Bernal Artist Creates Interactive Message Sign About Precita Park

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Bernal Heights Artist Jon Fischer has created a very cool, very fun art piece that’s all about one of our Bernal treasures (and your interpretation of it):

Neighbor Jon here; I’m a Precita Ave resident and designer of the Hillside Supperclub Sign.

I was hoping you might be interested in spreading the word about this profoundly Bernalistic interactive installation now showing at the Asterisk Gallery (3156 24th Street at Shotwell). The show is called For the Love of San Francisco, and I’d describe it as an old school Mission art show that explores issues related to gentrification from a number of perspectives.

I am debuting my Precita Park Sign. Completely screenprinted & fabricated by hand, the interactive installation was modeled after the SF Park & Rec signage we all know and love. The hands-on exhibit invites visitors to create their own slogans by interchanging magnetic phrase tiles in the sign’s shaped slots.

My Precita Park sign, as well as the rest of the show, is on view through April 3 Wed-Sat,  and the gallery is open on those days until 5pm

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Apart from being lovely and clever, Neighbor Jon’s piece would be absolutely brilliant as an installation at the Precita Park Cafe (HINT HINT HINT). Even better, Neighbor Jon tells Bernalwood, “It was originally intended as a kid’s toy.” CODE RED PRECITA PARK CAFE HINT HINT HINT! 

In the meantime, check it out at Asterisk Gallery. You can watch a short video about the show right here.

BONUS: Want to see some more of Neighbor Jon’s Bernal work? South of Cesar Chavez is a postcard series he did a while ago

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Neighbor Jon

Gigaom Visits Bernal Hill and Lots of People Enjoyed the 36 Questions

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Celebrity blogger (and Olde Bernalwood Friend) Om Malik visited Bernal Hill recently, at an early morning hour which we rarely experience because of its horrific earliness. But with that said, Om’s photo makes a strong case for early-rising, because the light and colors he captured are so beautiful. Bravo, Om, and thanks!

At the same time, Om also created a cool photo essay that steered us toward a special #36Bernal hashtag that was used by visitors to the 36 Questions installation that sat atop Bernal Hill last week. Here’s a sample:

#36bernal #36questionToTrueLove

A photo posted by Robert Spies (@robertwspies) on

These two Bernalese really got into it:

#36Bernal

A photo posted by Harrison The Beagle (@bernalbeagle) on

Folks even seemed to enjoy it in all sorts of weather:

Stumbled on #36bernal with JeremyG

A photo posted by @peretz on

PHOTO: Top, by Om Malik

SketchCrawl Crashes Bernal Heights and Amazing Artwork Ensues

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There was a SketchCrawl recently in Bernal Heights.

What’s a SketchCrawl?

A SketchCrawl is kind of like a marathon flash mob for visual artists. The idea is that someone picks a location and a date —  SketchCrawls happen all over the world — and then you beat the cyber-drums to get a whole bunch of artists to descend on a place, all at once. Then, the creative muse takes over.

On a warm Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, the 46th Worldwide StechCrawl happened, and it happened in Bernal Heights. It seems that many of the artists who participated had never visited Bernal Heights, but they really liked it as a source of inspiration. A sample:

We had the best day for the 46th Sketchcrawl.
The views from the top of Bernal Hill were fabulous.
Combining the views, sketching and 70+ degree weather created a day to remember!

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Here’s one from artist Jana Buoc:

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Ceiny Carney shared this one via the Bernalwood Facebook group:

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TOP IMAGES: Gary via SketchCrawl forums. Wow!

Bank of America Plans to Eliminate Human Bankers from Cortland Branch

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Action Alert: Bank of America has announced plans to eliminate human tellers from the bank’s Cortland Branch.

Bernalwood visited the Cortland Branch yesterday to confirm the rumors that have been swirling around the neighborhood for the last few days.

We were told that BofA does indeed plan to turn the Cortland Branch into an Express Banking Center. That means the building is slated to undergo significant remodeling, with human tellers replaced by a zeal of indoor ATM machines. Safe deposit boxes will be eliminated along with the tellers, but the site will be staffed by non-banker humans to assist with account-management issues. The remaining humans will be customer support people, basically.

As currently envisioned, remodeling will begin in April, with the branch set to reopen in July.

The B of A on Cortland has been there for a long time. A really long time; almost 100 years, practically since the time of the ancient Bernal druids. Which is to say, the B of A on Cortland is very much a local institution. During Bernalwood’s visit yesterday, the Cortland branch was bustling; There was a short line to visit the tellers, as a few more customers waited patiently on chairs to talk with a personal banker. While they still can.

Neighbor Darcy Lee from Heartfelt on Cortland was very sad to hear about BofA’s plan for the Cortland Branch, and she is rallying to keep the human bank tellers there. Neighbor Darcy writes:

As you might know, the B of A plans on renovating our branch to make it indoor ATMs.

I just went in the bank; There were 4 senior citizens waiting for service and 3 merchants in line. I could have made a video right then and there why a neighborhood branch is so important. B of A owns the building, and they want to make it an indoor ATM. They want to stay in Bernal, but just change what they provide.

This has a big impact on us as merchants, and that further extends to our customers that use the bank. There are many senior citizens that use this as a resource in Bernal.

