Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

30 10 2008

It’s coming up… my favorite San Francisco holiday: Day of the Dead. This is one of those gems that you just can’t appreciate without being there. The first time I went seven or eight years ago, I actually thought, “I bet Mardi Gras used to feel something like this before it became a tourist event.” It’s that magical and real and beautiful.

Day of the Dead – Dia de los Muertos in Spanish – comes at a time in the year when cultures all over the world consider that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is thinnest. Native peoples in various parts of the Americas, including Mexico and Central America, believe/d that life is really a dream, and that when we die we awake to real life.  Hence, death was something to celebrate – a perspective that is still alive in some areas.  In some parts people go to the cemeteries and spend the day partying with their dearly beloveds.

Here in San Francisco, we dance with death in a different way. On November 2 there is a procession through the Mission district, starting at 7:00pm at 24th and Bryant, and ending at an altar exhibit at Garfield Park. You’re welcome to bring an offering for the community altar. 

Additionally, there are altar projects around the Mission District all week.  See www.dayofthedeadsf.org for all the details.

The picture above is me (second from the right) and some of my peeps who do this every year that the weather’s not too crappy. Let’s get the rain over with quickly!

What’s your favorite San Francisco holiday and why?  Comment below!

 If you like this post, you might also want to look at these: Balmy Alley, Mission Mission, Despacho


The Man from Marin

27 10 2008

A hysterical nod to our friends in the north.


If there were a Man or Woman from San Francisco, what should they sing about?  Comment below.

Hunters Point Shipyard OPEN STUDIOS

24 10 2008

Each weekend in October, artists and craftspeople in a different area of San Francisco open their doors so that we all can visit them where they create, and see their work. A local nonprofit, ArtSpan, organizes this huge undertaking, the country’s first and largest open studios program. There are so, so many great things to see!

One of my favorite places to visit open studios is the Hunters Point Shipyard, the decommissioned naval institution whose barracks have been taken over by about 200 artists. They call themselves “America’s largest artist’s colony”!

This year (2008), there’s an open studios weekend (November 1 & 2) devoted just to this special place.

[And if you’re around this coming weekend, November 25 and 26, you can visit studios in Financial District, North Beach, Potrero Hill, Russian Hill, SOMA, Tenderloin, Bayview, Excelsior.]

There are free downloadable maps of studios on Artspan’s website. See you out there!

Helping Yogis Everywhere

14 10 2008












Some of you know that this summer marked the publication of my first book, The Little Book of Sanctuary: A Beautiful Home is Simply a Choice. While it still hasn’t been officially launched, it is available from the publisher, Our Little Books, and from a number of other outlets. 

I just got word of it being included in a “Sanctuary Gift Bag”  at the Urban Yogis website. How cool is that?

Massage Heaven for $19

11 10 2008

Did you know that feng shui is one of the Eight Rays of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?  Feng shui, acupuncture, chi gong, food energetics, herbal medicine and several other specialized disciplines are all based on the same ancient cosmological and earth-based knowledge of how to manipulate energy flow for health and wellbeing.

The Chinese massage I just got at A New Generation Health Center may or may not be aligned with these same ideals, but I’ll tell you this… I couldn’t wait to get home and tell you all about it!

For just $19, I had a great massage. I went in expecting “just” my feet to get taken care of. Instead, I got an hour of professional attention, starting with my face, head, neck and shoulders while my feet soaked. Then a long time on each foot – maybe 15 minutes each, and I thought I was done. Nope. Legs, arms, and then I turned over for back and butt.

This is not a spa — it’s caddy corner to Popeye’s on Geneva at Mission (919 Geneva), not Maiden Lane. No scented products, no fancy robes or slippers, and heck, no English! But accessible (they’re open 10am-9pm, 7 days a week), cheap, and good!

(No website either, but here’s their phone number, in case you speak Mandarin: 415-239-9668.)

Brava! Theater

11 10 2008

Did you know there’s a theater here in San Francisco just for us Urban Cowgirls?

I’ve seen so many wonderful, eclectic, colorful shows at Brava! Theater Center on 24th Street (at York) in the Mission District. The first event I went to there happened even before the space was officially re-opened, and we sat on bleachers in a dripping old theater. My friend JJ says she used to go to movies there when she was a kid for $0.10 a show!

In the last decade or so, the theater has been lovingly and beautifully renovated by people who are committed to the artistic expression of women, people of color, and youth, and to community transformation through the performing arts. By my measure, they’re doing a great job!

Events in the upcoming season include free writing workshops with Josephina Lopez, the author of Real Women Have Curves, a run of Friends, (no, not the sitcom; the 1964 Absurdist Classic written by Japanese playwright and novelist Kobo Abe), comedies, mariachis, healers, movies (try Harold and Maude on Valentine’s Day), classes, an all-day MLK celebration, music from around the world, and more more more!

Bless the Beasts

2 10 2008

This Sunday (October 5, 2008) is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, the environment and our beloved town. In celebration, St. John’s Episcopal Church and several other churches will make a public blessing for animals.  People and critters will be gathering around 1:00 at Dolores Park (near the 19th Street entrance), after an 11:00 service at St. John’s.

Last year, they blessed dozens of dogs, a few cats, a rat, and a gecko!

If I were an animal, I think I’d like to be blessed. It couldn’t hurt, even for Miss Tilly (above), who’s currently celebrating the High Holy Days.


If you were an animal, what animal would you want to be, and who would you want to bless you?  Click on “comment” below.