Cardboard Animal Parade Brings Purposeful Pointlessness to Precita Park

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The Cardboard Animal Parade that invaded Precita Park on Saturday evening turned out to be the perfect event, at the perfect time, in the perfect spirit to remind many Bernalese who we really are. As a dozen or so cardboard creatures milled about near the benches in front of HIllside Supper Club, a ragtag marching band tuned up to play, and Bernal neighbors of all ages came out to enjoy the ad hoc festivities.

Your Bernalwood editor tracked down Paul, one of the artists who helped coordinate the parade. Paul confessed that he’d had some anxiety about organizing something so frivolous at a time when the state of the world seems so grim, but in the end, he said, it seemed like the right thing to do.

He was right. The willfully apolitical Cardboard Animal Parade provided a much-needed reminder that we’re not alone, and we’ll all get through this together.

Bernalwood shared a live video broadcast just as the parade was getting underway, and we witnessed the the opening ceremonies, the band, and the emergence of the Parade Butterfly from his crumpled cardboard cocoon. If you couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed:

Special thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. It was wonderful!

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Saturday Eve: Ad Hoc Cardboard Animal Parade Starts in Precita Park

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Local artists are putting together an ad hoc parade that will gather in Precita Park on Saturday evening, February 4, at 7 pm.

Naturally, it will be a Cardboard Animal Parade, and from Precita Park the procession will make its way to Dolores Park starting at about 8 pm. Kids, pets, and cardboard creatures of any species are welcome. Artist Paul tells Bernalwood:

This is a collaboration between a few people, partly because we had a large amount of cardboard without a purpose. I have hosted a few build days at my studio and worked on several pieces, so now we want to invite people to bring out anything they make.

We’ve also put a call out to some musician friends, so we expect to have at least one marching band. Since we started working I saw this video of a group called “Cardboardia” doing similar stuff on a large scale, and I like it very much.

Here are the details:

We’re throwing a parade Feb 4 at 7 PM!
Wanna build stuff? Wanna march?

We’re going to a have a parade.
One with large cardboard animal floats, that we are going to make.
We could have a reason for this but, really, there isn’t one. (We know there are a lot of important social / political actions going on. This very explicitly isn’t one of them.)

We are pulling inspiration from the spirit of Mardi Gras Krewe’s – lightly organized with a strong emphasis on fun. Our unifying theme: Animals.

We intend to meet up at 7pm and start moving sometime around 8pm, and our planned route winds through the Mission to the Castro.

PHOTOS Courtesy of the 2017 Cardboard Animal Parade

Chloe’s Closet Adds New Playroom, Art Classes, Spanish Storytime

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As you may recall, the fabulous Chloe’s Closet kids clothing consignment store at 451 Cortland has been struggling of late. Now, after a bit of downsizing, the store has transformed some of its former office space into a play zone and classroom.

In a recent email to customers, Chloe’s Closet said:

UPDATE for Chloe’s Bernal Heights
As we mentioned in our previous email, we have downsized our Bernal Heights location in order to enable us to save on overhead. We have turned our “Toy” side into our consignment intake and pricing station. This has allowed us to reduce our payroll and has been very helpful toward efforts to keep our Cortland Avenue location above water. Unfortunately sales have continued to soften at both our San Francisco locations and it looks like 2017 may continue the trend of declining sales for a 4th consecutive year. Our Irving Street location is off to a rough start and has already had a very steep drop in sales for January compared to previous years, putting us in an even more difficult position. We just can’t seem to catch a break. The next few months should give us an idea of whether we can afford to continue with two locations in San Francisco. In the meantime, we are putting forth a strong last-ditch effort and if we do have to go, we will go out swinging.

Introducing Chloe’s Playroom!
The downsize of our Bernal Heights Toy side freed up our old pricing office which was promptly turned into an adorable playroom by several of our enterprising employees. (Shout out to Emily, Keyko and Alex for the amazing handpainted mural and wall art!) Chloe’s Playroom includes a train table, baby play / hang out corner, brand new play kitchen, and dollhouse. Also included are a dress up section, and a “Montessori” play area with bins of rotating activities (not pictured above.)

