Dance Dance Dance

Permitted Or Not, Robot Dance Party Will Perform In Dolores Park This Weekend

With or without a permit, Robot Dance Party will be back at Dolores Park this weekend. So says Chris Hirst, the man behind (and inside) the much-loved robot.

Since the reopening of the northern half of Dolores Park on June 18th, RDP has been ejected from the park on several occasions. Park rangers claimed that the party robot needed an amplified sound permit to continue shaking his circuits in Dolores—a hard reality for the robot’s many fans.

This lack of permitting, something that in the pre-renovation park had never been a concern, even led to the robot being escorted out of the Dolores by rangers on at least one occasion.

In an email exchange with Uptown Almanac, Hirst detailed the bureaucratic hoops—including meeting with Supervisor Scott Wiener—he has continued to jump through trying to get the proper paperwork. However, even his meeting with Wiener and various city officials has not resulted in his receiving the permit the city says is required.

Instead, it seems that Hirst will make do with a temporary solution.

“They’ve gotten held up in getting the permit issued but I’ve been given special documentation which will allow me to perform in the park tomorrow.”

When pressed as to what “special documentation” he had received, Hirst went into additional detail.

“A written directive went out to all the park rangers from the head of patrols to leave me alone while they work out the details upstairs.  I’ll be posting a copy of it on the Robot tomorrow, in case someone missed the memo :)”

It seems that the new Dolores Park is just as welcoming as the old park to the characters that make it great—that is if you are somehow able to secure a meeting with a member of the Board of Supervisors and then have a special directive issued to park rangers on your behalf.

That’s just the problem. It shouldn’t take a special directive issued by the city for Hirst to be able to perform in Dolores Park. That’s absurd. And yet here we are.

Video: Jean Chiu

Cars Cars Cars Cars & Some More Cars

Video Of Drivers Responding to The Wiggle Stop-In


Here’s footage we caught of some of the dangerous situations created by drivers of automobiles during the Stop-In. Apparently, Capt. Sanford and Mayor Lee feel these should be the daily conditions on the Wiggle.

Posted by The Wigg Party on Friday, July 31, 2015
The Wigg Party, the organization behind Wednesday’s “Wiggle Stop-In,” posted a video demonstrating how some motorists responded when confronted with cyclists fully complying with traffic laws. As the video shows, several drivers reacted dangerously.
Bikes & Police

Student Beaten Unconscious by SFPD For Riding Bike on Sidewalk Settles Federal Lawsuit Against City

D’Paris Williams, the student who in 2013 was beaten unconscious outside of Valencia Gardens by plainclothes SFPD officers for the crime of riding his bike on the sidewalk, has settled his federal lawsuit against the city for $20,000.

Williams was originally charged with crimes that could have resulted in up to 12 years in prison, with his bicycle being considered a deadly weapon. The charges were soon dropped, however, after bystander cell-phone video of the incident surfaced online.

Kron4 reports on the settlement:

Oakland-based civil rights attorney John Burris, who has represented clients in numerous police misconduct cases in the Bay Area, represented Williams and filed the lawsuit late last year. A settlement agreement was reached in May and the case was dismissed on Monday.

San Francisco city attorney’s spokeswoman Andrea Guzman said today that the city was able to settle the case before either side incurred significant expenses litigating it.

After being beaten and subdued by police, Williams was found to be in possession of a cupcake.

[Screen Grab: Rasta Dave]

Bikes Bikes Bikes Bikes & Some More Bikes

Law-Abiding Cyclists Snarl Traffic During Last Night's Wiggle Stop-In

Last night’s Wiggle Stop-In brought well over a hundred cyclists out in protest to the highly-trafficked bike route known as The Wiggle. The event, planned by a community organization called The Wigg Party, was an attempt to demonstrate the effect on traffic of every cyclist coming to a full and complete stop at each stop sign along The Wiggle.

The protest was in response to a recently announced plan by SFPD Park Station Captain John Sanford to target cyclists and pedestrians for ticketing in popular areas like the Panhandle and The Wiggle. Captain Sanford has been accused of intentionally misconstruing guidelines originally designed to protect pedestrians and bikers in order to crackdown on cyclists who fail to follow the letter of the law when stopping at intersections. 

Morgan Fitzgibbons, the man behind both The Wigg Party and last night’s Critical Manners, explained to Uptown Almanac the goal of the Wiggle Stop-In.

“We are demonstrating the absurdity of the stop sign law as applied to bicyclists. Our goal is to get the Idaho Stop adopted as law in San Francisco.”

The Idaho Stop refers to the Idaho law which allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, and red lights as stop signs.

