my favorite spots in the entire City is the chair where I
get my hair cut at Hon Vo's Polk Street Hair Design. Before the current
spa craze, the beauty chair was one of the few places a man or woman
could legally receive 30 minutes of uninterrupted nurturing. It's
also the site of many memories of anticipation. A quick trim adds
to the excitement and gravitas of a special event. On the occasions
that I ask for an extra short cut, Hon knows I'm leaving for a long
Last week, I visited the chair before leaving the City for the 90th
birthday celebration of my beloved grandfather, Arthur Audette of
Fall River, Massachusetts. At the salon on Polk Street, as the Bangles'
disco version of "Venus" played over the radio, I thought about my
own longevity. "You know, Hon, the first time you cut my hair this
song was a hit."
"Now you're old," says Hon.
There's a terrific artifact of notorious San Francisco on the table
of James Gold, a veteran of Vidal Sassoon who currently has a station
at Hon's shop. A piece of Kevin Shelley for Secretary of State campaign
ephemera is autographed as follows: "To my friend James, I'll win
because of the haircut! Kevin."
PS: My grandfather still has a head of beautifully thick, white hair.
This is a hopeful sign that my professional relationship with Hon
Vo could ultimately last longer than Shelley's political career.
Onward: Each year, Taren Sapienza and Lee Houskeeper,
organizers of the 1906 quake memorial event, cast a wider net in search
of living survivors. At this year's celebration at Lotta's Fountain
before sunrise on the 18th, there may be a survivor who was in Fresno
at the time of the quake. Soon I may have to bring my grandfather
back from Fall River as a stand-in.
Let me be the first to say publicly that it would be a pity if the
City took the event away from Sapienza for next year's Centennial,
which is likely to be an international media event. Sapienza picked
up the baton from her father 30 years ago, organizing a party that's
as home spun as you can get. It starts with Sapienza tapping the mic,
"Is this thing on?" and goes from there.
Sapienza tells me, "We've confirmed a half-dozen survivors so far.
Francis Mae Duffy of Medford, Oregon is a survivor who was in the
City at the time of the quake. Her father was a cable car operator."
Sapienza reports that a contingent of Duffy's relatives from around
the country is coming to honor Duffy on the occasion of her first
appearance at the quake memorial.
PG&E and the City have more contemporary disasters
on their minds. They are sponsoring a free forum on lessons learned
from international disaster response and what can be done locally.
"Lessons Learned" gets underway at 7:30 a.m. and runs through noon
at 77 Beale Street in the PG&E Conference Center. According to organizers,
"Natural disasters that have impacted us internationally provide valuable
lessons that help to refocus our local planning for natural and man-made
Speakers will discuss the consequences of the Kobe and Loma Prieta
Earthquakes, and how San Francisco's planning has been changed by
these disasters. Doug Sandy from the San Francisco Office of Emergency
Services & Homeland Security will speak, along with Charles Eadie
from the Office of Redevelopment and Housing in Watsonville and PG&E
Safety Manager Dave Powell. For more information and to RSVP, phone
Ann Stangby of the OES&HS at 558-2782.
In other event news, Mark Pitta, Michael Capozzola, The Meehan
Brothers and Clarinda Morales bring "North Beach Comic Relief"
to Cobb's Comedy Club on Sunday April 24 at 3 p.m. The event is a
fundraiser for the continued restoration of the North Beach Jazz Mural
at Broadway and Columbus. For tickets and information contact the
North Beach Chamber of Commerce, 989-2220.
Beginning this month, ArtHaus directors James Bacchi
and Annette Schutz present "No Contest" by artist Adam Kurtzman. The
inspiration for Kurtzman's sculpted installation comes from the classic
Kewpie Dolls of the early 20th century. For more information, phone
ArtHaus at 977-0223 or visit the gallery on the web at arthaus-sf.com.
Sony Holland, the local jazz singer whose repertoire
includes several original tunes about San Francisco returns to the
Empire Plush Room for the first week of June. A little bird tells
me Holland has never sounded better following a recent tour of venues
Congratulations to former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez,
whose recent kick-off party for his new law office was big fun. Tony
Hall and Frank Gallagher made the scene, as did former District Attorney
Terrance Hallinan, V. Vale, Jeff Adachi, Medea Benjamin, Warren Hinkle,
and an overflow crowd of admirers and well-wishers.
The office is across California Street from the old Pacific Stock
Exchange. In describing the layout of the offices, a neighboring tenant
described Gonzalez' digs as, "Just like mine but with much better
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