Golden Gate Park



SUPER EGO Whoever decided to pack Disclosure (charging $50 for a DJ set!), the adorable Martinez Brothers, Easter with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, 420 in the Park, two insane undergrounds, and 200 bottomless mimosa brunches into one blurred weekend deserves to be packed into a giant pastel plastic egg and rolled down Mt. Tam. My head feels like a gargantuan green Bunnyzilla hopped upon a ketchup packet, not cute. So here are some brief items of interest before I lay down for just a minute.

Stylish Portrero-ish club and gallery Project One is no more. Longtime party people Sean and Isabel Manchester of Wish, Mighty, and Chambers have snatched it up, rejiggered it with a chic vibe, programmed lots of Bay-favorite DJs, and christened it Mercer (251 Rhode Island, SF., a lounge and “micro-club” named for the famous street in their beloved native Soho, NYC. The space is still bumping the Turbosound system inherited from 222 Hyde (RIP) Check it out.

Time to cue up — the 2014 DMC San Francisco Regional DJ Battle and Scratch Competition (Sat/26, noon-7pm, $15 advance, $20. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF. will fill Mighty all day long with epic pyrotechnics. The Bay Area holds intimate acquaintance with the all-powerful DMC World DJ Championship title: We’ve won it several times in the past 30 years — once, in fact, with this year’s host, DJ Apollo. This is the first time in three decades that there will be “test run” of a separate scratch competition (scratching was introduced to the DMC in 1986), so I’m itching to see who steps up.

Two new killer fancy cocktails for your face. SF’s been exploding with mezcal bars and

classic Negroni cocktails — combine the two for a knockout mescal Negroni ($11) at the awesome Lolo (3230 22nd St, SF. And, at my new favorite Thai spot, downtown’s Kin Khao (55 Cyril Magnin, SF., grab the zesty, incredible Kathoey Collins, a.k.a. the “ladyboy” ($12). Flavored with traditional Thai blue flowers, it changes color before your very eyes to a lovely lavender, “for something you don’t quite expect,” says jovial owner Pim Techamuanvivit.



Aw, known this LA bass-head darling since he was a wee glitcher, chopping up slabs of raw atmosphere and layering on pretty discombobulations. Now he and his sound are all blown up, coming straight from Coachella for two days at Great American. With Purple, Jim-E Stack, and Chad Salty.

Wed/23 and Thur/24, 8pm doors, 9pm show, $20–$25. Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell, SF.



We love our hometown queer hip-hop heroes and their party crowd of radiant children. Rump-pumping duo Double Duchess will take the floor at this throwdown, with Guardian cover star Micahtron motormouthing on the mic.

Fri/25, 10pm, $10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF.



The Guardian’s hosting a roaring ’20s evening knees up at the de Young Museum, grab your favorite flapper and hightail it over. With live Parisian speakeasy band Trio Zincalo, Decobelles dance troupe, our very own astrologer Jessica Lanyadoo giving live readings, a full bar, and oodles more.

Fri/25, 6pm-8:30pm, free. De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., Golden Gate Park, SF.



So excited to hear Edu again. Valencian hero of Spanish techno, he added some much-needed swing to the Berlin sound of the late 2000s with the classic “”El Baile Alema” (along with another Spanish favorite, Coyu). He easily slips crowds under his spell.

Sat/26, 10pm-late, $10. Audio, 316 11th St., SF.



Craig Smith and Graeme Clark (a.k.a. The Revenge) are quality re-edit hypnotists from the UK, introducing new audiences to very deep soulful disco, Latin funk, and deliciously strange grooves via their quick-handed cut-and-pastes.

Sat/26, 9:30pm-3am, $10–$15. Monarch, 101 Sixth St, SF.



The sweet, eccentric Chicagoan may still be revered here mostly for his sassy electroclash output in the early 2000s, but he really does have banging house running through his veins. With the funky pastiche-master Todd Edwards and Australian Tornado Wallace (whose beard rivals our own Jason Kendig’s).

Sat/26, 9pm-late, $15–$20. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.



Kenny Dope and Mr. V’s beloved NYC party debuts in SF — and will surely show us some masters at work, bopping from soulful house to disco classics, funky hip-hop to Latin jazz and beyond.

Sat/26, 10pm-late, $15–$20. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.


Where there’s smoke


It was April 20 in Golden Gate Park, the fabled 4/20 in the parlance of pot smokers, and we found Nick and Chris standing under the shade of a tree with a cluster of friends, including Geoff, the proud owner of a five-foot bong.

Nick had done several hits through the supersized smoking device that day. Beside him, Chris took hits from his own handheld bong. “I’m feeling good,” Nick reported. “But I’m also kinda hungry. I could go for some Chinese food. Ohh, and some Sapporo!”

Administering a hit of marijuana through such unwieldy paraphernalia is quite the operation, requiring one person to stand and hold one end, another to light the marijuana once it’s packed into the bowl, and a third to inhale the five-foot column of milky smoke that rises through the chamber. The smokers on the receiving end contorted their faces as they inhaled, inevitably coughing and laughing as they breathed out, seemingly amazed by the experience. The college-age friends were in 420-induced bliss.

The annual 420 celebration in Golden Gate Park is unpermitted, with no official organizers, yet thousands of festivalgoers nevertheless flock to it year after year. It’s a quintessentially San Francisco experience: Young and old congregate for a collective daylong smoke-out, bringing drums, dogs, grills, shade structures, hand-blown glass, tie-dyed tapestries, Hacky Sacks, sound systems, and other picnic paraphernalia along with them.

The area around Hippie Hill — at the eastern end of the park, near Kezar Stadium — was a jumble of humanity crammed elbow to elbow, reeking of pot smoke. The crowd reflected a wide range of ethnicities and brought out many displaying an outlandish sense of fashion, sporting shiny plastic marijuana-leaf necklaces, sleeve tattoos, piercings, face paint, and piles upon piles of dreadlocked hair.

San Francisco maintains an iconic status as a weed-friendly city. While 420 in Golden Gate Park is a lighthearted scene that’s also proved irksome for city agencies plagued by leftover trash and traffic jams, serious year-round marijuana advocacy efforts continue to mark the Bay Area as a hotbed for drug policy reform and thriving, legitimate pot-based entrepreneurship.



The movement to legalize marijuana for medical purposes started in San Francisco, the lovechild of the city’s hippie movement and its caregiving response to the AIDS epidemic. It was Dennis Peron and other activists here who wrote Proposition 215, the statewide legalization measure that California voters approved in 1996.

A decade ago, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a comprehensive set of regulations for its two dozen or so medical marijuana dispensaries, guidelines that have proven to work well and be a model for other jurisdictions to follow, elevating pot purveyors into accepted members of the business community (see “Marijuana goes mainstream,” 1/27/10).

Some have even begun to regard the Bay Area as a model for how to implement a sensible approach to regulating marijuana. On April 16, US Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) traveled to San Francisco on a fact-finding mission after Clark County, Nevada legalized medical marijuana, with Las Vegas and other Nevada cities expected to follow shortly.

“I want the state to learn from someone who’s done it right,” Titus told the Guardian as she toured The Apothecarium on Market Street, an elegant dispensary reputed to be one of San Francisco’s finest.

In addition to helping guide Nevada’s implementation of medical marijuana legalization, Titus said she’s working on federal legislation that would better protect small businesses involved with a marijuana industry that is growing rapidly in the US, thanks to Colorado and Washington taking the next step and legalizing even recreational uses of marijuana.

For example, Titus wants to make sure marijuana businesses have full access to banking services, something that the US Department of Justice has occasionally interfered with. As Titus told us, “The federal government shouldn’t be wasting time and going after people who are abiding their state laws.”



