The next time you’re exiting SFMOMA head east on Howard Street to 2nd. At the southwest corner is one of the most magnificently minimalist spaces in town. It’s the size of an airline hanger, taking up a quarter of the block, with 25-foot glass walls open to sidewalk,, white terrazzo floors, red teak walls and ceiling and 3 ginormous Frank Stella murals. Plenty of seating and a snack bar.
San Francisco getting serious about public art? I submit in evidence the swirling, silver, 92-foot high state of Venus (the Statue of Liberty by comparison is 150 feet) hidden away behind the very blah Trinty Place on Mission and 8th. It is as gleaming as a Rolls Royce hood ornament, a testimony to the epic artistic ambitions of Burning Man, and an example of pure Boccioni Italian Futurism. Free. An even taller sculpture will coming in two years, a 110-foot tentacle, snaking out of the new Yerba Buena subway station.
Name a great SF architect from the late 20th century. Difficult, isn’t it? On the other hand we were home to one of America’s major landscape architects, Lawrence Halperin, whose legacy is being honored at a photographic exhibit at the Innovation Hanger in the Palace of Fine Arts now through September 4. If your interest is piqued you can see his work in real time and space at the Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio, at Levi Plaza, surprisingly in Washington Square Park and less successfully ( to me at least) at the brutalist Vaillancourt Fountain in Embarcadero Center
Much to the shock of everyone who thinks no City project has ever been completed on scheduler or on budget, the renovated Alamo Park opens this weekend. For $4.3 million we now have new no-mow grass (where can I get some for my yard? )and updated restroom facilities. Re-opening ceremonies start at 11am on May 24, followed by an invasion of tourists taking selfies.
Expect considerable chuckling in the galleries of the Contemporary Jewish Museum while the current exhibit of New Yorker cartoonish Roz Chast is on display. Her neurotic, hapless characters are perfectly matched with her nervous drawing style. The show runs through September 3 and includes comically on-target insights on the issues of aging. Seniors $12.
Turn back the clock this Friday and Saturday when the glory days of tail fins, poodle skirts and Brylcream are resuscitated in Petaluma. “Cruisin’ the Boulevard” is the 12th annual salute to “American Graffiti”. If you’ve got a pre-1975 vehicle come and show it off. If not just join the music, food and festivities. Friday is a free kick-off. Saturday includes a Classic Car Show as well as a Cruise for $62.
The Mission will be serenade central this Saturday from 12-6 when assorted bands will be playing for you on stoops, porches, backyards and I assume, sidewalks. This is the third year of this event, SF Porchfest, and it looks like every musical genre will be represented as your perambulate around the neighborhood which is, or is not, gentrifying, depending on which block you’re standing in. Free.
If you thought watermelons were just good for summer picnics and margaritas you might want to stop by the 1st Amendment Brewery on 2nd St. in the city from 4 to 7 this Friday. Watermelons will be employed as bowling balls and dropped like bombs from the roof of their bar. All this plus live music, BBQ and a dubious refreshment titled High Watermelon Beer. A sweet way to kick summer off. Free entrance.
Time on your hands? Maybe you might consider learning to toss clubs, balls, rings, even flaming knifes in the air to entertain your friends and grandchildren. Classes in beginning juggling occur regularly at SF’s Circus Center on Frederick Street. Free. They also offer lessons in acrobatics, trampolining and trapeze.
Why settle for a meager bouquet this Mother’s Day when you can be overwhelmed with resplendent displays of a dazzling variety of roses. On Saturday from 12:30-4 the Marin Rose Society will hold it’s annual exhibition in Greenbrae’s Bon Air Center. On Sunday, also from 12:30 to 4 there’s a resplendent show of roses in Golden Gate Park’s Hall of Flowers. Over in the East Bay take your pick of the blooming beauties at Oakland’s Morcom Garden or Berkeley’s Municipal Rose Garden.