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The Balboa Theater turns 84 – come celebrate!

This Sunday, The Balboa Theater will celebrate its 84th birthday with a special show of old films, a live vaudeville show, prizes and of course, birthday cake.

After kicking off with the premiere of a delightful new silent short filmed at the Balboa, Double Features, watch the 1926 film The Cat and the Canary, which has been called “the finest spooky house movie ever made.” It’s a suspenseful mystery about an heiress who is provided with a large inheritance, as long as she is deemed sane. When the estate lawyer disappears, things begin to unravel.

The birthday party will also include a live vaudeville show with magician James Hamilton and singer Linda Kosut. Jack Tillmany will also be at the event, signing and selling copies of his books on the theatres of San Francisco and Oakland.

Sunday’s party and show will be dedicated to the memory of theater owner Irma Levin, who died a few weeks ago. Chronicle columnist Leah Garchik had this to say about the film lover:

Levin and her husband founded the San Francisco International Film Festival, and – I’m picturing her, lively, smart, beautifully dressed in clothes she’d always sewn herself, at a film festival event at Tiffany a few years ago – she was one of the grand old ladies of San Francisco.

The show starts at 7pm on Sunday. Tickets are $10; purchase them in advance here. Happy Birthday to the Balboa!

Read more about The Balboa’s history

Sarah B.

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 6:30 am | Posted under Events, History, Movies | 1 comment

Where’s the beef? Not on this burger…

There’s plenty of good hamburgers to be had in the Richmond, just stop in the legendary Bill’s Place or Namu when the craving strikes.

But the Tee Off Bar & Grill at Clement and 32nd Avenue is serving up a different kind of burger. UrbanDaddy stopped into try their latest menu addition, the kangaroo burger. Served only on the weekends and with housemade sweet potato chips.

I know what you’re thinking – I can’t imagine biting into one either. And no, it doesn’t take like chicken. Urbandaddy writes, “The juicy meat tastes somewhat like beef, but slightly sweeter, with a subtle tanginess, and it’s lean like venison.”

The traditional way to serve a ‘roo burger in Australia is with sliced beets and a fried egg on top. So watch for that variation on the menu soon.

So what do you say? Will you be hopping over to the Tee Off next weekend for a ‘roo burger?

Special thanks to Jim at SFCitzen for the tip.

Sarah B.

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 5:12 pm | Posted under Food | 14 comments

I am the rocket house

SFist first shared this picture of a SF house with a rocket / space shuttle facade. Some commenters then identified that it is a building on 3rd Avenue near Geary, and the owner chimed in that the house “is often made a spectacle for the sake of various theme based house parties.” Blast off!

Can’t wait to see what the next theme is. One reader told me it had Nutcracker decorations at Christmas time. Any suggestions for the owners?

Sarah B.

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 3:52 pm | Posted under Photos, Real Estate | 2 comments

Free live music at Bazaar-Stock 2, Feb. 27

This Saturday marks the return of Bazaar-Stock, an all-day, acoustic music festival featuring local artists.

From 10am until 10pm, enjoy over 30 independent San Francisco arists at the Bazaar Cafe on California near 22nd Avenue (list of performers). On top of the great music, it’s free!

I attended last year’s inaugural show where I first heard Richmond District musician David Greco, and many other talented singers and songwriters. David will be hitting the stage from 1-1:45pm on Saturday.

The Bazaar Cafe is an intimate venue with great food too. So whether you want to camp out all day or just pop in for a quick bite and some tunes, I recommend checking it out.

Sarah B.

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 12:33 pm | Posted under Events, Live Music | 3 comments

Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, Pt. 4 (Video)

As you may remember, there was an event late last year where old video footage of San Francisco was shown. It was the fourth installment of “Lost Landscapes of San Francisco”, made up of archival footage that Rick Prelinger, of the Prelinger Library, has collected.

I went to the original showing at Herbst Theater and as a San Francisco native, I was fascinated and delighted by what I saw. Some of the highlights included old footage of the Bay Bridge being built, a man riding the north windmill in Golden Gate Park, families on the streets of the Richmond and Sunset districts, labor strikes downtown, “The Battle of Garbage Hill” between USF underclassmen, footage of Ocean Beach and Playland, and much more. On hand were four city historians to narrate what we were seeing.

The footage is now available online. To watch it, go to fora.tv. You’ll see there are different chapters available below the player, just click on one to skip to that section. But your best bet is to grab a cup of coffee, click the full screen icon, and enjoy the entire historic ride through old San Francisco.

Sarah B.

P.S. – If you only have a a little time to watch, don’t miss Chapter 4: The Bay Bridge, Chapter 7: Chinatown and Gee Family Movies, Chapter 13: Lakeshore and Golden Gate Park, and Chapter 16: Ocean Beach and Playland.

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 9:59 pm | Posted under History, Video | Comments Off

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