New Book Celebrates the Visual Career of Neighbor Michael Gillette




When we last heard from Bernal neighbor Michael Gillette, he had just completed a trippy new video for My Morning Jacket that showcased his formidable skills as an artist and animator. At the time, however Bernalwood hadn’t realized that Neighbor Michael’s output is so extensive, so amazingly creative, and so closely tied to the music industry.

Now Neighbor Michael the focus of a gorgeous new book called Drawn in Stereo that’s a visual greatest-hits collection of his work:

Filled with selections from his entire career, Drawn in Stereo shares an eclectic display of artistic approaches, including gallery shows, sketchbooks, music video animation stills, and magazine contributions for the likes of; Spin, MOJO, Q, & the New Yorker.

Projects showcased include work for the Beastie Boys, Paul McCartney, MGMT, & Beck—among many others— Drawn in Stereo highlights Gillette’s ability to channel music into compelling visual art.

Featuring a foreword by Fred Deakin and an interview by Elastica’s Justine Frischmann, Drawn in Stereo reveals an inspired life, ranging from Britpop London and rooming with the Aphex Twin, to fifteen years of creativity in San Francisco.

In a message to Bernalwood, Neighbor Michael also shared these local notes:

About half of my career has been spent on Lundys, and I’d guess about 90% of the work in the book was made here.


The book is a big deal for me as it gathers together work I’ve created over the the last 25 years. The focus is on music, as this has been a constant inspiration, and I’ve made a lot of imagery in service of that industry for folks such as Beck & The Beastie Boys to Paul McCartney and My Morning Jacket.

Also, a historical footnote: As a kid I loved Rick Griffin, and his work really helped set the course of my life. I found out not long ago, his purple patch designing Fillmore posters and the like took place on Elsie Street!

So much gorgeousness. Want a copy of Neighbor Michael’s sexxxy new book — for you, or for that special locavore on Santa’s list?  Get it right here.

Fabulous Bernal Editor Creating Cookbook to Feed Your People


Scientific fun-fact: Food tastes better when you enjoy it with other people. The reverse is true too: Sharing food is a great way to get know people in a way that makes you care more about them.

With those profound truths in mind, Bernal Neighbor and editor Leslie Jonath has a crowdfunding campaign underway to publish  Feed Your People, a cookbook that will celebrate yummy food as a way to create stronger community.

(ROMANTIC DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: Neighbor Leslie is also my sweetie, and she’s asleep in bed upstairs as I write this now. Shhhhhh.)

Neighbor Leslie writes:

Feed Your People is a community-based cookbook with recipes for crowd-pleasing big batch cooking from warm-hearted cooks, chefs, community organizations, and grandmas for the foods we gather around — from backyard barbecues and soup suppers to hand-wrapped tamales, dumpling dinners, and seafood boils. Whether for a family reunion, a DIY wedding, holidays, memorials, non-profit fundraisers or a neighborhood block party, this book will inspire you and make cooking for your community a delicious, affordable, fun, memorable feast.

Despite the popularity of supper clubs, pop-up dinners, block parties, bake sales, and community dinners, there are very few books featuring recipes that scale for a crowd. Feed Your People will be co-authored with 18 Reasons, a beloved San Francisco based non-profit whose mission is to “empower our community with confidence and creativity to buy, cook, and eat good food every day” and published by Powerhouse Books.

If bringing great people together with great food sounds like your kind of thing, backing Neighbor Leslie’s campaign is just like pre-ordering a copy of the book — with the advance knowledge that the book will simply have with a loooooooooong delivery time.

Leslie explains what her book is all about in the video below, and you can contribute to Feed Your People here.

Celebrate the Book Neighbor Anita Wrote and Illustrated, “The Magical World of Abra”


Neighbor Anita Ellis wrote and illustrated a new book, called “The Magical World of Abra.” It was a ton of work, so now she wants to celebrate, with a big book release party and art show on Saturday night.

Neighbor Anita provides the rest of the details:

 My name is Anita and I ‘m having a book release party. I’ve lived in Bernal Heights for 20 years.

The title of the book is called “The Magical World of Abra” and the book release party is Saturday, September 12 at Code and Canvas Gallery (151 Potero Ave.)  from 6-9pm.  There will be a children’s book reading at 6:30, live music, food and cocktails.

The backstory: My friend and co-worker at The Wild Side West in Bernal Heights had a story she wanted me to illustrate. And I should really thank her, or this project would have never happened. Her story was based on a little girl who was a collector/hoarder who took things she found home with her until her room is completely cluttered.

