Bernal Artist Amos Goldbaum Creates New T-Shirt Based on His Pinhole Coffee Mural

If you’re headed to Fiesta on the Hill this Sunday — and you ARE headed to Fiesta on the Hill this Sunday, aren’t you??? — then you should also be on the lookout for celebrity Bernal Heights artist Amos Goldbaum.

Born-and-raised here in Bernal, Neighbor Amos creates intricate line-drawings of San Francisco streetscapes, such as the brand-new mural he just created on the west wall of Pinhole Coffee:

The Pinhole mural is rather fantastic, and at Fiesta on the Hill this Sunday, Neighbor Amos will be on hand to offer a brand-new edition of t-shirts featuring the same image. He tells Bernalwood:

Pinhole approached me about doing a mural earlier this year. They crowdfunded for it (thanks neighbors!), and we wanted to give the donors shirts with the same design.

Pinhole has a picture of their building that’s from 1893, so I used that image as a reference for the mural.

231 Cortland, in 1893

I wanted to insert the scene from the photo into its current context, so I tried to get a photo from a similar angle — but with the whole hill in the background.

I ended up on a roof across the street (thanks Dan!) with my phone on the end of a 20ft pole and got a good shot of the whole neighborhood. I combined the two images like this:

The I used that image to paint the mural and make the drawing for the shirts.

Glorious!!

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Amos Goldbaum

Neighbor Karen Created an Adorable, Illustrated Mini-Guide to Bernal Heights

AtW SucculenceKen copy

Neighbor Karen Capraro has created an artisanal mini-guide to Bernal Heights, and she’s excited to tell you all about it:

A tiny Welcome: Bernal Heights

I was inspired to make these booklets after a trip to Japan, where I was incredibly touched by how welcomed we were in local neighborhoods. I wanted to do something when i came home to Bernal to make guests and visitors feel welcome here. I’ve lived here for 14 years and am super-proud to share our neighborhood.

My day job is a designer for nonprofits and foundations, but in my spare time I illustrated and wrote these booklets. So fun! Of course there is SO much I could have put in a bernal mini-guide, but kept them short and sweet (only four pages), with simple hand drawn images, to make them more approachable. Maybe I need more than one volume 🙂

I’ve included a few eateries (breakfast/coffee, lunch, dinner) and things to do/look for, in Bernal. I also tried to add some of the little details you collect after many years of living somewhere, and not things that would be in a typical ‘guidebook’. After much thought I decided not to include retail stores (even though i love Cortland’s shops!) so the booklets wouldn’t feel like an ad for where they were being sold.

Anyway, check them out I think they’d work as:

  • A way to share with friends/family a little about bernal.
  • A way to welcome a new neighbor.
  • Gifts for air bnb/vbro guests.

I also wanted to use the booklets as a way to put some positivity out there about SF, as these days it’s easy to feel jaded about the city. Working on them enabled me to remember some of the little things I love about it here. Anyway, you can find them in Succulence on Cortland and Christopher’s Books in Potrero. Both excellent stores to peruse.

PHOTO: Ken Shelf from Succulence shows off Neighbor Karen’s Tiny Welcome to Bernal Heights, courtesy of Neighbor Karen

Murals Proposed for Sutrito Tower Utility Building on Bernal Hill

sutritomurals3

A proposal is currently making the rounds to paint murals on the walls of the bunker-like utility building that sits inside the Sutrito Tower complex atop Bernal Hill. Under the current proposal, Precita Eyes Muralists would create four murals on each side of the building.

Omar Masry from the City’s Planning Department is circulating details about the proposal:

  • The radio tower and building are privately operated by American Tower Corporation (ATC). The Planning Department has been working with other City agencies (Public Safety, Department of Technology) and ATC on improvements to the site such as repairing fencing, adding landscaping (no trees well outside of the fence line are affected), a water tank (using recycled water), security (primarily motion-based) lighting, removing any abandoned antennas, and so on.
  • The tower features antennas for both commercial users, as well as those used by the City to communicate with police and firefighters in the neighborhood. So, improving security here is important, and we would appreciate your assistance in being an extra set of eyes for any suspicious activity, trespassing, or vandalism.
  • ATC is considering hosting a mural by a local artist group, Precita Eyes, on the walls of the building. Please see attached.
  • Please feel free to let me know your thoughts, or to contact Susan with Precita Eyes Muralists directly.
  • Because the building is privately owned, the mural is not subject to City review.

