El Refugio

A place on the web for escapism.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Death of a Camera...

Add to the long list of casualties:

My camera

I'm directly responsible for the loss or demise of a number of cameras, cell phones, watches, timepieces, Ipods :( and more. Today, I found a 2GB card in the laundry (along with $12 and change...) I'm not keeping count, but, it's a problem. Sigh. 

The old reliable Nikon is almost unusable, the new Casio jammed four months new, and now my little camera can't open its eyes. I have so many murals, mosaics and pieces of public art to visit, view, photograph and research, but that's going to be on hold for awhile. I knew that anyway, but the death of my camera just reinforces it: no jaunts in the City, no photos to catalog, instead, recuperation. Recovery.  

Honestly, it must be a sign: all of the cameras associated with me are broken. I can only see this as an indicator of focus and memory. No cheating with digital technology. Turning the lens inward, instead of seeking out the art of others?

Terribly dependent on timepieces and being early, not late, I am a death sentence for every watch I've ever owned. My collection of dead watches is a sad reminder that I'm so stuck in the present, owned by the past, the future never quite arriving.

I'll upload the photos I've taken over the last several months, but no forays for new material for a month or two. 

Outside looking in
Telegraph City

Think Good Thoughts...

September 17th


SF - Japantown


California Japantowns - SF

Footsteps lead to destiny

We dance honoring ancestors
who claim our home,
and freedom to pursue our dreams

Our voices carve a path for justice
Equal rights for all.

We prevail
Our future harvested from generations
From my life opens countless lives

The journey continues.


Detailed Japantown Map

Ruth Asawa - Japanese American Artist, Sculptor

Ruth Asawa at Wikipedia

Capturing Faces in the Moment

DeeDee's SF Blog mentions Ruth Asawa

Ruth Asawa: On Form and Growth
This film offers an intimate look at Asawa's life made by filmmaker Robert Snyder. Running time is 30 minutes, grades 7 and up. ISBN: 1-55974-530-4.

At bottom, the inscription is faint,
and appears to say:

A journey detained
interned by injustice
What was before us?

SF - Golden Gate Park: Bison

Domestic Bison of Golden Gate Park. It's been years since I've seen them in the front lot.  According to Wikipedia, the Park purchased a small herd of bison in 1891, when their numbers in the US were dwindling. The Park has successfully bred bison in captivity. The bison paddock in the park seems small in contrast to my concept of buffalo roaming the wide open plains. I've oft wondered of the bisons' quality of life there (really!)--fenced in, next to the foggy coast.... Yet I do enjoy seeing them, large majestic tasty creatures. The buffalo just speaks "early America" to me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

SF Mosaics - CCSF

City College of SF - Mission Campus

This building recently appeared on the "Vote for SF's Ugliest Building" poll page at SF Curbed website. It received 11 votes, and was far behind the other other truly ugly buildings. Is it ugly? You Decide.

For comparison purposes, here's a painted version of the Aztec Calendar at the intersection of 24th & Alabama Streets.

Ernesto Paul, Cruisin Coyote, June 1991

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Palo Alto - Trompe L'Oeil #1

Ok, one of those Wikipedia's ever so useful, except when your name is Greg Brown and there are 13 entries on the Greg Brown Disambiguation Page. The Greg Brown in today's post has the barest of stub, and I secretly hoped that Greg Brown-Folk Musician b. 1949, was the same as Greg Brown of Palo Alto mural fame. Apparently, they are two different Wikipedia entries because they are no less than two different people.
Today's Greg Brown is a muralist known for his Trompe L'oeil murals Pedestrian Series 1976. Here are the last few shots before the camera died.

Bank Robbers Mishap
formerly WaMu Bank
300 Hamilton Avenue @ Bryant St

Trompe l'oeil murals, French for 'deceive the eye', are paintings that create an illusion that fool or trick the eye. Wikipedia does a little better explaining Trompe L'oeil as
"an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions."

Man in Window
Sawing Elevator Cables
Office Building Foyer
261 Hamilton Avenue
As you might expect, this is situated
directly above an actual elevator

Art of Greg Brown

Boy with Fishing Pole Stuck on Window Grate
Hamilton Station Post Office
380 Hamilton Avenue @ Bryant Street
The window and metalwork exactly match
a real window next to this trompe l'oeil bit.

City of Palo Alto Press Release: Muralist Greg Brown Restores One of His Whimsical Murals in Downtown (Man Pushing Cat in Stroller) 8-27-2010

Jim Leftwich has an informative page here, and the Palo Alto History Project devotes a page to Greg Brown as well.

Greg Brown Folk Musician - singing Canned Goods:

Monday, September 6, 2010

SF Murals - Mission Wall Dances

Located between 14th and 15th streets, at 1849 Harrison, this mural is a multi-faceted work, covering two sides of one building and a wall of an adjoining building.  The work, entitled, "Mission Wall Dances, Something there is that doesn't love a wall", was completed in September 2002, by Josef Norris, and commissioned by Jo Kreiter of FlyAway Productions. The FlyAway website is worth a visit, because it features photos of the dance performance for which this mural was created as the backdrop. Franco Folini has a nice wide shot showing almost all of the mural here, and here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Beach Chalet #3

These WPA Era frescoes cover the walls inside the Beach Chalet, Great Hwy, SF.

China Beach

Bathing Beauties

Conservatory of Flowers