I have taken every painting and illustration class offered at city college and have been doing art since I was a little kid so I figured that it would be fun, and I was up for the challenge. I had done a handful of illustrations for her but she did not really seem to like the images I created, and I was not really following what she had in mind.

Friends encouraged me to work on it on my own when they saw the artwork I had done. So instead of writing about a hoarder, I decided to write about a little girl named Abra who sees the beauty of everyday objects and life. Hence the title, “The Magical World of Abra.”

I’ve probably spent over 10,000 hours on the illustrations, hand-written text, book-binding, art classes and the story created. I met Attaboy who is an amazing artist and one of the founders of Hi-Fructose magazine. One of the things he said that stood out to me was that you are what you do. Don’t do whatever it is you love half-ass; do it times 1000. Get into it, surpass your own and everyone else’s expectations. That is when you will know you are doing it right.

The message of the story is one for adults and children and we need to be kept aware of it daily: Look around you, there is beauty everywhere and so many things are working in our favor. There is always something special and magical there, even if it’s the darkest of clouds above you. Suck it up, inhale it and live it because one day you will not be here to enjoy it.

ILLUSTRATION: Courtesy of Neighbor Anita Ellis

Tonight: Celebrate the Amazing New Bikes-to-Books Map Created by Rebel Separatist Burrito Justice


All these years of fomenting insurrection and geopolitical intrigue among the La Lenguan peoples have enabled rebel propagandist Burrito Justice to develop some very formidable cartographic skills. Yet sometimes, he uses those skills to support worthy causes.

In the latest case, Burrito Justice has created a rather gorgeous bike-touring map of San Francisco’s literary history, and there’s a party tonight, March 18, at the fashionable Bender’s Bar in The Mission to celebrate its publication:

Bikes to Books Beer Social and POSTER RELEASE party!

Wednesday, March 18, 7-9 pm
Benders Bar and Grill
806 S. Van Ness, SF

Join Nicole Gluckstern and Burrito Justice, the creators of literary bicycle tour “Bikes to Books,” for our annual beer social where we’ll be unveiling our latest iteration—an expanded poster version of the Bikes to Books map now with more authors, more historical context, and more nifty visuals. We’ll be talking up our collaborative mapping project and tour and fielding questions while enjoying some tasty adult beverages at our fave neighborhood watering hole, in the first of a series of “Bikes to Books” events planned for 2015. 
Combining San Francisco history, art, literature, cycling, and urban exploration,  “Bikes to Books” began as an bike ride homage to the 1988 street-naming project spearheaded by City Lights founder and former San Francisco Poet Laureate, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in which twelve San Francisco streets were renamed for famous artists and authors who had once made San Francisco their home. First published in The San Francisco Bay Guardian and then in October 2013, with the generous assistance of City Lights Books, the physical map has been available ever since in many of San Francisco’s finest book emporiums, and is appropriate for use as a navigational tool, a history lesson, and a unique work of art in its own right.

ALSO: 7×7 just published a celebrity interview with Burrito Justice, which you can read right here. An excerpt:

Quick-fire round:

(7×7): Precita Park or Bernal Hill?

(Burrito Justice): Bernal

Bike or MUNI?

Muni. (OMG do I have Stockholm syndrome?)

Capp or Bartlett?

Capp. Tough love but Capp

Three words that describe SF to you:

Plus ça change.

IMAGE: Burrito Justice

Bernal Literary Celeb Jandy Nelson Wins Fabulous 2015 Printz Medal


Bernal Heights is thick with literary celebrities. You pretty much can’t throw a rock on our little rock without hitting someone who’s written a few brilliant books, or gotten some rave reviews, or won a closet full of writerly prizes. Because that’s the kind of glamorous we are.

So here’s a hot celebrity tip: The newest, most glamorous Bernal Heights literary superstar is Bernal neighbor Jandy Nelson.

Neighbor Jandy’s acclaimed young-adult novel, “I’ll Give You the Sun,” just won the Michael L. Printz Award, which “honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit.”

Publisher’s Weekly (!!) describes the awesome tale of how she learned about the accolade:

Jandy Nelson had to keep a very big secret – for two whole days. Last Saturday she found out she’d won the Michael L. Printz Award for her second novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, but the announcements were not being made until Monday. “I was so taken by surprise when they called,” Nelson said, reached by phone at her home in San Francisco. “They must have thought they were giving the award to a raving lunatic. I remember hearing it was the Printz Committee, and then I started screaming. I remember they were all clapping, and that made me burst into tears. They said a lot of nice things about my book, and I screamed some more. It was one of the happiest, most exciting moments of my life.”

