Haunting Photos of San Francisco During Lockdown

Dark humor, street art, gritty beauty, and misery in an ugly time.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

When the “Shelter in Place” order was announced in San Francisco on March 16, 2020, which was supposed to continue for three weeks through April 7, 2020, two local businessmen, entrepreneurs, and photographers, Basul Parik and Corky Engel, set out to photograph their ghostly city from the streets as they encountered it. Three weeks turned into a year, and into thousands of photos.

Basul and Corky – both with a long history in photography, video, and book publishing – have now released a book with haunting, purposefully black-and-white photos of San Francisco during this ugly time, titled: “Flatten the Curve.”

They gave me color versions of the photos, exclusive for WOLF STREET, and here they are some of them, a wild, equally haunting ride through San Francisco during the lockdown, along with some black-and-white photos from the book.

Mission Street.


It gets serious: March 18, 2020. Local markets.


Fisherman’s Wharf without tourists.


Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, dead.


Fisherman’s Wharf, restaurants and crab shops.


Barbershop on 18th Street.


Market Street without traffic.




Homeless camp on fire.


Mission Street.



Union Street.



The Great Highway.


Castro Theater.


Hayes Street between Octavia and Laguna Streets, May 3, 2020. Painted on boards that covered a storefront.


Waller Street. Getting the heck out of Dodge?


Church Street.


Montgomery Street.


Montgomery Street.



Dolores Park.



Grant Avenue.


Bruno’s nightclub, Mission Street.


Broadway and Kearny Street.


Polk Street.


Four-bedroom house for sale, $14.2 million. Photo of ad on Polk Street between Clay and Sacramento, taken Feb 15, 2021. Originally listed at this price in October 2020. As of May 1, it’s still listed for sale, according to Zillow.


Grant Avenue, China Town, February 2021.


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  155 comments for “Haunting Photos of San Francisco During Lockdown

  1. Yancey Ward says:

    San Francisco, and California as a whole, could only stay shut down that long because at least half the country didn’t.

    • A very good point. I’d love to see all of the truckers, farmers and other “deplorable” anti-mask republicans jump on the “stay safe stay home” band wagon, sit home, watch Netflix and order DoorDash smoothies.

      • Blacks and hispanics have twice the infection rates (ie workers) Thank goodness Corporate America kept the lights on, and these people died in order to keep profits and stock prices at new highs. Thank goodness for those Smithfield workers in the midwest, who kept that pork moving back overseas to their Chinese owners. Thank goodness nobody ever asked is $15 not enough for me to risk my life. Yes I am also proud of those Americans (the deep state?) who made the richest 1% billions richer through the pandemic, and who never complained. America has 4% of the world population and 18% of the covid cases and the world’s greatest economy.

        • Petunia says:

          It helps that medicare pays extra for coviet patients. They pay a 20% premium if the patient has covid and more if the covid patient is on a ventilator.

        • bungee says:

          thank you, Petunia.

    • Zantetsu says:

      How quickly the comments turn to tribalism. Thanks for reminding me why I’ve been staying out of the comments section on WolfStreet, I forgot for a moment there. Bye.

  2. Brent says:

    Mr Richter;

    Will you please,please stop data feed from this post to Wall Street trading algos ???

    Otherwise,after those cheery pictures having been processes by the AI apps, we’ll see stocks skyrocketing >20% Monday.

  3. Yancey Ward says:

    Those empty storeshelves were what was coming countrywide around early April last year. Even here in Oak Ridge, the shelves at the grocery stores were only about 10% filled at one point right after Governor Lee issued his partial shutdown order at the end of March. The country was on the edge of the abyss at that time. I had enough food in the house to survive for several months, but only if the power stayed on. It was a great relief to see a lot of the states in the south and midwest mostly reopen at the beginning of May- shortly after that point, the food supply lines refilled.

    • Old school says:

      Watched the annual meeting of Berkshire today on yahoo finance. If you are an investor it’s well worth the time to get Buffet and Munger wisdom on past year and where we are at now.

      One thing he said and remember they own about 60 businesses is they are seeing price increases on a lot of things and right now they are able to pass the cost through to customer and customer is spending. So inflation is in the pipeline across the board.

      One thing I noticed was they made a proposal to invest to provide emergency power solution to Texas during next crisis at 9% return on capital. Buffet is not buying anything and I assume there is nothing out there that he thinks he is going to get 9% long term return on.

      Other thing interesting is although they are not largest company by market cap, they have more real plant and equipment than anyone else in country.

      • Scott says:

        Your observation about PP&E is astute … I would expect some far-reaching implications of this.

      • Apple says:

        Getting Texas electricity users to pay Buffet every month in exchange for building some extra power plants is pure genius.

        Buffet hired hired eight lobbyists (one Lt Gov Patrick’s campaign strategist) Austin for more than $300,000, so it’s pretty much a done deal.

        • Old school says:

          I think it was a good faith proposal. They said they could have it ready by a certain date in 2023 with a $4 billion dollar late fee if they couldn’t hit the date. If Texas can find something better, he said they should take it. They have the billions and experience to make it happen.

        • NBay says:

          Lobbyists are obviously dirt cheap out in the boonies. That wouldn’t even buy a good lobbyist’s phone call in DC.

          No wonder they want the Federal Government size reduced so they can “drown it in a bathtub”.

          States can be squashed like bugs by big money.

    • Mira says:

      You speak volumes for having solar panels ..
      Top 7 Solar Mistakes.
      Don’t become a lost sheep in a field of wolves.
      “people are waiting for affordable batteries before they invest in solar .. every day you don’t have solar you do have to pay electricity bills”
      For most homes the sweet spot is 6.6kW of panels .. approx. 22-24 in total with a 5kW inverter.
      You need to factor in how winter limits electricity bill saving & it is expensive & complicated to add panels later to an existing system.

  4. Bob Schulte says:

    “Love in a Time of Cholera” Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      “The Plague” A. Camus

      • paul m whalen says:

        Blindness- Saramago

        • VintageVNvet says:

          thank you pmw,,, will look for it, having read both of the other references; both, in fact, more than once…
          have to add, that Camus pretty much ”nailed” the current situation although writing a long time ago…
          and has to make anyone who is able to really and truly ”think” really and truly scared as heck these days, as the oligarchy continues to enable/encourage the destruction world wide..
          what ”they” can be thinking at this point is SO far beyond any of their past activities, back to the early 19th century in USA for example, now obvious to everyone, clearly criminal activities , to consolidate their control over WE the PEEDONs, that there is, today, literally NO his or her stories as a a rational basis going forward…
          Really appears to be a TIME when a lot of the old measures and control will change, perhaps rapidly,,,
          so BEE READY,,, and have your portfolio equally ready.

  5. Anthony A. says:

    Thanks for the photos Wolf. Those streets and businesses will be back thriving again, I am sure.

    Our grocery stores near Houston (North side, Montgomery County) never got that empty during the whole pandemic. Different breed of government here, I guess.