Precita Eyes has done conceptual drawings for each of the four proposed murals, with a narrative written to explain what the murals represent:

Bernal Heights Tower Medicine Wheel Mural Project Narrative

The initial concept of this project was inspired by the building’s natural surroundings, and its alignment with the cardinal directions, corresponding to the Ohlone (Aboriginal peoples of the greater Bay Area) medicine wheel. The four colors of the wheel represent all our relations, and declare peace for each other and the creatures found in the wild. Because it is a telecommunications tower, included are crystal mineral formations and geometric shapes to compliment ground built from surrounding native plants and trees.

The brief descriptions to follow reflects the properties and essences of each cardinal direction, which serves as the base color for each wall.

Yellow- East
Sutritosouth
Represents the male energy and direction of the rising sun and fire. Animals present are the San Francisco Garter Snake and the Tule Elk.

Black- West
Sutritowest
Also known as the direction of the feminine aspects seen as turtle, the continent known as Turtle Island stretching from North to South America. The word Tonantzin seen in the sky means Mother Earth in Nahuatl, the ancient language of the Mexica. Also important are the sacred waters and relationship with Metzli (The Moon), the death of one day (represented by the Flicker bird) leading to the next along with a pair of Great Blue Herons. The Lotus Flower and Native sage are also visualized.

Red- South
Sutrtoreast Held by the youth, essence of will and discipline, symbolized by the hummingbird. The wild curiosity of the Raccoon’s and Coyote’s trickster spirit is ever present in our modern day environment. The Black Widow web represents our collective web and security on the far left side connecting to an abstract version of native mother bird nesting.

White- North
Sutritornorth
The north side serves as an homage to our past, present and future relations and the word ancestors is read within the wings of a Golden Eagle with silhouetted figures underneath enjoying the sights and tranquility of Bernal Heights.

Leading Design Artists:

Max Marttila
Eli Lippert
Fred Alvarado
Dno Deladingo
Suaro Cervantes

Ok, got all that?

Here’s my personal $0.02: Putting murals on the walls of the Sutrito Tower utility building is a great idea, and long overdue. Yet Precita Eyes is already very, very well represented in our neighborhood. To name just a few, Precita Eyes did the piece on the front of the Bernal Heights library. Precita Eyes did the mural on the Precita Neighborhood Center, on Precita near Alabama. Precita Eyes did the murals on Leonard Flynn School, facing Precita Park. Precita Eyes has a mural on the Walgreens, on the northwest corner of Mission and Cesar Chavez. Precita Eyes has also been tapped to do a 9-story mural on the side of the subsidized housing project for senior citizens on Shotwell near Cesar Chavez.  Most of these are terrific pieces, but there’s no need for us to live in a mural monoculture, especially when there are a so many artists (young and old) who live in Bernal Heights, and who could bring an alternative perspective to this iconic. high-profile site. This is an excellent opportunity for us to diversify our public art and celebrate a broader range of Bernal talent. Why not give someone else a chance? Please, American Tower Corporation?

Of course, your opinion may differ. If you’d like to share your feedback on the current proposal, you can comment below or email Omar Masry from the Planning Department at omar.masry@sfgov.org.

PHOTO: Aerial view of Bernal Hill from Telstar Logistics

Bernal Heights Needs a Flag, So How About This One?

Bernalflagmap

There’s been a lot of thinking about flag design lately: What are the elements of a good flag? What’s wrong with bad flags? How great a really great flag can be, and how sad and useless a bad flag is.

Much of the current thinking about flag design traces back to celebrity audio person and design aficionado  Roman Mars, who recently introduced us to the very geeky subculture of vexillology  (the study of the history, symbolism, and usage of flags) in a very geeky episode of his 99% Invisible podcast. You can check it out here.

