Bernal Neighbor’s Prints Appear in Primetime TV Cameo

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Neighbor Alex is an artist who lives on Highland in Bernal Heights. He also operates a business called Past Postage with turns vintage stamps and matchbook designs into hangable wall art.

Last week, in true Bernal celebrity style, one of Neighbor Alex’s pieces just scored a network TV cameo. Alex explains:

I just had my artwork show up on NBC’s Parenthood program this past week. In an episode called ‘A Potpourri of Freaks’, one of my ‘Yuri Gagarin and Vostok 1′ prints is front and center over Max’s bed during a father/son conversation. Max is the lead teenage character in the series, and he’s showing some good taste for the Space Race. The artwork is of a Russian postage stamp from 1961 enlarged and put on canvas.

You can also see some of Neighbor Alex’s handiwork in 2M Architecture’s office on Cortland Avenue.

In related  news, Neighbor Alex is also taking part in ArtSpan’s Open Studios this coming weekend, with his studio doors open from 11am – 5pm on Saturday 11/1 and Sunday 11/2. The studio is in the Mission at 32 Shotwell Street. Check out the Artspan website for more information, and you can find more of Alex’s work on the Etsy.

IMAGE: Parenthood screengrab via Neighbor Alex

On Lundys Landing, Bernal Neighbors Share an Al Fresco World Series

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Last night’s 7-1 victory over the Royals in Game One of the World Series was a great moment for all Giants fans, but the scene was particularly sweet on Lundys Landing, where some of your neighbors projected the game onto the side of an adjacent house.

Neighbor Valjoy says the al fresco viewing party will happen again for Game Two tonight, and you’re invited:

PHOTOS: Top, @travis_schlafke. Below, @Valjoy9

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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Welcome to the World, California Sunday Magazine!

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As if Jack London’s Bernal roots and New York Times domination and lots and lots of books aren’t enough to demonstrate our neighborhood’s literary heft, there’s a high-profile media launch happening this weekend, and it’s got some deep Bernal Heights DNA.

The project is called California Sunday Magazine, and it’s brought to you by many of the same people responsible for the insanely popular Pop Up Magazine series that’s taken San Francisco by storm in recent years. California Sunday Magazine is a print magazine with literary-journalism aspirations to cover the world from a West Coast point of view. Here’s the About Us:

The California Sunday Magazine roams across California, the West, Asia, and Latin America, telling stories for a national audience. We also produce a live event series, Pop-Up Magazine. We explore science, business, entertainment, politics, technology, art, social issues, sports, food, and more. We’re curious about everything. The first weekend of each month, we’ll have new stuff to share, on the web, on our mobile apps, and in print—delivered with select Sunday copies of the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sacramento Bee. Once we get the hang of that, we’ll start publishing two weekends a month and then every weekend. We’re brand new, so thanks for reading!

Did you catch that?  California Sunday Magazine has a diabolically clever distribution strategy: It will appear in the Sunday editions of several major California newspapers (most of which have either eliminated or gutted their own Sunday magazines in recent years). So if you usually get the San Francisco Chronicle on Sundays, look for California Sunday Magazine inside this weekend. The content from the first issue is online here. The print edition will be monthly at first, ramping up to weekly.

This is a fascinating experiment, and in coming days it will no doubt attract a great deal of interest in media circles from coast-to-coast and across the galaxy. But as you enjoy California Sunday Magazine, and partake of all the buzz, know this: The publisher and co-founder of California Sunday Magazine is Chas Edwards, your Bernal Heights neighbor. Oh, and the editor-in-chief is Doug McGray, who doesn’t quite live in Bernal, but can be called Bernal-adjacent:

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They’re already talking about Cal Sunday in BusinessWeek:

For years, California journalists have dreamed of a Left Coast publication to rival media icons such as New York magazine and the New Yorker. The editorial operations of Condé Nast-owned Wired are in San Francisco, but most publications that tried to set up shop there—such as the Industry Standard, which had a moment during the first dot-com boom—have failed. (The audiences for Los Angeles and San Francisco magazines are loyal but local.) John Battelle, chairman of online ad company Federated Media, helped launch Wired and the Industry Standard and is an investor in California Sunday. “I think they are really on to something,” Battelle says. His first effort at a Bay Area-based magazine, the Pacific, never got off the ground. “The biggest impediment was the cost of circulation,” he says, and California Sunday solves that problem by paying an insertion fee to bundle with newspapers.

Best of luck to the California Sunday Magazine crew. Your neighbors will be rooting for you from the home-team bleachers.

UPDATE: Sunday 5 Oct: Ooh. Look what just arrived!

Here’s to the start of a brand-new weekend ritual:

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IMAGES: via California Sunday Magazine Coffee photo by Telstar Logistics

Two Authors from One Bernal Block Dominated Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine

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This is a photograph of Ellsworth Street in Bernal Heights. It’s a rather typical Bernal block in many ways, but last weekend,this humble block produced two of the main feature articles that appeared in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

Well, to be more precise, the block didn’t produce the articles — two superstar journalists who live on this block did. The writers are Jon Mooallem and Liz Weil, and each of them had a big, honking feature in the NYT Mag you may have perused while drinking your Sunday coffee.

Neighbor Jon’s article is all about Lanai, that island in Hawaii that ex-Oracle CEO Larry Ellison bought for himself.

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Neighbor Jon writes:

Like a lot of omnipotent forces, Ellison has remained mostly invisible. He has visited Lanai many times — locals told me they can tell he’s on the island when they see his yacht hitched in the harbor — but he seems determined to keep a formal distance from the community, shielding himself behind the executive team of Pulama Lanai, the management company he set up to oversee the island’s transformation. Although Pulama holds frequent public meetings on Lanai, Ellison has declined to attend any or to address residents directly. Several residents told me that they’d resorted to reading biographies of Ellison to learn more about the man — books that have somewhat disquieting titles like “Everyone Else Must Fail” and “The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison,” the punch line being: “God doesn’t think he’s Larry Ellison.”

Next comes Neighbor’s Liz article about a woman who walked 10,000 miles during a three-year, solo trek:

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Neighbor Liz profiled explorer Sarah Marquis:

The first six months on Marquis’s trips are always harrowing. She describes it as “the washing machine”: endless agitation, physical pain, emotional pain, nonstop bargaining among opposing internal voices — the inner demons that whisper, Remember the delicious foam on the cafe latte? and the inner angels that reprimand, Coffee isn’t accessible now, so why talk about it? “You can’t move your hands, you can’t move your feet, you just want to die,” Marquis said. “You think about sleep all the time, because maybe sleep will set things straight.”

A few months into her journey, Marquis shot a video of herself in her sleeping bag. Like a hostage clutching a newspaper, she holds a thermometer that reads minus 20 Celsius. “I don’t sleep much these days. I do not know what time it is. Maybe midnight, or something like that?” In the next day’s video, she looks wrecked. The previous night a wind- and sandstorm ripped across the Mongolian plains. To keep the nylon of her tent from tearing, Marquis removed the metal poles holding it up. But she still feared the gales would blow away her gear, so she unzipped herself from her collapsed shelter and lay atop her pack, tent and cart.

So there you have it; Two Bernal writers, ruling the mediasphere from quiet Ellsworth Street. Nice work, Jon and Liz.

PHOTO: Ellsworth Street, as tweeted by Liz Weil

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.

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!