Monday, August 13, 2012

Shlep Rock

Yuck, today is pure torpor.  It's my day off and I'm usually pretty productive but all I did this morning was play Words with Random Strangers, listen to NPR and generally do nothing.  I've got lots of beginnings and endings happening at once in my life right now and in response, my internal Ferdinand has gone haywire and kicked in with a vengeance.

I had to stop reading The Book of Lost Things.  It was going like gangbusters and I was almost finished but then suddenly it became difficult for me to keep going, like the author himself was getting tired of the story...many books these days seem like they are around 300 pages because they're supposed to be that length.   I will try to skim to the the risk of sounding treacly, maybe I will again find my misplaced interest somewhere close to page 300 of this aptly titled tome?

I started reading another promising book about how creative types will rule the world.  It's an interesting premise but the author assumes too much about the future.  He seems to be coming from a pov of privilege...I don't know if I can read this one either because the writer is so patronizing.  I think he's trying to be funny but it just comes off sounding smarmy: A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink

A read a newly published book he really liked called The Vanishers (by Heidi Julavits), so I started that one last night.  It seems a little dark, a little scary, but I'll give it a shot.

Back to fairy tales and screenplays.  I like the idea of some creepiness and scariness and darkness but ultimately coming back out into light.  I guess that would be tension.  Do you like the idea of a youngish woman going to SF in the 80s, getting into some of the scenes that were abundant then, meeting a potential love interest, finding out strange stuff and getting tangentially involved but then saving herself to find herself?  I have some interesting material that we could riff off and I know you do, too...:)...For instance, did I ever tell you about the time I waited tables at Villa Romana in the Richmond?  I had a very strange, psychic experience there with a pair at one of my tables and it involved...are you sitting down?  A candy store, or a chocolate store to be more specific.

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
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
3.  Someone putting the YES in polYESter as seen on the billboard above Stanyan and Frederick Streets
4.  Pesto pizza at Crazy Dick's down the street from the sign and across from the park 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
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.
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.
7. Getting totally drunk and literally dancing on a table at Rockin Robins (I'm not proud of that one)
8. feeling "safe" at (the) Stud
9. Rock n Bowl
10.  Tasajara bread with dill
11. Roommate Referral in the Haight and those unwieldy three ring binders
12.  late breakfast at Mission Rock
13. Hamburger Mary's bathroom and french fries
14.  Five Spice Chicken on Polk
15.  Seeing movies at the Lumiere. Maybe Diva?  The Man Who Fell to Earth? Or was that at the Strand?
16. Aardvaark's on Haight and Ashbury
17. Those old stores on Grant that sold old, traditional Chinese art supplies, like paints and stamping stuff and bambook brushes
18. Musee Mechanique, of course, but at the Cliff House
19. finding China Beach, like it was a new discovery every time I got there
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".
21. New Ping Yuen's fried bread and shrimp soup, so cheap, so yums
22. Thrift Town (?) at 18th and Mission where I no longer regret not buying a perfect set of nested Fiestaware bowls for $5
23.  Picking blackberries and eating them unwashed on Poppy Lane

That's it for you have a list?  Maybe we can start brainstorming scenes from our lists?

Saturday, we went down to the East Bay to get out of the heat and went to Vegi Foods on Vine Street in Berkeley for an early dinner before heading home.  I don't know if you've ever eaten there, but that place has been a source of comfort for me for many, many years.   I always returned whenever I had a craving for the black bean chowmein or the "sheets" or the potstickers.   Saturday we found out they are going out of business because the new landlord has raised the rent.  This is one of the endings I mentioned above.  This restaurant is a Berkeley landmark.  Some people I know don't like it, they say the food is too bland...but to them I say, order the potstickers!  Or the walnuts!  But I won't be able to say that anymore because Vegi Foods is gone by the end of this month.  If you get a chance, pay them a visit.  Maybe you can convince them to restart their business in your area?!


Miss Lisa said...

Ha ha ha. Some of your list is definitely some of my list too. I'll do a thorough study of your memories tomorrow when Jackson's in school, but I just want to say that the working title of this script has got to be "Pure Torpor." At least for now.

Miss Lisa said...

I just read your last paragraph about Vegi House. I'm sorry it's going out of business, especially because you've enjoyed it for so many years. We've never been but it sounds like Keith would go nuts in there. I'll try and get over there this week if possible.

We HAVE to have a scene about that house in the upper Haight--remember the old lady who sewed clothes onto her furniture? And the bedrooms had padlocks on them and there was a huge bedroom and you couldn't see the floor because it was covered with stuff and then a girl's head reared up from the floor and she was next to a baggie of white powder and she was looking at us all squinty-eyed and confused. I've always wanted to use that experience in a film. It was so vivid and probably one of the weirdest experiences of my entire life.

Remember that photo storefront downtown you took me to? The door was open and we went in and it was really old and it was a squatter's den upstairs? It was so weird and spooky. That San Francisco is so gone now.

More tomorrow.

Dee See said...

I totally remember that place! That girl's name was Margie...and the room was called "the crash pad"...I remember the chair being covered with the dress. She saw us looking at it and said that she loved the dress so much she could t bear to get rid of it so she just sewed it right onto the chair because it needed to be reupholstered anyway. The arms of the dress were sewn onto the arms of the looked like a headless, limbless person was sitting there, on the dark landing, right next to that Carmen Miranda sparkly silhouette, both greeting potential renters as they unsuspectingly trudged up the stairs to meet their new roommates.

Dee See said...

Yes, that scene is something that still haunts was so perfect. Let's try to work it in.

Corrections to the above: Margie was the one whose hand was seen waving from the chaos of the crash pad. I don't remember that woman's name who gave us the tour.

Dee See said...

Both of these memories are so dream-like. The store youremember was an optometrist's abandoned business. I found his widow and talked to her about what had happened there. I wanted so much to live there, work there but didn't know how. That space was so ethereal. That back room was like a vision, but that might have been influenced by our state of mind at the time :)