Storytellers, reportage, reenactments and posts

Pitch #100 on a quality start by Timmy, on tivo

Pitch #100 on a quality start by Timmy, on tivo

Sunday afternoon consists of watching Tim Lincecum struggle with the Marlins — it’s 2-2 in the third as I commence — while posting a fairly mindless little ditty, comprising for the most part 21 images I managed to move from my Smarty Pants Cellphone camera to blog, and a few tossed off interstitial ideas or linkages, not unlike sausage casing















2. Rodin

Gary, Ron, Joe, Peter

Gary, Ron, Joe, Peter

Saturday started with Terry driving to Ferry Building SF so as to catch Jerry Hannan and other guests on West Coast Live, the long-running and unique talk and performance show, hosted and produced by Sedge Thompson who married a little blond haired girl from Mrs. Creighton’s 6th grade class, Sylvia Brownrigg, sometimes also known by the non de plume Juliet Bell. Probably merits it’s own post, excepting the fact that I was sensitive about not disturbing the event by using my camera — I still don’t know how it decides when or when not to flash. I snapped this image of Claes Oldenberg’s Cupid’s Span en route, probably already listening to the show, which is a fun part of WCL, that there is a sort of reward for your tardiness.

CupidsSpanSFWe rushed back from the City to catch our friends Natalie and Nicole Hong doing a recital of classical, opera and folk singing, at All Saints Church on Waverley (the one with the labyrinth, which reminds me: been a long time since I did the stroll). Parents Paul and E.J. Hong surely have never been prouder; again, probably deserves it’s own post. Check back for that.

Natalie Hong, a Gunn grad off to major in Engineering but minor in music, at Carnegie Mellon, and sister Nicole, at her Senior Recital, Palo Alto, July 19, 2014

Natalie Hong, a Gunn grad off to major in Engineering but minor in music, at Carnegie Mellon, and sister Nicole, at her Senior Recital, Palo Alto, July 19, 2014

Not far at all from All Saints is Walgreen’s at Bryant and Uni, where Theranos, a $9 Billion valuation pre-IPO health care company, helmed by a 30-year-old Stanford dropout Elizabeth Holmes, beta-tests in diagnosis products: that is pretty boring, I admit, going downtown to shoot a drug store counter. Holmes was also on the cover of Forturne Magazine two weeks ago. I inadvertently told people that it was a $30 billion company started by a nine-year-old.

Theranos retail, Palo Alto, July, 2014

Theranos retail, Palo Alto, July, 2014

Actually, as I write this — Monday morning, Linceum lost, by the way, and I ended up seeing only 9 pitches, not that each pitch is not a mini-masterpiece — an Elizabeth Holmes-type comes into Peet’s on Uni and a do a bit of a double-take and try not to stare, and then shoot this photo of her (the non-Holmes, I presume; Elizabeth is known for wearing all-black, and is probably too busy to relax at Peet’s, on a Monday). She leaves before I finish posting. The guy sharing the table with her remains– I’m guessing they are not together.

probably not Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, 10 a.m. Monday, July 21, 2014 at Peets on Uni

probably not Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, 10 a.m. Monday, July 21, 2014 at Peets on Uni


In theory I could do nothing but take cellphone photos of Downtown Palo Alto and post them to WordPress, and see how high I can elevate that form, which is a step above writing reactions to other media — I do a lot of that — or posting too many screen-captures from tv. I am meaning to re-read Winesburg, Ohio at any rate.

Friday evening I saw the media crew setting up to document what is at least the third appearance at Lytton Plaza by a group of 11-year-old rockers, sometimes a trio — their name indicates — and sometimes a duo, of the core singer and guitar player. Meanwhile Lytton regular Skee was cranking away on guitar; he yielded to the kids, then plugged back in with a band at the “bandstand” (near the bike racks). The kids tend to play on a diagonal angle, facing the bench along the fountain, or midway between where buskers play and the “bandstand”.

My understanding is that the guitar player’s father is a successful investor, in the medical devices segment, with office space and real estate investments downtown. And as someone who caught Norah Jones’s first show in the Bay Area and was told “she’s Ravi Shankar’s daughter, but don’t tell anybody” I don’t feel that bad assessing the band by gleaning tidbits of intelligence about their parents. I enjoy hearing them play and slowly the indie-rock favorite work their magic and displace my jaundice. I love Green Day, frinstance, and was psyched that they do a Nina Simone song. (The one that is also in the movie about the French cripple and his street-wise aid). Also, one of these days I need to post Hershel Yatovitz in 1976 playing a Bar Mitzvah, or sitting in at least; Hershel who plays Mountain Winery next week as Chris Isaak’s guitarist.

