Necessary State of Mind to Suffer Through Tiësto

Portrait of Two Spun Out Outside Lands Partiers

Perhaps capturing the essence of every blue-haired psychonaut descending upon Golden Gate Park this weekend wasn’t what Zoltron had in mind when he pasted these two monsters outside 18th and Mission. But, really, it’s the perfect Outside Lands portrait. Just look at those eyes:

For Whom the Wrecking Ball Tolls

Flax Art & Design's Conversion Into Condos is Moving Forward

As we regrettably mentioned in May, the beautiful Flax Art & Design building has been slated for demolition in favor of nine stories of condos. Now, SocketSite unveils the plans for the long-standing art store at the corner of Valencia and Market.

According to SocketSite:

In the process of being designed and refined by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, the preliminary design concept for the development calls for the project to finished in stucco with painted metal balcony guardrails, as rendered above, and with two internal courtyards.

When developers initially filed a Preliminary Project Assessment with the Planning Department, they noted the “project was designed to be respectful to neighboring buildings by providing setbacks.” And while the building may be “respectful,” it is still damn ugly.

Nevertheless, the proposed building will bring 160 residential units to the corner, along with a 4,500 square feet of commercial space and 123 parking spaces.

However, development is still years away. Flax still holds a lease for the existing space, Hoodline reports. That means demolition likely won’t begin until after December, 2015, when the art supplier’s lease expires.

[Photo: Patric Butler | Story: SocketSite, via Hoodline]

Valencia Being Valencia

Therapy Becomes the Latest Business Forced Off Valencia

After thirteen years in business, Therapy has become the latest business on Valencia Street forced out of its long term home by an exorbitant rent increase. Therapy, which over the years has grown to include several stores around the Bay Area, began as a furniture shop on Valencia and later expanded its offerings to include clothing.

It is the original furniture store at 541 Valencia that is closing at the end of August; the adjacent clothing store will remain open.

When reached by phone, Therapy’s owner Wayne Whelan explained that he simply couldn’t afford the 84% rent increase his landlord demanded. Whelan said he wanted to stay open until the end of the year, and that he was willing to pay the increased monthly rent to do so, but that he couldn’t commit to the new five year lease the landlord was demanding. The landlord, the Daljeet family, wouldn’t have it. “There was no negotiation. It was like, ‘take it or leave it,’” says Whelan.

Faced with a rent that increased from $5,700 to $10,500 as of August 1st, Whelan paid the higher rent for August, but decided that he would be unable to sign a new long term lease at the increased rate.

The closure of Therapy comes after a series of established businesses have been priced out of 16th and Valencia.  Earlier this summer, Idol Vintage was forced to move to 26th and Mission after their landlord attempted to raise their rent by $2,500.00. And recently, Clothes Contact announced they would be closing at the end of the year.

In conversation, Whelan mentioned that he was never late on rent, and that there is simply “more demand for [Valencia Street] than there is Valencia.” Whelan believes that with the average “consumer on Valencia Street [being] a hyper-affluent tech person,” a Valencia Street store “becomes a billboard to promote [a company’s] brand.” The outrageous rent paid simply becomes another line item in a company’s marketing budget.

This is the very situation that many local business advocates have feared, and was in many ways the driving force behind the fight to keep Jack Spade out of the Mission.

Though a mix of frustration and sadness can be heard in his voice, Whelan explained that he has “no hard feelings” toward whoever the eventual new tenant is. “Every store that closes is someone’s heartache, and every store that opens is someone’s dream.”

Those of you who will miss what Therapy had to offer, take heart: Whelan had already been in the works to open a new location on Park Street in Alameda, and it now appears that he will shift furniture sales to this location. In addition, Therapy is running a 20% sale on its furniture until the store’s closing on the 29th of August.

It is hard to not see Therapy’s closing as a symptom of a much larger problem that the city as a whole is now facing. When a well established and successful purveyor of hip furniture can’t afford Valencia Street (second to only the Design District for it’s love of expensive hip things), we’ve truly bypassed real estate “bubble” status and are firmly in that of “affordability crisis.”

