Monday, April 21, 2014

Chris Hayashi Goes Out in Song

In keeping with her tradition of never quite doing anything like anyone else, the former Director of Taxi Services Christiane Hayashi (as the White Rabbit in photo) turned her retirement party into a buffet concert.

The food, which was contributed by people from Russia, Brazil, Africa and Latin America among other places, would've fed four times the hundred or so of Chris's friends who stopped by.

The bands which came from Burma, Russia, Africa, Brazil among other countries played rock music as well as works from their native lands. Each was better than the other and they were all good. Several musicains also played with other groups.

Chris also led her own band – The Temporary Hails – in a variety of numbers. She's seen here practicing with Christopher Fulkerson.

There was also some of the usual retirement business;

Chris saying goodbye to her team.

Chris introducing new Deputy Director Kate Toran.

Chris being given an award by President Tom Nolan & Vice President Cheryl Brinkman of the SFMTA Board.

Chris also was given a Taxi Goddess award by Mark Gruberg of the United Taxicab Workers.

 Mark gave a short speech saying that he had originally been against Director Hayashi when she took over because he was against selling medallions. But he gradually came to realize what a great leader she had been for taxicab drivers and the industry.

On a similar note, Chris told a story about me. She said that I was against her when she originally started and that I showed up at a meeting with a tape recorder so I could get something on her. Then, over time, I came to see her point of view, much like Gruberg.

While being a little paranoid can be advantageous for people in public life, she was worrying about the wrong antagonist with me. From the first moment I talked to her, I understood what an extraordinary individual she was. After all the clowns we've had running this industry for the last 30 years, I couldn't believe that they'd actually put someone as talented, intelligent, open-minded and passionate in charge.

Although we've had our disagreements over the years, Chis has always scored 5.0 with me. The reason I had the tape recorder is that I'm lousy note-taker (it's almost as bad as my proofreading) and I wanted to make sure that I quoted her accurately.

BTW – My wretched note-taking explains why I couldn't remember the name of the driver below who was awarded for picking up the most (by far) disabled riders. Fortunately, Kate Toran knows his name. It's Fred Lein.

But I do know that it's Barry Korengold juggling in the dark.

And Buzz Brooks singing a funny satire on tncs.

And that it was Iza Mah who sang lead on "Hit the Road Jack" and was a great backup singer and dynamic dancer for "The temporary Hails."

As for the rest, I'm on shaky ground. If you know who you are please let me know.

I thought that this was the Burmese Band but they sang in Mandarin. So???

Maybe this was the Burmese Band?

These guys are from Africa and sang in a language that's older than English. They play at the Fairmont if you're interesting in champagne brunch on Sunday morning. It includes caviar. 

The singer is from Russia and has a voice so deep that he makes me sound like a tenor.

This the only non-cab driver performer. He's an insurance agent and played a folk song that he said was 168 years old. It's one everyone knew and clapped along with. English versions are usually called, "Those were the days ..."

These people were all great whoever they were.

One highlight for me personally was watching post-modern, classical composer Dr. Christopher Fulkerson (PH.D.) play rock guitar with his teeth. A composition of his was also played over the sound system. As a backup singer for "The Temporary Hails," the professor also put on some creative dance moves – the likes of which I've never seen before.

Chris and a city attorney sang country. The flags represent places drivers come from.

Chris dedicated a rousing version of "I Will Survive" to somebody named Tariq. She and "The Temporary Hails" also played and danced Ike and Tina Turner's "Proud Mary," Ray Charles' "What'd I Say"and a few other songs.

As the Irish blessing goes:

"May the road ride up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand."

It won't be the same without you Chris.

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