Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Quiz: Where in the World is Ciwt Headed? --- Day 12/209

Walk: Crissy Field

Distance: 4 miles

So where did Sonje Henie skate when she starred in a famous movie?

And Ernest Hemingway write most of For Whom the Bell Tolls?

And hunt with Gary Cooper?

And Ciwt own Ex Libris Bookstore?

If you guessed Sun Valley, Idaho, you are absolutely correct!!  Ciwt is headed there tomorrow.  She lived there year round for five years and hasn't been back for nearly 40 years.  Should be quite a shock.
Stay tuned...

Monday, July 24, 2023

Summer Packing --- Days 12/206, 207, 208

Walks: Presidio, Hood, AMC Kabuki

Distances: Average: 3.5 miles 

Ciwt is packing for a short, real - not San Francisco - summer trip.  Pretty easy since she barely has any real summer clothes.  But not quite as streamlined as the woman above.   

Stay tuned to learn where Ciwt is going...  

Friday, July 21, 2023

VERY --- Days 12/203, 204 & 205

 Walks: Presidio, Hood, AMC Kabuki

Distances: 4.5 miles average

Oppenheimer. Very intense, very serious, very well acted, very thought provoking, very (to Ciwt's sensibilities) one-note, almost numbing.  Not surprisingly to his Peaky Blinders and other productions fans like Ciwt, Cillian (pronounced Killion) Murphy killed it.  But the man he played was so thoroughly self-possessed, almost soft in his troubled genius manner, it is difficult to warm up to him and Ciwt wonders if the Academy will when Oscar time comes around.

If you go, you'll probably pass by throngs of people dressed in bright pink - men and women alike- on their way to the Barbie movie. Pretty cute.

Hard to know how to rate Oppenheimer. On her way out Ciwt heard a man about her age say to his wife "I'm not sure what to think.  But I know I liked it better than I would have liked Barbie."  Seems right on to Ciwt.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Swimming --- Day 12/202

Walk: Hood, West Portal
Distance: 5.5 miles

Open Water Women's 10km at Seaside Momochi Beach Park on July 15, 2023, in Fukuoka, Japan

Swimming confuses Ciwt.  She grew up on a lake and did it all the time pretty well, but somehow it always felt foreign and lonely.  Even that dip at night before going to bed when the water was black, warmer than the air and the bubbles she made were strangely neon.  It relaxed her body but made also her feel alone and aware of her smallness compared with the bigness of the water.  In Florida where she went with her family for spring vacation, she was secretly afraid of the ocean, no matter how gorgeous.

So looking at these women thrashing through huge open waters in Japan gives her a chill.  Six miles they will go in that formidable water, one by one.  Seems isolating, or at least consumately private.

Give Ciwt a surf board or water skis or a dock or board to dive off and she is happy.  But the lonely swim is another matter for her.  Yet, she would love to have a pool or live again on a lake.  Confusing.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Bureaucracy Unlimited --- Day 12/201

Walk: CA DMV, SF Assessor's Office, Asian Art Museum

Distance: 6.5 miles

King of Hell, 1600-1800, China or Korea, Ink and colors on silk, Museum Rietberg, Zurich 

So this was a big day with bureacracy for Ciwt.  It started with her appointment at our DMV to renew her drivers license.  No doing it on line this year.  (Probably an age thing) So it was the full test passing, picture (👵) taking, line after line standing process.  Luckily Ciwt passed all the hurdles so it was off to City Hall next to handle a property tax matter.  More lines, more windows.  But once again, all done.

After all those encounters with bureaucracy, Ciwt was looking forward to some calm.  So she headed off to our Asian Art Museum across an open plaza from City Hall.  She got her ticket and headed for its current exhibition: Hell: Arts of Asian Underworlds.  

And wouldn't you just know it; Asian Hell is a netherworld bureacracy.  Above you see the King of Hell sitting at his desk dealing with mounds of paper work. Meanwhile the people are waiting in line with their necessary forms which they can only hope will get properly processed.  Or,... well, we don't want to go there (like the unlucky souls being tortured at the bottom of the silk painting).

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Close in a Way --- Day 12/199

Walk: Asian Art Museum, Opera Plaza Cinema (Close to Vermeer)

Distance: 6 miles

Visitors viewing Johannes Vermeer's Mistress and Maid  (1666-67) at recent Rijksmuseum Exhibition

Mercifully it is over so Ciwt no longer needs to feel that mixture of disappointment and envy.  Disappointment because all the tickets were sold by the time she thought to fly to Amsterdam for the perhaps once ever exhibition of  28 of the meticulous, methodical Vermeer's small output of paintings. (That sell out happened within days).  Envy because, well, you know.  

Today though she found a near private venue to look very closely at those paintings.  Even though it was at a theater, in a filmed documentary the experience was deeply moving.  Its impact is summed up beautifully by Rotten Tomatoes top critic Adam Kempenaar: Close to Vermeer understands that great art isn’t just about the work itself – the craft, innovative techniques, and influence; it’s about the feelings a painting provokes in the individual observing it. And those observors include the general public, Vermeer lovers, scientists, conserators and art historians.  All deeply moved in the presence of Johannes Vermeer's art.

