Tom Sachs's Space Program: Europa Lands at YBCA

Exploration is the word of the day every day at SPACE PROGRAM: EUROPA, an installation envisioned by Tom Sachs at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Visitors are transported to one of Jupiter's icy moons, which astronauts have begun to make themselves at home with creature comforts such as a Japanese water feature and an entire "Shoe Library." The centerpiece is the landing module, but there is a variety of works that transform the YBCA's largest gallery into a sci-fi landscape. Sach's sculptures are quirky and complex; nothing ever is what it seems at first glance, and a perusal of EUROPA's artifacts constantly reveals new whimsy in fresh details: The "Indoctrination Station" is inscribed with poems, the landing module features a vodka bar, and the faux Japanese style stone lantern is an assemblage of buckets, a cooler, a USPS crate, and other found objects. The sculptures bear the marks of their craftsmanship, suggesting that the creator does not seek to perfectly replicate or represent true functionality, rather to imagine in a man-child kind of way. The viewer explores Sach's transformational assemblies and puzzling references as they imagine the inhabitants of this space, who at once must be boldly futuristic and while still looking to nostalgia and tradition for inspiration. The exhibit also includes a three-dimensional timeline of Sach's aesthetic and work, featuring several of his smaller sculptures alongside images and texts. 

Apparently there's going to be some elaborate performance on closing day, January 13. I'll probably go back to check it out. Click here for event info!

Indoctrinate yourself with some videos before you go.


Santa Skivvies Run Raised over $86K for SF AIDS Foundation

If you were lurking around the Castro Sunday morning, December 11 you may have glimpsed some burly men (and women) trotting through the neighborhood in their underoos. The following are some shots from the Santa Skivvies Run, where the participants raised funds from $100 to over $10,000 (!!!) before stripping down and braving the cold for the festive event. My boyfriend did it and I was very proud of him; see if you can spot him here! There was a fun afterparty with hot coco and walk-off hosted by local drag queens. It got me hoping I'll get some good underwear for Christmas to wear out there next year!

Keep an eye here for future info: http://www.santaskivviesrun.org/


Big Basin State Park

Work has been kicking my ass a bit, but in the best possible way, really. This last week the middle school I work at went on a camping trip to Big Basin State Park, located in the hills above Santa Cruz, which is home to some of California's rare old-growth redwoods. I would recommend an overnight trip to Big Basin to anyone who would like to wake surrounded by these quiet giants. 

The following is basically just a bunch of pics  of trees that wouldn't fit on Insta. But the internet could never do them justice anyway, so do yourself a favor and just see them for yourself.


taking time for flowers: thursday

"Where's the real content?!" you're wondering.

This is the real content. Get into it. 



taking time for flowers: monday

During the last weekend of my summer break, I went to Portland to clean out my old room (think letters, photos, ticket stubs). I took breaks at times to walk around the neighborhood I grew up in, remarking to my sister how it had changed or hadn't, and noticing all the flowers blossoming in the curbside gardens. As I'm back to work and my time becomes crunched, this week's posts are dedicated to taking time for flowers. 


MAUI DIRT: Where to Drink

It's hard to know what the best local watering holes are when you travel, and we don't always have time for trial and error, so here are some suggestions of spots where you're likely to have a good time on Maui, depending on your speed. That being said, since Maui's not really known for its nightlife, it might be healthy to keep any expectations of an epic rager in check. Besides, local police frequently post up checkpoints for intoxicated drivers, so go catch your buzz but try not to get too messy. πŸŒ 

Dina's SandWitch @ 145 N Kihei Rd., Kihei 
Rating: πŸΉπŸ πŸ˜€  πŸ’΅
Dina's is technically a sandwich spot, but their bar serves up a long list of tropical drinks (the kind that come in pastel colors, served with an umbrella) that somehow avoid feeling cheesy. It could be the layers of character that the place in steeped in, the friendly, chatty bartender, or that the cold, sweet drinks are exactly what you want after a day of baking on the beach. Relax and let the evening slide by.

