Archive for September, 2011


Video and photographs by Shaun Edward

The 59th Sausalito Art Festival is open for business this Labor Day Weekend. Of course, this fact will already have been figured out the hard way by anyone trying to go anywhere in Sausalito this weekend. The Art Festival is by far the biggest annual event held is Sausalito, and the scale of the festival is expanded thanks open gallery viewings around the town.

Getting to the festival can be an adventure in itself. Those who drove could chose from paying ten dollars to park far away and take the provided shuttle buses, or could pay a staggering twenty dollars t0 to park near the festival entrance–although by 2pm the twenty dollar parking lot appeared to be totally full. Of course, many chose to walk to the festival as well, but those who did had to keep a constant eye out for the “shuttles,” which were actually enormous tour busses barreling down the industrial backroads that lead the festival entrance. There were parking-control type people pretty much everywhere you looked, many feeling extra-authorative in their official-looking but powerless reflective vests.

Pay a slightly staggering twenty five dollar entrance fee, and the stress and hubbub of the parking lots transforms into a world of high art and big money behind the festival gates. There’s no mistaking festival’s target demographic from the moment you enter, in no small part thanks to the Aston Martin and Jaguar convertibles on display just inside the festival entrance.

Sausalito Art Festival Entrance

As expected, the art on exhibition doesn’t come cheap either. While there certainly are pieces available in the sub-500 dollar range, the number only goes up from there–five-figure-plus pieces were not hard to spot.

But this is not to take away from the quality of the art on display, because much of it was truly amazing. Sausalito has a vibrant art scene, and local artists were well represented, like painter Anne Davis of Sausalito.  I don’t know how much a booth costs for the Sausalito Art Festival, but artists must be invited and you can be sure that it does’t come cheap, so it’s nice to see local artists represented.

Artists made the trip from far away as well. One of Sausalito Waterfront’s favorites was Jeffrey Zachman, who’s kinetic sculptures drew a constant crowd to his booth. Zachmann made the trip from Minnesota. Other favorites included Adam Homan of Tuscon, Arizona, whose metal-scupture critters stare back at you with beady fiber optic eyes. “You are not just looking at art,” his business card reads. “Art is looking at you!”

We’re big fans of metal work at Sausalito Waterfront. Bruce Macdonald’s booth was hard to miss, given that it was covered in the shiny metal panels that Macdonald works with. Similarly impressive was Michael Gard, who was hard to miss thanks to the delicately constructed wire human forms that hung around his booth. Another favorite was Theodore Gall’s elaborate cast sculptures–many of which were interactive.

Floating People Sculptures Sausalito Art Festival

If wandering around looking at art you couldn’t afford got boring, there were plenty of distractions available. Alcohol–though pricey–seemed to be flowing freely, and there were clearly some festival goes who’d had a drink or three too many. Not that it would be a hard mistake to make, as there was somewhere to exchange your hard-earned for booze virtually anywhere you looked, including a “food” truck where attractive women served patrons Kahlua or rum, as well as a dockside bar offering a huge variety of mixed drinks.

Drinking aside, there were two stages, the lesser of the two was surround by artist’s booths and played appropriate-but-forgettable music during our visit. The other, the Main Stage, was somewhat less tasteful. During our visit, the Main Stage–and indeed most of the festival–was dominated by the wafting sounds of hard rock songs from the stuck-in-the-80s cover band. While there was without a doubt a good crowd enjoying rocking out to songs from their glory years, equally amusing was the man muttering “It’s way too loud” as he wandered away from the stage, or the comedy of watching an artist haplessly located right off the Main Stage try and talk about the intimacies of his jewelry with interested couples over the blasting Bon Jovi covers.

Face Sculpture Sausalito Art Festival

There was also food, and while we chose not to partake in throwing any more of our money into Sausalito’s coffers, there certainly appeared to be a great variety to choose from, ranging from whole smoked turkey legs to crab cakes and veggie wraps.

But as is too often the case in Sausalito, to get the most out of the festival takes a lot more than the budgets of many have to spare. To truly experience all the Sausalito Art Festival has to offer would easily turn into a hundred-dollar date after the entrance fees, a few rounds of drinks and some food, not to mention the parking or ferry costs. Just hope she doesn’t settle on that thousand dollar oil painting.

Video by Shaun Edward

More than anything else Angel Island–the largest island in San Francisco Bay–is known for its immigration station. Opened in 1910 and operational until 1940, more than 1 million immigrants passed through the station–sometimes refferred to as “The Ellis Island of the West.”

The  Station was closed following a fire in 194o. But the military, which had first opened a quarantine hospital at Ayala Cove  in 1891, continued to be a presence on the island until the Nike Missle site built on the Island’s southern tip was closed in 1962. The State Park Service, which had started buying land on the island in 1954, took over complete control of the Angel Island.

Today, Angel island can only be accessed by boat via Ayala Cove, right across the Raccoon Straight from Tiburon. A ferry ticket from Tiburon costs $13.50 for adults 13 and up, and includes covers the park entrance fee as well.

Ayala Cove Angel Island Boat Docks

The docks at Ayala Cove can handle boats up to 50 feet long. Photo by Shaun Edward

For those wising to take their own boats there–as Sausalito Waterfront did–there are docks available for day use at Ayala Cove as well, which can accommodate boats of up to 50 feet. Docks cost $15 per boat for an all day pass, and mooring buoys are also available for $30 a night.

Ayala cove is the gateway to the rest of the island. Here you’ll find a cafe, bicycle and locker rentals, and Tram and Segway tours for those who don’t like to do their walking the old fashioned way. For people not wanting to shell out anymore cash than it already took to get there, there are also picnic tables and grills for public use.

There are trails for hiking and biking all over the island (click here for a map), but we’d recommend the 5-mile Perimeter Road for first time visitors. The paved road winds its way around the island, passing all the historically significant spots–the Immigration Station, Camp Reynolds, and the Nike Missile site, just to name a few.

Camp Reynolds Angel Island State Park

Photo by Shaun Edward

Angel Island’s south side probably offers the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, and San Francisco, but there really are no bad views here. Not only are the views of San Francisco Bay stunning, but the natural beauty of the island itself is also worth taking the time to appreciate. If you want the ultimate in 360 degree view, it’s worth the climb to 733-foot tall Mt. Livermore, the top of the island.

San Francisco Bay view from Angel Island State Park

Photo by Shaun Edward

Angel Island State Park is open seven days a week from 8am to Sunset. Wherever you may choose to wander on the Island, you’ll probably need to come back again and again before you’ve had your fill.

 

 

 

Shaun Edward Photography