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Rest in Peace, Robin Williams – beloved comedian and longtime resident

We’re so saddened by the news of Robin Williamspassing today. There are too many remarkable moments from his career and life to try and list here, but we thought we’d highlight some of our personal and historic memories of him related to his time in the Richmond District.

Williams was well known for getting his start in San Francisco, most notably at the Holy City Zoo at 408 Clement Street (now Side Bar). Williams was known for using “the club as his neighborhood rehearsal space”. When the club shuttered in 1984 (for the first time, it lived on until 1994 in a few different forms), the Chronicle wrote about its importance to Robin:

ROBIN WILLIAMS was there, of course, but didn’t much want to talk about it. It was a highly personal moment. He did his earliest stand-up here, met his oldest friends here, met his wife here. This is where he learned his craft, and it was a sad, melancholy night on June 19, 1984. The Holy City Zoo, a legend among America’s comedy clubs, the ultimate “comedian’s hangout,” folded after 13 years.

“I’m sad,” said Robin. “We had wonderful times here, strange times here; this wasn’t a haven, it was a game preserve. I remember a big black guy who’d come in with a baseball bat and say ‘I’d like to audition.’ But a lot of that is in the past. So many changes.”

Robin was also known to perform consistently early in his career (and to pop by occasionally after becoming a star) at the annual Comedy in the Park event in Golden Gate Park. I’m sure they’ll take time at this year’s event on September 14 to remember him well.

He lived in Sea Cliff for many years in a pink, Mediterranean-style house on a corner that was a popular stop on Halloween. One year I noticed a huge line outside Robin’s house as kids lined up to get their “treat” – a glow necklace. He was always generous on Halloween.

He was often seen around the neighborhood, usually on a bike. I spotted him once waiting outside Angelina’s Cafe for his order, barely recognizable under a hat. Even after he moved to Marin, he was seen occasionally in the ‘hood.

Another former resident, Cate Z., remembers her encounters with him fondly. “I used to see him walking his white Boxer in Seacliff. He always stopped and pet our big scary Rottweiler. Such a nice man and such a huge talent. He was a gentle soul.”

Feel free to share your memories of Robin Williams in the comments. His vivacious spirit will be missed.

Sarah B.

P.S. – Some local comedians gathered at the former Holy City Zoo on Clement Street after the announcement of Robin’s death.

At Comedy in the Park, 1987. Photo: Deanne Fitzmaurice, The Chronicle

The Holy City Zoo just before its closing. Photo: Chris Stewart, The Chronicle

Ocean Beach, 8/11/14. Photo by Katie L.

A chalk message outside Angelina’s Cafe. Photo by Mike F.

Mourners leave bouquets of flowers at Robin Williams’ former home in Sea Cliff on Monday, August 11, 2014.
Photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle.

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 4:52 pm | Posted under News | 30 comments

Outside Lands recap – how did the neighborhood fare?

Crowds leaving Golden Gate Park around 10pm on Saturday. Photo by citznkane1

Outside Lands concluded its seventh year on Sunday night, with headliners The Killers and Tiesto closing out the music, food and arts festival on Golden Gate Park. The Chronicle has a nice slideshow and writeup of the weekend’s activities.

On Friday night, controversial headliner Kanye West was heard all over the city, even in West Portal according to one of our commenters, thanks to the high volume and booming bass of his performance.

“Wow, Kanye has the bass turned way up. People in Ingleside, West Portal and Lake Merced are upset.” Another commenter wasn’t impressed with his use of the f*bomb.

Things seemed to improve on Saturday and Sunday. Commenters made note of the lower volume levels compared to past years and even compared to Friday’s performances:

“I must say I’m quite pleasantly surprised today (Saturday). After last night’s barrage of unpleasant sound, I expected to be blasted all the way to the Underworld today here in West Portal. But we haven’t heard anything at all and it’s already 5:30 PM. There was an article in the Chronicle this morning about turning down the noise, especially the bass, and maybe the Festival organizers read it and actually heeded the suggestion! Anyway we’re fine out here and hope this courteous lack of noise continues through the night.”

Another commenter that lives alongside the park said this was the best year to date. “We live at the entrance/exit @ 30th and Fulton and this has been the most improved year, thus far.”