The key lesson from Roman’s crash-course in Vexillology 101 is that good flag design follows five basic rules:

1. Keep it simple
2. Use meaningful symbolism
3. Use two to three basic colors
4. No lettering or seals of any kind
5. Be distinctive

That kicked off a national conversation about flag design; a conversation that grew even more urgent when Roman Mars was invited to give a TED Talk on the subject:

The crux of his TED Talk was that the flags of American cities are generally rather terrible, and San Francisco is a clear case in point. Very few people are familiar with San Francisco’s flag, because San Francisco’s flag is a hot steaming mess that breaks all the rules of vexillological good taste. It looks like this:

sf-flag-real-2

In the spirit of civic improvement, Roman Mars has kicked off a new effort to redesign San Francisco’s flag. But in the meantime, that got your Bernalwood editor thinking: What about a flag for Bernal Heights? Don’t we deserve a flag too?

Of course we do.

So after internalizing the design rules recommended by vexillologists, I took the liberty of developing a flag for Bernal Heights. I hope you might entertain the idea of rallying around it. Fellow citizens, I propose that all Bernalese should live in peace under this banner, the (Proposed) Great Flag of the Dominion of Bernal Heights:

bernalflag.tl.1

Rather sporty, eh? Dynamic! Bold! Distinctive! Let’s walk through its symbolism:

  • The diagonal fields of green and yellow represent the two annual phases of Bernal Hill: green (winter wet) and golden yellow (summer dry).
  • The four sides of the red border represent the four roads that define the boundaries of our Bernal territory: I-280, San Jose Avenue, Cesar Chavez Boulevard, and US 101.
  • The star at the center is of course Bernal Hill, shown as a compass rose to represent the 360-degree views of San Francisco visible from the summit. The red color symbolizes both the beloved chert which stabilizes us, and the long tradition of social activism which is an important part of our neighborhood history.

That’s my proposal. I think it’s not too shabby, at least as a first stab at a flag for Bernal Heights. Plus, it would do the trick if you wanted to quietly represent Bernal in your workplace or favorite coffee shop:

bernal.computerflags

This design travels well too. No matter where you go, or whatever distant lands you conquer, you can take your Bernal Heights pride with you:

manonmoon.flag2

That said, there are some other designs to consider. Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter rose to the challenge, beginning with some small-scale drawings (which are recommended as a starting place to simulate the view of a flag from a distance):

cub.flagmaking

Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter developed two designs. The first is a simplified view of Bernal Hill and Sutrito Tower, with tiny houses nestled along the slopes:

bernalflag.cub1

Her second concept is more bold. It’s a colorful interpretation of a perspective she loves; the view looking toward the sunset as you stroll west along the north side of Bernal Heights Boulevard toward Folsom in the evening:

bernalflag.cub2

Always game for a goofy graphic design problem, Burrito Justice, rebel spokesblogger for the La Lenguan separatists, also rallied to embrace the Bernal flag design challenge. Picking up on some of the themes in my design, he came up with a clever interactive concept:

bernalflag.burrito1

The symbolic logic? Burrito Justice explains:

Green hill, yellow hill, chert background… You turn the flag over depending on the season.

Nice! To bring some further innovation to the idea, Burrito Justice then proposed the world’s first animated GIF flag:

bernal flag

Burrito Justice calls it “a flag for all seasons.”

Your Bernalwood editor called it “hard to sew.”

Burrito Justice explained, “Yeah but imagine the sales, people would need a new one every two weeks!” (Which is actually rather diabolical and brilliant.)

But of course, he couldn’t stop there. Next, Burrito Justice created a few more versions of his flag to celebrate Bernal’s most iconic residents:

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 10.33.42 PM

Sigh.

Bet hey, maybe you have a better idea for a Bernal flag?

