Bernal Celebrity Blogger Interviews Bernal Celebrity Music Impresario

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Here’s some hot hot hot Bernal celebrity-on-celebrity action action action!

You did know that David Pescovitz, celebrity blogger with the intergalactically famous BoingBoing blog, lives in Bernal Heights, right? Well, it’s true. He does.

And you already know that local music meta-star Jordan Kurland lives in Bernal Heights, too? It’s true. He does. Neighbor Jordan is the creative force behind many of San Francisco’s much-beloved music events, including NoisePop and this weekend’s gigantic  Treasure Island Music Festival. His Zeitgeist Artist Management also manages bands like Best Coast, Bob Mould, The New Pornographers, Rogue Wave, She & Him, and Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.

Because they are neighbors, Neighbor David and Neighbor Jordan have become friends. This week, David interviewed Jordan to get an insider’s perspective on the state of the music biz. A local-flavored excerpt:

[Neighbor David]: As a manager, it seems like you’d be living in Los Angeles or New York City. But yet you came to SF and never left. Why?

[Neighbor Jordan]:I moved to San Francisco in 1995 for a job. I was nearly a year out of college and knew that I wanted to try to be a manager. I was living in Los Angeles and answering phones for the performance rights organization, ASCAP. It was the typical entry level music industry job and not easy to land. I went on four interviews before I was hired. If I had stayed on that path I would have answered phones for a year or so, then become an assistant, and then, eventually, a membership director. All of which would have been cool, it’s just that I knew based on my experience interning for a few different companies during college, that I wanted to try to be an artist manager. There was an amazing opportunity up in San Francisco to work for a company called David Lefkowtiz/Figurehead management. The roster was Primus, the Melvins, Charlie Hunter and a few other acts. I spent four years there, learned a ton, and began managing the acts that became the first iteration of my management roster. It was also during my time there that I met Kevin Arnold and began working alongside him on Noise Pop. Kevin founded Noise Pop in 1993 and the first festival I worked on with him was 1998.

I started my management company, Zeitgeist, in 1999 which was the same year the music and technology were beginning to converge. It was the year that MP3.com, eMusic and Napster, to name a few, started to make waves. It wasn’t good news for the music industry but it did justify my existence up here. All of a sudden I had a competitive edge by living in the Bay Area.

The reason that I never left San Francisco once I arrived is simple: I adore this place.

You’re active in the city with the music festivals, investments in numerous restaurants, and donating your time to 826 Valencia, Stern Grove Festival, and other arts and culture organizations. As you know, SF is experiencing its own culture war right now. Where do you stand and what can be done in your opinion?

To be clear, I’m not one of those people that rails against the tech industry. To the contrary, I think it’s pretty incredible to live in the heart of where these innovations which are being dreamed up and born. It’s not a coincidence that a creative, intellectual and way left-of-center city like San Francisco attracted the entrepreneurs that built these companies. With all that said, the city needs to do more to protect its creative community. A lot more. The Bay Area is incredibly expensive which does not bode well for an upstart musician or artist. I know some folks in the private sector that are starting to help but the city, as far as I can tell, has only made cosmetic offerings at best. The musical cultural history is so, so rich here: Summer of Love, Bill Graham, the Grateful Dead, the jazz scene of the 50s and 60s, the Dead Kennedys, Journey, Metallica … it goes on and on. But San Francisco does not do much in the way of supporting musicians and visual artists and film makers. And because it’s prohibitively expensive to live here fledgling artists are moving to Los Angeles or Portland where it’s cheaper and there’s a stronger, more inspiring creative community. Which leads the established artists who can now afford to live in the Bay Area to leave because they don’t have a strong community around them. I don’t pretend to know of a simple solution but it is clear to me that the city should be attacking the issue with much more urgency.

Read the rest of the interview here, and if you’re headed to Treasure Island this weekend, give Neighbor Jordan the secret Bernal Heights hand signal.

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Jack London Lived in Bernal Heights Before He Was Cool

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You might have noticed that Bernal Heights is today home to a rather impressive roster of fabulous writers and authors. All Bernalese can feel justifiably proud of our rich literary landscape, but Bernal Heights has been fertile ground for writerly genius for well over 120 years. For example, thanks to some impressive new research published by La Lengua’s rebel propagandist Burrito Justice, we now know Jack London once lived in Bernal Heights.

Yes, you read that correctly: Jack London once lived in Bernal Heights.

Okay, so Jack London was just one year old when he called Bernal home, and he didn’t live here for for long. Nevertheless, his later success provides clear proof that there’s something in the air in Bernal Heights that nurtures literary excellence.

Burrito Justice points to an excerpt from Irving Stone’s 1903 biography of Jack London:

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(Side Note: Jenny Prentiss does not appear to be the namesake for the Prentiss Street in Bernal today. That Prentiss was likely the Civil War hero General Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss.)

Anyway, if Jack London lived in Bernal Heights, Burrito Justice moves on to the obvious question:

But where in Bernal? Jack London was born on January 12, 1876, and John London married his mother either in September 1876 or February 1877.

