We've been hearing rumors that famed Market Street rock venue Cafe Du Nord is slated to close in a couple of months, and now it's been confirmed. Tablehopper reports on Du Nord's pump-and-dump to budding restaurateur Dylan MacNiven:
Based on some ABC license transfer activity, it looks like there will be some ownership changes at [Cafe Du Nord]. One person named on the license is Dylan MacNiven (of Woodhouse Fish Co. and West of Pecos). I reached out to him and he said he’s not at liberty to share details just yet, but did say this: “I can tell you that the story is not ‘Woodhouse Fish guy takes over Du Nord’; there are other people involved.” So it looks like we need to stand by on what the upcoming changes are, but something is brewing.
Tablehopper didn't discuss the future of the music program itself, but Uptown Almanac's former music editor Sierra Frost tells us that multiple bands have told her they're shutting down the stage. A fewtweets also repeated that rumor and Cafe Du Nord's calendar is light in January before going dark in early February.
Update 6:00pm: SF Weekly interviewed MacNiven over email, being told:
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.
He then further clarified, telling the Weekly, “I am intending for live music to stay.”
Now that we know “techie” is basically a racial slur thrown around to marginalize cyber Mexicans, a few tipsters have written in alerting us to the low-grade hate speech being sprayed across the neighborhood. As one tipster critiqued:
I felt the double exclamation point was unnecessary. They already made their point by spray-painting the message across the entire street.
Such divisiveness here in the Mission. It was bad enough in the days when the poors hurled around senseless epithets like “techie” and bars openly discriminated against Google Glass-enabled humans, but now this? Where will it end?
In what might be a marketing ploy or proof farm-league hockey teams can't afford to ship their mascot around via Uber, Bulls mascot Rawhide was spotted this morning schlepping around town on the 22 Fillmore.
San Francisco is famous for its long list of no-no words—“Frisco,” “Hipster,” “Republican.” Now it seems we can add “techie” to the list.
While today's crop of adderall-addled entrepreneurs are busy disrupting old industries in their useless pursuit of wealth and Twitter followers, their chill vibes are being rudely harshed by industry know-nothings who insist on calling them techies. The Chronicle's Nellie Bowles reports on the tech industry's latest sensitivity crisis:
Dan Gailey, a 30-year-old tech entrepreneur who was recently working at Four Barrel, said he didn't identify as a “techie” - and thinks it's actually a pretty rude term.
“If you use the word 'techie,' we know you're not in tech,” said the Mission District resident. “A lot of negative terms like that - yuppie, hipster - are outsider terms. We don't call each other techies - at all, ever.”
The preferred terms, he said, are “hackers,” “makers” or “coders.”
The hostility towards digital artisans is reaching such a fever pitch, makers are now fancying themselves to be the natural allies of oppressed minorities:
[Betabrand's Enrique Landa] felt the word “techie” fit into a long history of words used by natives to describe immigrant groups.
“Whenever you get a mass migration of a new wave of people, you get a negative connotation from the people who were there before - like Mexicans in the Mission. The new wave always gets a bad rap.”
Comparing tech immigrants to the Mexican immigrants may be hard - Twitter's IPO just made an estimated 1,600 new millionaires - but, for Landa, the term “techie” connotes “unwanted newcomer” in much the same way as racial slurs.
Just in time for the holidays, Uptown Almanac's Locally-Sourced Pop-Up Comedy Night returns to the Roxie Theatre on Tuesday for Seanukkah!
We're cramming eight nights of laughter into one great show, featuring our headliner, Emily Heller (“Conan,” “John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show”). And thanks to Pabst Blue Ribbon, your $7 ticket also gets you plenty of free beer. Some said we only have beer to last for one comic, but our product rep Judah Maccabee assures us it will last for at least eight comedians.
Along with Ms. Heller, we've got local stars:
And special guest Chris Fairbanks! (“Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Comedy Central's Premium Blend,” “Last Comic Standing,” “Comedy Central's Reality Bites Back”)
The evening's festivities will be hosted by Sean Keane, so come expecting fun, excitement, ample popcorn, and a lot of comedians wearing holiday sweaters and headbands from Sean's mom's closet.
BFF.fm, the internet radio station that's taking hold in Capp Street's very own The Secret Alley, is celebrating their birth with a launch party tonight at Bottom of the Hill. Sadly, we won't be able to make it because of travels surrounding overeating. But if you're still in town and looking to escape the clutches of your loved ones, we strongly encourage checking it out.
And if you're unfamiliar with the bands, take in this hit from Kitten Grenade, recorded live in BFF.fm's studio last Thursday during the Uptown Almanac Disaster Hour:
It seems Omer Travers, a.k.a. Bum Jovi, one of the last of the Valencia Street Eccentrics, has finally pushed off. Your editor hasn't seen him slashing his weathered guitar outside a sex shop in months, and our friends have noted his absence as well. Now his Facebook profile (which features an amazing Omer selfie) says he's living in Arizona.
Some will probably cheer his departure—to say he was a controversial figure would be underselling his 20+ howling years in the neighborhood. His litany of Yelp reviews says it all:
“Racist. Dirty. Batshit crazy. Terrible guitar player. Snazzy glam rock fashion sense. Striking resemblance to David Johansen. There are few people left on this earth who posses even even a handful of these qualities, even fewer who REALLY don't care what you think about it.” - Jason X.
“I'd like to kick him in the face.” - Michael A.
“I just want to kick him in the nuts.” - Gabe S.
“My most recent interaction with Omer was two nights ago when at 3-FUCKING-AM I had to stick my head out of my bedroom window and tell him to shut the hell up & stop yelling because I - along with most of the other normal people in the neighborhood - was sleeping & had to get up for work the next morning. The “hipster” Omer's response? He gave me the finger the continued yelling and carrying on…” - Kate K.
“He looks just like William H. Macy, except he has a mullet and dresses like a gypsy commando.” - Steven C.
“I work at a cafe and he's constantly coming in to yell briefly and leave. All you gotta do is yell back at him. Usually i just yell, “DAD?!” and it smoothes things over with the ruffled customers and he gets embarrassed and scampers off.” - Gavbo O.
“Dear Omer (aka Bum Jovi), I'm waiting for the gentrification fairy to turn you into a parklet.” - EDW Lynch.
The 16th and Mission BART plaza has gone through an incredible transformation in the last 9 weeks. It was as only mid-September that you would emerge from the BART station and see a cast of so-called unsavory characters doing everything from drinking tallboys in paper bags to selling (probably stolen) goods rolled out on blankets. And then there was the violence, drugs, and general loitering that put the neighborhood's more sensitive and vulnerable populations on edge.
But today? Nesquik can be found setting up a booth to give out free chocolate drink. Even the plaza's notorious scent is wafting away.
The turnaround began on the week of September 22nd, when BART, the Department of Public Works, a private security corporation, and the San Francisco Police Department teamed up to better patrol the plaza and shift the nightly plaza wash-down to mid-day, all at the urging of the shadowy “Clean Up The Plaza” coalition.
Clean Up The Plaza surfaced on June 1st, hanging signs in business windows and launching a petition, which we then noted was “little light on details as to what they want done.” The organization bills itself as a “grass roots [sic] effort” made up of “residents, merchants, and visitors” of 16th and Mission. From their mission statement:
We are a coalition of Residents, Merchants, and Visitors who use the 16 Mission Bart Station in our daily travels. The area around the Plaza on these corners is in deplorable condition. We have lived in danger and with the blight of this corner for too long. Our neighborhood deserves better access to safe, clean and walkable transportation corridors.
Their website lists their core members, painting their bios with broad strokes such as “BART rider,” “business owner,” “property owner,” and “resident.” However, researching the individuals behind the campaign reveal they are anything but the humble neighbors as they are so described.
Of the original core members of Clean Up The Plaza (the organization expanded their membership list earlier this fall), at least four members have downplayed their status in the community to give the petition a “grassroots” feel. One of these members, David J. Sanchez, Jr., is described merely as a “property owner.” However, Sanchez is deeply embedded within the bowels of the San Francisco government, serving on the San Francisco Health Commission, the Police Commission, the Board of Education, and on the board of the SF General Hospital Foundation.
Gwen Kaplan is similarly described as a “business owner,” but also happens to be the former president of the San Francisco Small Business Commission and sits on San Francisco Chamber of Commerce board. Clean Up The Plaza also lists Gwen Kaplan's business Ace Mailing and the North East Mission Business Association, which is funded by Ace Mailing, as a member organizations without disclosing their link to Kaplan.
Clean Up The Plaza has not returned repeated emails or phone calls for comment.
On the surface, it's hard to argue with the changes happening at the plaza—cleaner sidewalks, less violence, less public drunkenness, less smell. But the unfortunate truth is these changes are largely coming on the backs of the poor, from the homeless to the hundreds of SRO residents who use the plaza as a common space to escape their prison cell-like living conditions.
The week the “clean up” commenced, Laura Guzman, the Director of Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, told us DPW workers were going around to homeless camps in the blocks surrounding the plaza, telling the homeless that they had to pack up and move or else they would be “sprayed out” with a hose. She went on to tell us about the strong-arm tactics she saw at the plaza:
I have seen up to five cops closely monitoring what people are doing at all times. I have been told that folks have been harassed for smoking cigarettes… I was there [on September 24th] and I was going to give light to one of [the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center's] homeless participants, and a police officer approached to see what I was doing (he probably thought I was going to smoke crack with my guy or something). Two police men where closely watching an African American lady who was shaving her man's head. It is out of a movie to see it. I also spoke to some of the old timers, who stated to me no one has come to offer not even shelter to them…
Since Guzman's report, we too have seen no less than two police officers in the plaza at any given time, handing out citations for offenses as minor as open containers—issues that easily pass in places as nearby as Dolores Park. And two weeks ago, private security officers from Legion Corporation were spotted telling smokers outside Kilowatt to “move along” for loitering on 16th Street:
All this makes us wonder: why are people as politically connected as a former Police Commissioner and a Chamber of Commerce board member astroturfing a clean up on 16th and Mission? Who is paying for private security officers to patrol the area? And why do they think they need to be secretive about their affiliations?
Local comedian and political rabblerouser Nato Green stood up before the Board of Supervisors earlier this month and argued against the construction of condos at 1050 Valencia, joining the chorus of critics who claimed the new development would get the non-profit Marsh Theater shut down—a situation we've certainly seen before. Agree with him or not, his testimony is one of the best speeches before the Board we've seen in quiet some time.
(And the critics successful halted the condo development appealed the development, riding the short wave of anti-gentrification sentiment that's crashing into City Hall.)