Two Authors from One Bernal Block Dominated Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine

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This is a photograph of Ellsworth Street in Bernal Heights. It’s a rather typical Bernal block in many ways, but last weekend,this humble block produced two of the main feature articles that appeared in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

Well, to be more precise, the block didn’t produce the articles — two superstar journalists who live on this block did. The writers are Jon Mooallem and Liz Weil, and each of them had a big, honking feature in the NYT Mag you may have perused while drinking your Sunday coffee.

Neighbor Jon’s article is all about Lanai, that island in Hawaii that ex-Oracle CEO Larry Ellison bought for himself.

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Neighbor Jon writes:

Like a lot of omnipotent forces, Ellison has remained mostly invisible. He has visited Lanai many times — locals told me they can tell he’s on the island when they see his yacht hitched in the harbor — but he seems determined to keep a formal distance from the community, shielding himself behind the executive team of Pulama Lanai, the management company he set up to oversee the island’s transformation. Although Pulama holds frequent public meetings on Lanai, Ellison has declined to attend any or to address residents directly. Several residents told me that they’d resorted to reading biographies of Ellison to learn more about the man — books that have somewhat disquieting titles like “Everyone Else Must Fail” and “The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison,” the punch line being: “God doesn’t think he’s Larry Ellison.”

Next comes Neighbor’s Liz article about a woman who walked 10,000 miles during a three-year, solo trek:

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Neighbor Liz profiled explorer Sarah Marquis:

The first six months on Marquis’s trips are always harrowing. She describes it as “the washing machine”: endless agitation, physical pain, emotional pain, nonstop bargaining among opposing internal voices — the inner demons that whisper, Remember the delicious foam on the cafe latte? and the inner angels that reprimand, Coffee isn’t accessible now, so why talk about it? “You can’t move your hands, you can’t move your feet, you just want to die,” Marquis said. “You think about sleep all the time, because maybe sleep will set things straight.”

A few months into her journey, Marquis shot a video of herself in her sleeping bag. Like a hostage clutching a newspaper, she holds a thermometer that reads minus 20 Celsius. “I don’t sleep much these days. I do not know what time it is. Maybe midnight, or something like that?” In the next day’s video, she looks wrecked. The previous night a wind- and sandstorm ripped across the Mongolian plains. To keep the nylon of her tent from tearing, Marquis removed the metal poles holding it up. But she still feared the gales would blow away her gear, so she unzipped herself from her collapsed shelter and lay atop her pack, tent and cart.

So there you have it; Two Bernal writers, ruling the mediasphere from quiet Ellsworth Street. Nice work, Jon and Liz.

PHOTO: Ellsworth Street, as tweeted by Liz Weil

Watch the Amazing Film from the Bernal-Born Director that Won “Best of Bernal” at the 2014 Outdoor Cinema Festival

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Neighbor Joe Talbot is a filmmaker who has lived on Montcalm for his whole life. At the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival, Neighbor Joe walked away with the “Best of Bernal” award for the trailer he directed for an in-progress film, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

Neighbor Joe shared the award-winning trailer with us, and we’ll share it with you in a moment. But first, let’s let Joe introduce himself:

I grew up running around Bernal with a ragtag production team made up of local kids. I was usually at the helm, doing my best impersonation of what I thought a despotic director looked like. I’m just old enough that our early years pre-dated computer editing software, so we cut our chops doing in-camera edits and wreaking havoc on our side of the hill.

Bernal neighbors were an integral part of our informal film education, whether they knew it or not. Our mischievous and often wild antics were almost always met with nothing but kind support. Neighbor Buck Bagot turned on to his street once to find us running full-speed down the middle of it, pushing a rickety old wheelchair as a dolly. We noticed his approaching car and offered to move out of the way, to which Buck yelled, “No way man! I don’t fuck with the arts!” He abruptly busted a u-turn and drove the long way around the block, as not to disrupt our set.

Most of the kids I knew have since shipped off to college. Some of the unlucky ones lost their homes during various financial crises, and drifted inland to suburbia. My parents were fortunate enough to keep our house, and unfortunate enough to keep me along with it.

