Emily Hunt

Haight Street coffeshop plans to Slay at its upcoming Mission location


Stanza Coffee is expanding past its Haight Street, hole-in-the-wall roots and into the competitive SF coffee scene, with a badass, Bay Area exclusive espresso machine and a new location in the caffeinated-cool Mission district opening next month.

Part-owner and general manager of Stanza, young Aaron Caddel approached the vacant Haight Street building almost a year ago. Stanza Coffee opened in April, serving Redlands-based roaster Augie’s Coffee to a less-than-frenzied reception. A new coffee place in San Francisco isn’t exactly anything to write home about, after all. However, the quickly increasing business developments indicates good news for the little coffee bar that could. 

While the shop’s decor has a unique dose of rustic glam more akin to a wine bar, featuring heavy red curtains, burnt red walls, wood floors, and a series of wine barrel cafe tables positioned next to the window, Caddel envisions a battalion of interior, exterior, and branding changes for a more comfortable environment. He foresees a lighter, more cohesive color scheme for the dark walls, tables that are more conducive to laptop work, a brighter outside sign, window art with Stanza’s new logo, and maybe even some couches for meandering coffee shop chit-chat. 

Perhaps the most dramatic of developments is Stanza’s upcoming addition of a new, Mission district location at 3126 16th Street by early October. While Stanza’s Haight location stocks both roasts and a wine tasting room, Caddel assures me that the store is really “a coffee shop, not a wine bar.” Indeed, it seems that the rack of locally-sourced MJ Lord’s wines lining the back wall of the shop is merely a pleasant afterthought. The coffee bar menu, including a steaming cup of Ethiopian pour-over accompanied by a Mission Beach Cafe golden raisin-stuffed, vegan bran muffin, or the sweet, slow-drip-cold-brew iced coffee is enough. Luckily for self-proclaimed “coffee purist” Caddel, the Mission front will be more concentrated on the caffeine.

In fact, the Stanza team recently purchased the sole Bay Area distribution rights to the infamous Slayer espresso machine, a hulking, expensive, and wholly badass piece of coffee instrumentation manufactured in Seattle. Caddel tells me this new location will be much more focused on hosting a comfortable (think couches and a back patio) and community-oriented environment: while Haight Ashbury’s combination of hippie-punks and tourists make for a fairly transient customer base, the excited manager can barely contain his enthusiasm when describing the steady clientele he anticipates at the new location. 

Caddel recently closed down a potentially lucrative Union Square pop-up cart due to the fast-paced business’ quick turnover time and ensuing lack in presentation and quality, a product degradation that he says simply “hurt [his] soul.” The vision for the new storefront focuses equally on product and presentation in order to give coffee the contemplation and appreciation the Stanza team believes it’s due. 

Stanza Coffee and Wine Bar

Open Mon.-Fri 6:30am-9pm; Sat.-Sun. 7:30am-9pm

1673 Haight, SF

(415) 529-1592


Pagoda madness



LIT Either I’m terrible at parking or Philip P. Choy was exactly the right person to author his recently-released San Francisco Chinatown: A Guide to Its History and Architecture (City Lights Publishers, 184pp, $15.95). We find a spot for my car in a well-hidden lot, tucked into an alleyway behind the Chinese Historical Society of America. It’s the first sign of the day that Choy’s knowledge of the area goes beyond tea shops and Peking duck.

“Chinatown…” Choy pauses as we stand outside a sidewalk stall whose owner angrily mutters at us (we’re blocking pedestrian traffic by hovering over his dried sea cucumber display.) “Chinatown is real. There are people here living, relying on Chinatown.”

Choy’s newest publication is not just a faithful retelling of the enclave’s social and architectural history. The book goes out of its way to dispel the stereotypes and fanciful constructions of the neighborhood that the outside world maintains. Choy was born in Chinatown, and as a co-professor of the first collegiate level class in Chinese American history at San Francisco State, he’s well-qualified to tell its story.

With apologies to our embattled shopkeeper, we continue to examine the cukes, first brought to the neighborhood via 1800s trade routes between China and the US. We move past other stalls while Choy points out the historical importance of their wares.

He shows me sandalwood, traditionally burned in Chinese temples, and ginseng root, which had been harvested by Native Americans but became a staple Chinese delicacy.

Choy tells me that the Chinese — who were not-so-charmingly called “mongols” around about 1840 — have suffered alongside Native Americans and other people of color throughout our country’s history, enduring ghettoized living situations and sub-par educational offerings.

As Choy and I wander Grant in search of the infamous pagodas that were built after the 1906 earthquake, we take a small detour up the hill to peek at Gordon J. Lau Elementary School. In the late 1800s a Chinatown father sued the city when his daughter was barred from attending other schools. Though the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, the school district opened the originally-named Chinese Primary School rather than integrate. 

We pass quickly by an East West bank, which was once the home of the first San Francisco paper, the Star. Around the corner stands a cheap retail center, originally the Mandarin Theater, a cultural and artistic mecca for neighborhood residents. Its once-lavish stage now serves as a platform for garish home decorations, its grand balconies now providing seating only to building debris.

Our whirlwind tour ends at the pagoda building Sing Fat, nestled at the corner of Grant Avenue and California Street. It was erected by the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce and prominent merchants in a post- 1906 earthquake attempt to repackage the once-funky Chinatown as an ornate, prosperous “oriental city.”

But Sing Fat’s pagodas are actually what Choy (an architect himself) calls a “Disneyland approach” to Chinese architecture: unstudied, inauthentic. The only legitimately Chinese quality of the structure is its green, yellow, and red color motif.

“Does any truly, authentically Chinese institution or edifice exist in Chinatown?” I ask, sidestepping tourists to keep up with Choy, who navigates Stockton Street with shocking deftness.

Choy reaches a hand out to avoid my death-by-delivery-truck and laughs. “Doesn’t exist.”

That’s because Chinatown is first and foremost a Chinese American town. And for all its perceived exoticism, the neighborhood has been around since almost the beginning of San Francisco.

Such is the beauty of Choy’s book. It retells a neighborhood’s story that’s too often render mythic by rumors money-hungry tour guides and ignorant outsiders. San Francisco Chinatown illuminates the untold history of the enclave, urging readers to consider its quiet alleyways and SROs housing six people just above the busy streets. The book wants you to consider the political, historical, and cultural implications of Chinatown’s very existence.

Says Choy of the generations who lived in this neighborhood, “they were pioneers of the city. They did more than just open laundries.”


Oct. 7, 1pm, free

California Historical Society

378 Mission, SF



Oct. 27, 11am, free

San Francisco Public Library

100 Larkin, SF

(415) 437-4844


Portable pollution



With its decidedly hip aesthetic and clientele, San Francisco’s food truck trend may be naturally assumed to be environmentally sound and health conscious. But the rapidly expanding craze may actually be creating air pollution and endangering the health of their employees in ways that aren’t yet being regulated.

Although the mobile eateries are held to a few of the same standards as their brick and mortar counterparts, such as food hygiene and sanitation, the gas-powered portable generators that provide needed energy to the trucks are a tricky beast to tame. The exhaust-heavy portable generators do not fall under the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s radar of regulation, according to its Food Safety Program Director Richard Lee.

“There are combustion products from the generators being generated while the truck is parked and operating,” he told the Guardian. “The generators are needed to power lights, fans, refrigerators, etcetera. SFDPH does not monitor or regulate the generators.”

The lack of monitoring on the generators may not be due to a lack of need for regulation, but rather the difficulty in doing so. Given that most of the generators are used to power relatively small vehicles, their small size inhibits them from meriting the attention of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) after their initial manufacture.

