A cafe in Silverlake, gentrified out of business, bids its customers a bittersweet goodbye

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Our old pal Marc Caswell, formerly of the SF Bike Coalition, I think relocated to LA a while back and just now shared an LAist (like SFist but in LA) post about a beloved cafe on Sunset Boulevard that after 20 years in business is shutting down because of landlords and Corporate America and everything.

Here’s an excerpt of the Casbah Cafe’s response to LAist’s reporter’s inquiry:

A bitter ending is always better than an endless bitterness. Casbah is a good example of a turning point in a neighborhood where reality switches from everyday common sense to the corporate world reason.

We stayed longer than reason permitted. We tried our best for the friends of Casbah, but what is impossible is impossible…so we were forced to go with no notice for ourselves either. We had to pack up 20 years of a business over night. Silver Lake as it was when we started the neighborhood is gone for good and we could not be the sole supporter for keeping Silver Lake as it started any longer. Casbah never meant to be in such an aggressive and abusive environment with closely surrounding corporate businesses just down the street wanting to be celebrities, just simply a beautiful and real place to be with interesting people.

And then there’s this:

Where was the media when a small business like Casbah was in need of their support when corporate America was jumping up at every Sunset building? Is it because Casbah didn’t pay for their ads? And after almost a decade of no writeups, it shuts down and now it’s the time to take the article glory on a home run.

So, I write a lot of posts that are like “_______ is closing,” and often it’s a place I’ve never patronized or maybe I patronized it once, and I guess probably pretty often it’s a place I’ve never written about. But I write about lots and lots of businesses that don’t pay for ads here (pretty much only Pop’s and American Tripps and pay for ads) — but I’m kinda lazy these days, so I’m sure I’m missing out on a lot of good stuff.

The point is, hit me up. (And if anybody else wants to pay for ads, hit me up too. We can get creative about it.)

Read on for more of the letter, which includes a quotation of some heavy French poetry.

Tune into ‘Roll Over Easy’ this morning to learn all you need to know about next week’s election

As we’ve said before, it’s the best morning radio show in town, and today they’ve got Mission Mission alum Nick Pal talking local politics in advance of the big day:


Tune in on BFF.fm, 7:30-9:30am. Or check it out later on via the Roll Over Easy archive.

Podcast recorded at Lost Weekend in which comedians and a mayoral candidate and a local business owner discuss HBO documentary ‘San Francisco 2.0’

It’s a podcast about documentaries, but this particular episode is very SF-pertinent. Here’s the deal:

Sup Doc Podcast presents its debut LIVE show recrorded at Lost Weekend Video. Bay Area comediansPaco Romane and George Chen invite a SF Mayoral candidate, a comedian and a Mission business owner/musician to discuss Alexandra Pelosi’s HBO documentary “San Francisco 2.0” about the changing nature of San Francisco and gentrification.

Kaseem Bentley: Comedian and SF native

Amy Farah Weiss: YIMBY SF Mayoral candidate

Adam Pfahler: Business Owner
Jawbreaker drummer / co-owner of Lost Weekend Video



Watch the Democratic Debate while drinking “The Pantsuit” or “The Sidebern” tonight at the Chapel

Mainly I just wanted the word “Sidebern” to be here on this blog forevermore. Plus, Ralph Carney rules too. Here are all the details:

Join us in the Chapel Bar to watch the 2015 Democratic Debate!

Hillary versus Bernie versus a potential Biden! Plus former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former U.S. Senator Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee plan to join the conversation, all moderated by the great Anderson Cooper.

Drink specials include THE PANTSUIT and THE SIDEBERN, plus good times all around!

The bar will open at 5pm, debate begins at 6pm, followed by The Tedtones feat. Ralph Carney playing live until 11pm!

Tuesday, Oct 13
5pm FREE in the Chapel Bar
Democratic Debate Watching Party

[Photo by Unframed Thoughts]


There’s a mayoral race going on right now, and there was a debate last night

The headline over at Mission Local is “Opponents Slam SF Mayor Lee in First Debate”:

Though Mayor Ed Lee is widely predicted to win re-election this November, he faced staunch opposition from five candidates at a forum Thursday night as opponents zeroed in on suspected corruption in city hall and a failure to address San Francisco’s worsening housing crisis.

“We need to take our city back,” said candidate Stuart Schuffman, better known as comedian and blogger Broke Ass Stuart. “We need to get the money out of politics. This corporate money is ruling our city. We need to start thinking about our communities and the best sustainable ways of keeping them together.”

Some 300 people, many of them hissing and booing at Lee’s points, tried to squeeze into the small auditorium on the University of California San Francisco campus. About a third of the crowd were sticker-wearing Lee supporters, while the rest came to support alternative candidates.

Read on for the full story.

Former Supervisors Matt Gonzalez and Tony Hall on what’s up with SF these days

This is from the latest installment of Valerie Luu‘s #100drinksdivis project, in which she has a drink with 100 of her neighbors along the Divisadero Corridor:

Matt: “There’s still a lot of artists here, and galleries that are opening in places you don’t expect.” [Matt has an art opening at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery on March 5.]
Tony: “It’s a city that’s trying to find its soul again. It might take another 5, 10, 15 years.”

Good news and bad news, I guess. Sounds about right.

Keep up the good work, Val-Pal!

Can’t we just give up on trickle-down economics and replace it with BUILD-UP economics?

