Category Archives: San Francisco

Thiebaud in the Sky

On a summer afternoon at salty-wind-whipped Palace of the Legion of Honor in foggy northwest San Francisco, not far from the Golden Gate, I attend Wayne Thiebaud, A Paintings Retrospective, and am moved to return the next day when I turn to a lady and say, “Incredible.” “Not really,” she says. “You must be alluding […]

Also posted in Art, Painters, Wayne Thiebaud

Jim Jefferies at the Bar

More than forty years ago right here in San Francisco at this very bar, must’ve been around 1904, I was drinking with some admirers when Jack Johnson strutted in and demanded I fight him for my heavyweight championship of the world. For about a minute I listened to his boasts about speed and defense and […]

Also posted in Bob Fitzsimmons, Boxing, Jack Johnson, Jim Corbett, John L. Sullivan, Peter Jackson

Castro District

Al wanted to be close to Jewish Film Festival. He didn’t want to worry about parking in San Francisco. He wanted to walk to Castro Theater. He got Spartan hotel room three windy blocks away. He needed good dinner before first of three movies that night. Around corner from theater he entered restaurant. Hello, love, […]

Also posted in Homosexuals, Jewish Film Festival, Movies, Short Pieces - GTC

Invitation to Brave Tweeters

brave men tweeting san francisco forty niner kyle williams should die should jump from golden gate should catch bullet should blow up in car because twice fumbled football are invited to next tweet at team headquarters Source: SFGate.com on January 23, 2012

Also posted in Football, Golden Gate Bridge, Internet, Poetry - GTC, San Francisco 49ers

Adolf Eichmann Appears at Film Festival

On the final afternoon of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, before a near capacity audience in the large theater, Adolf Eichmann – looking typically banal, bespectacled, and grim – was wheeled in a glass cage onto a stage in front of the screen after completion of “Eichmann’s End: Love, Betrayal, Death,” and he demanded: […]

Also posted in Adolf Eichmann, Adolf Hitler, Auschwitz, Europe, George Thomas Clark, Heinrich Hmmler, Hitler Here, Jewish Film Festival, Jews, Poland, Reinhard Heydrich, Rudolf Hoess, World War II

Picasso Characters Sparkle at the De Young Museum

I first ask then urge directors at the De Young Museum in San Francisco to let me in two hours early so characters in “Picasso, Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris” can relax and speak to me before hordes enter and distract them. The directors ultimately agree, and at seven thirty in the morning […]

Also posted in Art, Francoise Gilot, George Thomas Clark, Pablo Picasso, Painters, Paris

Willie Mays is Eighty

I can recall no adolescent experiences nearly as vivid and pleasurable as going to Candlestick Park, that cold and blustery point on San Francisco Bay, and watching Willie Mays play baseball. I first saw him live the last game of the 1962 season. As I note in another essay, “With but three games to play, […]

Also posted in Babe Ruth, Baseball, George Thomas Clark, Hank Aaron, Juan Marichal, Lon Simmons, Orlando Cepeda, Russ Hodges, Uncategorized, Warren Spahn, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey

Material Handler on the Road

I still wonder if my adult working career for many years progressed like a tortoise in sand because of apathy or a reflexive hatred of manual labor that began too soon, at age nine, when my mother remarried and her new husband, a drill sergeant masquerading as an electrical engineer and contractor, drafted my stepbrother […]

Also posted in Abraham Lincoln, Alcohol, Auburn, Babe Ruth, Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Burbank, California, California Youth Authority, Carmel, Cars & Driving, Chico, Clint Eastwood, Coast Ranges, Construction, Drugs, Electricians, Errol Flynn, Families, Frank Lloyd Wright, Fresno, George S. Patton, George Thomas Clark, Grass Valley, Hollywood, Interstate 5, Los Angeles, Manual Labor, Marijuana, Media, Mental Health, Monterey, Newspapers, Pacific Ocean, Rocklin, Rolling Stones, Sacramento, Seattle, Sierra Nevada, Stephen Stills, Stockton, Television, Unions

The Eternal Jack Lalanne

On a fall late afternoon in 1975 I was watching the news when legendary master of fitness Jack Lalanne celebrated his sixty-first birthday by performing a physical feat unimaginable to most. For the ensuing thirty-five years I recalled that he’d swum handcuffed from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf while towing a thousand-pound boat. But, reviewing […]

Also posted in Bodybuilding, Exercise, Food, George Thomas Clark, Jack Lalanne

Spring Break in Cuba

In the twilight of their lives the once-intransigent Castro brothers, Fidel and Raul, have begun behaving in at least moderately encouraging ways. Fidel recently summoned writer Jeffery Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine and told him President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran was outrageous for demanding the destruction of Israel and a nincompoop for continuing to insist […]

Also posted in Angola, Baseball, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Ernest Hemingway, Ethiopia, Fidel Castro, George Thomas Clark, Havana, Health, Holocaust, Iran, John F. Kennedy, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mickey Mantle, Nicaragua, Nikita Khrushchev, Raul Castro, Roger Maris, Travel, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Writers

Romancing Women during the Birth of Impressionism

My friend Higgins, the eternal bachelor, had been urging me to introduce him to some of the vibrant women in the current Birth of Impressionism show I curated at the De Young Museum in San Francisco’s lush Golden Gate Park. All right, I ultimately told him last week, come on over, park in the new […]

Also posted in Art, Edouard Manet, Impressionism, James McNeill Whistler, Museums, Painters, Sex

Skipping Toll on the Golden Gate Bridge

Oh, what a foolish risk it was. It really should be illegal. I don’t know why it isn’t. All rational people understand it’s dangerous to drive while listening to Jim Morrison sing “Light My Fire.” Actually, I had been thoroughly reasonable all day, easing out of my motel in San Francisco and carefully driving through […]

Also posted in Art, Bay Area, Cars & Driving, George Thomas Clark, Golden Gate Bridge, Jim Morrison, Marin County, Music, Painters, The Doors

Joseph Goebbels Watches A Film Unfinished

May 1942 is an extraordinary time. In the East, ideally situated after our invasion last year devoured thousands of square miles of the Soviet Union and enabled us to kill and capture several million enemy soldiers, we are resuming offensives and will soon surely have the Russian colossus on its knees. In North Africa General […]

Also posted in Bay Area, Documentaries, Douglas MacArthur, Germany, Holocaust, Israel, Jewish Film Festival, Jews, Joseph Goebbels, Movies, Poland, Warsaw, World War II

Jewish Film Festival in the Bay Area

Baghdad Twist Don’t ask my age.  It’s none of your business, I told my son, and doesn’t concern people who’ll watch your documentary.  No one’s going to see me in this film.  They’ll only hear my voice.  Better they look at black and white photos of me as a child in reasonably hospitable Iraq where […]

Also posted in Bay Area, Iran, Israel, Jewish Film Festival, Jews, Movies, Palestine

Bill Walsh Remembers

I want to emphasize I’m writing this from the viewpoint of a competitive and even Machiavellian coach in the National Football League, not merely the genial elder statesman who in retirement kept an office at Stanford and watched film with and drew plays for some of the young coaches and begged their indulgence if I’d […]

Also posted in Bill Walsh, Football