Street Art

Rainbow Crosswalk Comes to the Castro

San Francisco has been planning to add rainbow crosswalks to the streets of the Castro since March. And as the above picture clearly demonstrates, that day has finally come.

The LA Times reported at the time of the plan’s announcement:

Multicolored crosswalks at the intersection of Castro and 18th streets will be added as part of a larger streetscape improvement project for the area, said Andrea Aiello, executive director of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefits District.

The crosswalk design, Aiello said, “emanated from the community,” and “there’s a feeling it represents the LGBT community and the important role it has played in this neighborhood.” […]

The rainbow crosswalks in the Castro are being added as part of the larger Castro Streetscape project, a collaboration between city and private entities, said Rachel Gordon, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Works.

While internet commentators have complained that this is a step toward turning the Castro into a “gay theme park,” we’re just going to go ahead and say that these look pretty cool.

[Photo: Scott Wiener]


Sunflower Has Closed, And Is Potentially Out of Business

Sunflower, the Vietnamese restaurant located on Valencia at 16th, has long been a go-to spot for affordable eats on what has become an otherwise expensive restaurant row. Now it looks like they’re in trouble.

SF Eater reports:

Sunflower is mysteriously shuttered, with only a sign on the door reading “We are closed until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience.” A call placed to the restaurant was answered by a voicemail box with an identical message. A staffer at Sunflower’s sister location in Potrero Hill, which remains open, refused to comment on why the Mission location was closed, or when it might reopen.

The closure is even more curious when considering Sunflower is (was?) in the process of opening a vegetarian restaurant next door to their Valencia location. Eater speculates that escalate rents might be to blame, but there’s no way to know.

We can only hope that this is not just the latest example of affordable and well-loved spots being priced off of Valencia Street.

Update: It has been suggested that they have closed for renovations, specifically to make the restaurant ADA compliant. However, there are no building permits on file for any such construction—something that would be necessary for renovations to take place. There are also no active complaints on file for the restaurant. We’ll update as we learn more.

[SF Eater]

Diesel And Fries

Another Street Food Park Comes to the Mission

Confirming that we have yet to reach peak food truck, a new “food truck park” has opened up down the street from Zeitgeist on Duboce. The Duboce Truck Stop, which had their soft opening this past Monday, promises the following:

DTS will host up to 4 trucks daily for lunch M-F 10:30am to 3pm.  We will be open for dinners and weekends once we obtain our Beer/Wine permit to serve which we anticipate will be Mid October and will be hosting up to 10 of the city’s best food trucks.  So get ready for the City’s Newest Food Truck Park and Beer Garden.

The options are set to change daily, and you can check the schedule out online before walking over there only to be met with crushing disappointment at the lack of poutine.

It is worth mentioning that the latest parking lot to foray into the foodie game is not actually located in Duboce Triangle, as claimed by the DTS website, but rather in the scenic environs of the Central Freeway— an area better known for bicycle chop shops than culinary delights. But with new microhoods popping up almost daily, in no time at all I’m sure we’ll be talking about the new food truck park located in sunny “Duboce Flats.”

[Photo: Benedict Arnold’s]

Street Boozing

Monk's Kettle Unveils New Sidewalk Drinking Patio on 16th Street

After a brief closure, Monk’s Kettle on 16th Street has reopened their doors with more places to drink and more room to pee.

SF Eater reports:

Seating at The Monk’s Kettle has always been a tough ticket, but waits should hopefully ease up a bit now that their new patio has made its debut. With seating for 20 (and heat lamps for those chillier days), the sidewalk perch on 16th Street is going to become very sought-after for the remainder of Indian summer. […]

And gentlemen needing some release for all that beer will also be happy to learn that the men’s bathroom has been expanded, and can now accommodate two beer-loving bros at one time. The bar is now open once again, and hours are the same: 12 pm-2 am (with outdoor seats open until 10 pm).

The new seating area looks inviting, and will surely attract beer enthusiasts clamoring to sip craft brews under industrial strength heat lamps. If nothing else, it is an improvement on their previous patio.

