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Style Cinema at Velo Rouge Cafe tonight

Thursday night’s Style Cinema event at the Velo Rouge Cafe (6:30 – 10pm, 798 Arguello) will feature two acclaimed fashion documentaries about top designers Isaac Mizrahi and Marc Jacobs. Admission is free and the cafe’s got a great selection of wine, beer and food.

Sarah B.

Unzipped (1995)
Using a variety of cinematographic techniques, the world of high-profile fashion designer Issac Mizrahi is portrayed as being driven by excitement and creativity, despite the concomitant chaos and cacophony. Mizrahi’s frenzied genius and rollercoaster emotions paint a humorous and personal portrait of a brilliant designer.

Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton (2007)
With unprecedented access to one of the world’s hottest and busiest designers, Loïc Prigent offers an intimate and revealing portrait of the reclusive Marc Jacobs and the world of haute couture. Whether in the offices and workrooms of Paris and New York, the back of his car, or backstage at a fashion show, we see a genius at work.

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 10:27 pm | Posted under Movies | Comments Off

Homeschool Day at the Academy of Sciences, Jan. 27

On Wednesday, January 27 from 9:30am to 5pm, the California Academy of Sciences invites homeschooling families to attend a fun day of presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on programs. Download the info & registration guide.

Best of all, families can attend at reduced admission prices. For homeschooling families that live within San Francisco, two adults may attend with their children (ages 4-17) for free. For families outside the city limits, it’s just $4.95 per person. Infants and toddlers (0-3) are free.

Some of the programs at the day-long event include a penguin feeding, live birds of prey, coral reef dives (where a diver in the coral reef tank takes questions), games and crafts.

The Academy will also offer reserved programs at the event which require advanced registration and small fees ($6-$12) in some cases. Reserved programs include African Skulls where kids can investigate and identify a mystery skull from an African animal, just like a researcher would in the field, plus a showing of “A Tour of Our Solar System” in the Morrison Planetarium.

Pre-registration is required for all attending family members. Walk-ups will not be admitted at these discounted rates. To register, fill out page 6 of the registration packet and then call 800-794-7576 to make reservations (M-F 7am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8:30am-5:30pm).

Sarah B.

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 9:10 pm | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park, Museums | Comments Off

Say yes to the new Beach Chalet soccer fields

Last month I wrote about plans for extensive renovations of the Beach Chalet soccer fields. The project calls for major facility improvements including converting the fields to synthetic turf, installing lights for night play, new restrooms, parking lot improvements, better walkways and lighting, and the addition of a designated spectator area.

A public information meeting was held on December 7 and according to our neighborhood paper, The Richmond Review, there was heated debate about the plan (sorry, article’s not online or I would link to it).

To paraphrase the article, Richmond residents who attended the meeting said they had never heard of the project until recently, and others worried about the environmental impacts of the artificial turf that would be installed. Neighbors also expressed concern about the night lighting that would enable games to be played until 10pm.

Growing up here in the city, I played soccer on the Beach Chalet fields for many years. In high school, I would practice there several days a week during our season. The things I remember most about the fields were their poor condition (ankles beware!) and the fact that often, one or more fields were closed due to rain or poor drainage. As an adult, I played recreational soccer there and the same problems existed. And it was a shame because as far as venues go, you can’t get much better than Golden Gate Park.

The Chronicle ran an editorial (thanks to reader 415 Native for the tip) on Monday in anticipation of the Rec & Park Commission vote on January 21 on whether to approve the project. I echo the Chron’s sentiments that this renovation would be a boon to to soccer players across the city. Artificial turf is already in use in several fields across the city, and the lower maintenance and increased playing time it offers make it a sound choice.

And unlike many city projects, half of the $8.9 million renovation costs would be shared by the City Fields Foundation who to date, have renovated five facilities in the city. They know what works and so far, have been very successful in their efforts.

In its current condition, the Beach Chalet fields can host just over 4,000 hours of play in a year. With the renovations in place, the amount of hours for both soccer and lacrosse games to take place would almost be tripled.

In a time when the game of soccer is on the rise, kids are in need of more physical activity and city budgets are being slashed, why wouldn’t we say yes to this project? Let’s turn Beach Chalet into the sports facility it was always meant to be. It would be a great benefit to soccer enthusiasts throughout San Francisco, and would be a facility that all of the Richmond District would be proud to have, especially this one.

Sarah B.

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 12:36 pm | Posted under Community, Golden Gate Park | 6 comments

Richmond restaurants participating in “Dine About Town”

The San Francisco Dine About Town program is back for its ninth year. The 2 week event (January 15 – 31) offers diners a discounted meals at some of the best restaurants in the city. And it gives the restaurants a chance to attract some patrons who may not have tried them before.

Restaurants in Dine About Town offer either a 2-course lunch for $17.95 or a 3-course dinner for $34.95, or both. Many of them prepare special menus for the event.

Here in the Richmond, the following restaurants are participating:

Aziza, 5800 Geary at 22nd Avenue | Moroccan
Dinner: Sun – Thurs (closed Tues)
Aziza is the mover and shaker of Richmond District restaurants these days. They received a covered Michelin Guide star, made EaterSF’s Top 38 last week, and diners can’t seem to get enough of Chef Mourad Lahlou’s modern Moroccan cuisine.

Chapeau!, 126 Clement | French
Dinner: Sun – Thurs
After a recent change of address, Chapeau! continues to serve up excellent French cuisine and warm, stellar service led by owner Philippe Gardelle. Back in October, Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer gave Chapeau 3 out of 4 stars.

Cliff House, 1090 Point Lobos Avenue | American
Lunch: Sun – Thurs | Dinner: Sun – Thurs
You can’t go wrong with the views and good food at the Cliff House (they also made EaterSF’s Top 38 last week). They just recently celebrated their 100th anniversary and for a few years now, even locals are saying great things about their meals at their two restaurants, The Bistro and Sutro’s.

