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Golden prawn afternoon: Regent Thai in Noe Valley


Guardian video slideshow journalist Ariel Soto spent an enlightening Friday afternoon at Noe Valley’s Regent Thai restaurant.

Sausage and the City


By Justin Juul

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you ever actually pursued one of those weird ideas you get when you’re driving (or bussing or biking) home from work and your brain starts to wander? You know the shit I’m talking about. Something like this: Mmmm, I’m hungry — a hot dog would be nice – they always smell so good – but there’s bacon in them dogs – I wonder how much money those bacon-dog cart people in the Mission make – I wish they sold veggie dogs – I wish I had a hot dog cart – I bet I could find one on Ebay – I could start my own veggie-dog cart and get rich peddling my stuff in the park.

Wonder no more!

Then someone cuts you off and you slam your brakes and forget about the whole thing. You start thinking about sex or iPhones or something important like that. We all have those ideas that we know would work, but that we don’t have the time, energy, or money to get around to. The truth is we’re just lazy. That idea –the one about the veggie dogs– would totally work. Just think about how much money you’d make at Dolores Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon. All those stoned hipsters! All the drunk vegetarians! Who knows, after a month or so maybe you could make enough money to buy a cute little French bulldog to tag along as your mascot. You should do it! But you can’t –not anymore—because Danielle and Kristine, better known around these parts as Sausage Party, have already done it. And their dogs are fantastic.

Dog Eat Dog. Would the cute guy in this pic call Marke B. immediately.

Althousing odyssey


Marianne Moore takes you on a guided tour through the often confusing, always thrilling world of Bay Area alternative housing

We all know San Francisco housing is murder, with median rent for a one-bedroom apartment going for nearly $2200. So when I came home from college for my sweet but unpaid SF Bay Guardian internship, I knew I would have to be resourceful. I was prepared to live anywhere and do (almost) anything, as long as it was cheap. If you’re a local reading this via free wireless in your rent-controlled apartment (enjoy it while it lasts!), you may find this information irrelevant and stressful; or maybe you’ve been through it all. But if, like me, you can visit the beautiful Bay only for too-short summers, or you’re passing through or in transition, read on.

USA Hostel.jpg
Home sweet hostel? Not if you’re local.

The USA hostel on Post, like most hostels, will sometimes let you work a certain number of hours per week in exchange for a free bed. You have to work at least 24 hours and the nightly rate is $25 for paying guests, so it comes out to about $7.50 an hour, well below minimum wage in San Francisco. When I tried to arrange things over the phone from New York, I was told by the bored-sounding receptionist that I would just have to show up for a couple nights so they could “see if they liked me.” That made me a little nervous, but since I’m not totally unlikable I still thought it was worth a try. When I checked in and presented my California driver’s license, I was told that I wouldn’t be allowed to stay unless I could show an out-of-state ID. Apparently the company has a policy against boarding California residents, a policy specifically designed (it seems to me) to keep out homeless people. This isn’t typical for hostels; places I’ve stayed in New York City are regularly used as stopgaps by people between apartments. I couldn’t help but think that the hostel shuts out native Californians to protect their guests (mostly drunk-ass Eurotrash on holiday) from the realities of life in SF, presenting a tourist experience in line with trips to Ghiradelli Square and Pier 39.That, plus the popularity contest application process, had me heading straight for the nearest internet café and the dizzying wilderness of options that is Craig’s List .

Scottish SF


By Phil Eil

San Francisco may be a long way from Scotland, but the fingerprints of our kilt-wearing friends are all over the Bay Area. Between John Muir (of Muir Woods), and “Uncle John” Mclaren, the Golden Gate Park superintendent who vowed, “There will be no ‘Keep Off the Grass’ signs,” Scotsmen have San Francisco-area parks covered. And then there are the seven San Francisco public libraries—including my local branch in the Mission — financed by the Scottish-born steel baron Andrew Carnegie. If that’s not enough, consider each Scottish Terrier in Bernal Heights Park, all the Scotch Whisky in town, and every stitch of plaid clothing … ever. Now you’re on your way to giving the craggy country “North of the border” its proper due. Yes, Guy-Who’s-Seen-Trainspotting-Twenty-Four-Times, I’m talking to you.

fat bastard 1.jpg

Kerchiefs out, again, for Phyl and Del


Dammit, this picture does it to me every time:

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, the first couple to get married in City Hall, 2004, in a great photo by Liz Mangelsdorf of the Chronicle

Kamala (left), I know exactly how you feel. And my once radical queer eye teared up again, dammit dammit, at the news that Phyllis and Del will officially be the first legally married same-sex couple in San Francisco on June 16. (The flood of betrothed others will be ball-and-chained starting the 17th.)

