by Mordantia Bat 


A Weekend in El Cerrito, July 2000 




Kallisti's apartment in El Cerrito is, I have come to believe, our "art" equivalent to Big Sur -- at least for nonce. Let me explain further. In the 50s, Kerouac periodically escaped from the art scene in Beatnik San Francisco to Big Sur to regroup and coagulate his experiences and get sorted out.

Coagulating (and doing some new design, re-structuring, and editorial things to "Suffering is Hip") is what we've been doing at Kallisti's bungalow on a couple of different weekend excursions recently. Her bungalow and neighborhood are so removed from our usual existences that hanging out there for a weekend seems very much like a retreat of some sort.

AND - the fact that we have been having accidental faux-artist retreats in FUCKING El Cerrito instead of somewhere like Big Sur has got to be the best pathetic social commentary metaphor for JUST how inhospitable San Francisco has become towards us neo-bohos.

Well, that, and I guess that fact that we don't own a car might be a factor.






Kallisti lives in El Cerrito for the current usual reason everyone who tries to find an apartment in San Francisco these days is usually forced to retreat somewhere into the wilds of the East Bay. So it's not a retreat for Kallisti, per se, but a sentence -- until we other urban heathens show up and start digging around in her freezer and playing with her stuff ....

Kallisti always has had the greatest stuff .... picture her abode as a 3D version of the bounty of Chapel Perilous .... only a lifesize guillotine could make it any more complete.



This is a view from Kallisti's bungalow front porch. Note the bump at the end of her street. THE MOUND. You cannot tell from this photo exactly, but everything else in the landscape view is flat, flat, flat, flat. Except this mound with trees waggling at the sky.

Kallisti calls it Australia. I called it the mound or the bump.

"What's up there?" I asked.

"A park." Kallisti replied.

"Let's go up there!" I said whimsically.

Kallisti would have none of it.



It is rare I get the urge to climb hills or bumps or whatever you want to call this landscape anomaly. But this particular weekend I was giddy and having sudden inexplicable whims I insisted on gratifying.





Late that evening, Claire joined us for several hours. As we sat about and talked through the night, I reiterated my desire to ascend the mound.

"Let's climb it at dawn and watch the sun rise!" I said around 4 in the morning.

Kallisti still would have none of it. Claire was dubious, but as Russ was due to appear any moment, she said Russ would probably be willing to go with us if we wanted.

Kallisti was still having none of it.

But as Russ was coming over with a truck — a compromise was reached — Kallisti was successfully cajoled into going only if there was no climbing involved and Russ would be willing to drive us to the top of the hill.


So, when Russ arrived not too long before dawn, I think we gave him a burrito and informed him of our scheme.

Kallisti still tried to get out of it. But we really gave her no choice.

I told her she could bring her digital camera and take pictures of us cavorting in "nature" if she liked.

This, she did.

Not surprisingly, Kallisti managed to avoid having her picture taken on the mound.

We also regretfully forgot to get a picture of Russ there either. Rude of us since he so amiably played chauffeur.




We also apparently served as a banquet for lots of mosquitos — or so we found out later.



We actually only got a few pictures. Claire conquering a tree stump and me sitting in the weeds.

The pictures, taken right around dawn, were not of the greatest quality. We're not nature-photographers, okay???? Do not hire us as photographers on safari.

So, I tweaked these in Photoshop for the hell of it.



very stylized filtered version of pic at left.


Me sitting in the weeds opening a particularly recalcitrant champagne bottle.









Bat Cafe Disjecta Membra Suffering is Hip Sepulchritude

Contents of the Misspent Youth pages ©2001-2003 by Mordantia Bat

Though Bat misspent her youth well, she still ended up with some change leftover. So, she plans on having a misspent dotage as well. For some more recent slices into Bat's life, see her journal/blog Extispicy.