Saturday, June 27, 2009

And Jingo was my Name-O

As a lifelong Liberal with a philosophy slightly to the left of whoopee, imagine my surprise when I realized a half-hour ago that I have decided jingoistic tendencies. Who knew?

Flip and I went to the Palace of Fine Arts, three blocks from our home, for a pleasant stroll around the swan lake. Most of the area had been cordoned off because of a movie being filmed, a Bollywood movie no less, and American bouncers were keeping people outside the perimeters. I raised my camera to shoot some large equipment and a large guy instantly appeared to tell me it was not allowed. I told him that this is a free country. He said it was at the request of the film makers. I said that was ridiculous. "Is there a possibility that you could obey that request?" he asked, smirking.

"There's a possibility," I said. "but probably not. And when you use the word 'obey,' it becomes an order, not a request. An order you don't have the right to give."

A second large muscle-type guy got in my face and said "No pictures allowed." I said, "That's absurd." He argued with me and then told me that I would have to get off the sidewalk, which was outside the roped-off area. I stood my ground. He jutted his chin at a group of people gathered beyond us on the sidewalk and said, 'That's what we're trying to prevent." I said, "The Constitution gives us the right to congregate. You're American. You must know that." He said, "Well, we're trying to keep the sidewalks clear for -- handicapped people." I looked both ways. I didn't see any. "I'd be more than happy to get out of the way if a handicapped person comes along, but in the meantime, I'm not in their way." (It should be noted that I am a small person. I could not occupy an entire sidewalk if I tried.) He said, "Well, you can't take pictures here." I said, "The Palace of Fine Arts is a famous photographic destination. All these people either live in the neighborhood or are tourists. You can't forbid people to take pictures."

He said, "I'm not trying to give you a rough time." I said, reasonably, "And I'm not trying to give you one, but it's just silly." I snapped another shot as I walked away. He did not grab my camera. He couldn't. I'm a girl. Sometimes it comes in handy.

I have a problem with people who set themselves up as authority figures, and I also have a problem with the many who meekly accept the authority of anyone who says he has some. But what really rankles is that all of this was for a Bollywood movie. Still, if they want to work here, they need to have a little respect for those of us who actually make this city our home. If you walk into my life, don't tell me that I have no right to be there.


Al said...

are you kidding me?? That was what all that shit was? (saw them as I drove by) You go girl. I love swan lake too and that is flat out bullshit.


You go girl!

Warty Mammal said...

Good for you! There are unfortunately people in the world who will see how far they can go in terms of infringing on others' rights.

meno said...

ya shoulda popped him in the nose too, just to make your point.

Los Angelista said...

Ugh, as you know, plenty of that sort of behavior goes on in this town. You can take the picture of whatever you want! I'm glad you stood up to it. Very glad.

the walking man said...

Time for INS to make a round of checking visas, work permits, and the unions to be doing a check of their by-laws about whether non union labor is allowed to be on site like that.

Beyond that...take all the pictures you want, I'm certain you could stir the crowd to start snapping away with their camera phones as they gorilla's tried to beat you down and you kicked their ass in the process.

nick said...

What a cheek! What gives them the right to order the locals about just because they're making some pissy third-rate movie? Jumped-up little martinets. Good for you putting them in their place.

seventh sister said...

They used to shoot a lot of movies in Austin. It was usually a pain in the drain. Sandra Bullock shot one downtown and no one could get the the shop where I was working or any other businesses down there. To make matters worse, they made it look like NYC in the film. Filming always made it all but impossible to park anywhere near the shoot as well.

secret agent woman said...

You know, it wouldn't thave mattered what sort of movie it was. Fact is, it was a public location and they can't order you off the sidewalk OR forbid you to take pictures.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Nope. Not kidding. Are we neighbors?


It's a public place. I don't mind staying out of the area they've designated for filming, as a courtesy, but they have no right to forbid me to take pictures there.


I shoulda popped ALL of them. Bullies.


I'm sure this kind of thing is commonplace in L.A. but it's a matter of how they handle it. This was very uncool.


Self-important strutting roosters get no respect from me. I've since learned online that the Bollywood movie will be filmed in SF for two months straight. It's called "Life of Khan" and deals with terrorism.

Maybe those bouncers have cameo roles in the movie.


Ohhh, I'm swooning. "Pissy third-rate movie." "Jumped-up little martinets." I love it when you talk dirty.


One has to wonder, why did they not film it in New York if they wanted it to look like New York?


Of course the fact that it was a Bollywood movie was beside the point, but it did add a bit of insult to injury.

thailandchani said...

