Ragtime Guitar God Interviewed at SFO

As I’m waiting for the traffic to clear on I-80, I’m reading this article on SFGate regarding the lack of airport activity at SFO. One person they interviewed was none other than SF’s ragtime guitar god Craig Ventresco who plays regularly at Atlas Cafe and occasionally at other Mission venues such as the Knockout and Amnesia:

“This is eerie,” said guitarist Craig Ventresco, an airport artist-in-residence who was flat-picking “Ain’t She Sweet” for a crowd of one person on a landing near the door to the parking lot. “If this is a sign of the times, it’s frightening.”

Ventresco, whose fingers were flying faster than most planes, said the plummeting economy was making ordinary people as broke as musicians.

“That’s not good,” he added, with a grim smile.

What a treat it would be to happen upon his playing enroute to an always abysmal family holiday.

Halloween for the Mission Kiddies: Paxton Gate Debuts New Children’s Annex

I wish I was young enough to partake. But I guess I’ll just have to face up to the adult Halloween: binge drinking in slutty attire. Via funcheapSF:

Paxton Gate’s Menacingly Morbit Macabre Museum of Unnatural Wonders

This Halloween to introduce our new Children’s Store — Sir Paxton’s, Curiosities for Kids — we have created a Museum of Unnatural Wonders; a shuddersome museum in which children will enjoy exploring and interacting with spine-tingling displays of the natural sciences including botany, biology, zoology and more. Children 10 and under, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children will be grouped by age and the scariness-level will be set accordingly.

Link. This takes place at 766 Valencia Street NOT the regular store, today and tomorrow from 5 to 8 pm.

Previously on Mission Mission:

Cacti in Bloom at Paxton Gate (Stunning Pictorial!)

Sea Creature Pins

Quirky Girl at Ritual Sneers at Khakis-and-Polo Guy

Found this in the Missed Connections. What’s with the discrimination, Quirky Girl?

Quirky Girl with tatoos and piercings at Ritual Coffee – m4w – 41 (mission district)

You rode up on your tricked-out vintage one-speed. Stood in line for coffee looking like you knew what you were doing, very confident on your turf. You wore a “fuck bush” t-shirt, wide belt with studs, jeans, converse. Hair dyed blue–messy. Vintage Ray-Bans rested on your nose. I thought it was love at first sight, but as I smiled at you, you sneered back! Ouch! It was then I realized I was wearing a kelly green polo, khakis, and boat shoes–hair combed straight. Shit! I forgot to wear my mission-hipster outfit!! Did I lose a chance at you? Please give me another shot at it!!

hopelessly unhip.

Link, or click thumbnail to enlarge.

Mission Cyclists Rude to Mission Motorists?


This Craigslist post asks why cyclists have to be so rude to drivers (click thumbnail to make larger):

I’m Sick of Non-Law-Abiding, Self Obsessed Bicyclists in the Mission! (mission district)

1. I’m stopped at a 4-way stop at Hampshire and 22nd, 4 cars at each corner. It’s my turn. I start to accelerate, then have to slam on the brakes because a bicyclist jets through the intersection without stopping or even slowing down. To make it even better, he slaps his ass and air kisses me when I toot my horn at him!

2. I’m waiting to turning left onto S. Van Ness from 17th St, waiting for the west bound traffic to clear. My blinker is on. I look in my rear view mirror and see a group of 4 cyclists approaching. 2 cyclists stay to my right, 2 veer to my left and as they’re passing me one yells “hang up your phone.” For one thing I’m not using my phone (hands free or otherwise), and secondly I’m still not clear to make my left hand turn, so wasn’t lounging in the intersection inappropriately. What does this even mean? Why so hostile?

3. I’m sitting at a red light on Bryant, waiting to make a right hand turn onto 16th. My blinker is on. The traffic has cleared, but just as I begin to turn, a bicyclist passes me moving very fast on the right, running the red light. I almost hit him, but he doesn’t seem to care. I’m shaking. What if I did hit him? How would that affect his life? How about mine? How about my kids who are also in the car?

FYI– I am a resident of the Mission. I only drive when necessary. I walk to work and my children use muni to get to school. My autos run on biodiesel and hybrid energy. I respect bicyclists and am one myself. Why such anger, disrespect and dangerous behaviour out there?

Update (Friday morning): Debate is in high gear in the comments section, and it’s grown to include the ol’ bikes vs. pedestrians conundrum too. Meave says: “What, bicyclers, is your goddamn problem, that you are all over the sidewalks?”

