Cortney Clift

Family meal: 18 Reasons joins forces with neighbor Three Squares to extend reach of healthy eating


Community food hub 18 Reasons has always had the back of the well-meaning kitchen newbie. With a cafe space, educational programming, and tasting events geared towards making a healthy, sustainable diet doable, since 2007 when the organization’s co-founders brought in Bi-Rite Market, a happy partner for the little space located a block from the family grocery store’s Mission digs. Now, the reach of 18 Reasons has grown even more. The non-profit working to create social change through food has merged with Three Squares, a neighbor food organization with a happily congruent mission to feed.

Both 18 Reasons and Three Squares aim to slow things down when it comes to the way we eat. Both non-profits serve through nutrition lessons and cooking classes with a healthy planet bent. Major difference? Three Square’s offerings, up until this point, have been free, focusing more closely on the low-income families who want to learn about eating well.

Three Squares’ founder — the now-executive director at 18 Reasons Sarah Nelson tells the Bay Guardian, “our goal is to teach people — no matter what neighborhood they live in — how to maximize their food resources. We believe the best way to fix our food system is by building skills and forging relationships among people across the economic spectrum.”

The idea for the merge arose after the companies began working on a few projects together. “I realized we had a very similar mission but were reaching out to difference audiences,” Nelson says. “I didn’t want to leave Three Squares – it is my baby. So I proposed merger.”

The merged companies will operate under 18 Reasons’ moniker, stay at its 18th Street location, and continue to hold its signature classes which include: cooking courses, urban gardening school, and various other workshops.

Three Squares will bring the group’s “Cooking Matters” course to the table. The six-week course – with different sections designed for adults, kids, and teens – includes an hour of nutritional education followed by an hour of hands-on cooking. The courses, designed for adults and teens, focus on cooking, while the kid’s section is aimed more towards getting young’ns to taste and appreciate new foods. Graduates of “Cooking Matters” walk away with a free bag of ingredients so they can go home and practice what they’ve made in class.

Recipes taught in Cooking Matters vary from class to class, but Nelson tells me dishes like veggie quesadillas, tilapia with cilantro sauce, and English muffin mini-pizzas have been students’ past favorites. 

“Our classes target home cooking,” says Nelson. “We are not teaching professional cooking skills. Our courses are for people who want to cook at home with their family.”

If you need to up your own kitchen skills but don’t frequent the Mission, don’t worry. “Cooking Matters” courses are conducted in community health centers, schools, food pantries, social services offices, and other sites all over the Bay Area.

18 Reasons, 3674 18th St., SF. (415) 568-2710,

On the Cheap listings


Events compiled by Cortney Clift. For information on how to submit events for consideration, see Selector.


Information Technology Talk World Affairs Council, 312 Sutter, SF. 7-8pm, $15. Will the advancement of technology will solve all of humankind’s problems? One of today’s most respected cyber philosophers Evgeny Morozov doesn’t think so. Join him tonight as he discusses what might happen if we continue on our path that diverges from the natural imperfections of human life toward a digitally standardized age.

Oakland Walking Tour Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakl. 10am, free. RSVP at (510) 238-3234 or Whether you’re an Oakland resident or looking to get better acquainted with the city, take to the streets and join this 90-minute walking tour of Uptown and Lake Merritt. Volunteers will guide you past sparkly Art Deco landmarks like the Fox and Paramount theaters and the Floral Depot. Finish up atop the Kaiser Center’s secret rooftop garden for a camera-worthy view of Lake Merritt. Because what better way to wrap up a walk than in a perfectly manicured rooftop garden?


Jaron Lanier: "Who Owns the Future?" JCCSF Kanbar Hall, 3200 California, SF. 7pm, $10. Computer scientist, musician, and digital media pioneer Jaron Lanier will be at the Jewish Community Center to discuss his new book Who Owns the Future? Lanier will speak about the effects social media has on the economy and the paths we will take to move toward a new information economy.


Fun Times with Friends Lost Weekend Video 1034 Valencia, SF. 8pm, $10. So you’ve been to a stand-up show before. But have you been to a stand-up show with free cake? Fun Time with Friends (FTWF) aptly summarizes its event as something like "a comedy show crashing a party, or a party crashing a comedy show." As this is the premiere FTWF event, its hilarious founders will take to the stage. Some of which include: Ron Chapman, Aly Jones, Scott Simpson, and Brandon Stokes.

World Congress on Qigong and Tradition Chinese Medicine Hotel Whitcomb 1231 Market, SF. 9am-9:30pm, free. Register online. Think East this evening at a world-traveling event that aims to educate attendees on the benefits and practices of traditional Chinese medicine and Qigong– physical and breathing exercises related to tai chi. Acupuncturists, herbalists, martial artists, physicians, and clinical researchers will be hosting workshops throughout the day and opening festivities will kick off in the evening at 7pm.


Little Paper Planes store opening 855 Valencia, SF. 6-9pm, free. Be real, did you get Mom a present worth her love on Mother’s Day? Of course not, but today’s brick-and-mortar opening of this beloved website of goods made by small producers is the perfect opportunity to be a good child again. Little Paper Planes moves onto Valencia Street today, and DJs Jackie Im and Aaron Harbour will be dropping beats to which you can happily peruse the shop’s selection of well-made, quietly gorgeous clothes, housewares, and accessories. (Your momma thanks you in advance.)

Festival of the Silk Road Mexican Heritage Plaza Theatre, 1700 Alum Rock, San Jose. 2-10pm, $10-45. The 7,000-mile Silk Road trade route extending through Iran, China, Turkey, India, Greece, and Egypt will be recreated today for a cross-cultural extravaganza. During the day take part in various dance and musical workshops, check out a costume exhibit, or snatch up some jewelry and art at the Silk Road Bazaar. In the evening sit back and enjoy performances by an array of ethnic dance groups.

Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market Birthday Bash Ferry Plaza, Embarcadero at Market, SF. 9am-noon, free–$20. The best thing about birthday parties is often the food. We think it’s safe to say the food at this party is going to be hard to beat. Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Ferry Plaza’s market and its contribution to the Bay Area’s farm to table movement. Ticket holders will enjoy a build-your-own shortcake station, a custom beverage and juice bar, and special party favors. Non-ticketed, free activities include a market-wide treasure hunt and presentation by local luminaries.

"The Whole Enchihuahua" Dolores Park, SF. Noon-3pm, free. Be warned: your cuteness tolerance is going to be tested this afternoon. The third annual Whole Enchihuahua — a canine-filled afternoon organized to bring awareness to the high numbers of Chihuahuas in shelters — will consist of a doggie fashion show, adoptable animals, free dental checks for your pup, and food trucks (serving up people food, although we all know that your four-legged friend will get your scraps).


Amgen Tour of California 2013 Marina Green, Marina and Fillmore, SF. 8:15am-noon, free. Whether you are a cycle-to-work or cycle-across-the-country kind of biker, the Amgen Tour of California is sure to stir up some motivation within your little bike-loving skull. Competitors will be biking down from Santa Rose to cross the finish line of the 750-mile California coast race. Where’s the best place to watch? We advise snagging a spot on the Golden Gate Bridge, which will be closed to cars during the event.


Feast of Words SOMArts Cultural Center 934 Brannan, SF. Doors open 6:30pm, $5 with potluck dish or $12 at the door. Scarf down some literature amongst friends and food at this monthly literary feast. Tonight’s special guest will be author of Birds of Paradise Lost Andrew Lam. Grab a plate of homemade goodies, take part in writing exercises led by Lam, and share your on-the-spot scribbles for a chance to be entered in a drawing for edibles, books, and other prizes.

