Enjoy Small Business Saturday in the Tenderloin

New York-based PAPER Magazine has just published a guide to enjoy Small Business Saturday in San Francisco. This day, which was apparently declared to be the Saturday after Thanksgiving last year by American Express, is a day to support small businesses around the country. This is how they described the guide in the first page:

San Francisco’s diverse neighborhoods are all packed to the brim with a wonderful and eclectic mix of local owner-operated businesses. It’s these family-run bars and cafés, the chef-run artisanal food shops and the designer-owned fashion emporiums that are at the core of what defines the communities in this world-class city.

Small Business Saturday, held on November 26, 2011, is a day to support independent business owners, help fuel the economy and invigorate communities across the country. It’s in this spirit that we celebrate “small” in a big way with this fun guide to our favorite local spots that make San Francisco what it is. So, put this pamphlet in your back pocket, refill your BART Card and hop around to some of these wonderful restaurants, bars and shops on Small Business Saturday, for exclusive offers—everything from discounts to special gifts.

The guide is interesting because the businesses included in it are offering special discounts or freebies this coming Saturday, and several of those businesses are based in the Tenderloin/TenderNob. We’ll let you browse through the whole guide yourself, but for example you’ll find that farm:table is offering a free 8oz coffee with any purchase, Jones is doing a buy-one-get-one deal between 5-9pm, Kare-Ken is taking 10% off all purchases, and Mike Page Style Lab is taking 20% all products and services, while Public Barber Salon is doing a 15% cut and color.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The 2nd Lower Polk Art Walk

In case you missed the first Lower Polk Art Walk back in July, it’s a cool event to highlight the Tenderloin-ish galleries and thriving art community by staying open later than usual (until 10pm), printing a guide map for those unfamiliar with the area, and organizing some special events for the day. The video above by the Neighborhood Empowerment Network describes the shows at the various galleries included in the event as well as some murals so you can get an idea.

Since the Lower Polk Art Walk is a a quarterly event, the second edition took place on Thursday with an even greater participation than the first. For the occasion, Fern Alley became an “Artists in the Alley” outdoor night gallery with about a dozen artists showing (and selling) their art for those passing by — for example Daniel Barron. They also had some video projections, an artist talk at White Walls, live painting by APEX and Chad Hasegawa, as well as some trees wrapped in toilet paper as you can see below. So if you missed it, keep an eye out for the next one via their site or Facebook page!

The Tender This Weekend: Kiddie Park Cleanup, Trolley Dances & more!

This weekend is packed with cool events, which is very convenient as it looks like the summery weather is going to hold until of course it doesn’t… These are some of our favorite events, but you can check out the Tender Calendar for a full listing of Tenderloin/Civic Center related happenings. Have a great weekend!

Photoby Alyssa Jones


  • 10am-12pm: The Friends of Macaulay Park, that little children’s park at the corner of O’Farrell and Larkin (middle of the Naked Hood), partner with San Francisco Recreation and Parks and Neighborhood Parks Council to clean up the park every other month. They scrub down the equipment with soap and water, sweep up debris on the playground, weed and rake leaves in the planter areas and prune the trees. Their volunteers are families, friends and neighbors of the children who use the playground and they’re always looking for more help since as you know parks are scarce in this neighborhood–especially clean parks for children.
  • 12-5pm: like every month on the 15th, artist Michael Swaine will be sewing for the people at the Tenderloin National Forest (Cohen Alley, Ellis at Leavenworth). Get there early if you have needs and remember that leather is usually a problem, even if it has large holes
  • 1-9pm: UN Plaza Intervention, as part of the Reclaim Market Street! public art series. The Plaza will be transformed into a dynamic and interactive play space for children, parents and friends. As the sun sets, film screenings of A Trip Down Market Street (1906) and its 2005 remake by Melinda Stone and Liz Keim will be shown to educate citizens about Market Street’s rich history. Film archivist Rick Prelinger will also provide films from his collection that depict life on Market Street. And Off the Grid will provide some food trucks. Not provided: a general plan to revitalize Market Street that doesn’t revolve around art.

