Brenda’s French Soul Food finally at 100% Brend-o-city

For those who for the last year have been wondering, “Oh, when will Brenda’s start serving in the original half of the restaurant?” the answer is now. Starting yesterday, they’ve fired up the old-but-now-remodeled half finally doubling their seating space, and in the process pretty much disavowed everything we had said previously in regards to the partial move. Now the space is open and free-flowing with a great set of antique mirrors decorating one wall and a cool aged mural on the other. It looks better in the inside and outside, having the whole (historical) building devoted to Southern goodness.

Writing this after having had dinner there tonight we have to say that the new space is coming together quite nicely much like the dinner menu which is falling in to place and laying out some solid plates. We even tried something completely new that we loved: their sweet potato dumplings, which are more like almost sweet ravioli with a heavenly creamy sauce. Oh, and the biscuits and beignets are still solid. Which you now have an excuse to go eat again, as y’all need to go check out the gorgeous new space.

In the cart of the beholder

Naturally, it’s always interesting when you come across a dude at the corner of Polk & Post with two full aluminum screen doors sticking out of his shopping cart. But, what’s even more whacky is when you encounter the same dude at the same corner four hours later with a full bale of straw strapped to yet another shopping cart.

If the next time I bump in to him, he has a minitruck with a gold chain strapped to the top of his cart, I’m gonna tell him to stop stealing shit from my hometown.

The Tender Tonight: Tenderloin artists 2012 Calendar release party!

Two of our favorite local businesses, Public Barber Salon and the loin have partnered to release a Tenderloin Art & Artists 2012 Calendar, a limited edition calendar featuring the portraits of Tenderloin artists, as photographed by Alisha Fumiko Harada and Shaun Roberts. So each month of the year you’ll get to enjoy one of your favorite neighborhood artist alongside the artwork that defines them.

As we know that you want to be in the know, the artists are Lisa Alonzo, Helen Bayly, Akira Beard, Chris Blackstock, Robert Bowen, Chad Hasegawa, Jessica Hess, Daryll Pierce, Nathan Sisler, Jason Vivona, Megan Wolfe and D Young V (photographed above by Sean Roberts). Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) none of them are naked portraits.

There’s a release party for the calendar happening tonight at Public Barber Salon, with live music by Coffee and Harbour. In addition to the calendar release, the artists will be showing select works at Public Barber through January 16, 2012. Each artist lives in, has lived in, or in some way, has a strong connection with the Tenderloin art scene, and we are excited to bring their works together for this event.

Where: Public Barber Salon, 521 Geary.
When: Thursday, November 17, 2011, 8pm to Midnight.
Copies of “Tenderloin Art & Artists 2012 Calendar” will be available the night of the reception for purchase. Copies are limited.

Welcome to The Tenderloin Zoo

Typically after, “vibrant”, “shithole”, and “OC Shores”, the most common adjective used for the Tenderloin is “zoo”. A local stencilographer decided to run with that and bomb the neighborhood, especially this bit at Leavenworth & Turk which is admittedly ground zero for a great deal of the insanity. Carry on kind street artist, but feel free to expand your animal kingdom horizons. For instance, might a zebra or penguin tossed in to the mix?

Jaded mayoral write-in candidate returns to old job

If you don’t subscribe to David Villa-Lobos‘ “Community Leadership Alliance” newsletter and you feel like you’ve got too much spare time in your life that you want to fill up with a bit of the zany and/or misinformation, you should give it a whirl.

We somehow got on it and receive the emails whenever he feels like firing up his propaganda machine. The fact that it doesn’t get caught as spam is amazing, but in each letter there are some real gems, although it’s definitely a shame he’s not posting this as some kind of blog.

This came through the day after the election where he only received three write-in votes:

…I decided in 1981 that I would take my degree in political science and gradually transition to a life of community service, putting my education to work through community service in San Francisco.