[Photo: Capp Street Crap]

Literally Underground Comedy

The Business is Awesome, And it's Moving Again


You’ve got a few last chances to catch a really funny and interesting show in the best little comedy basement in the city.

Underground comedy institution, The Business, is relocating yet again come September 18th, from Lost Weekend Video, to the Hemlock tavern. They moved earlier this year from their long-time home, The Dark Room, when it temporarily closed because those Spamalot dicks sent a cease and desist letter.

The reason for September’s move? Business regular Jules Posner says that they saw an opportunity to expand: “The Hemlock just happened to have Friday nights open up in the near future, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to step up to a higher capacity venue in a primetime slot.”

The venue is bigger and louder, but he promises the format won’t change, which is good news. The two big reasons I love this show: it’s got an incredibly loose format (something like The Benson Interruption where there is a second comic around to butt in whenever they feel like) and it gives the talented mainstays a unique opportunity to practice longer sets on a regular basis, so they can take their craft to the next level. Since there is another comic around to shoot the shit with, comedians can test weirder, newer material without getting marooned or losing step.

It’s a format that’s helping comics evolve. Former Business SF comics Sean Keane, Caitlin Gill, Chris Garcia, Chris Thayer, and Anna Seregina are establishing roots down south via The Business LA. The franchise has even extended to the East Coast. Original Business SF member Alex Koll (along with Jared Logan, Kara Klenk, and Michelle Wolff) launched The Business-NYC, which appears twice-monthly at The Stand.

Expansion is great for the comics, but the intimate, quasi-conversational style is perfectly suited for Lost Weekend’s tiny basement.

Catch it there while you can. Mondays at 8pm. The show is only five bucks.

Bands you should get off your couch to go see

Go See This Show: Goodnight, Texas Returns Home For Their Record Release

A majority of San Francisco bands are in polyamorous relationships. The bass player of this band is the guitar player of this band, and they share a drummer who also plays in the side project of this other dude’s band. Goodnight, Texas is a rare (and refreshing) example of a group of talented dudes who are committed to one project.

After a year and a half of touring cross country in support of national acts like Shakey Graves and Rusted Root, they’ve cemented themselves as a folk/Americana-revival band to watch in and outside San Francisco. Tomorrow night, they’re playing for a hometown crowd who knew these dudes were hot shit when they were still playing as duo.

Goodnight, Texas toured like animals in preparation for the release of their album Uncle John Farquhar, which dropped yesterday. For a band that’s sold out The Fillmore twice, they’re choosing a more intimate venue for their record release by playing at The Chapel. So catch them with Ghost and Gale on August 7th before they head out on another cross country tour.

Advance tickets are $15 and are on sale now.

Don't Call It A Chain...

Philz to Open Coffee Campus in the Dogpatch

Everyone’s favorite coffee startup, Philz, is slated to open a “massive campus” in the Dogpatch sometime in early 2015. The San Francisco Business Times explains:

Landing at 1258 Minnesota Street, the new Philz Coffee will serve as a new training facility, office space and retail locale for the company on the ground floor of a 39-unit condo development, Millwheel North. […]

“The space is massive in size and exquisite in feel,” said Philz Coffee CEO Jacob Jaber. “We plan to build a space that speaks the Philz values while celebrating the craftsmanship, history and authenticity of the very special rapidly growing Dogpatch neighborhood.”

This new multi-use retail space will be the 20th Philz location in California, which means that according to current restrictions on formula retail, Philz should be required to obtain a conditional use permit in order to open the new location. The San Francisco Chronicle predicted this very situation last month when they wrote about potential changes to formula retail restrictions:

Currently, if a business like a restaurant, bar or retail store has 11 locations in the United States, it is considered formula retail under San Francisco’s laws. Over a large swath of the city, such businesses can add a 12th, or additional, location only with special approval from the city, a “conditional use” permit that requires additional cost and effort. To do so, the business must demonstrate that its proposed new store is “necessary and desirable.” […]

Philz has 14 locations, for example, and would need a conditional use permit to add any more locations in San Francisco, which can mean paying rent for months on a yet-to-open location while waiting for approvals.

