This entry is for Sunday, February 6, 2022, and I’m posting it on Saturday, March 5.

The point of this weekend in The City was two ballets and a 10k walk. Because why not? We were dogsitting for friends so all around the weekend required more thinking since we weren’t at home in The Castro and doing our usual thing. Still, we made it out that morning about 6am to meet friends at Peet’s for coffee as usual.

From there we took a Lyft to Golden Gate Park where lots of people were gathering for a half-marathon, 10k or 5k walk or run, depending on your preference. We were in it for the 10k walk. This event was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and proceeds went to a variety of underserved communities in San Francisco.

And away we go. The marathon people went first, the 10k folks started after, about 8:15am.

I’ve never done anything like this before, but one of the reasons I agreed is that the entire 10k is done within the park itself. I’ve been here enough to know it’s beautiful and would be fun as long as the weather cooperated. As you can see, it did. I was wearing sweats but remember regretting not wearing shorts. I was about 55 degrees as I recall.

Sign in the middle of the street signifying 10k on the right and marathon on the left.

This is a stretch of the park known as The Panhandle, a narrow strip at the east beginnings of the park that runs between Oak and Fell Streets, which are very well known here. The Panhandle is 8 blocks long. Notice there are more people on the 10k side of the street than the marathon side, only because those folks are long gone!

A manmade but beautiful waterfall along the way.

It’s a pretty big park that has a good number of roads through it, almost all of which are closed on Sundays anyways. For the pandemic most cars were banned completely in the park throughout the week, providing a nice place for locals to spend time outdoors.

Above and below are Spreckels Lake, with houses along Fulton Street in the background.

We ended right at about 2 hours which was what we guessed it would take. 10k is 6.2 miles.

One of two pretty (in)famous windmills in the park.

Erick had walked with us. Or actually, Erick and I walked together and Ash was at his own faster pace which we felt no need to catch up to. Erick and Ash went to college together and, although he joined us for the last day I was in New York City, this was the first chance we got to spend some time to get to know each other. Jim picked all 3 of us up at the end and we went out in search of brunch.

We ended up at The Cove on Castro Street, a staple of this neighborhood and just a few blocks from Ash’s house.

It’s a typical dive-sort-of menu, and I mean that in only the best ways.

Jim, Erick, Ash, me.

From there Ash and I went back to Greg & Karl’s, showered, packed all our stuff, dropped it all back at the Castro house, then made our way to the 2pm matinee of the ballet. These guys went ahead of us and we met them there.

The ballet we saw on this day was simply called Program 1. It was in 3 acts, same as the day before. The San Franscisco Ballet arranges their schedules on purpose so that folks coming in from out of town can see 2 shows in one weekend. The dancers who did the matinee yesterday did the evening show on Sunday. Today’s matinee dancers had done the evening show on Saturday; I wondered how or if the difference in rest time between the two troops impacted their performance. Either way, it’s a bunch of dancers.

The first act was called Trio and all this time later I don’t remember it at all. The program says it was much by Tschaikowsky.

The second act was the world premiere of a new ballet called Mrs. Robinson. Yes, as in “The Graduate.” This was the 5th act we’d seen that weekend and the first that got a standing ovation at the end. At 45 minutes the show was a good 15 minutes longer than the others, but kept you fully engaged. I think even if you didn’t know what the story was about, you would have figured it out from the choreography and the staging – complete with young men dancing in suits and even hints of the swimming pool. It was very entertaining to see such a classic art form portrayed so modernly. There’s a wonderful 5-minute clip of the lead dancers playing it out on a San Francsico rooftop here if you’re interested.

The third act was called “Symphony in C” and as a newbie to ballet, I’d say this was the most representative of what I thought classic ballet was. And the audience thought so, too, giving another standing ovation (although not quite as rousing as Mrs. Robinson). All of the women were in white tutus – the kind the stick straight out horizontally; all of the men in black body suits. There were 4 different sets, each with a corps of 8 women, 3 couples, and a lead couple. And a final number where all of them were on stage – which is 64 if I remember the details correctly. The website just says “over 50” but you get the idea: that’s a lot of moving bodies to manage on a relatively small space, impressive all by itself.

All in all, I enjoyed this performance much better than the day before. I’m writing this on a weekend a month later when we are back in San Francisco to see another ballet, Don Quixote, so I’m Interested to see how this one goes.

After the show we went to Super Duper on Market, a burger joint a few blocks from the house. We are going there again this evening after the matinee so maybe I’ll remember photos. I just remember it was really good and I’m glad we’re going back.

Ash was staying in SF a couple of more nights, but I made my way back home that evening. Overall, it was a great weekend and didn’t feel as busy as it was, although not staying at home certainly made it more complicated. This weekend is about the same, but we are staying at home, so it feels even more relaxed. We’ll see how long it takes me to write about it, assuming I do!

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