I believed that at some point my work/efforts in the community would equate to gainful employment, e.g. a job w/the city, or even an elected position. Well real stupid move on my part because this move has yielded me absolutely nothing, not even appreciation from those that I’ve served.

I today was offered the opportunity to return to an escort agency beginning in January of 2012, I’ve accepted.

This was of course foreshadowed in a previous email where he cried foul (yes, damn you, foul!) on the San Francisco Department of Elections because they blocked him from being part of our cast of thousands (well, okay, 16) mayoral candidates.

Candidate Flips-Out: It was at that point that I went crazy, I phoned the DOE and gave them “HELL”; with the salty-distasteful superlatives flying. After all, my wife and I had already exhausted our entire savings, our daughters college fund on this campaign thus far, and borrowed money to pay the fee.

At around 7:45pm that same night, I received a phone call from the DOE threatening that they were going to turn my recorded phone message over to the Sheriff’s department. And warned me that if I planned to file a law suit against the DOE, that they were prepared to argue that they had done nothing wrong.

It’s been a long time coming, that someone should put this inept branch of our city’s government in check. And I guess it’s Villa-Lobos who had the guts to do it.

It’s quite important that other people know about David as in addition to his third person references to his first person and constant threat to run for mayor, he also tries to wedge himself in the way of random local goings-on. He’s been a serious impediment to people who just want to start a business as well as any community art projects that he feels happen without oversight (by him we assume) like Hemlock Alley. I mean, who does he think he is, the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association?

Fix your alarm before I “fix” your car

In the Venn Diagram of shitty cars/shitty alarms, you would probably find things to map out as exact concentric circles. It’s a mystery that a 2011 BMW 5 series has an alarm that you will never hear, yet a 1989 Honda Prelude with unpainted replacement body panels and bubbling window tinting will have one that even if you tape a house cat over each ear, you’ll still not be able to sleep through it.

All that said, guess the make and model of this gem we found in the TenderNob the other day. Amazingly enough, it wasn’t one of us who wrote that sign, because we fucking hate car alarms.

The Veteran’s Mural Project in Shannon Alley

Shannon Alley, between Geary & O’Farrell and Jones & Taylor, doesn’t have the best of reputations–or the best of odors. In fact, since there are a couple of vacant buildings just around the corner on O’Farrell it is often used as a toilet or as a place for homeless people to sleep. As it turns out many of those homeless people are veterans, as photographer Amos Lee Gregory Jr. discovered while spending many nights in the neighborhood photographing them between November 2010 and April 2011.

During that time Gregory came up with the idea of a mural project in Shannon Alley to allow veterans to express themselves and tell their own story. A veteran himself of the Naval Submarine Service, Gregory is a founding member of the SF Veterans Art guild. He’s been frustrated that so much art about veterans and war is created by artists who themselves are not veterans of any American conflict. So, he wanted to give a voice to the American veterans regardless of their discharge status, sexual orientation, length of service, branch of service, race, language or national origin. In March 2011 he photographed Rigo‘s “Truth” a mural on Market Street by the UN Plaza during a protest marking the 8th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. This photograph has inspired many Veterans of all backgrounds to speak about their experiences in the US military and about peace, and it seems to have been the driving force to start this mural project.

As reported by the Veteran Artists blog, the first section of the mural was started on October 24th, with a tribute by Brian Parker to his friend Chip Santos who survived the Iraq war but then committed suicide as a result of PTSD. Parker, who now resides in South Dakota, was flown to San Francisco by Gregory from his own pocket as he wants this mural to be part of the veterans’ healing process. Gregory hand-painted a quote by Vietnamese philosopher Thicht Nhan Han, that you can see on the right of the picture below:

Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle, illuminating the way for the whole nation.
If Veterans can achieve awareness, transformation, understanding and peace, they can share with the rest of society the realities of war.
And they can teach us how to make peace with ourselves and each other, so we never have to use violence to resolve conflicts again.

