It's not that San Francisco is a natural stamping ground for the devil -- we'd guess that Lucifer would gravitate more toward Las Vegas or Bayonne, New Jersey -- but our liberal acceptance of all stripes of freakiness has traditionally meant that Satanists and other anti-Christians have found settling here relatively trouble-free. Get to know these bygone blasphemers at Heaven and Hell Part 1: "Hell on Wheels," a spooky San Francisco Bicycle Coalition ride past various occult locales.
You may have heard that Jim Jones' People's Temple was headquartered here, or that Anton LaVey conducted numerous Church of Satan rituals from his notorious Richmond District "Black House," or that menacing cult leader Charles Manson supposedly hooked up with the diabolical Process Church of the Final Judgment in Cole Valley just months before he and his "Family" started knocking people off. But have you seen the sites where they accomplished their demonic deeds? Embrace evil at 11 a.m. at McLaren Lodge, Stanyan & Fell, S.F. Admission is free; call 431-2453 or visit www.sfbike.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
The joys of downtown S.F. can, like those of any great city, best be appreciated while on foot. Cable cars or no cable cars, nothing beats standing on fancy sidewalks and getting a crick in your neck ogling pretty architecture. Although the Art Deco Walking Tour of Downtown San Francisco could be canceled due to inclement weather, we're hoping that because spring is here (knock on wood), you won't have to worry about that. Concentrate instead on the grand towers of commerce built in the 1920s and '30s, with their majestic facets and gleaming tile work. The tour is led by a guide from the Art Deco Society, and begins at 11 a.m. at 450 Sutter (at Stockton), S.F. The cost is free-$10; call 982-3326 or visit www.art-deco.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Row, row, row your boat in Oakland
We're going to let you in on a little secret about rowing. Everybody knows that piloting a boat is one of the best ways to get chummy with wind, water, and sea life. What you may not realize is that rowing also provides the kind of rippling, six-pack gut muscles normally seen only on fitness machine infomercials. Reacquaint yourself with your upper-body musculature at the Lake Merritt Rowing Club's monthly sculling classes.
The two-day primer covers equipment handling, safety, and proper stroke form, plus remedial information on docking and getting in and out of the boat (for the pathetic klutz in us all). Classes start at 9:30 a.m. at the Lake Merritt Rowing Club Boathouse, 1520 Lakeside (at 14th St.), Oakland. Fees are $100 and reservations and a swim test are required; call (510) 834-6293 or visit www.rowlakemerritt.org.
-- Joyce Slaton