Bernal Heights Mourns Ralph Carney, Celebrated Musician and Former Neighbor

Ralph Carney in 2010. (Creative Commons photo by Ralph Carney)

Bernalwood is sad to share news that former Bernal neighbor Ralph Carney has died. He was 61.

A career musician whose primary instruments were the saxophone and clarinet, Carney’s many collaborations included work with the B-52s, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, The Waitresses, and Galaxie 500. More recently, he’d worked with the Kronos Quartet, St. Vincent, Sun Ra, and many others. A documentary about Carney’s career has been in the works for several years.

On Saturday Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, Ralph Carney’s nephew, posted this tribute on Twitter:

For many years Carney was also a resident of Bennington Street in Bernal Heights. He moved to Portland, Oregon in 2015, but family and many of his friends still live in Bernal.

Bernal Neighbor Ken Shelf shared these memories of his friendship with Ralph Carney:

I’m pretty broken up about Ralph. He lived on Bennington until about 2 years ago. At that point, he and his wife had separated and he moved to Portland with his partner. His wife and his daughter Hedda still are here in the neighborhood.

He was a real larger than life type of guy, but super modest and quiet. He really let his music tell his story. He was dedicated to music in its totality. He was known to play 5, 6 sometimes 7 gigs in a week. He played with a huge variety of musicians.

He had his own projects, and he played with some huge bands, like They Might Be Giants, Tom Waits, Jonathan Richman and the B-52’s, and he played with tons of smaller local bands, including my old band The Dont’s, for whom he provided horns and wind instruments on two albums, and played many gigs with us. He also played weddings, bar mitzvahs, Strolls on Cortland Avenue, and sat in with jazz combos, open mics, blues bands and pretty much whoever wanted to rock out.

There is a joke in the SF music scene that Ralph has played on about half the albums that have been released during his time living here. For me, just about every musician I know has a connection to Ralph, whether that means playing with him, or sharing a bill with him, or just talking shop.

Ralph always had a nice word for other musicians. He wasn’t at all about trying to compete. He also was a strong voice advocating for musicians to get paid fairly. On top of everything else, he was a madman on stage, frequently playing multiple instruments at once sometimes while lying down on his back and just totally freaking out. He never held back while performing, emptying the tank every time. It was incredibly inspiring playing music with him, because he made you feel like going totally crazy yourself, just to keep up with his energy.

I didn’t know him super well, but I was always psyched to stand on the corner and chat about life and music and life in Bernal. I was sad when he moved to Portland, though we still shared many text chats and stayed connected to each other. I have a new music project right now and in the back of my head I’d been excited to send him some tracks to collaborate on. It is such a total bummer that Ralph passed. I really loved Ralph, and I will miss him greatly.

There’s So Much Music at Charlie’s Cafe This Weekend

The City Buds 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. Yet apart from the cozy daytime vibe and tasty humus, Charlies’s has also become known as North Bernal’s premier site for live music.

This weekend, Charlie’s will be particularly musical, with acts performing on both Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

On Friday evening, Dec. 15 at 7:30, Charlie’s Cafe plays host to Maurice Tani and Mike Anderson:

Charlie’s Cafe is proud to have Maurice Tani and Mike Anderson return to our Friday Night music series.

Like all great songwriters/storytellers, Maurice uses humor, pathos, and metaphor (he loves that word!) to spin tales of sometimes heroic, sometimes conniving, seductive and/or hapless characters. Characters deep in the throes of urban/country angst, unrequited love, love affairs gone wrong—in a nutshell—country noir.

A master of clever lyrics and gorgeous melodies that make for ear-worms almost impossible to dismiss, Maurice’s warm powerful voice animates the songs into a kind of technicolor experience’. Doors 7pm Music 7:30pm $10

Then, on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 16 from noon to 2 pm, Charlie’s Cafe will play host to The City Buds:

Elisa M Welch and Jim McLaren are two East Coast transplants who arrived separately in the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid 1980s. They met ten years ago on San Francisco’s vibrant singer-songwriter open-mic scene and have been making various kinds of trouble together ever since. They often perform with the garden-rock band, The Buds, delighting audiences of all ages and whipping up toddler moshpits at farmers markets all over the Bay Area.