It's absurd to tell you that taking pictures is off limits. It's not as though you were walking onto their set and disrupting anything.

Bollywood pictures here? Yikes!

Growing up in Los Angeles, I saw that kind of thing all the time though. There were streets blocked off and so on - but typically they did it in the very early morning, as soon as it was light.


Jocelyn said...

Here's what I have no problem with: small women with chutzpah.

I was clapping here, as I read.

Me said...

Pictures of people (for example obese or homeless) taken without their permission is not great. Otherwise, who cares for the environment? (unless it is industrial spying)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


No, I was respecting the boundaries they had roped off, but the SIDEWALK?!!! There was no action going on, just equipment being set up. It was just an exercise in pushiness and paranoia.


Small women have to have chutzpah or people walk on them.

The sound of one girl clapping is a beautiful thing when it's you.


I don't know what to make of your comment. If you're referring to certain pictures in my photo blog, my intention was to demonstrate the contrast between homeless people and the very wealthy city they're living in. And I don't photograph people for being obese, but I don't disqualify them as subjects either.

Bob said...

I think you should have taken HIS picture.

There is nothing either liberal or conservative about standing up for your rights. Good for you! That guy needed taking down a peg or two, and I'm glad you did.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I thought maybe I was being jingoistic because the movie company is from India, but I usually enjoy any blend of cultures available. My point was that nobody should come to someone else's home, in effect, and rudely displace them.

George Lucas has his studio,
Letterman Digital Arts Center, which occupies some vast acreage in our neighborhood, but he doesn't go around scattering the natives with implicit threats.

Anonymous said...

Hear-hear for you. I agree that people should take stands. And, since you are already one of my heroes, I couldn't imagine any less from you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yep, David and Goliath stories are always heartwarming, although I realize that's a rather presumptuous thing for me to say.

katrice said...

You are my hero! Little Ladies of the world UNITE!

The Fool said...

I doff my hat to you, Heart. Another reason to just stay where I am. I'll take cold over crazy any day.

And how's the new neighbor doing? :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


So happy to see you. I thought maybe we'd lost you to Facebook, like so many bloggers. Welcome back! You were missed.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

No fool,

It's unlikely they'll be filming any bad movies in Alaska so I think you're safe.

I snapped a pic of him at his command post yesterday and added it to my previous post. When I tend my garden, it feels like I'm in a prison compound being watched by guards in high places. Maybe we'll move to Alaska.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

That's my girl. Go get 'em!

I *LOVE* that you don't put up with shenanigans from anyone!

Whassat little comment about FB?

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

heartinsanfrancisco said...


It's well-documented that I don't love Facebook and prefer blogging. Listing my reasons would be much too long for a comment, though. :)

On a limb with Claudia said...

Wow. You go girl! I so admire your willingness to stand your ground. That's one of the wonders of you!

When they harass me, I just call the cops. Denver is a police state. They don't tolerate movie people very well.

michelle | bleeding espresso said...

Well said (and done) :)

Anonymous said...

It's not legal (here) to take people's photos without their permission. I can see why!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


We all have to stand our ground sometimes, especially in non-police states like California, or there will be nothing left of us.


Mille grazie!


They were forbidding ALL photographs - even the swans were off limits. They would have lopped off heads if they could, without permission.

Al said...

I don't think we are neighbors. I just get around a lot.

wow, that sounded dirty.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yeah, it did. You obviously have a far more exciting life than I do. :)

meggie said...

I am sooo glad you stood up for your rights. I detest petty 'fake police'.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Especially when they think they're REAL ones.

PeterAtLarge said...

There's something gets into people when they start making movies in the public domain. They think they're God. They think they're doing God's work, a gift to the human species, which gives them the right to annex whatever space they choose. We get it in Los Angeles all the time. It's infuriating. Good for you, for standing your ground!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You mean God doesn't make all those bad Indian movies?

That changes everything.

Why am I always the last to know?

Jameil said...

I don't care what movie it's for. "I have a problem with people who set themselves up as authority figures" TOO!!!! Rent-a-cop sit down!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yeah. What she said!!!

TaraDharma said...

People are asses. Not you. Those movie guys. Asses, I tell you! On behalf on freedom loving citizens across the land, I thank you.

TaraDharma said...

P.S. Personally, I am finding much more interaction on FB then I ever did blogging. I'm still blogging, but sometimes it gets discouraging when there is no conversation, or no readers. FB friends - hey, they are almost always there!

My 2 cents.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Thanks for clearing that up about asses.

By the way, I've tried to read your blog but I get stonewalled at a screen that says "Profile not available."