Archive for Graffitti
I am often asked by recent transplants where they can find the real San Francisco.
And I will always lie.
Giving them instead the names of a few mission bars where they can bring their friends from back home, and appear
“in the know”.
“The Starlight Room?!? oh no no no. We’re drinkin at Bender’s!’
so Pabst in hand, they will show the little country mouse where the real party is, and fill the tip jars of the true local color.
But the true San Francisco..
well, that’s a personal matter. And personally, MY true SF is just that.
If you go to the corner of 24th st and 3rd, and walk towards the water you will find a little park that has absolutely no business being there at all. Officially , it is know as warm water cove. Owned, though anything but maintained, by the park and rec dept, it consists of a strip of beach overlooking the bay. Surrounded by an industrial landscape, a belching smokestack dominates the view, its thick grey plume the only sign of life in this desolate end of the earth. But the surrounding fences covered in epic graffiti , like an urban Lascaux, bear the immortal signatures of those who stood here before.
Welcome to sunny Tire Beach.
It is lonely here.
The soil is volatile with accumulated run-off from the neighboring dry dock, and hundreds of illegally dumped tires form an expanse of the shoreline. Known also as toxic gulf, it was once the site of an ancient foundry and has served as the final resting place for a fleet derelict Muni railway cars. But unlike it’s super-star super-fund neighbor, Hunter’s Point Naval Ship Yard, Tire Beach has never undergone a clean up, with the exception of the complete removal of all graffiti. It was a strike against urban blight in a remote and deserted area, spearheaded by members of a community located nowhere near there.
But thankfully, and predictably, due to the nature of graffiti, their efforts were futile, and this uptight citizens brigade only succeeded in making themselves look like jerks.
I will always be thankful for being shown this special place when I was 15, and to the complete stranger I let take me there. A Gutter punk named T-bone who I ran across in the wee hours out on the streets, a fellow refuter of the concept of “bedtime”. We partook of our partake-ables, and embarked on a cross town adventure, arriving at tire beach just in time to see the sunrise.
I am a connoisseur of sunrises, and you will see none as glorious as you will from Tire Beach.
Here is a list of other things I have seen and done that could have been experienced nowhere else.
- Burned down a pier while setting off a model rocket
- Held a conversation about the benefits of bathing in acetone with a man who had a dildo tied a round his neck.
- Performed fellatio on a giant portrait of Franz Kafka painted on the asphalt.
- Repainted aforementioned mural when it began to fade.
-Played the bass at a punk rock generator show when the bassist couldn’t make it.
-Saw a man turn a heaping pile of rubber coated copper pipes into a screaming, toxic, bright green flame cannon, simply by lighting it on fire.
- Ran away when a man standing in the middle of the street required my assistance with his paper towel suit.
- Scattered the ashes of my mother and father.
It is a place of unearthly beauty, and I always feel privileged when I meet someone I care about enough to share it all with them.
If we meet someday, dear reader, perhaps I’ll take you too.