Back at 420 on Hippie Hill, Amber and Charlie lounged on a blanket with Gizmo, an affectionate pooch they’d adopted from “this guy who lives in a tree house” in Santa Cruz. The young couple, ages 18 and 20 respectively, had hitchhiked to California from Washington. Yes, “we may have done some weed,” Charlie said before letting out a peal of laughter.

“It’s been pretty awesome,” Amber said. “Literally, there was smoke coming from everywhere,” the moment 4:20pm arrived. As far as the eye could see, she said, the scene was nothing but “people smoking weed. It was crazy.”

Lilian was at the park with a friend, wearing a crown of daisies she’d woven with flowers plucked from nearby the park entrance. “All day we’ve been doing joints and blunts and pipes,” she explained. “We haven’t had any bong hits yet, but we had a couple vape hits, because they were like giving free test trials here at the park. So we were like, alright, why not?”

Lilian exulted the “positive vibes” of the event, but it wasn’t all weed and roses. A short while later, reports of gunfire sent police cars racing into the park with sirens wailing. While police later reported that they never found evidence of anyone actually discharging a weapon, two different individuals were arrested on charges of possessing a firearm.

Emergency personnel responded to four medical calls, police reported the following day, including one person who had a seizure, someone who suffered an abrasion at Haight and Ashbury streets, and two underaged individuals who experienced problems after becoming overly intoxicated. For a crowd of thousands pushed the boundaries of indulgence, quite a small number suffered harm.

Eight other arrests stemmed from charges of selling marijuana or possessing it for sale, possession or sale of opiates, one warrant arrest, and another on charges of “malicious mischief,” according to police.

A few days before the unpermitted gathering, city officials held a press conference announcing a “comprehensive plan” to crack down on the anticipated debauchery, which included not only the Golden Gate Park marijuana celebration but the “Hunky Jesus” competition, a countercultural hallmark held annually on Easter Sunday in Dolores Park.

“Last year we had a lot of challenges,” said Sup. London Breed, whose District 5 encompasses Golden Gate Park. “We need to make the city and streets safe this year. We want people to come and enjoy San Francisco, but we also want them to respect San Francisco.”

Thus, city agencies ramped up deployment of both plainclothes and uniformed police officers, and sent out more parking and traffic control officers.

The previous year, when massive amounts of debris had been left strewn throughout the park, it took 25 city employees over 12 hours to clean up five tons of trash left by intoxicated visitors, said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the city’s Recreation and Parks Department. The Department of Public Works’ tab for cleanup exceeded $10,000.

But the main draw of the event, in true San Francisco fashion, was behavior Police Chief Greg Suhr hinted in advance would essentially be tolerated. “The sale of marijuana is still a felony,” Suhr emphasized, “but I don’t think [the SFPD is] naive enough to believe that we can stop people from smoking on 4/20.”



Advocates for legalizing even recreational use of marijuana had hoped to make the November ballot this year, but the campaign’s signature-gathering effort has sputtered out.

Sponsored by the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative, the legalization measure was named for Jack Herer, a renowned cannabis advocate who passed away in 2010. The campaign is now ramping up for another try in 2016, when some advocates hope the presidential election will drive younger voters to the polls.

But while efforts to legalize weed in California for recreational use falter for now, the legitimate use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has giving rise to healthy businesses and research on health benefits. At the April 16 event at the Apothecarium, Titus had lots of questions for Allie Butler, an expert in marijuana who has a master’s degree in public health and told Titus, “I want to do cannabis research for the rest of my life.”

Butler introduced Titus to the various strains of marijuana, explaining what ailments each is good for. The CaliWidow can be a cure for headaches, she explained, and Blue Dream is “good for nausea. We prescribe that for cancer patients all day.” She indicated another strain, saying, “this is the Jack Herer, it’s my mom’s favorite.” Fancy, knowledgeable, and above ground, this isn’t your mom’s marijuana business anymore.

Hunky Jesus, Foxy Mary, and Easter bonnets to make your eggs spin


The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence held their 35th anniversary Easter party — an “Emerald Jubilee” — at Golden Gate Park’s Hellman Hollow on Sunday. The annual event once again featured an Easter bonnet competition and a Hunky Jesus contest, plus a brand-new Foxy Mary pageant. Several Pope lookalikes graced the crowd, and a Little Bo Peep burlesque show rounded out the scheduled entertainment.

All photos by Amanda Rhoades.

City unveils plan to get tough at 4/20 gatherings

City officials today announced a “comprehensive plan” to crack down on unpermitted 420 events at Golden Gate Park this Sun/20, saying it was necessary because last year’s debauchery got out of hand. That means more police, both in uniform and plainclothes, will be in the park for the greatest marijuana celebration of the year.

“Last year [on 4/20] we had a lot of challenges,” said Sup. London Breed, who is spearheading this year’s efforts since the park falls in her district. “We need to make the city and streets safe this year. We want people to come and enjoy San Francisco, but we also want them to respect San Francisco.”

The problems Breed was alluding to included underage drinking, traffic congestion, and massive amounts of trash left in the park, especially in the area known as Hippie Hill.

Last year, it took 25 city employees over 12 hours to clean up the five tons of trash left by intoxicated visitors, according to Phil Ginsburg, general manager of San Francisco Recreation and Parks. And because 420 activities are unsanctioned and without an official sponsor, the burden to pay for the cleanup falls upon the city. In 2013, the Department of Public Works spent more than $10,000 to restore Golden Gate Park.

In anticipation of an even larger crowd this year, for both 420 and Easter events happening in the park, the city is gearing up to deal with people and traffic. In addition to deploying additional law enforcement in plainclothes and uniform, officials also plan to ramp up parking control, utilize additional bus services, and employ city workers to direct traffic.

A press release issued by Breed’s office indicated that police would take “a strict enforcement approach to all code violations.”

But speaking at the press conference, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said officers will have zero tolerance for violations such as underage drinking, open containers, selling drugs, unlicensed vendors, and even walking while texting. Noticeably absent from the list of offenses he mentioned was actually smoking marijuana.

“The sale of marijuana is still a felony,” Suhr emphasized, “but I don’t think [the SFPD is] naive enough to believe that we can stop people from smoking on 4/20.”

Captain Gregory Corrales confirmed that maintaining safety is the station’s top priority. Last year there was only one violent incident and eight arrests for selling drugs, but there were zero citations for possession of marijuana.

Pot smoking, which has long been tolerated, if not embraced, in our progressive enclave, was officially deprioritized as a crime by the Board of Supervisors in 2006, barring incidents that involved driving under the influence, minors, or violence. Breed noted that while she does not “condone illegal activities,” she admits that this aspect of the 420 celebration is difficult to control.

So please, stoners of San Francisco, follow the cardinal rule of nature lovers by packing out whatever you pack in. And above all, have a safe and merry holiday.

Events: April 16 – 22, 2014


Listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Selector.


“Globular Clusters of the Milky Way” Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, SF; 7:30pm, free. Calling all Cosmos fans: UC Santa Cruz Professor of Astronomy Graeme Smith delivers this talk as part of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers’ 2014 lecture series.

Myra McPherson Green Arcade, 1680 Market, SF; 7pm, free. The author discusses The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age.

Elizabeth Scarboro and Louise Aronson Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; 7:30pm, free. The authors read from My Foreign Cities and A History of the Present Illness, respectively.

“Smack Dab” Magnet, 4122 18th St, SF; 8pm, free. Open mic for writers and musicians, with featured performer Blair Hansen.

Kevin Young City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, SF; 7pm, free. The poet reads from his new collection, Book of Hours.


Kaya Press 20th Anniversary City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, SF; 7pm, free. With Sesshu Foster, Gene Oishi, Amamath Rawa, and Shailja Patel.

“The Natural and Cultural History of Yerba Buena Island” Randall Museum, 199 Museum Wy, SF; 7:30pm, free. The 2014 SF Natural History Lecture Series continues with this talk about Yerba Buena Island’s ecological secrets by Ruth Gravanis.


