Tour De Fat. Golden Gate Park. 2009. FREE.

28 09 2009

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New Belgium Ale had their annual free bike, carnival, and beer party this weekend.

It was fun, like Homer Simpson Day in Golden Gate Park.

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I saw that Frank Chu was nearby so I went over to say “Hi” and talk shop.

I was all, “Frank, have you ever thought about getting another reality TV show? One where you actually get paid for this time and one where you can work out all the details beforehand? I think it could be a really unique show.”

First off, it would be a show about the Bay Area. Think of San Francisco as being one of the main characters of the show. Everyone loves those travel shows where you have an Anthony Bourdain type of guy who’s keeping it real and showing you where the locals hang out off the beaten path. I can’t think of anyone else more qualified or who knows San Francisco better than Frank. The guy has an amazing work ethic and hasn’t missed a single photo opt in the past 15 years. Also, it would be kind of funny to see a professional camera crew try and keep up with Frank. You could easily film enough footage in 1 month to fill up an entire season.

Second, it’s a show about the most famous Bay Area personality of the past 15 years and who will probably continue to be the most famous Bay Area Internet personality for the next 15 years. It’s something real, not one of those scripted teen drama shows, or looking for scripted love contest elimination shows, it’s something real and real life doesn’t always have easy and convenient answers.

Third and finally, it’s a show about how those characters play off each other. It’s a buddy show about a man on a mission and the relationship he has with Oakland or the relationship he has with San Francisco. San Francisco has a history going as far back as Emperor Norton of taking care of its eccentric types, but we expect you to have personality. Anybody who has ever traveled to LA to make a name for themselves could relate to that show.

I think Bravo or A&E could really do a show like this justice.

I told Frank I would run some of those ideas up the flagpole and see what people think.


Photo courtesy of Criollo

My favorite website is now sponsoring Frank Chu by buying the advertising space on the back of his protest sign.

File under Brilliant Urban Marketing Move


Frank Chu

Recent picture and words from local icon Plug 1

I left work yesterday with 2 extra tix to the 7:15 pm Giants game….and….then….ran into my friend Frank Chu around 6:45pm….

“Hey, Frank. Wanna free ticket to tonight’s game?”


“Here Ya Go”

Frank and I find our seats and sat down. We talked sports for a bit. You gotta give him a chance: he’s got more to talk about than intergalactic mayhem, that’s for sure. After the sixth inning, we headed down to Acme Chophouse to enjoy a cold frosty one. He informed me that most of the Local Media is against him, but I already knew that. After my beer, I left. Frank said he was going to stay and have another beer before heading back to Oakland.

Power to the Peaceful. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 2009. FREE / $5 donation.

14 09 2009

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I’m not a big fan of Michael Franti’s music or his ego. That’s kind of funny because I tried really hard to be into his earlier band, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, but it just didn’t work out. I think I liked the name of that band more than any of the music they actually made. I also distinctly recall watching The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy host 120 minutes on MTV and Michael Franti spent the entire 120 minutes talking about how great and deep his music was. The other half of that band, Rono Tse, just sat there looking lonely and depressed. It was painful experience, it was like watching an early version of Jon & Kate plus 8 where you have one overbearing personally that’s doing all the talking and the Asian kid who’s just sitting there looking lonely and defeated.

That and the fact that when you look at a Spearhead CD booklet it’s all glamour shots of Michael Franti posing and showing off his tattoos. He’s like the Bay Area Rastafarian version of Zoolander. We get it Mike; you’re on an ego-trip. Just take a time out every now and then and let the Asian kid talk for a change.

I’m not a big fan of Michael Franti’s music or his ego but the guy throws a great free / $5 donation party in Golden Gate Park. It’s the week directly after Burning Man so everyone still has this post-Burn glow. It’s also in the same place that the Human Be-In was in 1967. That only happened once with 20,000 – 30,000 people and it’s become a legendary event. The Power To The Peaceful has been happening for a decade or so now with crowds of 50,000+ people and yet it still manages to slip under most people’s pop culture radar.