Phyl, aged 83, and Del, 87, who of course are legendary for their incredible contributions to the community, met in 1950 and moved in together in 1953. That means they’ve officially been together for more than 55 years.

As I read the news last night next to my Hunky Beau, I realized that time might be against us for reaching such a milestone anniversary together — but still our hands squeezed a little tighter. Romantic fools! Thank you, Phyllis and Del. You completely deserve this. Whatever reservations I and many other queers may have about marriage, you’re an inspiration of feisty longevity and dedication.

How much is that dead guy in the window?


By Phil Eil

Some guys collected baseball cards when they were little. Martin Economou collected skulls. Nowadays, he doesn’t just collect skulls, he sells them three days a week at his store, Martin’s 16th Street Emporium. “It’s a skull shop,” Martin told me, pointing out raccoon skulls, electric light-up skulls, skulls with human hair, and skull rings as we toured his shop. “Skulls are big,” he explained, passing a glowing blue plasma skull, “They weren’t five years ago. The kids are wearing them—they’re everywhere.”

skull shop 008.jpg
“Don’t mind me, I’m just admiring the shape of your skull…”

Cheap beer and rubber band balls


By Justin Juul

San Francisco has the best liquor stores in the country. Oh sure, you could make the argument that New York City, with all it’s bodegas, and bullet-proof-glass-lined 24-hour sandwich shops is the real leader in this race, but come on. They don’t even sell beer at those places, and well, most of them just don’t have the personality of the shops you find here.

SF liquor stores got class, yo. There’s The S&W Market in the Lower Haight where the Pakistani couple spends all day bitching about the neighbors and stink-eyeing anyone who walks in the door. There’s The Transfer Market on Divisadero where you can barely hear yourself think over the Bhangra tunes blasting from the clerk’s surround sound speakers. There’s Mama’s in Noe Valley with the cool sign, Papa’s in The Castro that always smells like rotten meat, and a whole slew of other mom ‘n pop joints throughout the city where you can enjoy cheap beer, cool people, hot sauce, and some straight up weird shit. But none of these places is as awesome as Pride Superette on the corner of 22nd and Guerrero.

Photo from the SF Chronicle

SPORTS: Green (and gold) with envy


Image from the late, perhaps lamented, giantsvsas blog.

By A.J. Hayes

This coming weekend, the Giants will host the A’s for the 12th year of inter-league play. While San Francisco fans have typically viewed the cross bay series with a shrug and a ho-hum, to Oakland management and their fans, this cross-bay face off is serious business.

The clubs have been competitors for the affection of Bay Area baseball fans since 1968, when the A’s moved to town – but over the past decade the Giants have also become Oakland’s biggest rivals on the field.

Even during exhibition games, the A’s have historically played the Giants with an extra spring in their step. And don’t forget green and gold’s four game sweep of the Giants in the 1989 World Series (A’s fans certainly haven’t). Since inter-league play began in 1997 Oakland and holds a 34-28 advantage against San Francisco.

These Bay Bridge series (the series moves to Oakland June 27-29) also gives the A’s a chance to vent their long simmering resentment towards for all things orange and black.

Check out the copy of this promotional flyer for the A’s games this month:

“June. The Month of Champions. Teams representing 16 World Series titles since 1968. The Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies…and the San Francisco Giants.”

The A’s and their fans never miss an opportunity to promote the fact that in the Giants have yet to win a World Series during their 50 years in San Francisco. It doesn’t matter how many home runs Willie Mays and Barry Bonds hit – where are the rings?

We can understand their bitterness. Because despite winning four world titles since coming to Oakland 40 years ago, the A’s have always played second fiddle to the Giants.

BMX Battles: Sit the fuck down — the Sean Parker story


By Duncan Scott Davidson. Read Duncan’s article “Rise Above: The BMX Battles” here. Read his interview with Lotek’s Ian Schwartz here. Read his interview with SJBMX.com’s Chris McMahon here.

Sean Parker is a fixture in the SF scene. He’s usually riding flat at the Clock Tower, but I give the guy props for riding everything, and doing it all well–street, flatland, dirt, skateparks, whathaveyou. Not many people can grind a handrail, ride dirt jumps, air a bowl, and roll a hitchhiker all the way down the street all on the same bike. There’s nothing he won’t hit, and he’s famous for building spots–hidden jumps, concreted Jersey barriers, the list goes on. Skaters might hate, but the fact is you’ve probably skated something Sean built. He’s a relaxed, chill guy, but he’s not going to take any shit off of anyone.

