SF 1906 Earthquake: Videos 105 Years Later

By coincidence on the anniversary of our 1906 earthquake, I found the above video of side-by-side comparison footage taken from a Market Street streetcar four days before the quake and one day after. Tomorrow we will Commemorate The 1906 Earthquake With Three Events Monday.

I had found this video first – it floated around online incorrectly as a 1905 recording. It’s just resurfaced on junk linkblogs (the incorrectly labeled video) and it’s still incorrectly labeled, but it’s remarkable nonetheless:

The video led people to speculate that it might be related to, or close to the complete after-quake video of what looks like the same Market Street ride, an uncredited video that was simultaneously floating around YouTube and uploaded by The Earthquake Channel (and is still uncredited):

User Lunaparcel Media did the research and found out the uncanny facts: the videos were the same ride, and shot only days apart by the same people, Harry and Herbert Miles. The Miles Brothers also shot most of the 1906 earthquake footage we see now (if not all of it) and they had planned to make San Francisco the center of worldwide filmmaking (oh – and they, ahem, rented films to vaudeville houses in San Francisco in 1902).

About the final side-by-side, Lunaparcel explained:

Here is a side-by-side comparison of two filmed journeys down Market Street shot in April of 1906 sourced from the Prelinger Archives at http://www.archive.org. The video on the left has enjoyed wide circulation online, but has often been incorrectly dated to 1905. Subsequent research by Historian David Kiehn of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, has determined that the footage was actually shot by Harry and Herbert Miles on April 14th, 1906, only 4 days before the catastrophic event and subsequent fires leveled much of the city, resulting in conditions depicted in the video on the right, and of which the initial production source is unknown.

Both of these files are an extraction from longer source footage available from the Prelinger Archives. Some of that footage has been omitted from this presentation due to substantially poor presentation quality of the source content. Both files were adjusted to correct original capture timing, and the video on the right was horizontally flipped to correct the reversed-image version currently found in the Archives.

These videos are also presented with only an approximate rudimentary synchronization of imagery. More precise synchronization has proven elusive due to differences in speed of travel, position of camera in relation to surroundings, dynamics of original imaging optics, and retention of content. As close as possible, the intent has been to show the structures and landmarks on the left in contrast with the devastation of the matching scenes on the right.

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Locals in Blue; Tourists in Red

Locals and Tourists #3 (GTWA #4): San Francisco

This geodata visualization image of San Francisco by Eric Fischer shows photographs taken by tourists (red), locals (blue) and non-sourceable (unknown if local or tourist; yellow) using Flickr’s geotagging data. Fisher explained his methodology saying,

Some people interpreted the Geotaggers’ World Atlas maps to be maps of tourism. This set is an attempt to figure out if that is really true. Some cities (for example Las Vegas and Venice) do seem to be photographed almost entirely by tourists. Others seem to have many pictures taken in piaces that tourists don’t visit.

Blue points on the map are pictures taken by locals (people who have taken pictures in this city dated over a range of a month or more).

Red points are pictures taken by tourists (people who seem to be a local of a different city and who took pictures in this city for less than a month).

Yellow points are pictures where it can’t be determined whether or not the photographer was a tourist (because they haven’t taken pictures anywhere for over a month). They are probably tourists but might just not post many pictures at all.

If you’re not from SF and you live in a major city (globally), you can see if your city is in his collection here. (via friend, Tom Tomorrow)

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Skating SF: Jabari Pendleton by Satva Leung

I caught this video by way of Our Kitchen Sink and now I’m looking forward to checking out all of Satva Leung’s San Francisco videos on VIMBY. They’re really well done, and cover aspects of street culture I love, like street art and skating. Plus it’s ever so cool to watch skaters do crazy stunts in familiar places around The City (most especially where urban planners have placed unattractive anti-skate guards). Plus, Jabari Pendleton is a skater with some skills.

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Upper Haight Business Owner Draws The Line On Homeless in Sit/Lie Post

Banksy Upper Haight 2010

It’s a controversial thing, this proposed “Sit/Lie” law, coming up on the November ballot here in SF. As the NYT’s Scott James explained in the Bay Citizen, “The measure would make it illegal in many circumstances to sit or lie on sidewalks.” Read his Viewpoints on SF’s Sit/Lie Proposal to get some surprising viewpoints about the proposed ordinance. Including mine: James interviewed me in the article because I am a former homeless Upper Haight teen.

Probably the most surprising viewpoint is that of Praveen Madan, owner of legendary Upper Haight bookstore The Booksmith. His essay on Bay Citizen’s Citizen Blog What’s Wrong with the Sit/ Lie Campaign’s Story? explains what he goes through as a shop owner, and the results of his research on Sit/Lie are quite unexpected. And absolutely compelling: you won’t be seeing this in our local corporate media outlets at all. Here’s a snip:

(…) Many of my customers, friends, and neighbors have been rallying for the sit/lie law for months. If the law passes at the ballot in the November elections, my retail business might benefit and there would be fewer hassles to deal with in my daily life. If I had stopped thinking at this point, I would have simply gone along with the overwhelming public opinion and voted for the sit/ lie law. But I couldn’t stop thinking because something was wrong with the story that was being told to justify the sit/ lie law. When I asked a few questions, I got a confusing barrage of claims and counter-claims but not enough facts. To satisfy my curiosity, I decided to do a little research. One thing led to another, and before I realized it, I had embarked on a one-man mission to dig up obtuse legal documents, seek out experts from around the country, and research the topic more deeply than it has been covered by any media outlet so far. (…read more, baycitizen.org)

Image of Banksy’s Rat in Upper Haight by saucemeisterq.

