The Westin St. Francis Hotel is a relic of the past, but functions with modern efficiency. Its vivid opulence is a window into a time when beauty could motivate limitless expense and inconvenience, and art was created to be lived in as much as seen. In honor of its 110th anniversary the hotel is offering free tours and "complimentary historic bites" on the 21st of every month at 1:10 p.m. until the end of the year. We took an hour off work to check it out.
12:55: Walking through Union Square, always a pleasant and relaxing choice for a mid-afternoon in the Summer. Plenty of low priced, high quality clothing and independent, businesses. I love the real San Francisco!
The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.
July Westhale is a Pushcart-nominated poet, activist, and journalist. She has been awarded residencies from the Lambda Literary Foundation, Tomales Bay, Napa Valley, Tin House and Bread Loaf. Her poetry has most recently been published in Adrienne, burntdistrict, Eleven Eleven, WordRiot, 580 Split, Quarterly West, and PRISM International. Her poetry can also be found in Women Write Resistance, and Contemporary Queer Poetry. She was recently nominated as a Best New Poet for 2012 and 2013, an AWP Intro Award, and a Creative Writing Fulbright.
When people ask what do you do, you tell them... ?
I tell them I work as a journalist & freelance writer, piecing together income.
What's your biggest struggle -- work or otherwise?
My biggest struggle is upholding my own boundaries -- that manifests as the inability to say "no" to work that may or may not be serving my best interests, saying "no" to spending my time in ways that could possibly be harmful to me. But I'm working on it!
Many artists at one point or another have claimed San Francisco to be home, but very few have had their names become synonymous with the City's art scene like Goggin, Rivera and Bennett. And this week we bring you another artist whose work not only adorns various San Francisco neighborhoods, but whose legacy continues to benefit and influence future generations of artists in the Bay Area: Ruth Asawa.
Ruth Asawa was an American artist of Japanese heritage, who at a national level was recognized for her achievements in intricate wire sculpture, public commissions, and her activism in arts education. In San Francisco, she earned the nickname "fountain lady" due to her several fountains that are available for public viewing.
In 1968, Asawa created her first fountain work, Andrea's Fountain -- a mermaid fountain in Ghirardelli Square by San Francisco's Aquatic Park, and until her death created several other iconic water sprouting pieces, the most notable of them being Hyatt on Union Square Fountain, which features all the key attributes of an Asawa work: attention to detail, love for her surroundings, and community involvement.
"I'm a total idiot!" How many times have you said something like that when you can't find your keys? Or consider "I'm such a buffoon!" Have you used that one when you accidentally knock over your water at dinner? Or how about "I can't ever get anywhere on time!" Do you say that when you're late for an appointment?
Sometimes such phrases are harmless. Yet they can be evidence that we don't like ourselves very much. They're often repetitions of what parents or other people in our lives have told us since we were young, and they could be true reflections of how we see ourselves. Such cruel remarks can end up being our only points of reference for who we are, what we're worth, and even what love is.
Welcome to the world of low self-esteem. East Bay author Anneli Rufus explores these issues in depth in Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself. By exploring her own experience as well as stories from friends and associates, she demonstrates how bad thoughts and feelings affect our behavior and limit us as humans. Rufus also provides guidelines of how to change these habits and rejoin the world of the living.
I interviewed her recently after reading Unworthy.
Like some of your other titles including "Party of One" and "The Scavengers Manifesto," this book pulls a lot of material from your own life and experience. What moved you to write about self-hatred?
You can't buy love, but you can buy a heart. That's what the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation found out when they launched their program "Hearts in San Francisco," which displays uniquely painted statues of hearts across the City, auctioning them off at the end of the year to benefit the San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center.
For the 10th anniversary of "Hearts in San Francisco," PIER 39 selected the original piece, "Open Heart" by local artist Patrick Dintino, which will be a permanent fixture on the end of PIER 39.
It started with a pigeon's green tail feathers -- Nancie Gee was walking along Mission at 24th Street when she noticed the unusual coloring of a pigeon pecking at the ground. This was followed by a time where she was sitting on a park bench and a hobbling pigeon made his way towards her. As it came close, she reached down and scooped up the pigeon and placed him in her lap. Laying there on his back, she took a small scissor and went to work snipping away the string that was wound around the pigeon's feet.
"The pigeon was so trustworthy," says Gee of the hobbling bird, and after she put him down, she noticed his unusual markings and snapped a few photos as he weaved around her legs.
Joshua Boulet and I hurry past the Golden Gate visitors center together on a windy Tuesday morning. He is stopping in San Francisco as a part of his "Sketch the World," a solo journey through time and space that has become his lifestyle. Without a permanent home, job, or direction Boulet follows a path of his own making, paved by friends, bus routes, and geographical curiosity.
Today he has permitted me to follow him to his chosen sketching location of the morning so I can lob impertinent questions about his childhood and bank account at him. Afterwards he will walk the bridge in both directions and then wander the City. This is his modus operandi in his travels. "I can spend all day on a computer trying to make a plan or I can just walk the city and see what I run in to," he says.
There is just one problem: the bridge is gone. True to form, the mist over the bay is not the swirling special effect of a panoramic shot of Middle Earth, but an impenetrable whiteness that obscures all before us barely revealing just a hazy scarlet suggestion of the architecture underneath.
There is nothing for Boulet to sketch.
Last week, we discussed the delicate and difficult task of talking to potential partners on OkCupid. Slightly less delicate and difficult is talking to people on Tinder. But while OkCupid is more geared towards people looking for relationships, Tinder is largely centered around one-night stands.
However, since OkCupid users have to fill out profiles with information about their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and future goals, the matches will (for better or worse) will likely have something in common with you. With Tinder, all users have to do is provide some pictures, but it can be tough -- the hardest part of creating a Tinder profile is selecting pictures that portray the user in a desirable, but approachable, manner.
Picking the right picture can take all the stress out of figuring out what to say to your Tinder matches -- if your picture is attractive and welcoming enough, matches will be flocking to you as fast as you can swipe right.
Look to the profile pictures of these clearly seasoned Tinder pros to get an idea of the best picture to use to land your next hookup.
Oh dear, it's starting. That thing that generally happens with HBO shows: Too much is happening and it's all too bizarre. Plot gets lost in a cyclone of ideas. Let's hope this is a momentary setback.
First we have Kevin's son and his charge, a pregnant chick who is enamored with the guru who disappears. This entire subplot is weak; who cares about any of them? They are roaming around hoping that their guru will call them, but on the way they run into men with no pants on who claim to be able to peer into their souls.
Then they are on a bus that nearly crashes after a UPS truck full of dead bodies capsizes and rolls all the corpses out onto to pavement. Why are so many bodies marked "Loved One" loaded up on a truck? Who knows.