Mr. Sean Parker

SFBG: Let me just start with the basic questions. How old are you, first of all?

SEAN: I’m gonna be 33 next week.

SFBG: How long have you been in the city? Where’d you grow up?

SEAN: A little over 10 years here. I grew up in the Washington, DC area.

SFBG: Why did you get into BMX?

SEAN: I don’t know. Something about the magazines always intrigued me. And then I eventually saw Matt Hoffman do a demo in, that was in West Virgina or something. Yeah, he actually gave me my first set of handlebars. I just kind of built a bike and quit skateboarding immediately.

SFBG: Oh, so you used to skate?

SEAN: Yeah.

SFBG: How old were you at the time?

SEAN: That was from like 9 to 12, I guess, 9 to 13.

SFBG: What was it about seeing the Hoffman demo that made you think “this was so much radder than skating”?

SEAN: There was just so much more you could do, it seemed like. You could go bigger, faster. It didn’t look as frustrating.

SFBG: Did you start with flatland?

SEAN: Mostly street riding. That’s all there was where I lived at the time. They didn’t have parks or anything, so I just rode around and did wallrides and handrails and stuff.

SFBG: How’d you get into flat?

SEAN: I eventually moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was just riding around, looking for people, if there was a scene or anything, and bumped into a group of flatlanders who were really good. I was like, “Damn, I guess I’m riding flatland now.” They taught me a bunch of stuff. I learned pretty quick. I kind of just tried to do everything at once from that point.

SFBG: You pretty much ride everything, huh?

SEAN: Yeah. Anything in front of me. Behind me. I don’t know which way I’m going.

SFBG: Do you ride parks as well?

SEAN: Yeah. I just rode Alameda yesterday. I love that place. I kind of just got there by default, like I do with the Embarcadero to ride flatland. I always want to check out the parks around San Jose or Benicia or something, I hear there’s some good ones. It’s funny, I just talked to the guy from sjbmx.com, and he’s at Benicia right now.

SFBG: I should call you up, man. I’ve been wanting to hit that park for like, weeks.

SEAN: Yeah, it’s pretty hot, I guess. I mean, a lot of people are talking about it like us.

SFBG: It’s bike legal, too.

SEAN: Oh, nice.

SFBG: What do you think about the new Potrero park opening up and not allowing bikes?

BMX Battles: SJBMX’s Chris McMahon pumps, swaps, and copes


By Duncan Scott Davidson. Read Duncan’s BMX Battles article here. Read his interview with pro biker Ian Schwartz here.

Chris McMahon, occasionally referred to in the bike scene as “Beerman,” due to an unfortunate high school football coach, runs www.sjbmx.com. His take on bikes being a “menace” in skateparks is that it’s not bikes, per se, it’s little kids who don’t know what they’re doing, don’t have park etiquette, and are essentially abandoned at the skatepark by parents who don’t want to pay for babysitters.

McMahon, wiped out from Dawg Aid. Photo by Daniel Porter

SFBG: What are you doing?

CHRIS McMAHON: Ah, not much. Out riding right now.

SFBG: Right on. Sorry to interrupt the session.

CHRIS: It’s cool. I actually have to help my buddy with a flat tire.

SFBG: Bike or car?

CHRIS: Bike.

SFBG: Bike? And he needs help?

CHRIS: He just needs a pump.

Footy from sjbmx.com. This includes clips from Cityview skatepark in Alameda, which BMXers helped design and pay for, but were later shut out of.

SFBG: I went to the Dawg Aid thing at Stonegate that you guys put on. There was, of course, a ton of bikes there. Was that originally a “no bike” park?

CHRIS: It definitely was and still is a “no bike” park, but we’ve never had it enforced. Never, ever gotten kicked out of there, to the best of my knowledge.

SFBG: What about Plato Arroyo?

CHRIS: We used to get kicked out of there. I know there’s still a rule, but I haven’t seen anyone get kicked out of there in awhile. There’s kids that ride there every day. But, that Evelyn lady that’s in my email, she was out there the other day. I don’t know what she was doing, exactly, but I have a feeling they’re going to be putting a fence up to keep bikes out. I talked to her about that a couple of years ago, and she never got around to getting back to me.

