Saturday: Synchronized Watches Record Release Party at El Rio

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On Saturday night, Neighbor Brianna Hughes is having a record-release party at the beloved El Rio for Synchronized Watches, her band “comprised of three friends serendipitously brought together by the common desire to challenge personal musical reflexes, the need to create art, and to quench their common thirst for good tequila.”

Neighbor Brianna writes:

I live on Crescent Ave. and love love love living in this neighborhood. My band, Synchronized Watches, is playing at El Rio Saturday night as we release our very first album, Us We Here. Local gal, local club, wanted to share our music with the ‘hood. Thanks much!

Local gal! Local club! Music for locavores! The culmination of their 2x successful Kickstarter odyssey! Saturday’s show gets underway at El Rio at 10 pm, with doors opening at 9.

Your Bernalwood editor listened to the album this morning, and I loved it!  Prediction: If you enjoy Ladytron or Metric, you’ll also definitely groove on Synchronized Watches. Give it a listen right here.

Or here:

PHOTO: Courtesy of Sychronized Watches

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

San Francisco of the Early 1990s Is Alive and Well and Open for Business at Thrillhouse Records

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Amid all the current whinging about gentrification, The Change, tech buses, and coffee boutiques, it’s good to know the “real” San Francisco of bohemian memory is alive and well — if you know where to look for it.

Thrillhouse Records is such a place. Hiding in plain sight on Mission Street at Kingston right here in Bernal Heights, Thrillhouse is an enduring monument to underground San Francisco, circa 1991.

Want to know what counterculture looked like in the analog days before Tim Berners-Lee unleashed his Prometheus on our unsuspecting planet? What were the sensibilities of a young and alienated generation in an age of ascendant Reaganism, cassette tapes, and desktop publishing euphoria? What were the totems and signifiers of this edgy, halcyon time?

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What did it look like?  What did it smell like??

Wonder no more: It looked and smelled exactly like Thrillhouse Records.

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BONUS: This is what Reddit looked like way back then:

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A woman named Caitlin was behind the counter when Bernalwood visited Thrillhouse on a recent afternoon, and she told us that the place is run by volunteers. They’re open from noon to 8 pm on most days, unless things are really really slow, in which case they may close a little earlier.  Stop by soon, before the 21st century reasserts itself.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Bernal Rockstar Matt Nathanson Is On Tour, Having Fun, but Feeling Homesick. So He Sent Us This Postcard.

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It’s been a busy summer for our local rockstars. Neighbor Matt Nathanson, Bernal’s very own rockstar next-door, is out on the road doing a summer tour that’s already taken him from Vegas to Fargo and from Cedar Rapids to Toledo. On Wednesday he was in New York. Tonight, he’s in Philly.

All that sounds insanely glamorous (in a Waffle House sort of way), but the fundamental truth of the matter is that even though Neighbor Matt is having fun, he really misses us.

Well, to clarify… we don’t know if Neighbor Matt misses you or me specifically — although that’s certainly possible. What we know for sure is that he really misses us — as in Bernal Heights. And we know this because Neighbor Matt sent us a postcard from the road last week, which we are honored to share with you here:

Dearest Bernalwood,

Hello!

I’m out here on my summer tour. We’re making our way into the northeast for a bunch of amazing shows (including a sold out Central Park summer stage!!), and all is going great… but we’re about 7 weeks into a 10 week run and i’m having myself an acute case of “missing-the-shit-out-of-our-neighborhooditis.”

Bernalwood makes the pining a little bit easier to bear, so thanks for that. These United States are pretty spectacular, but they’ve got nothing on our little 94110 (& 112). I’m super-looking forward to getting home at the end of August and digging into making my next record. Fall in San Francisco… can’t wait!!

Anyway, hope everything is awesome with you all. If you could, go hike the hill for me. Then shoot down to Precita Park and get one of those insane peanut butter cookie sandwiches they have in the glass case. Those things are magic!

Mama, i’m coming home (soon!),

Matt

Awwww.

Neighbor Matt, here’s a sublime photo someone took on the hill yesterday evening; Karl the Fog has been summering nearby, as you know he likes to do.

Also, even though your body is elsewhere, your music plays on here in the Dominion of Bernalwood. In fact, we heard you a few weeks ago at the Lowe’s on Bayshore; they were playing “Girl in the Kinks Shirt” over the PA system! While we were browsing in the paint department! It was pretty awesome, even though a robot voice interrupted halfway through to announce, “Assistance required in the wire-cutting section.” Then your song played a little more, and the robot voice said it again: “Assistance required in the wire-cutting section.” Frankly, we thought the robot was being sort of rude, but still… it was you! On the PA system! At the Lowes on Bayshore! Just down the hill from your crib. Dude… ROCKSTAR!