Previously on Mission Mission:

Advice to Cyclists

Biking in the Mission Can Be Confusing

Guy With Black Eye Defends Himself, Becomes Our Hero

Remember that guy that got his ass kicked after binge drinking at Zeitgeist — and drinking beer before liquor? We kind of had a laugh at his expense, but today he defended himself in the comments section, and totally won us over:

But yes, the old adage, “beer before liquor.” I have to admit, that was my one juvenile mistake. My only excuse is that I’m new to SF and I was so awestruck to be living in this city that my judgment was temporarily skewed, which led me to continuously imbibe until I ended up a jack ass. Go ahead, you can haze me like a freshman now.

Anyway, the whole point of my missed connection was to hopefully make right a possible squabble, or just have peace of mind knowing that I fell down the stairs to the BART and only hurt myself, no one else. Please rest assured that my behavior was the result of basic human error and I’m not wandering your streets waiting to menace you. I’m just a guy with a black eye trying to smile about it.

Well, welcome to SF, and yeah we know it can be really awestriking and judgment-skewing, so be careful out there.

Masterpiece Beating After Zeitgeist Binge: Who Kicked This Guy’s Ass?

Missed Connection between my face and your boot:

Did you beat me up Friday night? – 27 (mission district)

(this is not a romantic listing) Friday around 4:30pm I started drinking at Zeitgeist. I don’t think I was drinking heavily, but probably started a little early. Better get some food to soak up some of the alcohol, I thought. So me and friend hit Aslom’s Rasoi for some tasty Indian food. Then we went back to his place around the corner and drank large amounts of liquor. This is where my memory temporarily stops.

I actually *did* believe, before opening the link, that it was romantic listing. So I’m a little sad about that. I do applaud him for trying to stay on an even keel with the help of some fart-inducing food — but beer before liquor!?

The next memory I have is me stumbling down the street with puke on my sleeve, dirt all over and feeling pretty grumpy. I got a cab from the Castro Bank of America and didn’t notice until the next morning that my jaw was swollen as hell and I had a black eye.

And now you’re that guy who ruins my great night in the Mission because I have to step around your massive pile of spicy-smelling vomit. Congratulations.

I can live with the swollen and bruised face, but not knowing how I got it is really eating me. I’m left to fill in the blanks on my own and I’m afraid I may have been a total jerk, or possibly just fell down some stairs?

I was wearing a white and gray striped sweater and had on a brown hat.

I love when stereotypes come true.

So, if you kicked my a$$ (or saw me get it kicked), why not take credit for it and let me know. I would really like to know what I did/said in order to receive this masterpiece beating.

I think this guy is leaving out a lot. This has probably happened before. I witness this every Friday night in the Mission — some young dude wearing a striped sweater and a hat (probably corduroy or knit with that little half bill that tough guys think make them look sensitive) vomits in the street, gets in a fight, and acts like it’s OK to turn a great neighborhood into the Vegas Strip.

P.S. Are you a ninja?

Maybe I kicked his ass because he says stupid shit like “Are you a ninja”?

Previously on Mission Mission:

Dick Cabbie Robs Fare, Leaves Her Curbside, Battered and Phoneless

‘Hamlet’ with Zeitgeist Employees

add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: seed the vine :: :: post to facebook

Tonight: 48 Hour Film Project at the Roxie

Yesterday, in my summer intensive, I met Erin, the Special Event Director for the 48 Hour Film Project. We bonded over living/working in the Mission.

The 48 Hour Film Project is where a team of people are required to make a movie in 48 hours based on a given line, prop, and character. The films that are being shown this week were made locally and submitted on Sunday night. Here was the info given to the various teams:

Character: Gus or Gloria Lorenz, Trade Expert

Prop: A ticket for a bus, plane, or train

Line of Dialogue: ” Forget it, I already have.”

The remaining films are being shown at the Roxie tonight and Monday with showtimes at 7:00 and 9:30pm.

We’re going to the 9:30 show tonight, and I heard that if you present your ticket at Dalva, you get $1 off drinks before and after the event. The whole thing sounds fun!

Gaucho at Amnesia

I love the gypsy jazz band, Gaucho. I also love Django Reinhardt. This week I have been commuting to Rohnert Park for a three week summer intensive. Hasn’t been fun. But this morning, I decided to listen to a compilation of Django’s while I daydreamed about the business that I’m planning on opening in the Mission District. And then I remembered how much I love Gaucho, but how I haven’t had time to see their free weekly show at Amnesia. I used to go every week and drink Death & Taxes, and talk about Albert Camus, like I was in a Woody Allen movie. I think I’ll go right now, now that I’m unemployed and broke.

