Old Trellis Removed from Esmeralda/Winfield Mini-Park

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Although we were warned this would happen, and although funding is now in place to provide for replacement, this is still a tough sight to see: Yesterday workers began removing the decaying trellis from the Esmeralda/Winfield Mini-Park.

*sigh*

While we await more detail on plans to replace the trellis, we can also begin moving through the Kübler-Ross Stages of Grief and Loss. (Current status: Bargaining).

Beyond that, we can also distract ourselves by reading the big feature SFist just published on the fabulousness of the entire Esmeralda stair corridor. It combines a little bit of history, with a little bit of Bernalwood’s previous coverage, with a bunch of pretty pictures, and a whole lot of appreciation. Enjoy:

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PHOTOS: Top, courtesy of Neighbor Matthew; below, courtesy of Neighbor Jan

Tonight: Phonographic Memories Picks Up the Beat, Moves to Glamorous New Bernal Nightclub Location

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You may remember that way back in September 2014, Neighbor Corey launched a project called Phonographic Memory by hosting informal, open-mike sessions at the Bernal Heights library where people were invited to share stories and music from their favorite old vinyl records.

Phonographic Memory has now become a regular thing, and here’s how it goes down:

Now Phonographic Memory graduates from the Bernal library and relocates to Bernal’s stretch of Mission Street, where you can join in tonight, June 30, at 7 pm at the Knockout (3223 Mission @Valencia).

Neighbor Corey brings the news, and the invitation:

For June, we have a very special edition of Phonographic Memory planned for you. We’re throwing a party! We’re making the trek from our usual spot at the Bernal Library down the hill to The Knockout, because libraries close early, and we want to party together all night long.

We’ve curated a diverse lineup of individuals who have contributed to the Bay Area music scene: Justin Torres (record dealer and DJ who helped re-ignite soul singer Darondo’s career), Lydia Popovich (stand-up comedian who managed Quannum records in the early 2000’s), Dan Lactose (guitarist for seminal punk/powerviolence band Spazz, producer for Hip-Hop duo Grand Invincible), and Winston Smith (artist responsible for designing the Dead Kennedy’s logo as well as countless album covers).

We have DJ’s Brycon, Wam Bam Ashleyanne and Stef providing the soundtrack to rock the night away.

The event will serve as a fundraiser of sorts, and will be complimented by an IndieGoGo campaign. We are asking a $5 donation at the door, and guarantee that you will be entertained!

Our goal is to obtain non-profit status, and ultimately secure grants to grow Phonographic Memory into a global community.

Music starts at 7:00pm, stories at 8:00. Hope to see you there!

Tosan Is a Bernal-Based Menswear Business For Rad Dads

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Neighbor Surya and Neighbor Nick live on stylish Ellert Street here in Bernal, in a house that has also become the headquarters for their new family-friendly menswear fashion business. Neighbor Nick wrote Bernalwood to say:

Shameless email, but that’s what husbands are for.

My wife and I met working for Old Navy HQ. She was a menswear designer there for over 7 years. After the birth of our first and (currently) only child Mikio, she made the very difficult decision to leave a career she loved and dedicate her time to raising our son.

Along this journey and specifically as I tried to find my way as a father who wanted to keep his personality but also have useful things for babies she came up with the idea to start a menswear line targeted at dads. Tosan is about celebrating great gear for the adventure of fatherhood.

100% made in America, 90% made in the Bay Area, and designed and curated right on Ellert Street in our very own beloved Bernal Heights.

The brand officially launched less than six months ago and recently had the incredible fortune of being featured on the Today Show with Carson Daly as part of a segment about 6 Father’s Day gifts that dad’s actually want.

Here’s a screen grab from that glamorous Today Show segment:

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Neighbor Surya adds:

This brand really was brought to life in the few blocks surround Cortland. We have a babysitter two mornings a week. I pack my computer and supplies up and make the block and a half hike up to the village. Almost every email has been sent from Progressive Grounds or Pinhole. The guys at Progressive know my order (Beet salad, no cheese, add avocado). Aziz asks after my son and I settle into the back room. And JoEllen from Pinhole has been my biggest neighborhood cheerleader. She is so inspiring as a fellow female business owner and person in general. Her positivity is infectious!

Very cool. Check out the sexxxy Tosan collection, for that special stone-cold sexxxy daddio in your life.

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PHOTO: Top, Neighbor Nick, Neighbor Surya and Jr. Neighbor Mikio, courtesy of Tosan

Bernal Pride Was Kind of Colorful; Kind of Jiggly

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On Sunday afternoon, Neighbor Leslie (Disclosure: your Bernalwood editor’s sweetie) went for a stroll in Bernal Heights, where she stumbled upon a rather charming neighborhood Pride Party in progress on the world-famous Lundys Landing.

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Neighbor Leslie reports there was plenty of laughter and good cheer at the scene, which was to be expected. What she did not expect was to find, however, was a very special, jiggly treat: Pride-themed Jello Shots!

Citizens of Bernalwood, this is what a proper neighborly Pride welcome looks like:

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PHOTOS: LeslieJ on Instagram

Bernal Heights Celebrates Landmark Supreme Court Victory

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Neighbor Valerie just shared these photos; they’re a perfect way to celebrate today’s landmark Supreme Court decision that establishes nationwide legal status for same-sex marriage.

“Love always wins,” Neighbor Valerie says, and that right there is some pitch-perfect punditry for this most glorious Pride Week.

Congratulations, San Francisco! This took a long time, and lots of people worked very hard for it, but all that makes victory even more sweet.

