West Fest: 40th Anniversary of Woodstock is FREE!

If you missed Woodstock forty years ago, or feel that counterculture may have passed you by, the West Fest: 40th Anniversary of Woodstock festival is a place to catch up.

At Golden Gate Park in San Francisco this Sunday, Oct. 25th, counter culture is using its voice again–big time.

From 9 a.m to 6 p.m, hundreds of San Francisco-based musicians, Beat Generation poets, anti-war speakers, members of the Free Speech Movement, members of the Green Movement and others are joining forces to celebrate California’s trend-setting role in the counterculture movement.

As part of the venue, 3,000 musicians will play Jimmy Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” at the same time in an effort to break the world record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Several of the musicians are from groups that might sound familiar, i.e., Starship, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Greg Allman’s Band, and the Byrds. To be clear–this doesn’t mean these bands will appear, but people who are from these groups will be performing.

As the West Fest page of the Woodstock Story website points out, the San Francisco area is where the Free Speech Movement, Free Love Movement, Farm Workers Movement, Women’s Movement, Gay Rights Movement, and the Sexual Revolution first took hold.

Whether you’re a counterculture type or not, West Fest sounds like an event not to miss if you’re within shouting distance of San Francisco. Couldn’t you use a bit of peace, love and good cheer?

As a plus, unlike 40 years ago, the weather on Sunday in San Francisco is supposed to be sublime. How does mostly sunny and a high of 75 degrees sound?

During three days of the four-day Woodstock concert, it mostly rained.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly place to stay in San Francisco, check out The Good Hotel.

Photo of the Day (10-14-09)

This photo of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is a reminder to look at a subject from various angles in order to find that unusual shot. This building demands notice like a several-tiered wedding cake with florets, fluting and flower petals that have been hand rendered from rich butter cream frosting.

What I enjoy about jrodmanjr’s angle is the way that the two female statues are the main subjects. They look as if they are gazing down at whatever is going on beneath them–and no matter what the action might be, they will remain calm and interested– possibly forever.

If you have a shot to share, please send it our way at Gadling’s Flickr Photo Pool. It might be chosen as a Photo of the Day. We always love looking at the world through your viewpoint.

San Francisco’s Bay Bridge closed over Labor Day weekend

I almost didn’t register it the first time I saw it.

The sign on the freeway said “Bay Bridge will be closed 9/3–8.”

I figured that they couldn’t really mean Labor Day weekend–a holiday weekend when everybody’s driving somewhere.

But it’s true.

Take note, visitors of San Francisco this Labor Day weekend: plan ahead to avoid the Bay Bridge!

The closure starts Thursday, September 3rd at 8:00 p.m. and ends by Tuesday, September 8th at 5:00 a.m.

If you’re driving, be sure to allow extra time to get around the bay and cross other bridges. You’ll want to check baybridgeinfo.org for closure details, and follow 511.org for traffic conditions, detour routes, and other transit options (ferries, BART, MUNI).

This is just the latest phase in the bridge’s construction–in the works since the 1989 earthquake forced either retrofitting or replacing the bridge’s eastern span. During this weekend’s closure, a 300-foot section of the old bridge will be rolled away and replaced with a new section that connects to a detour. Officials say they specifically chose this weekend for the closure because it’s typically light on traffic.

Walt Disney Museum to open this fall

When I was writing my post Five famous fathers: Visit where they lived with their children, I did research Walt Disney to see what else there was to head to that is not a theme park. Walt Disney was a dad as well as a family entertainment genius. I wasn’t able to find a site to head to, although he is one of the first men I though of. That’s changing this fall. It’s not that he lived in a museum, but there is a museum coming that will be all about him.

Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller is excited about the October opening of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. One of the reasons for the museum is to show just how diverse Disney’s life was and to provide insight into the man behind what has become bigger than life.

While reading the AP article about the museum, I was struck by the fact that some people don’t know that Walt Disney was a real person. I suppose that’s because some companies have fake people who are their icons. Betty Crocker comes to mind. Maybe some folks think that Betty Crocker is real.

In the case of Walt Disney, I’d say that his impact on American popular culture is unrivaled. I was also happy to read that the sticky parts of his past are also included such as his testimony in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. The museum is not a Disney version of Disney, but a full look at an amazing man.


Click the images below to learn about some the most unusual museums in the world — from funeral customs, to penises, to velvet paintings, to stripping.

