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They came to the tracks …

June 5, 1968. Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated.

June 8, 1968. The funeral train carrying RFK’s body begins its journey from New York City to Washington, D.C. On board the train is photojournalist Paul Fusco. But Fusco doesn’t take pictures on the train. He photographs the thousands of people who come to the tracks to say good-bye to Bobby.

SFMOMA’s exhibition, The Train, features photos from Fusco’s collection of images of individuals, families, and various groups of people who wave, cry and hold up signs of fondness and farewell.

Fusco’s often-times blurry photographs capture the movement of the train and the sorrowful mood of grieving Americans saying their last good-byes to Robert F. Kennedy.

The exhibition runs to June 10, 2018.


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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SFMOMA, is presenting Robert Rauschenberg, Erasing the Rules. Not only was Rauschenberg one of the leading lights of 20th century American art, he was — at least to me — the artist who changed art from A to B.

A is what you see on the canvas, the sculpture, the fresco.

B is what you don’t see, but you know or intuit lies beneath what you don’t see … because there’s not much there to see.

Rauschenberg’s “Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953)” is B’s exemplar. In a plain frame hangs what once was a sketch by William de Kooning. Line by line, Rauschenberg erased it. Though little more than a blank paper, it is among SFMOMA’s most treasured works. There’s nothing to see here, Folks!

You  can see (and not see) for yourself through March 25, 2018.


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That didn’t take long. On October 9, I made my first prediction of 2017. Here’s how it read:


I predict that on or before September 1, 2019, there will be more mass shootings on American soil. I further predict that the American government will do nothing of significance to curb this mayhem and loss of life. I further predict that the congressmen who took no action will be rewarded for their lack of action, not only by the National Rifle Association but by their constituents, who will re-elect them.

Now, on Sunday, November 5, less than a month later, a lone gunman with an assault rifle murdered more than 25 parishioners, including young children, in a Texas church. He’d been bad-conduct discharged from the air force for assaults against his wife and child, spent a year in the brig, and he proudly posted a photo of himself brandishing an assault rifle on his Facebook page. Still, he was able to fill his vehicle with deadly weapons.

I could wait until Congress or the President or the Texas legislature acts, but I feel 100% safe concluding in advance that they won’t do a thing. Other than say they are praying. Or proclaim, as President Trump, has already done, the standard mass-shooting sound loop, It’s too early to talk about gun control. Here are his words: “It isn’t a guns situation but a mental health problem at the highest level. But this isn’t a guns situation. I mean, we could go into it, but it’s a little bit soon to go into it.”

Yes. Just as I predicted — easily, if angrily, predicted. After all, politicians did nothing after the murders of elementary school children, college students, cafeteria diners, movie goers, concert goers, party goers, other church goers. They’ll do nothing now.

Three notes:

As I watched the early reports on CBS, NBC and ABC, I heard not a single word about gun control.

What I did hear was that the first person who was blamed for the murders was a Black American seeking revenge for the earlier murders in a Black church in Tennessee. In fact, that crime and this were committed by armed Caucasians.

And finally, here’s how the Dallas News responded to the politicians’ non-response: https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/11/05/talk-gun-control-now-sutherland-springs-will-never-talk



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On Halloween Eve, Alexander’s Steakhouse transmogrified itself into Alexander’s Snakehouse. It ‘twas scary — very scary. In the words of the general manager, “Not for the faint of heart or weak of spirit.”

Or slim of wallet. For $175, patrons were escorted by a ghoulish presence into the lower level— now, more dungeon than dining room. Once seated, they were served “Rattlesnake rillettes with citrus sage anti venom; the Scryer’s bowl with calf brains and shirako marrow egg; Silence of the Ducks with seared foie-gras, fava beans and a nice Chianti; Steak and the Heart with aged Angus beef, beef heart ragout and potato hay; and the Poison Apple with oatmeal and I scream white chocolate covered insects.”

The dining experience was heightened by a silent rendering of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre looping on a wall-sized screen, ghostly organ music, masked waiters, toothy jack-o-lanterns, snakes in jars and ‘blood’ on walls.

But the scariest part of the evening wasn’t the scenery; it was the prices on the wine list. When a bottle of Romanee Conti Grand Cru goes for $11,280, that scream you hear may be your own.

Alexander’s Steakhouse is at 448 Brannan Street between Third and Fourth Streets in San Francisco.

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On their next trip to San Francisco, your readers can take in a big double-header. Here’s the first game:

Through February 4, 2018, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SFMOMA, is hosting “Walker Evans,” a humungous retrospective of the seminal 20th century photographer’s work. His most famous photo is here, “Alabama Tenant Farmer Wife,” along with candid New York street portraits, collected ephemera, photos of his home, and much, much more.

Four-hundred images, some little larger than postage stamps— it’s informative, and it is exhausting.

The second game is a cure for exhaustion, just around the corner, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Check it out.

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