Take a walk: 4 cultured strolls to guide your feet this week


Commuting to work, we speed walk. In the evenings, we run for our girlish figure. After a Saturday night at the bar, some of us may even be ­­prone to a drunken crawl. But whatever happened to the classic, oh­so­romantic afternoon stroll? As the weather begins to heat up across the Bay, outdoor art walks and historical tours are popping up left and right. Whether you want to check out what’s new in the art world or what’s old in the architecture scene, ditch your sacred spot on the couch for a cultured wander.

Divisadero Art Walk

Art, drinks, and ice cream – need we say more? This spring’s annual Divisadero Artwalk returns for its first installation in five months. A few businesses participating in tonight’s walk: Onyx Boutique, Big Umbrella Studios Gallery, the dangerously tasty Bi­-Rite Creamery, and more. This spring’s walk has taken an organizational lead from Madrone Art Bar, which is hosting an art-packed evening. On the agenda is a tap takeover from Calicraft Brewing from 6­:10pm, an art reception for computer scientist and kinetic artist Brent Thorne and “Portrait of America”, a project that traveled nationally capturing Americans in photo booth portraits. After you’ve had your art fix, take to Madrone’s dance floor for some disco tunes. 

Thu/9, 5pm, free. Divisadero between Golden Gate and Haight, SF

Victorian Era Oakland walking tour

Lace up your leather boots and corset to become one with the Victorian architecture of Oakland’s Preservation Park. Home to the First Unitarian Church, East Bay historic building the Pardee Home Museum, and more than a dozen elegantly restored 19th­ century homes, the park stands out as a relic of old Oakland charm. If living near San Francisco has provided you with enough Victorian architecture to last a lifetime, choose from one of the seven other tours happening between now and October which cover the buildings of Old Oakland, Chinatown, and more. 

Sat/11, 10am, free. RSVP at (510) 238-3234 or Preservation Park, Martin Luther King, Jr. and 13th St., Oakl.

Saturday Stroll

So the crowds at Oakland’s First Fridays are a little wild for your taste? Head to Uptown Oakland for the weekly Saturday Stroll – a quieter, yet equally artsy alternative. One exhibit highlighted at this week’s stroll, “Lobbyscapes”, features the work of artist Phil Gaughy who gives inanimate objects a life of their own. McGaughy explains, “I have come to think that certain minerals and elements may be sentient, and can adapt to new environments with their own technologies.” His chameleon­like wall reliefs in the Latham Square Building’s lobby and other ambiguous, abstract pieces are but one exhibit worth checking out among many.

Sat/11, 1-6pm, free. Downtown Oakland.

Uptown, Lake Merritt and Secret Rooftop Garden Walk

After you’ve been schooled in the Victorian history of Preservation Park, travel north ­– and about 20 years ahead in time – to Uptown’s sparkly, Art Deco landmarks. Throughout the 90-­minute adventure history, savvy volunteers will walk you past the Fox and Paramount theaters, as well as the jazzy, blue-and-silver Floral Depot. The tour will also take you up to the Kaiser Center’s secret rooftop garden for a camera-worthy view of Lake Merritt. Because what better way to wrap up a walk than in a perfectly manicured rooftop garden?

May 15, 10am, free. RSVP at (510) 238-3234 or Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakl.

Yuh look good


STREETS Only our deep-seated disinclination against street harassment prevented us from hollering at these sterling examples of the Bay’s blazing style sense. We respectfully snapped their pics instead: the trio of gents in town for their 50th high school reunion sporting pencil mustaches and monochrome, Agathe Guttuhaugen’s surreal ombre locks and coordinated cap brim, Amber Asaly’s midriff. All good excuses to take to the sidewalk this season in search of fashion stimulation.


Alex Pingis. Photo by Cortney Clift

Amber Asaly. Photo by Stephanie Sesin

Brian McGrath, Jeffrey Tucker, and Donald Owen. Photo by Cortney Clift

Elena Miska. Photo by Jessica Wolfrom

Virgil Gabaldon. Photo by Jessica Wolfrom

Agathe Guttuhaugen. Photo by Cortney Clift

On the Cheap listings


For information on how to submit events for listing consideration, see the guidelines in Selector.


Bike to work day Various SF locations. 5:30am-7pm, free. Trade in a cramped morning Muni commute for an open-air bike ride today in honor of bike to work day. The SF Bicycle Coalition knows biking the hills of SF is not always an easy task, which is why it has set up 26 "energizer stations" all around the city to serve free snacks, beverages, and reusable, goodie-filled tote bags to use on your to-and-froms. Check the Coalition’s site to find a station along your regular route.

Thirsty Thursday Toga Party Atmosphere, 447 Broadway, SF. 9:30pm, free. RSVP required. Revive your Animal House-esque days with a toga party. Travelers, locals, au pairs, and international students will be decked out in the finest bed sheets around. Show up before 10pm and score a free bingo card with a $3 shot offered every time you check off a square.

Britweek Design Series San Francisco Design Center, 2 Henry Adams, SF. 4:30-10pm, $20-25 advance. The British-American Business Council hosts this design-driven evening. The event will kick off with a panel of British and American architects and interior designers, followed by a second international panel of innovators working in product design and technology, finishing up with an after party at Project One Gallery, just down the street from the design center.


Spirit: A Century of Queer Asian Activism Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission, SF. 8pm, $12-20. Queer Rebels’ organization for queer artists of color brings movers and shakers of the community together to celebrate 100 years of queer Asian activism. The two-day event begins tonight with performances by Eli-Coppola award winning poet Ryka Aoki, performance artist Genevieve Erin O’Brien, and more. The festivities will continue tomorrow night with a panel discussion and film screenings.


Pet Week kick-off Little Marina Green, Marina and Baker, SF. 11am-3pm, free. Soak up some sun and get your puppy fix today at Pet Week’s kick-off event. Bring your favorite four-legged friend for free microchipping, watch police K-9s show off their detective skills, pick up some free goodies for Fido, and maybe even adopt a new friend. Pet adoption will be available from eight organizations including Pets Unlimited, Muttville, and Rocket Dog Rescue.

Bluegrass Pickin’ Picnic Dahlia Picnic Area, Golden Gate Park, SF. Noon-6pm, free. If you’re a fan of Golden Gate Park and bluegrass but the giant mobs of the Hardly Strictly festival bruise your gentle nerves, here is your second chance. Sponsored by the California Bluegrass Association, this afternoon is an open jam session for all who play or just like listening to bluegrass. Set up your picnic blanket early and score some free hamburgers and hot dogs while supplies last.


Wanderlust Festival Marina Green. 12-5pm, free. Register online. If the daily grind of city life is taking its toll, head over to the Marina for a stress-relieving day of yoga and music. The day will begin with yoga sessions led by Pradeep Teotia and Susan Hauser, Lululemon 2012 ambassador. The evening will conclude with musical performances by DJ Drez and the fittingly named MC Yogi.


Cakespy book signing Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, SF. 6pm, free. Ever been stuffing your face with a red velvet cupcake or Girl Scout cookie and wondered where the recipe originated? Self proclaimed "dessert detective" Jessie Oleson Moore has these answers and more in her new book The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes from America’s Favorite Desserts. Head over to the Ferry Building to meet Moore and get a signed copy of this sweet literary treat.

"Ask a Scientist: Origins of the Universe" SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428 11th St., SF. In this lecture hosted by UC Berkeley Professor Eliot Quataert science fanatics will learn how the universe evolved from its smooth beginnings to its current state. Quataert will focus on how gravity reigns supreme and builds up the planets, stars, and galaxies required for biological evolution. If digesting all this scientific chatter works up an appetite, fuel up at one of the ten gourmet food trucks at SoMa StrEat Food Park.

