Big Fish on a Small Wall

Fishy Advertising

TV on the Radio has been blanketing the Mission with posters for their new album—an advertising practice that’s as annoying as it is uninspired. But some artist turned one wall of ads into a street-side fish tank. Let’s hope we see more of this.

Floundering Foodie Business

Death Watch: Grub

When Grub first opened in 2010 after years of construction, I gave it a shot. The mac-n-cheese was pretty good! But I got the bill and soon realized my money was better spent elsewhere.

Seems everyone else came to the same conclusion. Grub was popular for a year (maybe) after they opened. But even the puffy jacket nightmare that has descended upon Valencia in recent years hasn’t been enough to keep their seats filled.

Now Grub’s owners seem to be going for a Hail Mary to save the struggling restaurant. A liquor license notice on the door says that the business has been sold (but they’re keeping the quasi-hipster ironic name), and they’ve covered the windows for some remodeling (but no construction permits are on file, according to the city Assessor’s permit database). Grub has even deleted their OpenTable listing.

These aren’t good signs. If you’re one of the few fans of the place, looks like you should get some meals in fast when (if?) they ever reopen.

Sign Meet Face, Face Meet Sidewalk

Watching a Cop Eat the Sidewalk After Getting Hit With a Barricade Almost Makes Me Feel Bad for SFPD

Last night’s Ferguson protests in San Francisco got somewhat out of hand, with protesters smashing business windows and hurling bricks and bottles at cops. According to Beth Spotswood, cops donned riot gear “[not] to intimidate,” but rather protect themselves from hurled debris.

As the above video shows, they may have had a reason to be fearful. After a protester chucked a traffic barricade at a pile of cops arresting a person, one officer ran at the black bloc shot-putter, only to trip over the arrestee’s foot and fall on flat their face. Then again, SFPD officers can shoot someone in a park 14 times without serious repercussions.

Anyway, all the scene was missing was a slide whistle soundtrack.

UPDATE: A tipster sends us an extended video of the confrontation, including the moments leading up to the barricade throwing. In it, you can see a protester confronting an officer for unclear reasons, loudly shooting “fuck you” in his face. Then, after the officer bumps into the protester while walking past, another officer chokes the protester to the ground.

You can watch it yourself, starting around 2:15:


Ferguson Protests in the Mission Result in Minor Vandalism, Mass Arrests

Last night, a few hundred protesters marched through San Francisco, demanding that police officers accused of murder are held accountable. The march, which Mission Local reports was organized in part by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, was largely in response to a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict the shooter of Michael Brown. Protesters also drew attention to Alex Nieto, a 28-year-old security guard shot dead by SFPD officers on Bernal Heights.

The march, going from downtown, through Potrero, and into the Mission, followed shortly on the heels of a Blackout Black Friday protest that took place earlier in the day, which shut down the West Oakland BART station in the process.

With police “appear[ing] to outnumber protesters 10 to one,” it is perhaps no surprise that a protest about police overreaction got a bit heated. And just as we’ve come to expect from a march in the Mission (or Giants victory), a few windows were smashed, including those of popular brunch/fancy-pizza spot Beretta and the Mission Street Bank of America.

A CBS news van was also targeted by a splinter group of protesters. According to the Chronicle’s Vivian Ho, the group also threw bottles at officers:

SFPD officers in riot gear eventually corralled upwards of 75 people at Valencia and Liberty street, shutting down Valencia to traffic and reportedly arresting all the protesters.

And while some may debate the legitimacy of property damage and looting as a form of protest, let us all just agree that the looting of the RadioShack at 23rd and Mission was at least in true Black Friday spirit.

[Top Photo: Daniel Mondragón | Bottom Photo from Anonymous Tipster]

Holiday Fun

Homo for the Holidays at El Rio

Continuing in its longstanding tradition of excellence, El Rio is set to do this holiday season up right. Homo for the Holidays is being billed as “a big queer craft fair on the patio of El Rio” that features “live music, tasty treats, and the return of the Krampus photo booth.”

