Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From Udon to Gargoyle: San Francisco Shots On A Beautiful August Afternoon

Some pictures from an extended San Francisco walk.  (These will all look better if you click on them.)

Making udon noodles.

Laying pipe.


Someone lost their brochure.

We were aiming for the water, and I suppose I have to have at least one shot of the bridge.  So here it is.  I'm reading David Gilbert's & Sons at the moment, and one of the characters who loves the Brooklyn Bridge, in a long riff about great bridges around the world, says, 
"By the way I think the Golden Gate is totally overrated.  It's a good bridge, an iconic bridge, and the color in that coastal light is genius, but it's not a great bridge.  A great span, I'll give you that, but not a great bridge."

The brochure might be amongst the leaves on the sidewalk, but the island and the prison remains are still out there.

The face is at the Legion of Honor
A loan from the Galleria nazionale di Parma in Parma, Italy, provides a rare opportunity for viewing Parmigianino’s masterpiece Schiava turca (ca. 1531–1534). Heralded as an originator of Mannerism, Parmigianino developed an expressive style with elongated forms that was also indebted to the work of Raphael and Michelangelo. The title, which translates to “Turkish slave,” derives from the subject’s elegant balzo, a fashionable headdress worn by elite Northern Italian women, which was later mistaken for a turban. The Legion of Honor displays this painting following its exhibition at The Frick Collection, New York.
The Frick reference also connects to the book & Sons.  The protagonist's home is across the street from the Frick and a number of events take place there.

I'm sure when she posed for this portrait, she never thought her face would be flying all over San Francisco 500 years later.  Actually, Columbus had only recently made it across the Atlantic and there was no city where San Francisco is today.

I couldn't help wonder about, first,  a time when a building in the US with an Islamic style was cool, and second, the story of this recycled theater. Luckily, everything is on the internet. 

From NoeHill in San Francisco:
"The Alhambra Theater, built of reinforced concrete with unprotected steel trusses, was designed by Miller & Pflueger in the Moorish Revival style which became popular after the 1915 Panama-California Exposillon in San Diego and quickly replaced the Mission style.
Timothy Pflueger derived the flamboyant ornamentatio from Mexican sources which, in turn, had been derived from Spanish sources. The Castro Theater and Mission High School are two other examples of this style.
In the 1920s, movie palaces created fantasy environments to match the movies on screen. The Alhambra's Moorish castle decor was part of a trend to build theaters that conjured romantic, far away places: Mayan temples. Oriental palaces, ancient Egyptian tombs.
From Cinema Treasures:
Having met with a slightly more fortunate end than the more than 30 other single-screen theaters lost in San Francisco since 1980, the Alhambra Theatre found a new life as a Gorilla Sports gym, and from 2006 it had become a Crunch Fitness gym..
Amazingly, the interior and facade have both been preserved almost entirely, with a much-needed facelift. Fresh coats of paint and leafing in the house have this place looking better than it has in decades.

The Golden Gate's website tells us a little about their beliefs:
"Spiritualism is the Science, Philosophy, and Religion of continuous life, based upon the demonstrated fact of communication, by means of mediumship, with those who live in the Spirit world.
        A Spiritualist is one who believes, as the basis of her or his religion, in the communication between this and the Spirit world by means of mediumship and who endeavors to mould his or her character and conduct in accordance with the highest teachings derived from such communication. "
 The site also has some history of the building and the church.  The building was built for the widow of a California Supreme Court judge in 1895 and bought by the church in 1951.

I couldn't pass up the incredible facade at the top of this building.  I don't know anything about it, but it's pretty amazing.  So many things like that in San Francisco.  And gargoyles too.

I added the & Sons references because I'm always amazed at how everything is connected, even if we don't always see or understand the connections.  I'm still undecided about the book which is billed as a look at father and son relationships, which seemed appropriate as my son has recently had a son.  There are lots of little things I like about the book, but it took me 150 pages before I decided I would finish it - and I almost never abandon a book. 


  1. Enjoy photos of your walk around San Francisco. Do you recall where you took the gargoyle photo? I live in S.F. and have never seen it ...


  2. Thanks, Anon. The Golden Gate Church is on Franklin and Clay. The next building is across the street. We were walking south (toward Geary), so it must have been somewhere in that area. Good luck.,-122.4243933,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!!2e7!3e27!!7i1024!8i683!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xa7082a66d1b73e2b!6m1!1e1

    1. Many thanks Steve; I shall take a look. Have a wonderful week!


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