Secret San Francisco: Adventures in History Balboa Theatre, 3630 Balboa, SF. 6:30pm, $10. The history of the downtown neighborhoods of San Francisco are well photographed and documented, but head further west and things tend to get a bit foggy. That’s where the Western Neighborhood Projects comes in. The nonprofit has been documenting all things west of Stanyan Street since 1999. Head to the Balboa Theatre tonight for a dose of SF history — west and east — short films, archival TV footage, and other historic surprises.

Take my hand: Our trip to the Follies same-sex dance-off


Had TLC’s Dance Moms lead me astray? I expected cut-throat twirlers and an atmosphere you could cut with a sharpened acrylic nail when I arrived at the April Follies same-sex dance competition on April 27.

But against all television precedent, the vibe at Follies’ 11th annual competition, which was held at Just Dance Ballroom in Oakland had more to do with back pats than stabs. Competing dancers joked around on stage and cheered each other on from the sidelines. During breaks, contestants and supporters danced together for fun. For fun! 

Kalin Mitov and Michael Winward from Boston

April Follies is the largest and longest running same-sex dance competition in North America. Open to beginners and professionals alike, the event drew in competitors all the way from places such as Boston, Denmark, and London.

The all-day event began with competitions for beginner and intermediate dancers in styles such as: American smooth, West Coast swing, country-western, and Argentine tango. The competition went on pause for a buffet dinner, free dance lessons, and dance social, resuming in the evening with the “Showcase of Champions,” for which the more advanced dancers took to the stage.

Competitors rehearse in Just Dance Ballroom

April Follies organizer Barbra Zoloth tells me that the competitive same-sex dance community emerged Stateside when the dance world got wind of the fact that there were a significant amount of same-sex dancers out there cutting a rug. “[Dance authorities] added to their rules that the definition of a couple is a man and a woman,” Zoloth says. “The only way we could compete, the only way we could have our own sort of same-sex dance community, was to create our own competitions.”

Just as it is in the queer community’s debates over gay marriage, the issue of whether assimilation equals equality is a frequently debated topic in the dance world. Zoloth says some would like to be accepted into mainstream competitions because it is only fair to have equal opportunity, whereas others aren’t so interested in a merger because it won’t feel as comfortable and supportive as the atmosphere that rules in same-sex competitions.

Competitors and their supporters danced together during breaks

To be eligible to compete in the Follies, couples must both be the same sex, or have a female leader and male follower – no opposite sex, male leading couples are allowed here.

But Zoloth wants it to be clear that the event isn’t meant to exclude anyone. “We don’t care what people’s sexual preferences are,” she says. “We got straight people. We got gay people. We got in-between people. As long as it’s either two women, two men, or a female leader, male follower you’re welcome.”

The competitors at April Follies appeared genuinely happy to be part of this small, but growing community. Certainly, when everyone knows and dances with everyone, it becomes difficult to scowl at your competition.

Competitors line up on stage for the results

As I speak with professional dancer and owner of Vima Dance Studio, Photis Pishiaras he informs me that three of his students were performing alongside him in the competition. April Follies event organizer Phil Siegel chimes in to say that he also dances a Pishiaras’ studio, and proceeded to give it a rave review.

Politics aside, April Follies was at its core a bright day for the same-sex dance community to come together and do what they love. Pishiaras puts it best when he says, “whether it’s same-sex or straight, dancing is dancing.”

For a full list of 2013 Follies competition winners, dance over here

On the Cheap listings


Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for listings, see Picks.


LGBT Career Fair SF LGBT Center, 1800 Market, SF. Noon, free. RSVP online. Head over to the LGBT Center today to check out some leading Bay Area employers dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The fair provides the LGBT community and allied job seekers the opportunity to network and discover new careers.


Green fashion show and discussion SkunkFunk, 1475 Waight, SF 7-9pm, free. Check out a fashion show with a focus on sustainable, eco-friendly clothing. After you’re wooed by all the green style Oceana Lott, a human resource manager, magazine editor, and teacher will speak about how to create a lifestyle that is both fulfilling and economically minded.

The Bone Room Presents The Bone Room, 1573 Solano, SF. 7pm, free. Head to the Bone Room this evening to uncover the mysteries behind the human nose. Neuroscientist Leslie Vosshall will give an in-depth presentation on the biology and possibility of genetic basis for the human sense of smell.

“How to Move a Mountain” Southern Exposure, 3030 20th St., SF. 7-9pm, free. At this eclectic three-pack of presentations on the power of collaborations you’ll be able to learn about the sexual life of slime mold, robots that can improvise music, and how to draw collectively.


Body image workshop AHP Services Center, 1930 Market, SF. 6:30-9:30pm, free. Call (415) 476-6448 x1 to register. Join tonight’s discussion about the way gay and bisexual men see their bodies. The evening will cover ways to improve body image and how it can affect your relationships and sex life.

Natural Poetry Month book party Pegasus Downtown, 2349 Shattuck, Berk. 7pm, free. Celebrate National Poetry Month with Omnidawn Publishing. Writers George Albon, Norma Cole, Alice Jones, and more will give brief readings from their own Omnidawn books. Hors d’oeuvres, desserts, wine, and fizzy water will be provided to sip and snack on.


Public Square: Future soul edition YBCA Forum and Galleries, 701 Mission, SF. 11am-1am. Check website for specific event prices. Join the YBCA for a full day of classes, performances, and exhibits. Some events on the schedule include the 50 Cent Tabernacle, which — for a mere 50 cents — will give you access to up to six of the offered dance and movement classes. Hang out at an event put on by art group Field of Inquiry afterward, which answers the question “What will soul look like in the year 2038?” The group will respond with performances, food, design, murals, and technology. Check the site for a full schedule of events for the day.

Same-Sex Ballroom Competition Just Dance Ballroom, 2500 Embarcadero, Oakl. 10am-11pm, $15 for daytime events only, $25 for evening events only, $35 for entire day. Now in its 11th year, the annual and longest running same-sex dance competition will include international Latin, American smooth, and American rhythm divisions. New to the competition this year are tango and country western dances. The day includes dance lessons for beginners, A-level finals, performances by top rated couples in the evening, and an open social dance for all.

9th Annual Golden Gate Sacred Harp Singing Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, 953 De Haro, SF. 9am-3:30pm, free. Experience the raw power and moving poetry of the sacred harp in an authentic singing ritual — a centuries-old tradition of singing early American hymns in shape note style. A dinner will be held at noon on the grounds, so bring a dish to share.


People’s Park Anniversary People’s Park, 2556 Haste, Berk. Noon-6pm, free. The politically driven, community-run park is celebrating its 44th anniversary today. The day will consist of live performances by The Fvah Squad Band, Junior Toots, and more. There will be tables for community organizations, workshops, free vegan meals from Food not Bombs, and a drum circle.

Pinhole Photograph Day RayKo, 428 Third St., SF. Noon-5pm, free. In honor of worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, RayKo is hosting a special exhibition of this throwback, analogue art. Pinhole artist Jo Babcok will be exhibiting his images and cameras made from everything from a suitcase to coffee pots to a bowling ball case. Babcock will also be teaching pinhole amateurs how to make their own camera from supplies provided by RayKo. Check the website to enroll in this quick-and-easy seminar.

How Weird Street Faire Howard and New Montgomery, SF. Noon-8pm, $10 donation requested. The 14th annual street faire is back with the theme “Weirdi Gras.” The fair will include marching bands, parades, art, performances, 10 stages of world-class electronic music, and vendors from around the world. Expect to see costumes, and dancing reminiscent of New Orlean’s Mardi Gras style. Even more exciting, five New Orleans marching bands will roam the fair grounds this year, in accordance with the theme.

