Back in the Day

Here's What Bi-Rite Looked Like in 1947

The SF Public Library is still in the process of scanning their piles of old San Francisco photography and recently came across this gem of a shot of Bi-Rite from the days before the velvet rope.  Our favorite signage is there, as are the piles (albeit smaller) of fresh fruit in the front window, but I'm not sure what these empty lots amidst the hot Mission Dolores real estate and this Three Veterans business is all about.

[Photo via The Bay Citizen]

Meet PastMapper, a San Francisco-Centric Foursquare App From 1966

Bored of the same bars and restaurants that you've been checking into ever since Steve Jobs empowered you to more efficiently ignore your surroundings?  Want to be able to knowledgeably reminiscence about how much cooler the Mission was back when The Sycamore was still Happy Club and Jello Biafra hadn't gentrified the hood yet?  Well, now you can.

Meet PastMapper, a new, very much beta location-based check-in app that allows you to share where you'd be eating and drinking if this was 1966.

While the concept might sound silly, it's actually a fun app to play with, if only to learn how much more silly bar names were before RFK was shot.  For example, 24th was lined with bars such as Bucket O'Suds, Green Lantern Tavern, Pop's Clubhouse, Chip's and Big Ed's, Valencia was home to a joint called “Cozy Tavern,” 22nd and Mission had a bar “Mission Carousel”, and the corner of 21st and South Van Ness was “Bubble Club.”  Plus, there was apparently a restaurant on top of the US Bank Building (“Towers Restaurant”), The Napper Tandy used to sell donuts and The Jelly Donut used to serve booze, and seemingly every corner of the neighborhood had a bar on it.

Basically, surprise!, shit is way different now!

As previously mentioned, the app is a little rough around the edges—you cannot browse the history outside your GPS range (for example, I'd have to walk to Bender's to find out what Bender's used to be), and data is currently limited to 1966.  However, Brad Thompson, the app's developer, tells us he's “got data being made ready right now for 1976, 1953, and 1914.” All that data will be made available when it's ready, and he'll be expanding the database to the East Bay soon.


Public Enemy to Open for Girl Talk at Treasure Island Music Fest 2012

Treasure Island Music Fest just announced their fairly epic 2012 lineup (via The Bay Bridged). I've been a fan of the XX and Best Coast ever since I read about them on Hipster Runoff.  Girl Talk speaks for himself.  And Porter Robinson is fun, even if his Essential Mix was pretty much A Clockwork Orange's chair of torture for your ears.

So allow me to just get this out of the way now: I love TIMF.  I love that they mistakenly surrendered a pair of press passes to me last year.  I love the ferris wheel.  I love the cries of under-dressed attendees as the fog rolls in.  It's a helluva time, that music festival on Treasure Island.

But what I'm having trouble wrapping my head around is why Public Enemy is opening for a dude who samples Public Enemy.  Was this done for chronological accuracy and an effort not to fuck up the space time continuum?  If that's the case, Grimes should headline because she's technically in the future and The Coup's should open, as their hair still resides in 1974.

This notable 2011 festival attendee knows what I'm talking about:

San Francisco Music Video Death Match Week, Round 3: Huey Lewis And The News - I Want A New Drug

As a kid born in the mid eighties, 90s music videos hold a very special place in my heart. But none of the San Francisco-centric videos we seen on Uptown this week can stand up to this juggernaut - Huey Lewis and the News' 1983 hit 'I Want a New Drug'. Otherwise known as “that song they ripped off in Ghostbusters”, the quasi-local Huey Lewis and the News produced a San Francisco-centric video that still resonates with the lives of many residents today.

Let's start at the beginning of the video. After a particularly rough Whiskey Wednesday that ended with the procurement of 1980s-caliber blow from a bartender at legendary SOMA hotspot Caribbean Zone, 'young' Huey (he was 34) wakes up disheveled and hungover in the middle of the afternoon. Huey dunks his head in ice water while repeatedly declaring his great need for a new, less adverse chemical substance. Not long after, he realizes that he's late for his own show, hops in his piece of shit vintage (even for then) Karmann Ghia, and speeds down Potrero Hill. This is where things in the narrative start making a lot less sense… 
Huey makes it to a ferry boat in the nick of time. He downs an entire box of alka seltzer, which is served to him by a bow tie wearing waiter cause fuck it it was the 80s and why the hell not have bottle service on a commuter ferry. Dude probably offered him blow too, but Huey is still hungover and, at least for the next 48 hours, is convinced that he needs a new drug. Rocking a bright ass red suit, Huey starts getting sideways glances from the cookie-cutter Patrick Bateman corporate stand-ins (aka: future fans) who are apparently also really late for work. It won't be until 1986 that Huey realizes it's hip to be square and tones down the colors of his wardrobe. 

PICTURED: Hypothermia and non-SAG/AFTRA day rates

At this point, it seems like the LA-based director of the music video becomes disappointed by the overall grey-ness of the Bay Area, and asks his location manager if there's any way they can “make the Bay look more like Santa Monica”. Their casting director obliges, and the Bay is then decorated with supermodel caliber girls in bikinis, 'sun bathing' on speed boats in 50 degree weather.
Once arriving at his destination (Oakland? Larkspur?), Huey boards a helicopter so that he can immediately fly back to San Francisco, the city that just came from in a pretty big hurry. Huey either literally had a 'new drug' waiting for him in Oakland that he desperately needed to pick up before his show, or his Groupon for a helicopter tour was set to expire that morning. 
The rest of the video is pretty standard stuff. Huey makes it to the gig; his Rick Rubin looking tour manager gets pissed that he's late; Huey crotch thrusts into the face of an improbably hot girl in the front row; three clones of Huey Lewis play saxophone together, and San Francisco pop culture history is made. 

PICTURED: Two Huey Lewis clones and KevMo on the right.

Tell Me How Those Players Do It In The Western Bay

Couple of SF rap videos from 93-95 because fuck that third eye blind fuckery. No one needs to revisit that bullshit ass music but you can floss your west bay player swag. And also the Get Low is one of the most fun dances you can do. You don't even have to be good at dancing, just bend your knees, bounce, and just look hella cutty when you're doing it.

"Instagram: The Beer" Coming to San Francisco!

Rarely do we here at Uptown Almanac get truly excited about a new product being sold in San Francisco, but rarely is such a product “the most hipster beer in the world.”

Oh yes.  Starting this month, Churchkey Can Co., the new beer from Entourage mega-hunk Adrian Grenier and “some dude who used to work at Nike,” will “rollout” to the Bay Area following a couple months of intense product incubation in the drunk and rainy cities of Portland and Seattle.

However, its appeal isn't coming from its association with actors, its army of Facebook and Zynga executive investors, nor its nice, instagrammy script title font on the side of every steal can.  Rather, it's gaining steam in the tech press because everyone is clamoring for its hot new vintage 1930s-era can design that requires you to open the lid with a primitive tool known as a “church key”.

“Church key?,” you ask?  Well, here's a promotional video teaching all you “dumb young fucks” how to open a real beer:

Of course, even to the most casual observer, this looks extremely similar to Miller Lite's latest gimmick, in which you “crack open your brew” with Very Manly Objects like wrenches, shark teeth, fishing lure, dice, and the reservoir tip of a filled condom:

Miller Lite's competing product aside, this new old product is going to fuck up the beer industry as we know it.  Just read this objective press release posted on TechCrunch about TechCrunch's investment in the product:

After a short beer tasting hosted by CrunchFund founder and former TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington, the obvious first question asked by Siegler, who is also an investor in the company through CrunchFund, was about why there is a beer company at Disrupt and why tech investors are interested in investing in a beer company. Churchkey, Siegler noted, had one of the best pitch decks he had ever seen. Investing in Churchkey, he said, was an easy choice because it has the potential to disrupt the beer industry with its new design.

So get ready, San Francisco.  You best be freeing up some room on your carabiner for some church keys.

