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People & Places

  • Reader's Poll

    Various

    Readers' Poll Best Local Comedian Robin Williams Best Local Stripper Carol Doda Best Local Writer Dave Eggers Best Local Hipster Nate Tynan Best Beat Cop Alex Fagan Best Place to Go on a First Date Midori Mushi Best New Career Option for Willie Brown Pimp Best Fashion Plate Willie Brown Best Radio DJ Renel in the Morning, 98.1 KISS-FM Best TV Talking Head Dennis Richmond, KTVU Channel 2 Best Local Politician… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet a Secret Lover

    Caffe Bianco

    There's no shortage of frenetic coffee shops in the Financial District serving office jockeys a quick hit. But if you're meeting a secret lover (or just a friend) for a serious midday conversation, you want a civilized cafe with a slower pace, a modicum of privacy, and a bit of class. On the ground floor of a nondescript office building,… More >>
  • Best Nasty Clowns

    Porn Clown Posse

    Need to loosen up your next house party or larger event? Consider hiring the Porn Clown Posse, a troupe of smutty Klowns (their spelling) with names like Ouchy, Flambeau, Snatchy, and Rugburns in outfits that range from Victorian corsetry to modern slave chic. Add a splash of salaciousness with cream pies and penis-shaped balloon animals (a PCP party staple) or… More >>
  • Best Scrappy Politician

    Chris Daly

    Why is it that every time we see the current San Francisco supervisors lineup we hear the song "Who Let the Dogs Out" playing in the back of our minds? That could have something to do with the city's feistiest supe, Chris Daly. No one can deny that this former housing advocate has presence. In fact, his in-your-face antics with… More >>
  • Best Bitch

    Lisa Miya-Jervis

    Mean, horny, loud, annoying, and smart -- that's what "bitch" often means. Miya-Jervis, editor and publisher of Bitch Magazine, is all those things. She's especially mean to irresponsible advertisers, misogynistic publications, and stupid movies, given that the magazine focuses on providing a feminist response to pop culture. It even has a section called "Where to Bitch," with names and addresses… More >>
  • Best Local Noir Fiend

    Eddie Muller

    As Fog City's leading authority on film noir, historian and novelist Eddie Muller is the man to call when it comes to "guns and gams," as he puts it in the introduction to his lavish coffee-table book, The Art of Noir. The author of such genre references as Dark City and Dark City Dames as well as a series of… More >>
  • Best Party Boys

    Martel Toler and Nabiel Musleh

    Known to nightlife aficionados as simply Martel and Nabiel, these two have carved a deep niche in San Francisco club culture. They run M&N Promotions, responsible for some of the most successful parties in town. Friends since the '80s, the entrepreneurs began "Release" in 1990, renting out warehouse space in the Produce District. "Release" relocated to 1015, the city's largest… More >>
  • Best Local Interviewer

    Michael Krasny

    Earlier this year, Michael Krasny celebrated his 10th anniversary as host of Forum, the KQED public affairs radio show that runs every weekday from 9 to 11 a.m. Over that decade, the San Francisco State English professor has established himself as a reasoned, intelligent, and quick-witted interviewer, always well-informed, who stands out with ease among the Bay Area's lackluster broadcast… More >>
  • Best Way to Plug Into S.F.'s Hidden Emotional Underworld

    "Missed Connections" Section of Craigslist

    Catching a stranger's eye as a bus goes by, wondering briefly what might have been, is part of the charm and frustration of living in the city. But you don't always have to just wonder. The "missed connections" section on Craigslist provides a unique kind of bulletin board, a place where strangers can anonymously post messages like these: "Saw you… More >>
  • Best Crazy S.F. Place to Take Out-of-Towners

    Tactile Dome

    Dr. August Coppola (Francis' brother and Nicolas Cage's dad) designed this touchy-feely 1971 oddity -- a one-way maze inside a geodesic dome that you must feel your way through, in complete darkness. Coppola built the attraction so that one must climb, crawl, slide, and fall to get to the end, encountering surprising and delightful textures and objects along the way.… More >>
  • Best Chron Columnist

