A Few Days in SF/Berkeley

The last time I was in SF was a quick in/out for an event where I was nominated for an award.  I thought if I won and didn’t show up that I’d look like a total asshole.  Ends up I didn’t win and my 24-hour jaunt was for naught.  It is an area of the country where I spend little time if any.  My friend told me that I should add to my sig file a line that says consciously never goes to the Bay area.  I wouldn’t go that far but I always feel like a fish out of water when I am there.

This jaunt was for our niece’s wedding.  She got married in the Tilden Park which is an absolutely breathtaking place.  Here is a photo of me en route to the wedding.  Prior to the event, we did get to do a few things in and around the area.

First stop was Viks Chaat for a late lunch.  The food is legit.  I had a Chicken Tandoori for lunch that also came with a few things on the side.  So good.

We also split a bunch of items.  The Sev Puri was my favorite.

The next day we went to Chez Panisse for lunch.  The last time I was at Chez Panisse was 35 years ago.  Chez Panisse has been open since 1971.  The impact that Alice Waters has made starts with the fact that you can now buy Arugula in every grocery store in America.  Nothing has changed even the decor and of course the farm to table commitment.  The food is simple and a page right out of new French cooking. I had the tomato salad.  Sliced tomatoes and cucumber with a spring of watercress dressed with a shallot dressing.

Roasted wild salmon with flat beans and potatoes.  Simple and good.

We split all the desserts available but the cardamon cake was my fave.  Dense yet soft with subtle flavors.

The other thing we did besides the wedding and family activities was to go SFMoma.  The museum went through a major renovation and reopened in 2016.  The Magritte Show is the current exhibit.  I wish I had more time to really see the show.  Most of the show focused on his work from 1940-1960.  It is the simplicity of his work that I love.

This is called the Human Condition (Le Condition Humaine).  There were a handful of pieces with this theme of seeing the landscape through the artist’s eye.

The Condition of Light had a variety of pieces of homes where the only illumination was a light.  So beautiful.

The best piece in the museum was an Arthur Jafa film called Love is the Message, The Message is Death.  It is an extremely powerful 10-minute film of a string of very short online videos circulated mostly from phones highlighting African-American’s racial profiling to police brutality.  The piece is interspersed with African American athletes, performers, civil rights leaders and artists paired with Kayne West’s Ultralight Beam for music as the backdrop.  I am still thinking about this piece.

As we left SFMoma my daughter who got their earlier than I did told me that the museum doesn’t have discounts for students.  She is a graduate student and so is her boyfriend, both connected to the arts.  The tickets for both of them to get in and see the Magritte show (an extra cost) is $33 a person. In a city where the homeless are everywhere and housing is one of the most expensive places in the US, the museum backs up the culture of the city.  No discounts for students.

Art is an important medium for everyone, to help open our minds to thinking differently.  It should be the mission of every cultural institution to make sure everyone can walk in that door.   SFMoma is doing a disserve to those that can not afford to walk in the door and have access to art.

Shame on SFMoma, although the chances that I return to SF in the near future are slim, I certainly won’t be running back to SFMoma.

Comments (Archived):

  1. CCjudy

    Did you already leave here in San Francisco? I would not have suggested the MOMA Magritte tho it is an excellent exhibit… J

    1. Gotham Gal

      In and out.

  2. Pointsandfigures

    Spent a month there in Feb. Got the vibe of the place. I like the wine country up north and of course Silicon Valley is Silicon Valley…..

    1. Gotham Gal

      Wine region is a whole other ballgame

  3. Semil Shah

    Vik’s is amazing. My favorite Indian spot in the Bay Area.

    1. Gotham Gal

      So good!

  4. Pranay Srinivasan

    Viks Chaat is the real deal. They have an Indian store next door that has amazing Indian cooking ingredients and spices I grew up around and iconic Indian branded foods too.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Loved it.

  5. Linda Marcheschi Teplitz

    SF MOMA does have reduced prices for anyone under 24 which is basically their “student” discount. This actually allows more people exposure to the museum than allowing 30 year old grad students reduced entry prices. Art is not only for grad students.

    1. Gotham Gal

      If you are a student you should have a discount period

      1. Linda Marcheschi Teplitz

        I think getting more people into the museum to view art is more important than the occasional over 24 student. But then again, I’m a Bay Area native.

        1. Gotham Gal

          I completely agree

  6. awaldstein

    i lived there for a long time.As soon as I moved to LA felt more at home as a NYorker.There are a bunch of hole in the wall spots in the Marina where i lived that I still go to when in town, otherwise, i go to see friends.

    1. Jeff Jones

      What are your marina spots? My son goes to daycare in the ILM building in the presidio so I’m in that neighborhood daily.

      1. awaldstein

        running for a car to the airport to there. will put together a short list.

  7. Sierra Choi

    The SF Moma I think is attempting to push more people towards buying annual memberships. Their individual membership is $100 free admission year round which is fully tax deductible, with private launch invites so I that is probably reasonable for most local people, but not for out of towners who may only want to see 1 exhibition per year. With the amount of events and screenings and private views that they launch per year, I think the yearly membership is actually a good value for all the work that they do, but their membership is geared towards catering to the local population and not for visitors out of state.I also know that they used to have an artist membership, so that all artists who submit their resume can receive free admission to all exhibitions, but not sure if they still have that available.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I figured that out with the $100 membership but if you don’t live there it makes zero sense.Great for the community but shitty for people who come through town