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  • Best Place to Meet Beautiful Women

    Any Social Engagement With the Mayor in Attendance

    It must be a "man in power" thing, or "political prowess," that lures beautiful young women to the likes of Gary Condit, Bill Clinton, and our own Willie Brown. None of the politicians has anything sensual to offer, they all are married, and it is an absolute certainty that these women will be dropped quickly. In the case of Willie Brown, they are sitting pretty on his arm at various social engagements, then quickly tossed back into the pack, usually... More >>

  • Best View for the Price of a Muni Fare

    The 33 Bus Anyone who has taken the 33 bus knows about The Turn -- that impossibly sharp switchback from Clayton onto Market Street. When the 33 makes that turn, an eerie hush falls over the passengers. They put down their books and newspapers, partly to see if the bus will make the curve, but mostly to take in the view. And what a view: After emerging from the foot of Twin Peaks and before continuing to Mission Dolores Park,... More >>

  • Best Place to Take Your Lunch Break on a Beautiful But Chilly Day

    The Indoor Public Open Space on Mission and Second Streets

    If you're downtown at lunch hour and the sun is shining but the wind is fierce, head to the public open space at Mission and Second Street. It's a three-story, glass-enclosed indoor plaza with an assortment of benches, tables, and chairs spread across two floors of seating space. There's even some art on the walls, in case you tire of the scenery on the street. The echoes won't drown out a quiet conversation, and it's an ideal place for a... More >>

  • Best San Francisco Farce

    Lombard Street's Billing as the "Crookedest Street in the World"

    There is actually another street that is more deserving, and it is also here in our fair city. Sure, it may only have six twisty turns, compared to Lombard's eight, but Vermont Street (between 20th and 22nd streets) can boast curves that are sharper, steeper, and less congested. The views may not be of beautiful gardens and the bay, but here, high above Potrero Hill, you will experience the thrills that Lombard Street's traffic doesn't allow. The Convention and Visitors... More >>

  • Best Place for Tourists to Save Their Film on the 49 Mile Drive

    The Stretch of Cesar Chavez Street From Twin Peaks to Interstate 280

    One minute you're winding gently down from Twin Peaks, cruising blissfully through Noe Valley; the next, you're speeding along a drab stretch of Cesar Chavez Street, wondering if the friendly sea gull on the blue-and-white signs has led you astray. "This is a scenic drive?" you're apt to think, as you pass block after block of industrial buildings, vacant storefronts, and desolate parking lots. In a city full of jaw-dropping scenery, why in the world is this stretch of Cesar... More >>

  • Most Moving Garden

    The National AIDS Memorial Grove

    Golden Gate Park, Middle Drive East & Bowling Green Drive

    Even when Golden Gate Park is crawling with kids, frenetic with Frisbees, and alive with residents at play, the AIDS Memorial Grove succeeds as a living monument where people can honor, reflect, remember, and mourn those lost to the disease. Tranquillity and pensiveness set in the minute you come upon the east entrance's dogwood grove, where flowers, candles, and notes are scattered around a sandstone monument. Following the wooded and shady path along a dry stream bed to the Fern... More >>

  • Best Street Performer

    Edward Jackson

    Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson ain't got nothing on Edward Jackson, one of the city's most popular street artists and most talented tap dancers. The crowds gathering at Powell and Market aren't just there waiting for the cable car or to get into the Gap: They're hoping to catch a glimpse of the local hoofer's fancy footwork. Of course the fact that Jackson goes shirtless on the coldest and foggiest of days -- and... More >>

  • Best Place to Get Lost

    Interfaith Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral

    Just after entering this outdoor floor maze of white and gray terrazzo tile, you are led close to your final goal: the scallop-edged circle in the center of the labyrinth. Nirvana, in this case, bears an uncanny resemblance to the ever-elusive Home in a game of Sorry. If you were to cross over the bounds of the trail and step just a few inches to the right, you'd be safe inside. But the path leads you abruptly away, as though... More >>

  • Best Historical Locale

    The Embarcadero

    Ever since the Embarcadero Freeway came tumbling down a decade ago, the waterfront has been a pleasant place to stroll, sunbathe, and learn all about San Francisco's rich maritime heritage. Handsome historical markers were installed along the promenade in addition to the palm trees and the streetcars and the skating ramps. Drawings, photographs, and quotations illuminate such topics as local shipwrecks, waterfront saloons, the Ferry Building, the great strike of 1934, and the steamships that once plied the waters from... More >>

  • Best Poet

    devorah major

    It might seem hard to fill the shoes of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Janice Mirikitani, but devorah major, newly named as San Francisco's third poet laureate, seems up to the challenge. The author of two books of poetry, Traveling Women (co-written with Opal Palmer Adisa) and Street Smarts, and two novels, major -- who follows e.e. cummings' model of capitalization -- produces what reviewers have called "performance poetry." The performance part comes into play when major reads live, her mobile face... More >>

  • Best Tour of Chinatown

    Chinatown Community Development Center's Youth-Led Underground Tours

    There are innumerable tours through Chinatown, but if you want an insider's look at the rich and little-known stories of one of the country's most densely populated neighborhoods, join up with a tour led by San Francisco high-schoolers who are part of the Chinatown Community Development Center's after-school program. The tour's eight docents -- all of whom have lived in Chinatown -- spent the summer of 2000 researching and gathering oral histories; in the past year, they have transformed these... More >>

  • Best Park Bench

    Dolores Park

    Taking full advantage of living in a vista-crammed town like San Francisco involves soaking in the scenery every now and then. There's no better place to do that than on the divinely placed bench at the corner of 20th and Church streets. Perched above Dolores Park, it offers sweeping views of all of downtown, the Bay Bridge, and South of Market, plus superb people-, dog-, and dealer-watching. What's more, the bench is located just feet from a J Church Muni... More >>

  • Best Place to Impersonate Sarah Jessica Parker

    Cafe Qué Tal

    All laptop owners are -- on some level -- jealous of Carrie Bradshaw, the fictional scribe/protagonist of HBO's hit series Sex and the City, but her sex life has nothing to do with it. We want that coffee-shop window table she's always clicking away at, that perfect spot where good java, a manageable noise level, and ample electrical outlets converge to form a workable environment that doesn't feel like work. If the show were set in San Francisco, Carrie would... More >>

  • Best Local Version of Machu Picchu

    Batteries Chamberlain, Crosby, Cranston, Marcus Miller, and Boutelle

    There's a haunted quality to the Presidio's decaying coastal bunkers, a twisted, rusty, fog-shrouded Weltschmerz of abandonment and eerie quietude. They were built a century ago to protect the Golden Gate from a succession of encroaching enemies; now grass grows in their cracked armor. The bunkers were dismantled before the end of World War II; the Presidio came under the aegis of the National Park Service eight years ago. Today there are cafes, educational facilities, and other peaceful endeavors in... More >>

  • Best Irony in Urban Redevelopment

    Fillmore Street's "Walk of Fame"

    The story of redevelopment in the Fillmore District has been told enough times that it has become our own cautionary tale about the evils of urban renewal. Reduced to its essence, the story goes something like this: Vibrant African-American neighborhood known as "Harlem of the West" is razed in the name of urban renewal during the 1960s. Thousands leave their homes, businesses close. The Fillmore Center eyesore is built, and Safeway, Subway, Pizza Hut, and McDonald's appear. Chapter 2 began... More >>

  • Best Way for the City to Fill Underfed Coffers

    Strategic Towing on Valencia

    Valencia's center-lane parking strip has become such a civic institution that it's only a matter of time before tourists start snapping photos. But when we see potholes on half the streets in town, we can't help but offer the Traffic Department an obvious fund-raising plan: Tow away four of every five cars parked in the center lane, leaving a small sampling of BMWs and Land Rovers to entice more Mission-goers to park there. Folks whose cars were towed would be... More >>

  • Best Movie Programmer

    Anita Monga

    Everybody loves the Castro Theatre. It regularly wins readers' polls and Best Of awards for its gorgeous space, community spirit, and outstanding programs. But the Castro's heart is clearly in its eclectic, thoughtful mix of films, all of them selected by Anita Monga, programmer since the late '80s. Monga, a striking woman with stylishly bobbed hair and a ready smile, has the enviable job of watching and choosing movies for a living. Her picks -- from wide-screen gems to Sing-Along... More >>