Festival of Mandolins Croatian American Cultural Center, 60 Onondage, SF. 11am-5pm, $10 advance, $15 door, children free. The 13th annual San Francisco Festival of the Mandolins will include five diverse performances ranging from bluegrass to classical. Before the show mandolin workshops will be held. Ethnic Bulgarian food will also be available.


On the Cheap listings


Listings compiled by Cortney Clift and Caitlin Donohue. Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for listings, see Picks.


My Foreign Cities reading Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF. 7:30pm, free. In her heartfelt and much discussed piece from the New York Times’ "Modern Love" series, Elizabeth Scarboro shares her experience being married to a terminally ill husband who wasn’t expected to live past 30. Scarboro will be at Booksmith to share her new memoir Foreign Cities, which delves further into her relationship and subsequent widowhood.

Smack Dab open mic Magnet, 4122 18th St., SF. Signup 7:30pm, show 8pm, free. The featured reader at this monthly open mic night will be William Benemann, a historian who focuses on the history of gay men in America throughout the early 19th century. The evening is also open to musicians or writers who wish to perform.

Ian Svenonius Book Signing City Lights, 261 Columbus, SF. 7pm, free. Underground rock musician Svenonius has recently released Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock N’ Roll Group, a satirical "how-to" guide for aspiring rock stars. Also the author of The Psychic Soviet, Svenonius will be at City Lights tonight to speak and sign copies of his new release.


Poems Under the Dome City Hall, North Light Court, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, SF. 5:30-8pm, free. Forget dimly lit poetry readings in the corner of the bar, now you can perform your material in a grand manner — under the dome of City Hall. In celebration of National Poetry Month, San Francisco’s poet laureate will read the first ode. Head over early, aspiring bards, to enter the open mic lottery.


Cal Day 2013 UC Berkeley, Sproul Plaza, Berk. 8am-6pm, free. Whether you’ve always dreamed of going to Berkeley or simply aching to relive your glory days, today is the day. The university hosts 300 free lectures, performances, tours, concerts, and more to showcase the campus and the school’s programs. Chose from activities such as a pre-med information session, a circus exhibit, a make-your-own-antlers project, and much more.

"Goodbye Taxes, Hello Mary Jane" Brick and Mortar, 1710 Mission, SF. Doors open at 8pm, show starts at 9pm, $7 advance, $10 door. Relieve yourself from the stress of filing your taxes at this pre-420 event, which includes live music, face and body painting, and dance contests. Underground Burlesque will also be putting on a sultry performance.


Cherry Blossom Festival Japantown, Post between Laguna and Fillmore. 10am-5pm, free. Also occurring 4/21. Back for its 46th year, the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown celebrates Japanese culture and the diversity of the Japanese American community. The festival will include food booths, cultural performances, martial arts, live bands, and more. The grand parade finale will begin at City Hall at 1pm and ends up at the festival around 3pm.

Goat Festival Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, Embarcadero and Market, SF. 10am-1pm, free. Wait, dude — am I petting a goat? Start your 420 the right way, with an adorable baby goat petting zoo at the Ferry Building’s farmers market. It’s the Goat Fest, meaning goat product samples, aforementioned cuties, and talks by goat-oriented business owners about why they like workings with these fine fellows.

Jack London Square Earth Day Festival Jack London Square, Oakl. 9am-2pm, free. The perfect excuse to visit this sunny plaza’s farmers market — today, you’ll get the chance to enjoy free Popsicles from a solar-powered truck, sustainable living exhibits, crafts for the kiddos, gardening activities, and the weekly free yoga class, all in celebration of this year’s day for the planet.

Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison, Oakl. 11am-1pm, $5 donation requested. Children under 5 are free. Peter and the Wolf is a timeless folktale with a serious honesty lesson. Bring the kids to the Cathedral of Christ the Light for a unique performance in which the story is told through narration, percussion, and organ. After the story wraps, and kids promise never to lie again, head outside for a pizza party on Cathedral Plaza.

Varnish Fine Art 10-year anniversary show Varnish Fine Art, 16 Jessie, SF. Through May 18. Opening reception: 6-9pm, free. Gallerists Jen Rogers and Kerri Stephens set out to create a fine space for contemporary art 10 years ago and look at them now — hosting "DECADE-1", a show of 14 artist that commemorate the pair’s decade of success with pieces that reflect mind-soul journeys.

World Naked Bike Ride Ride starts at noon, free. Justin Herman Plaza, Embarcadero and Market, SF. Remember the Deepwater Horizon-Macondo Well oil spill? It was only the worst natural disaster in industrial history and wrecked havoc on the coastline of Louisiana and adjacent states. The free spirits behind the World Naked Bike Ride haven’t — this edition of the clothing-optional two-wheeled group ride falls on the spill’s third anniversary.


Swap Not Shop Earth Day Edition Soundwave Studios, 2200 Wood, Oakl. Snagging up a bag of new (to you) threads is good for both your wallet and the planet. Celebrate Earth Day with Homeygrown a collective of artist and friends putting on its biannual clothing swap. Bring in a bag of gently used, clean clothes, let Homeygrown separate the good from the bad, and then help yourself to as much as you’d like.

Union Square Live kick-off concert Union Square, SF. 2-4pm, free. The best place in San Francisco to recover from heavy retail migraines is hosting 75 free concerts and performances this summer season, and it kicks off today with Sila, of Afrofunk Experience fame. Breeze through for R&B with Kenyan inflections and a passel of Afro-reggae, Afro-Brazilian, and other references.

Vintage Paper Fair Elks Lodge, 1475 Creekside, Walnut Creek. 10am-5pm, free. With over a million items for sale, the Vintage Paper Fair has one of the West Coast’s biggest selection of postcards, trade cards, photography, brochures, Victorian memorabilia, and an array of curious, beautiful, and interesting old paper.


Filipino Heritage Festival at AT&T Park Lefty O’ Doul Plaza. SF. 5-7pm. Pregame festivities are free. Head to AT&T Park before the Giants play the Diamondbacks to take part in the biannual Filipino heritage celebration. Attendees can expect live music and cultural food vendors outside the stadium. Head inside and sit in one of the Filipino heritage sections to enjoy on-field cultural performers leading up to the start of the game. All special event ticket holders will also receive a limited-edition Tim Lincecum scarf.

Smell that: Wildflower trains take you away all this month


If one-too-many overcrowded Muni rides have left you aching for a more pleasurable mass transit experience, the Western Railway Museum has an option that smells less of body odor and more of spring flowers for you this weekend: the 12th year of its April spring wildflower train rides, which take passengers back to the early 1900s on an hour-long, 10-mile trip around the Montezuma Hills, a mere hour’s drive out of town. 

The trains’ route runs along the original historic main line of the Sacramento Northern Railway fields. Passengers can hop on either the Scenic Limited or the Vintage Comet trains, both of which consist of a 1914 parlor car and Sacramento Northern interurban car. 

THIS. Seriously, leave the city this weekend.

For a mid-day, kid-friendly adventure: Hop aboard the Scenic Limited. First class passengers ride up front in the parlor car and are served cookies and lemonade by attendants dressed in white button downs, vests, and slacks. Coach passengers ride behind in the Sacramento Northern interurban. Docents will be in both cars pointing out botanical views, which are constantly evolving as the season progresses. Expect to spot patches of poppies, goldfields, brass buttons, butter and eggs, clovers, and sheep’s sorrel.

If that options sounds too sober: A late afternoon ride on the Vintage Comet train, its quaint charms augmented by sips via the Suisun Valley Wine Co-Op might be more your speed. Proceeds from your ticket will go towards Solano Midnight Sun Foundation, which provides temporary financial assistance to women with breast cancer.

Whether you’re in it for the wine, the history, or simply as an escape from the particular eau de rush hour of Muni, be sure to bring a camera. Because if you were ever going to make out of state friends jealous of your California digs a shot of wildflower filled fields on a sunny April day aught to do it. 

