Monday, April 23, 2012

a san francisco sunday

a flock of amorous pigeons woke me up at around seven. i've woken up to worse, but i didn't have to get out of bed until nine and couldn't fall back asleep so i dozed in and out of friday's 'real time with bill maher' download and a you tube clip of radiohead's full performance at coachella from the night before. i eventually got up and prepped myself for the day, still nothing too out of the ordinary - that is of course until i stepped outside and remembered that i lived in san francisco.

a friend of mine had an extra ticket to the john paul gaultier exhibit at the de young in golden gate park, so naturally i accepted and proposed a hearty brunch afterwards, because what san franciscan doesn't propose brunch after any kind of sunday morning activity. it also kind of helps that every restaurant turns into a brunch bonanza on sunday mornings.

"what should we do today, i hear the weather will be nice."

"it's sunday - we're getting brunch."

"oh right, but where should we go for brunch today?"

"anywhere - it's available everywhere."


i had only made it a block down haight street onto clayton when my first san francisco standard came into full effect - the awkward one-liner from a creep either looking for a handout or sex.

"are you made of plastic - or are you real?" the gentleman asked with a sly smile and slight head tilt. granted, i WAS dressed for the occasion, having spent some time piecing together an outfit on my budget that jean-peal would have deemed appropriate (a black and gray ensemble consisting of: rolled up wool pants, gray high socks, black boots, tailored grey button down shirt, table cloth length scarf, fingerless gloves, suspenders and hair coiffed to suggest that i stepped off of a speed boat moments earlier) but in NO way was it to allure the come-ons from strangers at 11AM on a sunday walking down haight street in san francisco.

moving on

my eyes zoomed into the goodwill store from the sidewalk to catch a glimpse of any second-hand treasures but before walking into both pedestrian and vehicular traffic i pulled back my view and realized my friend spencer was already at our meeting point with coffee. we exchanged greetings/stories of how the day was already bizarre and walked our way down haight street to golden gate park.

the usual crowd was at the park's entrance: gypsies, irish traveller impersonators, trustafarians (kids from trust funds that choose to 'live from the land' as opposed to going home to their fortunes), drug dealers, burnouts and hordes of tourists snapping photos and debating on whether or not venturing into the park was safe given the ever present company around them.

"hey i think i recognize that girl. i always see her around haight street in that outfit," spencer said.

"judging by the way she's dancing in the field with no shoes on i think it's safe to say she lives here, spencer," i replied.

golden gate park is quite relaxing on sundays because cars aren't allowed to drive through so the streets are used by groups of bicyclists, runners, segway enthusiasts, two-man bicycles, scooter enthusiasts, eight-person bicycles, etc. it feels more like a town gathering for a picnic than a park nestled inside a busy city. of course, san francisco wouldn't let you forget where you were entirely, so on our way to the de young we walked passed a roller disco and a multi-generational couples swing dance party. we didn't have the appropriate footwear for either so we pressed onward.

jean paul.

jean paul jean paul jean paul.

you had me at 'striped heart'

we walked in and were welcomed by smiling and singing models. well, the mannequins. the modelquins? the mannequins were alive, sort of. projectors hung above the crowd and shot high definition faces onto the mannequins, bringing the attitude's of the collections to life, complete with sassy banter and come-ons by some of the models if you were standing where they were staring.

jean paul was there himself, sort of.

he introduced his collection, discussed his childhood and how he came into the world of fashion. we were also introduced to his first gown,

some notable pieces worn by australian singer, kylie minogue

and were treated to some choral gospel music by some of the modelquins, who wore pieces that took up to 360 hours to complete

honestly, anyone who does this to their teddy-bear at a young age really has no where else to go but fashion.

it was fitting that his teddy bear was displayed in the next room as it welcomed us to his work on corsets and cone bras - otherwise known as the madonna room

this is his very first corset/cone concoction.

fetching, yes?

i know i was staring at madonna's cone bra corset and was supposed to be drawn to the sketches and assorted memorbilia, but i suddenly went off on a mental tangent about what i did to my teddy bear as a child. mine wore red overalls and rattled when i shook him. i didn't like the overalls. i took Theodore EDward's (or TEDDE's) overalls off as i liked him looking natural. im not sure if that was supposed to mean anything but perhaps it explains my comfort around the nudists in this town. anyway - yes. get a load of madonna's zeitgeisty cone bra corset in the flesh.

sort of.

we were also treated to a vast assortment of collections that ranged from exoskeletal fetish wear to controversial exploitations of animal fur to cultural cross references and a runway show complete with punk rock, houndstooth and camouflage concoctions.

