san francisco sauvignon

In the summer of 2003, the Minnesota Public Radio show the Savyy Traveler asked producers around the country to create portraits in sound of the cities they live in. My portrait of San Francisco, which I titled San Francisco Sauvignon, aired on July 4, 2003.

As I wrote to the show's producer, the idea behind this portrait was not so much to take on the impossible task of capturing the essence of the city — but to sketch as fully as possible the San Francisco that I know, that my wife and I inhabit, during this part of our lives.

Some of the sounds I use will be familiar to casual visitors (streetcar bells, the fat happy sealions of Fisherman's Wharf, perhaps an icecream cart patrolling the Mission); but others are elements of a more secretive San Francisco: the one that I love and the one that keeps me rooted here.



the other rooms
gauntánamo express

desert sun

the other side
on top of the world
what the thunder said
san francisco sauvignon

would you, would you?
invisible cities
deep creatures
vincent fecteau
monkey pod

Photos taken as part of this project.

Not quite intentionally, this piece became very musical as I worked on it — I guess that's because my life now is full of music, and my recent recordings reflect that.

With thanks to everyone who appears within, wittingly and un-. This is what I offer back: what I've been hearing in our city.

san francisco sauvignon3.6 MB

This piece contains, in addition to the elements enumerated above: bottles of Napa wine being opened; a forty-ounce bottle bouncing in the street; the ranting of a regular neighborhood lunatic outside our window; each of my four roommates making music (namely, my wife singing the Carmina Burna at the Mission Dolores, the No Name Trio playing here at our warehouse, jhno on the keys, Jeff practicing his guitar and rightly inquiring why I'm recording him...); shorebreak and gulls from near Aquatic Park; a pair of guitar players jamming in North Beach; the inimatable Extra Action Marching Band at a peace march earlier this year; a 15' tesla coil going off outside SF MoMA, a bit of electronic frippery in a Burning Man tent, a drug dealer on Haight Street; a mariachi band in a bar, the tabla/sitar duo that played at my wedding; a bit of lunacy at the mission Carnival; a taxi whistle near Union Square; a hawker in Chinatown; poet Hugh Steinberg reading at the Attic on 24th street; a dapper busker's patter outside Bimbo's 365 Club; windchimes like those across the street from our regular cafe in the Western Addition, a hippy drum circle in Golden Gate Park, a modem connecting at the height of the Internet boom, a merry-go-round...