The Heat is Too Damn High

Hackers Close City

Despite being a mild inconvenience for city workers and drivers with an irrational fear of Godzilla, someone with a sense of humor and the know-how to reprogram construction signage has been going around San Francisco doing just that.

Honestly, they’re doing everyone a favor.  The heat is too damn high—Godzilla might as well be torching the Marina in this weather.  City closed.

(And please do excluse the light post volume this week.  We’ll be back up to speed tomorrow.)

[Godzilla Photo: Zach Perkins]

Can It Be a Hamm's Brewery?

Iconic 18th and Mission Dump to Become a Brewery

This festering shithole of a structure has been made increasingly dilapidated with every preservation attempt (the last effort to convert the space into a grocery store was halted after construction crews were caught illegally demoing the quasi-historic facade).  But now it seems another attempt to revive the old 99 cent store is in the works, as the sleuths over at Eater report that “according to newly filed building permits, the property owners are aiming to make it a ‘full-service restaurant and brewery.’”

Who will be operating the brew pub remains unknown—and who knows if it’ll actually happen—but we’ll update you if we hear more.


An All-Day Cat Vid Festival, Tomorrow at the Roxie

Because if there’s one thing we don’t have enough of in our lives, it’s cat videos.  And the Roxie looks to fix that with a 12 hour cat vid festival designed to make you laugh, awwww, and want to become a dog owner afterwards:

The First Annual San Francisco Intergalactic Feline Film and Video Festival for Humans is proud to announce the first annual San Francisco Intergalactic Feline Film and Video Festival for Humans, a 2-week film festival in the span of 12 hours. Taking place May 10, 2014 at the Roxie Theatre—the birthplace of dozens of niche Bay Area film festivals—SFIFFAVFFH1 aims to celebrate the cinematic feline in all forms. From the microgenre’s racially-tinged beginnings (Birth of a Kitten Nation, The Jazz Purrer) to its contemporary cyberspace counterparts, SFIFFAVFFH1 promises to expand the scope of what a cat-themed film festival can—and should—be.

Their program (purrgram?) features a stunning array of kitten happenings—far more than we knew you could have with a cat film fest—including a opening party “featuring live DJs, drinks and some very special Japanese cat videos on the big screen,” an appearance by Lil’ Bub, the presentation of the “First Annual Colonel Meow In Memoriam Award for Exquisite Grooming and Style,” and, naturally, a closing night party.

The festival starts at noon tomorrow, and tickets are available now.

Here We Go Again...

Dolores Park Neighbors Demanding Increased Police Patrols, Surveillance Cameras For Park

Between 2009 and 2012, Dolores Park’s many grouchy neighbors waged an ill-fated campaign to “dampen the spirits of those who are inclined to come to DP for unfettered drinking and carousing.”  But in spite of their many public hearings, and police support, San Francisco’s party positive spirit prevailed.

Now after a year of peace, Dolores’s neighbors are once again looking to flip the script on the park’s prized vibe.  In an open letter to the city’s Rec & Park Department, Dolores Park Works—in conjunction with Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association—writes:

After hours vandalism, increased homeless camping, public intoxication, underage drinking, out of control trash and occasional violence continue to plague the park. Now that the good weather is here, these issues have reached a critical point. Every hot weekend we host an impromptu festival at Dolores Park. The park is known region-wide as the place to party, where there are no rules, and no repercussions for bad behavior.

The neighborhood has been tolerant, welcoming and patient. But we are convinced that there’s an opportunity to begin to address these problems now, during the park renovation, so as to avoid more of the same after the park is finished.

If we are to make the park truly welcoming to all, we need to curb some of the sunny weekend excesses that are both damaging the park and the surrounding neighborhood.

With half the park closed for renovations, it’s no wonder that cramped quarters are leading folks to get even more stressed out over weekend boozing.  And their points aren’t completely unfounded: campaigns like Clean Up the Plaza and DPW’s attempt to wash the homeless out of Mid-Market has led to a significant uptick in Dolores camping and the trash situation has always been a terrible, tricky problem.  But instead of tackling the those issues head-on with more trash cans and improved homeless services (as all we seem to be doing now is kicking them around), the solution is, of course, getting the police involved:

Extended Rec and Park presence in Mission Dolores Park on weekends during peak hours. Beginning in the afternoon (noon to 4pm) the crowd arrives and Rec and Park pulls out. Daniel Perea, Captain SFPD Mission Station, has increased uniformed police foot patrols in the park, especially after 3pm and into the evening. Marcus Santiago, of the Park Patrol, is looking into increasing patrols from his officers. Both departments are working to coordinate their efforts. We’d like you to support these efforts and to find the resources for Rec and Park to participate in this collaborative effort. Rec and Park must take a leadership role and help monitor Dolores. […]

As you know, vandalism of the new Helen Diller Playground and throughout the park is a serious concern. We would like to help fund and install security cameras around the children’s playground. We are also interested in discussing more lighting around the children’s playground and adding a time-locked gate. Maybe now is also the time to take a good look at the proposed lighting plan for all of Dolores Park as well.

