THERE IS NO THERE, THERE, EXCEPT HERE
BelleDroid, Exologist "The Once and Future Human Being"
Enter the void of gentrified San Francisco. Breathtaking in vistas and full of amusing zombies. A place of youthful enthusiastic arrogance and political correctivity. Yes, correctivity, you will be corrected by those empowered to correct your anti-social actions and subject you to retraining.
The THERE that was once there is no longer.
Bagdad by the Bay is a faint memory and the gossip is all about who isn't IN for offending the current morality. In San Francisco, morality rhymes with orange.
Old geezers inhabit North Beach and warily eye newcomers. Their "there" vanished long ago but the "Beat Museum" tries to take the place of Finocchio's while "Big Al's" no longer sports Carol Doda's blinking nipples nor the go-go cage.
No there there, for sure. Unless you like City Lights, the bookstore not the current ambiance.
There might be a little something in Jackson Square if you're into "friendly" gambling. The various gangs do smile like crocodiles at each other but the hard edge is there.
Nose around and you might find a backstreet sweaty shop, girls for hire and the usual liquor, cigarettes, and guns. North Beach (THE Barbary Coast) is upper Grant Ave - upper Chinatown and the line between Italy and China.
Haight and Ashbury, across town, is still a favorite tourist destination, especially for those looking to score. No there anymore, as we all got busted years ago. Slightly younger geezers hang out in the Haight.
Geezers of all ages wander over to Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park to dig the drum circle drums. So, for us old hippies this is a special there, of course, but not much left anymore of the old Peace and Love. They took the music and love grass and sold out. Reparations and no taxation! should be our cry against the "regulators" of our gardens. Not a there, there, like THERE WAS, when it was happening.
The exception to the rule of mediocrity in San Francisco is "El Barrio Valencia" just one block from the Mission and 16th Bart station. Now this is where there is a There and it is HERE. People actually come out to see who is around and trade news, talk freely and smoke ganja. Openly.
Valencia Street, at about 16th Street, is so happening the vampires moved in. I think they took out the transvestites who inhabited "Este Noche", a bar, and changed it to a black cave inviting unsuspecting prey. It is called the "Bond". Not 007, I suspect. Not grey at all. Or is it gray? Is it even gay? Damn vampires.
The barrio is filled with music at night and weekends are a special treat with the various mariachis strolling and singing from Mission Street up 16th and down Valencia Street.
Just up from the vampire cave is Panchita's Pupuseria and it is a hit. She put a grill on the street and faced the dreaded public health officials and after a year has a permitted and beautiful sidewalk Pupuseria.
This worked so well that Mike on a Bike hitched a weber to the back of his bike and started flash bar-b-ques! If you are around, check for the action down an alley or over at the "Four Barrels". If you see a flash bbq come on over and get a hot dog.
Next door is a roughhouse bar (wear your "colors"...get the hint?) and a nearly empty coffee shop called El Tazo's. My friend is well know for taking breaks from his coffeeoffice and shouting "cell phone driver" at distracted millenials driving unaware - but really into their texting or phone or...like whatever.
Around the corner is where Monkey Man and his goat play and it gets so jumpin' the dancing in the streets becomes a real THERE, right here. Others join in with drums and even sometimes The Liberation Marching Band comes boppin' through with tin pan alley vibes that linger sweetly in San Francisco like a sweltering cool New Orleans night.
They play all the street happenings-yeah! Even the cops dig 'em when we are marching for some cause and the band is keeping us in time and rhythm. Yeah, "walking in rhythm" for real.
Yes, we even have our own valley girls, jewish american princess' and comedians. Aspiring musicians and even a "poet".
I know those "in the know", who know where the "there" is are holding their heads as they Know Who I am mentioning.
OK, they kicked him out of North Beach, he showed up at Occupy and is now back in the "hood" around Valencia.
He is welcome when sober but oh, brother, when he is drunk he is nasty.
Sober, he puts words on tape and arranges them on sidewalks and windows. OK, Ok, he's our little problem when he is drunk and hits another friend, Cincinatti, in the head with a 40 ounzer-ouch- then breaks Tazo's window.
Don't tell Elvis Christ he is our friend or he will come back.
Better yet tell all the drunks you meet that Elvis can come back when he is sober. Good friends tell friends "Get Thee to a program".
There really is a real there, THERE, and a community that cares. Sometimes ii's tough love but still
-it is peace and love at the corner of 16th and Valencia. Ole'!