Ithaca!

With the Mayor of Palm Springs
With the Mayor of Palm Springs

That’s one small step for a gay man.
One giant leap for mid-century collectibles in the desert.

10-4, Good Buddy

***

The Last Temptation of Me

Eviction Countdown: Day 7

On the look-out for Tenderloin trannies.
On the look-out for Tenderloin trannies.

I live a block down from one of the steepest hills in the City, Jones between California and Pine. Tourists are constantly photographing it but I know from experience that the pictures just don’t turn out. You can’t capture the incline or the depth for some reason, it always looks flatter than it is.

When they were filming the Eddie Murphy film Metro in 1996 they decided to use this hill for the runaway cable car chase scene. And I watched the whole thing from my bay window.

There are no tracks on this part of Jones so they painted fake ones down the middle of the street and used motorized cable cars. They also turned it into a two-way street for the movie, in real life it’s one way downhill. And even more dramatic license: you never, ever allow parallel parking on a hill of this grade but they did.

To enhance the chase a plywood ramp was built at the intersection of Pine and Jones to film a car jumping on to my block. That was exciting to watch, the rest of the two-day shoot was pretty boring.

Hill is real, cable car is not.
Hill is real, cable car is not.

They did some close-ups of Mr. Murphy in front of my building but when they shot the actual speeding cable car it was filled with extras.

I enjoyed watching the non-speaking actors who played pedestrians across the street from me. It took hours to set up the runaway and they spent most of their time conferring and blocking off their movements. They were dead serious about their craft. In the movie they were on the screen for about 3 seconds.

As I've told cab drivers thousands of times over the years coming down this hill, mine is the third building on the left after the intersection.
As I’ve told cab drivers thousands of times over the years, mine is the third building on the left after the intersection.

Next: Eviction Countdown Day 6, Bertha’s Brownies
Previous: Eviction Countdown Day 8, Taxidermy
The Complete Countdown
The complete saga, From the Beginning

Eviction Countdown: Day 21

 

Chartreuse Lady
Chartreuse Lady

 

When the previous tenants vacated our unit in 1975 they left this Madonna and Child hanging in the bedroom. Through the years she’s moved around a bit but she has never left the sleeping chamber.

I plan to leave her behind whenever I go. And I have a feeling she won’t last long after I’m gone. Which is probably just as well considering the things she has seen and the stories she could tell.

Nothing to report on eviction other than the USPS tracking system says that Vince Young has received my rent check. If he cashes the check he can’t evict me in the month of February.

It’s the little things that mean so much.

Next: Eviction Countdown Day 20, Taking Out the Trash
Previous: Eviction Countdown Day 22, Sally Stanford
The complete saga, From the Beginning

 

Eviction Countdown: Day 23

Check is in the mail
Check is in the mail

With approximately three weeks left until the deadline date of February 24th, what better way to continue this blog than with cheap theatrics. Coming from me you should be used to them by now.

When the unlawful detainer is served the process of fighting eviction will begin in earnest. The year long notice period has just been a waiting game. Service will be on the deadline date or any day thereafter.

Contrary to the damsel tied to the railroad ties images that eviction conjures up, there probably won’t be a time when I’ll have to turn on a dime and get out of here immediately. I’m expecting a long slog that will eventually be worked out by lawyers.

Up until now my landlord, Vince Young, and his attorney, Denise Leadbetter, have used the eviction process as a means of intimidation. And it’s worked. Five of the seven units did not want to fight them and they are now empty.

Those tenants were younger than me and at a very busy times in their lives building careers and going to school. They wanted to stay but didn’t want to deal with the hassel. And they had concerns about having their names associated with an eviction.

They envisioned scenarios of showing up at a job interview one day only to be questioned about a google search that showed they’d once been evicted. There is no nuance in the public’s thinking about eviction, if you’ve been involved in one you probably can’t be trusted. Eviction profiteers like Vince Young know this and it’s a valuable tool for them.

But, as I told my attorney, I am fortunate that my reputation was ruined decades ago. And I didn’t need anyone’s help in doing it.

The Real Estate Industry and its newsletter, the San Francisco Chronicle, like to ignore these tenants who give into the threat and don’t pursue a court action. They point to the 2000 eviction cases a year which does seem like a small amount.

It has been estimated, however, for every two units in a building that fight the action there are 3-5 units that do not. And when you consider the number of tenants in each unit, it ends up affecting people in the tens of thousands. Curiously, the City does not keep statistics on people who settle or just give up without going to court.

So, flipping into Norma Rae mode I mailed my February rent check yesterday morning. Let the countdown begin.

