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Hidden Places to Explore in San Francisco

Written by Arkadii Archie Maznev


But the maze continued on….


Mere seconds passed before I saw the first man with silver, curly hair gathered in a ponytail and falling smoothly on his shoulder blades, standing with his back to me and trying to play Beethoven’s “To Elise” on a black piano decorated with Halloween garlands. Hearing me approach, he turned around. His face, very pensive, but no less cheerful, turned to me with the question; of who I was and why I had come to such distant lands. I replied in turn that I am Archie Maznev, looking for Gregangelo Herrera for an interview. It turned out that the person I was looking for was right in front of me. He led me into the kitchen; If the room in which I met Greg had some kind of mystery with its dim lighting, Egyptian sculptures, and a table with hundreds of flasks and tinctures, then the kitchen immediately brought a completely different shade to the mood. It was a real Faun’s labyrinth, in which each subsequent room differs from the previous in everything that can be imagined. To add some resemblance, on the door leading to the kitchen, you could see a poster in the Egyptian style, which Greg himself would later tell me about and that this very poster has been here almost from the very first organized performance in this house.

Greg spoke very quickly, but clearly, and he kept a fast walking pace. We passed between different people in different fancy costumes that were busy with their own affairs. I was overwhelmed by unfamiliar surroundings and people, and the ever-changing details of the rooms evoked a pleasant but slightly nauseous excitement in me. The feeling was created that the house was alive and even breathed to the beat of its owner. Finally, when he reached the side of the kitchen and sat me down in a transparent, handleless chair, Greg began asking me questions. Questions grew into ideas, which grew into my role. At the end of the interview and after meeting with all the participants in the show, I went outside and looked around the house and changed my mind. This house no longer seemed tasteless to me. Now it looked divine.


Months after the performances, I still kept in touch with Greg. When I realized that I had a chance to write an article that could serve as an example and become a chance for many to see what real zeal and real talent is, I knew I had to cover Greg and his museum. After a week of discussion and timing, I hit the road again to the same mysterious house. I no longer needed maps, much less was late for our meeting. Already being close to the house, I noticed how it had changed in the past couple of months.


For a passerby it probably looked exactly the same as yesterday, and even a week or month ago, but I knew better. I knew there was a leap, a magical change. The house was filled with energy of a completely different type, even some kind of femininity. After receiving a dose of deja vu, I mentally went over everything I wanted to know from Greg. Then I walked back to the gravel path leading to the house, and looked around the terrace and lawn similarly. At first, everything looked the same as before. But after taking a closer look for a second or two, I realized that the house does not have the same Halloween atmosphere, even if there were still pumpkins on the granite path and steps. The wall of garlands thinned out and no longer looked so menacing. I gradually began to approach the object of my poetic sighs. Opening the front door, the first thing I did was to contemplate the current decorations. Just as trees change their leafy decoration with each subsequent and repeating natural period, so too did this incredible miracle of nature and man change seasonally. I hollered at Greg and heard his voice coming from inside the house inviting me to the very table and chair where I was

interviewed. His voice, which seemed slightly muffled, felt supernatural to me, as if the house itself invited me to enter deeper into its secret rooms and passages. A pleasant chill ran down my spine.


Passing through the living room and kitchen, I again noticed that the house had changed. Instead of the feeling of fear it caused during Halloween, it became part of a magical event that usually brings with it a plethora of snow. The insides of the houses became less ghastly, and the small details that were once fearful now looked inviting. Inside the house, there was already a pleasant atmosphere of Christmas and Valentine’s Day.


Finally, Greg and I began our conversation about this incomprehensible, but no less amazing creature called “The Gregangelo Museum”. From our conversation, it became abundantly clear that Greg and this house are inextricably linked by the losses and fortunes of the past year. Greg, like his house, met an incredible number of people with whom he worked, who helped him, and who in one way or another hurt him. After all, not only every person who worked for Greg and together with Greg influenced the house and its owner, but every personality that came to each of the performances and shows influenced the future and how these two creatures exist in present. All that Greg feels, the house feels too, and vice versa. When Greg first bought this house in the 1980s, no one knew that this seed of creativity would grow. The very name Velocity Circus emerged from his young mind ablaze with passion; from the state of Greg in which he realized that he did not want to waste his life pointlessly.


As Greg himself says:


“I’m not a philosopher, but Velocity is… distance over time. What I realized while doing the work over time - it all happens while you’re moving, and it’s true about all artists.”

Photos by Zoart Photography. and Hiromi Yoshida



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