Tourist Gouging Pro Tips

Cupcakes May Not be Hot in SF, But Sugar is Still Sweet and Money is Still Green

The cupcake cultural wave started when ripples from gumdrops falling on buttercream emanated from the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, crested next over the carb skepticism of Californians in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and from there reflected back inland to the very places where the Midwestern Nice tradition of creatively home-baked desserts they worked so hard to idealize originated.

A simple, inexpensive foodstuffs that offered a broad palette for expression, accessible materials and skills, high margins and fast, portable consumption; it’s a delicious narrative of the glroious triumph or inevitable decline of American consumer capitalism, depending on how you feel about such things.  Which is not to discount that magical time when risk-taking adventurer-entrepreneurs conjured streetfood and storefront glamour from flour and sugar in transitioning neighborhoods, or an industry that offers opportunity to do business in a culture that can’t afford to dismiss the feminine.  We do all deserve a fabulous break from time to time, and these Easter cupcakes from Mission Minis are fucking adorable.

The swells of confectionary have probably already met in Bloomington and Lawrence by now, so San Francisco can count on pilgrimmages of acolytes to the sweet sources of inspiration for some time even as our own interest ebbs and the returning flood tide is attenuated by distance.  Visitors might never be able to afford a place in the Marina or Cow Hollow, but like Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris, they can partake in the Cupcake Tour of San Francisco. A relatively affordable luxury at $50, it’s a great chance to meet like-minded hyperglycemics while studying the trends and rituals of our petit bourgeoisie up close for cultural souvenirs to carry home as stories and style tips.

So bonjour et bon voyage, cupcakenauts! And please remember to tip your tour guides.

[Photo: Cups and Cakes Bakery]

Another Dive Bar Down

The Attic Unceremoniously Closes

Well, it finally happened.  After years of rumors, the beloved smelly dive closed up their doors without notice and took down their sign Monday.  The Bold Italic reports:

Attic regular Andy Pastalaniec heard the news of the bar’s shuttering yesterday during his lunch break. He made it over in time to find Howell and bartender Keith packing up and taking down the bar. “I documented the unceremonious removal of the sign out front. After work I stopped by and hung out with a handful of regulars and Keith, and we had a minor send-off. I had to leave as Keith was about to kick everyone out and close up for good.”

By Monday evening, Pastalaniec told me, “the sign was gone, the gate was locked, and the Attic, a truly unique place that played a huge part in my life in San Francisco, was gone.”

As we reported in November, the bar was facing serious structural issues, and the landlord refused to invest in renovations or give the bar a new lease.  As a commenter told us then:

I know a couple of the bartenders. They confirmed [the closure]. I like The Attic but the building srsly needs to be demolished. Even the staff hate it, it’s falling apart. Bummed to lose a bar that plays Sharknado but the place ALWAYS smells like the toilet is backed up. Because it is.

So like many older businesses in the neighborhood, without any long-term certainty and a landlord holding out for a big payday, The Attic’s owner decided to pack it up.

And now with The Attic closed, the owner is now moving onto Gashead Tavern, a significantly more upscale cocktail bar and “British pub-style” restaurant on Mission Street.

You can watch the bar’s final moments below:

Birdie in a Bucket

Some Things Never Change

Cultural observer and Van Ness expert David Enos shares this mushy tale of change:

They have dismantled the 70’s-futurist exterior of 100 Van Ness and turned it into a gleaming glass tower of 400 luxury condos.  Passing by this nightmare, I almost stepped on a coffee cup with the feet of a dead pigeon sticking out.  Someone handled a dead pigeon in order to cram it entirely inside a coffee cup and leave it in the middle of the sidewalk.  Certain aspects of Van Ness will probably never change.

Be sure to follow his Tumblr (remember those?) for other insights, including this grim take on modern day Muni travel.

[Photo: Sergio Ruiz]

Da Fuck?

Did Willie Brown Suffer a Stroke Last Week?

Trying to unpack Willie Brown’s baffling column defending Senator Leland Yee is pointless.  I’ve spent far too much time over the last two days attempting to wrap my head around Willie’s World, but Willie’s World seems to have spun off its axis.

“When all is said and done,” Willie ‘splains, “Yee appears to be a petty thief—the guy that walks past the fruit stand and, when you’re not looking, takes an apple and keeps walking.”

A little refresher:

  • Leland Yee “stands accused of gun trafficking and six counts of wire fraud.”
  • Leland Yee accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes for political favors.
  • Leland Yee offered to help a businessman aiming to be “the Anheuser-Busch of medical marijuana” push forward a favorable ballot initiative as Secretary of State.
  • Leland Yee attempted to facilitate a multi-million dollar weapons deal, which included shoulder-fired rockets.
  • Leland Yee’s weapons deal would have involved a known terrorist group in the Philippines.

