High Bottom

Slum It Up in SOMA's Newest SRO

A swank nightspot with a secret entrance and a back alley exit in a redeveloping neighborhood named after the area’s low-income housing? The recently opened SRO has it all! With no seating besides stools, it’s said to be an abbreviation of “standing room only,” but considering its location “amidst the booming Mid-Market Gulch, where the High-Tech holds sway” next to Oddjob, it also reads as an allusion to the single room occupancy hotels of the Tenderloin, SOMA and Inner Mission. Edgy!

[Photos: Michael David Rose/UrbanDaddy]

Not in My Back Alley

Parklet Scourge: Won't Somebody Think of the Children?

ABC7’s I-Team released the results of their investigation into Tutubi Plaza, a “parklet” in SOMA that has become popular with neighbors, if not people with homes nearby. Located on what used to be Russ Street between Minna and Natoma, the small, art-adorned plaza has come to provide a relatively calm oasis for the unique, colorful street life that’s centered on 6th Street. The ribbon was cut on the project back in 2011 as part of the Planning Department’s Pavement to Parks program*, with the Department of Public Works helping install work by artist Jovi Schnell who was selected by the Arts Commission.  Google Street View has images from before the plaza’s installation.

Now concerned citizens, some of whom initially supported the project, want the plaza torn out because one of the few public spaces in the area has become popular with people looking for a place to sit or lie, including drug users and sex workers. Sort of like every other public space for blocks around! Nevermind that the housing affordability crisis might be increasing the number of homeless people throughout the region (and traumatizing them in the process), or that that an influx of policing concentrated on Mid-Market is pushing criminalized populations into residential neighborhoods, or that if you want to “clean up” a corner you’re supposed to propose a high-rise development and hire an infamous political consultant.

To be fair, the parklet clearly hasn’t worked out as well as intended, but there are ways to discourage abusive and illegal behavior that would have less impact than tearing out $100,000 worth of work. Besides, having lived at the corner of 9th and Tehama, you can be assured that the presence or absence of street furniture like concrete benches matters little to someone desperate looking for a quiet alley in which to take refuge. Beat cops, on the other hand? Well, the ones stationed at 16th and Mission seem to have done a good job of redirecting that corner’s problems towards Capp and Shotwell!

Update: Gina Simi, Communications Director at the Planning Department, writes in to correct the record, noting that the agency had no role in the Tutubi Plaza project and to clarify the definition of “parklet.”

The Planning Department, in particular the Pavement to Parks program, does not have a role in this issue or this project. Tutubi Plaza is part of the South of Market Alleyways Improvements Project through the Department of Public Works, along with the SF Arts Commission and Redevelopment Agency. 

Pavement to Parks is a collaborative effort led by the Planning Department in collaboration with DPW, the MTA and the Mayor’s Office that looks to make better use of underutilized space by the installation of temporary interventions on SF streets. These temporary projects allow the City to test new ideas in the public realm and to create partnerships with local communities and help them shape their own environment.

Specifically, “parklets” are exclusively platforms in the parking lane and are funded and maintained by sponsor businesses, residents, and community organizations. Materials and designs are meant to be easily removable should design changes be desired during the timeframe of the installation.

While I can see how the connection could be made, I wanted to clarify that this is not a project through our department or programs and respectfully request that you correct the information in the article and remove the web link to our program to avoid any further confusion or misinformation.

Local Wall Expresses Opinion on Softcore Exercise Workouts

Speaking of airing petty annoyances, one local agitator took his yoga angst to the streets and dressed up this wall with discontent.  Delightful.

(I also can't help but wonder what spawned such a statement.  Maybe the auto body shop runs a secret after-hours yoga studio, and after fucking up the position one too many times, some yogi ran outside and hurled their rage on the wall.  Either that or someone got whimsical because yoga does suck.)

[Thanks for the photo, @muscledsibling]

SoMa's 'Defenestration' Gets a Second Act

Brian Goggin's “Defenestration” has become a San Francisco institution in the 16 years it's been spilling over into 6th and Howard streets. The chairs, bathtubs, tables, and grandfather clocks dancing towards their demise on the Hugo Hotel's abandoned walls has long brightened a bleak stretch of SoMa's thoroughfares.

So when news broke earlier this year the Hugo Hotel would be demolished, Defenestration along with it, many were rightfully sad.  But, fortunately, Goggin is now working on a new structure just four blocks away at 9th and Market.

