Action! The 2016 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Starts on Cortland TONIGHT

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It’s that red carpet time of year, Citizens of Bernalwood. The 2016 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival gets underway TONIGHT!

Yes, it’s the time of year when the streets of Bernal Heights are paved with red carpets, as celebrities jet in to see and be seen during the world-famous Bernal Heights Outdoor Film Festival.

Check out the complete 2016 BHOC schedule for details, but here’s an overview of the events:

Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema announces its 2016 schedule of short films and videos for four nights of free screenings in a wide array of indoor and outdoor settings. The line-up features a broad selection of mini-docs, narratives, animation and comedy produced by established, emerging and young filmmakers. Live music kicks off most evenings with performances by local musicians. Here’s the 2016 Schedule:

Friday, 9/9, 7:00 pm., Film Crawl on Cortland Avenue
from Bennington to Ellsworth Street:

  • Progressive Grounds, 400 Cortland, films at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 pm
  • Bernal Star 410 Cortland, films at 8:00 and 9:00 pm
  • Kingman Young Photography, 416 Cortland, films at 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00 pm
  • Bernal Public Library, 500 Cortland, films at 7:00 and 8:00pm
  • Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland, films at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 pm
  • Inclusions Gallery, 627 Cortland, films at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 pm

Check the schedule for details on the films in Friday’s lineup

Saturday, 9/10, 6:30 pm: Under the Stars. Precita Park
Folsom Street and Precita Avenue. Music by Latin HEAT. Here’s the Saturday film lineup

Thursday, 9/29, 7:00 pm: Best of Bernal. Bernal Branch Library
500 Cortland Avenue. Music TBA, with encore screening of the three award-winning films: Best of Bernal, Spirit of Bernal, and Good Life Audience awards

For more information, visit bhoutdoorcine.org.

All venues are FREE. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets, low-back lawn chairs and warm clothing for outdoor venues.

Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema gratefully acknowledges its sponsors: Zephyr Real Estate-Noe Valley, San Francisco Arts Commission, Architect Mason Kirby, Good Life Grocery, Keller Williams Realty, Paragon Real Estate Group, Vanguard Properties, Fit Local Fit, PSAV Presentation Services.

PHOTO: Top, BHOC in Precita Park, 2013, by Telstar Logistics

Saturday: Rock the Guac at the 5th Annual Guacamole Competition!

2015 Guac-Off Champion Elle "Monster Guac" Garcia clutches her victory trophy

2015 Champion Elle “Monster Guac” Garcia clutches the coveted Guacamole Glory Trophy

It’s that very special time of year for guacamole fans in Bernal Heights.

Once again, the annual Guac-Off guacamole competition is coming this weekend. It’s free, and it’s happening on Saturday, September 10 beginning a 1 pm at the glamorous Farmhouse Mansion, at 3340 Folsom near the top of the hill at Ripley.  That means if you you want to compete, there are a few days remaining for you to beg your abuela for her secret recipe.

Here are all the guactastic details, courtesy of guacMC Luke:

Look, 2016 is a complicated time, but in a complicated world eating guacamole with your friends and neighbors is the best of all simple pleasures. As the saying goes, San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality, so for one delightfully warm Indian Summer afternoon we invite you to forget all the complications of 2016 and bask in the fact that you are not surrounded by reality, you are surrounded by avocados. Lots of avocados.

So join us on Saturday, September 10th, 2016 at 1pm at The Farmhouse Mansion for the 5th Annual Indian Summer Guac-off!

  1. Your guacamole must use at least 7 avocados.
  2. If you don’t bring a guacamole, you’re encouraged to bring beer.
  3. No matter what you decide to bring, bring your friends!
  4. We’ll provide the chips, the Guacamole Glory Trophy, and the mystery prizes.

If you’re thinking about coming we’d love for you to check out guacamole.expert (our new site!) and take 15 seconds (seriously, that’s all it takes) to fill out our totally non-committal sign-up form so we can know how many pounds of chips we need to buy.

