The Soft White Sixties’ Brick and Mortar Residency Starts Tonight

Tonight, The Soft White Sixties kick off the first night of their month-long residency at Brick & Mortar. It’s going to be sweaty, it’s going to be funky, and it will mark a much anticipated hometown show for a band that spent 2014 touring all over the US. 

The first time I saw Soft White Sixties was at a SoFarSounds show. For the uninitiated, SoFar sounds hosts intimate shows in apartments, houses, and warehouses across the world.

TSWS tried to keep their soulful funk tunes to living-room level dynamics. But the deeper they sank into grooves, the rowdier the crowd grew.

Quickly, an acoustic show in the outrageously fancy Pacific Palisades neighborhood, feet away from Billionaires Row, turned into a party. When a private security guard from a nearby mansion told the concert organizer to keep it down, savvy audience members grabbed a mattress and propped it up against the french doors behind TSWS to muffle the sound dispersion. The impromptu sound padding held up for long enough for them to play an encore.

Now they’re bringing all that energy to their hometown crowd in a venue that can actually contain their sound—Brick and Mortar. Don’t miss this one (or four) this month. Grab your tickets here.

[Photo: The Soft White Sixties]

Calling Bullshit

It'd Be Nice if Valencia Street Restaurants Stopped Blaming the Minimum Wage for Their Failures

It was reported today that Valencia Street beer hall and restaurant Abbot’s Cellar will close at the end of January. In an interview with SFist, co-partner Nat Cutler trots out the tired excuse that his decision to close the restaurant was a response to the voter approved increase in the minimum wage:

While the restaurant was very well received, the long-term sustainability just wasn’t there — and that’s before two recent wage increases: 3% in January (2015), and 14% from 2014 levels in May.

This is not the first time we’ve seen a restaurant owner use the looming specter of a minimum wage increase to justify closing shop. But despite owners’ protestations to the contrary, there’s a more likely reason for these Valencia Street closures. Local blogger/dude Mr. Eric Sir puts it succinctly:


In other words, perhaps there’s just too damn many of them.

Restaurants are, quite famously, one of the riskiest business ventures one can embark on. In recent months, we’ve seen a few high-profile places along Valencia shutter. It’s not unreasonable: the street is saturated with restaurants certain they’re worthy of a place in the foodie pantheon, yet that are unable to draw a steady crowd. Empty tables lead to loses and eventually restaurants give up and shut down. But instead of owning failure (or just closing quietly a la Grub), sometimes owners throw a fit and attempt to excuse it away.

Take Abbot’s Cellar: a four-dollar-sign reclaimed-wood nightmare that opened in 2012. While they originally benefited from a bit of hype, their tables didn’t remain full for long. Now they’re shutting down with the stated reason that the city raised the minimum wage, not that customers didn’t dig their dishes.

We understand that Cutler is likely bummed about the closure of his restaurant, a sentiment probably shared by other owners when the decision to shutter is made, but that doesn’t excuse the ongoing efforts to cast the minimum wage in the role of villain.

[Photo: Abbot’s Cellar]


New Bus Line First of Many Changes Planned for 16th Street

Muni is moving forward with plans to launch a new bus line in the Mission at the end of January. This is the first of many planned changes along the 16th Street corridor that share the end goal of reducing commute time for those traveling to and from the UCSF Mission Bay Campus.

According to Streetsblog, the new line (the 55) is being “presented to the SFMTA Board of Directors for approval on Tuesday” and would run east from 16th Street BART all the way to Mission Bay. Other proposed changes to 16th include “transit-only lanes and bus bulb-outs” (pictured above).

Curiously, the above rendering of the post-renovation 16th Street assumes the controversial 10-story condo development planned for the 16th Street BART plaza is a done deal. The image is from the viewpoint of an individual on 16th Street (at Mission) looking west—as such, the Burger King should be on the right. Instead, we see what appears to be a representation of the 10-story condo. We can all be glad that that issue is settled.

[Rendering: Streetsblog]


Man With "Replica Gun" Is Shot and Killed By Officers At Mission Police Station

Various sources are reporting that Valencia Street between 17th and 18th is entirely shut down after an officer-involved shooting that took place earlier this evening.

According to Mission Local:

An assailant in the parking lot of the Mission District Police Station on Valencia pulled out a gun this evening and fired at police officers in the lot before being hit by police fire.

Hadley Robinson, a former editor of Mission Local, said she was 10 feet away on Valencia near the police station at around 5:25 p.m. when she heard police saying, “back up or put your hands up,” to a man who was in the parking lot with some officers.

Robinson said she was unconcerned and did not think the man had a gun. Then, he backed up into the middle of Valencia Street, pulled out a gun and opened fire. “There were a bunch of rounds between him and the police and somehow they (the police) got him down, he was not dead, but they had him on the ground,” she said.

More than a dozen police quickly emerged onto the streets, closing off Valencia at 17th Street and clearing the streets.


In speaking with reporters, Police Chief Greg Suhr stated that the weapon in question was a BB gun.


The San Francisco Chronicle is now reporting that the 32-year-old man accused of pulling a “replica gun” on police officers has died.


According to the latest reports, the man did not in fact fire at police officers. Mission Local is now reporting that “[one] eyewitness said the suspect opened fire, but [Police Chief Greg Suhr] said later that he was not aware of shots being fired by the suspect.”

This post’s headline has been updated to reflect ongoing developments. 

[Photo: Hadley Robinson]

A Different Kind Of Foodie Corridor

The Mission Is About to Get Another Grocery Store

The Mission may soon have another grocery store to call its own. The owners of Haight Street Market are planning to open “Gus’s Community Market” in an industrial space on the corner of 17th and Harrison.