  • Best Place to Clown Around

    Clown Conservatory at the San Francisco Circus Center

    It's the only full-curriculum clown school in North America -- yes, more comprehensive than the famous but recently downsized Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Clown College in Florida. If you want to be a clown, and get the degree to prove it, the Clown Conservatory is the place to go. You'll not only learn how to juggle and pratfall, you'll study the history of clowning as an important art form. You'll discover that clowning is not just for red... More >>

  • Best Cult Filmmaker

    Antero Alli

    Calling Antero Alli self-sufficient is an understatement. The Finnish-born writer, director, and playwright makes feature films shot on video that are created completely independently. Whether writing and shooting his self-financed flicks or marketing, editing, and booking screenings at art houses, Alli relishes the artistic control he maintains over his work, although the trade-off is that the general public is less likely to see it. Fervid movie buffs, however, know him as the curator of the Nomad VideoFilm Festival, a traveling... More >>

  • Best Community Organizer

    Ron Morgan

    Organizing Coordinator, Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center

    Charming Ron Morgan is the staff community organizer at that nexus of Bernal Hill society: the Neighborhood Center. Morgan and his boss, Mauricio Vela, are leading the charge to keep Home Depot from building a store on the old Goodman's site. They say Home Depot will attract pollution and noise-spewing cars (shudder!) to Bernal Heights. The pro-Depot supervisors better watch out: Morgan is a formidable organizer. He's one of the founders of Bastard Nation, the no-nonsense folks who stand up... More >>

  • Best District Attorney

    William H. Langdon

    Elected district attorney of San Francisco in 1905, Langdon took on the corrupt power structure, led by Mayor Eugene Schmitz, who was using the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake as an opportunity to enrich himself. The thieving mayor was in cahoots with a lawyer, Abe Reuf, the first in the long line of grafting "political consultants" who have plagued our fair city for a century. Langdon persuaded a jury to convict and jail two-term Mayor Schmitz for extorting restaurant owners.... More >>

  • Best New Office Building

    101 Second St. (at Mission)

    Egypt under Cheops, Rome under Cesar Augustus, Mexico under Nezahualcóyotl, and San Francisco under El Rey Dot-Com are all examples of oppressive political regimes that left behind architectural legacies so felicitous it's hard to remember their eras' downsides. In the case of San Francisco, the dot-com epoch's equivalent of Cheops' Great Pyramid can be found in a 26-story office tower that opened in January, designed by local architect Craig Hartman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The $100 million building looks... More >>

  • Best Real Estate Agent

    Linda Harrison

    We've met our share of oily, cutthroat denizens of the real estate world, a universe that can be particularly treacherous in San Francisco, where the competition is even more intense thanks to creative purchasing options like TICs. But Linda Harrison is a different breed of agent. She's an advocate for her clients, not herself, arming them with information, answering questions before they can think to ask any, and never pressuring someone into a sale. Plus she knows so many folks... More >>

  • Best Doctor (OB/GYN)

    Dr. Frederica Lofquist

    When it comes to doctors, San Francisco has plenty of great ones; let's face it, we're in the heart of one of the top medical research communities in the world, right? But Frederica Lofquist manages to stand out even in that kind of company. She has a knack for remembering names and personal info, even though many of her patients see her only once a year. She never makes you feel as though she has other clients waiting, taking time... More >>

  • Best Live-Work Lofts

    Yerba Buena Lofts

    In San Francisco, Brigadoon by the Sea, the prospect of change has all the appeal of a mudslide. Locals pine for the Victorian days when Third Street stank of slaughterhouses, the piers ached with day-laboring longshoremen, and the western half of the city was covered in sand. As a result, San Franciscans bicker bitterly over new buildings, and the Planning Commission tends to blanch at all but the blandest new structures. It's thus surprising that architect Stanley Saitowitz was able... More >>

  • Best Place to Feel as If You Are in Paris

    Belden Place

    Belden Place will transport you back to the cafe-lined streets of Paris. Located in the Financial District, this narrow alley is lined with three French-inspired cafes and filled with umbrellaed tables, usually occupied by hipsters sipping cappuccino or wine and filling ashtrays. To add to the atmosphere, most of the waitstaff speaks in heavy French accents and dresses the part as well. On a recent visit, an after-work crowd was settling in for some of the cafe specials: mussels at... More >>

