The Tender This Weekend: Filipino Book Fair & Arab Cultural Festival

This is a weekend full of events in the neighborhood, as you can see in our Tender Calendar. On Saturday there are a few art shows, as well as two cultural festivals:

Filipino Book Festival

Happening all weekend long in the Civic Center Plaza and at the Public Library, this festival explores Filipino music, art and culture in addition to literature. Their program is full of literary events and performances, both for children and adults. And of course, there’s also lots of Filipino food lined up — free food tastings, food stands and culinary lectures by experts.

At 10:30am on Saturday local officials (including Mayor Ed Lee and Philippines Consul General) will kick off the festival at the Fulton Street outdoor stage. This will be followed by various musical and theater performances, a digital storytelling workshop, a traditional Filipino poetry debate, book signings and much more.

The Sunday program is packed with similar events, including dance performances, martial arts exhibitions and of course a lot of readings. There will even be additional activities taking place at the Asian Art Museum.

For more details, check the full program.

If you’re longing for some lumpia or longganisa though, make sure to also stop by for free food tastings, food booths and culinary lectures from the likes of chef and food columnist Claude Tayag and author Felice Santa Maria, to get a taste of traditional Filipino cuisine, which is known for its unique blend of sweet, sour and spice.

Arab Cultural Festival

Taking place in Union Square on Saturday afternoon, this is the 17th edition of a festival showcasing the arts, entertainment, cuisine, traditions, culture and “the spirit” of Arabs, of Arab Americans and “of the Arab world”. Performers at this year’s festival will include: debkeh group Al Juthoor, Oudist Naser Musa and percussionist Faisal Zedan, contemporary vocalist Salma Habib, Nubian soul group Al-Sarah and the Nubatones (unplugged) and Syrian-American hip hop artist Omar Offendum.

The booth Bazaar will include: Arabic cuisine, jewelry, textiles and crafts from the Arab world, a children’s activity booth, informational booths from many Arab organizations, artwork and much more.

The Tender Tonight: Please Touch Garden Launch Party

Remember that a few weeks ago we featured the “Please Touch Garden” and we mentioned that it was about to be open to the public? Well, the time has finally come and tonight they’re having a launch party at Swig (561 Geary) from 5:30 to 9PM.

So please come out and show your support for this awesome community project by grabbing a drink and having a great time.

All the proceeds from the party will go to the garden. But this won’t be just a fundraising event, but also a fun party with live music, DJ’s, drink specials, cool raffle prizes, and an auction for a date with some of the hottest bartenders in SF (wait, what?!).

If you’d like to RSVP, you can do it here.

And if you can’t make it out for the fun, you can still be there in spirit and show your support by making a donation.

Hope to see y’all at Swig tonight!

A box of chalk goes a long way

After our little Sunday Streets photo recap yesterday, a tipster sent us a link to this post from new blog 415hills (self-described as an “Afrod mixed chick philosophizing in TL, SF, CA with a piglet and orchids”).

Sunday Streets was in my neighborhood this past Sunday, which created the perfect opportunity to draw chalk art in the middle of the street. Jonathan and I chose the intersection of Larkin and Ellis for it’s smooth black pavement. We both began drawing our own designs and after a few minutes, I had strangers approach me and ask if they could use the chalk. Before I knew it, there was a whole mural of chalk in the intersection and an impromptu game of kickball. Many people asked me if I was an organizer, I replied “I just brought the chalk”. I had no idea a box of chalk would lead to such fun.

Go check out more photos of Sunday’s improvised chalk drawing session, over at 415hills.

Sunday Streets Photo Recap

As those of you who left the house before 4pm noticed, yesterday Sunday Streets took over the Civic Center/Tenderloin area. And unlike last year’s rainy disaster, this time it was quite pleasant and well-attended. There were lots of activities throughout the day, such as live music, chalk drawing on the pavement, mural spray-painting, hip-hop dancing, tai-chi classes, games for children, the obligatory political campaigners and, of course, bikes, bikes, bikes.

Naturally, this was all greatly to the annoyance of this car-sexual who was very, very pouty and stomping his little feet about the fact that he couldn’t park for five hours, in the one neighborhood in all of San Francisco where you truly can live without a car (humin has been doing it for a decade and without working in SF).

Since we were too lazy to take our cameras with us when we toured the car-free streets of Tenderloin on our recently-acquired bikes, we selected a few from our Tender Flickr pool, for those of you who missed this glorious day. Actually, it’s more of a recap by neighborhood photographer and Tender friend Erik Wilson, aka Generik11.


Streetsblog has a nice writeup about Sunday Streets including several other great photos of the unusual sight of a car-free Tenderloin. Check it out.

Get thee to Sunday Streets!

Unlike last year’s Tenderloin/Civic Center Sunday Streets, which was a sad, wet affair, today, right now, Sunday Streets is happening! And, it’s sunny! So, if you’re not waiting for a bus to Outside Lands get on down to the real downtown and enjoy. You’ve only got until four!

‘Tenderloin USA’ Launch Party Photos

Last night Tender friends Brad Evans and Travis Jensen debuted their photojournalism book on Tenderloin today at Ever Gold Gallery. Their respectful and judicious look at our community is captured in a 50-page journal whose proceeds will go towards Larkin Street Youth Services.

The party was a big success (there was even free decent wine and brownies!), and they ran out of journals to sell. They’ve raised over two grand already and after last night’s show I’m sure that number is going to be even bigger. You can order your own copy here.

