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People & Places

  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best Change Since 2011 More and better bike lanes Best Drag Queen Donna Sachet Best Event Producers A plus D from Bootie Best Local Legend Willie Brown Best Movie Theater Kabuki Best Neighborhood The Mission Best People-Watching Dolores Park Best Person to Follow on Twitter Tie: Karl the Fog, Uppityfag Best Place to Hear Random Screaming at 3 a.m. 16th Street at Mission Best place to take visitors Tie: Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field Best Protest Occupy Best Street Performer Bush Man Best Website SF.Funcheap.com… More >>
  • Best Building Built in 1907

    The Swedish-American Hall

    The field of competition for this category is broad and deep, but the Swedish-American Hall wins because there's nothing else like it in the city. From the outside, it appears to be a smallish, chalet-quaint multi-purpose structure. Downstairs is the basement level Cafe Du Nord, somewhat better known as an indie concert venue. The Swedish is upstairs. Unlike the cozy,… More >>
  • Best Park You Might Have Missed

    Sutro Heights Park

    Sutro Heights Park occupies the former estate of onetime San Francisco Mayor Adolph Sutro, who built the bathhouse just across Point Lobos and once owned one-twelfth of all the land in the city. The guy had taste. From this grassy overlook, you can gaze down along the Great Highway, straight out to the Farallon Islands, or north to Marin County.… More >>
  • Best Garden Teacher

    Marcus Gallegos

    A "gentle giant" whom visiting school groups adored, Marcus Gallegos wasn't like the paid interns that Strybing Arboretum's Youth Education Coordinator Annette Huddle had come to know — the UC Berkeley students who had spent a summer working on an organic farm in Hawaii. Instead, Gallegos grew up among the Mission's gangs and violence, and he was looking for a… More >>
  • Best Metaphor for the Impossibility of Recovering Your Youth

    The Tree Swings all over San Francisco

    Who knew that a few tree swings would get people so riled up? Well, duh, it's San Francisco. Over the past few seasons, fun-loving guerrillas at Unless Swings have hung old-fashioned, painted rope swings from the trees of at least three upwardly mobile neighborhoods. To date, nearly every one of those swing is now gone. They're gone from the Inner… More >>
  • Best Public Rooftop Terrace

    One Kearny

    Wait, you haven't been there yet? Go! The suits have had it to themselves for too long. Take the elevator to the top floor for a view that mashes up Market Street's strong diagonal with a bajillion other intersecting planes. San Francisco looks utterly different from this perspective, and the building's mansard roof plus the rooftop's manicured hedges give the… More >>
  • Best Venue for Small Parties

    The Box SF

    When he took over the San Francisco Examiner and launched the era of tabloid journalism, the 23-year-old William Randolph Hearst could not have predicted that one of his former printing plants would serve as a gathering place for the trendy and chic. On the third floor of Hearst's reputed former digs is a small place where people today gather for… More >>
  • Best Antisocial Online Community Consultant

    Derek Powazek of Fertile Medium and Fray

    If author/editor/tech consultant Derek Powazek had a magic button that allowed him to silence the crazies he met on the street, you bet your API he'd use it — but for the common good. On Twitter, you're allowed one strike before Powazek (@fraying) removes himself from your conversation. Make a lame joke or ask a question you could have Googled,… More >>
  • Best Film Festival Impresario

    Jeff Ross of SF Indiefest, SF Docfest, and Another Hole in the Head

    Jeff Ross is a cheerful champion of the underdog, the outsider, the gadfly, and the diehard. Even more than skill and vision, he admires the persistence needed to finish an independent film. He demonstrated that appreciation 15 years ago by launching the S.F. Independent Film Festival (held every February), followed in rapid succession by the S.F. Documentary Festival (unspooling this… More >>
  • Best Palm Broker

    Jason Dewees

    The chain link fence at Dolores Park has come down, and the luxurious new playground is ready beneath the fanned fronds of the palm trees, a play space not unlike a tropical island. Such palms are the quintessential image of relaxation and luxury. But horticulturist Jason Dewees might have fallen in love with the plant for the nomenclature alone. "Ceroxylon… More >>
  • Best Community-Oriented Radio Program

