Back in San Francisco I checked in to the Good Hotel on 7th Street. There are three hotels grouped together here–under the same ownership–each with its own theme. The Good Hotel is half motel, half vertical hotel, decorated for a youthful hipster crowd. The Americania, across the street, evokes a Route 66 motel of yesteryear, and the Carriage Inn is old pre-earthquake San Francisco. The Good Hotel is described as “the first hotel with a conscience.” They have recycled carpets and gave me free parking for driving a hybrid, and when I went to bed, the word “goodnight” was projected above me on the ceiling. I felt good about myself–even a little smug.
These 7th Street hotels are great for me because they are located in the part of town easily accessible to the projects I am photographing. But for the average tourist, this is a decidedly dicey part of town. The seediness of the Civic Center and the Tenderloin spills over into this area. Soma–South of Market–is actually a vibrant neighborhood, but it’s often gritty and requires a certain degree of local knowledge to fully appreciate.
My room was located on what the desk referred to as the courtyard–see above. It’s a narrow airshaft with walkways leading to rooms and netting to keep out the pigeons. There’s a great view, if strange and incongruous, of the Federal Building, designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis towering above. I don’t know if it’s good–in the fuzzy Good Hotel sense–but it is real.
Here’s a quote from Jack London, who I wrote about a few days ago while staying in Oakland:
I cannot help remembering a remark of De Casseres. It was over the wine in Mouquin’s. Said he: “The profoundest instinct in man is to war against the truth; that is, against the Real. He shuns facts from his infancy. His life is a perpetual evasion. Miracle, chimera and to-morrow keep him alive. He lives on fiction and myth. It is the Lie that makes him free. Animals alone are given the privilege of lifting the veil of Isis; men dare not. The animal, awake, has no fictional escape from the Real because he has no imagination. Man, awake, is compelled to seek a perpetual escape into Hope, Belief, Fable, Art, God, Socialism, Immortality, Alcohol, Love. From Medusa-Truth he makes an appeal to Maya-Lie.
—Jack London, The Mutiny of the Elsinore
I’m back in New York with lots of post production work to do. And jury duty, which could present a problem.