My last remaining collaborator today is Jimmie Fails, a kid I first crossed paths with almost ten years ago. Jimmie was living in the Army St. projects at the time, and we quickly formed a closeness. Over midnight walks through Bernal’s roller-coaster hills, Jimmie would weave tales of his strange family story.

These talks would become the basis for our film to-be, The Last Black Man in San Francisco. The film, which we’re currently trying to raise money to shoot, pulls heavily from Jimmie’s own story, and examines what it’s like to feel out of place in your own hometown.

The video is a trailer we shot, on a dime, to help raise funds to shoot the feature-length film. You’ll notice that Bernal plays a major role in the trailer. How could it not?

Indeed. How could it not? Here’s a still from the trailer:

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It’s a nice image, and we all recognize the location. Nice location! But the trailer for Neighbor Joe’s film is even better. In fact, Joe’s film is amazing. In fact, it’s officially the “Best of Bernal.”

Watch and enjoy:

Big congrats to Neighbor Joe Talbot, Jimmie Fails, and their entire team!

PS: Joe can be reached at joe *AT* longshotfeatures.com.

Hear Tim and Erin Archuleta from Ichi Sushi on Burrito Justice Radio

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In case (like me) you missed hearing it live, you can now listen to a recording of yesterday’s action-packed episode of La Lengua rebel leader’s Burrito Justice Radio, featuring special celebrity guests Tim and Erin Archuleta from the intergalactically famous Ichi Sushi on Mission Street!

Listen to this terrific episode to learn:

  • When does Team Ichi plan to open their new oyster bar in the original Ichi space?
  • FACT: Celebrity sushi chef Tim Archuleta used to hate fish!
  • The scandalous tale of how Tim and Erin met! (Hint: It was the karaoke)
  • Tim’s goal: Build a ski lift-style “bunny tow” from Mission Street to Upper Cortland
  • How to eat four meals a day — with a friend — in Tokyo for just $100 a day!
  • What song did Tim and Erin dance to during their glamorous pre-celebrity wedding?
  • Why should you be eating local salmon and albacore RIGHT NOW?
  • Can “burrito railgun” technology trim the carbon footprint of imported Japanese fish?

All that, and so much more. Listen to the whole thing, on your interweb terminal, right now, right here!

The 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Festival Begins TONIGHT!

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It’s that glamorous red carpet and green(isn) grass time of year, Citizens of Bernalwood! It’s time for the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival! Starting TONIGHT!

As you know, BHOC is exactly like Sundance or Telluride or Cannes — only without so many people wearing sheepskin and Prada. The basic drill: Free films. Most are short. Some are shown outside. Emphasis on local topics and local filmmakers. Bring seating. Dress warmly. BYO snacks. Sip from a flask. Snuggle as necessary. Enjoy.

Here’s the schedule for 2014, starting with the star-studded opening night screening and party happening TONIGHT at the beloved El Rio:

Thursday, September 4
7 to 9:30 pm
OPENING NIGHT
El Rio
3158 Mission St.
Must be 21 years

Friday, September 5
Progressive screenings at 7, 8 and 9 pm
FILM CRAWL ON CORTLAND
— Progressive Grounds, 400 Cortland
— Bernal Star, 410 Cortland
— Kingmond Young Photography, 416 Cortland
— Bernal Branch Library, 500 Cortland ** 7 and 8 pm, only
— Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland
— Inclusions Gallery, 627 Cortland

Saturday, September 6
6:30 to 9:30 pm
UNDER THE STARS
Precita Park
Folsom St. at Precita Ave.

9:30 to 10:30 pm
AFTER PARTY
Precita Park Café
500 Precita Avenue

Scope out the full 2014 BHOC schedule for additional details on each night’s film selections.

In addition, BHOC co-founder Leslie Lombre wrote to Bernalwood to share these late-breaking, insidery notes:

1) We’re adding comedy for the first time to the Opening Night line-up, Thursday, 9/4. Comedian Johnny Steele will perform following an excerpt of 3 STILL STANDING, a locally produced documentary profiling three recognizable names including Steele along with Will Durst and Larry Brown through a 30-year journey. It’s especially relevant given Robin William’s recent passing.

