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Green Apple gets a visit from the Lion

Is this the secret to Green Apple’s longevity? Every year for Chinese New Year, the lion dancers come by and bless the bookstore with drums, dancing and firecrackers. Photo courtesy of The Green Apple Core Blog.

Sarah B.

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 2:58 pm | Posted under Business | Comments Off

More details on plans for the Alexandria

Our friends over at SFAppeal did some more digging into what the current owners of the Alexandria have in mind for the property.

The building is currently owned by a group called Alexandria Enterprises. They plan to turn the back parking lot into a 46-unit residential complex, “with ground floor commercial space and parking for both the theater and residents of that complex,” project consultant Ronald Yu told SFAppeal.

However, they do not know what they plan to do with the actual theater building. Yu said, “The theater is right now just to be renovated. We’re not sure on the use.”

One idea being discussed is opening it up to the Richmond YMCA which currently sits across the street on 18th Avenue. Surprisingly, one of the reasons the Alexandria is not considered a vacant building is because the YMCA holds a lease on the space for daily use, according to the SF Department of Building Inspection. I didn’t know that hanging letters on a marquee would be considered “daily use” of a property.

So what’s holding up development and improvement of the property? Apparently it’s the fault of the city’s planning department. According to SFAppeal, “The process has been stuck at the city Planning Department for years, representatives of the developers say.”

How does Richmond District Supervisor Eric Mar feel about the issue? One of his staff, Cassandra Costello told SFAppeal that they would love to see it developed, but offered no specific plans to work with developers or the community.

Thanks to SFAppeal for digging further into the state of the theater. I’m not sure how I feel about a 46-unit building taking over the back parking lot, but if it means that the theater will get some attention, it could be a good thing.

What do you think?

Sarah B.

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 10:08 pm | Posted under Community, Real Estate | 7 comments

Decision delayed on Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic

[RichmondSFBlog cub reporter David was on scene at the Recreation & Park Commission hearing this afternoon where Jimmy's Old Car Picnic organizers appealed their permit denial. Special thanks to him for sending in a report.]

The negative impact of 800 parked cars on Speedway Meadow grounds was their original reasoning for denying the venue permit for Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic. The department instead offered asphalt locations like Ocean Beach parking lot and JFK Drive as alternatives.

At the meeting, Rec & Park staff spoke first regarding the appeal and discussed some ideas about soil compaction and a new policy about limiting events in the park to protect the turf and trees.

After the staff spoke, it was time for public testimony. About forty people attended the meeting to speak in support of the picnic. Many of their comments referred to the family-focused, multi-generation aspect of the picnic and its role as a true San Francisco tradition. Said one speaker, “Jimmy’s is a San Franciso institution like the cable cars. God bless Jimmy!”

Commissioners were shown pictures of semi trucks parked on the grass for equipment and thousands of people dancing around at other Golden Gate Park events such as Outside Lands. A letter from Rec & Park staff was also circulated that stated Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic had never caused any damage to the meadow.

By the end of the debate, Rec & Park Commissioners were unwilling to deny the appeal in the face of public support and instead offered a temporary compromise. To further evaluate the issue, several commisioners will visit the site and sponsor investigation into the impact of frequent large events on park grounds.

Let’s not drag this out too long, Commissioners. How much time has to pass before you can issue the permit and still save face?

Sarah B.

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 11:17 pm | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park | 4 comments

How the Academy penguins celebrated Valentine’s Day

Paper hearts and penguins – this is just too cute. [Note that the video has no sound] – Sarah B.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Valentine’s Day Penguin Show & Tell program that took place on Sunday, Feb 14, 2010. Biologist Pam is distributing hand-made valentines to the birds, who will use the material in their nests. This type of enrichment activity is something we do often to keep the birds engaged and it mimics the foraging that wild African penguins do year-round to keep their nests comfortable.

