Play Ball! Neighbor Matt Nathanson Sang the National Anthem at Yesterday’s Giants Season Opener


Yesterday was Opening Day for the 2016 San Francisco Giants season, and Bernal neighbor and rockstar-in-residence Matt Nathanson was there to sing the national anthem. You can watch it here.

A few hours later, the Giants went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 12-6, with help from a Hunter Pence grand slam. So to recap: Neighbor Matt sang the national anthem, and the Giants crushed the Dodgers. Coincidence? Hold that thought.

Neighbor Matt got a pretty swell souvenir out of the deal:

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Neighbor Matt sang the national anthem at a Giants season opener. Historians will note he also sang it in 2010, and we all know how that turned out. Coincidence?

We think not.

PHOTO: Top, via Jason Snell. Hat Tip: kc!

Bernal Producer Co-Creates Guerrilla Homage to The Exploratorium


Bernal neighbor Ryan Avery  lives near the southern end of Peralta. He just helped complete an unauthorized video about the fabulous Exploratorium, and he wrote to Bernalwood to tell us all about it:

One of your fellow Bernal Heights residents (myself) helped produce and direct a music video immortalizing the Exploratorium. It’s a parody of “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, shot guerrilla-style in San Francisco.

I’m a local music producer who goes by the alias of Chance’s End. A good friend of mine, Jade Stone from the Noe Valley district, called me up about a month ago and explained “I want to record some lyrics I wrote. Can you help me out?” After learning the lyrics were about the Exploratorium parodying Uptown Funk, I was in 100%.

We recorded her vocals one evening, and then set to work planning on the music video. We recruited a bunch of our friends to be backup dancers (all Bay Area residents), and Jade brought her parents up from Southern California to help with filming. Then we spent a weekend shooting the video. It was a bit tricky in places without the consent of the Exploratorium (ahem), but I think it turned out pretty nicely!

Why’d we make this? I think Jade would agree with me – “Just because we felt like it.”

Enjoy the video! It’s nerdtastic fun, and we’ve waived the admission fee:

Bernal Native Carlos Santana Says the Super Bowl Needed More Local Bands


One of the best things about the conclusion of Superb Owl 50 is that we no longer have to hear all the complaining about Superb Owl 50. Yet with that said, celebrity Bernal Heights native Carlos Santana took to Facebook yesterday to grumble that there wasn’t enough local flavor at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show:

Dear NFL/CBS….I would like to take this opportunity to thank you both for including me as a part of your Super Bowl entertainment. I do feel compelled to point out to you that the Halftime Show should have included some of the local iconic bands that the World would have loved to see perform. Bands like Metallica, Steve Miller, Journey and yours truly. We would have rocked the Half Time Show and done the SF Bay Area proud. This is just an invitation for you to consider iconic bands as part of your Half Time entertainment. Real live music, real live vocals, and give the audience real live chills.

Carlos Santana

Estimados NFL/CBS….Me gustaría aprovechar esta oportunidad para agradecer a ambos que me incluyeran como parte del entretenimiento de la Super Bowl. Me siento obligado a señalar que el espectáculo del descanso del partido debería haber incluido a algunas de las icónicas bandas locales que a todo el mundo le habría encantado ver actuar. Bandas como Metallica, Steve Miller, Journey y quien les habla. Habríamos hecho estremecer el espectáculo del descanso y habríamos enorgullecido al área de SF Bay. Esto es tan solo una invitación para que consideren a las bandas icónicas como parte de su entretenimiento del descanso del partido. Música real en vivo, voz real en vivo y estremecer realmente a la audiencia en vivo.


Actually, the Superb Owl 50 halftime show would have been an excellent opportunity to stage the Mullen Reunion Tour, harkening back to the days when Santana and a few early members of Journey all lived under the same roof on Mullen Avenue.

Even better, we could have hosted one hell of a homecoming after-party in Precita Park, with Santana jamming on the little mound just west of the playground until the whole park smelled like cannabis and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Santana is right; that would have been fantastic. Let’s do it next time.

PHOTO: Carlos Santana’s Facebook profile pic

David Bowie Remembered During Renegade Bernal Hill Memorial Singalong


Something beautiful, and lovely, and enchanted, and very Bernal happened last night. At the end of a day that many Bernalese spent mourning the death of David Bowie, a Bernal neighbor hit upon the genius idea to organize a tribute: A renegade David Bowie singalong and dance party on Bernal Hill.


Bernalwood received a private communication about the idea from Neighbor Sam via the red phone late Monday afternoon:

Hey Bernalwood….wondering if you’ve heard of any memorial gathering in Bernal tonight for a little Starman sing-a-long? Was thinking top of the hill at sundown…

“Oh hell yes!” we said. By 5:30 pm Neighbor Sam had completed the arrangements. She’d procured two loudspeakers, wrangled a generator, and compiled an all-Bowie playlist. An 8 pm start-time was selected, and shortly before 6 pm, Bernalwood was authorized to begin transmitting an all-points invitation via our social media frequencies:

This was greeted almost instantly by an energetic cascade of Twitter retweets and Facebook reshares.

