George Floyd and the Illusion of Progress

IMAGES PLACE US in time, gluing unremarkable and historically urgent moments in a fixed setting or context, but mostly they thrill our senses in other varied ways. They challenge us with questions and ferry nostalgia. Images set our faces electric at the sight of something truly wonderful. The primary function of a photograph is not measurement, but there are those that suggest it all the same. Those images, thornier in intent and unwedded to a single place, become a kind of cloverleaf—of circumstances, of timelines and beliefs, of people.

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The Timely Return of the Drive-In Restaurant

For a city that’s still on substantial lockdown, including the suspension of dine-in eating due to COVID-19, San Francisco’s Mel’s Drive-in—at least, its parking lot along Geary Boulevard—is buzzing. Cars occupy many of the restaurant’s parking spaces, each one filled with customers awaiting orders of the burgers, milkshakes and french fries that have made this 1950s-style eatery famous. But there’s something else that has brought them here: the revival of Mel’s carhop service, a once prominent part of its offerings when Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs opened the California restaurant chain’s original location back in 1947. At that time, it was the allure of car-oriented leisure offerings that inspired drive-in restaurants. Today it’s a pandemic. Continue reading The Timely Return of the Drive-In Restaurant