Bernal Hill Is Sexy Setting for Sexy Bun-Shot on Cover of San Francisco Magazine

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We’ve known for a long time that Bernal Is for Lovers, so it feels perfectly natural that San Francisco magazine used Bernal Hill as the setting for the au naturel cover shot of their February 2015 Love & Sex issue.  That’s quite a view!

Peek between the covers and you’ll also find a mini-profile of Bernal Heights neighbor and exosexual revolutionary Annie Sprinkle:

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IMAGES: San Francisco magazine

Bernal Author Jon Mooallem Stars in “Mooallempalooza” Double-Feature Podcast

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Regular readers of Bernalwood will recognize Neighbor Jon Mooallem — he’s a Bernal Heights literary superstar, Pop Up Magazine celebrity, and high-five scholar. To that impressive list of glamorous accomplishments, we can now add another: Neighbor Jon is also the namesake and star of Mooallempalooza!

Mooallempalooza is a special double-feature podcast created by the awesome 99% Invisible team, and it’s a lovely way to experience Neighbor Jon’s myriad talents:

As you probably know, 99% Invisible is a show about the built world, about things manufactured by humans. We don’t tend to do stories about animals or nature. But our friend Jon Mooallem writes brilliant stories about the weird interactions between animals and humans, interactions that are becoming ever weirder and more designed. Mooallem is a writer with the New York Times Magazine and for Pop -Up Magazine, the live magazine in San Francisco, which is where we first heard these two stories. You might remember them as episodes #40 and #91 respectively, but now we present them together in a radio special we’re calling Mooallempalooza.

Your Bernalwood editor listened to Mooallempalooza in the car during a lazy drive back to Bernal Heights over the winter break, and it left me smiling all day. Tune in to Mooallempalooza to hear Neighbor Jon explain the true history of the Teddy Bear, along with a live performance of selections from his book, Wild Ones, with musical accompaniment from the band Black Prairie. It’s so wonderful.

Enjoy Mooallempalooza right here, or on your favorite podcasting app (just search for 99% Invisible).

It will fill you with earthly amazement, creative inspiration, and neighborly pride.

PHOTO: Jon Mooallem

Bernal Filmmakers Creating Documentary About Emperor Norton

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In the late nineteenth century, back when he was alive and well and enjoying worldwide fame as the self-proclaimed sovereign of all the United States, his Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I did not (as far as I know) live in Bernal Heights. Nevertheless, Bernal has today become the nexus for a devoted cadre of Emperor Norton aficionados.

First and foremost, of course, is one of America’s premier Nortonologists, Bernal Neighbor Joseph Amster, who channels the spirit and dress of Emperor Norton as he leads tourists and history geeks on guided tours of San Francisco:

And who could forget that in 2013, La Lengua rebel propagandist Burrito Justice helped orchestrate a spirited (if unsuccessful) effort to name the Bay Bridge in honor of Emperor Norton.

Now, to complete Bernal’s trifecta of Nortonphilia, Neighbors Jesse Chandler and Kat Shreve have just launched an effort to create a proper, feature-length documentary about Emperor Norton.

Neighbor Kat tells us:

Jesse and I are proud Bernal residents! We reside at Cortland and Prospect (in Cortlandia). We’re writing you today to announce the launch of our Kickstarter campaign to fund a feature-length documentary about Emperor Norton.

The Kickstarter funding will pay for editing, research, illustration, animation, audio mixing, and a musical score to help re-create the world of 1860s San Francisco. We’ve gathered the talent to create an amazing film about the Emperor but now we need your help to tell the story properly.

Thank you for taking the time to check out the project!

Of course, all this Bernal-based Nortonmania doesn’t really require much explanation. From the vantage point of 2014, it would seem that the original Emperor Norton was a very Bernal sort of oddball — whether or not he ever spent much time here. And besides, a proper documentary on Emperor Norton is long overdue, so we raise our imperial champagne flutes to Neighbors Jessie and Kat for making it happen.

Here’s their promo video, in which you will notice that Bernal neighbor and Emperor Norton impersonator Joseph Amster features rather prominently:

So far so good —  Neighbors Jessie and Kat are off to a great start. Don’t forget; you can donate to the Kickstarter here.

