Sundays in Golden Gate Park

29 03 2010

It’s amazing how much fun you can have for free in this giant multi-billion dollar back yard.

Sundays in the park really do make it all worthwhile.

It’s neat how skaters can power up like that. That’s a move you’d normally see superheroes do right before they switch into their uniforms to go fight crime. The superhero analogy works really well with a lot of the park regulars. D has been throwing Skatin’ Place for over 30 years (!) now in Golden Gate Park and a lot of the regulars have their own unique look and signature moves.

People watching on a sunny day is like channel surfing.

Everyone’s body language is telling a different story.

D has excellent taste in music, as is evident in this special 6 hour version of Rapper’s Delight. Seriously. This song went on forever. It was the perfect soundtrack to a perfect day in the park.

Now it’s just a day later and the weather is crappy and overcast. Weird how bi-polar Mother Nature can be out here. It’s funny also how if she’s in a good mood she’ll save the sunny days for the weekend and then dump the crappy days on the start of the work week.

You must grab as many of those sunny days in the park as you can.

That’s an imperative to your urban survival.


Local San Francisco architect Glenn Robert Lym just released an amazing documentary on the history of Golden Gate Park.

How weird, there used to be a public park on where now stands Kink. I had no idea.

How even weirder to think that a good chunk of Golden Gate Park was created and maintained just an excuse for the bourgeoisie, like that psycho motherfucker De Young , to show off all of his toys.

And there was a temporary artsy type Disney Land on the west end of Golden Gate Park that looked like Burning Man at night? How odd.

How weird to think of Golden Gate Park as not only this battleground between the proletariat and bourgeoisie, but also an organic, man-made artifact that both sides have kept alive for generations.

I’m not sure if it’s a battle where only one side can win, all I can testify too is the fact that you can be broke and still have a whole world of fun in Golden Gate Park.


Skatin’ Place at Burning Man 2001 – 2002

Amandeep Jawa (Flashdance) and D Miles Jr (Skatin’ Place) vs SFPD. San Francisco Halloween 2009. FREE.

2 11 2009

Amandeep Jawa (flashdance) and D Miles Jr (Skate’n Place) vs SFPD. San Francisco Halloween 2009. FREE. 1

Amandeep Jawa (flashdance) and D Miles Jr (Skate’n Place) vs SFPD. San Francisco Halloween 2009. FREE. 2

That was an interesting night.

Now this is Halloween! 10/31/09

Photo courtesy of Kevin Kranzky

The Embarcadero on a beautiful low-70’s, Indian Summer, clear night, really is a glorious place to be in San Francisco.

That Taking Back Halloween team-up between Flashdance and Skatin’ Place was a very well-executed idea. A great Small Victory on the Death of Fun campaign.

Thank You, San Francisco.


Skatin’ Place at Burning Man 2001 – 2002.

Flashdance Party at the Ferry Plaza. August 1st, 2009. FREE.

Skatin’ Place at Burning Man 2001 – 2002.

31 08 2009

I actually crossed paths with The Godfather of Skating at the Tom Jones Panty camp during Burning Man 2002.

It’s kind of a funny story that’s not even appropriate for posting online.

I took the Green Tourtise to Burning Man 7 years in a row. Going to Burning Man is like being struck by lightening and I had that once in a lifetime experience 7 years in a row. I started in 1996, the Hell year. The year that people were being decapitated, run over by cars as the slept in their tents, and maimed left and right. At times the skies were filled with Medivac helicopters, it was like Apocalypse Now but with House and Trance beats in the background. Check out the aerial view from to get an idea of how scattered brained everyone was back then.

Look how honky-tonk The Man’s altar was back then. It was just a couple bales of hay. These days it’s these really unique and elaborate alters or temples. I remember they had a temple a few years ago that was the size of a Home Depot, but back then it was just on some bales of hay. It felt like the Dukes of Hazzard were running the show in ’96. Yee-haw!

Then keep in mind that the Rave Ghetto was TWO MILES away from the main camp and they had not yet banned cars on the playa.