Unnamed young guitar whiz, Lytton Plaza, summer 2014

Unnamed young guitar whiz, Lytton Plaza, summer 2014

This is Skee. I have his card somewhere. Palo Alto Police once ticketed him for blocking the alley while he loaded out his gear. (And they ticketed me one night for blocking the taxi stand, although I had already returned to move my car before they started writing it).

skee2014This is one of at least five members of the media crew that documents the young band; she’s fairly young herself, maybe his sister or cousin? (most of the other media workers are twenty-something and have other media credits, I’ve learned; nice gear certainly)



I’m deliberately not referring to the band by their name; partially because their name is weak; they need a better name — not that I would approach them and offer suggestions and I certainly doubt they read Plastic Alto. One of these days I, especially if I write about them a fourth time, I will give them a pet name. Like Bennie and the Not Yets– BNY.

Meanwhile I am dubbing this guy Boogie Man. My photos do not do justice to his moves, which upstaged Tony Lindsay at Cogswell Plaza Thursday, July 17, 2014. Lindsay was great, or at least very good, although I would say the sound system was weak, a low ball bid and low ball fulfillment, by Pro Audio, which is Kevin Corecky’s firm (local stalwarts, I used once, at the Edge, in 1994). And somewhere I want to debunk or if necessary praise the fact that the artist and this event billed Tony Lindsay as “11-time Grammy winner”. I believe that Carlos Santana may be have won that many Grammy’s, and Lindsay has sang with him as a side-man for many years, and recorded, but I somehow doubt the math there, I must say. Which also reminds me of reading locally something about a senior at Los Altos or St. Francis having a demo produced by someone claiming to work with Elton John and John Mayer and me, the first time I read this, months ago, wanting to suss that out.

Here are three shots of Boogie Man. If I see him around I may ask his name:


It may look like he is standing still here but he is not — which is my homage to Muybridge, 1877.

boogieMan3after 1,200 words and two hours I had to repark the car, from Lime to Corral, and added the remaining 1,000 and 10 more photos:

aquariusMarqueeaquariusMarquee – I saw “Begin Again”, John Carney’s folo to “Once” twice. I thought of the following alternate tag lines to the actual ones posited by Lance:


Keira Flowers (which only works if you know that Adam Levine’s first band was called Kara’s Flowers)

Marooned 10 (which only works if you have heard of Maroon 5 and think Keira Knightly is a 10)

Music Wants to Be Free but We Charge $10 (too many characters)

Where The Ruffalo Foams (which I think of as a Hunter S. Thompson reference although Lance says more generally its “Home on The Range”)


The actual picks: Keira Loses Her Corsets and All the World is a Studio


I would rather see a fictionalized version of Bill Callahan and Cynthia Dall, circa 1995. Sad as it is, but more real.



Lance of Aquarius

Lance of Aquarius


LincecumInDefeat — I caught 9 pitches, numbers 99 thru 108. I thought earlier this season about posting a pitch by pitch Lincecum post, like the Zidane movie by Douglas Gordon or Deadbase.

it would be about 2,000 pitches per season (although reminds me of the book I saw that has virtually every book reference in “The Simpsons”)


Palo Alto Mosque

Palo Alto Mosque

paloAltoMosque- The tip of the mosque is visible from nearby Palo Alto Studios — art spaces — on Transfer Street; I am looking forward to the mosque; not many know that the community of Muslims in Palo Alto has a preponderance of Indians. There is also a dance studio going in around the corner.



dougherty — Patrick Dougherty installation of bent reeds and twigs shows some staying power. I prefer this as a landmark, for Palo Alto Art Center and Rinconada Library (new, stupid name, for Palo Alto Main Library). I suggest a big, stupid sign saying BIG STUPID SIGN to what is actually suggested as way-finding, for corner of Newell and Embarcadero. My first choice would be a giant book by Oldenburg, or a soft drum kit. There’s also a set of c-prints of or by Daughtery (check that spelling) at Cubberley, in the room that is often but not always Palo Alto History Association, or, as I often say, three doors down from “The Wave.”


Like a lot of people, Karen Kienzle is sometimes perturbed about a lack of respect for the arts

Like a lot of people, Karen Kienzle is sometimes perturbed about a lack of respect for the arts

KienzleOuttake — nobody will ever see this less flattering photo of museum director Karen Kienzle, who posed for me the other day in front of the Ehren Tool installation, she spearheaded. I think this shows character.


