Call It A Comeback

Occasionally Read Blog Relaunches

That’s right, your neighborhood naysayer is back on the beat — bringing you the kind of low-quality content you’ve so sorely missed. We’re talking hard-hitting reporting on startup founders, business closings, liquor-store cocktails, and the moment-by-moment movements of Dolores Park rangers. You know, the important stuff.

We’ll still cover all the same golden oldies you’re used to, as well as tackle the larger issues facing our great city. Because we live in San Francisco too, and you deserve better than Nextdoor.

Tips can be sent to holler@uptownalmanac.com.

[Photo: Jano Avanessian]

World Class Google Glass Hater Opens Up

“Ollie,” the local hero who takes to Craigslist to shame breastfeeding Google Glass owners about doing “bad, dumb things,” opened up to SFist in a wide-ranging interview about his thoughts on SF, tech gentrification, the San Bruno Mountains, and, of course, Google Glass:

SFist: Why have you taken to Craigslist to voice your displeasure about all this? What does that platform afford you? It's a pretty old-school approach.

Ollie: I don’t know if I’ve ever thought about any of that. It's a place you can write things. It is a medium designed for anonymity, public access, and hyper-temporality. It is low-commitment, non-self-aggrandizing, and lends itself well to writing shit while throwed. All of these things are good.

SFist: What do you think of the current tech/gentrification conversation that's going on in S.F. right now? Where are we headed with that?

Ollie: At Valencia and 15th there's a complex opening up that costs $2000/head. Two fucking thousand dollars a head. Kitty-corner away at Mission and 16th you've got the city capitol for stabcrimes. The rate of violent crime in the Mission has only increased over the past six years—I think that's how long SFPD has put crime reports online—and that's when rents have really started to take off.

I don't have an answer. I'm a smart person, kind of, but I understand I lack the context and foresight to offer an answer of any actionable value. In a certain meaning of the word, though, I am content to say “here is a tower where wealthy-ass boring motherfuckers eat $50 pizzas and here is a corner where folks get stabbed, and this optical contrast is fucked up.” We should feel bad about this. There's a certain virulent strain of Aspiring Rich Person who treats this process as acceptable, or as some kind of necessary tradeoff for “development”—which has taken on a role in the vernacular as a widely misused bullshit-word for when you need to run coverage on some real heinous shit—and that's some borderline sociopathy.

SFist: What do you love and hate about this city?

Ollie: I love the important things. Dore Alley was a couple weeks ago. I was biking through the Mission and I saw a guy walking his kid on a leash. The guy's shirt said “WHORE FUCKER.” Three blocks away I threw a thumbs-up at a guy casually stroking off in a crosswalk.

Read on.

Tech Billionaire Looks to Reinvent Old Vegas in the Image of the Mission

Downtown Las Vegas, if you have never been, is about a 20 minute cab ride from the Strip, and is a cheaper version of the glitz, glam, and tourist packed casino mecca. The slots are looser, the people not as scandalously dressed, and you can actually get an okay meal for under $10 per person. While some might find this place as an oasis from the over-the-top and in-your-face shit show that is the strip, one man has a vision. That man is Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, and his vision is that of Dolores Park:

Mr. Hsieh, a soft-spoken 39-year-old Internet billionaire who runs Zappos, the online clothing store, plans to do something as transformative. It’s a classic American dream: a Western-scale roll of the dice in a city that suddenly conjured up Belle Époque Paris and ancient Rome out of the desert. The idea this time is to build a version of the Mission district in San Francisco or the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn in downtown Vegas.


