David Bowie Remembered During Renegade Bernal Hill Memorial Singalong

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

Tuesday: Go See Neighbor Dan the Automator in “Got a Girl” at Great American

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We all know that everyone who lives in Bernal Heights is a rockstar. So you may already know that music producer Dan Nakamura — aka Dan The Automator — is a Bernal resident too. Neighbor Dan is well-known 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 most recent collaboration is a retro-chic project called Got a Girl that he created with actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

I really really enjoyed the album — so much so that all the 0s and 1s on my streaming audio player got glitchy from nonstop listening. Now, tomorrow night, Tuesday September 22, you can go see Neighbor Dan perform with Got a Girl at the Great American Music Hall.  He tells Bernalwood:

I’m very excited to bring out Got a Girl to San Francisco. It’s been a project that I am super proud of, and I hope people enjoy it as well. It was all recorded and mixed in Bernal Heights, so I’m extra glad to see it on Bernalwood.

Please come out and see us on Tuesday the 22nd if you have the time.

Its homegrown! It’s locavore! It’s sultry and sexy like Paris in the rain, but it was born and raised right here in Bernal Heights.  Got a Girl is all that, and tickets are right here.

Here’s a rather confusing third-eye fetish video from Got a Girl, and don’t miss the super-extra-bonus photos Neighbor Dan shared with us below:

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PHOTOS: Courtesy of Dan the Automator

Piano Reappears Atop Bernal Hill, and The Rest Was Magic

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Hooray! Once again, a piano reappeared on Bernal Hill yesterday…  and the rest was just music and magic.

Listen:

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A video posted by Jen (@tuasomeblossom) on

And of course, the fun continued as the sun went down:

PHOTO: Top, Vicky.se