Meet the Tenderlocals: Akira Beard

In case you haven’t heard, the two Leftovers stores that used to be on Sutter & Polk and Polk & Bush were consolidated in one huge awesome space on Van Ness a couple of months ago. It seems somebody already took over their former store on Sutter, but the one on Polk remains vacant. Vacant but not empty, since the Space/Lopo Galleries guys had the genius idea of setting up a temporary gallery annex there under the name ‘Vacancy‘. We quite enjoyed it when we checked it out last month, and on top of that we scored a free print of the piece above by Akira Beard.

Akira Beard is an artist based in the Tenderloin, but that we’ve somehow never met. He is best known for painting layered portraits of pop culture icons with text around them, and awesome images of altered American currency. He teaches at the Academy of Art University and at an art center for elders, and we first saw his work at a show he had last year at the Shooting Gallery. We quite obviously quite liked this piece because the message could very well be our own motto about the Tenderloin, “it drives some people crazy, others can see the beauty in it”. Apparently he even made some t-shirts with it, in collaboration with Bayfitted on Ellis & Leavenworth (we’ll have to investigate that).

While we like the pieces where he uses the portrait of a historical figure or of a celebrity as a base (such as this one or this one), we really like his art with elders series and the sketches he takes of people sitting in cafés.

By the way, do you recognize the person in this portrait? (hint)

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.

The Tender tonight: First Thursday Art!

It’s the first Thursday of the month, and as such there’s an art-splosion of openings tonight. For the full list, take a look at our Tender Calendar (for instance, William Emmert’s “The Squared Circle” at Kokoro Studio or “Art Can Feed” at Ramon’s Tailor). Another cool event tonight we’ll have to miss is the CinemaSpeakeasy screening dedicated to 99%-ers.

Here are a couple of the art shows favorites where you’ll find us tonight:

  • Jessie Rose Vala’s “Future Teller” show at EverGold Gallery (441 O’Farrell)
  • We stopped in yesterday while they were setting up the show, and we loved what they’ve done with the space. Considering we’ve never been let down by their shows, this will definitely be interesting.

  • The Red Bull Canvas Cooler Project Party at 941 Geary Gallery
  • This is the launch party for a project sponsored by Red Bull consisting of a series of specially-wrapped canvas fridges, each customized by a different artist, that will be later on display at various venues around the city. Some of the artists who have created these one of a kind fridges are Apex, Magdalena, Chor Boogie, Hugh Leeman, D Young V, Chez Nero, Austin Matthews, Vogue, Estria, Erik Otto, Akira Beard, Jurne, Charmaine Olivia, Kelly Allen, Neon, Ian Ross, Jessica Hess, Brett Amory.

Hugh Leeman Art for #OccupySF

Here are a couple of murals by Tenderlocal street artist Hugh Leeman created in support of the #OccupySF movement. We found them quite cool, so just wanted to share them here. The woman with the cat that inspired the first one can often be seen in Mid-Market.

The title of this piece is David vs. Goliath and it can be seen on 18th street and South Van Ness.

Have you seen ghosts, dead people lately?

Maybe you’ve seen the picture of this beautiful and mysterious woman plastered around the neighborhood (with the dates October 28, 1915 – December 23, 1986). And on Sunday maybe you even saw the ghosts in the background. Well, as it turns out it was all part of a special tour organized by Amy Lewis and commissioned by Meridian Gallery in Union Square Tenderloin East for its 100th anniversary celebration.

Although the tour was basically an itinerary of some luxury hotels on California Street and SRO hotels in the Tenderloin, there were a few interesting tidbits along the way — illustrated with surprise appearances of performers. In Huntington Park, for example, Arabella Huntington illustrated her family history while some sunbathers sporting tiny bikinis watched with confused looks. In the vicinity of Grace Cathedral a few dead brides stood with an air of sadness, while one was running away (apparently brides routinely get stood up in that church).

Further down the hill, a pack of ghosts followed the tour participants, and at various points around the Tenderloin a couple seemed to be trying to rescue each otherunsuccessfully. At the last stop, the Clift Hotel, Lewis revealed who the woman in the posters we saw around the neighborhood was: her grandmother, who died in her sleep while staying at the hotel.

Apparently Lewis is developing a larger project consisting of walking tours in different San Francisco neighborhoods coupled with performances (in theaters or galleries) based on the history and architecture of the neighborhood in question. In this particular tour she said she chose to walk in both Nob Hill and the Tenderloin because of the economic and culture difference between the two, and it was intended to be a snapshot of the cultural and economic diversity that is seen from neighborhood to neighborhood, or sometimes block to block. In any case, as you can see in the pictures, it was quite entertaining.

Little Bird is closing

We’re sad to report that today is Little Bird’s last day in business. It was one of the few places in the Tenderloin (if not the only one) where you could have a full vegan breakfast, including vegan pastries, as well as the only coffeeshop in the neighborhood carrying Kombuch and Ritual and De la Paz coffee. As shown by the very high scores on review sites, it’s been a popular local business for the amount of time it’s been open at 835 Geary, a little over a year. But nothing lasts forever and today they are saying goodbye to all their faithful customers. they’ll be open until they sell out of everything, including coffee beans. A real shame given all the raging NIMBY bullshit that they had to contend with in the past year to get outdoor seating.

They made the decision to close just last Friday, so it’s been rather sudden and they’re still deciding what to do with the space going forward. There is a chance that the chef, Sam (who many have enjoyed for his vegetarian/vegan items) will try opening a more evening-oriented cafe/restaurant there. So, stay tuned, or better yet, head down there today to get one last cup of coffee like we did this morning. Little Bird, you will be missed.

Doggie of the Week: Chimichurri

A few months ago we introduced you to Chimichanga (pictured in the background), the resident corgi at Kokoro Studio who we thought was awesomely named. As it turns out, he now has a cute baby sister named Chimichurri. Naturally, this makes us wonder how the owners are going to name their baby when it arrives in a few months… Chimibaby?

Chimichurri apparently likes to play guitar and drink beer. And, like all puppies, is not only adorable, but also a rolling ball of fur and urine. Chimichanga is not amused. Especially when she pees on his bed and steals his toys. But how can you be mad at this face?

If you, too, want your own cute puppy to make your older jealous, and also to have a play buddy, these little adoptable fellas at the SPCA website.

Call it fate, baby

And we bring you the latest installment of our almighty marquee board:

What some could not have escaped
others will find by decision
each we call fate
Jane Hirschfield

As if I wasn’t feeling like fate’s bitch enough lately. Thanks mucho for the reminder, KK.

What animal represents the Tenderloin?

A tipster alerts us of a new series of art prints by The GRQP depicting various San Francisco neighborhoods as animals. Pac Heights, for example, is a fox. And the Mission, a donkey. Surprisingly, the Tenderloin is included in the series. Unfortunately, as a damn pigeon (we’re not fans). They say:

… we figured, hey, what better way to represent the Loin than a band of back alley pigeons. In real life they’re dirty, but on your wall their so fresh and so clean.

Shouldn’t the Loin be more of a tiger or something, given that everyone is of the opinion danger is lurking around every corner ready to eat you? A pigeon seems like it’d be the other way around on the eating front and a bit too passive. Still, cool series. Check it out.

Tenderloin Studio

For Rent: Newly painted studio with Murphy Bed, near neighborhood cafe. Lots of air, lots of natural light, and presumably quite affordable. Contact photographer and Tender friend Brandon Doran for more details. First, last, security, and pet deposit required.