Film festival celebrates aging


The International Film Festival on Aging is a celebration of the unique joys, challenges and opportunities of our later years, when our experience and wisdom are finally equal to our passion for life. Through artistic expression, we showcase the singular experience of becoming a true Elder. Presented by the Pacific Institute and the AgeSong Senior Communities, this film series illustrates the value of our Elders while challenging society’s archaic preconceptions about growing older. The International Film Festival on Aging will take place from February 20–22, 2009 at premiere film venues across the San Francisco Bay Area, including at the world–famous Castro Theatre. (February 20th at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco; and February 21st & 22nd at the AMC Theatres in San Francisco and Emeryville.) Films include international, independent and studio productions, from captivating animated shorts to touching and memorable feature length films and documentaries, all of which explore the complex issues of aging.

more details at:


Some SF restaurant finds

I have been going into San Francisco every Friday to teach my elder art class in the mornings. I treat myself to lunch after and have been going around the City exploring for tasty delights.

I like Rose’s Cafe in Cow Hollow They are simple, snappy, and good. I had a roasted beet, fennel, radicchio, and avocado salad and then a very yummy dessert which was a special – warm fig and raspberry flaky tart with a big scoop of caramel ice cream which melted lovingly with each bite. I had to take a bite before I photographed it! I looked on their website and they make all their own breads and pasteries, so no wonder it was so special.


pieSpeaking of sweet things, another place you have to try is Mission Pie in the “Mission” duh. I first went there with Janet and Susan a few months ago. Ander and I went again and it had opened up a wall and moved it’s entrance to Mission Street at 25th Street. Both times I went it was scrumptious! Great crust and not too sweet filling. We had a good cup of coffee to go with it. lucas-pumpkin

This not your ordinary pie shop. It has ties on the Coastside:

Mission Pie is a business venture that collaborates with the non-profit Pie Ranch, a diversified small-scale educational farm one hour south of San Francisco. Through hands-on work and collective reflection at Pie Ranch, San Francisco teenagers discover new competencies and insights that benefit them as individuals and in community.

The idea of Mission Pie is rooted in a conversation with Mission High School youth during their first visit to Pie Ranch in 2005. They remarked that many people in San Francisco don’t have the means to visit Pie Ranch to experience the personal connection with the farmland that sustains us. Mission Pie is an attempt to bridge that gap. Mission Pie is a tangible connection to Pie Ranch; a place, like the ranch, where people can gather with a sense of community purpose and belonging. Since our opening on January 3, 2007, Mission Pie has provided jobs and training for the youth Pie Ranch works with at the farm.

They are taking orders for Thanksgiving pies:

Apple Pie
The classic double-crust pie made with an assortment of apples from NanaMae Orchards and other California growers.
Pear Cranberry Pie
Sweet, ripe Bartlett pears and fresh cranberries are topped with a brown sugar crumb.
Walnut Pie
Craig McNamara’s walnuts have inspired our spin on the traditional pecan pie.
Pumpkin Pie
Our seasonal favorite is made with a mix of roasted pumpkins and winter squash from Pie Ranch, enriched with milk and cream and sweetened with brown sugar and apple juice.

Spicy, tasty, fresh Peruvian cuisine

Friday after I taught my elder art class, I went exploring on Filmore St in SF. I used to hang there when I was younger, but not in a loooong time. I came upon a really great restaurant I want to recommend called, Fresca. It said “nouveau Peruvian cuisine” on its sign. I thought that sounded kinda hoitty toitty, but thought, why not give it a try.

I had a large bowl of roasted mussels with chorizo and a zesty tomato broth full of garlic and onions, for $10. It came with 2 slices of toasted garlic bread. Though this was an appetizer it was very filling and satisfyingly wonderful. Many diners were going for the seafood ceviche which looked glisteningly fresh.

Here are some other appetizers on the menu:

camarones chicama « coconut crusted jumbo tiger prawns, black bean salad, lucuma-orange glaze.
crab croquetas « jumbo lump crab cakes, coconut cream, mango coulis, pickled papaya salad.
papa rellena « fried potato croquette, beef picadillo, pickled onions, aji panca miso.
ceviche 5 elementos « halibut, lime juice, rocoto aji, red onion, sea salt.
ceviche chino « big-eye tuna tartare, ponzu sauce, avocado, aji huacatay, butter lettuce, wonton chips.
ceviche mixto « squid, halibut, prawn, clam, cilantro, red onion, rocoto aji, lime juice, sea salt.
tiradito « kona kampachi sashimi, jalapeño, soy, white truffle oil, andean corn.

