Mystery Solved: Glittery “Dream” Sign Is a New Art Installation


Last week, a few befuddled Bernalwood readers shared news that a new sign was installed in Alemanistan, on an exposed slope in southeast Bernal Heights, right next to the big billboard that overlooks the 101/280 “Spaghetti Bowl” interchange and the Alemany Farmer’s Market.

The sign sits just below the intersection of Bradford and Jarboe, and it spells out “DREAM” in glamorous, glittery silver letters.

Neighbor Lupe wrote, “I’m curious because the installation of this new sign, art, billboard… whatever it is, was clearly a very expensive endeavor, and it was professionally installed. A team of men dug holes for cement piers, assembled the sign itself, and used a huge boom to lift the sign from Peralta onto the hill!”

Neighbor Samir shared this photo of the installation, with the boom lift in operation:

DREAM sign installation, as photographed by Neighbor Samir

Neigbor Donna also noticed the installation, which she said reminded her of “letters à la the Hollywood sign.”

(Which is to say, it’s also – cough! cough! – à la the Bernalwood sign.)

Thus intrigued, we mobilized the Bernalwood Investigates™ News Team over the weekend.  Here’s what we learned:

The basic facts check out just as described; There really is a glamorous, glittery new “DREAM” sign overlooking the Spaghetti Bowl, and it was clearly built to last, with a sturdy steel frame embedded in concrete foundations.

Fortuitously, while were on the scene Bernalwood interviewed a neighbor who had spoken with the installation crew. The neighbor said he’d been told the new sign was authorized by the San Francisco Department of Public Works, while the sign itself was built under the auspices of a local arts organization.

With that tip in hand, Bernalwood Investigates™ rushed back to the newsroom. A few minutes of searching on the BernalWeb revealed that the sign was designed by artist Ana Teresa Fernández, with support from the fabulous Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA).

Even better, we also learned that an unveiling ceremony for the piece will happen this Friday, Sept. 22, from 11 am – 1 pm at the Alemany Farmer’s Market.

Here’s the project overview, as detailed in YBCA’s media release:

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) announced today the upcoming unveiling of DREAM, a public art installation by visual artist Ana Teresa Fernández, commissioned by YBCA and co-sponsored by San Francisco Public Works. Facing San Francisco’s Excelsior District, the sculpture will serve as a public expression of YBCA’s ongoing partnership with the area. Composed of ten-foot-high block letters spelling out the word DREAM, the shimmering sculpture will be situated on the hill above the Alemany Food Market and will be seen by commuters going to and from San Francisco at the Highway 101-Highway 280 merge.
A public unveiling of the sculpture will be held on Friday, September 22, 2017, 11 am–1 pm at the Alemany Farmer’s Market, located at 100 Alemany Blvd. The event will feature performances by students from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and Bessie Carmichael Elementary, where YBCA has provided civically engaged arts education programs since 2015. […]
Two years in the making, the DREAM sculpture is located less than a mile from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and will be installed near the intersection of the unimproved streets of Jarboe and Peralta. The sculpture, spelling out the word DREAM, is attached to a support system on the south side of Bernal Heights facing Bayshore Blvd. its facade consists of metallic disks that create a visual effect of three-dimensional shimmering water.
Explains artist Ana Teresa Fernández, “At Bayshore hill, and beneath two heavily transited freeway overpasses, sits an industrial building whose bottom half is entirely upholstered by graffiti tags that spell out the word DREAM. This graffiti is a creative epitaph to one of the best-known and most beloved graffiti writers and peace fighters from the Bay Area, Mike “Dream” Francisco of Oakland, who was killed in the year 2000. I was inspired to take the text and create a three-dimensional version higher up on the hill, like the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Instead of casting your hopes on fame or notoriety, this would be a sign to compel individuals—not just the widely mixed-race population that inhabits and transits through this area, but all individuals who come across it—to start identifying their goals and aspirations, from a place of consciousness and awareness, and to begin the process of pursuing them.”

 

Finally! Watch Bernal Filmmaker Joe Talbot’s “American Paradise”

Bernal Heights filmmaker Joe Talbot in 2014

When we last heard from Bernalese filmmaker Joe Talbot, he was schmoozing with the stars at the Sundance Film Festival.  Neighbor Joe, a native of Montcalm Street  and winner of the coveted “Best of Bernal” prize at the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Festival, was at Sundance last Februrary to premier American Paradise, a short film he recently wrote and directed.

Yet if you just couldn’t make it to Sundance — ugh, the maddening crowds, darling — you’re now in luck: Yesterday Neighbor Joe shared American Paradise on the interwebs so the rest of us can watch it too.

IndieWire called American Paradise one of the “must-see shorts” at Sundance this year, and Vimeo just selected it as a Staff Pick Premiere. Emily Bruder at No Film School writes:

Some filmmakers come right out of the gate with a distinctive style and vision for their directorial debut. Joe Talbot is one such director. Although Talbot’s short, American Paradise, was his first time working with a budget and legitimate production team, it went on to screen at Sundance 2017 and SXSW 2017, garnering wide acclaim for its grasp of absurdist comedy and incisive social commentary.

Now, American Paradise has been selected as Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere and is finally available to stream online (Watch it below). It’s the story of a forgotten man in Trump’s America who tries to shift his fate with the perfect crime—until, of course, all goes horribly wrong. Its tagline, “based on an unfortunately true story,” perfectly encapsulates the film’s sense of humor and underlying somber message. Rendered with a pastel color palette and compositions that would make Wes Anderson weep, American Paradise announces an exciting new talent in Talbot.

Some filmmakers come right out of the gate with a distinctive style and vision for their directorial debut. Joe Talbot is one such director. Although Talbot’s short, American Paradise, was his first time working with a budget and legitimate production team, it went on to screen at Sundance 2017 and SXSW 2017, garnering wide acclaim for its grasp of absurdist comedy and incisive social commentary.

Find a comfortable place to sit, get yourself a cup of popcorn, and enjoy Neighbor Joe Talbot’s short film:

Chainlink Fence Art Installation Unites Neighbors Working to Rebuild

Completed installation on Mission Street last week. Photo: The artist via CurbedSF

Last week, a new art installation appeared on the chain-link fence that spans the vacant Mission Street lot near 29th Street where Cole Hardware stood before the 2016 fire.

Brock Keeling at CurbedSF got the scoop:

Almost one year after his “Home Street Home” piece appeared along beleaguered Division Street, a local artist, who has requested anonymity, has completed another work. Once again he uses a chainlink fence for a canvas, but this time the message is different. In fact, it’s incomplete, which is exactly how he wants it.

“Given the history of the neighborhood, the fire, loss, and the displacement of so many residents, it felt appropriate to use the quote, but to not finish it,” says the artist. “This leaves the meaning open to interpretation. Each person will fill in the blank on their own.”

Members from Galería de la Raza and Secession Art and Design helped tie the final product together.

Neighbor Eden Stein from Secession Art and Design was part of the team that helped install the piece, and when Bernalwood spoke to her last week, her face was still sunburned from a day spent attaching little flags to the fence.

Neighbor Eden said working on the project had been a powerful and uplifting experience, so we asked her to tell us about it. Here’s Neighbor Eden’s story about the making of the chain-link art installation:

My passion is running Secession Art & Design and also being President of the Mission Bernal Merchants Association. This is my home and community.

One year ago, I did not know all of the merchants of the 3300 Block where the fire occurred, and now we are family. Something happens when you go through a hardship together, like a fire, and all you want to do is help. For this past year I have fundraised, listened, supported, done advocacy to connect merchants with city agencies, and been someone that the merchants can depend on when they can’t get an answer.

This past year I have gotten to know the owners of Playa Azul, Cole Hardware, El Grand Taco Loco, and the 3300 Club. My co-corridor coordinator, Ani Rivera, joined the MBMA team this year and we were so excited to get a small grant to do a temporary beautification project on the Playa Azul and Cole Hardware fence. Ani is the director of Galleria De la Raza and lives in Mission Bernal.

Playa Azul is going through the planning process to rebuild, and they wanted a facade to let people know they are coming back. Urban quilt artist, Amy Ahlstrom met with the Sanchez family to create a coming soon sign. She photographed the mother and daughter, and the family gave us a photo of their grandmother; three strong women that are determined to rebuild the restaurant. The sign is based on their exterior sign that was one of the only things left after the fire.

