After missing Mochipet twice due to illness(mine) in the past month or two, and in light of more recent personal events of the negative kind, I decided that there was no way that I was going to miss his show in San Francisco on Friday night. I usually try to make a day out of going to the city, so I figured that I would go see the new California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, do my usual perusing for new music in Amoeba records, and have an big dinner, all in time for the show.
On the road and before I had even reached SF I was feeling the hunger gnaw at me, and thought...I haven't been around in Berkeley in awhile, let's do lunch there (By let's I mean my belly and I)!
I made my way up University Ave., always happy to see the diversity of people walking the streets going about, some feverishly and some quite sleepily, on their day's missions.
I finally found a parking spot just off of Telegraph(Fridays around a tourist destination+college traffic=DON'T EVER GO THERE) and had just put two quarters into the meter when it started flashing something like "failure" or "out of service". I wouldn't be around long, and besides, what are the chances a metermaid would find my car next to a flashing red meter?
So I made my way down Telegraph, past the homeless, beggars, college students, and German tourists, and straight to Bongo Burger, one of my favorite places for a quick bite. I had a persian burger and fries. Mmmm...lamb is a wonderful thing.
From there I made a short stop at Amoeba records, found a cheap Venetian Snares and Luke Vibert CD, and headed back to the car, full of anticipation to get to SF and see the Academy. Just before I turned the corner to my car, I looked down to behold a rather portly woman, most likely of the homeless origin, lying on the corner of the sidewalk, with an extended hand and cup, and her pants resting FAR below where they should have been...really...I didn't need to see what I saw.
But of course I would not let any sight or sound destroy my day, so I turned the corner and...
From about twenty feet away I could see something flapping in my windshield...
6 years of driving and my first parking ticket!...in BERKELEY of all places. So although that's $30 I'll eventually have to part with, after a quick moment of expletives, I decided not to let it affect my mood.
I blasted the VS cd(Hospitality...awesome, but still haven't found anything of his that tops Detrimentalist) while weaving in and out of traffic and over the bay Bridge, and finally made it to Golden Gate Park around 1:30. and HOLY CRAP I knew that it would be busy but had no idea that the one museum parking garage (just under the Academy, near the de Young Museum and the Japanese Tea Gardens) would be full and that I'd have to park about 15 minutes away!
But it was a beautiful walk; lots of happy families playing in the park, couples jogging together, groups of friends laughing as they rode by on their bikes, and little old me, heavily bearded and wearing my Otto Von Schirach shirt and getting stares from quite a number of people, just humming in a semi-jog toward my desitination.
Windy days in San Francisco are great scenes to behold. The air is so crisp and clear, and everyone looks just as much of an idiot trudging around and fighting the wind on the streets as you do.
After getting the ticket situation squared away (read-for the forseeable future, but your tickets online and in advance like I did...there are an unbelievable amount of people there, all waiting in lines...) I headed in. Upon enterring, one of the first things that grabs your attention, aside from the sheer overwhelming size of the interior, is the architecture...quite beautiful really.
I made my way to the North end first, which has a pretty cool African exhbit including African penguins, and to what I was happily surprised to see as a Darwin/Evolution area. The African exhibit is inside the only part of the Academy that was left as-is, but the entire North end of the newly built structure is devoted to the many facets of Darwin's findings (with special focus to those of the Galapagos Islands) with exhibits on flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, the several tortoises of the islands, and the mockingbirds and finches which Darwin spent so much time studying.
I headed downstairs to the aquarium after spending a few moments viewing this large timelined wall. Seeing things like this always leave me feeling weird... In awe mostly...humans have such a horrible grasp of time and its significance, and I think it really shows in the lack of our appreciation for how long it took for us and everything we see today to get here.
On the way downstairs to the Steinhart Aquarium, I was greeted by two American Alligators, several alligator snapping turtles, and another tank with several alligator gars.
The Aquarium itself is pretty awesome. There are a variety of tank-types, Phillipine reefs, night reefs, Pacific coast and kelp forest tanks, as well as the flooded Amazon forest tank that you can walk under and through. My personal favorites were the freshwater stingrays and the shelled nautilus tank.
Back upstairs and headed towards to opposite side of the building, I saw a line of about 70-100 people, all waiting for entrance into the enclosed, 4 story rainforest. Though it looked interesting and I'm sure had several informative displays inside, I was in no line-waiting mood, and strolled happily past the impatient ones.
The South side of the building is entirely devoted to climate change, with a lot of attention and detail given to the importance of the Sierra Nevada mountain range(damn right!) and the impact climate change is having on its snow- and rainfall. Its on my mind a lot, and I try to do my part, but seeing visuals and displays about our impact...and to SEE what this area used to look like before we swarmed into California... Very Powerful stuff. Regardless of how you feel about human's responsibility for climate change, we should at the very least take this message to heart. We have so much potential for good, but are currently doing so much harm...
Nothing lightens up the day like Andy Warhol paintings...