Jim plays acoustic guitar and harmonica, and as a singer he’s known as a virtual encyclopedia of Dylan. He plays lots of other folk rock favorites, too, and he and his rock-solid rhythm guitar were a mainstay on the streets of North Beach for many years.

Elisa has a classical music degree, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of her playing. She used to play just about any instrument she could lay her hands on, but these days she has whittled it down to keyboard and pennywhistle, tho not at the same time. People always tell her she has an amazing voice, and she’s inclined to believe them.

Saturday Morning: Join the Party to Clean Up Precita Park

PrecitaParkcleanup

As you’ve probably noticed, Precita Park is one of the most charming and vibrant parks in all of San Francisco.

It’s a beautiful place, in no small part because of all the hard work Neighbor Demece Garepis puts into it under the auspices of Precita Valley Neighbors, the volunteer group she  leads, in collaboration with the dedicated staff at the City’s Rec and Parks Department.

Tomorrow morning, Saturday, Dec. 16 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, PVN is organizing a neighborly Precita Park cleanup, and it’s a great opportunity to give the park some of your love. Neighbor Demece says:

We’re having a Precita Park Clean-Up on Saturday morning, Dec. 16.

Meet your neighbors! Join us to prune and remove debris from our Monarch Butterfly Garden along the Children’s Playground. We’ll also sift sand in the Children’s Playground.

Just bring yourselves! Our Park Gardener and Volunteer Captain Ryan will lead the way! We will supply tools, conversation, and fun! Meet us at the big green Rec and Parks Dept. truck that will be in Precita Park.

Good Morning, Bernal Heights

Good morning, Bernal Heights! It’s a lovely almost-winter morning here, as verified by resident Bernal-watcher (and early-riser) Christopher Baker, who lives in Noe Valley.

The photo he shared with us this morning is rather gorgeous, so all Bernalese are encouraged to keep this image in mind as you make your way through the day.

Thank you, Christopher!

Fund Created to Help Bernal Neighbor After Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Bernal neighbors Fran Maffeo and Even Lammers, in a recent photograph

It’s been a little more than a week since Bernal neighbor Even Lammers died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his Moutrie Street home. In the meantime, Even’s surviving partner, Fran Maffeo, must now carry on without her companion of the last 40 years.

Neighbor Deborah used to live next door to Fran and Even, and she’s spreading the word about a crowdfunding campaign underway to help Fran navigate this difficult time. Deborah tells Bernalwood:

There’s now a Go Fund Me page for Fran Maffeo, the surviving victim of last week’s carbon monoxide poisoning on Moultrie.

Fran is a senior neighbor of ours with limited resources and no surviving family.

Fran and Even’s former next-door neighbor Jennifer set up the page “to pay for a simple service for Even and to ensure that Fran has a safe home to live in for her last years.”

Additional details are on the GoFundMe page; Bernal neighbors who are so inclined are encouraged to contribute to the effort.

Friday: Meet SFPD Capt. Jack Hart at “Coffee With a Cop”

A SFPD officer meeting with Bernal neighbors at Charlie’s Cafe in 2011.

Neighbor Sarah, Bernal’s intrepid liaison with the SFPD, shares details about a “Coffee with a Cop” event happening on Friday morning, Dec. 15, at Charlie’s Cafe at 3202 Folsom, on the western end of Precita Park.

Neighbor Sarah says:

Please join SFPD Ingleside Station Captain Jack Hart and Ingleside officers for their monthly Coffee with a Cop event – this will take place on Friday, Dec. 15, from 7:30-9:30am.

This month’s event has several attractive features for Bernal residents, including:

 

  1. The location: Charlie’s Deli Cafe, 3202 Folsom at Precita,
  2. The theme: Ugly Christmas Sweaters (wear yours; I’ve been assured Capt Hart will wear his)
  3. The format: meet cops in a casual setting, ask questions, and/or alert them to public safety issues in the neighborhood.
Hope to see you there!