2) We’ve added some new co-presenters for Film Crawl on Cortland, Friday, 9/5:

New
SF International Women’s Festival at Inclusions Gallery
14 Black Poppies at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center

Returning
Bay Area Video Coalition at Progressive Grounds
Cine Mas+ / SF Latino Film Festival at Kingmond Young Photography

And here’s the bumper reel:

See you there, cinephiles!

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PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Bernalwood on Burrito Justice Radio: Recording Available for Your Listening Pleasure

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It’s a holiday weekend. If you find yourself with nothing to do — meaning, no paint to watch dry, or no cars to watch rust — you can listen to a recording of this week’s Burrito Justice Radio episode featuring your Bernalwood editor.

We had a lot of fun. Listen in, and you will hear:

  • Bernalwood and Burrito Justice’s geopolitical lesson for a conflict-torn planet
  • Tacos as a higher form of culinary enlightenment
  • Volunteers wanted to pay for a 30th Street BART station
  • Volunteers wanted to reconstruct Jose Cornelio Bernal’s original stone wall
  • How rockstar Matt Nathanson taught my daughter about correlation vs. causation
  • An incomplete inventory of current Bernal Heights literary celebrities
  • Revealed: D9 Supervisor David Campos drinks Big Sodajust like us!
  • Sutrito Tower: Enchanted, or merely iconic?
  • A celebration of the Gastronomic Wonderland of our Mission Street ecosystem

All that, and Bernal music, and so much more. Right here.

Just remember: This is a recording of a conversation that took place on Wednesday, so if you tweet responses to our chatter in realtime, we won’t know what you are talking about.

 

New “Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book” Celebrates 2014 Bernal Outdoor Cinema Festival

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Neighbor Mason Kirby is an architect who lives on Mullen and works from a cute little office on Bocana just off Cortland. A few years ago, Neighbor Mason created a fabulously clever Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book, which he generously shared with Bernalwood readers.

Now, just in time for the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival that gets underway next week, Neighbor Mason shares a new edition of his Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book for wannabe Bernal architects of all ages:

We’ve created a second, collectors, edition of our Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book. Download away! In this new edition, we didn’t need to include any houses from Noe Valley (……hisssss……hooray!). Also, we included a moon-like reminder about the Precita Park screening of Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema (which we are helping sponsor) that will happen on Saturday September 6th at 6:30.

Download your copy of the 2014 Bernal Heights Architectural Coloring Book right here!!

Don’t have a printer? No problem! Neighbor Anne tells us where you can pick up a hard copy:

The coloring books are available at Precita Park Café, Charlie’s Café, Precita Valley Center, and the Bernal Library. In addition, we will have a stack of them at the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema information table at Precita Park on Saturday, September 6.

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Got that, kids? Sharpen your colored pencils, line up your crayons, try and stay within the lines, and don’t forget that all your pictures must conform with the Bernal Heights East Slope Design Review Guidelines. (Just kidding about that last part. Sort of.)

And meanwhile, get ready for Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema 2014, which kicks off with a gala Opening Night Party at El Rio  on Thursday night, Sept. 4.

Today at Noon: Listen to Bernalwood on Burrito Justice Radio

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Yes yes, we know… the idea of Bernalwood participating on Burrito Justice Radio is sort of like General Douglas McArthur agreeing to appear as a studio guest with Tokyo Rose. But stranger things have happened…

Today from noon to 2 pm, tune your Internet dial to Bff.fm as La Lengua’s chief agitator Burrito Justice hosts your Bernalwood editor for a mix of talk, music, local history, and seething geo-political rivalry. As Burrito Justice says, “It’s like Twitter on the radio!” (We don’t know what that means either.)

Bernalwood has been granted full diplomatic immunity to participate in the radio show, along with assurances regarding safe passage to and from the BFF.fm studios in the Mission. Just in case, I’ve also gotten a tetanus shot and purchased a Speak Conversational La Lenguan phrasebook.

Listen in today at noon on BFF.fm, and share your questions and snarky comments on the Twitter.

PS: If you’ve never heard Burrito Justice’s exclusive celebrity interview with @KarltheFog, then stop what you’re doing right now and pop it in your earholes. Guaranteed, you will never look at a fog bank rolling over Twin Peaks the same way ever again.