Day 1 - Part 2 : Wednesday, September the 28th 2022
Walking, Eating and bussing our way around the Coastal Trail, Marina District, Pacific Heights, Japantown, and the Fillmore
As you may recall "Part 1" of what was to be our first day in San Francisco detailed our drive from Morgan Hill, home to Super Nerd Steve Atkinson and then to Alice's Restaurant via the scenic Skyline Boulevard. From there we dropped to the coast to Half Moon Bay, then on up to Pacifica to check in to Dan's Green House and finally to the Ocean Beach Parking.
I heard from a few folks about the "Part 1" write up.
Bill Bedwell whom I met back in the early 1980s at an American Rhododendron Society meeting had this to say.
I enjoyed your comments of a guy approaching old age reflecting on his youth. Or have you reached old age? Whatever, you have not reached as far as I. I am glad I do not have any memories of acid trips, but your comments were interesting. I remember the songs.
"comments of a guy approaching old age..." Indeed, indeed. And I will be doing the same here with visits back to the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Steve Atkinson had this to say.
Thanks for writing these up. What a truly cool long form style you’re developing.
To which I replied:
"Is 'long form style' the same as verbosity?"
Wisely, Steve did not reply.
OK, here we go...
From the Ocean Beach Parking area we would start our hike along the coast to the Golden Gate Bridge and bus and walk though the Marina District, Pacific Heights, Japantown and what was formerly known as the Fillmore District, now Lower Pacific Heights.
After making doubly sure there was nothing visible in the car we locked up and started our stroll north down the Esplanade toward Land's End and Seal Rocks.
It was now about 11:30 which meant it was 4 hours since we had last eaten. Typically I gave this not a thought and we continued our walk. As we passed the Beach Chalet I pointed it out to Betsy and we continued on.
The Beach Chalet sits at the northwest corner of the 1000 acre Golden Gate Park.
A street view of the Beach Chalet.
If you are standing with your toes in the sand on Ocean Beach, or driving on Highway 101, look east towards Golden Gate Park and you will see the Beach Chalet.
The Beach Chalet is a, Spanish colonial revival style, historic landmark that has gone from gleaming eatery called the Golden Gate Park Chalet, built by Willis Pol in 1925, to Army headquarters to dangerous dive bar to now, a renovated upscale restaurant with unimpeded ocean views.
Here are a couple more looks at the Beach Chalet.
We got just a little further down the Esplanade when I realized it was going to be at least 3 hours of walking until we would have a chance to get a bite to eat.
I have learned the hard way not to ignore a chance to "fuel up" before a walk or hike and told Betsy perhaps we should head over to the Beach Chalet for a bite to eat. Good idea. And we did just that.
But... before we indulge in the most expensive lunch we have ever had let's take yet another trip down Memory Lane and maybe go off on a tangent or two.
September the 4th, 2011 was the first time I recall being at the Beach Chalet. That was during my "Epic Road Trip to San Francisco" which started on August the 4th, 2011 in Morgantown WV and wound its way through the states of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California and then finally on September 2nd I arrived in SF. Almost a month on the road before I arrived in The City! Those were the good old days of ERTing.
And how did I end up at the Beach Chalet on September the 4th, 2011?
This is how:
September the 4th, 2011: "A Walk Across San Francisco"
This is the route map for a MeetUp offered by the "SF-Urban-Power-Hikes" group. The event was billed as "A Walk Across San Francisco". It was 8 miles and covered all kinds of terrain including stairways and some of the steepest streets in San Francisco.
September the 4th, 2011: "A Walk Across San Francisco"
This is Broderick Street between Vallejo and Broadway. Now that is what I call steep! It is no longer a through street and it is now part driveway, steps and a cobbled tree-scape.
September the 4th, 2011: "A Walk Across San Francisco"
After our trek across town we ended up at Ocean Beach and from there went to the Beach Chalet for lunch. Actually we ate at what is called the "Park Chalet" which is behind the Beach Chalet and affords a view of the nicely treed Golden Gate Park.
September the 4th, 2011: "A Walk Across San Francisco"
The above 3 cuties were on the trek. The two ladies were from Madrid and the fella on the left was from Michigan.
