Street stars - Page 2

Streets of San Francisco: Writers, dancers, and other performers do make a living on the sidewalks

Street writer Lynn Gentry reads a poem he just typed for members of the band Supercute at Haight and Ashbury

Shaba wasn't always gold. He used to be silver, but too many others followed suit, so he switched colors. There's another Gold Man, too, who rolls his tip can up and down his arms, and a few silver performers. One, who calls himself Silver Man, paints his entire head silver — except for an off-center star, which traces across his eyes and down his cheeks — and dances to Michael Jackson tunes wearing star-print pants, a red shirt with wings painted down the back, and one white glove.

"I'm kinda like Father Time out here," Shaba says. He notes that things have changed over time, and that some performers are now paying the city for permits to be guaranteed a slot, though it isn't mandated. He springs up suddenly, mumbling something about being unable to sit still.

Back at Haight and Ashbury, Gentry plucks a poem from the typewriter, proofreads it carefully, and hands it over. Here's an excerpt: "San Francisco keeps trying as I hear the accents of the old neighborhoods that left them behind years ago to start a new life as writers still praise them from afar and the locals hold dying history confused to where they are...."