Saturday AND Sunday

  • 11am-6pm: The third weekend of ArtSpan’s Open Studios will take place in the Bayview, Tenderloin, SOMA, Dogpatch and Potrero Hill neighborhoods, featuring the work of over 200 artists… blah dee blah blah… I have no idea why they even bother mentioning the Tenderloin, as there only three studios listed on their map. But they have a shuttle for the lazy or anti-MUNI crowd. As usually, street art will remain free and viewable year round.
  • Trolley Dances, features a great lineup of Bay Area dance “luminaries”, who will take audiences from the Civic Center’s San Francisco Public Library to the West Portal Muni Station. This urban dance/public transit adventure will start at the 6th floor Terrace at the Main Library, dancing to music featured in the library’s exhibition, “American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music”. Performance tours, led by “tour guides”, will then board the K, L, or M Muni/Metro, head underground, and emerge at the West Portal Muni Station, with performances along the way by Tat Wong Kung Fu Lion Dancers, and Epiphany Productions Sonic Dance Theater featuring students from SFSU. Performances are free (aside from the MUNI fare) and will occur six times a day both Saturday and Sunday. Tours run at 11:00am, 11:45am, 12;30 p.m., 1:15pm, 2:00pm, and 2:45pm beginning at the SF Main Public Library (100 Larkin Street, SF CA 94102). Don’t worry, participation isn’t required as we know none of y’all have any rhythm.
  • Jane Kim got tossed (in a pool)

    So Tuesday night the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation held their 19th annual “celebrity” Pool Toss fundraiser at the Phoenix Hotel. And we say celebrity in quotation marks because the only name that rang a bell in their list of VIPS to be tossed in the pool was our favorite local politician to pick on, Supervisor Jane Kim. And of course, this event was yet another opportunity to pick on her because she’s as elegant as a one legged moose on a frozen lake. Just check out her pool toss outfit, including a fuchsia headband and a non-matching tracksuit instead of the bikini or summer dress that everyone in attendance was expecting:

    Now, we already know that Jane Kim doesn’t know how to bicycle, but it appears she doesn’t know how to swim either. I mean, could she look any more like a wet pug? Thank god that the Golds Gym lifeguards were on hand to grab ass help her to safety. When asked for comment, Jane Kim simply wrote on her Facebook wall “That water is chilly!” and probably adding, “Wait, am I on a bike again?”

    Not even after the dip in the pool, wet shirt and all, did Jane Kim manage to look the least bit sexy. At least Chris Daly last year wore a suit (and his wife), although it’s obvious that water, supervisors, and sexy are an ugly match.

    In spite of the obvious lack of overall sexiness, this silly pool toss event somehow managed to raise $338,000 for the TNDC’s efforts to provide after school programs to low-income youth. Good for them.

    And if unfashionable people jumping into hotel pools is your thing, check out the rest of the photos over at the Fog City Journal.

    Socialist feminism vs Anarchism debate tonight

    Maybe some of you will remember the short-live Then Again consignment store at 747 Polk Street, between Ellis and Eddy in a block full of mysterious business (Hawaiian massage?). Well, since mid-September it has been the the organizing center and the home of Bay Area Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party. For some reason they’ve named it New Valencia Hall, and from outside it looks like an office with a small library.

    So if socialist feminism is your thing, that’s the place to go. Also, tonight they’re having a special event including an Italian dinner at 6pm followed by a lecture by feminist author Andrea Bauer. They’ve called it “Socialist Feminism vs. Anarchism”, since she’ll examine the philosophical differences between these two schools of thought and political action at a public forum. In addition to writing extensively on economic and international issues, Bauer is a queer rights activist, pop culture critic and environmentalist.

    Dinner will be served at 6:00pm, program starts at 7:30pm. Door and dinner is $10.00, door is $2.00. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to share their views.