“Birding the Hill” Corona Heights Park, behind Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, SF; 8am, free. Beginning birders are welcome to this 2.5 hour walk scouting the park’s avian inhabitants.


Emil DeAndreis Green Apple Books, 506 Clement, SF; 6pm, free. The author reads from Beyond Folly.

Earth Day Bay Area Discovery Museum, Fort Baker, 447 McReynolds, Sausalito; 9am-5pm, $11. Live music, hands-on craft projects using recycled materials, storytelling, and more for kids and their families.

Earth Day SF UN Plaza, Civic Center, SF; 10am-6pm, free. This year’s theme is “A Call to Action,” so look for speakers and booths addressing climate change, green activism, and other social-justice topics. Of course, there will also be plenty of music (by headliners New Monsoon and the Earth Day All Star Band, among others), dance performances, an eco fashion show, a sustainable chef showcase, and more.

“Earth Day on the Bay” Marine Science Institute, 500 Discovery Pkwy, Redwood City; 10am-5pm, free. The Institute opens to the public just once a year, and today’s the day. Families are invited for hands-on science fun (touch a shark!).

“Eggstravaganza 2014” Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF; 11am-3pm, $8. Egg hunts, carnival rides, games, live entertainment, and a barbecue competition between city agencies highlight this family-friendly Easter event.

“Great Egg Hunt” Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakl; Noon-3pm, $3-5. Oakland’s largest egg hunt (also on tap: a petting zoo, face painting, crafts, and more) covers the grounds of the 1899 mansion.

Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Japantown, SF; Times and prices vary. Through Sun/20. Celebrate Japanese culture and the Japanese American community at this 47th annual street fair, boasting food booths, live music, martial arts demonstrations, and more.

“Party for the Planet” Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd, Oakl; 10am-3pm, $11.75-15.75. 50 local environmental organizations participate in this zoo bash, which will feature over 50 “interactive Earth Stations” throughout the facility. Plus: live animal presentations, live music, and more.

“SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot” and “Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records” Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak, Oakl; 11am-5pm, $6-20. Through July 27. Two new exhibits open today at OMCA: the first highlighting 15 artists associated with Asian and Asian American pop culture-focused magazine Giant Robot, and the second exploring “the social and cultural phenomenon of listening to, collecting, and sharing records.”


“Easter in Golden Gate Park” Hellman Hollow, Golden Gate Park, SF; Children’s Easter, 10am; main event, noon. Free. Hunky Jesus has risen! And this year, he’s got Foxy Mary with him! It’s the 35th year for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s flamboyant Easter festivities. Crucial info: the theme is “The Emerald Jubilee, A ‘Trip” to Oz;” and since Dolores Park is temporarily closed, it all goes down in Golden Gate Park.

Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics 40th Anniversary Party City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, SF; 5pm, free. Andrea Rexillus hosts readings by Robert Gluck, Juliana Spahr, Cedar Sigo, Eric Baus, Michelle Naka Pierce, and Chris Pusateri.

“The Szyk HaggadahContemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission, SF; 1-2pm, free with museum admission ($10-12). Also April 27, 3-4pm. The Arthur Szyk scholar discusses the artist’s masterwork in this gallery talk.

Union Street Easter Parade and Spring Celebration Union between Gough and Fillmore, SF; 10am-5pm, free. A parade, an Easter bonnet contest, live entertainment, and lots of kid-friendly fun highlight this 23rd annual event.


Doug Fine Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; 7:30pm, free. Celebrate Earth Day with this reading by the author of Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution.

Sixteen Rivers Press reading City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, SF; 7pm. With poetry readings by Beverly Burch and Murray Silverstein. *


Events: April 9 – 15, 2014


Listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Selector.


Poetry reading Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 649-1320. 7:30pm, free. With Raina Leon, Erica Lewis, Alexandra Mattraw, and Val Witte.

Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; 7:30pm, free. The fashion bloggers discuss Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me: Tom and Lorenzo’s Fabulous and Opinionated Guide to Life and Style.


Arlo Crawford Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; 7:30pm, free. The author discusses A Farm Dies Once a Year: A Memoir.

Emma Donoghue Alexander Book Co., 50 Second St, SF; Noon-1pm, free. The author reads from her new mystery novel Frog Music, with musicians Patrice Haan and Tony Marcus playing tunes that were popular during San Francisco’s Barbary Coast days.

Leslie Jamison City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, SF; 7pm, free. The author reads from her new essay collection, The Empathy Exams.

Fred Martin BookShop West Portal, 80 West Portal, SF; (415) 564-8080. 7pm, free. The author discusses his new book, Abraham Lincoln’s Path to Reelection in 1864.

“Off the Grid: Twilight at the Presidio” Main Post, Presidio, SF; 5-9pm, free. Every Thursday through June 26. This ongoing evening event features lantern-lit dining cabanas, cocktails, fire pits, and food trucks galore.


“Chomp! They Came from the Swamp” Conservatory of Flowers, 100 JFK Dr, Golden Gate Park, SF; 10am-4pm, $1.50-8. Tue-Sun through Oct 19. Explore the oddly alluring world of meat-eating plants at this exhibit, starring California’s own cobra lilies and the ever-popular Venus flytrap. Who’s hungry?

“An Evening with Nightboat Books: Mostly New Work” Green Arcade, 1680 Market, SF; 7:30pm, free. With Brian Blanchfield, Laura Moriarity, George Albon, Brandon Som, and Kevin Killian.

“Walk to Work Day” SF; Hoof it to work today and get a reward (snacks, Clipper cards, etc.) at a number of “hubs” stationed around SF. All of the supervisors will be hanging out in cafés in their districts (7:45-9am) to encourage walkers; check the website for more deets.

“YBCA Teen Night 2014: Visions of an Abolitionist Future” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; 6-10pm, free. Youth-created performance and exhibition that looks at the crisis of mass incarceration in America.


Berkeley Bay Festival Berkeley Marina, Berk; 11am-4pm, free. Live music, environmentally-themed exhibitors, boating, and “green” vendors highlight this event celebrating the bay.

“Jack of All Trades” Jack London Square, 55 Harrison, Oakl; 11am-5pm, free. Treasure Island Flea hosts this gathering of local makers, indie designers, artists, and more.

“Nicolas Cage Art Show” Balancoire, 2565 Mission, SF; 8pm, $8-10. Group art show paying tribute to the many nuances of the Oscar-winning, delightfully odd actor.

Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Japantown, SF; April 12-13 and 19-20, free. Celebrate Japanese culture and the Japanese American community at this 47th annual street fair, boasting food booths, live music, martial arts demonstrations, and more.

“SiteWorks: Archaeologies of San Francisco Performance, 1969-85” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; 3-4:40pm, free. Artist Nick Kaye discusses an ongoing, site-specific Google Maps project gathering “archival remains of past ephemeral art and performance in the present city of SF.”

“Writers with Drinks” Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, SF; 7:30-9:30pm, $5-10. With Eileen Gunn, April Sinclair, Caitlin Donohue, Nona Caspers, and Siouxsie Q.


“Foster Family Fun Day” Habitot Children’s Museum, 2065 Kittredge, Berk; 2-5pm, free. Foster, kinship, and adoptive families are welcome to visit the museum and enjoy free, exclusive access to the hands-on exhibits and creative art activities.

Darick Robertson Two Cats Comic Book Store, 320 West Portal, SF; 3pm, free. The comics artist (Transmetropolitan, The Boys, Marvel Knights) discusses his work with Comic Vine’s Corey Schroeder.


Market Street Kiosk Youth Poster Series Bus kiosks along Market Street, SF; Through July 7. Budding photographers working with San Francisco Arts Commission photo-mentoring program First Exposures exhibit scenes snapped in their neighborhoods — the Tenderloin, SoMa, and Central Market — in public displays along Market Street.


Matthew Zapruder City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, SF; 7pm, free. The poet celebrates the release of his new collection, Sunbear. *


Kanye and the Heartbreakers? The Outside Lands lineup is here


Well that’s…an interesting bunch. Another Planet Entertainment just announced the lineup for Outside Lands, set for Aug. 8 through 10 this year in Golden Gate Park (as per usual). The heavy-hitters include Kanye West, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Killers, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Arctic Monkeys, Death Cab for Cutie, Flaming Lips, Ray Lamontagne, and Atmosphere, with local faves Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, Tumbleweed Wanderers and Trails and Ways as supporting acts. The full lineup’s here — but why just read it when you can have Huey Lewis tell you all about it?

Tickets go on sale this Thursday, April 10 at 10am. See ya there?

A fine dilemma


Police have heavily increased sweeps of homeless campers in Golden Gate and Buena Vista parks since January as city officials discuss the next 10-year homeless plan, targeting a specific population of the city’s homeless: youth 25 years old and under, kids who often make those parks their homes.

Officials estimate there are as many as 1,902 homeless unaccompanied children and transitional age youth (ages 18-24) in San Francisco. The Haight’s young homeless often identify themselves colloquially as “street kids.” Although not all street kids desire to stop roaming, those striving to stabilize their lives find camping citations a major barrier in escaping homelessness.

“There’s been a big step up in police force in the Haight,” Jefferson Fellows, a manager of outreach at Larkin Street Youth Services, told us. On the early morning of Jan. 24, Park Station police officers cited over 30 campers in Buena Vista and Golden Gate parks, according to police records. The numbers are higher than usual, but month-by-month comparisons are difficult due to the seasonal changes in homeless populations.

At its satellite office, Fellows works with Haight street youth to reduce their citations and maintain court dates. “There’s a real struggle our youth are facing, and a lack of options,” he said.

The youth and police both verify that enforcement has increased lately.

Capt. Greg Corrales of Park Station told the Guardian he’s increased sweeps of campers in the two parks in response to increased community complaints. When we asked him to produce email copies of those complaints, he said many of them were made in person at community meetings.

A recently formed petition, “Restore and Improve Buena Vista Park,” specifically calls on local police to step up patrols, increase enforcement of no camping laws, and to place police at key points around Buena Vista Park at 5pm to prevent campers from setting up in the evening. It has 748 signatures.

The neighbors view increased police action as the solution to dissolving campsites, but the citations issued to those campers can be a barrier for these youth to find permanent housing.

Walking into Larkin Street Youth’s satellite office on Haight Street is akin to stumbling into a Thanksgiving dinner. Teenagers and 20-somethings gather around a table brimming with food: strawberries, pastries, cheese, and more. Many know each other, and rejoice in their reunions after spending months apart on the road. As we walked in, a girl named Stormy shouted “Ace!” happily and wrapped her arms around a dreadlocked friend.

They may or may not have homes, but it’s clear many consider each other family. Among their many common bonds (a love of dogs is a popular one), they all have one thing in common they don’t celebrate: an abundance of citations for sleeping or camping in parks.

One of them is Skye David Chase, 23, a tan and bearded native San Franciscan. He has “blood family” out in the Presidio. “My mom was a black sheep, she hung out with the hippies and the Deadheads down here (in the Haight),” he said. “My soul is here.”

Chase pulled out a stack of citations an inch thick. They’re mostly from camping in Golden Gate Park, but other citations are peppered in as well, he said. Altogether they tally about $2,000.

“Now I have a lot of fines built up, I might have jail time, I don’t know. That’s just for four months of sleeping here,” he said. “In that time, I was coming [to Larkin] for services, I was going to counseling, getting my medical stuff. The cops would show me respect, shake my hand sometimes, but they’d still give me the ticket.”

Not all street kids want out, but Chase is tired of roaming. He says he kicked his heroin habit, and now spends his time educating himself in libraries and looking for a steady job. He dreams of becoming a librarian.

Most importantly, he’s seeking a permanent place to call home. But he’s in a hole he can’t dig out of: if he doesn’t find housing he’ll keep accruing camping citations, and finding housing is difficult as long as the citations burden him financially. Applying for certain types of housing can be difficult with the specter of criminal history hovering over you.

“Many programs turn people away who have warrants,” Jennifer Friedenbach, the executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness said. As citations go unpaid, youth are issued arrest warrants. And although some programs work to clear records of offenders, like the Public Defender’s Office’s Clean Slate program, camping violations are often infractions — Clean Slate advertises helping offenders reduce felonies to misdemeanors.

A San Francisco Civil Grand Jury report last year put the problem succinctly: “The current system of issuing citations for nighttime sleeping and camping in the Park has not been effective in reducing the number of park dwellers.”

Bevan Dufty, the director of the mayor’s homeless program, HOPE, said he understands the need to enforce the law, but that perhaps that enforcement is detrimental to permanent housing solutions.

“Citations more often than not result in a barrier to housing people,” he said. But camping citations are just one of many types of citations harrying the homeless, he said. Dufty told us of a young woman who is now 23, but has been homeless since she was 15. He went with her to court to try to minimize her many citations, which made her ineligible for some services.

“The fundamental goal,” he said, “should be trying to get people housed.”

Dufty said he would try to help Chase personally, and we’re now in efforts to connect them.

Chase may have many fines built up, but a pro bono attorney he met through Project Homeless Connect is helping him navigate the legal system. Recently, his effort to find housing and get a job have taken on a dangerous edge of necessity. Chase recently learned he is HIV-positive.

“I just found out six months ago,” he said. It’s forced him to make decisions about where to camp, based on his energy levels and proximity to services. “If I walk too much I’m not utilizing my food and energy properly.”

Many of the street kids are roamers, but for those like Chase who want to find permanency and stability, it can almost seem like the city is giving them a help up with one hand and pushing them back out onto the street with another.

But Chase maintains positivity about life.

“I was here a few months ago and someone had a telescope out here, we could see the nine moons of Jupiter lined up. It was powerful,” Chase said. “I have an empathetic viewpoint now that I’ve been through all this. I don’t have a choice.”

Ignore less


CAREERS AND ED Often called the first feminist, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz could well be your guiding spirit heading into this bright new year. Born in 1651 in colonial Mexico, Sor Juana defied societal expectations about women at the time to study herself into becoming one of the smartest people in New Spain. She became a nun rather than marry, and eventually amassed one of the largest libraries in the Americas.

One of Sor Juana’s enduring catch phrases was “I don’t study to know more, but to ignore less,” a prettily humble bon mot from a woman who constantly had to defend her right to learn. Sadly, threats of censure by the church slowed her educational roll — but nonetheless, her unlikely influence on the fight for women’s rights is still honored today.

Will you ignore less in the new year? Surely there are fewer obstacles in your way than Sor Juana’s. Here are some excellent ways to engage with the world around you in 2014.



So you say you’re a boor? For all the menfolk — or anyone, really — boggled by feminism, this monthly book club may be the ticket. Held at Noisebridge, the Mission’s tech learning center (check its calendar for amazing, mainly free classes and meetups), the club will start with bell hooks’ Feminism is for Everybody and feature conversations about how to be the best ally possible. All gender identities welcome.

Second Wednesdays starting Wed/8, 7pm, free. Noisebridge, 2169 Mission, SF.



The stand-up school with the most working comedians on staff of any similar institution in the country wants to get you in front of an exposed brick wall talking about your boyfriend’s crazy roommate.

Wednesdays Jan. 8-Feb. 12, 6pm, $239-279. SF Comedy College, 442 Post, Fifth Fl., SF.



Instructor Tika Morgan explores the hip-hop, dancehall, Cuban salsa, and other influences that create the pounding rhythms of reggaeton.