If you’re reading this it means you understand the sacred power and magic of spending a warm afternoon with friends, neighbors, cute babies, cuter dogs and maybe even the mailman. It means that you know the delight of being shaded by lush trees in the garden of a large mansion while being surrounded by whimsical interpretations of the holy avocado.

So use this information carefully — and by use it carefully we mean tell anyone you’d like.

Guacamolingly,
Chris, Luke & Josh

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Ingleside SFPD Officers Issued New Body Cameras

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Yesterday, officers from the San Francisco Police Department’s Ingleside Station — the precinct that covers Bernal Heights — were issued wearable body-cameras for the first time.  The hope is that body cameras will help improve police accountability by providing additional information about what happens during interactions between SFPD officers and members of the public.

Vivian Ho from the San Francisco Chronicle was at Ingleside Station as the body cameras were distributed. She reports:

On Thursday, instructors from Taser International, the company that produces the Axon cameras, passed out the small, black squares that will be clipped on the chests of officers, sergeants and lieutenants. The officers eyed them warily.

Officer Kyle Wren, one of about 60 officers and sergeants who volunteered to receive the device early and assist in training, said initial hesitation is normal.

“My first week having it, you’re just aware you’re being recorded all the time,” he said. “I’ve already been used to being recorded on cell phones, but it’s on the whole time and you’re just a little bit self-conscious at first. I would say after a week on patrol, using it all the time, I got very used to it.”

Officers must double-tap the device to activate it, but like a DVR it’s always recording, so it can catch the 30 seconds before the officer turns it on, only without audio.

The camera policy, passed by the Police Commission in June, set rules for when officers must activate their devices — essentially for all public interactions except for strip searches and those involving sexual assault and child-abuse victims and confidential informants.

“The wave of the future is already here,” said Ingleside Station Capt. Joseph McFadden. “Most of the video we get is from private citizens’ cameras, but now you have the officers with body cameras on and that’s going to be able to tell the real story about exactly what went on and what the officers’ point of view was.”

IMAGE: Axon body camera photo illustration by Bernalwood

Bernal Coyote Celebrates the Poop Emoji on Bernal Rock

coyotepoopThe new poop emoji on the big North Bernal rock has generated a lot of laughs around Bernal Heights, and it looks like some neighbors are really getting into the spirit of it.

During his early morning walk today, Neighbor Rally captured this image of Neighbor Coyote paying tribute to the poop emoji from a strategic vantage point on Bernal Hill.

Turns out, the Bernal Coyote loves the poop emoji… just like us!

PHOTO: Neighbor Rally via Instagram

Old Devil Moon Beer Restaurant Now Open on Mission Street

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It took a lot longer than expected (which is what we always expect), but this week Old Devil Moon, the brand-new, beer-obsessed restaurant at 3472 Mission Street at the foot of Cortland Avenue, finally opened for business. Welcome!

As you no doubt recall, Old Devil Moon was co-founded by former La Lengua resident Chris Cohen, who lived for a time on fashionable Tiffany Street, next door to the owner of La Terrazza, the bar that was previously at 3472 Mission. The two got to talking, and the owner of La Terrazzo eventually said “I’ve actually been thinking about retiring for a couple years, I’d love to sell you my place.” Thus, the torch was honorably passed from La Terrazzo to Old Devil Moon.

So what’s Old Devil Moon all about? InsideScoop explains:

Old Devil Moon [is] the new beer-focused restaurant from Chris Cohen (founder of the SF Homebrewers Guild), along with business partners Will Marshall, Andrew Kelley, Ericka Schell and Carson Beker. (Kelley, Schell and Cohen are all certified cicerones.)

Located in the former La Terraza space on Mission Street, Old Devil Moon takes its inspiration from other local beer-focused restaurants, like Oakland’s Hog’s Apothecary and Monk’s Kettle in the Mission. However, the vibe and food for the space will be New Orleans-inspired.