    Ray Ratto

    In the time it takes Rob Morse to stroke his chin, the Sporting Green's Ray Ratto will have written two columns about the Giants, another about the Sharks, tapped out 600 words on the Niners for ESPN.com, and gofered stats for a graphic about pitchers. The guy's prolific: A Nexis search on his name nets about 200 hits for the… More >>
  • Best Local Film Critic

    David Thomson

    Last year, Thomson, a Brit living in Pacific Heights, released a fourth edition of his massive Biographical Dictionary of Film. It's an odd, addictive book, nearly 1,000 pages of the author's highly personal sketches (with room for both Rin Tin Tin and Reese Witherspoon). You can pingpong around his book for hours. Abbott and Costello: "Watch them do the ['Who's… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Cute Queers During the Day

    Dolores Park Café

    Night's easy. You can go to clubs, bars, raves, poetry readings, interpretive dance -- hell, almost anywhere -- and meet available dudes. But where do you meet your same-sex dreamboat in the a.m.? If you guessed the southwest corner of Dolores Park, you're close, but wrong. Leave the preening men in bikinis and head north two blocks to the Dolores… More >>
  • Best Local Answer to Terry Gross

    Sydney Goldstein of "City Arts & Lectures"

    Anyone who ever listens to NPR has heard Terry Gross' voice, if only to say the words "Fresh Air" -- drawn out yet run together, like "freshaaaaiiiirrr" -- as she hosts cultural figures on her daily program. But those who listen to a broadcast of our best local series of literary and intellectual interviews, "City Arts & Lectures," may think… More >>
  • Best Place to Read the Sunday Paper

    Café Que Tal

    Hidden among random storefronts on the west side of Guerrero in the Mission District, Café Que Tal receives what seems to be a blessed quantity and intensity of light. Whether it's a yellow morning sun or a deep afternoon glow, the place basks in a warm radiance throughout the day, making it the perfect spot to thumb through the newspaper… More >>
  • Best Bar Smoking Patio

    Lucky 13

    The Castro District boasts some of the best smokers' patios in the city, and Lucky 13's tops even the rest of the neighborhood. Lucky 13 is an unpretentious and slightly generic bar with a bit of a dark edge and a startling number of imported beers on tap. But the best reason to duck under its giant black-cat sign is… More >>
  • Best Cocktail Pianist

    Ricardo Scales

    We first encountered Scales at the Redwood Room back in the days when it was still the swankiest saloon in the city, and were as dazzled by his cascading, impressionistic flights of fancy as by the lush surroundings and stellar bar mix. Sometimes he'd pause in the middle of a particularly propulsive improvisational journey and clap his hands in counterpoint,… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're Living Sex and the City

    Opening Nights at 111 Minna Gallery

    The distinguished gent with the graying temples and the half-empty martini glass smiles conspiratorially as we swoop in on the buffet table and pile our paper napkin with slabs of brie and fresh strawberries. An exchange of witticisms is duly followed by introductions and a discussion of the group show ("The space theme is very ... sort of ..."). Then… More >>
  • Best Back Alley

    Ross Alley

    Ross Alley is the oldest alleyway in Chinatown and therefore in San Francisco, and as such boasts phantoms both benign and sinister. It was here that Fung Jing Toy (aka "Little Pete"), Chinatown's criminal mastermind, maintained most of the cribs, opium dens, and gambling joints that so enriched the city's coffers. (An amazing 1898 Arnold Genthe photograph of the alleyway… More >>
  • Best Street Name

    Ambrose Bierce Street

    Ambrose Bierce arrived in San Francisco after a stint in the Union Army, and before long his stiletto wit, usually employed at the expense of organized religion and the mendacity of public life, was gracing the pages of The Argonaut and other publications. (He once threatened an angry reader with a pistol; those were the days.) In 1887 Bierce joined… More >>
  • Best Eurotrash Hangout (After North Beach)

