Ellen’s Delightful Deck

31 01 2009

img_2258Here’s a wonderful corner on the deck of a client’s Walnut Creek home. Together with landscape architect Susan Friedman, Ellen Looyen created this magical wall in her small outdoor space.


Bernal Heights Sock Exchange

31 12 2008


If Bernal Heights were still how it was 20 years ago, we might be seeing a needle exchange here. Or if it were closer to the Financial District we might find a stock exchange. Today, though, this sweet neighborhood – my first when I moved to San Francisco in 1995, and which I still want to call “home” – is host to the Bernal Heights Sock Exchange, and it’s exactly the kind of thing you’d expect here.

Next time you’re looking for that missing sock – or have a few to offer – head on over to the Bernal Bubbles laundromat on the south end of the Cortland Avenue main drag. You just might have some luck!


Bike for Christmas, anyone?

24 12 2008

bike-sort-of-lockedFrom the good people over at San Francisco Citizen – a bike locked up (umm….) at the Green Festival a few weeks ago.

Skyscape at the de Young

21 12 2008


img_2114img_2107img_2110  A few months ago my friend Donna took me to this wonderful part of the de Young museum I’d never been to before, even though I’ve sipped drinks and eaten lunch right next to it several times. In the back corner, behind the cafe, look for a mound covered with shaggy grass. Then walk behind it (wearing your entrance sticker and passing the guard) and you’ll discover an entrance into it!  Walk around the edges inside, then emerge into a round chamber with a big round opening in the ceiling. Not huge. Not technologically “advanced.” But profound.

 I thought you would enjoy these photos today, on this most powerful of solstices, going deep inside and looking forward to the return of the light.

P.S. Please comment below if you know what this is called.

Do you know about Goldstar?

9 12 2008

gse_main_logo1Here’s a little holiday gift for you. Goldstar is a free service that offers huge discounts on live entertainment, like theater, comedy, sports, music, performing arts and even things like wine tastings, sushi making classes and rodeos. 

When you sign up, you can tell Goldstar what kinds of things you like to do, and each week they will send you an email listing local upcoming events that you might be interested in. I’ve been a member for a few years and have spent a lot of good hours at events that I might not have attended if Goldstar hadn’t told me about them, or given me a huge discount. I’ve been to major performances like Cirque du Soleil and shows at the ACT, and have also laughed my head off at a BATS Improv performance, and salsa’d down at the “Bagels and Bongos: A Fusion of Jewish and Latino Sounds.”

If you live in the Bay Area (or another of the 8 metropolitan areas they serve) and ever leave your house, I don’t se any reason you shouldn’t join!

Bolivian Surprise – Peña Pachamama

8 12 2008


When I was in college back in Ohio, I went to a performance one night and my world got blown open. I’d never heard anything like Sukay before – they were a Bolivian band that had so much spirit and energy and played instruments I’d never even imagined. I loved it so much that on my college student budget I brought home three albums. (Yes, albums. Be quiet.)

Imagine my surprise when years later I ran into the same band here in San Francisco. Except that now they are not only a band – brother and sister team Eddy and Quentin Navia run Peña Pachamama, a unique, intimate supper club in North Beach that serves traditional Bolivian dishes alongside raw, organic cuisine and fantastic live music by gifted artists from around the world. A typical week looks like this:

slyWEDNESDAY: New World music – Latin, Flamenco, Mediterranean

THURSDAY: Traditional flamenco music and dance

FRIDAY: Hot Cuban music

SATURDAY: Sukay (Yes, THE Sukay!) – World music and dancing celebrating Carnaval throughout a different Latin country, Bolivia and the Andes, Cuba, Spain or Brazil

SUNDAY: Early show – open floor world music dance groups; Later show –  Middle East music and dance

Going to Peña Pachamama is a unique experience. It’s like getting on a boat – once you’re in the door, you’re just along for the ride. It’s a San Francisco – er, Bolivian – experience I recommend for everyone!  Like Robin Williams said, Peña Pachamama “is the kind of place even the Amish would dance.”

Those floors! Skipping at the Embarcadero Center

16 11 2008

Embarcadero Center floor


I’ve always loved the tiled floors at the Embarcadero Center downtown… they are very cool, don’t you think!

I just did a little research about this place that I’ve pretty much taken for granted (except for the floors) for 13 years.  Did you know it has over four million (**gasp!!!**) square feet of office and retail space built on 8.5 acres, right in the heart of the old Barbary Coast. My favorite spot there, of course, is the cinema, which shows art, foreign and alternative films. (My advice: get there WAY early on weekend nights if you actually want a seat and aren’t just there to admire the floors.)  Pretty decent Indian food at Gaylord’s, too. I’ve even been salsa dancing on those floors – in my book, not recommended for ladies with heels!

What’s YOUR favorite spot at the Embarcadero Center? Comment below…