Mission District

Coding In The Sun

Free Wifi Comes To Some City Parks

The long talked about San Francisco free wifi program launches today, providing free wireless internet to parks across the city.

The Examiner reports:

San Francisco is officially rolling out free Wi-Fi service in 32 public parks and recreation centers today, in a step toward a larger vision of making Internet service for residents a right and not a luxury.

Funded through a $600,000 gift from Google to The City last year, the Department of Technology spent the past year installing and testing the networks that city officials say are ready for prime time.

While this is a great step toward making internet access universal, I can’t help but wonder if more people staring at their phones/computers is really what the parks of San Francisco need.

And for those of you less than thrilled at the prospect of hordes of Glass enthusiasts live streaming your every park bong rip, take heart: the Dolores Park wifi has yet to come online. As Curbed reports, “Boeddeker Park and Dolores Park won’t get their service up and running until their renovations are complete later this year and in early 2015, respectively.” 

Street Boozing

Monk's Kettle Unveils New Sidewalk Drinking Patio on 16th Street

After a brief closure, Monk’s Kettle on 16th Street has reopened their doors with more places to drink and more room to pee.

SF Eater reports:

Seating at The Monk’s Kettle has always been a tough ticket, but waits should hopefully ease up a bit now that their new patio has made its debut. With seating for 20 (and heat lamps for those chillier days), the sidewalk perch on 16th Street is going to become very sought-after for the remainder of Indian summer. […]

And gentlemen needing some release for all that beer will also be happy to learn that the men’s bathroom has been expanded, and can now accommodate two beer-loving bros at one time. The bar is now open once again, and hours are the same: 12 pm-2 am (with outdoor seats open until 10 pm).

The new seating area looks inviting, and will surely attract beer enthusiasts clamoring to sip craft brews under industrial strength heat lamps. If nothing else, it is an improvement on their previous patio.

And while in general I am a huge fan of any and all opportunities to get drunk outside, something seems odd about being able to order “a wheat-berry session saison dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace and Amarillo hops” on that particular stretch of 16th Street. Especially considering that I once saw a dude get his head smashed in with an aluminum baseball bat outside of Delirium right across the street.

[SF Eater]

Disrupting Community

Zuckerberg Is An Awful Neighbor, And He Hasn't Even Moved In Yet

When we first learned that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had purchased a home in the Mission District—and was attempting to rebrand himself as a “Mission Hipster”—we couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Dropping ten-plus million on a weekend home in a neighborhood many feel Zuckerberg is already helping to gentrify one shuttle bus at a time, only to spend his nights putting back drinks in local dives, seemed like adding insult to injury.

Like, can’t you at least leave us our dive bars? Do you have to ruin those too?

But that was just the drunken lament of the broke Mission dirt bag, quietly sipping a Cutty Bang and pondering his/her own irrelevance. Surely, the wealthy residents of the Mission would welcome this new neighbor with open, smart watch-adorned arms.

Well, it turns out, not so much. Apparently Zuckerberg’s 17 month (and counting) non-stop renovation of his Mission District home has irked some of the neighbors.

SF Gate reports:

Welcome to Fort Zuckerberg — the $10 million Dolores Heights “fixer-upper” that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have turned into a massive construction encampment that has some neighbors feeling under siege by the Facebook founder.

Their problem goes beyond the rash of “no parking” signs on 21st Street near Dolores Street that have kept them from parking outside their own homes these past 17 months.

Dozens of construction workers, using backhoes and jackhammers, are busy installing everything from a new kitchen to bathrooms and decks — and tearing up the sidewalks for new fiber-optic cables that will connect to the home. […]

A man in a hardhat identifying himself as the prime contractor, but who wouldn’t give his name, acknowledged that there have been 40 to 50 workers on the job daily since work began in April 2013.

While living in the city naturally entails dealing with construction and its associated nuisances, we can’t help but feel a bit of sympathy for those forced to endure the increasingly absurd additions to this member of the tech elite’s pied-à-terre.

