Introduction by Joe Eskenazi. Photographs by Nathaniel Downes.
The first thing to hit you when you walk through the front door of The Gotham Club, the swank new private establishment at AT&T Park, is the smell. The aroma of soaked earth and freshly cut grass hits you and it hits you hard. Baseball is a game steeped in nostalgia and this odor conjures up memories of youthful trips to the ballpark and long summer evenings on the diamond.
This is a pleasant experience, to say the least. But this is not the smell of The Gotham Club. Head up the stairs and you're hit with a blast of old wood. And, yes, old money.
It would be very easy to grow cynical upon entering this supremely upscale private club housed within the team's right field out-of-town scoreboard. It's a testament to the rich history of the ballclub whose games you're not watching. It's a chance to look down upon players, many of whom grew up in abject poverty, while sipping on a $12 draft beer.
And yet, the level of care and detail put into the construction of this place -- which officially opens Friday, but, likely not for you -- is breathtaking. Books of the sort obtained at a centenarian's estate sale are on the shelf above the flat-screen TV -- three whole volumes of Carl Sandburg's writings on Lincoln -- while an alarmingly complete trove of Giants literature is on the lower shelf.
Yes, Arnold Hano's "A Day in the Bleachers" is here.
The couches are all overstuffed, the stools are topped with baseball glove-like leather, and there's a Cooperstown-level of ephemera here. Joyous club members may receive the honor of operating the out-of-town scoreboard (An honor for a tippler; a job-duty for an employee).
The nitty-gritty: It'll cost you $2,500 to join this club, plus around $1,500 a season. You also have to be a season-ticket holder -- or a current or former Giant. Membership will be capped at 1,000 (non-Giants) while spatial relations are assessed, and then, likely, allowed to grow. Right now, 700 season ticket-holders are members.
The drinks are delicious -- and expensive. The food is divine -- and expensive. But, if you have to ask how much it costs -- perhaps you can't afford it.
This is a gorgeous place. Everyone would appreciate it. Not everyone will see it.
Tony's Pizza celebrated five years of making pizza in North Beach by completing a record breaking pizza toss. A representative from Guinness World Records was there to verify the feat. In order to break the previous record, more than 250 pizzas had to be tossed, for a duration of at least one minute, and each pizza needed to reach a final measurement of 12". Tony's Pizza managed to break the previous record by tossing 263 pizzas. The event also hosted raffles, pizza acrobatics, and a massive pizza toss with the participation of local children and families. Proceeds from the event benefit Family House SF, which serves as a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Photographs by Mabel Jiménez.
Remember that age-old question: Is advertising art? The two have a strained relationship and San Francisco has never been immune to the tug-of-war between expression and capitalism. Now try to remember a music festival called Wild West in Golden Gate Park during late 1960s. You probably can't because it never happened. (The show was canceled due to major disputes over admission price and funding. This idea that art couldn't survive without monetary help only brought further conflict between artists and advertisers.) In Steven Wolf Fine Arts newest group show, What Keeps Mankind Alive, Anthony Discenza and Jacqueline Gordon use typical advertising graphics and characteristics in the way of murals and installations, to create pieces that go on to provoke the conversation between the two sides. These pieces are displayed next to found art — such as the poster for Wild West — in an attempt to examine the balance between art and capitalism.
Every once in a while a television show comes along and turns the general population into a bunch of binge-watching boob tube addicts. Ever since Downton Abbey came to the United States in 2011, seemingly half of the country has canceled its social life to sit by the TV, hoping Lady Mary would find a suitable husband. Maybe it’s the historical references, maybe it’s the flawless-looking actors in flawless-looking outfits — whatever it is, people are hooked. This weekend, BATS Improv jumps on the Abbey bandwagon with its Improv Downton Abbey, a two-day improvisational theater show based on everyone’s favorite costume drama. The performances are part of the troupe’s 20th Annual Summer Improv Festival, and BATS’ razor-sharp actors are sure to deliver an evening as over-the-top and delectably dramatic as its namesake. Just don’t expect a series of Maggie Smith impersonations — the characters are made up on the spot based on (here’s the really fun part) audience suggestions.More
Thousands descended onto Post Street through Japantown during the J-Pop Summit Festival from July 19-20. The celebration of Japanese Pop culture and Japanese Heritage attracted residents and visitors from all over the world. Photographs by Christopher Victorio.
At this point, MGM’s 1939 The Wizard of Oz is so inextricably tangled up with L. Frank Baum's novels that any new adaptation of his work inevitably references the visual motifs, characterizations, and music of Victor Fleming's film.
