Sunday, April 30, 2023

"Reading" --- Day 12/125

Walk: Park

Distance: 2 miles

Today Ciwt is determined to finish a mystery book she started months ago.  It is taking forever because she fades away so long between readings she can't remember either the plot or the characters. Does that appen to any of you, dear readers?

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Late to the Meeting --- Day12/124

Walk: Park and Hood

Distance: 5 miles

Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong - as every Succession fan knows

So Ciwt has finally gotten around to watching Succession and is hooked.  Better late than never except for the spoiler hazard business of avoiding most articles and conversations about the show which began airing in June, 2018 and apparently is now in its last season.  At the rate she's streaming though, she'll probably be au courant - and more Succession sociable - very soon. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

Clunk --- Day 12/123

Walk: AMC Kabuki, Park

Distance: 4.6 miles

So Ciwt never readt he book, but she thinks it is probably better than the movie of Are You There God?..... In book form readers can have their own relationship with the material they are reading, connecting to the people and happenings they personally relate to.  By readers, Ciwt means children or young, young adults who are deeply sensitive and curious in their own yet unformed ways.  They are also self-conscious and freaked out about body things even though they want to know.

So it was odd to Ciwt that the movie is so straight-forward and explicit, which is kind of what pre-teen girls absolutely are not.  To Ciwt, the movie felt like:  Okay, here's the story, no wiggle room, no cutely upsetting quandry so big that it won't be quickly resolved, that's it, Clunk.  She wonders if today's pre-teen girls will particularly relate.  Hard to know because Ciwt was perhaps the youngest person in the theater with no men in sight, and she supposes everyone of those woment was their puberty changes including getting their period for the first time 😑in the 1950's. Several of them clapped.  Ciwt thought: Clunk.

The movie is good, well done, but somehow there is no reality in all its reality. Clunk.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Permission Slip --- Day 12/122

Walk: Hood and Park

Distance: 4.5 miles

Okay, that's what Ciwt will do today.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Jamaican Farewell --- Day 12/121

Walk: Hood

Distance: 3 miles

Farewell, Beautiful Man

From The Atlantic by Jason Heller


The late artist and activist showed how popular songs could be both the soundtrack to and a tool of the struggle for freedom.

In 1956, something totally unprecedented happened in America: A Black artist topped the Billboard top-albums chart, not just once but for 31 consecutive weeks. That artist was Harry Belafonte, and the album was his third, Calypso. The musician, actor, and civil-rights champion died yesterday at age 96 at his home in the Upper West Side, not far from his birthplace of Harlem. Born to immigrants from Jamaica and Martinique, Belafonte was still in his 20s when he rocketed to superstardom and became a household name. His subsequent life as a film star and champion of progressive causes has tended to draw more attention than his early and important musical accomplishments—not to mention the life-affirming joy that those accomplishments inspired in listeners.

Even the seemingly innocuous, lightweight fun of Calypso opened up fresh territory in the cultural landscape. The album didn’t just establish a new benchmark of artistry and popularity for a Black singer; it was also the first album by any single artist to reach the million-seller mark, thus becoming a fixture in a large percentage of American homes, hearts, and minds. Even more significant, Belafonte’s hybrid of Jamaican music, folk, and pop paved the way for popular music as both the soundtrack to and a tool of the struggle for freedom.

Belafonte’s list of firsts is so staggering, it’s easy to see why his music can get lost in the superlative shuffle. He was credited, among so many other things, as the first African American television producer, and he was the first African American to win an Emmy Award. Although Belafonte’s recorded output slowed to a crawl after the ’60s—his final studio album, Paradise in Gazankulu, was released in 1988—music was never an afterthought to him. It was his wellspring. Including breezy, bass-driven gems such as “Jump in the Line (Shake, Señora)” and somber, bluesy ballads such as “Memphis, Tennessee,” his songs provided emotional context to his activism as the latter began to eclipse his musical output in the ’60s. He didn’t have to sing overtly about politics; his very existence as a chart-topping pop artist (and, let’s not forget, a universal sex symbol) who happened to be Black was, at the time, a statement in and of itself.

The idea of equitable Black representation in American pop culture may not have begun with Belafonte, but he certainly pushed that ideal to new heights. He was as much a part of the folk-revival firmament of the ’50s and ’60s as were Pete Seeger, the Kingston Trio, and Odetta (with whom Belafonte dueted in 1960 on an endearing live rendition of the children’s folk song “There’s a Hole in My Bucket”). But he made the transition to television and film so smoothly that it was hard to deny he belonged there, at the top—a casual and charismatic entertainer who never hesitated to risk it all for his vision of a better world.