If so, send it to us here at the Bernalwood Office of Vexillological Research or drop it in the comments, and we’ll share any additional ideas for Bernal Heights flags with the Citizens of Bernalwood soon.
bernalhillflag

IMAGES: Bernalwood Office of Vexillological Research

Tonight: Celebrate the Amazing New Bikes-to-Books Map Created by Rebel Separatist Burrito Justice

bikes-to-books

All these years of fomenting insurrection and geopolitical intrigue among the La Lenguan peoples have enabled rebel propagandist Burrito Justice to develop some very formidable cartographic skills. Yet sometimes, he uses those skills to support worthy causes.

In the latest case, Burrito Justice has created a rather gorgeous bike-touring map of San Francisco’s literary history, and there’s a party tonight, March 18, at the fashionable Bender’s Bar in The Mission to celebrate its publication:

Bikes to Books Beer Social and POSTER RELEASE party!

Wednesday, March 18, 7-9 pm
Benders Bar and Grill
806 S. Van Ness, SF

Join Nicole Gluckstern and Burrito Justice, the creators of literary bicycle tour “Bikes to Books,” for our annual beer social where we’ll be unveiling our latest iteration—an expanded poster version of the Bikes to Books map now with more authors, more historical context, and more nifty visuals. We’ll be talking up our collaborative mapping project and tour and fielding questions while enjoying some tasty adult beverages at our fave neighborhood watering hole, in the first of a series of “Bikes to Books” events planned for 2015. 
 
Combining San Francisco history, art, literature, cycling, and urban exploration,  “Bikes to Books” began as an bike ride homage to the 1988 street-naming project spearheaded by City Lights founder and former San Francisco Poet Laureate, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in which twelve San Francisco streets were renamed for famous artists and authors who had once made San Francisco their home. First published in The San Francisco Bay Guardian and then in October 2013, with the generous assistance of City Lights Books, the physical map has been available ever since in many of San Francisco’s finest book emporiums, and is appropriate for use as a navigational tool, a history lesson, and a unique work of art in its own right.

ALSO: 7×7 just published a celebrity interview with Burrito Justice, which you can read right here. An excerpt:

Quick-fire round:

(7×7): Precita Park or Bernal Hill?

(Burrito Justice): Bernal

Bike or MUNI?

Muni. (OMG do I have Stockholm syndrome?)

Capp or Bartlett?

Capp. Tough love but Capp

Three words that describe SF to you:

Plus ça change.

IMAGE: Burrito Justice

There Is a “Bernal Heights” Font, and It Looks Like This

bernalheightsfont.a

The Citizens of Bernalwood live a life of hearty flavors and creative abundance, but did you know that we even have our own typeface? Well, we do.

It’s a TrueType font called Bernal Heights, and it was created a few years ago by an itinerant typographer named Max Infeld. Here’s how our Bernal Heights font looks when you map it all out:

BernalHeightsFont

Bernalwood reached out to Max Infeld to confirm his authorship of the font and learn about his inspiration. He tells Bernalwood:

Yes I made the font. I hiked up to Bernal Heights one day, when I was visiting a friend on Shotwell and 24th. For a while, I just traveled and made fonts.

I’d love to live in that area but it’s too darn expensive!

I definitely feel inspired being in Bernal. It’s much quieter than the surrounding areas. It was peace of mind for me after I’d seen some really crazy stuff. I’d really love to work and live there someday. Maybe I’ll retire there after I make my millions!

Bernal Heights is free to download as donationware. That means if you like it, and/or if you want to say thank you to Max for a font named just for us, you are encouraged to give him some of your hard-earned Bernal dollars… so he too might live among us here someday.

Easter Egg: When you go to install the font, you’ll get a fun little message like this:

HeightIsInBernal

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics with Bernal Heights font by Max Infeld

This Is the New Bernal Heights Graphic from Artist Amos Goldbaum

bernalshirt.amos

Pro Tip: If you’re heading to Fiesta on the Hill this Sunday — and you are going to Fiesta on the Hill this Sunday, aren’t you? — look for Bernal-born artist Amos Goldbaum’s booth on Cortland.

That’s where you’ll find the t-shirts with Neighbor Amos’s sexy new Bernal Heights graphic, shown above. So lovely! So detailed! So locavore!

Here’s the closer look:

bernalhill.goldbaum.