San Francisco, you’ve come a long way, baby. A hundred years ago this month you were on fire, burning for days after a titanic 7.8 magnitude quake shook your very bones for a full minute.

Shake, rattle, roll and burn- that was us Northern Californians a hundred years ago, when San Francisco’s infamous Barbary Coast chugged outrageously along. And on the other side of the trolley tracks, gold panning had panned out for the lucky, who were building massive estates on the city’s hills. Whether you were binging on Barbary Coast pleasures- so bloated on whores and booze that it was easy to shanghai you and throw you in the hull of an outward bound ship. Or whether you were sitting in your counting house counting all your gold nuggets, at exactly 5:12 am on April 18th, your life changed forever. 

Sometimes we celebrate bittersweet anniversaries just to see how far we’ve come. A year’s sobriety; five years cancer free… A hundred years without much comment from the San Andreas Fault. These are bittersweet things to remember, like the messages of Passover and Easter- birth from death, freedom from slavery. A new beginning for the pride of the Pacific coast. Survival is cause for celebration, and Tuesday, April 18th is no exception.

Among the many events scheduled, meeting at 4:30 am Tuesday morning, April 18th, at Lotta’s Fountain on Market and Kearny Streets, one of few post-quake structures left standing where many survivors were reunited, will have the most meaning. Centegenarian quake survivors will be on hand along with our handsome mayor Newsom and an anticipated crowd of 40,000, to commemorate the occasion. An aftershock of sorts, we will all be silently praying to the gods of the Earth’s tectonic plates to cool it for another hundred years at least.

For more info:, "1906: A Novel," a fantastic and fast-paced novel by James Dalessandro in movie pre-production, "San Francisco," a movie starring the luscious Clark Gable as a Barbary Coast casino owner.