A CARB-compliant generator has met with the organization’s restrictions on various organic gases, nitrogen oxides, sulfuric oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter. However, the generators are only monitored at the point of manufacture, with their in-use emissions going unregulated.

Furthermore, Bay Area Air Quality Management District spokesperson Aaron Richardson tells us that despite the BAAQMD’s 28 air monitor stations, the localization of the fad and the trucks themselves would make it difficult to see the effects of the generators as a regional issue.

“The concern would be they may not all operate in the same ways,” he said. “I think that if the trucks…are running back up generators, it’s going to emit some pollution. It’s something I think we will be doing more research on, but at this point it’s not looking like it’s a dramatic impact on air quality. CARB regulates all mobile sources, and lot of these trucks use individual generators. At this point, we only regulate back up diesel generators…of 50 horse power or above.”

So BAAQMD doesn’t regulate the generators because they’re gas-powered, and they don’t trigger CARB’s post-production attention, despite that agency’s current efforts to reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

CARB spokesperson John Swanton explained that given the small size and localization of the generators, it’s up to the individual communities to decide how to approach the situation.

“It’s up to the community to decide if they can bear the expense of a highly regulated community. In the terms of restaurants — which is what food trucks are — what are the community’s standards and regulations?” he said. “When we sell, say, a Honda generator, we have ideas of how that’s going to be used…We try to make it as clean as practically possible, but the idea is that it’s not gonna run 24/7 at the same location. If it’s going into a food truck and the food truck is going into a particular district, then it becomes the decision of the city and the air quality management [district].”

It seems, then, that no one is really regulating the exhaust emissions coming from the hordes of trucks that travel up Haight, down Market, into Fort Mason, and sit in clusters downtown, in SoMa, around City Hall, and other spots around town.

But at least they aren’t dirty diesel fuel, right? Perhaps the BAAQMD and the city of San Francisco have no need to regulate the teensy-eensy bit of gasoline generator exhaust.

Yet according to SFDPH spokesperson Imelda Rayes, there are now approximately 300 (registered) mobile food facilities in San Francisco. That means the number has nearly tripled since the mere 120 registered MFFs that were scouring the streets in 2009. What they lack in horse power, the generators may make up for in sheer multitude.

“In a period of three years, the number has increased almost 250 percent and [we’re] still getting more applications,” she said.

In addition to cumulative impacts, there are also questions about the health impacts on food truck employees.

Studies like such as the 2009 “Modeling the Effects of Outdoor Gasoline Powered Generator Use on Indoor Carbon Monoxide Exposures” by academics Liangzhu Wang and Steven Emmerich brings up a different concern: gasoline generators create emissions of poisonous carbon monoxide.

“The generators are always positioned outside of the vehicle. The workers are inside,” Lee said. “We would not expect that there is significant employee exposure to the generator exhaust to the employees.”

Yet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that half of non-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning incidents in the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons were due to the gas-powered generators used to heat homes, even when placed outside the homes themselves.

Food truck generators, given their smaller size, are often placed much closer to the trucks and their workers than in the case of houses and their inhabitants. Furthermore, the trucks often idle for long periods to keep the food warm and utilities working.

“At this point, it’s enough of a new thing…We’re interested in finding out more about them, but at this point we are not receiving many complaints,” Richardson said. “A lot of variables are involved. It’s something I think we will be doing more research on.”

After the game of verbal hot potato that was research for this article — it seems every agency deferred to another in terms of exactly who is monitoring these things — Swanton assured us that the danger doesn’t seem imminent.

“In general, small engines [portable generators] are dirtier than an engine providing motor power to a vehicle,” he said. “But the sheer number of these cleaner engines dwarfs everything.”

True, but the food trucks that run for more than a few hours at one location are increasing in numbers at a rapid pace. With the high number of mobile food trucks in operation, most of which utilize some form of generator or another, it may be time to nail down those pesky variables involved and draw some conclusive evidence on the potential environmental and health effects of our city’s seemingly innocent snack time.

Oh no they didn’t! Hilarious horror stories at Mortified


Why is it that I like myself most when looking back on my years as a college freshman, drunkenly spooning peanut butter into my mouth amid the squalor of my dirty kitchen? Why is it that I appreciate a boyfriend most when I see his elementary school photos and realize he used to look like a well-fed lizard in glasses?

I’m going to wager that it isn’t my own affinity for the less-than-socially acceptable and is actually a testament to the fact that humans often love that which is most, well, human. And humanity has the tendency to do some painfully embarrassing stuff.
This is the concept that drives Mortified, a collection of short readings and performances of the sometimes brilliant, sometimes artistic, sometimes sad, and always humiliating personal musings its performers created as children and teens. The brainchild of creators and producers Dave Nadelberg and Neil Katcher, Mortified has a constantly changing cast, mainly consisting of adults who have, fortunately, left most of their adolescent angst behind — but still have plenty of stories to tell about it.

The DNA Lounge is surprisingly conducive to theater, with its upper balcony offering unobscured views of the performers. On Aug. 10, the night’s first performance was by Orlando, Fla. native Jessica Wassil, reading from her teenage diaries. There isn’t much to do in Orlando, the edgy-looking brunette explained in her introduction, and thus her 14-year-old self saw no other alternative to the cultural void than to eat Butterfingers by the truckload and obsess over football players who didn’t know she existed.
Wassil’s excerpts treaded not-so-lightly on the line between funny and cringe-inducing, with her bellowing laments of insecurity and unrequited love making the audience members guffaw, but also tempting them to crawl under their seats. Her powerhouse opening excerpt, describing what indeed seemed to be the “worst Valentine’s day ever” (eating Snickers for breakfast and then soiling herself at school) had tears of ambiguous varieties streaming from the audience’s eyes.
But it’s okay, because now she’s totally cute. And kind of a hipster. And probably pretty awesome, given her confidence to stand alone on a stage and read almost grotesque confessions from her youth.
However, Heather Aronson’s accounts of a being an underage metalhead were anything but sad. Her diary entries read more like an epistolary novel addressed to the guitarist of Def Leppard, to whom a young Aronson’s commitment resembled a nun’s devotion to God. Kinda freaky. And such was the collective opinion of Aronson’s classmates in her first year at a new high school.
And yet, the admittedly girly but nonetheless badass actions of the head-banging teen were wholly awesome. She backed boys into corners, scored concert tickets, got drunk, made at least one friend, and — as the piece’s climax and finale went — cussed out the haughty girls at her school, kicked in her science classroom’s door, and ends her high school year of hell in appropriately metal fashion.
The “Worst Teen Poetry Slam,” for which Mortified creator Dave Nadelberg traveled from Los Angeles to San Francisco, offered some variety in the evening. The first contestant was businesswoman Lisa Ratner, who read adolescent love poetry directed toward one particular (and, it seemed, totally undeserving) young man.

Imagine any lovesick and slightly pathetic tween’s poetry, then add in a strong penchant for metaphors about kings, queens, stardust, and chariots, and you’ve got the general aesthetic of Ratner’s collection. Nadelberg was the night’s second contestant, and eventual winner, thanks to some awkwardly erotic poetry about “world music” just bizarre enough to offer a refreshing reminder that teens aren’t only pitiful … they’re also weird as hell.

