I love your list. I'll comment on some of these in Verdana font. I bet we could come up with an outline of adventures with this list (plus others) as a sort of guide.
23 things I remember from SF in the 80s:
1. The smell of North Beach in the early mornings, a mixture of strong coffee with steamed milk, freshly baked rolls and fog. - Remember Tower Records in North Beach? They had an annex of classical music and they hired guys who knew all about classical music to work there and help people make their purchases. I miss that so much.
2. the wall of green that is Golden Gate Park across the street from
our place and that little fruit stand with Cliff, who looked so much
like Treat Williams selling produce and who knows what else. - Oh, that guy was so cute. I used to hope he was out there, selling fruit every day. I bought a lot of plumbs that year. So unreachable though. The not-interested-in-you-but-nice-enough-seeming guy.
3. Someone putting the YES in polYESter as seen on the billboard above Stanyan and Frederick Streets. - don't remember, but lots of street art/poster/flier art, everywhere.
4. Pesto pizza at Crazy Dick's down the street from the sign and across from the park on Stanyan. - Oh yeah. Also, the cockroach neighbor on Stanyan.
5. the stained couches and round tables at Cafe La Boheme and the books
at Picarro with their big glass window store fronts all lit up on a
cold, dark night in the Mission - Just an aside: Boheme couches and tables are all still there, but they are much more stained and dirty. The whole place is dingy and uninviting--scary almost. Picarro has turned into a tapas restaurant and they took out all the bookshelves full of books.
6. Being all nervous when walking in to a warehouse party and then once
inside forgetting who I even was because the music was so loud the
wooden floors were moving up and down with the vibrations of it and
there were people everywhere, in dresses, in wigs, in drag, in costume,
undressed and everyone dancing and being part of the crazy energy of a
night of secret bacchanalia. - Warehouse parties divided up into "rooms" with movies, DJ, band, performance art, regular art, in each space. Seeing some guy at the party you like from afar and asking him to dance and he does and it's very exciting!
6. Seeing U2 at that venue by the library (is it still even operational?) and REM at the Stone and someone at the Fab Mab. - That was the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and they do still have shows there on occasion. Bono climbed on the big speaker. REM at the Stone--yes--remember Mike Mills kept winking at us from the stage and we kept turning around, thinking he was winking at someone behind us? Apparently he was quite the ladies' man. Fab Mab could have been anyone, but I'd pick the Black Athletes--they were either a punk band or a reggae/ska band, or they just wouldn't show up for the gig. You never knew which version you'd get. They were fantastic live. Saw them at The Deaf Club--a basement space with no stage, only a linoleum floor--dank, dark, probably a total fire trap. Very exciting atmosphere if the band was good. Also Club Foot--little warehouse way out off of 3rd Street with mannequin feet hanging from the ceiling. Saw Beat Happening there.
7. Getting totally drunk and literally dancing on a table at Rockin Robins (I'm not proud of that one) - Ha ha. I once danced on a table in the balcony at the Fillmore while watching The Replacements below. I was had "backstage access" because the Catheads had opened and we were "with the band." I was so excited to see The Replacements and just assumed people danced on tables all the time. The bouncer was completely stunned and angry with me. "YOU GET DOWN FROM THERE RIGHT NOW!" he shouted with this incredulous look on his face. Like a dad. I was like, sheesh. It's rock & roll, man. Apparently my friend had a fling in the closet with Bob Stinson in the dressing room. He came out dressed in a diaper for the performance and was all sweaty. Exciting times.
8. feeling "safe" at (the) Stud - A lady once pinched my butt there and smirked a bit when I turned to look at her. I was kind of flattered but I didn't know what to do. But yes--very safe and fun. So tiny. Remember the "trough" in the bathroom--yikes. I liked how the bar took up the whole room and the dance floor was kind of an after-thought, but was always packed. It was like almost dancing on top of the bar--it was so ever-present.
9. Rock n Bowl - I never went. I had a bowling phobia due to a fourth-grade bowling birthday party I attended where I was awarded the "booby" prize for bowling so badly. The birthday girl's Mom awarded me with this plastic flute-whistle thing for the lowest score. She did it with a big smile on her face. What a bitch. I was humiliated and didn't bowl for decades. Now I bowl with Jackson and I'm not bad at all. Screw you, lady from my childhood past!
10. Tasajara bread with dill - That place smelled so good. The upper Haight had some hippie restaurants for a while where you could get bowls of bean stew and brown-colored pancakes, day or night. All gone now.
11. Roommate Referral in the Haight and those unwieldy three ring binders - Reading some of those pages was really scary and entertaining. How should our protagonists meet? I'm assuming we'll have two...? We could have just one, but then who would she talk to about all these weird adventures? Movies hardly ever feature female buddies. This is kind of a "Ghost World" idea.
12. late breakfast at Mission Rock - Right on the water.
13. Hamburger Mary's bathroom and french fries - The pictures on the wall were all purposefully askew. Open late-night. Remember the place open 'til 3 am? Name is slipping my mind but it was in a train car kind of in the middle of the city? Burgers and fries. Friendly atmosphere--lots of transvestites. I'll try and remember. I loved that place.
