Monthly Archives: June, 2012

The Most Creative Spaces in San Francisco History, Part One

City Lights and The Fillmore:

The Most Creative Spaces in San Francisco History

Copyright Jim Marshall Photography LLC

Creativity and innovation are hallmarks of San Francisco, where a startup mentality continues to define us. We routinely set foot on the hallowed grounds of storied cultural landmarks—unprecedented venues at their inception that remain progressive icons today. Here, insiders reminisce on the impact of four classic SF institutions to remind us why they epitomize the city’s special spirit. In this installment, we start with City Lights and The Fillmore. Next week, we’ll continue with Castro Theatre and Stern Grove.

City Lights Bookstore, est. 1953. By Lawrence Ferlinghetti, cofounder, publisher, and poet

In 1953, San Francisco wasn’t what it is today. At that time, paperbacks were not considered real books in America. Peter Martin, an editor I met in North Beach, had the brilliant idea to open the first paperback bookstore in the U.S. My idea was to make City Lights a literary meeting place. I was used to the literary scene in Paris cafes and wanted to create a public place where people could hang out and read all day.

As soon as we got the doors open—we started off with one little room and slowly expanded—the store attracted people because there was such a void in that space. This was a brand-new scene. Back then, bookstores weren’t open on the weekends or late at night. We changed that. We were the first to introduce a periodicals section and the first to carry gay magazines. There was a lot of demand for this new culture, and we rode the wave. Comedians like Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl stopped in before gigs.

I was one of those New York carpet-bagging poets. I wasn’t really one of the Beats, but I got associated with them because I published them. City Lights, under my direction, was a publisher almost from the beginning, and this was another innovation—bookstores didn’t do that sort of thing. We printed Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in 1956, at the start of the poetry revolution. The Beats articulated what later became the themes of 1960s hippie counterculture, antiwar demonstrations, and ecological consciousness. Kerouac’s On the Road was a sad book, but it turned everybody on because it expressed what his generation was feeling. Sociologists said it articulated the end of American innocence.

In the late 1990s, we restored the City Lights building because of a required retrofit, but the inside remains mostly the same. You’ll still see locals reading in the basement or up in the poetry room. We have so many events there, but the tourists don’t generally know about them—they’re just passing through. We also get a lot of professors and students from all over the country and an enormous amount of foreign visitors. Today, there’s not a literary revolution as there was when City Lights opened. Today, we have the electronic revolution, which is wiping out so many bookstores. We’re benefitting from being among the few that have survived. We could soon be the last man standing.”

—As told to Chris Trenchard and Allison McCarthy

The Fillmore, est. 1966 By Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle music critic, 1972–2009

I saw my first show at the Fillmore in 1967: Chuck Berry and the Grateful Dead. It cost $3 to get in. There were two walls covered with lights. The stage was small. About 1,100 people, absorbed in sound and lights, crammed into the room. The experience was truly authentic.

And to think that bands like Led Zeppelin, The DoorsOtis ReddingHowlin’ Wolf, and the Grateful Dead all played on that tiny little stage. Bill Graham started renting the place from promoter Charles Sullivan in the ’60s. The thing was a success right from the word “go.” Bill wasn’t really a fan of rock music—he was originally a mambo dancer from New York. But he had plenty of street smarts. Over time, though, he figured out how to book that room. It became a tribal rite to play there, and that gave the Fillmore this kind of mystique. Groups like Traffic and Cream gave performances that ended up being fundamental to the acceleration of their careers. It became clear that this place was at the center of something very special. At the time, Chet Helms operated the Avalon Ballroom, which was the Fillmore’s primary competitor back then. He had this theory that the Fillmore’s Apollonian stage and proscenium were gateways to the gods. Promoters would leverage this mystique to get bands like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, who would normally play at much bigger theaters. Then in the early ’90s, Tom Petty played 20 or 30 shows there over the course of a few months. Petty was definitely building on that mystique. It was quite a different place then. The old stage now lies (almost completely hidden from view) underneath the newer, bigger stage. But the Fillmore is still a space steeped in history and the ghosts of great performers. The guy who does the booking now, Michael Bailey, really knows the thrill of fandom. He’s been shrewd about capitalizing on the legacy of the Fillmore in the ’60s. Bands today are aware of the mystique—who hasn’t heard Cream’s Wheels of Fire: Live at the Fillmore? And it’s still a damn fine place to see a show.”

