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Ascent and Descent

September 27, 2010

2010_poster.jpgDays like I had on Saturday remind me of the sheer joy of living in this part of the world. There is no other place quite like it for off-the-radar cultural encounters and non-everyday experiences.

It all started at House of Air, a new trampolining park at Crissy Field. The company launched less than two weeks ago and I when I showed up, was packed mostly with children bouncing up and down to their heart's content. In addition to keeping kids occupied, House of Air trains athletes to do aerial stunts on skis, snowboards and skateboards and accommodates adults too. The company allows people to team up and play bouncy versions of basketball and dodgeball -- something that organizations might enjoy the novelty of when they go there for corporate meetings and events. One of these days, I might hit up one of HOA's trampolining exercise classes which happens every morning at 7am. Trampolining is, somewhat surprisingly, very good exercise: I jumped for about 20 minutes and was completely exhausted by the time I staggered off to switch out of the special jumping booties I'd been lent and back into my sandals.

The day unfurled with an afternoon spent at the Polk Street Blues Festival. The event was bustling in the early afternoon with bands crafts merchants and food and beverage sellers all keeping people entertained. I was particularly impressed by the gravely voice of a female vocalist in a soul band and another ensemble's crack harmonica player, who was just 12 years old and blew a mean harp.

Then I went to The Balclutha, an antique cargo vessel docked at Hyde Street Pier, for a concert featuring two important local chantey groups. Spent a merry couple of hours listening to old sea ballads and work songs performed by the Barbary Ghost trio and Salty Walt and the Rattlin Ratlines as well as exploring the bowels of the remarkable ship. A full moon was out, which made for an even more beautiful experience.

The adventure culminated with jazz at Ana Mandara, a lovely Vietnamese restaurant and lounge in Fisherman's Wharf. Bassist Gary Brown, pianist Peter Horvath and their guests provided the perfect landing to a day that started up in the air.

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