Despite its distributor's best efforts, Christian Petzold's Barbara was not nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2013 Oscars -- and even if it had made the cut, it probably wouldn't have bested Haneke's Amour.
Anyone who attended a Fourteen Hills release party during Hollie Hardy’s legendary term as the journal’s editor-in-chief knows she throws a dignified rager. The launch for her much-anticipated debut collection How to Take a Bullet and Other Survival Poems features readings by an all-star cast: Peter Bullen, Maisha Z. Johnson, Tomas Moniz, Alexandra Naughton, SB Stokes, William Taylor Jr., and Matthew Zapruder — all at the SF Motorcycle Club, with live music by Wreck This Place and pulled pork sandwiches by Smokin’ Oak Barbecue. Hardy’s book, which takes its titles and jumping off points from The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, “sees our age of self-help and DIY culture as an aesthetic vehicle for more ritualistic and artful re-makings of the self in language and hip codes,” says award-winning poet Major Jackson.More
Traditionally, "summer music" associates the hottest season with bright, carefree, catchy pop and rock — a soundtrack fit for relaxing and partying. But what of songs for the less desirable elements of summer — relentlessly scorching afternoons, days when the AC isn't working properly, humid evenings that leave you listless and miserable? For that kind of summer music, throw on Rohnert Park, a 2010 record by Ceremony. Named after the Sonoma County city most of the hardcore punk five-piece grew up in, it's an album steeped in heat, anxiety, and anger. In its opener, vocalist Ross Farrar expresses his disgust for, among other things, condos, television, Black Flag, Catholics, atheists, fun, and hardcore itself. Rohnert also includes a wild Oi! track, a left turn into psychedelia, and a song about every activity — even sex — being mind-numbingly dull when done in (presumably) Rohnert Park. Ceremony has changed in the years since — 2012's Zoo, the act's most recent album, owes debts to goth rock, post-punk, and garage rock — but its crazed live performances benefit most from Rohnert Park's palette.More
Julio Bashmore emerged from Bristol producing impeccably machined throwback house. His bouncy, synth-stabbed and cymbal-driven four-on-the-floor and reverb-washed disco gained early support from San Francisco's own Claude VonStroke and his Dirtybird imprint, followed by tremendous critical and commercial success with single "Au Seve" and production work for house diva Jessie Ware. Bashmore has balanced and updated the influences of jackin' Chicago house, crispy early '90s acid, seductive late-'90s French filter house, elastic '80s funk, and wiggling New Beat. Still finalizing his debut album, Bashmore will road test his hook-friendly, sub-rattling tendencies as roving house-music connoisseurs Lights Down Low and DJ Dials bring him out of the underground and into Mezzanine this Saturday.More
Set in sand that is both beautiful and claustrophobic, the 1964 Japanese film The Woman in the Dunes is one of the most haunting dramas ever made about circumstance, struggle, and adaption. George Lawson Gallery pays homage to the movie's title with "Women in the Dunes," a group exhibit of 10 female artists — nine of them painters, one of them (Jennah Ward) a photographer who produces painterly work. All of the artworks leave room for interpretation, and some of the offerings in this exhibit — like Jenny Bloomfield's Out of the Green Blue, Justine Frischmann's Untitled Painting, Nancy Haynes' On Kawara's Dream, and Ward's Pico 2 photo — evoke a feeling of quiet and exploration that is also a foundation of Hiroshi Teshigahara's The Woman in the Dunes. See for yourself. The exhibition reception gives art-goers an ideal chance to inhabit art that, like Teshigahara's movie, is simultaneously timeless and about moments in time.More
It wouldn't be that surprising if, in the storeroom of a strip-mall novelty shop somewhere, Beck, Har Mar Superstar, and Adam Green meet monthly to swap jokes and try out new gags. There, lacking the soul and rhythm of his contemporaries, Green would dwell in the land of the lewd and hope that shock value alone would eclipse his inability to pen clever innuendos. Beck and Har Mar would chuckle, which is the desired response that Gemstones, Green's latest full-length, seems to be fishing for. Having fully abandoned the lo-fi indie ethos we first found him pursuing as one-half of the Moldy Peaches, Green now sounds like he's Krusty the Clowning his way toward a career in Vegas. Gemstones is a lounge comedy record. It's 15 songs of cheap shots and wacky imagery, throughout which Green rarely exerts himself. When he does, the effect is not unlike a bloated, drug-reeking Jim Morrison. Despite all its flaws, however, Gemstones is funny. Really funny. Whether or not a little kitsch and slapstick is worth trudging through the schmaltz for, though, is up to you.
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 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.