Mr. Hsieh has been buying up property all around the downtown strip to house what he feels are the best parts of the Mission: Mom & Pop restaurants and bars, boutique stores, offices that house tech incubators and can host TED talks, and a bike share program. And something about Teslas. While this sounds like a unique thing to do in Las Vegas (as none of those places have anything to do with boobies or yard sticks full of sugar booze), it also sounds absolutely nothing like the Mission. In fact, it sounds a lot like Austin, which is already in a desert in a state that no one particularly wants to go to. It seems like Mr. Hsieh is trying to to bring new life to a floundering section of Las Vegas, which is a good thing, especially for new start-ups that find rental prices in the Mission a wee bit pricey, and need a place to develop and grow. Plus who doesn't love doggy day care? You can't gamble AND watch your dog on vacation, right?

Let's say, for a minute, Mr. Hsieh actually wanted to bring the Mission to Las Vegas. Besides building a two-story version of Four Barrel and a park that's largely unregulated by the DEA or the Nevada Gaming Commission, what else would be necessary for the complete Missionification of downtown Vegas? Would Dr. Teeth move to Vegas and stay exactly the same? Would Cold Beer Cold Water be allowed to sell PBR again without fear? Instead of waking up to a USA Today outside your hotel room, would you wake up to poop and a used needle? What would you want to see in Vegas Mission, if you ever actually did want to see a Vegas version of the Mission to begin with?

Dolores Park: The Mission's Latest Object of Scorn

Look, we here still love Dolores Park.  Its views are unparalleled (even when we opt to sit at lower elevations), the grass is alive enough, it's the cheapest bar we know, and it's the Mall of America of people watching.  Sure, the bathrooms are crap and the fights are unfortunate and the drum circles are the worst ever, but we continue to enjoy it. However, it's hard to ignore the ever-mounting mockery and general sneer thrown in its direction.

The brush-off stems from the bubbly herds of artisan thunderheads toting wooden six pack carriers that flock to the park with increasing frequency (which, sure), creating a distinctive “not the Mission” vibe.  And as more non-residents enjoy the park, it has become ever so critical to one's Mission identity to pile onto the park, declaring its otherness and all-around shittiness. (As one critic recently pointed out, “Dolores Park is to Mission residents as the Strip is to people who live in Vegas.”)

Sounds like the usual contempt that comes with the “I was into ____ before it was cool” line of criticism? Well, of course. But the shift in attitudes towards Dolores has been particularly pronounced lately.

Take this damning piece of Dolores Park fan fic from SATAN'S WEINER (no relation to Scott Weiner):

Saturday. A beautiful day. Sun shining, no clouds, birds chirping. I woke up around 10 and had my daily protein shake. Hit the gym with Rich. After working out, Rich and I decided it was time to really enjoy our Saturday and start our weekend off right. At least better than Friday. All we did Friday was go to Matrix, drink shitty tequila, and bang out a couple of dumb sluts. We both wanted today to mean a little bit more, or at least be able to work on our tans. “Should we go to Marina Green?” Rich asked. “Nah man, we already played out the bitches there. I want something different. And by different I’m not talking about Fort Mason, that’s the same shit. I say we get a twelver and go to Dolores Park.” Rich, my lucky wingman, really had no other option than to comply. Without me, Rich wasn’t shit. I showed him how to isolate his triceps, how to drink all the beer you want and keep that six pack, and most importantly I got Rich laid. Sure, he’s my wingman, but by that I mean he really didn’t do anything besides make me look even better. In turn he’d get with the chick’s ugly friends. No harm, no foul. Though in recent days I could sense Rich’s jealousy and thirst for his own fame take hold.

Rich whined, “Dolores?!?!… But there’s just a bunch of lame hipsters and dumb potheads there. Not to mention the dumb ass drum circles that go down there.. Let’s just stay here in the Marina, the bitches are finer anyway.” I assured him, “Yeah, but dude, there will definitely be some fine girls there. Have you even been there before? Plus, dude, half of the bitches there are used to fucking with lame ass skinny hipster fags. They will hop on the first chance they get to be with a real fucking man like me. And you, I guess.” I could see Rich didn’t like that last part, but he really wasn’t as yolked as me and, whatever, it was the truth. So we walked to Fillmore and Chestnut and hopped on the 22, ready to mack on some dumb hipster bitches. I saw some dirty, cracked out homeless women puking in front of KFC. I simply laughed and cracked my first tall can, “Dude, today’s gonna be epic bro!” Rich just put on his shades, cracked his own tallboy and nodded his head.