    Belden Place

    The romantic's vision of Paris -- a leisurely glass of wine at an open-air cafe -- doesn't translate easily in fogbound San Francisco. But some locals are so besotted with the European ideal that they will take that outdoor table at Belden Place and have that vin rouge even when the winds blustering through the Financial District are brisk enough… More >>
  • Best Place to Hand Over the Microfilm

    Empress of China's Cocktail Lounge

    The man in the gray fedora is late, but it doesn't matter, really: The deep leather (or is it pleather?) swivel chairs in the restaurant's sixth-floor bar are a fine vantage point for the expansive, smudged-pane nighttime view of the city lights. Celebrities come here all the time -- it was clear from the autographed glossies downstairs that even Mick… More >>
  • Best Unknown Scenic Spot

    China Beach

    Ocean Beach offers a due-west orientation along with an impressive vista north and south -- and a face full of gusting wind. For a kinder, gentler side of the Pacific Ocean, take your out-of-town friends to China Beach, just west of Baker Beach on San Francisco's north shore. Walk north on 27th Avenue until it hits Sea Cliff Avenue in… More >>
  • Best Radio Goofs

    Sarah & No Name

    We don't particularly enjoy waking up at 7 a.m., but it sure is nice to start the day with a belly laugh. The Morning Show with Sarah and No Name is a hilarious mix of camp and fluff, toilet bowl one-liners, boy-vs.-girl banter, and snappy commentary on the entertainment biz and current events. Part of their appeal lies in their… More >>
  • Best Place to Act 9 Years Old

    Carousel at Yerba Buena Gardens

    Call it a merry-go-round if you must, but this is no ordinary amusement-park ride. Built in 1906 and in operation at Playland-at-the-Beach from 1912 to 1972, the Carousel is a time-tripping link to another era. Even if you're not old enough to have hopped a ride back in the day, or if you choose to forgo the pleasure and leave… More >>
  • Best Local Film Honcho

    Henry S. Rosenthal

    Good movie producers are as adept at constructing myths about themselves as they are at getting films made. Rosenthal loves showing off his collection of two-headed calves (two, at the moment) and his enormous semicircular desk emblazoned with the initials JB (which he claims belonged to a certain funk and soul pioneer). As producer, consultant, and benefactor, Rosenthal has lent… More >>
  • Best Meeting of Past and Present

    Fort Point

    The Civil War era, complete with cannonballs, lives on at the most bone-chilling spot in San Francisco (since the Giants ceased playing night games at Candlestick, that is). Completed in 1861 as defense against a possible invasion via the bay, this brick fort in the Presidio still reeks of isolation and sacrifice. The major hook for tourists is the epic… More >>
  • Best Phone-Sex Educator

    John Bouvier

    To be clear, John Bouvier isn't here to take calls about enlarging your member or your "friend's" penchant for feathers. (There are 900 numbers for that.) But if you have serious or sensitive questions about sex and sexual health, the president of this volunteer-staffed telephone hotline (which celebrates its 30th birthday this year) is on-call and online to help provide… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet aConstruction Hunk (Without Really Trying)

    Specialty's Cafe and Bakery

    Eight o'clock in the morning, and the pleasant smells of freshly baked pastries are in the air. Holding a cup of coffee in one hand and the money to pay for it in the other, all a girl can think about is: Look at all those cakes! What cake? Beefcake. It appears that with all the construction going on in… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Cross Section of San Franciscans

    Dolores Park

    Not sure where to bring your friends and family to show off the famed loopiness of the city? New to San Francisco and want a quick rundown of who lives here? A sunny afternoon at Dolores Park can help. The multitiered park is rich with the strata of almost every local stereotype and subdivision you could imagine: among them baton… More >>
  • Best Place to Be Fondly Reminded of Your S.F. Childhood

    Wonder Bread/Hostess Bakery

    Like most urban areas, San Francisco offers some, uh, interesting scents to tickle our metropolitan noses. But one place produces a delightful odor that shocks us right back to our callow youth: the Wonder Bread/Hostess Bakery. Walking past the old brick factory near SOMA on a calm day, we can inhale deeply and catch that delicious synthetic-spongecake-ribbon-of-raspberry-jam-soft-creamy-center waft of a… More >>
  • Best (and Certainly Coolest) Cultural Figure