And while in general I am a huge fan of any and all opportunities to get drunk outside, something seems odd about being able to order “a wheat-berry session saison dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace and Amarillo hops” on that particular stretch of 16th Street. Especially considering that I once saw a dude get his head smashed in with an aluminum baseball bat outside of Delirium right across the street.

[SF Eater]

Disrupting Community

Zuckerberg Is An Awful Neighbor, And He Hasn't Even Moved In Yet

When we first learned that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had purchased a home in the Mission District—and was attempting to rebrand himself as a “Mission Hipster”—we couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Dropping ten-plus million on a weekend home in a neighborhood many feel Zuckerberg is already helping to gentrify one shuttle bus at a time, only to spend his nights putting back drinks in local dives, seemed like adding insult to injury.

Like, can’t you at least leave us our dive bars? Do you have to ruin those too?

But that was just the drunken lament of the broke Mission dirt bag, quietly sipping a Cutty Bang and pondering his/her own irrelevance. Surely, the wealthy residents of the Mission would welcome this new neighbor with open, smart watch-adorned arms.

Well, it turns out, not so much. Apparently Zuckerberg’s 17 month (and counting) non-stop renovation of his Mission District home has irked some of the neighbors.

SF Gate reports:

Welcome to Fort Zuckerberg — the $10 million Dolores Heights “fixer-upper” that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have turned into a massive construction encampment that has some neighbors feeling under siege by the Facebook founder.

Their problem goes beyond the rash of “no parking” signs on 21st Street near Dolores Street that have kept them from parking outside their own homes these past 17 months.

Dozens of construction workers, using backhoes and jackhammers, are busy installing everything from a new kitchen to bathrooms and decks — and tearing up the sidewalks for new fiber-optic cables that will connect to the home. […]

A man in a hardhat identifying himself as the prime contractor, but who wouldn’t give his name, acknowledged that there have been 40 to 50 workers on the job daily since work began in April 2013.

While living in the city naturally entails dealing with construction and its associated nuisances, we can’t help but feel a bit of sympathy for those forced to endure the increasingly absurd additions to this member of the tech elite’s pied-à-terre.

We get it Mark. You’re young, rich, and don’t give a fuck if the construction of your “basement garage, complete with a turntable pad” upsets your neighbors. But do you have to be such a dick about it?


Dolores Park Construction Delayed Four Months

In news that comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, it has been announced that the renovation of Dolores Park’s north side has been delayed by at least four months.

Dolores Park Works reports:

Completion of the North Side of the Dolores Park improvement project is now expected to be early 2015, a 4 month delay. Jake Gilchrist, manager for the project told us that unforeseen problems were discovered during excavation of the foundation for the new maintenance shed. Excessive ground water was uncovered and had to be extracted before the contractor could continue and the soil then had to be reinforced to stabilize the area. […]

The construction delay will cost an additional of $2.2 million for a total of $18.3 million budget.

The article goes on to say that “the entire Dolores Park improvement project is still on target for completion in late 2015,” which is either complete bullshit, or it means that for a period of time both the north and south sides of the park will be closed simultaneously.

It looks like your epic plans to recolonize tall-boy terrace will have to wait just a little bit longer.

Update: Jake Gilchrist confirms to Uptown Almanac in an email that the entire renovation project has been pushed back from it’s originally-scheduled completion in summer 2015. “[It’s] now on target for later in 2015. We are not planning to overlap the closures, though we are looking for any possible time savings with the contractor.”

[Dolores Park Works | Photo: torbakhopper]

More Small Plates Thou

Cafe Du Nord Abandons History As Concert Venue

When we learned this past December that Dylan MacNiven of West of Pecos had purchased Cafe Du Nord and the Swedish American Music Hall, and would be closing both for extensive renovations, we were definitely concerned. The potential for not one, but two music venues to be displaced by some reclaimed wood fetishist’s idea of a hip small plates/cocktail bar was just too much to bear. And with one promoter throwing a goodbye party for Cafe Du Nord, it seemed like a real possibility that the deed was as good as done.

