May 13th, 2002 § Three comments § permalink

It was a beautiful weekend to be in San Francisco. I spent Saturday afternoon at SFMOMA, and although I was particularly excited about the Eva Hesse exhibition, my favorite work was Video Quartet, a video collage by Christian Marclay. It was shown in a long, rectangular room, with four video screens lined up side by side on one of the long walls; from dozens of movies1, Marclay extracted a 10-minute symphony. Besides being a remarkable work of art, it offered one of the best arguments for fair use that I can imagine. If the entertainment industry had its way, it would be technologically impossible to create a derived work like this one.

I expected to enjoy Perfect Acts of Architecture as well, but that exhibit was dominated by self-righteous modernists who don’t give a tinker’s damn about such petty concerns as whether a space meets its users’ needs. Perhaps it’s worth focusing purely on theoretical questions as a thought experiment; what bothers me is the extent to which some of those architects’ work is informed by the cold vacuum of theory. On the other hand, the exhibit succeeded in making me genuinely angry, which was a nice reminder of the power art can hold.

Before SFMOMA, my brother took me to Vik’s Chaat Corner, a hole-in-the-wall place in Berkeley that he described as “the BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT EVER.” I’m not inclined to disagree. When I told one of my Indian coworkers that I’d been there, he mentioned that he used to drive down to Berkeley occasionally just to go to Vik’s. Good sign.

  1. A sampling of the movies I remember picking out: My Fair LadyMr. Holland’s Opus;Woodstock; footage of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Frank Sinatra; The Music Man; a Marx Brothers movie; and M. There were many others. []

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, etc.

April 24th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Good things about Sunnyvale:

  • Flowers everywhere. The roses in Sunnyvale are spectacular—even the most neglected gardens have perfect roses, flowers the size of saucers, with creamy petals that look good enough to eat.
  • A surprisingly nice library that stays open until 9 p.m. on most weeknights.
  • The farmers’ market, the very best thing of all.

Tailing the mark, trimming the mark

December 3rd, 2001 § Comments off § permalink

SF Weekly ran a great Silke Tudor column last week about San Franciscans playing like Dashiell Hammett characters, trailing unsuspecting pedestrians around the city. It also profiles Don Herron, who’s led a Dashiell Hammett walking tour of San Francisco for the past 25 years. Good stuff.

If the column interests you, take a look at The Big Con, David Maurer’s brilliant 1940 study of confidence men and the art of the grift. There’s an excerpt on Amazon.


November 18th, 2001 § Three comments § permalink

My roommate and I went up Page Mill Road last night to see the Leonids. The turnout was amazing. Cars lined the road all the way up to the top of the mountain.

And the meteor shower was spectacular. The meteors came in waves; there would be none at all for a few minutes, and suddenly three would pierce the night all at once. I spent about an hour watching meteors and imagining an indulgent god, tossing fireworks from the heavens for the amusement of his children.

Oh boy!

November 16th, 2001 § Two comments § permalink

There’s currently an Eames-designed exhibit at San Francisco’s Exploratorium. I have got to get up to the city.

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