When it comes to a boat, what’s in a name?

Harbor1

The boats in the San Francisco Yacht Harbor have wonderfully whimsical names: Irish Whisper. Calico Dragon. Sea Hawk. Kookaburra. Nai'a. Daisy. Escapade. Effie Jane. Portola.

Then there's the one named, simply, "Sailboat."

Talk about putting things in perspective.

— Josie

 

 

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Today is a play day (sort of). Which means a trek through Golden Gate Park.

Goldengatepark

In many ways, San Francisco is a wonderland. One locale in the city that is always on parade is Golden Gate Park, which runs three miles east to west, and half a mile north to south. Its 1,017 acres make it 20 percent larger than New York's Central Park. 

Our park ends at the Ocean, so I'd say that's another wonderful advantage. It's far side ends in the Haight, which is why it was once a hippy haven ("Once"? Frankly, it still is. Everything changes, and stays the same).

GGParkNorthWindmill2We'll park at one end, and meander through it, down to the other. In the meantime, we'll pass the archery field, the Frisbee Golf grove, merry-go-rounds, drumming circles,  roller blade dancers, both The DeYoung Fine Arts Museum and the California Academy of Sciences, the first home of the San Francisco 49ers (Kezar Stadium) and several lakes (Stowe, for rowers; Spreckels, for those who are running their minature yachts, or sailing their miniature sail boats), not to mention a herd of buffalos. groves of picnickers, and a windmill or two.

Our own favorite passtime is discovering the wooded nooks and crannies; serene groves where one can lose oneself  in a good book, while lolling on a blanket, or sprawling on one of the many benches that you'll come across.

The park was concieved in the 1870s, and hosted several public expositions, of which some of its historic buildings remain (the flower conservatory,and its renowned Japanese Tea Garden are but two).

Strybing_Arboretum_trailAnd to think the park might have never happened, had San Francisco's silver barons gotten their way: they lobbied hard for a race track!

 

Now, go out and discover something new,

— Josie

 

 

Below, the architecturally renowned California Academy of Sciences


CAAcademyScience

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Joplin memory…

  JanisJoplin+Porsche

The trails around Marin County California's Mount Tam take you on wonderous journeys through vast groves of redwood trees, climbing higher and higher until panoramic views of San Francisco, its bay, and the turbulent Pacific Ocean beyond the Marin Headlands come into view.

One of these trails starts in Larkspur's Baltimore Canyon, on the estate where, in 1970, legendary rocker Janis Joplin lived before dying of a drug overdose at the age of twenty-seven, in some nondescript Los Angeles hotel room.

The wood nymphs cried that day.

Had she been at home instead, maybe they could have saved her.

A couple of years, ago, the subsequent owner of Joplin's creekside home sold off the half-acre portion that included an already-established trail head. Now hikers enjoy the trek up to Blithedale Ridge without tresspassing.

It is appreciated by all. Once again, Janis gives joy to the world.

Mike Lessin was just ten when he moved into the house after Joplin passed away. He remembers the walls at deep purple, and "trippy."

But of course.

He'd lived elsewhere on the street before his dad purchased the home, so he also remembers the parties that were held there, attended by  and Joplin's infamous psychdelically painted Porche.

Lessin remembers hearing about sightings of Doors' lead singer Jim Morrison, and rocker Kris Kristofferson, who wrote Joplin's posthumus hit "Me and Bobby McGee".

Kristofferson  has a home on the Hawaiian island of Maui, near Hana.

Some of Joplin's decor still exists in the house. Who would have the nerve to lose the redwood burl bar, or its custom woodwork? If you've visited Horizons Restaurant (formerly the Trident, back in that era) on the Sausalito waterfront, you'll recognize the style, since it was the same carpenter worked on both.

The later owners also held onto Joplin's pool table, and kept the sunken bath and shower, below a skylight that allows one to look up at the redwood trees doing a lazy wave overhead.

Good to see that her legacy lives on in yet another way.

*Photo: Janis and her psychedelic Porsche,
at one of my fave hangs: San Franciso's Palace of Fine Arts.