Goggin tells the Chronicle that “Caruso's Dream” will feature 13 grand pianos being shaken up by an earthquake:

“The whole piece is inspired by this moment when the opera star Enrico Caruso was awakened by the Great Calamity of April 18, 1906, while he was staying at the Palace Hotel,” Goggin says. “He did not know if he was awake or still dreaming as he was walking to the window to see the results of the ongoing earthquake.”

And the piece is more than just glass pianos:

A music and light component will be permanent. At night, the glass pianos will shine from within, like old incandescent bulbs. The sound of Caruso singing will be on KPH (Palace Hotel), recreating a station that once emanated from the hotel. At 90.9 on the FM dial, it will have a reach of 300 feet.

The piece is set to be unveiled on Feb. 23, with Goggin leading a New Orleans-style funeral procession from Defenestration to the new piece, including 13 pianists and three opera singers in tow.

[SF Chronicle]

ARTCRANK, the Poster Party for Bike People, is Tonight

ARTCRANK, the yearly bike poster sale and fundraiser, returns tonight at SOMArts on Brannan.  Here're the details:

Our fifth show in the Bay Area will feature hand-made, bike-inspired posters created by local artists. Limited edition, signed and numbered copies of all posters will be available for $40 each. Admission is free.

We’ll be working with Widmer Brothers Brewing, Clif Bar, Neenah Paper and SF's own Hot Italian to celebrate bikes and local artists, and support World Bicycle Relief.

The show runs from 5:30 'til 10:30, and you can score posters from over 30 artists (including the impressive Golden Gate Hub piece pictured above by Chad Kriz).

Burner Celebrates Hippie Return Day By Littering SoMa Streets With Dildos

It's the first Tuesday of September, so San Francisco's loathed drug goons are amidst caravanning back from the desert and car wash employees are contemplating career changes.  Normally, it's a day filled with unpacking, testing the limits of REI's return policy, and boring your Facebook friends with mystical praise about going off the grid.  But for one, it meant dumping desert dongs in the streets of SoMa.


[via BuffBro]

Amphibious Tour Company Declares SoMa San Francisco's Worst Neighborhood

DNA Lounge owner and SoMa resident Jamie Zawinski recently noticed a bold statement quacking from the Ride the Ducks tour busboat:

The duck boat tour just rolled under my window, megaphone-shouting that “SOMA IS THE WORST NEIGHBORHOOD IN SAN FRANCISCO!”

This is the second time that's happened, so I guess it's an official part of the script, not just editorialization.

This is potentially a good or bad sign for the Tenderloin/Mid-Market area: either Gavin's Magnificent Mid-Market Miracle has lifted the TL from the pits of the mallard neighborhood shit list, or worse, they've just pushed the area out of mind completely.

[JWZ | Photo by Steve Rhodes]

Outraged Masses Synergize with Telephone Poles to Shame Peter Shih

According to a tipster, “these are up all over SOMA right now.”  We're sure NYC is breathlessly awaiting his return.

(For an alternative and delightfully positive reaction to Peter's blogtrum, do read Anisse Gross's “10 ways to open your heart to San Francisco” and BeckyBayside's comment.)

[Third Photo by Ed Park]

Gluttony and Childhood Nightmares at Butter

If you haven't read Jules Suzdaltsev's illustration of the “horrible childhood memories” the so-called food and beverages at Butter conjure up, get on it:

Mac 'n' Cheese + Latchkey Tea (Long Island Iced Tea and Strawberry Soda)

Mom and Dad are gone for the night, and you’ve masturbated so many times that nothing’s coming out anymore, so it’s off to the kitchen where Mom’s left half a pot of starchy macaroni topped with mild cheddar cheese sauce, bubbles of unmixed powder floating around. You consider spooning it into a bowl, but you don’t because you’re not a sociopath. On the way to the TV, you do a double-take as you pass Dad’s liquor locker. Ding, ding, ding—it’s slightly ajar. So it’s back to the kitchen so you can fill up your dinosaur mug with one of everything. Dad’s got vodka, rum, tequila, gin, and triple sec, but when you taste it, your testicles zip back up into your body, and you run right back to the kitchen to dilute your dirty Long Island iced tea with as much strawberry soda as you can find. Three hours later, Mom and Dad find you passed out, dino mug knocked over, and a half-eaten pot of mac 'n' cheese upside down over your genitals. They’ll never forgive you.

Read on to find out how this sad young man grows up (hint: not well).