    Street Soldiers

    In 1991, a young MC Hammer appeared on KMEL 106.1 FM with a one-off show called Street Soldiers. Named for one of Hammer's songs, the show was something far different than his massive pop hit "U Can't Touch This": a community discussion on how to improve inner-city life. The station later recruited a permanent host, Dr. Joseph Marshall, the co-founder… More >>
  • Best Hilariously Unnecessary Street Sign

    The intersection of Taylor and Vallejo streets

    You're heading up Taylor, and by up we of course mean up, at a 20-something-degree angle that the designers of your bike or car or shins didn't anticipate, an angle that suggests that point at the peak of a swinging child's arc when the swing doesn't pendulum back but instead just falls for a breath before being caught again by… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're in France

    Claude Lane

    You're downtown, trying to keep up with Bluetoothed strangers hustling from one skyscraper to the next. Just when you feel overwhelmed, you turn into an alleyway, and suddenly, breathtakingly, you're in France. A thousand little things make Claude Lane special: the colorful, fantastical murals; the rows of tables spilling from pubs and cafes and restaurants, filling the alley with drinkers… More >>
  • Best Editorial Turnaround

    San Francisco Examiner

    During the last presidential cycle, the Examiner didn't just endorse John McCain — it did so in flowery language better suited to endorsing William McKinley. ("For all her faults, America remains for billions of people around the world the light of freedom, the shining city on a hill that must be defended and preserved," as if Barack Obama opposed this… More >>
  • Best Flack

    Lee Houskeeper

    Like yesterday's libations swirling in the bowl, it was just a matter of time before the Gold Dust Lounge went down. But press agent Lee Houskeeper ensured it did not go gentle into that good night. While the establishment eventually ran out of luck with its contention that serving as a vomitorium for Janis Joplin should merit landmark consideration, Houskeeper… More >>
  • Best Homeless Tour Guide

    Milton Aparicio

    There are more than enough postcard spots to occupy a San Francisco tourist for longer than most tourists have vacation time. But behind the cable cars and the Russian Hill vistas lies the big-city socioeconomic stratification. That is the San Francisco that Milton Aparicio wants people to see: the blankets bundled beneath overhangs, the crowded soup kitchens, the optimism of… More >>
  • Best Indoor Place to Read for Hours without Feeling Obliged to Buy Coffee

    Hyatt Regency at Embarcadero

    When the temperature is low, the wind strong, or the sun glaring, reading outdoors can be a chore. Sure, you can go to a coffeeshop, but unless you're willing to feed the proverbial meter and order a latte every couple of hours, you risk getting the mean mugs that freeloaders inspire. Unfortunately, this city has a dearth of available spots… More >>
  • Best Ongoing Fundraising Drama

    The America's Cup Organizing Committee

    The Incredible Shrinking America's Cup will feature perhaps one-third the number of racing syndicates predicted by the initial economic forecast. The race's organizers tossed half their employees overboard and, days before the Board of Supervisors would have likely approved a massive development deal, yachting billionaire Larry Ellison backed out, leading to the current stripped-down plan. But there is still a… More >>
  • Best Parking Garage for the Price of a Meter

    Japan Center Garage

    There are a few accepted theories on how long you should search for parking before settling for a garage. There's the single loop around the block, the zigzags through adjacent streets, the stalking of people exiting restaurants. What doesn't vary is the feeling of defeat you get when rolling toward the yellow gate and pushing the button for a ticket.… More >>
  • Best Muni Line to See Shit Go Down On

    14-Mission

    The stories are ubiquitous. Man gets slugged, woman's iPhone is snatched. He just rubbed against me. That bag of cans is never going to fit in the aisle. This seat smells like pee, that guy smells like weed, and is that a tallboy? So it goes on the 14-Mission, the top route for some extreme people-watching, packed with more life… More >>
  • Best Punk Rock Librarian