The project has been in the works a couple of years and took longer than originally thought because the team ended up having to completely gut the space and rebuild from the ground up. The delay was worth it for Cohen, since it allowed the team to build out a new draft system exactly to their specifications that includes a large walk-in cooler behind the bar that can hold 19 kegs, as well as three smaller coolers to store different styles of beers at different temperatures.

In addition to the 19 draft beers, plus one hand-pump cask ale, the bar will offer about 30 easy-drinking canned beers, as well as a large selection of larger format barrel-aged imperial stouts and sour beers. Some of the breweries the bar will be showcasing include local and domestic offerings from Sante Adarius, Freewheel Brewing Co., Fieldwork, Modern Times, Almanac and Craftsman, as well as some from further afield including Rodenbach Grand Cru from Belgium and hard-to-find Switzerland brew, Samichlaus.

Apart from all the beer, Old Devil Moon also offers a list of signature cocktails, while the food menu is built around New Orleans-style favorites such as Po Boys, gumbo, and fried oysters. (Insert Pavlovian Response here.)

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Old Devil Moon opened for business on Monday night, and the place was reportedly packed. Chris Cohen from Team ODM tells Bernalwood:

There were a few moments from our opening night that meant the moon to us.

Like the guy who said, “I’ve lived in the neighborhood for decades – I’m so happy this place has an unpretentious, friendly vibe. I’ll be back.”

And the other who said, “We’ve lived in Bernal Heights for 30 years, and me and my wife are both beer lovers. I’m excited there’s a place I can go to with great beer just down the hill from my house.”

A third customer asked for help choosing some beer. Sure! Then he asked for a fortune. Sure! Two patrons told us our menu board was magic (it is!) and then sang Old Devil Moon and everyone clapped.

It felt like our vision come true: We want this to be a neighborhood place with destination-worthy beer where magic can happen. We want to get to know you, so it made us so happy to see our friends and neighbors meet. Thanks to everyone who came down the hill for a great beer, thanks for a great welcome for Old Devil Moon to the neighborhood, and if you haven’t been down yet, welcome! Come raise spirits and make some mischief with us.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Old Devil Moon

Bernal Fire Victims, Now Homeless, Reveal Support System Shortcomings

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MissionLocal carried an important story yesterday about two Bernal neighbors who were displaced by the June Cole Hardware fire, who are now homeless.

Kimberley Walley and her husband Henry Texada were living in the Graywood Hotel at the corner of Mission and 29th Street when the building was badly damaged in the fire. Since then, they’ve received several rounds of financial assistance from the City and private donors, but the couple has still had a hard time finding and staying in places to live. They’ve been kicked out of a few SROs for various behavior-related issues, and they’ve declined offers to move into shelters.

Laura Waxmann from MissionLocal writes:

Ben Amyes, the [San Francisco Human Services Agency’s] emergency response coordinator, declined to comment on the couple’s case for confidentiality reasons.

“We were working on finding SROs for all of the tenants, and I have placed everyone that I have had the ability to place,” Aymes said. “There are extenuating circumstances [regarding Walley and Texada] that I’m not able to go into.”

Walley said that she has a criminal background including a charge for assault that landed her in jail for nine months. This happened before moving into the Graywood in March, 2011. She also said she suffers from bipolar disorder and depression, but visits a therapist regularly.

Despite this history she found a room at the Graywood Hotel in 2011 through a re-entry program, NoVa, run by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in partnership with the Sheriff’s Department.

Gerald Miller, the center’s director of community based services, did not work with Walley but said that she was likely a client five years ago. Upon hearing of her plight, Miller said that mental illness and a criminal background are not reasons for keeping clients seeking SRO residencies unhoused.

“[Those] issues don’t stop anyone from getting SRO housing,” said Miller. However, other factors, such as a limited housing stock and a client’s consistent refusal to comply with the terms of the agencies attempting to house them, could be a reasons why they end up on the streets.

