Rendering of proposed improvements to the bridge at Fillmore and Geary.
THE NONPROFIT San Francisco Beautiful has taken on a new local project: the forlorn bridge at Fillmore and Geary. A conceptual rendering has been released by SWA Group and fundraising has begun.
“I think that we can all agree that the bridge, which spans Geary at Fillmore, has fallen on hard times and needs some new paint,” writes SF Beautiful executive director Darcy Brown in announcing the project. “Well, we didn’t think that would be enough to enhance this rather high profile transit hub that almost everyone in the entire city experiences at one time or another so, we went to the Fillmore community and asked them what transformation they wanted to see happen. We then met with our friends at SWA Group, an international design firm, to use the suggestions and create a rendering.”
Brown says of the rendering: “Beautiful isn’t it? In order to make this rendering a reality, we need all the help that we can get. The Blue Bridge belongs to all of us and in order to transform the decor from what I call mid-century prison yard to a beautiful crossing that we can all be proud of, we need contributions to match the city’s grant.”
ROCK & ROLL impresario Bill Graham helped launch a new era in both music and performance when he began presenting shows at the Fillmore Auditorium in the ’60s. He also helped launch a new art form by commissioning artists to create posters to promote and commemorate the shows, a practice that continues today.
Eunice Ashizawa and her nephew Aaron Katekaru help run Soko Hardware in Japantown.
By FRAN MORELAND JOHNS
After Masayasu Ashizawa came from Japan to San Francisco nearly a century ago, he opened a hardware store in 1925 in the heart of bustling Japantown and named it Soko — Japanese for “that place.” Soko Hardware’s founder could not have imagined the family business would be thriving in that place today under the management of his grandson Philip, born years after his grandfather died.
Soko Hardware, at 1698 Post Street, thrives not just as a local hardware store, but also as a destination for Bay Area residents and visitors who come for the paper lanterns or the authentic teapots or the delicate china — sometimes even for the hardware.
“I think of going to Soko as a special treat, like going to a museum and finding things I didn’t know existed,” says Mill Valley resident Sue Steele. (more…)
NOTED SAN FRANCISCO graphic artist John Mattos has been selected to create the poster for the 2016 Fillmore Jazz Festival, coming on July 2 and 3, and this week he revealed his design.
“Like good jazz, it’s unexpected,” said Mattos. “There isn’t a guy with a horn in this, so it’s not replicating the experience of the festival. After all, the real function of the poster is to get attention, and a complete departure like this might get more attention than visually interpreting the aural experience — plus, it’s kinda light-hearted.”
Mattos follows other top poster artists who have offered their take on the Fillmore festival in recent years, including Michael Schwab, Craig Frazier and David Lance Goines.
Isabelle McGee, owner of Regard Interiors: “I work to simplify lives and add a little zest.”
SHE’D WORKED FOR THE RITZ in Paris and other international corporations, mostly designing hotels, but French designer Isabelle McGee wanted something different — something more intimate — when she set out to establish her interior design atelier in San Francisco.
One day she was walking on Sutter Street, just a block from Fillmore, when she struck up a conversation with Joan O’Connor, longtime proprietor of Timeless Treasures at 2176 Sutter and a notorious neighborhood networker.
“I need a space like this,” McGee told her. So O’Connor promptly called upstairs and introduced her to the landlord of a nearby vacant storefront.
She had found her home. In late 2013 McGee opened her consultancy and showroom called Regard at 2182 Sutter.
Photograph of the Haas-Lilienthal House by Jim Simmons Photography
THE HAAS-LILIENTHAL HOUSE at 2005 Franklin Street has a new paint job that returns the historic Victorian to its original, more subdued color palette.
To restore the historic integrity of the house, which now serves as its headquarters, San Francisco Heritage commissioned architectural conservator Molly Lambert to conduct a paint study to determine the original colors, patterns and sheens of the house. Lambert took 40 paint samples for microscopic testing, which can differentiate layers of primer, glaze, dirt and paint to identify the original colors.
“We don’t choose colors,” said Lambert. “They are there for us to discover.”
THE DOCENT PROGRAM at St. Dominic’s Church at Steiner and Bush is sponsoring “The Grand Tour: An Overview of Church Art & Architecture” on Saturday, August 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Docents will lead visitors on a tour of treasures in wood, stone and stained glass inside and outside the church. The event — a “drop in and stay for as little or as much as you like” tour — is free and open to the public. For more information, call 415-517-5572, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toward the end of Plastic Man: The Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish, we see Barrish, San Francisco’s most famous bail bondsman, at his 50th high school reunion. He is shocked to find most of his Lincoln High classmates retired — “playing golf or something” — while he is still in mid-career.
