Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Taken on My Tricycle

I was out this evening on my tricycle (that has a bumper sticker that says "Big Boys Don't Need Big Cars") and decided to give y'all some local color. When I go to boring neighborhoods like the Castro (gay-lite for folks from Topeka that want to keep things bland and safe) I realize just how cool the Mission is.

Here goes as I peddle my way round the 'hood:

This is a part of an amusing exhibit of miniatures in a gallery window, replicating various well known spots in the Mission. This one is particularly amusing since it's two doors down from me and almost exactly where Friday night's shooting took place. Just a little fun with us homies. Bang bang, you're dead.
I really love this funky old van that is almost permanently parked in front of the house where The Pursuit of Happyness was shot. (He he. I said shot twice.)
Though now a DVD store, this spot with paintings of many famed anarchists and revolutionaries was once the site of a leftist bookstore that was a favorite of the most clueless airhead liberals in the neighborhood. Among their activities was holding fund raisers to support the work of the Maoist Shining Path in Peru in the 1980s. Though fighting a corrupt, free-market embracing government, the Shining Path murdered countless peasants who refused to join their ranks and expected those who joined to help fund their work through drug trade. However, one of my favorite icons, Emma Goldman, is pictured on the lower left. I love Emma because although she embraced the Soviet Revolution and anticipated it much of her life, once there she saw it for all it was. After being attacked by the establishment all of her life, she was attacked by the Left in her final years for speaking the truth about the lies of the Soviets nearly three quarters of a century before its fall. She never lost her convictions even in the end but died in exile. Emma is what I consider a model revolutionary -- one that takes on the ruling orthodoxy without creating one herself. Listen up Michael Moore and Sister of Perpetual Annoyance!

Before BART was built, Mission Street was considered the most important shopping district after Union Square. It also had many theaters. Several shells and marquees remain though the screen went dark decades ago.
El Capitan must have been a grand one, though it now serves as a facade that hides a parking lot behind it.
The Grand is a rare example of northern California deco worthy of Miami.
Siegel's is the go to place to outfit your sons in pimp clothing so they'll be ready to get down to business once they reach puberty.
This one says it all.

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At 12:33 AM, Blogger m00nchild said...

I often try to imagine what life was like in the 1930s in the Mission -- people have said to me that it was the it spot in town. I could imagine with the movie palaces and all.

It's interesting that BART may be associated with the neighborhood's decline. Would that just be from all the construction and the impact of reduced business on the local merchants?

At 5:05 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Thanks for keeping it real, yo.

At 6:16 AM, Blogger kimy said...

great post! thanks for the tour around the hood - words and pics absolutely wonderful. dontcha just love urban photo safaris.

as someone who named her daughter after emma goldman I really appreciate this "Emma is what I consider a model revolutionary -- one that takes on the ruling orthodoxy without creating one herself." unfortunately we do have some revisionists in the family and my partner now insists that we named her after emma peel!

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

m00nchild - I think they use BART as an excuse for something that was already underway. However, they had to completely shut down Mission during that time period and it was just a big hole in the ground.

Dave - That's the only way I know.

Kimy - Ms. Peel's a revolutionary in my book too. So your Emma is someone to admire any way you look at it.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger kimy said...

re mrs peel-I do agree especially as interpreted by the brilliant diana rigg. excellent reframing thanks! I will never complain about the revisionist's version again

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Pod said...

those siegel dummies have unsettled me

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Kimy - Yes, Diana has long been an icon for me.

Pod - You think the dummies are spooky? You ought to see their customers!

At 3:10 PM, Blogger mrpeenee said...

We've been delivering for Project Open Hand for years and our route for a while included the hotel in the building that was the El Capitan theater. The hotel is disappointingly tidy and bland, not at all noir. Still, it's a great facade.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Pod said...

is that where you got your tricycle outfit from?

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Mr. PeeNee- When I first moved here, I had high expectations for the Greek Shop in El Capitan. But it too, alas, is a bit bland.

Pod - Well, I am something of a dandy but even I don't want to be mistaken for a pimp.


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