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People & Places

  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best Person to Follow on Twitter Gavin Newsom Most Wi-Fi-Friendly Place Starbucks Best Startup Social Imprints Best Bartender Chupa at Benderís Best Bike Messenger Godspeed Best Drag Queen Monistat Best Talk Radio Host Ronn Owens, KGO Best Newscaster Dan Ashley, ABC 7 Best Blog SFist Best Neighborhood to Call Home The Mission Best Politician Gavin Newsom Worst Politician Gavin Newsom Best Museum De Young… More >>
  • Best Celebrity Blogger

    Danielle Steel

    Writer Danielle Steel, who resides in the opulent Spreckels mansion in tony Pacific Heights, is most famous for penning melodramatic, guilty-pleasure romance novels with titles like Passion's Promise, Sunset in St. Tropez, and Five Days in Paris. But she also has a blog. It alternates between a record of her everyday life and her philosophical musings, and is written in… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Blog

    Mission Mission

    Imagine if your city newspaper had a story on a cool little piece of art that appeared on a local mailbox over the weekend. Then another one. And another. Would that paper survive? No, it wouldn't, so we guess Mission Mission won't be taking down old media any time soon. Run by Allan Hough since 2007, the site does a… More >>
  • Best New Museum

    California Academy of Sciences

    There are so many awesome things about the Cal Academy of Sciences. The jaw-dropping building, with its grassy hillocks on the roof. The multistory rainforest display, which allows you to stroll from roots to treetop. The African penguins, fed twice a day to the delight of squealing tots. The all-digital planetarium, with a 75-foot projection screen that makes you feel like… More >>
  • Best S.F. History Podcast

    San Francisco is a city of transplants — many knowing little about the city's history other than the Gold Rush and the hippies — who quickly morph into snobs who won't be caught dead on a walking tour with fanny-pack­-toting tourists. Fortunately, now there's a way to learn about the city's colorful past without leaving your seat: Sparkletack, the lively and… More >>
  • Best Literary Street Name

    Frank Norris

    With Stephen Crane, Jack London, and Theodore Dreiser, Frank Norris was one of a handful of unflinchingly perceptive social-realism novelists whose rigorously detached prose and gritty insights into the human condition helped usher American literature into the vigorous, violent 20th century. Born into wealth and schooled at UC Berkeley and Harvard, he settled in San Francisco at the birth of… More >>
  • Best Walking Tour

    San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

    Part of the beauty of San Francisco is the fact that you can walk just about everywhere. And considering that the city is a national architectural center — chock-full of Victorian and modern buildings, with skyscrapers brushing elbows with Painted Ladies — there's plenty of eye candy to consider while working your gams. History aficionado Rick Evans is the best repository… More >>
  • Best Public Tour of a Porn Studio

    If you think the old Armory at 14th and Mission streets — that giant brick fortress built in the 1910s to look like a re-created Moorish castle (why not?) — is imposing from the outside, check out its insides. Once a month,, the alternative porn studio that bought the enormous, spooky building in December 2007, opens its doors for… More >>
  • Vicki Marlane at Aunt Charlie\'s

    Best Drag Queen

    Vicki Marlane at Aunt Charlie's

    Weekends at Aunt Charlie's Lounge aren't for everybody. This Tenderloin gay joint is where you go when you need a solitary seat by the bar and a drink made with whatever gin it's pouring. A sense of nostalgia permeates the air, which is maybe why it's become the go-to place for retro kicks — whether for DJ Bus Station John's bathhouse-disco… More >>
  • Best Scenic Muni Route

    33 Stanyan

    We all have our favorite vista points, whether they're Crissy Field, China Beach, or the top of Lombard Street. We're partial to the accidental sightings we are routinely treated to in this hilly town, the casual glimpses of beauteous paradise that aren't tourist destination spots but suddenly appear as we're en route from one place to another. A multitude of… More >>
  • Best Muni Nostalgia Ride

    F-Market and Wharves

    Forget about those cable cars creaking with loads of German tourists. If you're a fan of nostalgic strains of public transportation — about the only worthwhile form of public transportation this city has to offer — spring for a $1.50 ride into the past, courtesy of the F-Market and Wharves Muni line, which runs from the Castro through downtown to… More >>
  • Best Street Performer