“What’s in the bag, Mr. Pips?” began Nadelberg’s ode to bagpipes. He had me at that.
Lily Sloane’s confessions of a boy-crazy, coffee-shop working, rock’n’roll loving, and prematurely cynical teen girl were perhaps an unspoken dedication to all those 15-year-old girls who know they’re cool but, goddamn it, why doesn’t anyone else realize it? Covering her insecurities with swearwords yet always admitting to her own faults and adorably neurotic self-awareness, Sloane shared oodles of unwittingly fantastic one liners. (“That little fucker better call me” ended one entry about the boyfriend for whom she incessantly pined.)
Her piece, however, was best punctuated by the live performance of her fifth and sixth grade musical stylings, with which she angrily serenaded her parents: “I have to be cute when we have guests/I don’t want to wear my little pink dress.”
San Francisco show producers Scott Lifton and Heather Van Atta programmed wisely by choosing to end the night’s series of confessionals with Ezra Horne. His diary of an overweight, closeted Mormon boy read like a Daniel Pinkwater coming-of-age novel, with daily accounts of the number of times he looked at porn (which he coded as “P”) or masturbated (creatively delineated by the letter “M”).
He thought he was a fat, lazy, slob. He was jealous of his friends. He made secretly-self hating speeches at church. He knew he would never get into the celestial kingdom. And yet, by the end, there was some hope in Horne’s brash yet somehow whimsical musings. He ended his piece with an epilogue: his eventual coming-out was a well-supported, smooth transition by his family and community. Currently happy and in love, Horne said: “I was always hoping God would fix me. But God can’t fix me because I’m not broken.”
And that could be the moral for all the of night’s performers: despite horror-story, silly-stupid childhoods, they’d all moved on nicely.
Mortified officially began in 2002, and this is by no means the first Mortified SF installation. Speaking with audience members, it’s evident that every show is different. According to the unnamed gentleman on my right, this show “wasn’t even as funny” as the last.
And that may prove my thesis: the concept behind Mortified is brilliant to the point where I’m not quite sure where any Mortified show could go wrong, with its ability to lovingly yet bluntly look at personal and painful topics.
The series returns to the DNA Lounge Sept. 14; the group will also make a special performance at the SF Improv Festival Sat/18.

14 excellent establishments for Olympic watching


The Olympics might have originated as an an ancient Roman display of physical beauty and premier strength, but this is 2012, the point now is the eating, drinking, voyeurism, and generally being inactive that the Games give you an opportunity to enjoy. With the big show taking place in pub-happy London this year, you can pass off your bar tab as the price one pays for cultural authenticity. After all, it might take a pint at the Phoenix to fully appreciate rower Henrik Rummel’s well-endowed disaster. So cheers to the fact that while records are broken and teenagers’ dreams are being dashed in Olympic Park, we can chill with our buddies and crack up at professional divers’ faces. Party like an Olympian — need a drinking game to pass the time? — with this list of fine establishments that showing the games if you ask nicely, satisfying both your appetite and burning need to watch ridiculously fit people sweat in spandex.

Abbey Tavern 4100 Geary, SF. (415) 221-7767 

Bus Stop Bar prime time coverage M-F 8pm-midnight. 1901 Union, SF. (415) 567-6905 

Columbus Cafe 562 Green, SF. (415) 274-2599

Danny Coyle’s 668 Haight, SF. (415) 558-8375

Hard Knox Cafe and Soul Kitchen 6526 Third St., SF. (415) 648-3770

Kennedy’s Irish Pub and Indian Curry House 1040 Columbus, SF. (415) 441-8855

Kezar Pub 770 Stanyan, SF. (415) 386-9292 

King of Thai Noodle House 1268 Grant, SF. (415) 391-8219

Lefty O’Doul’s restaurant and cocktail lounge 333 Geary, SF. (415) 982-8900

The Mucky Duck 1315 Ninth Ave., SF. (415) 661-4340 

The Phoenix Irish Pub 811 Valencia, SF. (415) 695-9811

Portal’s Tavern 179 W. Portal, SF. (415) 731-1208 

The Royal Exchange sports bar and restaurant 301 Sacramento, SF. (415) 956-1710

The Taco Shop @ Underdogs 1824 Irving, SF. (415) 566-8700

Let it learn



CAREERS AND ED Be not dazzled by the big show across the pond into forgetting your studies! Regardless of how assured and gosh-darn perfect the Olympians may seem, few of us will ever find our dream job by cutting another tenth of a second off our 100-meter dash, or adding another five pounds onto our barbell (egads! Didn’t you people check that Korean weightlifter’s horrific elbow dislocation last week? Low weight, high reps out there, please.) But there are ample ways to improve your lot in life, by attending a class or two or enrolling at one of our fine educational institutions. We’ve compiled some amazing options within your grasp here. Grasp… poor, poor Sa Jae-hyouk.



Saturdays at the Accordion Apocalypse repair shop offer a shot in SoMa at learning to tickle the ivories on sweet, sweet squeezebox. For only $20, staff teach accordion-playing hopefuls about the inner workings of the instrument. It’s said you’ll even emerge from your day of instruction knowing how to wheeze an entire song. Lessons happen once a week and hey, how convenient! If you really take to the accordion, fine specimens are available for purchase mere feet from your classroom.

Saturdays, 4pm. $20. Accordion Apocalypse, 255 10th St, SF. www.accordianapocalypse.com


You don’t have to be a stoner to be upset about the way the federal government has been shutting down our cannabis dispensaries and raiding marijuana trade schools here in the Bay Area. And you don’t have to be a stoner to not know, like, what the hell to do about it. Enter patient advocacy group Americans For Safe Access, who is teaching you how to stand up for medical marijuana with its free Camp WakeUpObama program. Earn online merit badges for calling your elected officials, making protest art projects — even coordinating pot-themed street theater with the help of ASA’s exhaustive website’s educational resources.



Maybe you don’t want to go back to college, but you are down to take a college class. It happens, and San Francisco State’s extended learning department gets it. Register for an Open University course for this kind of real class, real life confluence. For example, its Studio Sculpture course. It’s a rare opportunity to get a in-depth studio sculpting experience without all the boring prerequisites. That doesn’t mean you won’t get ample lessons in theoretical background. You didn’t think your trip back to college will be all clay and play, did you?

Tuesdays and Thursdays Aug. 27-Dec. 17, 9:10-11:55am. $960. SFSU Fine Arts Building, 1600 Holloway, SF. www.sfsu.edu


Sharpen your hamachi-making skills at this City College of San Francisco two-session course on the best in raw fish prep. We Be Sushi owner Andy Tonozuka opened his first sushi shop in 1987, so he should be able to impart all you need to know, from rolls to sashimi. Best of all: the lessons take place in Tonozuka’s classic Mission District eatery. You can’t get more San Francisco sushi-authentic than that — and we’ll bet you your class fee covers at least a free sample or two.

Sundays, Sept. 26-Oct. 6, 10am-1pm. $65-80. We Be Sushi, 538 Valencia, SF. www.ccsf.edu


From camp-happy urbanites to professional explorers, Bay Area citizens can take their wilderness savvy to the next level with Adventure Out, one of NorCal’s ultimate resources on all things wild. With the organization’s flintknapping and stone tools course, students will be introduced and trained in stone technology, which sound like an oxymoron, but actually entails exacting processes like spalling, percussion, and pressure flaking. Apocalypse now!

Sep. 29-30, 10am, $250. Adventure Out, Santa Cruz. www.adventureout.com



A concentration within the school’s counseling psychology degree, this is one of the nation’s only master’s in drama therapy. The program is intended for those who’d like to make their living implementing Erik Erikson’s psychological prescription to “play it out.” Courses focus on broadening self-understanding and activating dormant aspects of the human psyche.

California Institute of Integral Studies, 1453 Mission, SF. (415) 575-1600, www.ciis.edu


If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. After all, if our media sources aren’t covering the news to your liking, it may be high time you became a newscaster. This program teaches students the appropriate research, writing, and reporting skills for careers in media forms including radio, television, cable, syndicated, Internet, and satellite news organizations.

