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


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,


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!),



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


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!

Saturday: Band Called “View From Bernal Hill” Is Not From Bernal Heights, But Will Perform Near Bernal Hill



The View from Bernal Hill is a “chamber-flavored jazz” group that used to be called the Camille Mai Trio, until recently, when they decided to change their name to “The View from Bernal Hill.”

This is confusing, because the musicians in The View from Bernal Hill do not live in Bernal Heights — they just think we’re rather sexy and inspiring.

Band member Camille Mai tells Bernalwood:

Well, we don’t live in Bernal, but I had an out of body experience for the first time while on that hill.. and Fred, who shoots our videos, lives there, so I spend a lot of time over there editing video and going to progressive grounds :) We actually just shot a music video on the hill too! It’s such a truly amazing place…

Still confused? Don’t worry, it’s not you — it’s just confusing. But so what. Let’s just roll with it. Because we’re famous like that, and we do this to people. Especially creative-types.

Anyway, The View from Bernal Hill will perform at 7:30 pm on Saturday, July 26 at the Red Poppy Art House (2698 Folsom at 23rd) — which also is not in Bernal Heights, although it is, admittedly, sort of nearby.

In the meantime, you can also listen to this beautiful song, which was originally recorded by the Camille Mai Trio but is now performed by The View from Bernal Hill, which is the same thing, only different and a little more confusing. Plus, there’s a Bernal name-check at around 02:16…

PHOTOS: Poster by Telstar Logistics. Band by The View from Bernal Hill.

Coleridge Neighbors Planning Informal Community Concert


Neighbor Ania was recently seen posting handbills about an ad hoc concert planned for next Sunday afternoon, May 18, at the glamorous Coleridge Minipark. It sounded like a charming idea, so Bernalwood asked her to share the details for those who might like to participate. Neighbor Ania writes:

After the mugging on our street some neighbors started talking about making something good happen, for a change.

I spoke about a musical event with Sasha, who often plays the accordion on his doorstep, across the street from us. Two neighbors stopped by and were enthusiastic, so I posted on and heard from Dave Klaus who plays the guitar. The three of us met a few weeks ago over a beer, set the date for May 18th 12-3 at the Coleridge Minipark and decided that it should be informal, acoustic and in a talent show format.

There is also going to be singalong. We are printing out lyrics – Imagine was mentioned – and I can lead something operatic. It is my mission in life to prove anyone can sing opera, even Wagner! (and it will probably be Wagner)
The lineup so far includes:

Sasha Goldshtrakh, Dave and their bands, some friends of Dave’s from Lundys with guitars, Ellen Hobbs from our building on ukelele and myself with opera (backing tracks on boombox).

There were suggestions of barbecue and mimosas. My husband Clay might coordinate that part of things, with some help of our nearest neighbors.

That’s the story so far. We are getting some fliers out and hope for not too much wind on the day. A few people expressed interest as performers; I am waiting to hear back and we are open for more!

Coleridge  Music


IMAGE: Coleridge Minipark photo by Neighbor Ania

This Sunday, Bernal’s Own “Music on the Hill” Presents: The Stern Trio


Neighbor Sheri brings news of a chamber music performance happening on Sunday:

Music on the Hill  is a uniquely Bernal Heights organization — a community-supported chamber music non-profit dedicated to presenting high-quality concerts featuring Bay Area musicians at affordable prices. Since 1998, we have presented four concerts per season to enthusiastic and loyal audiences.

The artistic director and all but one board member live in Bernal, and 60% of the concert-goers live in the 94110. Bernal music celebrity Joan Jeanrenaud, former cellist of the Kronos Quartet, was a founding member of Music on the Hill. She performed in the inaugural concert that kicked off the series in 1998 and continues to be a frequent contributor and artistic advisor.

From 1998 to 2009,  concerts were presented in St. Kevin’s Church on Cortland. In 2009 Music on the Hill moved its venue to St. Aidan’s Church in Diamond Heights.

We have an upcoming concert on Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 7:30pm. The Stern Trio is returning for another season with Music on the Hill:

Kay Stern, violin
Natalie Parker, clarinet,
Ava Soifer, piano
Kristen Brown, guest soprano

The program features a scintillating concert of mostly American & Bay Area composers, with a world premiere of “Up and Away” by Joan Jeanreneaud, “Moon Shadow & Tango” by Wayne Wallace, “Three Pictures of Hassidic Life” by Ernest Bloch, plus trios by Menotti, Schoenfield, & Milhaud.

