It was a day off yesterday in San Francisco that began early with a massive attack of Peet's coffee and a cherry danish. One of my missions was to find a place that will repair my finger nails, sounds awfully vain but it's really a necessity. I use my fingers to play as much, if not more than a guitar pick and my nails have always been thin and splintery. About 10 years ago I discovered the acrylics and they've been a miracle, that is until one breaks or comes off which is what happened before the show last night in Jacksonville. At that point it was a race against the start of the show with a bottle of Krazy Glue building up layers in hope of getting through the gig. I made it, but a new set of acrylics was in order. Found a little walk in nail salon and my index, middle and ring were soon good as new. Bored yet? I am. Next.
Wandered round the city and fell into a soup and salad place for lunch then made my way to the San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art which is currently hosting a staggeringly great exhibit of Frida Kahlo. Roomfuls of her most important paintings gathered from all over the world and several more rooms of personal photographs from a collection of over 400 that she gave to a physician friend. She and her husband Diego Rivera spent a good deal of time here in San Francisco while he was commissioned to paint a mural. I won't go into her story here, but her work is tremendously moving. The exhibit runs through September 2008 and I can't recommend it enough.
I spent the evening with my dear first cousin Neal Winchell who has lived in the city and its suburbs for decades. While we've stayed in touch via e-mail and the occasional backstage visit, we hadn't sat down to a meal together in over 30 years. That was remedied last night when we met here at the hotel for a couple of martinis before heading off to John's Grill, an old San Francisco bar and grill dating back to 1908 and hangout of writer Dashiell Hammett. Perfectly grilled steaks, seafood, fresh vegetables and baked potatoes with loads of sour cream. It was good sitting down and catching up with you Neal. As for martinis, the late San Francisco journalist/humourist Herb Caen had this to say, "Martinis are like breasts. One is not enough and three's too many." Agreed. We each had two.
Up early today, wandered round the corner to Mel's Diner for breakfast, a little too hard core neo-retro for me, but the food was great and how can you argue with a place that has Shopping For Clothes by The Coasters on the juke box? Back to the hotel, packed up and bid adieu to San Francisco for a quick flight to Portland.
Tonight's show was at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, a small, wonderful theatre seating 2,800. We've played here several time before and always look forward to returning. No muss or fuss just a well played gig and a grand audience that became a deafening audience by the end of the show! Portland is a beautiful city, one that takes great pride in itself and rightly so. We love Portland.
Rather than our usual runner after the show, we were booked in to the old Heathman Hotel right next door to the theatre, so we took a few secret passageways after the gig and somehow ended up in the kitchen of the Heathman then up the service lift to our floors. I think this might be the first "walker" we've done. The Heathman bar was kept open for us and there I spent a great couple hours with my dad's cousin and his wife, Itz and Maureen Horenstein and their daughter Lori...the Portland side of my family who I'd not seen in at least 25 years. We each had two!