In actually Ciwt might have seen more back-of-heads and telephone screens than Vermeers at the Rijksmuseum, and Close to Vermeer may given Ciwt the best viewing experience.  Anyway, T\that's what she's telling herself.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Meticulous Craftsmanship --- Day 12/198

Walk: AMC Kabuki

Distance: 4 miles

Another Tom Cruise movie, another Mission Impossible, more daring stunts done by the actor himself, another perfectly tailored wardrobe, continued discretion in the love scenes, running, motocycles, on it goes. Not a perfect movie, but so what? Forget the religion stuff, concentrate on the fact that Tom Cruise actor/producer is simply one of the best ever and the last of the true Hollywood movie stars.

But don't just listen to Ciwt, let him speak (eloquently) for himself

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Joanie: Elegant and Comfortable --- Day 12/197

Walk: Presidio

Distance: 6 miles

Joanie Char

Meet Joanie Char standing at her work station in the store she has kept open and busy for the last 15 years.  Before that she was a few blocks away for many years and even before she had Joanie Char stores all over the world and her garments featured in Nordstrom and other fashionable department stores.

Not bad for a young girl who came alone to San Francisco at age 19 with little but a degree in Fashion Design she had just earned in London.

To this day, all garments in her store are personally designed by Char and individually created and fitted to her customers.  She told Ciwt she has dressed many famous people but really pays so little attention to their fame they often have to introduce themselves to her.  Like Cate Blanchett.  As Joanie was fitting her when she was in San Francisco to make Blue Jasmine she said "You are tall and such a pretty woman.  What do you do?" Cate answered nicely, "Thank you. I am a movie actress."  "Oh, that's nice."

Cate turns out to be a big fan of Joanie's along with Hillary and many more women who come to her from around the world (or locally like Ciwt).

Cate Blanchett in Joanie Char 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Since The Last CIWT --- Days 12/192, 193, 194, 195, 196

Walks: Presidio and Hood mostly

Distances: 3.5 miles average

Day 1: 

Day 2: 

Day 3: 
Day 4:
Day 5:         

Etc, Etc, Etc.  for months on end.  Summer in San Francisco. Not very inspiring - especially for a walker like Ciwt and all the poor souls above.

Friday, July 7, 2023

A Minor Lesson --- Day 12/191

Walk: AMC Kabuki

Distance: 2 miles

Every once in a while Ciwt walks out of a movie shaking her head about how in the world it found  financing.  This was one.  So minor, inconsequential, just so annoyingly English (and Ciwt likes English!), so light it didn't even provide Ciwt with much of a getaway from our relentlessly cold, windy summer.  And, of course, that last was the biggest disappointment.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Candy First --- Day 12/191

Walk: Union Square

Distance: 5 miles

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby and Robert Oppenheimer

So, Cillian Murphy is one of the best actors working today, also one of the best looking.  He's about to be seen as A-bomb 'father' Robert Oppenheimer in a new Christopher Nolan film.  If Murphy is new to you, before you go it and get an image of a (purposely for the role) emaciated Murphy, Ciwt strongly suggests you take in at least one or two episodes of Peaky Blinders. The robust Murphy eye candy is delicious and his acting is its usual superb on that long running TV show (streamable on Netflix).  PS - You will definitely need closed captioning for the Irish accents on Peaky Blinders. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Splitting Trees --- Day 12/190

Walk: Crissie Field

Distance: 5 miles

Claude Lorrain, View of Tivoli at Sunset, ca 1642-1644, oil on canvas

So, starting off today's CIWT with a small reader quiz.  When you look at the landscape paintings from different eras below, do you notice any similarities?

Thomas Gainsborough (English), Landscape with Country Cart, ca 1784-5, o/c

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (French), A Capriccio of Rome with the Finish of a Marathon, 1788, o/c

Thomas Cole (American), The Departure, 1837, o/c

If you said 'similar color tones ' Ciwt awards you some credit.  The main similarity though is trickier and artistic technique not meant to call attention to itself.  It is often refered to as the "split tree" technique and was first developed by the 'father of landscape,' Claude Lorrain, known as just Claude because his art was so popular and sought after in his lifetime.  

View of Tivoli at Sunset at top is a classic example of his "split tree" invention.  A sprawling landscape is viewed through a gap in prominent trees. This has the effect of framing the details of the painting, taking the viewer's eye back back back past the human and animal activity and the antique architecture to what the painting is 'secretly' about: the romantic and gorgeous sky.  