Third Eye Blind Takes Us on a Semi-Charmed Tour of the 1997 Mission District

For those with a fond memory of 90s pop music, Sunday marked the 15th anniversary of the release of alternative boy band Third Eye Blind's epic jam “Semi-Charmed Life.”  And an epic jam at that.  For many, the song marked the first opportunity for our bad young selves to con our oblivious parents into letting us buy a deceptively dark album because it sounded innocent. For others, an exemplary lurid journey into the fanciful whimsy of drug abuse.

However, ignoring the grim reality that this song is now fifteen-fucking-years-old (and that I actually know what day of the year it was released), its music video is of some serious San Francisco historical significance, as nearly all of it was filmed in the Mission and Dogpatch.

See, the summer of 1997 was a different time in the Mission.  Before all the tech industry types and foodies moved in, before the divisive and tumultuous years of anti-gentrification riots, the Mission was a lovely neighborhood exclusively populated by Latinos and happy-go-lucky tweakers.  And, lucky for us, four of those happy-go-lucky Jesse Pinkman's went on to sell millions of records and indirectly film a video for us neighborhood types to enjoy today.

Sadly, like so many other artifacts from our digital youth, no good copy of this music video exists on the internet, so we'll have to settle for the pixelated blur embedded above.

Below, the highlights:

After riding around the Dogpatch on scooters, lead singer Stephan Jenkins angrily stomps down Valencia Street past Valencia Cyclery, punching a wall for no apparent reason.

As Stephan approaches the corner of 22nd and Valencia, we watch as mid-90s Mission hipster, then known as a dweeb, types sonnets on a real life typewriter outside of Boogaloos, presumably while paying, like, a nickle for eggs.  As you may recall, in the mid-90s, portable electronic typewriters with fruit logos were not readily available, so kids had to haul around gnarly typewriters in their L.L. Bean backpacks with the initials “AZZ” stitched on the back.

Based on the man's layering of long-sleeved outerwear, we can surmise the weather was quite summer-like.

Here we see and the band performing in some empty unknown venue with a big old safe dial behind the stage.  Presumably, this place doesn't even exist anymore.

As the video takes an eastward turn down 22nd, we watch as a flock of mega babes flaunting it on their way to Make-Out Room.  All these girls probably have kids and live in Antioch now, which is just upsetting.

Stephan is shocked—SHOCKED!—that these girls walked passed him, so he visibly gasps in disbelief will strutting backwards towards Mission Street.

Bonus! We can see the old Leed's Shoe sign at the corner of 22nd and Mission, now a Skechers.

(Here's what this block looks like on the Google internet map.)

After getting shunned by the now-mothers, he proceeds to fellate a bunch of produce outside a market, currently a Latin lounge where iPhones go astray.

(Close-up of that market today, to the right of Anita's Beauty Salon.)

Following more bank safe jamming, Stephan goes on to throw a tantrum in an alley.  I'm not sure which alley this is (or why his sideburns are so thin), but it could be Poplar, near Papalote Taqueria:

Finally, Stephan walks across Potrero Hill's Abbey Road, wrapping up our tour of bougeoning 1997 San Francisco.

Cine Latino's Signage Has a Giant Hole in It

Well, it looks like construction crews are now dismantling the giant Cine Latino marquee signage, killing our hopes for the building's new tenants to do something profoundly rad with it.  Bummer.

Now, if someone can go gather the pieces and haul them off to Bender's, that would be much appreciated.

(Also, from the looks of it, they are unearthing the old Crown Theater signage that preceded Cine Latino.)

24th and Mission in the Year 1980-Something

There it is, looking north in all its 1980's glory.  Unsurprisingly, everything looks about the same, down to the familiar yellow glow coming from Farolito (although the cars do look a bit cooler, and there are bricks in the crosswalk).  But way in the distance, you see the orange lights from the long-gone Bay View bank at 22nd and Mission (which you can see a bit clearer here below).

[Photo by Vito | Second pic by American Classic]