Have fun on the rest of your tour, Neighbor Matt.

But not too much fun.

PHOTO: Neighbor Matt thinking of us in glamorous St. Augustine, Florida

 

Bernal Rockstar Dan The Automator Talks with NPR About “Got a Girl,” His New Musical Collaboration

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As we all know, everyone who lives in Bernal Heights is a rockstar. But some express it more than others.

Music producer Dan Nakamura — aka Dan The Automator — is a Bernal resident who is famous in the music biz for the work he did to give artists like Deltron 3030, the Gorillaz, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Handsome Boy Modeling School their distinctive sounds. His latest collaboration is a band called Got a Girl that he created with actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Got a Girl just released their first album, called “I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff.” (IMPORTANT LIABILITY NOTICE: Any relation to recent events on Bernal Hill is strictly coincidental.)

This week, Neighbor Dan talked about Got a Girl on NPR’s All Things Considered:

Chance encounters can lead to profound changes in people’s lives. Just ask actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

She was shooting Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opposite Michael Cera when one of the film’s music consultants befriended her. He’d heard rumors she was also a talented singer, so he checked out a video of her belting out a tune in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.

That person happened to be Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, the hot-shot producer known to pop and hip-hop fans for his work with Gorillaz and Del the Funky Homosapien. The two struck up a friendship, and a musical partnership was born: Got a Girl.

The newly formed duo just released its first album, I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff.” Now, which draws on the members’ shared love for 1960s French pop.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Bernalwood’s favorite track from Got a Girl’s new album is called “There’s a Revolution,” and it’s infectiously funky, frenchy, and James Bondtastic:

For the visually inclined, here’s the video for Got a Girl’s “Did We Live too Fast”:

Congrats, Neighbor Dan!

Saturday: Band Called “View From Bernal Hill” Is Not From Bernal Heights, But Will Perform Near Bernal Hill

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The View from Bernal Hill is a “chamber-flavored jazz” group that used to be called the Camille Mai Trio, until recently, when they decided to change their name to “The View from Bernal Hill.”

This is confusing, because the musicians in The View from Bernal Hill do not live in Bernal Heights — they just think we’re rather sexy and inspiring.

Band member Camille Mai tells Bernalwood:

Well, we don’t live in Bernal, but I had an out of body experience for the first time while on that hill.. and Fred, who shoots our videos, lives there, so I spend a lot of time over there editing video and going to progressive grounds :) We actually just shot a music video on the hill too! It’s such a truly amazing place…

Still confused? Don’t worry, it’s not you — it’s just confusing. But so what. Let’s just roll with it. Because we’re famous like that, and we do this to people. Especially creative-types.

Anyway, The View from Bernal Hill will perform at 7:30 pm on Saturday, July 26 at the Red Poppy Art House (2698 Folsom at 23rd) — which also is not in Bernal Heights, although it is, admittedly, sort of nearby.

In the meantime, you can also listen to this beautiful song, which was originally recorded by the Camille Mai Trio but is now performed by The View from Bernal Hill, which is the same thing, only different and a little more confusing. Plus, there’s a Bernal name-check at around 02:16…

PHOTOS: Poster by Telstar Logistics. Band by The View from Bernal Hill.

Coleridge Neighbors Planning Informal Community Concert

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Neighbor Ania was recently seen posting handbills about an ad hoc concert planned for next Sunday afternoon, May 18, at the glamorous Coleridge Minipark. It sounded like a charming idea, so Bernalwood asked her to share the details for those who might like to participate. Neighbor Ania writes:

After the mugging on our street some neighbors started talking about making something good happen, for a change.

I spoke about a musical event with Sasha, who often plays the accordion on his doorstep, across the street from us. Two neighbors stopped by and were enthusiastic, so I posted on Nextdoor.com and heard from Dave Klaus who plays the guitar. The three of us met a few weeks ago over a beer, set the date for May 18th 12-3 at the Coleridge Minipark and decided that it should be informal, acoustic and in a talent show format.

There is also going to be singalong. We are printing out lyrics – Imagine was mentioned – and I can lead something operatic. It is my mission in life to prove anyone can sing opera, even Wagner! (and it will probably be Wagner)
The lineup so far includes:

Sasha Goldshtrakh, Dave and their bands, some friends of Dave’s from Lundys with guitars, Ellen Hobbs from our building on ukelele and myself with opera (backing tracks on boombox).

There were suggestions of barbecue and mimosas. My husband Clay might coordinate that part of things, with some help of our nearest neighbors.

That’s the story so far. We are getting some fliers out and hope for not too much wind on the day. A few people expressed interest as performers; I am waiting to hear back and we are open for more!

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IMAGE: Coleridge Minipark photo by Neighbor Ania