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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Clever Vandals Tag "Banal Hill" Market

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge ANGI BRZYCKI
  • Angi Brzycki

Without any endorsement of this action, I'm always surprised this doesn't happen more.

This morning, graffiti artists/taggers/angry displaced persons/subalterns/jerks emblazoned Bernal Heights' Epicurean Trader with some bold red spray paint.  The business is a two-month-old upscale grocer that opened in the space once occupied by Red Hill Books (whose name referenced an old nickname for the once-radical and Commie-filled Bernal) and so it's a good proxy for the neighborhood's evolution.

click to enlarge This was from a few months ago. - ANGI BRZYCKI
  • Angi Brzycki
  • This was from a few months ago.
The exterior wall sayingThe Epicurean Trader now says "Traitor For the 1%" and a window now reads "Banal Heights." (That's an original one, if judged by its nonexistence as a hashtag on Instagram. But apart from the traitor/trader pun, it's not clear to me who's being betrayed here, since Epicurean was pretty bougie from its inception.)

According to one commenter on Bernalwood, this might even have happened in broad daylight, which would be pretty brazen. Graphically, lipstick red makes a great contrast against the dark gray, and the culprits' can-holding skills are very impressive, so well done on that part.

This isn't the first incident of this kind on Cortland Avenue lately, either. A few months back, there was some angry, markered-up cardboard in response to a Bernal denizen named Debra Follingstad's eviction after a sudden 315 percent rent increase. That, however, was a specific action and not an all-purpose grievance about the way the city is going, so more people could probably get behind the sentiment without feeling like they're condoning vandalism. Because comfortable people will typically do anything to focus on petty crime to the exclusion of underlying social issues, this morning's provocation is probably going to do little more than give Epicurean Trader a business boomlet as its upper-middle class neighbors rally in solidarity by spending their ample disposable income on some small-batch artisanal goods. Once they've scrubbed the paint off, that is. That's always a nightmare.

Undoubtedly, this will happen again in a neighborhood that has been one of the "hottest" (read: getting more expensive more quickly than the already-frightening S.F. baseline) for years now. But nothing, it seems, will live up to the glory days during the twilight of the last millennium when people carpetbombed the Mission with anti-gentrifiation art.

[Via Bernalwood]

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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