Photos: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2016

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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is the annual free concert in Golden Gate Park that offers just the right amount of bluegrass along with a whole spectrum of other music. I’ve been going every year since the aughts and it still amazes me that it’s completely free (thanks to the generosity of Warren Hellman and his descendants). You don’t even have to pay a “mind tax” because there’s no advertising. By contrast, Outside Lands – which is held in roughly the same exact location in the park – is smaller, chock full of branding, and costs almost $400 for a weekend pass. Not to mention, the lineup at the free Hardly Strictly show is normally just as good, if not better some years. If I’m going to be herded like cattle at a music festival, I’d much rather pay $400 less for it.

Here’s an astonishing list of just a few of the dozens of bands that performed at the free 2016 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival:

God bless them all.

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Photos: 2016 Peace in the Park Festival in Golden Gate Park

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It’s always a little foggy and chilly in the park, regardless how warm it is in the Mission District. We rode our bikes from the Lower Haight, primarily to stretch our legs, but also to see if there was anything worth seeing in the park on a Saturday. Someone gave us a flyer Friday night outside of Bi-Rite on Divis for the festival, so it seemed like fate. The festival wasn’t very crowded. Typical to most Golden Gate Park gatherings, there was a strong hippie presence and Indian food. Most entertaining was the hip hop artist who specialized in a style of music I can only describe as educational/children’s/hip hop.

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NYT Reporter Living in Asia Since 1988 Astonished by Life in Modern San Francisco

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A New York Times reporter living in Asia for 27 years recently moved to home San Francisco and published an article this weekend describing his adjustment to modern life in America. The piece, titled “What San Francisco Says About America,” is written from the perspective someone who sounds like they traveled to the future with Marty McFly.

I spend hours in supermarket aisles. Organic ice cream sandwiches! Vegan shoes! A “Bluetooth compatible” electric toothbrush!

The America of 2016 is so much more specialized than the one I left in 1988. It almost seems that we have created needs so that we can cater to them.

I stop and stare at the giant trucks in San Francisco designed for the specific purpose of shredding and hauling documents. What a luxury as a society to produce tons of confidential documents and then deploy specialized trucks to destroy them. I knew yoga was big in California and ditto for cannabis. But it was still a surprise to discover “ganja yoga.”

It makes for an interesting read, especially for someone used to taking modern American for granted.