And here’s Academy penguin “Tag”. She has arranged the valentines hearts into her nest, layered among the leaves. African penguins don’t tend to shred materials as some other birds do. They often take whole items and arrange them in a thick layer. Some of the female penguins at the Academy are fastidious about nest arrangement while others are a little less obsessive. ”Tag” is currently sitting on 2 eggs.

More on the penguins at the California Academy of Sciences

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 4:46 pm | Posted under Golden Gate Park, Museums | 1 comment

Sample Richmond District wines this Sunday

Further proof that you never know what interesting things your neighbors are up to…

This Sunday a special event is taking place called “Word Up” Wine Tasting where you can sample homemade wines from members of WORDUP: Winemakers of the Richmond District, Upper-Panhandle, and Presidio.

The WORDUP winemakers range from small garagistes to well-known labels (Qupé, PlumpJack) with strong San Francisco connections. And apparently some of them even live and produce wine right here in our neighborhood (see list of winemakers at the event).

The tasting event benefits the Friends of the SF Public Library’s Neighborhood Library Campaign, which is raising money to renovate 24 branches across the city. Come out to the event to try some new wines and meet your neighborhood vintners.

“Word Up” Wine Tasting takes place on Sunday, Februray 21st at Fort Mason Center from 2 – 5pm. Purchase tickets ($50) online or for more information, contact Sara Bassett at sbassett@friendssfpl.org or call at 626-7512 x106.

It’s a pity King Tut won’t be there with his bottles.

Sarah B.

[via SFWeekly]

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 12:41 pm | Posted under Events, Food | 2 comments

Two guys take on the Pho Garden Challenge

Remember the Pho Garden Challenge? It’s the contest at Clement Street’s Pho Garden Restaurant where the object is to get through what amounts to three bowls worth of Pho in an hour. They bring a MASSIVE bowl to your table filled with two pounds of noodles and two pounds of meat.

The prize? Your meal is free and you get your 8×10 on the wall of champions.

Two guys, Gus and Big Jon, who are the stars of the We Eating video series, took on the Pho Garden challenge and filmed it for us to enjoy. Watch their pho adventure in the video below. Did they have enough pho-cus to win the challenge?

Sarah B.

[via SFWeekly]

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 11:36 am | Posted under Food | Comments Off

What is allowed at the Botanical Garden?

SFWeekly have a funny post today asking, “What’s Left To Do at Strybing Arboretum?” after noting the extensive prohibited behaviors sign at the entrance to the Botanical Garden.

Hey, we appreciate that there are things you shouldn’t do at a classy arboretum like Strybing. But we have to admit — this sign is just a bit unintentionally hilarious. We believe the one just above the “No stealing food from squirrels’ mouths” is “no taxation without representation.”

What the heck is the symbol that’s third from the bottom? No leaf dancing?

Sarah B.

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 10:04 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park | 9 comments

Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic Update

Thursday is when Jimmy O’Keefe and supporters of his Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic event will go before the Rec & Park Commission to appeal the earlier decision that denied them their 2010 permit. The meeting is at 1pm in City Hall, Room 416. If you want to help get the event back in Speedway Meadow in October 2010, go and show your support. If you can’t attend, sign the online petition.

Jimmy spoke to the Examiner recently about the showdown. He’s hired two attorneys and his daughter has filed the appeal which will be addressed at Thursday’s meeting.

The Rec & Park Commission’s biggest beef seems to be about the damage that the cars have on the grass of Speedway Meadow (apparently this is also Supervisor Eric Mar’s chief complaint). Why this was never questioned in the first 20 years of the event is a mystery.

The article also says that Jimmy’s permit in 2009 was $8,300, up from $1,650 in 2008. If he does get approved for Speedway Meadow this year, the permit would cost $9,000. And that’s assuming they get the non-profit rate.

The Rec & Park Department says they have offered Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic four alternate locations for that same day in October, but never heard back from organizers.

If the event can’t be in Speedway Meadow, where would you like it to be? Vote in the poll below to choose from one of Park & Rec’s recommendations, or leave a comment.

Sarah B.

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 6:15 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park | 9 comments