Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jun 13 2016

SF 3

Thursday, June 9th
The maid hadn’t set foot in my room the day before, so I was working with previous-day towels and bedsheets, but I managed. I’d actually met the maid, who is from Guangdong, the day before, but apparently she only sweeps by once a day, and if you miss her, too bad.

Being without wifi, I was cut off from everyone’s plans. After my donut breakfast, I walked down to the nearest Starbucks, a small, gritty edition on Market, where I sat eating a salad and croissant while checking my messages. Next to me, a woman chatted on her phone about some meeting, and after she stopped, I heard her say, “I guess you must hate all the noise I’ve been making.”

I assumed she was still on the phone, and ignored her, but when I looked up, I saw she was looking at me. I started and stammered, “Uh…what? No! Why would I? This is a Starbucks!” I left the FFS unspoken. Was she coming on to me? Why else would she say something like that? This is a strange city, I concluded as I walked up to Union Square, where I’d lay out on the lawn in the sun a quarter century ago while visiting. They’ve redone it so that there’s no lawn to lay on; instead it’s now all concrete and awful street paintings. I then walked over to the Apple Store, which impressive; the Top Security People standing ominously by the door and the green-shirted Geniuses bustling around. Classes were being held on iTune on the second-floor mezzanine.
I walked up the street past more crazy homeless people to the restaurant were Joe works. On the way I spotted a large older fellow with an iPhone on a tripod, which he moved lazily around a street corner taking shots. He wasn’t looking at anyone. I approached him, questions on my mind, but he radiated fear. I retreated.

Up the street, I found Joe bustling around, chatting up customers and getting drinks, a little tattooed ball of energy with an on-point coif. I don’t know how he does it. I sat and chatted with Chris, a fellow from the UK who is a DJ and record collected, about the sad state of the music industry, and how iTunes sucks. Joe gave me a white-chocolate/caramel cookie that should be illegal to go with my ice coffee.

It was SFMOMA day in the StreetFoto schedule, so I bade Joe and Chris farewell and walked back through a new set of crazy homeless people back to Market and Third, and on to the museum. Inside I found Richard and Jared and some other folks I knew. They’d been there a while, so I took off on my own to see the photographs, some of which were worth looking at. An original Stephen Shore, recently printed, made me realize what he meant when he said the “vintage” feel people attach to him is really inappropriate, only a product of old prints aging naturally. The real scenes from the 70s look far more like what I remember being true in the day, though I was just a kid then. I also saw some Winogrand, and there was an Arbus show upstairs. I took a shot of a woman whose hair matched one of the paintings almost exactly. One of the museum guard told me in a confidential fashion that the “black hole” on the 5th floor would “blow my mind.” It didn’t. In fact, much of the exhibit seemed overly precious, and some of the descriptions had small errors such as misquotes of Henri Cartier-Bresson. But the architecture of the place was impressive, drawing me up staircase after tilted staircase. I wondered if they chose the guards based on their interesting appearance. They are part of the design, aren’t they? Either way, it works.

I got so caught up in the whole thing, standing on the upper balcony looking out of the city, which was magnificently lit by the afternoon sun, that I was late in setting out for the Joe Goode Annex, which was the site of the evening’s activities. I walked through a park and up Market back to my hotel, which was still without wifi, and then continued on. And on. And on, eventually arriving at the venue just as the photo talks were kicking off with a talk by the laconic Ben Molina. I loved it because Ben gave concise answers to many bullshit questions, and I knew exactly what he meant.

Most of the talks were interesting, particularly the one by Koci Hernandez about his photographic search for a man in a hat representing his absent father. Joe was particularly active in asking questions, but I wondered if perhaps they should have let the speaker decide the pace of the slides. I’m talking there on the 10th, along with Don, Joe and the rest of the BME people in attendance. I guess we’ll see.

After the show winded down, Blake Andrews and Tyler Simpson joined Joe and me and a few others to a nearby taqueria, which was delicious. Then we went to a bar where they played magnificent 70s music, and chatted while Joe printed out shots from his Instax. We caught an Uber with a driver named Lorenzo back to our neighborhood (Blake is staying at the Goode Hotel, just around the corner) around 2 a.m. I walked the rest of the way back to my still wifi-less hotel, took a shower and slept. Another good day.

posted by Poagao at 12:36 am  

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