A Mural Tour in the Mission

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I love murals. As with all art, however, I don’t understand the history or technique of what I’m gaping at, so I was excited when my friend invited me to check out the Precita Eyes Muralists tour with her. Precita Eyes is an association of artists who work with the San Francisco Mission community to create and preserve mural artwork on the area’s many decorated businesses and personal residences. They sponsor proposals to bring about new murals, teach child and youth art classes, and take the lead in restoring many of the murals that have been in the area for the nearly 40 years of the organization’s existence.

Tours are held every weekend for $20 per adult—check the website for the full range of prices and tour types. We took the classic tour.

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It begins at the Precita Arts Center at 2981 24th Street with an informative—and appreciatively short—slideshow of the history of muralists and the murals done by notable artists within San Francisco. Our first in-the-flesh mural was seen as we exited the makeshift theater and entered the gift shop.

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Why yes, that is a ballerina skeleton! I thought it was beautifully colorful and fun, and the artist is none other than Patricia Rose, who is likely to be your tour guide as well as she is the director of the tours program.

Patricia Rose, showing off electrical-box art.

Patricia Rose, showing off electrical-box art.

Make sure you take the time to explore the gift shop. It has several early sketches for large-scale murals on the walls in addition to a lot of really interesting souvenir items. More interesting than another magnet of Alcatraz Island, I promise you.

From the Precita Eyes center, we stopped at the Harrison and 24th St. intersection to check out the restoration work of their young muralists.

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Working with a pre-existing piece, the artists expanded on the theme of Aztec legends to create a vivid mural for the community to enjoy. Right across the street is another example of how talented young artists can be.

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That mural decorates the bottom floor of the Missions Girls center, and the Mission Girls were responsible for its creation. It’s a wonderful example of paint mimicking graffiti artwork.

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Justino’s Rainwater Vinho Madeira

Justino’s Rainwater Vinho Madeira
Madeira, Portugal

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The color of this Madeira is beautiful, a sunset invoking autumn leaves and a fire waiting at home. It smells of brown sugar syrup, dates, and grilled oranges. As with most dessert wine, it has impressive legs, though it’s thin bodied. The alcohol heat is mild, nothing the sweet citrus can’t make you forget. My initial impression of grilled citrus holds up upon tasting; the orange notes taste concentrated in their sweetness and profile, giving it nice depth of flavor. In a way, it reminds me of an orange-scented crème brulee. In another way, it reminds me of a moist spice cake. Both images are pleasant.

I could easily see this affordable little Madeira being a return visitor at our house. Thanks to Doc’s Wine Shop in Hayward for recommending it.

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Other Bloggers’ Thoughts:

Zilch, zero, nada. There are reviews out there for ones aged 5 years and older—much older—but not for these 3-year upstarts.

Reviewed 22 Mar 14.

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Poetic Cellars 2008 Mourvedre

Poetic Cellars 2008 Mourvedre
Livermore, CA

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I found this wine during our recent jaunt through the Santa Cruz Mountains, and I will be forever grateful that I did. The grapes are from Livermore, but the label is Poetic Cellars, which sells their wines with a poem on the back of each bottle. Click on the picture so you can read this one by J. L. Naegle, a partner in the winery. It’s a mood-setter.

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Mourvedre is not a grape I’ve come across often, so I once again forgot how much I love it. One sip in that tasting room, and I remembered. One sniff of the cork after opening the bottle I bought, and my eyes rolled back with pleasure. This is good stuff, folks.

The nose is inky, full of pressed flowers: violets and honeysuckle. It smells of dense and rich fruit, raisins and fig tarts, and honey, vanilla, and melted butter. There’s a thin tannic element to the nose, like a linen napkin rather than leather. Shortbread cookies also come to mind.

Drinking it brings a surprising tartness that reminds me of kumquats and would likely lessen with aeration. Cardamom with just a hint of cinnamon for spice. Dark berries needing a few more days to ripen. A layer of smooth nuttiness adds to the depth. Perhaps that’s macadamia, or perhaps that’s my recent familiarity with macadamia liquor talking. Cedar comes up right before the floral presence returns, leaving an aftertaste of roses and honeysuckle to remember it by.

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