Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Read.Eat.Listen: For the Dogs

There's a scene in the Levon Helm documentary Ain't in it for My Health,"* which we watched the other night, where Helm's fellow Arkansan Billy Bob Thornton is visiting and talking about how much Helm's place reminds him of home. "All the dogs come out!" Thornton comments and shakes his head, and they both nod and grin.
I didn't grow up anywhere near Arkansas, but I grew up in the country, and my dad, too, loved dogs nearly as much as people. The first thing you'd see coming up our driveway was two or three dogs running out and down the hill to greet you. Most of the time they'd bark whether they liked you or not. One mean dog bit nearly everyone who looked at him wrong...and got away with it! (until he was hit by a truck driven by one of the illegal pot-growers that tended a plot up the road).  Officially, we only had one dog, but neighbor dogs gravitated to my dad (dogs found their way to our house out of seeming thin-air), who treated them like honored guests. My dad usually went through every name of every dog and one's respective siblings before he landed on yours.  I accepted, and loved at least some of our dogs growing up, but —  having tired of and resented sharing parental attention with the dogs — it took most of my adult life to really warm up to them again.
In any case, I've been far quicker to warm to Dogpatch, a once-working class and somewhat sleepy, now up-and-coming district of San Francisco, with several restaurants, chocolatiers and a few gallery/home-made wares sort of shops that make you have to blink for thinking you might be in Portland. We strolled about there last week, after work, pre-busy evening, and enjoyed the eats.

Read: I've been revisiting some favorite poets of late and found, lo!, Jane Hirshfield released a new collection "Come Thief" earlier this year:

“Everything has two endings-
a horse, a piece of string, a phone call.

Before a life, air.
And after.

As silence is not silence, but a limit of hearing.”
― Jane Hirshfield, Come, Thief: Poems

Eat:  Our Dogpatch ramble found us stepping into Recchiuti Chocolates Chocolate Lab, because in our hunger, we missed the new Piccino Restaurant, which we'd fondly remembered in the same space. Too bad we weren't in the mood for sweet, opting for savories with a farm-to-table emphasis, an ale and a Drinkwell Softer to get us to our next station. Blood sugar restored, we walked out and right past the bright yellow building that houses Piccino. Duh, next time.

Listen: Back to Levon Helm. We enjoyed the Helm documentary in his last years —pissed off, loving, driven and brilliant —a great sad and touching illustration of a musician putting music first, or better or worse, til the end. This song, from Electric Dirt, was my favorite. "When I Go Away"

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