The whole article is an essential, gut-wrenching read, because it underscores the sad truth that while we can be pretty good at providing economic support to people in need, we’re generally really bad at managing the mental health issues that are often a root cause of homelessness.

PHOTO: Fire-damaged Graywood Hotel, August 2016 by Telstar Logistics

Exploring Pre-War Precita Park by Streetcar

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Once upon a time, in the Age of the Iron Dinosaurs, giant streetcars roamed around Precita Park in Bernal Heights.  Precita Park was the terminus for the Market Street Railway’s 36 Folsom Line, which carried passengers to and from the Ferry Building via Folsom Street between 1915 and 1945. In the magnificent aerial photos of Bernal Heights captured in 1938, the streetcar lines around Precita Park were clearly visible:

The 36 Folsom entered Bernal from Folsom on the west end of Precita Park. It then followed Precita Ave along the southern edge of the park before making a quick jog onto Alabama. The line then turned back onto Precita Ave., continuing east down the street to the intersection with Army (today’s Cesar Chavez). There was no turnaround, so for the return trip to the Ferry Building, the streetcar just reversed itself.

Today’s history geeks owe a great debt to the streetcar geeks of yesteryear, because their obsession with streetcar photography and documentation today provides us with a trove of vivid images that makes it possible to see what this part of North Bernal looked like during the early decades of the 1900s.

Take this shot for example. This is Precita at Army as it looked during the 1920s, with the intersection with York Street visible to the left. This spot is very familiar to most contemporary Bernalese, so it’s fun to check out all the detail this image has to offer:

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The most obvious thing to notice is that the divey little gas station that now sits on the triangular lot between Precita, Cesar Chavez, and Bryant used to be a rather divey little saloon:

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Amazing! Wieland Beer was a San Francisco brew, manufactured at a brewery that used to be on 2nd Street between Howard and Folsom.

Notice also the battered barber pole just to the left of the Acme Beer sign, alongside that Joad-ready truck. Behind it is the building which would later become the world-famous Sheepskin City and Battery4Prius.

At some point, of course, this bar was replaced by a gas station. For comparison’s sake, here the exact same spot, as it looked circa 1970, at the moment when Steve McQueen begins the famous car-chase scene in Bullitt:

The left side of the streetcar image provides a clear view west up Precita Avenue, with the southeast corner of Precita Park visible in the background, and ample parking available for rickety-looking motorcars:

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We’ll zoom into Precita Park in a moment. But first, here’s a reverse angle, showing the 36 Folsom at Army Street, looking to the southeast. That’s the south slope of Potrero Hill in the background:
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Google Street View confirms that the houses on that side of Precita still look pretty much the same today.

Backing up Precita, we get some terrific views of Precita Park. Here’s Alabama at Precita looking northeast. The exact year is unknown, but it looks like the early 1940s, judging from the styling of the car in background:

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The building on the corner in the right side of the image is now the fabulous Precita Park Cafe (as shown here), but back then it was… a SAFEWAY?!

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Spinning 180 degrees from about the same spot, we get the reverse view looking toward the southern edge of the park  in 1939:

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That’s the future Precita Park playground site on the right, and some very lax parking enforcement on the left. Here’s a closeup of the streetcar itself:
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Finally, there’s this amazing photo, which Bernalwood has previously explored. This is the view of the 36 Folsom tracks  from the other end of the park,  on the southwestern corner of Precita and Folsom, as it looked in 1943:

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Here’s an annotated version:

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The Palermo Bakery is now home to Precita Clean laundromat, while the Yosemite Meat Market on the corner is the location of today’s Charlie’s Cafe.

Very special thanks to our friends at Open SF History, Rick Laubscher from Market Street Railway, and Bernal Neighbor Michael Nolan for sharing the photos that made this Magical History Tour of Precita Park possible.