No one will ever mistake the massive hit singles on Calypso, “Jamaica Farewell” and “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)”—which became Belafonte’s signature tunes and have rendered him musically immortal—for civil-rights anthems such as Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam.” But Belafonte’s songs were radical for the joy, pride, and inclusiveness they fostered—especially amid so much brutality and injustice. His music may have had an escapist side, but it’s good to remember the origins of that escape: the island states of the Caribbean, the cradle of calypso, where a new wave of independence was rising in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Belafonte’s renewal of traditional African-Caribbean ballads and work songs didn’t just evoke an earthy, homespun past. They broadened Black consciousness and inspired hope for the future. Revolution you could limbo to: That’s Belafonte’s musical legacy, and it was one of his greatest weapons.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

World Penguin (and Dad) Day --- Day 12/120

Walk: Union Square

Distance: 4.8 miles

Happy World Penguin Day, 2023

And a nod to Ciwt's Dad who was the father of the penguin shirt and filled her house growing up with innumerable ones: glass penguins, stuffed penguins, silver penguins, etc, etc.

Monday, April 24, 2023

An Historical Story ---12/Day 119

Walk: Monday Errands, AMC Kabuki (Chevalier)

Distance: 4.5 miles 

Chevalier presents the story of Joseph Bologne, an 18th century musical genius nearly erased by history.

But, Ciwt left the theater trying to figure how much of the is true.  The amount of costume drama convention in the telling gives the movie a fictional vibe.  This is probably unintentional, but is ongoing and distancingnonetheless. Also here supposedly we have an important historical figure who is just being discovered by historians.  The researchers have barely located some of his handwritten musical scores so it is highly doubtful that they would have uncovered the movie's many intimate details of Bologne's daily life.  Overall Chevalier comes across as a story about an emerging story. 

Also an intriguing, well-acted story.  Kelvin Harrison, Jr's is excellent as Bologne, the score is melodic, and it is always nice to see Paris all dressed up.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Visionary Couples --- Day 12/118

Walk: Opera Plaza Cinema (Wild Life)

Distance: 4.1 miles

Certain marriages are a bit awesome to Ciwt.  That the partners would be so seemingly perfectly suited, that they would have actually met each other in the first place.  Two examples of these marriages are combined in the new National Geographic documentary Wild Life. One couple consists of  the professional mountain athlete, photographer, film director, and author Jimmy Chin and his wife, Princeton Comparative Literature major, documentary producer and director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelya.  Theirs are the true canon of mountaining films: Free Solo, and Meru especially. The other is the marriage of mountaineer-businessman-conservationist Douglas Tompkins who (among other endeavors) founded the outdoor clothing company North Face and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins who was the CEO of North Face's fiercest rival, Patagonia.

Unfortunately Doug Tompkins died in a 2015  kayack accident in Chile and without completing his vision of acquiring massive amounts of land in Chile and Argentina, converting them into national parks and donating them back to the governments of those countries. Certainly putting an elevated spin on the word 'conservationist.'  But his bereaved but determined widow, Kris, made sure that Doug's vision was brought to fruition.  Today, due largely to the ongoing work of the nonprofit Tompkins Conservation run by Kris, almost 15 million acres of pristine wilderness in Chile and Argentina are protected in perpetuity.

Chin and Vasarhelya were invited (or hired, Ciwt doesn't know the arrangement) to document the Doug-Kris-Tompkins Conservation story and have once again created a superior film with Wild Life.

But as Ciwt sat in her theater seat along with a smattering of other viewers, she couldn't help thinking 'What does this have to do with me?'  Of course she too loves the environment and gorgeous land and wants it to be preserved.  But Wild Life is on such a grand scale it feels to her as if it should be showing in corporate board rooms and places where enormously weathy sportspeople or other visionaries gather.  Perhaps it will be.

Once Again Juliet --- Day 12/117

Walk: SF Ballet (Romeo and Juliet)

Distance: 5.5 miles

Like many of us Ciwt has seen Romeo and Juliet in various versions many times but never as touchingly as it was danced by SF Ballet today.  Juliet as danced was utterly innocent, young and fresh which made her heartbreaking story even more touching.  