We get it Mark. You’re young, rich, and don’t give a fuck if the construction of your “basement garage, complete with a turntable pad” upsets your neighbors. But do you have to be such a dick about it?

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.

Laughing and Crawling

The 2nd Annual SF Comedy Crawl is Tonight

 

The Bay Area has some top notch underground comedic talent, and the 2nd Annual SF Comedy Crawl is showcasing a bunch of it tonight. In contrast to your normal open mic rollercoaster of pretty good to so-shitty-it-borders-on-art, the Crawl is going to showcase over 20 seasoned local comics, most of which you probably haven’t seen, and all of them funny. Best of all, all three shows are free.

The whole thing starts at 6:00 PM at The Grotto, which is the fancy name for the actual basement of Sports Basement (on Bryant Street). Big plus: free beer and wine to start the night. At 8:00 PM, it’ll move down the block to the SOMA Streat Food Park at 428 11th street. The night rounds out at Il Pirata, hosted by none other than the Godfather of SF Comedy, Tony Sparks. Check out their facebook page for more info.

Keep an eye out for David Gborie and Kaseem Bentley, among others. These are the type of dudes that could get too big for this town in no time.

True Hustle Producer Anthony Medina will be hosting The Grotto set, and he’s been very busy lately putting up shows like this one. He’s passionate about fostering talent, and making sure people see it. For him, these shows aren’t just about making the audience laugh—they’re about giving local comics another platform.

“In my opinion, the Bay Area comedy scene is as good if not better than any other scene out there. We just want to put [comedians] in the position to get quality stage time, and get paid when they can.”

San Francisco is constantly losing comedians to LA, and The Crawl is one of those shows where you can catch a lot of great talent while it’s still around. Hell, if nothing else, show up for the free booze and see where the night takes you.

[Photo: Jay Austin Graham Photography]

Yum

The Tradesman: Meeting All Your $16.00 Peanut Butter Burger Needs

Putting their “gorgeous wood” front and center, Zarin Gollogly and Spencer Lafrenz of Harrison Woodworking + Design have joined the ever increasing number of trailblazing entrepreneurs to open a bar/restaurant on the now-definitely-a-real-thing-and-not-the-creation-of-a-restaurant-group “20th Street Corridor.”

According to SF Eater:

The smoking-hot 20th Street corridor has yet another new stunner to add to its arsenal in the form of The Tradesman, which opens today in the same complex that houses Central Kitchen, Trick Dog, Salumeria, and Sightglass.

In addition to serving beer and wine, The Tradesman, which opened this past Friday, sports a diverse menu. Offerings include:

  • goat tartare cured yolk, watercress, horseradish, country bread ($6.00)
  • birria goat stew cilantro, fresh made corn tortillas ($13.00)
  • chicken and waffle ($14.00)
  • burger cheddar, peanut butter, sesame brioch bun ($16.00)

So the next time you find yourself staring at the precious landmark-themed menu at Trick Dog wondering what’s a guy/gal got to do to just get a goddamn Dogfish Head Sixty-One and some goat tartare, The Tradesman’s got you covered.

[Photo: Patricia Chang via SF Eater]

Beers & Bondage

Citizen Fox: A New Brewery Headed For the Mission

The bombed out shithole across the street from the best vegetarian banh mi in the Mission is finally being renovated and put to use. Citizen Fox, a brewery/restaurant to be located on the corner of 18th and Mission Street, is slated to open in late 2014. And while I’m thankful that this isn’t some craft cocktail “experience” dropped on us by the visionaries behind the upcoming new and improved Pop’s, I’m made more than a little wary by the ratio of buzzwords to content on Citizen Fox’s blog.

It only takes three sentences for Rich Higgins, Citizen Fox’s brewmaster, to start talking about his plans to “offer education” and “develop community.” I’m beginning to wonder if it’s even possible for someone in 2014 San Francisco to drop the bullshit and just open a restaurant that serves food. Afterall, this is a brewery, not an expansion of the Women’s Building.

