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.
Calling all collage connoisseurs, glue stick gurus, and copy machine queens: The SF Zine Fest is back. This annual gathering of writers, illustrators, designers, and creators celebrates the do-it-yourself magazine, a form that’s enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Come meet some of the NorCal leaders of this underground form, check out some of the city’s best alt rags, and enjoy the distinctive zine subculture at this weekend-long event. Among the form’s favorite subjects are monsters, food, sex, dreams, environmental apocalypse, and riot grrrls. In other words, it’s home to the queer and the quirky. Take that, mainstream publishing! Don’t forget your X-Acto knife or your sense of adventure.More
Sat., Aug. 30, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 31, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The third installment of the monthly summer series Bay Area Poetry Marathon is probably the hottest in a succession of great lineups this year. Curated by poet Donna de la Perrière, it features a wide range of poetic and performance styles. Gillian Conoley just released a fantastic book with Omnidawn, Peace, and has translated a collection of three books by the French poet Henri Michaux, previously unavailable in English, which comes out with City Lights next month. Nora Toomey likes to combine audio and video elements to her readings, which are consistently swoon-worthy and will likely complement Owen Hill’s short satirical poems quite well; he has a new book called A Walk Among the Bogus. Norma Cole and Kevin Killian are legends because they do a variety of things extremely well, and all with panache. Joining them are Megan Breiseth, Trevor Calvert, Natalie Catasus, and Andrew Joron, a favored experimental writer ’round these parts.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.
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
Every art form must, at some point, consecrate a practitioner to the level of supreme deity. Consumer electronics did it to Steve Jobs, high fashion did it to Princess Diana, and a powerful triumvirate of theater, gay men, and popular music joined to launch Barbra Streisand into iconic fame. Adoration of the diva has blossomed into an art form of its own in the one-man comedy Buyer & Cellar, visiting the Curran Theater for an off-Broadway tour. The high priest of this self-conscious inquiry into celebrity worship is the puckish Michael Urie, whose constantly thrumming body and comedic dexterity make the absence of the real Barbra acceptable. The fictional premise of the play, that Urie has been hired by Babs as the single employee of her underground home shopping mall, is hardly stranger than the truth: Streisand really does have a vintage subterranean mini-mall of her own design. Jonathan Tollins’ hit is so entertaining that you may not even notice it exploring the depths of materialism, nostalgia, and our collective need for refuge, whether in song, story, or a multimillion dollar personal storage unit.More
The gestures we make, the objects we encounter, and the subtle arrangement of ourselves relative to the absences left open by the world all utter messages we have been training our entire lives to interpret, using the ciphers of place and culture. LV Dance Collective, co-directed by San Francisco State University graduates Kao Vey Saephanh and Martha L. Zepeda, explores cultural codes and how they shape identity in their first home season, CODE, developed as part of the Resident Artist Workshop at the Garage. In addition to their central inquiry on identity, Saephanh and Zepeda present Quest for Truth, which won the sjDANCEco ChoreoAward for Collaborative Choreography. The transfer of choreography to dancer, from dance to eye, develops meaning in transmission. Intercept the dialogue between choreographers who have traveled the coasts and countries and come together in our jigsaw city.More
It's hard to tell whether highwire-walker Ryan Robinson had permission to tiptoe across a rope, surreptitiously strung between two outcroppings of rocks, somewhere near Lands End, on the northwestern edge of San Francisco.
If sfSoundSeries had a spiritual godfather, it would be John Cage, and he would be proud. Since 1999, the experimental music series has been presenting concerts that have stretched and elevated our experience of music, through intimate recitals and big bashes such as their early Transbay Skronkathons and the referential San Francisco Tape Music Festival. While Cage’s birth has only been officially recognized by one sfSound concert, his pieces have been woven through many programs over many years. Centennials, however, are worthy of grand cacophonous gestures. The Music of ChAnGEs is a year-long celebration that highlights many rarely performed works, such as Cage’s only radio drama, 1942’s “The City Wears a Slouch Hat,” as well as some thorny solo pieces, and more famous compositions. Tonight, the ChAnGEs summer season begins by traipsing through Cage’s entire storied career. Think of it as an overview, from 1939’s Imaginary Landscape No. 1, which was among the first electro-acoustic pieces in the world, to the poignant and dreamy Ten, which is among Cage’s final works on earth. You can expect everything from a chamber ensemble and prepared piano to the sound of fire, water, whistles, crumpling paper, shuffled playing cards, test tones, conch shells, and, of course, silence. What you won’t expect is where it takes you.
Sat., July 14, 8 p.m., 2012
Jack White and his band performed at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Friday and Saturday nights in front of sold out audiences. Jack entertained his fans with music that included songs from his days with The White Stripes, and The Raconteurs, as well as hits from his solo albums; Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. Photography by Sugarwolf.
The San Francisco Street Food Festival was another success this year. Dozens of vendors with original, unheard-of creations, such as deep fried mac and cheese on a stick, black pea paste pancakes, and Korean quesadillas. Then there was the comfort foods we've grown accustomed to, like creme bruleé, shrimp rolls, and pound cake. Photographs by Mabel Jimenez.