Friday, April 21, 2023

Dedicated and Intense Vision --- Day 12/116

Walk: Presidio Golf Cafe

Distance: 5.2 miles

Ansel Adams (American 1902-1984), Clearing Winter Storm Yosemite, @1937

Ansel Adams, Clearing Winter Storm Yosemite, @1937*

So if you live in California or anywhere and have seen a Sierra Club poster or book, you are acquainted with the photography of Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984).  As a long time resident of California, Ciwt has seen many Adams'photographs and often because several locations he concentrated on are here.  And the wonder for Ciwt is that each viewing is fresh and intensely accurate; she feels like she is looking at the photograph and the location for the first time.  Adams somehow and literally captures nature in all its aliveness.

And he did it in the early age of photography when only a few even knew how to point and shoot and you could probably count on one hand the number of nature photographers who began to develop darkroom techniques that allowed the nascent cameras to perform 'tricks.' 

One such technique was varying the amount of light on particular areas of the print during exposure.  Trained as a pianist, Adams often compared the photographic negative to a musical score and described each print from a particular negative as an individual performance of that score.  For example, he printed the two photographs above from the same negative, but toned one with selenium giving it a maroon tint and (to Ciwt) a very different feeling.

Another 'technique' Adams developed was constant watchfulness.  He had a deep sense of the quick changes of nature and leapt out of his car or off his horse or abruply ended his hike when he sensed the arrival of a fleeting moment.  He took the remarkable (and countlessly printed due to its popularity) photograph above from Yosemite's Inspiration Point soon after a sudden rainstorm turned to snow and then, just as swiftly, began to clear.  A near miraculous capturing in terms of the vicissitudes of nature and the spontaneous eye and technical skill of the artist.

This years later from a boy who found his true loves - a Brownie box camera and Yosemite Valley - for the first time at age 14.

* The two white circles in the sky of  the bottom print are light reflections in the glass at the deYoung's current exhibition Ansel Adams in Our Time.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Calling All Herons --- Day 12/115

Walk: Golden Gate Park: Stow Lake, deYoung Museum

Distance: 7.4 miles

Stow Lake, GG Park

So, does anyone see any Herons here?  Our Parks Department announced (or reminded birdwatchers) that this is heron nesting season at Stow Lake and the trees are full of adults nurturing their chicks.  So Ciwt trotted over for the spectacle.

But not a heron or chick in sight.  The only bird she got a good view of was this Canadian goose who marched right over to her when she was 'heron seeking' on the bench - and bit her!    

Here a parent and chick that was visible to some photographer somewhere.....

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Beyond Bollywood Images --- Day 12/114

Walk: Hood Parks

Distance:  3.5 miles

So, truth be told, Ciwt doesn't know much about the Indian gods and goddesses or their stories, but she found their artistic images in the Asian Art Museum's Beyond Bollywood show to be delightful.


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Lords of Dance --- Day 12/113

Walk: Nails and Stuff

Distance: 3 miles

So, Ciwt was surprised to see an image of President Obama in our Asian Art Museum's current show, "Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art."  Turns out he is shown in the most well known form of the god Shiva dancing: left leg lifted high and angled across the body, multiple arms balancing many things at once.

You go, Barack!!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Tax Time --- Day 12/112

Walk: Monday Errands

Distance: 4 miles, then at computer crunching tax numbers

Don't ask her why, but for some reason Ciwt quite enjoys preparing her taxes. It is like a puzzle.  

Paying them?  Well,.....

Sunday, April 16, 2023

In Between Space --- Day 12/111

Walk: Union Square

Distance: 2 miles

So Ciwt forgot to show her readers a goodbye picture of her old home.  Empty and waiting for new young couple and their chocolate lab who are the new owners and in now.  Wonder how they will put their living room together......

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Not for the Sleepy --- Day 12/110

Walk: AMC Kabuki (Showing Up)

Distance: 4.5

As you can probably guess Ciwt has been to a Lot of movies, and she really can't recall any that were flatter and ultimately more cheerless than Showing Up. To her, it gives 'arty' a bad name.  But almost all Rotten Tomato's Top Critics are giving it excellent reviews.  So you may decide to ignore Ciwt's opinion and see for yourself.  If so, she does suggest, don't go if you're sleepy - you may be like Ciwt and have a hard time staying awake.

Friday, April 14, 2023

New Life 2 --- Day 12/108

Walk: City Hall, Asian Art Museum

Distance: 5.5 miles

Tianjin Ren (American, b. 1962), Taihu Rock - East Wind II, 2018, Nickel silver

So this new sculpture in front of the Asian Art Museum seemed to speak to Ciwt today.  Its naturalistic evolutionary shape  is modeled on a "scholar's rock," a type of water-eroded stone collected by Chinese scholars since the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and treasured for containing nature's essence.  It was cast by the artist to resemble the Chinese symbol for "East Wind" and references a Chinese idiom encouraging total preparation in case a critical element is missing. 