The 1878 SF city directory gives a potential answer:

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Jack’s adopted father was John London, a Union veteran who married Jack’s mother Flora after Jack’s birth. But there are two John Londons! Which one? Also, how does 27th meet up with Harrison? And where is Gunnison Ave and Precita? And how does 28th have anything to do with Precita?

After some further sleuthing, we learn that Gunnison Avenue in Bernal Heights was a short stretch between Precita and Ripley that was contiguous with Harrison Street — until  1895 when it was renamed Harrison. But in this 1889 map, for example, the street was still called Gunnison Ave:

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So baby Jack London lived somewhere just south of Precita Park, along present-day Harrison Street, which today maps out like this:

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That’s just a quick summary of the evidence, but Burrito Justice dug up lots of fun stories and maps and historical geekery to identify where Baby Jack London lived when he lived in Bernal Heights. It’s fascinating stuff, and he did all the homework, so you absolutely must read the entire story on the Burrito Justice blog.

And from here on out, whenever you see some snot-nosed toddler being pushed around Precita Park in a stroller, just remember: That kid might just might turn out to be Bernal’s next Jack London.

IMAGES: Historical maps and text excerpts via Burrito Justice

Watch the Amazing Film from the Bernal-Born Director that Won “Best of Bernal” at the 2014 Outdoor Cinema Festival

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Neighbor Joe Talbot is a filmmaker who has lived on Montcalm for his whole life. At the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival, Neighbor Joe walked away with the “Best of Bernal” award for the trailer he directed for an in-progress film, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

Neighbor Joe shared the award-winning trailer with us, and we’ll share it with you in a moment. But first, let’s let Joe introduce himself:

I grew up running around Bernal with a ragtag production team made up of local kids. I was usually at the helm, doing my best impersonation of what I thought a despotic director looked like. I’m just old enough that our early years pre-dated computer editing software, so we cut our chops doing in-camera edits and wreaking havoc on our side of the hill.

Bernal neighbors were an integral part of our informal film education, whether they knew it or not. Our mischievous and often wild antics were almost always met with nothing but kind support. Neighbor Buck Bagot turned on to his street once to find us running full-speed down the middle of it, pushing a rickety old wheelchair as a dolly. We noticed his approaching car and offered to move out of the way, to which Buck yelled, “No way man! I don’t fuck with the arts!” He abruptly busted a u-turn and drove the long way around the block, as not to disrupt our set.

Most of the kids I knew have since shipped off to college. Some of the unlucky ones lost their homes during various financial crises, and drifted inland to suburbia. My parents were fortunate enough to keep our house, and unfortunate enough to keep me along with it.

My last remaining collaborator today is Jimmie Fails, a kid I first crossed paths with almost ten years ago. Jimmie was living in the Army St. projects at the time, and we quickly formed a closeness. Over midnight walks through Bernal’s roller-coaster hills, Jimmie would weave tales of his strange family story.

These talks would become the basis for our film to-be, The Last Black Man in San Francisco. The film, which we’re currently trying to raise money to shoot, pulls heavily from Jimmie’s own story, and examines what it’s like to feel out of place in your own hometown.

The video is a trailer we shot, on a dime, to help raise funds to shoot the feature-length film. You’ll notice that Bernal plays a major role in the trailer. How could it not?

Indeed. How could it not? Here’s a still from the trailer:

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It’s a nice image, and we all recognize the location. Nice location! But the trailer for Neighbor Joe’s film is even better. In fact, Joe’s film is amazing. In fact, it’s officially the “Best of Bernal.”

Watch and enjoy:

Big congrats to Neighbor Joe Talbot, Jimmie Fails, and their entire team!

PS: Joe can be reached at joe *AT* longshotfeatures.com.

To Assuage Bernal-Envy, Noe Valley Commissions Bernal Artist to Create Gorgeous New Mural

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Pity, those poor souls from Noe Valley, and the cruel torment of their Gatsby Complex.

It’s well known that many residents to our west suffer from a deep-seated sense of longing and envy as they stare at the glamorous majesty of Bernal Hill from their homes in Noe Valley. So it should perhaps come as no surprise that even if those tormented Noe Valley people can never hope to be us, some have realized that they can at least acquire pieces of Bernal awesomeness — in the form of large-scale paintings by Bernal artists.

Case in point is the new mural that was recently completed on the side of a building at the corner of Church and Day. It’s a gorgeous creation from Neighbor Amos Goldbaum, who was born and raised in Bernal Heights and still lives in tony Precitaville.

Neighbor Amos’s Bernal Hill t-shirts have become a must-have fashion accessory for in-the-know Bernalese, so his many fans here will instantly recognize his style when they see the new mural in Noe Valley. It’s classic Amos Goldbaum:

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amosmural3The (excruciatingly envious) Noe Valley Voice ran a picture of the Neighbor Amos’s new mural on the cover of the September 2014 issue, and they report that the mural is based on a 1945 photo Neighbor Amos found of the intersection at Dolores and 25th Streets:

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Meanwhile, Neighbor Amos also unveiled a new t-shirt design, featuring his own riff on the San Francisco city seal. You know, that cute little logo-thing that summarizes the early history of San Francisco on the doors of Our City’s luxurious vehicle fleet? The one that’s all, Oro en Paz! Fierro en Guerra! and all that?