It seems the organizers were more mindful this year of noise complaints that came in through their hotline. ABC7 News reported that “Organizers have set up a noise complaint hotline for neighbors and claim every complaint is investigated with mobile sound monitoring equipment, then relayed back to concert sound technicians who can adjust volume.” Watch the story below:

In spite of the concert noise being more manageable, some neighbors still found it tough to weather the crowds that streamed in and out of the park, leaving garbage and sometimes urinating on their lawns and front steps.

We had this comment passed along to us from Friday night from a resident that lives across the street from Golden Gate Park:

“I saw the complete sh*t show from about 10:30 to 1AM and the aftermath. Fights, fisticuffs, opening card doors into people, people jumping off moving Muni busses, gaggles of girls running full drunken throttle into oncoming traffic on Fulton, almost dying, bro-grammar dudes in total verbal altercation with their Uber driver, some amateur youth pukers and some urinaters outside of Safeway which was completely overrun with drunkards and animals of the night.”

Yup, sounds like a music festival.

Another commenter asked that the festival conclude a bit earlier on Sunday night. “Please end the festival on Sunday by 7PM. Some of us have to get up at 4:45am Monday morning. Ending at 9:45 + another 2 hours of noise is unacceptable on a work night.”

So it sounds like there were some improvements this year with regards to noise, but status quo with regards to the crowds and revelry.

What was your experience with Outside Lands this year? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.

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 10:13 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park | 54 comments

Wine tasting fundraiser for new RDNC seniors food program, August 28

For the past year, the Richmond District Neighborhood Center (RDNC) and the Richmond Senior Center have been working together on a new program for seniors in the neighborhood.

It’s called The Richmond District Food Security Network, and its goal is to connect isolated seniors with fresh groceries and community support.

“Nationally, 40% of seniors over 80 live alone, and that number is even higher in the Richmond District,” said Sarah Huck, program manager at the RDNC.

“Our goal is to alleviate food security issues, loneliness, depression and other anxieties related to being home-bound by matching isolated seniors with volunteer neighbors to deliver fresh groceries, share in friendly conversation and serve as an additional ally and eye in the community looking out for our home-bound residents.”

After a small pilot this summer with 5 seniors and 5 volunteers, “to get the kinks out”, Huck said, the program is now almost ready for its full launch. The program will get help from many neighborhood constituents including Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, families and neighbors from Katherine Delmar Burke School, the YMCA, Grocery Outlet, St. John’s Presbyterian Church and Starbucks who will serve as “hub sites” to identify volunteers and make sure deliveries are being made.

“Ideally we will be running 6 hub sites in our district within a year serving at least 120 isolated residents and engaging up to 200 volunteers on a weekly basis,” Huck said.

With the help of Supervisor Eric Mar, The Richmond District Food Security Network has already received $60,000 in funding from the San Francisco Food Security Task Force, which will be used to coordinate the program’s participants and volunteers, train neighbors as senior advocates, and provide assistance and referrals to participants as needed.

On Thursday, August 28 from 5:30pm to 9pm, the RDNC is hosting an additional fundraiser called Wine on the Westside, “an evening of wine, a taste of the Richmond’s most delectable foods, and live music” at La Promenade Cafe at 3643 Balboa.

The event will include food from local eateries The Cliff House, Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, and Golden Chariot Bakery & Restaurant, plus raffle prizes from Marla Bakery, Pacific Cafe, and the San Francisco Zoo. Ron Scott will be playing live music.

Huck says their goal is raise $5,000 to help cover the projected costs of program planning, the pilot site and volunteer administration fees.

Tickets to Wine on the Westside are $35 – $50 and are available online; the $50 ticket includes unlimited pours.

Sarah B.

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 5:12 am | Posted under Community, Events | Add comments

Photo: McGruff the Crime Dog hanging with local artist Frank Kozik

Photo by @skozik13

Last night, the SFPD Richmond District station hosted a National Night Out event. One of the highlights each year is the appearance of McGruff the crime dog, in his full trenchcoat attire.

Sharon Kozik, wife of local artist Frank Kozik, tweeted the above photo to us from the event. She was excited about meeting the dog detective:

Frank Kozik is in the process of opening a design studio/store on Clement Street near 3rd Avenue, in the old Kumquat’s location. Gotta wonder if his encounter with the crime dog will inspire some new works…

Sarah B.

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 4:06 pm | Posted under Art, Photos | Comments Off

HUSHfest “silent music fest” returns to Ocean Beach, September 28

Shhhh! What happens when hundreds of people gather to hear DJ music in a public space – but all of them are wearing wireless headphones to hear the music instead of listening to loudspeakers?

It’s called HUSHfest, and it’s put on by Silent Frisco, “a crew of San Francisco sonic missionaries dedicated to turning impossible situations into musical magic. We specialize in enabling performances in public spaces where “noise” has previously made such performances impractical or illegal. By using our custom “Silent Frisco” wireless headphones, the music can play while neighbors enjoy peace and quiet.”

You pay $20 to rent a pair of wireless headphones at the event, which includes access to 2 channels, each broadcasting one of the two live performers/DJs at a given time.

Don your headphones to tune in and enjoy the music, or take them off and enjoy the beach around you and your neighbors.

On Sunday, September 28 beginning at 11am, Silent Frisco will host several DJs at Ocean Beach for HUSHFest: Rob Garza, Psychemagik, Fort Knox Five, Thunderball, NON STOP BHANGRA, Hard French DJ’s, El Papachango, Motion Potion, DJ Mancub, Matt Haze.

HUSHfest is open to all ages and $20 tickets can be purchased online, which includes the rental of your wireless headphones.

Rock on (silently!),

Sarah B.

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 4:32 am | Posted under Events, Live Music, Ocean Beach | 6 comments

Saturday family movie nights at Cabrillo Playground; starts Aug. 9

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Cabrillo Playground re-opened after a $4.5 million remodel. Beginning this Saturday night, the playground will host three movie nights for families.

The lineup is as follows:

August 9: Toy Story
September 6: Finding Nemo
October 11: The Incredibles

Movies are free and will be shown inside the Cabrillo Playground Clubhouse, located at 851 38th Avenue. Doors open at 5:30pm and the shows begin at 6pm. All children MUST be accompanied and SUPERVISED by an adult at all times.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, pillows & sleeping bags to get comfy; PJ attire is optional.

The kitchen will also be available to attendees if they want to prepare snacks or meals.

Sarah B.

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 5:12 am | Posted under Events, Kids, Parks | 4 comments

Video: Santa Cruz fishing boat runs aground at Ocean Beach

A fishing boat, identified as the Paloma from Santa Cruz, CA, washed ashore on Ocean Beach early Monday morning.

The video above was taken by a youtube user who interviewed an eyewitness who was at Ocean Beach when debris began washing up.

According to the Examiner, the Coast Guard is still searching for a man, Timothy Lybrand, that was believed to be aboard the vessel.

UPDATE 8-5-14: The Coast Guard suspended their search for Timothy Lybrand around 12noon on August 4. Crews searched an 18-square-mile area between Ocean Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge, Coast Guard officials said. [SFAppeal]

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Coast Guard Command Center at (415) 399-3547.

Sarah B.

[via Ocean Beach Bulletin]

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 9:53 am | Posted under News, Ocean Beach | Add comments

2014 Neighbor’s Guide to Outside Lands Music Festival, August 8-10

Paul McCartney performs at Outside Lands 2013. Photo by Josh Withers

Ready to rock and roll, Richmond District? Outside Lands 2014, the seventh year for the large music festival, kicks off this Friday in Golden Gate Park.

The lineup is eclectic as always, ranging from rock to electronic dance music to hip hop to country. Headliners include Kanye West, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, The Flaming Lips, Tiesto, Death Cab for Cutie and Ray LaMontagne. View the lineup by day or view the daily schedule.

There is also an official iPhone app for Outside Lands 2014, and an unofficial one called FestFriend for Outside Lands 2014. iTunes Radio also has an Outside Lands 2014 station.

If you live near the park and will be welcoming people to the neighborhood each day, here are some tips to help you negotiate the crowds and traffic – and give the best advice to the 65,000 concertgoers that will be visiting the festival every day this weekend.

The festival runs for three days, beginning Friday, August 8 through Sunday, August 10. Venues in Golden Gate Park include the Polo Fields (main stage), Hellman Hollow, Marx Meadow and Lindley Meadow. On all three days, gates open at 11am, music begins at 12noon, and music ends at 10pm (9:40pm on Sunday). The festival is officially sold out for all three days.

