Furry Friends

Soothe Your Lonely Soul With Free Booze And Adorable Kittens [UPDATE]

The San Francisco SPCA is once again providing us with a reason to look forward to February. On Friday, February 6th, the Alabama Street location will play host to the 4th annual BE MINE Adoptathon: Catwalk, Tattoos and Cocktails—an event that features an open bar, plenty of animals to pet, and an opportunity to get the likeness of your favorite feline tattooed on your thigh.

From the event page:

This year’s bash will treat guests to a fashion show, (real!) tattoo pop-up shop, hosted cocktail bar, and delicious vegan/vegetarian bites, all while meeting the SF SPCA’s adorably adoptable animals. All adoption fees will be waived during the event and throughout the weekend.

According Jason Walthall, SF SPCA co-president, last year’s BE MINE event resulted in the adoption of 81 dogs and cats—a number he’s hoping to beat this year.

The event is free, but a reservation is required. It goes from 5pm to 9pm, and you can RSVP here. Oh, and while you’re putting back those free drinks and taking in the glory that is the 7pm “catwalk,” do remember to donate some cash.

UPDATE Feb. 3rd, 1:25 PM: Uptown Almanac just received word that due to the expected storm, the SF SPCA BE MINE event has been canceled. From the event organizers:

Unfortunately, due to the rainy forecast, we’ve been forced to cancel our Be Mine cocktail party on Friday, February 6th. Although we’re thrilled that San Francisco is finally getting some much needed rain, the timing couldn’t have been worse for our outdoor party. […]

We’ll still be waiving all adoption fees February 6th - 8th. Stop by either of our shelters this weekend and we’ll help you find the purr-fect furry Valentine!

[Photo: Rod Kilpatrick]

Music Music Music

Lee Bob & The Truth Dumps on Google Glass, Plays A Show at Viracocha

In the lead up to the February release of their album The Truth, San Francisco’s Lee Bob & The Truth has been playing what amounts to a mini tour across the Bay Area. On top of four shows in the last two weeks, the band has an upcoming January 31st gig at the now legit Viracocha. Their music, which has a bluesy/rock and roll vibe, engages with San Francisco both obliquely and directly. An example of the latter is the single “Mission Breakdown,” which gets straight to it:

hope eternal in the shadow of the twitter sign
prosperity gospel all the way to the bread line
celebrity weekend at the start-up engine…
methadone clinic / soup kitchen
lookin’ pretty hip 16th & Valencia
on your first trip out to California

And in the same lyrical exploration of the New Mission, the band both calls attention to the exodus of artists from San Francisco and presciently suggests that Google’s face computers are best suited for the dustbin:

fifteen years it’s a split decision
tell my friends I’m leaving the mission
pack your trash you Google Glass
and your creepy vacant stare

Lee Bob & The Truth is also playing a free show in the Mission tomorrow night. The concert, which is going to be broadcast live on BFF.fm’s Cheetle Radio, starts at 7:00 PM. Tickets are free, and you can get on the list/find out the location by RSVP’ing to wink@hellocheetle.com

[Photo: Kaitlyn Miller]


Business Insider Boldly Declares The Mission "A Million Times More Hipster Than Brooklyn"

In a feat of journalist excellence, New York based Business Insider has officially declared that “the Mission is a million times more hipster than Brooklyn.” Calling the neighborhood a “Williamsburg on steroids,” the Business Insider piece continues a long tradition of East Coast publications obsessing over the Mission.

Assembled by Melia Robinson, a reporter well versed in using the listicle form as a means to unpack complicated truths, the Business Insider piece seeks to understand the neighborhood by searching for meaning in all thebeards, denim shirts, artisanal cheese, bicycles, and overpriced lattés” found within. And while the piece seems to use the terms “hipsters” and “tech workers” interchangeably, it is unwavering in its one-dimensional view of the Mission as a place overrun by an “earthy-crunchy yuppie invasion.”

But perhaps we’re not giving Business Insider enough credit. They have, after all, already done away with the article’s tired, East Coast/West Coast hipster-themed headline pictured above. The new headline, which reads “The Tech Boom Turned This Working-Class San Francisco Neighborhood Into A Hipster Haven,” demonstrates that Business Insider truly gets it by bringing the focus back to what we actually care about in San Francisco: tech.


