Bernal Spoken Word Artist Hosts Open Mike Event, Tomorrow

Bernal Neighbor Ned Buskirk is hosting the latest edition of his open mike series for poetry, prose, and music called You’re Going to Die, tomorrow night, Feb 29, at 8 pm at Viracocha (on Valencia at 21st):

There will be a set list of performers [guaranteed lovelies] to take up part of the night… signup will also be that night for anyone else.

When there are 20 total performers for the night, you’re outta luck.
The list fills up quick, so if you want to perform, you’d better get there early…

If you’re going to read, keep it under 5 MINUTES long. That’s right: 5 MINUTES. WE WILL TIME YOU. And we will hug you when we have to stop you [just to make it easier on you (or harder – depending on your propensity for intimacy).

As far as reading goes, you can bring anything you want to read.
It doesn’t have to be poetry. It doesn’t have to be yours.

Full details about the event on the Facebook. Bonus: Here’s a Bay Citizen write-up about last month’s issue of “You’re Going to Die,” for the curious.

Art on the Hill: Work from Saturday’s Artist Meetup

Reader Laurie brings us a visual update on last Saturday’s (very chilly) meetup for visual artists that took place on Bernal Hill:

Report from the sketching session: Seven people came and we had a good time sketching, even if our fingers were a little blue by the time we headed for the Progressive Grounds for the meetup part of the day.

Here’s a link to see more of the Bernal Hill portfolio.

Bernal Hill Fares Well in Comparison with Artificial Rival

Actually, why bother restoring Bernal Hill’s trail network? And why bother fussing with all that pesky local flora. Why not just simplify things, with artificial grass? According to the billboard on Valencia at Cesar Chavez, Better Than Real Artificial Grass is actually BetterThanRealGrass.com.

Oh, and the website even says it’s “Eco-Friendly.”

Good to know!

UPDATE: Our hipster friends at Uptown Almanac noticed this juxtaposition too, and they have a different perspective:

Hey Bernal!  Yeah you, I see you there.  Look man, we gotta talk.

You’re cool and all, with those breathtaking views of San Francisco n’ shit.  But you’ve been playing the same tune for thousands of years and people don’t wanna hear that no more.  Yeah man, I’m talking about your grass situation.  The pants stainer.  The original weed.  The green menace.  Whatever you wanna call it, ‘shit’s played out–business as usual.

But, dude, check it: I got the fix for you.  Art-a-ficial grah-ass.  You heard of this stuff?  No?  Oh dude, it’s the fucking shit.  We take your old, crabby-ass grass, dump it in some abandoned lot in Bayview, and then we cover your ass in plastic.  Plastic!  It’s modern, man–real cutting-edge shit. All the kids are playing soccer on it, it stays green year-round, and I heard it drains real well because, you know, sometimes rains in San Francisco.

PHOTO: Kelly Castro

VICTORY: Future of Bernal’s Vintage Coke Sign Is Secured

Vintage Coke Sign

It took a year, an outcry, and a special piece of legislation to get the job done, but last Thursday the matter of Anonymous NIMBY vs. Bernal’s Vintage Coca-Cola Sign has been resolved, and the future of the sign is now secured.

Richard Modolo, the Bernal resident who owns the home at 601 Tompkins upon which the sign appears, sent Bernalwood this summary of last week’s Planning Commission meeting where the commissioners voted to allow the sign to remain:

I attended the Planning Commission meeting this afternoon and the Conditional Use Permit has has been approved. Next the Conditional Use permit will be recorded with the property deed, once that is completed I believe  the final step in the process is pulling a sign permit. We are getting near the finish line. I might add that there were several Bernal Hill residents who showed up in support of the sign. I am thankful to them and you for all of the support. I will continue to keep you informed along the way.

The vote came as a great relief, but in some ways it was not a surprise. Indeed, the Executive Summary of the case written by Planning Commision staff advocated for the preservation of the sign, and for all the right reasons:

The news of the Planning Commision vote was picked up by many of our City’s mainstream media outlets, including The Examiner and The Chronicle. Here’s an excerpt from the Chron’s coverage:

The vintage Coca-Cola sign whose presence bubbled into a citywide debate about preservation and historic art can stay right where it is, the Planning Commission decided Thursday.

A year ago, the 15-by-7-foot sign on the wall of a Bernal Heights home became the subject of controversy when a group of residents said it was corporate advertising in a residential area and promoted obesity by advertising a sugary drink.

Those for the mural, which was probably first painted in 1930, before being covered with asbestos siding in 1956 and rediscovered in 1991, said it was a relic from Bernal Heights’ working-class past.

All well and good, but both the Chron and the Ex made a factual error by asserting that there was some balance of opinion within Bernal Heights regarding the fate of the sign. That is false. There was no “group of neighbors” that opposed the sign; As far as we know, there was exactly ONE neighbor who opposed it, and that lone neighbor managed to set in motion the chain of events that backfired very completely, such that the sign can now remain in place in perpetuity with the official imprimatur of Our City’s Government. (Also, the sign dates from the early 1940s, not the 1930, but who’s counting?)

