Monday, June 24, 2013

A Warrior Monk in the City of St. Francis: Part 5 - Of Music, Rain, and Honor

So now the weather has become a factor in my explorations of The City of St. Francis. An unexpected rain storm has descended upon The City and my friend E. Francis Kohler and I are busy deciding what we can do in the midst of the inclement conditions. Ah! The Legion of Honor! But before I relate that story, I had and interesting time in the Outer Mission District with Francis.... a musical event and party which the host named Ham It Up.

The weather hadn't turned to intolerable on our walk to The Mission but a wind was starting to make it's presence known to us so I had my hood up. Francis snapped this picture of me (above) and know you see the reason I have titled my blogs this trip to The City. My feet were still suffering from the punishment I had handed out to them the days before, but we slowly walked down Valencia Street and looked in the shops and galleries. We even ran into some old acquaintances of Francis' at a gallery where two of them had an art opening and spent time talking to a gentleman who claimed that he had a machine that was able to interact with us using Quantum Entanglement as it's method of interaction.... yeah, right. 

We arrived at the party fairly early, stuffed ourselves on some good food and wine, and proceeded to  sit and chat with people I didn't know but Francis and his lady Deb did. I eventually got to a piano and had a fun time playing but then the rooms became scheduled with performances so I just sat and enjoyed. Two of the guitar players were especially notable as they were very good and played songs from James Bond films such as 'From Russia with Love.' But, eventually my feet got tire of standing and I sat down in the hall on a chair. I started listening to Francis' friend Laurie (spelling?) who was relating along with another woman about the gentrification that is displacing lower income people in The City and about what is now being coined as the "Google Buses."  But more about that when I've had a chance to research more of that. Soon, the time had approached midnight and many people were starting to leave so we called it a night... back to the flat we went. Ah, blissful slumber.

The next day was raining in a misty way by the time we had worked our way to our final destination, The Legion of Honor. I knew I really wanted to get there since there was an exhibition of Impressionist painters with the theme being water and boats. This was fantastic! It had been over almost a decade since I had seen any of the impressionists works in person (since my trip to Paris with my parents in Christmas time of 2003) and I really wanted to see them again.

We roamed the halls and galleries for hours, ate a bit in the museum dinning hall and commissary, and then walked back to the main hall where there was a performance of the Skinner Organ which is a 64 rank organ that had been donated to the Legion of Honor almost 40 years ago. You see it and the soloist in the above picture. The type of organ is called a Symphonic Organ as it's evidently no meant to be played with great speed as a solo instrument because of it's design but rather mostly as an accompaniment to choirs and symphony orchestras. But the performance was lovely, the soloist quite enlightening in explaining about the instrument, and the sound in the main hall was haunting. But in the end, with it either raining or a constant mist, we headed straight home after the museum closed (but it was the right weather to be inside I'll have to admit to Francis).

And so today, I found myself doing just a little stroll of Divisadero Street to some shops after breakfast then a run to the Japan Center on Geary Street for a favor for my sensei. Now to finish my blogging and await my friends return home.... tomorrow, it's time to head home to Sac. My journey's in The City at an end, for now.

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