TONIGHT: Come to the Bernal Library’s Holiday Celebration

Tonight, Wednesday Dec. 13 starting at 6 pm, the fabulous Bernal Heights Library at 500 Cortland will host its seasonally festive Holiday Winter Celebration… and Bernalese of all ages are invited to attend.

Bernal branch library manager Valerie Reichert tells Bernalwood:

It’s that time again! Please join us for our annual Winter Holiday Celebration, Wednesday, December 13, 6-9pm.

The Bernal Jazz Quintet will put us in the mood with a seasonal selection. There will be crafts for all ages, a family movie and refreshments.

TONIGHT: Eat, Drink, Be Merry During the Mission-Bernal Merchants Holiday Walk

As you know, included among our many blessings here in the Dominion of Bernalwood are two terrific commercial districts; each of which now plays host to its own holiday celebration.

TONIGHT, Friday, Dec. 8 from 6-9 pm, the fabulous merchants, chefs, and barkeeps along the La Lengua stretch of Mission Street will hold the glamorous 2017 Mission Bernal Holiday Walk.

Neighbor Eden from Secession Art & Design tells us:

The Mission Bernal Merchants Association is excited to invite San Francisco to explore the vibrant Mission Bernal small business community on Friday December 8th, from 6pm to 9pm.

The numerous locally owned restaurants, bars, galleries, coffee shops, and other businesses that line Mission Street from Cesar Chavez Street to Randall Street—along with businesses on adjacent side streets such as 29th Street—will open their doors and put out their welcome mats to the city at large, in a neighborhood celebration aimed at encouraging neighbors and visitors alike to peruse their wares, get to know local business owners, and sample the neighborhood’s diverse flavors.

Emerging and legacy businesses alike would like to welcome you to our festive home.Our neighborhood is buzzing with love, light, and festivities. Some highlights from Cesar Chavez to Randell include:

  • Selfie on a motorcycle and art show Eagle Rider 3146 Mission
  • Toy drive and mulled wine at El Rio 3158 Mission
  • $2 off Local brews & live music: Panique gypsy jazz at Old Bus Tavern 3193 Mission. Rachel’s Fig And Honey Saison may become your new favorite
  • Hot apple brandy & live music. Wayne De La Cruz and Ray Scott at
    Royal Cuckoo 3202 Mission
  • Deviled Eggs and sparkly wine at Blue Plate 3218 Mission
  • Art fundraiser & holiday party at Secession Art & Design 3235 Mission
  • The owner is spinnin’ records playing 70’s, 80’s & 90’s Perfect bar for a beer and a shot at Knockout 3223 Mission
  • Arroz Con Leche at Sabor De San Miguel 3263 Mission
  • 2 for 1 ice-cream cones at Mitchell’s Ice Cream 688 San Jose Ave Try the eggnog, peppermint candy, cinnamon snap, or ginger spice to get you holiday happy.
  • Hot apple cider and cookies in front of our store. All non medicated, of course! 😉 Harvest 33 29th St
  • Mini hot chocolates and cookies at Cafe Seventy8 78 29th St
  • Special menu this Friday night during the Mission Bernal Holiday walk featuring Caldo Verde soup w/sweet bread rolls and Portuguese ports, beers and wines and more! Cafe St. Jorge 3438 Mission
  • Spiced Toddy at Old Devil Moon 3472 Mission

PHOTO: Top, by Telstar Logistics

Old Devil Moon Launches Weekend Brunch Service

Old Devil Moon is already known for the tasty Cajun food and cocktails they serve nightly at 3472 Mission Street, near the intersection with Cortland. Now co-owner Chris Cohen tells Bernalwood that ODM will also open early on weekends for brunch, starting this Saturday:

We’re excited to announce we’re launching Saturday and Sunday brunch at Old Devil Moon beginning this coming weekend, Dec 9th and 10th!

We’re calling it Black Magic Brunch, and so far the reactions to the dishes and drinks during our word-of-mouth soft opening test run have been overwhelmingly positive.