The festival box office will be located in Marx Meadow, off of JFK Drive in between 25th and 30th Avenue. Concertgoers can drive into the park at Fulton St. and 30th Avenue and park along JFK until Thursday at 8pm to pick up your tickets. After that they must access the Box Office on foot.

Entrances into the festival are located at 30th Avenue and Fulton on the north side of the park, and near 36th Avenue and Lincoln Way on the south side of the park. Download the festival map (PDF)

Download the festival map (PDF)

Most Richmond District residents that live past 25th Avenue already have a “front row” seat to the amplification of the Outside Lands stages. ;)

But if you want to get closer and really hear some of the performances, SF Funcheap has guides on where to position yourself outside the festival fences to catch the bands performing each day – Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Last year, they streamed some of the performances on TuneIn and UStream, but we haven’t been able to confirm if that is the case for 2014. If we find any information on that, we’ll update it here.

UPDATE: According to the Outside Lands website, they will be streaming some performances on their iTunes Radio station: “Check back on August 9th and August 10th to catch shows from performers like Duck Sauce, Chvrches, Tycho, Phosphorescent, Deer Tick, Lucius, Dum Dum Girls and more being broadcast live from Golden Gate Park. Check back for the weekend schedule!”

During the festival, the venues and roads around them are closed to the general public and all car traffic due to cyclone fencing which has already started going up. If you want to get through or around the park this weekend, plan on using Park Presidio / 19th Avenue, Stanyan, or the Great Highway (and don’t expect it to be quick).

Here’s a map of the entrances to the park that will be closed to car traffic during the festival:

Several areas of the park will be closed prior to the start of the festival and afterwards for festival setup and teardown:

Polo Field: Wednesday 7/30 6am – Thursday 8/14 8pm
Hellman Hollow: Sunday 8/3 6am – Wednesday 8/13 8pm
Lindley Meadow (East End): Monday 8/4 8am – Tuesday 8/12 8pm
Lindley Meadow (West End): Tuesday 8/5 8am – Tuesday 8/12 8pm
Marx Meadow: Monday 8/4 6am – Monday 8/11 8pm

There is no official car parking for the Outside Lands Festival, so expect parking to be really tight in the outer Richmond this weekend. Concertgoers will also be arriving by festival shuttle, by foot, MUNI, taxi, or bike. The festival offers free valet bike parking beginning at 10am every day (if you drop off between 10am and 8pm, you get a free bike wash!).

Again this year, schools in the neighborhood will open up their lots and raise money by charging for parking. Below is the list of school lots that will be open; except where noted, this information is from 2013 so fees and hours may vary once you’re at the lot:

1) Argonne Elementary – 680 18th Avenue @ Cabrillo Street
Hours: Friday – 4pm-11pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-11pm

2) Lafayette Elementary – 4545 Anza Street @ 36th Avenue
Hours: 10am-11pm, all 3 Days

3) Presidio Middle School – 450 30th Avenue @ Geary Blvd.
Hours: 10:30am-10:30pm, all 3 Days

4) Washington High School- Enter on 30th Ave between Geary & Anza
Hours: Friday through Sunday, 11am – 10:30pm
$30 [this info was confirmed for 2014]

5) Jefferson Elementary – 1725 Irving Street @ 19th Avenue (SUNSET DISTRICT)
Hours: Friday & Saturday – 10am-10:30pm, Sunday 10am-10:15pm

The festival has set up a community hotline again this year to take calls from neighbors – “to respond to any issues that may affect you during the festival”. The number is 415-390-2737. It is open from 10am until 11pm Friday through Sunday.

In addition to hotline staff, the city will add 2 dedicated tow trucks and 1 Parking Control Officer on each side of the Park to quickly respond to any blocked driveways or any other parking issues related to the Festival. You can also call SFMTA Parking Enforcement at 415-553-1237 or 415-553-1200 if you need to have a car towed.

Want to really get your point across about your driveway? Stop by The Richmond District SFPD station at 461 6th Avenue through Friday afternoon to pick up a SFMTA printed sign alerting concertgoers to not block your driveway.

Neighborhood 311
Information Guide (festival hours etc.)
View the daily schedule
Download the festival map (PDF)

Rock on Richmond District!

Sarah B.

Photo by Josh Withers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform at Outside Lands 2013

Photo by Josh Withers

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 4:30 am | Posted under Events, Golden Gate Park, Live Music | 87 comments