Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Trip report: Circus Bella (free) at Fort Mason

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

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The thing that strikes you first, probably because the performers are not yet performing yet, about Circus Bella is its ringmaster, a tall guy dressed in a bright blue bunny suit. My daughter, the circus aficionado, took one look at him and groaned, "It’s aiming too young."

But then she was handed a programme and noticed that one of the guys who works on trapeze with her was in the show. And he started to kind of dance/juggle his suspenders and — she knew everything was going to be happy.

First of all, the price was cheap. Well, free, actually. And then there was the fact that we were sitting outside in the shade but could have chosen to sit in the sun, on a beautiful SF day.

Plus, Circus Bella arrives with its own band. (The accordion player is killer.)

The acts did not reflect the dumbness of the blue bunny. Although there were some missed juggles, the ambition of some of the mix-ups was impressive.

And then there was the lone juggler/percussion band. He placed a mic near a box and then bounced the balls he was juggling off the box, all the while making a wall of other interesting sounds in various other ways. Brilliant. We could have listened forever.

We also LOVED the slack rope walker and rolla-bolla rider.

The bandstand opposite the circus stage is made of car hoods. and lined with computer parts. Pendant-like flags flutter cheerfully all around you.

The sailboats in the dock and on the water were almost as scenic as the adorable babies and dogs.

Lovely lovely.

The Mexican food sold by a group amusingly entitled "Chaac-mool" (we are pretty sure that’s the platform on which the Mayans placed the still-beating hearts of their blood sacrifices…) was very inexpensive and tasted great. (A chicken tamale for $2, for example.)

After the circus, we visited the Italian Museum and then wandered around, taking in the fantastic and scenic Exploratorium fluid-dynamics installations.

There’s also a book store that accepts book donations daily. Fort Mason. Our kinda place.

Photos here

Trip report: Building REsources, San Francisco

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

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“I LOVE this place!,” my 13 yr. old exclaimed, after we had finally escaped the mesmerizing grounds of Building REsources. “They have GARBAGE CANS FULL of BROKEN GLASS. And they’ll sell it to you. How cool is that?”

Hey, other people pay upwards of $65 to go to Disneyland for a day. You can get into Building REsources free any day of the year. And not only do they have broken glass, but they also have broken doors (and some not so broken…), counter tops, tiles, doors, windows, chandeliers, globes, wooden flooring and many, many plants growing out of old bathtubs, cement stuff, and fountains made of — who knows what.

There are wind vanes made out of old metal barrels and others made from tiny signs, whirling above you.

There are the folks who welcome you in — funnier and more personable than the jokesters on any Disney trams. The guy in the shed built the chandelier that looks like a filthy jellyfish that greets you when you enter. We sought him out when we could not figure out how to get into the Paradise of Broken Glass. He introduced us to Angel, who gave us a tour of the glass and the machines that break it.

Dear daughter was absolutely transported by the glass. Angel was very supportive; gave hints about which types of glass would work best for various projects, backed us up when we parents warned that sometimes projects take longer than expected, made our daughter feel welcome to take samples of the various kinds of glass so she can experiment with grouts and adhesives.

Our visit was about two hours of thrills and chills. I kept reminding my daughter not to run up and down the aisles, not to jump on the carts, not to put her hands into the bins of broken glass (it is rounded down, but still…)

Oh, and the oak moldings we got (slightly worn, but much nicer than the ones at Home Depot, we thought), cost a fraction of what we’d have paid for new ones.

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