    • Petunia says:

      I was driving thru your area last February, right after the big freeze and power outage. I stopped at a HEB supermarket and the aisles were mostly empty. The people walking thru the store looked like they were in a state of shock. It was a shocking experience for people who have never lacked anything.

      • Anthony A. says:

        Yeah, the big freeze caused a run on groceries.

        The pandemic did too, as TP and disinfectant were not to be found and some meat/dairy products. But that only lasted a short while. There are 8 Super Walmart stores in a 15 mile radius of us. And a bunch of other big grocery stores.

        Fun times, for sure!

      • Dale says:

        A friend in her nineties, with vivid memories of the Great Depression and WWII, was horrified. She had never seen anything like the government-induced shortages.

        • Mira says:

          In Victoria, where I live, there was no reason for shortages, the Supermarkets were part of the government antic to heighten fear amongst the people .. today the subservient Supermarket chains have lost real market share which they will never regain.
          If they do not re-invent themselves .. which could mean home delivered prepared meals / take away & deliver & who knows what else .. their customer base will just keep shrinking. Supermarkets have more to them than store sales that they will not be able to maintain .. crash boom bang go their profit margins & viability in the market place.
          Corporate need to lose the knee jerk reaction of compliance every time government goes on a crazed bender.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Our Safeway here (North Beach) never got that empty either though they did run out of tissue and some other things. It’s catty-corner from a Trader Joe’s which ran out of stuff very quickly and had whole aisles that were empty, such as the pasta.

      Those stores have the same government :-]

      You need to revisit the comments people wrote at the time — reporting empty shelves in stores around the country, including Texas, depending on the store.

      • Anthony A. says:

        Yes, Wolf, it was a mixed bag of empty/partially empty shelves in stores during the pandemic. I live one mile from a Super Walmart and there are many other Walmarts nearby along with Kroger, HEB, Randall’s, etc grocers. I do the shopping (wife handicapped) and had trouble getting TP/cleaners, etc and meats/dairy. But we never were out of much for too long. I also do the cooking (LOL) around here.

        Then we had the quick run on grocery stores and plumbing supply outlets during the Big Freeze to top things off.

        My son-in-law works at the Walmart distribution center in Porter, TX and he was working crazy hours during the pandemic, but supplies to the retail outlets went on daily. It certainly was an eye opening time for everyone in the U.S.

        • Dale says:

          Same experience. Plenty of food, though not necessarily the preferred brand or price.

          And the hoarders were pretty much idiots. No isopropyl alcohol, but never ran out of Everclear (95% ethanol). No bleach, but plenty of pool chlorine (double the concentration of chlorine, significantly cheaper back then though not right now). Etc.

      • andy says:

        Wolf, I wish you had taken some SF photos on that day with dark orange sky. That was like we were on Mars. Never seen anything like that. And during the pandemic, and with all the smoke from wildfires. The only thing missing was locust.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I did. Lots of them. Video too. But the camera’s algos (smartphone and my point-and-shoot camera, which has a much better/bigger lens than my smartphone) completely wiped out the eerie powerful red and turned it grayish brown. So I decided not to post them at the time. That’s also when I decided to get a camera where I can control everything manually (like my old SLR that used film), but I still haven’t gotten it.

          Here is one of them, view of Alcatraz, from our roof, taken at about 9 am.

        • andy says:

          That’s it. You’re right. I tried taking pics with smartphone, just not the same. It looked spooky in reality. Total red planet experience. I went walking around. No cars, no people, just the twilight zone. Good times.

          I think Panasonic Lumix has good manual mode for a compact camera.

      • GolferDave says:

        At the time some people were hoarding toilet paper and others hoarding guns – depending I suppose on which item was deemed necessary for survival. I only hope that people prone to confusion don’t mistake one for the other at the time of application.

      • Cmoore says:

        In N.C. where I live we did have toilet paper shortages but had plenty of food

  6. James Allnutt says:

    Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jdog says:

      I remember riding my motorcycle to SF in about 1975. It was August and I took a ride through the City early in the morning and remember the merchants in China town out with hoses and brooms washing the sidewalks and windows, and I was impressed by how clean the city was.
      I am glad I was able to experience it then…

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Merchants (especially fish mongers, veggie stores, and similar) in China Town still wash the sidewalk (Stockton St.), but from what I have seen, they’re doing it in the evening.

        • Swamp Creature says:

          Reminds me of Tokyo Japan, where you would see women out at 9PM cleaning the sidewalks and streets.

  7. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Don’t worry, there’s signs of life in the city. A new H-Mart just opened near my place and it’s been jam packed since the beginning. There are videos on Youtube that attest to the craziness surrounding the store’s opening. Lines out the door stretching across the housing complex the supermarket is located in, parking lots full of cars just trying to find parking, etc, etc.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Sure. Those photos document the lockdown. The lockdown has been effectively over for a while. Restaurants are doing a booming business with their outside parklets. Some of the tourists are back, mostly domestic tourists though, not foreign tourists. Financial District is still dead, and it may never fully recover unless they convert a bunch of the older towers to residential, which is expensive and takes a long time, but the City is now discussing it.

      • Kaleberg says:

        I used to stay at the Park Hyatt / Parker Meridien in the business district, and starting around 6PM, even on weekdays, it looked a lot like that. Ditto that on the weekends. It’s like mid-town Manhattan once you get off the tourist streets.

        • Basul Parik says:

          It was a Tuesday at noon.

        • joe2 says:

          The one time I had business in Oakland years ago, our group went into SF after work. Looked like the streets were rolled up. Not impressed after being told how great it was.
          The van through wine country was great though.

      • Auldyin says:

        Ancient City of London, financial district for centuries, is discussing conversion of offices to 1500 residential flats.
        This is a mega permanent shift in life-time behaviour.
        Thanks for pics, I’m in a very small town, it was totally deserted but I never imagined it could be possible for a city to be deserted like that. I hope Hollywood got stocked up with sci-fi shots.

        • BuySome says:

          The Buford Tannen looking fellow sitting on the ground looks like he stole Marty McFly’s white leather Nike’s with the red swoosh. Maybe they should have considered Back To The Future part IV with an alternate alternate time line where the family genetics get all mixed up due to a slip up in creating a new vaccination. Art mirroring reality mirroring the “art” of medicine. Might get people back-to-back-to-back to the theaters! At least that street dude might get a job out of it.

  8. Saylor says:

    Even without the context of the pandemic…, great photos

  9. NARmageddon says:

    Nice photos, but did the virus (or the fear of the virus) infect the cameras used and cause a distinct “artsy dystopian color palette” to be used?

    Personally, I prefer realism for most photos, not the “better(*) than in real life” style of photography.

    (*) “better” meaning designed to look different from real life with some editorial or esthetic slant.

  10. Korkin says:

    I have been reading you for a long time. Even with the testosterone pit. And never before have I been so happy that I live in Russia.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Wait till you see the photos I took when I was in Russia :-]

    • Javert Chip says:


      Well, then stay where you are.

