Author Archives: Mark Thomas
Author Archives: Mark Thomas
There are so many great San Francisco museums and there is something for everyone in this great city by the bay. Spend a little time on this section of the site and you can make the next time you travel to San Francisco especially memorable. Let’s take a closer look:
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-3159, Phone: (415) 357.4000
The San Francisco Museum of Art was the first museum on the Calofornisá West Coast that was devoted exclusively to 20th-century art. It opened its doors in 1935 and became a world-class and prominent museum under the guidance of Henry T. Hopkins in the 1970 and 80s. The word “Modern” was actually added to the name in 1975 for the purpose of more accurately describing its purview. The museum has played a prominent role in active special exhibitions programs and the podium it offered to traveling exhibitions.
In early 1995, the SF Museum of Modern Art opened another facility in the City’s Market district which was designed by Mario Botta, the world-famous Swiss architect. The Museum has over 44,000 members and its permanent collection includes more than 23,000 objects of art.
Expect moderate San Francisco weather, where cool summers and mild winters almost blend into one. Temperatures in the City seldom rise above 70 F/21 C or fall below 40 F/4 C. Morning and evening fog is common during summer months for San Francisco weather but it rarely remains through the day. (Little or no rain falls from June to September are attributes of San Francisco weather.)
Winter average maximum temperatures for San Francisco weather are in the high 50s F/10 C and only drop to the upper 40s F/4 C at night. Rain showers can be common November through March. San Francisco weather literally varies from neighborhood to neighborhood — it may be sunny and pleasant in one area and foggy and cool in another. No season in San Francisco is really out of the question for a visit, though September and October are the warmest and driest.
Golden Gate Park
Larger than Central Park, the 1,000-acre Golden Gate Park’s treasure trove of attractions includes Stybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, a biodiversity hub where 6,000 plant species, including a towering display of California redwoods, thrive; the ethereal Japanese Tea Garden; a children’s playground; the Asian Art Museum; MH de Young Memorial Museum; and the California Academy of Sciences, with its aquarium, Morrison Planetarium and laserium. Even more, the open tennis courts, horse stables, baseball diamonds, polo grounds, croquet and lawn-bowling greens, an archery field, a golf course and a fly-fishing pool draw an outdoorsy crowd year-round. For a full experience, follow the green panhandle between Fell and Oak streets straight into the park.
1100 California St at Taylor, Phone: (415) 749.6300
The gothic landmark of the west coast, the ornate beauty of Grace Cathedral is home to hidden gardens, curling dragon statues, and a redwood pulpit that has seen the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Dalai Lama. The Grace hosts glorious concerts year round and its Columbarium is the only sacred landmark in San Francisco where freshly cremated remains may be laid to rest.
Castro & Market
Travel to San Francisco ‘s well-known Mecca of all that comes with gay life in the City’s Castro District. The North side of the Market District is the center of a mainly lesbian and gay community, boutiques, excellent bakeries, bars, restaurants, cafes, and of course, numerous gender-bending bars. The renown Castro Theatre, the historically important art deco movie theatre, usually screens a lot of old or independent film productions from all around the globe. On Halloween, San Francisco’s center is the Castro while tens of thousands of enthusiasts celebrate in the streets.
Bowley St. and Lincoln Blvd and Presidio, Phone: (415) 331-1540
San Francisco’s most popular and locally beloved nude beach is nestled in the western shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. Aside from being the birthplace of Burning Man, the great qualities of Baker Beach are its size, close shore breaks, tide pools, steep bluffs, and climbable rocks, and a totally nude north end that rubs friendly elbows with a decidedly family-style south side, complete with barbeque grills and picnic tables. While this stretch of the Pacific makes for rough swimming, it bodes well for panoramic sunbathing and excellent shore fishing.
San Francisco ‘s densely populated downtown is squeezed into the hilly northeastern corner of the peninsula. The often dramatic cityscape came about because the streets were laid out as if their planners had never so much as glanced at the city’s topography. They simply dropped a grid pattern onto the steeply undulating terrain, and the result is that streets often climb or drop at ridiculously steep gradients. It makes parking hazardous, breeds bicycle messengers of superhuman strength and provides a hairy setting for car chase scenes in movies.