  • Best Batterer Betterer

    Hamish Sinclair

    Founder, Manalive

    Wild-haired Scotsman Hamish Sinclair employs the most unseemly of tools -- New Agey, postmodernist-feminist, get-in-touch-with-your-feelings group therapy -- against the most intractable of problems -- male thuggery -- to achieve an altogether startling outcome: apparent success. Sinclair has spent the past two decades reforming wife beaters by forcing them to confront their inner Stanley Kowalskis, whom Sinclair neuters with the moniker "male role belief system." Patients sit through 52 weeks of group therapy learning to befriend, rather than dominate, women.... More >>

  • Second Best Block of Victorians

    1800 Block of Laguna (between Bush and Pine)

    Victorians are the architectural soul of San Francisco, the unifying theme that imbues the city with its unique character and sense of style. Even so, the charms of these Painted Ladies must usually be enjoyed piecemeal. It is rare to find more than a handful side by side; they exist today only as grand individual homes or in small, preserved pockets running through the center of town, from the Liberty/Hill historic district in the Mission to the stately mansions of... More >>

  • Best Hidden Lake

    Mountain Lake

    It's hard to hide anything in a city as compact as San Francisco, but Mountain Lake may yet surprise a few San Franciscans. Tucked away in an obscure southern corner of the Presidio, the lake hides in plain sight, concealed behind bushes from traffic zooming toward the Golden Gate Bridge on Park Presidio Boulevard. Yet for all its modesty, the lake is one of the most important historic sites in San Francisco. It was here on its shores in March... More >>

  • Four Best Skyscrapers

    Although it's impossible to admire the glass-and-concrete monoliths that have been destroying the city's Mediterranean skyline since the mid-1960s, a few examples of great urban architecture still exist in the canyons of the Financial District. The category means we've had to leave out some of our (relatively diminutive) favorites -- the 11-story Phelan Building, the city's largest flatiron; the Mills Building, a 10-story Chicago School survivor of the 1906 earthquake; Willis Polk's eight-story Hallidie Building, the first glass-curtain edifice in... More >>

  • Five Best Ways to Impress Your Date

    You've met the biped of your dreams at the corner laundromat and, wonder of wonders, she's agreed to go out with you this Saturday. Don't blow it! Follow the instructions below and even if you impress your date so much you never see her again, your evening will be a memorable one. All you need are a chauffeur, a change of clothes, and several hundred thousand dollars. Luxury Suite at Pacific Bell Park Third and King streets, 972-2000, www.sfgiants.com Kick... More >>

  • Best Mobile Landmarks

    San Francisco is filled with interesting places -- rowdy bars, relaxing parks, and sites that are simply a pleasure to look at. But the city is also blessed with actual human beings who count as must-see attractions in and of themselves. Below, a handy guide to three of our favorites: Real Name: Frank Chu. What Everybody Calls Him: That Guy, You Know, With the Sign. Dossier: Back when Monicagate started, so did Frank Chu, wandering around downtown hoisting a sign... More >>

  • Great Escapes for Lovers

    Love in the Bay Area can be expensive. Fancy dinners out, weekend getaways, private investigators -- these things usually don't come cheap. But there are a few odd gems that couples can enjoy together for not a lot of money. Chapel of the Chimes 4499 Piedmont (at Pleasant Valley), Oakland, (510) 654-0123, www.chapelofthechimes.com The best refuge for smooching is in Oakland, a gorgeous castlelike structure built by Julia Morgan. It may seem creepy at first (or appealing) that the chapel... More >>

  • People & Places Readers' Poll

    Best Reason to Love San FranciscoDiversity Most Romantic Spot Twin Peaks Favorite Tourist Attraction Golden Gate Bridge Favorite Place Tourists Don’t Know About The Mission Favorite San Franciscan Willie Brown San Franciscan Closest to Hell Willie Brown Best View Twin Peaks Best City Supervisor Gavin Newsom Best State Legislator Carole Migden Best Neighborhood Noe Valley Best Local Web Site Craigslist Best Local Morning Radio Show KFOG Best Local Evening TV Newscast KRON Best Newspaper Column Savage Love Best Parking Tip... More >>

