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.
The Legion of Honor today reopens its incredible French period room, The Salon Doré. The type of room, particular to pre-revolutionary France, was called the salon de compagnie, or salon for conversation. "There was no eating," explains the Legion's curator of European decorative arts and sculpture, Martin Chapman. "They just sat and made conversation and it was the [woman of the house's] ability to hold the conversation. It was a bit like being an actor." Although fake conversations were perfectly acceptable in 1780s France, there's nothing fake about this room — its paint, furniture, paneling, upholstery, and gold gilding have been completely refurbished over the past 18 months. The museum's painstaking efforts have fully restored the room to its original splendor. "When used," Chapman says, "there is a whole orchestration — there's a sort of ballet that plays out in these salons."
We all have serious concerns about data mining, but they don’t stop us from being curious, which might explain the persistence of Facebook in our lives. It certainly explains how Dataclysm got us. Author Christian Rudder says he, himself, is ambivalent about Big Data — he won’t tweet or post anything personal, yet he co-founded OkCupid, which admits to having skewed matches to study results. This makes Rudder a savvy but dubious guide through the information thicket. Amazingly, Rudder, a pithy writer with a Harvard math degree, can often just let the facts speak for themselves. According to him, Belle and Sebastian is obviously the whitest band in the world. And “mudding” is one of the most frequently used words on a white-lady dating profile. But, like jumping baby goat videos in our newsfeed, these silly truths just forestall the sadder reality Rudder reveals, even as he expresses awe for Big Data’s use in social science.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.
When the ancient Polynesians invented surfing, they often used a paddle to help them navigate. Fast-forward a few millennia, and Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or SUP, finds itself trendy again. Part of its increasing popularity is that standing upright allows surfers to spot waves more easily and thus catch more of them, multiplying the fun factor. Paddling back to the wave becomes less of a strain as well. The ability to cruise along on flat inland water, surveying the sights, is another advantage. Finally, its a good core workout. If youre sold on the idea, schedule an intro SUP lesson, free with board and paddle rental, and you may find yourself riding the waves like a Polynesian king.More
Doc’s Lab finally opens this week in the North Beach space formerly occupied by landmark comedy club The Purple Onion, which closed in 2012 after more than 60 years of hosting comics such as Lenny Bruce, Phyllis Diller, and Zach Galifianakis. Doc’s Lab, situated underneath the newly-opened Doc Ricketts restaurant, plans to regularly host comedy shows along with live music and literary events. The lineup is already set for the first couple of months, and Monday is the club’s first comedy open mic night. The show is produced by Jeff Cleary of the SF Barkast podcast and features “some of the best up-and-coming comics in the Bay Area.” Check it out for the fresh local comedy, and definitely for the novel experience of consuming San Francisco-palate-worthy food and cocktails at a comedy venue.More
As a self-described "logical extension of a free public library," our local free walking-tour company is, like most libraries, a fascinating mash of nerdy and white-hot rad. The San Francisco City Guides walking tours happen every day (except major holidays), are free, and follow in the footsteps of hypereducated history nuts who hand out copies of secret, illuminating documents while pointing out the beauty all around us. What's more, in the best-weather months of May and October, the Guides offer extra tours, bringing the weekly count up to 114. Among the tours offered: Palace Hotel, Russian Hill Stairways, Castro: Tales of the Village, Pacific Heights Mansions, Ferry Building, and Market Street: Path of Gold. The Diego Rivera tour, offered Mondays, is one of our favorites the City Club (formerly the Stock Exchange building) at 155 Sansome is normally closed to the public; the mural, Allegory of California, is pure weird radiant Rivera sorcery.More
San Francisco Film Society held their Film Society Awards Night at Bimbo's on Tuesday, May 7th. Harrison Ford was in attendance accepting the 2013 Peter J. Owens Award. Photographs by Josh Edelson for SF Weekly.
The photography of Lane Wilson conjures the dramatic, high-contrast landscapes of legends such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Stark. Beautiful. Serene. ... And then there's Wilson's other work. One example is a wintertime shot taken in the mountains that resembles the hide of a Holstein cow. In fact, you have to focus for a few seconds to conclude that you're not looking at a Holstein cow. And even then you're only mostly sure, not all sure. It's puzzling and it's precisely the kind of photo Ann Jastrab was looking for when she put together Scene Unseen, a collection of works that start with predictable settings or objects and make them look like they're from different worlds. Another such piece comes from Mary Parisi. She shoots food. Only, sometimes it doesn't look like food. It looks like a landscape. (Are you sensing a pattern here?) The result is Ham Mountain. Adam Ekberg, on the other hand, augments his landscapes, like the time he put a vacuum cleaner on the snowy surface of a frozen lake then plugged it in and turned it on. Frozen lake aside, many shots in Scene Unseen were taken in familiar places around the Bay Area, Jastrab says, but don't expect to recognize any. A recent reaction to one piece in the show might as well speak for them all: It looks different than any place I've ever been.
Nov. 11-Dec. 12, 2010
Blue skies meet redwood canopies in the mountain town of Felton, located just north of Santa Cruz on Highway 9. Once a bustling logging community, the town is now a mix of mellow locals and serene wilderness. Visitors can enjoy the redwoods in nearby Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and splash in swimming holes in the San Lorenzo River. For a bite to eat stop by Rocky’s Cafe for fruit-laden pancakes, barbeque at the Cowboy Bar & Grill and poolside burgers at the Trout Farm Inn. Other stops worth checking out include Roaring Camp Railroads, the Mount Hermon zip line tour, and the educational Bigfoot Discovery Museum. For beer or cocktails a log cabin bar has you covered.