April Wildflower Train Rides

The Scenic Limited: Saturdays and Sundays through April 28, 11:00am, 12:30pm, and 2:00pm, $10-16

The Vintage Comet: Saturdays through April 28, 5:00pm, $30

Western Railway Museum

5848 State Highway 12, Suisun

Natural woofin’


PETS If you shop at the farmers market, drive a Prius, have a compost bin, and read this newspaper, chances are you care about the environment. Doesn’t that mean that your dog does too, by extension? Diminish your canine’s carbon paw print with these eco-friendly pet products and services. Not only will they alleviate that non-existent doggie guilt, but used correctly, li’l buddy will be looking fly for this weekend’s amazing McKinley Elementary School fundraiser DogFest (Sat/13, 11am-4pm, free. Duboce Park, Duboce and Noe, SF.


Prepared fresh five days a week, everything at local pet food store chain Jeffrey’s is fresh and locally sourced. This food contains high-quality raw, free-range meats, organic vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. Why go raw? Uncooked meats and vegetables contain a host of essential fatty acids, beneficial bacteria, and antioxidants in their natural state. This type of diet can result in better weight control for your baby, healthier skin and coat, and energy and stamina for endless rolls in the grass.

284 Noe, SF. (415) 864-1414; 1841 Powell, SF. (415) 402-0342,


After a play in the park, rinse Fido off with this gentle wash that combines essential oils with other natural botanicals for freshly scented canines. EO’s natural shampoo is made in Marin and consists primarily of herbal, organic ingredients like French lavender oil, aloe vera, chamomile, and white tea. The biodegradable shampoo is made without irritating sodium laureth or lauryl sulfates, and is perfectly safe for hands-on doggie scrubbing.

Available at various Bay Area stores.


If prefer receiving your puppy supplies in a manner similar to Chinese-food delivery, here’s a trick for you. Cole Valley’s Green Pawz Pet Boutique specializes in providing customers with environmentally friendly supplies and services. Become a Green Priority customer and receive scheduled ongoing deliveries of regular supplies like its in-house line of shampoos and natural pet foods. Priority customers are also sent information on store specials, coupons, free goodies, and invitations to Green Pawz events.

772 Stanyan, SF. (415) 221-7387,


San Mateo-based Primal Pet Foods’ products abide by the “BARF” (bones and raw food) diet, so think raw, meaty bones, muscle meat, organs, fresh fruits, and veggies. We recommend Primal’s raw recreational bones, which are 100 percent human-grade (er, suitable for human consumption, as in stocks and such) and procured from ranches across the US. Choose from buffalo marrow, beef marrow, venison marrow, or lamb femur.

Available at various Bay Area stores.


You and your pup may love to snuggle, but when her breath is less-than-pleasant, tough love may be required. Walk your dog over to Berkeley’s Holistic Hounds for an annual anesthesia-free teeth cleaning. All cleanings are done on-site at Holistic Hound by Dawn Leiske and her staff at Waggin Smiles and are supervised and checked by veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Luna-Repose. Check Holistic Hound’s website to see when Dawn Leiske is next available to make your pup’s teeth sparkle, sans drugs.

1510 Walnut, Berk. (510) 843-2133,

On the Cheap listings


Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.


The Great Debate: Should marijuana be legalized? Commonwealth Club, 595 Market, second floor, SF. 11:30am-1pm, $20. Tonight Kevin Sabet, a drug researcher who has served on the Clinton, Bush II, and Obama administrations, will debate Clint Werner, author of Marijuana Gateway to Health. The two will discuss the potential impact of marijuana on youth, driving laws, mental health, and medical industry.


“The Art of Baseball” George Krevsky Gallery, 77 Geary No. 205, SF. Through May 25. Opening reception: 5:30-7:30pm. See America’s favorite pastime depicted by more than 40 artists from across the country in this exhibit at the George Krevsky Gallery’s 16th annual “Art of Baseball” exhibition. Head over tonight for the opening reception and come back May 2 for a night of poetry, literature, music, and short films inspired by the game.

Free rock wall climbing class Lombardi Sports, 1600 Jackson, SF. 6-7:45pm, free. RSVP required. Take a break from your usual gym routine and give the 25-foot climbing wall at Lombardi Sports a go. The free class is put on by the Outdoor Adventure Club, which provides expert instruction and gear to new and seasoned climbers.


“Hand to Mouth Comedy” The Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission, SF. 10pm, $5–$8. A unique comedy show that asks comedians to write and perform all new material on a specific social, cultural, or political issue. This month’s topic: crime. Local comedians Bucky Sinister, Kevin Munroe, Clare O’Kane, and more will add a humorous spin to a felonious topic. The evening will also include a performance by bluegrass band The Creak and a burlesque routine by Rosey Booticelli.

SF Ballet School Rotunda Dance Series SF City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton Goodlett, SF. Noon, free. Take a lunch break and peek into City Hall for a free lunchtime performance presented by the San Francisco Ballet trainee program. The event is part of the Rotunda Dance series, put on by the Dancers’ Group, an organization dedicated to helping artists produce work, build audiences, and connect with the community. World Arts West, which has supported and presented world dance artists throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for over three decades, also had a hand in the afternoon’s creation.

Guardian Presents: Another World deYoung Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden, SF. 5-9pm, free. Check out our ode to the peacemaking power of drag, in homage to the “Eye Level in Iraq” photography exhibit on display at the deYoung. Radical queens Lil’ Miss Hot Mess, Phatima and the League of Burnt Children, Miss Rahni, Rheal Tea, Mother Chucka, and more bring their fabulous freaky view of social change to the stage. Plus, a craft table and a panel discussion by the photogs whose work is on display in the museum.


Yellowbike Project’s Upcycle Ball SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, SF. 6pm-midnight, $10 door, presale available online. The second annual Upcycle Ball will rally cyclists from across the Bay Area to support local bicycle culture and nonprofit organizations. The evening will begin with a silent auction and workshops and finish out with a dance social with DJ Jays One.

Eileen Fisher Fashion Tips Macy’s, 170 O’Farrell, SF. As part of Macy’s annual flower show, fashion designer Eileen Fisher will be hosting a fashion show and behind-the-scenes event. Sip on refreshments and enjoy some snacks while you check out what’s in store for fall style.


Fierce Fat Girls book signing Curvy Girl Lingerie, 1535 Meridian, San Jose. 2-4pm, $15. RSVP required. Plus-size lingerie company Curvy Girl celebrates the grand opening of its Willow Glen location with author of Hot and Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love, and Fashion Virgie Tovar. The author and sex educator will speak with guests while signing copies of her book.

Free hot dog day at Frankenart Mart Gallery Frankenart Mart Gallery, 515 Balboa, SF. 1-6pm, free. Art and free food collide today as part of the quirky gallery’s monthly tradition. Check out some sweet interactive art projects currently on display at the 200 square foot gallery and chow down on either a beef or veggie dog.


The Shout: Life’s True Stories Grand Lake Coffee House, 440 Grand, Oakl. $5-20 donation accepted. The Shout is a monthly event where invited storytellers tell amazing but true 10-minute stories plucked from their daily lives. Audience members have the opportunity to put their name in a hat in hopes of being picked for a six-minute wild-card turn. Head over to the coffeehouse to hear stories about anything from a soft-core pore actress who stared in a sexy version of Don Quixote to a young man’s discovery that he was part of the witness protection program as a child.


Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF. 7:30pm, free. When author Caroline Paul and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton lost their kitty Tibia they thought she was gone for good. Five weeks later she came home. The two became curious as to where their cat was spending her days so they turned to technology. Join Paul and MacNaughton as they share their brief stint in the pet detective business.