    Penelope Houston

    More than 30 years after she fronted the Avengers — regarded by many as the best of San Francisco's early crop of punk bands — Penelope Houston is couching her lyrical razor blades in much prettier, softer music. But the cutting lines are still there, on nearly every track of Houston's excellent new album, On Market Street. Houston isn't just… More >>
  • Best Curmudgeonly Contrarian

    Warren Hinckle

    At this stage in his career, Warren Hinckle doesn't give a fuck. And why not? If the one-eyed former magazine maven — to whom the world owes a healthy debt of gratitude, or disgust, for propelling Hunter S. Thompson and gonzo journalism to international fame via the long-defunct Ramparts — hasn't seen it all, he's seen enough. He's certainly seen… More >>
  • Best Elevator

    The Westin St. Francis

    A poor man's drop zone, the glass elevator at Westin St. Francis catapults riders up 32 stories and takes them down again, offering an impressive view of Union Square and making riders giddy with adrenaline. Rumor has it that back in the day the elevator moved so quickly that patrons became nauseous. Although it has calmed down a bit, the… More >>
  • Best Political Puppetmaster

    Rose Pak

    If Ed Lee ever appears uptight, it's not a fork that's up the career-bureaucrat-turned-mayor's ass — it's the very visible hand of Rose Pak. A longtime political force in San Francisco (read: long the only conduit to Chinatown for vote- and money-hungry pols like Willie Brown and the Burton brothers), the Columbia journalism school grad and former Chronicle reporter has… More >>
  • Best Secret View of the City

    Tank Hill Park

    Our first experience with Tank Hill included the following exchange: "Simba, everything the light touches is yours." So we asked, "What about that foggier, shadowy place?" The answer: "That is the Sunset — it is always a dark place." Tank Hill offers a panoramic, 360-view that stretches from Oakland to Golden Gate Park, a view that, after you huff and… More >>
  • Best Voice of Reason in City Hall

    Sean Elsbernd

    Is San Francisco a place for the world's lunatic fringe, the ever-kookier offspring of the 20th century's most off-kilter? Or should San Francisco be for the San Franciscans, the native sons and daughters of common sense and decency, who in any other city would be considered off the wall, but in their own hometown come off as sticks in the… More >>
  • Best Professional Fanboy

    Andrew Farago

    Andrew Farago spent the last 12 years working his way up from front desk volunteer to the curator of the Cartoon Art Museum (655 Mission at New Montgomery, 227-8666), but his friendship with For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston is what really impresses his mother and mother-in-law. "She's kind of a rock star for Midwestern moms." After earning… More >>
  • Best Recovery of Stolen Goods

    Banana-Sam

    When something precious of yours is stolen, you can bet you'll never see it again in this town, especially if that stolen cargo is an adorable 17-inch-tall monkey. But somehow Banana-Sam, the caged monkey turned nomad, was spotted roaming around Golden Gate Park a few days after he was snatched from the San Francisco Zoo. Upon his return, people went… More >>
  • bunnywarez.com

    Best Creator of Locally Sourced Furry Gear

    bunnywarez.com

    By Sherilyn Connelly If you want to add some furriness to your wardrobe, whether it's for a night at Frolic or just another workday, there's no shortage of options in the Bay Area. The usual gateway garment is the animal hat with ears, which you can often find in places like stores on Valencia or the street vendors at Justin Herman… More >>
  • Enrique Pearce, the left-leaning political consultant San Francisco progressives love to hate.

    Most Effective Political Consultant

    Enrique Pearce, the left-leaning political consultant San Francisco progressives love to hate.

    By Chris Roberts It will be solace to some that Enrique Pearce does not sleep well at night. But it will be no balm to the wreckages of campaigns and candidates left in the political consultant's wake — most recently, he oversaw Jane Kim's ascent to the Board of Supervisors before last year's controversial "unofficial" campaigns in support of Mayor Ed Lee… More >>
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