When I looked up their website I was surprised to see that they have two other restaurants in the SF – one on 24th St and the other on Portal Avenue.

I highly recommend Fresca – the one on Filmore anyway. It looks a little fancy for a quick lunch, but the staff is very friendly and the food is terrific!

Aria – musical and sculptural performance

This was a multi sensory, beautiful experience –

Cellist Joan Jeanrenaud teamed up with Italian designer/fabricator Alessandro Moruzzi to create an interactive pairing of sculpture and music in the YBCA Forum. Inspired by the many permutations of air—“aria,” in Italian—the artists as explored the politics and poetics of this powerful, invisible element.

Toy soldiers battle in YBCA’s 5th Triennial

The opening night for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 5th Triennial (San Francisco) was a couple of week’s ago. I imagine it must be difficult to put together a show like this – a survey of what is happening in the Bay Area. So I applaud the hard work of the curators and the artists for putting it all together.

It was challenging to find the flow in the exhibit. Was the main connection location? These selected artists represent the Bay Area and perhaps that was the point – we have a varied eclectic group here, and I guess that is good!

One of the most profound pieces was by Brian Conely. His soldier installation with game pieces and strategy was intriguing. It included larger than life photo blow ups (no pun intended) of melted plastic army men heads which was humorous and sobering at the same time. Tied into the installation was looped news video of US forces bombing and bursting into Iraqi homes. I found this initially playful piece to be horrifying.

Searchinig around the YBCA site I found more info about his piece:

At Games Expo in Las Vegas on March 19–21, 2007, I asked a group of gamers to “play”/fight three battles from the war in Iraq, using recent information from Western and Iraqi news sites, and real-time reports from Iraqi bloggers. The gamers built a diorama that was used to represent a town in the Zarga region near Najaf for the first two games, and a neighborhood in Baghdad for the third. An onsite research team investigated and selected the scenarios.

The first game restaged an attack by a group called Soldiers of the Sky on a police barricade, on January 28, 2007, during the Ashura pilgrimage from Najaf to Karbala. This game was based on reports from Western news sources. The second game restaged the same event as seen through the eyes of civilians whose clan, the Hawatim, was involved. The last event followed a live hostage crisis that had begun in February, 2007, when Hannelore Kadhim and her son Sinan were kidnapped from their Baghdad home by a group called the Arrows of Righteousness.

I think the Triennial is worth checking out, but do not expect to be wowed. Read more about it here:

Beautiful San Francisco Birthday Tour

For our dear friend Charlene’s birthday, Ander and I took her for a San Francisco whirlwind tour of some of our favorite places. We did not tell her where we were going, so each stop was a surprise.

First we had a lovely lunch at Fog City Diner on Battery and The Embarcadero. I used to go here a lot when my friends were working around the corner. The food was still great after all these years. Luckily we made reservations ahead because it was pretty hopping. I had a crispy reddened snapper sandwich which was spicy and delish, and Ander had a 1/2 pound Niman Ranch burger. Charlene had the Chicken Schnitzel with broccolini and lemon caper butter. Everything was served promptly by a very responsive waitress and was terrific. The restaurant looks a bit garish on the outside, but the inside is all dark wood and there are booths or tables  and a busy liquor and oyster bar.

After our meal we moved on to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. I chose this because she and I both enjoy gardening and flowers. It turned out Charlene had always wanted to go here and so it was perfect!

The Conservatory is one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in San Francisco and the 12,000 square-foot greenhouse is the oldest existing glass and wood conservatory in the United States. i think it looks like the American version of the Taj Mahal!

The greenhouse is divided up into environments: lowland tropics, highland tropics, aquatic plants, potted plants, and a special exhibit area. The temperature changes as you move from one are to the next.

These tropical flowers brought a smile because they reminded me of my mother and grandmother who lived in Hawaii.

This little guy was fascinated by the fiddle heads. There were many kids there with their parents.

The special exhibit area featured info on pollinators of all kinds – bats, birds, wasps, bees, and butterflies. A few butterflies fluttered about to the delight of the many kids.

