San Francisco


No, I am not wearing flowers in my hair but I am staying just a block or so up from where the Grateful Dead once lived on Ashbury Street.

We arrived last Tuesday, spent a night in the city at the excellent Hotel Fusion on Ellis Street and then rented a car and drove to Sonoma in the wine country, exploring the Napa Valley the next day. Arriving back in San Francisco we came to this basement apartment, which is cheaper than staying in a hotel, though the deal we got through Wotif fo the Fusion was fantastic – US$80 for the night. Not on a weekend, of course.

That night we went to the Great American Music Hall to see Guitar, Bass & Drums – Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe and  Jim Keltner. (Read the review soon). I have to say I was ecstatic to see Cooder for the very first time and he was so brilliant I was in awe. The show was a benefit for Richard DeLone Housing Project. Thanks to Rob Pemberton, a susbcriber to the radio show who tipped me off during the Radiothon.

On Friday we checked out the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival site and it was good to reconnoitre this before things got fully underway. I thought we were near Golden Gate Park and planned to walk but did not realise the enormity of the park. Lucky we caught a bus because we would have been trudging about 30 blocks to get there. We saw some of Sharon Little and all of Jerry Douglas before heading off to the airport. Karen had to fly out so we got out there about 7.30pm and encountered an infuriating delay. Everyone in front of us seemed to have a problem and United, of course, were short-staffed. At one point one of the counter staff just packed up and left.

I caught the BART back into the city and enjoyed the second evening of Guitar, Bass & Drums. When I exited the hall it was pouring with rain but I walked up a block and got a cab, that took a route which was to cost me $5 more than the usual fare and left me walking three blocks in the rain in disgust. I knew I was in trouble when the cabie asked me, ‘Would Mason Street be a good way to go?

On the weekend I thoroughly exhausted myself at the HSBF and Monday night went to see David Byrne at Davies Hall in what was a spectacular show.

The reviews of HSBF etc will be up tomorrow or as soon as I can finish them.

Tonight I am off to see Armistead Maupin at a book launch and signing down at Booksmith on Haight. Tomorrow night I see Ron Sesxmith and then it is off home.

Soon after I woke up this morning I checked The Age online to find the dollar had crashed to 0.67 and nearly fainted. It reminded me of a Slim Whittle line (or it could have been Trevor Marmalade) who once said that the dollar was so low it was limbo dancing under the door.

Brian Wise

Brian Wise was the Editor of Addicted To Noise‘s Australian site from 1997 – 2002. The site won two ONYA Awards as Best Online Music Magazine in 1999 & 2000. He has also been Editor since its reincarnation in 2013. He also presents the weekly music interview program Off The Record on 102.7 Triple R-FM ( in Melbourne. It is networked to 45+ stations across Australia on the Community Radio Network and is a four-time winner of the Best Music Program Award from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. In 2012, it was nominated as a finalist in the Excellence in Music Programming category. Brian was also the Founding Editor & Publisher of Rhythms Magazine and is now its Senior Contributing Editor.

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