I’ll Give You the Sun is told through the alternating perspectives of twins Noah and Jude, which thread their way to the event that drove the once-close siblings apart. The author says the book took her three and a half years to complete. “It was very much like writing three novels in total,” she said. “I wrote Noah’s story start to finish, and I locked the file [that contained] Jude’s story. Then I wrote Jude’s story start to finish. I didn’t want their voices to blend. And I wanted each story to have its own propulsion so it would work when I combined them. Then the last year I spent interweaving their stories, and working on the book as a whole.”

Citizens of Bernalwood, you know the drill: If you see Neighbor Jandy in the ‘hood, please give her some robust congrats and make sure she gets a big high-five.

Sunday: World’s Most Awesome Book Editor and Producer Explains How the Magic Happens


There comes a moment in every neighborhood blog editor’s career when he must embrace life’s conflicts of interest, face up to reality, and toss any pretense of objectivity aside like some sort of useless, depleted husk.

For your Bernalwood editor, that moment is right now…

Neighbor Leslie Jonath lives on Precita Avenue. She is a very talented book editor, producer, and packager who specializes in creating highly visual coffee table- and gift-style books that are both fun to read and gorgeous to look at.

In addition, she is your Bernalwood editor’s sweetie. In fact, we live together. In fact, we sleep together, and do the full gamut of life-partner activities together. In fact, as your Bernalwood editor writes this now, at 11:16 pm on Thursday night, he can even confirm — EXCLUSIVE SCOOP! — that Neighbor Leslie is downstairs at this very moment, watching her favorite legal-procedural drama on TV.

So, with all that fully and properly disclosed, Bernalwood is extremely proud to tell you that Neighbor Leslie will be giving a little talk at the Heartfelt Pop-Up Store at 301 Cortland on Sunday, November 16 at 4 pm to reveal how you go about creating beautiful coffee table-style books, and why (somewhat counter-intuitively) these kinds of books are now more popular than ever.

Neighbor Darcy Lee from Heartfelt says:

We are thrilled to announce that local author Leslie Jonath will be schooling us all on how to create a book, at Heartfelt’s newly curated Pop-Up location.

If you haven’t already heard Leslie’s the real deal!

Here’s a little more about her:

Leslie Jonath has been producing cookbooks, art books and kid’s books for over 20 years. Some of her favorite projects include The Pleasures of Slow Food, MietteThe Model Bakery Cookbook, Arts for the City, Postmark Paris, and The Dictionary of Extraordinary Ordinary Animals. Bee & Me, a book she co-wrote under the pen name, Elle j. McGuinness, sold over 150,000 copies. and was on both the New York Times best-seller list.

Before launching her book packaging company, Connected Dots Media, she was a creative director and editor at Chronicle Books for 18 years. Upcoming titles include three books on floral design, two cookbooks, and an inspirational journal called Give Yourself a Gold Star: Celebrating Life’s Little Achievements.

Yummy surprise refreshments will be served!


PHOTO: Neighbor Leslie Jonath in Paris, by a totally biased Bernalwood editor

TONIGHT: Bernal Bard Neeli Cherkovski Kicks Off New Poetry Reading Series on Cortland


Neighbor Notty Bumbo is launching a new monthly poetry reading series on Cortland that begins tonight, featuring special guest (and rockstar Bernal bard) Neeli Cherkovski.

Notty tells us:

Attention Bernal Poets: I am pleased to announce the start of the new Bernal Poets Reading Series! This will be a monthly event, held at The Bernal Star Cottage, 2nd Thursdays of each month from 7-9 PM.

The series will offer a featured poet followed by a round-robin style open reading, with a twist!

Be sure to arrive before 7 to sign up, to be sure you get your work heard. Our first event will happen Thursday, November 13, 2014, and our lead-off poet will be Bernal’s Own Neeli Cherkovski!

Books will be available to purchase. We are seeking Bernal poets to be our future featured readers, so please pass on any suggestions. Contact Notty Bumbo ( for more details and suggestions! I look forward to seeing you there!


PHOTO: Top, Neeli Cherkovski reading at City Lights June 2014. Photo by Steve Silberman