Security Camera Reveals Face of Thief Breaking Into Cars on Bonview


If you’ve ever had someone break into your car, you’ve probably experienced the fantasy that involves being able to see the face of the dirtball who violated your space and took your stuff — if only to know what kind of person is that kind of an dirtball.

Well, someone broke into Neighbor Mike’s car on Bonview just before 6 am last Monday morning, and his security camera captured the whole thing:

I caught a thief on our security camera canvassing our block and stealing from my car. (I left my car doors unlocked, doh!)

The thief really took his time going through my car, and notice how he doesn’t slam the doors or the trunk, just gently closes them to not make noise. It’s creepy knowing this was happening right below me while I slept.

Side note, he only got a tray full of quarters. Luckily I didn’t have any valuables in the car.

Sit back, grab some popcorn, and get a good look at the dirtball who swiped some stuff from Neighbor Mike’s car:

Posted in Cars, Crime | 30 Comments

Let’s Explore Life Magazine’s Mysterious 1969 Photo from Bernal Hill


We don’t know much about what’s going on here, because the caption doesn’t provide any context. (“Above San Francisco, 1969″ is all it says. Thanks!) Still, it was nifty to stumble across this image in an online round-up of vintage LIFE magazine photographs of San Francisco.

While the activity taking place here is mysterious, there are nevertheless a few cool things to notice. Let’s use our special combination of algorithms to zoom and enhance the eastern side of the background:


There’s Cogswell Polytechnical College, on Folsom between 26th and (then) Army Street. Just south of that, the original St. Anthony’s church still stands, before it was destroyed by fire in 1975. And of course, the infamous Bernal Dwellings housing project, built in 1952, with its fortress-like residential tower, dominates the block on Army between Folsom and Harrison.

Now let’s look a little to the west…


There are lots of new cars lined up outside the Lesher-Muirhead Oldsmobile dealership on the corner of Army and South Van Ness, while just a little farther west we can see the big sign for Kerry’s Restaurant — open 24 hours a day, with ample parking! — rising above Army Street.

Bernalwood hasn’t geeked-out about Kerry’s Restaurant before, so let’s digress. Here’s a rather awesome 1986 (!!) shot of Kerry’s taken from street level, courtesy of the Chronicle:


Here’s an advertisement for Kerry’s from a 1964 copy of the Bernal Heights Pictorial, which was an “antecedent to New Bernal Journal”:


Even more tasty, perhaps, is this 1960s menu from Kerry’s that we found in a dusty corner of the interwebs:



Crab Louie! Cottage Cheese Salad! Breaded Veal Cutlet! Kerry’s was obviously a classy joint.

Meanwhile, if you happen to know anything about those two gentlemen frolicking in the foreground, please do chime in…

Posted in History | 18 Comments

Tonight: Free Concert by the Bernal Jazz Quartet at the Library


Hey cats…

Bernal neighbor and jazz daddy-o Michael Gold is spreading the word about a concert by the Bernal Jazz Quartet happening TONIGHT at 6:30 at the always-hip Bernal Heights Library:

The monthly jazz series at the Bernal Heights Library is firing back up this week.

After a two-month hiatus, the Bernal Jazz Quartet will be back in the acoustically comfy community room on Wednesday, August 12 from 6:30 to 8:30pm, performing the music of seminal jazz bassist Charlie Haden.

Charlie, who passed away last month, helped chart the course of jazz over many decades, collaborating with other giants such as Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett, leading his own bands large and small, and developing a distinctive, irresistible voice on the bass. His playing and his compositions are deep, honest, nostalgic, resonant, and centered on uncomplicated, engaging melodies.

To celebrate his memory, we’ll be playing two sets of all Charlie Haden.

No cover, as always. FYI, we’re at the library most second Wednesdays of the month. And this month, the Bernal Jazz Quartet consists of Michael Gold (sax), Bruno Pelletier (guitar), Chuck Bennett (bass), and Tom Hassett (drums). Tom and I are Bernal residents; Chuck and Bruno are close enough — Noe Valley.

