Mission District

The Wrecking Ball Tolls for Thee

Plans to Demolish Elbo Room Proceed Apace

It looks like plans to replace Elbo Room with condos are moving along after all, if slowly, according to SocketSite:

While it has yet to be assigned within the Planning Department, the application for Environmental Evaluation has been submitted for the development, a geotechnical report has been completed for the site, and a Historic Resource Evaluation form has been signed with planning for a full Historic Resource Evaluation Report underway.

We’ve reached out to the Elbo Room via Facebook, where a response to earlier reports assured patrons that the live music venue will be around for a while.  It’s true that it could take years before any bulldozers decend on the site even if it sails through planning.

And it just might, as the proposed development looks a lot like the plans for 1050 Valencia—five stories with ground-floor retail—which is going to move forward at the originally proposed height after an effort to downsize it by neighbors afraid of losing their taxpayer-subsidized street parking was overturned by the San Francisco Board of Appeals.

So you might start looking for public comment opportunities available during the permitting and approval process so you can voice your vocal opposition (or support, if that’s your thing).

[Photo: total13]

The Glasstudent Becomes The Glassmaster

How to Know When You Can Call the Cops on a Glasshole

Michele Bachmann: Glasshole

Google Glass is ugly, expensive and, at best, semi-useful, but it’s also new, rare and exclusive, which makes it catnip to the inordinately entitled. Unfortunately, saying “no” to the inordinately entitled triggers their equally over-developed persecution complex. So after yet another Glasshole was kicked out of a local business because it made the otherwise warm, friendly folks at Grand Coffee uncomfortable, he suggested that Google start running television commercials to show how awesome Glass is so he won’t have to face “fear, uncertainty and doubt.”

Yes, Google customer Steven Mautone is asking the company to mount a major media campaign to educate the proles so that a handful of wealthy people with terrible taste won’t occasionally be excluded from social settings. Instead, what Google has done is create an etiquette guide which “Explorers” like Mautone may have read but which he seems to have trouble understanding.

For example? One of the tips is “respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy.” Mautone originally wrote on his blog, Living Thru Glass, that “the first thing I asked [Grand Coffee’s] manager was: ‘Have you ever worn Glass? Do you know what it’s all about?’” But later, in a Google+ thread (naturally), he admitted to fellow Glassholes that “I honestly didn’t know what to say at first. My response was ‘are you serious?’” Certainly not the first time that a Glasshole has desperately tried to make themselves seem more sympathetic.

What Google’s guide doesn’t do is clarify anyone’s rights under the law. For instance, while it’s true that you are allowed to take photographs of anything that’s in plain view from a public space, including people, “When you are on private property, the property owner may set rules about the taking of photographs,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which continues, “If you disobey the property owner’s rules, they can order you off their property (and have you arrested for trespassing if you do not comply).”

So the fine folks at Grand Coffee are completely within their rights to refuse service to Glassholes, and to call the cops if the Glasshole throws a temper tantrum.

Google also helpfully suggests that Explorers “ask for permission” before “standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass.” The fact Google has to write that down for users a year after the product was released says more about what Glassholes must be like as a class more succinctly than I ever could.

What the company doesn’t mention is that in California, standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass could land you in jail. As the Digital Media Law Project explains, “California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation.” They continue:

If you are recording someone without their knowledge in a public or semi-public place like a street or restaurant, the person whom you’re recording may or may not have “an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation,” and the reasonableness of the expectation would depend on the particular factual circumstances. Therefore, you cannot necessarily assume that you are in the clear simply because you are in a public place.

Over at Slow News Day, Beth Spotswood asks “is there a line when it’s cool and when it’s not?” Well, recording people at a business with a stated policy banning photography, such as at the Zeitgeist, could provide such “an objectively reasonable expectation” that they won’t be subject to electronic eavesdropping. Or maybe not! So no, there is no bright line as my lawyer friend would say. It’s decided on a case-by-case basis, so pushing the issue could take you from creepy to court proceedings faster than you can say “Glass, search for criminal defense attorneys.”

In the aforementioned Google+ thread, Mautone’s fellow Glasshole Stephen Cerutti has already suggested that someone create an app to track businesses that don’t allow patrons wearing devices on their face capable of secretly recording employees and customers. And by “someone,” I have to presume he means “someone else,” because did I mention inordinately entitled?

ML Joins UA in the No Money Club

UC Berkeley Cuts Off Support for Mission Local

Since Mission Local launched five years ago, it’s been chiefly funded by UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and served as platform for students to hone their reporting chops.  But that’s no more.

