Can we Brit this shit up a little?

The other day at the gym, I was scratching myself just before rinsing my mouth out at the drinking fountain. I then noticed a tear in the seam of my spandex body suit (it’s great for nights out in Marin with the addition of biking cleats) when I randomly thought, “Fuck, what’s this gym gonna do about the serious lack of Union Jack?” And then, down on the treadmill, sha-mutha-fuckin-zam.

When the tides meet

For anyone who has been to Cape Town, South Africa, you will most likely have hiked out to Cape Point. There, in a vast expanse of blues and greens you see the meeting of two oceans: the Indian and Atlantic. They froth and crash in to each other in a turgid dance of currents that you’re thankful to not be navigating, but gazing at from the outside safety of the shores.

To paint this in to more of a local sense, anyone who has met me knows that I often refer to living between the Academy of Art in the Upper Tenderloin and the Tenderloin Housing Clinic/Neighborhood Development Corporation in the Lower Tenderloin as being in the middle of a shit sandwich. And, don’t for any second think that we’re the bread in this arrangement.

All of this is a long way to get to a recent article on Beyond Chron (if they want links, then open up comments) about the AoA now renting the defunct former digs of the Culinary Academy for their “fashion school” at the corner of Turk & Polk. Let’s remember that the AoA garners $400 million+ a year just in tuition, not to mention their “triple room occupancy” dorms. They are a blatant (I would even say predatory) for-profit school and these are no end of evil. For all the hype of their fashion school being “invited” (I wouldn’t be surprised if they paid something) to NYC’s Fashion Week, it’s amazing how they don’t have anyone notable either as staff or former students despite having 17,000 students a year.

Then there are the various homeless social service providers who have become something of a de facto mafia in the Tenderloin. Don’t believe me? Try and get funding for any art project in the neighborhood and you’ll be directed by the city agencies to “work with” the homeless non-profits. Have a crime problem on your block? Go talk to Randy Shaw to get the police to do something about it. Some call this neighborhood activism, but I just call it self-preservation.

…Elisa Stephens has a fondness for historic buildings, which the central city has in large supply.

Naturally, as they’re vacant due to the destruction of the neighborhood through the Tenderloin Housing Clinic (THC) and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC). All of this article really smacks like a cheering piece for the AoA as they may have donated some large amount of money to the THC to be “good neighbors”. We’ll never know, though, as the THC doesn’t release detailed donation records publicly. That’s what happens when you shift social services over to private contractors –you lose all accountability.

Suffice to say, the AoA and the homeless industry have been moving steadily towards each other over the years, probably attracted by their mutual love of profiteering, and it was bound to happen that their interests would meet some day. Elisa Stephens’ love of buying up buildings in downtown is not to revitalize the neighborhood. Her students don’t really even see the neighborhood as they’re shuttled about in their special, private, gridlock-inducing buses.

The former Culinary Academy site is only one block from the new SF PUC building that opens in 2012. The combination of these two new facilities should help revive the distressed Golden Gate corridor between Polk and Van Ness.

This is what will actually happen: both the PUC and the AoA will clear out at the end of the day. The same problems that currently exist will continue to exist as these aren’t neighborhood institutions or even neighbors at all. They’re just tenants who have no real stake in the neighborhood. Randy damn well knows this as he heads home to his mansion in the Berkeley Hills when the sun goes down. Elisa damn well knows this as she heads home to her mansion in Nob Hill when the sun goes down.

The only way any of this will change is if AoA students start getting shot/mugged/stared at weirdly and the AoA puts pressure on SFPD to protect their cash cows (ie students). This would be wonderfully ironic given the constant police intervention required to deal with their dorms in the upper Tenderloin and the out-of-control students treating the entire area like it’s their living room given that there is no curfew or control in the dorms. There have already been several medical emergency calls (due to substance abuse) to the dorms so far this year, but no one wants to talk about those.

Also, students do not revive an area. I went to UC Berkeley and the entire south side of campus is a complete wasteland of shitty student-related bars and restaurants. The same thing is happening here and if anything opens up near this new building, it will only be for the students, not the rest of the neighborhood.

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.)

Won’t someone please save the cheetah boots

As faithful readers might know, we love boots. That’s why we were saddened to see this pair abandoned on Polk & Geary last night, probably because of the warm weather so their owner decided to wear sandals instead. Or it could be the whole “working girl”/”Ruby Skye” vibe that oozes out of every spot.

Seasonal, breezy Tenderfashion

The other day, browsing through all the awesome photos of the neighborhood that regularly get added to the Tender Flickr pool, we came across this fashionable guy (photographed by Bhautik Joshi, whose pics we always enjoy):

But after admiring his sense of “style” we paused for a second and realized that we had already seen this guy sporting his great Tender fashion around the neighborhood before. After some digging, we found this one we snapped of him back in March:

Which made us wonder if the pants in both pictures are the same and he just gradually cuts them back through the seasons, obviously putting a new pair on over the old in never nude fresh style when they get too short. Maybe he’ll read this and share his secrets with all of us…

Schizophrenic Tender fashion

The weather has only varied in different shades of “suck” this whole month of May. Then, the other day, when summer seemed to be making an appearance we saw people dressed in little less than beachwear around the neighborhood. Obviously, this was just a false alarm, most likely brought on by drinking before noon. So, naturally on the same seemingly “sunny”, but in fact windy and cold as hell day, we saw another person with leg warmers. Obviously our weather (and possibly our wardrobes) are in need long term psychiatric care.

Spotted: New Tenderloin hoodies

You guys know that we love Tenderloin-themed t-shirts, particulary the I <3 TL ones by our friends from theloin (but also this one by Red Choo Choo or this one that we still don’t know if it’s sold anywhere). So we were thrilled to see the cool Tenderloin hoodie pictured above this weekend at Le Marche, worn by one of the VHS tapes and cable adaptors salesmen that are so frequent there. He said that someone had give it to him, so he had no idea who makes them or where they’re sold.

Also, this reminds me that a while back I saw this other cool TL hoodie sported by a customer at Hooker’s Sweet Treats, although I don’t think I asked him where he purchased it. So if you have any more shopping details of either of these hoodies, please share.

Because vacuums get cold too

The Palace of Fine Junk was obviously fearing that all these wild swings in temperature that we’ve been having lately would make their vacuum cleaner come down with something other than, “the funk”. We applaud their efforts in maintaining a healthy senior vacuum fleet for the neighborhood.

Boot paradise

These last few days of rain have sucked sweaty balls, but at least there was one tiny upside to all of this: getting to wear your rain boots! Above is a rather boring example, but we’ve seen much more risque choices. Since our foreign fashion correspondent seems to be MIA, we’d like to ask you, dear fashionable Tender readers, to send us your boot photos to be featured (and potentially mocked) here. They don’t have to be of your own boots, of course, although we will not tolerate boots in a state of theft…

Pajamas for a rainy day

We’ve already wondered about the appropriateness of wearing pajamas outside of the house before, but yesterday we saw them combined with rain clothes. I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of pajamas and could wear nothing else until the end of my days, so I don’t mind seeing them in the street so much. What I wonder, though, is why does it seem that they’re such a common sight in our neighborhood more than elsewhere? Are we in a constant state of waking up/going to sleep here?