Community College of San Francisco, 50 Phelan, SF. (415) 239-3285, www.ccsf.edu


For every consumer consuming, there must be an industry creating. San Francisco State keeps this basic fact of capitalism on the books by offering a degree that is as much kooky inventor as it is savvy economist. Process, people, and product provide the basis for this bachelor’s degree in industrial design with a concentration in product design and development. Students will learn product design through researching technology, material, aesthetics, and the nuances of that ever-present invisible hand.

San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway, SF. (415) 338-1111, www.sfsu.edu


Body-conscious, food-obsessed Californians can thank their stars that some of the state’s brightest students are equally as nutrition-oriented, and driven to make moves in the world of healthy eating. UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resource undergraduate degree in dietetics focuses on disease prevention through understanding metabolic regulation, genetics, and the biological and chemical sciences of nutritional studies. Graduates from the program are generally expected to gun for a future in food production, clinical settings, or community and governmental leadership.

UC Berkeley, 318 Sproul Hall No. 5900, Berk. (510) 642-7405, www.berkeley.edu

If you want my advice


CAREERS AND ED In July, the unemployment rate in California was 11 percent. Which got us thinking: what’s the smart way to job hunt these days? We’re not the only ones — this month, the Commonwealth Club is hosting a series of lectures and workshops called “The Future of Work.” We tapped two of the series’ experts for email interviews, asking Marty Nemko, author of Cool Careers For Dummies, and Joel Garfinkle, Oakland-based career coach, for their takes on the matter. They offered two points of view on today’s dreary job market. Upside? Nemko, who spoke on August 1, is positive that more workers will be needed to implement upcoming immigration reform. Of course, he also foresaw growth in “bio-chemical terrorism.” Oh, the future.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Tell us about your Commonwealth Club event.

Marty Nemko: [My focus was] on which careers are likely to burgeon [in] the result of [an] Obama win — which ones polls and Intrade [a speculative, crowd-sourced website] betting suggest will occur. I’ll also talk about how to survive and even thrive during what may be America’s decline and fall.

Joel Garfinkle: Working hard and being good at what you do is not enough to attain the level of success you truly deserve. So what exactly makes one person more successful than another? The answer: leveraging and applying perception, visibility, and influence better than anyone else.

SFBG: What kinds of issues are older workers facing in terms of getting new jobs?

MN: It’s very tough to convince an employer that a 40-year old with no experience is better than a 25-year old with experience. In this job market, the employer doesn’t have to settle.

JG: Mid-life career transitions occur because after years of success, many of my clients find that they lack fulfillment. Success isn’t enough anymore to satisfy them. [But] it’s difficult to make a mid-life career transition due to the lack of financial stability that exists when making the change. Learning of new skills in a different profession can be a daunting and intimidating task.

SFBG: What are some place that are still proving fruitful for job searchers?

MN: Some of my predicted areas for growth are auditing for corporations, the US Treasury, and the IRS; immigration-related bureaucrats that will be needed after Obama gets comprehensive immigration reform after the election; health care advocates to help people get the health care they need as ObamaCare is implemented; and bio-chemical terrorism. Anything mandated will be the last sort of employment to get cut. Lastly, multicultural marketers to address the tastes of the fastest-growing ethnic groups.

JG: Information technology is still growing. About two-thirds of hiring manages have been adding staff this year and will continue to add headcount to the IT departments. Health care is still pretty in-demand due to rising ages in the US. And many employers have had difficulty finding and hiring enough engineers.

SFBG: Should people still be striving for their dream job? Is that idea still relevant?

MN: It’s in the Bay Area’s drinking water. If there was a motto on the San Francisco flag, it would be “Do what you love and who cares if the money follows. My parents will support me.”

JG: The increase in collective desire to love one’s job comes from something missing in a person’s life. Statistics over the years have stayed consistent in stating that over two-thirds of Americans are unhappy in their jobs. The task is to recognize that people are uniquely special, have something to give, have a talent no one else shares in quite the same way.


(next lecture) Thu/9 6pm, $20

Commonwealth Club 

595 Market, Second Floor, SF


Aug. 30, 7pm, $15 

Silicon Valley Bank

3005 Tasman, Santa Clara

(415) 597-6700



Cell phone radiation documentary screens tomorrow


The pre-screening wine bar won’t erase the sinister implications of tomorrow’s Artist’s Television Access showing of Reconnect. On Sat/28, filmmaker Kevin Kunze will show a rough cut of the film that will make you think twice about answering your next phone call.

When East Bay father Alan Marks pegged his brain tumor on cell phone usage a few years ago, the issue of cell phone radiation had its brief moment in the limelight. But the media focus eventually fizzled out. And with so many friends to talk to, deals to make, lunch dates to plan, and distant relatives to keep at bay, our reliance on phones wasn’t so easily put on hold. 

But some kept their eyes on the story. One of these believers was independent filmmaker and activist Kunze, who was deeply affected by meeting Alan Marks’ wife Ellie and later teamed up with Nobel Prize-winning author and scientist Devra Davis to make a documentary on the issue of cell phone radiation and its rather serious implications. The film picks up the story at the industry’s initial boom in 1993. 

Reconnect (formerly called Disconnect) interviews experts hailing from Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCLA. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and California Senators Mark Leno and Leland Yee offer their thoughts on the matter, and Kunze digs up the stories of multiple brain tumor sufferers, whose stories went oddly uncovered by the media. Though the potential for brain cancer was a projected side-effect that’s been discussed since the promulgation of mobile phones, more and more studies are popping up that suggest the long-term usage of devices cause DNA damage, blood-brain barrier damage, breast cancer, sperm reduction, and infertility.

San Francisco’s own history with cell phone health has been an intense one. The Right to Know Act of 2010 required cell phone retailers post information about possible health risks associated with phone usage. The law came under fierce attack from the telecommunications industry, however. 

“Since the beginning,” says Kunze in explanation of the film on a fundraising website. “There was always talk of cell phone radiation and the possibility it could cause cancer.” Check out the screening at Artists’ Television Access this Saturday, have a drink, and take the post-film Q&A as an opportunity to ask Kunze about what life looks like post-iPhone.


Sat/28 7pm cocktail hour, 8pm screening, free

Artists’ Television Access

998 Valencia, SF 


6 locally-made treats to snag at Bluxome’s Meet Market


Why does a new farmers market make us salivate so here in the city? Something something foodie frenzy, something something voracious next-big-thing-icitis. Fact of the matter is, such small-scale food resources keep popping up and we’re going to go along for the ride. Tomorrow on Sat/28, Forage SF’s Underground Market is back — but if you can’t stomach the lines or prefer a glass of red with your cover admission, head to urban winery and tasting room Bluxome Street Winery for its so-called Meet Market.

To aide in your shopping amidst the table of artisan food and garden supplies, Bluxome will be selling glasses of its vino, the perfect companion to the gourmet popsicles, empanadas, and traditional Indian spreads that will abound. Everything goes well with wine, right? Here are six of the local producers you’ll find. 

The Meet Market Sat/28, noon-5pm, free. Bluxome Street Winery, 53 Bluxome, SF. www.bluxomewinery.com 


Cocotutti’s products resemble its name — that is, they are adorable little clouds of sugary delight you want to repeat over and over again. Its collection of truffles and bonbons include flavors like hot chocolate, raspberry, ginger, and cappuccino, while its series of caramels offers hints of vanilla bean and orange-chocolate confit. Browsing Cocotutti’s wares, you’ll see the adjective “roasted” used a lot, which by our reckoning is usually codeword for “delicious.” It’ll be offering wine and chocolate pairings on Saturday at Bluxome? Parfait.