All of us as merchants need money — actual coins and bills — sometimes multiple times in one day. We also make large cash deposits (or, at least hopefully large). From my observation over the years, this bank takes the time to explain to their elderly population often not English speakers what is going on with their accounts and statement charges.

B of A has made this announcement when their process is pretty far along, but I want to fight it.

Stay tuned for more details, but if you’d like to find out more, check in with Neighbor Darcy at Heartfelt.

UPDATE: In the comments, Neighbor Darcy adds:

HI all, Darcy here… thanks for your input- it is helpful to hear what you have to say. Please note that many folks that bank there do not read Bernalwood. There have always been safety issues with this branch, a few botched robberies over the years thus the bullet proof glass, a senior citizen mugged at the ATM. A door that opens during business hours without having to use your ATM card seems important to me, literally and symbolically. I do not feel it is an issue of “yeeesh old folks can learn to use a technology that has been around a long time”. For me it is an issue of letting an institution know that their decision made many miles from 94110 is affecting us. If you have ideas for the cause email me at info@heartfeltsf.com and if you have an account you will close because of this change please also let me know.

PHOTO: “Crowd of people standing outside the Bernal Heights branch of the Bank of America, on Cortland Avenue, after a bank robbery” December 24, 1936, via SFPL Image Library

Charming, Challenging “36 Questions” Treasure Box Now on Bernal Hill

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There’s a wonderful installation on Bernal Hill for the next few days, and it’s perfect for this Valentine’s season. Neighbor Jessica tells Bernalwood:

I just learned via facebook that a friend of mine, Chris, created a fun Valentine’s Day activity on our own Bernal hill… It’s called The 36 Q:

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Basically, it’s two chairs arranged around a desk/treasure box. There are 36 innnnnnnteresting questions engraved into the lid of the treasure box, and the idea is that you answer the questions with your sweetie to gain Profound New Insight into one another. It’s a little bit like The Dating Game, only more intimate, and the prizes are more clever, and it’s on Bernal Hill, atop that mini-peak along the Folsom axis just below the guard rail.

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The kuhlhunters at The Bold Italic explain the backstory:

By now we’ve all seen that “36 Questions to Make You Fall in Love” article in the New York Times. Local artists Mustafa Khan and Chris McCoy decided those questions need to get out in the open this Valentine’s Day. He engraved the questions on an antique treasure chest alongside a set of chairs and a “not reserved” sign on Bernal Hill. You and your date (or a total stranger) can sit at this table and fall in love with the killer view…and maybe each other. Khan says there’s also a “special surprise” inside the chest, which will be at the top of the staircase on Ellsworth and Bernal Heights Blvd until next Sunday.

Got that? Get there before Feb. 23, and enjoy.

PHOTOS: 36 Questions on Bernal Hill, February 14, 2015, 5 pm, by Telstar Logistics

Secession Art & Design’s Victorious Re-Opening Party Happens Thursday Eve

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If you’re a fan of Secession Art & Design you probably know the basic story. If you’re not a fan of  Secession Art & Design, well, here’s why you should be…

Secession Art & Design is a creative atelier founded a few years ago by owner Eden Stein. For many moons, Secession was located on Bernal’s stretch of Mission Street, just across from our Taoist Safeway. During that time, founder and owner/impresario Eden carved out a terrific niche for Session, seamlessly combining art, fashion, home decor, and resident-artist workshops to create a storefront that won four San Francisco Bay Guardian “Best of the Bay” awards for Best Art Gallery (before the SFBG itself disappeared). Eden also became a core member of the Mission Bernal Merchant Association.

Then Secession’a landlord decided not to renew the lease. After much scrambling, negotiating, and anxiety, Eden managed to find an even better space just a few blocks north — and still in Bernal!!— inside the former SoCha Cafe/former Dell’uva Wine Bar location at 3235 Mission @ Valencia. Then came the stressful  renovation, and redecorating, and rethinking. And now, finally, Secession Art & Design is ready for its grand re-opening: Tomorrow, Thursday, Feb 5, at 6:30 pm.

Eden says:

3235 Mission is officially open on Thursday, February 5. Join us 6:30-9:30pm for a welcoming party and thank-you to everyone who helped us dream big. Celebrate with us with champagne – cheers to new beginnings!

Our new gallery and boutique has 30 feet of clothing, a showcase of locally-made jewelry, and over 250 pieces of art hung. Our current art collection features Silvi Alcivar, Shannon Weber, Hilary Williams, Melissa Wagner, Rachel Znerold, Heather Robinson, Rob Sakovich, Faern, Bughouse, Mark Brunner, Andrzej Michael Karwacki, Victoria Veedell and Nate 1.

Our doors closed at our old location last Christmas Eve. I thought we would quickly be able to re-open, but opening a new location in San Francisco requires time, patience and jumping through a lot of hoops. My team has met every challenge, and we kept our heads high when inspections went south. We passed plumbing and electrical on Friday, and passed our final inspection Monday with flying colors. We spent the month of January perfecting the look of the store while we waited for the city of San Francisco to let us open. So much fun, and I’m thankful to have a contractor who could make every whim a reality. This truly is my dream store, and I look forward to reconnection.

Our new gallery and boutique will be open our regular hours, Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 7pm, starting on Friday, February 6.

XO Eden and the Secession team

PHOTO:Eden Stein on Feb 4, 2015, by Telstar Logistics