Next: Eviction Countdown Day 22, Sally Stanford
Previous: Today’s Chuckle
The complete saga, From the Beginning.

Mission Focus

Four months into this blog about my eviction and I’ve written mostly about my life in San Francisco over the last forty years. When I started it I thought there would be dramatic legal events to report about the eviction process. But nothing has happened. That will be changing soon.

The landlord Vince Young served all the tenants in the building with Ellis Act Notices last February 24th. We were given four months to move before the eviction process would begin. The notice is separate from the court proceedings and in order to fight the eviction you have to refuse to move at the end of the notice period. Most of the other tenants did not want to go through the hassle and were out by June.

My one neighbor Shakris and I had “protected status” so our deadlines were extended to a year. We do plan to fight the eviction and will not be moving out by the 24th.

At the end of February we will probably be served with unlawful detainer papers and the fun will begin. I’m already working on courtroom outfits and trying to find an Acting Coach to help me with my testimony (something along the lines of Lana Turner at the Cheryl Crane trial.)

I met with my attorney a couple days before Christmas and he was very non-chalant about the whole thing. He says we are going to prevail (which could mean a variety of things). But if he’s not worried then I shouldn’t be either.

Stay tuned for more developments and have a Happy New Year.

Next: High Jackie
Previous: Do They Know It’s Christmas?
The complete saga, From the Beginning

 

Oogie Oogie Oogie

Jeffrey was going through his depression era decor phase as evidenced in the zen-like serenity of our kitchen.
Jeffrey was going through his depression era decor phase as evidenced in the zen-like serenity of our kitchen.

When Jeffrey and I first lived in this apartment we were very good friends with David, Muni and Dalia who lived behind us. We shared the same back landing so our kitchen doors were always open and there was constant traffic between the units.  When they moved out, the landlord’s cousin moved in. The Chins occupied four of the seven units and the back doors were always locked.

Above me was an older grumpy guy who went fishing early in the mornings. He could never manage more than a harumph for a hello. The other unit upstairs was a 60-year-old leather queen. Our relationship started off nice enough but then he started yelling at us for playing our music too loud. Things were tense after that.

As for loud music, the real culprit was the landlord’s brother who lived below us. When he got drunk, which could be any day at any hour, it would be nonstop “Get Down! Boogie Oogie Oogie!” Constantly repeated, it was so loud they could hear it in Milpitas. Sometimes it would be playing faintly then he’d suddenly crank it for “Boogie oogie oogie” before turning it down again.

Babysitting Dalia. The things that child saw....
Babysitting Dalia. The things that child saw….

When the Chins sold in the late 80’s only leather guy and me remained. New tenants occupied the other five units and there started to be turnover. By the mid-nineties the line-up had pretty much solidified and units rarely switched hands.

Everyone in the building was nice and we were all friendly but I started to pull back. I was getting sucked into the miasma of the corporate world and my few hours at home were my only refuge.

Then Biff moved in, he was so young and so cute. If it had been 20 years before I would have tried to pounce but all I could think was “leave the poor kid alone. Don’t shit where you eat.” The last thing I wanted was to create an uncomfortable situation for him, constantly avoiding the lecherous old neighbor whose drool was spotting the lobby carpet.

I kept my distance. I was polite and friendly but we never said much more than hello, hows it going. The more steely my reserve became the deeper I dug the hole. It might have been perceived as rudeness or arrogance.

It didn’t help that one Sunday when I was reading in bed his shades were cracked and I could see various moving parts of TWO naked young ‘uns jostling about.  It made my defenses even stronger. (I now wonder what the neighbors saw of me all those years in the window wells.)

The early days of our open door policy. David, per usual, in various states of undress.
The early days of our open door policy. David, per usual, in various states of undress.

All of us respected each other’s privacy so it was easy to go a couple of months without seeing one another. When I’d run into Biff after an absence we appeared to be following many of the same trends. He would have bleached hair and I would have bleached hair. He’d grown a beard, I had grown a beard. He had a zero crop, I had one too. We were on the same path independently of each other, kindred spirits.

Last fall when we had inklings the building was about to be sold the privacy mechanisms came tumbling down. All the tenants were talking to one another. We got together a few times to strategize and commiserate over cocktails. Biff and his partner were so warm and open. It felt comfortable to hang with them. Even their dog liked me.

We sat around laughing like we’d known each other for years. Which we had except we hadn’t. I felt like such a fool for squandering the opportunity to make a friend.

Next: Feliz dia veinteidos de Noviembre!
Previous: Helping the More Fortunate
The complete saga, From the Beginning