On the Monday we went to SFMoMA. Much good stuff. There was a really wonderful Rothko painting; normally I’m not as big on Rothko as, er, sara… but this one had a wonderful ethereal translucency to it. Rather like San Francisco fog.
I learned that Roy Lichtenstein actually painted all those little dots by hand. Later in his career he started using pre-made dots, but he still stuck them on by hand, individually. The mind boggles. Suddenly I admire his work a hell of a lot more.
At this point I had started to realize that all the stereotypes about San Francisco are basically false. It isn’t full of overpaid yuppies—or at least, it’s no more full of overpaid yuppies than Boston or Cambridge. It isn’t full of hippies either. It isn’t very gay at all, unless you head down to Castro. It isn’t perpetually summer. It isn’t full of flakes and freaks.
I’m not sure what it is, even now; I just know what it isn’t. If I’d had expectations, I probably would have been very disappointed.
Tuesday we took BART out to Berkeley. It’s about as you’d expect… very like Cambridge, MA in fact. I noticed that the copies of Socialist Worker actually used the ‘S’ word; ‘round here they rename it Revolutionary Worker. I guess “Socialist” has all the marketing power of the “Fried” in KFC.
The temperature in Berkeley was about 6 degrees warmer than SF, and students were arriving and joining frats and going to sports events. We met up with someone I knew from IRC, and had some lunch. In the afternoon we browsed Moe’s Bookstore. I was pleased to see an extensive selection of titles by Philip K. Dick, one of UCB’s most famous dropouts; there were even some I didn’t have. I bought The Simulacra and The Game Players of Titan. After all, you can’t travel to San Francisco and not get any Dick…
Returning to SF, we actually saw the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time, not shrouded completely in fog.