Even Angels Get the Blues | Jerry Ross Barrish
That’s a phrase you hear more often in an art museum, when an artist is given a “mid-career retrospective” of his work. And, in fact, Barrish is an artist himself. Now in his 70s, he has shut down his bail bond office across from the Hall of Justice. But he is only a little past mid-career in creating his detritus-based sculpture — what the Fresno Art Museum called “Art Drecko” in its exhibition of his found-art assemblages in 2008-2009.
Barrish creates figures of people and animals from castoff plastic and other junk he scavenges, and all of a sudden it seems he’s the man of the moment.
Two dozen of his plastic sculptures are on view in a new exhibition, Sculptures from the Plastic Man, at Studio Gallery on Pacific. And William Farley’s 75-minute Plastic Man documentary is part of this year’s San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, with screenings in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Berkeley.
Solange Mallett owns African Plural Art at 1305 Fillmore.
ART | JUDY GODDESS
Solange Mallett, the owner of African Plural Art, is passionate — about African art; her newly opened gallery at 1305 Fillmore; the neighborhood; the visitors who come to look, learn and sometimes purchase; and the tribes supported by the purchases.
“You have to be passionate about what you’re doing and passionate about sharing it with other people,” she says. “This is what I want to do. I’m from French Africa and I want to share with people here.”
Mallett was born in the Ivory Coast and grew up in Paris. Her husband’s work for the World Bank necessitated frequent moves: to Madagascar, Chad, Tanzania. In Paris, where they lived before moving to the Bay Area, Mallett ran an online African art business.
“That business taught me that I wanted a shop where people could come in and I could share what I’m learning with them,” she says.
When I was 10, my parents divorced — and I watched with fear and admiration as my mother got her first job so she could support five children. That made me sensitive to the subject of working mothers. It wasn’t surprising that later, as a photographer with children, I would try and get at that subject. I asked friends who were working mothers to pose for me.
One was an executive who pumped milk in her car as she drove to work each morning. But I couldn’t get the dare in what she did in my pictures. You couldn’t see the baby crying at home, or her anxiety about expressing enough milk, or her cool in doing it right before a meeting with business executives.
I knew almost nothing about ballet or dancers but when I met Katita Waldo, a prima ballerina at the San Francisco Ballet, holding her 3-day-old son James at CalMart, I wanted to photograph her. Her work was visual and, when she brought her son to the studio or the stage, what I would capture would inherently show the two worlds.
With the continuing onrush of national and international fashion and cosmetics brands onto upper Fillmore Street, retail space has become so sought after that corporate tenants are willing to pay rent for months while their storefronts sit empty, waiting for city permits to be approved.
A dozen storefronts north of Bush Street are now vacant, but almost all are already leased.
Among the stores in the works:
• Intermix, the Gap’s newest acquisition, is taking over Brooks Brothers’ Black Fleece space at 2223 Fillmore.
• 45rpm, a Japanese clothing brand, is coming to 1905 Fillmore.
• Space NK, a cosmetics company based in London, plans to open at 2000 Fillmore, former home of Paolo Shoes.
• Frye Boots is building out the space at 2047 Fillmore formerly occupied by Vitamin Express.
CITY PUTS YOSHI'S
UP FOR GRABS
More than a year after it went dark, Yoshi's jazz club and restaurant at 1330 Fillmore is still looking for new life.
City officials have announced they are looking for interested buyers — and for local citizens to help choose among the ideas proposed. More information and applications are here.
To stir up activity in the meantime, the city is offering to lease some of the public areas in the building to community groups. Book here.
COMING AND GOING AT
DIVIS AND CALIFORNIA
The busy intersection of California and Divisadero is getting ever livelier — and tastier.
• Longtime local favorite Food Inc. has closed after more than 20 years and will be replaced by a new wine bar called Scopo Divino.
• Across the street, Tataki has moved its sushi bar a few doors west into a sleek new home. In its old space, the owners have opened Limu & Shoyu, which they’re billing as “San Francisco’s only sustainable poke bar.”
• On the corner, Wild Hare has been taken over by the owners of Lightning Tavern on Union Street. The name will remain the same, but there’s a new menu, and changes to the look of the place are coming. “It doesn’t feel like a frat house anymore,” says staffer Stephanie Mancia. “A lot of the regulars have come back.”
• And more change is coming: Bistro SF Grill, the burger joint that got its start as a pop-up on Saturday mornings at the Fillmore Farmers Market, will be closing within a couple of months and moving to Castro and 24th. “We’re sad to leave,” says co-owner Hasim Zecic. “We know our neighbors. When we got here it was just cars, no people. Now it’s friendlier and busier.”