The result was that even though there had been just two hours of advance notice for Neighbor Sam’s renegade David Bowie memorial singalong, somewhere around 50 to 75 people come together on Bernal Hill to remember Bowie’s life and listen to his music.

It was dark on our hill, but the air was  calm and clear, and the lights of San Francisco unfurled like a twinkling Ziggy Stardust galaxy below. Here’s a sampler of the scene; a video montage of three Bowie songs, as experienced by a very lucky group of neighbors on Bernal Hill last night:

The tribute lasted for about an hour and a half, and there were many smiles and hugs, and then it was over.

Immense thanks go out to Neighbor Sam, who provided the inspiration and the infrastructure to make this magical, musical Bernal Bowie memorial happen. Somewhere in space, we know David Bowie was smiling.

PHOTOS and VIDEO: Telstar Logistics

New Book Celebrates the Visual Career of Neighbor Michael Gillette




When we last heard from Bernal neighbor Michael Gillette, he had just completed a trippy new video for My Morning Jacket that showcased his formidable skills as an artist and animator. At the time, however Bernalwood hadn’t realized that Neighbor Michael’s output is so extensive, so amazingly creative, and so closely tied to the music industry.

Now Neighbor Michael the focus of a gorgeous new book called Drawn in Stereo that’s a visual greatest-hits collection of his work:

Filled with selections from his entire career, Drawn in Stereo shares an eclectic display of artistic approaches, including gallery shows, sketchbooks, music video animation stills, and magazine contributions for the likes of; Spin, MOJO, Q, & the New Yorker.

Projects showcased include work for the Beastie Boys, Paul McCartney, MGMT, & Beck—among many others— Drawn in Stereo highlights Gillette’s ability to channel music into compelling visual art.

Featuring a foreword by Fred Deakin and an interview by Elastica’s Justine Frischmann, Drawn in Stereo reveals an inspired life, ranging from Britpop London and rooming with the Aphex Twin, to fifteen years of creativity in San Francisco.

In a message to Bernalwood, Neighbor Michael also shared these local notes:

About half of my career has been spent on Lundys, and I’d guess about 90% of the work in the book was made here.


The book is a big deal for me as it gathers together work I’ve created over the the last 25 years. The focus is on music, as this has been a constant inspiration, and I’ve made a lot of imagery in service of that industry for folks such as Beck & The Beastie Boys to Paul McCartney and My Morning Jacket.

Also, a historical footnote: As a kid I loved Rick Griffin, and his work really helped set the course of my life. I found out not long ago, his purple patch designing Fillmore posters and the like took place on Elsie Street!

So much gorgeousness. Want a copy of Neighbor Michael’s sexxxy new book — for you, or for that special locavore on Santa’s list?  Get it right here.

This Weekend’s Treasure Island Music Festival Has Roots in Bernal Heights


The Treasure Island Music Festival has become one of the premier music events in San Francisco, and the 2015 edition happens this weekend. The festival happens on (… wait for it…) Treasure Island,  but it was co-created in Bernal Heights by Neighbor Jordan Kurland, the glamorous owner of Zeitgeist Artist Management and a co-founder of the NoisePop Festival.

Bernalwood asked Neighbor Jordan how that Bernal connection has shaped the Treasure Island Music Festival:

I like to say that Treasure Island is a festival for people who think they don’t like music festivals. With about 18,000 attendees and 13 artists per day, we’re a boutique in the land of mega-festivals. Much like Bernal Heights, we cater to an audience that tends to be more discerning in their tastes. We, like Bernalites, enjoy being a bit of a secret, we foster a nice community spirit, and we appreciate a stunning view. The festivities take place on the West Lawn of Treasure Island which offers bridge to bridge views of the Bay and San Francisco skyline. Sound familiar?

The format of Treasure Island has stayed very much intact since we founded it in 2007: Two stages of music and no overlapping sets, so attendees can see each and every note of each and every artist. Saturday is dance oriented and Sunday is an Indie Rock love-in. Acts performing this year include The National, Deadmaus, FKA Twigs, Father John Misty, Run the Jewels, Chvrches, and the world premier of Big Grams which is a collaboration between Big Boi of Outkast and Phantogram.

In addition to amazing performers, we also offer local food vendors and clothing designers, onsite art installations and a silent disco. Two new things we’re incredibly excited about this year are a vinyl record store and a comedy tent curated in collaboration with our friends at Funny or Die.

The festival, especially on Sunday, is quite family friendly. My son is living proof; this will be his 8th straight year in attendance. His favorite part is the Ferris Wheel, which provides the best view of our beloved city this side of Bernal Heights.

Get your tickets to the 2015 Treasure Island Music Festival  right here.

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PHOTO: Neighbor Jordan at Treasure Island

Neighbor Matt Nathanson Released a New Album Today


Oh hey. If you need something new for your earholes over the weekend, Neighbor Matt Nathanson, Bernal’s rockstar in residence, released a new album today. It’s called Show Me Your Fangs.

We have reason to believe he’s kind of excited about it:

You can listen to Show Me Your Fangs on Spotify, or Rdio, or via the iTunes Store.

Neighbor Matt says “Bill Murray” is one of his favorite tracks from the new album, so enjoy it, with matching eye candy, right here:

PHOTO: Neighbor Matt on Instagram