This article was published in 7×7’s June issue. Click here to subscribe.

Avengers-We Are The One-Live at The Masque, L.A.-01/07/78 (by SLakePhil)

EXPLORE San Francisco: The Folsom District

Folsom District Walking Tour- Free Event…

Public Event · By Explore San Francisco

Image
  • Sunday July 1st 2012
  • 1:15pm until 3:00pm
  • Meet on Mission Street at 4th
  • Adults only
  • Sign up on Facebook

We’ll start in the heart of the old SOMA District, “South Of the Slot”. See this blue collar neighborhood
as it used to be, before re-development.

Then we will travel to a former gay entertainment strip, the area
is now commonly called, “Crack Alley”.

Before it is destroyed forever, see the fantastic Hugo Hotel and
the world famous art installation known as, “Defenestration”. Watch out for falling furniture…

Next up, we’ll cruise the 1970′s “Miracle Mile” of the Folsom District. This area was Mecca for the Gay Leather community
and withstood re-development and thrived for a couple decades until the AIDS crisis of the
1980′s decimated much of the population, leaving the
community weakened and vulnerable.
The Folsom Street Fair was created
out of this crisis, and is the largest leather/fetish event in the
world and the third largest, single-day outdoor event in California.

English: Folsom Street Fair banner (simplified...

Folsom Street Fair banner

We will see the Fairgrounds but we are really here to celebrate the Folsom’s heyday. During that time this area bosted over 30 gay bars and bathhouses, as well as lesbian bars, shops, hotels, retail, private sex clubs, eateries and motorcycle clubs. This was called the “Valley of the Kings”, and you will see why.

We will stop at Wicked Grounds ‘kink” coffee shop for refreshments and snacks.
Shopping stops are at Mr. S Leather and Good Vibrations.
Many more stops and places of interest are included on this “one of a kind” tour.

This tour ticket does not include the Armory. Please see The Folsom District & The Armory listing if you would like to attend this tour.

For further information please call 415.793.1104 or email info@exploresf.biz.

This is a free event but guides will gladly accept tips.

Image

http://exploresf.biz/folsom.html


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EXPLORE San Francisco: Folsom District Tour

Folsom District Walking Tour- Free Event…

Public Event · By Explore San Francisco

Image
    • Sunday July 1st 2012
    • 1:15pm until 3:00pm
    • Meet on Mission Street at 4th
    • Adults only
    • Sign up on Facebook

We’ll start in the heart of the old SOMA District, “South Of the Slot”. See this blue collar neighborhood as it used to be before re-development.
Then we will travel to a former gay entertainment strip, the area is now commonly called, “Crack Alley”. Before it is destroyed forever, see the Hugo Hotel and the world famous art installation known as, “Defenestration”.
Next up, we’ll cruise the 1970’s “Miracle Mile” of the Folsom District. This area was Mecca for the Gay Leather community and withstood re-development until the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s decimated much of the population, leaving the community weakened and vulnerable. The Folsom Street Fair was created out of this crisis, and is the largest leather/fetish event in the world and the third largest, single-day outdoor event in California.
We will see the Fairgrounds but we are really here to celebrate the Folsom’s heyday. During that time this area bosted over 30 gay bars and bathhouses, as well as lesbian bars, shops, hotels, retail, private sex clubs, eateries and motorcycle clubs. This was called the “Valley of the Kings”, and you will see why.
We will stop at Wicked Grounds ‘kink” coffee shop for refreshments and snacks. Shopping stops are at Mr. S Leather and Good Vibrations. Many more stops and places of interest are included on this one of a kind tour.This tour ticket does not include the Armory.Please see The Folsom District & The Armory listing if you wish to attend both.For further information please call 415.793.1104 or email info@exploresf.biz.
This is a free event but guides will gladly accept tips.Image

http://exploresf.biz/folsom.html

Shanghai Surprise: the Language of San Francisco and the Barbary Coast | Gadling.com

Shanghai Surprise: the Language of San Francisco and the Barbary Coast

by David Farley (RSS feed) on Aug 3rd 2011 at 4:00PM

• 200: the population of San Francisco in 1846.

• 25,000: the population of San Francisco in 1849.

• 300: the number of women living in San Francisco in 1849.

• 200: the number of those women who were prostitutes.

• 1,400: the number of murders in San Francisco from 1850-1856

• 3: the number of murderers hanged during the same period.