Other tired platitudes that make an appearance:

The opening beer menu at Citizen Fox will be influenced by the things I love most about the Mission District — it’s warmth, liveliness, and vibrancy. […]

I’ll draw on a variety of European brewing traditions […] while infusing them with the creativity that’s such a big part of San Francisco’s hip food, craft beer, and cocktail scene.

Maybe Citizen Fox really will contribute positively to the community (in addition to the obvious benefit that it’s another spot to get drunk on artisan craft brews). For example, in an attempt to follow through on their promise to offer education, Citizen Fox is proposing a 10 month, 35-hour a week internship program that requires the following duties:

  • Attentive learning, training, and communication
  • Working while being watched by a curious public
  • Entering dimly lit and/or enclosed spaces occasionally
  • Frequent bending over, squatting, working above your head, working on ladders, working on knees, working on the floor
  • Repeated gripping and manual twisting of clamps, tools, and hoses

This exciting “journey into the craft brewing industry” reads less like an education curriculum and more like the rider on Kink.com’s “Public Disgrace: Brewery Edition.” But, hey, it pays $15,000.00. So fuck it, I’ll see you at the brewery.

[via Inside Scoop]

Love in the Time of Tinder

The Mission’s Got a Live Dating Game Show

Of course the city that recently ranked #1 on Rent.com’s list of best cities for singles (39% single adults?!? Are you fucking kidding me?!!) has a live dating game show. The updated take on the saccharine, hetero-normative classic has been playing at Z Space for the better part of a year now. The creatively named ‘Z Dating Game’ is set up like the old show: 1 single person interviews 3 others in front of a crowd of strangers. Features that make this version particularly San Francisco:

  • Gay and Lesbian Rounds
  • Interpretive dance of people’s embarrassing sex stories
  • The venue is an old warehouse, repurposed as a theater/art gallery, because of course it is
  • From what I can tell, everyone is drunk
  • The press release is ironic: “Remember, the path to true love is always easier with hundreds of strangers vocally questioning your every step.”

This shameless exploitation of horny singles happens every couple of months. Z Dating Game is this Saturday, 8pm at Z Space (450 Florida St.). Advanced tickets can be purchased for $10 here, and are $20 at the door.

Well Duh

1915 Woman's Journal Takes On the Mission: "It Is the Only Place"

A piece published in the Young Woman’s Journal just ahead of the 1915 world’s fair sure does paint a fine portrait of The City.  Clearly aimed at selling the influx of tourists for the fair on the merits of San Francisco—and to warn them about our delightfully cruel summers—the old school advertorial takes us on the ferry across the “glistening bay,” through the bustle down, and around the Chinatown, Portola, Fillmore, and “Valley” neighborhoods.  But the part that stood out to us covered our neighborhood du jour, The Mission.

“Pepper trees droop tenderly over the walks and date palms sigh in the wind,” the essay boasts. “Why not live in the ‘Mission?’  Those who do swear it is the only place.”

How little has changed.  Neighborhood pride rightfully runs high here, and leaving the Mission for any reason causes a borderline panic attack.

But here’s the flip:

And now I shall tell you a secret.  Many years ago the “Mission” was inhabited by the rich and society folk.  Now they have moved to San Mateo, to Burlinggame and to Knob Hill.  In their decaying mansions and near by them live a great mass of the working class, “poor people” as the Charities call them.  By these poor people enjoy life.  They work during the day, whistling and singing.  In the evening they wash their faces, slick down their hair, and tighten their collars in preparation for their recreation.

Singing and dancing, theaters upon theaters, chorus girls’ contests, and some of the cheapest goods in the city.  These poor people enjoy life.

Beyond the Mission, the piece concludes perfectly:

Ah. yes, San Francisco, you are wonderful.  Your chilly climate, your wind, your fog and your dirt but prove that you have not yet acquired immortality.  Your sea, your hills, your sky and your flowers touch upon the divine. Dazzling San Francisco, you are a rare, resplendent gem.  You are the city of enchantment—the city that beckons the world.

Below, the sections dealing with the Mission (but you can nerd out and read the entire essay on Google Books):

[via Matt Graves]

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