Phelan My Oats At SF BIKE FEST
How I celebrated Bike Week:
1) Ride into town. Note fine grafitti even before arriving at gallery.
2) tell Gary Fisher that the Joyride Art Show at “Bottlecapp Gallery” might be worth a look.
3) Do same with Eric Roman (SSWC05 creator, the one in State College Penssylvania), who just moved out west.
4) Also tell the only pleeceman I ever knew that I’m in town for some Art Thing.
Ride to city, going from burning heat to chilly fog. Smug that I packed a nubby thick sweater, triple smug that I still had a bottle of Odwalla to pitch in my messynger bag. Fast food, easy exit. These days, somehow, photo shootin’, sick relative wranglin’, garden tendin’ and er, yes, STARING at my book in pieces on the floor…there seems to be no time.
A by product of having fn.
The only thing missing is U.
I packed a camera in case you were curious.
First stop, pleece station for a visit with NAME WITHHELD.
Then off to (RESTAURANT NAME HERE) to have a couple UNDISCLOSED BEVERAGES and soak up the ambience (Thursday afternoon on a fine sunny day in the Mission). Notice every single detail in the restaurant at the same time, and realize that I am in a stimulating (and safe) environment. Let it happen. Keep noticing stuff.
Enjoy the banter, let the stories unfurl.
Imagine NW’s surprise when a shaggy whitehaired gent reached past my nose and shook hands with NW. Turned out to be a retired pleeceman who worked with Nw’s FATHER (NW is a third generation cop)
At that I cheerfully introduced myself as N’s friend with “authority issues, working out my compulsions for shoplifting and storytelling”.
The Irishman.e was nonplussed. And a tiny bit tanked, sipping his hot toddy with some brown cloves floating around in the bottom of the glass.
I suppressed the urge to ask for a taste.
Even more impressive: suppressed the urge to STEAL one.
This is what I call “good behavior”.
It all fell apart when a hand (I recognised it as my own left hand in a mental playback) shot out and grabbed a plastic pitcher with a couple inches leftover strawberry margarita l. Before the bartender could say, “hey wait a minute!”, I was tilting it in.
Ooh. ICY. Slow down, girl.
Riding into town (about 2 hrs) can get a person’s…er…’electrolytes’ all out of whack. Pounding a margie on top of UNDISCLOSED BEV can throw your vestigial decorum out of whack (and deliver a lightning kick).
Later, the bartender passed me a glass with a properly mixed margarita.
I gave him an autographed card. Same with the Irishman. Same with the man who lent the pen. Oh, dear, this fame thing is ridiculous…the boast cards! The NERVE!
Walking with maybe extra care, I rolled the bike through the teeming Mission, recalling an era full thirty years ago. Night time. Stolen evenings at La Rondalla, playing hooky from my night watchwoman’s job at Blue Cross Pet Hospital
LONG before I envisioned a two-wheeled world. Even though I was riding for transpo then, only a tiny handful of other SF people were doing the same. The S.F. Bicycle Coalition was perhaps fifty riders strong, with a mere dozen regular members flogging the policy part, the hard part of getting anywhere with the City…
While reminiscing, I was admiring old buildings (half of them owned, apparently, by the shaggy white haired gentleman), silently taking in the sights, and totally forgetting to notice if crack dealers blanched visibly to see my un-uniformed pal strolling along the beat. There must be another dimension to hanging out if one is a career criminal.
We stop sign skatin’, small-potatoes trail poachers have NO FLIPPING IDEA what that world is like…other than that in Marin County, the authorities have precious little to do, other than (selectively) enforce the Evil Bike Menace To Social Order.
Then in the middle of Capp Street’s hooker-and-gunplay zone a dozen cyclists circling their rigs…I leave mine to the ‘valet’ (what a luxury!) and allow my escort to retreat without having to go inside the Bottlecapp Bar-Art Space to be…battered by…loud punk conversation?
And what I saw was fun art, not strong work (well, Talia Lempert’s always strong) But the REAL fun was people watching. Esp. when Fisher made his entrance. He looked happy to be there, natty in his iridescent glasses and suave ensemble. So where’s my picture? Oops.
There was Anita, the photographer. Brendt Barbur the nervous dad (of Bicycle Film Fest) that lives six months everywhere but home, and wished he had ‘something constant’…
The gathering swelled to a very raucous hundred or so rider/artist/punks. The bar at the far end of the barbell-shaped warehouse/loft space was quite impressive, with at least four tufted couches and a few chairs and many votive candles….tres gai.
Bailed at around ten for some grub. Stayed up way past my usual hours, and watched the world grow drunk just as my fleeting inebriation dried up. Rode helmetless to Fisher’s, spent the next three hours trading stories to get Mary up to speed on the History of Jacquie And Gary.
One conclusion she drew: we have a deep history (tis true). Another postulate: he got his sartorial style, costuming flair from me.
I know it to be so.
I doubt he would agree, though.
But I do not recall him being a peacock back in those few months in 1981. Gary, what do YOU say?
Will you share the name of your tailor?