SF LIFE: Cherry Blossom, Pawn Shop, Hidden SF Finds
Oh boy, the pink and white is blooming, that means it’s Cherry Blossom Festival time! Have you ever wanted to step back in time and experience the San Francisco of the roaring 20’s and 30’s? You can do it at The Pawn Shop (don’t bring your grandpa’s watch!). We have found more unusual things to do and see in SF as well, so keep on reading to explore our hidden finds. And listen in to my Happy Hour podcast interview with a master Feng Shui expert.
The Tenderloin Museum
The Tenderloin gets a bad rap but behold there is a museum that celebrates the rich history of one of our most misunderstood museums. Immigrants and iconoclasts, artists and activists, sinners and saints reside in the 31 blocks known as The Tenderloin. The museum resides in a corner of a single-room occupancy apartment complex called the Cadillac Hotel.
Inside, ornate black and burgundy wallpaper adorn the walls, reminiscent of a speakeasy or flapper bar. The look is intentional, as the Tenderloin neighborhood has a scandalous history of prohibition, prostitutes, and overall promiscuous behavior. Photographs and newspaper clippings line the walls and are accompanied by videos and sound clips that help to convey a full sensory history of the neighborhood. The gift shop sells the work of local artists on a rotating schedule instead of selling the usual gimmicks. On their tours, neighborhood secrets are revealed such as the best places to view drag on the weekends, and murals containing portraits of the neighborhood’s residents. Open Tuesday through Sunday. http://www.tenderloinmuseum.org
Attract Wealth and Wellness
You’ll love this conversation with Debra Duneier, a master Feng Shui practitioner and creator of EcoChi, an interior design system that combines green and sustainable practices, wellness studies and spiritual design philosophies. Debra and host Kim Selby discuss the principles of Feng Shui, the healing power of EcoChi, the importance of bringing the outside inside and enhancing your life. And meet Debra at our Renewal Summit – she’s one of our panelists. Listen in to this great conversation.
The M & H Type foundry continues to make fonts the old-fashioned way, by molding them out of red-hot metal. Located in the Presidio, the foundry shares a roof with one of the most vintage typesetters, Arion Press, and you can get a tour of the printing process from start to finish. Arion publishes classic and beat-era books in period-authentic type.
Take the public tour and visit the typesetting area where you can see vintage presses, rollers and letters being strung together to form words, and then whole pages. Next stop is to descend into the basement to see the alchemical process of actually making the individual letters out of the foundry. The tour ends where the bookmaking process does, when the paper is inspected, and the volumes are bound. Arionpress.com
Tenderloin National Forest
A forest in the tenderloin? Yup! A previously drug and trash riddled alleyway in the neighborhood is now a colorful and verdant oasis, dubbed the Tenderloin National Forest. In 1989, an artistically driven nonprofit called the Luggage Store Gallery annexed the adjacent alley, which the city ended up selling to the group for $1. Soon the area was transformed, bringing a speck of nature and art to the tenderloin.
Today the alley walls are covered in neighborhood art and shaded by four-story-high redwoods, among a variety of other plants. Stop by and be amazed! Luggagestoregallery.org
You can’t help but notice when the cherry blossoms are in bloom; the falling petals of pink and white resemble a warm weather snowstorm. There is something so appealing about these trees. No wonder this Asian festival is a hit with everyone. The festival showcases the dazzling display of the color and grace of the Japanese culture and the diversity of the Japanese American community.
The Grand Parade takes place on April 21st – at the Civic Center at 1 p.m. Japanese performers, Mayor Breed and other dignitaries will be on hand to celebrate the closing day of this beautiful spring festival. Tomorrow kicks off the celebrations with, among other events, a world-class origami exhibit, an Ikebana exhibit and demo, a Fashion show and various martial arts performances. That is just the beginning. For the next three weekends festivities abound for all ages. And the food…. don’t forget the food! www.sfcherryblossom.org