Posted in Events, Media | 1 Comment

Bernal Neighbor Creates Tasty, Disruptive Dried Meat Product (Biltong Fans Rejoice)


Uber is disrupting the taxicab space. Airbnb is disrupting the travel lodgings space. And right here in Bernal, Neighbor Steve Kerford is working on a product that seeks to disrupt the dried meat space.

Neighbor Steve lives on Gates Street, although he’s originally from South Africa. In South Africa, you see, the locals favor a special kind of beef jerky called biltong. Neighbor Steve reached out to Bernalwood recently with an offer to drop off some of his biltong for us to sample.

The good news is, it was delicious! Most dried meats taste like an old sneaker dipped in BBQ sauce, but Neighbor Steve’s biltong tastes like… meat! Delicious, tender meat! Only, dried.

The bad news is, Neighbor’s Steve’s biltong was so tasty that Team Bernalwood gobbled up the entire bag before I had a chance to take a photo. Oh well.

Anyway, Neighbor Steve’s disruptive dried beef product company is called Cut & Dried Gourmet, and you can get some of his biltong from their website. He also has a Kickstarter campaign underway that’s getting close to it’s funding goal with about a week remaining on the clock:

 We tested our artisanal South African Biltong air-dried beef recipe while working with the leaders in ethical, natural beef production, Niman Ranch and Hearst Ranch. The results were spectacular; making Biltong with premium American beef produced the perfect health and gourmet snack! A paleo, charcuterie delight that is never cooked so it retains unadulterated nutrients and amino acid chains.

Our ambition is to get Biltong into America’s salads, office snack bars, backpacks, lunch boxes and gym bags. Healthy snacking with no sugar or additives, made from the finest American beef.

PHOTO: Neighbor Steve models his biltong, via Kickstarter

Posted in Food and Drink, Merchants | 5 Comments

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!

Posted in Celebrity, Music, New Stuff | 7 Comments

Failed Fire Hydrant Creates Huge Waterspout on Bayshore


There was drama, excitement, and significant wetness yesterday afternoon as a fire hydrant on the corner of Bayshore and Cortland transformed itself into a huge waterspout.

Bernal Alumni Noah shared this report (and a very satisfying video) shortly before City officials arrived on the scene:

Was picking up our daughter at gymnastics and saw this. This was approx 3:07 pm at bayshore and cortland.

Let’s roll Noah’s video:

MEDIA: Photo, courtesy of Wanda. Video, courtesy of Alumni Neighbor Noah

Posted in Calamity | 8 Comments

Here Is Your Official 2014 Bernal Heights Hillwide Garage Sale Treasure Map


Are you ready, Bernal Heights detritivores treasure-hunters?

It’s time to put on a comfortable pair of walking shoes, stuff your pockets with wads of petty cash, and load up the bootlegged copy of that UPS route-optimization software you downloaded from a sketchy Russian website. The 2014 Bernal Hillwide Garage Sale happens this Saturday, so it’s time to map out your plan of attack!

Neighbor and Organizer Michael Minson brings the pre-sale update:

The Bernal Heights Hillwide, quite possibly San Francisco’s largest single day neighborhood garage sale, is THIS SATURDAY, 9-August from 9a-3p.

As of today, we have 73 houses registered to sell their bric-a-brac, tschotskis, and various accouterments of homebound leisure. And we’ve raised over $1,000 for the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center in the process, too!

Sellers are encouraged to promote their sale on Craigslist as well as Twitter and Instagram using #Hillwide2014.

To check out who’s got what for sale, visit the official 2014 Hillwide Garage Sale map, bookmark it on your mobile gadget, and check your social media pages.

If anyone in Bernal hasn’t registered their house on the map and wants to make it rain cash money on Saturday, there’s still time! Register right now to get on the map.


Posted in Events | 4 Comments