Film Trivia Pub Quiz The New Parkway, 474 24th St., Oakl. 7-9pm, free. Head over to New Parkway for a pub quiz that’s not actually in a pub but a movie theater. Test your knowledge of movie history, famous characters, and classic film titles. Those with the highest cinema IQ will win prizes like free beer and movie passes.


CAREERS AND ED: 5 fun classes



Develop or improve your skills in sewing, patchwork, and quilting at this non-credit class at City College of San Francisco that students are welcome to join at any point in the semester, regardless of skill level. Beginning students will construct a sampler quilt, intermediate or advanced students will work on individually designed projects. Non-credit CCSF classes are tuition-free, but students are expected to bring the required materials, so email the instructor in advance to come prepared.

Saturdays, 9-11:50am, free. City College of San Francisco downtown campus, 88 Fourth St., SF.


Tradition is the name of the game at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Art’s folkloric dance class taught by Zenon Barron, founder of Ballet Folklórico of San Francisco. Reflecting Hispanic customs, beliefs, and legends, Barron’s instruction serves up festive new moves with a historical twist.

Saturdays, 2-3:30pm, $10. 2868 Mission, Studio: E, SF.


Is there a surface in your house that needs … something, and your Bedazzler gun is triggering untoward 1980s flashbacks? Try a medium that is slightly less time-sensitive. Oakland’s Institute of Mosaic Art has a host of courses in the tiled arts, and this weekend’s primer course is begging to jumpstart your grout-and-ceramic phase. Instructors teach you where to find your supplies in the real world, the basic physical properties of materials involved, and will instruct you in making your very own creation to take home.

Sat/6, 10am-4pm; Sun/7 10am-1pm (three-day option: April 10, 10am-1pm), $165. Institute of Mosaic Art, 3001 Chapman, Oakl.


Grab a mat and bring the whole family to the Asian Art Museum for a free Hatha yoga class. Local yogi, Lorna Reed, will lead today’s practice, which teaches basic poses focusing on balance, flexibility, and strength. Reed adds a special artsy element to today’s class by incorporating positions inspired by sculptures in the museum. Your momma always called you statuesque — prove her right by inhaling deeply in this unique yoga primer.

Sun/7, 2-3pm, free. 200 Larkin, Samsung Hall, SF.


What better way to get to know the language of love than with free wine, popcorn, and a film? Designed to help non-French speakers discover the country’s cinema, the Alliance Française of San Francisco offers a weekly film screening followed by discussion. The theme for April is “Women Behind the Lens,” and the April 23 film pick 17 Filles follows a group of 17 high school girls who, after one of their number is impregnated, make a pact to follow suit.

Every Tuesday, 6:45pm, $5. Alliance Française, 1345 Bush, SF.

Can’t stop fashion: Style, as always, at Oakland’s First Friday


We’re stoked on next week’s Oakland First Fridays, where the style is weird, wild, and exactly what you would expect to see any time Bay Area folks, art, and mingling collide. In March, despite the previous month’s tragedy, looks were lively as ever. Attendees and vendors alike seemed to have all received the same memo: throw on some sort of headwear and layer up in as many different patterns as possible.

The fair usually takes over Telegraph Avenue from 17th Street to 27th Street. During last months’ edition, the shooting that occured at the street fair in February had wrought a few changes — the event was considerably smaller, still running along Telegraph Avenue, but only from West Grand Avenue to 27th Street, and about half the usual size. The evening came to a close an hour earlier at 9pm, and public drinking was prohibited. The community paid their respect the shooting victim with altars and peace vigils. 

But fashion pressed on. In a more conventional environment, the excessive use of prints at First Fridays would likely have appeared overdone, but amid street musicians jamming on homemade instruments, ambient street lamp lighting, and a general creative atmosphere, the spirited look fit in just right.

The vendors selling mostly handmade and thrifted goods made an obvious effort to dress in the style of their products. Tua-Lisa Runsten sported a pair of leopard leggings, a tweed jacket, and naturally some gigantic, neutral-toned earrings from her Etsy line. 

We saw blue hair, pink trench coats, and even a dangerously daggery necklace, but the steampunk-inspired style of the “Window Lady”, otherwise known as Janay Rose, topped them all. Rose wore a patchwork skirt, a furry collar, and a festive fascinator while her partner looked equally as dashing in a pair of worn-in overalls and a black bowler hat. 

The bundled up merchants adorned in polka dots, animal prints, and floral anorak jackets proved to us that busier is better. So what sartorial lesson did we take away from this bustling street fair? Go ahead, throw on two pieces that don’t match whatsoever. Mix blue and black. Sport a festive mini skirt with a pair of sequined Ugg boots with for a comfortable nighttime look. Wait no …don’t do that. Please never do that. But this for sure: even in trouble times, fashion braves on. 

Oakland First Fridays

First Fridays, 5-10pm, free

Telegraph between 19th and 27th Sts., Oakl.

Internet Cat Video Festival pussyfoots its way to Oakland


The druggish trip of a heavy Youtube session: you start out looking for that innovative new TED Talk and find yourself, hours later, fixated on a video of sloths in a bucket. How you got there you don’t know.

Sleepy sloths are dangerous to productivity but delve into the endless abyss of cat videos on the web and you might not see the sun for a week. This brings us to our next point of fact: The Internet Cat Video Festival is coming to Oakland May 11, and you can buy tickets starting today.

The EVENT will be held at the Great Wall of Oakland – the large-scale urban projection installation on West Grand Avenue between Broadway and Valley Streets. Proceeds will benefit the East Bay SPCA, so you can feel marginally good about the obsession you share with every other person within swiping distance of an Internet device.

Last year’s fest

The festival got its start last year as a modest award ceremony event organized by the Walker Arts Center in Minnesota. Modest as in over 10,000 people showed up to the center’s grassy field for furry fun. Turns out people really like cats. This year the festival is touring nationally. 

The main event doesn’t start until 8:30pm on May 11, but there will be enough feline festivities to occupy the entire day. Jewelry, clothing, artwork, and meow kitsch will be available from an array of vendors as part of the fest’s “arts and cats” area. Live bands will be playing cat-themed music – more specifics on this later. There will even be a cat-themed aerial performance by the Great Wall’s artist in residence Bandaloop – a pioneer in vertical dance group. Food trucks, etc. 

Those who like their cat vids screened in a more, ahem, exclusive environment should check out the VIP preview screening of the festival’s offerings at the Oakland Museum of California on May 10 at 7pm in the James Moore Theatre. Following the screening will be short talks from the Walker Art Center’s program director Scott Stulen and OMCA’s senior art curator Rene deGuzman. 

The VIP screening may be your best bet if you’re not a crowd kitty. 5,000 or so people are expected to head to Oakland for the big day. 

Internet Cat Video Festival

May 11, festival starts at 2pm, screenings at 8:30pm, $10-75

Great Wall of Oakland

Broadway and W Grand, Oakl.

Chinese Historical Society celebrates golden anniversary as neighborhood’s memory bank


In 1963 a publicist, an art collector, an actor, a newspaper publisher, and a dentist joined forces to form San Francisco’s Chinese Historical Society of America. The group’s mission was simple: to preserve and document Chinese culture in the US. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, it has the same goal it always has had with one major difference: a museum to house the fruits of its labor.

The CHSA moved into its Chinatown digs 12 years ago. The building was built in 1932 by funds raised by a group of Chinese women who traveled up and down the Pacific Coast visiting various Chinese communities to raise funds to construct a small gym and women’s dormitory in Chinatown. In the midst of the Great Depression they somewho drummed up $25,000 for the cause, and the gym provided athletic space to its urban community until it was struck by the 1989 earthquake. 