      It’s not like there’s a mob of people hoping to migrate to Russia.

      • andy says:

        Aren’t you friendly. How’s your 850.00 FICO score doing? Lol

      • Auldyin says:

        I put some money into Russia late last year, just to see what would happen, and lately I’ve noticed some dollars beginning to cluster round my pounds.
        All countries move on one way or another it’s just a case of how fast.

    • Eugene says:

      U will be not very happy living in Russia very soon.It is already for 95% of populace a horror movie

  11. Dan Romig says:

    My city of Minneapolis was quite a spectacle to behold in the days before the verdict in the Chauvin trial. Everything boarded up, concrete barriers encircling buildings, fencing with barbed and razor wire, and Nat. Guard personal patrolling virtually every street corner armed with machine guns.

    In retrospect, I wish I had photos to document the siege of the ghost town that I call home.

    Thank you for letting us see what Basul & Corky captured.

    P.S. There were some excellent deals on slightly used plywood on Thursday, 22 April, don’t you know.

    • Thomas Roberts says:

      If you look on YouTube. People are filming everything now. I’m sure if you want to, you can find videos of it. You can also download the videos to show future generations, the insanity.

    • Stephen C. says:

      They might want that plywood back in Minneapolis, come appeals day.

      Not trying to stoke anything, just a sober prediction.

      Sober because I haven’t pulled my Wolf mug down from the cupboard yet.

      • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

        It’s really quite simple.

        If you want people to not protest police officers murdering people, then you have to train your police not to murder people.

        Problem solved! Where I live, Sarasota Co., FL, the salaries on the county’s website are very similar for police officer and landscaper. Don’t believe me? Look it up! I was shocked.

        You see the problem: Lack of training, lack of pay, allowing the wrong people to get a badge and a gun.

        • RightNYer says:

          I don’t deny there is a serious problem in police departments in America, and I think a lot of it stems from the drug war and the resulting paramilitarization of local police departments.

  12. Thomas Roberts says:

    It’s not safe, gotta hidey in the house.

  13. MCH says:

    Flatten the curve???

    May be Decay would be a better title… the photos smacks of rundown misery and despair. It’s realistic, but I think there should be contrasting photos to go with it… Twitter HQ, the cafe at Dropbox, the exclusive neighborhoods of Pelosi and Feinstein or the fabulous penthouses at the Marriott.

    You get the idea… after all, you wouldn’t want people to think it’s all bad.

  14. MendocinoCoast says:

    Great Post : No Doubt such issues affect Financial Decisions
    Yes the Photos grab your attention : We drove through Downtown SF for 45 Mins at a crawl due to Homeless and Non Homeless.  90 % Walking with no Masks and looking Definitely Physically Sick . Marriott Hotel our destination for our Medical Visit ( Non Covid ) then this shocking Mid morning Downtown SF Street scene I am talking Some two Hundred People + 
    walking right in the street’s Traffic lanes taunting Car’s as if they hoped someone would run into them . It took 10 Mins to go 1 Block . Realizing that Taking Video with my Cell would do far more Harm than Good I declined . The Philippines, a place I spend time in, is in a horrific situation Now and has been since the onset of Covid . 
    Simple ” Paper work ” from the Health Secretary In PI. is said to be the cause of 10 Million lost Pfizer Injections arriving in PI . A claminty of errors 

    Anyone thinking .we have it bad here guess again and don’t forget India on & on
    I understand from the Net a 3rd Pfizer injection and annual injections is under discussion now

    • Petunia says:

      I watched a video of the homeless in downtown/south Philadelphia taken by some guy driving around. Junkies were shooting up drugs in plain sight everywhere. One junkie walked up to a dealer and just held his arm out and the dealer injected him right on the street. Just when you think you have seen everything, you find you haven’t.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        I saw a video which was filmed on Kensington Ave in Philadelphia. It was as bad as the one you saw if not worse. I posted the link here and it was deleted so fast you could hear your head spin. I don’t blame anybody. It was gross and inappropriate and not on topic. I will be more careful in the future.

  15. MarkinSF says:

    Great photos. Used to play on those courts in the panhandle back in the 80s. A lot of big time players used to come out to play and it was all day Saturday 5 on 5s. Both the Castro & Bruno’s have a warm place in my heart and can’t wait for the Castro to reopen. With the all-star lineup of great old films and live organ playing before every showing there isn’t another like it.
    And how long has Bruno’s been around? Its like a relic from the 40s when Italian restaurants & movie theaters lined Mission Street. Not sure that Bruno’s is anything more than a night club at this point 9it was the best Italian restaurant in SF back in the 70s imo) but another old relic from the period La Traviata (25th & Mission) is still dishing out great Italian food.
    But yeah for the most part SF is back. Here in Noe Valley things are back to normal (albeit with masks). The traffic overall is still relatively light which is really nice.
    Thanks for posting these.

  16. Paulo says:


    I grew up with stories of my folks struggles with the Great Depression. My granddaughter will remember this, forever. She has been lucky as her school has remained open. I just want to forget this year. Family deaths, (old age stuff with parents, alzheimers, no visiting hospitals etc), isolation….thank God for work and projects.

    We have been lucky on Vancouver Island. Our schools have been open except for the first few weeks. My sister in law works for a big grocery chain and some customers have been pretty aggressive and rude, but most are polite. She broke up a fight the other day and booted a jerk out forever. Lately, we had variants start to climb so our Govt put in travel restrictions across the Province. Cases down 20% the last two days so it’s working. People for the most part are respectful and doing their best. Restrictions come off May 25th, our long weekend finish day. Variants started at spring break from skiers at Whistler, and flights from India. One a-hole got off the plane awhile back, (a Brazilian), didn’t quarantine and snuck up to Whistler where he promptly started a variant surge. Gotta love those tourists who didn’t follow the rules.

    Many many people I know have dealt with depression this past year. Most of us are social and miss everyday interactions.

    Almost over. Regards

  17. Stephen C. says:

    Love the photos but would like one dated Nov. 6, the day Gov. Newsome was partying mask-less at the fancy French restaurant, just for comparison.

    • Jk says:

      That’s why Ms. Jenner is getting my vote. :)

    • bungee says:

      that told the whole covid story right there.
      another good contrast is chestnut street on a sunny weekend now; everyone out eating, drinking and laughing it up. except for the help, in their ‘protective gear’ to bring you a salad. its embarassing.
      2020 was awesome but the new normal is the same ol hypocrisy.

      • kitten lopez says:

        yes, it IS embarrassing. i saw that at Zuni cafe on market a couple of weeks back when i was riding my bicycle by– the place was boarded up, BUT with tables outside and the staff masked up while wealthy patrons sit on the sidewalks among the riff raff. it was SURREAL.


        • Wolf Richter says:

          I love eating and drinking outside on the sidewalk. And yes, in some areas (not all) the homeless people can be nearby, nicely in view. You’re no longer cloistered from them when you eat/drink in a parklet, instead of inside.

  18. MiTurn says:

    I’m not familiar with San Fran, having only driven through it on the main freeway south at 1:00 in the morning sometime in the early ’90s. But the photos of downtown with the streets empty and people walking where cars should be actually looks inviting — like an image of a ‘walking town.’

    Maybe in the future.

    Interesting post, Wolf. I’m sure you could tell stories….

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I have to admit that I really enjoyed the lack of tourists. I know it killed a lot of businesses, and that’s terrible, but we live in a (gorgeous) touristy area, and mass tourism can be very ugly. So when it suddenly disappeared and the locals came out to play, it was wonderful — and still is.

      • Whatsthepoint says:

        Agreed. London is lovely without tourists…especially being under the flightpath to Heathrow…the flat is actually clean, the birds are ecstatic and the foxes are out day and night!

    • Swamp Creature says:

      I was in San Francisco Fran twice in my life. Spent my last days there before going overseas for 3 years duty in the Western Pacific, as NAM was winding down. I loved the place so much I chose Treasure Island as my separation site. Stayed at Hunters Point Naval Air Station. Rode the BART to Oakland. It was just operational. I sure liked the weather there. I think they should move the Capitol out of Washington DC, because the weather is so awful from June to August. It’s worse than living on the equator.

  19. Jdog says:

    The say tough times reveal character.
    Sadly, what this episode has revealed is that our country and its people are severely lacking in character. Many of the shortages were contrived, to drive profit at the misery of others. Just today, there was an article about the massive quantities of lumber stacked up at shipping facilities which is being shipped in limited quantities purposely to keep prices at their maximum level.
    From the low life’s rioting and killing in the streets, to the low life’s sitting in board rooms and government offices and in the media exploiting every opportunity, we have witnessed the ethics and morality that now make up America, and it is beyond depressing..

    • Michael Gorback says:

      Don’t confuse the nut cases with the vast majority of Americans who didn’t lose their minds in the past year.

      Most folks were just deer in the headlights (being guided by policy “experts” who were also deer in the headlights.

      A small percentage of twisted people took advantage of the covid-related disruptions in order to liberate TV sets from bandage. A small percentage took advantage of the disruption in finance. Wokeism didn’t help. It was divisive when we needed unity. Most people just tried to work through it.

      Nobody’s perfect but most are decent. Decency doesn’t make news. You will never see a news teaser that says, “99% of people tried to do the right thing today. Full story at 11”.

      I saw the tin foil hat story about stacked up lumber. Maybe there’s another, more boring explanation, such as a shortage of transportation. No trucks,, no railroad cars, no people with the skills to load it – could be anything.

      You don’t load mass amounts of lumber into your F-150 like you do at Home Depot.

      You also don’t know where or when those photos were taken.

      If you were a lumber distributor whose business infrastructure went to hell last year and suddenly everyone wanted lumber you couldn’t wave a wand and bring back all your employees and find transportation providers (also probably facing similar problems) at the drop of a hat.

      Did the entire lumber industry conspire to create a shortage, along with the copper, steel, grain, corn, oil, [insert commodity here] industries or is there systemic dysfunction?

      • Wisoot says:

        To your last question, it is inconceivable to most decent people that a few broken minded individuals would conspire to create a coordinated shortage. But there it is nonetheless.
        The systemic dysfunction – that all countries in the world – while sharing the same air, sea, moon and sun – would seek to outdo each other – for metal – seems to be a case of manic meglomaniac psychosis.
        And we allowed it with our addictions to convenience, tunnel vision, and game playing.
        Solutions are in your heart.
        Ask the kids for the way.

        • Michael Gorback says:

          As pointed out in Barron’s lumber and computer chips shortages were caused by under investment. The suppliers were caught off guard by the sudden increase in demand.

          Covid caused many lumber mills to shut down, not only here but in our largest supplier, which is Canada. Even in the mills that stayed open they were still subject to the same social distancing and other measures that hurt many other businesses. In the Delmarva area there were 9 mills pre-pandemic. Now there two.

          You can’t just wave a wand and re-open a lumber mill, chip factory, or an iron mine.

          Some lumber mills see this as a blip caused by stimulus checks. They are reluctant to even hire back some of the workers they laid off. This is typical of capital-intensive/high fixed cost industries. The ebb and flow of demand even without nasty viruses often causes temporary market dislocations.

          This is from a Weyerhaeuser earnings call in December:

          “Clearly, there remains room for caution, especially as it pertains to U.S. unemployment, the outlook for additional government stimulus, and the risk of further COVID-19-related disruptions as we approach the winter months.”

          So even WY was (and likely still is) taking a cautious approach.

          If you look at the pre- and post-production supplies of WOOD, there is plenty of TIMBER but not LUMBER.

          Mills seem to be a big bottle neck, and pressure treatment availability is probably worse. Pressure treated wood is probably the hardest to obtain.

          Finally, there is no giant lumber mill consortium. Many are small privately owned businesses. Their business model is usually local and the mills are having problems with long distance shipping.

          So much for pan-commodity conspiracy theories.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Michael Gorback,

          Thank you for shooting down this nonsense. Saved me some time.

        • Jdog says:

          If you are getting your version of facts from Barrons, and you actually believe them, then you are about as gullible as you can possibly be. There is no such thing as truth from the MSM…

      • Jdog says:

        Conspiracies are a fact of life. I can easily list about a thousand undisputable conspiracies just in the past decade. They are as rampant in the corporate world as they are in politics. If you are not aware of that then you need to educate yourself. Corporate charters are by their very definition a conspiracy between government and industry to give special privilege’s and immunities to a special group and those special privileges are repaid in the form of bribes to government.
        The only reason this kind of rampant corruption can exist is because the people allow it to. The lack of morals and ethics among the people facilitates the corruption we see in everything from corporations to the Supreme Court.
        In addition, anyone who says “foil hat” is either hopelessly naïve or actively part of the propaganda machine that serves the conspirators.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Also a good description of the conspiracy between labor unions (voters) and government (politicians).
          FYI: I am currently a union (AFL/CIO) member and have been for over 50 years.

        • Jdog says:

          I have seen the corruption of unions being a member of IBEW and of corporations sitting on a board of a fortune 500 company.
          I have witnessed the conspiracies first hand, and how people tolerate the corruption so long as they are benefiting from it….
          In all my years, I only knew a handful of people who would speak the truth about it, and none who would take a stand against it.

        • Dan Romig says:

          German companies, public, cooperatives, and private limited, with more than 2,000 employees get equal representation from stockholders and employee representatives on supervisory boards. The Board’s Chairperson, who must be stockholder, has the tie-breaking vote.

          Mitbestimmungsgesetz 1976

          When my mom worked at West Publishing in St. Paul, before it was bought by Thompson Reuters in 1996, union organizers push every year for the workers to unionize. They never came close. In the 120 years it was in business, West always treated employees like family and took good care of them with work conditions, benefits and wages.

          One exception was that no woman could be a member of the Board of Directors. Of course, this was just an unwritten rule, but it was plain as day for all to see.

        • Thomas Roberts says:

          Dan Romig,

          If everything is running great, breaking that unwritten rule will bring real change, just not necessarily the kind you want.

        • Dan Romig says:


          You have a point, and things were good for West employees. Mom had been retired a few years when the company was sold, but everyone who was alive – still employed or retired – got a bonus check of $1,000 per year they’d worked for West as the payout from selling was quite large, and the philosophy of the owners was to treat employees like family as I commented.

          The father of one of the kids I played high school hockey with sat on West’s Board, but it was more than a B of D, it was an ‘Junior Partner Member of Ownership’ too. That’s where the real monies were paid out. Mom quickly rose up the executive ladder, but hit a gender-based ceiling that wasn’t limited to the Boardroom. That never sat right with me or my mom, but that’s the way it was.

          A privately owned company founded in the late 1800s, and run the same way until the day it was sold.

    • Jdog says:

      Germany’s monetary problems were not caused by it’s monetary policy. The monetary policy was a result of the reparation’s imposed after WW1.
      The cruel and inhuman reparation’s forced on Germany by the allies in the Treaty of Versailles, and specifically the looting of everything in Germany by France and England left nothing for people to buy, and created panic as people starved and froze to death. They basically stole everything including the commodities, including coal, crops, and food.
      Hyperinflation is very different than regular inflation, and is defined as inflation at the rate of 50% or more per month. It can only be caused by a drastic disruption in the supply, and the panic that goes with it.

      • Swamp Creature says:

        All true, but the industrialists and bankers there didn’t help matters by not addressing the root problem and instead papered over everything with printed money. As with everything in life you have a root cause (unfair reparations) and then the 2nd, 3rd, 4th spinoffs which leads to total chaos which involves everyone. I say we are already in the early stages where a middle class lifestyle is becoming out of reach for many Americans.

    • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

      If only there was some way to change the system for the better….

  20. tfourier says:

    What? No Blade Runner 2020 Day photos? Or even better, video. That for me will be SF in 2020. By far the weirdest day in the weirdest year in many many decades. Which is saying something for SF. Where the weird is normal.

    Well the Mission St photos could have be taken any time in the last four decades years. And a lot of the others, any time in the early 90’s. Which was the most Mad Max I remember SF. Market St is almost empty because private cars have been almost banished. Which means little traffic and the streets are a lot less safe. Traffic is good. It was starting to get creepy on lower Market after dark even before the End Days. I never remembered around Powell Station or Montgomery Station having such a Hunters Point vibe back in the bad old days. Even the Tenderloin is not that sketchy.

    As for supermarket shelves clearing. It was rather hit an miss in SF after Loma Prieta too. Safeway and Petrinis had problems for a few weeks but as I was working in Marin at the time I just shopped in Marin until things got back to normal. Commuting back to SF that evening across the Golden Gate Bridge with the City dark and the Marina on fire was certainly memorable.

  21. Brent says:

    “Deja vu all over again”
    Yogi Berra

    I saw Montgomery Street in the old,long-forgotten movie “Vertigo” (1957) with Jimmy Stewart.

    Scottie lived 1 mile away from “Ernie’s” reastaurant located at 847 Montgomery Street.

    Traffic in 2020 is exactly what it was in 1957 – almost non-existent.

    I doubt that while shooting this movie Hollywood producers cordoned off the streets and chased everybody away.

  22. Micheal Engel says:

    Bruno’s Italian restaurant NYC E 58th is gone.

  23. Lynn says:

    I particularly like this dream sucks. Seems like there are still a few creative people in S.F.

    • BuySome says:

      Proof that you don’t need hi-tech art when a rattle can will suffice. Now if they could only find some useful employment of all that damn sticky tape going to waste holding together cardboard boxes full of crap flying down every highway as fast as people can hit the “buy now” button. Maybe a display of heavenly hold-em here hammocks for the housed-less. Wines and cheese served to wealthy patrons of the art show.

  24. Rael Nidess says:

    Seeing these photos reminded me that in June ’05, at the end of a driving around the SW & NW ‘bucket trip’, I ate a wonderful meal at Allioto’s Seafood restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf before heading back home to Texas. Seeing these photos make me wonder if it survived.

  25. Yort says:

    Surprising how similar your San Francisco photos look like downtown Austin. “Keep San Francisco Weird?”…

    Looking at the latest census data, about 4-5 times more people have moved from CA to TX than from any other state to TXfrom 2014 to 2018. There really is an exodus from CA to TX, perhaps not only because of jobs, but similar climate, environment, city vibes like Austin vs San Francisco, etc.

    Yet beware of the Austin area costs if that is reason for escaping, as the census data showed that 19 of the top 50 most expensive zip codes are Austin, and another 6 are Austin surrounding cities…so 50% of the most expensive zip codes in Texas are in the greater Austin area of 2 million people. Shocked very few are in Dallas or Houston, as there is a lot of oil money across the entire state. The 78746 zip code in Austin has a typical (mean) housing cost of over $1.4 Million. Perhaps that is why Austin has a homeless crisis like many cities in CA…Austin is CA in many ways, and more so each and every day, for better or worse, who knows…

    Anywhozzz…great photos Wolf!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      My neighbors are moving to Austin in May. I used to live in Austin. They have no idea, and I didn’t tell them about what it’s like if you step outside 8 months of the year.

      • MCH says:

        Well, it gets a bit hot from late April to late September usually, but it isn’t that bad. AC is a necessity. The problem of course is that Austin traffic has gotten insane. Having lived there in the 90s, that was tolerable. When I went to visit in the early 2000s, still ok. The last time I was there in 2013, it was crazy. Going from Great Hills area onto Mopac toward UT took forever. The area along 620 had so much development it felt weird.

      • RedRaider says:


        Tsk, Tsk, Tsk

        These guilty pleasures aught to be resisted.


      • Swamp Creature says:

        One of my cousins had a kid’s birthday party here in the DC Swamp in August. I was complaining about the heat and humidity on that day. It was suffocating. They wound up moving the party inside because everyone was complaining about the heat. One of the attendees was from Houston. He said to stop complaining. The heat and humidity was far worse in Houston than here in the Swamp. In Guam where I was stationed for 2 years it never got over 85 degrees, and there was always a nice sea breeze. And that was right on the equator.

        • Anthony A. says:

          We just had 8″ of rain in the last 36 hours here on the north side of Houston. It cooled things off, but will be humid for a “while”.

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          @Anthony – yeah, like it will now be humid in Houston until September. Been there, done that. ;-)

    • Petunia says:

      Austin just banned public camping. It means the homeless, who are everywhere downtown, can no longer live on the streets and will be arrested. When I was there a couple of months ago, the police sirens were going 24/7 in the downtown area.

    • Maximus Minimus says:

      I ran to some people who moved from CA to Dallas because of the bigger, more affordable house, and that was 20 years ago.
      But I had a temporary job assignment, and couldn’t wait to get out of there.
      Unlike Dallas, Austin could have some urban architecture made for humans, but stepping out from an air-conditioned house/hotel/building into a blow torch outside is not my idea of living.

