Monday, August 6, 2012

Travels with Kevin Part 8: I Left My Heart in San Francisco (and yes the Golden Gate Bridge has been Repaired since Magneto Destroyed it in X-Men: Last Stand

My first post in August!  I have been away, busy with work, and also on vacation in San Francisco since last Thursday so I did not have much time devoted to the world of popular culture, and not much happened, except everyone finding out J Lo's boyfriend may be gay.  The big story was that I went on vacation to San Francisco.   This was my first time in the city, and first time on the west coast.  My goal this year has been to visit places I have never been to before, this started with St. Louis, then San Francisco this past weekend, Austin, Texas in October and Las Vegas next March (I need to save money!)

I am excited to visit all of those spots, but fell in love with San Francisco this past weekend.  I may have in fact as the slogan goes, left my heart in San Francisco. My friends Jonathan and Dan took me on a tour of the city and while I did not see everything I had such a great time.  The two were great hosts and tour guides showing me a lot of fun places around the city, and the fun unique history to many different parts of the city.

My plan landed on Thursday and like a whirl wind Jonathan and I were off to drop my bags at his apartment, and then on one intense walking tour filled with ever dreaded hills.  I still do not know all of the exact sites we visited but the most interesting was Nob Hill and the Top of the Mark.  Nob Hill is an incredibly large hill (for those who have never heard of it or seen it).  Every time we reached a plateau of the hill I would add in a comment "There can't be more!" or "Wow this never ends."  This hill is representative of the culture, and one of the most interesting aspects of the lay out of the city.   Around the top of the hill is a place called Top of the Mark.  Top of the Mark is at the Intercontinental Hotel, and is bar restaurant with a fantastic view the financial district, ChinatownNorth Beach, The San Francisco Bay, and especially of Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park.   While we did not stay to eat or drink, we stole a peak of the view and it was incredible.  Thursday night was a mellow night in with dinner , wine, and the Olympics.  After a day of hoofing it (not the sexual term), relaxing in was incredible.

Friday Dan took me, and we attempted to walk on the Golden Gate Bridge, but someone fell asleep on the bridge and they had to get him down which backed up traffic, and re routed buses in the area.  We decided to take a bus to a different area and were able to see the Golden Gate bridge from a distance, was an incredible site even with all the fog.  If we had not been re routed Dan would not have been able to show me the Palace of Fine Art, which is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Then we took another bus to the Hate, which was a neat area filled with cool stores, restaurants, etc.  This is one of the best parts about San Francisco the city has such a uniquely rich point of view (as a city).  The inhabitants of the city have come from all over, but the feel or vibe of the city has this wonderfully eclectic cohesion.  While those two words are in opposition to one another this city feels or has that vibe, and is one of the most places I have ever visited.

What is a city, especially San Francisco without talking about the gay scene, which is an actual scene unlike Boston.  Throughout the city San Francisco has gay bars all over the place, but the main area where they exist, and where there is an epicenter to the LGBT world, is the neighborhood referred to as the Castro.  What a great area filled with numerous bars (I think I hit them all).  My favorite place I visited was original store front for Harvey Milk's original store front for his camera store, which is now an HRC store.  Being inside of this store had an aura which gave me chills, and it looked exactly as did on film in Milk.  Walking around this neighborhood and visiting the different places was proof the city is an epicenter of welcome open minded individuals.

Every post I have written about connects the city to a film, although it was difficult to find one centered on Louisville.  San Francisco has so many films that take place in the city, from Vertigo (which was recently named the best film of all time), all the way to Sister Act, which we drove past the church.  While I was in the city I envisioned the set of Milk, and Vertigo and felt as though setting the film in this city is such an incredible choice because of the unique feel and character the city provides to the pop culture experience.  As I walked into the comic store it made me think about where the X-Men live, well some of them, in the comics.

The X-Men have a base outside of the city of San Francisco and Cyclops has even worked with their mayor to help set up ways for them to stay protected.  When Xavier's Institute burned to the ground Cyclops decided to move the team to an island where sanctuary for the different was a way of life, so he picked San Francisco.  Makes Sense.  Throughout the years super heroes have had the wrestle with their unique powers which provide them with great responsibility.  All heroes whether human or not have taken on an identity to help them blend in within the non super world.  People like Batman (Bruce Wayne), Spider-Man (Peter Parker) have had to live their life with a secret to protect the people within their world.  Most LGBT folks live they have had to hide their identity or tried to pass among the heteronormative world in order for protection.

Throughout time comic books have provided outsiders an opportunity to feel like they had the strength, power an opportunity to seize the day.  In the current state of comics Cyclops bringing his team to San Francisco and working with the mayor provides incredible insight into the way popular culture connects with present day issues.  The city is a safe haven where culture infusion takes a hold and allows not only LGBT people, but people from a variety of cultures to come share in one of the most diverse places in the nation.  The cities vibe allows people to be them self,not a place of tolerance but an integration of openly expressed cultural expressions.  This city fascinates me and 4 days was just not enough!  I will be back San Francisco, you have my hear after all.

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