Posted by: Mark | February 15, 2009

Going, going, gone…West

Two days after my wife and I got married, we were on a plane heading out to a new life in San Francisco. On a whim a few years earlier we had done a trip down the coast, and fell in love with the idea of moving to California. And what better time to start things anew then right after getting married?

Out here I’ve met great people, including the musician Brent Jordan about whom I have blogged on multiple occasions. His new album Blue Shout Blind has a song called “San Francisco,” which poetically chronicles a story of re-location, almost the exact same as my own, but about his own life. Listening to Brent’s song, and finding such obvious parallels in my own life, the profound non-uniqueness of moving to California hit me pretty hard. The historian in my let my imagination get the better of me, as I started to think of all the people who had come before me to do the same thing. Going west is a part of the American mythical landscape–follow the sunset to prosperity and hope, to sunshine and excitement, and to a happy ending. In fact, ironically enough I took a course in my masters program at Johns Hopkins about the American West and the influence and how powerfully it draws our attention and dreams. And now, I find that I became a part of this same story, yet another young ambitious adventurer who set off to chase the good life, with my lovely wife as my companion.

After a few weeks of a lot of work with long days and short nights, I felt I needed to rekindle my creative side, and so I sat down and sifted through some of the Prelinger Archives found on that offer a huge variety of historical video footage, all available for free download and distribution. I ended up finding myself fascinated with looking at San Francisco as it was being built up and modernized, and of all the people that were forging their own identities while contributing to the new identity of the city. In fact, San Francisco was undergoing the same excited and transformative evolution that its inhabitants were, and continue to do. Today, I hope to be doing it in my own way in a older but still new city. The result is that I ended up playing around with the different videos and having a blast, and setting it to Brent’s song about San Francisco and going west. I think that Brent’s wife withoutmelissa in particular might like this, due to the old-school-ness of the footage.

So with that being said, enjoy this new song from Brent Jordan (the album is out soon, and it rocks) and the accompanying footage of some of the people who came here before I did, in the same way that I did. Enjoy!



  1. Fantastic compilation of footage. Brent sounds eerily similar to Eddie Vedder – reminds me of the acoustic tracks on Into The Wild. You seen the film?

  2. well done!!!

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