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PHOTOS: Neighbor Valerie

YES! City Funds Secured to Restore Esmeralda Mini-Park

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Nice work, people.

Thanks in no small part to your vigorous nagging activism, Supervisor David Campos’s office reports that City funds will be made available to restore the endangered trellis at the Esmeralda-Winfiend Mini Park:

We are thrilled to report that we were able to secure funding for replacement of the Trellis through the City’s budget process. Thank you so much for bringing this issue to our attention. It has been a pleasure to see to the neighborhood so united over a common treasure and we really appreciate your advocacy. DPW has assured us that as soon as the funding is allocated to the department, it will replace the Trellis. The original structure is set to come down next week. The final City Budget is approved on July 21st. We will be working closely with DPW to make sure the replacement structure is built as soon as possible.

That’s fantastic news, so let’s all join hands for a collective woo-hoo:

Wooooo-HOOOOOOOO!!!!!

This is also a fitting tribute to the scrappy group of Bernal neighbors who rallied to build the trellis (and the secret Esmeralda slides!) in the first place, almost 40 years ago.

But who were these energetic Bernal ancestors? Who created the gift that is the Esmeralda-Winfield Mini-Park?

That’s them, in the world-famous photo up above.

Many Bernalese will recognize the photo, because to this day it stands as a defining symbol of Bernal Heights activism, engagement, volunteerism, and neighborly solidarity. The image is a magnificent time-capsule, so Bernalwood encourages you to zoom and enhance it at your leisure from the safety and comfort of your own computer screen to explore all the wonderful details it reveals.

The photo was taken in 1978, just as work on the slide and mini-park was wrapping up. Back then, Neighbor Michael Nolan was one of the chief organizers of the project, and you can see him in the photo on the far left:

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Today Neighbor Michael still lives in Bernal, where is often seen leading the pom-pom squad for the Elsie Street Glee Club and contributing to the Bernal Heights History Project (among many other things):

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To help modern-day Bernalese understand all the dedication and bureaucratic wrangling it took to create the Esmeralda Mini-Park in the first place, Bernalwood nagged asked Neighbor Michael to give us a behind-the-scenes view of the project’s creation-story:

In the wake of a fun-filled though unsuccessful run for District Supervisor in 1977, I threw my surplus civic energy into making the Esmeralda Mini-Park happen.

I won that campaign. The Northwest Bernal Block had worked mightily for years on the project, believing that between Precita and Holly Parks, there was no area for children to play. But various bureaucratic and legal snafus had stymied the project, even though there was sufficient city funding and support.

Getting the Board of Supervisors to “vacate” what was still officially a “street” and turn it into a park was crucial, because that’s what was required to limit the potential liability of adjoining homeowners and win their okay.

I convened a dedicated crew of nearby neighbors who worked with landscape architect Andrew Butler and Planning Department liaison Lu Blazej .  Tom Chiosso of DPW brought tools, materials, and community development grants from the City.

Bernal neighbors volunteered to prepare the land, build the double slide, erect a play structure, and install the planter boxes and trellis on the Winfield Landing.

We’d hoped that our popular Mayor George Moscone would inaugurate the double slide, but we lost him and Harvey Milk in the tragic assassinations of that fall. In early 1979, Mayor Dianne Feinstein and District 9 Supervisor Lee Dolson did the honors.

Here’s what that moment looked like, when Di-Fi took an inaugural slide:

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So that brings us to today.

Though our funds are (fingers-crossed) secured, we still have a ways to go until the Esmeralda-Winfield Mini-Park is restored to its proper glory. Let’s stay focused, let’s stay engaged, and let’s do whatever it takes to make sure this mini-park remains glorious for another 40 years.

Friday: Last Call to See Bernal Artist Bernie Lubell’s Beautiful Homemade Airship

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A few weeks ago, Bernal artist Bernie Lubell reached out to the Bernalwood News Desk to tell us he was  building an airship in his Bernal Heights garage.

Normally, that would be a shocking! revelation! But it’s to be expected from Neighbor Bernie, who was last seen in 2014 constructing a giant Rube Goldberg machine in his Bernal Heights garage. So the manufacture of an airship came as little surprise.

Anyway, Neighbor Bernie’s airship is the centerpiece of a new show called Up in the Air at the fabulous Southern Exposure Gallery in the Mission:

From June 13-27, artist Bernie Lubell installs his workshop and collaborates with visitors to create new work. Lubell creates wood mechanical metaphors for the human condition. Gears, pulleys, bellows, valves, levers, human force and sophisticated engineering power his interactive wooden machines. As an artist who has lived and worked in the Bay Area for 40 years, his influence is felt in the work of many local artists.

Collaborate with Bernie as he sets out to build an airship in the gallery at Southern Exposure. In two workshops and ongoing studio hours, visitors and Bernie will work together to create an air powered flying machine inspired by Frederick Marriott’s 1869 airship Avitor, expanding on Bernie’s ongoing research into breath and the force of air.

The show is winding down, but don’t panic! You can still see the work.

Neighbor Bernie tells us there’s a glamourous closing party happening tomorrow evening, Friday, June 26, from 6 – 8 pm at Southern Exposure… and of course you get in free if you show the top-secret Bernal hand signal:

Closing Party for Up In the Air
Join Southern Exposure for a celebration of Bernie Lubell’s work and everything that was created together over the past two weeks during his exhibition Up In the Air.
Friday, June 26, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Southern Exposure (3030 20th Street, SF)
FREE

PHOTO: Neighbor Bernie’s airship at Southern Exposure on Sunday, June 21, 2015. Photo by Bernie Lubell