San Francisco in Jell-O
Liz Hickok: "My project consists of photographs and video, which depict various San Francisco landscapes. I make the landscapes by constructing scale models of the architectural elements which I use to make molds. I then cast the buildings in Jell-O."
I had gone to the San Francisco ASW party at the St. Regis at the invitation of A. The people are everything the press makes them out to be - so much so that they are a parody of themselves. This small cocktail party was hosted by a man whose title was "Prince", of some mumbled principality. He waves his fingers and cocktails appear in our hands. I wander off just as A. is chatting with the Prince about a recent sailing trip of hers in the Antilles.
Just outside, as I am walking by the SFMOMA, a homeless woman approaches me and asks for money. I reach into my pocket and hand her a couple dimes.
She looks reproachfully at me. "Thats not enough!" she says.
"How much is enough?" I ask her.
"More! More!" she yells as I walk away.
The eccentrically lit gardens of Yerba Buena lead right up to the urban mall that is the Sony Metreon. The gardens have always struck me as a poor representation of their kind, less a garden than a wild intrusion on concrete, a waterfall that brings to mind the sorry weeds that emerge through concrete fractures. The conjunctions here of buildings and space, of grass and stark walls combine to form an urban composition that is not so much aesthetic as aleatoric.
I follow the lights and walk up towards Market, through crowds of young Asian partygoers, of Scandinavian tourists. I am not walking towards anything. I am walking along, allowing the current of lights and people to guide me across streets and around corners.
Predictably, I end up at The House of Shields and check to see if Schlomo is around tonight - to say hi, to talk about our shared love of The Frog. A band is playing madly in the corner. I order my usual, a Perfect Manhattan, and sip it slowly. The Jazz is passably good, but also makes me long to run home and immerse myself in an old standard. In that way that a hint of beauty - the sniff of a lover on forgotten clothing - makes you ache for the whole thing. Perhaps Sonny Rollins' "Kiss and Run."
I meander back to my obligations, back to the strange, new, and overly stiff St. Regis (an attendant in the bathroom hands me a cloth napkin) sliding through the crowd, looking for my friends. I can see A. greeting a woman and exchanging kisses on the cheek. F. is off in another corner, waving his hands in the midst of some explanation.
I am the only one in the crowd who is not holding a drink. A waitress notices this and walks over. "Would you like another?"