Bernal Neighbor’s Prints Appear in Primetime TV Cameo

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Neighbor Alex is an artist who lives on Highland in Bernal Heights. He also operates a business called Past Postage with turns vintage stamps and matchbook designs into hangable wall art.

Last week, in true Bernal celebrity style, one of Neighbor Alex’s pieces just scored a network TV cameo. Alex explains:

I just had my artwork show up on NBC’s Parenthood program this past week. In an episode called ‘A Potpourri of Freaks’, one of my ‘Yuri Gagarin and Vostok 1′ prints is front and center over Max’s bed during a father/son conversation. Max is the lead teenage character in the series, and he’s showing some good taste for the Space Race. The artwork is of a Russian postage stamp from 1961 enlarged and put on canvas.

You can also see some of Neighbor Alex’s handiwork in 2M Architecture’s office on Cortland Avenue.

In related  news, Neighbor Alex is also taking part in ArtSpan’s Open Studios this coming weekend, with his studio doors open from 11am – 5pm on Saturday 11/1 and Sunday 11/2. The studio is in the Mission at 32 Shotwell Street. Check out the Artspan website for more information, and you can find more of Alex’s work on the Etsy.

IMAGE: Parenthood screengrab via Neighbor Alex

On Lundys Landing, Bernal Neighbors Share an Al Fresco World Series

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Last night’s 7-1 victory over the Royals in Game One of the World Series was a great moment for all Giants fans, but the scene was particularly sweet on Lundys Landing, where some of your neighbors projected the game onto the side of an adjacent house.

Neighbor Valjoy says the al fresco viewing party will happen again for Game Two tonight, and you’re invited:

PHOTOS: Top, @travis_schlafke. Below, @Valjoy9

Bernal Celebrity Blogger Interviews Bernal Celebrity Music Impresario

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Here’s some hot hot hot Bernal celebrity-on-celebrity action action action!

You did know that David Pescovitz, celebrity blogger with the intergalactically famous BoingBoing blog, lives in Bernal Heights, right? Well, it’s true. He does.

And you already know that local music meta-star Jordan Kurland lives in Bernal Heights, too? It’s true. He does. Neighbor Jordan is the creative force behind many of San Francisco’s much-beloved music events, including NoisePop and this weekend’s gigantic  Treasure Island Music Festival. His Zeitgeist Artist Management also manages bands like Best Coast, Bob Mould, The New Pornographers, Rogue Wave, She & Him, and Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.

Because they are neighbors, Neighbor David and Neighbor Jordan have become friends. This week, David interviewed Jordan to get an insider’s perspective on the state of the music biz. A local-flavored excerpt:

[Neighbor David]: As a manager, it seems like you’d be living in Los Angeles or New York City. But yet you came to SF and never left. Why?

[Neighbor Jordan]:I moved to San Francisco in 1995 for a job. I was nearly a year out of college and knew that I wanted to try to be a manager. I was living in Los Angeles and answering phones for the performance rights organization, ASCAP. It was the typical entry level music industry job and not easy to land. I went on four interviews before I was hired. If I had stayed on that path I would have answered phones for a year or so, then become an assistant, and then, eventually, a membership director. All of which would have been cool, it’s just that I knew based on my experience interning for a few different companies during college, that I wanted to try to be an artist manager. There was an amazing opportunity up in San Francisco to work for a company called David Lefkowtiz/Figurehead management. The roster was Primus, the Melvins, Charlie Hunter and a few other acts. I spent four years there, learned a ton, and began managing the acts that became the first iteration of my management roster. It was also during my time there that I met Kevin Arnold and began working alongside him on Noise Pop. Kevin founded Noise Pop in 1993 and the first festival I worked on with him was 1998.

I started my management company, Zeitgeist, in 1999 which was the same year the music and technology were beginning to converge. It was the year that MP3.com, eMusic and Napster, to name a few, started to make waves. It wasn’t good news for the music industry but it did justify my existence up here. All of a sudden I had a competitive edge by living in the Bay Area.

The reason that I never left San Francisco once I arrived is simple: I adore this place.

You’re active in the city with the music festivals, investments in numerous restaurants, and donating your time to 826 Valencia, Stern Grove Festival, and other arts and culture organizations. As you know, SF is experiencing its own culture war right now. Where do you stand and what can be done in your opinion?