In a memo sent out by Edward Wasserman, Dean of the Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, (and published on Mission Local), he announced that the department would be pulling funding, faculty support and student participation from the site.  Excerpted below:

The Mission Local hyperlocal site has been a vibrant and valuable part of the School of Journalism since it was created five years ago. It has developed well beyond its initial scope as an incubator for J200 students, and under [Prof. and Mission Local Editor Lydia Chavez]’s imaginative, impeccably professional and tireless leadership has become the premier place for the community it serves to learn about itself and talk about its future.

It’s now time for Mission Local to take the next step and re-launch itself as an independent, stand-alone media operation. That means ending its role in the J-School’s curriculum. While Prof Chavez would have liked to see the school keep the site, she is ready to assume responsibility for the site, and we expect that it will continue under her ownership.

To paraphrase: “She wanted us to keep the site, and we were like, nah.”  Ouch.

My reasons for spinning off ML are several.

First, it’s an expensive undertaking, which obliges us to operate a remote site on a year-round basis, even when the curricular value to our students is limited or even, at times, non-existent (as when we pay non-students to keep the site from going dark.)

This alone will provide a challenge for the site.  While it’s unknown how much UC Berkeley was spending on the site, Mission Local has disclosed in fundraising pitches that site extras, including “money for rent, a translator [for the Spanish edition], extra reporters over the summer and holiday breaks, and the print edition,” cost the site between $50,000 and $75,000 annually.  Removing the steady stream of low-wage student contributions while school is in session will prove costly (unless Mission Local decides to go down the shady unpaid intern route), and likely means the site will have to cut back features and coverage.

Third, the natural evolution of the site itself is toward being an integrated media operation, and that requires sustained attention to marketing, audience-building, ad sales, miscellaneous revenue-generation, community outreach, special events, partnerships, and 1,001 other publishing activities that are essential to any site’s commercial success.

That’s not really what we do. Those are specialized areas, and the J-School doesn’t have the instructional capacity to teach them to a Berkeley standard of excellence. What’s more, our students wouldn’t have the curricular bandwidth to learn them—not unless we pared back other areas, and redefined our core mission as something other than journalism education.

It’s worth noting that UC Berkeley is continuing their support of Oakland North and Richmond Confidential, the school’s other two ‘news lab’ websites.  All this suggests that Mission Local has grown too big for its own good, with stunts like a misguided Tech Shuttle bedazzling contest and paying to win a Webby Award throughout the years.  It departed from its original mission of providing a platform for meandering, over-reported stories on neighborhood minutae, and now its parents are kicking them out of the house.

Taking 'Shot and a Beer' to a Whole New Level

Pop's Bar Used to Have a Gun Range

This month’s episode of Dirty Old Bar took a look at Pop’s, the 24th Street stalwart that was recently purchased by the owner of Madrone. And oh the things we learned.

“This bar has been around since God was a baby,” patron “John” told the folks behind DOB. “I’m talking the ’80s and ’90s.”

Sarcasm aside, he went on to detail how Pop’s used to be a Folsom Prison bar where cops and ex-cons used to hang out—and how they setup bales of hay in the back to practice their shot.

Give the whole episode a watch: it’s a great look back at one of the neighborhood’s most choice holes before renovations hit.

At Least Lust Wasn't Dragged Into It

Greed Takes On Sloth

I was walking down Valencia the other morning, wondering why no one has called for a ban on Planned Parenthood and ACLU and Greenpeace from shaking down people for money on the street, when I happened to notice this sad (and slightly dated) sign pinned up to the doorway of McSweeney’s Slothshop.  Allegedly a thief pried open the door and raided the pop-up of sloth shirts and children’s books.  Is there even a market for those?  Guess so…

Something Kewl 4 Nest

Google Is Not Moving to the Mission (Not That It Matters)

The internet has been ablaze with grievances over the news that Google is opening a 200-person office at 16th and Harrison (or, as one tipster pointed out, “look on the bright side, they’ll be right next to Dear Mom”).  The new building was reportedly purchased as “something cool” for Google’s new acquisitions, prompting SFist to declare “The Mission is over.”

But fortunately for the Mission’s alt relevance, SocketSite has confirmed that “Google has not signed a lease nor purchased the building.”

In fact, the building at 298 Alabama is currently undergoing renovations with plans to subdivide the space for multiple tenants. And while numerous parties have expressed interest, not a single lease has been signed nor negotiated, not by Google nor by any of their acquisitions.

However, does any of this really matter? While having The Face of Everything Wrong With Silicon Valley out of the neighborhood ostensibly seems like a good thing, it doesn’t change the fact tech firms are creeping beyond SOMA.  HTC was found to be expanding onto York St. two weeks ago, a sales CRM startup moved into the space that Million Fishes Arts Collective was evicted from last fall, and well-funded startups move into warehouse spaces all the time.

If people are concerned about the corporate homogenization of the Mission, they have to realize Google is just riding a trend.

