Looking for our new home we were advised to seek Craigslist, an internet community board incidentally started in San Francisco. We found a couple that looked OK and booked in to see them. On our way down Market St we were approaching the address of our first stop among the porn theaters and homeless folk, a dark grey building loomed and we looked at each other with questioning eyes. A flamboyant man showed us a room amongst the boring grey corridors and it was all we could never hope for. A dingy bland box with a single window facing the the back of another grey building. Mildew and the promise that ‘we would fit right in’ followed us in our vow never to return. Turning off onto Hayes St and approaching our next meeting things started looking up, cute little cafes, bohemian design and art shops lined the street. Linden St is a little one way alley to the side of Hayes. At first we couldn’t find the number we were looking for, hidden amongst the town houses. When found, a tiny button hidden above a black iron gate, we were buzzed up a hooked staircase to the top floor. Our first view of the house was quickly followed by a sideways glance at each other with big smiles as we were greeted by a large black and white woman painting and a deer’s head mounted above the stairs. At the top was David, wearing a large smile and a curled moustache. As we were showed around our eyes roamed back and forth at all the art and trinkets, filled with color, light, plants and eery, yet beautiful artwork.
We sat with David in the studio/loungeroom and he asked us about our arts projects and told us about his. David works at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park as a special events coordinator and has been living in San Francisco since the seventies. He was once a performer, involved in many groups and venues around San Francisco. His signature character being Mad Magda. A survivor of Chernobyl, Mad Magda wears a grim smile – “It is not all that bad, is it?” Her breasts fused into a large pointed mountain upon her chest, her face stretched and smeared by the radiation, she is a gracious host. Many moons ago Magda owned a Teahouse in San Francisco. An establishment straight from the old country with borscht, palmistry, tasseography and an ivy-covered garden.
After the stories, David said that he was happy for us to take the room if we wanted it and like that we found our new home.