    Rhodessa Jones

    Rhodessa Jones is the most gorgeous grandmother you could ever hope to see. Her neck is about a mile long, and smooth as paper. She peers over her high cheekbones at her audiences, her wide mouth set in a hard line. When she speaks, you listen. The founder and director of the Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, and co-artistic… More >>
  • Best Government Employee

    Joe Lynn

    Lynn defines the phrase "public servant." As campaign finance officer and technical guru of the San Francisco Ethics Commission, Lynn is charged with the care and feeding of a database that tells the public who gave how much to which candidate, when. In a city where politics is the sport of choice, where more people regularly run for office than… More >>
  • Best (and Definitely Most Eccentric) Barkeep

    Bobby Cobby

    When Bobby Cobby took over the Owl Tree bar in 1977, he realized that he'd found another suitable place to house the thousands of owl-related items he'd collected since childhood (he rotates his stock of owl paraphernalia among home, storage, and bar). Bobby has since decorated the dim dive with owl paintings, owl sculptures (in wood and metal), and an… More >>
  • Best Place to Score Free Treats for Your Pooch

    Golden Gate Bridge Toll Booth

    The first time we had a dog biscuit handed to us with our change on a return crossing of the Golden Gate, we were taken aback with delight. How unexpected and small-town friendly. We don't travel over the bridge regularly ($5 is outrageous even for the biggest tourist attraction in S.F.), but when we do we still get a kick… More >>
  • Best Local Writer

    Michael Chabon

    We've followed his career for quite some time -- since 1988 to be exact -- when his short story "The Halloween Party" appeared in The New Yorker. It's a heart-wrenching tale crafted in effortlessly lyrical prose, like buttah. We fell in love. That same year, his debut novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh was published to critical acclaim and, unlike most… More >>
  • Best Union Members

    Tie Between Strippers and Bike Messengers

    San Francisco is obviously home to the Sexiest Union Members Anywhere. But which group takes the top honor? If you've ever seen exotic dancers when they're not working, you know that the prize doesn't automatically go to them. Bicycle messengers, on the other hand, look tough, gritty, and delicious all the time. So it's a tough choice. In the minds… More >>
  • Best Public Statue

    Earth's Fruitfulness and Man's Inventive Genius

    What we're talking about here is a statue, a larger-than-life, three-dimensional artistic representation of the human animal, not some abstract slab of granite like the Banker's Heart that rests forlornly in front of the Bank of America Building. Several candidates come to mind: Bufano's Sun Yat-Sen in St. Mary's Square; The Thinker at the Legion of Honor; Willie Mays in… More >>
  • Best Place to Forget the Other 49 States

    Coit Tower

    The world seems to grow sweeter step by step as you hike to the top of Telegraph Hill. The noise of the city fades away, and you become more aware of birds, flowers, and sky. At the summit, the panorama of the bay, Alcatraz, and Angel Island is transfixing. It remains the best show in town, with only the gentle… More >>
  • Best Tunnel

    Broadway Tunnel

    Of the four tunnels that penetrate San Francisco's hilly geography, the Broadway is the newest and the ugliest. Completed in 1952 at a cost of $5 million, it has none of the Edwardian charm of the Stockton, the Duboce, or the Twin Peaks -- all engineered by M.M. O'Shaughnessy during the city's great post-quake rebuilding-and-expansion era. The Broadway's two enormous… More >>
  • Best Residential Block (or Two)

    Washington between Gough and Laguna

    The diverse residential neighborhoods of San Francisco are a simple source of pleasure for Sunday strollers and amateur architects who appreciate the myriad possibilities of urban habitation. Alamo Square is a Victorian delight, and the cuckoo clocks clinging to Telegraph Hill have an élan all their own, but when you're in a high-cholesterol state of mind, the shacks of Pacific… More >>
  • Best Up-and-Coming Power Couple