You know, petty stuff.

What could drive our ex-Mayor to write such a defense?  Perhaps Willie has seen so much shit that simple rocket smuggling and bribery is bush-league nonsense to him?  Maybe Ron Conway wants to keep Leland out of jail?  Is possible that Willie Brown, having endured multiple FBI corruption probes over his “juice clientele,” has developed a persecution complex? (He did, after all, once tell Arnold Schwarzenegger that he doesn’t use e-mail because the “e” stands for “evidence.”)

No.  Willie’s mind is clearly scrambled.  Why else would he be wearing a hat on his hands?

I have concluded the most reasonable explanation for this column is that shortly before he sat down to write it, a massive blood clot became lodged in his posterior cerebral artery, causing him to slur gibberish until he collapsed into unconsciousness.  He then jostled awake and proceeded to droll on his keyboard while he pounded out his twisted plea for tolerance, refusing to be carted off to his neighborhood mob doctor until it was finished.  There is no other explanation.

[Chronicle cover via Jeremy]


Warriors Surrender, Gentrifiers Displaced, Activists (Mis)Remembered and Burrito Justice

San Francisco’s “Manhattanization” is cool with columnist Carl Nolte and former planner Jasper Rubin because “the younger people like tall buildings.” And just in case you thought moving to the East Bay wouldn’t mean losing touch with your community in San Francisco, Carla Marinucci left the city so long ago she seems to have missed the fact that no one’s seen a Mission Yuppie Eradication Project sticker in over a decade. [SFGateSFGate]

Speaking of the Mission Yuppie Eradication Project, in the great gentrification-displacement circle of life, some tenants who moved into commercial spaces that were converted into live-work lofts during the dot-boom are now facing evictions themselves.  [Examiner]

Retired United States District Court Judge Vaughn Walker talks about 2010’s Proposition 8 trial ahead of the release of “Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality,” a new book about the case coming out tomorrow. [SFGate]

Only hours after being called out for trying to keep the douchiest details about self-styled startup playboy and admitted abuser Gurbaksh Chahal off of Wikipedia, his Los Angeles PR firm apparently wouldn’t stop trying to keep hiding his domestic violence conviction from the record. [SF Appeal]

The Golden State Warriors are taking their plans for an arena from Pier 30 to Mission Bay, where it bought a 12-acre lot from Salesforce. The team hopes to have the stadium ready for the season starting in 2018. [Curbed SF]

Justice for Alex Nieto is organizing its first “Burritos on Bernal,” starting at 5pm today in Precita Park and planned for the 21st of following months, as well. Bring your own burrito and then join the memorial march up the hill at 6pm. [Justice for Alex Nieto]

Crushing the dreams of at least one underemployed Uptown Almanac contributor, this listing from Bayview-based City Grazing for a job as a goatherd says “You must have experience handling goats or similar livestock.” Does Goat Simulator count? [Craigslist, via Ken Layne]

[Photo Greg Dewar]

San Francisco!

Technicolor Wizard Pilots Magic Bus Into Parked Cars, Shockingly Fails Sobriety Test

Proving that anyone ridiculous enough to relive Ken Kesey’s journey shouldn’t have a license, a tipster writes in about Friday’s four car accident at 22nd and Harrison:

The “Magic Bus” plowed into a row of cars parked on the street. Driver of the bus (who was wearing a technicolor wizard hat) failed a sobriety test and got carted off in a squad car.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Seems Legit

Airbnb Asks San Francisco Hosts to Lay Down Astroturf

Douglas Atkin, Global Head of Community at controversial online vacation rental broker Airbnb, sent out an email today urging people to “Stop the Evictions and Protect Home-sharing in San Francisco” by signing an online petition. Coincidentally, Atkins just happens to be a co-founder of Peers, the petition host, which primarily promotes ostensibly user-led lobbying efforts from regulation-dodging #SharingEconomy startups. In further coincidences, the organization which started the petition, “Home Sharers of San Francisco,” just crowdsourced a logo design last month, and the link for the petition hit Twitter only two days before David Chiu announced his proposed Airbnb legislation.

Of course, this might be a waste of the $500 million funding round the company just closed, especially since Airbnb investor and possible time traveler Ron Conway was named an “honorary survivor” of The Great Earthquake and Fire by Mayor Ed Lee for no particular reason, so they’ll probably get mostly whatever they want in any case.