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San Francisco used to be full of single screen movie theaters.  Back in the day, the city was chock block full of them.  You could find one in every single neighborhood, and many had more than one theater.  Some of my most cherished memories as a youth and teenager were seeing movies at such single screen theaters.  I grew up in the 70s and 80s, a time when the “blockbuster” movie was created.  So from the mid 70s into the early 80s, almost every year there was a blockbuster: Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Superman (1978), Alien (1979), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and E.T. (1982).  Continue Reading »

In keeping with the previous post(s) of museums in the city that’ve undergone dramatic transformations, I’d like to muse on the California Academy of Sciences.  Located in Golden Gate Park, the Academy sits directly across from the de Young Museum.  At 157 years old, the Academy is California’s oldest museum.  My first exposure to the museum was through class field trips.  I think I was in third grade when I first went.  I went a handful of times while in grade school, stopping when I entered middle school.  Continue Reading »

The last museum I’d like to discuss is the Asian Art Museum.  Back in the day, it was a wing of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.  Outside, adjacent to it, was the Japanese Tea Garden, which seems rather appropriate.  Whereas my memories of the “old” MOMA and de Young are rather lukewarm, my memories of the old Asian are quite favorable.  I was able to see some amazing exhibits, performances, and shows.  From 1990 to 2003, when it closed in the park, the museum went through a kind of golden age, at least for me it did.  Continue Reading »

The de Young Museum is another museum that has been radically transformed.  While its location remains the same, in Golden Gate Park, the change in the architecture, the building itself, has been like night and day.  The memories I have of the old de Young are lukewarm at best.  The art collection was a mishmash of different objects, styles, and eras.  I’d go occasionally to see some interesting exhibit, perhaps some blockbuster show, and to see its modern/contemporary art collection, which was very small.  As someone who really enjoys modern art, their collection was really somewhat disappointing.

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Three of San Francisco’s most well known and largest museums have undergone major upgrades and overhauls, or to be more precise, transformations, all within the past fifteen years.  The first one to undergo such a profound change, and the first I’d like to discuss, is the SF Museum of Modern Art.  Before it’s current incarnation, I remember when the museum was located in the War Memorial Veterans Building on Van Ness Avenue.  Back then, the museum was located on the third and fourth floors, above Herbst Theater.  Continue Reading »

The Embarcadero Freeway was a double-decker structure that ran above the waterfront on San Francisco’s north-eastern side, passing businesses, piers, and the Ferry Building.  As as child, I remember distinctly driving on the freeway, how it veered off I-80, curing around, and would drop you off either into the financial district, or into the North Beach and Chinatown sections of the city.  It was a convenient and fast way to get to those areas, and the freeway’s existence was a given, just as the 76 Union watch tower, which stood just before the entrance of the Bay Bridge, was a given.  At the time, the freeway seemed etched in stone.

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Bud’s: the Best Scoop

The Bud’s Ice Cream store in Noe Valley was considered a mecca for ice cream lovers and aficionados during the 1970s.  Situated right at the corner of 24th and Castro Street, Bud’s was the place to go for “premium” ice cream.  As a kid, I remember standing in line for over an hour with my mother, in the fog, among countless other people, just for a scoop.  The long wait and being bundled up was simply part of the experience, part of the ritual.  And it was worth it!  Bud’s made the best ice cream, and their sundaes were to die for, with rich, velvety chocolate syrup, whipped cream, bananas, and of course maraschino cherries!

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