Neighbor Amos turned that into a t-shirt, and Bernalwood snapped this (strangely daemonic) photo of him with it during a recent street fair:

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Supplies are limited, but you can get a better look at Neighbor Amos’s new City Seal shirt here, or view his entire — and entirely fashionable — t-shirt collection here.

Congrats on the mural, Neighbor Amos!

PHOTOS: Amos on ladder courtesy of Amos Goldbaum. All other photos by Telstar Logistics

Here’s How Jenni Sparks Drew Bernal Heights In Her Insanely Detailed Map of San Francisco

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Artist Jenni Sparks has created a very cool new map of San Francisco, and The Bold Italic gives it a shout out:

London-based artist and map-maker Jenni Sparks just released an insanely detailed hand-drawn map of San Francisco. Like, so detailed I expected to zoom in on 14th and Church to find an adorable rendering of the time I fell so hard crossing the street that my shoes fell off.

The map took months to complete (obviously), and is the fourth map Jenni has drawn in collaboration with Evermade, following London, New York, and Berlin. The prints are 2 ft. by 2 ft.

The map goes on sale today, and you can buy one right here.

Because we are glamorous and vain, Bernalwood wrote to Jenni Sparks to request a detail of Bernal Heights. Because Jenni Sparks understands this about us, she kindly passed it along. So here is Bernal Heights, as seen in Jenni’s fabulous new map:

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Purists will grumble that the BART line is positioned a little too far to the west, and our defensive freeway perimeter has gone missing, but Bernalwood will gladly overlook all that in the name of artistic license and general maptastic awesomeness.

Plus, Silver Crest Donut Shop! And I can totally see my house.

Thanks for sharing, Jenni!

MAP IMAGES: Courtesy of Jenni Sparks

New “Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book” Celebrates 2014 Bernal Outdoor Cinema Festival

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Neighbor Mason Kirby is an architect who lives on Mullen and works from a cute little office on Bocana just off Cortland. A few years ago, Neighbor Mason created a fabulously clever Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book, which he generously shared with Bernalwood readers.

Now, just in time for the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival that gets underway next week, Neighbor Mason shares a new edition of his Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book for wannabe Bernal architects of all ages:

We’ve created a second, collectors, edition of our Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book. Download away! In this new edition, we didn’t need to include any houses from Noe Valley (……hisssss……hooray!). Also, we included a moon-like reminder about the Precita Park screening of Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema (which we are helping sponsor) that will happen on Saturday September 6th at 6:30.

Download your copy of the 2014 Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book right here!!

Don’t have a printer? No problem! Neighbor Anne tells us where you can pick up a hard copy:

The coloring books are available at Precita Park Café, Charlie’s Café, Precita Valley Center, and the Bernal Library. In addition, we will have a stack of them at the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema information table at Precita Park on Saturday, September 6.

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Got that, kids? Sharpen your colored pencils, line up your crayons, try and stay within the lines, and don’t forget that all your pictures must conform with the Bernal Heights East Slope Design Review Guidelines. (Just kidding about that last part. Sort of.)

And meanwhile, get ready for Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema 2014, which kicks off with a gala Opening Night Party at El Rio  on Thursday night, Sept. 4.

Sexy Bernal Sweatshirt Hoodies For Sale to Support Final Phase of Library Art Project

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The Bernal Library Art Project is entering its final phase.

After all the controversy, and the delicate mediation, and the hard-earned consensus, and the installation of new artwork on the library’s Cortland and Moultrie facades, work is now underway to complete the art on the rear, playground-facing side of the library. Scaffolding is up, and artist Johanna Poethig is working on her clever tile mosaic/mural, which incorporates vintage photographs shared by Bernal neighbors. (You can see some in-progress snaps above.)

All that remains is just a little more fundraising. And for that, the esteemed Bernalese who have spearheaded the Library Art Project invite you to purchase one of their rather fashionable sweatshirt hoodies, each of which includes a cameo by Bernal’s own celebrity icon, Sutrito Tower:

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Here’s the pitch from the Library Art Project team:

Phase 2 of the Bernal Library Art Project is scheduled for completion this fall. Scaffolding is up on the back of the library to paint and prepare the wall for installation of the amazing glass and ceramic tile mural that Johanna Poethig has designed for this space.

So, even though the mural is going up, the funding is not complete. Our current, and perhaps final, fund raising effort is this terrific Bernal Heights sweatshirt hoodie. Please note:

  • The copyrighted image by Reuben Rude will not be duplicated in the future!
  • Supplies are limited!
  • They are available in sizes from XL to XS.
  • Hoodies are for purchase at Heartfelt for $45
  • All proceeds above cost support Phase 2 of the Bernal Lilbrary Art Project.

Although lightweight, it’s warm and super comfy and looks really cool. Don’t wait or you may miss the opportunity to own this Bernal Heights collectible!

PHOTOS: via the Bernal Library Art Project Facebook page.