SFBG: In terms of Lake Cunningham, when did meetings start going down about that?

CHRIS: About the design?

SFBG: Sort of. When did they start designing it, and when did bikers get involved?

CHRIS: I think they started designing it about two years ago, maybe it was two and a half. They had an initial meeting, which no riders went to, because we weren’t informed. Two months after that, they had the initial design meeting, which I found out about just because I was looking around for information on skateboard message boards online. I got the date and time and location, and got a few guys to go to that.

SFBG: When was that?

CHRIS: I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I’m positive it was early 2006, maybe. Or maybe middle 2006. It was awhile ago. They were talking about how they didn’t really want to get bikes in there. Whoever the guy is who is in charge of the district for Stonegate was complaining about bikes in the park being a major problem, which is funny, because that’s the only people who ever rode there up, up until recently. Now there’s a lot of skaters there because they want to get used to bigger trannies for the Cunningham park.

SFBG: So who was giving the most anti-bike statements at these meetings, and where did they get their information from?

BMX Battles: Ian Schwartz — rough trannies, vibed out, lines backwards


By Duncan Scott Davidson. Read the BMX Battles article here.

Ian Schwartz is a 27 year-old-pro bike rider from Ohio. He’s sponsored by Sunday bikes and Lotek shoes, and was recently in San Francisco filming for the upcoming Lotek video. He’s a “still waters run deep” type of guy–quiet, unassuming, and never one to pop off random bullshit–he thinks about things before he opens his mouth and his outlook on the age-old skate vs. bikes battle seems right on target. On his bike, he’s one of the most creative guys out there, he rides what’s called a freecoaster rear hub, which means, in the final analysis, does better lines backwards than most people do forwards.

Work of art: Schwartz 180 lauches the stage at the De Young Museum. Photo by Brad Lovell

SFBG: Did you guys start filming yet?

Ian Schwartz: Not today, no.

SFBG: But you started already–for the Lotek video–right.

IAN: Yeah. We actually got a lot of stuff. Do you know Jesse Whaley? He was in town for a couple days. So we filmed some stuff yesterday–it was a lot of fun. Did a bunch of bombing hills and stuff like that. It was a real fun day.

SFBG: Did you hit any specific spots, or were you just cruising around looking for shit?

IAN: We did. I can’t even think of the any of the spots of we actually hit. We hit a couple. We rode the Federal Building. Around the library area.

SFBG: Did you get hassled?

IAN: No, not over there.

SFBG: I’ve heard of people getting tackled and their bikes confiscated there. Never seen it, though. I hit it myself sometimes.

IAN: Yeah. We didn’t stay there for very long, because we definitely felt like we were pusing it. It sucks, too, because that places is so cool.

SFBG: I figured you’d be into it, because it has those rough trannies, you know?

IAN: Yeah, that shit is so fun. It’s a bummer you can’t ride there. It was fun though.

SFBG: I think that since they started remodeling it, they don’t pay as much attention.

IAN: Really? I know that a couple weeks ago, Jackson and Marco and I and a few people rode the top area, which I’d never rode before. Have you ever ridden that?

SFBG: You mean the other side?

IAN: You know the biggest wall? On the top side of that wall. Like if you climbed up the wall there’s a little area up there. It’s like these weird little sheet metal pyramids. Super mellow, but little pyramid things, and banks with benches sticking out of them. Yeah, I didn’t even know that was up there. I think we actually did get kicked out, but it was a very friendly kick out. We got asked to leave, but that was after being there for a half an hour, 45 minutes.

Lotek Web video: “A Day with Ian Schwartz”

SFBG: Cool. Well, hopefully it’s a little more mellow than it used to be. I read on the Sunday site–I think this is before you went to Barcelona–you said that San Francisco is your favorite city to ride in. Why is that?

Cyclonudistas unite! World Naked Bike Ride hits SF


Yes, but who’s riding the testicycle?

Put your balls to the Brooks and your petals to the metal, shrinking violets — raucous global event the World Naked Bike Ride hits SF this Saturday at noon (as posted on “nakedwiki.org” — how, oh how, has this wiki escaped me???).

I think my gearshaft just shifted

“We face automobile traffic with our naked bodies as the best way to defend our dignity and exposing the unique dangers faced by cyclists and pedestrians as well as the negative consequences we all face due to dependence on oil and other forms of non-renewable energy,” say organizers, who seem to be as comfortable with run-on sentences as baring all on the mean streets of the naked city.


