The 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Festival Begins TONIGHT!



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
El Rio
3158 Mission St.
Must be 21 years

Friday, September 5
Progressive screenings at 7, 8 and 9 pm
— 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
Precita Park
Folsom St. at Precita Ave.

9:30 to 10:30 pm
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:

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

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!


PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Posted in Events, Media, Music | 1 Comment

New Neighbor Interview: Meet Kalie and Ari; They Just Moved to Bernal Heights

Kalie_and_AriSubterranean pressures build. Tectonic plates shift. A volcano erupts, and a tsunami engulfs a distant atoll. Somewhere, a kitten is born. Old neighbors move away, and new neighbors move in. As part of Bernalwood’s occasional series of New Neighbor Interviews, we like to get to know people who have recently settled in Bernal Heights.

This week, let’s meet new neighbors Kalie and Ari. They just moved in.

Names: Kalie and Ari
Move-In Date: April 2014
Bernal Address: Park Street
Own or Rent: Rent
Came Here From: Russian Hill

What do you do for a living?
Kalie is in advertising, and Ari is a UX designer for a stealth start-up.

Why Bernal Heights?
We wanted to live in a neighborhood where we could get to know our neighbors and feel like part of the community. We also wanted a dog-friendly place for our dog, Lucy. It was also nice that we found a single-family house to rent, so we’ve been spending tons of time gardening!

First impressions of the neighborhood?
It’s a cute family-friendly and dog-friendly place. We also fell in love with Cortland Avenue. When we moved in, a neighbor brought over fresh banana bread and an assortment of teas as a welcome gift. Another brought a beautiful handmade card. Our direct neighbors invited us over for a glass of wine. So, so sweet! In the four years we spent in Russian Hill we didn’t meet a single neighbor.

What would you say about yourselves to a Bernal Heights old-timer?
We love your neighborhood! Thank you for making us feel so welcome!

Any unexpected surprises after you moved in?
I’m surprised how much sun we get. It’s awesome!

How would you describe Bernal Heights to a friend from out of town?
It has a comfortable, family-friendly feel. The people of Bernal are really nice and really friendly. We’ve met a lot of our neighbors, and tons of people at the dog park.

What are your biggest concerns about your new neighborhood?

Name your three favorite things about Bernal.
1. Friendly and kind neighbors
2. Good Life Grocery
3. Holy Water

Name three things you wish Bernal had (but which it currently does not)?
1. Good bagels
2. A falafel place
3. A vegetarian restaurant

PHOTO: Neighbors Kalie and Ari

Posted in People | 40 Comments

Scenes from the Great 2014 Bernal Heights Mini-Blackout


There was a power outage last night in some parts of Bernal Heights. Streets were dark in many areas of Bernal, but Twitter lit up as our neighbors huddled over their mobile devices for succor and social-sharing. Neighbor Carlo filed the first report at 11 pm:

PG&E provided this well-intentioned but not particularly accurate map of the blackout area:


The map says my house should have been dark, but the lights were still on throughout.

Not so much for Neighbor Willa, however. But she used the situation to create a romantic atmosphere:

Neighbor Ros turned her blackened home into a spa:

Bernal celebrity rockstar Jeremy Passion had no juice at his house (“just like us!”), so he had to be extra-creative to make music:

Neighbor Chuck had electricity, which he used to gloat about his south Bernal microhood:

Glen Park had power but Bernal did not, so some of our neighbors to the southwest considered launching an invasion under cover of darkness:

Upon hearing this, the Bernalwood Intelligence Agency rallied to activate our devilishly effective Eye of Sautrito defense system:

Unfortunately, Neighbor Joe reported the blackout had exposed a serious gap in our defenses:

Your Bernalwood editor decided to step outside to assess the situation. The photo at the top of this post shows the view looking south up Bernal Hill from Folsom, at the corner of Bessie. That’s Hillside Supper Club on the left. Notice the candles burning inside? So cozy! We wandered in to chat with Chef Tony Ferrari.

