Hanging it up

IMG_0167 IMG_0166So far today I have witnessed a hit and run car crash, two fist fights, a plethora of drug deals, caught half of one of the shows at Diva’s, and managed to get an interview with the bar manager there for Thursday. All of this in between music theory classes. I think it is time to call it a night.


In an effort to try and get a feel for what aspects of life in the Polk gulch people might be interested in seeing, I figured I would post something on here and see if I got any feedback. If there are any ideas floating around that haven’t been ran by me yet, feel free to post on here and let me know what would peak your interest.

Another Polk Street Night

Although tonight was lively as usual down here, some of the cast of characters I was hoping to run into were surprisingly missing in action. I did catch a glimpse of the Polk street witch, and also managed to lock down an interview with Alexis at Diva’s. This morning I caught the aftermath of a crazy hit and run on Geary and Larkin. Will post pics tomorrow.


Good news. I have an interview scheduled with Alexis, the bar manager at Diva’s. She is gonna let me get some footage of her opening up the bar, and answer some questions about her experiences with life on Polk street. I am meeting her at Diva’s friday at one o’clock. I will post the interview right after.

A Brief History of the Tenderloin

During the formative years of the city by the bay, the area we know as the Tenderloin was known as Saint Ann’s Valley, and looked nothing like the grimy, bustling nugget of vice and hedonistic decay that we currently associate with that name. Back then, the district was mostly rows of wooden houses filled with the socially ambitious and the middle class of the day. I’m still not sure where the name “Tenderloin” actually comes from, there are many different accounts, but the one that I like the best is attributed to a New York police captain who was transferred to a seedy district of the city, and likened the difference in bribes and and payouts to going from eating chuck steak to tenderloin. In the late 19th century the district was home to many theaters and other centers of entertainment, bringing in a lot of money for the city. The Tenderloin that we know today is an area encompassing about 30 blocks that run between Van Ness and Powell streets to the West and East, and Market and Geary streets to the South and North. A lot of the historic buildings and halls of entertainment were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. The neighborhood was rebuilt a few years later and in the 1920’s was well known for it’s nightlife, much like today. Replace the bars, tattoo shops, and massage parlors of today with speakeasies, gambling halls, and brothels, and the resemblance would be a lot closer to what we recognize. In the 1950’s and 60’s, the neighborhood was one the great jazz hubs of  the country. At the corner of Hyde and Turk was the famous Black Hawk jazz club, which played host to such notable musicians as Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, and Dave Brubeck. Throughout the 60’s up to today, the neighborhood has remained a hive for sex work, and alternative lifestyles. Before the Castro emerged as the shining, rainbow colored haven for gay culture, the Polk Gultch was already a known as one of the first gay neighborhoods in the city. The neighborhood has always been known as a hotbed of criminal activity, and statistics back that up. It has one of the highest crime rates in the city and is a mecca for vice, especially sex and drugs. Well…… this post wound up being a lot longer than I expected, but then again, it is kind of hard to put an area with this much history and culture in a nutshell.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side


Welcome to Polk Music. The purpose of this blog is to document the work that I am doing in order to put together a short documentary on the natives of Polk St. in San Francisco. If you are unfamiliar with the area, hopefully I can give you a brief glimpse into the lives of some of the colorful folk who call this area home. Polk Street is one of the city’s hubs for sex workers, most of the ones that operate in this particular part of town are Trans and hang out in front of Diva’s or in front of the local Firehouse that’s next door. Although well known for it’s ladies of the night, Polk Street is also fast becoming a great spot for local entertainment as well. Saturated with good bars, and restaurants, as well as some good tattoo shops and a lot of interesting residents, there is always something going on at any given moment of the day. If you feel like indulging all of your Lou Reed fantasies and taking a walk on the wild side, then hopefully this will help. So kick back and listen to the beat of  a different drum.

A Swing and a Miss

I have had a couple of setbacks with the project recently. The two girls that I had originally planned on making the focus of the project are now unavailable. One has gotten herself arrested, and the other is nowhere to be found. I am trying to not get discouraged, and continue to move forward, it’s just slow going making new in roads due to the nature of their jobs. The other setback involves being able to talk to the S.F.F.D. which I am not allowed to do without permission from their PR department. Hopefully I will get a call back soon, and until then, I will remain in the trenches trying to establish new contacts.