The craft fair/likely raging party is scheduled for this Sunday, and doubles as a fundraiser. There’s a $5 cover, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The organizers explain:

Kick off your holiday shopping by supporting your local LGBTQ crafters and artists - with a little something for everyone: from subversive cross-stitch, nerdy homewares, and herbal tinctures for your super hip cousin; elegant handmade jewelry and hair fascinators for your best femme friend; award-winning photo & art prints and ceramics for Aunt Ethyl. […]

Proceeds will go to the presently incarcerated members of SF Black & Pink, providing them with books, stamps, and art supplies. Black & Pink will be on hand hosting a holiday card-making table so you can do a little something to help brighten the holidays of our community members who are incarcerated.

Oh, and you’ll be able to buy rad holiday goodies like this cross-stitch:

[Photo: Miles Lyons]

It's All Nice On Ice Alright

San Francisco's Cocktail Affectations Are Killing the Planet

Anyone who has visited one of San Francisco’s ubiquitous artisanal cocktail bars has surely noticed a single unifying theme: fancy ice cubes. These cubes, often large, crystal clear, hand-hewn, and geometrically assured of their edginess, have in many ways become a short hand for an affected hipness so often prevalant in bars riding the latest fenugreek trend.    

Delivered in huge blocks, and frequently broken down by chainsaw on the sidewalk, these over-sized cubes seem on the surface to suggest that a drinking establishment takes its shit seriously. Like, hey dawg, don’t worry, we got your fancy-ass ice needs covered. But here’s the problem—it turns out that this trend is awful for the environment. 

Last month Mother Jones looked into how these large, clear blocks of ice are actually made, and what they found is not encouraging [emphasis added]:

According to Pete Palm, vice president of sales at Western Pacific Distributors—one of California’s major food service equipment wholesalers—a Clinebell [the special machine used to make large ice blocks] has to run for more than three days to make the amount of ice a regular restaurant ice machine could produce in one day. “If I do some quick calculations on the lbs of ice and the [horsepower] rating I come to the conclusion that it does not meet what would be considered an energy star unit,” Palm wrote in an email to Mother Jones. (Energy Star is an EPA standard for energy-efficient consumer products; most commercial ice makers are Energy Star-certified.)

Artisanal ice makers also have to deliver their product to their customers, which means packing it in dry ice and carting it around in a van. And their high standards for the shape of their blocks can exacerbate the inefficiency. If [artisanal ice maker Charles Hartz] finds a block with a chip or a crack, he says, he won’t use it. “I’m kind of particular,” he admits.

And so in catering to the tastes of those who feel an “enormous hand-hewn ice cube” is what makes or breaks a cocktail, the latest batch of painfully hip watering holes is displaying an active disregard for the environment.

At least it’s disregard served with a smile.

Sad 'Stache

Uber Drivers Protest Low-Fares with Low-Grade Art

On the corner of 17th and Vermont, beside the freeway and just up the hill from both the Uber and Lyft driver recruitment/services offices, sits this sign. Its DIY vibe in not-so-subtle contrast to the massive Uber and Lyft billboard trucks constantly cruising the neighborhood, the sign serves as a reminder of the questionable employment practices (widespread across the tech industry) that both companies use to drive down operating costs.

And while this lone poster seems a sad testament to how little recourse drivers have when they feel they’ve been taken advantage of by either company, it does feature a sweet drawing of an upside-down Uber logo driving a mustachioed car. So I guess all is not lost.

Local Music

Gardens & Villa and Astronauts Etc Stand Out in a Saturated Genre

It seems like just about anyone can record an EP. Grab a MIDI keyboard and a laptop, record a few hooks, sample 12 tracks of harmonies and a plagiarized Lorde beat - blam! You’re the next Banks. But, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should. In a crowded sonic space, where everyone’s hook sound like everyone else’s, two bands stand out among the pack.

Gardens & Villa headline The Independent Saturday, November 22nd with main support from local Oakland-outfit, Astronauts Etc. Grab your tickets here.