And that is how I first got to the Beach Chalet.
Now, 11 years later I was back with Betsy and we were about to have the most expensive lunch we have ever had.
And here it is! Bodega Bay smoked salmon with capers, whipped goat cheese, arugala, fennel, red onions and grilled sourdough. The "most expensive lunch we have ever had" was actually an appetizer. Egads!
However, I must admit it was quite tasty and worth the splurge and there was enough for the two of us.
I can't help but wonder what the prices will look like in another 11 years.
After a bit of taking in the ocean view, enjoying our meal and Betsy nursing her beer we headed downstairs to use the facilities before the start of our walk along the beautiful Land's End coastline.
This fabulous fresco mural is reason enough to visit the Beach Chalet.
The Beach Chalet at the western end of Golden Gate Park, built in 1925, is home to a trove of New Deal artworks in the first floor lobby, or entrance hall.
The centerpiece of the Beach Chalet’s artworks is an enormous fresco mural by Lucien Labaudt, entitled “San Francisco Life.” This magnificent mural cycle is 9' high and covers all four walls of the lobby (about 1500 square feet in all). It was painted by Labaudt in 1936-37.
The mural cycle has nine sections depicting San Francisco locales: the Embarcadero and Fisherman’s Wharf on the north wall; Baker’s Beach on the east wall, north half; Golden Gate Park on the east wall, south half; Land’s End and the Marina on the south wall; and four individual figures at the Civic Center, Union Square and Chinatown along the west wall. Labaudt included people from his personal life in these scenes, some well-known figures from the arts and politics of the time, and ordinary working people.
Here is a bit about the "New Deal" mentioned above.
The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1939. Major federal programs agencies included the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). They provided support for farmers, the unemployed, youth, and the elderly.
Can you imagine a program like this today? The WPA had a lasting impact on American life and this mural is just one example. The CCC was responsible for building roads and recreation infrastructure for many of our National Parks as well as creating 711 State Parks. They also planted billions of tree seedlings to reforest burned and cut over areas. The latter workers were call "Roosevelt's Tree Army".
The men, mostly uneducated and untrained, were paid $30 a month, $25 of which was sent directly to their families.
Here are a few snaps of the mural.
We loved these beautiful staircase sculptures.
Michael von Meyer created the enameled, magnolia wood carvings, called “Sea Creatures,” in the balustrade of the south stairway of the Beach Chalet. The carvings are 36 inches high and run all the way up to the second floor, about 25 feet in all.
It is a marvelous fantasy piece that includes an octopus, mermaid with child, merman (Neptune?), porpoise, fish with elephantine trunk, sailing ship and a deep-sea diver, among others.
All the Beach Chalet artworks were done by unemployed artists hired by the Federal Art Project (FAP), a branch of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
One last look and we bade farewell to the Beach Chalet and were out the door, across the Great Highway and back on the Esplanade.
It's now time for our walk along the coast to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Here is our walking route from the Beach Chalet to the Golden Gate Bridge. When we arrive at the Bridge we will board the 28 19th Ave MUNI bus and get off at Lombard and Fillmore where we will board the 22 Fillmore MUNI bus to Pacific Heights.
We were not the only ones enjoying a walk along the beach. In the distance you can see the white of the Cliff House and Seal Rocks.
We could only assume these folks were homeless and were whiling away the day at the beach. At least they were not under a noisy bridge.
Ocean Beach - October the 7th 2018
For some reason I could not get into shutter snapping mode and thus took fewer photos than usual so I have decided to recycle some which are from a previous visit.
Seal Rocks, Lands End - October the 7th 2018
Seal Rocks got its name from the Steller's and California sea lions who would haul out on the rock. But, shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake hit San Francisco in October 1989 they migrated to Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf.
I have seen the seals several times at Pier 39 but never had a sighting at Seal Rocks.
Here is a look at Seal Rocks on this day. The shot was taken from Point Lobos which is just below the Sutro Baths site. It is certainly different from the sparking waters and bright sunshine of October 2018.
This location is here.
Unfortunately the native vegetation along the Coast Trail has been almost completely replaced with non native plants one of which is the well know nasturtium.