    Gregory Pike, aka Dog-Cat-Rat Man

    San Francisco boasts one of the finest collections of street-dwelling eccentrics to be found anywhere. Let's face it: Where else would a unicyclist clad in a pink unitard or a man convincingly disguised as a bush not take the grand prize in this category? But in a city of stiff competition, one busker/panhandler/dispenser of wisdom and spectacle stands head and shoulders… More >>
  • Best Personality on Two Wheels

    Fossil Fool the Bike Rapper

    Chances are if you've been out in the Mission or at a Critical Mass bike ride, you've seen Fossil Fool the Bike Rapper, aka Paul Freedman, riding his 130-pound Choprical Fish. The fish is a glowing neon bicycle tricked out with an eight-speaker system that often has a woman known as Mafiosa Felice shaking maracas while straddling the passenger seat.… More >>
  • Best Gay Pride Group

    Gay Shame

    Leave it to San Francisco to have so much gay pride that people start feeling guilty about it. Gay Shame — a "celebration of resistance" that meets at 5:30 p.m. every Saturday at Modern Times Bookstore — isn't for casual self-loathers. If you're gay but only mildly embarrassed by that fellow homosexual decked out in Dolce & Gabbana at the… More >>
  • Best Hatmaker

    Jasmin Zorlu

    Those who insist they just aren't "hat people" obviously haven't found the right topper. But German-born hatmaker Jasmin Zorlu, who specializes in elegantly quirky "sculptural headwear for earthlings," is aware that a hat is the perfect crowning touch. Zorlu's distinctive designs are timeless and futuristic all at once, and are inspired by natural textures as well as cheeky pop-culture references… More >>
  • Tom Ammiano

    Best Hometown Politician

    Tom Ammiano

    San Francisco's favorite schoolteacher and stand-up comic turned politician has had a helluva year. Ammiano played himself quite convincingly as a 1970s gay activist with a marked Jersey accent in Milk. The universal health care bill he wrote while a city supervisor got a shoutout from President Barack Obama in an address to U.S. mayors. And, of course, he ascended from… More >>
  • Most Fashionable Person

    Chelsea Starr

    As DJ of long-running lesbian '80s dance club "Hot Pants" (second Fridays of the month at the Cat Club), Chelsea Starr must really see it all, fashionwise. She seems to love it all, too: Her style is wicked eclectic. Sure, sometimes she's in layers of cream lace and weird pearls (as she was for a reading at K'vetch some time… More >>
  • Best Hipster T-Shirt Designer

    Jen D'Angelo

    Jen D'Angelo's Nooworks is just about the most adorable San Francisco clothing and accessory company going — and it was started by accident. In 2004, after graduating from California College of the Arts, D'Angelo, a bartender at the Attic, silk-screened an illustration of her dog, Noo Noo, on a T-shirt and began wearing it at work. A local boutique owner saw… More >>
  • Best Baby Mama

    Eliana López

    Surely you've heard that Mayor Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel are expecting the city's First Child, just in time to boost the mayor's family-friendly image for his gubernatorial run. But let's not forget that the Newsoms were beat by a mile in the politico baby race by Venezuelan soap opera star Eliana López, who gave birth to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi's… More >>
  • Best SFPD Flack

    Sergeant Lyn Tomioka

    Calling the cops is rarely a pleasant experience. But ever since Lyn Tomioka joined the media relations team at the Hall of Justice, it's been nothing but goodies, goodies, and gumdrops. The former patrol supervisor in the Richmond District transferred to media relations late last year and turned out to be a natural. She's effortlessly polite and charming on the phone,… More >>
  • Best S.F. Historian

    Chris Carlsson

    Left-wing intellectual Chris Carlsson is often accused of being the person who "started Critical Mass." He won't give a straight answer to the question, if asked, because there isn't one. He won't back away from it or disavow Critical Mass, either, usually instead encouraging people to see what it's like for themselves. Another of his long-running projects is ShapingSF, essentially a… More >>
  • Best Gardener

    Flora Grubb

    A lot of people don't know that Flora Grubb, of Flora Grubb Gardens, is a real person. And that's her birth name. After opening a 28,000-square-foot solar-powered nursery in the Bayview District in 2007, she has spent the last year delving into her love of gorgeous gardens as art. She recently completed a vertical garden made entirely of Tillandsia, a bromeliad… More >>
  • Brent Plater

