I've been at large in San Francisco - helped by the fact that the technical work on Xerxes has been much smoother and simpler than expected. Paul Pyant, the Lighting Designer, has been here too - and we've been trying out a different restaurant each night. Carissa is from San Francisco, so there have been some insider tips. Last night we were at a wonderful place called Foreign Cinema, which does indeed screen European films in its courtyard, in case you don't fancy chatting over the delicious food. This city is the food capital of the US, with a restaurant for every 28 inhabitants.
We got through our cue-to-cue by lunchtime today, so I was able to spend some time exploring. I went up to the San Francisco Art Institute, which is an art school but also happens to contain an original Diego Rivera mural - the first one I've ever seen in situ. It is totally incredible. As expected. The bonus was an exhibition of contemporary work, called East Meets West. Most of this is rather ordinary, but there is one stunning piece of work by an artist called Amie Siegel - called Black Moon. It's partly an hommage to Louis Malle, but it's also a fascinating use of film in the gallery setting, projected in such a way that you feel very much involved in the post-apocalyptic narrative, alone in a dark room with a screen that covers an entire wall.
On to the legendary City Lights bookstore - where I am able to buy a signed copy of Winona LaDuke's book All Our Relations, plus some other indigenous materials from the vast stock on display - and (of course) a copy of Howl. Well, you can't leave San Francisco without a copy of Howl, can you?