SocketSite reports:

As proposed, the 10,000 square-foot market “and accessory restaurant” would be roughly half the size of a smallish Whole Foods, and twenty (20) of the building’s existing off-street parking spaces would be dedicated to the store.

Currently zoned for Production, Distribution, and Repair (PDR) rather retailing, San Francisco’s Planning Commission will need to approve a requested change in use for the grocery to open, the hearing for which has been scheduled for January 15.

Just a few short blocks away from Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods, Safeway, and Foods Co, the decision to drop another grocery store in an area already dense with them seems puzzling—perhaps even more so when one considers that the DeLano’s on South Van Ness has remained empty since late 2010.

But with an outside counter (depicted below), Gus’s Community Market may at the very least become a favorite hangout spot for people grabbing a bite at the taco truck parked semi-permanently across the street.

[Top Photo: Google Maps | Rendering: SocketSite]


Student Beaten Unconscious By SFPD for Riding Bike on Sidewalk is Suing City

D’Paris Williams, who in November of 2013 was pulled from his home and beaten unconscious by SFPD for the crime of riding his bicycle on the sidewalk outside of Valencia Gardens, is suing the city and three police officers in Federal Court. Williams, who at the time of the incident was a 20-year-old City College student, is seeking “punitive damages for excessive force, assault and battery, unlawful arrest, unlawful seizure, and civil rights violations.”

Photographer Travis Jensen reported on the story at the time:

Yesterday afternoon, while riding his bicycle home from the Make A Wish Foundation’s “Bat Kid” happenings, DJ was confronted by two undercover police officers in an unmarked vehicle at the Valencia Gardens Apartments in the City’s Mission District. Apparently, the officers said something to DJ about riding his bicycle on the sidewalk as he was pulling up to his home in the complex. It is unclear whether the officers identified themselves or not, but did proceed to get out of their car, grab DJ from behind as he was entering the home and beat him for no apparent reason. A police search uncovered a cupcake and juice that DJ had just purchased from the corner store.

Williams was later arraigned in SF Superior Court on five separate charges that could have resulted in up to 12 years in prison, but the District Attorney quickly discharged the case following the release of cellphone video showing Williams screaming in pain.

Notably absent from the reporting at the time was any comment from Williams, who was beaten so badly that a source told Uptown Almanac that he “[looked] like he was in a bad car accident” and was unable to speak to the press. We now finally get to hear from Mr. Williams. Via Courthouse News:

No sooner had he entered him home than he heard someone say, “Come here,” Williams says.

He turned and saw the three defendant police officers, all in plainclothes: Gregory Skaug, Milen Banegas and Theodore Polovina, according to the complaint.

Without identifying themselves as police, Kraug told him he had to come out of the house “because he rode his bicycle on the sidewalk,” Williams says.

He says he apologized for riding his bike on the sidewalk, but said the officers “had no right to ask him to come outside of his house.”

But they reached inside, dragged him out, punched him in the face and in the back of the neck more than 5 times, causing him to lost consciousness. When he awoke, he says, they were choking him.

They cuffed him and took him to the cop shop, then finally to San Francisco General Hospital, Williams says. He spent three days in jail, charged with resisting arrest, assault with force and riding his bike on the sidewalk.

Considering that all charges against Williams were dropped, and the video of the aftermath, it appears likely he has a solid case against the city.

[Portrait by Travis Jensen]

24th Street

High Winds Down Trees Across the Mission

Today’s high winds downed several trees across the Mission, with 24th Street hit particularly hard. The above picture shows 24th at Treat Avenue (right outside of Blind Cat). 

Then there’s just up the hill in Noe Valley:

And with the National Weather Service issuing a wind advisory through midday tomorrow, we could be seeing more fallen trees across the city. It’s a good thing then that everyone is paying super close attention with the very Bay Area #hellawind hashtag.

[Photo: ramunerastonis]


The Bold Italic Managed to Get Their Employees' Social Security Numbers Stolen

On the evening of December 13th (or in the early morning of December 14th) the offices of The Bold Italic suffered a break in and were burglarized. In addition to the theft of computers, “paper documents” containing employees’ personal information were also stolen.

As detailed in a letter sent out by The Bold Italic to its employees notifying them of the incident, the documents contained names, social security numbers, email addresses and home addresses of The Bold Italic employees and independent contractors. It is worth noting that most of the writers for The Bold Italic are independent contractors.  

And while it is perhaps unusual that “paper documents” were taken alongside more commonly thieved items such as computers, it should come as no surprise to the taste makers at The Bold Italic—after all, handcrafted paper documents are so much more authentic than their digital counterparts. 


"Slow Fashion" Comes to San Francisco

Proving once more that appending the word “slow” to an existing thing is a way to get noticed, the San Francisco Chronicle clues us in on the next big thing to hit the SF scene: slow fashion. What is slow fashion, you ask? The Chronicle explains:

It’s not about large volume on the cheap. It’s about quality over quantity, said Janet Lees, a senior director at SFMade, a local manufacturing advocacy group.

“It’s small batch, high quality, limited edition, customizable,” Lees said. “You can’t compete on low price points. That’s not what’s being manufactured in San Francisco. It’s really artisanal manufacturing.” […]

“Just like we’ve had this huge movement of slow food,” [founder of Jeanne-Marc clothing company Jeanne Allen] said, “now people want slow fashion.”

Reading like a Kinfolk SEO campaign, the “local manufacturing advocacy group” proclaimed trend should be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise us if a Bold Italic piece on “artisanal clothing” is already in the works.

[Photo: SFMade]