Pop Nation

Clever name aside, there’s nothing cheesy about Pop Nation’s collection of totally vegan, gluten-free popsicles. The company’s year-round flavors are strawberry lemonade, banana pudding, mango coconut with black sesame, watermelon mint, and sea-salted dark chocolate. However, you can also bet on a few seasonal additions (let’s cross our fingers for bourbon and peach, Mexican chocolate, lemon lavender cake, PB&J and — mainly because we’re curious how it pans out in popsicle form — peanut butter and fluff). 


El Sur

Latin America-raised and Paris-educated Cordon Bleu chef Marianne Despres provides everything one could possible want from an empanada; that is, an plethora of mouth-watering, savory ingredients and an overload of gooey cheese. Food purists can try the beefy traditional empanada, while the more fusion cuisine-inclined can feast on the French-infused Parisienne empanada, which is filled with prosciutto, chives, five kinds of cheeses, and other morsels.


Sumana’s Soul Spreads

You’ve tasted tamarind sauce and gobbled down chutney, but what is rotu pacchadi? It’s a traditional South Indian spread that was good enough to convince chef Sumana Pathi to quit a gig as software engineer and become a chef. The spread is traditionally used as an appetizer, but it can also be Americanized to be served as whatever the heck you desire, from a sandwich spread to a dip. 


Kevin and Gail’s Chili Palace 

This writer is endowed with a peculiar affinity for homey bowls of warm food and dishes so spicy they make her eyes pop out, and so Kevin and Gail’s Chili Palace’s offerings seems mighty tasty. After winning over 15 chili cook-offs with its celebrated chili verde and, most recently, taking home the Marin County Fair award for best chili con carne, chefs and owners Kevin and Gail are now settling back into the world of farmers markets, serving up chili that’s steaming and ready-to-eat, and also hawking frozen packages perfect for taking home. 



Urban Farmgirls

A San Francisco love story if we’ve ever heard one. Owner and creator Tina Calloway thought up the name for her company while working at the Bernal Heights Community Garden with her daughter, and the company unfolded just as the name would suggest. Its urban farming meets girly-girl aesthetic is evident in Calloway’s line of living wreaths of succulents, earthy artisan pots, and vertical garden boxes. They maintain an English garden, old-fashioned charm, despite being up-to-the-minute terrarium-trendy.


8 cultural happenings this week in the big, best, beautiful Bay


It is inevitable after reading today’s Best of the Bay 2012 issue that your heart will be swole with pride for our beautiful Bay Area By the Bay. Seize the moment! There are a plethora of arts and culture happenings this week that are perfect examples of — as our managing editor Marke B. put it in his intro to BOB — “the sheer gorgeousness, thriving alternative culture, and promise of freedom and acceptance that are unique to our shores.” Cheers!

CELLspace open critical studio

Turns out, artists aren’t always their best critic. That’s why CELLspace’s open critical studio is such a great opportunity for creatives. Come discuss your art, discover the work of others, and — hopefully — take away a dose of constructive criticism that every creator needs from time to time. 

Wed/25, 7-10pm, free


2050 Bryant, SF 


Cobb’s Comedy Club Showcase

Though it’s one of the city’s premier comedy clubs, Cobb’s isn’t stupid enough to forget the little guys. This Wednesday, check out the club’s up-and-comer showcase, where you can see some of the Bay’s funniest fledglings before they hit it big and really start taking your money. 

Wed/25, 8pm, $12.50

Cobb’s Comedy Club

915 Columbus, SF


SF International Poetry Festival

The San Francisco International Poetry Festival brings you tons of excuses to brood in a vaguely-Italian coffee house while penning lines into your journal. The series of readings from poets of international acclaim — from Iraq to Italy, Sweden to Malta — kicks off this Thursday. Set ever-so aptly in Jack Kerouac Alley, hosts Jack Hirschman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and city librarian Luis Herrera will introduce the festival’s lineup of poets with the accompaniment of a modern concert from Neeli Cherkovski, Matt Gonzales, and Jonathan Richman. 

Thu/26, 7-9:00pm, free.

Kerouac Alley, SF


The Wizard of Oz movie night with the San Francisco Symphony

Join the San Francisco Symphony for a unique screening of America’s favorite kids-movie-that’s-not-actually-a-kids-movie. Beyond the fantastical plot line of The Wizard of Oz, the film’s striking visual elements and majestic music and score are part of what has made it the timeless classic it is today. Bridge the gap between silly and sophistication this Thursday by dressing up in your favorite Oz costume, watching the movie, and listening to the SF Symphony perform the score live.

Fri/27, 7:30pm, $12.50-$70

Davies Symphony Hall

201 Van Ness, SF


“Re: Told” closing night 

If you missed this month’s run of Root Division’s modern story-telling art exhibit, you still have a chance to catch this glamorous culmination, closing reception, and publication release. Taking a page from Ernest Hemingway, “Re: Told” reframes cultural narratives in order to create a contemporary storytelling experience, yielding an accessible look into some very intimate realities.

Fri/27, 6-9pm, $1-$20

Root Division

3175 17th St., SF


Naoya Hatakeyama: Nature Stories 

Prominent Japanese nature photographer Naoya Hatakeyama shows us the dualistic relationship between man and nature in this large-scale photography exhibit illustrating man’s attempt to control nature and, in the wake of the Tohuku earthquake and tsunami. The austere power of nature over humans’ best attempts to rein it in figures prominently in “Natural Stories,” which possesses an ironically calm visual approach to such a powerful concept. 

Through Nov. 4

Opening reception: Sat/29, 10am-5:45pm, $18 (adult general) 


151 Third St., SF


Ohlone basket welcoming ceremony 

The native Californian basket collection at the Oakland Museum of Art would, from a novice’s eye, seem to be complete. Yet due to the Ohlone tribe’s tradition of burning their possessions after death, the tribe’s baskets are scarcely represented among the collection’s 2,500 pieces. To remedy this dearth, the museum commissioned Ohlone artist and scholar Linda Yamane to create a basket. After a two-year documented process, we have an opportunity to welcome the 20,000-stitch, several thousand feathers, and 1,200-bead that make up the Ohlone basket into the museum’s collection with a day of festivity, including story-telling, dance, and song. 

Sat/28, 1-3pm, $12 general. 

Oakland Museum of California

1000 Oak, Oakl. 


The Coming Century of War Against Your Computer

Hey you, the one with the oversized headphones and approximately windows to burn open on your laptop, listen up. As part of its specialization in the speculative — that is, fantasy, horror, and science fiction — Borderlands Books presents Corey Doctorow and his book The Coming Century of War Against Your Computer. Copyright laws, net neutrality, and SOPA may be much more serious indicators of the technology takeover than we thought, so let this be your opportunity to decide whether you’re going to let technology-driven measures govern your life.  

Tue/31, 7:30pm, $10

Borderlands Cafe

870 Valencia, SF



Noir to nerds: 8 artsy-cultural happenings you could check out this week


Remember the time you lived in one of the most exciting, cultured places in the world? Hold up, that’s right now. Check our picks for 8 amazing — and oftentimes free — ways to spend your nights and days this week.

Jim Nisbet: Old and Cold

Jim Nisbet’s protagonist is old, cold, and totally cool. A confusing infusion of mystery, Dexter-style serial murder, and flat-out noir creepiness, Nisbet’s Old and Cold follows the wrongdoings of a man who lives under a bridge and will do anything for a martini. All the action is enveloped within our dear city’s seven miles of dive bars, beaches, and grey sidewalk.

Wed/16, 7pm, free

City Lights Bookstore 

261 Columbus, SF


Nerd Nite! 