We can’t wait to have the public come check it out. We’re also stoked to be opening at 11AM on Saturday and Sunday from now on (rather than 5PM), so we can serve hungry and thirsty patrons all day long.

Naturally, ODM’s brunch menu leans heavily on hearty favorites such as shrimp and grits, fried chicken and biscuits, huevos rancheros, and loco moco. There’s also a tasty selection of breackfast cocktails as well. Check out the complete bunch menu right here.

PHOTO: Inside Old Devil Moon, courtesy of Old Devil Moon

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Leaves 1 Dead, 5 Stricken on Moultrie Street

One neighbor died and five others were stricken in the early morning hours today following a carbon monoxide poisoning incident at a Bernal Heights home on the 300 block of Moultrie, near the intersection of Eugenia.

ABC7 reports:

Firefighters were called to the scene at 4:26 a.m. A carbon monoxide alarm was going off in the residence. Four residents on the upper level of the home were able to get out and were treated at the scene. Two residents on the lower level of the home were impacted by the carbon monoxide. An elderly woman was taken to the hospital in serious condition. An elderly male died at the scene after firefighters tried for 45 minutes to save his life using CPR and other life-saving methods.

The last known incident of carbon monoxide poisoning in Bernal Heights happened at a home on Cortland Avenue in 2012.

Thursday: Come All Ye Bernal for the 2017 Holiday Stroll

Holiday Stroll

stroll.singers

Tens of thousands of years ago, in the time of our Bernal ancestors, a joyous community of elves lived on Bernal Hill. Each year, during the early days of the winter season, these proto-Bernalese would gather on the land we now call Cortlandia to celebrate the arrival of the season of lights.

Today, the Bernal Business Alliance carries on this ancient ritual, in the form of the glamorous Cortland Holiday Stroll. The 2017 Holiday Stroll happens this Thursday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 9 pm, and Bernalese of all ages are invited to partake of the festivities.

Neighbor Laurie from BBA tells Bernalwood:

Come one, come all, to the 8th annual Bernal Heights Holiday Stroll, this Thursday, December 7th from 6:00 – 9:00 along Cortland Avenue!

Stores will be open to help you with your local holiday shopping, and they’ll be offering treats and libations along the way. There will also be live music and caroling to add to the festivities.

The Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center at 513 Cortland, will be taking photos with Santa and strollers of all ages, for a recommended donation of $5.00. They are also collecting new, unwrapped toys for their annual toy drive until December 15th, so buy a little extra to give back this season.

Happy holidays, and see you there!

Check out the BBA website for more detail on participating merchants and their extra-special Stroll festivities.

XXL Supermoon Looked Supercool From Bernal Heights

Did you notice the moon last night? It looked rather XXL in last night’s clear skies — so much so that you might have been tempted to say, “That’s no moon… it’s a space station!” But no, it was really just the moon,  at the apogee of its orbit around the Earth, creating a visual effect known as a supermoon.

The XXL effect was still in place as the sun rose this morning, when Neighbor Steve snapped this wonderful photo of the moon alongside Sutro Tower. Lovely!

Crowdfunding Underway to Help Bernal Family Left Homeless After Gas Explosion

The Godoy family lost their home after Monday’s gas explosion. (Photo: via  GoFundMe)

This story was written by Fiona Lee from Hoodline.

A Bernal Heights family is now homeless after a Monday morning gas explosion tore through their home.

The Godoy family—Carlos, 70, Carmen, 72, and their 43-year-old son Carlos, who is deaf—lost all of their belongings.

The explosion also wrecked their only car, which was used for doctor appointments and transportation to work.

The younger Carlos was home when the explosion occurred, but escaped uninjured after it blew out the windows.

“I think what happened in my house, the roof was very bad. Everything is coming down,” Carmen told ABC7 when she returned to the wreckage of her home.

Through the American Red Cross, the family is housed in a motel until Monday. The charity also provided the family with money for incidentals.

The family is also raising funds through GoFundMe. As of press time, they have raised $3,300 out of their $6,000 goal.

PG&E is still investigating the cause of the gas leak and the subsequent explosion.