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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Watch This Video of 1955 San Francisco (Including the Cliff House Sky Tram)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 10:30 AM


Here’s a fun, 21-minute-long, 1955 Cinemascope presentation that explains San Francisco to people who’ve never heard of it — and without showing the Tenderloin, the Mission, or a single moment of fog. Beautifully oversaturated and overwritten in that ‘50s style (“it is from the east that the city reveals its famous profile, framed by the silver towers of the Bay Bridge”), this excursion down the Embarcadero Freeway and all over town yields glimpses of architectural icons in different visual contexts, along with things that are now long-gone. And there’s so little traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, even in broad daylight!

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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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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Fancy Animal Carnival Prances at Civic Center Plaza

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Temporary Artful Whimsy. - JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda
  • Temporary Artful Whimsy.

San Francisco lives in a bubble all its own. Our surroundings are fantastical and bright—thus always evoking an image of city of perpetually effulgent color, despite the enclosing fog cover. Now, for the time being, there's another artist adding his Pop-art colored work to our artistic landscape: Taiwanese artist Hung Yi and the member sculptures of his Fancy Animal Carnival.

The Taiwanese sculptor, who 15 years ago decided to sell his nine restaurants in Taiwan and pursue art full time, works in a playful, hybrid style full of bright, primary colored hues, cartoonish figures and traditional motifs, patterns and lettering. Each one of his sculptures is handmade out of baked steel enamel plates and represents anthropomorphic interpretations of animals. Yi's current large-scale display on the east side of City Hall is no exception. 

A modern Taiwanese twist on Aesop's Fables, Fancy Animal Carnival uses the folk tale of the twelve animals of the zodiac, blending the Chinese and European versions of the famed tale. Each of the 19 animal sculptures represents a story, an allegory of life wisdom, expressed through its interaction with each piece and the public. Take the example of the elephants. According to the artist's description at the base of the work, the word elephant is a homonym of the word "sharing" in Mandarin. Therefore the work depicts two elephantine figure sharing a cherry with each other and the action in the sculpture is being shared with the spectator.

  • Juan De Anda

Bold colors, meticulous details, and symbolic imagery innately embellish each animal alluding to the joys, as well as the double entendres, we experience in everyday life. Within some works, their toothy grins turn into snarls depending on the viewing perception angle. Also, by mounting this artwork in Civic Center, a zone of the city replete with homelessness and social inequality, Hung Yi reminds viewers of the power of play and creativity, even while complexities in life arise and surround you.

The exhibition was organized and privately funded by the Insian Gallery in Taiwan  and the Swinging Skirt Golf Foundation. It was coordinated by the Office of the Mayor, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Recreation and Parks Department and will be on temporary display from April 19 through May 7. 

So the moral of this article, if any? Take a walk near City Hall and witness this artful circus act before it packs up and leaves town.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Study Shows People Prefer Chain Restaurants/Coffee Shops for First Dates

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 2:00 PM

  • Clover
Based on a recent survey of dating app users around America, people prefer chain restaurants and coffee shops to other potential date locations for their first dates.

The dating app Clover analyzed data taken from 200,000 of its users around the country to get statistics about where people prefer to go on first dates, and found that Starbucks, Chipotle, and Panera Bread were the top three (out of 30) places. The study also found that 51% of men and 35% of women would rather a first date at a restaurant, whereas 52% of women and 31% of men prefer a coffee shop date.

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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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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tourism for Locals: LeRoy King Carousel Takes Locals for a Spin

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 1:30 PM

  • Juan De Anda

No matter how old we get, San Franciscans will never stop being kids at heart —even when we get jaded and bitter from the rise of the cost of living. We're a city fostered in the spirit of youthful (albeit, child-like) creativity and enthusiasm.

For those looking to put a spin on their routine or seeking out an inexpensive excursion down Memory Lane , there's one location to go to unleash that inner child: The 109-year-old LeRoy King Carousel

Built in 1906, this intricately hand carved merry-go-round (carousels are comprised of solely horses) was constructed in Rhode Island by renowned designer and craftsman Charles I.D. Looff. The carousel was intended to be installed in San Francisco, however it could not be due to the great 1906 earthquake and fire.

In 1912 it was a permanent fixture in Sea Cliff's Playland-at-the-Beach until the fairgrounds closure in 1972. When Playland shut its doors, the merry-go-round was purchased by a private collector and put into storage in New Mexico. In 1983, it was brought out of storage and moved to Long Beach. 

Purchased by the City of San Francisco in 1998, it was fully restored and brought to Yerba Buena Gardens within the Children's Creativity Museum. It was renamed in 2014 after former SF Redevelopment Commissioner LeRoy King, who took his future wife on their first date on the carousel that now bears his name.

It’s a round-and round-trip that creates a lifetime of memories that's open Daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $4 per ride. 
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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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Monday, March 9, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Discovering the Mexican Museum Within Fort Mason

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 10:08 AM

Fort Mason has more than 49 buildings of historic significance, spread over 1,200 acres. - IMAGE COURTESY OF THE FORTH MASON CENTER
  • Image Courtesy of The Forth Mason Center
  • Fort Mason has more than 49 buildings of historic significance, spread over 1,200 acres.

Museums abound in San Francisco — name it and we'll probably have it. From sex toys to albino alligators, there is no shortage of exhibitions to pique the San San Franciscan's interest . And while some, like the de Young, are more prominent in the local museum scene, San Francisco's smaller museum more than carry their weight in exhibitions and articles on display.  

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Tourism for Locals: San Francisco Surround Sound at Audium

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 2:04 PM

Surround yourself with acid for the ears. - JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda
  • Surround yourself with acid for the ears.

San Franciscans are truly a lucky bunch. We  live in a city chalk-full of sensory overload — from bright  architecture to eclectic individuals to drastically diverse terrains — hence diminishing any hope of ever being bored.

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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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  • 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.'"