What’s better than a gregarious gaggle of boozed-up nerds? Robin Marks, Nick Bouskill, and Justin Benttinen will each give three snarky-smart 30-minute lectures at the Rickshaw as a part of the monthly lecture series Nerd Nite. Covering a broad span of topics — peer-reviewed journal satire, to the nasty nuances of nitrogen, to a history of bizarre invention and innovation in San Francisco — the lecture series even offers a brief break for DJs. Drink, dance, and dig the dork.

Wed/18, 7:30-11pm, $9

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF


Pint Sized Plays 

Usually stationed in the Tenderloin’s Cafe Royale, San Francisco Theater Pub’s Pint Sized Plays is making a special performance at the Plough and the Stars. With more than 10 directors crammed into 90 minute show, variety is guaranteed: there’ll be images of love and loss from Megan Cohen’s Beeeeeeaar, Stuart Bousel and Megan Cohen’s Llama let us follow the travails and triumphs of a llama at a crossroads, and William Bivin’s Celia Sh**s makes an appearance reminding us that, well, everybody sh**s. 

Wed/18, 8pm, free

The Plough and the Stars

116 Clement, SF


Renegade Craft Fair 

Your dreams of glass-blown bug figurines, artisan jewelry, and paper-mache wall hangings have been answered. The fifth annual Renegade Craft Fair makes its appearance at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion for a day of showcasing unique, artisan products from over 250 emerging crafters. Enjoy a day of (hopefully) sunshine, food, drink, and, most importantly, art that you can actually use. 

Sat/21-Sun/22, 11am-7pm, free

Fort Mason, SF


Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Grand Slam 

America’s youth has something to say and you’re going to listen, dammit. The creativity and eloquence of these performers aged 13 to 19 are not to be taken lightly at the 15th annual BNV grand slam finals. BNV was created by Youth Speaks in 1998 to represent a forum of dialogue for a new, socially-aware, mutually respecting, and artistically-active generation of young individuals who are anything but shy. The competition and festival runs from July 17-21, with the the culminating grand slam competition offering an inspiring and hopeful alternative to your regular Saturday night. 

Sat/21 7pm, $20

Fox Theater

1807 Telegraph, Oakl.


LaborFest book fair and poetry reading 

The annual LaborFest kicks off the arts portion with an all-day reading series at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Speakers, poets, and authors like award-winning Sean Burns with his biography, Archie Green, The Making of a Working Class Hero will be present as testament to the longstanding collaboration between labor, community, and art. 

Sun/22, 10am-9pm, free

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

2868 Mission, SF


Dana Johnson and Paula Priamos

Dana Johnson and Paula Priamos paint an ironically dark picture of sunny Southern California as they read from their two books Elsewhere, CA and The Shyster’s Daughter. Johnson’s novel follows the search for self-discovery of Avery, a black girl growing up in Los Angeles who doesn’t seem to fit in to her community’s vision of ideal femininity and ideal blackness. Priamos’ book takes a memoir-turned-noir tone, remembering her own family’s actions and anxieties after the conviction of murderer Kevin Cooper for murdering an innocent family in a neighborhood not far from their very own. 

Mon/23, 7pm, free

Books, Inc.

601 Van Ness, SF


Sketch Tuesdays

The ultimate place to see and be seen. Sketch Tuesdays brings a night of live art making and artist-to-buyer exchange to 111 Minna. This Tuesday’s artsy attendees can look forward to an all-female lineup of live artists and International Museum of Women, a full bar, music from DJ Pre-K, and current exhibition, “Shinkasen Conspiracy” by Last Gasp Publishing. 

Tue/24, 6-10pm, free

111 Minna, SF


7 ways to revive your sunburned brain this week


Dead set on frying your brain in this sunshine? Fine. Just hit up one of your city’s affordable cultural happenings afterwards and your gray matter will have no choice but to call it a draw. 

Epicenter reading series 

Sip on some of Cafe Tosca’s famous non-coffee cappuccino (brandy and hot chocolate, what could be better?) and listen to three members of the contemporary literati. Along with San Francisco-native Josh Mohr, the program will include Joe Meno reading from Office Girl, his new fiction work of artistic detachment and big city love, plus Nathan Larson’s The Nervous System, a novel depicting a terrorist-induced dystopia in the walls of the New York Public Library, starring a protagonist dubbed Dewey Decimal.

Thu/12 7pm, free

Cafe Tosca

242 Columbus Ave., SF


True Stories Lounge

Have your mind blown (pardon the pun) with Salon’s sex writer Tracy Clark-Flory at the True Stories Lounge. The reading series offers the unique opportunity to turn out your Friday night pre-game with a winning combination of cocktails and creative non-fiction, featuring writers from various genres recounting poignant childhood memoir, true crime, and sex follies.

Fri/13, 7pm, $10

Make Out Room

3225 22nd, SF

(415) 647-2888



An art reception wrought magical and mystical is this “Myth,” a group art exhibit exploring menaing in various types of folklore — everything from Greek myth to religious icons. Exhibiting artists will be in attendance at the opening reception, so you can ask them for the (assuredly fascinating) tales behind the images over drinks and and DJ. 

Sat/14, 6pm, free

Modern Eden Gallery

403 Francisco, SF

(415) 956-3303


“Sin and Redemption” 

Have a perfectly sinful Saturday afternoon with what may be the SFMOMA Fort Mason annex’s most tantalizing exhibition yet. Artists will create pieces that play with themes of sin and redemption via pointed sculpture installations, interactive confessionals, and more. It’s sure to be an afternoon of contemplation and question amid the stunning Bay views.

Sat/14, opening reception 1pm-3pm, free

SFMOMA Artists Gallery 

Fort Mason, SF. 

(415) 441-4777


Chuck Palahniuk 

Brave hordes of dark literature lovers to hear none other than this legendary author of trangressional (OK, downright disturbing) fiction. Palahniuk, author of Fight Club and other contemporary literature treasures like “Guts” and Choke will discuss the “remix” of his 1999 novel Invisible Monsters. Already a story of plastic surgery, drugs, tragic hope, and other delights, the book is now equipped with an edgy new design and even edgier new material.  

Mon/16, 6pm, $20-$40

Castro Theatre 

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6120



Competitive literary lunacy takes the stage at Lit Slam on selected Monday nights in the Mission. A variety show by nature that involves spoken word poetry, workshops, and friendly (maybe) competition, the event is also a brilliant move towards guerrilla publication. Audience members (like you) choose the winners of the slam, who will go on to be published in the organization’s annual literary journal. Get there early if you’re gunning to perform. Stage fright? Lit Slam picks four audience members at random to act as judges for the competition, that’s a little more behind the scenes. 

Mon/16, 8pm, free


998 Valencia, SF


9 ways to say oui to Bastille Day


Unless the tech kings and queens need to start watching their backs, there’s no accounting for the voracity San Francisco consumes all things Bastille Day (Sat/14). Why do we celebrate the anniversary of the storming of a French clink so comprehensively, when Canada Day goes all but unnoticed? Perhaps the answers will be clearer after this weekend — movies, concerts, food cart explosions, and more will be taking place now through Sat/14 in honor of the Bay’s most illogically favorite holiday.

Farewell, My Queen 

Landmark Theatres picked an appropriate time to unveil French director Benoit Jacquot’s film Farewell, My Queen. The flick follows the last three days of Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and her reader (Léa Seydoux, the pale beauty from Midnight in Paris) in the chaos just before the French Revolution.

Showing at Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Center, SF; Shattuck Cinemas, 2230 Shattuck Ave, Berk.


