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A portrait of Al, a cobbler…and a dude who slings old sewing machines.

A Portrait of Al from Al's Attire San FranciscoI’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.





1 thought on “A portrait of Al, a cobbler…and a dude who slings old sewing machines.

  1. Thanks for the tip on the Alameda Flea Market- I used to dig going to the Sausalito Flea Market back in the mid 80’s. Those were the days!
    Looking forward to the 5 Times Floyd.
    Love your work Jim,

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