Ah yes, Dolores Park is poised to become San Francisco's most hated destination next to Burning Man.

[Photo by Chris Schmidt]

A Celebration of Hee Haw

This summer San Francisco gets to live that parent life, so break out the your fancy fleece and post up in the park for the ultimate in hee haw activities, Outside Lands. Have you seen the line up? Man this shit looks better than the fake Coachella flyer we saw but were bummed when we found out they actually booked boring bands that parents might not know but probably do. Outside Lands has got everything you need: bands with people who look like they have osteoporosis, steampunk might make a guest appearance, some dumbass girl dancing with a hula hoop and/or staff, food booths with amazing things like vegan nachos, kim jong-un tacos, farm-to-turd soups, fancy water with brown shit in it, chocoshitheado, and all kinds of other gourmet fuckery.

Look, I’m not here to talk about that because food is not the point, so let's get back on this trainwreck. Outside Lands is about music first, not the performance fleece stroller sideshow just trying to get drunk on old juice. Outside Lands is bringing you the latest in music with amazing acts like fucking Paul McCartney! Yeah man, you can stand in a field with a bunch of other people wondering when the old lesbian is finally going to fall over or stop tucking his shirt in his fucking jeans. Have you ever seen Cialis work in reverse? It’s going down!

Oh but that’s not your thing? You’re a little FUNKY!?! Sweet dog, you can live out your dreams with the Red Hot Chili Peppers! These guys are as old as fucking Wal-Mart. Maybe they can do that song where you get to do rap hands like when you were in the 4th grade! Damn you're good at rap hands? Well shit I didn’t know yo, you need to get down with the hardcore styling of Jurassic 5. They do throwback rap, but shit these dudes are so fucking old there should be another group doing a throwback to them while a birkenstock remembers the time he tried to hump a headwrap at hiphop on the college green. Oh but fuck rap this is about hee hawing, if you want to listen to another old band that sounds like older bands that did boring better we can go see Band of Horses! The hee haw doesn’t even stop there, they got NIN for you sad face fucks in black. Gonna get some goth girl while we fuck like an 18hr bra still hanging on to a haircut from twenty years ago and snack on artichoke sandwiches, but don’t worry about getting overpumped, we can cool off from the blistering golden gate heat with shawarma snowcones. Then we can go hang out with the hula hoop girls and get our Dillon Francis on to some charlie brown teacher, she can be your trombone shawty! Oh pretty lights, FEEL THE BASS! I don’t even know what Twenty-One Pilots is but they make “piano-driven indie-rocktronica” and if that doesn’t say whitebread as fuck then I don’t know nothing about hee hawing. DANCE PARTY!

Willie Nelson will be there too so that we can smoke some tweed and dream of grey ponytails while we literally watch paint dry! LIVE FUCKING PAINTING DUDES! When has that not ever been hee haw? If we get too high, don’t even sweat about losing your mom at the festival we can always find her at the Hall & Oates memorial site. Tallest Man On Earth sounds like an acoustic gutterpunk who found soap. Don’t be scared of that one black guy bro, its D’Angelo. Outside Lands is the perfect festival for napping. I don’t even know why they have speakers on the stage. Are you more of a traditional hee haw? The Growlers have all the floppy hats and hobo croaking you could ever want, maybe we’ll get to see some suspenders or other kinds of old ass ways to hold up your clothes. Vampire Weekend will have someone foot stomping with their arms raised in a circle to tuba farts. Listening to The National is like listening to your dad tell you that boring ass story again but now you can listen to that story with your dad!

