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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Recovery Continues for Jackie Jones, Celebrity Music-Maker of the Alemany Farmer’s Market

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Bernalwood has received several requests for an update on the health of Bernal neighbor Jackie Jones, the Alemany Farmer’s Market musical celebrity who took a bad fall last year.

Neighbor Hannah spearheaded the previous fundraising effort for Jackie, and she’s been checking in on Jackie regularly. Neighbor Hannah shares this candid report:

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for your concern about Jackie Jones. She gave me permission to share this update:

“I had thought getting over my broken bones would be the end of my problem, but not so. My feet turned up with posterior tibial tendon disfunction. In other words, collapsing feet. The bones start to fall apart. I had to stay off my feet for so long, so I lost my balance. I will have to do exercises to regain this. I’m on my way. Next they will have new foot and ankle braces made for the right foot because the broken bones healed crooked. It’s been an awful thing to happen to me. But my spirits are up and I do want to figure ways to play music again.”

Jackie is happy to know that her “spot” is still open at the market and she still hopes to get back. When I asked her if she needed anything, she said “Bring me tales from the market!”

So if you’d like to send her your tales, email them to messages4jackie@gmail.com, I’ll pass your notes along to her.

With warmth and gratitude,
Hannah

PHOTO: Jackie Jones in 2006, by Telstar Logistics

Hear Tim and Erin Archuleta from Ichi Sushi on Burrito Justice Radio

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In case (like me) you missed hearing it live, you can now listen to a recording of yesterday’s action-packed episode of La Lengua rebel leader’s Burrito Justice Radio, featuring special celebrity guests Tim and Erin Archuleta from the intergalactically famous Ichi Sushi on Mission Street!

Listen to this terrific episode to learn:

  • When does Team Ichi plan to open their new oyster bar in the original Ichi space?
  • FACT: Celebrity sushi chef Tim Archuleta used to hate fish!
  • The scandalous tale of how Tim and Erin met! (Hint: It was the karaoke)
  • Tim’s goal: Build a ski lift-style “bunny tow” from Mission Street to Upper Cortland
  • How to eat four meals a day — with a friend — in Tokyo for just $100 a day!
  • What song did Tim and Erin dance to during their glamorous pre-celebrity wedding?
  • Why should you be eating local salmon and albacore RIGHT NOW?
  • Can “burrito railgun” technology trim the carbon footprint of imported Japanese fish?

All that, and so much more. Listen to the whole thing, on your interweb terminal, right now, right here!

Bernal Rockstar Matt Nathanson Is On Tour, Having Fun, but Feeling Homesick. So He Sent Us This Postcard.

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It’s been a busy summer for our local rockstars. Neighbor Matt Nathanson, Bernal’s very own rockstar next-door, is out on the road doing a summer tour that’s already taken him from Vegas to Fargo and from Cedar Rapids to Toledo. On Wednesday he was in New York. Tonight, he’s in Philly.

All that sounds insanely glamorous (in a Waffle House sort of way), but the fundamental truth of the matter is that even though Neighbor Matt is having fun, he really misses us.

Well, to clarify… we don’t know if Neighbor Matt misses you or me specifically — although that’s certainly possible. What we know for sure is that he really misses us — as in Bernal Heights. And we know this because Neighbor Matt sent us a postcard from the road last week, which we are honored to share with you here:

Dearest Bernalwood,

Hello!

I’m out here on my summer tour. We’re making our way into the northeast for a bunch of amazing shows (including a sold out Central Park summer stage!!), and all is going great… but we’re about 7 weeks into a 10 week run and i’m having myself an acute case of “missing-the-shit-out-of-our-neighborhooditis.”

Bernalwood makes the pining a little bit easier to bear, so thanks for that. These United States are pretty spectacular, but they’ve got nothing on our little 94110 (& 112). I’m super-looking forward to getting home at the end of August and digging into making my next record. Fall in San Francisco… can’t wait!!

Anyway, hope everything is awesome with you all. If you could, go hike the hill for me. Then shoot down to Precita Park and get one of those insane peanut butter cookie sandwiches they have in the glass case. Those things are magic!

Mama, i’m coming home (soon!),

Matt

Awwww.

Neighbor Matt, here’s a sublime photo someone took on the hill yesterday evening; Karl the Fog has been summering nearby, as you know he likes to do.

Also, even though your body is elsewhere, your music plays on here in the Dominion of Bernalwood. In fact, we heard you a few weeks ago at the Lowe’s on Bayshore; they were playing “Girl in the Kinks Shirt” over the PA system! While we were browsing in the paint department! It was pretty awesome, even though a robot voice interrupted halfway through to announce, “Assistance required in the wire-cutting section.” Then your song played a little more, and the robot voice said it again: “Assistance required in the wire-cutting section.” Frankly, we thought the robot was being sort of rude, but still… it was you! On the PA system! At the Lowes on Bayshore! Just down the hill from your crib. Dude… ROCKSTAR!

Have fun on the rest of your tour, Neighbor Matt.

But not too much fun.

PHOTO: Neighbor Matt thinking of us in glamorous St. Augustine, Florida

 

Bernal Rockstar Dan The Automator Talks with NPR About “Got a Girl,” His New Musical Collaboration

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As we all know, everyone who lives in Bernal Heights is a rockstar. But some express it more than others.