Dear Sucker

San Franciscans Wait Two Hours in the Rain For Day-Old New York Bagels

Photo by @marmotilla

San Francisco reached peak pop-up pretentiousness this morning as throngs of bored foodies waited for “nearly two hours” for day-old New York bagels.

Taking place at Dear Mom, the Mission’s magnet of mediocrity, budding restauranteurs importers Sonya Haines and Wes Rowe unveiled their “Eastside Bagels” hustle, which sees Russ & Daughters bagels flown in from New York and flipped for $6 (bagel with cream cheese) to $12 (full bagel sandwich).  According to tweets from Andy Cooper, who suffered through the humiliation so we didn’t have to, the entire ordeal was a pointless exercise in doom and decadence:

 

The news of slow service and sell-outs led to an artisan riot, as moist customers raised their decorative pitchforks and hurled mildly-restrained criticism at the non-chefs.  Some poor schmuck even came up from San Jose, much to her frowny face:

While we’ve become dizzy with all the eye-rolling, we cannot help be impressed by the brilliance of this pop-up and its ability to lure people into the most degrading “yuppie bread line” possible.  Here are some other pop-up ideas to subsidize your next East Coast vacation:

  • “Box O’ Joe” Irish coffee pop-up at Buena Vista.
  • $12 reheated slice of Crazy Dough’s.
  • Bottles of water, filled from the bathroom sink of a West Philly Wawa.
  • $2 week-old Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins.
  • Scratched Dropkick Murphy’s CDs purchased at various Quincy garage sales.
  • Coolers full of authentic snow collected from Brooklyn (gross old dirty snow, not the fresh stuff).
  • Rosemunde pop-up, featuring sausages imported from Rosemunde Williamsburg.
  • Bagels purchased from C-Town Supermarket that you claim Danny Bowien breathed on.

Go forth and make your money, young jetset entrepreneurs. And congratulations to you, foodies of San Francisco, for effectively releasing any claim of superiority over New York City.

Whoop Whoop

Movies, How Do They Work? The Roxie Gives a Sneak Peek of a Savage Juggalo Documentary

Last night San Francisco’s Juggathological community and the merely Juggalo-curious were treated to an advanced screening of Whoop Dreams at the Roxie. The film, still in production, documents five friends’ foray into the annual Gathering of the Juggalos, which today was announced to be moving to Missouri in 2014.

As Uptown Almanac’s Senior Juggalo Reporter, I could not be more fascinated by this subculture—built around a rap group made up of men in clown makeup flummoxed by magnetism. Judging by the speed at which the Kickstarter to make Whoop Dreams was funded, and the packed house at the sneak peek, I’m not alone. The Roxie made the event all the more festive by stocking the concession stand with Faygo:

What we got to see last night was more-or-less the final cut of the film, with a stand-in soundtrack to set the mood in place of an original score, which will be added before the film’s official release.

Whoop Dreams promises “sex, drugs, clowns, boobies, dildos, and people hurting themselves for the sake of their Juggalo family,” and for the most part, the film delivered. With what the trailer teased, I was fully expecting a feature-length shitshow, but what we got was surprisingly tame (even with the extreme nipple torture).

Whoop Dreams may just be the most polite movie about Juggalos you’ll ever see.

How did this happen? Well, as five relatively clean-cut bros in a sea of tatted ninjas and ninjettes, their strength in numbers may have kept them from assimilating into The Family. Coupled with the great care they all took not to mock Juggalo culture, there’s a noticable distance to the film. It’s this neutral stance that is Whoop Dreams’ only weakness. Metaphorically speaking, the guys merely dipped their toes in Hepatitis Lake. During the Q & A, it was also revealed that the guys captured less footage then they’d hoped—only 8 hours in 3 days (they got their fill of family and bounced a day early). And they were only able to allude to a lot of the sex and drugs they witnessed due to their own diligence in getting signed release forms from their subjects.

Despite its lack of teeth, I still really enjoyed Whoop Dreams. Honestly, I love Juggalo culture so much that I was bound to be satisfied by any glimpse into the Gathering. No doubt the rest of the audience last night felt the same. There were plenty of big laughs during the screening and we basically had to be kicked out of the Roxie because the Q&A ran over its allotted time but nobody wanted to budge. And with the guys collecting feedback forms in earnest, there will likely be a few tweaks made before the final version of Whoop Dreams is unleashed on the masses.

My feedback? I think the movie could be improved by including postmortem interviews with each of the guys describing their experiences documenting the crazy shit they saw. These could then be incorporated as voice over to boost some scenes that need additional explanation. (For example: a slow-motion montage of ladies oil wrestling makes a lot more sense when you know that the wrestlers were not the ladies originally hired for the event, but willing Juggalettes who stepped in when the professionals went on strike.) I know they’re planning on creating bonus commentary for the DVD—so why not put the best soundbites in the feature as well?

