I’ve got an obsession with Everything Old. And All Things Made By Hand. And an appreciation for others who have my weird hang-up. Whether it’s amateur snap shots, or obsolete machinery, or a cobbler’s tiny workspace, I’m all about it.
So I was wandering around San Francisco on a recent venture and stumbled into Al’s Attire. It’s kitty-corner from Cafe Trieste, one of my SF go-to’s. Which is right down the street from City Lights and The Condor (which is where Carol Doda worked), and a biker bar (its name I can never remember).
(If you’ve got a minute, follow the Carol Doda link and check out every single one of the 51-pic set the SF Gate published for her obit.)
Al’s is amazing. Al is amazing! I try to carry my camera around all the time, and Al was nice enough to let me make a picture or two. His shoemaker (another name I can’t remember grrr.) let me make one, too. Pick some cloth off the sample, get measured, and let Al go to work. Same with the shoes; pick soles, material, style, and don’t forget the custom “Al’s Attire Custom” label with your name.
I need a wardrobe re-do.
The Alameda flea market is another go-to. It’s one of the greats. It’s a first-Sunday flea, and I’ve never been disappointed. I made a portrait of Dave there. He cleans up old sewing machines, gets them working again, then sets up shop at Alameda. His booth was right next to a Snap Shot Guy who had a picture of a woman reading Tarot in a field in 1917. Under the picture someone wrote “Gypsy telling the future” with impeccable penmanship, beautiful cursive.