    Best Human Guide to Endangered Species

    Brent Plater

    Brent Plater, who teaches in the environmental studies department at San Francisco State University, possesses a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of the endangered birds, plants, and fish found in the Bay Area. Last year he put his nature smarts to use. The former Bay Area director of the Center for Biological Diversity organized a massive treasure hunt to encourage people to see… More >>
  • Best Laundromat Mural

    Mr. Burbujas

    Behold: Mr. Burbujas, aka Mr. Bubbles. The humanoid washing machine prances across the exterior wall of the Laundromat that bears his name. His fleshy legs are swathed in gym socks pulled high, and he kicks his sneakered feet high into the air, overcome with the giddy ecstasy of cleanliness. Bubbles percolate enticingly from his soap receptacle, and one muscular arm… More >>
  • Best Place for a Birthday Party

    China Beach

    Competition among parents for children's birthday party sites is San Francisco's version of range warfare. Prime spots in Golden Gate Park require advance reservations. Private birthday spots such as the Secret Garden Tea House & Gift Parlour or AcroSports cost more than recession victims can afford. China Beach, a little-used cove tucked below the spiffy Sea Cliff neighborhood, is one of… More >>
  • Best Public Space in a Private Place

    The KPMG Building

    San Francisco building codes encourage developers to include public space in their building designs. Many game the system by placing these spots, which are supposed to be accessible to anyone, behind lobby guards and announcing their existence with nothing but a tiny plaque. The KPMG Building space is no different — getting there requires crossing a lobby and going down a… More >>
  • Best 'New' Library Branch

    Marina Library

    Of the 24 San Francisco libraries slated for construction, replacement, or renovation by a bond measure passed by voters in November 2000, nine are already doing business and another half a dozen are expected to open this year. The Marina branch, which reopened in 2007 after a two-year, $3.9 million upgrade, is an especially attractive deployment of taxpayer dollars. The positively… More >>
  • Best Local News Program

    Crosscurrents on KALW (91.7 FM)

    KALW bucked the trend toward a shrinking mediascape when it launched the 30-minute evening radio news program Crosscurrents last summer. The new show operates on a shoestring budget (like most public radio programs not hosted by Ira Glass), but its production quality is as good as any radio news program in the Bay Area. What separates Crosscurrents from other news shows is… More >>
  • Best Business Experimental Model for News

    Let's face it: The Chronicle is on a fast track to oblivion. It publishes less and less local news, and its own Web site, SFGate, has begun sending readers to other sites for some featured stories. But San Francisco still has a seamy underside — and plenty of journalists to write about it. Some have started appearing at, a… More >>
  • Best Local Scandal

    Obama's 'Bittergate' Episode

    Remember when news broke that Barack Obama dissed small-town Pennsylvania voters who "cling to guns or religion" at a Pacific Heights fundraiser, just two weeks before the Pennsylvania presidential primary? We thought we felt an earthquake that day, though it might have been Bay Area liberals shuddering in collective horror. Hillary Clinton seized on the incident, clinging a few moments longer… More >>
  • Best Place for Families to Help Others

    San Francisco Food Bank, Sunday Family Hours

    Put off your family vacation to help put some food on another family's table. About a year and a half ago, the San Francisco Food Bank, which moves 33 million pounds of food through its warehouse each week, started letting parents bring kids as young as 4 on Sundays to volunteer and help pack food for the needy. The program… More >>
  • Best Caltrain Voice

    Sergio Cruz

    Sergio Cruz knows what early morning Caltrain commuters heading from S.F. to their jobs on the Peninsula and the South Bay want. The supersmooth conductor doesn't try to be an authority figure or hone his standup routine when he calls the stops and makes announcements. No jokes. No attitude. No shtick. Instead, he employs a soft, silky voice that somehow combines the… More >>
  • Best Preacher

    Reverend Schuyler Rhodes

    Among the many benefits of the 2008 presidential election has been a new American appreciation for great oratory. San Franciscans are doubly blessed, because our city is host to many churches with preachers who are part of the same liberal Protestant tradition that has informed the style and substance of Barack Obama's greatest speeches. Among the best of these preachers is… More >>
  • Best Theater PR Person

    Erica Lewis-Finein

    Alongside the puzzle of the postlaundry lost sock, one of life's eternal mysteries has to be the hiring of PR specialists. Companies ostensibly employ press representatives to get word out about their services and products. But surprisingly few of these so-called professional communicators possess communications skills. In the world of arts PR, where theater, opera, and dance companies have to fight for dwindling column inches, knowing… More >>
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