Read This: Writerly Bernal Heights Couple Rocks Today’s NYTimes

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Oh hey! Need some great Sunday reading? The dynamic husband-and-wife duo of Ellsworth neighbors Elizabeth Weil and Daniel Duane have a terrific husband-and-wife pair of articles in today’s New York Times.

Read Neighbor Liz’s explanation of why San Francisco bagels suck, and why there’s hope for a better bagel future!

Read Neighbor Dan’s article on the growing popularity of rock climbing and climbing gyms!

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Finally!! Reality TV Show Tells America That Bernal Heights Is a “Crap Neighborhood”

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To those who fret that Bernal Heights has become too safe, too comfortable, too nice, too fetishized, and too bourgeois, we bring some fantastic news: According to a popular reality TV show, Bernal Heights is too ghetto!

Woo-hoooooooo!

Bravo network’s Million Dollar Listing San Francisco is a reality TV series about slick realtors hustling to sell high-value homes. It’s a Jersey Shore-style drama, only with less tawdry beach sex and more granite countertops. About a million Americans watch the show each week, and on Wednesday night’s episode, one of the more oily realtors was having a tough time selling a home in a “crap neighborhood” called Bernal Heights.

Our Bernalphile friends at CurbedSF explain what happened next:

This week’s episode of Million Dollar Listing San Francisco was the most entertaining of the series so far, but possibly only because it was so completely, utterly filled with plot lines that bear no resemblance to the real world. Unlike last week’s show, there were plenty of new houses to gawk at this time around, and the realtors themselves seemed to fade into the background a bit. The best story line of all was one in which Bernal Heights—the same Bernal named the hottest neighborhood in the whole country by Redfin last year, the Bernal where houses are snatched from the market for hundreds of thousands over asking in mere days—was made out to be a quasi-ghetto where buyers were so turned off that they didn’t even bother to show up for open houses.

The Bernal plot line kicks off when Andrew gets a listing at 535 Gates Street. It’s a classic Bernal flip, and developer Anders Kang has spent $500,000 renovating the property. He wants $2 million, but Andrew talks him down to listing for $1.8 million. “This is not Pacific Heights,” he explains. “This is Bernal Heights, meaning this is going to be a challenge.” Is he living in the 1990s or something? His only challenge should be how to fit prospective buyers into the place for an open house.

Andrew sets up several private showings, only to be blown off by nearly all of the buyers. “Hey Andrew, couldn’t find a buyer for Bernal Heights,” one agent texts. “Let me know if you have something in Noe Valley.” We concede that there are some less-than-ideal things about the property’s location. It sits on the south side of Bernal, which is less sought after than the north side. Neighbors have chickens and curtains for windows, and an adjacent house is covered in peeling paint. “We’ve got a great house in a crap neighborhood,” Andrew explains to a colleague. “What have you seen there?” she asks. “A couple of drug deals?” he answers flippantly. Enough already! This is Bernal! And the house is two blocks from the heart of Cortland Avenue and about a five-minute walk to Holly Park.

There’s a whole bit where Andrew realizes that maybe there are some local tech shuttle stops but cannot find any. Then, the segment wraps up with Justin appearing at Andrew’s open house to say that he couldn’t bring any of his tech buyers over because the listing is on the wrong side of Bernal. By this point, we were laughing so hard at the depiction of Bernal as a wasteland that we didn’t even catch whatever the drama between Andrew and Justin was.

Ohmigod!! Right??

And it gets even better: Some people on Twitter confirm that it sucks here!

Others say Bernal is just rough around the edges:

Some believe the fundamentals don’t make any sense:

While other are just plain cynical:

Still, all in all, this might well be the best thing to happen to Bernal’s street cred since that Bigfoot sighting in 2012.

It’s official: We’re rough. We’re edgy. We’re out of the way. Techies think we are squalid. This week, a million Americans learned that respectable, high-achieving people want nothing whatsoever to do with Bernal Heights. Which, of course, can only mean…

WE ARE FUCKING COOL AGAIN!

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PHOTO: Top, 535 Gates via SFMLS

Bernalwood Editor Reveals Many Secrets in Neighbor Blake’s “Half-Hour Intern” Podcast

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Neighbor Blake Fetcher lives in the upper altitudes of Prentiss Street, where he also produces a podcast called Half-Hour Intern. Neighbor Blake explains that it is…

A podcast about people. Their jobs. Their hobbies. Their passions. And real world advice for how you can get started. My name is Blake Fletcher and I love learning about the world around me. I want to learn from the experiences of every day people telling their stories about Who they are, What they do, How they got started, Why they do it, and What advice they would give to somebody that wanted to get started. Along the way I hope to help people pick up a new hobby… maybe even a new career!

In previous episodes, Neighbor Blake has interviewed a vascular surgeon, a professional dancer, a tour manager, and a skydiver. With no one interesting left to interview, he recently invited me, your lowly Bernalwood editor, to be a guest on his show.