eye candy moment

the final room was a collection of his various contributions to film costuming and designing tour outfits for kylie minogue. i was personally drawn to the 'fifth element' memorabilia as it made me think of my sisters.

it was a lovely way to prolong sunday brunch.

on our way back, san francisco standard number two came in full force - a collection of people attempting to break a random world record that no one knew existed.

those roller disco fanatics from earlier got themselves together and organized the longest chain of roller skaters, complete with guiness record officials to monitor their progress. we caught the second attempt which (spoiler alert) was their successful venture.

i guessed correctly that some of the onlookers were filming this epic moment of weirdness and found it on youtube

we made it back into the haight for brunch, but not before someone else had approached me with another sexual/financial proposal. this time, the person was clearly on heavy levels of chemicals not meant for bodily consumption (at least not during sacred brunch hours). he leaned in towards me with a lusty proposition, "HEY BOY! YOU WANT SOME PIIIIIEEEEE?"

spencer and i were en route to someplace with food, so i graciously declined. had i not been mere minutes away from sitting down to a plate of tofu scrambled "eggs" and fruit i may have considered his offer, however he was also filthy, smelly, possibly suffering from pink eye and was clearly sharing whatever "pie" he was referring to with his equally gross lady-friend who was holding his shopping cart for him nearby.

"i recognized those two!" spencer said as we mulled the menu over at All You Knead. "i saw the two of them meet on the F line. i think he was yelling at the woman about how he wanted to 'fuck her crazy-like' or something."

i was tempted to question why spencer was so well acquainted with the neighborhood homeless but a better topic came into play - brunch. i had the tofu scrambled 'eggs' and he had french toast. spencer did the right thing and agreed to split our meals for ultimate taste bud satisfaction. sometimes you have brunch with people that don't split orders and it just seems ridiculous - you're combing breakfast and lunch together - why wouldn't you want more diverse flavors at one time!? as we dined we recounted the awful come-ons i've received over the last few hours, including the one from the night before, where a stranger thought he was alluring and sensual enough to win me over by removing my shoe and licking my foot in a bar without asking permission. "what a large big toe you have!" he declared as i recoiled and gave him the biggest sad clown face i could muster to show my disapproval. i really know how to reel in the crazies, apparently. as we finished up, spencer noted that he wanted to find some second hand gems from the haight's many locations so i offered to help for the afternoon. after several stores and carefully considered purchases we eventually parted ways as a collection of gypsies, travellers, trustafarians and burnouts serenaded the neighborhood with their surprisingly solid sidewalk symphony

i only had a minute to pet and feed pancho, the cat i was watching over (which is another san francisco standard everyone will go through multiple times - watching over a friend/lover/acquaintence/coworker's animal for a weekend) before i got the invite to sunday dinner, this week hosted by nathan. my friend cody planted a seed in our big family to try and have sunday dinners be a regular thing and it's been honored ever since by varying numbers of our group in different locations. i picked up a twelve pack of pbr and headed to hayes valley, where i was joined by my chums nakhter and mike. while the seitan salad and macaroni and cashew cheese (or mac & shews) was awaiting preparation, we partook in another san francisco standard - sharing beer and stories on top of somebody's roof. i love standing on roofs here. the view is always nice and the conversations seem slightly more cinematic. upon our return to the apartment (because i get too cold from the wind and give up on the cinematic conversations) our banter turned to discussions of employment, unemployment, technology and music. i played the radiohead concert from the night before on nathan's internet-tv-combo setup as we enjoyed preparing and inhaling servings of our vegan feast.


after dinner i helped nathan and mike categorize their ipads' many apps (which was funny as i don't have one myself) and watched live feeds of bon iver and beirut at coachella. "WHY WOULD WE BOTHER TO GO TO IF WE CAN WATCH THEM ALL ON THE INTERNET THIS IS AWESOME!" shouted nakhter as we went from stage to stage with the flip of a button. it was 'awesome'. why bother dealing with a bunch of sloppy people ruining good music and missing out on what was happening at each stage when you can watch it from home without shilling out hundreds of dollars? personally, i prefer more intimate settings for acts that i have a deep connection with as opposed to large, rowdy and chaotic music festivals. as mike and i departed to our respective homes, nathan gifted us with party favors - a new twist on our ever evolving sunday dinners. the gifts, however, were from his crazy, twisted, uncomfortable looking porn. iiiii will be regifting. most of them. probably. somebody will want them. somewhere. i think. it's the thought that counts.

