I went down to San Francisco to work at Webtrends’ Engage conference last week, and I got there a day early so I could explore the city a little. It was my third S.F. experience, but it had been 10 years since last time, and nearly 5 before that.
One of the first places I went was City Lights Books. I remember being there the first time I visited and being completely overwhelmed by all the books. I didn’t even understand what half of the books were about, and I’d definitely never seen so many in one place before. I only vaguely knew who Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were back then. It was really nice to go back now and understand more about the significance of being in the bookstore where they hung out.

I also got to revisit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The first time I was there I barely knew who any of the artists were. It was really great to get another chance to see and appreciate artwork by some of the artists that I’ve grown to love.

Andy Warhol
Jasper Johns
Franz Kline
Marcel Duchamp

I even got to see art by some newer artists I’d never heard of. The first is a painting called “Beauty” by Tacita Dean. The second is by Pae White and is called “Smoke Knows.”

I even found what I think is a Banksy piece. It’s at least a pretty good copycat.

“If at first you don’t succeed – call an airstrike”

I also got to visit the Yerba Buena Gardens and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the first time. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with it’s waterfall and etched quotes is amazing.
I didn’t get to go into the YBCA, but I loved their signage outside the building. It was filled with bizarre characters and a stunning mix of photography and illustration. The octopus was my favorite.

Even though I only had one day to myself, the cool things I saw, along with the sunny 70 degree weather (a huge change from Portland’s dreary cold) made for a spectacular time.