Farewell to Mary Mann – A Sample of Her Posts

by on April 13, 2010 · 4 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach

mann garden ob

OB's Hidden Garden - Mary wrote about Louie's garden on Niagara.

One of the OB Rag’s more able bloggers is moving on and out of OB … to grad school … to be a writer. Although we protested – “Hey Mary! You’re already a great writer!” – she is ignoring our pleas to stay in OB.

Mary joined our staff one year ago exactly.  Here is a sample of her posts since then:

mann wishing-arch-2009An Arch to Build a Dream On

Originally posted April 27, 2009

Walking down the long row of trailers, I wonder how I will recognize the one that belongs to Daniel Wallace and Judith May. They all look the same. As I near it, though, the ownership of the mobile home is made obvious by a preponderance of what their makers refer to as wobblies, wooden creatures, each with a name and a story. I should have known there would be something.

For the remainder of the post, go here.

mann blueswizardKeith Kifer – the Blues Wizard: “I’m always on stage.”

Originally posted April 9, 2009

A pigeon hops through the open door of the plywood camper, sneaking up behind an unsuspecting Keith Kifer, who’s busy preparing lunch. Kifer, otherwise known as the Blues Wizard, gently shoos the bird away, exclaiming: “How rude! He didn’t even knock.”

How rude indeed, to sneak up behind a burgeoning blues legend. Kifer has been making a name for himself in San Diego, as the lead guitarist for The Blues Wizard and the Masters of Humility. He is most noticeable when in full regalia – bright blue sport coat, his brilliantly white beard flowing down his chest, his bald head shining in barroom lights – and playing his homemade dobro.

For the remainder of this post, go here.

The Kids – the Young and Homeless of OB

Originally posted June 8, 2009

For weeks, starting in he beginning of May, I was getting up early and taking walks around Ocean Beach. I was looking for the groups of kids (teens and twenty-something’s mostly), who I have heard described as “Pier Kids”, “Anarchist Kids”, “Street Kids”, “Kids with backpacks”, and “Those kids who wear a lot of brown and have dogs, and sometimes cats on leashes”. I will refer to them here as The Kids. The Kids are, in fact, the young and the homeless.

For weeks I wasn’t finding anyone. I felt this strange, surreal parallel with department stores, where sales people are sniffing all over me until I have a question, and then I can’t find one anywhere. Where had The Kids gone? I checked all the haunts I knew about – under the pier, outside People’s, in front of Rite-Aid, down the cliffs, and anywhere really on Newport. I couldn’t find a trace. I asked friends, and the general response I got was:

“Oh yeah, I see them all the time,” pause, “Not lately though, I guess. Maybe it got too cold or something.”

For the remainder of this post, go here.

mann burnersmary01OB Burners and Hoopers Get Busted

Originally posted July 1, 2009

A young man spins unlit fire chains by himself, in the middle of Collier Park at Soto & Greene.  His phone rings, a tinny sound from his pocket.  He pauses to answer it, tucks it between his shoulder and his ear, and continues to spin while he talks.  The spinning is almost an afterthought, his body dancing slowly, almost like tai chi, but with whizzing metal balls on chains involved.

Slowly a troupe forms, ten people or so, mostly men and mostly young-looking, in their 20’s and 30’s.  They lounge on the grass at first, then as more people begin to show up with more gear – long poles of PVC piping, tennis balls shoved into knee-high pantyhose, hula-hoops, and other practice materials – the people on the ground begin to rise, and to spin.

For the remainder of this post, go here.

The Hidden Garden of Ocean Beach

Originally posted August 28, 2009

“This whole place was the pits,” says Louie Williams, gesturing at the lush, artfully designed garden around us.

It’s hard to believe, but Louie swears that it’s true, pointing out spots where he had trees taken out, pulled up overgrown bushes. When he moved to this little house on Niagara with his wife Kathi, one of their first projects was to tear up everything in the garden, down to the last blade of grass, and start fresh.

The result is a phenomenal work of art. Louie gives me a tour of the garden, pointing out where he’s attached a door and a window to the back of his tenants garage to make it look like another cottage. There’s also the little hillock on which they’ve created a miniature oriental scene, complete with small Japanese figurines, bonsai trees, and pieces of glass to simulate lakes. Various antiques, too many to count, peer artfully from beneath or behind plants.

For the remainder of the post, go here.

mann bars-south-beach-jim-grant-smBars and Clubs of OB – a Review

Originally posted September 24, 2009

After very careful analysis, and more than a few whiskey gingers and Belgium beers, what follows is a review of the Ocean Beach bars/clubs. Pardon me if I missed one or two – a girl can only do so much drinking. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

Pacific Shores:

Ah, the black light undersea glow is almost as soothing as the drink prices (possibly the lowest in OB). The narrow bar is sort of a hipster hangout, with a pool table in the back and a well-stocked jukebox. The only downside is a nonsensical dancing ban.

Photo is by Jim Grant. For the remainder of this post, go here.

mann nudeport6Who Was That Naked Swimmer Anyway?

Originally posted February 12, 2010

Who is The Naked Swimmer?

On January 30th, a community at the brink found cause to boil over in protest to the increasing population of street kids. On this day in Ocean Beach, a very intoxicated man swam naked near the pier. He resisted arrest next to the seawall on Newport and Abbott, which is just about as public of a spot as OB offers.

However, the intoxicated man, who I have referred to as The Swimmer in a previous post, was not a street kid.  Stephen Morse is a clean-shaven, 6 foot 200 pound college student. The 19-year-old has a role in the student government at San Diego State.  He  is a recent transplant from the state of Washington, where he went to high school, and was on the local school football team.

For the remainder of this post, go here.

Good luck, Mary,  from all the OB Rag staff and from all your readers. Come back to OB when you’re rich and famous.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

PSD April 13, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Best wishes and best of luck, Mary! Hope you manage to check in once in a while…


lane tobias April 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

mary you are exquisitely talented and i wish you the best in the future.


Seth April 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Will the last one out of OB please turn off the lights?

Oh well… best of luck to you in grad school, Mary.


Sunshine April 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

Your writings paint such vivid mental pictures and I thoroughly enjoy reading them. Keep us posted as to where and what you’re writing. We’ll be reading them from afar.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: