Here’s a very cool, 600-foot mural just outside the SF Caltrain station, apparently done by an artist named Brian Barnecio.  I spotted it on my way back to the Peninsula yesterday and attempted to capture it in a series of photographs from inside the train.  Read all about it.

It is exactly this kind of public vitality–street art, street musicians, and just a general feeling of energy existing out in the open that makes me so glad to be back in the Bay Area.  Public art and graffiti is virtually nonexistent in Taipei.  It is just not part of the cultural dialogue. Regarding street murals and graffiti, I once saw a poster hanging in an MRT station which showed a colorful and, I thought, just cool piece of art that had been done on the side of a decrepit, gray-like-all the others-building, with a big X over it.  Below the picture read a public service announcement, telling citizens that “graffiti is bad” and to “keep our city clean,” or something to that extent.

When people ask me what I miss about Taiwan, I say: the unpretentiousness of people, the tea and tea culture, the ecology, and a few friends.  Aside from that…I am glad I am no longer in that place.

 

Here’s a video of me messing around with a banjo on Clement street, I took, also with my ipod touch, with it just sitting on the floor at an awkward angle.

A guy walking around the store asked me, “Do you take lessons?”

“Nope, but I’ve been playing guitar for 12 years, so it’s pretty easy to pick up a banjo.”

I added, “It’s hard to get a bad sound out of a banjo, anyways, because of the open tuning.”

“Oh, I can do it!” he replied.

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