But who are we to argue — the pics make the participants look a lot hotter than those way-too-smiley Bay to Breakers nudists. Roll on, 10-speed tatas and phallic fixies.

Coming soon: A movie!

Date: Saturday June 7, 2008
Time: 12 noon
Location: Meet at the Justin Herman Plaza
Web: sanfrancisco.worldnakedbikeride.org

Wheatpaste for peace: SF Peace Billboards Project launches


Photos and text by Ariel Soto

About 100 art lovers gathered at the University of San Francisco (USF) on Memorial Day, May 26, to participate in a bus tour around the city to see 10 billboards by 10 artists from around the world that showcase their visions of what peace looks like, as part of the San Francisco Peace Billboards Project. The tour was headed by USF visual art professor Richard Kamler who first conceived the idea for the billboard project after wondering, in his words, “Why confine these images to the walls of a museum when we can take them to the community and have a significant impact?” The billboards will continue to be on display until June 22nd throughout San Francisco.

Peace billboard by Israeli artist Uzi Broshi at 22nd Ave and Irving

Peace billboard by Japanese artist Betty Nobue Kano at Masonic Ave. and Fulton

Artist Betty Nobue Kano

Iranian artist Taraneh Hemami (left) with USF visual art profesor Richard Kamler

Peace billboard by Iranian artist Taraneh Hemam at Divisadero Street and Hayes Street

Peace billboard by Tibetan artist Jamyoung Singye at Mission Street and 6th Street

Artist Jamyoung Singye

SPORTS: Underdog Horwitz starts off like Iron Horse Gehrig


By A.J. Hayes

Nobody is quite ready to anoint Cal product Brian Horwitz as the next Lou Gehrig. But last Sunday – on the 83rd anniversary of the start of the Yankee legend’s Herculean 2,130 consecutive game streak – the San Francisco rookie made the type of dramatic big league entrance the “Iron Horse” would have been proud of.

In his debut big league start, the 25-year-old outfielder drilled his first two major league hits and scored the tying run on Sunday in a thrilling 4-3 comeback win over visiting San Diego. The second knock, a solid 10th inning single off all-time-saves leader Trevor Hoffman, fueled the game winning rally.

Brian Horwitz, slugger

“I couldn’t have written it any better than today,” said Horwitz, who has scratched and clawed his way through the Giants minor league season since his ignominious beginnings in pro ball in 2004. “I know I can hit up here. I have the confidence in myself to get the job done.”

In this current season of Giants rebuilding, Horwitz – who is married, stands 6-foot-1, 187 pounds and has longish straight black hair that parts naturally in the middle – is the latest of a troop of farmhands the club has auditioned. By the end of September, San Francisco hopes to have separated the prospects from the suspects.

If Horwitz’s track record is any indication, when 2008 is done he should land in the former category.

Heading into this season Horwitz brought a sizzling .322 career minor league average.

It was on June 1, 1925 that the almost 23-year-old year-old Gehrig pinch-hit in a game for the Yankees. He started the next day, when, according to legend, regular New York first baseman Wally Pipp begged out of the lineup with a headache. Gehrig batted 3-for-5. It would be 13 seasons before Gehrig missed another game.

Horwitz’s consecutive game streak was not expected to last nearly as long. Talented left fielder Fred Lewis – the man Horwitz spelled on Sunday – stroked a very un-Pipp-like game tying pinch-hit, two-run triple to drive in Horwitz in the 10th inning Sunday

But the fact that Horwitz has managed to slip on a Giants jersey this season marks a significant accomplishment for the Southern California native.

Beers With Violet Blue


While we’re on the subject of Violet Blue, we figured it’s time to post Justin Juul’s recent interview with the sexy local celeb. Read on!

Violet Blue is one of those people who builds robots, dreams about cupcakes, and has twelve phones. You know the type. They usually write about porn and sex on their award-winning blogs and you can pretty much count on them to release about three books a year. They often pose semi-nude for well-known photographers, write columns for daily newspapers, and make appearances on national television shows. Wait. I don’t know anyone that cool, or at least I didn’t until I met Violet. The Guardian recently had a few beers with Ms. Blue to try to learn the secret to her seemingly impossible career and life.


SFBG: So whatcha been up to lately?
Violet Blue: Well, one new thing I’m working on is a series of interviews for Kink. They’ve really been stepping up their production lately so there are more big-name porn stars coming through. I’ve been interviewing all of them.

