A San Francisco (Re)Treat: 2

826 Valencia! My favorite pirate supply shop / writing development center! 826 Valencia is a non-profit organization founded by Dave Eggers – author, founder of McSweeney’s, and all around literary celebrity – to help students of all ages develop their writing skills. From its inception, 826 was intended to be strictly a non-profit, but the zoning regulations on that block of Valencia required a commerical store front. Filling an important niche in the San Francisco marketplace, the 826 pirate supply shop was thus born; selling flags, glass eyes, peg legs, eye patches, mops, and everything else you’ll need to become the scourge of the Bay, with all profits going straight to the writing center at the rear of the shop. 826 Valencia has proven to be an extremely successfull and popular prgram, and has thus far spawned two satellite programs: 826 NYC (also home to The Brooklyn Superhero Supply co.), and 826 LA.

That mural on the outside of the building? That’s done by none other than the incredibly talented Chicago-based artist, Chris Ware. Do yourself a favor and click this thumbnail for a bigger image. If you haven’t checked out his “ACME Novelty Library” or his “Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, I strongly recommend you do so. The man is one of the greatest innovators in comics – his art and writing are amazing. Ware takes exception care in creating detailed worlds, perfectly capturing the moods of his characters and the passage of time. His pacing and panel work is more than cinematic – it’s true poetry.

How could I leave out an interior shot of 826? Trap doors, aquariums, treasure chests and hot girls abound!