Unfortunately, not even 24 hours after installing the Playa Azul sign, somebody painted over it with house paint, along with graffiti on the 3300 building.

But this artwork is not graffiti. This is an approved project by the city and property owners of Playa Azul. This is public art. A new panel has been ordered and will replace the damaged panel.

A local artist came up with the design for The Cole Hardware fence: 2000 plastic pieces make up the lettering that reads from across the street, or passing by on the bus, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE…. You get to fill in the blank. Home? Cole Hardware? Whatever is special to you?

So many merchants and residents lost their businesses and homes. Where did they go? This really changed our community, and we hope they can come back. During the install, everyone who walked by had a story to tell about what they needed from Cole.

I could barely sleep on Tuesday night in anticipation of these art installations going up on Wednesday. I woke up early to help install. A beautiful crew from Galleria De Raza Gallery on 24th Street volunteered and we had a great time talking and installing. We even had a few people passing by that took time from their day to stop and help.

All day long the community came out and talked about how much they missed this block and all the merchants. Three people were brought to tears knowing that Playa Azul was actually coming back. A women slammed on her breaks, double parked, and gave me a hug. This project is about bringing people together, and a message that the people and merchants that make this neighborhood are on our mind and we are right by their side as they rebuild.

El Paisa is the first business closed by the fire to reopen on the block. At one point in the day the owner, Jose told all of us installing it was time to take a break and eat. We sat in his restaurant that is filled with so much love and persistence and had an incredible lunch that meant much more than food.

Thank you to everyone who made this day happen!

XO Eden

PHOTOS: Top, courtesy of the artist. Below, process photos courtesy of Eden Stein.

Bernal Neighbor Captures San Francisco in Stunning Timelapse Video

A view from Bernal Hill, as seen in Infinite City

After a week like this, now is a good time to view the world from a different perspective.

Thankfully, Neighbor Jesse has come through for all of us. Neighbor Jesse is a videographer who lives on Prospect, and he just produced an stunningly gorgeous timelapse video called Infinite City that highlights some of the more impressive views in our city of impressive views — including several scenes shot from Bernal Hill.

Neighbor Jesse tells Bernalwood:

For the last year and a half I’ve been obsessively shooting timelapses in San Francisco. After much hard work, I finally have something to show for it!

I got interested in timelapses around the beginning of 2016. Living in Bernal, I have the perfect place to practice. All of the shots in this video are day-night transitions, so for the most part each shot requires about a three hour wait. Standing in one place for a long time is actually part of the fun, you really get to know a neighborhood — or at least an intersection.

One of the things that got me hooked on timelapse is that it’s a great combination of photo and video. You have to worry about all the things you would for a normal landscape photo, but also have to take into account weather, foot traffic, where the moon will rise. It’s also great that I can’t see the result right away. The raw images take at least a few hours of work to get into a final video, and even then it needs to be converted one more time before it’s viewable.

After shooting a little over a hundred of these things, I started to try to fashion them into a single ‘best of’ video, but wasn’t quite satisfied with the results. . For the last month or so I’ve been looking at my video segments one at a time, and trying to bring out some aspect/shape of the video. Some are more successful than others, but overall I’m pretty happy with it.

Some stats on the video. Overall about 30hrs are represented here, in under 4min. All the source videos are 8k. In total so far I’ve shot over 50,000 images doing timeapeses, creating a little under 2tb of data.

Behold Neighbor Jesse’s fabulous video; Headphones and a big screen are highly recommended. Enjoy:

New Amos Goldbaum Mural Planned for Pinhole Coffee

Rendering of proposed Amos Goldbaum mural

Neighbor Amos Goldbaum is a Bernal Heights treasure. Born-and-raised here in the neighborhood, Neighbor Amos is an artist who creates intricate line-drawings of San Francisco streetscapes. His t-shirts and hoodies have become popular totems of low-key San Francisco cool, and more recently he’s also been doing large-scale murals, such as this one in Noe Valley and a very Bernalicious one inside Coffee Shop on Mission near Precita.