As you can see nasturtium flowers have a wide color range.
This may be Sweet Acacia (Vachellia farnesiana), another non native species which has adapted to San Francisco's Mediterranean climate.
Cannons are no longer used but fogs horn are still in use.
The Golden Gate Bridge foghorns have guided hundreds of thousands of vessels safely through the Golden Gate Strait, and forewarned San Franciscans when fog was rolling in to envelop the City. The foghorns operate about two and a half hours a day on average over a year.
Rough, rocky and gorgeous!
The tree in the foreground as well as what looks like a ground cover are Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa). The prevailing winds and rocky slopes have stunted some of these Monterey cypress and they now grow as a prostrate form.
The Monterey cypress is found naturally only on the Central Coast of California. The natural distributional range of the species during modern times is confined to two small relict populations near Carmel, California, at Cypress Point in Pebble Beach and at Point Lobos.Historically during the peak of the last ice age, Monterey cypress would have likely comprised a much larger forest that extended much further north and south.
We thought it rather odd to see this parked along the trail with no one in sight.
Upon closer inspection we found out it was a "pay and ride" bike. BayWheels is the vendor.
Anyone with a Bay Wheels membership will have access to discounted ebike prices. Annual and monthly members who choose an ebike will pay $0.20 per minute with no unlock fee, and non-members will pay $0.30 per minute with a $3.49 unlock fee. These fees help cover the additional costs of batteries and charging. All per-minute ride prices are rounded up to the nearest minute.
Clipper is the all-in-one transit card used for contactless fare payments throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Untill now I did not realized that included rental bikes
Modern living. No phone - no ride.
Oh, goodie! A fern. It is the Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum). Native to the West coast and some other areas it reaches its climax of growth in the coastal Redwood Forests of northern California.
The white "dots" are the indusium of the acrostichoid sorus. The brown structures are the mature sori and spores.
Meet the Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina). A cosmopolitan gal is she. She can be found all over: Asia, Europe, North Africa, Canada and the USA.
A surprise! Although it shouldn't have been. Coyotes are everywhere. We saw this one here. This was not the last Coyote we would see in The City.
After a long absence, coyotes returned to the Presidio in 2002 and are now seen regularly in the park. They're also seen in Marin, Golden Gate Park, Lands’ End, Glen Park, and other open spaces throughout the greater Bay Area.
The "Presidio" mentioned above is a decommissioned military base. It was established by the Spanish in 1776, then was under Mexican rule for 24 years until 1846 when the U.S. Army took control. No longer under military control the 1,500 hundred acres is now a recreation oasis with a 24 mile trail network, 15 miles of bikeways and the beautiful Baker Beach. And of course the wonderful Coastal Trail we are now enjoying today.
We eventually reached a point where the trail intersects El Camino del Mar street in the Sea Cliff neighborhood. This is the land of one per-centers.
Here is the route from the Coast trail through the Sea Cliff neighborhood. It is about .7 miles.
Real estate in San Francisco is very expensive, real estate in the Sea Cliff neighborhood is very, very expensive. I checked the Zillow entry for 125 Sea Cliff Ave. The 4 bedroom, 4 bath, 4,510 sqft house is valued at $7,435,000.
While walking along El Camino del Mar street we saw a hippie van! Imagine that. I think I see Jimi, Janus and Carlos there.
Once through the Sea Cliff neighborhood we walked down the access trail to Baker Beach. When I was here on a warm and sunny October day in 2018 the beach was packed.
In the background you can see the fog enshrouded Golden Gate Bridge.
After a pleasant walk along the beach we took the access trail up to Lincoln Blvd. and then picked up the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. This trail snakes along the Presidio’s wild western shoreline with a series of interconnecting sections of trails and steep timber stairs.
Just a short distance down the trail is Battery Crosby. What was once a gun emplacement in now a concrete canvas for local graffitti "artists".
Built to protect underwater minefields laid outside the Golden Gate, this Endicott-era battery was completed and armed in 1900. Armed with two 6-inch guns mounted on disappearing carriages, Battery Crosby’s artillery had a range of eight miles and could fire at the rate of two rounds per minute.