Yesterday evening when I passed by the alley Gregory was working on a new section of the mural that is going to depict a little girl he met and photographed in 2002 in Havana, Cuba. He doesn’t know her name or if she’s ok, but he’s hoping to find her one day. Another section of the mural was being painted by a homeless veteran who usually likes hanging out in the alley and who is in need of medical attention. His name is David Wickham and the mural is giving him an opportunity to express himself in a way he never gets the chance to do.

Gregory said he’s hoping the project will create a dialogue between veterans and the community at-large to “help facilitate healing and promote the concept of universal peace”. These might seem like very ambitious goals, but in just a few minutes of hanging out by the mural I saw several people approching him and sharing their stories. Such as faithful Tender reader Reyeuro, who as it turns out is a Vietnam veteran. Also, the owner of the store at the corner of Geary and Shannon explained that her dad was in their army as well and she became an orphan at 12 so this mural is very close to her heart.

If you want to see Gregory in Shannon Alley talking about the mural, here’s a video by the #OccupySF team.


YouTube Direkt

The SF Vets mural project is an open project and they welcome all suggestions and contributions. They’re also asking anyone who knows of a veteran who has touched their lives or is a veteran themselves to contact them via their website or their Facebook group to request a mural concept in honor of a deceased veteran. Or if you are a veteran and want to do one yourself in the alley with them, they’ll be happy have you.

And since it’s Veteran’s Day today, you should also read this story on The Bold Italic featuring a few post 9/11 veterans in San Francisco.

Speak your mind on public Loin toilets

With such a large population of homeless people dwelling, or others from around Bay Area hanging out in the streets of the Tenderloin, it’s not a surprise that the neighborhood has a public defecation problem. (Although, to be fair, this is a problem in other parts of the city as well.) Basically, there aren’t enough public toilets to supply the demand, since what goes in must come out. Unfortunately public toilets are not only really expensive to build and maintain but also really hard to plan and design to make them efficient and appropriate to the needs, ie you can’t just cut a hole in the sidewalk and call the job done.

Back in September it was announced that the city, inspired by the success of parklets, was studying a plan that would put eco-friendly, translucent public toilets in parking spaces that were being dubbed: pooplets. These pooplets are being designed by Oakland-based Hyphae Design Lab, in partnership with the North of Market/Tenderloin Community Benefit District and SF Clean City. They’re still in the design phase but are starting to do some neighborhood outreach to keep the public informed of their design process, schedule, and what the possibilities are.

So today at 2 and 5:30pm they’ll be hosting two town hall meetings to hear feedback from the local residents, to answer questions and hear suggestions. Now it’s your turn to give your two cents on this issue that, if you live in the neighborhood, has showed up on your front door or under your shoes more than once. They’d like to get input especially on

-Where the toilets should be located
-What they should look like
-How to encourage proper usage

And if you can’t attend, send your suggestions to Hyphae Design or the NoM-TL Community Benefit District.

Occupy your Mind and/or the Alley

Uptown Almanac hit this new mural tossed up on Hemlock the other day by Ezra Li Eismont. We’re only getting around to it now as a salute to election day and because well, we were too lazy to do it earlier. Probably need to start aiming to have breakfast before noon.

If you liked these murals, Ezra Li Eismont has a show at Space Gallery opening this Saturday, November 12th, 7-12pm.

iThai to open soon in former Caffe Bella Venezia space

Apparently a new Thai restaurant (yes, another one) is set to open in the recently-shuttered Caffe Bella Venezia on Post & Jones — named iThai. We never ate there mainly because the burgers from Pearl’s next door always had a bigger draw and touristic Venice paintings for a decor don’t do much for us.

Tender sources tell us they had good food, but were extremely slow since they made everything to order. We have no idea if the new place is going to be any good, or simply catering to the tourists/AoA crowd in the area (along the lines of Pick me Up Pizza a few doors down). We just know what the wallpaper promises: “Bangkok street food”. But we have to give them props for the name, which is oh so clever, not overdone, or San Francisco techie at all… More details soon.