, Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room is so in-your-face, so sassy.

It mentions Carol Doda and there is indeed a San Francisco institution called Carol Doda. In fact, on self’s first family trip to the United States (She was 13), her father was super-excited to get to San Francisco to see a Carol Doda performance. But Carol Doda was already pretty old by then, so he was vastly disappointed. In fact, when self asked her father when he got back to the hotel later that night what he thought of Carol Doda he had this look on his face and said only one word: “Old.” (Come to think of it, it is pretty wild that she, a convent girl from the Philippines, was asking her father what he thought of San Francisco’s most famous stripper. Wilder is that he thought self had asked a perfectly legitimate question because he answered in all sincerity)

Since The Mars Room is set in San Francisco, self wondered if there was an actual — ehem! — establishment. She guesses not because the only place she could find after googling was a Mars Bar and Restaurant on Brennan.

In Rachel Kushner’s novel, the manager of the Mars Room is called D’ARTAGNAN.

RUDE!

Self loves it.

Stay tuned.

The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner

p. 9:

  • I sometimes think San Francisco is cursed. I mostly think it’s a sad suckville of a place. People say it’s beautiful, but the beauty is only visible to newcomers, and invisible to those who had to grow up there. Like the glimpses of blue bay through the breezeways along the street that wraps around the back of Buena Vista Park.

There is something about the holidays. The books she reads stay and stay and stay with her. For example, she only read two books last December, but both were great: The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich; and Kudos, by Rachel Cusk.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The San Francisco Bay Area in The Overstory

p. 378:  SPOILER-FREE

Three months later, a machine shed in a lumber yard up near the Olympic Peninsula explodes. Mimi reads about it in the Chronicle. She’s sitting on the grass by the Conservatory of Flowers, in the corner of Golden Gate Park, a ten-minute walk from the hilltop, University of San Francisco, where she’s finishing her master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.

Newspaper Sidebar: Timeline of Ecological Terror, 1980 – 1999

Ha! Richard Powers gets the flavor of the San Francisco Bay Area down in spades. Wonder where he lives?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Monterey in 1786: Life in a California Mission, from the Journals of Jean Francois de la Pérouse

The commander’s house, the largest in San Francisco, had a dirt floor “without being boarded, paved, or even reduced to an even surface: the roof was covered in with flags and rushes; the furniture consisted of a very sparing assortment of the meanest kind.” The commander’s wife, while “decently dressed,” received him “seated crosslegged on a mat.”

Flash Fiction Tuesday: Shirley Ancheta

Kristine appeared in Going Home to a Landscape: a Filipino Women’s Anthology, co-edited by self and Virginica Cerenio (Calyx Press). From the moment self first came across the piece in the submissions pile, she fell in love. This is an ace piece of writing, one that straddles prose and poetry, and is so achingly poignant.

Where is Shirley Ancheta now? Self doesn’t know. She hopes she is well.

Kristine turns a corner in San Francisco and is struck by an oncoming car. She is floating, she thinks, in the air with the seagulls. Her teeth ache. A man steps up to her and says, “Dear God, I’m sorry. What can I do? What?”

She thinks he has said, “Desire … here … what will you do?” The only man she wants to reach is married or dead or related to her. She smiles. She can’t remember.

She thought she was kissing a boy in the dark, in the back of the house near the pineapple field. His hands could hold down a pig for the killing. They were caught by their grandmother who threw her slippers across the yard. “No do dat wit your cah-sun! Wassamaddah you kids? You no feel shame o’ what? No good fo’ cah-sins fo’ make li’ dat!”

It is cold on the pavement of Stockton and Pine. The wind is enough to pick up Kristine’s skirt. She rolls her head from side to side. As someone puts a blanket on her, she hears a siren rising to meet the ringing in her ears.

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More From Gary Kamiya

Love Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco. Reading the essays in it painstakingly slowly.

Gary Kamiya was one of the founders of Salon.com (still going strong!). An ex-fellow Fellow from Stanford, Jim Paul, used to write for them. As did Chitra Divakaruni. As did Laura Miller. As did Heather Havrilesky.

Self is on Essay # 5, The Harbor at the End of the World:

A 1508 map by Johannes Ruysch depicts South America as the New World, with Asia in the place where North America actually is.

DSCN0032

Private beach access for this homeowner along the Mendocino coast

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Gary Kamiya Again

  • Hundreds of giant bison, weighing two tons and standing more than eight feet high, headed through the Golden Gate on their seasonal migration, next to the roaring river . . . At the top of the food chain stood the American lion and the short-faced bear.

— from The Alcatraz Triangle, Ch. 3 of Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco

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San Francisco, Viewed From Point Richmond: February 2015

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View of the Mendocino Headlands from Main Street

Tomorrow, straight to the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Sentence of the Day: Gary Kamiya

The oldest skeleton found in the City is that of a female, unearthed during excavation for the Civic Center BART station in 1969, dating to about 5,000 years ago.

— from Cool Gray City of Love, Chapter 3: The Alcatraz Triangle

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Fourth Sunday of February 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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