Once I took a chill pill and just started hanging out, things fell into place. Without belaboring the issue, I don't think I'll ever be in love with San Francisco like I used to be, the spark is gone. But it's a really tremendous place and if you want to give me a six-figure job I will move there no problemo.
The first thing that really blew me away this trip was Pride. I've never been to an SF pride, and I have to say it is mind-boggling how big it is. I mean HUGE. Coming from SE Michigan with our pearl necklace of Pride celebrations ... state-wide pride in Lansing, Motor City Pride in (ironically) Ferndale, Hotter than July Black Gay Pride ... it is amazing and scary to witness the sea of humanity that descends on the Civic Center in SF for Pride. Literally people as far as the eye can see. I only managed to snag a few pictures, but take a gander:
We are everywhere. Especially MUNI.
Hundreds and Thousands. Just like Bronski Beat predicted.
Even my mom showed up.
SF Pride is so big they even have a celebration the day before, Pink Saturday. My hosts with the mosts threw a Pink Saturday party which was really my first chance to chat extensively with gay locals, nearly all of whom are transplants.
Think Pink! And Drink!
Ball of Carnation. That's what the world is today.
People who move to SF *love* SF, so it is always interesting to hear their stories (after reminding them that it is bad form to insult Detroit after I have said I like living there). One guy who lived in NYC in the 70s and 80s said that what he really liked about San Francisco is that you can still reach out and touch the edge. That's been lost in a lot of other cities.
Any of us in Detroit can probably relate, in perhaps a more immediate way. As I said over two years ago after another SF visit:
There will be a time when there will be a Starbucks on every corner and we’ll talk with a dreamy look in our eyes about the great community that thrived at Café de Troit, where it seemed like everyone you met was making something happen in town. Lower Cass will get the Ilitch touch and we’ll laugh about the days of dodging crack whores and roosters on our way to Honest John’s. Corktown will turn into Birmingham and we’ll actually miss all those hipsters and Terry-oke at LJ’s.
As for finding the "spirit of Detroit" in San Francisco, that was kind of a bust. I did get to meet Bob Mould randomly in a bar, which was awesome, and I saw a drag follow-up to Trannyshack that was literally unwatchable, but it's about the closest thing to a gay underground I found. I do eagerly await the Detroit arrival of several SF trends: the small-scale artisinal cocktail lounge, neighborhood chef-driven restaurants (Ann Arbor's contributions notwithstanding) and the Edison lightbulb in hospitality decor. Maybe even all under one roof. And sometime this decade.
In the meantime, it's good to have my travels over and finally be back in Detroit where - when I really want to - I can turn around and swim frantically back to touch the edge.