Layover: San Francisco

Because of its location on a peninsula, San Francisco is confined within a space of about 7 miles wide by 7 miles long–which makes for an easy taxi-ride from San Francisco International Airport (13 miles south of San Francisco) to anywhere in town. But even if you have plenty of time to spare between flights, your best bet is the cheap and easy commuter train–BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)–which you can pick up directly at SFO.

Longer layovers (4+ hours)

To make the most of your layover, take BART to either downtown or the Mission district. A ride to downtown (Embarcadero Station) takes 32 minutes, and costs $5.35 one-way, while a ride to the Mission district (24th Street Station) takes 23 minutes, and costs $5.20 one-way.


One option is to take BART to the Embarcadero Station, and spend some time in the Ferry Building Marketplace. If you’re there on a Tuesday or Thursday (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.), or Saturday (8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.), you’ll find yourself at the best farmer’s market in town. The shop and restaurant list truly is a composite of the best of the best in premium local and organic food, from Frog Hollow Farm to Cowgirl Creamery. The Slanted Door offers up grand views and Zagat-awarded Vietnamese food if you want a sit-down meal. Or, if you need to stretch those airplane-confined legs, you can take a walk along the Embarcadero–north for a view of Alcatraz, south for a view of the Bay Bridge and the “Cupid’s Span” sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, or west up Market Street–the Financial District’s thoroughfare–for a little urban hustle-and-bustle.


Or try this itinerary for a good mix of shopping, views, meditation, food, and a good uphill climb to get your heart pumping. Get off BART at Powell Station, and follow the crowds north toward Union Square, the city’s central shopping area. Then keep following the cable car line (but don’t bother waiting in the long line for a ride) up Powell Street to Nob Hill, taking in the views of the Bay Bridge to your right. At the tip top, you’ll find Grace Cathedral. Take a look at the grand, bronze doors (a replica of those from the Duomo in Florence, Italy), then walk one of its two labyrinths (indoor and outdoor). If you’re up for a splurge, you could order a drink or bite while taking in a 360-degree views at the Top of the Mark. Otherwise, for a more ethnic experience, dim sum at Four Seas Restaurant in neighboring Chinatown is always good, too.

Mission district:

The Mission is another great area to meander if you’ve only got a few hours to sample San Francisco. Its Latino roots are on display along Mission Street, and its hipster side is a few blocks away along Valencia Street. Hop off BART at the 24th Street Station and stop at a taqueria that strikes your fancy. Or pick up a cone of Bi-Rite ice cream (it’s organic, so that negates the calories) and take it across the street to people-watch at Dolores Park. (As one of the sunniest neighborhoods in foggy San Francisco, odds are in your favor.) Swing by Balmy Alley to check out the plethora of colorful murals, or pick up an eye patch at the city’s only independent pirate supply store at 826 Valencia. If you’re in the neighborhood at night, drop in for a play at The Marsh, live music at the Elbo Room, or the latest oddball event at The Make-out Room.


Shorter layovers (2 hours)

If you confined to the airport grounds, you don’t have to rely solely on following changes on the arrival/departure board to pass the time. Try these out:

Roam the airport and find a piece of artwork from the SFO’s collection that inspires you. You’ll have plenty of opportunity throughout the terminals.

Need a massage or pedicure where you’re heading next? Stop at XpresSpa. Its hours are friendly to early and late departures, too. The one in the International Terminal (Boarding Area G, near Gate 100, post-security) is open 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; and the one in Terminal 3 (Boarding Area F near Gate 68, post-security) is open 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Restaurants are the usual lot, with the exception of a few standouts. Go to Boudin Bakery for San Francisco’s famous sourdough bread–maybe as a bowl with clam chowder inside? (Terminal 3, Boarding Area F, food court at entrance to Gates 80-90, post-security) Grab a cup of the local’s favorite brew, Peet’s Coffee, which first started percolating in the area in 1966. (Several locations in Terminals 1 and 3) And for a different type of coffee altogether, head to Buena Vista Cafe. The cafe’s original Fisherman’s Wharf location is proud to have made the first Irish Coffee outside of Ireland in 1952. (Terminal 3, Boarding Area F near Gate 82, post-security)

And for the best shopping in SFO–hands down–head to the SFMOMA Store. You’re the only one who has to know that the creative gifts from there were bought last-minute at the airport. (International Terminal, Main Hall, pre-security).