    • Lance Manly says:

      ” but similar climate”
      Not even close. Austin is crazy hot and humid in the summer months. Even Playa Coco were I am moving to isn’t nearly as hot.

      • Lance Manly says:

        Here is a neat factoid from 2019, and remember it is humid as well

        “If you take into account all of Austin’s weather records going back to the late 1890s, the city averages about 14 days of 100-degree temperatures. But since 1989, that average has nearly doubled to 27 days. Eight of the top 10 years with the most 100-degree days were in the 21st century. Although the drought-stricken year of 2011 set a record with 90 days of triple-digit temperatures, Austin tallied 52 such days just last year and 42 days in 2017.”

        • Jdog says:

          Looking at weather over a 100 year period is useless information.
          Climate is something that has cycles on the scale of 100K years…

        • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

          Did you get triggered Jdog?

          What’s your credentials to be an expert on climate?!?! :)

  26. rick m says:

    Hope they can stay and see better times and revitalization. San Francisco has historical style like almost nowhere else. I live 75 miles from New Orleans, also uniquely stylish, teetering, politically challenged, I like SF’s future outlook more. Empty buildings redolent of past crowds creep me out, fill them up soon i hope

  27. Micheal Engel says:

    1) SF supermarket shelves are empty, but Target is full of people.
    2) TGT weekly : Jan 11 2021 high is a buying climax (BC). Mar 8 is an inside bar. The risk of a sudden correction in mid May is growing.
    4) Most people want to be vaccinated, but there is low demand for outpatient procedures and $3K MRI’s.
    5) UNH weekly : Nov 9 hi is BC. Mar 29 & Apr 5 are two inside
    babies. The risk of an unexpected correction is high.

  28. Micheal Engel says:

    2) TGT : Mar 8 and Mar 29 are inside bars

  29. Ned says:

    Your safeway, built on the site of the Simmons Mattress factory, originally opened as a 24 Hour Mayfair Market in 1967, part of a California chain, then it became a Co-op store, kind of a hippie bulk buying utopia place in the 1970s, later Safeway took it over when they abandoned their store at the NE corner of Chestnut and Columbus starting in the 1980s. The Northpoint Center was built by Warren Simmons, a Pam Am pilot, the scion of the Simmons Mattress Company fortune.

    Please note, Fisherman’s Wharf starts at Taylor Street and extends to Aquatic Park. Pier 39 was built from scratch in the late 1970s and has nothing to do with fishing, the Wharf, or San Francisco. It’s a gutter tourism magnet for yokels who don’t know any better and who get raped with the overpriced parking and warehouse food served there.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      Hey, I swim in the Bay, between the Municipal Pier (Van Ness) and the end of the breakwater near the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. So this is still part of Fisherman’s Wharf, per your outline. And our swim and rowing clubs are there too. This activity is mostly for locals — and quite a few people are doing it.

      But yes, Fisherman’s Wharf, including Pier 39, along with the hotels and restaurants is how the City extracts money from tourists, lots of money. So don’t complain :-]

      The collapse in revenues from the tourist business is a huge problem for San Francisco’s budget.

  30. DR DOOM says:

    When I was about 9 years old my grandfather took me to the family grave site at our Methodist church. He took me to the graves of his brother and sister that had died from diphtheria in 1898. The sparsely populated southern Appalachian community brought food in a lard bucket and left it on a chestnut stump in front of the house. He had diphtheria but recovered. He had small pox and recovered. He survived Typhus. He survived scarlet fever. His tonsils became infected and was blocking his throat. His father ruptured them with a spoon and treated him with a red oak and willow bark extraction that his Cherokee grandmother used. He survived the Spainish Flu and WW1. When I asked him about the “good old days” he got sort of angry . He said there was no good old days.,We got every vaccination the county health department gave. The point is we got a damn lot to be thankful for living in our present day and not in the past. We are a fortunate country. C19 ain’t shit compared to what we have endured and what we have learned and what our collective capabilities are.

    • MarMar says:

      Well said, dear doctor.

    • Micheal Engel says:

      The cv-19 vaccine might be more effective than antibiotic, fighting tonsils infection and adenoidis, to protect the lymph system.
      Healthy diet and good hygiene provide the body with important ammunition to fight hostile bacteria and viruses.

    • Swamp Creature says:

      My grandfather got the Spanish Flu at age 30, and went into the hospital in Brooklyn NY. He was there 3 weeks and died in 1919. There were 6 or seven kids left without a father and left practically destitute including my own dad. People today don’t know what suffering is. They don’t know history, period, and don’t want to know or even care.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Swamp-a sincere and objective study of history can leave one with an uncomfortable itch between the shoulder blades and a slight reverberation of a tolling bell in the ear…

        may we all find a better day.

  31. Patrick T Flanagan says:

    Great pictures, thanks. We had much the same in Sydney, Australia, during lock down. Met a panicking stressed woman in a supermarket one day staring at empty shelves where toilet rolls used to be. I told her there were many in the next aisle. She didn’t believe me. I brought her around to where the soft kitchen paper towels were and told her they would work just as well. (In fact they are manufactured just the sam but a littlethicker). No. No. No, she said indignantly. She quickly walked away. People found it very hard to adapt and find alternative solutions. Tragic.

    • kitten lopez says:

      1) she’s a female and we use more toilet paper than men and
      1a) she didn’t want to plug up her toilet and have it overflow like i did the other day when i got lazy and flushed just a few paper towels from cleaning.


  32. IanCad says:

    Back in the years of plenty. Anchored sailboat in Aquatic Park, left dinghy at wharf, walked where we wanted, relatively affordable restaurants; no worries – early nineties.
    A great city; history shows they rise and fall. The taller they are the harder will be the collapse.

    • Old school says:

      Buffet and Munger told how it really works regarding states with high taxes and high pension obligations. Once a state becomes uncompetitive and starts losing productive people business stop making capital investments in the state because they don’t have the easy mobility that people do. If you move there you are signing up for paying the state pension obligation.

      Also Buffet basically said the government is a special class of stock holder that gets an unknowable amount of future earnings depending on tax rates.

  33. BaritoneWoman says:

    Oh, wow, we have a conspiracy theorist in our midst.

    • Motorcycle Guy says:

      “Conspiracy Theory”
      Is that what Truth is called these days. I can’t keep up with all the changing definitions. It’s like trying to learn a new language.

  34. jrmcdowell says:

    I liked the photo with the girl on the swing. Now that’s boarding up with artistic flair and panache.

  35. Micheal Engel says:

    Haunting photos of the kneeling EPL invaded buy the fans.
    Old Trafford stadium and the locker room have been taken over by the mob.

  36. Drater says:

    I always enjoy travel photos to see how others live in 3rd world countries.

  37. historicus says:

    Is that Pelosi’s district?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Some of it is. Pelosi’s district goes from Pacific Heights to about Columbus street, and then south some.