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Finally: Fatal SF Tiger Zoo Escape National Geographic Documentary Made Available

On Christmas Eve 2007, a female tiger escaped in the darkness of closing hours in the San Francisco Zoo, and moments of horror ensued. There were many, many unanswered questions, including why Tatiana attacked the specific young men (and hunted them across the zoo grounds), why it happened even though she was full from her dinner, and much more. Emmy award winning documentarian and local San Franciscan — and personal friend, Anna Fitch — made a monumental documentary to try and understand why and how this happened, along with exploring the nature of these incredible cats. Narrated by Peter Coyote, it was only shown on National Geographic TV, never to be seen again until finally being put Nat Geo’s website this week.

Beside the frustration of Nat Geo being so proprietary we had to wait, I’m glad they’re catching up with the rest of us and making the valuable media part of the cultural conversation by the ridiculously simple act of putting it online.

I can’t recommend watching this highly enough. It’s riveting.

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1920s Treasure: Erotic Photos of SF Women by Albert Arthur Allen

Albert Arthur Allen san francisco

Premiere Nudes by San Francisco based photographer Albert Arthur Allen is a book I will always treasure. Today we have Merkley??? and in the 1920s we had Allen — we are a city of beautiful women. And talented photographers, for certain.

Albert Arthur Allen 1920 san francisco

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Mesmerizing: Market Street Streetcar Ride, 1906

YouTube video is here. Thank you, DD.

Update: Credit for the video has been found (turn of the century film entrepreneurs the Miles Brothers) and is explained in the 1906 earthquake film post.

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Trannies and Buddhists Will Always Rule This Town: SF’s OG T-Girl Tommy Dee, 1950

tommy dee tv

lo.redjupiter.com writes,

Born Tommy Dorsey in Santa Barbara, California in 1933, he was the oldest of ten children and was raised Catholic. Although he contemplated studying for the Catholic priesthood, he ended up joining the U.S. Navy, from which he was eventually expelled for homosexual conduct. In the 1950s he then began a long career as a performer in drag shows centered in San Francisco’s North Beach;a district which served as the Castro Street of its era and which also hosted such fringy populations as the Beat poets, drug dealers, coffee-house anarchists, and jazz musicians. In his shows he was billed as “Tommy Dee, the boy who looks like the girl next door.” In the 1960s Tommy deepened his use of alcohol and drugs while joining the hippie movement as founder of a large, still well-remembered commune. In his North Beach years, Tommy Dee shot heroin with Lenny Bruce, partied with the late Carmen McRae and claims to have “discovered” Johnny Mathis–although McRae used to argue with him about this, claiming, instead, that she was the one to discover the young singer.

During these years he had frequent injuries, overdoses, and run-ins with the police. He once said “Sometimes I’d wake up hung over in jail. The first thing I’d do was feel to see if I had my tits on. This would tell me whether they had locked me up on the men’s side or with the hookers on the women’s side.” In the late 1960′s he began to sit zazen with Suzuki-roshi and his life began to change. He was eventually ordained as a Buddhist priest by Richard Baker, Suzuki-roshi’s successor, and given the name Issan. (…)

(…) Issan Dorsey, as Zen priest at Tassajara and City Center in the 1970s and early 1980s, did not see himself as any kind of Buddhist missionary to the gay community. In fact, he made fun of the macho, middle class, consumer values of gay San Francisco. Those were the years when jeans and lumberjack flannel shirts were the official uniform for gay men and when doing drag or using “Miss Names” were not politically correct activities. Years before the founding of Hartford Street Zendo, when the first meeting of a “Gay Buddhist Club” was announced, Issan scoffed at the idea. “Buddhism is Buddhism, practice is practice,” might be a summary of his initial response. At that time, in those last, pre-AIDS years, his major preoccupation was with the idea of starting a soup kitchen in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. (…)

(…) Before there was even any clear name or understanding of the disease, Issan regularly visited a young gay man in San Francisco General Hospital who had what we now know was AIDS. Taking Issan aside after one of his visits, a stern and disapproving charge-nurse commented to him that this particular patient had probably had more than 400 sex partners. Miffed at the woman’s moralistic tone, Issan terminated the conversation: “Only 400 partners!” he said loudly, as if on stage again, “Is that ALL?” (…more, lo.redjupiter.com)

tommy dee TV glamour

Images via marikita tv.

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Never Forget: Fix Push

Prepare to have a sense of humor about the fake difficulties of your fake life. The bile in your mouth is that elitist third-wave coffee coming up for a forget-me-not. If this offends you, go back to FourDoucheBarrel where you can gloat about your lameness. This is about the scourge that will not evolve.

Fixie culture; are we sick enough of it yet already? Fixed gear bikes are the trucker hat, the white belt, the universal sign of non-ironic hipster culture — and fixie peeps are rabid. But not as hardcore as the “Fix-Push” culture, who face discrimination and fashion facism every day of their dedicated fix push lives. Is it a fixed gear skateboard trend? NO. It’s a lifestyle. It’s also a clever spoof (“I’m not going to ride 20 miles if I can *push* 20 miles”), it’s filmed all over the city and I love seeing the hand–push railslides (yes, even at 3-up 3-down, aka The Armory). The video(s) are well done, and even copy the font/logo design of the fixie culture documentaries they’re ripping on. Here’s a trailer for Fix-Push 2:

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