The Tender Tonight: ‘Tenderloin USA’ Book Party

For over a year, All City photographers Travis Jensen (pictured left) and Brad Evans (right) have been regularly hanging out in the Tenderloin and photographing it. There’s always a lot of activity in the streets and people to talk to, so they kept coming back for more. They loved engaging people and chatting with them, Brad told me, and after each visit they felt really energized. But talking to other San Francisco photographers they were often asked things like “Isn’t the TL dangerous?”, “Have you ever been hassled?” or simply “Any bad experiences?”. Most of them were shocked and probably disappointed to discover that they really didn’t have any ‘war stories’ to share.

That’s when they started realizing that most San Francisco photographers avoid the Tenderloin, preferring other neighborhoods they perceive as ‘safer’ for street photography. So after a few months Travis and Brad decided to do something with all those photos they had been shooting, and this eventually led to a book that they have simply titled ‘Tenderloin USA‘ that they are now selling online. It’s mainly a collection of gorgeous black-and-white portraits of people they’ve encountered in the neighborhood, some of them with an accompanying story giving context (unfortunately, not all). Their ultimate goal, they say in the book, is that “you, the reader, will walk away from ‘Tenderloin USA’ with a fresh perspective about the neighborhood”.

Priced at $20, ALL proceeds after printing costs will go directly to Larkin Street Youth Services, a charity organization providing homeless, runaway and at-risk youth ages 12-24 with various support services, including emergency shelter, primary medical care, transitional housing, job training and scholarship assistance, amongst other services.

But if you’re too lazy to order the book online, or already got your copy but would like to meet Brad and Travis in person, tonight from 6 to 10pm they’re having their official launch party at Ever Gold Gallery where they’ll be selling some copies. There’ll be large-size prints of their photos, (free) drinks & nibbles, music, predictably lots of photographers and your unique chance to chat with them about their project and tell them what you (truly) think about it.

See you tonight!

Spoke Gallery Gives Us a Taste

Spoke Art Gallery kicked off their August show, ‘A Taste of Things to Come,’ featuring several artists who will have solo shows in the following months. Ken, Spoke’s curator, told me they’re booked for 14 months. Whoa! The show runs until the 25th of August, so check it out. Spoke opened only a couple of months ago in one of the former Huf store spaces (heard the Hayes Valley location closed too – boo!) and this is their 3rd show, I believe. Still has that fresh gallery smell. Located on Sutter, between Jones & Leavenworth. If you pass Optimus Prime, you’ve gone too far.

Ken turns a piece to reveal hidden art on the back of the frame.

What’s going on with Ramon’s Tailor?

A couple of days ago a mysterious photo of the long-defunct Ramon’s Tailor was posted on our Facebook wall. The poster was the even more mysterious Mrs Robinson Society, which we were not familiar with. Last night, as we were on our way to check out the launch of the Burning Man Project at the UN Plaza, we stopped by 628 Jones to see what was going on. We found this intriguing window display.

We heard some voices, so we entered the building at our own risk. Fortunately, a familiar face immediately welcomed us. Laura, a beloved regular at farm:table, a very fashionable lady and one of the founding Mrs Robinsons, was very impressed by our sleuthing skills. Apparently we had stumbled upon the opening night of the new incarnation of Ramon’s Tailor, a new creative space that will host art shows, salons and all sorts of other cool events. Next week, for example, they’re having a “grand open house” on Saturday from 11 to 4pm. And in September they’ll have a parklet for Park(ing) day–the temporary, one day kind, so NIMBYs don’t need to get their hooves in a tizzy.

If last night is any indication of the events to come, we can’t wait for more. It was also Frank‘s birthday (one of the owners, the other one being his wife) so they had a bar from Rye on the Road that was serving cocktails like the Dogpatch (a modified Manhattan) or the Old Cuban (something delicious with rum). They even somehow managed to fit a live music trio in that small, basement-y space. For their opening night they had a special show dedicated to the original Ramon’s Tailor, featuring vintage dresses and each of their alteration stories. The show was put together by the Mrs Robinson Society, whose members could be identified because they were sporting pink measuring tape necklaces. Since they are a very glamorous group, they were were measuring up the guests and giving them cards with a list of tailors in San Francisco so they could go get some fancy clothes made. (Since I was wearing an old t-shirt and dirty cargo pants, they didn’t even bother with me.)

The Tender Tonight: 200 Yards + TenderNights!

Yes, the day has arrived! The 200 Yards folks had a record amount of photo submissions of the area surrounding Cafe Royale, the selection is made (it was real hard, they tell us), the show is hung and the reception is indeed happening tonight from 8PM onward at, yes, Cafe Royale (800 Post, at Leavenworth). This even got a small mention on the Chron, so it’s bound to be a great event and you’ll feel like you’re missing out if you don’t come to check it out (we’re talking to you, Scurvy, Nutjob, and all of our other regular Tender lurkers.)

We’ll also be there, of course, giving the event a TenderNight added bonus with our mere presence. Our friends from Soapy Soaps — handmade in the Tenderloin– will provide your (let’s face it, much needed) fix of soap.

Despite this being in the Post Up mini-tender, feel free to chat us up about all things Loin –except for the explosions at night (they’re fucking fireworks, just call the non-emergency number when they happen 415-553-0123).

Hope to see you all tonight!