Monday, July 18, 2011

Asian Art and Odd-Ball Films

[This blog is out of sequence due to constraints on time and sleep while traveling with friends]

Day 7 of The Black Sword in the City of Saint Francis

PART ONE - Asian Art Museum

I had always wanted to go the the Asian Art Museum here in San Francisco but for some strange reason I'd never taken the time to go. After what I saw there today, I now know why... The place has so much art that I'm interested in I could just hang out there for days! The exhibition on Bali was to die for. I was not allowed to take pictures in the Bali Exhibition but the permanent exhibits were just fine as long as I didn't use flash. Well that was all well and good but I had never learned how to use my flash controls and thus how to turn off the flash. I fiddled with the controls as best I could but after a few tries I was still using the flash (and I'm happy that one of the docents didn't see it and rat me out or chew me out). Well, at least the iPhone didn't have a flash built in and it's camera was OK... not great, but OK. I took a slew of pictures from the iPhone but downloading them will have to wait until I get home and can sync my iPhone with my Main Media computer.

The permanent exhibits had examples of artwork from all over asia that was put in both chronological order and by place of origin. The entire exhibit divided the asian continent up with first India, then South East asia, then Tibet, China, and finally Japan as well as giving examples of the different religious philosophies and movements that had developed in asia over the centuries. I must have spent 5 hours at least in there. There was simply now way to see and digest intellectually all the parts of that museum. But, when I get the pictures downloaded at home, I'll be sure to post them and discuss them both here on my blog and on Facebook.

I had been standing all day from a very practical point of view and I needed to take a break. I hoped out of the museum and onto a #5 bus to head back to E.F.'s place. No soon had I just take a seat on the bus than E.F. called me and said he was home with his friend Katrina. I told him I was on the way and would be there in 10 minutes. When I got there, Katrina and I started talking. From my recollection, it was the first time I had ever met her but I had heard about her from E.F. plenty of times in the past. I think this was just the first opportunity for us to ever meet face to face. We started discussion hockey and our love for it, the finer points of the game, our injuries, and so on. Then it was time to get dinner before a treat (at least for me but surely for them too) which was a chance to see a set of archived films (yes films, on film and not tape!) at something called The Oddball Film Festival. It sounded fascinating.

We started out to pick up E.F.'s friend Johnny and his wife Giselle out on Haight. When we got there in just about 15 minutes of walking, it turned out that their new little puppy was acting up and Giselle was just too tired. So we set of without her and the four of us headed down into the Mission District. Along the way we grabbed some Indian food and relaxed then continued into the lower Mission until we reached this very, very nondescript building that if I had to find today to save my life I couldn't.

PART TWO - Oddball Film Festival

So we go inside, up this set of stairs, have to get buzzed in past this black metal door, scurry up even more stairs until we meet this gentleman who tells us it's $10 for a ticket. The place is a film vault and repository of all manner of films from 40's thru the 70's and 80's. It's evidently used by film makers as a place where old archived footage can be accessed and used in all manner of ways. The place where the films were being shown was fixed with a very small round stage and a huge part of the wall behind it was for the screen to see the films. A somewhat flimsy sound system was in use and sometimes one of the speakers would cut out. The intent of the evening was to showcase the work of this one film artist who had used the archives as a source for putting together old films into a theme which in this case was networks and communications.

The films were interesting. They were everything from old commercials with Bill Cosby talking about the virtues of Green Giant green beans to a film about the history of the telephone and the future of communications with satellites from the 1960's and Bell Labs. I hadn't seen some of these images since my childhood and it was fascinating to watch them. This is one of the things that I really love about coming to visit with E.F. in San Francisco. Every time I come there is something new and fascinating happening somewhere.

The return home was a long trek from the Mission back to Johnny's place then home. We stopped of at a corner store where Katrina got wine and I got Milano cookies and some milk (a secret passion of mine). We joined up in the living room and kept talking and eating until well after midnight. What a good day....

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