Get out the candles. This Saturday is the 240th anniversary of the Presidio. The celebration is called the Pasados de Presidio and commemorates the arrival of 240 colonists- soldiers, men, women and children-who journeyed 1,800 miles from Mexico as part of the Juan Bautista de Anza Expediton. Descendents of those families generally show up on these occasions, remembering their back stories with music, ceremonies and history. For a bit darker view of the event, when the Presidio was chiefly a prison for local Indians, I highly recommend reading “The Other Slavery” by Andres Resendez.
The further from the Bay Area you go, the farther you step back in time. Case in point: Giovanni’s Sky Room at Lampson Lake County Airport, a field where small planes take off and land while you sit inside imbibing your Aviation cocktails and partaking of the old school menu like chicken cacciatore ($18), linguine with garlic prawns($24). No website but looks like dinner nightly and brunch. (707) 263-2045
No one expects you to pass an audition for Cirque de Soleil but it’s not too late to try your hand at juggling. There are free classes for beginners at the Circus Center in the City. Balls, clubs, scarves, dishes, hoops, everything short of flaming torches and axes can be tossed around at the Juggling Club every Sunday from 5 to 8 pm. No experience necessary. Free.
Have you noticed the sudden upsurge in brand new, sometimes “extreme” variations of old sports? This Sunday for example if you are hanging at Ocean Beach around 9am you can catch a beach soccer tournament. You can bet on a lot more scoring than normal soccer games, more like 10 goals. If you’re up to the challenge you can sign up to join the action. 500 Ocean Beach. Free.
Follow your nose this weekend for the final, fragrant days of lavender season at the Sonoma Lavender Barn in Kenwood near Chateau St.Jean. Its five acres of 7,000 plants are available for you to cut your own bouquets. In their Market find hundreds of lavender products at 20-50% off. Open 12-4. Mildly scientific research indicates the flowers are useful as anti-depressants.
One of the most convincing reasons to keep reading the Chronicle is Tom Stienstra whose recommendations for outdoor Bay Area ventures are unassailable. He is a big fan of a hidden gem called Soulajule Reservoir 15 miles north of Novato. This despite the facts that there are no real hiking trails, no camping, no drinking water, no restrooms, no boating and no swimming. But you can meander along the shoreline, have a picnic, fish for bass and soak in the quiet splendor of Marin at its most magical. Leashed dogs only.
Even if you can’t find your old roach clip, you can inhale the nostalgia at the Janis Joplin Tree on hippie hill in Golden Gate Park. According to urban legends this is where she used to sit and play for the love generation streaming into town…FIFTY freaking years ago, for god’s sake! For more details of her brilliant, heart-breaking life I suggest you rent the doc, “Little Girl Blue”, convincing evidence that no singer since has matched her humor, heart and soul-searing talent.
For Downton Abbey afficionados we suggest hanging out this Father’s Day in the aristo splendor of the grounds of the Dunsmuir Hellman Estate in the Oakland hills. From 2-6 Bill Ortiz (of Santana) and his Sextet, Little Wolf and the Hellcats and the Meltones Jazz Ensemble will provide rhythms for parents to cut loose. Food and beverage on sale. Entrance $20.
Suffering a little from baseball and basketball fatigue? This Saturday you’ll have a chance to try out newly minted athletic endeavors at the Tournament of Games in the Jackson Park Playground on Potrero hill. The fresh sports include New Games and new New Games such as Earthball, Slaughter, Parachute, Gig Economy and Containerization Tag. The event is a bit puzzlingly described as “reflecting the resonance of 1970’s era humanism”. Free.
Please save your complaints about our summer fog for someone else. I kind of love it. Cool and bracing as a crisp martini, its saline, marine breezes always remind me that the mighty Pacific is rolling a few miles away. It turns a hike through Mt. Tam redwoods into a dreamscape. The city softens, blurs, almost vanishes under the fog’s grey blankets. And then at noon the sun appears beatifically, just like the opening shot of the “Angels in America” film where the voiceover asks, “What is heaven like?” as the clouds part over the Bay and he answers, “Like San Francisco.”
As sportswriters scramble to express in words the glory of the Warriors, I doubt they could top the New Yorker’s 92-year old Roger Angell who described watching Madison Baumgarner as “like feeling an expertly administered epidural nip a couple of vertebrae and deliver bliss.”
Don’t get me wrong. I know the Bay Area is in dire need of housing but rehabbing Treasure Island into a residential community is just inches this side of madness. Getting on and off the isle is not the worst part. It’s the wind. The velocity there is non-negotiable. Perfect for sailing but not so much for anyone who wants to walk across the street without being blown away. It appears, however, that ground is being broken and it is too late to go back to the drawing board.
More bad ideas:
Microsoft Word’s self-correcting spelling on computers. I write “feast”, they change it to “feet”.
Kombocha flavored soap.
Having to sign receipts after using charge cards.
Public address systems you can’t hear in noisy BART stations.
Brand new vintage anything
I have always thought that if our country could survive G.W.Bush we could survive anything. Now I am not so sure.