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.

Bizarro Omer Travers Serenades the Symphony

Obviously the portrait is not of Omer Travers, the man once king of Valencia Street's buskers and bawlers, but it might as well be.  Had he traded up his swag rags and guitar for a white tux and piano, well, this would be him.  The resemblence is uncanny.

(Also, we've heard a few rumors that Omer has returned to the neighborhood following his relocation to Arizona, but neither we nor anyone we've talked to has spotted him.)

[Thanks Lindsey!]

Anti-Gentrification Meanies Pepper the Mission With Hate Speech

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?

Self-Proclaimed Entrepeneurs Too Important To Be Called "Techies"

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.

[SFGate | Photo by Arlen Abraham]

Omer Travers Has Left the Building

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.

But I prefer his most recent review:


[Photo by Dyche]

Local: Mission Eatery Employee Fired Days After Reporting Sexual Harassment, Lawsuit Claims

With Local: Mission Eatery, Local's Corner, and this week's opening of Local Mission Market and the announcement of Local Cellar, Yaron Milgrom's business empire continues to grow and make an impact on the neighborhood.  However, a string of complaints this year are beginning call his business practices into serious question.

According to a complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court, Local: Mission Eatery's general manager “repeatedly harassed” server Ariel Rose “throughout the course of her employment,” despite the restaurant's owners being aware of the situation:

“[The General Manager] repeatedly engaged in sexual harassment through persistent, offensive comments based on sex, including but not limited to the following: commenting on PLAINTIFF's breast size, comparing PLAINTIFF's breast size to other employee's breast size, commenting on PLAINTIFF's weight and appearance, and repeatedly telling PLAINTIFF graphic details of his sexual encounters.”

After “repeatedly complaining” about the harassment, Rose formally met with Milgrom on January 8th to discuss the harassment.  Five days later, she was fired.

The general manager was still posting to Mission Eatery's Facebook wall as of July 16th, suggesting he was not terminated.

The lawsuit also alleges other employee abuses, including:

  • Failure to provide employees with legally-mandated rest periods, or further compensating those employees as required by law.
  • Not giving employees working more than 5 hours time to eat.
  • “On at least one occasion,” the restaurant didn't pay employee's wages on a scheduled payday.
  • Failure to provide earning statements for tax purposes.
  • Not paying owed wages to the fired employee.
  • Taking tips left for servers.

According to additional documents related to the case, “settlement discussions [have] reached an impasse” and the case is scheduled to go to trial in April 2014.

The lawsuit precedes another controversy for the “Local” businesses.  In April of this year, a Latino family alleged Local's Corner refused to seat them despite having available seating, implying it was racially-motivated discrimination.  Yaron later apologized for the incident, saying he was “deeply sorry” and it was “a huge failure to enact our commitment to everyone with whom to interact.”

As the tipster who sent us the server's complaint told us:

I'm starting to actually feel sorry for Yaron, despite having his weird empire of businesses, he's kind of the most hated person on this side of the Mission. But the attached does not do any good for his image at all.

We agree—the attacks on Yaron and his personal property have been, at times, overwhelming.  However, if any of these claims prove to be true, it casts a damning light on the man's business practices and general ethics.

Neither the Milgrom nor Rose have responded to emails for comment, but you can read the original complaint below:

[Photo by markevnic72]

London Breed Gives Up on Twitter, The Bike Vote, Having People Like Her

After a storied career as a caustic and crabby Twitter user and occasional District 5 Supervisor, London Breed shut down her unfettered Twitter account this afternoon amid accusations that she's unprofessional and generally thoughtless. Why?  London's straight-shooter and all-around dopey answer to a softball question about safe streets:

That's correct: a couple of human flat tires means all cyclists are undeserving of safe streets, or something like that.  Streetsblog breaks down the troubling sentiment:

The underlying assumption in this argument is that cycling is an activity for a distinct class of people, rather than just a way of getting around. According to this way of thinking, the city cannot implement proven redesigns that make streets safer for the general population until this “class” exhibits suitable behavior. Imagine if you applied the same logic to car infrastructure: No highway or garage would ever be built until we sorted out all the speeding, failure to yield, and distracted driving that kills thousands of Americans each year.

It seems London Breed decided she could no longer control her impulses—her judgment kaput—and she signed off for good.  And it's a shame, too.  We'll forever miss her implications that her constituents are pro-slavery, declarations of being SF's top party host, and general petulance.

[Screenshot by mikesonn]

Feast Your Eyes on the Tamale Lady's Mural

It was just Tuesday when we watched paint dry as Megan Wilson, Jet Martinez, and Roisin Isner started work on their latest Clarion Alley mural, honoring the Tamale Lady.  From the looks of it, they've finished [Update: Roisin writes in, “The mural isn't done yet—Megan is still painting today. Keep an eye out, because the finished mural will include info about her fundraising.]:

And here's a close-up:

Looks great!

Behold the Creation of a Tamale Lady Mural in Clarion Alley

Earlier today, a crowd of Twitters, 'grammers, dumbfounded rubberneckers, tourists, and Uptown Almanac bloggers watched paint dry at the mouth of Clarion Alley.  What for?  To take in the creation of a new mural honoring Tamale Lady.

Here's how one of the artists described the project in a press release:

Three Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) muralists and organizers—Megan Wilson, Jet Martinez, and Roisin Isner—will be painting a mural honoring the legendary Virginia Ramos, aka, “The Tamale Lady.”

Ramos recently had to shut down her Tamale Lady operation, and the Mission misses its Vagabond Abuelita! In response, an Indiegogo campaign has been launched in order to raise enough (beer) money for our Tamale Lady to get back into business. She can't quit, so she's going legit!

As you may recall, back in June, the Tamale Lady was unceremoniously kicked out of Zeitgeist when the Health Department became mean over her famed trashbag tamales.  Fortunately, Supervisor David Campos' office immediately began working to legalize her operation and launched a fundraiser to help her open a brick-and-mortar shop, which has struggled to surpass 20% of its goal.  Now it seems the local arts community is rallying to carry her campaign the rest of the way.

Anyway, based on the outline, it looks like we'll soon be seeing a recreation of the Tamale Lady's 2009 birthday flyer when we walk down Valencia:

In the meantime, you can swing over to Clarion Alley and watch them work.