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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 May 2010 20:56:17 -0700
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Richard Reineccius <[log in to unmask]>
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I know that some out-of-town Twain Forum-ers will be in San Francisco, where I am, for the Am Lit Conference the week after next.

A while back, I asked SF City Guides, at the SF Public Library, to try to come up with someone to do a San Francisco Twain Walk while you are here, starting at Twain Lane (on some maps Twain Alley), in the Montgomery Block where stood the fancy Occidental Hotel, habitat of Clemens while he was assembling his notes for The Innocents Abroad, Jumping Frog, and some other writings to 1868. For a while he stayed at the fancier Lick House nearby.

Alas, the C-Guides coordinator told me yesterday she had not found anyone among their couple of hundred walking guiders who wanted to do such a walk. "But you can feel free to do your own!" was suggested. They do have a "Downtown Walk", which starts in the same block. I walked that walk recently. It included several mentions of Twain and several quotes, some of them accurate. (The script included the deposed "Coldest winter..." and a tag "He absolutely DID say that!" I filed a correction with the guide and the office).

Anybody attending ALA, and wants to participate in an "experimental" Twain walk, or a walk from Twain Lane up Columbus Avenue, stopping at several Authors' Alleys (*see below), named for significant writers born in or who once inhabited this city?  I suggest it be done on Sunday, as the conference closes, but could be done any day. There've been almost none of SF's infamous afternoon fog and wind days so far this year, but bring a jacket in case. 

The SF History Room has helped me gather quite a bit of information, and I'll be happy to organize the walk if people want it. We can end at City Lights, walk Kerouac Alley, check out the Beat Museum. Carol Doda has hung up her costume, but the Condor nightclub is still there on Broadway.

Contact me directly at my alternate e-address: [log in to unmask], or the one I use for the forum, [log in to unmask]

-Richard R, San Francisco
*ADD: Authors with streets named for them in 1988, at the initiative of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights founder and still co-owner:
(some don't butt up to Columbus, for reasons of birthplace or crashpad)

1 - Jack London Alley (born nearby, though Oakland claims him)
2 - Isadora Duncan Lane (born nearby. Didn't write much, but was written 
    about a lot)
3 - Jack Kerouac Alley (by City Lights & Vesuvio's)
4 - Saroyan Place (near saloon that's setting for The Time of Your Life
    (I think the saloon is still there, operating. Couldn't be called a
    'saloon' for a number of decades because of California ban on name. 
    Ban not repealed until late 1900s)
5 - Ambrose Bierce Street (description changed from 'infamous' columnist 
    to 'iconoclast' by a separate vote of the pols, after a complaint from
    the Hearst flagship Daily Examiner, for which the SOB wrote.
6 - Frank Norris Street (for the neighborhood of McTeague)
7 - Via Bufano (for sculptor Benny B, signifant Italian-American sculptor
    and dedicated peacenik whose studio adjoined)
8 - Mark Twain Place (half-block alley in the Montgomery Block, shadowed 
    by the peaked TransAmerica Building. Local legend says he drank in 
    a saloon next door to the fancy Occidental Hotel, where he met a nice
    man named Tom Sawyer, who later opened a wine & spirits store on 
    Market Street close by, with "The Original Tom Sawyer" on his shingle)
9 - Bob Kaufman Alley (If you don't know his works, shame on you)
10- Richard Henry Dana Place (close by the SF Maritime Museum, with its
    wonderful masted ships. Now part of Golden Gate National Park)
11- Dashiell Hammett Street (Where he lived when it was Monroe Street. 
    Yes, you can visit the bar where the falcon stays)

** 'San Fran' is acceptable to native-born San Franciscans, 'Frisco' NOT!

Enough...  - Richard R        -0-