Claude painted in an era where the collectivity of art was based on the biblical and historical elements it contained. Landscape was just the outdoors, a place to be gotten through, where workers toiled and of no value in art. So, Claude has placed the re riqueur there: Roman shepherd boys, ancient ruins.  BUT, and it took much of the viewing public decades to realize this, what Claude had really done is highlight the serene, uplifting, even spiritual beauty of nature. Subtly, masterfully Lorrain presented an ideal landscape, more beautiful and harmonious than nature itself.  And this laid the groundwork for the traditions of French and English historical landscape painting that arose two centuries later and dominated for over 150 years.

Eventually of course those 150 years of 'split tree' technique became a burden to artists.  It was still being taught and demanded at French art schools to young artists who wanted to say more about nature.  All respect to Claude, but they wanted to portray, nature's science, its instability, its many moods. And to do that they began dropping out of art schools, teaching themselves, developing their own ways of painting nature.  

Ciwt smiles when she sees where van Gogh placed his tree in his 1889 painting Green Wheat Field with Cypress.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

July 4, 2023 --- Day 12/189

Walk: Crissy Field

Distance: 2.5 miles 

Happy Fourth of July from Ciwt's San Francisco to wherever you are celebrating it in our wonderful country.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Sunday, July 2, 2023

All that Jazz and More --- Day 12/187

Walk: Fillmore Jazz Festival

Distance: 2.5 miles

Annual Fillmore Jazz Festival: Sounds of the City

So, this is what Ciwt's little neighborhood looked like today and every first weekend of July during the Fillmore Jazz Festival.  It's the largest free Jazz festival on the West Coast, drawing over 100,000 vistors.  Ciwt's photo captures the present very organized version of a festival that began as a virtual free for all with people imbibing any variety of booze and drugs and scaring audience members and shoppers.  Many stores simply closed their doors for the two day event. Trash was everywhere when it was over.  Neighbors hated it.

But over the years and to their credit the producers have worked with neighbors, and fine tuned the logistics so that the musical spirit and multiple stages fill the streets while there are designated listening, shopping, eating and even drinking areas - and there isn't a hint of trash the next day.   It's really professional, rich, joyful with top class talent that blends art and soul in one the the country's most unique neighborhoods.  This said by Ciwt who is normally not a street fair fan.

Jazz is authentic to the Fillmore, and the Festival has a rich and colorful history. Against the backdrop of World War II, dozens of Fillmore Street Jazz clubs hosted the era’s major musical talents, including Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Billie Holliday. Stars such as Joe Louis, Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood and Sammy Davis, Jr. were in the audiences. At the legendary Jimbo’s, Louis Armstrong went to check out Charlie Parker (the only known time they were under the same roof). Chet Baker snuck out of the Fort Mason barracks to jam all night, and John Handy played Bop City with John Coltrane.

In the 60’s, Jazz historian David Rosenbaum ran the Melrose Record shop on Fillmore Street, employing high school student Maya Angelou. Zen Buddhism was first introduced to the West in the Fillmore, which became a creative home to artists including Isaac Stern, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Mel Blanc and Alan Ginsberg.

In the 1980’s, a renaissance gave rise to the next generation of the Fillmore District. Merchant associations helped launch the first Fillmore Jazz Festival in 1986, giving new expression to the storied neighborhood. In 1999, the festival came home to the newly revitalized Jazz Preservation District.

Those in the know would be interested to hear performers who have graced San Francisco Fillmore Street stages include Dr. Lonnie Smith, Denise Perrier, Lady Memphis, Kim Nalley, Pete Escovedo, Jules Broussard, Big Belly Blues Band, Brenda Boykin and Paula West.

If you're around next July, come on down to the Fillmore.  Maybe you'll run into Ciwt.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

48 and Counting --- Day 12/186

Walk: SF Playhouse (A Chorus Line)

Distance: 4.5 miles

Dancers 'trying out' in SF Playhouse's current revival of A Chorus Line

A Chorus Line is almost 50 years old!  Ciwt can only imagine how stunning its book and lyrics must have been when it opened on Broadway in July 1975. The play openly addresses social issues which were largely kept 'in the closet,' or between best friends or you and your therapist at that time -  being gay, colored, abused, desperate to escape the small town stultification of the 50's, spousal coldness, the punishing but desperately needed life in the theater.  

Ciwt wishes she had seen it then.  Her first time was today, and, truth be told, she looked at her watch several times.  The acting and singing were excellent but the immediacy and jolt of the issues have become commonplace.  Their remaining deep appeal is probably to a gay and theater performer audience or people who retain strong and fond memories of seeing it on Broadway. Looking around Ciwt's matinee audience, it appeared nearly entirely comprised of a 'white hair' straight crowd. Polite clapping but no wildly enthusiastic whistles, cheers, standing ovations.

Ahh, but the dancing!  A Chorus Line is set in the midst of an audition for an upcoming play, so high stepping routines fill much of the play and are a pure and timeless delight.  No looking at Ciwt's watch then.  

Overall, in spite of being past its prime for Ciwt (who of course is past hers), A Chorus Line is still a beautifully structured, compassionate and thoroughly entertaining theater revival experience.