SFBG: Who have you interviewed?
Blue: Oh, I’ve done tons. I’ve been gathering them for weeks and I’m just writing them up now. I’ve got Ariel X, Flower Tucci, and a bunch of other famous people. I like doing the interviews because I’m kind of outside the porn industry. So instead of asking them how big their boobs are, I’ll maybe ask them if they have names for their boobs, which I actually did ask a couple girls.

Nerd is the New Cool: An Interview With Yo-Yo Master David Capurro


By Justin Juul

If we’ve learned anything from the most recent technological revolution (Web 2.0 and stuff, duh!), it’s that nerds are way cooler than we thought they were. In fact, the word “nerd” has lost nearly all of its negative connotations, now defining a certain type of person with highly specific interests rather than a loser. “I’m a music nerd,” people will proudly say, or “I’m an art nerd.” Being a nerd, then, has become cool; and not just in an ironic hipster sense like when you wear glasses without lenses or pretend to like B-movies. The people who used to be nerds are now actually cooler than the people who used to be cool. Take skateboarders for example. Being a skateboarder in 1990 meant that you lived a life of dread, that you were a nerd, and that all the jocks, cheerleaders, and thugs got to make fun of you. But being a skateboarder these days means that you have the freshest gear before anyone else, you know about underground art and music, and you have a pretty good chance of being an extra in the next Larry Clark film. The same thing goes for yo-yo champions like David Capurro. He may not spend his weekends getting drunk and doing cocaine at clubs, but well, come on; that shit’s for nerds.

The Guardian caught up with Capurro recently to explore the subculture of competitive yo-yo players, who might just be the coolest people on the planet (next to skateboarders, of course).


SFBG: How did you get into yo-yoing?
David Capurro: I saw a kid playing with a yo-yo when I was ten years old. I was kind of a socially awkward kid so I traded him a pair of walkie-talkies for his yo-yo. I guess I just figured I’d rather play with a yo-yo by myself than go out and try to make friends with those damn walkie-talkies. Besides, yo-yos don’t need batteries.

SF Weekly sneers at sex work


Sex writer Violet Blue is one of the best things at the Hearst-run SFGate website, an authentic local voice singing the praises of sex-positive San Francisco. So of course, the soulless and snarky hacks over at the SF Weekly felt compelled to try to knock her down a few notches, sneering at the notion that many of us are accepting of sex workers. And for that, they have been rhetorically bent over and pegged by the lovely Mistress Blue in a blog post earlier today.
You’ve really got to read this thing, which is more investigative in nature than your average flame. She brings up the Weekly’s weird history of fake journalism on another sex story, and digs up some good dirt on the latest perpetrator, freelance writer Benjamin Wachs. Now, we couldn’t verify the rumors about Wachs’ efforts to start a right-wing news site in San Francisco (hey, Ben, good luck with that one). But our research does show the guy moved here a year ago from Rochester, NY, which might come as a surprise to the Brighton-Pittsford Post in New York, where he’s supposedly a local columnist.
Messages to Wachs and the Weekly went unanswered — no surprise — but I’ll update if I hear anything new. Or if you see Ben around town…
…maybe you can ask him why he wanted to live in San Francisco if he has such a problem with our values.

SPORTS: The westies of Red Sox Nation


By A.J. Hayes

A cursory inspection of the sea of fans sporting navy blue and crimson at the Oakland Coliseum this past weekend proved that a) Boston Red Sox fans travel really well. And b) David Ortiz replica jerseys are not limited to “Big Popi” sizes.

Dozens of men, women, teens and toddlers of all dimensions ringed the stadium, spreading New England support from foul pole to foul pole and representing Ortiz, the Red Sox massive slugger. And those not wearing Ortiz’s iconic No. 34 modeled jerseys and t-shits representing the likes of Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis, and Jonathan Papelbon. Sprinkled among them were some retro pieces featuring the numbers of Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams.

No matter how Oakland fared on the field against the visiting Bosox, the Green and Gold bean counters knew in advance they would be big winners at the box office. Boston is the hottest ticket in baseball and the Red Sox currently lead the American League in road attendance with an average of nearly 35,000 fans per road game. Plus, the A’s charge more for their tickets when the world champs come to town. In all the three game set in Oakland series netted 97,592 customers.

But long before the Red Sox won two world championships over the past four seasons, the Red Sox were a big draw in the Bay Area. During the Red Sox inaugural inter-league visit/invasion of San Francisco a few seasons ago, Boston fans famously took over the lower grand stand of the Giants freshly minted ball park.