And in what will come as a surprise to no one, some motorists became upset when confronted with cyclists stopping fully at every stop sign. Several drivers, like the taxi pictured below, whipped around the queued bikers and gunned it the wrong way to escape the scourge of law-abiding cyclists.

That the taxi almost hit an oncoming car didn’t appear to faze the driver, who then proceeded erratically through the intersection. 

With the stated goal of gathering fifty to one hundred cyclists well surpassed, last night’s turnout exceeded organizers’ expectations. What remains to be seen is what effect, if any, the protest will have on Captain Sanford. With District 5 Supervisor London Breed coming out in favor of the Idaho Stop, Sanford has some political cover should he decide to back away from his anti-cyclist/anti-pedestrian stance. Then again, maybe he’ll just write the Supervisor a ticket the next time he sees her rolling a stop.

Calle 24

In A Bid to Block Large Restaurants, New Development Restrictions Come to 24th Street

The Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 yesterday in favor of placing temporary restrictions on development along the Mission’s 24th Street Corridor. The new restrictions, which prohibit “commercial storefront mergers of greater than 799 gross square feet,” are specifically designed to prevent investors from buying up adjacent units, knocking down the connecting walls, and then leasing out the newly-formed larger spaces at high rates.    

The 45-day interim restrictions are a win for Calle 24, who lobbied the Board of Supervisors on behalf of the measure. Calle 24, having succeeded in getting 24th Street between Potrero and Mission Street designated as a Latino Cultural District, is actively working to “prevent another Valencia” on 24th Street. 

In a July 7th email to supporters, Calle 24th detailed what they believe to be the start of a problematic trend—one that the organization hopes will be forestalled by the passage of yesterday’s measure:

We are seeing a trend by investor type restaurants that wish to combine retail space for restaurant use. We lost two retails spaces to a restaurant (near 24th and Hampshire), we fought and saved GGTukay and St. Peters book store, when a restaurant offered the Archdiocese 100k to evict them and combine the spaces. Usulatan Restaurant after 25 years and the Church of Worship were also evicted and are in the process to combine (@ 24th and Harrison St.) Near 24th and Bryant (Arkay Workshop left when they raised the rent from $2900 to $4500) both retail spaces are now being considered to combine for restaurant.

$10,0000,$11,000 and $8,000 a month are being asked for the rents.  El Riconcito Nicaraguense had a rent increase from $3,150 to $8,150 and will probably need to close. This will increase rents further for all businesses in the area. Small family mom and pop business can not compete with these investors and will eventually price everyone out and change the culture of 24th.

Supervisor Scott Wiener was the sole dissenting vote against the measure, which was sponsored by both Supervisor Campos and Mayor Lee.

[Photo: CTG/SF]


NIMBY's Still Complaining About Dolores Park

In what is sure to come as an absolute shock (SHOCK) to everyone, neighbors are still complaining about the popularity of Dolores Park. Well, at least one neighbor, anyway. The above pictured flyers were recently distributed around the Dolores Park area in protest of the “large amount of people” coming to the park every weekend. It seems that the numerous renovations, added restrooms, and social media campaign to #lovedolores have done nothing to decrease the park’s popularity. Who’da thunk. 

If you’ve been waiting for a chance to complain, in person, to the President of the Recreation & Park Department Mark Buell about the “lack of parking” surrounding the park well then here’s your chance. According to the flyer, Buell will be on the corner of 19th and Dolores Street at 4:30 PM on August 6th.

I’ll bring the truffles.

[Photo: Justin Bigelow]

Bad News

The Dark Room Theater to Close at The End of August

It seems The Dark Room Theater, the rad venue on Mission Street that did everything from live Twilight Zone episodes to Bad Movie Night is closing. From the venue’s Facebook page (emphasis added):

Effective today, 7/25/15, The Dark Room Theater, LLC will no longer be taking any new rentals. We will work with any outstanding rentals on options, in some cases we may need to cancel those shows, that will be the exception for the immediate future. All of our full length shows are on indefinite hold, with no plans to produce in the future at this time. […]At the end of August we will officially cease to operate in any capacity as The Dark Room Theater. Jim Fourniadis will be posting later today to thank everyone for their years of service and help, love, and just generally allowing such a unique and amazing place to stay alive for all these years. […]

It has been an honor getting to know everyone over the years, and I hope people are able to maintain dignity and composure as we move through this. It’s a shame to lose people we considered friends, but already even we’ve begun to see lines drawn, and I URGE EVERYONE to stop this behavior at once. This is not the time for petty bullshit. […]

If you don’t like what we stood for, or what we tried to do, we kindly ask that you please leave us alone. This is a highly emotional situation for at least the core group directly affected, and we would love to think that love, not hate, can triumph in the world.