One number that we’ll never know are the amount of people who were abducted, taken out to sea during this time period, and forced to, among other things, use words like “ahoy.” It happened so much that a particular word was invented for the practice and it has since entered the American lexicon: to shanghai someone.

The Barbary Coast was the physical hangover-a living, breathing collective gasp of desperation-of the Gold Rush. It created a lawless atmosphere that not even Moscow could compete with today.

As Simon Winchester wrote in A Crack in the Edge of the World: “During the 1850s, San Francisco’s notoriety was fully and widely established; it was a den of iniquity, a lawless town where men in unrestricted mobs drank, gambled, and whored their way from street to street, unchecked by family, by conscience, or by law.”

And the practice of shanghaiing went largely unchecked. Here’s how it would go:

A miner would go out for a night of drinking and carousing and when he couldn’t cough up enough money (or gold), he was given over to a crimp, a sort of loan shark, who would eventually knock the miner out and sell him to a sea captain. Eventually the minor would wake up, head aching from too much drink, and find himself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, his fate to working off his debt on the ship sealed, as the boat made what was called a “shanghai journey,” slang for a very long voyage.

It was a shanghai surprise: the language of San Francisco and the Barbary Coast.

via Shanghai Surprise: the Language of San Francisco and the Barbary Coast | Gadling.com.

The Weeknighter: Churchill

The Weeknighter: Churchill

 

Churchill, Church Street at Market

The Weeknighter: Churchill

Photo from Churchill’s website

Weekends are for amateurs. Weeknights are for pros. That’s why each week Stuart Schuffman will be exploring a different San Francisco bar, giving you the lowdown on how and where to do your weeknight right.  From the most creative cocktails to the best happy hours, Stuart’s taking you along on his weeknight adventures into the heart of the City’s nightlife. So, who wants a drink?

I was thinking of the line in “Steady Rollin’ ”, the Two Gallants song, that goes “You might’ve seen me ‘neath the pool hall lights/Well baby I go back each night.” It was a Monday night atChurchill and it was Andy’s turn to shoot. He was on my team while we played pool against Geri-Ayn, Tiffany, and Maggie; it was boys against girls. I was fucking with Instagram, trying to get a good picture that felt the way the night did, but got this one instead. Later on in the week and especially during weekends, Churchill is packed with people drinking and talking and trying to figure out if they’re going home alone or with someone else. The crowd is full of of gays, straights, and in-betweens, a reflection of one of The City’s best crossroads, where the Lower Haight, The Mission, and the Castro all collide and collude to make a place called Church and Market.

But like I said, it was Monday, and while there were other people in the bar, we had the pool table (and more importantly the jukebox) all to ourselves. Andy popped on Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” while Maggie lined up a shot, and I looked out the window and watched The City’s weird, sad parade of homelessness trudge by. “I need a drink. Who else wants one?” I asked and only Tiffany joined in, so we walked to the bar and she bought me a drink because I opened my wallet and realized I’d run out of money. The other people at the bar were imbibing pretty things with names like Bees Ness, El Diablo, and The Homefront. The cocktails at Churchill are seasonal so the drink list changes fairly often. But I got what I always get, a vodka soda with a lemon. I gotta watch my girlish figure after all.

A couple incarnations ago the joint was called The Transfer. It was a skeezy gay bar with cheap drinks and had dance parties where everyone was young, wasted, and androgynous. It was a lot of fun and a lot of weird. Churchill has come a long way since then. The crowd is decidedly more upmarket and the interior is quite lovely, something that never could’ve been said about The Transfer. Dotting the big open space are fixtures reminiscent of another time. The theme here is WWII era watering hole so there’s a massive American flag with only 48 stars (sorry Alaska and Hawaii), ropes and repurposed wood for a ceiling, vintage lamps, and a portrait of the bar’s namesake, Winston Churchill.

After the pool game and a couple more drinks it was time to go. It was at least 1 am and people had to get up for work the next day and I needed to work on this article. So we all went our separate ways. While walking home I got to thinking about how wonderful my life is. The fact that it’s totally a normal thing to spend Monday night in an awesome bar with brilliant friends is a testament to San Francisco. People my age in the rest of the country had already been in bed for hours dreaming about how much they hate their bosses. I got to be out late and be paid to write about it. It reminded me of another line from the same Two Gallants song, “Out waltzing with the holy ghost/from the Bowery to the Barbary Coast/the land I’m from you know I love the most/steady rollin’ and I keep going.”