Shop & Play
As a thank you for shopping with us, customers are welcome to take advantage of the Playroom. In exchange we simply ask that customers please support the business that day by making a purchase of at least $5 per child. We also ask that customers sign off on our Playroom safety rules on their first visit.

Rent Our Room
We are also making Chloe’s Playroom available to rent. If you need a cozy space for your Parent’s group, or to hold child/parenting related classes or meetings, please just let us know!

Join Us in the Playroom for Art & Spanish Activities!
Starting THIS WEEK we will have several drop-in Art classes as well as a weekly Spanish Story & Music time.

PHOTO: The new Chloe’s Closet playroom, via Chloe’s Closet

3300 Club Gone for Good, SRO’s Fate Uncertain, as Fire-Damaged Building Up For Sale

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The 3300 Club has operated at 3300 Mission Street, on the corner of Mission Street and 29th, since 1956. It’s been closed since last June, when a devastating fire destroyed the building next door and displaced the 50+ residents of the Graywood Hotel SRO who lived upstairs. The owners of the 3300 Club were determined to rebuild, but now we learn that the classic watering hole probably isn’t coming back because the whole building has been offered for sale.

In a public post on Facebook, Bernal neighbor and 3300 Club co-owner Shukry Lama writes:

3300 Mission Street is now up for sale. The landlords, who had a sit down meeting with us and talked about their plans to rebuild, and offer us a new lease with potentially more space, failed to let us know about this. My mom got to find out when a reporter called and asked about it. Imagine her surprise.

As much as I’d like to keep hoping that we’ll get a lease in that location, I think we all know it would never be the same. Yea, we could try and move to a new location, but the limits on moving a liquor license, the amount of protests you would get from opening a new bar, the amount of capital you would need, the time and effort that none of us have left, it’s just too much. We had such high hopes for a return, bringing our bar back to the neighborhood where we had been a staple for 60 years, but there is no loyalty in the real estate industry.

Dipak Patel, the current property owner, purchased the building for $1.5 million in 2004. MissionLocal spoke to Patel, who adds:

Before the fire struck, Patel was in the process of remodeling the hotel rooms, had done work to the hotel’s hallways and heating system, and had installed sprinklers which ultimately saved the building from more damage, he said.

“We spent about $10,000 a room before fire, so about $200,000 total, and we did electrical upgrades,” he said. “Whatever happens to the building, it will be a 100 percent upgrade.”

Under a sale, the status of the Graywood Hotel SRO, and the rooms where its former tenants lived, also remains uncertain.

The building at 3300 Mission Street is now offered for $3.5 million.  The property listing says:

The property is currently vacated (subject to residential tenant’s rights), stripped down to studs, and in need of a complete rehab. The building consists of 6 tourist licenses and 22 SRO (previously with 2 non-conforming rooms) on the two upper levels. The ground floor previously housed two retail tenants, a bar and a restaurant, and will be delivered free of tenants. There is a full-height basement. This property presents the opportunity for a developer to reconfigure rooms to maximize square footage and income. This beautiful Bernal Heights corner property is waiting to be restored to its former glory and more!

PHOTO: The 3300 Club sign, as it looked after a fresh paint job in 2013. Photo by Burrito Justice

Bernal Filmmaker Joe Talbot Screens “American Paradise” at Sundance

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Neighbor Joe Talbot, the Bernalese filmmaker behind the much-anticipated “Last Black Man in San Francisco” feature film, took a glamorous detour from that project last weekend to premier a short film at Sundance.

Neighbor Joe’s film is called “American Paradise,” and IndieWire called it one of the “must-see shorts” at Sundance this year:

Joe Talbot’s “American Paradise” brings attention to itself by referencing Trump’s America in its official synopsis: “A desperate man in Trump’s America tries to shift his luck with the perfect crime in this story inspired by true events.”

“I think the film feels especially relevant because of what Trump’s election has brought to the forefront for people,” said Talbot. “But in truth, the actual events took place over five years ago. And what the film deals with is as old as the country itself. Even as a story, when I stumbled upon it, I felt like I had discovered some great lost folk tale. It’s drenched in all of this American symbolism, but it just feels like a bizarre campfire story. That’s part of why we chose to tell it the way we did, as a myth of sorts told by a grandfather to his grandchildren.”

