Tenderloin / Civic Center

Greg Gopman Gets His Wish

DPW Steps Up Alleged Campaign to "Wash Away" City's Homeless

The crack-cocaine users who sleep across the street from Victoria — or “bubble boys,” as she has nicknamed them, after a slang term for drug use — screamed when Department of Public Works employees sprayed them with high-powered hoses a few weeks ago, she says. 

It was about 4:30 a.m. in the Mid-Market area of downtown San Francisco, a few hours before the daily arrival of tech industry employees, whose firms recently moved into the neighborhood. DPW workers gave the sleeping young men four warnings and then started spraying, said Victoria, 52, who only offered her first name out of a mistrust of police common among San Francisco’s homeless people.

Victoria described herself as a “polite,” obliging homeless woman who picks up and leaves when asked by the authorities. She said the young men were given fair warning by the cleanup crew. But the sight of them being hosed was disturbing. “They were screaming,” she said.

Reports of DPW workers “washing away” homeless is nothing new—Street Sheet posted the above video back in 2008, and in late September, department employees told homeless around 16th and Mission to leave or be “sprayed out.”  However, Al Jazeera reports that hosing the homeless has reached new levels, with daily sidewalk washing happening since September that activists claim are a “very orchestrated campaign to gentrify the Mid-Market area and draw in tech companies and offer them a tax break to move into that area.”

“We’re doing a good job. I got Market Street cleared out,” a DPW employee, working with a police escort, told Al Jazeera while “his team cleaned a dead-end alley with an encampment of homeless people, just blocks from Twitter headquarters.”

Police ultimately asked at least one homeless man to relocate from mid-Market to 25th and Potrero in the Mission District, only to find himself ousted once again.

[Al Jazeera]

Anti-Tech Protests Just Another Advertising Opportunity for Start-Ups

On a patch of sidewalk sandwiched between City Hall and The Crunchies, the tech industry's masturbatory answer to the Grammy's, about three dozen protesters held their own award ceremony.

Christened “The Crappies,” protesters handed out the prized Toilet Brush Trophy for categories ranging from the “Tax Evader Award” (Twitter) to the “Peter Shih Diarrhea of the Mouth Award” (Tom Perkins).  Entertainment included an audience sing-a-long to 2pac's Gangsta Party, with the updated lyrics “Ain't nothing like a tax-free party / Ain't nothing like a tech-bus party.”

It was amusing street theater, but it was mostly for the cameras—by the time the Crappies began flushing, the long line of Crunchie attendees that could have provided meat for confrontation had long been let into the Davies Symphony Hall.

And that was exactly the point for Wardrobe.me.

As TV crews shined the spotlight on a Dick Costolo impersonator, two low-rent TaskRabbits waved QR codes linking to the start-up's website behind the ceremony.  In total, the company sent five people to the protest to promote it—two $25 TaskRabbits, two employees, and one photographer to document their stunt.

During the protest, they waved their signs around without much trouble.  But as the Crappies came to a close, word started going around they were promoting a “Pinterest for clothing,” and they retreated slightly towards the guarded entrance.  So after identifying myself as a reporter for the SF Weekly, they let down their guard and started talking.

“Why are you promoting a fashion start-up here?”

“Because we think they should dress better!,” shouted one of the self-identified employees, pointing in the direction a protester dressed as a vampire.

Before saying anything truly stupid, another more savvy employee jumped in.

“We're here because the cameras are here.”

“But why here?,” suggesting there are cameras in a lot of different places.

“We saw their protest on Facebook, and it's funny they're using the tools of tech and protesting tech.”

And that's it in a nutshell.  Just another media op, and an opportunity to say fuck you under the guise of chastising hypocrisy.

Golden Era Loses its Lease

I found myself up in the Tenderloin the other night, hungering for Golden Era's vegan drumsticks and the warm glow of cult propaganda on the television, but the restaurant had gone kaput.