  • Best Place to Meet Beautiful Women

    Any Social Engagement With the Mayor in Attendance

    It must be a "man in power" thing, or "political prowess," that lures beautiful young women to the likes of Gary Condit, Bill Clinton, and our own Willie Brown. None of the politicians has anything sensual to offer, they all are married, and it is an absolute certainty that these women will be dropped quickly. In the case of Willie Brown, they are sitting pretty on his arm at various social engagements, then quickly tossed back into the pack, usually... More >>

  • Best View for the Price of a Muni Fare

    The 33 Bus Anyone who has taken the 33 bus knows about The Turn -- that impossibly sharp switchback from Clayton onto Market Street. When the 33 makes that turn, an eerie hush falls over the passengers. They put down their books and newspapers, partly to see if the bus will make the curve, but mostly to take in the view. And what a view: After emerging from the foot of Twin Peaks and before continuing to Mission Dolores Park,... More >>

  • Best Place to Take Your Lunch Break on a Beautiful But Chilly Day

    The Indoor Public Open Space on Mission and Second Streets

    If you're downtown at lunch hour and the sun is shining but the wind is fierce, head to the public open space at Mission and Second Street. It's a three-story, glass-enclosed indoor plaza with an assortment of benches, tables, and chairs spread across two floors of seating space. There's even some art on the walls, in case you tire of the scenery on the street. The echoes won't drown out a quiet conversation, and it's an ideal place for a... More >>

  • Best San Francisco Farce

    Lombard Street's Billing as the "Crookedest Street in the World"

    There is actually another street that is more deserving, and it is also here in our fair city. Sure, it may only have six twisty turns, compared to Lombard's eight, but Vermont Street (between 20th and 22nd streets) can boast curves that are sharper, steeper, and less congested. The views may not be of beautiful gardens and the bay, but here, high above Potrero Hill, you will experience the thrills that Lombard Street's traffic doesn't allow. The Convention and Visitors... More >>

  • Best Place for Tourists to Save Their Film on the 49 Mile Drive

    The Stretch of Cesar Chavez Street From Twin Peaks to Interstate 280

    One minute you're winding gently down from Twin Peaks, cruising blissfully through Noe Valley; the next, you're speeding along a drab stretch of Cesar Chavez Street, wondering if the friendly sea gull on the blue-and-white signs has led you astray. "This is a scenic drive?" you're apt to think, as you pass block after block of industrial buildings, vacant storefronts, and desolate parking lots. In a city full of jaw-dropping scenery, why in the world is this stretch of Cesar... More >>

  • Most Moving Garden

    The National AIDS Memorial Grove

    Golden Gate Park, Middle Drive East & Bowling Green Drive

    Even when Golden Gate Park is crawling with kids, frenetic with Frisbees, and alive with residents at play, the AIDS Memorial Grove succeeds as a living monument where people can honor, reflect, remember, and mourn those lost to the disease. Tranquillity and pensiveness set in the minute you come upon the east entrance's dogwood grove, where flowers, candles, and notes are scattered around a sandstone monument. Following the wooded and shady path along a dry stream bed to the Fern... More >>

  • Best Street Performer

    Edward Jackson

    Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson ain't got nothing on Edward Jackson, one of the city's most popular street artists and most talented tap dancers. The crowds gathering at Powell and Market aren't just there waiting for the cable car or to get into the Gap: They're hoping to catch a glimpse of the local hoofer's fancy footwork. Of course the fact that Jackson goes shirtless on the coldest and foggiest of days -- and... More >>

  • Best Place to Get Lost

    Interfaith Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral

    Just after entering this outdoor floor maze of white and gray terrazzo tile, you are led close to your final goal: the scallop-edged circle in the center of the labyrinth. Nirvana, in this case, bears an uncanny resemblance to the ever-elusive Home in a game of Sorry. If you were to cross over the bounds of the trail and step just a few inches to the right, you'd be safe inside. But the path leads you abruptly away, as though... More >>

