There aren't many places in the world where you can find a nice young man knitting while lounging in the window of the barbershop. But the Castro is one of them.
It had actually been a while since I had walked down 18th Street to view the art. It's always changing, as things get painted over. Sometimes I mourn what has disappeared, and I'm so glad I captured its brief life. Other times I'm delighted with the new arrival. For this walk, I was joined by Micki, visiting from Montgomery, Alabama. I was hoping that San Francisco artists would uphold the honor of our city.
A block down 18th, we came upon a gorgeous painting that's been unmolested for a while. Perhaps out of respect for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this image has been allowed to survive so long. The gold in the painting is stunning. I mean, it COULDN'T be real gold leaf lavished on the side of a building, but it looks like it.
Around the corner from Ruth, a trompe l'oeil vision:
The jacket is worth a closer look:
This mural blew my mind. How long did it take the artist to create Leather Jacket Etcetera? This hyper-real detail is so time-consuming to paint on a prepared canvas -- let alone siding that creates horizontal channels every six inches! And it could well be painted over the next day! But yet there it was, to please and astonish us that day. Adding the high heel to the sneakers makes this mural so very gay. I'm assuming the mural was sponsored by the bar on the corner, Moby Dick, which has some very nice trompe l'oeil marble work. I find a mostly naked man wearing a rainbow mask reclining on a whale to be a perfect image for the pandemic Castro.
There are a lot of wall butterflies in my neighbor-hood. One or two here, five or six there. It's one of the recurrent themes. This rainbow of butterflies is my favorite so far.
This is Juanita MORE!, drag queen and performer. From her website:
Juanita MORE! is a denizen of the limelight. For almost three decades, the tireless hostess has blitzed San Francisco with high glamour, drag irreverence, danceable beats, culinary delectables, political activism and a philanthropic heart that has illuminated the entire city. Juanita remains a creation of fashion and glamour, generosity and nerve, inspiring those around her to make a positive difference in their lives and in their communities, doing it all with a timeless elegance and an innovative spirit.
I like the capitals and exclamation point in Juanita's last name. I wonder if I could pull that off --- Terry BAUM! Nope. Juanita is far more ironic than me. The caps and exclamation point have to be ironic.
Juanita seems to pour down into -- or blossom up from -- this beautiful black patch of graffiti. Fans of her magnificence, perhaps?
You know, when I snapped this photo, I was very frustrated with the stripes of shadow. There was
no way to avoid them, and I decided to take the picture anyhow. But now I think they make it a better picture! They emphasize the diagonal of the rainbow flag and the Golden Gate Bridge.
This next one is surrounded by greenery that has become brownery.
"New dawn," "blooms" and "free" are very beguiling concepts. I'm having trouble putting them together. But it's still a gorgeous painting. The colors are luscious.
Trash? Art? How amazing that these three polaroid photos are lying on the sidewalk in this perfect con-figuration, with some kind of white metal something creating a graphic three-sided square on top -- not obscuring any of the the faces at all!
How happy I am to share with you the moment I saw this.
Below is a Very Important Garage Door, which has appeared in BAUMblog before. Perhaps you will remember: The intention then was to get you to vote, and the subject was a recounting of times when one vote made an enormous difference in history. Now the election is long gone, and the essay this time is focused on the threat of plastic to the planet. Again, it's information to inspire action:
I can feel the soul of that turtle. Kudos to the person/people who do this work!
I do try to REDUCE my use of plastic. I wash out plastic bags so I can re-use them several times. But it seems impossible to actuallySTOP USING PLASTIC -- although I believe we must.
Since I was in the Castro when I saw the words "men" and "rape," I assumed this poster was about gay men being raped and I was very confused. I might never have figured it out if Micki hadn't been there. She's a lawyer, therefore practiced at deciphering obscure documents. With her assistance, I realized that this hilarious and brilliant sign is advising men of what they can do to prevent themselves from raping another human being.
What a refreshing reversal from signs warning women to be careful!
I especially like the suggestion to wear six pairs of underpants to make it more "physically challenging" to commit rape. I would think this fabulous sign would be all over town, but this is the only one I've seen.
Yes it is the responsibility of men to stop themselves from raping!
HERE COMES ANOTHER SUPERB MURAL:
THREE SPECTACULAR TAROT CARDS FOR OUR TIMES.
I mean, these are BIG!
James Baldwin trumpeting Judgment -- and he certainly did!
Trump plummeting from the Tower --
and may he plummet forever!
Stacey Abrams meting out Justice -- may it be so!
Can you imagine? This treasure trove of art and politics was all on three blocks of 18th Street! Micki was impressed. I was so proud of my city! We said goodby and then Micki wended her way to her next appointment.