      • tfourier says:

        Well the 12’th Congressional District is the whole City minus the south west bit thats in the 14’th.

        Now Pelosi’s house is on one of those streets that is where Pacific Heights merges into Cow Hollow. For me what defines the area is where the local center of gravity is. Its Fillmore / California for Pacific Heights. Its Sacramento St for Presidio Heights and Union St for Cow Hollow. And Union St is where that part of Broadway gravitates towards. Mainly due to just how steep the hill is. Try walking those two blocks up to Alta Plaza Park. Its a ski slope.

  38. Rosebud says:

    Those pics are 49% employee and machine room areas of the Giant cruise ship that never weighs anchor.

  39. Maximus Minimus says:

    For a refreshing view, I like to watch Hitchcock’s movie Vertigo. San Francisco in it’s heyday.

  40. kitten lopez says:

    Corky Engel & Bašul Parîk’s photos are the Zapruder film for what just happened to San Francisco.

    they’re bad ass because it’s one thing to sit in a car and drive down Kensington ave in Philadelphia documenting how bad its gotten, or get out of your car and turn the video on a corner– but it’s a whole OTHER thing to WALK ON THE GROUND WITH FEET TAKING PHOTOS OF SITUATIONS PEOPLE DON’T WANT PHOTOGRAPHED.

    i wouldn’t do it even on my bicycle. it’s also one thing to spray a video camera and just catch things; it’s another to frame think catch. but also it’s heartbreaking to focus and photo and capture and show your home at its worst. i wanted to keep my neighborhood a secret and rather just TELL you and let your imagine work and fade unlike photos.

    that’s why Corky and Bašul did this– so it wouldn’t fade from memory.

    this is ART, y’all. / yes, Narmageddon… color or not to color or how we even frame what we even catch is all… well, that’s how we artists became propagandists instead of defiant critics.

    BUT what you don’t know and what’s even more beautiful about the story underneath this story is that Corky did them in black and white for a whole lotta reasons and it was Wolf who insisted on color– and it inspired even MORE strength power and beauty in these angry broken-hearted hopeful shots.

    there is magic happening HERE in plain sight. / Wolf himself is now part of a whole new thing going here in his own home town regarding art, thinking, DOING.

    have a beautiful day, you all! Today’s turning into a Fluffy Sunday of Love!


  41. Rosebud says:

    San Francisco brain trust may wish to consider who will rent the Cruise ship passenger cabins once the current occupants vacate.

    Perhaps call a meeting. Draw up polarity charts, for instance. And recall the technique used by traders to move from one investment class to another, like a cycle.

    Perhaps use words like Past and and Future.

    Under Past write Denatured Nerd
    Under Future write Natural Widget

    be creative.

    Finish up but Noon and join us on the Poop deck for shuffleboard.

  42. I wouldn’t call these scenes of SF dystopian. Without the parasites and the panhandlers and the poets, what have you got? The people is what always made the city different than say Manhattan. Read Brautigan to see how the city was maybe fifty years ago, Trout Fishing in America.

    • BuySome says:

      The man who made you appreciate old bowling trophies.I was stunned to find he went to high school in Eugene. Yearbook photos in that era made Pat Boone look like a hippie. But even the kids at the Print Mint appeared half-square still in the early days…saw ’em in a poster I once had from a photo by an Examiner guy, IIRC.

  43. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    All that is needed now for San Fran to become a hip bohemian but gritty magnet for artists and performers is really cheap rents like the East Village in NYC in the early 80’s. Imagine the 2025 reboot of the movie (and musical) Rent, except the protagonists live in old “tech” high rises instead of dilapidated brick lofts.

  44. Petunia says:

    The intention was evil, but the accelerator was incompetence and cowardliness.

  45. Micheal Engel says:

    1) SF look liked a morgue. The last state of the union was a morgue.
    2) Most people die from cytokine storm in response to the virus and not from the virus itself.
    3) When people fast (food + water) for over 24H, the body start to prepare itself to prolong starvation. The body enter a state of emergency, cannibalize itself, exposing and peeling toxic layers. Toxic out ==> people get healthier by cleansing themselves from accumulated toxic junk.
    4) People who fast over 24 hours must be supervised. After two three days the body suffer dangerous inflammation. The body attack the lungs, the kidneys, the heart… the body destroy itself, can kill itself.
    5) NYC car traffic is rising, but foot traffic is still 11% – 12%. Man U should go back to zero.
    6) Monoclonal antibody (mAb) precision treatment can save life from
    the virus and the cytokine storm.
    7) CNN is a cytokine storm

  46. Seneca’s Cliff says:

    Wolf, how is Japantown these days? Back in the 80’s and 90’s I used to take my wife there once a year for a long weekend vacation when she got homesick for a bit of Japanese culture from her childhood in Hawaii. We would stay at the hotel Miyako and browse the mall snacking on Japanese food. I think one of her distance relatives was the architect of the Peace Plaza there.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      In Japan Town, the Japan Center is now the main thing that is Japanese. The Nijiya Market is still there, other stores too. Now some Korean and Chinese. Plus, an AMC multiplex. I’ve eaten at a couple of Japanese restaurants near there. I think most of them are gone now because their owners got old and retired, and the young ones didn’t want to do it.

      There are lots of non-Japanese restaurants (though some incorporate Japanese elements) within a few blocks, especially near and along Fillmore.

      But there are a few crucial Japanese things still left: my wife got her hair cut at a place in the Japan Center yesterday… she likes getting her hair cut by Japanese hairstylists.

  47. rick m says:

    Oakland was cheap with hip areas in the early 90’s. Austin was cheap in 80 compared to Dallas or Houston, comparable to San Antonio. 3M, TI, Motorola, Tracor Aerospace, later Dell, all built big outside city limits of Austin, Texas laws concerning municipal land-grabbing makes annexation quick and easy. Doubt those companies saw this coming. SF has everything it needs to clean up and pull in people and their money. Hope they do, it was an attractive city not so many years ago, haven’t been back in a while. Yes, Texas is hot. So’s Biloxi, lots of places, it’s seasonal . Better than cold, me at least. And an evening at Floores Country Store in Helotes listening to Robert Earl Keen jr never felt right without sweat. The Hot Klub on Maple in Dallas too, in the day. Gruene Hall. When it’s cold in Texas, it cuts right through you. Hope the transplants from SF survive, and the Texas Germans of the Hill Country will feed them up on good barbecue, man cannot live on fish tacos alone.

  48. Crush the Peasants! says:

    The SARS-CoV-2 bomb: destroys small businesses but keeps the healthy standing.

  49. Mira says:

    The pic’s are interesting, colourful, almost romantic nostalgia .. very creative of you Mr. Richter.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I didn’t shoot those photos. Basul Parik and Corky Engel did. I just posted them :-]

      • BuySome says:

        At this point, as a member of the colorful name club [think birth certificate of Chicago’s most infamous Italian celebrity], I feel it is my duty to remind parents of Mr. Cash’s warning….Name your kids Bill or George, anything but Sue. Short and sweet so you can preceed it with “Big” and open a chain of gas stations, coffee shops, bowling alleys or whatever. Unless, of course, you want them to become well known in either San Francisco or Folsom! Mel ain’t bad, but it was already taken.