I was hoping there might be something good to the closure—perhaps the owners going on to bigger and even better things?—but, sadly, it's just another verse in San Francisco's sad song:


Golden Era will be closed permanently at this location starting Monday, November 25, 2013. We thank you for your patronage in the past 15 years. We will miss you all. Love, Love….

We reached out to the restaurant over Facebook and are yet to hear back.  But according to some folks on Yelp, the landlord jacked their rent when the lease was over and were economically showed them the door.

On Facebook, they announced, “we are working very hard to find our new home in SF.”  We'll update if we hear more.

[Photo by Jovan J]

PianoFight and EndGames Improv Join to Open New Tenderloin Theater and Art Space

PianoFight and EndGames Improv, two relatively new groups in San Francisco's reignited comedy and performance arts scene, recently announced a partnership in opening a new venue at Taylor and Eddy Streets.  Everything about it sounds absolutely awesome.

“The 5,000 square foot Tenderloin complex will include rehearsal and office spaces, 54-seat and 96-seat theaters in the back of house, and in the front of house a 60-seat restaurant and bar with a full liquor license and a cabaret stage,” PianoFight writes on their website. “The complex will be a collaborative hub for artists and a creative destination for audiences. It will meet all the production and performance needs of up-and-coming independent companies and take risks to entice non-traditional audiences hungry for inventive live performance.”

What's more?  Both theaters have a three-camera setup capable of editing video in real time, so any performance can be live-streamed.  And PianoFight sees themselves as becoming “the ultimate hangout spot,” with performers joining the audience at the bar after the show, and a grip of original programming keeping the crowds entertained:

There will be multiple shows a night, by local performers and touring acts, including dinner theater performances on our cabaret stage. We're interested in producing shows that make you laugh, make you think, and generally challenge the status quo of how theater is presented. Audience-judged playwriting competitions, fully-scripted choose-your-own-adventure plays, ballet horror comedies, Throw Rotten Veggies at the Actors Nights — this is the kind of content we want to see, so it’s the kind of content we produce.

PianoFight is already 90% done with construction, and just started promoting a $120,000 Kickstarter campaign for equipment and finishing touches.  But, as a for-profit company, PianoFight's Artistic Director Rob Ready tells us the group will avoid the pitfalls of having to fundraise constantly, making the space sustainable for years to come.

PianoFight also has the backing of District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim and Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development.  Through the city's SF Shines grant program, which awards grants to businesses seeking to make facade improvements, Ready says the complex will become an anchor in the city's new theater hub:

[The SF Shines] grant is available in a bunch of neighborhoods in the city and available to a bunch of different kinds of businesses. That said, Mid-Market gets a good chunk of that funding due to the Cultural Arts District that City Hall is trying to set up. What's amazing is that it's starting to finally take shape. In those two square blocks, between Market and Eddy and Mason and Taylor, by 2015 there will be about 10 performing arts venues, with about 20 different stages.

Ready says we can expect to see the space open in March, and we don't need to worry about two-drink minimums or any of the other big league comedy club bullshit.

Below, their Kickstarter campaign video:

Ridiculous Tech Terrarium Seeks Broke Beauties to Star in Lifestyle Brand Vid

NEMA is a lifestyle brand masquerading as an apartment complex.  Conveniently situated beside Twitter and Square HQs, the brand's terrarium of innovation is plastered in fauxghtleader slogans like “tech savvy, not shabby,” “innovate, don't imitate,” and “amenities, not enemies.”

But NEMA—a visionary neologism for “New Market”—knows not to throw up some glorified motivational posters and call it a killer launch.  NEMA has been rolling out a series of lifestyle videos of what it means to be “NEMA.”  The first attempt, embedded above, is enough to make vomit crawl up the throat of a normal human, but plays well to people who maintain Instagram accounts consisting of small dog and cupcake photos.

