“The Cries of San Francisco,” at Southern Exposure through July 2, takes to the streets this Saturday, when some 50-odd peddlers will work the streets around Mint Plaza from noon to 5 p.m. They’ll be selling everything from dirty words to emergency glitter to masks that disguise the wearer as a piece of sidewalk.
The project, organized by artist Allison Smith, was inspired by The Cries of London, which document, in various ways, the diverse street-sellers that once roamed London. It’s an interesting choice of theme. In the last few years the public hawking of wares, by everyone, has become much more the norm. The boom in food carts would be one example. Projects like Shadowshop, at SFMOMA, would be another.
The recent gallery opening of “The Cries of San Francisco” was a mob scene. A few peddlers even sold things, despite the conceptual nature/questionable utility of many of their wares.
A few sample cries:
But Friends! That’s not all. We have tractor parts for your sidewalk reclamation garden project! Actual vintage tobacco! Crystallized white sugar! How about some pre-revolution glitter for the disco emergency!
Hey there, hello, hi,
You can own your favorite bad word.
It’s free and safe.
Maria De Los Angeles Burr
Heather Smith covers a beat that spans health, food, and the environment, as well as shootings, stabbings, various small fires, and shouting matches at public meetings. She is a 2007 Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism and a contributor to the book Infinite City.