Monday, December 08, 2014

Palace of Fine Arts


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Here's another batch of old SF photos, this time from the famous Palace of Fine Arts, one of the few surviving structures from the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, a World's Fair highlighting the city's recovery from the 1906 earthquake.

Strictly speaking this isn't really a surviving structure. The fair's elaborate faux-Roman buildings were meant to be temporary, and were built cheaply out of wood, plaster and even burlap. The elements took their toll on the surviving buildings, and in 1965 the original palace was demolished and replaced with a more durable copy made with steel and concrete. I'm not sure why, exactly, but this story has always struck me as kind of hilarious. It stands to reason that cultural theory papers have been written about this, with the words "simulacrum" and "pastiche" used liberally, and many citations of midcentury French philosophers. I mean, I can't possibly be the first person to think of that.

Anyway, here's a Bollywood number filmed in part at the Palace of Fine Arts, from the 1999 hit film Biwi No. 1.

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