14. Five Spice Chicken on Polk - Didn't partake, but I used to buy all my oxford/bowing-type shoes for work (bussing tables) on Polk Street. Lots of cheap men's clothing stores there.
15. Seeing movies at the Lumiere. Maybe Diva? The Man Who Fell to Earth? Or was that at the Strand? That was The Strand. Weird movie. Even weirder coming out on Market Street there. Market Street Cinema was a porn theater that briefly became an club. I saw Sun Ra's Arkestra there. My friend May volunteered with a bunch of people to clean the place up to open the club and she said the seats were saturated in ways she couldn't go into detail about. It's a porn theater again. There was an incredibly cavernous Asian restaurant by there--it went on forever, like one of those "rooms within rooms" dreams. Open late night with weird flickering lighting and booths. I went there on a date and it was a really weird atmosphere. I think everyone was on drugs in there. Gone.
16. Aardvaark's on Haight and Ashbury. Still there! Still overpriced!
17. Those old stores on Grant that sold old, traditional Chinese art
supplies, like paints and stamping stuff and bambook brushes. Also thrift stores on Grant that sold affordable and really good, cool vintage clothing. I still have a vintage bowling shirt from there. (What is with me and bowling? It was like I secretly craved it all those years.). Also the Postcard Palace--entire store full of postcards. All gone.
18. Musee Mechanique, of course, but at the Cliff House. - And Seal Rock Inn. We called it "Denny's By The Sea."
19. finding China Beach, like it was a new discovery every time I got there. - That's a great setting for a film. No one knows about it except for true San Franciscans. Land's End too with the fallen bunker full of graffiti.
20. Do you remember Ingrid? Her dad's house was in North Beach. It was
the first time I'd seen recessed lighting; it was dimmed and the
furniture was dark and there were mysterious objects placed with care in
strategic groupings. The feeling was ominous. Ingrid's room was a
little wedged shaped corner in the front of the Victorian with just a
bed and maybe a dresser. She was so fashionable and she called her
father "Dennis". - I TOTALLY remember this. I still think about it on a regular basis. The colors and clean lines and lighting of that place with the stairwell. Never had experienced someone's parent/child relationship that way. It seemed very sophisticated and scary to me. But a very memorable place. Some young girls are so cool, like they know themselves completely at a young age. I never felt like that then. But I think I do now.
21. New Ping Yuen's fried bread and shrimp soup, so cheap, so yums. - I used to regularly get dim sum on Clement St. And Green Apple Books is still there, I believe. The Richmond is full of interesting Asian and Russian restaurants. Isn't Shem's Deli out there on Geary? Delish!
22. Thrift Town at 18th and Mission where I no longer regret not buying a perfect set of nested Fiestaware bowls for $5 - With the "17 Reasons Why" sign on top of the building. Gone.
23. Picking blackberries and eating them unwashed on Poppy Lane - Didn't know! But did you ever go down Vermont St., which is even crookeder than Lombard? It's a hidden thing.
24. That house in the Haight with the crazy old lady and her dressed up furniture and crash pad. Yes, she was the one who wiggled her fingers at us from the closet and said, "Yoo hoooo! It's meeeee!" while we stared, agape.
25. The optometrist shop--I remember that now--like something out of the Great Gatsby - The Later Years. Wood paneling with built-in cabinets and drawers that probably held glasses frames. If ArtHouse had existed (the nonprofit I later worked for), they might have helped set up that place for live-work. It's probably a condo now. Or God knows what. It was very cool but I remember climbing the stairs in the back and the rooms up there were full of mountains of garbage, and probably sleeping people. So scary. Like tip-toeing into an Ogre's Den. We skedaddled out of there fast.
26. Playing at the Sound of Music with my band and inviting everyone in the audience on stage until there were 27 people up there, banging on any instruments lying around. The nice bartender, Liz, in that scary dive in that terrible neighborhood. She had a British accent and was so warm and friendly. Across the street was Turk Street Studios, where punk bands rehearsed and...did other things. I heard stories...
27. The Vats--former brewery with big beer tanks that punks lived in. I heard stories...
28. The On Broadway and Fab Mab - Punk shows getting shut down by the police on a regular basis. The dressing rooms full of graffiti and coke-addled attendants.
29. A friend from high school turned into a Goth in SF. When I ran into her she was like something out of Middle Earth--really done up. She had many strange and sad drug tales. Like falling through the roof of her house once--I still don't know why she was on the roof. I'm still friends with her and love her dearly. She's doing really well. I like the idea of running into someone from the past who's completely altered themselves somehow. I also ran into another high school friend who was handling the ticket window to a gay dance club. It was an "Oh." Moment. Those are good moments--when people can come to the City to be themselves. Finally.
More later. This will take some EFFORT. Should be fun. Period piece. I'm thinking of classic story narratives because I'm not very strong at making up my own. But as far as dialogue and setting a location--I love doing that.
Sorry Verdana is such a big, in-your-face font.