 

— Josie

   

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Mad Men at the DeYoung Museum, San Francisco

AutoRow

Yesterday Martin Brown and I caught the tail end of the Arthur Tress photography exhibit at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum. It is entitled "San Francisco 1964." Loved the Mad Men-esque blast from the past I never knew.(Yes, I was alive then; but no, I wasn't in San Francisco.)

Tress's genius was not capturing the happenings, but the people who turned out for them. For example, this one was a demonstration against the hiring practices of Cadillac dealership on 1000 Van Ness (Van Ness was more an auto row then than it is now).

The guy in the middle, in the sweater, has such a contemporary face! but he'd be mid-sixties now. The guy far left, has some really interesting political buttons on his white sweater shirt,, including a peace sign. The guy in the front, with the hat, is leading the demonstrators in a chant.

That year — 1964 — was also an election year. In fact, the Tress also caught supporters of both Republican candidates Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller at the Cow Palace, where that year's GOP convention was being held. (I'm guessing we won't see another Republican convention here in a very, very long time…)

Tress ringo
The exhibition juxtaposed that against a Beatles publicity stunt in which shouting fans held up signs that say "RINGO FOR PRESIDENT."  Had that campaign caught the zeitgeist, I'm sure the fact that he hadn't been born in the United States (let alone wasn't a US citizen) would have been an issue. Then again, if enough (then baby boomin') 18 year-olds had rallied to overturn that Constitutional mandate, our 37th president might have been sporting a mop top.

Go figure.

— Josie

 

Tress_25

What was she thinking? Where is she now? Whoever she is, she was one classy gal.

 

   

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 "This is a super sex and fun read that you shouldn't miss! How do I love this book, let me count the ways: (1) a kick ass woman who can literally kick ass as well as cook and clean. Donna gives a whole new meaning to "taking out the trash". (2) The book is set around Los Angeles, mostly in a gated community suspiciously like Coto de Caza, full of housewives that could be "real" and for the setting along, a big giant WIN! (3) Super sarcasm, snarky dialogue and making fun of all that is wrong in the OC, politics, as well as current world affairs." — Mary Jacobs, Book Hounds Reviews

 

TGIF!

Washington-Square-Park
Today was one of those cinematically picture perfect San Francisco Spring days. Everyone was in sundresses, shorts and camisoles, and flipflops.

The sky was California blue. (Sorry, Carolina folk! We claim it, too!)

Our walk took us from Pac Heights, through Fort Mason Park and down beside Gashouse Cove and the Maritime Museum, cutting away from the tourists into North Beach, in order to score some fresh-baked bread from an Italian bakery there.

Martin likes a bread they make called a "stubby," because it is wide, and just long enough to poke out beyond the bag they wrap it in.

Frankly," I told him, "I think the name is emasculating."

He answered, "Hell, I don't know a man in the world who wouldn't be proud of this as a…."  

SPEAK TO THE HAND.

The route we take drops us into Washington Square, North Beach's premier park. It is flanked by Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church on its north side, which is famous because newlyweds Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, had their pictures taken on the steps of the church, after a civil ceremony. I'm guessing that the Yankee Clipper's previous marriage and divorce kept them from going down aisle in his hometown parish's church.

Because we the the grandeur and solitude we find there, invariably we stop in and take a few moments to bask in its grace, and to say a prayer or two.

Do prayers work? They do for me. I don't know if it's because the Supreme Being feels my pain and deems it worthy to grant relief, or if it is what the universe had in mind for me all along.

I do know one thing: it's much more than, "Try it, and see what happens."

I'd say it's more like, "Some things we just can't explain…and that's okay."

No doubt about it: where there's a will, there's a way. But when the will isn't enough, I've got all the proof I need that faith picks up the slack.

Yep, thank God! It's Friday!

— Josie

 

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San Francisco has its own version of Jardin des Tuileries…

 

Henri-cartier-bresson1_large
That old adage "be careful what you wish for" never scared me, possibly because when I set my mind to something, it comes true.