There was a big party gathered around the candle-lit table, and Chef Tony was in fine spirits — although he worried that his freezers could be vulnerable if the blackout lasted a long time. But then, as we were talking… the lights came back on! (Whew!)

Others reported the same:

But not everyone was so lucky. Apparently, the blackout then spread to Cortlandia:

And this morning, Neighbor Nancy was still without power:

PHOTO: Folsom at Bessie, looking south up Bernal Hill during last night’s blackout, by Telstar Logistics

Posted in Calamity, Infrastructure | 4 Comments

Friends Remember and Mourn Bernal Neighbor Mary Atchison

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Before she died one week ago, Neighbor Mary Atchison was active with the Miller Dogpatch Community Garden in northeast Bernal Heights.  Since then, her garden plot has become a focal point for her many friends to memorialize her life and mourn her passing.

Bernalwood visited Miller-Dogpatch last week, as two of Mary Atchison’s fellow volunteers were on hand to tend the  garden. She was always a ray of sunshine, they said. She had been involved at Miller Dogpatch in its early days, “before urban gardening was a thing.” She was a huge fan of the Giants and the 49ers, and she loved to wear extravagant boas and paint her fingernails in team colors. She didn’t like tomatoes, but she grew lots of them — mostly to give away to friends and colleagues at work.

There was a notebook tucked under a vegetable plant in Mary’s garden where friends have been mourning her. A sample from inside:

Thanks for always being the warmest and kindest person in the office. “Babes Who Bike” will never be the same without you. I always appreciated that you were so passionate about bikes and bike advocacy. Rest well, Mary.


My forever friend. I don’t know what happened, and I never will. All I know is I love you, my birthday girlfriend. Oh God, No. Love you forever.

One of Mary’s friends at Miller-Dogpatch expressed frustration that it will be a long time until they learn more about what happened. “We won’t really know until the trial,” she said, and that won’t be for quite some time. Mary died from blunt force traumatic injuries, and according to the SF Examiner, her boyfriend, Jules Sibilio, will be in court today for arraignment on homicide charges.

Heather Mayer Fakouri lives in Concord, and she was Mary’s longtime friend. Heather wrote to Bernalwood to share these thoughts:

I am a friend of Mary Atchison. We attended Carondelet High School and San Diego State together. Her death has hit all of us hard. I wrote a piece and was wondering if you would be kind enough to post it, in regards to her death and all those that suffer from domestic violence:

The piercing slap, the pain from the blow…oh the agony I endure! I cry out, but no one listens. I am strong, he loves me! Things will change, he had a bad day. I must go on!

I keep it to myself for the Shame and embarrassment let’s me deny the truth of the reality. I can’t tell too many my anguish. For what would they think? I’ve always endured, why can’t I now? I have too! I will go on.

I am no one’s burden…I suppress the darkness that falls upon me with amusement, laughter and drink. I hide. I must go on.

He loves me! It’s not that bad. Maybe I deserved it. I love him. How could I leave this life we created? I hurt though, inside and out. I mask it with gardening… bringing peace to my planet. I hide it though, with a drink that soothes my thoughts and numbs my pain.

I must go on.

Look Lord, I tried! I kept my love strong, but it wasn’t enough. Enough!! Enough! He went further than I ever thought. This time the pain is deep. Lord my wounds won’t heal this time. Did I do something so wrong this time? Why can’t I mask it one last time..he will change! Am I not able to go on?

Wait something is different. I feel no pain. My heart isn’t bruised. I am at peace. I am with you! Thank you for letting me see the light!

Heather also shared this photo of Mary from their last girls’ night out. That’s Mary, second from the left:


PHOTOS: Garden memorial, by Telstar Logistics. Girls Night Out, courtesy of Heather Mayer Fakouri


Posted in Calamity, Crime, People | 5 Comments

Karl The Fog Gets a Bernal Heights Hyperlapse

This week, the folks from the Instagram introduced a new app called Hyperlapse that makes it easy to create spiffy time-lapse videos. The kids are all excited about it.

