Posts Tagged ‘ghost town’

Know Better Your Marin County: Nuclear-Capable Hill 88 Plus the West, Middle, and East Peaks of Mount Tamalpais

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

How many hills do you know of what come with their own Yelp entry?

You ought to get on up there sometime to check it out:

Hill 88 is a wild ghost town in the sky, hidden way up high in the Marin Headlands. It’s on Wolf Ridge, between Fort Cronkhite/Rodeo Beach and Tennessee Valley. You can barely see it from below, and it’s nothing like most of the old little rusty lifeless bunker sites. This is a crazy Cold War mega-complex teeming with tons of crows dancing in the whipping wind above huge expanses of the bay and SF. It’s part of the old Nike Missile program, officially SF-88C. Was apparently the radar and control center (aka the IFC, or Integrated Fire Control area) of the Nike Missile launch site that’s further down the hill to the east.”

So, those are some of the remnants of Project Nike on top of now-flattened Hill 88 in the foreground along with the three peaks of Mount Tam (with the West Peak also flattened by the Air Force) in the background.

As seen from San Francisco:

Click to expand

Now, you Know Better Your Marin County.

“China Underground” Film Series Runs Dec. 3-5 at VIZ Cinema – “Unauthorized, Uncensored, Independent”

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Here’s the contention:

“Independent documentaries are the only free media existing in mainland China today.”

Do y0u buy that? Well, see for yourself at China Underground from December 3-5  at VIZ Cinema on Post Street in the New People Building.

All the deets:

VIZ CINEMA SPOTLIGHTS NEW CHINESE FILM MOVEMENT IN CHINA UNDERGROUND OPENING IN DECEMBER

7 Films Over 3 Days Offer a View of China as Never Seen Before

San Francisco, CA, November 15, 2010 – VIZ Cinema and NEW PEOPLE, in association with dGenerate Films, are proud to present a fascinating series focusing on a new vanguard of Chinese independent filmmakers, whose innovative uses of digital filmmaking deliver provocative insights into the world’s largest nation. The China Underground film series opens Friday, December 3rd and runs through Sunday, December 5th. Tickets and complete details are available at: www.vizcinema.com.

All of the documentary films to be shown at the festival were made outside the official Chinese film system – unauthorized, uncensored, and totally independent. These groundbreaking films introduce a new generation of filmmakers who represent the future of Chinese cinema, using new technology to present a vision of China as never seen before. A wide variety of controversial topics and issues like homosexuality, the role of women in society, the forced relocation of citizens which preceded the 2008 Beijing Olympics, drug use, and the inner workings of Chinese law enforcement, are examined in unflinching detail in these seven films.

China Underground opens Friday December 3rd with the premiere of Queer China, “Comrade” China at 7:00pm. The screening will include a Q&A session with several guest speakers and an after-party that will immediately follow. The remaining films will be screened throughout the weekend.

Ever more deets, after the jump

(more…)

Marin County’s Hill 88: A Wild Ghost Town in the Sky, and Former Home to Nuclear Bombs

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

This is the view from San Francisco over the Golden Gate – can you see the defunct buildings of Hill 88 in front of the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais? Those buildings were the eyes and ears of SF-88, southern Marin’s very own Nike Hercules missile complex.

Click to expand

IMG_9870 copy

The actual nuclear warheads and missiles were stored at another facility down the hill – you can visit that place Wednesday through Saturday.

What’s shown in this photo above is the radar station part of the base, on the summit, where they had German shepherd guard dogs, machine guns, the whole magilla until the 1970′s. San Francisco also had a similar setup back in the day using the Presidio and Mount Sutro, but that was the smaller, non-nuclear Nike Ajax system and there’s really nothing left to visit anymore.

But in Marin, you can climb up to the hilltop facility of SF-88 whenever you want - you’ll get nice views and you’ll have a chance to see the graffiti.

Come visit Marin’s Wild Ghost Town in the Sky.

