Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12-13-14: Racist Police Brutality Protest



There was signage at Muni stops on Market Street Saturday afternoon warning of a disruption in service because of a "possible protest."



On the walk down Polk Street to Civic Center, we passed from the world of drinking Santas into the finale of an earnest march against racist police brutality throughout the United States.



The march was one of hundreds worldwide which went under the various hashtags: #BlackLivesMatter #ICantBreathe #MillionsMarch.



The San Francisco Police presence was large enough that it almost looked like a Police Pride march...



...rather than a cry of shame at the institutional racism of police departments across the country...



...which has always existed...



...but now everyone with a mobile device is a potential George Holliday, the neighborhood videographer who captured the 1991 Rodney King beating by the LAPD.



Police departments are old fashioned and change is slow. They still haven't adjusted to the new surveillance reality, as evidenced by the recent federal court convictions of SFPD officers who stole for years from drug dealers in Tenderloin hotels while video captured their movements.



May the the kids above live to see a more just world. For more photos from inside the march, click here for Jan Adams' account.

Monday, December 15, 2014

12-13-14: Polk Street Santacon



We ate lunch Saturday at The Bell Tower on the corner of Jackson and Polk...



...which was loud and festive with Santacon revelers.



The annual free-form bar crawl seems to concentrate heavily in different San Francisco neighborhoods each year, and Polk Street seemed to be one of the major vectors of this year's edition...



...with long lines to get into bars and impromptu parties on the narrow sidewalks.



According to the 40 Going on 28 blog, Santacon is widely acknowledged to be "the Worst Thing in the World," but I always enjoy stumbling across the event.



The white frat-bro demographic can be a bit much, but they are generally cheerful and friendly...



...and there are plenty of other flavors participating.



It's nice to see people drinking together, and then walking rather than driving to their next destination...



...and the omnipresent flirting looks both sexier and more spiritually rewarding than shopping for Christmas presents in a mall.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

12-13-14: Protecting The Holy Union Square Tree



Saturday's SantaCon brought in costumed revelers from all over the Bay Area...



...who were looking sexual...



...festive...



...and ready for a public party.



According to one account I read, the event was supposed to begin in San Francisco's Union Square with a mock funeral burying the mushrooming event once and for all...



...and there were also rumors that a protest would be held by young anarchists at the same time and place against United States consumerism and police brutality.



The powers that be decided what needed protection in this mass of soon-to-be-drunken Santas and protesters and shoppers was the huge Christmas Tree in the middle of the square...



...so that half the plaza was effectively barricaded from the public.



The few protesters who showed up above were outnumbered at least 100 to 1 by the Santas...



...which made the huge police and sheriff presence look silly.



My favorite person at the event was the traffic control officer above who was forcefully directing cars and pedestrians at Geary and Powell with immense charm and enthusiasm. Give this woman a promotion.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Palm Spring Buddhas



Palm Springs allows me to be meditative...



...in a way that is impossible in a crowded, noisy city like San Francisco.



It helps to have a few wise friends to pal around with too, taking walks through fancy neighborhoods...



...and not so fancy detritus in open desert lots.



Adjoining the old Palm Springs Tennis Club at the foot of the mountains downtown is an expensive restaurant called Spencer's which has probably the best gourmet lunch deal in all of California.



For $19.50, you are offered a three-course meal...



...that usually grows more delicious with each bite.



The deal is offered as a "Business Lunch (designed to be served in forty-five minutes)" which would be a horrible waste of fine dining and service if you actually tried to cram the experience into that time. Steve Wibben above pretends we are in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, in the scene where they ask the truck stop waitress, "Do you have some sort of business woman special?"



The night before flying back to San Francisco during Stormaggedon, I stopped at a bar/restaurant called Wang's in the Desert where there was a memorial celebration for Robert Stearns, a heavy hitter in the arts world.



Even gay bar memorials can be meditative in Palm Springs.