To take Hyperlapse for a test drive, Neighbor Brian went up to Bernal Hill yesterday, and the result is a rather fluid little video of Karl the Fog spilling over Twin Peaks. Wheeee!

Posted in Uncategorized, Video, Weather | 1 Comment

Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack Moving to El Zocalo Space Up the Street


Miss Emmy Kaplan from the eponymous Spaghetti Shack sent Bernalwood a Priority One Urgent Message last night to share some important news: Emmy’s is moving into a bigger location just up the street on Mission, in the soon-to-be-former El Zocolo space. But as the Emmy’s press release explains, it’s all cool:

Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, the beloved San Francisco fixture, is moving two blocks north to 3230 Mission St. this November.

Restauranteur Emmy Kaplan, a native of the neighborhood and a fixture in the local culinary scene since opening her original location 13 years ago, is excited about both expanding the restaurant’s square footage as well as helping preserve the character of the neighborhood by remaining at the juncture of the Mission and Bernal Heights.

“The current location of the Shack is over capacity, the lines are long and we’re constantly turning away large parties,” says Kaplan. “I’m really looking forward to sharing more of what we love with the people who love us with more legroom for our regulars and new friends as well.”

Lauded as a “comfort food standby” and known for its heaping portions of pasta, outsized meatballs and “sassy” service, Emmy’s has long been a regular stop for locals and tourists seeking a truly San Francisco experience. The expanded restaurant takes over a location that was originally founded as El Zocalo in 1965 by owner Victoria Reves’ mother.

“I heard that they were interested in selling their business and thought it would be a golden opportunity to expand the Shack and continue serving our friends and neighbors in the Mission,” says Kaplan. Though she fretted finding a suitable location in the neighborhood in light of the increased corporatization of the area, Kaplan’s timing proved fortuitous.

“I decided that it was time for me to retire,” says Reves, who purchased the El Zocalo from her mother in the 70s. Though Reves entertained other offers, she was taken with the prospect of Kaplan moving her restaurant to the address not least of which because it maintains a tradition of women-owned and -operated restaurants in the location. “It was meant to happen and I’m very happy about it. I liked Emmy immediately. I am really excited about the sale.”

Extra bonus: New Emmy’s will also feature some additions to the menu, a bigger wine list, later hours and more to-go items.

Notice also that with the move to a new space, Emmy’s will complete the emergent Bernal/La Lengua Liminal Zone “Bermuda Triangle of Yum”:


PHOTO: Top, Emmy Kaplan, via Emmy’s

Posted in Coming Soon, Food and Drink | 27 Comments

Bernalwood on Burrito Justice Radio: Recording Available for Your Listening Pleasure


It’s a holiday weekend. If you find yourself with nothing to do — meaning, no paint to watch dry, or no cars to watch rust — you can listen to a recording of this week’s Burrito Justice Radio episode featuring your Bernalwood editor.

We had a lot of fun. Listen in, and you will hear:

  • Bernalwood and Burrito Justice’s geopolitical lesson for a conflict-torn planet
  • Tacos as a higher form of culinary enlightenment
  • Volunteers wanted to pay for a 30th Street BART station
  • Volunteers wanted to reconstruct Jose Cornelio Bernal’s original stone wall
  • How rockstar Matt Nathanson taught my daughter about correlation vs. causation
  • An incomplete inventory of current Bernal Heights literary celebrities
  • Revealed: D9 Supervisor David Campos drinks Big Sodajust like us!
  • Sutrito Tower: Enchanted, or merely iconic?
  • A celebration of the Gastronomic Wonderland of our Mission Street ecosystem

All that, and Bernal music, and so much more. Right here.

Just remember: This is a recording of a conversation that took place on Wednesday, so if you tweet responses to our chatter in realtime, we won’t know what you are talking about.


Posted in Media | 1 Comment