Only in San Francisco…


This past Saturday, the San Francisco arts community threw a party, and practically everyone came. I am speaking about the DeYoung Museum opening day, which went from noon on Saturday through 6PM on Sunday. 30 Hours of artsy madness that seems to have brought the whole city out. Many of the photos you will see on Flickr now are of the opening night/day’s festivities. Quite a few people also wrote about the event, but I think I had a somewhat unique experience…

For starters, I almost forgot about it, but at around 930pm on Saturday night, with Kristie out of town and nothing to do, I ran across the event on Upcoming and decided to go for it. I knew of some other people who were going from looking around the web and figured I would try to reach them once I got there, or just run into them. A little while after 11pm I arrived, thinking how cool it would be to hang out in the museum and listen to DJ Cheb I Sabbah who happens to be one of my favorite world music based DJ’s – and one I have never seen spin live.

As I got closer and closer to the doors, I realized there might be quite a wait to get in. I almost bagged it, but decided to go to the end of the line and see how long it might be. After walking literally 3 blocks away and not seeing the end of the line, I took a few photos with my Treo and started to head back, disappointed to say the least. I saw some people by a different entrance, but soon realized it was an exit and no one else was being let in (it seems it was a VIP entrance earlier in the evening). Some people said they were being lead to the main gate to be let back in with their green wristbands, so I followed hoping to sneak in with them – didnt work. So then I went over to the window over looking the part of the gallery where DJ Cheb Sabbah was playing, and saw all of those people down there dancing and having fun. I felt like the little kid on the other side of the fence again, but quickly moved past that feeling, realizing there was little I could do.

As I started leaving, I went past some ‘temporary art’ that was being created and then for shits and giggles decided to hang out by the exit to see if maybe I could see someone I knew or perhaps ‘borrow’ a green wristband from someone who was leaving. Then I noticed that the security guy was kinda sorta letting people in who were members. Given that I had every intention of filling out the membership and paying the $70 membership so Kristie and I could go to the museum and Golden Gate Park on weekends, I told him I was going to join right there tonight and he let me in. (turned out I could not do it that night)

Wow, the agony and disappointment turned into joy so quickly. I felt like a kid being unleashed in a candy store. Once inside, I realized everyone was here. The philanthropists, the suits, the artists, the nomads with backpacks bigger then they were, the club kids, the college students, the underground and just about every other cross section of society you can imagine. It was truly wonderful and I have never felt so much a part of San Francisco as I did while walking through those halls on Saturday night.

So I was taking photos with my Treo 650 when all of a sudden, it crashed, going into an endless reset loop. I tried to do a soft reset, but it didn’t work. If I did a hard reset, I would lose all my data and perhaps not even be able to use the phone. Here I am in the middle of the night, with no phone to contact the other people I was hoping to meet at the museum. This made me think more of what happens when the tools we rely on simply fail. Here I am screwed, because my Treo has this problem with the code used to manage the non-volatile flash memory – which was supposed to be the biggest improvement in the 650 from the 600. Turns out they issued an update to the system this past summer, but no one from Cingular let us know about it, no one from Palm let us know about it. But each of them had my contact information, knew I had this crappy phone with a serious flaw in it (I have done a lot of research on this and it would seem this is an often cited problem) and no one bothered to tell me I needed to do this update. They sure did not miss the chance to try to sell me more stuff via email though. Anyways, I digress, so lets ignore the part of my night that went terribly wrong due to my reliance on a product I previously respected (am now looking for a new phone to replace the Treo 650).

So I managed to catch Dj Cheb Sabbah’s last 2 songs and later saw some great reggae, just dancing with myself and the other 100+ people up near the speakers. In between sets I went for a walk through some of the galleries, when I noticed a distinctive San Francisco/Amsterdam sort of aroma wafting through the hall. How cool – only in San Francisco would you run into something like this. This happened several times throughout the night actually, in different crowded galleries and near the stage area. Later on, I actually saw a couple sneaking out of a somewhat hidden door, with that ‘just fucked look’ on their faces – people sneaking off to do the nasty during a public museum opening in the middle of the night!

Eventually, I saw the entire museum, which had some really great art in it, but in the end, the people and the experience is what really made it for me – uniquely San Francisco. What a great place to be, and what a great city to call home.


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