Kihei Town Center @ 1913 S Kihei Rd., Kihei
Rating: πŸ» πŸŽ‰ 🎢 πŸ’‹
If anyone's really trying to tie one on and see what kind of trouble they can get into, chances are they'll end up in Kihei Town Center, where a cluster of five or six bars serve according to various themes (beachy, cocktail, tiki, Irish, fratty, local) and you can easily check a different scene if your first or second try doesn't scratch your itch. To be honest, I've never seen it get all that rowdy, but there does seem to be quite a bit of thirst for one little area. My preference is for the most prominent bar, Life's a Beach, which looks out at Kalama Beach Park, serves up big ass steins of beer, and has a house band that kills it on reggae and dub jams. A close second is Ambrosia, just around the corner, which predictably attracts a sunburnt cocktail crowd and plays your Top 40 Hits. It's also been claimed by the LGBT set, so check it out if you're looking for a local gay scene. The drinks are pricey but OK. 
A video posted by Bay Dirt (@bay.dirt) on

A video posted by Bay Dirt (@bay.dirt) on

Charley's Restaurant & Saloon @ 142 Hana Hwy., Paia
Rating: πŸΊ πŸŽΈ πŸŽ€ πŸ“€
Although Charley's food and booze are decent, what really sets it apart is its contributions to the local music scene. It regularly hosts touring bands (Questlove DJ'd a set one night while I was on island) and Willie Nelson's platinum records glisten on the wall. Nelson has a place in Paia and is known to play there from time to time, which my mom has talked her way into before (go Mom!). It's not a bad place to catch some shade and have a beer in the afternoon, but it can get turnt up at night so check their calendar to see if someone interesting is rolling through while you're there

Steel Horse Saloon @ 1234 Lower Main St., Wailuku
Rating: πŸ˜Ž πŸ» πŸš²  πŸ‘Š
Steel Horse is basically a biker bar with an aloha bend, and it's a pretty great combo. It's no-frills, great for people watching, and they had a couple bands coming through later in the evening when we were there. If you would never go into a dive bar in any other part of the country, this isn't your spot, but if you like a place with some character, go check out Steel Horse in Wailuku and don't exit through the gift shop...


MAUI DIRT: Plate Lunch

Probably the most common dish on Maui that is authentically Hawaiian is what they call plate lunch: a scoop of rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and a protein of your choice, which they say is what the workers in the sugar cane fields would eat for their lunches during Hawaii's initial cultural inundation from the east and the west. Plate lunch could be seen as a symbol of that diversity, and of Hawaii as a whole, but it has continued to be popular because it's just such good eatings. Hawaiians love plate lunch so much that a pretty cool local clothing line named themselves after the dish

Maui's food truck game is heavy, and they've pretty much perfected the art of the plate lunch. That being said, not all plate lunch is created equal, so when our bartender one evening told us, "Drive down past the Iron Horse Saloon in Wailuku to down by the water where all the guys set up to serve lunch," we had to check it out. Her directions were spot on, and it ended up being the best meal we had on the island. 

Parked alongside Hwy. 340 at the Kahului Harbor, we found three food trucks, and decided to order plates from both 808 Plates Maui and Geste Shrimp Truck. At 808 Plates, we got a wasabi glazed chicken katsu with a side of poke instead of pasta salad, and then a spicy pineapple shrimp with a side of crab-mac salad. Ugh... Writing this is making me hungry. 

I'm not really into describing the mouthfeel and all that jazz, but damn, it was gooood. The crab mac almost stole the show but chomping down that spicy shrimp was just too good. I love wasabi and that katsu hit me just right; the poke was fresh and meaty. If you're on the island, please do yourself a favor and get yourself some plate lunch "down past the Iron Horse Saloon in Wailuku" (check out the links to their Yelp! pages for more specific directions). 


MAUI DIRT: Going to Town

Maui has some great towns to explore, full of color, delicious food, and enough shops to satisfy any clothes horse. Your best bests for a town walkabout are in Lahaina, Pa'ia, and Makawao. They're all worth a visit, but if your time is limited, this post should help you choose your own adventure.

Lahaina, situated on the western tip of the island, is the largest town on the island and the most obvious destination for a day excursion. Many of the popular snorkel and SCUBA tours leave from Lahaina Bay and Lahaina is home to the most diverse food options on the island. Old Lahaina has some charming historic structures and a beautiful, giant banyan tree as well as lots of tourist shops, and the tourists that flock to them. The old buildings are interesting, but for a more personal experience of the town's history, visit the graveyard adjoining the Maria Lanakila Catholic Church on Wainee St. 

