No more ACE in the hole – RIP ACE Junkyard

We finally lost ACE Junkyard to the ravages of an unreasonable San Francisco landlord. She won only on a technicality, after a long expensive battle by Bill Kennedy, proprietor extraordinaire of ACE Junkyard.

I hope many of you know the wonders of San Francisco’s ACE Junkyard.  If not let me clue you in to the significance of what we are losing.  Bill who is also known to some of as Billy the Junkman, Junkman or even Belinda, has been the purveyor of fine junk in San Francisco for over 25 years and ACE has been THE resource for playa artmaking in Bay Area for over 15 years.  Let it be known Bill has provided an incalculable about amount of funding for playa art in the last 15 years, in the form of JUNK – wondrous, glorious, re-usable, transformable, JUNK!

Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Over the years this junk has evolved into many ground-breaking forms of art.   Junk from ACE has been transformed into SRL’s machines, SEEMEN’s interactive work and Cyclecide’s pedal-powered carnival.  The list of artists doesn’t stop there. The following incomplete list of artists can all thank Bill for his uncanny ability to find that essential widget or for donating his  Junkyard venue to events like the famous Power Tool Drag Races: Flaming Lotus Girls, Rich Humphrey, Jarico Reese, Laird Rickard, Paul the Plumber, Big Daddy, John Law, Jim Mason, Michael Michael, Simone Davalos, Kimric Smythe, Shannon O’Hare, Sue Glover, Dan Das Man, Karen Cusolito, Scott Gasparian, Charles Gadeken, Kal Spelletich, Mark Perez, and Chicken John.

Come celebrate and say Goodbye to our favorite Junkyard on Saturday October 31st, Halloween at Cellspace 5020 Bryant Street. The Junkyard will be gone, but Bill remains and I’m sure he will figure out other ways to enrich us.

“The other side of it is…. well it was and is worth ever penny of it. The people, events, art, and most importantly to me the parts of myself that I found, and the person that I have become. A large part of who am now is because of the love and support on my family of friends I have made from this place.” -Bill The Junkman

Do you have a favorite ACE or Bill memory?

Party pics


It’s easy to have mixed feelings about Decompression gatherings.

On the one hand, it always feels great to be digging out the playa wear and smelling the dust again.

Ah, the smell of the dust. Even if you’re on the anal retentive side and meticulously wash all your clothes and oil down the chains on the bike and run the car through the car wash three or four times, the smell of the dust rises up and bites you when you least expect it.

You turn on the defroster in the car and  plumes of the playa coming rushing out of the vents. Or you come across a scarf in a backpack, and it is still covered in a lovely dusting of white. Or maybe you missed one pair of shoes in the back of the closet, and when you go for Decompression footwear, there they are, just back from Center Camp.

decompression-12Anyway.  Sunday was a day to dig out all that stuff, but like we were saying, it’s easy to have mixed emotions. Because after all the fun, and all the laughing and eating and drinking and dancing, at the end of it all you are not sleeping under the stars, and there is no Man to guide your way home. No. You are going to wherever it is you call home. You are most decidedly not on the playa any longer. And that always stings.

No matter. Decompression is a lovely reminder of the event, and for that we were all pretty happy on Sunday.

There were lots of clowns and stilts and fur, but maybe not as many blinkies and el wire as might have been expected. And you could buy food and drink. What a thing. And there plenty of shrieks and shouts from the reunions taking place all over the Dogpatch streets. It was a lot like Homecoming weekend, only without the football. A lot of your favorite people in the world were gathered in one spot again. Nothing wrong with that at all. Not a thing.

And the San Francisco venue has changed for the better over the years. Decompression used to be held in a parking lot near the baseball stadium, and while the square footage might have been bigger, it had no atmosphere at all. Unless you call macadam and hurricane fences atmosphere. Now it’s in a funky neighborhood, lined with trees and low-slung buildings. It definitely feels more home-y.

But one little question: Can’t we burn some stuff next year? I’m sure the fire department would hate it. And there’d be expensive permits and emergency crews and all the rest of the city rigamarole to contend with. But still. It’d seem only right.

Lots and lots more photos after the jump.