Othertown Almanac

Hello Oakland, This is Brooklyn

French Miami is a Mission band turned Williamsburg band - in my opinion a real loss to the area. This song and video were both recorded at Death By Audio in Brooklyn and the song is about Oakland, which is arguably the Brooklyn of San Francisco, give or take some public transit accessibility. I also think we can agree that the main guy in the video looks more than a little bit like Michael Cera, which might or might not be worth mentioning. Enjoy.

Brooklyn's Mission Dolores Bar is Nothing Like Dolores Park

Some two years after “Mission Dolores” opened up in Brooklyn, I finally made the 2,911 mile journey to check it out.  And guess what?  It's nothing like Dolores Park!  No weed cookies, no lines for the bathrooms, no hula-hooping, no wet bums, no drum circles… hell, they didn't even have some gross guy blasting questionable music from blown-out iPod speakers (but they did have plenty of Bestie Boys loaded in the jukebox).  They didn't even serve PBR and Tecate, never mind from a guy named James yelling “Cold Beer, Cold Water.”

Actually, maybe this is a good thing….

The bartender, who apparently has never even been to San Francisco, reported that one of the owners was from the Mission, hence its name and expansive selection of west coast beers.  While all it's un-Dolores Parkness might disqualify this bar as “fake”—just another business trying to cash-in on Dolores Park's fame and beauty—it's got some real SF charm to it.  Like two pinball machines next to a wall of mugshots… (side note: what the fuck is up with New York City and their lack of pinball machines?  Maybe I've just been totally oblivious in my travels previously, but the fact you have to hunt to find a playable machine in Brooklyn makes me wonder if pinball is somehow a Bay Area-only sport.  But I digress…)

…and this bitchin' mural of Mission Dolores next to the bar….

…and that the only good tacos I've found in NYC are across the street and can be delivered right to your seat at the bar.

In short, it's a great bar, but not really worth the journey unless you're craving some Racer 5 and tolerable tacos and have the misfortune of not living in the Mission full-time.  (And at least their bathrooms are so goddamn clean that this is all the patrons have to complain about:)

New Frontier in Hipster Pets: Peeing Pigs

The Social Media Generation has had it pretty good with pets.  From Boston Terriers to purse puppies to highly bloggable tabby “kittehs,” we've been afforded a calvary of beasts whose mere appearance inspires “awwws” and “lols,” bringing a whimsical smile to even the most cynical and cold CEOs of this economically-haggard nation.

But over the years, these animals have gotten tired.  Another​ captioned cat pic doesn't elicit the same “likes” it did years ago, and comedy pros have come to lament the use of cliche cute animals to elevate otherwise mediocre comedy.  How do we climb out of this four-legged recession?

The fashionable folks of Brooklyn have it all figured out: pigs!  You'll be strolling down the boutique-lined streets of Williamsburg when your nose catches a scent, “Man, this place reeks ​pig piss.”  Then you turn a corner to find a hulking swine with its snout deep in a rusty drivetrain, urinating in disgust at a clunky, neglected bicycle.  As you follow the pig's leash to its owner, you notice the owner's laugh as she becomes conscious of her and her lil' piggy's joint taste in transportation.  “Yeah Oinks! If I could, I'd tinkle on that hunk of shit too!”

Next thing you know, you're pinching your nose shut and leaning over for a choice shot of a judgmental hog in a muscle shirt ​just letting go on Metropolitan Ave.  The internet has been saved, praise lordy!  Let's prance out to the Central Valley and adopt the very pets we ran away from when we moved to The Big City in the first place!

Taking the 'Commie' Out of Christmas

I'm sick and tired of Big Christmas and Uncle Santa's yearly socialist retribution of wealth.  Every December 25th, the red flannel menace whips our country's baby creators with taxes only to shower the lazy breast-feeding do-nothings with handouts and new stuffed animals.  It's time we take Saint Nick, that Kenyan terror-president, and maybe Sean Penn and toss 'em in a Siberian Gulag.  To die.  Forever.

Also, is May too early to start thinking about Christmas?

Things SF and NYC Have in Common: Hating LA

I'm in NYC for a quick spell (in Williamsburg, of course—obviously) and I'm finding that the two dueling cool cultural capitals of their respective coasts have a lot more in common than they might expect.  Like hating LA.  Sure, everyone from NYC and SF might poke fun at each other, but goddamnit, we all hate LA more.  It's smoggy and car-centric and gross and people invest money in sizing up their boobs and jesusfuckingchrist their weather is perfect—who does LA think it is?

Serra Bowl's Karaoke Lounge Will Be Sorely Missed

Serra Bowl's imminent closing is understandably bumming out bowlers and Big Lebowski fan boys and girls alike, but one aspect of its shuttering is oft-overlooked: the loss of its much loved karaoke bar.  Luckily for those of us who are more prone to making an ass out of ourselves on the stage than the lanes, Todd Wanerman of The Bay Bridged penned a fine look at what we're losing:

The impeccable vintage 49ers photos and headlines have been taken down, but, other than that, nothing here suggests that Serra Bowl is about to become – on April 15th – the latest venerable, authentic Bay Area institution to fall victim to time and tide. A steady parade of humanity flows through its oddly small and hard-to-find double glass doors.

In the denuded Sports Lounge, the notoriously cranky DJ is presiding over a jubilantly defiant (or were they defiantly jubilant?) throng. Every few minutes or so, he reminds the assembled that April 14th will see no karaoke, but a closing night party we won’t want to miss.

Keep reading for additional words and pictures.

Inside Berlin's Premiere Mission-Style Taqueria "Dolores California Gourmet Burritos"

Our pal Rhiannon may not be Latino, but she grew up in The Bay and has been eating Mission burritos her entire life.  She's even got a tattoo of Casa Sanchez's Jimmy the Cornman on her arm, earning her free burritos for life.  So when it comes to sizing up the world's taquerías, we generally trust her judgment.  And lucky for us, Rhiannon is in Berlin right now and happened to swing into Berlin's “Dolores California Gourmet Burritos” taquería, sending us these photos and a brief, presumably drunk, cellphone-scribed review of the joint:

The Burrito was pretty good, all things considered. The beef was wrong (adobo), but the chicken was spectacular. Salsa was good, guacamole was out of this world. But it was wrapped in paper, not foil, which made it way hard to eat.

They even had Anchor Steam, but we had German Lager, a Hells. Some Bavarian brewery.

Artwise, there were a couple odd things, like how they used an old map with the 26-Valencia Muni line on it.  And they put the map sideways, so it followed 18th St from Twin Peaks and the Haight to the bay, rather than focus on the Mission. Also, that California flag with the Berlin (get it, Bear-lin? It took me three days to figure out why there were so many bears. But I've been drinking a lot) is amazing and I need to find it.

Oh, and the white fuse box behind [the guy in the first pic] there? That's Shotwell's. My amusement knows no bounds.

Apparently there is a second one by my friend's house, so I'm going to go by there tomorrow and see if it's the same. It's like a TGI Mission's!

A few hours later, this grim note landed in our inbox:

FYI, I found the other Dolores burrito. It's about 1/3 size of the first one, about the size of an actual taquería, totally slammed.  And the map on the wall is, I swear to god, the Marina.


[Thanks Rhiannon! / Last photo by qype]

Sick Music Video Filmed in the Mission District

Just kidding. So this band is from Indianapolis and stuff but I'm really into them right now and you should be too. They haven't played in San Francisco yet and don't seem to have any plans in that direction. So, please, write your local assembly man woman or child a stern letter and demand they do something about this. Or maybe roadtrip to Indianapolis? Also, WTF is Indianapolis? Discuss amongst yourselves. 

Oh yeah and the bassist looks like a young Walter White with a dash of David Cross. Smell me?