During World War II, these guns were assigned to the "Mine Groupment" designed to concentrate fire on the harbor entrance and minefields. Throughout this period, Battery Crosby was manned by the Sixth Coast Artillery Regiment, Battery "B". In 1943, the War Department officially closed the battery and its guns were scrapped.
Battery Crosby was named in honor of Lieutenant Franklin B. Crosby, Fourth Artillery, who was killed in the Civil War battle at Chancellorsville, Virginia in May 1863.
The view from Battery Crosby. This shows a portion of the hillside with the clinging Batteries to Bluffs Trail. I was here in 2007 and they were still working on the trails and timber stairways.
Looking back at a section of the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. We are now about midpoint on the trail and soon we will be at the 28 19th Ave MUNI bus stop at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Betsy and I were recently talking about how many visits she has made to San Francisco. Here is the list:
1982 - Our Honeymoon
1996 - 20 Day West Coast Trip
2014 - Fun with Betsy in San Francisco
2022: 3 Days in San Francisco
Since we are now close to the Golden Gate Bridge I thought a few GGB photos would be appropriate.
Here I am in 2007. I still have the Deuter pack and it has served me well.
On our 1982 Honeymoon we stayed with my brother Sutton at 435 Hayes St. You can read Betsy's journal entries for our time in SF here. Oddly I cannot locate any Honeymoon photos for our stay in SF.
In 1996 we stayed with my brother Bill. Betsy's journal entries for our time in SF are here
1996: Here is Betsy riding her Bike Friday "New World Tourist" across the GGB. We rode all over San Fran and had a great time on our new folding bikes which flew out with us from Columbus OH.
In 2014 I drove to San Francisco and Betsy flew out. As with this ongoing visit we spent our 3 days walking, eating and bussing around SF. It was a great trip with gorgeous weather. We stayed in an AirBnB which was one of the noisiest places we had ever stayed. But the location was great and we could walk to the beach and a bus stop was nearby.
2014: Betsy at Ocean Beach San Francisco
The MUNI bus fairs and methods of riding have changed since our last visit in 2014 and my last visit in 2018.
The old and the new. The paper transfer on the left is what was formerly issued for a single fair. It allowed one to ride for a specified duration in any direction. On the left is the new fair card from 2018. No paper transfers are issued anymore.
Changes in MUNI cash fares
2018: Single: $2.50
2018: 1-Day Visitor Passport $21.00 (includes Cable Cars)
2022: $13.00 (a price drop!)
2018: Senior: $1.25
2022: Day Pass: $5.00
In 2018 the day pass was only available if one used the MuniMobile app. Now it is available for cash users as well. Five bucks to ride all day seemed like a good deal so that is what we ended up getting on our first bus of the day, for two days. The third day we were on foot and boarded no busses.
When we arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge boarding area for the 28 19th Ave MUNI bus we each had a $5 bill in hand for our day pass.
Very handy as this pass allowed us to jump on and off any bus with out the bother of paying any additional fare.
Here is the 3 mile route map for our ride in the 28 19th Ave MUNI bus from the Golden Gate Bridge to the 22 Fillmore bus stop at Fillmore and Lombard.
Here is the route map for our .8 mile ride from Fillmore and Lombard to Fillmore and Broadway. I wish now we had walked straight up Fillmore as it was only .4 miles. But it is almost straight up! It's one of those steep streets we talked about earlier.
When we got off the 22 Fillmore we walked down Fillmore street through Pacific Heights and what was formerly the Fillmore district and then on to Japantown. Once we got to Jackson Street it was nearly all shops of various kinds on both sides of the street. Trendy boutiques, nail care places, wine, jewelry and shoe stores, a shop selling "handcrafted single origin chocolate bars" and of course cocktail bars and lots of eateries.
This is how some San Francisco bars and restaurants tried to manage the COVID problem. We saw lots of these on Fillmore and also the Irvington and Judah Streets area of the Inner Sunset neighborhood.
Here is a fancy one. In a town like SF they must have cost big bucks to build.
We continued our stroll down Fillmore and steered ourselves towards our next meal.
We settled on a combo bento box of tuna sashimi, California roll and veggie tempura. This came with a small bowl of miso soup, rice, an odd salad and dipping sauce for the tempura and of course a pot of tea.
