Monday, July 20, 2020

BAUMBLOG: Mission Ramble + Favor

July 20, 2020

+ Favor


The Mission is downhill from me. I go there to escape the freezing fog that sometimes (but not frequently) engulfs my hill. I go there to find delicious Mexican food. I go there to see the murals that flourish there. They're inspired by the

Mexican heritage of the Chicano/a community of San Francisco.

Long ago, the Mission used to be the lesbian neighborhood, and there were lesbian institutions like Osento Bathhouse, Artemis Cafe, Amelia's bar. More recently, the Lexington, the only dyke bar in SF, could be found there. And now it too is gone. The Mission was a low-rent neighborhood and a center of activism --- perhaps THE center -- in San Francisco.

More recently, it has been ground zero for gentrification by wealthy techies and hipsters: "Two million dollars for a CONDO on 14th and Valencia? Are they out of their minds?!?"

The gentrification seems to have ground to a halt, along with so many other activities because of the pandemic. But I'm happy to say the activist and mural culture is FLOURISHING. The street art in the Mission seems to much more radical that what I've seen in my Noe Valley/Castro haunts.
I somehow didn't walk past many tents on this particular walk, but they are scattered everywhere. Politically and intellectually it is very clear to me that housing is a right, that we used to have enough subsidized housing for poor people before Reagan became President.... oh, wait. I just want to ramble and not rant. Anyhow, somehow this poster broke through my frozen feelings about people without housing. For a few moments, I felt us all in the same tent.
The main themes of the wall art were "Black Lives Matter" & the Pandemic.

Oh yes. I also go to the Mission for the cafes -- so many more than in my own 'hood. One cannot go INTO a cafe at the moment and I'm not sure if this kind of outdoor deliciousness is still legal in SF after Monday's pull-back. And I'm definitely not sure it's wise when I do it. After all, one must at least push down one's mask to insert the food. But I have always loved hanging out "on the little terrace" as they say in Amsterdam even when it's just a piece of sidewalk, and until now the opportunities have been so limited in San Francisco. I hope the outdoor cafe spaces remain forever.

So much sheer beauty on the plywood and blank walls. It lifts my heart.
When I was running for mayor in 2011, part of my platform was starting a San Francisco International Mural Festival. We would celebrate our own heritage and invite artists from other countries to come and paint more murals. We would have a widely publicized contest to find the ugliest building in the city, and then turn it glorious with color. Is there any easier and cheaper way to improve a city than murals? Plus it enables visual artists to pay their rent! I would also have a permanent Mural Repair Squad, to restore murals that had been defaced or were just aging. More money for artists!!
My immediate reaction to the one on the right was, " Some saint's hands praying while in bondage! Strange to find a religious image in the Mission." You know those saints. They were always finding unique ways to suffer. But no. The message is: "Wash your hands!" Very lovely. These are all acts of love, you know? Lots of love in the Mission. Love and anger.
Here we are at Clarion Alley, which is solid murals. So MUCH information in this one.

I know the tradition of Clarion Alley is one mural on top of another. But this one deserves permanence. it's on the level of the great WPA murals of the 30s. "House Keys Not Handcuffs" is a GREAT slogan.
I happen to be very attached to Cherin's Appliances, and I was upset to see it closed. A couple of years ago .... three? five years? who can keep track... I needed to buy new stoves for both my flat and Carolyn's flat. I had an actual antique Wedgewood stove that everyone adored -- except for me, who had to cook on the damn thing. Upstairs was
inhabited by my mother's Gaffers & Sattler. Whoever came to repair it always said, "This is a beauty -- the top of the line in its day." I remember my mother was very proud of it. The end of the top of the line came for both stoves at the same time. Their pilot lights leaked gas, so the ovens were not useable. And the parts don't exist anymore. Neither COMPANY exists anymore.

I went to the appliance departments in big box stores twice. Had to borrow a car to do it. Both times, the young salesman would show me a reasonably priced stove, and then assure me that it was a piece of shit, and then introduce me to a more expensive stove, which wasn't that great either in his opinion, so we went to the next level. This process went on until we got to the fabulously amazing gigantically expensive stove -- and I would leave.

I came to the conclusion that I needed to go to the one appliance store I could walk to with the pups. I walked in, explained my situation to the old man who had been selling appliances for decades, and he said, "This is the stove you want." It looked good, wasn't a gajillion dollars, I bought two. The whole process, including paying, took about 25 minutes. Then Nikki and Loulou and I went to Dolores park and played fetch. Now that's MY idea of a successful shopping trip.

My mother loved to shop. She didn't like so much to spend money. "What do you MEAN, telling me to have the physical therapist visit me TWICE a week? Are you nuts? In the Depression, we made shopping lists on the back of envelopes because we couldn't afford paper!" But she loved to SHOP. At one point, she needed new drapes for the living room. Woven, off-white. For about two years, whenever I visited L.A., we would go drapery shopping. It seemed she intended to examine every off-white woven drapery fabric in the city before she made her decision. I mean, she ENJOYED looking at all that off-white woven fabric!

Back to the Mission Ramble:

These absolutely fabulous pants were hanging on the rack outside. How could I not? He wanted me to try them on. Me: "I don't WANT to try them on. I want to BUY them." I knew they'd be at least a little tight. I didn't want to know how tight. I felt I could lose whatever weight was necessary in order to wear these pants.
This was on the side of a very funky old truck.

I could have looked at this all day. Contact sheets of photographs! Never seen this on a wall.
Essential Workers for President! Yes!

This is about a quarter of the photos I took on the walk. But I am going to end now. That hand is the Mission waving goodby to you.

And now I'm going to ask you Bloggelinis for .....


Lesley, my business manager would very much like to get more people to read this blog. I would too. BaumBlog is this email and also exists online in its entirety at It doesn't have a lot of subscribers. At one point, I made a half-hearted effort to switch you over to it. But I've decided to continue with the email. But I WOULD greatly appreciate it if you would SUBSCRIBE to BaumBlog on that website. If I have a lot of subscribers, it will make it easier for Lesley to publicize BaumBlog. Lesley says all you have to do is:

and click the"Follow" button.

This will make Lesley very happy.
And when Lesley is happy, I am happy.
Thank you in advance, Bloggelinis. Terry


  1. I'm sorry I can't the Follow, button or sign!

  2. Where is the "Follow" sign?

  3. I also want to follow but don’t see where I can do that. Thank you for any instructions you can give!