Music producer Dan Nakamura — aka Dan The Automator — is a Bernal resident who is famous in the music biz for the work he did to give artists like Deltron 3030, the Gorillaz, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Handsome Boy Modeling School their distinctive sounds. His latest collaboration is a band called Got a Girl that he created with actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Got a Girl just released their first album, called “I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff.” (IMPORTANT LIABILITY NOTICE: Any relation to recent events on Bernal Hill is strictly coincidental.)

This week, Neighbor Dan talked about Got a Girl on NPR’s All Things Considered:

Chance encounters can lead to profound changes in people’s lives. Just ask actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

She was shooting Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opposite Michael Cera when one of the film’s music consultants befriended her. He’d heard rumors she was also a talented singer, so he checked out a video of her belting out a tune in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.

That person happened to be Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, the hot-shot producer known to pop and hip-hop fans for his work with Gorillaz and Del the Funky Homosapien. The two struck up a friendship, and a musical partnership was born: Got a Girl.

The newly formed duo just released its first album, I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff.” Now, which draws on the members’ shared love for 1960s French pop.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Bernalwood’s favorite track from Got a Girl’s new album is called “There’s a Revolution,” and it’s infectiously funky, frenchy, and James Bondtastic:

For the visually inclined, here’s the video for Got a Girl’s “Did We Live too Fast”:

Congrats, Neighbor Dan!

REVEALED: Neighbor Darcy Lee’s Sordid, Secret Sha Na Na Salad Dressing Recipe

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As she is with so many things, Neighbor Darcy was into Sha Na Na long before it was cool.

Today, of course, Neighbor Darcy is the proprietress of the fabulous Heartfelt general store on Cortland. Yet many moons ago, she was rather close (wink wink) with a member of Sha Na Na. The salad days did not last, alas. But she did get a gen-u-ine rockstar salad dressing recipe out of the deal — and her relationship with that salad dressing continues to thrive and prosper to this very day.

Now that we are in peak salad season, Bernalwood is proud to bring you this (only slightly sordid) story about how Neighbor Darcy acquired the secret Sha Na Na salad dressing recipe, why it’s still so very tasty, and how you too can enjoy the secret Sha Na Na salad dressing your own Bernal doo-wop greaser den.

Darcy writes:

The best and easiest salad dressing I ever learned to make was from the wife of Scott Simon, a member of the band Sha Na Na.

When I was 20 I worked as a waitress for the summer in Mashpee, Massachusets. Sha Na Na rehearsed for their summer tours there, and I dated one of the members. (oh, geesh) His name was Dave (Chico) Ryan — he was the handsome bass player who sang “Teenager In Love.”

We didn’t go out for long. But he took me to New York when they played in Central Park, and afterwards we partied with Keith Moon, who was a big Sha Na Na fan. (Strange but true.) Keith Moon was insane that night. We ended up at a night club disco with a lighted dance floor, and Keith Moon left the Sha Na Na boys with a huge check to pay.

Later, I met one of the band member’s wives and had dinner at her home in Westchester. She made a salad that was truly delicious. I asked about the dressing. She said, “A good salad dressing is good olive oil, not too much vinegar and salt. Really a lot of salt.”

To me, as a kid totally out of my element, she seemed sophisticated and worldly, in a Mad Men way.

I still use that basic formula, although I like to add ingredients to keep things interesting. I love the reaction my salads generate, and my book club loves them, so here’s how I do it:

DRESSING
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
A big pinch of salt (don’t hold back)
Pomegranate molasses (optional)
Moscatel vinegar (optional, instead of champagne vinegar)

SALAD:
Romaine lettuce
orange pieces
Avocado
Toasted sliced almonds

I think it’s refreshing to get away from Balsamic as a go-to ingredient. I taste more flavors when the vinegar is lighter and not as pushy. In her wonderful cookbook “Root to Stalk Cooking,” Bernal’s own Tara Duggan uses Moscatel vinegar as an ingredient, and that’s become my new favorite. (Don’t think Muscatel the cheap wine; this is a light vinegar from Tarragona, Spain.) If I only have regular wine vinegar in my cupboard, I like to add a whimsy ingredient to the dressing. For instance, with this salad, a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses is great too. I buy mine at Samiramis Imports at 25th and Mission.

I get the packs of Romaine hearts at Good Life, cut the ends off and wash the leaves. After they dry, I chop them roughly, vertically across the leaf. When you slice the oranges, it’s important to get as much as the white pith off as possible. If you are bringing this salad somewhere, wait to add the avocado because it looks really lovely, freshly sliced on top.

Enjoy the sunshine and bring a sweater for that killer breeze!

PHOTOS: via Darcy Lee

Tonight: Bernal’s Own Emperor Norton Will Be on TV

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As you may recall, the (in)famous Emperor Norton, self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States, lives in Bernal Heights. Or, his modern-day doppleganger does. That is, when he’s not taking tourists on San Francisco walking tours.

Now, he also rules the small screen, because tonight our own Emperor Norton will appear on the Travel Channel’s “Monumental Mysteries” show:

Don Wildman inspects a bizarre acorn-shaped sculpture that commemorates an otherworldly event; explores the world’s smallest skyscraper that was once at the center of an outrageous scam; and investigates an engineering wonder inspired by an eccentric figure.

HINT: That “eccentric figure” is Emperor Norton, and the engineering wonder is the Bay Bridge.

Tune in tonight at 9 pm to watch Neighbor Emperor Norton tell the tale.

PHOTO: Emperor Norton, during a recent sighting at 331 Cortland. By Telstar Logistics