To be clear, I’m not one of those people that rails against the tech industry. To the contrary, I think it’s pretty incredible to live in the heart of where these innovations which are being dreamed up and born. It’s not a coincidence that a creative, intellectual and way left-of-center city like San Francisco attracted the entrepreneurs that built these companies. With all that said, the city needs to do more to protect its creative community. A lot more. The Bay Area is incredibly expensive which does not bode well for an upstart musician or artist. I know some folks in the private sector that are starting to help but the city, as far as I can tell, has only made cosmetic offerings at best. The musical cultural history is so, so rich here: Summer of Love, Bill Graham, the Grateful Dead, the jazz scene of the 50s and 60s, the Dead Kennedys, Journey, Metallica … it goes on and on. But San Francisco does not do much in the way of supporting musicians and visual artists and film makers. And because it’s prohibitively expensive to live here fledgling artists are moving to Los Angeles or Portland where it’s cheaper and there’s a stronger, more inspiring creative community. Which leads the established artists who can now afford to live in the Bay Area to leave because they don’t have a strong community around them. I don’t pretend to know of a simple solution but it is clear to me that the city should be attacking the issue with much more urgency.

Read the rest of the interview here, and if you’re headed to Treasure Island this weekend, give Neighbor Jordan the secret Bernal Heights hand signal.

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Welcome to the World, California Sunday Magazine!

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As if Jack London’s Bernal roots and New York Times domination and lots and lots of books aren’t enough to demonstrate our neighborhood’s literary heft, there’s a high-profile media launch happening this weekend, and it’s got some deep Bernal Heights DNA.

The project is called California Sunday Magazine, and it’s brought to you by many of the same people responsible for the insanely popular Pop Up Magazine series that’s taken San Francisco by storm in recent years. California Sunday Magazine is a print magazine with literary-journalism aspirations to cover the world from a West Coast point of view. Here’s the About Us:

The California Sunday Magazine roams across California, the West, Asia, and Latin America, telling stories for a national audience. We also produce a live event series, Pop-Up Magazine. We explore science, business, entertainment, politics, technology, art, social issues, sports, food, and more. We’re curious about everything. The first weekend of each month, we’ll have new stuff to share, on the web, on our mobile apps, and in print—delivered with select Sunday copies of the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sacramento Bee. Once we get the hang of that, we’ll start publishing two weekends a month and then every weekend. We’re brand new, so thanks for reading!

Did you catch that?  California Sunday Magazine has a diabolically clever distribution strategy: It will appear in the Sunday editions of several major California newspapers (most of which have either eliminated or gutted their own Sunday magazines in recent years). So if you usually get the San Francisco Chronicle on Sundays, look for California Sunday Magazine inside this weekend. The content from the first issue is online here. The print edition will be monthly at first, ramping up to weekly.

This is a fascinating experiment, and in coming days it will no doubt attract a great deal of interest in media circles from coast-to-coast and across the galaxy. But as you enjoy California Sunday Magazine, and partake of all the buzz, know this: The publisher and co-founder of California Sunday Magazine is Chas Edwards, your Bernal Heights neighbor. Oh, and the editor-in-chief is Doug McGray, who doesn’t quite live in Bernal, but can be called Bernal-adjacent:

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They’re already talking about Cal Sunday in BusinessWeek:

For years, California journalists have dreamed of a Left Coast publication to rival media icons such as New York magazine and the New Yorker. The editorial operations of Condé Nast-owned Wired are in San Francisco, but most publications that tried to set up shop there—such as the Industry Standard, which had a moment during the first dot-com boom—have failed. (The audiences for Los Angeles and San Francisco magazines are loyal but local.) John Battelle, chairman of online ad company Federated Media, helped launch Wired and the Industry Standard and is an investor in California Sunday. “I think they are really on to something,” Battelle says. His first effort at a Bay Area-based magazine, the Pacific, never got off the ground. “The biggest impediment was the cost of circulation,” he says, and California Sunday solves that problem by paying an insertion fee to bundle with newspapers.

Best of luck to the California Sunday Magazine crew. Your neighbors will be rooting for you from the home-team bleachers.

UPDATE: Sunday 5 Oct: Ooh. Look what just arrived!

Here’s to the start of a brand-new weekend ritual:

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IMAGES: via California Sunday Magazine Coffee photo by Telstar Logistics