In SF Weekly print edition -- circulation 100,000
By David McClymonds
Ask any train hopper: Riding the rails can be true bliss. The feeling of pulling out of a yard after hiding in the corner of a boxcar for 14 hours makes the slow, dirty trip instantly worth it. And running out of water, getting shot at by rednecks, or losing a limb are risks many believe are worth the experience of seeing the countryside scene-by-scene from a rusty metal car. Riding freight trains is just about as American as apple pie, a middle finger to capitalism, and a true test of one’s liberties. Just ask Woody Guthrie, Jimmie Rodgers, or any of the others who have pennilessly traveled the country in search of something often unknown — “I'm a thousand miles away from home just waiting for a train,” Rodgers once sang. Although the mainstream often regards it as the domain of crazy hobos and illegal immigrants, director Sarah George proves otherwise. For five years, George rode alongside four self-sufficient souls who regularly hop trains, and her 2002 film, Catching Out, provides a picturesque look at the freedom and beauty of life on the rails.
Fire, Water, Firewater
By David McClymonds
Fireworks may have originally been used to scare away evil spirits in China, but today Americans often see the pretty explosions in the sky as an excuse to get drunk and (hopefully) romantic with the person standing next to them. Some would even call it patriotic to down shots of Jack Daniels during Fourth of July fireworks. We think the best place to maintain that nationalistic buzz is from the deck of a ferryboat floating in the middle of the celebration. The Red and White Fleet's July 4th Fireworks Cruises allow people to experience one of the Bay Area's biggest and most extravagant fireworks shows from a special perspective. The ferries head out early to get a good spot near the action, drop anchor, and allow passengers time to take advantage of the full bar. The best part is the outdoor deck that allows for a panoramic view of the 30-minute show, plus a chance to hold your date tightly — whichever fellow seagoer you happen to choose.
More to come soon.