Ok maybe not, but it was still awesome to see that a very large portion of his Endangered Species pieces were on display on the way upstairs, on my way towards the naturalist center and the Living Roof.
Once out of the elevator and immediately upon looking up to the beautiful blue sky, two Blue Angels jets flew in formation overhead.
I knew it was that time of the year, but had no idea I'd have them flying over my head right on cue, as if it was a gaudy introduction of me to those fascinated citizens awaiting my arrival on the roof.
The roof itself has thousands of California-native plants, and houses 60,000 photo voltaic cells, cleanly powering much of the Academy.
Green technology and architecture working hand-in-hand. I love it!
After a few more fly-overs by the Blue Angels, I figured that it was time to hit the ol' dusty trail...just a mile or two over to Haight.
I actually legally parked on Haight for the first time in years. I usually park in the surveilled McDonald's parking lot, go through the back entrance, and right out the front, so it appears that I am indeed parking there for the full allotted time to enjoy a big mac and fries...
But no, this time I found an open space, paid for it, and had no worries about whether some McDonald's security cop would have me towed.
I spent a few minutes in Amoeba, bought another Venetian Snares cd(Meathole) along with a CEX cd(Being Ridden). Both are quite awesome. CEX has an awesome way of melding his well-written raps, full of wit and attitude, with his electronics.
I took a quick browse in Goodwill, then across the street to an awesome Thai restaurant, Siam Lotus. Good Pad Thai!
I don't know who to thank but I feel that I must thank SOMEBODY or SOMETHING for putting a shopping center with easily accessible restrooms so close to the venue. Because driving in SF while holding your bladder is one of the worst feelings imaginable...you know that finding parking or even a place with a public restroom is hard enough, but for some reason if you're in the city using their restrooms and if you're not a customer, you tend to get raced out pretty quickly by employees.
After that relieving and rejuvenating release, I made the short walk to Il Pirata, where my night was to enfold. It's a pretty cool pizza/pasta joint, with a nice atmosphere and some amazingly nice waitresses. I had just eaten less than an hour ago, but I ordered a mini-hawaiin pizza and a pint of Sierra Nevada...What the hell, right? I was here to enjoy the night, and enjoy I would...and what better way to help that enjoyment along than pizza, beer, a cute sweetheart of a waitress, and some music?
I had about an hour and a half to kill, so after my meal (soo fulllll) I left her a pretty big tip, took a short walk, and returned to sit in the lounge area outside. I listened to a few ladies chat nearby, some of whom were in the group Hottub playing later that night, talk about how awesome crank is and that they haven't slept in four days...(read: if any of you are totally rich and have money to give to research, I would happily accept a grant to write about all my observations...I am naturally an enthusiastic cultural/social observer)
Pretty entertaining, and before I knew it, the show inside was starting!
I took a seat in a leather booth, and watched as one of the girls I had been listening to was playing some pretty awesome rap mashups with some cool electro beats behind it, all while dancing around in her silly glasses. After her, there was another DJ doing about the same kind of stuff, a little more straight forward and club-style, but still good.
While he was playing, my waitress walked by and gave me some hot popcorn and told me I was sweet :-)
All the while, the girl who had previously played was setting up her micro-synth and effects pedals on a table closer to the center of the room, and was excited at the prospect that I might hear her again but something different entirely. And I was right! She calls herself MNDY, and proudly proclaimed her Oakland roots and love of San Francisco into her delay-ridden microphone, and quickly started the onslaught all our senses. She would sample her moaning or screaming, then loop that at odd times and with several effects over her ever-changing synthesizer loops. It was amazing!
And right after she finished, the moment I was waiting for occured. Mochipet opened up his laptop with the Girls Love Breakcore sticker and started playing some pretty awesome breakcore-ish stuff. The sad thing was...aside from the few other djs and guy working on the mixer, I was the ONLY one on the floor and actively watching/listening to him. I'm sure everyone would've loved to have a much bigger crowd tonight, but I must admit that it was pretty awesome to feel like the show was being played just for me at that time.
After a few songs solo, a man that I had noticed early because of his awesome haircut(mohawk running down and connecting with a strip of hair about 1 inch thick, that ran along the base of his skull and around and over his ears, the rest of it was completely shaved) came out in this awesome suit and started rapping over Mochipet's music.
Definitely a spectacle, great music and some more energy added to the floor, even with only a few of us watching. They rocked out a few more songs, and ended that set when Juiceboxx finished setting up and gave Mochipet the universal throat slitting gesture to end. I might have stayed for more of Juiceboxx's set, which was pretty fun attitude-laden Wisconsin-borne rap, but it peeved me how he had Mochi finish so abruptly, so I took my good-bye urination and went into that good night...but not before finding Mochipet, shaking his hand, and telling him that I really enjoyed his show. I'm sure he gets that a lot, but I think, after a night like this and with a lack of fans to watch, that he was pretty happy to hear that.