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

Just Our Style: Hear the New Song from Bernal Native J.Quest

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A few weeks ago, Bernalwood received a charming shout-out on the Twitter:

Love that. “Hell yeah” was the only appropriate response.

Just like Superman has his Clark Kent, J.Quest is also known as Justin Botza. In a follow-up email, Justin explained:

I am a 3rd generation Bernal Heights native who grew up on Elsie street. I classify myself as a blue-collared Hip Hop artist who draws inspiration from The City and my mixed heritage, and that definately brings a unique yet classic sound to my music.

I have a 7-song EP coming out this year titled “Struggles & Dreams” With production by Dregs 1, Joe Dubb, Posafe & my own in house studio 1225 production team.

The first single “Just My Style” will be include on the EP.

I’m very proud to be doing my part… putting on for Bernal Heights!

Bernalwood was eager to share Justin J.Quest’s new music with you right away. But then J.Quest Justin suggested we hold off just a little bit, because he first wanted to do a photo shoot on Bernal Hill. (Oh, hell yeah, we said.)

Well, now the photos are in, and the new single is online, and it’s a very sweet jam. Let’s listen:

Oh hell yeah. We’ve got style like that.

Congratulations, Justin!

PHOTOS: J.Quest, courtesy of William Anderson

See the Bernal Hill Players on Sunday — For Free!

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Ready to get your chamber music on? The price is right to see the Bernal Hill Players this weekend, on Sunday, September 14 at 4:00 p.m.at the Community Music Center on Capp Street.

BHP shares the big news:

The Bernal Hill Players will play a concert entitled Musical Chairs: Chamber Music from the 1800s to Now, for Flute, Clarinet, Cello and Piano as part of the Community Music Center’s Shenson Faculty Series.
This concert features four prominent Bay Area chamber musicians in various instrumental combinations, including an elegant German Classical Sinfonia by Franz Danzi, a virtuosic French Romantic flute trio by Louise Farrenc, a Fellini-esque Italian clarinet trio by Nino Rota, an Indian and jazz-influenced woodwind duo by Russell Peterson, and dynamically rhythmic Latin American compositions by Eduardo Gamboa and Miguel del Aguila.
Performers are Martha Rodríguez-Salazar on flute, Sarah Bonomo on clarinet, and Jennifer Peringer on piano. Guest cellist: Laura Gaynon.
WHERE: Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street (at 21st), San Francisco, CA 94110
WHEN: Sunday, September 14 at 4 PM
HOW MUCH: Free!
Thanks to the Shenson Foundation for their support of this free community concert.
The Bernal Hill Players have been playing concerts since 2008 throughout the Bay Area and Mexico City, have commissioned several pieces by Bay Area and Mexican composers, and have produced a CD entitled “San Francisco: In an About the City” about neighborhoods of San Francisco.  Their mission is to play a wide and rich repertoire, to commission new works, to create interesting arrangements of existing works, and to use chamber music as a way of both celebrating local community and creating cross-cultural musical connections.

Saturday: Synchronized Watches Record Release Party at El Rio

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On Saturday night, Neighbor Brianna Hughes is having a record-release party at the beloved El Rio for Synchronized Watches, her band “comprised of three friends serendipitously brought together by the common desire to challenge personal musical reflexes, the need to create art, and to quench their common thirst for good tequila.”

Neighbor Brianna writes:

I live on Crescent Ave. and love love love living in this neighborhood. My band, Synchronized Watches, is playing at El Rio Saturday night as we release our very first album, Us We Here. Local gal, local club, wanted to share our music with the ‘hood. Thanks much!

Local gal! Local club! Music for locavores! The culmination of their 2x successful Kickstarter odyssey! Saturday’s show gets underway at El Rio at 10 pm, with doors opening at 9.

Your Bernalwood editor listened to the album this morning, and I loved it!  Prediction: If you enjoy Ladytron or Metric, you’ll also definitely groove on Synchronized Watches. Give it a listen right here.

Or here:

PHOTO: Courtesy of Sychronized Watches

The 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Festival Begins TONIGHT!

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It’s that glamorous red carpet and green(isn) grass time of year, Citizens of Bernalwood! It’s time for the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival! Starting TONIGHT!

As you know, BHOC is exactly like Sundance or Telluride or Cannes — only without so many people wearing sheepskin and Prada. The basic drill: Free films. Most are short. Some are shown outside. Emphasis on local topics and local filmmakers. Bring seating. Dress warmly. BYO snacks. Sip from a flask. Snuggle as necessary. Enjoy.

Here’s the schedule for 2014, starting with the star-studded opening night screening and party happening TONIGHT at the beloved El Rio:

Thursday, September 4
7 to 9:30 pm
OPENING NIGHT
El Rio
3158 Mission St.
Must be 21 years

Friday, September 5
Progressive screenings at 7, 8 and 9 pm
FILM CRAWL ON CORTLAND
— Progressive Grounds, 400 Cortland
— Bernal Star, 410 Cortland
— Kingmond Young Photography, 416 Cortland
— Bernal Branch Library, 500 Cortland ** 7 and 8 pm, only
— Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland
— Inclusions Gallery, 627 Cortland

Saturday, September 6
6:30 to 9:30 pm
UNDER THE STARS
Precita Park
Folsom St. at Precita Ave.

9:30 to 10:30 pm
AFTER PARTY
Precita Park Café
500 Precita Avenue

Scope out the full 2014 BHOC schedule for additional details on each night’s film selections.

In addition, BHOC co-founder Leslie Lombre wrote to Bernalwood to share these late-breaking, insidery notes:

1) We’re adding comedy for the first time to the Opening Night line-up, Thursday, 9/4. Comedian Johnny Steele will perform following an excerpt of 3 STILL STANDING, a locally produced documentary profiling three recognizable names including Steele along with Will Durst and Larry Brown through a 30-year journey. It’s especially relevant given Robin William’s recent passing.

2) We’ve added some new co-presenters for Film Crawl on Cortland, Friday, 9/5:

New
SF International Women’s Festival at Inclusions Gallery
14 Black Poppies at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center

Returning
Bay Area Video Coalition at Progressive Grounds
Cine Mas+ / SF Latino Film Festival at Kingmond Young Photography

And here’s the bumper reel:

See you there, cinephiles!

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PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

San Francisco of the Early 1990s Is Alive and Well and Open for Business at Thrillhouse Records

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Amid all the current whinging about gentrification, The Change, tech buses, and coffee boutiques, it’s good to know the “real” San Francisco of bohemian memory is alive and well — if you know where to look for it.

Thrillhouse Records is such a place. Hiding in plain sight on Mission Street at Kingston right here in Bernal Heights, Thrillhouse is an enduring monument to underground San Francisco, circa 1991.

Want to know what counterculture looked like in the analog days before Tim Berners-Lee unleashed his Prometheus on our unsuspecting planet? What were the sensibilities of a young and alienated generation in an age of ascendant Reaganism, cassette tapes, and desktop publishing euphoria? What were the totems and signifiers of this edgy, halcyon time?

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What did it look like?  What did it smell like??

Wonder no more: It looked and smelled exactly like Thrillhouse Records.

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BONUS: This is what Reddit looked like way back then:

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A woman named Caitlin was behind the counter when Bernalwood visited Thrillhouse on a recent afternoon, and she told us that the place is run by volunteers. They’re open from noon to 8 pm on most days, unless things are really really slow, in which case they may close a little earlier.  Stop by soon, before the 21st century reasserts itself.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics