San Francisco always offers me visual delights, good food, weather I love and interesting friends. My good friend John Held, Jr., a mail/stamp artist, curator, gallery director, fluxus plus archivist and fake folk artist, always offers up interesting conversation that teeters on the edge of bizarre. A few weekends ago the bizarre intellectual exchange got visually physical.
He invited me to an event in a four story victorian mansion off of Alamo Square, just a 90 degree angle from the famous seven sisters. He wasn't sure what the attire would be, so I put on the good ol' go to lil' black dress and my three inch heels. I teetered precariously on my left over heels from my big moaning performance of the Vagina Monologues at the Henry Fonda theatre. San Francisco isn't the park right in front of the event type of town and I found walking four blocks uphill to be a challenge, maybe even a performance piece of its own.
We make it up the stairs to the double doors of a dark green, amazingly restored victorian with a square, glowing crow's nest perched four stories at the top, waiting for my arrival. We walk through the doors to the blaring sound of scratchy, 1920's music and a mingling mixed crowd. We pay the $40 dollar suggested donation and weave our way through the house. In the main room, with moody lighting, five semi-nude women in thigh-highs, long strands of pearls, fantastic headdresses, see-through sequins and wearing thick red lipstick lounged cat-like as if in an opium den.
Chairs were placed in a semi-circle around them with very serious looking men and women sketching in small journals and on large drawing boards. Brushing enthusiastically by me, one woman stated, "I'm inspired to write some poetry!" The cynic in me chuckled as I wondered about her inspiration..."On the chair she sat, much like a painted cat, posing like Jessica Lange, wishing for the music to change and hoping she doesn't look fat."
Oh yes, I was inspired too. For a small donation you could grab a few art supplies, some wine and join the drawing party. I did, but was soon discouraged by my lack of focus and lazy sense of line. I folded my sad little drawings, shoved them in my purse and proceeded up the stairs to the crow's nest. Atop this mountain of a home I found a 360 degree view of the city that offered me more sense of awe than the lovely ladies in peek-a-boo panties.
I turned to John and thanked him for bringing me to the nudie, flapperesque non-barney-mugging, visual feast. This was truly the bees-knees, the cat's pajamas as I sunk into the comfy chair perched atop the city in my nest.