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.
More than two years after it went dark, the huge space at 1330 Fillmore that once housed Yoshi's jazz club and restaurant — and the gallery next door at 1320 Fillmore, the corner space occupied by 1300 on Fillmore restaurant and the public parking garage — are now on the market.
City officials have announced they are looking for interested buyers for the commercial spaces in the Fillmore Heritage Center and have issued a request for proposals, due by April 24.
"The city encourages proposals that creatively incorporate one or more of the following uses: performing arts, visual/media arts, food and recreation/leisure activities," said the announcement.
Boba tea has taken the city by storm, and now two friends who call themselves the Boba Guys are promising a higher-quality version at 1522 Fillmore, next to the Wise Guys bagelry.
Their sweet creamy tapioca tea is made with Straus organic milk, and is more expensive than most. They already have locations in Hayes Valley, the Mission, near Union Square and in New York.
Then there’s this: In the back of the boba shop is Korean fried chicken from New York chef Deuki Hong at Sunday Bird. He’s looking for a permanent location in the neighborhood for a Korean barbecue restaurant and fermentation lab.
MORE FOOD AND
• Around the corner from the guys at Geary and Steiner, the transformation from KFC and Taco Bell to Jane the Bakery is now complete. Behind a cheery orange awning, the entire space has become a big open commercial bakery, with bread and pastry of all kinds. Plus coffee.
• At long last there’s action on the northwest corner of Fillmore and Sacramento. Salt & Straw from Portland is bringing artisan ice cream. Let’s hope they bring back the tables and chairs in the southern sun, too.
• In the now-shuttered Noah’s Bagels store at 2213 Fillmore, look for a new Danish juice bar and sandwich shop called Joe & the Juice. They’ve got hundreds of outlets around the world, but promise they are “local to every neighborhood.”
• Up at the top of the street, work finally began at Blue Bottle Coffee after more than two years of waiting. But it stopped again almost as quickly.
• Still no signs of life at 2043 Fillmore, despite owner Pascal Rigo’s latest promises that the long darkness will end with a new La Boulangerie and a fresh coat of paint.
• Troya, at 2125 Fillmore, has adjusted its approach by simplifying its menu, lowering its prices and shifting to fast-casual service.
• And the ladies at Gardenias, at 1963 Sutter, have added brunch on weekends.
STILL MORE FASHION,
BEAUTY ON FILLMORE
The arrival of national and international fashion and beauty brands onto upper Fillmore Street continues.
• Now open: 45R, a Japanese clothing brand, in its new hand-crafted shop at 1905 Fillmore.
• Frey, the 153-year-old bootmaker, has its first stand-alone store on the West Coast at 2047 Fillmore.
• Intermix, the Gap’s newest acquisition, has taken over Brooks Brothers’ Black Fleece space at 2223 Fillmore.
• Space NK, a new beauty products shop, is now open at 2000 Fillmore.
• The former Heidi Says Shoes at 2105 Fillmore has been transformed into a new home for Atelier Cologne, a parfumerie with boutiques in Paris, New York and Hong Kong.
MARC JACOBS CLOSES,
LIP LAB POPS UP
The stylish Marc Jacobs outpost on the corner of Fillmore and Sacramento has closed, only a year after the fashion house discontinued its lower-priced Marc by Marc Jacobs line that had held down the corner for several years. It moved its higher-end Marc Jacobs boutique on Maiden Lane, near Union Square, into the Fillmore shop. Now both are gone.
In its place, at least temporarily, is Lip Lab, a lipstick shop that merges organic ingredients and cutting-edge technology to create small batches of made-to-order colors. Lip Lab, which has a six-month lease on the space.