No word yet on whether Philz has already obtained the required permits to open its 7th location in San Francisco, but with “The Patch” so quickly on the rise, one can only image that Philz won’t be the only company looking to expand in San Francisco’s “hot new neighborhood.”

[Photo: Curbed, via Eater]

Mission Street Changes

Planning Department to Hold Public Meeting on the Future of Mission Street

This Thursday, August 7th, the Planning Department is holding its second public meeting to discuss the Mission Street Public Life Plan. Not familiar with the Mission Street Public Life Plan? The Planning Department provides the following project overview to bring us up to speed:

The Mission Street Public Life Plan is looking at how Mission Street is currently used and is exploring new ideas that can express the needs and identity of its users. […]

The plan will create new opportunities for gathering spaces along the corridor while supporting transit service, and will promote local art and business as expressions of the unique identity of the street. Ideas will be developed for and with the Mission District community and through partnerships newly formed. The Plan will be a resource for community organizations and local stewards to celebrate this iconic street with creative street furnishings, art installations about history and evolving identities, storytelling, and gathering.

It sounds like more local art and new opportunities for gathering spaces (parklets?) along Mission Street are key elements of the plan.

Taking place from 6:00 to 8:00pm at The Women’s Building, this Thursday’s meeting has the following specific agenda:

[We] will explore how street furniture, art, seating and events could create new ways to gather and to celebrate the cultural history of this important street. We will also discuss the latest community conversations on commerce, art and maintenance for the 16th BART plaza.

If the future of Mission Street is important to you (or if you just really want to help secure your future of chilling out on public seating), then this Thursday’s meeting is a great opportunity to make your voice heard.

[Mission Local]

Artisan Liquor Stores

Royal Cuckoo Is Opening a "Hippie Country Store" on 19th

It seems the artisan liquor store trend is starting to take off in the Mission. In March, the “Local” chain of upscale markets and restaurants opened “Local Cellar,” a liquor store at 22nd and Florida that stocks Bay Area beers and wine (along with a few bottles of Jameson and Jägermeister). Now, the family behind the jazz-centric cocktail bar The Royal Cuckoo are opening their own market.

Co-owner Paul Miller tells us what to expect:

The store will have several dimensions: part eclectic liquor store with some basic standards, part Woolworth’s, part hippie country store. Eventually, we would like to make sandwiches and serve espresso, let people sit and hangout. We will carry good breakfast groceries, like bacon, eggs, cheese, baguettes, pastries, and fruit. We’ll also stock random items, like ice cream. We can sell pretty much anything, but unfortunately not everything—it’s a small space, so we’ll see what fits.

Miller tells us the space, located on 19th between Capp and Mission, should be open (albeit not fully stocked) next week.

[Photo and tip submitted by Capp Street Crap]

Evict Ed

The Word on the Street

The “EVICT ED LEE!” stencils popping up in the Mission Dolores area over the past few weeks appear rather prescient in light of Mayor Ed Lee’s successful effort to gut Supervisor Kim’s affordable housing ballot measure. The San Francisco Bay Guardian explains the original measure, before it was watered down:

[Supervisor Kim’s] originally proposed ballot measure required new housing developments to provide 30 percent affordable housing, with an opt-out mechanism possible through a hearing. […] The 30 percent requirement was a strong, clear ask which may have spurred much-needed housing for middle and lower-income San Franciscans.

The final version of the ballot measure (which we’ll all have the pleasure of voting on this November) does not include the 30% requirement, because, as the San Francisco Bay Guardian put it: “the mayor, frankly, didn’t like it.”

But whatever. Who needs concrete action taken to create more affordable housing when the Mayor’s office has already given us this sweet “housing meter” graphic?