Dolores Burrito in Berlin Obviously Not as Good as Taco-Truck Burrito

In May, we broke the story of Dolores Burrito, a Mission-style burrito place in Berlin. Our friend Anna was very excietd to hear the news (“OMG!!!!! oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!!!! how excietd am i???? sooooo excited!!”). She finally went:

Well, it was obviously not going to be like a tacotruck burrito … but, they had Anchor Steam!! (if there’s that then maybe there’s sierra somewhere in berlin, too, and then allan would have won yet another bet). Anyway, it was kind of complicated to order – six different steps, but you could get everything from guac to sour cream. Don’t know why they don’t just have a super-burrito option. They have 5 differnt types of spicyness and the most spicy was spicy (rare for German!). The types of meat you can get are not really authentic but everything tasted good. And it’s a little pricey for Berlin. But overall it’s a really cool place to hang out when you get a certain kind of craving and it does fill you up like a taco-truck burrito.

I can’t wait to try this place out! Note: Malcolm M. swears you can’t get Sierra Nevada in Berlin because of German beer purity law, but Allan suspects otherwise, because how can they not have Sierra Nevada?! It’s fucking good!

So if anyone knows of a place where they do…

Previously on Mission Mission:

How to Eat a Mission-Style Burrito

Chopped, Screwed Mariah Carey Video Features El Farolito Chile Relleno Burrito

Cacti in Bloom at Paxton Gate!

Today I ducked into Paxton Gate for a few minutes, and I’m glad I did — the cacti in the back room are in bloom!

If I wasn’t heading for the park, or didn’t have a million-pound bag on my shoulder, I would have rounded them up in my arms and lovingly killed them softly with my less-than-green thumb. Check them out before the blossoms disappear for another year. If you adopt one, please keep us up to date on its progress.

I once owned a Paxton Gate cactus, and it erupted into bloom only once in the two and a half years I owned it. I continue to have a soft spot for blooming cacti. Here’s mine:

Previously on Mission Mission:

Sea Creature Pins at Paxton Gate

Beretta: Hype or Real Deal?

There has been a lot of talk lately about the new restaurant that occupies the space formerly occupied by the Last Supper Club. The first I really heard about it was back in May, when SFGate wrote about a robbery that occurred:

An Italian restaurant in the Mission District was robbed early Wednesday morning while about 10 patrons were eating their dinners, said police Sgt. Neville Gittens.

Police got a call at 1:21 a.m. Wednesday that a man had walked into Beretta on Valencia Street between 22nd and 23rd streets, waved a gun, and shouted, “This is a robbery! Everybody get down!” He didn’t fire his gun, and no one was hurt.

I don’t know about you, but if I eat at 1:21am, I don’t really consider it “dinner”. I consider any food I consume at 1:21am to be for medicinal purpose only.

In any case, SFGate just posted their official review of the place. And as much as I don’t really like the new outside paint job, and I miss the comfort food of the Last Supper Club circa 2004, Beretta sounds pretty tasty. I am generally indifferent to fancy pizza, because the only fancy pizza worth eating is at Tommaso’s, but on these warm nights, a margherita and a cocktail sounds divine. Also, if people were truly eating dinner at 1:21am, I’m thinking they might have been chefs/cooks eating after their shifts, and I’m always fascinated with where they choose to go. Was that the case? Should I check it out?

Link to Beretta.

Hello Mission!

So today is my last day at my job that’s directly across the street from Aquatic Park, next door to Ghiradelli Square. My commute everyday consists of taking BART to the Embarcadero, and transferring to the F-Market, which passes the Ferry Building and Pier 39.

I pass by the Hyde Street Cable Car turnaround and the Buena Vista Cafe on my walk from the end of the F Line to the office.

If I look up from my tired haziness, I have a perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

For lunch, I’ll either walk to Fort Mason:

or to Washington Square Park:

Sometimes I’ll play Bocce on the new, and empty, Bocce Court that’s next to the quaint North Beach Library.

Pure San Francisco five days a week.

Although I’ve seen some amazing things: dead sharks, stranded seals, birds that take shits the size of buckets — I’ll probably never come back.

It’s not my San Francisco. My San Francisco is warm weather, beer in the park, dirty sidewalks, Mexicans.

So Goodbye 8:30 to 5! Goodbye hour long commute! Goodbye Fisherman/Sailor/Pirate Bum and Bushman Bum! Goodbye Tourists! Goodbye 30 mph winds!

Bushman Bum. He has succeeded, everyday for three years, to scare me. Every. Time.

Fisherman/Sailor/Pirate Bum: I have seen you three or four times everyday, and I dont want to show a photo of you. You are too precious. I will definitely miss you.

