Posts Tagged With: freakshow

Freaky SF?

SF still freaky?

Is SF still freaky?

I wandered down lower Haight Street, through the neighborhood where I lived for a while. It was a little sketchy, anything-goes, kind of hood 22 years ago. With all the talk of gentrification in San Francisco, I was looking to see how the area has changed. Would it be less gritty? Less freaky?

It was midday and only a handful of of people were on the sidewalks. Then suddenly from down a sidestreet, out strolls a naked dude. Butt-naked except for some running shoes and a little clutch purse in his hand. He sauntered across the street with not a care in the world. I wondered to myself, where is he going? Out running some errands – Starbucks, laundry?

He was in his late-fifties, not in his prime. As painful a picture as it was, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Thankfully, I resisted the initial urge to take a photo.

But I was glad to see San Francisco is Still Freaky.

Categories: San Francisco, CA - October 2014 | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Zombie Mermaids

Leave Seattle 11:45 PM PST. Arrive JFK 7:15 AM EST. On NYC Subway line F 8:00 AM. In Coney Island 9:00 AM. Quick nap to 11AM. On parade route at 12.00 noon. Met our friends Liz and Eric from Tucson, AZ 12:15 : Parade time.

The Mermaid Parade is a local counter-culture parade with a nautical/mermaid theme and this was it’s thirtieth Anniversary.  It has a grass-roots feel to it, with homemade costumes and floats. No multi-national corporation sponsors. No Redbull, No McDonalds, No giant floating Mickey Mouse balloon. Instead we have parading in front of us a random assortment of people of all ages in random costumes. Zombie Mermaids, half-naked men on unicycles, politically conscious sea creatures. There were a few common themes: namely body paint and pasties and not much else.


Poodle & beard


Sea Sprites 4 Bank Reform




Local Booze




My eyes are burning.

Visually stimulating to say the least.

Coney Island is a little worse for wear, but still has an old NYC flavor to it. Gritty, multicultural, slightly sketchy, like Manhattan in the 80’s instead of the sterilized version we now see. The boardwalk and amusement park are still kicking, with The Cyclone and freakshows still attracting a few people. This was Coney Island’s day; sun beating down, stupid hot and the streets were packed.

There was an after-parade party at the aquarium on the boardwalk. All over the aquarium there were bars, bands, DJ’s and a burlesque show in the large seal pool. Burlesque show in the seal pool???  You can only imagine. Dozens of half naked-people frolicking about in the water.  It could have been worse.


Seal pool.

We all stumbled back to the apartment we were staying at, just off the beach. Liz and Erik joked that we didn’t have to now visit the Irish tenement museum because we were staying in one. It was basically a shabby studio apartment with a bed and sofabed in the same large room. As my family, friends, and Helen can attest to, I am capable of doing strange things in the middle of the night……And at some point during the night I climbed into bed with Liz and Eric and went to sleep. Liz had to wake up Helen to drag me out of their (sofa)bed… and I don’t remember a thing. I’m sure the open bar at the aquarium had nothing to do with this! The running joke now is that we have to persuade Liz and Eric that I am a sleepwalker and not a swinger!

Categories: Americas, New York - June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at