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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bohemian Grave: The Montgomery Block

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2015 at 4:15 PM


Welcome to Bohemian Grave, a semi-regular feature on the vanished countercultural history of San Francisco, from long before anyone started lamenting the impending demise of Lucky 13

When the Transamerica Pyramid was completed in 1972, the 853-foot tower was the eighth-tallest building in the world. It did not hold that record for long; in the 43 years since, it has fallen out of the top 100. Prior to its construction, the site was a parking lot, but before that, the block bounded by Montgomery, Washington, and Clay streets was home to another famous (and now-forgotten) structure, the Montgomery Block.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Coit Tower Murals Reveal Best View of SF Life

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2015 at 8:00 AM

One of the murals depicting a slice a San Francisco life circa the 1930s—complete with a gun in hand robbery. - JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda
  • One of the murals depicting a slice a San Francisco life circa the 1930s—complete with a gun in hand robbery.

Coit Tower
has taken on a royal blue hue in the last few days with the Golden State Warriors leading in Pacific Division championships against the Memphis Grizzlies of the 2015 NBA playoffs. Yet whether they hang on to their lead and advance and the blue lighting remains, there's still a 80-year-old masterpiece consisting of 27 pieces depicting a San Francisco of days gone by.  

If an excuse is needed to visit touristy Telegraph Hill, don't make it about the view (we've seen better) but for the Coit Tower Murals. 

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Vulcan Steps Take Urban Climbing Up a Notch

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • Juan De Anda

San Franciscans, as a collective whole, love to talk about those isolated hilltop spots for those urban sweeping views. Although the best view is always a debatable item in any local dialogue and in the past, SF Weekly has highlighted one such spot, we've simply decided to highlight one more worth our attention: The Vulcan Steps.

Located clandestinely off Ord Street and adjacent to the more recognizable Corona Heights Park, The Vulcan Steps are among the best of San Francisco's numerous stairways carved into the hilly landscape. Originally laid out on Oct. 23, 1925, they are constructed primarily of concrete and span approximately two city blocks. 

The steps separate into two divergent paths part-way up the incline. A small wood and plank trail reconnects the paths closer to the top of the steps. The Vulcan Steps create a pedestrian shortcut path over the hill between the Castro and the Haight Ashbury districts.

The traditional views of the Financial District and Civic Center are barely visible but it's for the better because your attention is diverted toward Eureka Valley and the Mission (a true locals' view). Yet the best vista isn't one looking over the horizon but along the steps. The Victorian Houses in this neck of the woods are eclectic by nature and reflective of their owners—from bright color palettes to kitschy porch/window decor. Nearly all of the houses are accessible only by foot.

So go head and take the climb. Even if you don't savor the simple hidden beauty of The Vulcan Steps, at least you'll get your leg work out out of the way.
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Friday, March 20, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Visiting Diego Rivera's The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 11:26 AM

A Diego Rivera masterpiece in San Francisco,  The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City. - JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda
  • A Diego Rivera masterpiece in San Francisco, The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City.

San Francisco is home to many of the finest artists of the 20th century and the new millennium, whose works foster artistic rebellion and social critique. The City has played host to one of the greatest modernist painters of the 20th century, whose style exemplified revolutionary renegade art: Diego Rivera.

For those who don't know who he is, aside from his portrayal by the actor Alfred Molina in the 2002 Academy Award-winning film Frida starring Salma Hayek, Rivera was an enigmatic painter who fostered the muralist style of painting in Mexico at the turn of the last century.

Along with artists Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfredo Siqueiros, Rivera created allegorical and fantastical depictions of traditional indigenous cultures alongside uplifting and humane characterizations of working-class people that were welded with visions of a utopian future under socialism. The purpose of the muralist movement was to create public art that would educate those who were from low-income backgrounds, but also appeal to the aesthetic tastes of those from the higher rungs of the social ladder.

The first commissioned murals that Rivera painted outside of Mexico were in San Francisco.

Between 1930 and 1940, he painted murals in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York that focused on social and cultural progress through industry and technology. Here, he painted three murals, aiding him in getting global recognition for his technique and use of color. One of those works is titled The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City

Located inside the San Francisco Art Institute, the mural was commissioned by SFAI President William Gerstle, and was completed by Rivera in the course of one month, from May 1–May 31, 1931. Living up to its name, the fresco shows the building of a city and the making of a fresco, including the various individuals involved in the commission, such as artist assistants, architects, and general laborers.