    Gavin and Kimberly

    In the pantheon of powerful pairs to be found preening on opening night at the San Francisco Opera, some stand out more than others. There are, of course, Mayor Willie Brown and Carolyn Carpeneti, da lame duck's fund-raiser and mama of baby Sydney. Then there are the Shultzes, as in the increasingly decrepit former secretary of state George, and his… More >>
  • Best Local Psychic

    Bruce Brugmann

    Move over, Madame Zolta, at least when it comes to predicting the outcome of wars. Bruce-watchers will recall with glee his most recent howler, an April 2 Bay Guardian cover story headlined "The New Vietnam." The article was accompanied by an all-caps headline and a photo of a panic-stricken U.S. serviceman in Iraq, cowering behind a huge fireball. The clear… More >>
  • Best Pre-Quake Structure

    1013 Vallejo (at Taylor)

    Up on Russian Hill there are several buildings that for various reasons escaped the sweeping destruction of the 1906 earthquake and fire. 1652-56 Taylor, near the Vallejo steps, survived under a barrage of seltzer water and wet sand. Another survivor, 1067 Green between Jones and Leavenworth, is one of the city's two remaining octagonal houses. Our favorite, though, is the… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Pretty Women Walking Down the Street With Yoga Mats

    Valencia between 18th and 24th streets, Monday through Friday, 5 to 7 p.m.

    They're healthy. They're pretty. They're glowing with chi. What more is there to say?… More >>
  • Best Way to Put a King and Queen in City Hall

    The Co-Mayorship Proposition

    Proposition XXY, which has been floated for years, would replace the mayor's position with a "co-mayorship." Yeah, yeah, we know Willie is already one mayor too many. But there's an argument to be made that we do need two chief executives. Why? Because there's an election looming, and each of our favorite candidates, Tom Ammiano and Gavin Newsom, is more… More >>
  • Best Muni Line

    1 California

    Why are people so friggin' nice on the 1 California? For Chrissakes, the 1 feels more like BART than Muni! We want things to be pleasant, but can't we find a happy medium between Muni's near riots and BART's annoying politeness? This is a city, after all! We have an image to uphold! The strangest example of manners on the… More >>
  • Best Hotel Lobby

    Westin St. Francis Hotel

    Local lore has it that everybody in town passes through the St. Francis lobby at one time or another. And many of those who do seem intent on adhering to another tradition -- meeting someone under the 1856 Viennese Magneta grandfather clock that towers from a corner. Whether or not you go there to meet someone, the ornate double lobby,… More >>
  • Best Place to Sit and Do Nothing

    Ghirardelli Square

    900 North Point (at Polk)

    OK, so maybe you're with someone who wants to shop, or you're not above a little shopping yourself. Or maybe you just want to sip a latte and be entertained by the passing parade of humanity (including droves of tourists) that finds its way to the one-time headquarters of Domingo Ghirardelli's chocolate empire (lest we forget, the famous chocolate is… More >>
  • Best Vestibule

    Masonic Temple of California

    When you're waiting for the 90 at Van Ness and Market at 3 in the morning, it's a distracting pleasure to contemplate the old Masonic Temple across the street. Erected in 1911 by the architecture firm of Bliss & Faville and renovated in 1985, the building has the stately yet rococo resplendence of a distant era. Its vestibule is especially… More >>
  • Best Day to Avoid the Haight

    Day of the Haight Street Fair

    There are many glorious, sun-drenched summer days in the Haight-Ashbury District, when the tourists cram the cheesy head shops and the locals peruse the aisles at Amoeba Music, but there's one sure day to avoid: the afternoon of the Haight Street Fair. We understand the fair provides a good way for businesses along Haight Street to champion their wares, and… More >>
  • Five Best Stops on a Brokenhearted Girl's Road to Recovery

    Five Best Stops on a Brokenhearted Girl's Road to Recovery You've returned those stupid bluegrass CDs that you never liked anyway, and made your last midnight drunk-dial. The romance is Officially Over, and now you're cycling through Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' five stages of death, lingering on the anger part. This would be a good time to visit Valencia Street, where, within a… More >>

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