Ugh I have to quit, I decided to listen to Phoenix so I could make fun of their boring songs and I can’t put myself through this. This festival sucks. Someone should tell them not every band needs to sound like the same old stale-ass whitebread easily-accessible bullshit. If you like old people and boring music then go have fun. I can’t get with it and this city should just give up on festivals, SF is terrible at them. Festivals are shit in general but goddamn this town does shitty like no one else does shitty.

Rite Spot Cafe Backhandedly Makes NY Times' 10 Favorite SF Bars List

In an obvious attempt to gin up their alt cred, the New York Times recently swung through the Mission during an otherwise “old news” San Francisco bar crawl. (Unless you haven't heard of Vesuvio and Tosca, in which case it is most definitely new news.)  The result?  Rite Spot, a beloved but thankfully sparsely trafficked bar, made their favorites list.  And their enthusiasm jumped off the page:

Rite Spot Cafe looks like a white tablecloth Italian restaurant about to breathe its last.

Normally I'd criticize them for this sorry observation, but if anyone knows anything about having one foot in the grave, it's The Times.

Does this mean fancy, borderline-discerning Times readers will start flocking to an our favorite Italian restaurant that serves $4 whiskey shots?  Is Rite Spot over? (Also, did I really just link to a clip from Portlandia? Can someone start a Change.org petition to have me banned from life?)  We can only hope not.

[via Grub Street | Photo by Ariel Dovas]

Sup. Campos Falters on Alcohol Legislation, Hopes to Allow Beer Sales in Grocery Stores [UPDATED]

While San Francisco's State Senator Mark Leno is busy trying to extend California's last call until 4 a.m., city Supervisor David Campos is taking a much more puritanical stance on alcohol sales. [Campos misspoke, see update below]

“I'm for limiting the sale of small alcohol bottles,” the Mission District's supervisor, who hopes to join Leno in Sacramento in 2014, told a crowd of 35 during last Thursday's meeting of the Lower 24th Merchant's & Neighbors Association.  He also stated that they “create a number of problems,” but did not elaborate further before changing the subject.

The statement came amidst a discussion about preserving 24th Street's vibrancy, with local merchants hoping that easing the Mission's liquor license moratorium on small, predominately Latino grocers will abate 24th's recent upscale restaurant boom by opening the markets to new sources of revenue.  The current prohibitions on liquor licenses favor large, corporate businesses at the expense of small neighborhood markets, such as Casa Lucas on 24th and Alabama.

Currently, a market must be over 5,000 sq ft to apply for a license—smaller neighborhood markets are prohibited from obtaining one—and obey a strict set of limitations as to what they can and cannot sell.

Campos indicated that he supports allowing all markets, regardless of size, to obtain liquor licenses, but supports controlling what they can and cannot sell for an unspecified public good.  We are left to speculate that banning tall boys is Campos's strategy for fighting alcoholism and vagrancy, which strikes us as a very ineffective and Bloombergian solution to a noticeably declining problem.

We reached out to Campos's staff for clarification on his position, but are yet to hear back.  In the meantime, we're ever-so glad Dolores Park falls outside his jurisdiction.

Updated @ 5:40pm: Campos's aide Nate Albee got back to us and clarified his position.  Campos had meant to say that he supports the ABC regulations as they stand now, which ban “airplane bottles” (usually sized between 1 or 2 ounces) of hard booze and individual beer bottles less than 24oz from being sold in grocery stores, and he merely wants to expand the pool of businesses that can apply for licenses to sell liquor.  Needless to say, his remarks didn't come out clearly.

Campos hopes to file legislation in the coming weeks to allow small grocery stores to sell beer and wine.

SFPD: Santa's Reindeer "Not Street Legal"

I was so caught up with how rad Santa's sleigh was that I completely forgot that the Scrooges at Mission Station would find something objectionable about it.  Palmier fills us in:

We were in that weird haunted Chapel joint and saw dude get pulled over by SFPD…

After asking Santa if “he had plates,” the officer was pretty hilarious and let him go… but he had to walk his sleigh home.

Merry Christmas!