Also, there was an amazing thunderstorm this morning. Check out the video over HERE

Buildings shook; car alarms cried out in terror, it was a massive shock and awe exercise. If those thunderstorms and the intense rain showers that followed had kept up for the rest of the day there’s no way this party would have gone through, but amazingly enough the party did see the light of day.

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I didn’t see as much Obama gear as last year. Last year Obama was hands-down the most popular brand label of clothing. There were several booths selling his images, he was more popular than Adidas and Puma combined.

This year, not so much.

power to peaceful 2010

Sunday Streets in the Mission. FREE.

21 07 2009

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Sunday was one of those classic sunny San Francisco summer days where there were a dozen different things going on. Some 25,000 people were in the AIDS walk in Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Symphony was doing a free show in Dolores Park, and the Sunday Streets project shut down a few block in the Mission for an early block party.

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This guy was playing guitar from his room but it was that hand made drawing that caught my eye and was probably the most random sight of the day.

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It’s former KTVU reporter Dennis Richmond!

People were yelling his name as they walked by like it was Metallica.

I just wrote about this guy the other day and how everyone from the 25 year old Harvey Milk documentary are still ubiquitous today.

How random is that…

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Valencia Cyclery had a free renegade style barbeque once the Sunday Streets officially ended at 2PM. Deep and the Trikeasaurus provided the beets and people were playing frisbee in the streets. It was like a Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff song.

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And the next two Sunday Streets are going to be in The Outer Sunset. It’s amazing what different worlds they are. You can get a tan in the Mission, ride the bike back to the Outer Sunset and catch a cold. It’ll be interesting to see if as many of the locals come out when we take over The Great Highway for a few hours.

Haight-Ashbury Street Fair. 2009. FREE

16 06 2009

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It’s been ages since I’ve checked out the Haight Street Fair, which is kind of odd considering I try and ride my bike to the Haight and back at least once a week so I’m somewhat of a regular on that street. We’ve had some great times here. Winnie went one year when Primus was playing and ended up hanging out with them in a local bar afterwards. I was there when DJ Tracy spun a set all day at Amoeba (The old raver store before the record store moved into the Bowling Alley) and then they locked the door and let the party go renegade after the Haight Street Fair ended.

We’ve both had good times there but lately I’ve just associated that block party with crowds and claustrophobia. I’m not sure what’s happened in the Bay Area, if there are more people here, more people going to events, or if it’s just my senile mind playing tricks on me. But it was a sunny day yesterday and my moods are a slave to the weather, so I decided to do the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair for the first time in over a decade.

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This Mexican kid in the green shirt looked like he just walked out of a Jimmy Kimmel skit. This house was blasting Funkadelic records and the kid kept trying to crash the party. Without much success. Snoop Dogg looks happy to see me though.

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Frank Chu was out on patrol.
We exchanged pleasantries and conspiracy theories.

The award for the third greatest rock shirt of the day goes to –

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Misfits kid on Hippy Hill.

It’s the combination of the shirt, his antenna dreadlocks with the antenna goatee, the SF Giants hat, and the humpty-dance pose that makes it an all-around classic Haight street look.

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The number two greatest rock shirt of the day goes to the 1991 Jane’s Addiction.

It was all pretty much a downhill ride from there, huh Perry?

If only all the rock shirts that I bought 18 years ago still fit me.

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And the number one greatest rock shirt of the day goes to the straight edge dad with a kid in a stroller who zipped past me in a heartbeat.

I have no idea which band that is, but anyone wearing a California Straight Edge shirt and taking their kid out to the Haight Asbury Street Fair wins the contest, any contest, as far as I’m concerned.

Back When Frank Chu’s Message Was Somewhat Coherent.

5 05 2009

Back when Frank Chu was somewhat coherent

I took a picture of this Andy Warhol inspired painting at that free party at the De Young museum on Friday night.

Back in the 90s, before twitter, facebook, wordpress, and all of the electronic social networking that exists today, Frank Chu was making a name for himself as being one of the more eccentric people in this city. When I was working in the Finical District I would see Frank march downtown several times a week. The guy also never misses a photo opt. If there’s ever any kind of interesting free outdoor event going on in the Bay Area chances are Frank will be there, just walking the earth like Kane in Kung-Fu.