Of course, we’d ordinarily brush off these renewed and recycled calls for stepped up enforcement as they’ve failed before (and will fail again).  But this time, Supervisor Scott Wiener seems to be ahead of the demands, himself declaring in September that he seeks a “culture shift” and “better enforcement” to take hold before the renovations are wrapped up.  And next Wednesday, Wiener will be joined by Supervisor Campos, Captain Daniel Perea of Mission Station, Rec & Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and Senior Park Patrol officer Marcus Santiago in meeting with these neighbors to discuss their brand of preferred solutions to the perpetual problem.

Should you want to attend the meeting yourself, it’ll be taking place at the Dolores Park Church at 455 Dolores, starting Wednesday, May 14 at 6:30.  Dolores Park Works has all the details.

[Photo: colleenvonhenry]

Not That There's Ever Any Bullshit in Comedy

I'll Leave You With This: A New Comedy Show Without the Bullshit

The Cynic Cave continues growing their esteemed set of comedic programming this weekend, unveiling a show on Sunday that just leaves audiences with the hits:

On May 11th, 9 comics will cut out most of their bullshit act and leave you with the joke/jokes they keep closest to their hearts: their closers. Jam packed with their own personal favorites, old faithfuls and maybe even some new tricks, I’ll Leave You With This will teach these comics their ABCs- ALWAYS. BE. CLOSING.

Advanced tickets are available now. Only $10!


Local's Empire Picketed, Vandalized Following Renewed Claims of Discrimination

After negotiations between SF Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and Yaron Milgrom of the Local’s empire broke down, the group held a “Flyering Against Discrimination” protest last night to shed light on allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment against the business.

ACCE wrote of the protest:

To the naked eye, Local’s Corner looks like any other overpriced restaurant that’s popped up in the Mission in recent years. But it’s even worse. It has denied service—at least twice—to groups of Mission residents of color who tried to order food. Its owner, Yaron Milgrom, owns three other businesses in the neighborhood: Local’s Eatery, Local’s Market and Local’s Cellar. A server at Local’s Eatery has filed suit for sexual harassment. Join us as we tell Milgrom to respect civil rights, issue a public apology, and give back to the community through local hire, affirmative action and community benefits agreements.

Join us as we pass out and post hundreds of flyers in the neighborhood calling on Mission residents to boycott Local’s businesses.

Also stay tuned for Sunday May 25. We will be picketing one or more “Local’s” establishments during Carnaval, the busiest day of the year in the Mission.

However, as a tipster noted, the awareness campaign spread into vandalism late last night, with at least Local Mission Market having “die” and “get lost!!!” spray painted across the building.

The original claim of discrimination against Sandra Cuadra and her family resulted in Milgrom writing a public apology and promising to review the situation with staff.  The sexual harassment suit was settled out of court shortly after our story on the suit was published.

Photos from outside Local Mission Eatery last night, and Milgrom’s written statement to protesters, after the jump.

Fluid Sharing Economy

San Francisco is Alive and Well in the Back of the Hook-Up Truck

The Hook-Up Truck, which bills itself as a “mobile ‘meeting room’ available for short term rentals accommodating intimate relations,” has been gobbling up headlines ever since it was unveiled.  How could it not?  Combining the seediness of per-hour hotels and food trucks, the fuck truck parks outside of Bay Area bars and charges inflamed genitals and their human hosts $75 for 30 minutes of truck-rockin’ passion.  It’s oh so perfectly Bay Area.

Recently, the unassuming truck, painted white and packed full of boxes, made its grand debut at Art Murmur and in the Mission.  Writing “the Hook-Up Truck is here to remind you that yes, this is still San Francisco,” Ian Eck of SF Magazine followed the truck around during its climatic kickoff:

With that, it was wham, bam, thank you ma’am, and off went the truck to San Francisco. Hot on its heels, I BARTed across the Bay (originally I was promised a seat in the back of the truck, but the full set of benches had yet to be installed), but I still made it in time to catch the marching band Mission Amnesia greet the Hook-Up Truck. Standing in front of Jim’s Restaurant at 20th and Mission, illuminated by the lights of news cameras, they blasted out lively swing music into the Friday night air: “You gotta hook uuup with someone.”