New England and the Bay Area have their share of bicoastal similarities. Both area have Irish/Italian roots; both have legendary sea ports, each has boho street cred and each region is over-shadowed by neon glitz to the south.

Prior to Saturday evening’s contest at the Coliseum we ventured into the heart of the Red Sox Nation’s west coast capitol and let it’s citizenry speak for themselves.

Ray Remocapozzi, 35, sporting Bosox cap and t-shirt:

“I grew up and live in Reno and try to make it out to the Bay Area every time the Red Sox come in. My mom and dad are originally from the Boston area and my half-brother, who is 18 years older than me, turned me on to the team. When I was growing up he brought me a bunch of Red Sox stuff: caps t-shirts, pennants. Naturally, I rooted for them. This is the second time seen the Red Sox this year and the second time we’ve brought our two-year old daughter (out-fitted in Lil’ Popi tee). Red Sox fans are a tight knit group and we run into the same people year after year. This is Red Sox Nation way out west.”

Awesome T-Shirts for Cinephiles


By Justin Juul

Have you been to Lost Weekend Video lately? If not, you better run soon. It’s the only place in the city where you can score one of these limited edition t-shirts by local Bay Area artist, Maria Forde. The Herzog/Kinski and Roman Polanski shirts are almost gone, but rumor has it there’s a Sam Peckinpah line coming soon and she may even do a run of Don Siegel prints. Rad!

Lost Weekend Video
1034 Valencia. SF
(415) 643-3373


SPORTS: The 2008 French Open


By Johnny Ray Huston

When the French Open kicks off this Sunday, there will be a major void in one of its two main events. Earlier this month, three-time women’s defending champion Justine Henin announced her retirement at the age of 25, a move that caught even some of the sport’s main journalistic voices by surprise. Once Henin’s goodbye sunk in, it all began to make a strange sort of sense. Her fantastic game if not personality is respected by all fans — male and female — of the sport, even if she’s remained obscure to casual observers who only recognize the names Federer, Sharapova, and Williams. But because of her short stature and relatively small physique, that same well-respected game was built on a level of effort and commitment that even some of Henin’s greatest opponents might not understand.

Justine Henin reaches

Henin regularly faced and beat players four to nine inches taller and twenty to forty pounds heavier (if not always stronger). A fierce one-handed backhand was her chief weapon, at a time when that shot seems endangered amongst top professionals. In an insightful reaction piece for ESPN, Stephen Tignor of Tennis magazine (a rock journalist cohort at Puncture in the ’90s) wrote about watching Henin in-person at Roland Garros last year. According to Tignor, instead of grunting like so many players or squealing Sharapova-style when she hit the ball, Henin made a different, less audible noise: she gasped. With her fretful, almost panic-stricken looks to coach Carlos Rodriguez between every point of a match, Henin long seemed on the verge of bolting. That’s precisely what she did in the second set of a notorious 2006 Australian Open final against Amelie Mauresmo, when her mid-match forfeit due to stomach pains (which Henin attributed to anti-inflammatories) permanently soured many people’s opinions of her. A few years later, a somewhat more personable Henin’s retirement from tennis while ranked #1 in the world — though amid a string of notable losses — is almost an inverse of that notorious match. She’ll decide when to stop, and how to write her own story.

On the men’s side, Roland Garros is hosting a very different kind of three-time defending champ, the never-say-die 21-year-old Rafael Nadal, who has yet to lose a match at the tournament. Nadal goes into this year’s French Open as the favorite, having won 108 out of his last 110 matches on clay. That status hasn’t been so easy to attain in 2008, though. Nadal entered this spring’s clay season facing perhaps the longest title drought of his young career, as if he’d never quite shook the hangover of his loss to Roger Federer in last year’s painfully-close Wimbledon final. (Since that match, Nadal’s near-peerless record in tournament finals noticeably nosedived.) He’s since won three events, but has had to do so within a compressed time frame that left his feet blistered. His most recent victory at a tournament in Hamburg required him to vanquish the top men’s player of the year so far, Novak Djokovic, in a nearly three-hour three-set marathon that qualifies as one of the best matches of 2008 — then turn around and beat a relatively well-rested Federer the next day.

Nadal vs. Djokovic; May 17, 2008 (highlights)

Blast from the past


Intern Phil Eil checks out his neighborhood diner – without nearly kissing his mother.

Does your license plate read, “MCFLY”? Have you been scanning Craig’s List for a Flux Capacitor? Well, while you’re waiting for that “Your DeLorean is ready,” phone call (the waiting list is eight months last time I checked), head over to Al’s Good Food Cafe at Mission and 29th Street. The place is a time machine, itself — definitely where Doc Brown dines when he’s in the Bay Area.