San Francisco has always had a soft spot for eccentric crazy types. San Francisco took care of Emperor Norton and it takes care of Frank Chu. San Francisco gives Frank free food, named one of her short-lived bars after him, and made a bitching wikipedia page for him. Ultimately though it’s also turned Frank into the most recognizable local Internet celebrity. By far.

That’s what strikes me as the oddest thing about Frank Chu, the idea of self-fulfilling prophecies. Frank’s original beef was that he believed that he was secretly being filmed as part of a reality TV show that was being broadcast in the 12 Galaxies. He wasn’t upset so much about being filmed, but was pissed that then President Clinton was conspiring with the 12 Galaxies to withhold his royalty paychecks. Frank Chu wants to get paid.

But now, after some 19 years of protesting, Frank Chu has become a celebrity, probably the biggest and most photographed non-elected Bay Area resident on the web. People dress up as Frank for Halloween or Bay to Breakers , politicans pay to advertise on the back of his signs, and some raver made a Frank Chu float at Love Fest last year and made Frank Chu the Grand Marshall!

Hell, someone just made a Frank Chu Sign generator page a few days ago.

Whether intentional or not, he’s created this persona and brand identity that, thanks to the Internet, has taken off like wildfire.

So who is the crazy person in this scenario?

The guy walking around claiming that he is an intergalactic reality TV star or all of us that turned that guy into the biggest Bay Area Internet celebrity of the 21st century?

Self-fulfilling prophecies.

It’s something to think about…

Saint Stupid’s Day Parade. 2009. FREE

8 04 2009

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I checked out The First Church of the Last Laugh’s 31st (!) annual Saint Stupid’s Day Parade last week. Wow, they’ve been doing this for a while now. Every April Fools Day they do a march downtown. On weekends they march through North Beach and on weekdays they march through the Finical District. Since I don’t have a job I spent my Wednesday afternoon marching with my people through the Finical District

John Law bought out his Doggie Dinner heads.

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This was the second stop at The Tomb of Saint Stupid. Perfect spot to rock out.

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The Doggie Diner heads followed us to Battery Street.

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Wavy Gravy gonna go get mellow y’all.

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This was the third stop at the statue of the bare butt mechanics.
I loved the guy getting all Braveheart at the top of the statue.

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LOTS of photographers with their power lenses.

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That’s very much a Burning Man thing that I had forgotten about. I would be standing around and people would get naked next to me and then instantly there’s a swarm of paparazzi type activity that makes me not want to be a photographer anymore.

I love this montage. Say hello to contestant #1. Let’s hope he has a sense of humor.

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Say hello to contestant #2. Looking sharp and looking for love.

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And here’s contestant # 3.
That looks like a yummy salad there, buddy. Smile for the Internet.

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What’s funny is that even though the couple at the end got it, contestant # 1 still looks oblivious. Let’s hope he has a sense of humor.

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And this was a scene straight out of Animal House. The parade is led down this dead end. Notice the mini-van that is trying to back out.

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Yep. This looks like a perfect place to jam. Let’s rock out!

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Waive goodbye to the mini-van as it backs up through the parade.

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Love the Free Bernie Madoff sign.

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I worked in the Finical District about 10 years ago. Amazing how timeless this area is. During the weekday it’s packed with stressed out people and all that collective road rage energy. Then on the weekends it’s a ghost town. The Finical District is like San Francisco’s Bermuda Triangle, or at least it has the same weird and haunted energy to it.

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This is stop # 7 at the Banker’s Heart.

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I just now noticed that the guy in the white with the flagpole is not only wearing the exact same tennis shoes as I am, but he built his entire look around those shoes. Nice one, brother.

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Bringing it back home to Embarcadero Plaza.

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It was kind of a goofy, fun, stupid parade in the great tradition of most eccentric San Francisco fringe type gatherings, but really it’s no more absurd than what goes on every single weekday in the Finical District with people dressing up in their suits and ties and wasting their lives away in cubicles while out economy has been run into the ground by organized crime derivatives bandits.

Go put that run-on sentence in your pipe and smoke it.