This was our third meal of the day and like the previous two we shared the bento box. It was plenty for both of us.
The seating areas were separated with noren which made it feel cozy and intimate.
Noren are traditional Japanese fabric dividers hung between rooms, on walls, in doorways, or in windows. They usually have one or more vertical slits cut from the bottom to nearly the top of the fabric, allowing for easier passage or viewing. Noren are rectangular and come in many different materials, sizes, colours, and patterns.
Noren were originally used to protect a house from wind, dust, and rain, as well as to keep a house warm on cold days and to provide shade on hot summer days. They can also be used for decorative purposes or for dividing a room into two separate spaces.
At some point in the past Betsy and I "discovered" noren. Our friend Greg K was going to Japan so we asked him to get us one, which he did.
Then our friend Naoko went to Japan and brought us one back as well and then another one at some point.
We have been using noren in our houses for both window curtains and door hangings and really enjoy them.
This is one of the noren in use at our house in Morgantown. Thanks, Naoko!
Sanppo is directly across from what was originally called the Japanese Cultural and Trade Center which opened in March of 1968, the very same month and year the Breidings landed in San Francisco.
Here is the main plaza and "Peace Pagoda" of the Japanese Center as it is now called.
The Sanppo used to be the site of the Toho Theater which opened July 30th, 1971. I was already a big fan of Japanese and Chinese martial arts movies so when the Toho opened up and had their "1st Samurai Film Festival" I was there on a regular basis.
At that time we lived at 2381 Bush Street and it was an easy walk to the Toho Theater and the shops in the Japanese Cultural and Trade Center which included Kinokuniya Books. I loved going there and browsing the titles although I seldom bought anything.
One day, in either 1969 or 70 I walked into the book store and saw a number of tables pushed together end-to-end and on these tables were all manner of Japanese woodblock prints.
Including the one shown below. I bought it.
This beautiful print has hung in our home for over 50 years and it was not until this summer I took it out of the frame and had a 2400dpi scan done. I was very happy with the results.
The title of the print on the glassine protective cover was "Wait one moment" (Shibaraku).
This word (Shibaraku) means a somewhat unspecified range of time, from a “little while” to “some time” to even “a while”. Here is a common, polite phrase that uses it:
[Shibaraku omachi kudasai]
Please wait a while.
shibaraku: a good Japanese word to know
Source: Self Taught Japanese
Looking at the Samurai with hand faced out and down and the forceful gaze with sword at the ready conjured up a scene of a stand off between this magnificent samurai and a band of rag-tag ronin. He is telling them "Wait one moment" or dismemberment and death would surely follow.
Wait one moment!
And that was what I envisioned every time I looked at this print for the last 50+ years.
Just this past July I started doing a little digging and found out this woodblock print represents a scene from a Kabuki play "Shibaraku".
My interpretation of "Shibaraku" in this instance was not far off. Below is a scene from a famous Kabuki play by the same name. This quote is a good explanation and was written by Shôriya Aragorô who manages the web site Kabuki21.
The bombastic "Shibaraku" scene was staged for the first time in the 1st lunar month of 1697 at the Nakamuraza, within the drama "Daifukuchô Sankai Nagoya". Ichikawa Danjûrô I played the superhero role and his stage partners were Ogino Sawanojô and Yamanaka Heikurô I (the villain).
This scene was a huge success and it quickly became a custom to include it within the kaomise programs of the three Edo theater during the eighteenth century.
The scene is the inner yard of the famous Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine shrine in Kamakura. The evil lord Kiyohara no Takehira has usurped the power and taken imperial loyalists prisoner, including their leader Prince Kamo Jirô Yoshitsuna and Yoshitsuna's betrothed Princess Katsura-no-Mae. He plans to execute them. The henchmen of Takehira are a bunch of four red-faced warriors, a priest called the nyûdô Kashima Shinsai and the mysterious lady Teruha.
The execution is about to start but Teruha persuades Takehira that a bloodbath in the precinct of the shrine would easily anger the Gods. Takehira does not listen to her and he summons a more powerful warrior, who comes along the hanamichi. His name is Narita Gorô (an allusion to the Naritaya guild) and he seems fearless and pitiless. The four henchmen perform a haradashi short dance while Takehira drinks some sake.