Welcome to The New Mission, Where "Fantastic" Just Means "Expensive"

Construction of the Vida building, one of the more recognizable condos to have sprung up in the Mission over the past few years, is finally complete. Although those with $600,000 to spare on a junior 1-bedroom have been able to secure a spot in the development since at least last November, Vida’s website is now proudly declaring that potential residents can “move in now.”

The building’s design, which is somewhat questionably described by its developers as “literally weaving the urban fabric of the Mission into the building itself,” stands out significantly from the surrounding neighborhood. Apparently this uniqueness extends past the condo’s jutting, many-chinned facade all the way to the interior, as this Craigslist post titled “Fantastic Brand New Luxury 2bed/2bath Condo in the Mission” calls out:

It is difficult to imagine what exactly is just so “fantastic” about this place, and with a rather dreary looking two bedroom renting for $7,499 a month, it appears that the only fantastical element about the entire thing is the price.

And while the project’s developers may have envisioned some form of grand integration with the surrounding community (the accomplishment of which would have truly been fantastic), their promise that residents will be able to “watch the large, flat-screen TV with friends as the vibrant Mission moves by outside” suggests a vision for Vida’s future inhabitants that is a tad more limited than the language of this bombastic Craigslist post suggests.

[Photo: Erik Wilson | h/t Cosmic Amanda]


Real Estate Company Appropriates Artists' Work Without Permission, Doesn't Understand Why It's Being Sued by Said Artists

Real estate company Zephyr Real Estate cares about San Francisco. Real estate company Zephyr Real Estate cares about community. Real estate company Zephyr Real Estate cares about artists in the community, especially muralists, and thinks what they do is “really cool.” So cool, in fact, that real estate company Zephyr Real Estate decided to appropriate a bunch of local muralists’ work, without permission or compensation, for a 2013 promotional calender used to help sell multi-million dollar homes. Real estate company Zephyr Real Estate doesn’t understand why the artists would be upset by this.

Courthouse News Service has the story:

SAN JOSE (CN) - In a lawsuit that spotlights tensions over soaring prices and gentrification in San Francisco, the creators of several iconic city murals sued a real estate company for using their art to advertise “luxury homes.”

Eight artists accuse Zephyr Real Estate, the city’s largest independent real estate firm, of infringing on their copyrights by reproducing their work in a 2013 promotional calendar without asking for permission.

“It just rankles that a company that is selling multimillion-dollar homes and really contributing to the gentrification of the city uses these beautiful pieces of public art for their private profit,” said attorney Brooke Oliver, of 50 Balmy Law, who spoke to Courthouse News on behalf of the plaintiffs.

The images in the calendar come from neighborhoods all around the city, including Chinatown, Dubose Triangle and the Mission. […]

Zephyr president Randall Kostick said he’s surprised the issue has come to a lawsuit. He said the company tried to resolve the problem after an artist complained. “After I researched I found out that, yes, we should have gotten permission - it’s a technicality of the law I was unfamiliar with - and we apologized,” he told Courthouse News in an interview. […]

“They’re cool calendars,” [Kostick] said. “They try to take one aspect of the city that is really cool and highlight it every year.” […]

“The artists can say, ‘You guys are involved in the gentrification that’s taking place,’ but the bottom line is we’re not creating that gentrification. We love the art, that’s why we published it. And it’s a little bit hard for me to understand why an artist doesn’t want their art published.”

Real estate company Zephyr Real Estate didn’t realize it was doing anything wrong. Real estate company Zephyr Real Estate thinks that even if they did do something wrong, well, they apologized, and really isn’t that what counts? Real estate company Zephyr Real Estate just doesn’t understand why artists wouldn’t want their work used to sell luxury homes.

Maybe real estate company Zephyr Real Estate should stick to things it does understand, like its 2010 calendar featuring “the setting for the invention of Chicken Tetrazzini.”

Update January 9th, 11:00am:

Uptown Almanac has obtained part of the calendar in question, and it is easy to see why the artists are so offended. Take the below page—right next to the reproduction of Mona Caron’s mural is a house, rendered in the style of the mural, that Zephyr sold. In a time when many artists are being forced to leave San Francisco due (in part) to exorbitant housing costs, using an artist’s work (without permission) to market a home as “an exceptional investment opportunity” seems particularly tone deaf and offensive.

The mural pictured at the top of the post is by Mona Caron, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, and has since been removed. The other artists/plaintiffs are Francisco Aquino, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Jetro Martinez, Sirron Norris, Henry Sultan, Jennifer Badger Sultan and Martin Travers.

[Photo: Mona Caron | h/t Capp Street Crap]


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]