The central figure of a helmeted worker, rendered in supernatural proportion, is the primary subject of the mural within the mural, thus driving home Rivera's belief of the importance of the industrial worker. Rivera makes an appearance in this mural, looking up to  the work, wielding palette and paintbrush, his back to the viewer. 

This is one of three Rivera murals in the city. The other two: The Allegory of California and Pan American Unity are located in The Pacific Stock Exchange and City College of San Francisco, respectively.

The gallery is open to the public from 8 a.m.until 9 p.m. daily

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Palace of Fine Arts Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

Posted By on Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 7:55 AM

  • Wikipedia

This week's Tourism for Locals breaks with tradition.

Since the inaugural post of this column in 2013, I vowed that we would never feature sites that were typical tourist attractions, in an effort to show a taste of the real San Francisco, a local's guide of our important and treasured sites. Along with Fisherman's Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge, The Palace of Fine Arts could be considered a part of this list, but we're making an exception because the Greco-Roman is celebrating its centennial birthday this month!

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tourism For Locals: Slide Into the New Year at the Seward Street Slides

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Slide into childhood bliss! - JUAN DE ANDA/ SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
  • Slide into childhood bliss!

We're on the cusp of 2015, and while you may have several hopes and a few resolutions for the new chapter with 365 blank pages, there's one we think everyone should try to embrace in the new year — try to have a little fun. Although we can't make any promises of how much fun 2015 will bring you, this week's Tourism for Locals will take you to a place that, for even the briefest of moments, will give you a cheap thrill. Take a trip — and a piece of cardboard — to The Seward Street Slides.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tourism for Locals: Listening the to Nature Inspired Sounds of the San Francisco Wave Organ

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 2:32 PM

The Wave Organ provides a a symphony of seaside sounds. - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • The Wave Organ provides a a symphony of seaside sounds.

Christmas music has reached its highest level of saturation this week — how many versions of "All I Want for Christmas is You" are playing in stores and restaurants across the U.S. right now? We shiver at the thought. If you want or need to catch a break, you might need to head out to the Marina to get away from it all. Yes, the Marina, that ONE district many of us try to avoid at all cost for its bro-y vibe, has one spot that is soothing to the eyes and most importantly — the ears. The Wave Organ, channels the surrounding tides to orchestra a cacophony of calming, oceanic sounds.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Tourism for Locals: Neptune Society Columbarium, a Final Resting Spot for San Francisco Locals

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM

They left their remains in San Francisco. - JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda
  • They left their remains in San Francisco.

The Christmas season is in full swing, but many San Franciscans are already over with the excessively saccharine spirit of it all. And if want a local escape from the Hallmark-like festivities,  and want to experience something more along the line of The Nightmare Before Christmas, then pay a visit to the equally bright-and-morbid Neptune Society Columbarium: the only non-denominational burial place within San Francisco's city limits that is open to the public and has space available.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tourism for Locals Contemporary Jewish Museum's Daniel Libeskind Cube Goes Outside the Box

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 2:33 PM

  • Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly

If we were asked to describe the architecture of San Francisco in one word, the best response would have to be eclectic. Yet, even with the juxtaposition of old and new found in a city that is constantly under construction, you can find the harmonious fusion between the modern and the traditional. And no building exemplifies this more than the Daniel Libeskind designed Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) and its cerulean blue yud cube.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tourism for Locals: Dressing Up St. Paul's Catholic Church for Sister Act

Posted By on Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 10:30 AM

This Noe Valley parish was dressed up to look like it belonged in Hunter's Point. - FICKR/ HERCWAD
  • Fickr/ hercwad
  • This Noe Valley parish was dressed up to look like it belonged in Hunter's Point.

It's finally October and, with Halloween quickly approaching, we're planning our costume. Yet donning costumes isn't only a characteristic of human beings, but also inanimate objects; more specifically: San Francisco architecture. 

In 1992, a local San Francisco church was transformed to look like it was part of a run-down neighborhood for a Hollywood production that would become one of the most financially successful comedies during the 1990s.

The film? Sister Act. The house of worship? St. Paul's Catholic Church in Noe Valley. 

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"