Joseph Fiedler
March 2007
SFMoMA and Beyond

Bayside Artbeat Berkeley has had a busy weekend. We had a chance to catch two mini-blockbusters at SFMOMA: Picasso and American Art and the Brice Marden retrospective. The Picasso show highlights [in didactic fashion] the impact of Cubism on American art and the facilitation and eventual succession of art world hegemony from Paris to New York.  If you can’t expound on this extemporaneously this show will certainly help. Lots of cool stuff and it’s always nice to see original Pablos. Through May 28.

I was anticipating the Marden retrospective since I first heard about it.  I don’t really know why.  After seeing room after room of enlarged Pantone chips I can see why Postmodernists rebelled against Formalism [not that I didn’t already know]. After seeing the show, I don’t care.  HINT: Interior decorators will have a field day!
Through May 11.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street (between Mission and Howard Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103

Also in town, LA crazy guy Gary Baseman is at Modernism with his show I Melt in Your Presence. Baseman presents a nice series of sexy, juicy, polyspecies goings on in a collection of both large format works and intimate images printed onto vintage foreign language book pages.  Also includes some paintings on vintage pinup photos. Through May 5.

Modernism Gallery
685 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

After catching a salad and some beers at John’s Grill [home of The Maltese Falcon] we jumped over to catch more beers and Corrallejos tequila at the Boom Boom Room before the Lila Downs concert at the legendary Fillmore West auditorium.  As a huge Lila nut, I snagged a dance floor spot literally 10 feet from her.  Part of the show included an 8-piece Mariachi group from San Jose. Tears all the way.  Awesome.  If you don’t know La Cucaracha check her out at Lila Downs.
! Aye que Bueno!
SILA West 45

SILA West 45

For those of you cats in the LA Area!

The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles presents it’s
45th Annual Exhibition West at Billy Shire Fine Arts Gallery, March 31-April 7, 2007.  Opening Reception: Saturday, March 31, 6-10 pm.  Billy Shire Fine Arts Gallery, 5790 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 [between La Cienega and Fairfax]


I have four paintings in the show.  Hope to see you there Baby!
Ghost Hunters from the San Francisco Chronicle
Beer & Pencils 3

Belly up to the third installment of Beer & Pencils. Beer & Pencils is a post designed for curious, imbibing illustrators with discerning palettes. This week’s much awaited post focuses on the “micro brew” phenomena.
When it first hit I was living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania my western Appalachian hill town home. An archeologist acquaintance brought some Anderson Brewing Boont Amber back from a trip to California.  Amenable to the trend for “natural”, back to the “roots” stuff, I flipped, and justifiably too.  Anderson leads the pack in brewing competitions.  BUT, I was used to a shit hole dive-bar called Chiodo’s located under the outdoor-board across the Monongahela River, under the Homestead High-Level Bridge that, although a workingman’s “sports” bar [the Stanley Cup is housed there when Pittsburgh wins], was run by a beer maniac who stocked over 400 beers from around the world. There, I drank Scottish ale so artisianal that it’s bottles were hand numbered with ballpoint pen! The ambrosial quaffs were served [in Summer] outside on picnic benches under grape arbors! But, as an avid drinker eager to “drink myself around the world” I embraced all comers, including the newbies. Over the years though, the more Brew Pubs I sampled [take my word for it, I’ve sampled a lot], the more I became disillusioned with the overly hopped, often “-green” libations served therein; cloyingly sweet, syrupy, grassy and citrus, much like Australian and Californian Chardonnays. Gradually I’ve returned to favoring more balanced beer from traditional sources.  In addition, being from Pennsylvania and an avid “ignorant oil” aficionado, I was well acquainted with the 2 oldest, smallest breweries in America, Yuengling’s and Straub’s.  Pennsylvania’s strong Germanic heritage fostered many fine, craftsman-like artisianal brewing facilities, which produced excellent beers [Jones, Rolling Rock, Gibbon’s, Stoudt’s]. These companies were the real microbreweries. Now, many of these formerly “regional” beers are available over a wider geographic distribution and alas, some are gone.

So, here are some originals that I think are notable, as well as some Johnnie Come Latelys.

Yuengling’s Yuengling’s [Pottsville, PA] is the smallest, oldest brewing operation in America.  At the time that I discovered it, it wasn’t even available in Western Pennsylvania [350 miles away]! I drove all the way to Coudersport to pick up a case of the celebrated Lord Chesterfield Ale.  The Premium Pilsner was a crisp delight and the Porter top rate.  Now, most common is the Amber sold as Traditional. Manna Baby!

Straub’s Straub’s of Saint Mary’s, PA is the second oldest, smallest brewery in America.  Their brew is the original lite beer.  The Straub motto was “We’d rather be fishing!”.  They did only 80M barrels a year.  Straub’s has a distinctive, dry taste that not everyone likes [similar to Rolling Rock].  Also, like Stoney’s [ Jones Brewing Co.], Straub’s does not use sugars. They originally had a very minimalist label but like lots of other great Americana, it’s been gussied up to suit “modern” tastes. The tap’s always open in Saint Mary’s.

Anchor Brewing On September 24, 1965, a young Stanford student Fritz Maytag [heir of Maytag washing machine fame] bought 51% of the old Anchor Brewing [San Francisco] operation—for a few thousand dollars—rescuing Anchor from imminent bankruptcy. It would take Fritz the next ten years to turn the ailing Brewery and its Steam Beer around. But around he did turn it!  Anchor is the first of many small batch breweries to “revert” to the old beer folkways and manufacture “real” handcrafted beer.  Their products are bankable choices. Anchor Steam, Liberty Ale and their flagship Porter are superb draught pulls.  But in my opinion, their seasonal Christmas beer is without parallel [includes nutmeg and coriander].  If you want to insure that Santa comes, sit out a frosty Anchor instead of those damn cookies!

Gordon Biersch Together Dan Gordon and Dean Biersch opened the first Gordon Biersch brewery restaurant in Palo Alto in 1988. Gordon Biersch serves authentic German style lagers made on the premises. Gordon Biersch Golden Export, Pilsner, Märzen, Weizen and Blonde Bock beer are also available in a wide variety of bars and restaurants throughout California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona and in bottles at local stores in these same areas. GB is a pretty dependable, tasty brew if you can get it.
Beer Board at Magnolia

Honorable Mentions

Magnolia Brewing San Francisco, CA Hey, it’s in Haight Ashbury for Christ’s sake!  There’s a portrait of Jerry Garcia in the wall mural, so I guess the name comes from the Dead tune Sugar Magnolia, huh? The beer’s only available in the pub and down the street at Alambic.  They have a selection of Cask Conditioned Ales that they draw with a beer machine [pump action rather than c02] too.  Overall, the beers are on the hoppier side [that is, a little too hoppy for me].  Try the Porter with the herbed French fries.

The Wynkoop Brewing Company  Denver, CO The Wynkoop Brewing Company, Colorado's oldest brew pub, was founded in 1988. It is housed in the glorious J. S. Brown Mercantile Building. When Edward W. Wynkoop came here in 1858, this was Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory. The governor of the territory, James Denver, named Wynkoop to be its first sheriff. A nice payback came when the city was organized here and Wynkoop proposed that it be named for the Kansas governor. Wynkoop’s is only available at the bar.  Compared to most, Wynkoop ups the ante a bit.  Their Red Chile Beer is worth the drive, although I’m sure it’s not for the average connoisseur. Me, I’m a Chile nut [see sidebar]!

Brownstone Brewhouse Idaho Falls, IA If you happen to be stopping by Idaho Falls, check out the Brownstone [right next to the falls].  Their selection is better than average with nice dry finishes, not too over hopped or cloying sweetness.  Good pizza too!

Shiner  Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, Texas.  Spoetzl is the oldest brewery in Texas.  This is a quite serviceable beer, well adapted to “cutting dust”.


Little King’s Cream Ale

Rule of thumb: It doesn’t matter if you like it, just drink it, OK!

Mark Miller’s Red Chile Sauce [modified]

As mentioned, I’m a major Capsicum addict. I lived for 7+ years in New Mexico, home of the Big Jim Chile Pepper [Hatch, NM]. Nearly every culture in the world uses chile [that’s chile NOT chilli] peppers in some form or another [Don’t forget, they originated in America- just like Elvis, Bourbon and Jazz!]. Recent studies [Linda Perry of the University of Calgary] suggest Ecuador as long ago as 4,000 BC! Perry’s research suggests that chile peppers [actually a fruit] were the first condiment. There are an astounding number of these vegetables available, both fresh and dried, in an equally astounding array of degrees of hotness, and a nearly infinite number of flavor nuances and subtleties. Author and celebrity chef Mark Miller (the father of modern Southwestern cuisine) presents over 90 of the most popular varieties of fresh and dried chiles in his guide, The Great Chile Book.

This is a modified version of Miller’s New Mexican sauce, a deep sauce given extra dimensions by the combination of different types of red chiles it contains. For good results, it is important that you use good quality chiles. Makes About 4 Cups

4 ounces whole dried New Mexico red chiles
2 ounces whole dried ancho chiles
2 ounces whole dried cascabel chiles
2 whole dried chipotle chiles or chipotles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
2 quarts water
1 pound Roma tomatoes [I skip the tomatoes]
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 large cloves garlic, roasted, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons roasted ground Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Remove stems and seeds from the chiles Dry roast the chiles in a 250°F oven for 3 to four minutes. Add the roasted chiles to water that has been heated to just below boiling. Allow them to sit for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain, reserving the liquid.

Puree the roasted, rehydrated chiles with Blacken the tomatoes in a skillet or under a broiler (about 5 minutes). Sauté the onion in the oil over low heat until browned.

Put chiles in a blender and add blackened tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt. Add 1 cup of the reserved Chile soaking water (taste the Chile soaking water before adding it, if it is not bitter, use it, if it is bitter, use plain water instead). Puree to a smooth paste, adding more Chile water.

Add oil to a high-sided pan, and heat until almost smoking. Refry sauce at a sizzle for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Do not allow sauce to get too thick; add water if necessary. Sauce can be kept for up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Cleans you out too!


Warning! Excessive consumption of Alcoholic beverages can cause serious debility.  If you experience a loss of appetite, income, weight or relationships discontinue usage almost immediately.

Overhung 3, Well Hung

Boontling Gallery presented the 3rd installment of the Overhung Trilogy, a jam-packed, non-juried, all accepted show of artwork displayed from floor to ceiling on Friday night, March 2nd in mellow Oakland, California.  This is a major “salon” style exhibit in a space so small you won’t believe it!
Boontling is a fresh new space dedicated to supporting up and coming and established artists, inspiring viewers, and creating a stronger artistic and cultural community in Oakland, California.

Boontling's entrance
Nice looking crowd!
One of Scary's paintings. You can see how dense the hanging is!
Squirrel Master L
Overhung 3, Well Hung
March 2 - April 1, 2007

Saturdays and Sundays, noon - 5pm

Boontling is located at 4224 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

(707) 980-1060 or (510) 295-8881

Photos by Squirrel Master L reporting for BAYSIDE ARTBEAT BERKELEY

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