But then we got an unexpected bit of good news. SF Weekly followed up with MacNiven:

We are currently soliciting feedback from the community and have noted the overwhelming support for the Cafe Du Nord name and musical program. We also heard the desire for more controls of noise and crowds and can only surmise it will grow with the three adjacent residential developments. I can give you a small hint that I am a huge live music fan and that’s why you see my name on the license.

MacNiven went on to say, “I am intending for live music to stay.”

So when SF Eater reported last Friday that Cafe Du Nord is on track to open in the fall, we were quite excited. I’ve seen a lot of amazing performances in the space, and was genuinely stoked to hear what MacNiven had planned.

Things start out great:

Night owls will be pleased to learn that the new Du Nord plans to serve food and cocktails until 2 am every single night of the week.

Awesome. I’m relatively young and rarely go to bed before midnight, so I guess I’m a night owl (and as such, am pleased). What else?

[The] menu, cocktails, and redesign […] will come from Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, Salumeria) and the Bon Vivants (Trick Dog).

While twee landmark themed menus aren’t my personal jam, many people really love what Ne Timeas and the Bon Vivants do. And they certainly bring a level of seriousness to the game, implying that the new Swedish American and Cafe Du Nord are here to stay.

OK. We’ve got the operating hours, food, and drinks covered. Now, what about the music?

[While] Du Nord will still have live music, it’s really going to be more of a restaurant and bar than a concert venue. […]

But don’t expect to come to Du Nord for rock shows anymore: the new musical focus will be “impromptu intimate entertainment acts” like acoustic sessions from local artists and “unannounced sets by well-known musicians.”

Describing the musical offerings as “impromptu intimate entertainment acts” makes the place sound less like a bar/venue and more like a massage parlor in the Sunset. But hey, maybe that’s just what this city needs: another spot for the well-heeled to sip artisan cocktails while those catering to their every need provide happy endings with a splash of manzanilla sherry and a lemon twist.

After all, it’s a business model that worked for The Battery, right?

[SF Eater | Photo: Emily Hoyer]

Authenticity In A Glass

A Sneak Peak Inside the New Pop's

We’ve already said a lot about the new Pop’s, which has been closed for renovations for the better part of a year. Well, as the new owners put the finishing touches on the place, they decided to give The Bold Italic a sneak peak inside to show off the fruits of all their labor.

With a carefully curated selection of “iconic images of pop culture and local legends” adorning its walls, the new-and-improved watering hole aims to pay homage to its long history. But, with “a new wooden bar [that] imagines what the original 1930s bar would have looked like” and a baseball bat labeled “AtTiTUDE ADJUSTER” next to the register, one wonders if the new owners are just attempting to cash in on the rampart commodification of the Mission aesthetic with what appears to be a “Pop’s” themed bar.

The success of the new Pop’s is something Uptown Almanac is very much rooting for. We’ve spent too many drunken nights shooting pool (and later, playing air hockey and pinball) in that place for it not to have a spot in our hearts. I just hope that the patrons who made Pop’s what it was don’t end up feeling like historical reenactors in a place paying tribute to the days when you could score a cheap beer/shot combo within its walls.

You can check the bar out for yourself at their opening on September 18th.

[Photos: The Bold Italic]

Dirty Business

Leaving Your Mark On The Mission

In today’s edition of how not to endear yourself to your neighbors, we received the following grievances and photo from a Capp Street tipster:

These yuppies put basically an entire house full of trash out on the street [Wednesday] evening. Neighbors were complaining but their reply was that they were waiting for sunset scavengers to pick it up, which more or less got people off their back. But when I woke up this morning all their shot was still outside. I called the non emergency line but all they would do is call the waste removal. These people need to be fined, since they clearly have no regard for the city or the people in it. Just sipping their cocktails, making bank on tech and just shit all over the city we call home.

Yuppies sipping cocktails, making bank on tech, and shitting all over San Francisco is quite the vivid image. And while this may or may not be the latest example of the obliviousness that often comes with tech wealth, it is most certainly an example of someone being an asshole.

So, in conclusion, don’t dump your garbage on the street, people. Come on. Capp Street Crap has enough material to work with without your help.  