We seek no revenge on whomever sent in the initial complaint, have no desire to speculate. We want to move forward as loving humans and just grow from this experience. Thank you all again, and I personally wish you all the best in everything that you do.

This theater saved my life. I owe it my upcoming marriage. There is a hole in my heart as we part ways yet hope in my eyes that something good will come from this.

Please be well,
Sean D Wigglesworth

Sean went into additional detail in a comment on his original post announcing the closure, explaining that the venue was not shut down. Rather, the closure was a decision they made based on safety concerns. From the comment:

Jim, Tess and I (Sean) made the decision to shut the doors on the business side. We were not ‘shut down’ by the city. With everything that’s happened in the last few years, it was clear that in terms of priorities the HIGHEST focus was making sure the space can continue to support the artists that live there, SAFELY. Key word there is safely, and as many of you know we were struggling recently to try and rectify some safety issues in the theater.

[Photo: Save Me, San Francisco]

Bike To Nowhere Day

Group Plans Wiggle Shutdown In Protest of Planned Police Crackdown on Cyclists

Grab the popcorn—this is going to be good. A group calling itself The Wigg Party has announced plans for a “wiggle stop-in” to take place during rush hour on Wednesday, July 29th. What does that mean, you ask? From the event page (emphasis added):

We think it’s ludicrous that SFPD Park Station is diverting precious resources towards trying to make sure every cyclist comes to a full and complete stop at every stop sign.

Not only should those resources be directed toward curbing behavior that is actually dangerous (like people driving 2,000 lb cars rolling every single stop sign or speeding on every single street), but the law requiring cyclists stop at stop signs is simply lazy, misguided, and not at all reflective of behavior required to operate a bicycle safely (we of course endorse the Idaho Stop law which allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and requires them to stop when others have the right of way).

In fact, if cyclists came to a full and complete stop at every stop sign, it would have disastrous effects to traffic patterns and precious “Level of Service.” And that’s what we intend to show.

On Wednesday July 29th from 5:30-6:30 pm, please join us for our first Wiggle Stop-In event. We want to gather 50-100 cyclists to ride around the Wiggle/Lower Haight and stop at every stop sign in single file order. We want to make the point that, in fact, requiring cyclists to come to full stops at every stop sign is a really terrible idea for everyone on the road. […]

Let’s show Capt. John Sanford of Park Station that his choice to crack down on cyclists who aren’t following the letter of the law not only doesn’t make anyone safer but actually would create terrible conditions on our roads.

The “stop-in” is in protest of a recently announced plan from SFPD Park Station Captain John Sanford to increase ticketing of cyclists and pedestrians in areas like the Panhandle and The Wiggle.

[Photo: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition]


Robot Dance Party Weighs In on Startup That Trashed Dolores Park

Twice, a Mission District based startup, recently got acquired. And so, like any other self-respecting group of twenty/thirty-somethings newly flush with cash, they threw themselves a party—and trashed Dolores Park in the process. According to SF Weekly:

A tipster tells SF Weekly that Twice, a Mission District clothing resale startup hot off being bought up by eBay, was out in Dolores Park yesterday in full celebration mode, drinking champagne, eating pizza, and launching confetti in the air. But when the party was over, the park remained covered in their refuse, with one Twice co­founder chalking the affair up to ”#startuplife.” […]

At the end of the party, Twice co­founder and CTO Calvin Young Instagrammed the aftermath, with confetti poppers and gently crushed beer cans in front of his immaculate shoes, writing, “Post party aftermath @ #dolorespark #pbr #startuplife.”

It didn’t take long for the much-loved Robot Dance Party, who has since the park’s reopening been repeatedly ejected from it, to point out the absurdity of the situation:

[Photo: SF Weekly]



Roosevelt Tamale Parlor Building on Market Again, Up $1.35 Million After 5 Months

The building housing Roosevelt Tamale Parlor is back on the market. It was just five months ago that the 24th Street building was sold for $1.85 million. And now it seems like that price was a bargain. According to SocketSite:

While the Tamale Parlor remains in place and is turning a profit at its current rent [of $4,500 per month with a long-term lease], the two [upstairs] flats have since been emptied of tenants and renovated.

And the entire building at 2817 24th Street, at the heart of Calle 24, is now back on the market with a $3.2 million price tag.

That the price of the building jumped 73% in five short months is sure to turn heads. And while Roosevelt Tamale Parlor may have a long-term lease (at least according to SocketSite), the new listing price suggests that the Parlor may have some trouble whenever their lease does expire. 

[Photo: Hollyce Jeffriess]