Tonight: Winter Celebration and Homegrown Jazz at the Bernal Library


The elves who run your Bernal Heights Public Library are a lively and gregarious bunch, especially during this time of year.  Tonight Bernal’s library is hosting a seasonal festival that celebrates homegrown jazz, community, and tasty food. Library elf-wrangler Valerie Reichert tells us:

Our Annual Winter Celebration at the library happens on Wednesday eve, December 14.

Please join us! Grab your family, friends, neighbors and come to our annual celebration. The evening features the mellifluous Bernal Jazz Quartet playing seasonal selections, holiday crafting, movies and lots and lots of cookies!

Information: (415) 355-5610
For all ages!

Thursday: Elves and Bernal Neighbors Invited to the 2016 Cortland Holiday Stroll

Holiday Stroll

Tens of thousands of hundreds of many years ago, in the time of our mystical ancestors, a joyous community of elves lived on these Bernal Hill lands. Each year, during the winter equinox, these proto-Bernalese would gather in the meadow we now call Cortlandia to celebrate the arrival of the rains and the season of lights.

Today, the Bernal Business Alliance carries on this hallowed tradition, in the form of the glamorous Cortland Holiday Stroll. The 2016 Stroll happens this Thursday, December 8, from 6 to 9 pm, and all Modern Bernalese are invited partake of the many spectacles.

The shamans from the BBA tell Bernalwood:

7th Annual Bernal Heights Holiday Stroll, Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Join your neighborhood in supporting small businesses for Bernal Height’s 7th Annual Holiday Stroll, this Thursday night, December 8, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm on fabulous Cortland Avenue.

Your favorite local stores are extending their hours for family fun and holiday shopping. Many shops are offering discounts, music, tasty treats and beverages to make your evening even sweeter.

Come support your community and don’t forget to donate a new, unwrapped toy or monetary contribution to our Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center Toy Drive at 515 Cortland Avenue.

Thanks everyone, see you Thursday, rain or snow, from your friends at the Bernal Business Alliance.

12 Small Things, 513 Cortland – In addition to supporting fair trade artisans, we will be collecting spare change for UNICEF and donating 10% of our sales to victims of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland.

Arts of Balance, 406 Cortland – Come on in for chai tea!

Bernal Beast, 509 Cortland – Toys and treats will be 20% off and will be serving Chocolate Cake!

Bernal Homeopathy, 406 Cortland – Limited number of homeopathic cold & flu remedy kits for sale $40

East West Bernal, 406 Cortland – We will be serving chai and offering 15 percent off gift cards.

Epicurean Trader, 401 Cortland – We will be having a free Wine Tasting from 6-8pm.

Good Life Grocery, 448 Cortland – We will have hot apple cider and several samplings inside the store from various suppliers. And just out that day, we will have our 2017 calendars to give out with the wonderful pictures of Bernal Heights and Potrero Hill from local photographers.

Healthy Spirits, 249 Cortland – We will be sampling our famous house-made hummus, hosting a wine tasting and have lots of fun freebies!

Heartfelt &, 409 Cortland – Brian Belknap the Cajun One Man Band will be playing refreshments will be served!

Inclusions Gallery, 627 Cortland – Celebrating our 9th year with our annual Retrospective show, featuring the work of 14 local artists. Live music with jazz duo Gary Zellerbach & Carl Herder and lots of holiday cheer!

Little Bee Baking, 521 Cortland – Surprise!

Paulie’s Pickling, 331 Cortland – Surprise!

Pinhole Coffee, 231 Cortland – There will be Japanese Curry by Chef Michael Black, Jewelry by Oakland Based jeweler Holly Bobisuthi and crocheted goods by Pacifica based artist Samantha Baron. Our coffee bar will be open and we will be sampling peppermint hot chocolate! Also Mitsuko Siegrist of Tsuchikara Pottery will be selling her wares (she is the ceramicist behind all our cups and plates).

Recycled Glassworks, 231 Cortland, I’m also going to be at Pinhole for the stroll

Sandy Owens Massage & Healing, Gift certificates, discounts and other surprises!

State Farm Insurance, 399 Cortland – Serving hot apple cider and holiday cookies

Succulence, 402 Cortland – 15% discount on all store inventory, plus snacks and beverages, with music by JD Limelight.


In Praise of Musical Friday Nights at Charlie’s Cafe



Charlie’s Cafe on the corner of Folsom and Precita on the west end of Precita Park is a neighborhood institution. Normally it’s a laid-back daytime coffee shop and deli, but on Friday nights Charlie stays open late to host live music.

Tonight, Friday, December 2, Charlie’s will play host to the Trance Mission Duo, a musical collaboration by Beth Custer and Steven Kerrit.

Neighbor Mary is a Friday Night regular at Charlie’s, and she shared this summary of the scene:

It’s becoming a tradition: For years when Charlie’s, the cafe on Folsom and Precita, holds musical events, neighbors come in droves, steam up the windows, crowd the doorway, spill out onto the corner, and peer into the windows if they can’t get in.

