What is he thinking about? This is the question to be forever pondered by art lovers as they stand and contemplate Auguste Rodin’s monumental tribute to the contemplative act, “The Thinker.”
Originally designed to depict Dante in a small-scale sculptural display about “The Divine Comedy,” “The Thinker” under the artist’s touch evolved into a kind of Everyman, albeit a very tall one—six foot six inches tall.
Cast in bronze, he is naked and seated on a pedestal. He leans forward, elbow on knee, his chin resting on his hand in a position mimicked by Dobie Gillis and countless others over the years in TV, the arts, and life.
The first large format version of “The Thinker” debuted in Paris in 1904, when its creator was an old man. His genius work of art will never grow old.
Now there are multiple casts of “The Thinker” in museums around the world including this one at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor, which visitors see in the courtyard as they approach the front entrance. There are dozens of other gorgeous Rodins in the museum’s collection as well. Plus, the hilltop setting offers spectacular views of another San Francisco landmark: the Golden Gate Bridge.—Kevin Nelson
“Eat more,” bestselling food writer Simran Sethi told the Wall Street Journal. “Eat better chocolate. This is the path to saving the planet.”
In the interests of saving the planet, or at least having a really good time, we recently sampled an assortment of tinyB Chocolates, which are handmade by a Brazilian chocolatier named Renata. The box they came in was an attractive turquoise, similar to a Tiffany box, and when we popped the lid we found 15 chocolate “brigadeiros,” as they are called. The six flavors were spicy dark chocolate, milk chocolate, almond, pistachio, coconut and cream, and passion fruit with white chocolate curls. Continue reading
Jack Kerouac Alley is a charming, nostalgic tribute to the beatnik era of San Francisco and the handsome, charismatic free spirit who wrote one of the best books of that era, On The Road.
The alley is between Columbus and Stockton, just off Broadway in North Beach, the city’s Italian district. It’s worth a visit, beginning with City Lights Bookstore, which borders the alley on the north side. City Lights is itself a beatnik era landmark, still vibrant today, which was founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a free spirit himself who was a friend of Kerouac’s and a fine poet.
The bookstore holds readings and publishes books, something it has been doing since 1955, when it published Ferlinghetti’s poetry collection, Pictures of the Gone World. A special 60th anniversary edition of Pictures will come out in the fall. (Another Ferlinghetti collection worth exploring: the wondrous Coney Island of the Mind.) Be sure to go downstairs in the shop where the likes of Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, William Burroughs and other poets hung out, and where their books are displayed for sale. Continue reading
The Fairmont on the Sunday of the California Mille.
The Fairmont at the top of Nob Hill is one of San Francisco’s most elegant hotels, and every year it plays host to one of the most elegant automobile events of its kind: the California Mille. The Mille, whose gala opening day takes place Sunday, April 26, is a 1,000-mile rally around the back roads of Northern California that celebrates Italy’s most famous open road race, the Mille Miglia. Sixty-seven vintage cars from around the U.S. and world will participate in this, the 25th running of the annual event.
By Dave Nelson
Whenever I feel a longing for France but haven’t the time or the money to go there, I head for San Francisco’s miniscule French Quarter. And, by miniscule, I mean really tiny. It’s so small a night on the town lasts only ten minutes. It’s so small the neighborhood square is a triangle. In fact, the French Quarter is so small it could actually be a penny! Continue reading