I always enjoy San Francisco. There was a two year period of time when work took me to the Bay Area regularly, at least once every two months, and I always extended the work trips with time in San Francisco where I am fortunate enough to have a friend who seems happy to let me stay in the guest room of his nice house in the Noe Valley. I was there often enough that I seemed to have built something of a life there, so now that I go much less often my days immediately fill, what with all the people I want to see and things I want to do.
A high school friend of mine has become active in the Actors Theatre of San Francisco, and she has a big role in their production of Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge, so I'm going to see that on Thursday with another high school friend who lives in the area. I'm taking the ferry to Sausalito on Monday with another friend and her family. I'm meeting up with various other friends for dinners and lunches and walks around town.
What I find myself just quaking with excitement over is that I'll be marching with the San Francisco Freedom Band in the Chinese New Year's Parade on Saturday. I've marched with them before, on bass drum, but for their major parades they work out special routines that require attendance at practice. For this parade I'll be carrying a banner or carting water, whichever they need. After the parade we all go out for Mexican food. As my host noted: It's very much a San Francisco thing, to follow up the Chinese parade with Mexican food.
Ah, but even more of a quintessentially San Francisco thing will take place on Sunday morning when the Widow Norton (Jose Sarria) leads an annual parade to Woodlawn Cemetery to pay homage to the Emperor Norton, a rather colorful character from San Francisco's past. The Widow Norton herself is, er, a rather colorful character of San Francisco's present. Jose Sarria used to perform at the famous drag club The Black Cat Cafe in the forties and fifties, and in 1961 ran for City Supervisor, the first openly gay candidate in the United States. The San Francisco Freedom Band has been part of the funeral procession for several years (the Widow Norton has always been a big supporter of the band), and I've seen videos. It involves, if I remember correctly, a dawn arising (shades of Mayday). But what a wonderful thing not just to see, but to experience as a participant! I'm thrilled for the opportunity.
I wish this trip were going to be longer, but I'll be back in June.