949 Presidio Ave, Phone: (415) 923-6162
The Powell-Hyde line begins at Powell and Market streets, terminating at Victorian Park near the Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park; the Powell-Mason line also begins at Powell and Market streets to end at San Francisco’s Victorian Park near the Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park; the Powell-Mason line also begins at Powell and Market, but ends at Bay and Taylor near Fisherman’s Wharf; the California Street line runs from California and Market streets to Van Ness Avenue.
In 1916, San Francisco City officials asked Engineer Michael M. O’Shaughnessy to see if building a bridge across the Golden Gate Strait was feasible. For decades, there had been a call for a bridge like this by railroad professionals and other entrepreneurs.
So San Francisco City Engineer Michael O’Shaughnessy started to discuss the idea with some engineers across the nation to learn about cost and feasibility of such an endeavor. Most engineers he consulted speculated that a bridge across the Golden Gate Strait would be costing more than $100 million but that construction would not be possible. Joseph Baermann Strauss, though, thought that building such a bridge was possible and that the cost would not exceed $30 million.
Golden Gate Bridge name explained
The Golden Gate Bridge is named after the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance from the Pacific Ocean to the San Francisco Bay. The Golden Gate Strait is some three miles long and a mile wide, and the water’s currents usually range from 4.5 to 7.5 knots (around 5 to 9 miles/hr). John C. Fremont (a U.S. Army Engineer) named the strait “Chrysopylae” (Golden Gate) in the mid-1840s as the strait was reminding him of the Istanbul, Turkey, harbor named Chrysoceras (Golden Horn).
The Golden Gate Bridge connects the City of San Francisco to the northern counties of California, including the world-famous wine regions of Sonoma and Napa. The bridge’s towers stand an impressive 746 feet tall and its “International Orange” color, the beautiful Art Deco styling, and the sweeping massive main cables give the bridge it’s magic. The bridge features a fine artistic harmony of light, color, and sound which attract over ten 10 million visitors every year, especially during the summer months, so when you plan a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge, be prepared to encounter large crowds and be also aware of quickly changing weather conditions.
San Francisco is changing, and it is not weird or freaky as it once was. People in the artsy environment can feel this immediately, and rather than being able to just go out and be weird, today there’s more a sort of lamentation that fills the air in the City.
One of the obvious culprits is the phenomenon of money. There are quite a few individuals that are worth tens of millions of dollars who still think they are some sort of revolutionary or counter-cultural renegades, but they’re in too good standing.
Sure, we may bash the software generation as much as we want as they’re the cause of a lot of bad going on, but the fact of the matter is that internet nerds form a crucial element to the phenomenon of ‘weirdness.‘
The extreme differences in the level of education is another weird thing, from a super high number of people without any High School or GED diploma to the smartest people who attend the USF. I recently joined a workshop for volunteers who want to bridge this educational gap.
There are some pretty good online GED Prep Resources, so we just need to reach out to as many people as possible.
Anyway, it seems that today, people that move to San Francisco aren’t coming here to find other queers or weirdos, they generally move this way to build up their careers and make money. Sure, there’s basically nothing wrong with doing that, but often these people aren’t participating in the city’s social life and won’t break out of their employment circles.
Every Saturday, I’m in charge of checking out what food we need to buy. As I check the frig, I make a list of what we can get from the Berkeley Farmers’ Market. I really enjoy going there. We get to see our neighbors, and we know that the food is organic, fresh and local.
We buy organic food because my parents taught us that it’s more nutritious. They also knew that organic farming is really good for the environment, and it’s a great way to support our local farmers.
Organic farmers don’t use any synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, irritation or biotechnology, so we’re taking in fewer toxins. It wasn’t until the 20th century that synthetic chemicals were introduced into our food. Yeah, it used to be that farming was always organic.
It’s funny how East and West Coast cities seem to change a little differently. John Smyre, a good friend of mine from New York, visited the City recently and I couldn’t meet with him unfortunately because of my work that took me to a London Arts Fair. He noticed some aspects that I wasn’t aware of so as I’m confronted with the San Francisco looks and habits on a daily basis. Here is what he wrote to me.
I was last in San Francisco in August 2004. At that time, as a New Yorker visiting the city by the Bay, I was struck by the inability to drive anywhere without being confronted by billboards trumpeting the virtues of countless dot-coms. No less striking was the start-up fever still gripping the city despite the spring market correction five months earlier. At that time, New York had already started its about-face, turning away from its passionate, albeit temporary, participation in the dot-com party and returning to its more cynical, skeptical roots.