Now … does Dolores Park have wifi?

[All photos from Flickr. Click each to see photo page.]

Dioxin in the Mission?

I just found this mildly amusing take on the Brown Apple Moth spraying:

I did a lot of thinking on this subject. I know I’m not the only one who’s noticed the dumping by planes since I saw others post about it also. So I thought I’d share what I think it is.

I think what they’re dumping is dioxin since a lot of dioxin’s been turning up in the bay over the years that those planes have been cruising over the Mission, Bernal Heights and Potrero Hill districts dumping by air.

I’ve noticed they usually fly over more often when rain’s in the forecast and of course rain would carry that dioxin down the storm drains and eventually into the bay.

How can they get away with it? Look at who’s getting the blame. Scientists are blaming gardeners saying it must be pesticides being used by gardeners. But I don’t think the dumpers had the blame being put on gardeners on their minds. I believe the reason they’re dumping over the Mission, Potrero Hill and Bernal Heights districts is because during the rains the rain washes the dioxin down the storm drains and those drains lead out around the Hunter’s Point area of the bay. That’s where the navy used to dump toxic wastes. You see? So the toxic waste dumpers who dump by plane probably originally planned on scientists thinking the dioxin was coming from the polluted land at the Hunter’s Point area.

There should be further investigations into this and maybe a ban on small planes flying over the city but the scientists are lazy and blaming the gardeners saying they’re using a lot of pesticides!

In the mean time the planes keep dumping the dioxin in divided amounts to get rid of it in a sneaky way. If they dumped it all at once it would be obvious it was a toxic waste dump and wouldn’t look like it was gardeners using pesticides.

Link (or click thumbnail to enlarge). Find other spray coverage here and here.

Balmy Days and ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’

Move over Straw Dogs — I’ve found my new favorite movie!

Friday, after sitting in Dolores Park and gorging on beer and snacks, I felt particularly nostalgic for a 1970s San Francisco movie. I decided to watch a film that I’ve heard about through my father-in-law who lived in the Mission in the ’70s. He always tells the story of how he saw the filming of the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers in North Beach one balmy day (balmy like Friday … dun dun dun!)

Although it was filmed entirely in San Francisco, there’s no sign of the Mission District. Which I wasn’t expecting anyway because most blockbusters that are set in SF don’t really show the Mission. So when I watch a movie set in San Francisco, it feels foreign to me. Does anyone else feel the same?

Anyway, the movie is AWESOME. When it was finished, I walked around the dark apartment, scared that I would hear the pod-piercing scream from the open windows. It also didn’t help that someone was lying in bed, pod-person-like, recuperating from an achey belly.

Also, the film has the most romantic kiss I’ve ever seen. And it’s currently in the free movies section on Comcast OnDemand.

Hmm… this wasn’t in the film, but:

pod person?

How to Eat a Mission-Style Burrito

I looked up “san francisco style burrito” on Wikipedia, and found an interesting section called How to eat a San Francisco burrito:

When a true San Francisco burrito is first encountered by an initiate, its large size and protective tin foil wrapper may lead the beginner to surmise that all one has to do is remove the foil and begin cutting away at the tortilla shell with a knife and a fork. This is not recommended. The correct method for consuming a San Francisco burrito is to forgo utensils entirely and to eat with one’s hands. Use the foil as a supportive exoskeleton to facilitate burrito consumption, and begin the process by tearing an inch of foil down from one end, being careful not to bite into the foil with your teeth. Adding salsa to the burrito before each subsequent nibble is a popular technique.

This reminded me of a funny incident that involves eating a San Francisco Burrito not made, and not eaten in San Francisco:

I recently went bar-hopping in midtown Sacramento, and discovered that after midnight, choices for late night are limited. I found a newly opened taqueria that was still serving. In the front of the line were two seriously drunk sorority girls (the kind with the white/black flat-ironed hair and sequiny halter tops). Their shenanigans included puking in the bathroom, setting off the fire extinguisher, hitting on some guy, and passing out in their chairs, all within a matter of 10 minutes.

When their burritos arrived, the fatter of the two forgot how to operate her hands. She instead had her friend tear apart the top of the aluminum foil. She then plunged her face into the burrito, biting at the contents like a dog eating from his food dish. In 10 seconds, she was done.

I suspect she ate some of the foil, which was probably tastier than the burrito I might add.

Previously on Mission Mission:

La Cumbre Taqueria: Awful Carne Asada, Great Visuals

Chopped, Screwed Mariah Carey Video Features El Farolito Chile Relleno Burrito

Carnitas at Taqueria Can-Cún! Finally!