Now Neighbor Amos has joined forces with the fabulous Pinhole Coffee on Cortland to create a mural on Pinhole’s exterior wall, on the corner of Bonview. To help make it happen, they’ve also launched a crowdfunding effort that’s already 70% of the way to its $5000 goal.

Here’s a detail of what the mural will look like:

(That’s 231 Cortland, the current location of Pinhole Coffee, shown on the corner in the foreground, as it looked when the building was home to the Holly Park Meat Market the 1880s. Cuuute!)

Pinhole’s crowdfunding site says:

Pinhole Coffee landed in the “Neighborhood in the Sky” of Bernal Heights, San Francisco on September 12, 2014. Our space is housed at 231 Cortland Avenue, in Max Breithaupt’s former butcher shop/grocery store from the 1880’s.

We are raising money for a mural designed by SF artist Amos Goldbaum. The design is an ode to the original space juxtaposed with modern Bernal Heights. We look forward to working with Amos Goldbaum who was born, raised and currently resides in Bernal Heights.

Let’s do this thing.  You can participate in the crowdfunding effort right here.

IMAGES: Courtesy of Pinhole Coffee and Amos Goldbaum

Check Out Bernal Artist Toby Klayman’s Immersive, Two-Day Studio Visits

For the last few years, Bernal Heights artist Toby Klayman has been offering intensive two-day art immersion classes at her studio via Airbnb. Now that the program has found its rhythm, Neighbor Toby invites other Bernal neighbors to come check it out.

Toby tells Bernalwood:

Airbnb recently started this new offshoot: Experiences by interesting people living in different cities. I’ve been offering an art immersion experience for more than a few years here in Bernal while its been in beta mode. The program is not just for travelers, but for anyone interested in taking Experiences, which are fun, or interesting, or educational.

My Experience (which they named Toby Madame Renaissance) is a 2 day, 8 hour art immersion. I give a tour of our art collection, then do an extensive mixed media demo in my studio of dozens of art tools, then it is “hands on” and everyone makes art!

I provide all small-format materials. On Day 1 of my Art Immersion, we have a catered luncheon after studio time, and I conduct an Art Roundtable including Art History, cultural information and discussion about what art has been made. We also discuss what new supplies and tools will be covered in the Studio Deep Dive, which is a 3 hour session on Day Two.

Click here for further information, price, and reviews from prior students.

I love this program and we’ve met so many amazing and darling people because of it. I hope to take some of the Experiences myself,  Cities now include LA, New York, Capetown, Tokyo etc. Very exciting! I love it!

PHOTOS: Toby Klayman in her studio, via Airbnb Experiences

Bernal Physicist Raising Funds to Build Giant Fire-Breathing Mechanical Art

Neighbor Matthew is an Bernal Heights physicist and artist who’s building an ambitious, musical-kinetic fire art sculpture. The piece is called Torch Song, and it will be a 15-foot structure with nine flame-heads that can move independently.

To complete the project, Neighbor Matthew has organized a crowdfunding campaign. He tells Bernalwood:

Torch Song is a 15′ musical kinetic fire art sculpture. I’ve been working on it for about two years now. I pretty much started from scratch; I didn’t know anything about fire art, and knew only as much about metal machining as I learned doing a doctorate in physics.

Last year I formed an organization, Hydrocarbon Collective, and started ramping up to try to get it out to Burning Man. From there hopefully we’ll get to bring it out to other venues in the bay area. We now have a crew of five people (and several occasional volunteers) who work out of the Box Shop in Hunter’s Point on weekends and Wednesday nights. (Our team includes one of the instigators of the Cardboard Animal Parade.) We’re always looking for more help if people want to pitch in, especially if you’re an experienced welder, or want to work on electronics.

Torch Song is a 15′ diamond (a double tetrahedron, to be exact) which will have nine independently moving flame heads. We conceived of it without consideration for practicality, safety, or common sense, and we are dangerously close to making it a reality. And, in honor of the absurd times we live in, we will be donating 10% of our proceeds from this fundraiser to the ACLU.

You can learn more about the project and donate at Neighbor Matthew’s Hydrocarbon Collective crowdfunding page.

IMAGES: Top, TheHydrocarbon Collective team with a flame unit at the box shop. Below, rendering of the proposed Torch Song piece. Images courtesy of Neighbor Matthew