bent machine production takes a walk down

the alley otherwise known as


While searching for my first apartment in San Francisco almost ten years ago, I was excited about an apartment I had just found. It was just a stones-throw from an alley named Marcy.

Also named Marcy was the person who was letting me stay in her (and her future husband's) apartment. Marcy was the self-declared patron saint of all Daves. Miserable & new in the city, I was grasping for any good omen I could find.

So I called Marcy and told her I had found an apartment & it was very near an alley bearing her name.

It was then that I found out most of the alleys in this part of the city were reportedly named after prostitutes favored by the city's founding mayors.

This particular episode was conceived due to a piece of graffiti on Joice.

Usually I ignore graffiti. Even beyond the destruction-of-property angle on graffiti, it is usually still pretty lame. Very often tags have little or no visual impact, and they always contain the lamest of puns, or misspellings like one might find on a second-rate brand (think "cheez-puffs.") Names such as "zenn" or "Ogrr" or "zer0" or "klam."

You get the idea.

This particular piece of graffiti struck me as decidedly non-professional, and thus intriguing. What really piqued my curiousity was the "(cont.)" part. So I felt it was my duty to find the rest of these markers.

Luckily for me, Joice is only five blocks long.

Joice begins on Pine Street, where Dashiell Hammett ends. (Another story for another time.) As you can see, it starts with a murderous stairway, which leads a person to a quiet little space with nice trees and a stunning view.

Halfway up the stairs on the left, there is a small altar to the side with a statue of the Virgin Mary. It looks more like something one should find in New Mexico than San Francisco.

To be sure, Joice is it's own little microchosm, hidden away from the bulk of the traffic and noise of the area. It is almost private. Families, churches, playgrounds, two of the more famous twins in San Francisco, and two pretty nutty people I know of live on Joice.

It is very definitely One Way, only wide enough to allow a car at a time.

Joice begins in the middle of what I think of as the upper hotel district, and ends where Chinatown begins.

Trees, brick, steel, basketball courts, and some strange architectiure, owing to the fact that it is on the side of a steep hill.

Mysterious letters in part of the sidewalk, further down Joice.

I live on Joice. Joice is the setting for my most favorite true story of the city, which is unfortunately much too long to repeat here.

Briefly, it involved two of my neighbors who go apeshit if the silence of the alley is broken, and a dispute between two drivers who met at the center of Joice going opposite directions. One was a redneck and the other couldn't speak English.

The shouting match that erupted between these four people was BRILLIANT.

Down every break in the alley, a breathtaking view.

How many photo ops can there be in five blocks?

As you can see from the sign, here we are at the end of Joice.

Getting back to the original mystery of this page, I was unable to find any more "my street" tags anywhere. I even checked all the corners of the buildings for spots of fresh paint in case it had been covered already.

As I write this, even the "my street" graffiti has been painted over. Thus ends another mystery...


Everything copyright, 2000 Dave Benz

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