Block of Time: O’Farrell Street
“O’Farrell Street was a dream come true . . .”
-Harriet Lane Levy, from her book 920 O’Farrell Street
The house at 920 O’Farrell Street stands catty corner from the Live! Nude! Shows! of the Mitchell Brother’s Adult Theater, and down the street from Tommy’s Joynt steak house, where the neckline of the women in the mural rise and fall depending on what street artists may have passed by recently. Or, at least, that’s where the house once stood. Since then, it has succumbed first to the 1906 earthquake and fire, then to a Cadillac repair shop, and most recently, to the parking garage of the AMC Cinemas. But, from 1867 to the 1880s, 920 O’Farrell was the address of Harriet Lane Levy.
Daughter of a wealthy Jewish merchant, Levy grew up to be a writer who, in the 1890s, wrote alongside Jack London for the innovative magazine “The Wave.” Later she moved to Paris to become part of an artistic circle that included Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. She eventually returned to San Francisco to write 920 O’Farrell Street, a memoir of her beloved childhood street . Block of Time: O’Farrell Street (BOTOFS) uses Levy’s remembrances as a jumping off point to explore and incite the myriad personal narratives that lie hidden in the bricks and mortar of one city block. Through a location-based audio tour, BOTOFS will make the walls talk, literally, as well as the alley ways, store fronts and apartment buildings.
Block of Time O’Farrell Street is a spatial history and audio tour of the 900 block of O’Farrell Street. The stories of writer Harriet Lane Levy, who lived on the block in the 1890s, are interspersed with stories and histories from young adult members of the Centeral Shih Yu-Lang YMCA.
The team will be lead by Krissy Clark, award-winning public radio journalist, documentary-maker and fifth generation San Franciscan. Clark has spent more than a decade covering San Francisco and the Western U.S. Her stories air on NPR, the BBC, and American Public Media, where she was a staff reporter and editor for the show Weekend America, and a frequent contributor to Marketplace. Clark spent the last year on a Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford, where she worked with the d.school, the Computer Science and History Departments to explore location-aware media. Clark has a B.A. in The Humanities from from Yale University. She has received numerous awards for her stories, and was a finalist for a Third Coast International Audio Festival Award, one of the highest honors in public radio.
To hear samples of her audio work:
Please visit Block of Time: O’Farrell Street