A loud, chilling and angry-voiced "shibaraku" ("Wait a minute!") is heard from the other side of the agemaku at the end of the hanamichi. The situation gets confused. An imposing super-warrior named Kamakura Gongorô Kagemasa appears on the hanamichi, coming to the rescue of the prisoners.
OK, back to 2022 (but not for long).
After departing Sanppo we started the walk down to Geary and Fillmore where we would catch our final bus of the day to get back to Ocean Beach.
In April of 1968 the Breiding Family had settled into a house at 2466 California Street (now a parking lot). This was our first house in SF. When we arrived in March we first stayed at the YMCA at 351 Turk Street and then moved to a residence hotel. Both of these locations were in or on the edge of the Tenderloin neighborhood.
My mom eventually found the rental at 2466 California and we moved in. My sister Suzi lived in a studio around the corner on Steiner Street. About a year later we moved into 2381 Bush Street.
This shows the proximity of 2466 California to the intersection of Geary and Fillmore streets where Betsy and I would catch the next bus.
For some, this is a legendary and famous intersection. Just across Geary Street on the southwest corner was the home of the Fillmore Auditorium. Here is a sampling of performers who played the Fillmore between January 4th and April the 14th of 1968.
Albert Collins • Albert King • Arlo Guthrie • Big Black • Big Brother • Blood Sweat and Tears • Blue Cheer • Booker T. and the MG’s • Cannonball Adderly • Charles Lloyd • Country Joe and the Fish • Cream • Crome Syrcus • Electric Flag • Eric Burdon and The Animals • H.P. Lovecraft • Hour Glass • Iron Butterfly • James Cotton • Jimi Hendrix • John Mayall • Lemon Pipers • Loading Zone • Love • Moby Grape • Phil Ochs • Quicksilver Messenger Service • Roland Kirk • Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee • Sons of Champlin • Steppenwolf • The Butterfield Blues Band • The Chambers Brothers • The Collectors • The Flamin’ Groovies • The Incredible String Band • The Siegel Schwall Blues Band • The Staple Singers • The Steve Miller Blues Band • The Sunshine Company • The United States of America • The Vagrants • The Who • The Youngbloods • Traffic • Ultimate Spinach • Vanilla Fudge
On April the 14th 1968, the last entry I mention above, I was at the Fillmore for the Staples Singers, Love, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk show. This is how I remember it.
It was April 18th, 1968. Like most shows at the Fillmore it was a triple billing, all for $3.
We were already listening to Love's records and were big fans of theirs. Wayne, Sutton, Suzi and I went to the concert. Mom would not let Bill go because she felt he was too young. He was only 12 at the time.
I do remember Suzi and I went down to the Fillmore together. At the time she was whacked out on morning glory seeds and feeling a bit queasy. By the time we got to the Fillmore she was really out of it. She seemed nervous and scared and at one point during the Love concert moved closer and took my hand. Looking at me she said: "You are always here. Always here". What was a 15 year old kid supposed to make of that? I was not sure and said nothing.
By the time the Staples Singers came on Suzi had mellowed out and was entranced when Pervis came out on stage and sang "A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall". It was a compelling performance and I think it is safe to say everyone there was spell bound.
As you can imagine that is a night I will never forget especially now that I have something tangible to remember it by.
Until two years ago I had no idea original posters for some of the concerts still existed. So I bought not one but two.
The above poster was for the April 18th, 1968 show with the Staples Singers, Love, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
Based on the photo above it is apparent the poster has aged better than the owner. There is a high resolution image of the poster only here.
I only remember attending two other shows. One was Big Brother and the Holding Company with none other than Janis Joplin as the lead singer.
I remember the venue as being quite small compared to the Fillmore and it may have been her August, 1968 performance at the Avalon Ballroom where Janis belted out her repertoire. What a powerhouse!
I can remember once when we were at 2381 Bush we were playing a Big Brother album. When mom heard Janis wail she said: "How can you stand that!? She sounds like a cat in heat!" Yep.
