Once the most influential person in the city of San Francisco, Herb Caen is largely forgotten in the San Francisco of 2016, living on predominantly in the hearts and memory of the people he personally knew and worked with. From the swanky supper clubs of the Barbary Coast to the cramped alleyways of Chinatown this documentary film goes in search of Herb Caen and finds his spirit lingering in the bars, nightclubs and streets he roamed in search of ‘items’ for his daily column. Exploration of Caen’s progressive take on numerous historical moments in San Francisco history as well his open minded attitudes to social movements such as The Beatniks are discussed in the film. In his time Caen was a staunch opponent to ‘modernisation’ and used his column to help protect San Francisco’s legacy architecture while encouraging San Franciscans to cherish their city’s history. Herb Caen’s one of a kind mixture of ‘bon vivant’ and ‘conscious of the city’ attitudes helped San Francisco define itself and to become known as a maverick yet tolerant city, a city admired the world over for its revolutionary mind set and breath taking beauty. Notable interviewees include: Mayor Willie Brown Jr., Novelist Armistead Maupin, Clothier Wilkes Bashford, Politician Angela Alioto, Caen’s son Christopher Caen, Caen’s wife Ann Moller Caen, journalists Carl Nolte, David Perlman and John King, historian Kevin Starr, Authors Gary Kamiya, Barnaby Conrad III, Randy Shaw and Ernie Beyl – among many others. All of this material has been brought together to commemorate Herb Caen’s centenary on April 3, 2016.
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