I don't think before I type's Posts
San Francisco, have you decided whom you're voting for today?
Trick question! All the candidates are unopposed, even the ones appointed by the mayor.
That's right, the 2013 election is another sad excuse for democracy in the city's ever-growing string of sad excuses for democracy. Just marvel at the slate of distinguished front runners in this year's non-contests:
- We have Katy Tang running to represent District 4 on the Board of Supervisors. She was appointed by the Mayor earlier this year to represent the Inner Sunset on behalf of the Mayor, and she's been a reliable backer of Ed Lee's agenda ever since. Don't like Ed Lee's agenda, you say? Bummer, she's all you got.
- There's Carmen Chu running for Assessor-Recorder. She too was appointed by the Mayor to the position, tasked with the responsibility of assessing property taxes on buildings both tall and small. Of course, she's so cronied up with developers and property owners that there are serious doubts she can perform this basic duty objectively. Have a problem with this? I hear Mickey Mouse is a reliable write-in.
- Bonus bullshit!: We have City Attorney and Treasurer races, but what's the point?
This might be excusable if this was an isolated problem in an off-year election, but it's far from it. Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos were both re-elected in uncontested races last year, and Board President David Chiu's opposition was flimsy enough that he still got over 75% of the vote.
So now we have three Supervisors and one asterisk sitting on the Board who were answerable to no one. And this problem only looks to get worse when Malia Cohen, Mark Farrell, Jane Kim, and Scott Wiener are up for re-election next year.
Look, everyone knows it's easily to shit on politicians and wax cynical about our doomed democracy, even if it makes for good sport. At best, our political class are oafish hucksters and conceited dreamers, but mostly they're well-fed opportunists. So it's no wonder human beings aren't stepping up to grind out four-plus years with our fucked crop of leaders. (And the Power of Incumbency doesn't help anything, either--especially with Ron Conway and the Merry Wanksters showering every lapdog incumbent with endless cash.)
But having a choice is important, even if it's an futile one.
How is this okay?
As you have certainly heard, Lou Reed will be spending Thanksgiving with Lester Bangs and Nico in the great methadone clinic in the sky. And while there has been no shortage of memorials, retrospectives, and BuzzFeed listicles honoring one of rock's certifiable legends, the Roxie Theater has taken things a step further by scrambling together a whole night dedicated to Lou Reed rarities, deep cuts, and premiering "Berlin":
When word came down that Lou Reed passed away October 27 at the age of 71, we sprang into action putting together a killer night of clips, shorts and ephemera relating to Lou Reed - as well as his fallen comrades - leading into the SAN FRANCISCO PREMIERE of Julian Schnabel's 2007 concert film LOU REED'S BERLIN: "Thirty-three years after his ambitious concept album Berlin was pronounced dead on arrival, Lou Reed reteams with producers Bob Ezrin and Hal Willner to stage live performances of the now-classic release at concert venues all across the globe. The album, which was savaged by critics upon release, was scored with orchestral arrangements and follows several characters as they experience jealousy, rage, and loss. While many turned their backs on the release back in 1973, the tide eventually turned and Berlin was even named by Rolling Stone as one of the top 500 albums ever released. Filmed during a five-night stint at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., this belated, live rendition of Berlin features an impressionistic backdrop filmed by director Julian Schnabel's daughter Lola and haunting backup vocals courtesy of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus."
Tickets for Wednesday's 7 and 9:15pm shows are on sale now.
After years of delays, the Department of Public Works finally broke ground on the meh-ly named "SoMa West Skate and Dog Park" a couple weeks back. It's being built below the Central Freeway behind Zeitgeist and we're only going to have to wait until May for it to open.
From the Department of Public Works announcement:
The dog park will feature play areas for large and small dogs, water fountains for the canines and their human companions, synthetic turf, an automatic irrigation system, seating and landscaping. Additionally, there will be lighting improvements and a path that runs through the park from Stevenson Street to Valencia Street.
New Line Skateparks, one of the world's leading design and construction firms specializing in skateparks, designed the SoMa West skatepark. The plan reflects iconic San Francisco skate spots, with a special nod to Justin Herman Plaza. The Arts Commission commissioned San Francisco artist Jovi Schnell to paint a mural at the site. The artwork is inspired by the long-ago shuttered Woodward Gardens amusement park, which was located nearby.
The skate park and dog play area are part of a larger package of SoMa West improvements. The first project focused extensively on making the residential alleyways in the area safer and more beautiful. Plans also are in the works to revitalize McCoppin Hub Plaza, located at McCoppin and Valencia streets.
Of course, anyone who has even watched a dog shit itself in terror at the sight of a skater knows this setup will make for some real interesting "user conflicts." (But still, this is a huge upgrade from an underused parking lot.)
You can see more plans of the park in our previous coverage.
Previously on Uptown Almanac
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.)
Mat Stromberg's latest in Clarion Alley has it all: blue ants and red ants fighting over some human prey, a guy watching his iPhone get ripped out of his balmy, dying hands, and a nice gloomy mountain vista. And what is that ant-covered bespectacled bastard thinking about anyway?
Take in the full-size image (or go to Clarion Alley to see it IRL).
Clarion Alley's yearly block party is, without fail, San Francisco's least bullshit street party and music 'festival'. And for good reason--the bands are local, the music is good, the whole show is fun, it's donation-based, there are no wrist bands, and it doesn't stink like terrible Mongolian BBQ. So, if you like hearing people bang on instruments while you're pressed up against painted walls, swing by Clarion Alley between 11am and 10pm today.
(And if I may make one more recommendation, be there at 5pm for The Secret Secretaries set.)
Keeping up his steady track record of disappointing everyone who isn't a wealthy donor or dementia victim, Supervisor Scott Wiener has been pushing hard to close down all city parks between the hours of midnight and 5am. The stated goal? To combat vandalism and illegal trash disposal in the parks. Or, as Wiener put it, "[to provide] us with one more tool for protecting our parks."
While vandalism and trash dumping is already illegal (and certainly a problem), officials claim that without enforceable closure hours giving them reason to bust people merely for being in a public space at night, there's little they can do to enforce the laws already on the books.
Of course, folks like Mayor Lee have been promoting the legislation for Supervisor Wiener have been more blunt about it--Lee told the Examiner that he sees the law as a way to clear the homeless out of parks.
Harvey Milk is throwing a "sleep-in" at Dolores Park Monday night starting at 9pm that's gaining a lot of steam on Facebook. Here's why:
San Francisco prides itself on being a place that is welcoming and open to all. Our parks remain one of the City’s greatest public treasures and are spaces of recreation, sport, entertainment, and leisure. This proposed legislation threatens the accessibility and openness of our parks and comes on the heels of a spate of recent policies at City Hall that have sought to regulate public spaces, to police bodies, and to criminalize homelessness. With almost 30% of San Francisco’s homeless population identifying as LGBT, and many living on our streets and in our parks, we know who the real targets of this legislation are. This is yet another attack on the homeless, on queer people, poor people, and people of color, and on our right to exist in public space in our society. The Harvey Milk Club has had enough. Parks are for people and we believe this policy to be another step in the wrong direction for San Francisco.
For those of you who don't do the cold (or, "what homeless people suffer through on a nightly basis"), you can also gobble up dick jokes and food poisoning Sunday night at the "Wiener Roast." Details and mission statements are more thin with that one, but they note "We have ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, and plates covered. Vegetarian wieners are being looked into."
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote of Wiener's park closure legislation Tuesday, October 29th.