The warmth of Charlie’s Cafe brings a special sense ofbelonging to all of us in these dismal post election days. It’s an exceedingly bright spot on the dark north side of the hill.

The lights are bright food is hot, the music is from nieghbors who show off mighty talent. Yes, Paul Griffiths and Beth Custer, neighbors you have greeted over the years, or just know by face (or by dog) have hefty portfolios of music behind them and are well known original talents. You will be amazed.

Children abound and bound around, and there’s plenty of crayons to color with) as yummy plates of Steak Tacos pass under your nose.

You can come fill up on food at the friendliest place in town and hang with your neighbor friends.

Or you can stay home and watch the news.

Wednesday: Follow-Up Meeting About Gang Violence Near North Bernal


On Wednesday evening, Nov. 30, there will be a follow-up to the  October community meeting about the recent wave of gang violence centered around the Bernal Dwellings housing development — a wave that most recently included a Nov. 14 shooting on Harrison near Cesar Chavez.

The Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center’s meeting announcement says:

Come Join Us for an SFPD Update on Violent Crime in and near Bernal

The Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center and neighbors have organized a follow-up meeting to receive updates on the Precita Park and Bernal Dwellings area shootings, including the November 14 incident.

SFPD’s Gang Task Force members, along with Ingleside Station and Mission Station representatives, will be in attendance.

>> To help keep the meeting to an hour, please submit questions in advance to

Date: Wednesday, 11/30/2016
Time: 7 to 8 pm
Location: Leonard Flynn Elementary
Harrison @ Cesar Chavez (cafeteria)
(Please enter from Harrison side of school through schoolyard).

PHOTO: Police on the scene of a gang-related shooting at Precita Park, October 8, 2016. By Telstar Logistics

Wednesday: A Potluck to Investigate Bernal History Mysteries

Vicky Walker invites you to a meeting of the Bernal Heights History Project happening  Wednesday evening, November 16 at the library on Cortland.

Vicky says:.

We don’t meet in December, so this is our last get-together of 2016. We’ve put together a slideshow of some of our recent photo acquisitions, some of which are part of the Bernal Mystery Project. Help us figure out what we’re seeing in the photos!

Our last meeting of the year is also a potluck. Bring snacks, leftover Halloween candy, and whatever you’d like to share — and we’ll talk about our plans for 2017. We recently wrote a Bernalwood article about the Sports Center fire, and we have lots more research going on that we’d love to share with you.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. sharp in the downstairs meeting room at the Bernal branch library (500 Cortland at Anderson); turn left at the bottom of the stairs or out of the elevator. As always, it is free and open to all.

Wed, November 167 pm
Bernal Heights Library Community Room

PHOTO: Matchbooks from former Bernal Heights watering holes, courtesy of Bernal Heights History Project

Bernal Monsters of All Ages Welcome on Cortland for Halloween


Neighbor Darcy from the fabulous Heartfelt store invites all Bernalese and Junior Bernalese to come stroll and be costumed  for Halloween on Cortland Avenue, this Monday, October 31.

Neighbor Darcy says:

Halloween seems extra special on Cortland this year, because Fiesta on the Hill is taking a break to regroup.

Halloween is a traditional night for all of us in the neighborhood to get together and show off our creative side, or just put on a hat or mask and collect a few sweets. Trick or treating for the wee ones begins around 5 o’clock.

Please advise your kids:

  • Cortland Avenue is NOT closed. Do not cross in the middle of the block. Please use crosswalks.
  • Trick or treat with a group. Kids often go to Heartfelt if they are lost and we call their folks.
  • We have asked for extra SFPD officers that night from Ingleside.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and only go up to homes with outdoor lights on.
  • Have fun!

PS: As you stroll on Monday, please share photos of your favorite costumes with us! Send them to bernalwood *at* Thanks!

PHOTO: Goldilocks and the 3 Bears on Cortland Ave, 2013

Boo! You’re Invited to Dr. Rick’s Fabulous “Rebel Yell” Halloween Party on Saturday


Fear not, Bernal Heights goblins. Dr. Rick’s annual Halloween party at the Farmhouse Mansion is happening again this year, on Saturday, October 29 at the fabulous Farmhouse Mansion in Bernal Heights. Dr. Rick shares all the details:

Hi Everybody,

it’s that time of year again. And I cast my vote for… Scary!

This year’s “Rebel Hell” Halloween is patriotic-themed explosion of talent and delights.

Six bands, fire dancers, lasers, bag-pipes, tarot card reader, film festival, poetry slam, catered delicacies, full host bar, and much more. See attached for more info.

This is a benefit is for three organizations: ZSFG Hospital Vol Rehab Programs, AgeSong/Pacific Institute for elderly and disabled, and SFSMILES.

PLEASE bring a bag of adult clothes for donation.

The hospital especially needs… everything. Our clothing supply is very low.

Sat. Oct. 29th
6pm till ?
at the Farmhouse Mansion, Gardens, and Unofficial Polling Place
3340 Folsom Street, SF CA

$20 per person minimum donation, or half-price if you bring a bag of adult clothes.

See all you patriots at the rebellion soon,

Dr. Rick