Pre-Bastille Musicale with Baguette Quartet and GAUCHO

Peacefully ring in this not-so-peaceful holiday with a musical performance in the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. Local group Baguette Quartette performs tangos, foxtrots, and more tunes endemic to 1920s and ’30s Paris. It’ll be joined by Gaucho, a Euro-New Orleans-inspired jazz group that prides itself on its ability to inspire foot-tapping. 

Thu/12 5:30-7:30pm, $12

University of California Berkeley Botanical Gardens

200 Centennial, Berk. 

(510) 643-2755 


“From Geek to Chic: French Fashion and Technology”

SF Fashion + Tech has acquired a collection of Bay Area industry notables to speak at their Bastille Day commemoration “French Technique: From Geek to Chic.” Enrich your intellect and your closet with drinks, music, and fashion tech talk. 

Thu/12 5pm-9pm, $15-$25


540 Howard, SF. 


Mugsy’s Pop-Up Wine Bar

El Rio busts out its new socially-conscious wine bar in honor of Bastille Day, where Francophile — or just plain wine-chugging — Missionaries can celebrate French independence with a cuppa and some patio-side sunshine. Just as the French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille on this monumental day, Mugsy proposes to storm your olfactory senses with a velvety wine with hints of licorice, chocolate, and lavender (and, somehow, plum, olive, and pepper), a 2009 Le Clos du Caillou Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Unique. Quite a way to class up your Friday night happy hour. 

Fri/13 5:30-8:30pm

El Rio

3158 Mission, SF.


Off The Grid Au Francais 

Foodies can rejoice in a Off The Grid’s solution to affordable French cuisine. In honor of the holiday, many of the street truck fair’s vendors will be offering special French-inspired items. Regardless of one’s culinary orientation (cupcake, crepe, and bahn mi, or baguette?), French gypsy jazz will accompany this cart food frenzy throughout the evening. 

Fri/13 5pm-9pm, free entry

Fort Mason Center, SF



Go-go to the Rickshaw’s no-pretension dance floor for this always-fun Bastille Day pre-party. DJs Brothers Grimm and Pink Frankenstein will be providing the tunes to guide the night, and you can count on some Gainsbourg screenins to provide an appropriately-hazy French ambiance. Go-go girls, drinks, videos — even 1960’s hair-styling for only $10. 

Fri/13 9pm-11pm, $10

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF 


Belden Place Block Party 

Celebrating another nation’s independence day has never felt so authentic. Tucked away in a FiDi alleyway, Belden is a focal point for Francophiles in San Francisco due to its tasty restaurants. Bastille Day turns the nook into a communal fete, with music and other festivities to boot. The festival recently ran into some trouble due to “past insanity” — always a good sign — but it’s pledged to  

Sat/14, check restaurant websites for hours

Belden between Pine and Bush, SF.


KZYX Bastille Day benefit

Holler your support of community radio through a mouthful of crawfish etouffee — today Mendocino indie radio station KZYZ is raising funds for its community tunes with a full spread of French Cajun fare. Live tunes from Americana rockabillies Contino and that band’s fave openers Shaky Jake Blues Band featuring Rag Time Rick will be the perfect side dish to heaping bowls of gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans and rice with sweet corn boiled in Tabasco mash for the vegetarians music fans. 

Sat/14 3pm, $10-$15

Mendocino County fairgrounds

Highway 128, Boonville


Le P’tit Laurent 

What is normally a highfalutin French restaurant is also a fabulous fete for those who want to get their dinner, drinks, and dancing all in one. The restaurant will serve its normal menu a la carte, keep its bar open until 2am, and rumor has it DJs and dancing will enter the scene at around 10:30pm.

Sat/14 5:00pm-10:30pm dinner, 10:30pm-2am drinks and dancing, $23

699 Chenery, SF. 


Bernal Heights pumps up the volume


Climb Bernal Hill as a sweaty pedestrian and you just might descend by flying down on a futuristic — newly charged! — electric bicycle. Or at least, with a fully-juiced iPhone. Starting this month through the end of the summer, a collaboration between Sol Design Lab and The New Wheel has brought the city’s newest solar energy recharging station to Bernal Heights. Plug in your speedy e-bike, or hell, electric toothbrush.

The New Wheel’s extensive selection of pedal-activated electric bikes and urban transportation goods and bike shop services — we recently profiled its owners for being the e-bike pioneers they are — are enhanced by Sol Design’s latest Solar Pump design, which is able to utilize solar energy to charge anything with a standard electric plug. With a single solar panel, Sol Design Lab and The New Wheel pedal-assisted electric bicycle users can get 65 miles for as little as three cents.

“The Solar Pump is mainly a way to start the discussion around sustainable energy practices,” says co-owner Brett Thurber. Although an electric bicycle doesn’t face the same difficulties in acquiring energy as does the electric car, the Solar Pump has helped to foster a sense of community that Thurber claims is important in The New Wheel’s sustainable endeavor, particularly through its ability to charge computers and phones. 

“People are hanging out outside and doing work. I think it’s all a part of goodwill,” he explains. “It’s public power and it’s free. That got a lot of people’s attention.”

The Solar Pump is an ironic re-invention of the1950s gas pump, retrofitting that product of the mid-20th century economic boom with solar panels to encourage and reinforce a vision of carbon-free cities. Originally on tour at music festivals like Coachella and set to make an appearance at this summer’s Outside Lands, Solar Pump™ technology provides free solar energy outlets to the public and to charge the store’s vast array of bikes.

With the help of the Solar Pump™ , The New Wheel creates a communal space of free-of-charge solar outlets and extensive electric bicycle products and maintenance.  Paired with San Francisco’s chaotic city layout of grid street-planning planted atop a naturally hilly landscape, the convenience of the electric bike might be a good answer for wayward progressives who like the idea of clean energy more than the reality of harrumphing their aching muscles and rickety street bikes up Jones Street, and who desperately need a solar outlet to charge their various electronic devices of communication. 

The New Wheel

420 Cortland, SF

(415) 524-7362



A queerness in Harlem, finely revived


Visual alchemy, fabulous feminist story-telling, and something deemed “hyper-literate busking” abound at 2012’s Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance fesitval, three nights of art and performance (Thu/28-Sat/30) by 21 LGBTQ African Americans.

Part of the 15th National Queer Arts Festival, Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance continues the legacy of the droves of artists, performers, and activists who questioned stale societal standards in a myriad ways during the heyday of the New York City neighborhood’s 1920s and 30s creative blossoming: from sensual lyrics of Bessie Smith to the pointed poetics of Langston Hughes, the artists of the Harlem Renaissance continue to testify to the assertion that social causes are rarely separate and constantly progressing.

“The explosion of artistic, intellectual, and sexual freedom during the Harlem Renaissance created new possibilities,” explains Celeste Chan over the phone. She co-directs the performance series with Kali Boyce — together they’re known as the Queer Rebels. “We think that dialogue on race, gender, and sexuality grew naturally during the Harlem Renaissance because these were people’s real experiences, and what they wanted to create art about. We’re thankful for the elders and the artists who paved the way for us, whose shoulders we stand on.”

Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance reinforces the idea that it is necessary to understand a past in order to create a future. Thus, paying proper homage to the Harlem Renaissance artists who opened the possibility for social change and activist dialogue, the performance schedule for Queer Rebels consists largely of dance, story-telling and readings, and music. Earl Thomas, Sista Monica, and “Drag King of the Blues” TuffNStuff operate within the jazz and blues traditions — however, the show also expands to mediums of artistic expression not so common in 1920’s America, such as political film,  contemporary music, and visual alchemy with appearances from the likes of short-filmmaker Crystal Mason, punk rock dancer Brontez Purnell, and visual artist Adee Roberson. 
(Check out the incredible-sounding lineup here.)