  50. Lance Manly says:

    Do expect anyone to understand what the heck that was supposed to mean?

  51. shandy says:

    Dude you aren’t close to the horrible pictures.
    Your not even near.

    • VintageVNvet says:

      OK “Shandy,”
      Then please send/post the ”horrible pictures” for us.
      As a now old guy who would ”walk” SF from the east bus terminal to the ocean as often as possible, almost every Sunday,,, and many other times of the day and week,,, I really love to see any and all of the reality of SF these days, no matter how gritty,,, or otherwise.

  52. shandy says:

    I know I keep telling myself you are the smartest poster on the blog!

  53. Nerovian says:

    Compared to the apocalyptic pictures of cremation pyres burning at night by people in hazmat suits in India, I would say your pandemic pictures of SF looks timid.

    • kitten lopez says:

      compared to your comment an unanesthetized colonoscopy looks like an act of love and kindness.

      maybe next you could go to India and ululate over there, urinate on the pyres, and make children and old ladies break into tears.

      you know. spread the love like you are.

  54. Fat Chewer. says:

    I remember how I made a comment early in the pandemic how my city was still working through the shutdowns and important it was to keep Melbourne running due to the many important industries based here. It seems like the very next day, but it was possibly some time later, when Melbourne became the most locked down city in the world (after Wuhan of course).

    About a year ago now, I remember sitting in my loungeroom and realising how quiet it was. My street was usually a freeway at peak times pre covid. It was apocalyptic. It was the eeriest thing I have ever experienced. A lot of that traffic hasn’t come back. I noticed a massive increase in learner drivers on the road and I believe that most commuters now either drive or work from home so they don’t have to take public transport.

    It was fascinating watching our state become almost completely self sufficient. I remember hearing talkbalk radio, which is usually full of trash, becoming a conduit for passing survival tips in a lockdown. Big stuff, not silly stuff like “buy all the toilet paper you can lay your hands on”, but serious things like how can we feed hundreds of thousands of isolated elderly people contact free and other important stuff like that. The pandemic lockdown brought out the best in us and made me proud to be a human.

  55. CreditGB says:

    Good grief! This is a coffee table book. I was wondering what if any comments might be made….apparently everything except about a book of photos showing a pandemic abandoned city scape. SF isn’t the only one.

  56. kitten lopez says:

    Wolf, I’m hoping this can be AFTER HOURS KITTEN because i’ve thought long and hard about this and if this is the place or the right thing to say this. / If it is not, please delete this and forgive me:

    i really want to thank those of you who left good juju and best wishes here, and didn’t troll or just gush, but left really insightful and compassionate compliments as some of us artists and doers (thank you, Wolf) are trying to bring life and new stories back to this dear city that we love and needs our attentive love care and derring do.

    i’ve been hating people online because for some reason i have no clue about, this medium is only ever a cauldron of teeth-rottening insincerity, OR a seething bottomless pit of All Human Agonies that makes Hieronymus Bosch paintings seem like Holly Hobby paintings nowadays.

    we’re all here because this place of Wolf’s has been an almost accidental crack in the screen that enables us to see the machinations behind this particular American Economics voodoo, and decide what we’re gonna do how we’re gonna react or invest money time blood.. the rest of your LIFE.

    so thank you for not taking the easy way out and trying to crush the baby shoots of whatever’s trying to grow here in the midst of our blood gushing out into the gutter and soaking into the mattress we’re currently under.

    the internet’s impersonality makes it a Herculean effort for ME to show earnestness love or that i even CARE because it comes off like a… Holly Hobby sentiment. Corky calls it “tinsel.” you men hate it that i now absolutely insist on enunciating everything quiet secret or implied and insinuated that was once “nudge nudge say no more say no more.”

    i ended up spending almost all of my life apparently supporting Marxism, bone-chilling “Unity,” along with other things that ran off the rails like Pro-Choice and control of our own bodies into vaccinated expectations and rampant casual abortion as a form of shallow glossy feminine magazine solidarity, so now i’ve only got so much time to make sure i get these next moves of mine have a little more accurate aim this round. / we’re gonna be hella CLEAR from now on.

    Anyhow, back to the image of us collectively bleeding out in a gutter under a mattress with mysterious ill-fitting pants around our own collective quivering twitching ankles:

    just as Mr McNellis suggested that somehow it’ll all turn out in the end because Jesus loves you no matter who else’s pants turn out to be around your tiny ankles under this mattress in the gutter, it WILL turn out alright—

    –and well before the inevitable Jesus Loves You part, with our own nudging and imagining—yeah! remember what us artists are for NOW?

    well, apparently even most of us artists have completely forgotten what we are for now as we’re whores for the endless rounds of gofund me campaigns that’re becoming habitual traps.

    the only art i am interested now in isn’t propaganda for any governmental state or entertaining distraction bolted to the ground, but art that flips the bird to being eternally invited IN, walks out of the gallery and passionately woos the hearts and minds of the scrappers and fighters left who aren’t imprisoned, strung out on anti-depressants, homicidal, or suicidal. the ones who eschew thumbs ups ANYWHERE; the ones who still manage to wince heartily at even tiny scoches of popularity; and reject anonymous, impassive “likes” with the vigor of 2nd graders wiping snot on other people’s legs.

    I’m so proud to see others really GET these photos and have an inkling of something else ANYTHING else happening that might could be BEAUTIFUL after all this… ugliness and more ugliness pain agony and despair to come.

    Corky and Basul showed the transcendent beauty that can come of this collective carnage despair ugliness… SUICIDE.

    i’m glad that i have not and will not ever commit suicide. Alex Osborne asked me at the gym once, “What’re you staying alive FOR?”

    Apparently i was staying alive for all THIS. / some people say they’re glad so and so died earlier and “missed” all this. i twist my face up with a new confusion i haven’t yet mastered hiding yet, but don’t know if i EVER will because i wouldn’t miss any of this for the WORLD.

    thank you people here who’re also trying to usher in new baby worlds with audacious awe and protectiveness.

    i love my men here. James, Corky and Basul, and yes, Wolf. four white guys i’d cuddle all at the same time to keep them safe from trollery. and you wanna know something? this is the part i really came back to write After Hours Kitten about:

    White Guys are the New Outsiders/New Underground because they’re the only ones left who GET to be true individuals now and not sign cards adhering to any party lines, other than trying to survive and be decent.

    Not committing suicide forced me to stick around long enough to realize that’s EVERYTHING to me because i actually buy into this happiness and free speech and leave-me-alone stuff.

    thank you eternally to those here who fluff up our fire. next Wolfmeet please be sure and say hello. / anyone else walk on by.

    it’s a New San Francisco from here on out. may we inspire you as well to not commit suicide and LIVE.

    and specifically: good luck out there, Bob.



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