Stuart Schuffman has been called “an Underground legend” by the SF Chronicle, “an SF cult hero” by the SF Bay Guardian, and “the chief of cheap” by Time Out New York. He is also the host for the IFC travel show Young, Broke & Beautiful. Follow him @BrokeAssStuart.

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Our pal Kiran was just wondering: whenever i go through the bay on BART i wish they would’ve made the tunnel transparent so we could see all the the cool underwater shit going on under there. i imagine it to be filled with tons of interesting little sea critters

Mural Clarion Alley

Mural Albion Alley

Explore San Francisco

Explore San Francisco Offerings

After you’ve seen the tourist attractions, come explore with us and see the city, the real city. Come with us and we’ll show you the city that we would show our guests, our family, our friends, not the waterfront-bus-tour-book of tickets city that comes with it’s own refrigerator magnet.

This city is so vibrant and alive, yet most tourists never veer off the predetermined route that has been packaged, advertised, marketed and sold to them without any real change for too long. We are here to show you the real city from an insider’s perspective. You won’t see the city from behind the glass of a tour bus while listening to a monotonous litany of what happened where. Rather, you will be a part of the city, and the city’s story will unfold around you as you experience this wonderful place as a local. Come with us and let’s Explore San Francisco together, it’s an adventure that you will remember forever. It’s also easier than you might think but first you’ll need to do two things: Put down the guidebook and move away from Pier 39.

PARROTS!

Wild Parrots in San Francisco? Yes, there are officially at least two different flocks of wild parrots that reside here. Featured in many travel guides and news shows, these birds star in their own best selling book and full-length documentary. These naturalized birds have evolved into a brand new species of parrot, indigenous to San Francisco. Come see for yourself! A portion of ticket sales go to the San Francisco based non-profit group Mckaboo Companion Bird Rescue. We know where to find the parrots, but on very rare occassions they may have ventured outside their usual territory, and we may not be able to view them. In such an event you have the option of joining us on a subsequent safari, or if you prefer, you may receive a copy of the DVD “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.” More

NORTH BEACH!
Little Italy in San Francisco is a foodies dream. Of course, the food is beyond incredible, served with Italian accents one would expect from this outstanding neighborhood, but there is so much more! We will show you what makes North Beach so fascinating. From Beach Blanket Babylon, to The Godfather; The Beatniks and City Lights Book Store; notables like Carol DodaMarylin Monroe and Joe Dimaggio; espresso, a small family chocoloteria, and a myriad of beautiiful churches. And of course while experiencing all of thie greatnes, we will sample incredible food! More..

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SIDE STREETS- LITERARY TOURS

San Francisco is California imagined, through the eyes of the authors, poets, film makers, songwriters and musicians who lived here (and those who wish they did…) We will be looking at San Francisco through the eyes of people like Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, Alice B. Toklas, Dashiell Hammett, Jack Kerouak, Allen Ginsberg, Armisted Maupin, Alfred Hitchcock, Herb Caen, Hunter S. Thompson and Amy Tam. These creative minds, along with many others, helped to interpret, define and create this fabled city. Would you like to see the city through their eyes? We can show you where they lived and what they saw, which is ultimately what they wrote about. More…

CHINATOWN!

San Francisco boasts the largest Chinese population center outside of China. The reality of Chinatown is that there are two Chinatowns: One belongs to the locals; the other charms the tourists. They overlap and dance with each other, drawing more visitors annually than theGolden Gate Bridge. At Explore San Francisco, we show you the city as a local, so we will indeed show you to the ‘touristy’ sights, but we will also escort you into the alleys and side streets, where the residents lead their lives, usually unseen by most tourists. We will take you where the food is authentic, the shops unique and the history frankly, amazing. More…

NORTH BEACH & CHINATOWN AT NIGHT!
An eight block stroll through Chinatown and then into North Beach. Hear the history of the area, while sampling some excellent food. This tour is always one of our most social, where both fun and friendships are made. Perhaps its the magic of twilight, where the hustle and bustle of daytime commerce shifts. Perhaps it’s the wine. Either way, if you’re looking for a relaxed but fascinating time with delicious food, you can’t go wrong with this fun choice! More…

HAIGHT STREET!

