Best Things of the Week 4/27/15
5 hours ago
Where we share information about our department's collections, exhibits, classes and other resources.
The air currents, sweeping off the hills and the harbor, move not only with exceptional velocity, but in an unpredictable variety of directions. ... Sometimes one flag in the outfield will be rippling toward the bay, or hanging limp, while another is stiffly directed toward right field.He deftly described how the design of the structure itself help to circulate the air in these myriad directions. (By the way, Temko really loved the Oakland Coliseum).
In 1962, Americans were just learning that they would have to fight for a decent environment. Suddenly the country was being ruined before our eyes, smashed, raped, poisoned, stunk up, and, not least, disfigured by inhumane and even hideous buildings.He used this pen to skewer architecture that he found wanting -- he described the now iconic Transamerica Pyramid as "the biggest architectural dunce cap in the world." He excoriated Pier 39, an oft-visited tourist destination, as "corn, "kitsch," "schlock" and even "honky-tonk." Perhaps his most entertaining put-down was of the Vaillancourt Fountain at the Embarcadero as an object "deposited by a concrete dog with square intestines."
There's not much wrong with this concoction ... except that the building is far too big, misshapen, and crudely detailed - quite simply a mess - after two years of design, redesign and official review.He later acknowledged, to his chagrin, that the finished building -- the "jukebox hotel" and "mutant of Las Vegas" -- has "delighted the populace and appalled the architectural community."
The current political battle over the freeway is a classic case of human environmental rights vs. the tyranny of machines. ... It amounts to a choice between a sunny, open waterfront and the dark, forbidding, virtually moribund place The Embarcadero has become since the freeway's technocratic shadow enshrouded it a quarter of a century ago.The present revitalization of the waterfront is a testament to this vision.
All is warmth and sunlight, which changes constantly in the course of the day, and the building at last comes wonderfully into its own.At the same time he was critical of the "needlessly complicated floor plans."
One of the revered poets of the late 60s love generation, Rod McKuen is also a highly acclaimed singer, songwriter and soundtrack composer.Of course, San Francisco was the locus of the "late 60s love generation," so it's not surprising that the poet and songwriter had strong ties to the San Francisco Bay Area.
...he appeared as a folksy balladeer in San Francisco nightclubs; obtained a music theory book and learned to write tunes ... eked out a posh living by crashing parties and gorging himself on choice comestibles.Slonimsky then dismisses McKuen's output:
He became a roving poet, dispensing a plethora of facile country-style songs with monosyllabic assonances for rhymes and a simple appeal of scenes of non-obscene free love against an artificially flavored pastoral landscape.Nora Ephron famously skewered McKuen (along with Eric Segal of Love Story fame) in her 1969 essay "Mush" (anthologized in the collection Wallflower at the Orgy). She inadvertently hits on what might be the main cause for such fervent negative criticism - McKuen's sheer success. She quotes him saying that he had sold 5 million books ("but who's counting") and had an annual income of three million dollars - undoubtedly grounds for resentment. Ephron goes on to enumerate the source of this success:
[P]oetry is only the beginning. There are records of Rod reciting his poetry, records of Rod's music, records of Rod singing Rod's lyrics to Rod's music, records of Rod's friends singing Rod's songs--much of this on records produced by Rod's record company.This is not to mention his concerts, film soundtracks, and television specials. By 1969 Rod McKuen was really big.
I'm not sure if Rod actually lived on Stanyan Street but as we all know he certainly spent time there and I'm guessing that would have been during the early 60's. Special meaning? Well, it was a very special love affair. One point of interest is that Rod is on record as saying that only two people know the exact location of that little house on Stanyan Street.In a 1975 San Francisco Chronicle article, Blake Green wrote that the Stanyan Street was, in fact, a "long-ago demolished Victorian."