  • Best Historical Locale

    The Embarcadero

    Ever since the Embarcadero Freeway came tumbling down a decade ago, the waterfront has been a pleasant place to stroll, sunbathe, and learn all about San Francisco's rich maritime heritage. Handsome historical markers were installed along the promenade in addition to the palm trees and the streetcars and the skating ramps. Drawings, photographs, and quotations illuminate such topics as local shipwrecks, waterfront saloons, the Ferry Building, the great strike of 1934, and the steamships that once plied the waters from... More >>

  • Best Poet

    devorah major

    It might seem hard to fill the shoes of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Janice Mirikitani, but devorah major, newly named as San Francisco's third poet laureate, seems up to the challenge. The author of two books of poetry, Traveling Women (co-written with Opal Palmer Adisa) and Street Smarts, and two novels, major -- who follows e.e. cummings' model of capitalization -- produces what reviewers have called "performance poetry." The performance part comes into play when major reads live, her mobile face... More >>

  • Best Tour of Chinatown

    Chinatown Community Development Center's Youth-Led Underground Tours

    There are innumerable tours through Chinatown, but if you want an insider's look at the rich and little-known stories of one of the country's most densely populated neighborhoods, join up with a tour led by San Francisco high-schoolers who are part of the Chinatown Community Development Center's after-school program. The tour's eight docents -- all of whom have lived in Chinatown -- spent the summer of 2000 researching and gathering oral histories; in the past year, they have transformed these... More >>

  • Best Park Bench

    Dolores Park

    Taking full advantage of living in a vista-crammed town like San Francisco involves soaking in the scenery every now and then. There's no better place to do that than on the divinely placed bench at the corner of 20th and Church streets. Perched above Dolores Park, it offers sweeping views of all of downtown, the Bay Bridge, and South of Market, plus superb people-, dog-, and dealer-watching. What's more, the bench is located just feet from a J Church Muni... More >>

  • Best Place to Impersonate Sarah Jessica Parker

    Cafe Qué Tal

    All laptop owners are -- on some level -- jealous of Carrie Bradshaw, the fictional scribe/protagonist of HBO's hit series Sex and the City, but her sex life has nothing to do with it. We want that coffee-shop window table she's always clicking away at, that perfect spot where good java, a manageable noise level, and ample electrical outlets converge to form a workable environment that doesn't feel like work. If the show were set in San Francisco, Carrie would... More >>

  • Best Local Version of Machu Picchu

    Batteries Chamberlain, Crosby, Cranston, Marcus Miller, and Boutelle

    There's a haunted quality to the Presidio's decaying coastal bunkers, a twisted, rusty, fog-shrouded Weltschmerz of abandonment and eerie quietude. They were built a century ago to protect the Golden Gate from a succession of encroaching enemies; now grass grows in their cracked armor. The bunkers were dismantled before the end of World War II; the Presidio came under the aegis of the National Park Service eight years ago. Today there are cafes, educational facilities, and other peaceful endeavors in... More >>

  • Best Irony in Urban Redevelopment

    Fillmore Street's "Walk of Fame"

    The story of redevelopment in the Fillmore District has been told enough times that it has become our own cautionary tale about the evils of urban renewal. Reduced to its essence, the story goes something like this: Vibrant African-American neighborhood known as "Harlem of the West" is razed in the name of urban renewal during the 1960s. Thousands leave their homes, businesses close. The Fillmore Center eyesore is built, and Safeway, Subway, Pizza Hut, and McDonald's appear. Chapter 2 began... More >>

  • Best Way for the City to Fill Underfed Coffers

    Strategic Towing on Valencia

    Valencia's center-lane parking strip has become such a civic institution that it's only a matter of time before tourists start snapping photos. But when we see potholes on half the streets in town, we can't help but offer the Traffic Department an obvious fund-raising plan: Tow away four of every five cars parked in the center lane, leaving a small sampling of BMWs and Land Rovers to entice more Mission-goers to park there. Folks whose cars were towed would be... More >>

  • Best Movie Programmer

    Anita Monga

    Everybody loves the Castro Theatre. It regularly wins readers' polls and Best Of awards for its gorgeous space, community spirit, and outstanding programs. But the Castro's heart is clearly in its eclectic, thoughtful mix of films, all of them selected by Anita Monga, programmer since the late '80s. Monga, a striking woman with stylishly bobbed hair and a ready smile, has the enviable job of watching and choosing movies for a living. Her picks -- from wide-screen gems to Sing-Along... More >>

