Archive for san francisco

Alternative Press Expo 2010
October 17th, 2010 | Link

For a while around 1994 I dated a guy who worked in a comic book store, and once I attended a comic book event with him. The vendors were mainly men in the 25-45 range, most of whom were bitterly lamenting that comics were dying. The core audience was aging and their tastes were changing, and comics had become too expensive for most kids so there was no new generation coming up. Additionally, the Comics Code Authority had so tightly censored content that the commercial publishers were losing ground. That gelled with the clientele I’d seen at the store, which sold comics, manga, graphic novels and collectible figurines in the main room, model kits in a smaller adjoining room, and had an awesome indie record store in the back. It was the record store that had brought me in, and I never did get into comic books or the related collectibles. After I got married E. turned me on to some graphic novels like the excellent seriesĀ Y: The Last Man, and I’ve grown to appreciate some of the artists known for the genre like Dave McKean and David Mack.

It’s sixteen years later, Comic Con is a huge annual event, and last year my cousin’s 16-year-old daughter was super excited to make the trip by herself. Read that last statement again: she was born around the same time comic vendors told me the industry was dying, she’s a teenager, and she’s a girl (a vibrant, artistic, crazy-in-the-best-way amazing girl). I wasn’t paying much attention to what was going on with the industry in the interim, but it seems like graphic novels have become a big niche market. This weekend was the annual Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco, and E. and I checked it out yesterday for the first time. What struck me most were (1) it was huge (taking up the entirety of the Concourse Exhibition Center — someone told me that last year it only used half the space); (2) there were plenty of women, both attending and exhibiting; (3) the broad variety, from zines to self-published books, from children’s material to adult content. There were a few tables representing larger publishers or vendors, but in many cases the folks manning the tables were the artist or writer of independently-published works.

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Don’t Ask Me…
June 22nd, 2009 | Link

Went for a walk at Crissy Field yesterday and stumbled across this fine fellow. The detail was fantastic–he even had whiskers and eyebrows.

Folk Songs of the Rocketmen
December 1st, 2008 | Link

Spaceway Ballads: Folk Songs of the Rocketmen (circa 2075 AD)

There is a fabulous exhibit at the San Francisco Airport in Terminal 3 right now (past the security gates, so you’ll only be able to see it if you’re flying) of vintage science fiction items from the 1930s onward: toys, trading cards, comic books, paperbacks, lunch boxes and, as shown above, records. The exhibit stretches the entire length of the moving walkways that go to the large food court near the United gates. We spent half an hour checking everything out.

Weird Bridge Fog
November 13th, 2008 | Link

Fog under the Bay Bridge near Treasure Island

This is the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland, near Treasure Island. Unlike the Golden Gate bridge, which is frequently buried fog, we don’t often see fog on the bay side like this.

Happy Easter
March 24th, 2008 | Link

Pink Ladies

Can you believe this? Two Sundays in a row that we’ve gone out on the town! It’s a record!

This weekend was the 29th annual Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Easter Celebration in Dolores Park. We’ve been a couple times, but not since we moved to SF. (Don’t ask me how that works. We saw more of the city when I lived in Canada than we’ve seen since we moved here.) The weather was gorgeous, the park was packed, and the Sisters weren’t the only ones who got all dressed up for the occasion. I wonder how that poor soul above got the paint out of her chest hair…

Green Bunny Man

Seems like people in this city love an occasion to costume up: Easter, Halloween, any number of neighborhood street fairs, the Bay to Breakers run. It’s no wonder that Cliff’s Variety in the Castro always has feathers, flowers and fun fur in stock. There was this one family—we didn’t get a good shot, but here’s one from Flickr (thank you, Flickr)— that was all decked out in yellow, down to the chick costume on the little one. People really go all out. This last guy (one of the hopefuls in the Hunky Jesus contest) carried his prop around for hours.

Hunky Jesus candidate with cross and crown of thorns

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
March 16th, 2008 | Link

Coit Tower rises from the trees

It was an amazing clear day in San Francisco, so we decided to get out and see some of the city. We took a bus to North Beach and had lunch at Piazza Pellegrini, then walked up Filbert Street to Coit Tower (that link is to Wikipedia—it appears that someone neglected to renew registration on, and it’s been squatted).

We took the elevator to the top of the tower, but for my money the real draw of the tower is not the view (though on a day like this, it is impressive) but rather the murals in the lobby, which are (so far) free to view. The murals were painted in 1933-1934 as part of a Public Works employment program for artists, and they fascinate me, they reveal so much about the times and about the artists themselves. Since there is no official Coit Tower site, the actuals on the artists and the murals are hard to come by, but I did find this site which at least has each of the murals and the artist who painted it, and Flickr search for coittower mural has a lot of good shots. And this piece by Marc Norton briefly outlines some of the murals’ history.

After that, we walked down the Filbert Steps—where we had our first sighting of the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill—and then home, stopping for ice cream on the way. By the time we got home I felt sun-baked, but it was a lovely afternoon.

Cage Dancing – Folsom Street Fair 2007
September 30th, 2007 | Link

This fellow was dancing suspended from a crane parked on 10th Street between Folsom and Howard, in front of St. Joseph’s Church.

Apparently this is a usual thing for this stretch of the fair.

Small Dog. Big Ocean.
May 13th, 2006 | Link

An old dog and the sea

Megabyte and I went to Fort Funston today. She’s been there before, with her dogsitter, but I think it was her first visit to the ocean.

Now, Meg is not shy when it comes to water. In Calgary, she spent many summers swimming in the Elbow River. But this ocean thing is a whole other matter. For one thing, the waves sneak up on you when you’re not looking. You pick a nice cool spot for a little lie-down, and the next thing you know you’re up to your tummy in cold water! So not fair!

Initially I wasn’t going to let her off-leash for fear the tides would be too strong for her. But after a while I let her go, as it was clear she wasn’t planning on swimming. She spent a good hour dodging the waves and rolling around in sand and other things that I think may have been little bits of dead crabs—nice—and then spent about a half-hour in the bathtub while I tried to get all the sand out of her fur. We’ll go again, but not until she’s had a haircut.

(We put a few more pictures up from today’s fun in my Megabyte Flickr set: all Megabyte, all the time.)

MUNI amusement
February 23rd, 2006 | Link

The “PASS OR $1.50″ LED sign on my MUNI fare turnstile at Montgomery station today had a burned out “P”.

Yes, I am easily amused.

Pretty new papers to play with
December 12th, 2005 | Link

An assortment of Yuzen papers

This weekend I finally made a trip out to the Kozo Arts store on Union Street. They sell beautiful hand-bound guest books, photo albums, journals and the like, which are available in the store and through their web site. They also sell Japanese decorative papers, but only in the store. But they had a good selection of Yuzen (as well as some Indian and Thai papers, pretty ribbons, and some bookbinding supplies–they also offer classes), and between there and the nearby Paper Source store on Fillmore I picked up enough to keep me occupied for the next year.

I don’t know why I’m favoring the girly prints right now. I just prepared four photo albums’ worth of pages (96, to be exact: cut, folded, creased, and punched over three evenings) from black Rives BFK, and only a couple of these will go with it. But, today I received some cream-colored journal and album text blocks from Hollanders, so maybe I’ll use some of my new papers to case them in!



My name is Shannon Hale. I make things from paper, cloth and yarn, and sometimes write about other things going on in my life. More...


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