Al’s opened in 1947 and it hasn’t changed much since. From the original Cattle Queen of Montana poster signed by Ronald Reagan to the menu descriptions (“Maiden Christina’s Special: A breakfast feast for the delicate lady with the big appetite…”), the place is steeped in old-school American allure. As “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” played over the speakers, I ate a Jo’s Special — three extra large eggs scrambled with ground chuck, fresh spinach, green onions and mushrooms — and tried to named the movie stars pictured on the walls. Jimmy Dean. Audrey Hepburn. That other guy from Rebel Without a Cause.

But while the décor of Al’s is the real deal (as opposed to, say, Chili’s), the reason to eat there is not the Bing Crosby champagne bottle (“He only gave them to his closest friends,” Jean, my waitress, told me) or the Thank-You note from Florence Henderson. It’s the hospitality. Al’s daughters Jean and Joann have been working there since the restaurant opened, and they keep it grounded in its original principles. “Everyone here aims to please,” Joann told me. Jean added, “My father always said, ‘Soup and coffee is like saying, ‘Hello.’”

Leaving the restaurant, I put on my sunglasses, popped in a lollipop (it came free with the bill), and headed back out to Mission St.—back to the future.

Al’s Good Food Café
3286½ Mission, SF
(415) 641 – 8445

Al's Cafe 012.JPG
When this thing hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious…scrambled eggs.

Live the Dream with Dystopic Housing Realty


By Justin Juul

Freelancing comes with a shitload of perks – autonomy, loving your work, self-scheduling, etc. — but it’s not all great. The common myth is that freelancers live in heaven; that they just hang around their spacious lofts all day drinking beer, napping in the afternoon, and writing or painting whenever their bank accounts get low. Well, take it from me; freelancing may be better than office work, but it comes with a lot of bullshit too. For starters, there’s the money issue. Unless you’ve been doing it for over five years, the odds of making rent with your freelance income alone are extremely slim, which means a shitty side-job is a necessity. That basically means you never get a day off. Ever. Another drawback to this line of work is loneliness. Chilling out at home all day may sound nice, but it turns into a soul-crushing nightmare after about a month.

Still, for all the discipline, suffering, and sacrifice freelancing requires, it beats working for the man any day. At least, that’s what I thought before the city started building a goddamn school (or something) right across the street from my apartment. Now, not only am I lonely, distracted, and riddled with anxiety about meeting my deadlines, but I have to pump out journalistic brilliance with a chorus of drilling, welding, cement-mixing, and shouting right outside my window. Which hasn’t been working out so well. The construction site has been so loud lately that I’ve had to move my little operation down to the closest hipster café. Which also sucks because the music is loud, I can’t wear my jammies, and everyone talks constantly.

It’s been bugging me so much lately that I actually started looking into renting a “creative space,” which I knew would probably be impossible, given my financial situation. But, lo and behold, I found a company that offers exactly what I need. Dystopic Horizon Realty specializes in “near loft-like artist housing designed to cultivate creative thinking for those with exceptional lifestyles.” Each of DHR’s highly-affordable units is “hand-crafted and capable of magnificent views.” They’re well-ventilated, customizable, and built by a group of “unreal estate unprofessionals with over 40 years of experience.” Plus, they’re green!

Goodbye trendy café and hot noisy room. Hello good livin’.

Freaks afoot: More B2B pics


By Justin Juul

Naked dudes, drunk chicks, tortilla wielding madmen, Vikings, athletes, and homophobic Christian zealots. What a party! I came in 2,760th. Who says alcoholic chainsmokers can’t run?

Editor’s note: Though it went uncaptured in our photos, did anyone else notice how it looked like an American Apparel bomb exploded at Bay to Breakers this year? Weird.

For more Guardian pics of the fun run, click here.

Bonus Photos: Heatwave in the Park




Pics: Anime life, sushi soap, China pop at Asian Heritage fest


By Ariel Soto

San Francisco’s Japan Town came alive this Saturday, May 17, to celebrate the 4th Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration. The air was filled with the smell of roasting meat, people grooving to Emcee T (a.k.a. Chinese King of the Bay), jade charms and everyone present seemed to be enjoying themselves while soaking in all the culture. There was also a Hepatitis B clinic on site giving free screenings, boxing matches and an excellent reggae band that got people dancing in peace plaza.