On October 31, 1769, Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola and his mounted troops and livestock trudged down Montara Mountain into San Pedro Valley. The uniformed soldiers and vaqueros on horseback, followed by cattle and pack mules, must have made quite a sight for the Ohlone Indian residents of the valley. One can imagine their curiosity, fear, and awe. Accounts of the event say that some Indians hid, some ran, while others confronted the strangers. Portola's men and their Indian scouts offered the natives "treats" of shiny, colorful glass beads, commonly used to initiate rapport with Indians. The beads were well received. The Indians used them like money in trading as well as ornamentation on clothing and baskets. Today, these beads still can be seen in museum collections housing California Indian artifacts. The Cantor Museum in Palo Alto displays fine examples of baskets decorated with the shiny trinkets. At the time the Portola expedition entered Pacifica, native people made up 100 percent of the ethnic demographic. Today it is approximately 0.6 percent. That, sadly, is another story.
This Quarry Cove Art Gallery exhibition is over, but we and our readers like Denise Crawford's photo of Sharp Park Pier at night (below) so much that we decided to keep the post on Riptide for our archives. It will remain in The Arts category on our right sidebar and in this space.
This is for folks who either remember or are curious about Dan's Motel in Moss Beach. The picturesque motel, torn down in the 1980s, is the setting of my film by the same name, which screened recently at the Roxie cinema in San Francisco. Below, see Sam Whiting’s 2001 essay on beach motels, including Dan's Motel. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Vintage Views: Beachfront motels offer a slice of Americana, by Sam Whiting, Sunday, June 3, 2001
Motorists discover a tinge of seedy romance in driving the Bay Area coast, looking for the word MOTEL on the side of a weathered old building. Pull in, bang a bell and the owner or manager comes out of the back room, where he lives, maybe with a yapper dog for security. Price is negotiable, depending on availability, time of night and how much the manager likes the customer. Throw some 20s on the counter and get a key on a plastic tag for return by mail, along with directions to a wheezing ice machine.
People in road novels stay at motels and the ones at the beach add the drama of breaking surf. A beach motel is different from your typical roadside inn: An authentic beach motel means no chains, lodges or resorts, and the only conference center is the car, trying to close the deal. Bed yes, breakfast no. A true motel wouldn't want to encourage morning mingling among its guests. A communal hot tub is acceptable but you won't get a plush terry cloth robe to wear to it. A thin gym towel is more likely, along with a too-thin blanket beneath a too-thick bedspread.
A room with at least a sliver of a view of the beach is ideal, but this criterion is waived if the windows are crusted in salt, or if the beach motel was there before the condo that blocks its view. Beach motels never had the expensive real estate. They tend to be bunched together against the wind and dirty sand blowing across the highway into the ice plant.
The standard was Dan's Motel in Moss Beach. "It was all stucco, painted white with turquoise window trim. The rooms had really bad paneling and pea-green carpeting," recalls bail bondsman and artist Jerry Barrish, who made a film called Dan's Motel.
"It was a set-designer's dream. You couldn't make it any sleazier if you tried," says Barrish, who lived next to Dan's for 10 years, until it was torn down in the 1980s, breaking the filmmaker's heart.
Pacifica Historical Society finishes its masterful mural on a wall of the Crespi Mini Storage building. Slightly reminiscent of Georges Seurat's 1884 A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte, it's both a monumental public artwork and a beautiful addition to the neighborhood. (Story and photo by Pacifica.city)
Young Victor Victor @ Oceana Art Gallery with Richard Herring's Toasterman
By Victor Spano, Special to Riptide While you might know me as an aspiring politico, I also do art and photography (see below). I co-founded Oceana Art Gallery with Vasu of Oceana Market and the city's Economic Development Committee. I hope to have a showing at the gallery sometime in the future and am starting an art website (still under construction): Victor Spano She got a crab at Thornton State Beach, Daly City.
Basking in the White of the Midnight Sun Planetary Shades
Riptide features pretty good writing, but we always welcome your news and opinions. We also need original art: photography, cartoons (humorous and/or political), graphic art, drawings, etc. Click the "Email Me" link at the top of our right sidebar and send your .jpg, .pdf, or .png files. You won't make a dime here, but you will be famous in your own lifetime.
In the Dutch town of Eindhoven, artist Daan Roosegaarde has paid homage to its most famous resident, Vincent Van Gogh, by creating a glowing bike path that relies on solar-powered LED lights and interprets his classic painting Starry Night.
Roosegaarde says he wants his work, illuminated by thousands of twinkling blue and green lights, to speak to everyone. "You have people who are interested in technology to make landscapes which are energy neutral," he tells NPR. "You have people interested in cultural history and experiencing it in a contemporary way. You have boys and girls who have a first date and want to take their date to a special place."
And, he adds, "You have an artist like me who wants to create something just incredibly poetic; and all that comes together. A good project generates new stories."
The path, which covers about a half-mile, opened last Wednesday as part of celebrations marking the 125th anniversary of the death of Van Gogh, who lived from 1853 to 1890. He lived in Eindhoven for a few years and used the town as a backdrop for his paintings.
As we reported last week, another Dutch town, Krommenie, installed solar panels on a bike commuter path outside Amsterdam. The power generated by the panels will be funneled into the national energy grid. (NPR)
The statue of Gaspar de Portolá (top) on Highway 1 in Pacifica had long reminded me of the Passion Façade (bottom) of the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Spain. As farfetched as it seemed, I decided to look into whether there was a relationship. To my utter shock and delight, it turns out that both works are by the Catalonian painter and sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs. Take a closer look at the sculpture of Portolá, and you see that it is a very impressive work – making Pacifica the lucky home of world-renowned art.
A lifelong peace activist and fantastic artist, Mary Harris is a living example and essence of exceptional good karma. I look forward to celebrating her 100th. As I always tell her, she is an inspiration to us all.
Pacifica sculptress Stella Pilgrim's take on a slice of life: Giacomo Puccini's masterpiece Madama Butterfly featured "lady in waiting" Suzuki (above left). Next to her is Frank Spadarella, owner/operator of Toto's Italian restaurant, originally at 23rd and Mission streets in San Francisco. Frank subsequently opened a second Toto's on Junipero Serra Boulevard in Daly City.