Carol Channing brings it home
to Bob Pritikin's Labor Day bash.
Where to go when it's too hot in 54° City
Days of hot weather
are among the times when San Francisco earns its reputation as a haven
for wimps. "Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes
you soft," goes the Sunscreen song. We like diversity in our people,
but not so much in the weather here in 54¡ City.
As the standard bearers of adult ease and sophistication, we ought to
be able to muster a modicum of enchantment over clear skies, cold drinks,
and lots of exposed, dewy skin. For survivors of the 1989 earthquake,
a hot San Francisco day can evoke a sense memory marked by the anticipation
of a power blackout or a temblor.
Anyone one who writes about the weather in San Francisco is asking for
trouble, for it changes quickly and is soon forgotten. If it's cold
on Tuesday, you won't have any idea what I'm talking about. In a few
weeks, when the next heat wave comes, I'll here the refrain, "This is
the first hot day we've had all year."
Here's how Heart of the City explains San Francisco weather to newcomers.
It's either lovely in every way, or it's foggy, or it's raining - usually
in three-day shifts. All you need to know to live in harmony with the
elements is as follows: 1. Yokels freeze, locals layer. 2. Wear a scarf
or keep one handy even on a nice day. 3. If it's July it's probably
foggy. 4. If it's September or October it's probably hot. 5. The rainy
season is the calendar winter. 6. It's called a high pressure system.
If there is one, it's nice out.
As I prepare for an upcoming vacation in Europe, I know I'm going to
miss the warm autumn weather here at home. "How can you leave the City
at the outset of the social season," I was asked rather breathlessly
before the symphony opening. Every city has its big arts organizations,
I explained. They're not among the main reasons I love San Francisco.
Besides, even in a city as rife with natural beauty and endless surprises
it becomes necessary to cleanse the palette in order to keep the senses
fresh. In other words, and I'm sorry Dame Edna, but we've seen it. Been
there, done that, possum.
If the truth got out, it would be known that the social season in San
Francisco is all down hill after adman Bob
Pritikin's incredibly fun Labor Day party. Once you've seen socialites
Bella Farrow and Maureen Kennedy Salaman resting in the shade over a
plate of ribs near a giant copper tree that is at once a fireplace and
a fountain, what else is there?
Toss in local-gal-made-good Carol Channing for entertainment and you've
seen the only dame you need until Donna Sachet's Christmas party.
Contrary to some reports, Pritikin hasn't given his storied Chenery
Street mansion to the City. Pritikin has said he will bequeath
the house to the City for use as a "mayor's mansion or cultural center"
after Pritikin's death. Supervisors Matt Gonzalez and Sean Elsbernd
and former supes Tony Hall and Angela Alioto were on stage during Pritikin's
Alioto, who became an unofficial vice mayor for homelessness after endorsing
Gavin Newsom for mayor last year, says she would like to see the Chenery
house become a museum. If it does not, Pritikin may help solve the housing
crisis one person at a time, beginning with a future alcalde. Of course,
San Francisco doesn't need a vice mayor's mansion. Alioto already has
a perfectly charming home of her own.
San Francisco's 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness was spearheaded
by Alioto earlier this year and released to the public by Mayor Newsom
with much fanfare several weeks ago. Newsom said then that the current
"continuum of services" had taken the City "too far in the wrong direction."
With the new plan, he said, we would make a sharp turn in the direction
of supportive housing.
Caution, Turn Ahead: In the late 1950s, a section
of sidewalk incorporating sand from the famous black sand beach at Kalapana,
Hawaii was installed on the southeast corner of Geary and Powell streets.
Each year a little less remains of our black sand sidewalk, which was
created by Matson Navigation Company to celebrate service to Hawaii
and the opening of an office on Geary Street.
When I visited Kalapana in 2001, my initial interpretation of the many
miles of charred lava fields was one of the ultimate end for this seemingly
lifeless land. A closer look revealed tiny trees and plants growing
all along the blackened scene. A picture emerged of constant death and
rebirth throughout the millennia. It is a helpful perspective from which
to observe changing San Francisco. Detail
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