The other concert I went to by myself was another triple bill this time at Winterland. That was on October 31st of '68. The lineup was incredible: Sir Douglas Quintet opened followed by Canned Heat and then John Mayall. I loved Canned Heat but Mayall was the main reason I went. After rockin' sets by Sir Doug and Canned Heat, Mayall came on stage. I was so excited. I loved him and just about wore his LPs out. He immediately started bitching about the sound and light and god knows what all and generally acted like an ass hole. I stayed for two songs and left.
What a disappointment! Especially after groovin' with Sir Doug and Canned Heat. Oh, well...
Even though tickets were cheap, money was hard to come by. I remember a time brother Wayne and I went down to Winterland to see if we could get in. There was a line of people down the block waiting to get tickets. Included in the line were a number of "weekend hippies". Usually in their 20s, they were well groomed and dressed in newish, trendy "mod" fashions. Some of the guys actually wore wigs to sport long hair and some were showing off freshly scrubbed and pink bare feet. Oh brother...
I want to re-visit the Fillmore for a moment. I only found out recently through Morgantown friend and writer Craig Mains, the Fillmore under Bill Graham only operated for two years. Just to give you an idea how prolific Graham was, from January 6th 1967 until July the 4th 1968 Graham put on 227 concerts at the Fillmore.
Then he moved to Winterland and then in July 1968 to the Avalon Ballroom which was to become know as Fillmore West. So it looks like for a while he was putting on shows at both Winterland and Fillmore West.
Rock promoter Bill Graham at the Fillmore West, which was formerly the Carousel Ballroom, on July 2, 1968
I mentioned Craig Mains above. In 1974/75 Craig hitch hiked to San Fran.
The first time I hitchhiked to San Francisco I had nowhere to stay and a street person showed me where some people were staying. He referred to it as the Carousel Ballroom but I eventually figured out that it was the Fillmore. It was just a cavernous empty room at that time---I think around 1974 maybe 75. There was still a bunch of psychedelic paintings that had been applied directly to the walls and handbills advertising past concerts scattered on the floor. The stage was still there. I think I stayed there for three or four nights and wandered around the city during the day enjoying the gradual dissipation of the fog. You got into the ballroom by wandering up a couple levels of an adjacent parking garage and wiggling through a narrow opening.
Source: Craig Mains
Craig sent me this video link. What a hoot watching all the dancers at the Fillmore West. I never saw that at the concerts I attended.
After the dancing scenes is an interview with Bill Graham which you might find enlightening about how things were "back in the day".
Sadly, we must now leave the Fillmore and all those memories from long ago. I will forever be indebted to my mom for taking us to San Francisco and changing all our lives forever, in so many ways.
OK, I see that bus coming for Betsy and me. It is the 38 Geary R (rapid).
The R bus has limited stops. For us that meant 14 stops between Fillmore street and Point Lobos Ave which is the end of the line.
If we had caught the regular 38 there would have been 27 stops.
It was about a 4.5 mile bus ride to our stop at Point Lobos Ave. We got off and wandered around Sutro Heights Park and then headed down the hill to the Ocean Beach parking area. The fog was really thickening and we had a bit of a white knuckle drive back to our digs in Pacifica.
And so ends our first day in The City.
What will tomorrow bring?
Mike and Betsy
~~~~~ Addendum ~~~~~~
Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll - and Getting Old
After all that reminiscing about the 60s and having just turned 70 yesterday (12/14) I guess I can claim to have survived the 60s twice, one being 54 years ago, the other being 1 day ago.
I would not have thought of it in this light had it not been for our Tucson neighbor Wisconsin Deb.
Photo: Betsy Breiding
Leave it to Deb to come up with a birthday present like this!
And it was not I alone who survived the 60s. Thankfully all of the Breidings did.
Although I have to say I still feel like Brother Wayne could be listed amongst the casualties of that era even though the after effects did not manifests themselves until decades later.
This addendum also acts as a closing point for our 3 days in San Francisco. There were just enough hic-ups during days 2 and 3 that I have decided not to webulize them.
Why gripe when I can let sleeping coyotes lie?
And so it goes and we did as well. Onward to Leggy Leslie Land!
Until next time...
Mike and Betsy