Saturday, November 13, 2010

Raw thoughts on a childhood haunt.....

The Fagiani bar in Napa will reopen and it will retain the ugly blue and burgundy tiles that were applied in the 40s, to a 1910 building.
My whole life is about preservation of that which has come before...I like today and tomorrow just fine...but I have spent my entire existence acquiring bits of this and that, and vast knowledge of old tomatoes, old furniture, old buildings, old paint, old wallpaper, old crap ...good and bad, and of course.... old clothes...old memories

Wow, what an incredible soap opera has happened over this.....
Bought by Steve Hasty a few years ago, he has lost the money and found the money to remodel and open it as a bar and restaurant again...(the economy is such a dream-killer).

This bar is 2 doors down from the Asia Cafe, where my parents and I went to dinner many many many nights of my childhood. Sick green walls, musty old varnished wood, each booth had a chrome hat rack standing ready. Great Chinese/American/Chinesey food, hot tea, and Eddie's mom, Mary Berengue was the waitress. Dum Dum candy pops after dinner served in the same little monkey bowl as the stale fortune cookies, with fortunes that never really told me which path was my real destiny.
Yes it was paradise. See the pic of the sign at the bottom.

The Fagiani family were politicians and friends with my mom and dad. My parents also were politicians and they were also bar and restaurant owners. My mom's bar , Lomita's Red Front, is now Bouchon Restaurant.

 yes...this bar....tattooed on my arm..

Fagiani’s bar was closed in 1976 by Muriel Fagiani after her sister’s homicide in the bar, and it became a time capsule.
The beer stayed in the cooler.....the electricity stayed on...telephone bill was paid for 3+ decades and still rang when Hasty bought it. After he bought the bar, the sister's murderer was found, and is in a trial right now. Clicky here for that story.
You can't make this shit up.
Well, you can, But I didn't. It happened when I was pregnant with Shayne and it haunted me too. A murder. In a place I knew intimately with the gossamer of time.

Over the years since I lived there, Napa has licked the boot heels of the rich, trading on its proximity to wine.
This makes me roll my eyes since Napa (like Tacoma) has always been working class. Why be ashamed of working? It seems that every city in America can't figure out that
is the heart and soul of a city...that which gives it Authenticity.

Hasty plans to reopen the bar and create a restaurant for the second and third floors. First the Napa Planning Commission rejected Hasty’s plan to keep the tiles because fancy-pants experts said it was wrong wrong and wrong. And they were right. Those tiles are uggggly.

So What. Here's the quote from the Napa Register,"Addressing the city council Tuesday, architectural historian Caitlin Harvey — who submitted a report about the project to the council — said Hasty’s varying design elements are integrated properly in the design plans. The building’s blend of styles is unique, she said. "
Ms. Harvey is channeling my does..."Cindy Heitzman, a former Napa County Landmarks president who has served on several preservation boards, said Hasty’s project — keeping the building largely as is — retains the building’s historical value. The Fagiani tiles, she said, “tell a story of a period in time” and contribute to the building’s character, and reflect part of Napa’s history.“It’s not a beauty contest. ... this building tells a story,” she told councilmembers."

"Councilmember Peter Mott said the Fagiani building reflects Napa’s past as a blue collar, post-war town. "

another quote , "Page & Turnbull, a San Francisco architectural firm, also asserted that overall, the building’s design elements complement each other. "

This, folks, is how it's done. So what ...ugly is as ugly does. It tells a story. Here in Tacoma, at breakneck speed, so many old buildings and neighborhoods are disrespected and disrupted for the Flavor Of The Decade.
Copycat towns and cities are the Real ugly. Character people !! Reality !! Get Me Real.
So happy that the bar my parents would secret me in when I was a youngin' so they could have a belt for the road, after dinner at the Asia gonna live again.
A tiny piece of my childhood is saved from stupid capitalists.....

 photos stolen from The Napa Register. so sue me.
 photo of Asia Cafe sign from athena glow on flickr


kitschbitsch said...

grrrrrr...keep on keeping on Yountville Grrrl. :^)

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

I totally agree with you. Cookie cutter homes and strip malls are FAR uglier to my eye than any old building that might sport a mishmash of architectural styles.

True story: my parents moved to a new housing development in Denver where all the houses are copies of each other (my mother has differentiated their yard from the others with xeriscaping--she had to fight with the housing covenant people to do so. Ridiculous). I drove out one day to the grocery store, maybe a couple miles away and got so lost trying to find my parents house again I had to call them and have them lead me back to their house. Everything. Looked. The. Same!

Quite a story with this bar!

propriatress said...

hey kb! I plan to go out growling!
karen...that, getting lost in a housing development, has happened to me many times.
My first memory of that was when I was in 2nd grade and got lost in my own neighborhood because so many houses looked the same.
Strip malls are the worst blight...I've seen some newer ones built where it makes an attempt to look like a mish-mash of styles on the front, and the parking in the back or underground...Much better!
But I'll take old,vintage...and ugly any day.
What will I think of old ugly strip malls? Tear Down. just tear them down and make parks and mini-farms!