That episode is now live, and if you tune your streaming audio player to Neighbor Blake’s show, you will learn:

  • Why did Bernalwood get started?
  • Where did the name “Bernalwood” come from?
  • Why should you never ask your Bernalwood editor for career advice?
  • What is the secret force that makes Bernalwood sustainable?
  • Who are Bernalwood’s very best reporters?
  • What is a Bernalwood story — and what is not?
  • Why does your Bernalwood editor feel so well-compensated?

You can listen to the episode for free, right here via an iTunes near you.

Thanks to Neighbor Blake for the fun conversation, and thanks to all of Bernalwood’s readers for all the things you do.

Bernal Filmmakers Successfully Complete Fundraising Drive, But Still Need Our Help

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They did it! Bernal neighbors Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails pulled it off!

During the last few weeks, they blew out their goal and raised more than $59,000 on Kickstarter to produce their oh-so-promising feature-length film, The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Woo hoo!

But now that they’ve gotten the money, the next step is to build the base:

You guys are rockstars. The incredible support we’ve received from you has not only helped us hit out 50k goal — it’s demonstrated there’s an audience for this film. And that’s gotten the attention of folks in the industry.

So for the final week of our campaign, instead of aiming to hit x amount of dollars, we’re setting a goal of 1200 backers. That means even if you only have $1 dollar to give, your contribution sends a loud message to those watching that you want to see this movie get made. And that is priceless.

This stuff really matters; brilliant a media project that comes with a proven fan-base is vastly more bankable than a brilliant media project without a demonstrated audience. So if you’re at all inclined, please donate a few shekels to Neighbor Joe and Neighbor Jimmie before the June 3 deadline, so that they might go forth to bring cinematic glory to all of Bernal.

Still need convincing? They made this death-defying video, just for you:

Red Hill Station Has Its “Check, Please! Bay Area” Moment

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Red Hill Station is one of Cortlandia’s culinary treasures, and it’s been fun to watch as the rest of San Francisco gradually figures that out.

Bernal neighbors Taylor Pedersen and Amy Reticker create some serious food magic at Red Hill, and last week the wannbe food critics of KQED’s “Check, Please! Bay Area” took Red Hill Station for a televised test drive.

In this episode, our discriminating Check, Please! taste-testers were:

  • Jeff, an epidemiologist
  • Jennifer, a belly dancer
  • Christopher, a deputy district attorney

And of course, we were joined by the glamorous host of the show, Leslie Sbrocco:

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Red Hill Station was recommended by Jeff the epidemiologist, and if you want to skip ahead to get to the Bernal part, start watching this video at around the 10:30 mark:

Don’t want to ruin the surprise, but suffice to say… Red Hill Station pretty much blew everyone away. Naturally, we knew that would happen, all along.

IMAGE: Leslie Sbrocco GIF, courtesy of Andy Welfle

Bernal Filmmakers Raising Funds to Produce “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”

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Think back to last September, and you may recall that filmmaker and Bernal neighbor Joe Talbot took home the coveted Best of Bernal award at the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival for the impressive concept-teaser video he produced for his film, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

Well, after that, Neighbor Joe and his co-producer and star actor Jimmie Fails got lots and lots of media attention, and last weekend they launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce a feature-length version of their film:

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is a feature-length narrative film currently in pre-production that is inspired by the real life of Jimmie Fails, a third-generation San Franciscan, who dreams of buying back his old family home in the Fillmore.

But this film isn’t just about tough economic times and changing political landscapes in San Francisco. It’s a story about two inseparable misfits who are searching for home in a city they can no longer call their own.

Joe Talbot (writer/director) grew up running around the Mission District with a camera around his neck and a gang of misfits in tow. His cobbled-together crews of friends, family and other various undesirables wreaked constant havoc on the neighborhood, pushing wheelchairs down busy streets for tracking shots and alarming random passerby with fake blood make-up.

When Jimmie moved to the nearby Army St. housing projects as a pre-teen, he was promptly dragged into Joe’s film-making fold. The two boys soon began collaborating on just about everything, including Joe’s SFIFF winning short, Last Stop Livermore. […]

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During many late-night walks through the roller-coaster hills of Bernal Heights, Jimmie spun tales of his often stranger-than-fiction childhood — like the time he and his father made a beat-up BMW their home (until his dad’s crack buddy stole it).

These conversations around Jimmie’s struggle to regain his roots in his native city became the basis for LBM. But it’s about more than buying back a piece of property — inspired by the bond Joe and Jimmie formed as teens over feeling like misfits in their respective worlds, this film seeks to tell an ageless story about two friends trying to find their place in the world.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who saw this team’s original concept-teaser, but the video created to support the Last Black Man in San Francisco Kickstarter campaign is an enticing piece of work unto itself:

Let’s help make this happen — and support a rising Bernal talent along the way. You can donate to the Last Black Man in San Francisco Kickstarter campaign right here.

IMAGES:  Last Black Man in San Francisco