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Heaven Help Us 

Take an infernal excursion

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SAT 3/13

It's not that San Francisco is a natural stamping ground for the devil -- we'd guess that Lucifer would gravitate more toward Las Vegas or Bayonne, New Jersey -- but our liberal acceptance of all stripes of freakiness has traditionally meant that Satanists and other anti-Christians have found settling here relatively trouble-free. Get to know these bygone blasphemers at Heaven and Hell Part 1: "Hell on Wheels," a spooky San Francisco Bicycle Coalition ride past various occult locales.

You may have heard that Jim Jones' People's Temple was headquartered here, or that Anton LaVey conducted numerous Church of Satan rituals from his notorious Richmond District "Black House," or that menacing cult leader Charles Manson supposedly hooked up with the diabolical Process Church of the Final Judgment in Cole Valley just months before he and his "Family" started knocking people off. But have you seen the sites where they accomplished their demonic deeds? Embrace evil at 11 a.m. at McLaren Lodge, Stanyan & Fell, S.F. Admission is free; call 431-2453 or visit www.sfbike.org.
-- Joyce Slaton

Deco Walkers

SAT 3/13

The joys of downtown S.F. can, like those of any great city, best be appreciated while on foot. Cable cars or no cable cars, nothing beats standing on fancy sidewalks and getting a crick in your neck ogling pretty architecture. Although the Art Deco Walking Tour of Downtown San Francisco could be canceled due to inclement weather, we're hoping that because spring is here (knock on wood), you won't have to worry about that. Concentrate instead on the grand towers of commerce built in the 1920s and '30s, with their majestic facets and gleaming tile work. The tour is led by a guide from the Art Deco Society, and begins at 11 a.m. at 450 Sutter (at Stockton), S.F. The cost is free-$10; call 982-3326 or visit www.art-deco.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Aye, Cap'n!
Row, row, row your boat in Oakland

SAT-SUN 3/13-14

We're going to let you in on a little secret about rowing. Everybody knows that piloting a boat is one of the best ways to get chummy with wind, water, and sea life. What you may not realize is that rowing also provides the kind of rippling, six-pack gut muscles normally seen only on fitness machine infomercials. Reacquaint yourself with your upper-body musculature at the Lake Merritt Rowing Club's monthly sculling classes.

The two-day primer covers equipment handling, safety, and proper stroke form, plus remedial information on docking and getting in and out of the boat (for the pathetic klutz in us all). Classes start at 9:30 a.m. at the Lake Merritt Rowing Club Boathouse, 1520 Lakeside (at 14th St.), Oakland. Fees are $100 and reservations and a swim test are required; call (510) 834-6293 or visit www.rowlakemerritt.org.
-- Joyce Slaton

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Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

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