EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Darkness | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'darkness'

The Audium

The AudiumThere are truly few weird and wonderful places left in San Francisco today. Yes, I’ve talked about the relics from the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition and 1938/1940 World’s Fairs that are on display at the Musee Mechanique, but a place I had forgotten about was brought to my attention the other day — The Audium.

The original concept started in the 50’s when experimental music was in a bit of an underground heyday. Enhanced by somewhat more affordable recording technology there were lots of people who were creating music from the sounds of the world around us or Musique Concrète. These were some of the early days of electronic music as we know it today. The music as it were could be the sounds of construction, cars driving by, people talking which could put you in a place without having to go there, or it could simply be a bizarre array of sounds that you really wouldn’t know what to make of it.

The Audium would fall into a bit of the later category. The room is circular and looks a bit like a space ship on the inside. From the ceiling are 136 hanging speakers as well as built into the walls at it’s current location at 1616 Bush Street. The Audium is best experienced rather than described. With all of those speakers individual sounds can be moved around the room in a way that 5.1 Dolby Surround or even 7.1 Dolby Surround can’t replicate. After you enter and take a seat the low level lighting is lowered to complete darkness. The room isn’t really warm or cold, but everything is set up so that the main focus of the evening is on your ears and the story that the sound will play for them.

Each work is performed live by Stan Shaff every Friday and Saturday night who mixes the taped audio in a different way each time. You could probably make the analogy that Stan is like a 3D sound DJ. Call it genius or insanity, but after you’ve experienced it once you’ll have a completely different idea of what sound it. Tickets for each performance are $20 [cash only] and a limited number of tickets are available pre-show through the City Box Office. Children under 12 are not allowed as, well, it’ll probably be a bit weird for them and they’ll start asking questions which kind of defeats the purpose.

The Audium is a place that everyone should go to at least once in their life if they intend to spend any time in San Francisco. It’s just a little bit of weirdness that helps create the character of our City.

Blackout!

Last night at around 9:20 pm the Sunset District went dark, well at least parts of it did and in the darkness it gave me time to reflect. This doesn’t happen that often anymore, but we did used to see it happen every few months a couple of years ago. We prepared ourselves some time ago so we had the candles and LED lights ready to go.

For some reason the area of the Sunset that I live in seems prone to blackouts. I walked down to the corner and looked up and down and everything was dark. A block down they had power at the end of my block the next block had power so it seems to affect a portion of the Sunset between Pacheco and Rivera streets. I immediately pulled out my iPhone and jumped to twitter. I follow a lot of people in the Sunset District who also follow me so I figured someone else might have been hit by this.

Sadly there were only a few people affected, but we were in contact and tweeting back and forth about how to get the word out. I found out that @PGE4me if you tweet them they will tweet you back with status updates. I also learned that if the power didn’t come back on how set the alarm on my iPhone to wake me up without buzzing and beeping all night with it’s notifications. This is a good thing to know in the future.

The power came back on about an hour later and all was good. I did warm my neighbors who seem to be a bit techie that anything electronic and valuable they should unplug. I had my home theater unit blown when power came back a few years ago because of the power surge that came with it. Luckily I had unhooked everything that would be too expensive to replace and went about replugging it in after the power came back.

For some reason these outages happen only at night. There has been a few time when the power went out in the middle of the night and we overslept the next day because our alarms didn’t go off because the clocks had been reset, but those were rare. I did end up having to miss Anthony Bourdain’s layover in London and Hawaii 5-0, but for the most part they’re getting better and getting the power back. I’d just like to know why it’s always the Sunset District that gets hit with this and not other parts of the city.

Anton LaVey: San Francisco’s Mouthpiece for the Devil

Today is a day to delve deep into the darkness of San Francisco. While at times I’d like to feel that I’m the qualified source for this topic, I’m not. I wanted to write a piece about Anton Szandor LaVey, a man who in the mid 60’s stepped out into the media spotlight with a look not unlike Vladimir Lenin which, was not the best looks to have during the cold war, yet he was a beloved member of San Francisco’s infamous crowd that helped put San Francisco a little more present in the societies of the strange that helped make us what we are today. Anton is no longer with us and the Church of Satan has now moved from a creepy black house in the Richmond district to a small aluminum post office box in Grand Central Station, NY.

Who best then would it be to ask to comment on Anton LaVey than his right hand man in the Church of Satan until he left in 1975 than Dr. Michael Aquino who left the Church to found the Temple of Set. So with that being said, I’ll turn the page over to Dr. Aquino:

ANTON SZANDOR LaVEY

– by Michael A. Aquino

America is not a young land: It is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting. – William Burroughs, Naked Lunch

I am convinced that the 1906 earthquake not only flattened most of San Francisco and set the rest of it on fire, it knocked the city permanently off the Ley Line that kept it responsible and respectable. Ever since then, everything it’s tried to do has come out … well, as Mayor Willie Brown remarked on one of his official appearances in 1997, “This sure is a fucked-up city!”

So when New York decided to do evil, it got Boss Tweed. When Chicago decided to do evil, it got Al Capone. When New Orleans decided to do evil, it got the pirate Lafitte. When Los Angeles decided to do evil, it got the Black Dahlia killer and the Night Stalker. But when San Francisco tried to do evil, what it came up with was Anton LaVey. In short, it blew it again.

Because Anton, while he certainly started a Church of Satan and wrote a Satanic Bible to go along with it, and generally held himself out as the double-scoop-ice-cream-cone of Evil personified, turned out to be a very nice guy. Whenever he glowered, he just couldn’t get rid of the twinkle, and everyone in San Francisco agreed that he fit right in with our Mayor’s perceptive pronouncement as yet another of our beloved, if bizarre cultural icons. [The only time the city ever officially spanked him was when his pet lion kept the neighbors awake at night with its roaring.]

Anton was born in 1930 and at age 8 joined the Cub Scouts; it didn’t quite take. He checked out shortly after Mayor Willie’s 1997 declaration, presumably concluding that he’d done his bit for it. Since then San Francisco just hasn’t been able to do evil with class, artistry, and flair anymore. And after, you know, lions and nude altars and scary organ music and such, you can’t just dumb down to the rest of the country and be happy.

6114 California Street, where his tour-bus-gawk Black House once crouched like a crazed Universal Studios horror-film prop, now consists of a cookie-cutter condo. But at night, when the fog rolls in, if you listen carefully, you can still hear the chanting, the howling, and the diabolical laughter fading into the crash of the waves against Land’s End. Burroughs was right.