Anthony Ferraro of Astronauts Etc (and Toro Y Moi) shows off his professionalism and songwriting savvy in a genre that’s chock-full of Randy Marsh quality Lorde’s, and poorman’s Beach House’s. Ferraro hit a stride with the release of his debut EP Sadie, getting the single “Up For Grabs” featured on NPR Music.

Ferraro crafts densely layered hooks that he cuts through with an unmistakable falsetto. As wispy as Ferraro’s voice sounds on record, it is still confident. You can tell Ferraro is right at home on stage after years of touring with Toro Y Moi, and countless Bay Area shows fronting Astronauts Etc. This Saturday, do yourself the favor of catching Astronauts Etc in action, and pay close attention to the interplay between Ferraro’s vocal melody and guitarist Derek Barber’s tasteful countermelodies. My guess is they can communicate to each other telepathically.

Gardens & Villa are making the trek up from their hometown of Santa Barbara for a quick run of shows to promote their latest release, Televisor, a collection of B-sides and rarities the band amassed over the years. What Gardens & Villa lack in finesse they make up for in pop-friendly power. Throbbing, repetitive synth patterns are a staple of their work on their latest release Dunes. However, expect a new look from the band on Saturday as they’re highlighting their heavier side on Televisor, trading in a few hand-claps for a thicker guitar sound.

Ball Gags and Turkey

Nato Green and Imaginary Radio Program at Z Space

Comedian Nato Green and Imaginary Radio Program (Drennon Davis & DJ Real) are performing at Z Space on the 25th of November, and if this amazing flyer by Jane Harrison (who will also be on stage) is any indication, the show is going to be a turkey and ball gag-filled comedy feast. 

Nato always puts on great live sets (he actually headlined the last Uptown Almanac’s Locally-Sourced Pop-Up Comedy Night) and we’re stoked to see him at Z Space again this November. Having Nato on a double bill with Imaginary Radio Program is going to make for a rowdy night. 

The performance also features Jane Harrison and Nick Stargu, and advance tickets are only $8.

Get on it. 

Music Music Music

Don’t Miss This Show: Sean Hayes & Eric and Erica Hit The Independent Tonight and Tomorrow

This week, Sean Hayes and Eric + Erica set up shop at The Independent for a two night run. For Sean Hayes, the two night stint is a solidification of his spot as one of the top San Francisco songwriters. For Eric and Erica, it’s an opportunity to remind San Franciscans about the power duo, and its undeniable charm. Grab your tickets for the November 13th and 14th shows here.

Getting To Know Sean Hayes (Again)

Leading his band for over 20 years, Sean Hayes has toured with big wigs like Ani DiFranco, Aimee Mann, and Cold War Kids. His veteranship and tact comes across in his music now more than ever. 

Hayes knows the delicate balance of making music that’s accessible but far from pedestrian.  Sean drops in little stops and hooks to let you know that you’re not just inside some neo-soul song, you’re in his wheelhouse. What sounds groovy on record, absolutely erupts in a live performance.

Now reprising his latest 2012 record, Before We Turn To Dust, Hayes’ marks a departure from the gang vocals and bright guitar tones of his 2010 release Run Wolves Run. Hayes isn’t telling you how he feels these days- he’s telling you how things are. That translates into deeper backbeats, and overall more danceable tunes.  The confidence comes across in Hayes’ lyrics as well, as he sings on “Miss Her When I’m Gone”— “Time to pray or time to fight/ Time for howling / Drop a seed into the dirt / You’re wandering.” Adding, “Miss her when I’m gone / Got to make my money.”

Go on with your bad self, Sean Hayes. Make that money for your lady and your baby. We’ll be there watching.

Eric and Erika have a near depressing level of talent. If you watch them play, you’ll have the desire to either 1) go back and time and start playing music, 2) go practice, or 3) quit music all together. Where bands like Beach House use a waves of synth to cover up the more vulnerable parts of their tunes, Eric and Erika chase after those moments. They’re freakishly in sync in their tone, harmonies, and dynamics.

Take a look for yourself:

[Photo: Nathaniel Ray]