James Brooks plays the weekend fisherman idly narrating the tale of an amateur criminal who is more than clueless. Talbot’s writing talent is this short’s secret weapon, and the narration Brooks provides is practically Coen Brothers-esque.

One of Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2015, San Francisco-native Talbot attended the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab with his soon-to-be-produced debut feature, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” in 2016. “To be returning to Sundance the following year with a movie feels like a dream,” said Talbot.

There are a few more details about “American Paradise” over at Filmmaker Magazine.

Big, glittery, red-carpet congrats to Neighbor Joe and his entire creative team. You can keep up with their work by following “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” on Facebook.

PHOTO: “American Paradise screening at Sundance, via the The Last Black Man in San Francisco Facebook page.

Thursday: SFPD Public Safety Meeting on Shootings Around Bernal Dwellings

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The uptick in gun-related crime in the area around the Bernal Dwellings public housing complex on Cesar Chavez continues.

Most recently, there was a shooting at 10 pm on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 26th and Treat that left two men injured, as well as a barrage of gunfire at 26th and South Van Ness at 9:30 pm last Friday, Jan. 27.

In response, Captain Dan Perea from the SFPD’s Mission Station will convene a public safety meeting on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6 pm at the Garfield Square Park Clubhouse.

Capt. Perea writes:

I am writing to extend an invitation for a public safety meeting I am holding on Thursday, February 2nd, at 6pm. The meeting will be held at Garfield Park Clubhouse.

I have invited representatives from the Mayor’s Street Violence Intervention Program, Bernal dwellings management, SFPD Gang Task Force, Mission Station Housing Team and the District Attorney’s Office.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss recent violence and the response we are engaged in to prevent further occurrences.

I recognize this is not a great deal of notice. However, I want everyone in the community to know we are working on this issue to keep everyone safe and have an opportunity to ask questions at a meeting held to discuss this specific issue.

Thank you

Captain Dan Perea
Commanding Officer
Mission Station
415-558-5400

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PHOTO: SFPD responding to a shooting in Precita Park in October, 2016, by Telstar Logistics

Guns to Ganja: Planning Commission Approves New Dispensary on Mission Street

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In a unanimous vote, the San Francisco Planning Commission yesterday approved a proposal to re-establish the Bernal Heights Cooperative dispensary at 3185 Mission Street, the storefront that had previously been home to the High Bridge Arms gun shop.

As you may recall, Bernal Heights Cooperative used to operate from 33 29th Street. However, after some internal turmoil and a change of building ownership, Bernal Heights Cooperative had to depart, and a new dispensary called Harvest now occupies the 29th St. space.  Meanwhile, around the corner on Mission Street, the former High Bridge Arms store has been sitting empty ever since San Francisco’s last gun shop closed in late 2015.

Yesterday’s Planning Commission vote was a key step in Bernal Heights Cooperative’s plan to re-open in La Lengua. Joshua Sabatini from the San Francisco Examiner provides additional detail about the business plan:

“It’s been a work in progress ever since 2015 to just put it in a new home,” [Bernal Heights Cooperative’s Sean] Killen said. That included paying $5,000 in rent for the former gun shop site since last year and also maintaining a site outside The City and offering a delivery service to longstanding patients.

The application is also among the first batch of dispensary applications to heard by the Planning Commission since voters approved Proposition 64 in November, which legalized adult recreational use of marijuana.

The application has another distinction. Killen on Tuesday signed an agreement, which was provided to the San Francisco Examiner, with United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 648, a local chapter of labor union United Food and Commercial Workers that represents a growing number workers in the marijuana industry across California.

The union is in talks with City College of San Francisco to create an apprenticeship training program for the medical marijuana industry beginning in the spring 2018 semester.

Killen’s agreement supports employees organizing and agrees to certain worker standards, such as at least $20 an hour in the first year of employment. Killen said it is the first such agreement with UFCW Local 648 and a dispensary. He also committed to hiring local apprentices through UFCW.

Separately, anyone else remember this classic Saturday Night Live skit from 1977?  (Note: young Bill Murray cameo!Knock on wood, that approach to keeping good-paying jobs in America is no joke today:

IMAGE: Photo and illustration by Bernalwood