If they had it to do over again (which the guys emphatically stated they have no interest in), they’d also be better off sending only Matt Lieb and Laremy Legel, who seemed the most down with the clown…or at least into the adventure of it all.

How Whoop Dreams stacks up in the cannon of Juggathological film remains to be seen, but for right now I give it two enthusiastic Whoops. Until I see the final cut, I’m leaving my titties in my shirt.

Clarion Alley Artists Claim "Vengeful" Copyright Infringement in Tech Shuttle Art Contest

Mission Local's $500 shuttle bus bedazzling contest with Genentech, which we once called an “egregious conflict of interest,” is now receiving a new round of criticism—this time from neighborhood artists who feel their work is being used against their wills in an effort to give “'cool camo' for corporations.”

Via an anonymous tipster:

The winning entry for decorating the tech shuttles is a Google Street View of Clarion Alley and Community Thrift.

But the artists responsible for the murals/decorative painting in the photo condemn their art being used for this purpose, and did not support the competition from the beginning. They were even in contact with Lydia Chávez—yet, their art has been co-opted nonetheless.

The status update of the Clarion Alley Mural Project reads as follows: “Mission Loc@l SUCKS!!! & [Editor-in-Chief] Lydia Chávez sucks!!! This comes after a long email exchange with Lydia that included Megan Wilson, Jet Martinez (who painted Community Thrift), Rigo 23, and John Jota Leaños - and we all said that WE DID NOT SUPPORT THIS COMPETITION - Megan, Rigo, and Jet as Clarion Alley Mural Project. … Time to by [sic] an arsenal of paint guns!”

Megan Wilson is a lead organizer for CAMP, Jet Martinez painted Community Thrift (also “Sons of Satya”—“the elephant one”), Rigo 23 was an original founder of CAMP.

Emails between Chávez and Clarion artists, published on Megan Wilson's blog, show an intense rift between the arts community and the shuttles—and a community that wanted nothing to do with the project and rejected the co-opting of their work.

Chávez initially reached out to CAMP in early December, asking the muralists to participate in the contest.  However, the invitation was rejected outright.

“Fuck this!,” John Jota Leaños responded. “I had many subversive thoughts and brainstorms over breakfast, but none would fly … subversive, political, social art does not pass corporate scrutiny.”  He added:

I question Mission Local’s move to promote this and work with FB and others …to exploit artists to beautify their cush-rides while indirectly displacing these same artists… Fijate!

“I don’t know.  Why not give it a try?,” Chávez suggested.

She later admitted, “I would love to see some subversive ideas [in the contest].”

Before the artists requested the contest be retracted, Rigo 23 fired back:

WE DO NOT HAVE SUBVERSIVE IDEAS WHICH WE ARE TRYING TO SELL TO CORPORATE INTERESTS FOR 500 Dollars;
WE ARE NOT HOPING TO HELP THEM BETTER BLEND INTO OUR NEIGHBORHOODS; WE ARE NOT LOOKING TO SELL “COOL CAMO” FOR CORPORATIONS.

Mission Local and Genentech chose to push forward with the contest, ultimately selecting a design which incorporated the protesting artists' work.

Megan Wilson writes, “the selection is not only disrespectful, but also seems vengeful and tacky.”

Feverish 2br Valencia Apartment Listing for a Gut-Churning $10,500/Month

“With the hottest micoclimate in San Francisco,” reads the latest vomit-inspiring apartment listing, “[the] Mission is caliente and this brand new boutique building at 19th + Valencia has only 3 rare rentals in the mix of 17 condominiums that were sold out for over $2.0 million per unit.”

That's right, chicos and chicas! Slap on your your favorite sombrero and shake your maracas over to 19th and Valencia, because the Mission is caliente.

Mild offensiveness aside, this listing transcends the bounds of absurdity and enters the realm of piggish extravagance.  Posted by Mark Venegas, a “Corporate Relocation Specialist for Employees Moving to San Francisco” for SF Dream Rental and Sales, the 1575 square foot apartments are listed for a modest $10,500 for a single month.  Those dollars buy you a lot: “billowing views,” “Italian-designed interiors,” close access to Tacolicious, and an optional “full concierge” package.  Plus, we're told by a neighbor that the building boasts private security guards to protect tenants from the local rabble.

But who could even afford such a thing?  We imagine that the average Joe Shuttlebus the realtor targets could never find a way to afford $126,000 in yearly rent.

We emailed Venegas over the weekend to get the story on this prized pad, and who owns these units and expects such a lavish monthly return.  We're yet to hear back.

Below, the original listing, which has been flagged off Craigslist:

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