Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mario's World

Last night we stayed at the Good Nite Inn in the Midway District of San Diego. We were on the third floor and noticed that next door off of Hancock Street was a curious structure, or rather, a curious facility. It was a small main structure facing Hancock Street with a back patio bounded by that building on the south, the common wall with our motel on the north, an adjacent structure's stucco wall on the west, and a heavily painted motor home walled off the east side of the patio. The patio was atmospherically lit with various colors of lights which revealed mysterious-looking statuary or at least the nocturnal effect made the statuary look a bit ominous in a horror show sort of way. My imagination went wild with what it was all about.

Jannine and I decided last night we would check the place out this morning... which we did. I walked around the corner from our motel and conducted recon before Jannine and Patsy arrived. The proprietor was sunning himself just outside the front door when I arrived at what turned out to be the Hancock Street Cafe. He was affable.... and was serving coffee and breakfast. Bingo! I assured him I would soon return with my ladies. I gathered them up and ushered them forth to this funky place. What follows are the images I captured in the order they were taken as we approached and entered and lurked around this wondrous den of quirky California-dom.
 *Note: here are some other related adventures experienced on this trip:

This was the scene as we approached a parallel universe inhabited by a man named Mario at its center.
Mario has a distinct style of which part of that distinctiveness is its eclectic indistinctiveness.
the chair in which Mario sat when I first saw him. That is his likeness painted on the door.
Mario Waclawski holding court...
....or should I say Super Mario.
Click on this image to enlarge it in order to read it. There are many such accolades on the walls here.
The courtyard where Mario holds court.... the place which intrigued Jannine and I last night.
The creepy-looking statues from last night turned out to be Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr. This morning they didn't seem so ominous, but in the Sunday morning sunlight seemed more eclectically charming.
The previously-mentioned motor home with Jannine posing with Lady Liberty.
All painting at this establishment was done by Mario's artist daughter.
Oh, did I neglect to mention the Elvis Presley statue?
This table and booth command the space of the patio and is my favorite feature there.
One of two coolio back-roomy feeling spaces featured at the Hancock Street Cafe. Art in various forms is everywhere.
The passage between the aforementioned two rooms.
The other funky back-roomy space.
Patsy photographing Jannine with Marilyn.
Having grieved for his wife, Mario is now looking for a "Tortilla Lady."
Herbie Hancock posing with Mario (not the other way around) ..... who owns Hancock Street Cafe.
I love Mario's daughter's painting style....
...... which is everywhere.
Mario presenting our special pizza....
.... a breakfast pizza!
And then it happened....
...... we got serenaded while we ate our breakfast pizza.... with Mexican Coke for me.
Mario really got into it.
Mario showing some of his moves from his across-the-nation cancer awareness walk in honor of his late wife Joanna. He dressed up for the journey and apparently sometimes walked like Charlie Chaplin while dressed with a hat and round glasses.
After breakfast, Mario and I drank Polish Żywiec beer together.
Sated by Polish beer and breakfast pizza for church I walked out front and shot some more images.
Every surface and nook and cranny of Mario's world has some eclectic detail(s).
At center of the little round red table under the flowers is a vinyl album imbedded in its surface.
If lived in San Diego I would make this place a daily part of my routine.
This place and most if not all its spaces are filled with nick-nacks like these.... each with a story I'm sure.
This bike is incorporated into this booth and table. It is also the same one his daughter is pictured sitting on a few images down.
I love his daughter's painting.
My flash lit this room up but it was very dark this day giving a feeling of being a nocturnal space.
The same went for this room as well.... here Mario entertains again.
A cheeky gnome.... who invites you to kiss it.
Marilyn, Mario and Coke... what a combo!
But one of the multitudinous newspaper clippings on the walls here featuring Mario's cross-nation trip.
Basic Menu but hardly all that is featured here.
Mario with his son and daughter... she sitting on the aforementioned motorcycle.
Another Mario article.
Even the bathroom here is artsy... I'd expect nothing less here.
A well-known Obama impersonator I've seen on TV who once came into the Hancock Street Cafe and initially tricked Mario into believing he was President Obama.
All images by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

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