|Three generations of Specs.|
It's rare to hear news of an old San Francisco establishment that doesn't end in "evicted over a rent dispute" or "replaced by a Starbucks." While ongoing development of the city is a mark of vitality and should be welcome (well, maybe except for Starbucks), it's distressing to note the regularity with which bits of San Francisco's history vanish without fanfare, often supplanted by chain businesses, luxury condos, or doomed ventures in the latest short-winded culinary, hobbyist, or fashion crazes.
So it was heartening to hear of celebratory events related to the continuance, rather than demise, of a favorite city institution. Specs' Twelve Adler Museum, one point of the Columbus Avenue triangle of historic bars including Tosca's and Vesuvio, enjoyed two rounds of festivities last week.
|All art openings should include dancing.|
A sheet metal-worker who became a bar-owner, Specs (Richard Edward Simmons without the famous glasses) married and begat artists and art collectors. Live Worms Gallery on Grant Avenue hosted a brief exhibit of work by Specs' late wife, Cooper Union-trained Sonia; her sister; his daughter Elly; and local artist and OmniCircus theatre director Frank Garvey.
|"Mara," 1986, by Elly Simmons (of her late sister)|
The exhibition's purpose was to raise money for Elly Simmons to go to New York to have her work shown at Pomegranate Gallery. It was also a lively sendoff for Specs's granddaughter (Elly's child) Maralisa Simmons-Cook, who starts at New York's New School to study jazz and contemporary music. Accompanied by a chum on his guitar, she serenaded attendees with a voice mixing the brightness of youth and the savoir-faire of greater age, like Madeleine Peyroux, but with way more gusto.
|Frank Garvey and his art.|
12 William Saroyan Place, San Francisco, CA