The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of the 1960s is still very much alive and well today. “The Haight,” as it is now known, was officially established in 1883 and is today a vibrant urban village, one of San Francisco’s most fascinating neighborhoods. Beautiful Victorians, tree lined streets, unique little shops, thrift stores, cafes, and a wide variety of restaurants serving food from around the world will make this an afternoon you will never forget. Our menu willl be eclectic, drawing from assorted Thai, Indian or Mexican; healthy and not so healthy; chai, coffee or perhaps an exotic specialty tea. The Haight is flat, so our walk will be leisurely, with no major hills to climb! You’ll learn about the colorful history of the Haight as we stroll this lively and lovely neighborhood. As with all of our tours, we’ll be pointing out places that aren’t in the guide books, places you’d surely miss on your own! More…

BY REQUESTAnniversary or birthday celebrations, client appreciation events, marriage proposal, divorce party, sweet sixteens girls/guys night out, quality family time, a memorable afternoon or evening for you and your guests. Or just because you deserve it. Choose the date and time, tell us what you want and give us your budget. Together we’ll make something wonderful happen… More...

WINE COUNTRY IN THE CITY

You’re invited to an urban tasting trip to three of San Francisco’s wine bars hosted by a knowledgeable resident and wine enthusiast. Sample wines by the glass, or in-flights designed to showcase California’s best wines. This tour is perfect for anyone interested in wine, in California’s wine industry, and those who want to enjoy San Francisco the way residents do! More...

             

  YOUR MISSION FOOD, CULTURE AND HISTORY TOURS

San Francisco’s first neighborhood, The Mission District is still the heart and soul of vibrant San Francisco. This culinary and historic journey is so wonderfully rich that we have split the Mission District into two tours. Choose one tour or take them both. More...

                                                                

  JAPANTOWN WITH SPA

Immerse yourself in the history and culture of this eclectic neighborhood. This trip starts at a Buddhist church, includes a tour, shopping and lunch, and ends with a trip to a spa! Included with your reservation is an all day pass to Imperial Spa, or a $20 voucher to either Kabuki Springs or Fuji Shiatsu! More...

                                       

          SHOP, SHOP, SHOP

Shop Shop Shop

Shop Shop Shop

Led by a boutique savvy resident, this trip is an opportunity to window shop – or buy – at designer clothiers, shoe stores and handmade jewelry shops. Browse home furnishings and find collectibles from around the world. Love fine stationery? Or skin care products? Come with uw. We’ll end our trip with lunch at one of the neighborhood’s unique restaurants. This trip is perfect for fashionistas, foodies and those who love the thrill of finding something unique (and maybe on sale!) More...

POP UP RESTAURANTS

One of the world’s top dining cities, San Francisco was voted foodie capital of the U.S. in 2011. Where do up and coming chefs try out new concepts and debut new menus? At underground temporary pop pp restaurants, of course! How do you get in? Give us a call. We can get you a table! More…

                                                               

CUSTOM TOURS/ PRIVATE TOURSAll of our tours and trips can be customized, with private groups always welcome!

 

Email us for details..

         

  FINALLY ARRIVED! LOCAL RUNNING!RUN LOCALLY, WITH LOCALS!

One of the newest trends for the health conscious traveler is seeing the sights while ona run.  Join our enthusiastic and experienced guides for a run on the best running trails that San Francisco has to offer. Our city runs meld the urban landscape with the natural beauty of he parks and coastal trails.  The phenomenal ocean and bay views and sweeping vistas overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge are enhanced by the dramatic hilly terrain. More...

LOCAL RUNNING: ART IN NATURE

Art In Nature, A Local Run

Art In Nature, A Local Run

 

Run the Golden Gate Park to SF Presidio
ART IN NATURE
1 Artist
3 Installations
6 Miles

Join us for a run in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park. From the DeYoung Museum through the urban landscape of the Richmond District, we enter the Presidio and learn about its history and the impact the long-ago, man-made forest has had on the environment. The forest, which is in the midst of a reforestation has become the canvas for English-born artist, Andy Goldsworthy. You will traverses the Presidio, from Lovers Lane to Inspiration Point, where you will view two of Mr. Goldsworthy’s recent installations — “Wood Line” and “Spire.” MORE

 

Also Back in April:

GET YOUR GOD GROOVE ON WITH GOSPEL!

Sundays starting late April

Coming in June through the Summer!
For the LGBT Communities and those who broaden the community:

PRIDE EVENTS! FOLSOM EVENTS! CASTRO STREET FAIR!
DAY EXCURSIONS TO SAN GREGORIO!
RUSSIAN RIVER TRIPS!