Grapes of Wrath Redux – Hard Times in Napa Valley Wine Country

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Napa’s in the Bay Area, right? It’s super close to San Francisco. So let’s take a look and see how the Great Recession of 2007-???? (aka the “late-2000s recession“) is affecting our Neighbor to the North.

Let’s start with the view from the St. Helena Highway, aka Route 29, aka Main Street. (It’s the main drag for the whole entire valley, you know.) Here’s the old Radio Flyer on the train tracks motif:

IMG_9080 copy

What happens if you can’t afford the rent and a car? What happens if you, as many in Napa and Sonoma counties have done before you, get a DUI or two and you lose your license to drive? How do you get to work or the store without a car? Let’s take a look:

napa copy

Napa can’t afford sidewalks? Apparently. Of course, if you’re on a bicycle (not recommended) you would pedal along on the shoulder/breakdown lane, but if you’re on your feet, well, remember all the drunk drivers? I mean, DWI is a Way of Life up there. 

I mean, bacon-rich Cincinnati has its local Hog Report so shouldn’t lush-rich Napa have a local DUI Report? Oh wait, it does

By the way, be sure to “Avoid the 9″ policing agencies that will bust you:

“Napa County Sheriff’s Office, the Napa Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, St. Helena Police Department, Calistoga Police Department, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Napa Valley College, American Canyon Police Department and Napa County Probation.”

OMG, can you believe that bucolic Napa has (or had) 2400(!!!!) outstanding DUI arrest warrants? Mercy!

Anywho, walking in Napa is no picnic. Perhaps it makes the most sense to just amble on the old train tracks (which, of course, are the newish home of the despised (and belovedNapa Valley Wine Train.)

But what about the wineries, how are they doing? Well, the Disneyesque Robert Mondavi Winery had no waiting for their famous 75-minute Signature Tour and Tasting on a recent balmy October Sunday. (Of course, back in the day, the place was packed to the gills, reservations required.)

And how about Francis Ford Coppola’s Rubicon Estate, where they have mandatory valet service and a red carpet and where they don’t let you in without a $25 cover?

Well here it is, during Sunday primetime, it was totally wide open. A handful of cars in the lot, no valets, no $25 charge, it’s just y’all come down.

IMG_9045 copy

Now let’s head up to St. Helena proper, where the millionaires live and you can buy Rolexeses and high end choco all you want? Let’s check out David’s Jewelers, Since 1976:

IMG_9067 copy

Dave has sweet window displays (man, that Rolex fish, that’s art ready to hang, baby)…

IMG_9064 copy

…but no goods to sell. Uh oh.

IMG_9066 copy

There are Halloween decorations but that’s it. It’s closed down, apparently. Oh well.

And let’s not even think about heading Further North to the St. Helena Premium Outlets place. Cue tumbleweeds.

So, what’s worse:

Busy, crowded Napa Valley; or

Ghost town* Napa Valley?

That’s a tough choice for some people. Oh well.

But now’s your chance to get on up there and see what it was like back in the day, before Napa became a major tourist destination. COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts isn’t around anymore, but all the other places will be staffed with folks happy to see you, I’m sure.

I almost wanted to buy something, but then I remembered about the Buy Local Movement. I’m not a local, really, so I probably shouldn’t spend my hard-earned up there.

But you, you’re welcome to visit, especially before things pick up again in the Spring of 2010.

See you there!

*Be aware that the Great Recession has seemed to pass by the popular eateries, such as Mustards Grill (man, it’s tough to get in there), Taylor’s Automatic Refresher (busy, busy, but the wait isn’t too long) and Yountville’s bestarred (c’mon, it’s a word) The French Laundry (forget about it).

A Sign of the Times – Empty Parking Spaces on 9th Avenue in the Inner Sunset

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

The once-bustling, prideful Inner Sunset area of San Francisco is now just like the Land of Wind and Ghosts due to our recent economic problems. You won’t find six empty parking spaces a stone’s throw away from num num Park Chow restaurant at 9:00 PM on a weekend night, but during the week, maybe you will.

Thusly. Click to expand:

At least we still have the swirling fog on most nights. Brrrr.

Cue tumble weeds…