I love the aquatic area – check out the video:

Walking in this most wondrous place I really got a sense of peace and calm. Charlene’s comment was, “How can you not believe that there is a higher source after being here.”

Last on the tour was the De Young Museum. Here we stopped for coffee and shared a fruit tart and opened presents. We then went up the elevator to the 9th floor to see the view of Golden Gate Park and surrounding San Francisco area. It was a bit foggy, but that just added to the timeless, mysterious, landscape of The City.

birthday beauty

Here is the birthday beauty!

It was nice to be a tourist and have a play date with our dear friend. I recommend getting out there and enjoying our local venues to remember why you live in this terrific area.

The baby boomers fucked everything

We went to Southern Exposure’s new temporary space at 14th and Valencia in San Francisco. The event we saw was called “The baby boomers fucked everything, a psychedelic light show.” It was described as “an epic journey of sight and sound exploring the war’s effect on the American psyche to mark Independence Day.” Performing were Steven L. Andersn, Karl Erickson, and Robby Herbst, three Los Angeles based artists whose interests include counter alternative cultures, rhizomatic plants and color praxis, with sound by The Faraway Places (Modal Energy Music Configuration).

The performance was a light and music show that tipped it’s hat to the liquid projections of the ’60s. There is a great link I found that talks all about the origins of this art form: Since I had never been to a live light show, it was great fun to sit around on the floor and on bean bag chairs, with a bunch of strangers and take it all in. I think I even smelled a bit of herb floating through the air. I’m sure it was nostalgic for some of the viewers, but most of the audience weren’t even born then or at least weren’t teenagers in the ’60s. Though the light and music were great, I kept watching the light and color makers putting together their magic in the back with their overhead projectors. As far as being a profound piece about the war, well, it wasn’t. The videos say it all, so have a groovy experience watching them.

Southern Exposure’s Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

417 14th Street (@ Valencia)
San Francisco, CA 94103
t: (415) 863-2141

No charades here

The Mallory Cocktail- ask her what’s in it!

Thank you so much to Mallory and Tom and Tiana for inviting us the SF Mime Troupe 4th of July this year. We had no idea what we were in for except that we knew we usually had a blast with these guys and they usually have some great food. What could be more fun then sitting on a blanket at Dolores Park in the sunshine? It was funny though, because as we were at New Leaf getting our picnic supplies, Ander and I both admitted to ourselves that we hated mime, and we were nervous about being stuck in a crowd of people and not being able to escape! Oh well, we thought, just go for it, stretch our comfort zone.

Well, it was a blast! And we found out that the SF Mime Troupe were not at all silent about their message. They were right on target concerning the political state of the nation. Ander thought the music was great and the play well written – and that’s a lot coming from him! It was funny to hear him singing the songs the next day.

Music, humor, and satire were very effective ways to convey some deep and important issues about our economy, lack of citizen support, and our ineffective government. What I really appreciated was in the end the message was not about supporting a particular candidate, but that citizens must stand up for their rights no matter who is in power.

Some background on this group from their site:

The San Francisco Mime Troupe does not do pantomime. We mean ‘mime’ in the ancient sense: to mimic. We are satirists, seeking to make you laugh at the absurdities of contemporary life and at the same time, see their causes. We’ve done shows about most of the burning issues of our time, generally shows that debunked the official story. We perform everywhere from public parks to palaces of culture, aiming to reach the broadest possible audience.

Here is a synopsis of their performance:


What if a small town found itself at the forefront of a political fight? It’s Election Day in small town America, and that’s what happens when, due to an Electoral College tie, the entire Presidential Election comes down to the one tiny town. Suddenly, the ignored, disregarded Bluebird, Kansas is the most important town in America. And they are being pressured to quickly cast the deciding vote, and vote the “right way.”

But what would happen if they decided to wait? Can one little town hold an entire nation’s election hostage? Should it? Is bread on the farm house dinner table tonight more important than deciding who sits at the Oval Office desk tomorrow? Yep, this election could take a while . . .

You can still catch the troupe this summer. The schedule for next week is:

7/16 Montclair Ball Field (Wed)
6300 Moraga Avenue, Montclair
Music 6:30pm, Show 7:00pm

7/19, 7/20 Cedar Rose Park (Sat & Sun)
1300 Rose Street, a block from Cedar & Chestnut, Berkeley

Check out the rest of the schedule by clicking here.