i made it back to my apartment in the castro with just enough time to grab a few things before returning to eric's for more pancho watching when some other friends texted me to meet them at a bar around the corner. when you live in the castro and your friends are nearby it is very difficult to refuse as the distance is so very small. i was already tired from all of my previous activities so i wasn't in much of a drinking mood, but these men sure were. i walked them from bar to bar and eventually helped them guzzle down water when out of the corner of my eye i caught a glimpse at my friend rahul who was bartending in badlands. he had asked me if the woman to my right was with my party and i said no, but i could find out more about her. she was incredibly stunning and obviously a performer as several people came up to her and asked if she was in the drag show from earlier at another bar. "yes, that was me," she replied. i questioned her about the show and we complimented each other's looks as others came up and interrupted us. at one point, felicia and i weren't sure who a particular patron was hitting on, so we started having some fun of our own.

"are you talking to us for any particular reason?" i asked, humoring felicia as she playfully sipped her cocktail.

"i'm not sure whether or not im going to go home with some chick. she's like, chubby, so i know it will be good. you know what i mean? like, pretty girls are awful in bed but fat girls are really good because they owe it to you...."

"... let me stop you right there," i interrupted, "you are being incredibly offensive to a woman and to a man with three sisters."

"i can't believe you're saying that to us," felicia said with a raised brow.

"well...i just... i figured you wouldn't care because you're not a real woman and you're probably gay."

we turned our bar stools over and ignored the rest of what he said. the conversation turned to music, performing, how some white men do have rhythm (myself included), our similar appreciation for gentleman from the ATL and so on before another drunk patron approached felicia.

"show me your tits," he demanded with the uncomfortable grimace of an obese schoolyard bully.

"" said felicia

"come on, they aren't real - you're a tranny. show me your tits."

"hey man, take a hike, she said no, what is wrong with you?" i said, suddenly finding myself clenching my fists.

"whatever. you're a freak tranny!" he shouted as he slumped out of the bar.

"felicia, i gotta ask how often you have to deal with this."

"oh, pretty much every night i'm out."

"how do you handle it?"

"just gotta keep my composure and keep on keeping on," she mused.

"felicia you may be the strongest person i've met in this city and i've only known you for twenty minutes. let's do this again sometime."

i said my farewells, helped my friend to his car and walked alone to the bus stop. i still had a bit of adrenaline in me after catching how much disrespect a transgendered person can get from within a bar in the castro of all places. "so much for community," i thought to myself as i sat alone and awaited the 24 line when all of a sudden, a gentle looking senior citizen came up and sat next to me.

"waitin' for the bus are ye?" the man asked with a thick irish brogue.

"yessir. are you from ireland?" i asked as an attempt to pass the time.

"yep. visitin' the city for a bit. love it here."

we chatted for a while about my time in ireland and his time in san francisco and i started thinking of him as a great-uncle or distant cousin when the bus pulled up. before getting on he tugged at my jacket and had this to say:

"i'm lookin' fer a place to party. have some crystal. relax, you know. where are ye off to?"

.....which brings me to the final san francisco standard - the "'are you kidding me?!' level mistaking someone completely and feeling incredibly out of place" moment. out of all of the characters and situations i found myself in today - he seemed to be the least confrontational, the least interesting, the least abrasive and he totally threw me for a loop. when you share a conversation with an elderly irishman at a bus stop do you immediately think he will propose to smoke crystal meth with you?

i took the proper action and said, "thanks, but i'm off to a friend's house to help him fix his terrarium, it's like an aquarium but without the water. he wants to raise bacteria in it for a biology project." this was of course a complete lie. i like to use boring tasks like terrarium repair around strangers when they ask what i'm up to to make myself sound less interesting. i also included a friend in the lie as i didn't want him to think i was going to be alone in an apartment with a cat. feel free to store the terrarium story in your personal bank of lies to use around old irish drug addicts as he bought the story hook, line and tweeker.

he sat next to me on an empty bus and said nothing. i said nothing. i didn't have anything else to say. i don't even think i breathed very much. i am pretty sure that my eyes were bulging out of their sockets but other than that i tried to show that i wasn't as uncomfortable as i felt. when the bus driver pulled up to my stop, he stood up and asked if i was sure i didn't want to join him, so i replied by leaping out of the exit doors and making a mad dash until i reached eric's apartment, where i took a quick shower to rinse myself from the last few minutes and go to sleep.

how was your sunday?

love and loyalty.

Friday, April 13, 2012

a thunderstorm

last night i was taken back to the east coast and treated to a thunderstorm that san francisco hasn't seen in at least four years.

cat-sitting during a thunderstorm, however, put a new twist on enjoying the storm.

now to deal with the allergy attack that comes after every spring storm in this city.

love and lightning