The Room Tour of San Francisco (with Food!), Part 3

See Day 1 | Day 2

We got a snack in a nearby cafe and then went to the staircase in the Presidio where Johnny and Mark go jogging in The Room.

The view of the city and Palace of the Fine Arts from the staircase in the Presidio.
Image: The view of the city and Palace of the Fine Arts from the staircase in the Presidio.

 

From there we jogged over to Johnny and Lisa’s condo! What are these characters doing here?

Note: we did not try to park a car here.

Image of a brick townhouse with French windows
Image of a brick townhouse with French windows; this is the building Tommy Wiseau shot as the exterior of Johnny and Lisa’s condo.

Next, we walked to Palace of the Fine Arts, which you can see in the opening shots of the film. 

San Francisco Trip 2019 | I'll Make It Myself 16 (1)
The dome and columns of the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
San Francisco Trip 2019 | I'll Make It Myself 17 (1)
The dome of the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

We met one of Robin’s high school classmates in the Castro at Harvey’s for brunch, which was clearly a queer-er version of Lisa and Michelle’s carbs-and-wine-and-gossip sesh.

Image of Harvey's logo: an image of Harvey Milk laughing; there is a yellow circle in the background.
Image of Harvey’s logo: an image of Harvey Milk laughing; there is a yellow circle in the background. “Harvey’s” is written in red script below.
Image of a bagel with lox, coffee, and a mimosa at Harvey's.
Image of a bagel with lox, coffee, and a mimosa at Harvey’s.

We then had this jaunt around the city that involved the GLBT History Museum opening an hour later than stated on the sign/website, shopping in the vintage stores in Haight-Ashbury, and attempting to go to the Ice Cream Museum when it was sold out. But we did eventually get into the GLBT History Museum, which is tiny and incredibly moving.  Originally built from the private collections of queer individuals who died from complications due to AIDS, this museum includes the history of San Francisco’s queer scene, culture, and city politics.

The Castro in the rain. There are rainbow flags on all the lightposts and a huge rainbow flag in the distance.
The Castro in the rain. There are rainbow flags on all the light posts and a huge rainbow flag in the distance.

Due to feeling “not queer enough” (which is a monosexual lie!!) and not being able to fully express my gender identity in the other places I lived, Seattle is the first place I’ve lived where I’ve had a real connection offline to queer community and multiple queer/trans affinity groups and social/activist clubs. Getting to see the roots of 19th-20th century queer San Francisco—really, that queer and trans people have always been around—AND to have bi+ and transgender/gender-nonconforming/nonbinary folks featured and celebrated in a small space instead of overlooked felt so validating.

Two dapper folks with long hair pinned up are in suits and hats. They are toasting and each have a foot up on a bench.
Image: two dapper folks with long hair pinned up are in suits and hats. They are toasting and each have a foot up on a bench. (I don’t know how they would have identified, but bi and queer folks are known to not be able to sit in chairs, so.)
Blur Shirt
Image: a grey t-shirt with a purple logo. The text on the shirt reads, “New! Closet-free! BLUR. 100% Bisexual.”

I guess now would be a good time to mention The Room has no known queer characters. When people ask me why I like this movie, which is basically a ridiculous melodrama about cishet man’s future wife cheating on him with his BEST FRIEND (5), I have to say that it’s because the sexism of the narrative is so badly written and acted that it doesn’t even make sense. If I think about some of my other favorite bad movies, like Showgirls or the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man, no matter how bad the writing and acting gets, the misogyny, whether of the creators or the world they created, still has an effect, still reinforces the status quo and institutionalized sexism. Women, especially women engaged in sex work, are sexually harassed and assaulted in Showgirls; under the cattiness and the bad dancing and rhinestones, it’s still a man’s world (and the men in this film are fucking awful). The Wicker Man is just two hours of Nic Cage’s cop character yelling about misandry while mansplaining–when he’s not getting attacked by bees. Sure it’s overacted and completely ridiculous, but there are men in the world who actually fear women and nonbinary people (and other marginalized folks) having autonomy because men think they’ll  be oppressed, so like Showgirls, there are still elements where the mask is pulled back.

The Room, meanwhile, makes so little sense and has so few consequences that the misogyny itself is neither a wink to the cishet men of the audience (“the matriarchy, amirite?”) or propped up as “realistically” gritty. If anything, The Room has a sort of camp power from Johnny’s comically performative masculinity that is almost a foil to the melodramatic femininity and camp in weepies and woman-horror films. And that, I believe, is why I can watch The Room as a queer person traumatized by the fragile masculinity of the men who used to be my friends or my ex-partner: because it’s like watching a child play soap opera with dolls instead of a reminder of what the patriarchy actually does behind closed doors. Oh, The Room is sexist, I’m not denying that. There’s just no teeth in it, for once.

Me at those guys:

Leave Your Stupid Comments in your Pocket
Gif: Mark is standing near Lisa. He says, “You don’t understand anything man. Leave your STUPID comments in your pocket” to Steven and pushes past him. Via Giphy.

And for a transition almost as awkward as, “anyway, how’s you’re sex life?“–

Robin and I had dinner at Udon Mugizo in the Japan Center Mall, where I had the cold plum shiso bukkake udon.

Cold udon with green onions, shiso, sour plums, and lemon.
Image of cold udon with green onions, shiso, sour plums, and lemon.

I also bought one of my favorite J-dramas (結婚しない, which is literally “Not Married” but got Anglicized as Wonderful Single Life) on DVD like a cool kid. Robin and I also took our first purikura ever together (only took 8 years), so we’ll finally be able to replace all those photos of spoons in our apartment with pictures of us.

We caught a glimpse of the lunar eclipse through the rain clouds. Then we headed back to the Haight for beers at Magnolia Brewing. I liked the Dark Star Mild Cask Ale, but I loved the Cuppa Joe Pale, a coffee pale ale with floral notes. I enjoy coffee stouts, but I don’t see as many coffee pales on the market near me—I think this might have been the second one I‘ve had.

The next morning we packed up, had breakfast at 1428 Haight Patio Cafe and Crepery. I had this gorgeous Mission Omelette (an omelette with black bean chili, avocado, queso fresco, fresh guajillo and tomatillo salsa, jalapeño sour cream, and fresh cilantro, #blessed) with sourdough toast. (Robin shared their bacon with me.)

an omelette with black beans, salsa, and queso fresco with a salad and toast, coffee and bacon.
Image of an omelette with black beans, salsa, and queso fresco with a salad and toast, coffee and bacon.

Then it was off on the bus to the BART to get back to the airport!

Speaking of SAN FRANCISCO: My favorite food writer Soleil Ho, whom you may know from Racist Sandwich, just moved there to be a food critic at the San Francisco Chronicle! You can subscribe to her newsletter “Bite Curious” (I see what you did there, and I approve).

Special thanks to my partner Robin for planning the trip, finding all the locations from The Room, and indulging my little fandom heart. You’re the sparkle of my life.

Stay tuned for two special announcements, a new recipe, and a brand new The Room on Cake!

Like this post? Buy me a coffee on Ko-Fi or subscribe to my Patreon for as little as $2!

Gif of Claudette booping Lisa on the nose and saying
Gif of Claudette booping Lisa on the nose and saying “bye bye” via giphy

 

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