Click here to see all the San Francisco restaurants participating in Dine About Town.

Bon apetit!

Sarah B.

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 10:58 am | Posted under Food, Uncategorized | Comments Off

New Jiu-Jitsu dojo by the beach

Local blog San Francisco Now has a nice video feature on a new Outer Richmond District business, Ocean Beach Barra Brothers Jiu-Jitsu.

Started in late 2009, the dojo is run by Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former US open champion Carlos Sapao. The focus is on the Brazilian style of Jiu-Jitsu.

The dojo also offers Brazillian bootcamp class which they describe as “a blend of traditional exercises (jumping jack, push-ups, squats, etc.), Jiu-Jitsu inspired cardio drills, and self defense disciplines”.

If you’re looking for a new workout for 2010, Barra Brothers may be the ticket. All ages are welcome and the first class is free. They’re located at 710 La Playa Street near Balboa and offer classes from morning until evening.

Sarah B.

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 6:13 am | Posted under Kids, Recreation, Sports | Comments Off

Adult Open House at the Richmond Village Beacon, Jan. 14

The Richmond District Neighborhood Center (RDNC) and its sister up the street, The Richmond Village Beacon, offer a wide variety of free services to residents of all ages in the neighborhood.

The Beacon serves youth who attend Richmond District schools, but they also offer a dynamic menu of classes and workshops for adults.

This Thursday night, the Beacon will host an Adult Open House from 6-8:30pm. Enjoy a free dinner with the staff and learn about the free adult activities and classes that will be offered this spring. You’ll have a chance to sign up for sessions like Advanced & Beginners Computers, Tai Chi, Yoga, Dance, and Knitting Circle.

TheBeacon office is located on the campus of George Washington High School (Bldg. T-3); enter at Anza and 30th Avenue.

For more information on the open house or the Richmond Village Beacon, visit their website or contact staff member Mila at 750-8554, ediaz@rvbeacon.org.

Sarah B.

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 7:26 pm | Posted under Community, Events | Comments Off

Another car up in flames in the Outer Richmond

This is one trend I hoped would die out with 2009… SFWeekly reported today that two cars were set on fire on 39th Avenue last night and early this morning. One was on the 2200 block of 39th Avenue (Sunset), and the other on the 700 block (Outer Richmond).

A woman walked out of her house on the 700 block of 39th to be confronted with smoke pouring out of her vehicle. Not only had someone smashed in the window and started a fire, the unknown arsonist also filched several items.

While the two arsons on 39th Avenue were blocks apart, police are investigating a possible connection between them.

Sarah B.

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 7:08 pm | Posted under Crime | Comments Off

Camping in Golden Gate Park?

A CurbedSF story stopped me in my tracks last week. They posted about a SF Examiner article detailing the Park & Rec Department’s plans to look into allowing campouts in Golden Gate Park for kids.

“It’d be kind of like a summer camp,” Rec and Park Project Manager Lev Kushner said. “It’s an idea I stole from New York. They have a camp-out with parents and children, and then maybe a bonfire, a constellation identification walk or a campfire cookout.”

There’s already plenty of illegal camping happening in Golden Gate Park, so why is the Rec & Park Dept. now interested in the concept? Money, of course. With $9 million in cuts to their budget, the department is looking for new ideas to generate revenue.

The article says that Park & Rec Chief Phi Ginsburg “has created a three-person moneymaking team to flush out the ideas and other possibilities, such as corporate sponsorships, holding flea markets and flipping more events like the “Peter Pan” show, which is netting the department $315,000 in permits alone.”

In typical Examiner fashion, they don’t actually explain what the Peter Pan show is so I’m not sure. Anyone know? I imagine people flying around on cables in wooded areas of the park in green tights, but who knows. Must be something interesting if it’s generating that much in permit fees. [Thanks to reader Bob who sent in a link explaining the Peter Pan show]

Back to the camping idea… My initial reaction to this was negative. I guess I am jaded by all the issues in Golden Gate Park like homeless camping, trash, crime and the annual dead body that some poor visitor inevitably comes across. The idea of having kids sleeping overnight in the park strikes me as a bad idea. I think the Presidio would be a more appropriate place for this. It just feels a lot less urban.

There is also the issue of staffing and managing a program like this. Wouldn’t you need a 24 hour security service to watch over the area where the little tykes and their chaperones are snoozing? In the Examiner article, Ginsburg says that a similar program in New York city requires “about 70 people”. With a budget crisis already looming, hiring a large team to manage a new program like this doesn’t seem like good spending.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some lovely places in GGP where people could have a great camping experiencing. The AIDS Memorial Grove is one that springs to mind, as well as the top of Strawberry Hill at Stow Lake (great sunrises from there).

I also question how much money this would really bring in. What would a group pay for the privilege of bunking in the park? If they only ran a program like this in the summer, the possibilities for a lot of revenue seem limited.

As a kid, I spent a night on Alcatraz. I tagged along on a girl scout outing and we all had to clear the helicopter pad of weeds in exchange for the sleepover. I was exhausted by the time we crawled into our cells and sleeping bags. They didn’t close the cell doors, but it was one of the best night sleeps I ever had. And I’ve never forgotten the experience of being on the island at night, hearing the sounds of Ghirardelli Square trickle across the Bay to us as we sat around the campfire.

So I think there are urban spots where this camping idea has some merit, but I’m not so sure about Golden Gate Park.

What do you think of the idea of camping in GGP? Are you getting your camping gear ready in anticipation?

Sarah B.

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 12:21 pm | Posted under Golden Gate Park | 11 comments