“Artists and queers are up against a lot, and have always been society’s outsiders, the ones who have and will lead the way,” says Chan, “Today, we are able to live unapologetically queer lives and create our own spaces because of the work that the Harlem Renaissance artists did.”


Thu/28.-Sat/30, 8pm, $15-$25

African American Art and Culture Complex

762 Fulton, SF.


Tickets:  www.brownpapertickets.com/event/246312


7 spots for mental regeneration this week


Pride is over, and we’re willing to wager your depleted brain cells could stand for some stimulus. Whether you’re into sitting in dimly-lit rooms in North Beach listening to fiction read in a thick Hungarian accent, or dressing to the nines and perusing some edgy new performance art, here are seven cultural hot spots in the city this week.

László Krasznahorka

A Hungarian author emerges from his reclusivity in the hills of Szentlászló in order to present the San Francisco literati with a reading from his novel of scheming, sex, failure, hope, communism, freaky farm collectives, tango, and the devil. Sounds like a can’t-miss situation. City Lights will host celebrated author László Krasznahorka to read Satantango (yes, that’s satan-tango), the book that inspired the seven-and-a-half hour film by remodernist filmmaker, Béla Tarr. 25 years after its original publication date, the novel has finally been translated by George Szirtes, so now we plebeian Californians can get our Hungarian apocalyptic fix. 

Thu/28 7:30pm, free

City Lights Bookstore

261 Columbus, SF

(415) 362-8193


Kala Art Institute artist talks 

The busy thoroughfare of Berkeley’s San Pablo Avenue makes an appropriately unsettling backdrop for the Kala Art Institute’s first night of artist talks. From large-scale industrial sculpture, to dystopian watercolor, to engineered photographs of imaginary landscapes, artists Randy Colosky, Vanessa Marsh, and Alison Frost’s work treads an uncanny path between real and surreal. It defamiliarizes the familiar in a fashion of which even Freud would be proud. This series of talks features discussions from Kala fellows during their residencies at the gallery, so look forward to more free inspiration (and free refreshments, which are, um, always a welcome addition for any easel-toting San Francisco artist) in July, August, and September.

Wed/27, 7pm, free 

Kala Gallery 

2990 San Pablo, Berk 

(510) 841-7000


Raw SF Solstice 

Despite its strictly fashionable cocktail attire mandate and swanky SOMA venue, June’s Raw SF installation offers something for even the freakiest. With a mission to showcase and support emerging, underground artists during the first 10 years of their careers, RAW displays innovative visual art, film, fashion, music, hair and makeup artistry, photography, modeling, and performance art. San Francisco’s installation attendees can also expect henna, organic refreshments, food trucks, a DJ, and a ceremonial tea service.

Thu/28, 7pm-12am, $10 pre-sale tickets, $15 door, $5 after-party (after 9pm)

1015 Folsom, SF

(888) 729-7545


Readers Café and Bookstore poetry series

In support of the San Francisco Public Library, the dusty shelves of Readers Café and Bookstore will be available after hours for the last installment of the shop’s Thursday night poetry readings. Palestinian American poet and historical children’s fiction writer Lorene Zarou-Zouzounis and San Francisco beatnik Martin Hickle will read from their respective collections, and special prices on food and drink will be on offer as you contemplate questions of life and poetry while you gaze out at the Bay from this Fort Mason storefront. 

Thu/28, 6:30pm, free

Readers Bookstore

Building C, Room 165, Fort Mason Center, SF

(415) 771-1076


“Evolve: A Woman’s Journey”

Turn what was intended to be a sangria-fueled and nail-painting girls’ night into a celebration of femininity with some real punch. The Fort Mason center showcases Patrick Stull’s work in a diverse series of art from almost all mediums – digital, oil, graphite, sculpture, casting, mixed media, and even original music that chronicles the emotional and physical experience of pregnancy. Much of the art is built to a life-size scale to deal with a subject matter that is as life-large as it gets. 

Fri/29, 9pm, $25

Fort Mason Center

2145 3rd St., SF


“Only Birds Sing the Music of Heaven in This World”

A million thanks to whoever decided to make food trendy. Combining some of the things NorCal natives hold dear (that’d be food, art, and agriculture) the Museum of Craft and Folk Art hosts a show with curator Harrell Fletcher that displays past and contemporary representations of agriculture, farming, and labor. With a certain focus on alternative farming project imagery, the show links agriculture art with social activism and community building through engaging with various genres, including folk art, outsider art, and craft. 

Sat/30, 11am-6pm, GA $5

Museum of Craft and Folk Art

51 Yerba Buena, SF

(415) 227-4888 


Librotraficante Bay Area Banned Book Reading

As school board officials threaten to ban ethnic studies books and authors — not to mention the subject entirely — in Arizona, Libotraficante is hosting this afternoon of readings from banned books. With more than a dozen performers set to read from controversial tomes, the event is sure to be anything but boring. 

Sun/1 noon-4:30pm, free

Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library

100 Larkin, SF


Food trends unite: New Peruvian pop-up on Market Street


Could it be that tacutacu is the new taco, and cebiche the new calimari? Places like Mochica, Piqueos, and Destino have us surfing a wave of Peruvian food fandom — and now two SF food trends have merged in happy unity. Chef Christopher Kese have started a weekly gourmet Peruvian pop-up restaurant, perfect for your Wednesday dinner. 

The party takes place at SF Food Lab every Wednesday, where guests will be offered a variety of staple dishes that include mushroom and beef heart skewers, the spicy Afro-Peruvian rice dish tacutacu, and a traditional Peruvian ice cream dessert. Tonight (Wed/20), Gomez and Kese will be whipping up offer sashimi drizzled with a spicy-citrus leche de tigre sauce and a cilantro lamb stew. Afro-Peruvian salsa music that’ll serve as the perfect soundtrack to your .

Kese was studying in Peru’s mountainous regions when he felt the pull from its gastronomic traditions — he actually ditched the history thesis he was working on through the University of Washington in order to study the food more deeply.

Cebiche for what ails you

“Talking with the people there, a lot of people were angry with their government and didn’t feel like a part of Peru,” says Kese in a phone interview with the Guardian. “But when it came to the food, they felt so proud of being Peruvian. I fell in love with the social aspect of the gastronomic movement there. They celebrate the diversity of it.” 

With 11 of the world’s 13 ecosystems at its chefs’ fingertips, Peru’s cuisine exhibits a diversity that may explain its current vogue. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available at the country’s higher elevations, and the coast brings in fish that stands up to the best of Japan’s sushi stock. 

“That’s a part of the basis of Peruvian cuisine,” Kese says. “Any food has a place in it. There’s a really eclectic immigration.” He cites the country’s waves of immigrants from China, Japan, Italy, and Spain — not to mention its rich indigenous heritage — as important contributors to the country’s “melting pot of flavors.”

It’s only natural, then, that the culinarily-eclectic United States would eventually start salivating over Peruvian fare. All signs point to the trend’s longevity — there are currently 80,000 culinary students in the city of Lima alone. 

“[Peruvians] have this huge, domestic, culinary tradition,” says Kese. “They’ve also had a self-defeatist attitude in the past — as many developing countries have. But if you go there today and ask which country has the best food in the world, they’ll say ‘Peru’ very proudly.” 

Kese plans to use the pop-up to build a close relationship with clientele before acquiring his own kitchen space and restaurant front. To our way of thinking, he can take his time: a cilantro-infused, perfectly-skewered pop-up party set to the sound of salsa sounds like fun enough for now.

Lima Peruvian Food pop-up dinner

Every Wednesday 5:30-10:30pm, free entrance 

SF Food Lab

1106 Market, SF

(206) 795-4193