City Budgets and Discrimination

Thinly-Veiled Racism Surrounds Future of Pink Saturday

If you attended the Pink Saturday community meeting last night, and never participated in the relatively unregulated street party that happens every year on Castro Street the night before the SF Pride Parade, you might believe that there is no LGBT presence at one of the biggest LGBT parties of the year.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence asked for community input on the future of Pink Saturday after an assault on one of their own happened at 18th and Castro Street during primetime of the party this year. Word on the street is that the Sisters either want to distance themselves from the event or cancel it altogether (if that is within their power), although that wasn’t an explicitly stated goal last night.

The meeting was well attended—standing room only at times—in the Eureka Valley Rec Center. Two hours were established for public comment on the event. While the time limit was strictly adhered to, there wasn’t an agenda or any stated goal to the meeting.

There were a few opening remarks from Sisters directly involved in planning the event. Scott Wiener shared insight as the representative of the district on the SF Board of Supervisors (after thumping his chest about the new trees shoved into the ground as part of the never-ending neighborhood beautification project). Representatives from the SF Police Department and a few neighborhood patrol groups were present. Members of the public were asked to focus on offering suggestions and to avoid complaining. Consequently, thinly-veiled racism was couched inside resentment against the aging process.

In other words, the room was full of white gay guys over the age of 50 that are annoyed that LGBT culture is changing and leaving them behind.

Perhaps that sounds harsh, but the recurring theme of the community meeting was about “outsiders” sneaking in to queer space when they have no right or (legitimate) interest in being there. One fellow, a self-identified DJ, told the crowd that he heard rap and/or hip hop music at times: “Songs about dicks going into pussies has nothing to do with gay pride.” Another claimed that the crowd at Pink Saturday is worse than the attendees at Mardi Gras—and he has been to both!!

Of course, the increase in violence is not the fault of the SF Police Department. While giving Supervisor Wiener a hand job in front of the room (he is the ONLY politician that understands them), Officer Tony Orlando (formerly performing with Dawn) told the room that the force is understaffed! He heard that aggressive music too! He saw known gang members from BAYVIEW lurking at the fringes of the party! A local hip-hop radio station promotes Pink Saturday and encourages “them” to show up, then “they” go on Instagram to tell others!

Honest to gawd.

As the meeting passed the one-hour mark, voices of reason began to emerge. Rather polite and thoughtful comments were made suggesting that not all young people in attendance were drunk or on drugs or straight or murderers and it’s entirely possible that some of those hip-hop aficionados might be—gasp—gay too.

Some concrete suggestions were aired, but this is clearly a complex dilemma for the neighborhood. Unlike Halloween (another unregulated street event that struggled with incidents of violence and was ultimately killed with the help of then-supervisor Bevan Dufty, who was not in attendance last night), Pink Saturday is a penultimate event that takes place while hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world are in San Francisco to celebrate.

Not even booking Kenny G to perform on a stage at Market and Castro Street is going to discourage rowdy behavior.

Current President of the Board of SF Pride, Gary Virginia, offered real insight into the struggles that the Pride Board faces and how those difficulties are very similar to what the Sisters are dealing with on Pink Saturday. The problem is money. Mr. Virgina explained that the City of San Francisco has been the recipient of millions of dollars of tax revenue over multiple decades that can be directly traced to tourism during the month of June.

Pride month in San Francisco is packed with parties, cultural events, a film festival, and three huge political marches that fill hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. What does the City provide to the organizers of these lucrative revenue generating events in return for the windfall? Not very much.

In fact, SF Pride receives $80,000 from the City. The Sisters get nothing from the City for the work they do to organize Pink Saturday. Neither organization is looking to profit but they both could use resources from the city that has reaped uncounted millions of dollars from the LGBT community to better manage these events.

By the time Mr. Virginia made his factual and reasoned point to the room, Supervisor Wiener had already left to attend another event.

At 8pm, the meeting abruptly ended without a mention of next steps or further planning meetings. Hopefully someone will find a way to close down the Church and Castro Street Muni stations so that people who don’t belong in the neighborhood are prevented from getting in.

Unfortunately, that was the message delivered from the community last night.