Burning Man 1996

At night you’d be walking the desert feeling like a cross between Lawrence of Arabia and Charles Manson and then a BMW would zip within a few feet of you going 80 miles per hour. With its lights turned off. Yee-haw!

It was a completely different experience back then. From 1998 on they’ve been in the same spot, which has always felt like camping at the Burning Man Mall. You had the Black Rock mountains, the train tracks, line of cars waiting to get inside, and all of these other distinctive landmarks to give you a sense of perspective. These days, after The Man burns you can ride your bike for miles and still navigate your way back to your camp without a problem. Back in 96 after people starting breaking camp you could walk 20 feet away from your tent and be completely disoriented. It would be like getting off MUNI downtown and finding that Market St and the Finical District had disappeared. It really was like camping on the moon.

2002 was a great Burn for me. Normally the burns have been all hype and very anti-climatic for me. It’s like Super Bowl Sunday. You sit around doing nothing for 4 hours, get up to go to the bathroom, and then when you get back it’s all over. Yee-haw! But 2002 was a great Burn and I felt like I had accomplished everything that I set out to do and wanted to go out like Seinfeld, just exit stage left on a positive note.

I think the 2002 Temple really sealed it for me.

I’ve always been really impressed with David Best’s work, every year it kept getting better and better and he kept taking more chances, but he nailed it that year and for the first time I felt like it actually upstaged the burning of The Man himself. Everyone loves to bitch and complain, Hell, we’re Americans, that’s our national pastime these days. But ultimately not only do you have a hell of a lot more freedoms at Burning Man than you do else where, but if you’re talented enough your art can actually upstage The Man himself. If you’re talented enough, your Burn can actually be more spiritual and touch more people than the burning of The Man at his own party. That’s something to think about.

Fast-forward 5 years later

System downtime means that I actually get home from work at a reasonable hour. I’m channel surfing when I hit Dave’s Skatin Place show on public access. Just to back peddle a bit,

David Miles Jr is like the Afrika Bambaataa of Golden Gate Park. I’ve always seen him as not only one of the local community activists that are always trying to make San Francisco a better place to live, but also one of those guys who just does it without looking for some political payback or favor. D was instrumental in having the Golden Gate Park side streets closed off to traffic on Sundays, does roller disco in the park, and has his own roller disco ring by Center Camp at Burning Man each year since early 2000. I want to be just like this guy when I grow up.

Back to the show,

Dave’s public access show is on and has footage from Burning Man 2001 and 2002. Excellent ! It’s all there, the La Contessa , the Taj Mahal, Drago the Dragon, the David Best temple even the Green Tourtise. Awesome. It’s one of 3 episodes he did on Burning Man, so I go online at to find out when the others are but for the life of me I can get the public access show site to work. just got a retarded public relations upgrade. I was on there a few years ago because I noticed some local house music and 9/11 conspiracy public access shows that popped up on my radar that I wanted to keep tabs on. Before, it was a really basic site but was at least functional. You could easily search to find a show and if there was a url associated with it. Now it’s useless. There’s a PDF file for listings? What the hell? Why not just put it on micro-fish and have it down at the library…

So I got Dave’s cell phone number from the end of the Burning Man episode and I cold-call the guy the next day.

I’m all “Hey, I really enjoyed your show last night. I don’t Burn anymore, but those years that I did are really special to me and it’s amazing when I can find footage of that time. I was wondering if you could help me out though. I was just checking out the public access site and for the life of me I can’t find when your next episode is gong to air.”

And then D goes off. “I don’t know what’s going on with those turkeys. That used to be a really fun station but now there’s big money involved. You have these political cronies that are pulling in 6 figures and running that station into the ground, they are wasting over ten thousand dollars every month on the new Market Street office that they really don’t need but just want for the prestige. Those clowns are fucking up that station.” Ten minutes later D is all “Sorry to go off, I talk a lot and those idiots just get me worked up.”

