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Where to find Hugo

The Buy a Copy page provides links for purchasing HugoSF in e-book and also paperback.

You can also contact me directly for questions, signed copies, book club info, etc...


San Francisco, the Character

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Fiction is a layer of make-believe that lies on top of a bed of truth. HugoSF is no exception. There are a many real places that serve as settings in HugoSF, so I thought it would be fun to post pics of them. These places are more than simply locales in which to set fictional scenes, though; they're part of a larger, integral character in the book, which is the wonderful and idiosyncratic city of San Francisco.

San Francisco settings

3rd & Taber

"Screaming Software occupied half a floor in a seedy old brick building on the corner of 3rd Street and an unremarkable alley. Just across the alley was one of the new neighborhood gentrifiers, a cash-rich internet consultancy called Ascend. Fat with IPO funds, Ascend occupied an old five story warehouse, recently gutted and lined with windows, its interior spaces opened wide, full of breathing space and light."

Home of Screaming Software (right) and Ascend (left). As they look in real life. (If they existed.) This setting became the book cover and tied in perfectly, serendipitously, with the narrative.

3rd and Taber SF

Grant Avenue
North Beach

"On one of my trips over to Angela's apartment, I came across a For Rent sign and a phone number in the front window of a first floor flat on upper Grant Avenue. It was around the corner about a block and a half from Angela's place, on the sleepy edge of the 20-hour-a-day verve of North Beach."

Grant Ave

Grant & Green
North Beach

"I'd been shafted by that goddam Screaming place. In retaliation I went down to Grant & Green, the local dive bar where Angela and I played pool, and had eight or nine conciliatory beers. Angela stopped in on her way home from work and had a gin and tonic alongside me. When finished she sucked the pulp out of the lime wedge and dropped the rind into her glass. 'You're hammered,' she declared."

Grant & Green

Franchino Ristorante
North Beach

"As I rolled my eyes I caught a glimpse of Franco, owner of Franchino, coming from the front doorway toward the table. 'Oh, no,' Angela muttered under her breath. From day one Franco had mistaken us for lovers. We tried to correct him early on but ultimately gave up in the face of his firm Sicilian refusal to yield.
'Bellissima..' he exclaimed."

A true family-run place. Franchino 347 Columbus Ave, SF 94133

Franchino Ristorante 347 Columbus Avenue, SF 94133

U.S. Restaurant
North Beach

"Sandy was the reason I ate there on a regular basis instead of at any of the countless other Italian places that lined Columbus Avenue. She was real life, genuine fresh air and smiles, as opposed to the cold bottled oxygen found in most of the other restaurants in pre-millennial San Francisco."

US Restaurant is my lunch spot on the days when I go get my hair cut. US Restaurant 515 Columbus Ave, SF 94133

US Restaurant 515 Columbus Ave, SF 94133

Chapultepec Gallery
(in reality: Polanco)
Hayes Valley

"Through the doorway was the stockroom. There, loosely wrapped Mexican crafts and paintings were laid in unstructured order, pile against pile, wherever there was available space. I turned a dark corner and nearly ran into two people standing locked at the hips and lips.
'Restroom?' one of them asked.
'Yes,' I said.
'Through there.'" He tilted his head.
'Cool.' I set my plastic cup down on a nearby shelf and squeezed around the two men. 'As you were.'"

Another critical setting. This is where Hugo meets Stuart Piers, Angela's mentor. I changed the name because I made one of the owners a real pig. In reality, the owners are great guys and their Mexican art is fantastic.
Polanco Gallery 393 Hayes St, SF 94102

Polanco Gallery

Working Girls Cafe

Days before the turn of the millennium, Hugo runs into his mentor, Stuart Piers, after an uncomfortable revelation from Angela...
"'Grey day,' said a familiar sounding voice from behind me as I stood in line for a sandwich at Working Girls, my favorite grey weather deli, on Mission Street..."

Working Girls Cafe, 101 Mission St., SF

Working Girls Cafe Mission St SFSource: Working Girls SF on Yelp

Bubble Lounge
Financial District

"My roommate, Cal, was well versed in the fine art of seduction and he gave me a piece of advice once: Don't ever sleep with a girl from a bar you like to hang out in. If you want to get laid, go to a bar you normally never go to. That way you don't have to worry about running into a one-night stand in your bar. Keep your bar pure and sexless. Unless the girl's from out of town."

Bubble Lounge 714 Montgomery St, SF 94111

Bubble Lounge 714 Montgomery St, SF 94111

The dreaded 1 California

I used to take this sardine can on wheels when I lived at Taylor and Jackson, on Nob Hill. For an even more assaulting experience, pick up the 30 Stockton at Columbus and Stockton and ride it til Geary St in Union Square. Do this around 3pm. You'll never bitch about sitting in your car stuck in traffic again.

1 California bus

Le Central Bistro
Financial District

"Giggles and Candy and Biff -- I have no idea what their real names were -- all raised their glasses on Stuart's lead and Angela grinned like a princess. I had to grab somebody's glass of water because I didn't have a drink, which caused Giggles to lament, 'Ohhh..,' Then she jabbed Biff on his upper arm with three fingers and said, 'Get him a drink, baby.'"

Hugo calls Le Central an "old world relic" but I still like it. My project team used to have boozy Friday lunches here during the boom.
Le Central 453 Bush St, SF 94108


Stuart Piers’ condo
Nob Hill

"Stuart's place was fuck-you-in-the-ass rich."

Top floor of the tan building in the middle. He doesn't really live there, of course.

Stuarts condo

Mimi Piers’ condo
Nob Hill

"Mimi was seated on a matching loveseat directly across from me, on the other side of the coffee table. Each time I leaned down to take a shrimp she would do the same and our eyes would meet and our flaccid pink crustaceans would touch edges as we swiped them in opposite directions in the ruddy seafood sauce."

She doesn't really live there, either. I took the photo from the Top of the Mark, in the Mark Hopkins hotel, which is always a good spot for a cocktail or two.

Mimis penthouse

Basil Thai

"I imagine towards the end our interaction they were dying to know why every slight scrap of joy had been sucked out of the air between us. It must have clearly gone down as the worst proposal of marriage in the history of Basil Thai Restaurant."

A pivotal scene takes place here in Chapter 10 'Farewell the Lovely'.
Really good pla pow. Basil Thai 1175 Folsom, SF 94103

Basil Thai 1175 Folsom, SF 94103

Other settings - outside of SF

Rivoli Restaurant
Berkeley CA

"When Tamara and I arrived at Hugo's loft I wasn't sure what to expect. Stuart had texted me while we were having dinner at Rivoli..."

Rivoli is my favorite East Bay restaurant. Consistent, delicious and an enveloping atmosphere.

Rivoli Restaurant 1539 Solano Ave Berkeley CA 94707

The Brave Bull
Modesto CA

"The Brave Bull was an anachronism of place and cultures, defiant in its existence among the condescending white Republicanism of the land and the overlay of strong hispanic Catholicism. It was a persistent reminder that the Americas are a land of numerous flavors, not all of which are to everyone's liking."

This is where Stuart meets Ramon, a migrant worker, then later Alejandro, a forklift driver.

The Brave Bull, Modesto CA. Photo by  Happyshooter

Buckshutem, NJ
"My initial public offering took place in Buckshutem, New Jersey, back in 1974. I was born on August 9th, the day Richard Nixon resigned and left the White House in disgrace."

This is a house I snapped a picture of in 2003, somewhere in the vicinity of Millville, NJ, not far from Buckshutem. Millville is the town where Hugo, his father and Aunt Alice lived.