As the CHSA’s executive director Sue Lee takes me on a tour she speaks with almost an encyclopedia-like knowledge of Chinese history on the West Coast. Her animated descriptions of each and every exhibit make it clear that the enthusiasm for preserving Chinese culture that drove the Historical Society’s original founders hasn’t been lost over the generations. 

In the CHSA’s early days, the founders’ sense of urgency stemmed from the immigration restrictions put in place during the Cold War due to the Chinese’s association with the Soviet Union, which were resulting in a withering Asian population.

Lee explains, “[the founders] thought, ‘this is all we’ve got’. Lee explains. “They were visiting dying Chinese communities up and down the west coast, collecting stuff, interviewing old timers, and picking up stories, and artifacts.” 

That drive to preserve has been augmented by new goals for the Historical Society in the modern era. “We also want to engage local artists to use our history and to be inspired by Chinese-American history for their artistic endeavors,” says Lee.

One direct way the CHSA is putting that plan in action is through its “Creative Spaces” program. Currently in its second year, “Creative Spaces” invites artists, designers, curators, and educators to propose concepts for interpreting and presenting history in the museum. This year Leland Wong, an artist and Chinatown native, has been chosen as one of the featured artists.

A stage inside the museum has been transformed into a working studio for Wong. Visitors can peek in whether Woing is working or not.

A playful collection of intricate Qing Dynasty children’s hats temporarily donated by collector Leslie Selcow in memory of Jade Snow Wong, a Chinese-American ceramic artist and author, fills another exhibition space. In another area, a small suitcase contains the sparse belongings Chinese immigrants commonly brought with them when traveling to America: a notebook, a few pieces of clothing, an umbrella. Visitors are invited to write which items they’d bring on paper luggage tags and attach them to the trunk. History’s tidal changes are visible in the tags that I glimpse on my visit — everything from video games to iPods to the maybe-not-so-portable family cat is scribbled on the tags.

Lee tells me that the lessons learned at the CHSA are certainly not confined to Chinatown residents, or even to Chinese Americans. “Our challenge is always to reach out to our own community as well as to educate the greater community.”  Last year, the Historical Society partnered with the Israeli consulate to honor Dr. Feng Shan Ho, a Chinese diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in Vienna from being deported to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. 

In the over-informed, distracting era we live in, making people care about history is a constant challenge, but it seems clear that Lee and her crew are up for the challenge. “We’re trying to be more active,” she says. “We can’t be a mausoleum, we have to be engaged. We have to try to inspire people.” 

Chocolate, symbolism, polka dots at this weekend’s quilt show


The San Francisco Quilters Guild’s biennial show is back and ready to prove needle arts are alive and kicking – and not just in grandma’s eyes. The exhibit will cozy up the Concourse Exhibition Center this Sat/9 and Sun/10 with a display of over 400 quilts.

Twenty quilts made by members of the Israel Quilters Association comprise a special exhibition dealing in the symbolism of daily life in Israeli society through textile. Former film costumer and seasoned quilter Eleanor Dugan will be showing off the elaborate dot motifs characteristic of her work. Pieces by this year’s two featured artists Laura Lee Fritz, and Roberta Walker will also be on display exhibiting a fresh spin on classic techniques. 

The show will also include a special exhibit on wearable art as well as two quilting challenges, a SFQG tradition that goes out to members prior to the biennial so that completed challenge quilts can be on display through the weekend. For this year’s challenges, the guild gang designed 20-inch square quilt based on the theme “chocolate.” Others crafted from two required fabrics designated by the challenge committee, creating pieces that celebrate the guild’s 30th anniversary.

Roberta Walker is a longtime member of the SFQG, but this is the first year she has been selected as a QUILT San Francisco featured artist – and she has a pretty good idea what has helped earn her spotlight.

“What I do as a quilter that’s different from other quilters is, I am very involved in the Japanese stitchery called sashiko,” she tells the Guardian. Sashiko is a big running stitch that can be seen in Walker’s pieces made from Japanese fabric as well as in her quilts crafted from more conventional materials – the combination of which is Walker’s own adaptation of the technique. 

“I think that’s why people really like my quilts,” Walker explains. “I’ve put a different spin on them by doing that stitching. That has sort of been my specialty. In fact, people go to quilt shows and they say they don’t even have to look at the name to see whose quilt it is, they know [it’s mine].”

Twenty of Walker’s pieces will be on display this weekend. Featured artists will conduct twice-daily walkthroughs of their quilts.

The Quilters Guild biennial requires almost a year of planning. In other words: prepare your eyes.

“People walk into our show and they sort of gasp,” Walker says. “When you see that many quilts hanging, it’s overwhelming.” 

“Quilt San Francisco”


Concourse Exhibition Center

635 Eighth St., SF 

On the Cheap listings


Submit items at For further information on how to submit items for listings, see Picks


RayKo’s sixth annual plastic camera show RayKo Photo Center, 428 Third St., SF. Through April 22. Opening reception: 6-8pm, free. You’d never these cameras’ non-pro status by the breathtaking images they are capable of creating. Highlighted in this year’s RayKo show is LA-based artist Thomas Alleman, who began using a Holga camera in 2001 to document the aftermath of 9/11. His dreamy, dramatic prints perfectly pinpoint the dysfunctional beauty of these toy cameras.

“Beyond THC: Cannabidiol and the future of medical marijuana” Commonwealth Club of California, 595 Market, SF. 5:30pm, $12 members, $7 students, $20 nonmembers. Martin A. Lee, author of Smoke Signals — which focuses on the social history of cannabis — will be speaking about the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana that lacks the “high” effect of THC and contains key medicinal benefits. Lee will discuss how the medical marijuana industry has responded to the discovery of CBD and sign copies of his book afterward.


Robot NightLife California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse, SF. 6-10pm, $12. This beloved weekly museum soiree delves into sci-fi this evening with a focus on robots. Managing director of Silicon Valley Robotics will speak to the local innovation and commercialization of robots and Academy curator Gary Williams will show off footage of deep-sea corals from Pillar Point Harbor. A robotic performance by art group Survival Research Labs and exceptional designs by robot design studio BeatBots are also on tonight’s schedule.

“Art Star” Otis Lounge, 25 Maiden Lane, SF. 10pm-2am, free. If you’re looking to submerge yourself into the city’s art community, head over to Otis Lounge to meet and network with artsy individuals at this monthly first Thursday event. Whether you make, buy, sell, or just love art, all creatives are welcome.

Community dinner St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, 2097 Turk, SF. 7pm, free. Hungry, cash-strapped health nuts listen up. This free dinner created from USF’s garden and local farmers markets is open to everyone and anyone interested. The event lacks any motivation beyond a heartfelt effort to bring the community together through wholesome food.

Writerscorps Live with Tamim Ansary Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission, SF. 6:30-7:30pm, free. Award-winning youth writing program WritersCorps has partnered with the CJM for a multi-generational live reading. Author Tamim Ansary will read from his memoir West of Kabul, East of New York, based on his family’s immigration from Afghanistan to San Francisco. The reading will also showcase WritersCorps teaching artist Minna Dubin and students from Downtown High School, Aptos Middle School, Mission High School, and more.

First Thursday with OM Cocktails Hang Street Gallery, 567 Sutter, SF. 6-8pm, free. Organic mixology — premixed in the bottle? Will wonders never cease. Check out this brand’s coconut-lychee cocktails and more at Hang Street’s First Thursday reception.


East Bay Bike Party, location TBA. 7:30, free. It’s time to go green, literally. The theme of this month’s East Bay group rideout is the favored color of enviro-fans and Kermit the Frog alike. Whether you want to channel your inner leprechaun or bike around as giant pot leaf, the possibilities are endless. If you’re a Bike Party virgin make sure to also look over the code of conduct to help keep the event as community-friendly as possible.