 "Everything is ready except the east wind." This is the idiom and (today at least) it seems to Ciwt to be about beginnings but also the impossibility of controlling exactly what is ahead.  Who can harnass the East Wind?  

Thursday, April 13, 2023

New Life 1 --- Day 12/107

Walk: Davies Symphony Hall

Distance: 5.2 miles

So Ciwt's 'new life' with no more old home of 41 years began today with a symphony.  Except for a rehearsal she went to with a visiting friend - who is a symphony pro - Ciwt had never been to our world renowned Davies Symphony Hall.  It's kind of an odd place in Ciwt's humble opinion, and of course the hugest man in the audience sat right in front of her, but overall it was a lovely new adventure.  Capped by Handel's Water Music Suite #1 which was suitably triumphant for Ciwt's private little occasion.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Well Deserved Beautiful Spring --- Day 12/106

 Walk: West Portal

Distance: Just 1.2 mile

Good things are popping up here in California - including the sale today of Ciwt's old home.

The future is coming up Poppies and Lupines and Goldfields and more 💮🎕

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Spring Closet Caper Begins --- Day 12/105

Walk: Union Square

Distance:5.5 miles

So with covid and all, it has been a long time since Ciwt has 'reviewed' (even really looked at) her clothes closet.  Here she goes...

Monday, April 10, 2023

Signing Day --- Day 12/106

Walk: Monday Errands

Distance: 5 miles

So today was Ciwt's document signing day for the sale of her old home.  Not to be confused with closing day, which will be soon.  There are now so many, many pages to be signed and then carefully reviewed by the title company, it is more than a one day process.

And not to be confused with the era when Ciwt herself was a realtor.  That was a bit after a handshake sealed the deal but still when the transfer documents were no more than a few pages and closing was accomplished in a matter of minutes.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

From One Chick To You --- Day 12/105

Walk: Easter Stroll

Distance: 1.5 miles

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Thin, Entertaining Air --- Day 12/104

Walk: AMC Kabuki 

Distance: 4.5 miles

So when Ben Affleck is the star-director of a movie, it often seems to Ciwt something is off about the pace.  The camera gets unnecessarily close to a peson or sceneery, then moves unnaturally slowly to whatever or whoever is next.  And there is often something off about how the people speak: too deliberately, in a too soft or rapid fire voice, too high toned or macho cool. To Ciwt it seems pretentious, like the director is silently saying "Something Important is happening here."  And condescending: like Ciwt wouldn't get that all on her own (or make her own judgement). And like the events at real speed in real voices can't speak for themselves.  And grandiose; like Michael Jordan wearing Air Jordans was/is a signal event of the end of the 20th century.  

All that aside (which is kind of hard , especially with Matt Damon in a fat guy suit), Amazon and Ben Affleck's movie Air is pretty entertaining.  At least for Ciwt who enjoys sports movies.  But, come on, they're sports movies, with sports business executives and agents, and sports and business trash talk, and huge business success and stellar protective mothers watching out for their babies.  Give the viewers some credit and some air...

Friday, April 7, 2023

Hic, Hic, Hooray! --- Day 12/103

Walk:  Hood (Should have gone to a saloon)

Distance: 4.5 miles

Celebrating the Original National Beer Day

Prior to full repeal of Prohibition with the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, President Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, (aka the Beer-Wine Revenue Act), which amended the Volstead Act to allow the manufacture and sale of beer with a 3.2% alcohol content. Previously, the Volstead Act had prohibited the sale of any beverage with an alcohol content above 0.5%. 

Signed on March 22, 1933, the Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect on April 7, now observed as National Beer Day.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

April 6!! --- Day 12/102

Walk: Recology

Distance: 6 blocks

Just when Ciwt (as in Can I WALK There) was thinking nothing happens on April 6 she realized it is National Walking Day!!!   

It's also Siamese Cat Day, Student-Athlete Day and New Beer's Eve.  Oh dear, so many observances, Ciwt needs to sit down.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Disappearing Act --- Days12/94--101

Walks: SFMOMA, Old Home, SFMOMA, SFMOMA. Old Home, etc.

Distances: 4.5 miles average

Ciwt's old home will sell next Wesdnesday and her last tour takers left today so hopefully her little preoccupied mind will once again have room for CIWT.  She misses you!!!