"Perhaps the most radical thing one can do is stay put." - Terry Tempest Williams
I do believe.
Ben laughed when I said the saxophone player who was coming into the studio was another neighbor given that I've pulled in several Hayes Valley musicians to complete the three songs he's produced (oddly enough, Ben once lived on Hayes St. as well).
Being an active resident was my m.o. when I moved back to SF two years ago, the day the ribbon was cut on Octavia Boulevard. The site of the freeway overpass which collapsed during the 1989 earthquake, a couple of decades ago this area wasn't exactly a destination for much legal activity. However, I was fortunate to arrive on the cusp of a resurgence. Hayes Green featured a David Best sculpture, Blue Bottle had been open a few short months, and the Music Conservatory was preparing to open its new location. Now weekends are busy with visiting shoppers and diners, Cafe La Vie is right outside my door and new businesses continue to flourish. Nonetheless, Hayes Valley can have quite a small-town feel to it. I've come to appreciate this quality though another resident wryly calls it "Hayes Valley High." Hayes Green—now Patricia's Green, named for community activist Patricia Walkup (12/18/196-6/6/2006) who was instrumental in making Hayes Valley safe and livable—can sometimes feel like the quad! I tend to look at it as a West Coast Washington Square. We may be hurting for live music venues in our immediate 'hood but you can't walk out the door without bumping into another musician, whether it's a bass player for the symphony, a guitarist barista or an ukelele toting busker. The three songs I've done with Ben, I realize, are very much informed by this place. Look for a posting in weeks to come.
I'll be playing along with Alex Walsh, Oct. 26 at a fundraiser for John Muir Elementary School at Nickie's Bar on Haight between Webster and Fillmore, 7-9pm.