White Walls gallery 10th anniversary show White Walls, 886 Geary, SF. Through April 6. Opening reception 7-11pm, free. Town’s best-known “urban art” gallery hosts this retrospective of a decade of boundary-breaking work within its wall (kind of — the gallery recently moved to a larger space on Geary Street). Check out works from Shepard Fairey, ROA, Apex, Ferris Plock, and of the best who have plied works there.

“Doctors on Board” Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakl. 6am-6:30pm, free to students. Application required. The Physicians Medical Forum is hosting a day of workshops and skills training session helping African American students to attend medical school and residency programs. Prominent physicians will provide information about medical school preparation, medical specialties, and life as a physician.

“Quilt San Francisco” Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 Eighth St., SF. Also Sun/10. 10am-4pm, $10 for two-day pass. This two-day exhibit, organized by the San Francisco Quilters Guild, vividly showcases the revitalization of the traditional art form. 400 quilts and special exhibits will shown the many artistic dimensions of wearable art and modern stitching. There will also be a children’s corner, where kids can get marching orders for a treasure hunt that will lead them to special quilts in the show.

Irish-American children’s hour of music, song and dance San Francisco Public Library, Fisher Children’s Center, 100 Larkin, SF. 11am, free. Crossroads, an annual Irish-American festival timing to open up St. Patrick’s Day season, invites the kiddos to learn traditional Irish dance taught by instructors from the Brosnan School of Irish Dance.

Fourth annual World Naked Bike Ride Meet at Justin Herman Plaza, Market and Embarcadero, SF. 11am-4pm, free. Protest global dependency on oil and find out what its like to pedal through Fisherman’s Wharf in the buff. All are welcome to take part — even clothed riders — but those in the buff earn extra badass points, given the uncertain status of the ride under the city’s new anti-public nudity ordinance.

“Permutation Unfolding” Root Division, 3175 17th St., SF. Opening reception 7-10pm, free. Bring the kids to the opening of this group exhibition exploring the biomorphic formations that can spring from the artistic process (we’re not sure what that means either.) There will be an all-ages creativity station, a perfect place to craft while Markus Hawkins spins an auditory web in an 8pm performance.


Exploratorium’s On the Move Fest Mission District location: Buena Vista Horace Mann School, 3351 23rd St., SF. 11am-4pm, free; Bayview location: Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre, 4705 Third St., SF. 11am-4pm; Embarcadero location: Pier 15, 11am-10pm. All locations offer free admission. Everyone’s favorite on-hiatus science museum is sending 10 trucks tricked out with the kind of wacky, hands-on exhibits its know for to the Mission, Bayview, and the Embarcadero for a day of science, music, and food. In both Bayview and the Mission, enjoy itinerant filmmaking, projects that encourage attendees to sport costumes and act out a special script which will then be chopped, screwed, and shown to the public.


“Stars of Stand-up Comedy” Neck of the Woods, 406 Clement, SF. 8pm, $10. Comedian and pencil musician (exactly what that means we are not quite sure, please report back if you go) Danny Delchi is hosting tonight’s show. Long-time Niners field announcer Bob Sarlatte and the quirky Mr. Mystic will be performing alongside a number of other top Bay Area comedians.

Persian New Year Festival Persian Center, 2029 Durant, Berk. What better way to welcome spring than to jump over a bonfire? Head over to the Persian Center to take part in this ritual that has been passed down since Zoroastrian times. Accompanying the fiery activity will be Persian food, music, and dancing.

Stardust tea in Japantown: Crown and Crumpet re-opens in a quicker format


The beloved tearoom Crown and Crumpet Tea Room – which closed down its previous Ghirardelli Square location nine months ago – reopened in the first floor lobby of Japanatown’s New People entertainment hub and shopping center.

After deciding not to renew the lease on their waterfront space, Crown and Crumpet owners, husband and wife team Amy and Chris Dean were asked to open up a Japantown location by the folks behind New People. To the Deans the neighborhood seemed like a natural fit.

“We partner with the J-Pop festival and have a lot of fans like Lolita girls who love Crown and Crumpet and Japantown as well,” Amy Dean tells me on my trip to the shop on its first day up and running. “Because we collaborate with them a lot they asked if we would open up a Crown and Crumpet here.”

The new space is significantly smaller than its old location, which is why it has appropriately enough, been packaged a “tea stop café” as opposed to a tearoom. Dean explains, “we wanted to make it a little different so that people would know it is a casual, quicker version of our old shop. It’s a quicker experience but you still get afternoon tea.”

Crown and Crumpet is currently working to create cinema snacks and bento boxes for the movie theater in New People’s basement. The casual vibe is reflected in the shop’s prominent positioning of its to-go service, and it’s on the way to selling Blue Bottle coffee. (As of right now, Amy and Chris are working to get their degree from Blue Bottle’s training program before they can start brewing).

But though the small space might not allow for as much lingering as the Ghirardelli Square location, but that doesn’t mean vistors won’t want to stick around. From the giant teacup clock hanging on the wall to trademark floral-and-polka-dot tablecloths to the staff’s coordinating aprons, Crown and Crumpet’s a sweet sight.

The three-tiered afternoon tea was the standard order among customers on the afternoon I visited. Amy Dean personally explained each item on the plates as she simultaneously ran around working out some standard opening day kinks. The service was stacked: petit fours on top, crumpets and a scone in the middle, and sandwiches on the bottom level of the tray.

I opted to try out their signature stardust black tea, which was delightfully sweet but more importantly, sparkled! The blend has tiny silver shimmering specks in it.

Crown and Crumpet is still working to open up a bigger location, similar to its former site. The Deans aim to open that up before Christmas in the Union Square neighborhood. “We tentatively have a space where we hope to include a library area for the men as well as a party room,” Dean says.

There is no denying Crown and Crumpet’s Tea Stop Café offers a different experience compared to the old shop. But with 110 reservations on the books for its second day of service, and 62 visitors by the time I visited on Friday, it would seem customers still have a sweet spot for the place. “It’s really amazing that we have so many people that love us,” says Dean. “There are other tearooms in San Francisco but we really pay attention to details, the charm, and whimsicalness of it all.”

Crown and Crumpet Tea Room 1746 Post, SF. (415) 771-4252,





“Myths and Realities: Social Security, Medicare and the Fiscal Cliff” Unitarian Universalist Center, 1187 Franklin, SF. 7pm, free. Michael Eisenscher, National Coordinator of U.S. Labor Against the War, and Jack Rasmus, author of<I> Epic Recession: Prelude to Global Depression</I> will discuss President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, how budget cuts will affect the country, and how progressives can respond. A Q&A session is set to follow the panel discussion.


Tar Sands Blockade Benefit 3030 B 16th Street, SF. Doors open at 5pm. Three course vegan sit-down dinner at 6pm, $15. Advance ticket purchase required. Teach-in and Q&A 8-9pm, free. No ticket required. The Tar Sands Blockade is inviting people across North America to join a peaceful direct action campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.The organization has joined forces with people from a wide variety of backgrounds who believe that the extraction of tar sands in Canada will be detrimental for the climate and are currently building a movement to stop the pipeline. Support their efforts at this fundraiser.


Berkeley Copwatch Workshop Grassroots House, 2022 Blake, Berk. 5:30-7pm, free. Activists, organizers, rebels, concerned civilians, and family members from communities of struggle across the Bay Area to will come together for a facilitated conversation on policing and safety. Students will experience issues faced by residents in high crime areas and the dangers that racial profiling, and civil and human rights abuse can bring to a community. Also included: Basic training in criminal procedure, power analysis, and techniques for observing police activity.