Friday, February 01, 2008

Signs of Change But No Transformation

While out this afternoon, I spent a bit of time in the Castro to see the much ballyhooed transformation of the district from 21st century to mid-1970s. Of course, none of the more defining accoutrements such as cars and characters were there. The vintage signs were mildly amusing and provided reason for me to spend 90 seconds instead of my usual 30 seconds there.

When I came home I reread highlights of journals from when I first arrived in San Francisco in the mid-1990s when the city and even the Castro held a mild fascination. (These are part of exhaustive journals I've kept since age eight.) I came away not with an epiphany but reminder that today the Castro has about as much relevance to me these days as a T.J. Maxx in Des Moines. I think the last time I was there was in July for the Silent Film Festival.

I was reminded of how, in the fall of 1995, my neighborhood went through a similar retooling for pivotal scenes in The Pursuit of Happyness. Sadly, they took away the mega Monte Carlos and Grande Prix and circa 1977 Muni buses. It was really cool here for four weeks, and I got $500 from Columbia pictures for keeping a lamp on in my window on for two nights. My one moment to have some role in an A-list Hollywood production.



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6 Comments:

At 1:58 AM, Anonymous Carol Channing said...

I remember when Aquarius Records was on Castro street when I moved here in the Age of Aquarius or not long after. See, there was still a mixture of straight and gay hippies in the 'stro. They moved here because you could rent a Victorian flat and share it for nothing. Cats allowed. Paint it up all fun. Have debates about allowing red meat in the fridge. My roomate was named "M" and kept an ice pick stuck in the mantelpiece in case her old boyfriend showed up. She was a pale actress, could have easily been in film noir. The guy who lived next door ran the "Flying A" a curio shoppe where Rolo is now on Market.

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Carol - Hi, and thanks for dropping by. I'm honored, and many of my readers of huge fans. I guess you came in the Summer of Love as you prepped for your role in "Skidoo". That's a great story you shared.

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger CornFedBoy said...

Do you happen to know if it was The Pursuit of Happyness movie, where they tore up part of Duboce Park over by Davies Hospital in order to install that Bart Station replica?

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

CFB - I am pretty sure that's where it appears, though I've not watched it in a while. That movie drove me crazy with geographic continuity where characters would turn a block and suddenly go from Chinatown to the Mission. Even people that know SF even slightly could tell a lot of it just didn't track. If only there were a BART stop so close to the Castro, it would make it much more convenient for people in the East Bay.

 
At 4:15 PM, Anonymous The Angry Young Man said...

My friend Shawn got 5,000 American dollars for use of his fire escape during filming of that Penelope Cruz abortion, Woman on Top. Her character lived in the same building I used to live in way back when I was a teenager. I watched the movie on a cold Minnesota night and suddenly, there was my house! No one told me! Her character lived on Russian Hill, but my pad was in the Lower Haight. Closer than Vancouver or Montreal, I suppose...

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Angry - Clearly my lamp was screwed by Columbia Pictures for only getting $500 bucks for two nights of work. It was quite a performance, and it upstaged Will Smith. It's sort of the Meryl Streep of desk lamps and can also do accents.

 

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