Supervisor David Campos recently penned a thoughtful article questioning why we all still believe in the magic of trickle-down economics to miraculously solve San Francisco’s housing crisis:

Free marketeers are claiming that if we build enough luxury housing it will eventually trickle down and turn into housing for the poor and middle class. This is the failed policy of Reaganomics at its worst. Housing isn’t like most commodities. Consumers can abstain from many goods, but shelter, like food and water, is a basic human necessity. If you’re currently seeking housing in our city and can’t afford market rates you have three choices: be homeless, leave, or get on a long wait list for low-income housing. While some free marketeers go so far as to say that if you can’t afford a $3,000 one bedroom you should leave the city, others are pushing the policy of ‘let them eat cake development’ that ultimately has the same outcome – displacement. Think about it this way: if there were a bread shortage in San Francisco and the cost of bread skyrocketed, no amount of fancy cake would fix the bread market.

Taking it a bit further, I’m wondering why anyone who understands the economic disaster our nation is facing can sanely espouse that trickle-down economics will fix our economy.  Why can’t, instead of providing tax breaks to corporations and the rich in hopes the extra money will trickle down to the masses, we instead institute a new policy of BUILD-UP economics, where the influx of cash starts at the bottom, and it’s these people who inject the money into local businesses and community.

This was the thinking behind the fight to increase the minimum wage to $15, and while some cried bloody murder on that proposal, the wage increase is already showing to have positive effects in Seattle:

In Seattle last week, I stopped in at the jammed Palace Kitchen, flagship of Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, who runs upward of 15 establishments. He warned in April that the $15 wage could “be the most serious threat to our ability to compete,” and he predicted that “we would lose maybe a quarter of the restaurants in town.” Yet Douglas has opened, or announced, five new restaurants this year.

Likewise, the International Franchise Association has sued to block implementation of the law, arguing that nobody “in their right mind” would become a franchisee in Seattle. Yet Togo’s sandwiches, a franchise chain, is expanding into Seattle, saying the $15 wage isn’t a deterrent.

And a spokesman for Weyerhaeuser, the venerable wood and paper company, says the $15 wage didn’t factor into its decision, announced last month, to move its headquarters and 800 employees to Seattle from outside Tacoma.

Sounds legit to me.  After all, you can only eat so much cake before you get a tummy ache.

[Photo via our pal Devon]

Travel blogger says the Mission rocks, is basically Latin America

Zara, a Portuguese contributor to a travel blog called Backpack Me, LOVES the Mission. Here’s what she has to say…

Comparing it to other SF neighborhoods:

I leave behind elegantly manicured neighborhoods, to enter what I’d already dare to call Latin America.

Comparing it to Noe Valley in particular:

Baby strollers rolling into bagel shops was the world up the hill. Down here, I see brunette ladies with overloaded bags full of groceries. Cafes have been replaced by fresh fruit and vegetable stores, that display heaps of aromatic cilantro, tomatoes, varieties of potatoes and, of course, corn products in all shapes and sizes.

She tries a little experiment:

Walking around Mission, I decide to do a little experiment and see if I’d go by the entire afternoon without speaking a word of English. Absolutely no problem!

She enjoys a little flirting:

I buy a bag of tomatoes and receive a “You’re welcome, Preciosa” as an answer. I like that! I got used to a little flirting while shopping at the market in Santiago de Chile… and now a simple self check-out at the bigger supermarkets doesn’t cut it for me anymore.

She does allow that there’ve been some changes in the neighborhood in recent years, but it’s no big deal:

If it wasn’t for the hipster influx that The Mission has been receiving in recent years (and who can blame them, really… this place rocks!) I could almost forget I am in the USA.

On Mission residents:

Residents exchange words in Spanglish. They tend to be loud and laugh a lot. Like just back home.

On Starbucks:

You don’t see Starbucks around here. But you do see a church in almost every street.

Phewf! Maybe the Mission’s still got it after all! Read on for lots more pics and commentary.

Is Dia de los Muertos perfectly okay and *you’re* the bummer because you’re mad about it?

Maybe political activism is the problem, maybe white people are the problem, maybe the Internet is the problem, maybe Christianity is the problem — or maybe there is no problem. Maybe we all just need to chill. In the comments section of the “Dear White People” post, commenter Haza Anaya says:

The author is being silly… it ain’t your party, and so you cant keep people out! I’m Mexican (from Ciudad Juarez), and my whole family was always welcoming and open to other people, whether it was our American white friends, or our buddies from Japan, etc., and we would always invite them to participate however they saw fit. This idea of getting snooty about people “doing it wrong” is ridiculous and not part of our culture. It’s very important to not be so delicate about such things. Like my abuelita (grandma) used to say “el que se enoja, pierde!”, “whoever gets mad, loses”. If you were at my Mexican family Day of the Dead party, complaining about people appropriating our culture like you are, you’d get lots of eyerolls. And the drunken white hipsters would get served another cerveza, cuz at least they’re in the right spirit of celebration. You’re asking for people to “challenge” these so called colonizers? To “boycott” their events? Instead I challenge people like you that get butthurt. I find your indignation laughable. I’ll appropriate some foreign culture and give you this quote from our Chinese brother Confucius: “He who takes offense when none is intended is a fool. He who takes offense when offense is intended is a bigger fool.” Perhaps learn one of the cultural lessons we celebrate on the Day of the Dead: Don’t take yourself so serious, cuz we’re all going to die someday! Live life! Love! Celebrate! [link]

[Photo by Rusty Hodge]


Is Christianity turning Dia de los Muertos into a bummer?

I mean:

  1. Christianity is a total bummer
  2. Without Christianity, white people (a people who are ruining Dia de los Muertos) never would have come to the new world in the first place
  3. Without Christianity, Dia de los Muertos wouldn’t even exist as we know it today, I mean
  4. Al Gore is Christian, and he invented the Internet, which destroyed Dia de los Muertos


[Photo by Rusty Hodge]