Guardian Intelligence: April 30 – May 6, 2014

Pub date April 29, 2014


Polish your reading glasses: Sat/3 marks this first ever California Bookstore Day, a party featuring readings, author and artist appearances, and one-day-only, limited-edition book releases, taking place simultaneously at some 90 bookstores up and down the state. It’s modeled on the mega-successful Record Store Day, natch. A dozen bookstores in San Francisco have signed on, including Green Apple, City Lights, Booksmith, Books Inc., and Borderlands. Check to find the celebration closest to you. Because hey, what kind of party has Amazon thrown for you lately?


The Attic, the dank 24th Street dive bar known for its decrepit vinyl booths, a pervasive questionable smell, and, somehow, boatloads of charm, closed its doors for good last week. Those in the know say owner Roger Howell (a former owner of Mad Dog in the Fog) will be using his liquor license at the schmancy new Gashead Tavern on Mission. No word yet on whether there will be DJs at that establishment who play nothing but the Clash if you ask them, or bartenders who give you endless bowls of Goldfish crackers, or a welcoming gang of hard-drinking regulars who cheer when you find your phone still at the bar after leaving it there the night before. RIP.


Last year, when we at the Guardian were the only ones shouting about Airbnb‘s tax evasion and illegal short-term rentals, is was a lonely struggle. Then other journalists caught onto the story, Sup. David Chiu introduced his regulatory legislation a couple weeks ago, and the issue began to heat up. This week it all became a full-blown shit show, with rival rallies at City Hall on April 29. Opponents of the legislation are threatening a fall ballot measure that would reinforce the short-term rental ban in residential areas and give rewards to people who rat out their Airbnb-using neighbors. Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for.


It’s alive! The UC Theatre — the 1,460-seat Berkeley landmark, once beloved for its killer repertory film programming, but closed since 2001 — will undergo an eight-month renovation starting this summer and re-open as a nonprofit live music venue in 2015. According to a press release sent out by its new directors, Berkeley Music Group, the venue will present “approximately 75 to 100 shows a year, featuring a culturally diverse range of local, national, and international artists performing music genres ranging from Americana to zydeco and everything in between.” Located just two blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, it will feature both touring and local bands and musicians, as well as comedy shows, a speaker series, and (yesss!) film screenings. Bonus: a full-service restaurant and bar, too. Bookmark to stay posted on the latest.


Six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize were awarded this week in San Francisco. The prestigious awards were given to Desmond D’Sa of South Africa, who organized a campaign to shut down a toxic waste dump; Ramesh Agrawal of India, who led disenfranchised communities in a successful effort to seek information on industrial activities and shut down a proposed coal mine; Suren Gazaryan of Russia, who helped expose the illegal use of federally protected forestland; Rudi Putra of Indonesia, who is targeting palm oil plantations that have triggered massive deforestation; Helen Slottje of New York, who provided pro-bono legal assistance to help pass bans on fracking; and Ruth Buendía Mestoquiari who led indigenous people of Peru in a fight against large-scale dams that would have displaced them.


Missionites and other east-side San Franciscans are always bashing the Outer Richmond and the Outer Sunset. Dubbed the Outerlands, its too foggy, too far, too quiet, or too-blah to make the visit worthwhile. You know what? The Outerlands doesn’t need you anymore, Mission! They’ve got a brand new parklet at Simple Pleasures Cafe on 35th avenue. Soon they’ll have overpriced coffee, Google buses, and white-washed ethnic food too! Avenues, represent.


San Francisco-based RaidumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chalal allegedly beat his girlfriend 117 times, but the man will not go to jail. A jury found Chalal guilty of misdemeanor violence and battery charges, and will serve three years probation, spend 52 weeks in a domestic violence program and perform 25 hours of community service. The court through out video evidence of the incident that police had seized from Chalal’s home as inadmissible. Chalal wrote on his blog, “This was all overblown drama because it generates huge volumes of page views for the media given what I have accomplished in the valley.” He then invoked the “American Dream” and lamented the cost to his soon-to-go-public company. Silicon Valley doesn’t have an entitlement problem. Nope.


The Guardian’s Roaring ’20s-themed “Feathers and Fedoras” party last Friday at the de Young Museum drew a huge crowd of vintage-lovers. Zincalo Trio performed old-time favorites and gypsy jazz, the flapper-attired Decobelles dance troupe did a mean Charleston, and the de Young’s dazzling “Georgia O’Keefe and Lake George” exhibit provided a perfect artistic backdrop.


The 2014 Northern California Independent Book Awards were announced last week, and must-read winners include Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (fiction), George Albon’s Fire Break (poetry), Mary Roach’s Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (nonfiction), Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist (food writing) and Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko (middle-grade readers). The NCIBA winners were determined by a coalition of independent bookstores, see more at


How did people react to the racist comments allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Don Sterling? Clippers players: Removed their warmup shirts in a silent protest so that Clippers team logos would not be displayed. Magic Johnson: “He shouldn’t own a team any more. And he should stand up and say, ‘I don’t want to own a team any more.'”

President Barack Obama: “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let ’em talk.”

Snoop Dogg (in an online video addressing Sterling directly): “Fuck you, your mama, and everything connected to you, you racist piece of shit.”