Now NEMA is “casting lifestyle models for a promotional video shoot for a San Francisco luxury high rise building,” and they have specific demands as to what it takes to look the part:

(Lead) upscale, classy, chic, sexy, urban, stylish and clean; classic look, no visible tattoos or piercings; will bring about 3 changes of wardrobe in neutral and warm colors (beige, taupe, brown, sagey green or blue or black and white); think Banana Republic or JCrew (with maybe a bit of higher fashion); chilly, so sweaters, leather jackets, suede, cool shoes all welcome. Note: Women will be required to do their own hair and makeup.

Models, you need to look like you live full time in a 4 star luxury resort-like high-rise.
We will create scenes in which you will be walking through a lobby, speaking with a concierge, talking on a cell phone, interacting with an iPad or laptop, laughing and talking with a friend, reading a newspaper, sipping coffee, riding an elevator, playing billiards, working out in gym, sitting by fire pit, (one of you) diving into pool.

The gig pays $50 a day, getting you well on your way to affording the $2,300 starting price for a studio.

[via The Tens, via SFist Comments]

TCB Courier Gets a Storefront (And It's Opening Tonight)

TCB Courier, the bike messenger company that began humbly as a service delivering condoms and cat food (among other things) at 3am around the Mission, has grown to a 50+-person company delivering everything from catered lunch orders to flowers.  And now they're taking things a step further by opening a small shop at 565 Ellis in the Tenderloin.

TCB's John Daniel Reiss tells us a little bit more about what they're looking to do with the space:

We have begun a small push towards selling soft goods, both to promote TCB and explore other means of income.  Following the release of our team cycling kits earlier this Summer, the benefits of merchandising became obvious. We have a strong amount of creatives among our rider base and now we have an effective outlet to showcase this.  With that in mind, we are offering a variety of TCB branded items at the store and online, including t-shirts, cycling caps, water bottles, jackets, cycling kits, etc.  We will also be featuring items from local California bike culture producers, such as SF-based Archive Bags and LA-based Yanco & Tracko, and consignment for high-end bike parts as well.  We hope to entertain all friends and visitors that have a fascination with bike messenger culture, but the TCB office won't be functioning as a traditional bike shop, we're not going to be setup to fix flats or sell frames. 

You can check out their opening party tonight from 5-8pm, and they promise “cases of beer will be provided for social lubrication, candy for diabetes and merch will be for sale.”  (And if you cannot make it tonight, their regular hours are M-F 10am-5pm and Saturdays 12-5PM.)

Full Frame Collective Book Release Party

Speaking of Potrero del Sol, here's the latest photo (shot at PdS) from Full Frame Collective, who'll be hosting their book release party next Friday at Book & Job Gallery in the Tenderloin.  And given FFC's long history of chronicling the Bay Area's skate, bike, and graffiti scenes, you can expect a long night of drinking paper bag-wrapped tall cans on the sidewalk. (In fact, we hear that the first 10 people to buy their book will be given a free tall can from FFC member Aaron Durand.)

Below, the flier:

Tech Founder Complains About the Shithole City He's Forced to Make His Millions In

San Francisco! It's the worst. The weather, the people, the cyclists, the dreary architecture and glum landscape… just ugh—why would any sane person want to live in this urine-scented homeless wasteland? Without the skrillions of available venture funding dollars and generous tech tax breaks, it's obvious San Franawful would drift off into an ocean of irrelevance.

At least, that's the opinion of Peter Shih, co-founder of an assuredly ground-breaking credit card-processing start-up who was forced to move to San Francisco by his cruel funders at Y-Combinator.  Peter took to Medium—the thought platform that's currently the darling hood ornament of the tech community—to air his thoughts on his adopted hometown.  Cleverly titled “10 Things I Hate About You: San Francisco Edition”—which I won't link to on principle—he breaks down SF's problems in a conveniently digestible listicle.