Recently I posted this wonderful Henri Cartier-Bresson photo on my Facebook page, with the caption "This is how Paris looked today. (Well, a girl can dream, can't she?)"

One of the comments it garnered came from Lila Tadjer, who lives in Paris. She tells me that yes, today it is raining there–

And mentioned how much she loves my city of San Francisco as well.

Here's hoping she visits again, soon.

If she does, I hope she will take time to walk through our Golden Gate Park, which is home to both the DeYoung Museum of Fine Art and the California Academy of Sciences.

Between them, in the Music Concourse, is nestled our very modest version of Paris' Jardin des Tuileries

Granted, it is modest compared to Paris's large, stately garden and its fountains, which is a respite both for Parisians and its visitors. In a city filled with architectural eye candy, it is one of Paris's most pleasing sights: lounging chairs for those who want to soak up the sun, and large silver balls bobbing in the wake emanating from the fountain's gurgle. Every now and then you'll catch a phrase or two in a foreign accent. It is, truly, a crossroad of the world….

Turi-tulherias-parf

 

But on a clear, warm day in December, when it is cold and drizzling in Paris, I'll take Golden Gate Park.

The best of both worlds,

— Josie

(Below: The Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco)

GGP-MusicConcourse (2)

 

Saturday Share: This captures beautifully why I love San Francisco Bay

After being away for a few weeks, it's great to be reminded of why I call the San Francisco Bay Area home. This video, by Simon Christen, does just that.

Thanks, Simon!

 

Yes, you can go home again,

–Josie


(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it TODAY!

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Art from the Heart: Kelly Reemtsen’s Breaking and Entering

Breaking and EnteringI consider artist Kelly Reemtsen the queen of illustrative juxtaposition. My God, just look at the sexy back on this woman, the crisp contours of her sun dress, her humongous diamond ring, that tinkling charm bracelet—

And of course, the size of her wire cutters.

She plans on doing some serious damage.

I imagine that's because she's suffered some slight herself. What was it? Did her teenager refuse to get out of his room. Is it time to see what the hubby has
locked up in the tool shed?  Did a neighbor forget to return her silver
tea set?

Whatever the issue, it's payback time.

Even if that means getting her nice white dress smudged.

One way or another, we women always end up doing the dirty work.

In my book, Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, one plot thread has to do with break-ins that are occurring all over the supposedly secure gated community where
my heroine lives. But let's face it: no place is totally safe and
secure.

Even our hearts can be stolen.

Ms. Reemtsen has a whole series of these desperate housewives. They are total eye candy: bonbons of angst in retro couture. Just my kind of art, because it's
straight from the heart.

In fact, she's exhibiting this week (March 3 – 7, 2010), in New York, at the Armory: Piers 92 and 94, at 12th Avenue and 55th Street, Clinton, to be exact; . Check out the
information here, or below…

Wish I were there,

—Josie

http:twitter.com/JosieBrownCA

 

Art from the Heart: Kelly Reemtsen’s AFFLICTED

AfflictedI saw this wonderful oil-on-board painting on the cover of Marin magazine
(a guilty li'l pleasure of mine. I'm such a townie, ain't I?) and I just had to share. It's called “Afflicted,” and the artist is Kelly Reemtsen, who shows her work here in San Francisco's
Caldwell Snyder Gallery. (They have a second gallery in the wonderful wine country village of St. Helena.)This is just one painting in a series that, to me, epitomizes the calm desperation of women in the aspiring class: despite an outward sheen of elegance, inside they've come unraveled.

So cool that the viewer can never look the subject in the eye. Without faces, without eye contact, we can only read body language — and the items these women wield in order to vanquish the niggling little problems that are ruining their perfect lives.

But that's just my interpretation. I'd love to hear yours, too.

In fact, I've just made a momentous decision! Every Saturday I'll turn this blog turns into an Internet art gallery by uplinking similar works, by Ms. Reemtsen and other artists, whose works I feel tell a story similar to what I'll be telling you in my next novel, SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES.

A picture is worth 94,000 words,

—Josie

 Josie' s Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

Pre-Order at any of the bookstore links in my sidebar…