And I’m all, “No, I hear you. I see that everywhere. It’s the same thing with work, it’s the same thing that’s going on with the government right now. It’s the same thing with Bush putting one of his incompetent horse judging buddies in charge of FEMA and then watching New Orleans fall apart. These guys are corporate raiders that don’t know how to manage anything, they just give kickbacks and cushy jobs to their fuck-buddies from bowling night and just dick around while Rome burns.” About ten minutes later I finally wrap up my “Never underestimate the awesome power of incompetence, fuck Chris Daily, and fuck nepotism.” speech.

Dave’s all, “Yeah, glad you enjoyed the show. I have no idea when those turkeys are going to air that again, but you can check out the entire thing on my site for free. I’ve also got that and the Malcolm in the Middle Burning Man episode.” And then Dave goes off on the Malcolm in the Middle Burning Man episode for another 10 minutes. Classic.

Check it out.

Skatin’ Place @ Burning Man 2001 and 2002.



Amazing 2009 BM footage from stevesf123 that was posted online on the Sunday of Burning Man (!)

Amazing turnaround and amazing aerial view as they fly into Burning Man 2009 and later into San Francisco Labor Day 2009.

I love those clouds too.

It’s easy to get caught up in the human spectacle below, but just look up and there’s this amazing skyline untouched by skyscrapers or telephone pole lines.


Great footage by Mr. Holehead of the BrassTax Boom Box at Burning Man 2009

I love it when DJs have a sense of humor…



Sunday Skating at Skatin’ Place.

Skatin’ Place. Ride the SoulTrain at Burning Man 2008

Sunday Streets in the Mission. FREE.

21 07 2009

Sunday Streets in the Mission 1

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.

Sunday Streets in the Mission 9

Sunday Streets in the Mission 2

Sunday Streets in the Mission 11

Sunday Streets in the Mission 14

Sunday Streets in the Mission 13

Sunday Streets in the Mission 4

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.

Sunday Streets in the Mission 6

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…

Sunday Streets in the Mission 16

Sunday Streets in the Mission 21

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.

Sunday Streets in the Mission 23

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.

Skatin’ Place. Ride the SoulTrain at Burning Man 2008.

29 04 2009

Skatin’ Place is one of my all time favorite local TV shows. D Miles has been doing his Skatin’ Place parties in Golden Gate Park on Sundays since forever and a day. He also produced his own public access TV show for 7 (!) years till he was fired for basically asking some straight forward questions that needed to be asked, like why did you guys just move the studio to a Market Street location where the rent is around $12,000 a month instead of moving to a city owned building off the beaten path where the rent could have been $1 per year?

I don’t know, I live in the real world with real bills and it’s crucial if you want to survive in this city that you know how to live within your means and learn to do without things that are beyond your means.

Now Public Access channel 29 is broke and has been spare changing its viewers every chance it gets. I still like and support some of the shows on there, but no way in Hell I can get behind a bailout of that station. Time for Access Channel 29 to die-off like the dinosaur that it is.

But D is still cutting new episodes of Skatin’ Place and he still Burns!

I love it when I see OG’s that still get excited by Burning Man. It’s pretty trendy for jaded hipsters to bash on Burning Man these days, when they’re not getting American Apparel stores and American Apparel jobs kicked out of the Mission.

As long as D is still making new Burning Man Skatin’ Place videos I will give them airtime.

Sunday Skating at Skatin’ Place.

10 03 2009

Sunday skating at Skatin' Place 1

Every Sunday the city closes down a few streets in Golden Gate Park to car traffic and D Miles hosts his Sunday skating at Skatin’ Place get down.

D has got really good taste in music and Skatin’ Place is a magnet for all these colorful and talented skaters and onlookers.

I was tripping out on this kid in the orange pants. This guy was ripping it up.

Sunday skating at Skatin' Place 2

Sunday skating at Skatin' Place 3

Sunday skating at Skatin' Place 4

Now check it out as he circles by. He’s bent over like a pretzel and skating on one leg, with his other leg sticking out and his head just inches above the concrete.

Sunday skating at Skatin' Place 6

Sunday skating at Skatin' Place 7

Sunday skating at Skatin' Place 8

Fucking rad!