  • Best Place to Clown Around

    San Francisco Circus Center

    It's the only full-curriculum clown school in North America -- yes, more comprehensive than the famous but recently downsized Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Clown College in Florida. If you want to be a clown, and get the degree to prove it, the Clown Conservatory is the place to go. You'll not only learn how to juggle and pratfall, you'll study the history of clowning as an important art form. You'll discover that clowning is not just for red... More >>

  • Best Cult Filmmaker

    Antero Alli

    Calling Antero Alli self-sufficient is an understatement. The Finnish-born writer, director, and playwright makes feature films shot on video that are created completely independently. Whether writing and shooting his self-financed flicks or marketing, editing, and booking screenings at art houses, Alli relishes the artistic control he maintains over his work, although the trade-off is that the general public is less likely to see it. Fervid movie buffs, however, know him as the curator of the Nomad VideoFilm Festival, a traveling... More >>

  • Best Community Organizer

    Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center

    Charming Ron Morgan is the staff community organizer at that nexus of Bernal Hill society: the Neighborhood Center. Morgan and his boss, Mauricio Vela, are leading the charge to keep Home Depot from building a store on the old Goodman's site. They say Home Depot will attract pollution and noise-spewing cars (shudder!) to Bernal Heights. The pro-Depot supervisors better watch out: Morgan is a formidable organizer. He's one of the founders of Bastard Nation, the no-nonsense folks who stand up... More >>

  • Best District Attorney

    William H. Langdon

    Elected district attorney of San Francisco in 1905, Langdon took on the corrupt power structure, led by Mayor Eugene Schmitz, who was using the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake as an opportunity to enrich himself. The thieving mayor was in cahoots with a lawyer, Abe Reuf, the first in the long line of grafting "political consultants" who have plagued our fair city for a century. Langdon persuaded a jury to convict and jail two-term Mayor Schmitz for extorting restaurant owners.... More >>

  • Best New Office Building

    101 Second St. (at Mission)

    Egypt under Cheops, Rome under Cesar Augustus, Mexico under Nezahualcóyotl, and San Francisco under El Rey Dot-Com are all examples of oppressive political regimes that left behind architectural legacies so felicitous it's hard to remember their eras' downsides. In the case of San Francisco, the dot-com epoch's equivalent of Cheops' Great Pyramid can be found in a 26-story office tower that opened in January, designed by local architect Craig Hartman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The $100 million building looks... More >>

  • Best Real Estate Agent

    Linda Harrison

    We've met our share of oily, cutthroat denizens of the real estate world, a universe that can be particularly treacherous in San Francisco, where the competition is even more intense thanks to creative purchasing options like TICs. But Linda Harrison is a different breed of agent. She's an advocate for her clients, not herself, arming them with information, answering questions before they can think to ask any, and never pressuring someone into a sale. Plus she knows so many folks... More >>

  • Best Doctor (OB/GYN)

    Dr. Frederica Lofquist

    When it comes to doctors, San Francisco has plenty of great ones; let's face it, we're in the heart of one of the top medical research communities in the world, right? But Frederica Lofquist manages to stand out even in that kind of company. She has a knack for remembering names and personal info, even though many of her patients see her only once a year. She never makes you feel as though she has other clients waiting, taking time... More >>

  • Best Live-Work Lofts

    Yerba Buena Lofts

    In San Francisco, Brigadoon by the Sea, the prospect of change has all the appeal of a mudslide. Locals pine for the Victorian days when Third Street stank of slaughterhouses, the piers ached with day-laboring longshoremen, and the western half of the city was covered in sand. As a result, San Franciscans bicker bitterly over new buildings, and the Planning Commission tends to blanch at all but the blandest new structures. It's thus surprising that architect Stanley Saitowitz was able... More >>

  • Best Place to Feel as If You Are in Paris

    Belden Place

    Belden Place will transport you back to the cafe-lined streets of Paris. Located in the Financial District, this narrow alley is lined with three French-inspired cafes and filled with umbrellaed tables, usually occupied by hipsters sipping cappuccino or wine and filling ashtrays. To add to the atmosphere, most of the waitstaff speaks in heavy French accents and dresses the part as well. On a recent visit, an after-work crowd was settling in for some of the cafe specials: mussels at... More >>