Wednesdays, 8-9:30pm, $13. Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., SF.



Two-step, skiffle, country swing, and waltz your way through these inclusive country-western lessons and dance parties run by community advocates Sundance Association.

Thursdays 5:30pm, Sundays 7pm, $5. Sundance Saloon, 550 Barneveld, SF.



Learn about qigong, the Chinese chi-balancing practice that involves breathing, other physical movements, and mental exercises. This free class is taught by Effie Chow, a qigong grandmaster who founded her East West Academy of Healing Arts here in 1973, and has served on White House advisory boards concerning alternative medicine.

Fri/10, 7-9pm, free. Polish Club, 3040 22nd St., SF.



Support your local community college through its battle to retain its accreditation by enrolling in one of its class offerings — there’s no charge for non-credit courses (though you may have to buy books and materials). This class examines the hidden and explicit messages sent out through mass media, and helps students pinpoint how these cues affect the decisions that they and other members of society make.

Fridays Fri/10-May 23, 8am-12:50pm, free. City College of San Francisco, 1125 Valencia, SF.



Start at the Aquatic Center next to Fisherman’s Wharf where you’ll learn safety and equipment basics, then head down with this SF Rec and Park class to Lake Merced’s scenic bird estuary to get down on some core-strengthening, stand-up paddle boarding action. Bring your own wetsuit, kiddies — it gets cold on those waters!

Sat/11, 1-4pm, free. Aquatic Park, Beach and Hyde, SF.



To do anything these days, you need a website. To have a website, you need a web designer. So basically, you may need to sign up for one of the Bay Area Video Coalition’s intro courses on dynamic layouts and client interfaces so that you can continue living your life as a functional citizen in 2014.

Sat/11-Sun/12, 10am-6pm, $595. Bay Area Video Coalition, 2727 Mariposa, SF.



With 51 species of this lovely, placid bloom sprinkling the premises, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is the perfect place to learn about the majesty of the magnolia. The garden offers daytime walks if you’re scared of the dark, but we think the nocturnal stroll sounds divine.

Jan. 16, 6-8pm, $20. Register in advance. SF Botanical Garden, Ninth Ave. and Lincoln, Golden Gate Park, SF.



Sure the price tag is steep for this class on raising buds in bright indoor light, but you’ll be supporting your green thumb and your local pot movement institution, which has surfed the tsunami of federal persecution and will live to blow clouds right through legalization (we reckon).

Thursdays Jan. 16-March 20, 10:30am-1pm, $1,195. Oaksterdam University, 1734 Telegraph, Oakl.



Accessing the subconscious’s potential for healing is the name of the game in this extremely mellow yoga class, during which you’ll be put into a trance-like state through a hybrid method developed by a Reiki, yoga, and hypnotherapy professional. The dream state is said to be highly beneficial for psychic health -– and sounds hella fun.

Jan. 18, 2:30-5:45, $40-50. Yoga Tree Telegraph, 2807 Telegraph, Berk.



Each month La Urbana, the chic new taqueria on Divisadero, hosts fancy mezcal tastings. But you’re not just getting your drink on: A different producer of the agave-based spirit comes in each time to present a signature mezcal alongside tales of its production. Educated boozery, this is it.

5-6pm, $10-15. La Urbana, 661 Divisadero, SF.



Valentine’s Day (sorry for any unwanted reminders) is on its effusive, heart-shaped way, giving you the perfect excuse for you to drop in on this class with Sin Sisters Burlesque co-founder Balla Fire to learn how to swish, conceal, and reveal with the best of them for your sweetheart.

Jan. 21, 7-9pm, $30. Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission, SF.



Does paying $40 to learn how to parse affordable wines make sense? Depends on how many bottles of Cab Sauv you’re consuming — and one would think that after partaking in this one-off seminar with Bar Tartine’s old wine director Vinny Eng, that tally will increase.

Jan. 22, 7-9pm, $40. 18 Reasons, 3674 18th St. SF.



A full weekend of learning about ways to cook fish from around the globe will go on at this friendly North Beach cooking school (which tends to book up its workshops early, so book now). On the menu: black cod poached in five-spice broth, brodo di pesce, and much more.

Feb. 1-2, 10am-3pm, $385. Tante Marie’s Cooking School, 271 Francisco, SF.



Do you have a staring problem? Fix your gaze on this 10-session course including anatomy tips, representational tricks, and a focus on the art of portraiture.

Thursdays, Feb. 6-April 10, 6:30-9:30pm, $360. California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth St., SF.



If the only thing you can depend on in this wacky 2014 is yourself, it’s time to hone those financial security skills. This free class is held once a month at the LGBT Community Center, and should give you a couple things to think about when it comes to money management.

Feb. 11, 6:30-8:30pm, free. LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market, SF.



In addition to a more long-running courses and a by-donation, student-staffed herbal health clinic that is open to the public, Berkeley’s Ohlone Herbal Center offers practical classes in Western herbalism for regular folks. Your loved ones will thank you for brushing up with this one — it teaches preventative anti-cold and flu measures, and home remedies for when you inevitably catch something. Yes, tea is provided during classtime.

Feb. 12, 7-9:30pm, free. Register at Ohlone Herbal Center, 1250 Addison, Berk.



If you are looking for educational opportunites as to changing the face of culture, look no further than this public lecture hosted by the California Institute of Integral Studies. For two hours, Orange is the New Black breakout star Laverne Cox will discuss her journey to becoming the most visible black transwoman on television (not to mention the first ever to produce and star in her own program with VH1’s “TRANSForm Me”). The talk won’t be lacking in looks-ahead to the important activism that still remains for Cox and her allies.

March 19, 7-9pm, $25-75. Nourse Theater, 275 Hayes, SF.



You will finally be able to get that organic farmstand delivery service to sponsor your yearly watermelon seed-spitting contest (or whatever) after you take this crash course on getting money to hold events. The secrets to obtaining event sponsorships are divulged during this one-day class: how to pitch potential partners, going market rates, and more, all in a group discussion-centric format.

April 26, 9am-5pm, $300. San Francisco State University Downtown Campus, 835 Market, SF.


Out of the fog


FILM In movies, maybe more than in life, trouble awaits outsiders who poke into cults that don’t take kindly to outsiders. Sound of My Voice (2011) is a recent example, but The Wicker Man (1973) remains probably the gold standard of “Pardon me, but I’ll be infiltrating your society, passing judgment, and suffering the inevitable consequences” cinema. For every recruitment-happy group (step right up, young ladies, and throw your lot in with 2011’s Martha Marcy May Marlene), there are plenty more that would just as soon be left alone.

A new entry into this genre, Holy Ghost People, comes courtesy of Mitchell Altieri, half of the directing duo known as the Butcher Brothers (the other “brother,” Phil Flores, co-wrote and co-produced). You may remember the BBs from their 2006 breakout, The Hamiltons — about a family with a bloody secret. It’d make a perfectly nightmarish double-feature with another recent indie horror, Jim Mickle’s We Are What We Are. Holy Ghost People, which borrows its title and some archival footage from the 1967 documentary about Pentecostal churchgoers in West Virginia (now in the public domain, it’s viewable on YouTube), aims more for dread than gore, and represents an artistic step forward for the San Francisco-bred pair.

If certain choices don’t entirely work (a bookending voice-over feels unnecessary, given the film’s vivid visuals; the score can feel intrusive at times), Holy Ghost People is bolstered by some blistering performances, chiefly from co-writer Joe Egender as Brother Billy, the boyish leader of a church compound tucked into the Southern wilderness. (The film was shot at a summer camp — a setting not used so creepily since the first few Friday the 13th flicks.) Stumbling not-so-innocently into Billy’s lair are unlikely friends Wayne (Brendan McCarthy) and Charlotte (Emma Greenwell), who pretend to be spiritual wanderers when really they’re searching for Charlotte’s long-lost sister, last seen spiraling into junkie oblivion.