The crooning chorus made the onlooking crowd giggle. A few of the more buzzed participants broke into dance. One homeless man on the outskirts bobbed his head approvingly, PBR tallboy in hand. When I asked onlookers whether they’d hook up in a truck, the reactions were mixed. “No. I have a nice condo down the street,” said one woman. “Absolutely I would do it,” said her friend. A man disagreed: “Brothers don’t wanna get caught,” he said, eyeing up the hovering media camera nearby.

Yes, it was quite the scene:

[SF Mag]


16th Street Contiues to Go Dark as Idol Vintage is Pushed Off By Soaring Rents

As landlords surrounding Valencia Street ogle their neighbor’s success—and commensurate high rents—they continue raising rents and displacing businesses in hopes of remaking their streets and properties in Valencia’s image.

No where is this quite as obvious as 16th Street, where once vibrant storefronts sit boarded up, passively awaiting monied tenants and even trendier businesses to move in.  The latest victim in this pursuit is Idol Vintage, the used clothing haven that’s sat at 16th and Albion for 13 years.

None of this is too surprising, of course.  When we originally reported last spring that Liz Claiborne was pushing for Adobe Books’ eviction from their then-16th Street location, we mentioned “that representatives from Jack Spade allegedly went into neighboring retailer Idol Vintage ‘without warning’ and ‘literally measured the store with a tape measurer’ with future expansions in mind.”

While the proposed Jack Spade store went down in flames following extensive community backlash, it was clear that the landlord that jacked Adobe’s rent by 87.5% would hit Idol Vintage with similar increases.  And when Idol’s lease expired last year, that’s exactly what happened.

“Once our lease was up, our landlord raised our rent to $7,500 a month [from $5,000],” Idol’s owner, Dolores, told us when reached by phone.

$7,500 is already high for most businesses, but especially so for one that specializes in selling vintage clothes.  However, it was made even harder to stomach by the rent increases, displacement, closures, and property sales has left Idol’s block of 16th between Valencia and Guerrero with five empty storefronts in the last year—and foot traffic severely reduced.

Andalu closed in January to make way for a forthcoming Chinese restaurant from Tacolicious, Tokyo GoGo shuttered in favor of a new upscale cocktail bar currently under construction, Adobe Books was pushed onto 24th Street by Jack Spade, an auto garage closed and sold for $8.7 (presumably) for condos, and Val 16 Market closed after their landlord allegedly raised their rent over $10k.  The result of this was that January and February were some of Idol’s slowest months in their history, despite the higher rents.

“If we were on Valencia, we wouldn’t have to move,” Dolores stressed.  “But with all the closed businesses on 16th, there’s just not enough foot traffic.”

Like many retailers before her, she’s relocating south to 25th and Mission (2967 Mission, to be exact), where rents are “half as much.”  And they’re scrambling to open before the Bay to Breakers rush, with a grand re-opening celebration scheduled for next Saturday.

As for their old location? Dolores tells us representatives from a hamburger chain was sizing up the property before Idol could finish packing.


The Chapel Already Getting Grief From Neighbors

We’ve given Valencia a lot of shit over the last couple years.  Most recently, we’ve referred to it as “San Francisco’s premier boulevard of bullshit” amidst a “turbocharged tailspin into terrible.”  Perhaps this isn’t totally fair.  Take The Chapel: it’s nothing short of a neighborhood treasure—they consistently book solid acts across a range of genres, the prices aren’t ridiculous for a club, and the venue itself is solid.

However, Curbed reports that neighbors aren’t as stoked with the venue as we are:

Since the beginning of business operations, staff has received emails from neighbors with concerns about excessive noise and deliveries coming late at night. If the Planning Commission decides that they’re not in compliance, they can request that this project be scheduled for a public hearing again to modify the conditions or to revoke the approvals.

A Planning Commission memo states there are a “spectrum of issues” and that “noise complaints from neighbors indicate that there is excessive noise originating from a variety of sources including patron noise, amplified music, idling vehicle noise, and noise from employees on breaks.”

For a venue that’s been open for less than a year and a half, this certainly isn’t a good start.  And with a preliminary hearing scheduled for tomorrow, let’s hope they can figure this out before it goes any further.