StrengthTool- As a lagniappe to the 880 ceramic mugs made and installed by Ehren Tool at Palo  Alto Art center and his residency, former arts commissioner Paula Kirkeby (my second yiddishe momma) suggested the win-win-win of housing Ehren at Smith-Andersen on Pepper, and bringing him to the printing press, with Kathryn Kain, master printer. There are seven prints on display, two series, one based on the lotto or tarot, the other more like extensions of the mugs. One says “strength” which is how Ehren signs correspondence, a al Dan Rather “courage.” I guess both sets are based on “lotteria” I note the hebrew “beth” which means “house”.


caliSherm — I took a bunch of photos around 385 Sherman where greedy developers want to tear down perfectly fine and fully leased one-story tilt up and build maxed out three story office buidling, with a couple housing units thrown in, more to qualify for some sort of zoning loop hole than because it is a good idea. I waffle about comparing it, in another post, to the Orson Welles character in the Third Man and his famous dismissal of externalities. I am wavering between “Would you really miss some of those dots” to “Would you really miss some of these dot-coms?”  I shot this from Cali Ave next to probably the best actualized public art project in history of the program, the triptych of murals by, in order, Chris Johanson, David Huffman and Joey Piziale, the former fastest cornerback on the Paly gridiron team, of his day (and a chilumbicaner-producer in his own way. Bless).


matt – Matt W one summer day not unlike today but forty years ago was a star youth soccer player but he was involved in a car accident coming home from a tournament, spent time in a coma and I was thinking of him, in terms of who is or isn’t earshot to the 385 Sherman racket, when lo and behold her materialized, using a walker, going past Sarah Wallis Park. We are both looking forward to news of our friend AF and his collection of Chilumbicans. Mazel tov. Cue Helen Sung, Anthem for A New Day without explaining why.


SteveCohenStanfordJugglers — Steve and Eric Cohen, and honorary Cohen-clan member Trish, spent a few days last week posing as Stanford affiliates and even passed themselves off as members of the Stanford Juggling Club. I also caught them reuniting at Cool Cafe at Cantor at Stanford (Leland and Pierson Room) with Joey Oliveira, who was their neighbor on or at San Juan Hill for more than 40 years. The picture at the very top shows Joey Oliveira on his way to lunch with Peter Selz the dean of Bay Area modern art critics and curators. They had been, incomprensibly, chased moments earlier from the construction site of the Windhover Contemplative Center; which is like the time I overheard Doris Fisher telling someone by cellphone that, at the installation of Richard Serra “Sequence” at Cantor, she got a parking ticket  and “I guess they need the money”, although maybe some of that comes back to us, townies, and we kinda do. Sergeant Steve Savage of Palo Alto’s Finest, meanwhile, on Thursday, at the Boogie Man show, I mean Tony Lindsay, pre-empted a few parking tickets to permit the actual bass player, not the UPS guy, to make his hit on time, plus the Pro Audio truck. Which reminds that I have a decent picture of Russ Cohen, of PAD, at the gig — he was instrumental — like a cheesy hammond — in the rebirth of Brown Bag. And that reference is not “derogatory” it is actually a very hip Steve Lucky reference.


You know a good place for a Palo Alto pick up gig? The piano at Caffe Venetia at historic train station. They have an email address to let them know, or just go and play and run, ala Ruffalo et al in “Begin Again” if the police come. Maybe we can get a grant for PAPD in uniform to come and tickle the keys, as a form of outreach and sensitivity training. We have Olympic badminton players and Dartmouth rugby players on the force, why not Vince Guarldi devotees?


probably not Elizabeth Thomas, speaks for itself


nerdNation — how many hundreds of thousands saw the Youtube version of Stanford Nerd Nation video that runs in a loop at Stanford Bookstore and Emporium?


I have a long riff previously about Jun Tulius lecturing in SF about this Mentawai 35 miles, not 12,000, away

I have a long riff previously about Jun Tulius lecturing in SF about this Mentawai 35 miles, not 12,000, away

Mentawai and PaloByPalo: how many miles apart are the creators of the Mentawai gibbons at Stanford and the carvers of a wood version of the Palo Alto seal by our brothers and sisters in Palo, Leyte, the Philipines? I would guess less than 5,000. Maybe they can do a spit party and see how closely are their genetics related. I should write Anne Wojcicki and see if she will do this pro bono.

I started by imagining making some kind of crack about Selz, Oliveira et al looking like a re-enactment of Rodin “Burghers of Calais” which actually can be seen, a short walk from the museum and it’s motherlode of his sculptures and the gate, and Thinker. (And held off posting at all until Steve showed me that Joey put photos of the meeting on his social media page).

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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