Anyone — but particularly Billy, whose tidy pompadour and welcoming words can’t hide the fact that he’s as sinister as the serpents he handles during sermons — can see that Wayne, a haunted alcoholic, and Charlotte, who’s battling her own demons, aren’t who they claim to be. Still, they’re cautiously accepted by lower-ranking members, including Sister Sheila (Cameron Richardson), a soft-spoken blonde whose beauty is marred by prominent facial scars.

As events get freakier in God’s country (or is it?), Holy Ghost People doesn’t quite offer a grand payoff to all that suspense — though it does establish a new clause to that old cinematic rule about guns: If you see a poisonous snake in the first act, damn certain it’ll bite someone by the end.

Holy Ghost People kicks off the San Francisco Film Society’s fifth annual Cinema By the Bay Festival, which showcases movies made “in or about the Bay Area,” as well as works made by artists with Bay Area connections. This agreeably loose thematic structure allows the Tennessee-shot Holy Ghost People to share marquee space with SF-centric doc American Vagabond, by Finnish director Susanna Helke.

American Vagabond, about homeless LGBT youth, is particularly timely in light of the SF Board of Supervisors’ recent vote to close parks overnight. Golden Gate Park is home for James and Tyler, a young couple who’ve fled their close-minded families, dreaming of a better life in the rainbow capital of California. Guided by James’ poetic, confessional narration — as well as other voices that chime in to share their experiences — American Vagabond is a specific, deeply personal story that also offers a broader comment on how gay youths and the homeless are treated, even in a city as progressive as SF. And it does take some unexpected turns, as when James reunites with the family that rejected him — though the reasons for the reconciliation are not happy ones.

Elsewhere in the fest, take note of Berry Minott’s The Illness and the Odyssey, a medical whodunit of sorts that explores the history and controversy surrounding Lytico-Bodig, a neurological disease found almost exclusively in Guam. For years, scientists have believed that finding its cause would be like “a Rosetta stone,” according to Dr. Oliver Sacks, resulting in cures for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and related illnesses. But since nobody can settle on a hypothesis — is it infectious? Caused by plants? The result of a curse? — and nobody really wants to share research (what, and let that Nobel Prize slip away?), there’s been little progress other than clashing speculation, to the great annoyance of those in Guam whose families are affected by the disease. Ultimately, The Illness and the Odyssey is more about the scientific process than anything else, with plenty of prickly personalities (in both current and vintage footage) stepping up to share their views.

Also worth a mention: In Hak Jang’s The Other Side of the Mountain, a Korean War-era romance (with musical numbers) that happens to be the first-ever North Korea/US cinematic co-production. And don’t miss “Street Smarts: YAK Films’ Dance Then and Now,” an Oakland-born phenomenon that has spawned a international array of films showcasing so-called urban dance — staged on subway cars, in intersections, and other unexpected places — of the most limber, slinky, sassy, acrobatic, and awe-inspiring varieties. *


Fri/22-Sun/24, $10-$25

Roxie Theater

3117 16th St, SF


Break on through


 I drive up into the East Oakland hills, past 19th century “Poet of the Sierras” Joaquin Miller’s odd little cabin, to visit Michael McClure. Based on his youthful good looks, you’d never guess he was a few days shy of 81, but the trail McClure has blazed through literary history testifies by length, stretching back to 1955 when — alongside Philip Lamantia, Philip Whalen, and Gary Snyder — he was the youngest participant in the famous Six Gallery reading at which Allen Ginsberg debuted “Howl.” It was a seminal moment in postwar American poetry. “We all put our toes to the line that night and broke out,” he says. “And we all went our own directions.”

Beginning with his first book of poems, Passage (1956), McClure would find himself going in many directions, writing novels, essays, journalism, and even Obie-award-winning plays like The Beard (1965). As a countercultural figure, he could roll with the times, reading at the Human Be-In in 1967 in Golden Gate Park; associating with high-profile rock acts like Bob Dylan, the Doors, and Janis Joplin (for whom he co-wrote the 1970 classic “Mercedes Benz”); and appearing in movies like Peter Fonda’s The Hired Hand (1971) and Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz (1975). In the mid-’80s, he even began performing with the Doors’ Ray Manzarek on piano, releasing such CDs as last year’s The Piano Poems (Oglio Records). And though I’ve come to discuss Ghost Tantras, his 1964 self-published book of “beast language” reissued this month by City Lights, we inevitably touch on the recently deceased keyboardist with whom McClure played over 200 gigs.

“Ray died at a very wonderful time,” McClure says. “He’s 74 and at the height of his powers. People say, ‘You must feel broken up about Ray,’ but I’m actually happy to know someone who stepped out in his own glory. The last time I saw him was [last] November. We had just done a performance at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley. That night Bobby Weir sat in. It was like the Doors and the Grateful Dead embraced.”



But Ghost Tantras predates most of these famous exploits. The origins of what McClure calls its “beast language” can be traced back to his early play The Feast, performed in 1960 at SF’s Batman Gallery.

“The walls had Jay DeFeos and Bruce Conners on them,” he recalls. “The actors were dressed in Indian blankets and torn white tissue paper beards, seated before a long table that carried black plums and white bread, black wine. Thirteen of them performed a Last Supper-like rite and spoke in beast language and English of the melding of opposites and the proportion of all beings, from the incredibly tiny to the cosmic.”

“Beast language” might be described as a roaring deformation of language into something less oriented toward signification and more toward the physicality of the body, poetry as “a muscular principle,” as he writes in the original introduction, rather than as a mimetic text conveying images and ideas. Take, for example, these lines from tantra 46: “NOWTH / DROON DOOOOOOOOR AGH ! / Nardroor yeyb now thowtak drahrr ooh me thet noh / large faint rain dreeps oopon the frale tha toor / glooing gaharr ayaiieooo.” Signification isn’t the prime motivation here, nor is it entirely absent, as snippets of sense emerge and dissolve amid a sea of syllables. Such moments almost suggest reading Chaucer or Finnegans Wake, texts in some distant version of our own tongue, but they just as quickly vanish into phrases that resist intelligibility (“gaharr ayaiieooo”).

Yet despite this resistance, the writing of Ghost Tantras was also bound up in visionary experience. McClure began Ghost Tantras in 1962 while working for the Institute for Personality Assessment and Research, for the University of California.

“My role with IPAR was to give psilocybin to artists and to film them in that timeless state of the high,” he says. “I was probably an ideal person because I had given up the use of psychedelic drugs myself. Already, after a lot of experimentation in psychedelics and several essays that had been published by City Lights in Meat Science Essays (1963), I wanted to write a deep exploration of these highs after reading Henri Michaux’s gorgeous Miserable Miracle (1956), which was his — I felt personally — inaccurate description of the mescaline high. That inspired me to want to write clearly about this experience. Meanwhile, I had begun practicing Kundalini yoga, which is a chakra-centric yoga, and I was beginning to have powerful experiences.”



This desire to convey visionary experience might seem at odds with Ghost Tantras‘s frequent resistance to signification, yet the apparent paradox might be resolved through Abstract Expressionism, which McClure insists was “one of my most profound sources, the art with no edges, the art with no limits.” Viewed thusly, Ghost Tantras aspires to the degree of autonomy accorded to nonrepresentational art by not referring to experience but rather offering it.

“Allen Ginsberg had introduced me to Mark Rothko, and I got Rothko’s phone number,” McClure recalls. “I had Ghost Tantras and I wanted to show them to him but in the meantime I lost his number, as you did in those days. I always thought Rothko would be the right person to see the fields of letters in Ghost Tantras, as you see in one of his field paintings. If you look at Ghost Tantras in a different way, you see that each one is a field, a work of visual substance. Or nonsubstance.”