  • Best Batterer Betterer

    Hamish Sinclair

    Founder, Manalive

    Wild-haired Scotsman Hamish Sinclair employs the most unseemly of tools -- New Agey, postmodernist-feminist, get-in-touch-with-your-feelings group therapy -- against the most intractable of problems -- male thuggery -- to achieve an altogether startling outcome: apparent success. Sinclair has spent the past two decades reforming wife beaters by forcing them to confront their inner Stanley Kowalskis, whom Sinclair neuters with the moniker "male role belief system." Patients sit through 52 weeks of group therapy learning to befriend, rather than dominate, women.... More >>

  • Second Best Block of Victorians

    1800 Block of Laguna (between Bush and Pine)

    Victorians are the architectural soul of San Francisco, the unifying theme that imbues the city with its unique character and sense of style. Even so, the charms of these Painted Ladies must usually be enjoyed piecemeal. It is rare to find more than a handful side by side; they exist today only as grand individual homes or in small, preserved pockets running through the center of town, from the Liberty/Hill historic district in the Mission to the stately mansions of... More >>

  • Best Hidden Lake

    Mountain Lake

    It's hard to hide anything in a city as compact as San Francisco, but Mountain Lake may yet surprise a few San Franciscans. Tucked away in an obscure southern corner of the Presidio, the lake hides in plain sight, concealed behind bushes from traffic zooming toward the Golden Gate Bridge on Park Presidio Boulevard. Yet for all its modesty, the lake is one of the most important historic sites in San Francisco. It was here on its shores in March... More >>

  • Four Best Skyscrapers

    Although it's impossible to admire the glass-and-concrete monoliths that have been destroying the city's Mediterranean skyline since the mid-1960s, a few examples of great urban architecture still exist in the canyons of the Financial District. The category means we've had to leave out some of our (relatively diminutive) favorites -- the 11-story Phelan Building, the city's largest flatiron; the Mills Building, a 10-story Chicago School survivor of the 1906 earthquake; Willis Polk's eight-story Hallidie Building, the first glass-curtain edifice in... More >>

  • Five Best Ways to Impress Your Date

    You've met the biped of your dreams at the corner laundromat and, wonder of wonders, she's agreed to go out with you this Saturday. Don't blow it! Follow the instructions below and even if you impress your date so much you never see her again, your evening will be a memorable one. All you need are a chauffeur, a change of clothes, and several hundred thousand dollars. Luxury Suite at Pacific Bell Park Third and King streets, 972-2000, www.sfgiants.com Kick... More >>

  • Best Mobile Landmarks

    San Francisco is filled with interesting places -- rowdy bars, relaxing parks, and sites that are simply a pleasure to look at. But the city is also blessed with actual human beings who count as must-see attractions in and of themselves. Below, a handy guide to three of our favorites: Real Name: Frank Chu. What Everybody Calls Him: That Guy, You Know, With the Sign. Dossier: Back when Monicagate started, so did Frank Chu, wandering around downtown hoisting a sign... More >>

  • Great Escapes for Lovers

    Love in the Bay Area can be expensive. Fancy dinners out, weekend getaways, private investigators -- these things usually don't come cheap. But there are a few odd gems that couples can enjoy together for not a lot of money. Chapel of the Chimes 4499 Piedmont (at Pleasant Valley), Oakland, (510) 654-0123, www.chapelofthechimes.com The best refuge for smooching is in Oakland, a gorgeous castlelike structure built by Julia Morgan. It may seem creepy at first (or appealing) that the chapel... More >>

  • People & Places Readers' Poll

    Best Reason to Love San FranciscoDiversity Most Romantic Spot Twin Peaks Favorite Tourist Attraction Golden Gate Bridge Favorite Place Tourists Don’t Know About The Mission Favorite San Franciscan Willie Brown San Franciscan Closest to Hell Willie Brown Best View Twin Peaks Best City Supervisor Gavin Newsom Best State Legislator Carole Migden Best Neighborhood Noe Valley Best Local Web Site Craigslist Best Local Morning Radio Show KFOG Best Local Evening TV Newscast KRON Best Newspaper Column Savage Love Best Parking Tip... More >>

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