PA'IA is the the town hub of Maui's North Coast, and is a beach bum's paradise. Although much smaller than Lahaina, its laid-back vibe feels more authentic to the island, and its shops are more mom-and-pop than of the chain variety. Pa'ia is also home to some spiritual locations like the Paia Stuba and a Buddhist temple; the place does have a certain energy to it. Have fun poking around (or just laying around on the beach) but don't leave town before eating at Flatbread Company.

MAKAWAO is a jewel of a town tucked away up in the hills that has become an artisans' haven. Several galleries and shops sell the locals' works, there's a small open-air market (where we had a custom beaded bracelet made for $15 based on the design of a $50 one we saw in a shop across the street), and the glass blowing-studio is a fun visit. The old-timey buildings and chickens bopping around create an altogether transportive atmosphere, so a trip to upcountry to walk around Makawao is really your best bet if you've geared more toward the quirky but authentic village feel. 


MAUI DIRT: Makena & Little Beach

I'll go ahead and say it: Makena Beach is one of the best beaches in the world. The soft sand, the clear emerald water, lush foliage, active surf are all breathtaking. But what really takes Makena to the next level is Little Beach, Maui's counter-culture haven. Little Beach is clothing optional without being creepy and there are plenty shade trees to keep your buns from burning. Unsurprisingly, Little Beach is also Maui's main gay friendly beach, so it's a good spot to make some friends for LGBTQ locals and travelers. Regardless, if you're down for a funky, crunchy, possibly magical vibe, Makena's Little Beach is your spot. 

Getting to Makena is easy--just follow the road signs from the Piilani Hwy. going south, keep driving along the coast, and you can't miss it. To get to Little Beach is a bit trickier; after you park your car and follow the path to Big Beach, catch your breath and take in the stunning view, follow the footprints toward the rock face you see at the end of the beach. Approaching the rock face, you will see a path that will take you up and over (or if you're seeking a physical challenge, might find the bouldering route). Really it's hard to get lost and you'll know you're there when you see a full moon ;). Certain stretches seem more popular with different groups, so I'll let you figure out the best place for you to sit, but it's literally all good. 

PRO TIP: Go to Little Beach on a Sunday afternoon and evening for the drum circle and sunset. It's definitely a party so BYOB. 

A taste of Sunday Funday on Little Beach:



DeFremery Pool @ 1269 18th St., (closed for the summer)

McClymond's Pool @ 2607 Myrtle St., Oakland (let me know if you find out how to get in)


Emeryville Public Pool @ 1100 47th St., Emeryville

Temescal Pool @ 371 45th St., Oakland

East Oakland Sports Center @ 9161 Edes Ave., Oakland (didn't visit because only has indoor pools, but looks fun)

These public pools are all pretty convenient to Oaklanders, but there are other facilities and swim spots to check out throughout the East Bay, obvi. Use these links to check for swim times before you leave the house, and to do your own exploring!

East Bay Swimming Pool Info Links *questionable reliability so call before you go*
*City of Emeryville Public Pool: Link

*City of Oakland Aquatics: Link
*City of Berkeley Aquatics: Link
*East Bay Regional Parks (includes swimming lakes/beaches): Link



I'm not so inspired to write about Temescal Pool, TBH. It's basically what you might expect from an inner-city public pool, which is not to say there's anything bad about it, maybe just a certain meh-ness of it all. On entry, they didn't have change for a $20, so my $3 fee became a $6 donation (to be fair there is a sign taped up that says "BRING EXACT CHANGE"). The locker room was a bit cluttered and... moist... but had lockers, showers, etc. I tried to make the mid-day lap swim, but got caught up, so was at the afternoon open swim, which was pretty popping with the 5-10 y.o. set, and it seemed like the staff was doing great at keeping up with all the kids. 