But, hey, whatever. Victory is still victory, and still sweet, no matter how absurd the entire controversy might have been. So now let us just quietly enjoy the knowledge that Bernal’s vintage Coke sign can grace the neighborhood for 70 more trouble-free years.

PHOTO: Top, Richard Modolo. Below, Telstar Logistics

Visiting Photographer Captures Mother of All Bernal Panoramas

Photographer Peter West Carey visited San Francisco from Seattle recently. He stayed with friends in Bernal Heights, and while he was here he took the opportunity to shoot an absolutely epic interactive panorama of the view from the north slope of Bernal Hill:

San Francisco Panorama Exploration
Location: Bernal Hill, San Francisco, California, USA, North America

Description: Hidden behind the city form the popular skyline shot across the Golden Gate, Bernal Heights is not a place most tourists choose to visit. There are no sea lions, promenades or sightseeing boats found on the hill. Just a gorgeous view of the city and bay captured at sunset.

Shot with a Canon 7D and Canon 28-300mm L lens with settings of ISO 100, 100mm, f/9, 1/60th of a second. 132 images were shot in three rows in portrait oreintation and stitched with Kolor’s AutoPano Giga. Total size is approximately 488 megapixels, my largest to date.

We believe Peter actually meant to say “488 throbbing megapixels,” because his photo is so high-resolution that you can zoom in on far-away details of the San Francisco cityscape to view details that are impossible to see from Bernal Hill normally. Remember The Six Million Dollar Man and his bionic eyeball? It’s kind of like that.

Hello, Oakland!

Salutations, Golden Gate Bridge!

Buenos días, weird 1960s highrise US Bank building on Mission at 22nd!

It may take a little while to load — 488 megapixels, after all — and it probably won’t work at all if you’re on a mobile device. But Peter West Carey’s interactive panorama is worth every byte.

PHOTOS: Via Peter West Carey

“Occupy Bernal” Takes Fight to Wells Fargo

bernal will fight

Occupy Bernal has taken their fight beyond Bernal Heights by carrying their protest against home foreclosures directly to executives at Wells Fargo. The SF Bay Guardian catches us up:

Yesterday, three top Wells Fargo executives flew to San Francisco to meet with Alberto Del Rio, a Bernal Heights resident facing foreclosure.

Del Rio’s parents purchased their home in 1973. The home was refinanced multiple times, he says “for a better life” for his family. The most recent refinance, in 2007, was a result of lenders convincing Del Rio’s mother that refinancing would be an easy to pay for some of her retirement.

“It sounded really great because my mother had no monies for retirement. The loan officers told her pull out some cash and reinvest it so she could have a better retirement. They told her, ‘after two years, you’ll be able to refinance out of this,’” said Del Rio.

The loan she got was a pick-a-pay loan, one of the most notoriously predatory loans that banks offered in the years leading up to the 2008 crash.

After continued requests from Bernal resident Alberto Del Rio and support from that neighborhood’s foreclosure-focused branch of the Occupy movement, Del Rio was finally given the time of day- by top executives in the Wells Fargo home preservation department.

The executives, including Sharon Zuniga and Shawn Woods, who flew in from Wells Fargo’s headquarters in Texas, met with Del Rio Feb. 22 at the San Francisco offices of Consumer Credit Counseling Services for about an hour and a half.

Del Rio says they gave him three options: to move out of his home and convert it into rental units, allow a short sale on the house and accept $3,000 to move, or let foreclosure proceedings continue as planned.

“They flew a guy here all the way from Houston to try to bully him into giving up,” said Buck Bagot, an organizer with Occupy Bernal.

But the fact that they took the time to do that was a result of continued pressure from Del Rio and his supporters.

“It was a good thing,” said Del Rio.

PHOTO: Lily Rothrock

A Meetup for Artists Atop Bernal Hill, Saturday

Pack up your charcoals and watercolors, because Reader Laurie brings news of a gathering for visual artists happening this weekend on Bernal Hill:

The just-formed Meetup group for San Francisco Urban Sketchers is having it’s first meeting this Saturday at 2:00, and it’s on Bernal Hill.

Here’s a description of the meetup:

Bernal Hill has great city views to sketch, but also plants, dogs and people. Find me near the bulletin board on the south side of the hill (near the parking area). I’ll wear a red jacket but you can probably spot me by the sketchbook I’ll have out.

I’ll wait around until 2:30 to see who shows up, then will head off sketching. We’ll meet up afterwards at the Progressive Grounds Cafe (corner of Cortland and Bennington) to see how it went. Showing your sketches is optional.

If it’s raining we’ll meet at the Progressive Grounds to sketch people drinking coffee and writing emails, and maybe the odd lonely dog waiting outside.

The Meetup group is open to anyone, but I’m also always looking for sketching buddies to join me for a few quick sketches up the Hill.

IMAGE: View east from Bernal Hill, by Reader Laurie