Whenever my friend Deanna and I travel, we call it a field trip, it somehow makes it seem more exciting in our minds. We scooped tickets for Meshell Ndegeocello at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco a few weekends ago, so of course we had to turn it into one such trip. I speak only for myself when I say this year has been lame. So whenever I have the chance to do a nicolay & phonte and leave it all behind I leap at the opportunity.
We were lucky enough to get a reservation at our new favorite spot, the Hotel de Cruz. What that actually means is our friend Cruz currently resides in SF’s lovely Richmond District and now when we visit the bay we no longer have to struggle with overpriced hotels. Instead, we get the HDC deluxe treatment, complete with wifi– service, interior design by the house of David, fresh coffee in the morning and the nicest smelling bathroom you will ever encounter in life. Seriously…it’s like a Lush super store exploded in there. Anyway…where was I again? Oh yeah.. the trip.
We packed light and made our way north late Friday afternoon. Neither one of us was very talkative. One of the things I like most about people I’ve known for years is that we don’t require one another to do or say anything on road trips. It may sound boring, but it’s the exact opposite. There is no such thing as uncomfortable silence when you’re with someone who has seen you at your worst but is still on the team. You know what I mean? Anyway, we arrived in SF in no time flat, had dinner, cocktails and a smack talk session with our host and called it a night.
This next part still amazes me. I woke up at 9:30am! I never wake up that late! Musta been that cool breeze and cozy hotel setting. After a lazy morning, homemade breakfast and some fancy coffee in Cruz’s comfy kitchen, we grabbed Uber and made our way to the Legion of Honor. Whenever we three hang out each person gets to pick something we all do together. Cruz picked a visit to the Legion of Honor, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, tucked neatly away in the lushness of Lincoln Park. Once we reached our destination I was awestruck by the art that greeted us. I have no idea why anyone would suggest a museum trip and not mention Auguste Rodin’s famous sculpture “The Thinker” would be the first thing we’d see, but that’s how it went down.
Once inside it was all heavy stone and grandeur. I was about to feel under-dressed when I suddenly remembered I was in San Francisco and snapped out of that real quick.
The special exhibitions for the month were “Matisse and the Artist Book” as well as “The Poetry of Parmigianino’s “Schiava Turca”. My long standing love affair with paper products and books dictated that I spend most of my time perusing the Matisse exhibit. My only wish was that his books weren’t encased in glass.
My second favorite discovery of the day was “ The Three Shades” also commonly known as “The Gates of Hell” yet another gift from French Sculptor Auguste Rodin. Although this is only one portion of the monumental piece designed after Dante’s “Divine Comedy” it’s intricacies, attention to detail and massive weight (literally and figuratively) makes you wonder what the entire masterpiece looks like in its completion. It was virtually impossible to stand not think of “The Inferno” and Rodin’s depiction of it.
We made a sizable effort to see as much as we could of each gallery during our short stay. It was the first time in YEARS that I’ve willingly consented to roaming the halls of a museum that didn’t have any collections by and or about black folks, but you know… when in Rome. Prior to leaving we took advantage of one last thing and made our way to a small auditorium on the ground floor for a quick Dance and Poetry recital open to the public. It was nice to see a diverse group of people on stage enjoying themselves, but it felt mad cultish and once they came out rockin silver caftans and waxin nostalgic about mother earth we made a mad dash for the exit and declined all offerings of kool-aid as we sprinted towards the parking lot. It was a fun afternoon, but I got dibs on choosing our next museum visit.
We spent our evening at Great American Music Hall listening to badass Meshell Ndegeocello. It was my first experience seeing her live but sooo worth the wait. If memory serves me correctly, she only performed two original works during her set. Everything else was way out ethereal covers of tracks from the likes of Valerie June, Whodini. Ready for the World and Nina Simone.
Just before the close of the show, an audience member yelled out, “Get Loose, say something” during a transition break. She was cool about it and slowly responded ” I am, this is me loose”. I urge you all…get loose sometimes. In whatever way makes the most sense to you. ~
Devoya Mayo is Co-Creator of The Happy Black Girl
Get To Know An HBG is her favorite column to write.
You can contact her directly at email@example.com