“I knew I was tangoing with my own personal ridiculousness when I wrote these. I don’t mind that, because in my writing when it’s at its most intensely serious it’s also at its most comic. And I call to mind what I think are some of the most important poems of the 20th century, Federico García Lorca’s ‘Gacela of Unforeseen Love,’ which is among the most intense love poetry I’ve ever experienced. It’s also kinda comic. My own poetry, when I believe in it the most, also has an edge to it that is not serious, or it’s serious, all right, but real seriousness has an edge that breaks on through to the other side.”

“It was part of the massive and inspired creativity that was rushing around me,” he concludes. “That’s probably the best clue I can give to anyone who wants to understand the sources behind Ghost Tantras, as part of the huge energy that was amassing itself and pouring through California at the time.” *


Nov 20, 7pm, free

City Lights Bookstore

261 Columbus Ave, SF


UPDATED: Board narrowly approves closing city parks at night


The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today narrowly approved Sup. Scott Wiener’s legislation to close parks and large plazas from midnight to 5am, a measure that Wiener said was about preventing vandalism but which progressive activists called an attack on the homeless.

The vote was 6-5, with Sups. John Avalos, London Breed, David Campos, Jane Kim, and Eric Mar voting against the proposal. The key swing votes in the decision were Breed — who wrote an op-ed for this week’s Guardian (posting soon) explaining her position — and Sup. Norman Yee, who was elected last year in Dist. 7 with progressive support.

To address the homeless issue, Kim asked for an amendment to make an exception for sleeping in the parks. Without the amendment, “we are criminalizing poverty and issuing fines people will never pay, and not getting the results we wanted,” she said. 

Hundreds of homeless lay their heads to rest in the parks of San Francisco every night as the city struggles to meet housing demand, which is already illegal under city law. Kim’s amendment says those sleeping in parks are to be cited under previously existing codes against sleeping in parks and not double-fined under this ordinance. Wiener supported the amendment and it was inserted into the legislation, although that didn’t end the debate over the legislation or win over its main opponents.

As the legislation was first introduced, Wiener made the argument he’s made many times before. Closing the parks at night is about vandalism, he said. 

“We need to establish a clear baseline that establishes hours for the park to combat vandalism and dumping,” Sup. Scott Wiener told the board. He made the case that most major cities in the U.S. have laws closing their parks and playgrounds at night, and that even New York City had them on the books.

Wiener also directly and flatly denied that his legislation was an attack on the homeless. 

“If the police wanted to remove people sleeping and camping in parks, they already have the tools to do that. This legislation does not give them those tools beyond what they have,” he said. 

But opponents of the measure, who have been organizing against it for weeks, said it will target the homeless and be selectively enforced. As Mar said at the hearing, “I think this is a really mean-spirited ordinance.”

And that’s when the avalanche of arguments began. Campos, Mar, Avalos, and Kim all  passionately defended the homeless that sleep in the parks. But no one brought more facts to the argument than Breed.

“We have 1,339 shelter beds and 6,000 people in San Francisco with nowhere to sleep,” she said. “I’ve been told again and again this will not target the homeless. But if it doesn’t target the homeless or the investment banker or the firefighter, who will this law target? Suspicious looking people in hoods? Teenagers?” 

The room took on a chill as she evoked echoes of Trayvon Martin and others who have been selectively targeted in the name of justice. Enforcement was her next bone of contention. There are only a handful of park police, often only two, that patrol over 220 parks in San Francisco, she said. 

If the ordinance is supposed to combat vandalism, it doesn’t even do that effectively, she said to the board: “We don’t have a legislative problem, we have an enforcement problem.”

To that end, Yee amended Wiener’s proposal to identify more funding for the park police. Everyone on all sides of the argument acknowledged that two to three officers to cover over 4,000 acres of San Francisco parks was woefully inadequate. 

It’s still unclear where that funding will come from, and how much it will be. 

After the meeting the Guardian asked Police Chief Greg Suhr, who was present for the meeting, if the homeless would be targeted under the ordinance.

“We’re not that Police Department,” he said. But he also said the controversial Sit/Lie Ordinance doesn’t target homeless people either, a claim that homeless advocates would dispute. “We’re a reasonable suspicion detention department.” 

An audio interview with Police Chief Greg Suhr just after the park closure legislation passed, where we asked Suhr, “Will the homeless be targeted?”

Tom Temprano, president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, disagreed. 

“I think that anyone who tells you the homeless will not be targeted in legislation that closes our parks at night are lying to you. There’s no other way to read this legislation,” he said. Temprano was one of the lead organizers of the sleep-in protest of the ordinance, which we previously covered.

When we asked if the ordinance would spur increased law enforcement in the parks, Suhr referred us elsewhere. 

“I leave the deployments to the station captains… certainly [the captains] have a pulse on what’s going on in the parks,” he said. 

So we called Captain Greg Corrales at Park Station, which oversees one of the most populous sections of Golden Gate Park, filled to the brim with campers. Corrales told us he didn’t imagine this ordinance would spur him to increase patrols or enforcement.

“There will not be more officers. The hours of the park have been posted on signs in the park, and past closing time people were cited for failure to abide by the signs,” he said. 

They cite 10-20 people for sleeping in the park per night, he said. As Kim noted, often these don’t lead to any prosecutions at all. 

But as for vandalism, Corrales said that there was recently a vandal throwing rocks through the windows of the Conservatory of Flowers and McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park. Would the ordinance help curb people from that kind of behavior?

“We’re already enforcing park closure,” he said. “It really doesn’t have much impact on us.” 


Haunted! Halloween and Day of the Dead events and parties


Oh hi, spooky. It’s the Bay Area’s favorite time of year, with both candy and muerte on our minds. here’s a handy guide to what’s going down on Hallow’s Eve and boo-weekend.


Afrolicious Super Fly Halloween Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF; 9:30pm-2am, $10-15. Get retro-spooky with the Latin funk and super-groovy sounds of the Afrolicious party crew. Style out in ’70s-inspired costumes and get down: the live Afrolicious house band will be covering legendary Blaxploitation masterwork soundtrack Super Fly by Curtis Mayfield in its entirety. Far out!

All Hallows’ Eve DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, SF; 9pm, $13 advance. The annual party at the DNA Lounge is a showcase of its party talent, with DJs from club nights Bootie, Meat, Death Guild, New Wave City, Fringe, 120 Minutes, and more spinning goth and New Wave dance favorites and mashups. Plus an airborne performance by the high-flying Vau de Vire Society. 

Back2Back Halloween Project One, 251 Rhode Island, SF; 8pm-2am, $10. Beloved Wicked crew DJs Jeno and Garth celebrate nine years of their Back2Back party with some psychedelic house gems.

Black Mammoth Mighty. 119 Utah, SF; 9pm-3am, $13-15. Buoyant Burning Man juggernaut Pink Mammoth gets dark for another one of its enormous blowouts, with DJs Galen, Kramer, Miguel Solari, Tyrel Williams, Gravity, and more.

“Creatures of the NightLife” California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park, SF; 6-10pm, $12. NightLife teams up with the Bay Area Science Festival for this spooky night hosted by Peaches Christ. Highlights include tips on how to survive a zombie attack, the latest on bioengineering (for any aspiring Dr. Frankensteins out there), monster make-up application, and more.

The Flaming Lips’ Halloween Blood Bath Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove, SF, Retiring elements that came close to being trademarks. (No space bubble, kids. Go see Diplo, who ripped it off, as he does every gimmick.) With their latest, The Terror, Oklahoma City psych rockers the Flaming Lips seem to be on their own private dark side of the moon, and the current tour promises to be a different kind of spectacle.