Let's take a look at his better points:

1. Public Transportation

If you don’t agree with me that the SF MUNI is a pathetic excuse for a public transportation system, then I suggest you visit either of the following cities at your convenience and then proceed to get your head out of your ass: New York City, London, Paris, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, and… actually you know what? Just goto any real city…

San Francisco should be lucky to have Peter.  Peter is bringing the credit card industry to its knees.  Peter is going to change the fucking world.  How dare San Francisco consider itself a real city when its public transportation service isn't exactly what Peter expects.  If Peter lived in a real city, Peter wouldn't need to call an Uber to get where he needs to go.  San Francisco is making Peter use Uber.  How dare San Francisco?

3. Weather

I hate how the weather here is like a woman who is constantly PMSing. I hate how I can’t tell the difference between August and February. I hate how I have to turn on the heater in the middle of summer. I hate having to always carry a jacket because of the 20 degree swings between day and night.

Nature, who the fuck do you think you are?  Peter understands that you're Mother Nature, but you're at least 6,000-years-old according to Rick Perry.  Can't you go through menopause already? Peter needs it to be at least 10 degrees warmer outside so Peter can leave his tech-branded hoodie at home.  Peter is about to unfollow @karlthefog on Twitter.

5. 49ers

No, not the football team, they’re great. I’m referring to all the girls who are obviously 4's and behave like they are 9's. Just because San Francisco has the worst Female to Male ratio in the known universe doesn’t give you the right to be a bitch all the time.

Peter is special.  Peter was accepted into Y-Combinator. Can you imagine some dumb shit woman possibly thinking they are slightly-less-than-perfect around Peter?  Peter is a God.  They should make statues of Peter.  You are a woman in a club.  You are just a 4 compared to Peter.

6. Homeless People

San Francisco has some of the craziest homeless people I have ever seen in my life. Stop giving them money, you know they just buy alcohol and drugs with it right? Next time just hand them a handle of vodka and a pack of cigarettes, it’ll save everyone some trouble. I’m seriously tempted to start fucking with people and pay for homeless guys to ride the Powell street cable cars in the middle of the day, that ought to get the city’s attention.

Peter has been crushing it lately.  Peter's start-up is seeing exponential growth.  Peter is raising money.  Peter is raising hell. Peter is about to hire a growth hacker.  Peter is king.

But San Francisco is bringing Peter down.  San Francisco is allowing mentally ill, drug-addicted homeless people abandoned by society to be in the same 49 square miles as Peter.  Peter does not approve.  Peter just wants to make apps for other Peters, call out some women for being bitches, and put the world's issues out of Peter's mind.  But Peter is a visionary.  Peter is an innovator.  Peter is going to disrupt the city's blindness to Peter's problem with homeless people by paying the homeless to hang out with tourists.  Peter will solve homelessness for Peter.

8. Nightlife (or lack thereof)

Nowadays I don’t even want to go out because getting kicked out of a bar/club at 2AM, which usually is the peak of the night, is just depressing. Pair that shit sandwich with public transit being non-existent past midnight and the Transvestite to Taxi ratio being quite literally off the charts – it is impossible to get home safely, especially if you live far from downtown.

Peter is a warrior.  Peter is not some 9-to-5, color-inside-the-lines corporate drone: Peter is a code-slaying rebel. Peter believes that if you work hard, you should get to play hard too.  Peter wants to shred code all day that disrupts the credit card market, drinking Red Bull and eating Swedish Fish at his desk until 10pm, then go to the club and scold all the 4s who think they're 9s for being bitches.  Can you imagine the gall of California State Law telling him to go home at 2am?

What a bunch of 4s.

10. Bicyclists

Stop being fucking hypocrites. If you want to share the road, then you need to respect the rules of the road and stop running stop signs and lights. Next time I see one of you fuckers bomb through a crosswalk and almost mow down a row of pedestrians I’m going to clothesline you.

Peter drives like he codes: move fast and break things.  Like government regulations and general ethics, bicycles are just getting in the way of Peter's greatness.  Peter will fucking clothesline you.

Peter should go home.

UPDATE: Peter is backtracking.  Peter has deleted the most offensive parts of Peter's article and put up a desperate disclaimer stating it was intended to be satire.  Here is the original post.