My City: City sights, good books, cafes for conversation

Faves and raves by Michael Gene Sullivan

 

Personal stats

AGE: “Let’s just say when I was born America was fighting an unpopular war overseas, we had a liberal Democratic president, racial tension was rife, and the right wing called everyone who disagreed with them ‘socialists.’”

YEARS IN THE CITY: About 40

NEIGHBORHOOD: Western Addition, “which is now called NoPa by newbies.”

OCCUPATION: Actor, writer, director. His Web site is www.michaelgenesullivan.com.

SELF-DESCRIPTION: Theater artist trying to overthrow capitalist oppression and change the world one musical comedy at a time; Huffington Post blogger; rabblerouser; would-be mensch.

FAVORITE CAFE
Oakside Cafe
WHERE: 1195 Oak St., between Broderick and Divisadero streets
WHAT: You can actually hear the person you’re talking to
INFO: (415) 437-1985
 
A nice little cafe where you don’t have to yell over the music to be heard. I go to cafes to have relaxing conversations, not strain my voice screaming over whatever the deaf, headbanging cashier has cranked up to 11.

FAVORITE CHEAP EATS RESTAURANT
All You Knead
WHERE: 1466 Haight St., between Ashbury Street and Masonic Avenue
WHAT: Inexpensive, filling food
INFO: (415) 552-4550

Cheap, good, hearty food for people who aren’t trying to make a statement or impress a date with the metabolic process of eating.

FAVORITE BOOKSTORE
The Great Overland Book Company
WHERE:
345 Judah St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues
WHAT: Books you won’t find anywhere else
INFO: (415) 664-0126
 
It’s one of the places where you can not only find books you won’t find anywhere else. It’s also one of the few bookstores where you feel it’s OK to sit down and actually quietly read the book for a while. Not a huge selection, but deep.

FAVORITE PLACE TO PEOPLE-WATCH
Embarcadero waterfront
WHAT:
A good mix of people to watch on a sunny day, from skateboarders to tourists
INFO: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Embarcadero_(San_Francisco)

A good mix of joggers, skateboarders, business drones, families, tourists and locals who have never been to the waterfront.

FAVORITE PLACE TO PERFORM THEATER
Dolores Park
WHERE: 18th and Dolores streets
WHAT: A giant crowd of people cheering [the Mime Troupe] on
INFO: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolores_Park

There’s nothing like a few thousand people cheering you on as you take on the powers that be in the bright sunshine.

FAVORITE PLACE TO TAKE A BIKE RIDE
Diamond Heights
WHERE: Down the hill on Portola Drive as it turns into Market Street
WHAT: Great view over downtown and the Mission.

Looking out over downtown [and] the Mission, and — if you don’t get run over — it’s a cool, long, curvy downhill blast.

FAVORITE PLACE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS
Marina Green Park
WHERE:
Marina Green Drive, between Fort Mason and the Bay
WHAT: A view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, Alcatraz and the Headlands
INFO: (415) 831-2700

It’s also a great place to go when the ugliness of human stupidity is getting you down. The Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, Alcatraz, the Headlands … Man, that’s a beautiful view!

FAVORITE PLACE TO GET HOT CHOCOLATE
Central Coffee Tea & Spice
WHERE: 1696 Hayes St., between Central Avenue and Lyon Street
WHAT: They know how to make hot chocolate
INFO: (415) 922-2008

Unlike most coffee shops, they actually know how to make hot chocolate, rather than trying to wrap their minds around making a mocha … without the coffee part.

FAVORITE PLACE TO WRITE
Strybing Arboretum
WHERE: Ninth Avenue at Lincoln Way, Golden Gate Park
WHAT: Find a quiet spot and kick back
INFO: (415) 564-3239 or www.sfbotanicalgarden.org

I wander around until I find a quiet spot, calmly lay back and let the quiet terror of another deadline wash over me.

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