“Hacienda Halloween” Peralta House Museum of History and Community, 2465 34th Ave, Oakl; 5-7pm, free. Visit the Peralta Hacienda Historical House for a unique Halloween party, with stories of California’s early years, autumn vegetables, and maybe even an East Bay spirit or two.

Halloween at the Chapel The Chapel, 777 Valencia, SF; 9pm-2am, $15. Bobb Saggeth, the female-fronted Black Sabbath tribute band, headlines this black mass with Haight Breeders (covering Misfits songs, natch).

Honey Soundsystem + No Way Back Halloween F8, 1192 Folsom, SF; 9pm-4am, $15. Two of SF’s sharpest DJ collectives combine forces to bring in the dark-edged house of NYC DJ Willie Burns and Split Secs. Should draw a great mixed crowd ready to dance.

House of Babes Halloween Holy Cow, 1535 Folsom, SF; 9pm-2am, $10-$13. A young, fun shindig featuring a queer rainbow of hip-hop flavors from DJs Rapidfire, Pink Lightning, Dav-O, Boyfriend, and Jenna Riot, plus drag performances Amo A Nia, Rheal’Tea, and Vain Hein. Proceeds go to St. James Infirmary.

Lights Down Low Halloween Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF; 9pm-late, $30. Two amazing house headliners: The Magician, from France, who truly has a magic touch, and Germany’s Tensnake, genius of disco-tinged tunes. Should be bonkers stuff from the ever-reliable Lights Down Low party crew.

Minus Monster Mash Public Works, 161 Erie, SF; 9pm-3am, $18. A spooky showcase of classic techno label M-nus, now based in Berlin, with gaiser and matador performing live and DJ Hobo warming up.

Monarch Monster Mash Monarch, 101 Sixth St, SF; 9pm-3am, $20. The Green Gorilla party DJs celebrate 18 years of Gorillaness with awesome house DJ Heidi from the UK.

The Monster Show The Edge, 4149 18th St, SF; 9pm-2am, $5. Loveable drag queen Cookie Dough’s weekly drag show takes a killer turn, with blood-soaked performances by Mutha Chicka, Sugah Betes, Sue Casa, and more. Music by MC2. Will Cookie do her infamous Carrie number?

My Boo 111 Minna Gallery, SF. 9pm-2am, $10. “The illest Halloween party” — well that’s to be expected from downtown hip-space 111. This costume party includes hip-hoppy DJs Shortkut and Neil Armstrong, plus a ton of cool, arty giveaways.

Nerd-O-Ween Churchill, 198 Church, SF; 8pm-2am, $20. It’s a nerd party, duh! Dress up as your favorite Poindexter and join the Motown on Mondays and San Franpsycho crews for some soulful hits and coke-bottle glasses.

SFJazz Halloween SFJazz, 201 Franklin, SF; 7:30pm, $35-55. Join jazz wiz Maceo Parker and his band for an upbeat concert, followed by a dance party with DJ Dancy Pants and a costume contest presented by drag dears Lil Miss Hot Mess and VivvyAnne ForeverMore.

Total Trash Halloween Bash Stork Club, 2330 Telegraph, Oakl; 9pm, $5-10. NoBunny as Bo Diddley! Shannon and the Clams as The Saicos! Monster Women as the Go-Gos! Yogurt Brain as Weezer! The fantastic annual four-day garage-rock Total Trash Fest kicks off this year with a great concept: rockers as other rockers.

Tubesteak Connection Halloween Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, 133 Turk, SF; 10pm-2am, $7. DJ Bus Station John’s great gay weekly party pays tribute to the bathhouse disco parties of the past. And the naughty spirits of those days will rise again on Halloween, with a $100 midnight costume contest hosted by the gorgeous Miss Donna Persona and a full dance floor of horribly cute boys.


“Resurrect Sex Workers Fundraiser Day of the Dead Celebration” Fireside, 1453 Webster, Alameda; 9pm, $15 single, $25 couple. All proceeds from this burlesque show benefit the Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project’s legal battles.


“La Llorona: Weeping for the Life and Death of the Mission District” Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission, SF; The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts’ 36th Day of the Dead exhibit. Surrounding the Day of the Dead celebration and exhibit, the center is hosting a series of workshops and events including a gala reception Sat/2 at 6pm ($6), a Dia De Los Muertos “Moda y Ofrendas” Fashion Show also Sat/2 at 9:30pm ($5), and a “Mole to Die For” tasting contest Nov. 13.

San Francisco Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos Celebration Procession begins 7pm at 22nd St and Bryant, SF, ends at Garfield park for alter viewing. SF’s beloved marking of this Mexicn holiday includes music and a huge parade to Garfield Park, where eye-popping altars and offerings to dead loved ones are on display. A can’t-miss cultural event.



Homeless advocates fight Wiener on park closures


The Coalition on Homelessness has launched a campaign to defeat Sup. Scott Wiener’s legislation to close down all city parks and most major plazas from midnight to 5am, which the Board of Supervisors is set to consider on Oct. 29. Activists are targeting three swing votes who could decide the controversial issue: Sups. London Breed, Norman Yee, and Katy Tang.

In an email blast to supporters, COH urged people to contact those three supervisors to raise their concerns, even suggesting a script that includes these arguments, “It further eliminates access to public space for all, it will displace homeless people, and is a waste of city funds.” [UPDATE: To protest the proposal, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club is hosting a “sleep-in” protest at Dolores Park tonight (Mon/28) starting at 9pm.]

COH Executive Director Jennifer Friedenbach told the Guardian that she has the support of the four most progressive supervisors — John Avalos, David Campos, Jane Kim, and Eric Mar — and that she just needs two of the three swing votes that COH is targeting to kill the measure outright and avoid the kind of compromise that has become Board President David Chiu’s specialty this year.

She said the measure would be particularly harmful to the homeless LGBT community and other vulnerable populations that seek refuge at night in Golden Gate Park and other hidden spots, but that it’s bad for everyone. “It forces them out into the storefronts and streets and neighborhoods and nobody will be happy with that,” she said.

Wiener denies that the measure is aimed at the homeless, telling the Guardian that his intent is to address graffiti, illegal dumping, and damage done to park facilities overnight. “We’ve had an epidemic of vandalism in our parks and it’s getting worse,” Wiener told us. “It’s a significant problem and it absolutely degrades people’s ability to use the parks.”

Friedenbach said she appreciates that Wiener isn’t aiming his rhetoric at the homeless, even though she said that’s who will be most effected by it.

“It’s great in terms of not bashing homeless people, but we know every time something like this comes up, it increases public anger toward homeless people,” she told. And she notes that the measure is being trumpeted by people who do want to use it to go after the homeless, including Mayor Ed Lee, who went off script last month and told the Examiner that he hopes the measure will be a tool to clear the homeless from Golden Gate Park.

“The mayor said it was a great idea because we need to get the homeless people out of the park,” Friedenbach told us, noting also that, “Wiener has had a thing of going after homeless people.”

Wiener denies that this is about the homeless, and he responded to Lee’s comments by telling us, “I can’t speak for anyone else.” He also said that it’s already illegal to sleep in the parks and “to the extent the police want to do sweeps in the parks, they can already do so.”

The measure would apply the closing hours to all property controlled by the Recreation and Parks Department, which includes every city park and the city’s largest plazas, including Civic Center Plaza, Justin Herman Plaza, and Union Square.

“One thing people don’t think about is this also applies to the plazas,” Friedenbach told us. “A lot of our plazas are hangout spots late at night, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be.”

Wiener said that small plazas, such as Harvey Milk and Jane Warner plazas in the Castro, aren’t under RPD jurisdiction and therefore aren’t effected by his legislation. And he said the ordinance was already modified to allow people to walk through the affected plazas without stopping, and that he’s open to further amendments.

As for his chances of success in the face COH’s activism on the issue, he told us, “I’m not sure what’s going to happen on the 29th.”