There is your standard 2 width and tread water swim test to go in the deep end, which is actually the majority of the pool, and I ended up having mostly to myself. The swimming was very enjoyable, and they do allow diving off the deep end, which is great because I like to monkey around in the pool a bit, but if you're mostly into swimming laps, just check the signage and follow the times. They don't have any deck chairs or tables, but if you have a bunch of kids they can post up on the (overgrown) grass. I'll probably go back soon to check out lap swim, but it wouldn't be my first choice for a lazy afternoon. 

Temescal Pool @ 371 45th St., Oakland
Rating: πŸŠπŸ‘ŒπŸ˜
Info & Hours: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/opr/s/aquatics/OAK029288
Timing is everything. 



Armed with the swag of a well-informed swimmer, I invited my boyfriend along to check out the Emeryville pool, the existence of which I had confirmed the day before. You might not expect there to be a rec center right next to a major construction project, but after we each paid our $3 and walked out onto the pool deck, we were immediately transported to a very chill scene. Pulling up one of the deck chairs, Nate caught some rays while I went for a swim. They didn't have me take a swim test, and there were only a few kids in the pool, mostly swimming with their parents, so I got into the groove with some laps. There's no diving, so that's a bit of a head-scratcher, but it's super clean, the life guards are friendly, it's shaded by some big ol' trees, and the changing room was practically state of the art. It seems like the pool is pretty new, so I suggest you go check it out before it becomes bombarded by day camps or school groups on the daily. 

Emeryville Public Pool @ 1100 47th St., Emeryville
Rating: πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘πŸ‘Œ✌️ 
Info & Hours:http://www.ci.emeryville.ca.us/464/Community-Swimming-Pool 
Know your hours like a baus.



Over a beer, a friend told me about a mysterious swimming pool in Emeryville off of San Pablo; it's not on Yelp, it's not listed on Google Maps, but it is there--you can see it on satellite view! Next day, I cruised up San Pablo to the bombed out construction site, took a left on 47th Street, and pulled up at the nearest institutional looking building marked "GYM/POOL ENTRANCE." Walking in, I found that there was in fact a public pool, but they were closed for the day. I vowed to return tomorrow. 

Since I couldn't handle another day of total fails (not on Day 3!) I found another pool on Yelp! and drove up to Berkeley to check out King Pool. Arriving, I could tell from the street that King Pool was closed and I didn't even get out of the car. So, I chalked up Day 3 to failure and went to Westbrae Biergarten to drink about it. Maybe I should start checking swim times before I go... 


PRO TIP: Know your pool's hours and go when it's open. ✓ 

East Bay Swimming Pool Info Links *questionable reliability so call before you go*

*City of Emeryville Public Pool: Link
*City of Oakland Aquatics: Link
*City of Berkeley Aquatics: Link
*East Bay Regional Parks (includes swimming lakes/beaches): Link

It's there. You can see it from space.



After a day of fails in West Oakland, I hopped in the car to go check out Roberts Pool up in the Oakland Hills off Skyline Blvd (Google Map link). I had previously espied this oasis while on a trail run through Redwood Regional Park, and I dare say it may have been the original inspiration for this roundup. Driving up Skyline, you'll see signs for Robert's Recreation Area, which includes a playground, some trails, and a truly awesome stand of 2nd generation redwoods, all easily accessed from the parking lot. Once you get over the $5 sticker shock for parking, head to the pool, which is nested nicely among some other pretty great trees. Choose between a deck chair, picnic bench, or just lay out on the grassy knoll with the rest of the burnouts--you'll feel like your hanging out at your rich friend's house anyway. 

To go in the deep end, there's a quick swim test (two short lengths of the pool and then treading water), which you should plan to take or you'll be mobbed by girl scouts and other day campers in the shallow end. I took my goggles and tried to do some laps, which was mildly successful, more for the fun factor of dodging around teenagers than the actual workout. The lifeguards are chill and cute, you can dive off the deep end of the pool, changing rooms are clean, and snacks are $1.25 at the vending machine: there's literally nothing not to like about Roberts Pool and you're pretty much guaranteed a fun afternoon in the sun. 

Roberts Pool
Rating: πŸ‘πŸ‘ŒπŸ˜ŽπŸ›
Info & Hours: http://www.ebparks.org/parks/roberts
Roberts Pool @ 10570 Skyline Blvd., Oakland

It costs money. Swim suits required.