Wednesday, March 12, 2008

If You're Going To San Francisco, You're Sure To See Some Groovy Places There

Last week and this week I've been visiting friends and family and favorite haunts back in the
San Francisco bay area, where I used to live.

Great spring weather, great food and great fun.

San Francisco is an amazing city well worth visiting, but wherever you live (or used to live) I recommend you play tourist in your own community some time.

The other day I ran around in the city with an old friend of mine.

Eventually we wound up catching the Mary Blair exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum down near MOMA, and grabbing a superb sushi dinner in the Castro, but the early part of our day was spent walking around the 'hipster-fied' portion of Valencia Street in the Mission.

Starting with the obligatory perfect brunch at Boogaloos, we then took a few minutes to commune with Aquarius Records and Dog Eared Books.

Next we headed down the street to take a peek at (the appropriately-named) 826 Valencia, home of Dave Egger's inspired student writing center project and the Pirate Supply Store that helps support it.

On the way we ducked into the transcendent Botanica Yoruba. While my friend picked up some incense and remedies and learned of their proper spiritual use from Ms. Yolanda, I snapped a few photos.

In regard to my attempts to convey the vibe, let's try and pretend that the slightly blurry, underlit and out-of-focus qualities of these snapshots add to their charm and mystique...

I'm certain that the display windows in front of the X21 / Sultana '20th Century Rarities' Showroom on Valencia had elicited double-takes from me in the past, but I'm proud to say that my curiosity finally sucked me in to investigate what's happening there.

Jeez, what ISN'T happening there?

From their business card; "Vintage office, art deco, paintings & sculpture, industrial design, glass, ceramics, accessories, prop rentals, lighting, stuff you just never see..."

Even if the dream-state feeling of strolling around the explosion of odd treasures in X21 threatens to break whenever you check out the price tag, it still makes for an entertaining and educational interlude when you're in the neighborhood.


thombeau said...


brandy101 said...

There was a Botanica I used to visit in what *was* a seedy but semi-arty neighborhood in Chicago. Now there's an Anthropologie store across the street from where it used to be.

I LOVE that portrait of someone's balding uncle or dad or whoever he is (was?)

thombeau said...

Oh, Brandy, I knew that Botanica---I used to stock up on religious icons there...Sad to hear that it's gone.

I say we all go to San Fran!

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