St. Aidan’s is located at 101 Gold Mine Drive, San Francisco, across from Diamond Heights Safeway. Ample parking is available at the shopping center across from the church.

Tickets are $15 general/$9 seniors and students.

Jackie Jones (and Her Dancing Cat) Need Our Help

Jackie Jones and Her Dancing Cat

Back in August 2011, your Bernalwood editor wrote a few appreciative words about the incomparable Jackie Jones:

Jackie Jones has been a Saturday fixture at Bernal’s own Alemany Farmer’s Market for as long as I can remember, entertaining foodies — and their kids — with her charming musical act. She was at Alemany last weekend, and — the passage of time being what it is — I confess that each time I see her I always fear it may be the last. She is a Bernal Heights treasure.

Alas, that fear proved prescient. Jackie Jones lives in Bernal Heights, and not long ago, Neighbor Hannah (who created the video you see above) reached out to Bernalwood to share the sad news that Jackie has been unwell.

Now Neighbor Hannah has organized a fundraising campaign to lend Neighbor Jackie a hand:

She is an 88-year-old musician who plays 1920’s jazz tunes on a washboard guitar, accompanied by a wooden tap-dancing cat, at the oldest farmers market in San Francisco. Her one-woman band has been captivating audiences at Alemany Farmers Market for over 15 years.

Last year, Jackie took a terrible fall in her home, breaking her foot and fracturing bones in both of her legs. She has been homebound ever since and, despite her age and the obvious challenges she continues to face regaining her independence, she fully intends to return – somehow! – with her wooden cat to the farmers market as soon as possible.

Given that Jackie relied financially on the donations she received while playing music, she is having trouble paying for her medical expenses not covered by Medicare. Jackie has wonderful friends who bring her groceries and get her to doctor appointments, but she needs your help to get back up on her feet (literally). $5,000 will cover the cost of one more month of home care, buying her a little more time to regain her balance and relieving her of the stress that comes with living from social security check to social security check.

It practically goes without saying: This is an opportunity to give back to someone who has given so very much to Bernal Heights — and San Francisco. If you can, please donate to assist Jackie Jones with her recovery.

PHOTO: Top, Jackie Jones on July 30, 2011, by Telstar Logistics. Video by Hannah Levinson

Sunday: Rock Your Face Off with Bernal Kids at the Rock Band Land Album Release Party


This is Neighbor Odin. He lives with his parents on Montcalm in Bernal Heights, and as you might have guessed from the photo, he ROCKS.

Specifically, he rocks with Rock Band Land, a ridiculously awesome music education and storytelling program based in The Mission. Odin’s mom is Neighbor Kristen, and she tells Bernalwood:

Odin is a master shredder. He’s a guitar player and super-duper positive vibe-giver. He loves Rock Band Land. Listens and plays guitar to the program’s songs all the time. After every class my son is on cloud nine. Full of energy and happy.

Neighbor Odin is not the only Bernalese to rock at Rock Band Land. Bernalwood’s own Cub Reporter also participates in the program. She gravitates toward the vocals, though she’s also dabbling with keyboards:


This Sunday, March 2 at the Verdi Club (2424 Mariposa at Hampshire), the Rock Band Land crüe will host a glamorous party and live show to celebrate the galaxy-wide release of the program’s new album, which was performed under the guise of a band called Rainbow Beast:

Rainbow Beast is a band born from the minds of children, embodied in the lives of professional musicians, and straddling the border between the imaginary (but very real) world of Rock Band Land and the real (but often fantastical) city of San Francisco, California. The band consists of Marcus Stoesz (Vocals, Guitar, Keys), Brian Gorman (Drums), and Jen Aldrich (Bass). The members of Rainbow Beast act as interpreters, mentors and curators for Rock Band Land, and all of the music that the band records and performs was written with the Rock Band Land rockers. To date, the band has produced over 150 original songs and stories with kids 4-8 years old.

Tickets for the big show on Sunday are selling fast, so rockers of all ages are encouraged to buy quickly before they’re all gone.

If you want to hone in on the contributions from Bernal’s Rockers, we’re told  that Odin helped helped write and played on “The Little Big Easy,” “Fish Wife,” “Cracking Up at the Goat Joint,” and “The Ballad of Annabelle and Sam.”

Meanwhile, Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter helped write and sings on “Party Killer.” It’s a song about a monster who stumbles into a rowdy party in South America, then tries to break it up because he mistakenly thinks the celebration is a form of fighting. It’s also a song which, I can honestly say, I still love to hear, even after several zillion listens.

Hope to see you rocking on Sunday, but until then, here’s a little taste: