Posted on December 1, 2016 by editors
Asmbly Hall’s Ron Benitez (center) offers Mayor Ed Lee some fashion advice.
By BARBARA KATE REPA
Five years ago, when many saw the neighborhood becoming inhospitable to mom-and-pop businesses as ever more corporate chains moved in, Tricia and Ron Benitez turned a deaf ear to the naysayers and opened their one-of-a-kind clothing boutique at 1850 Fillmore Street.
They stocked it with pieces for men and women by indie designers for the customer they described as a “sophisticated prepster” and named it Asmbly Hall, a moniker they said “describes a gathering place for the community that brings fashion, art and music together.”
Five years later, it’s all come true — even the mom and pop part, since the couple welcomed daughter Harlow 21 months ago. Mayor Ed Lee recently chose Asmbly Hall to kick off the “Shop and Dine in the 49” campaign, a holiday initiative to encourage spending in to the city’s neighborhoods. And Ron this year became president of the Fillmore Merchants Association.
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Posted on October 26, 2016 by editors
Sutter Marin’s Sister, Dear Sister, There’s a Rabbit in Your Garden.
By BUD JOHNS
The recent news of a possible Zen rock garden on Cottage Row brought back memories of the late Sutter Marin, the Beat era artist and poet who was a garden lover and the only Cottage Row resident I’ve known.
My wife and I live with one of Marin’s paintings, Sister, Dear Sister, There’s a Rabbit in Your Garden. After years of hearing little about him, we learned recently of “The Beat Went On: Late Works by Sutter Marin,” an exhibition featuring his work and others of his milieu at Santa Rosa’s Calabi Gallery, with a ruth weiss poetry reading and jazz accompaniment.
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Posted on October 1, 2016 by editors
Flowers for the Fillmore-Jackson coffee shop when it closed in 2014.
FIRST PERSON | BARBARA WYETH
Funny how habits form. They revolve around responsibilities and chores, but also the small pleasures that brighten our daily routines.
I have been working for several years at a beautiful flower shop in the neighborhood. In addition to spending time with a great team of co-workers and the lovely flowers every season and every day, it includes a relatively pleasant bus trip over from my Russian Hill apartment.
Florists start early, so it’s usually the coldest part of the day, and in the winter it’s dark. Very dark. But at the corner of Fillmore and Jackson was the welcome light of the coffee shop and the aroma of ground beans and steamed milk — and those friendly baristas who knew exactly what I wanted and just how I wanted it.
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Posted on October 1, 2016 by editors
Design by Michael Schwab
SALOONS | CHRIS BARNETT
Eternally preppy saloon impresario Perry Butler’s landmark joint at 1944 Union Street is a museum of all things newsworthy in San Francisco for the last 47 years, with nary a square inch of empty wall space. But he’s long felt something was missing. “I’ve always wanted a poster,” he says, “A simple, clean, classic illustration of our signature cocktail.”
Perhaps Butler was listening to his inner adman. After all, his dad was a Madison Avenue heavyweight whose newly minted Dartmouth grad son had a brief fling in the hard-drinking agency world of the 1960s. He didn’t like it.
Two years ago, Butler approached San Anselmo graphic designer Michael Schwab, possibly the Bay Area’s most prolific and passionate poster artist. Schwab turned him down, saying he was too busy. Schwab’s style — strong, simple, retro images in warm, bold colors reminiscent of the ’20s and ’30s — makes even Alcatraz look inviting. The Golden Gate National Park Conservancy, which runs The Rock, has enlisted Schwab to produce a series of posters capturing the various places in the national park the conservancy oversees.
Filed under: Art & Design, Food, Drink & Lodging, Locals | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 1, 2016 by editors
New cantor David Frommer and new senior rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf.
By JESSICA ZIMMERMAN GRAF
I grew up in this neighborhood. I used to go to Gino’s grocery store at Fillmore and Jackson after school to get gummy worms in the ’80s when they were all the rage. I’ve walked around this neighborhood for years — decades, in fact. And now, I’m delighted to be back here in a new capacity.
Last month, a new clergy team was installed at Congregation Sherith Israel, at the corner of California and Webster Streets. Friends and congregants gathered for a Sabbath service on September 16, followed by festivities and food that honored the different cultures of San Francisco. About 600 people participated.
Who would have thought, just shy of 30 years after I became bat mitzvah in this community, that I would stand in the same spot being installed as the 10th senior rabbi of Congregation Sherith Israel?
• I am the first senior rabbi who proudly hangs a Sunday School diploma on the wall.
• I am the first senior rabbi who interned here as a rabbinical student.
• And I am the first senior rabbi to wear a dress for installation — at least as far as I know.
Filed under: Body & Soul, First Person, Locals | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 29, 2016 by editors
Ed Nahigian, longtime owner of SF Boot & Shoe Repair at 2448 Fillmore.
SAD NEWS from one of Fillmore’s few remaining old-school shops: SF Boot & Shoe Repair at 2448 Fillmore has closed after 34 years. Owner Ed Nahigian died early on September 27 while walking his dog in Alta Plaza Park.
EARLIER: “Still Standing“
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Posted on August 31, 2016 by editors
Posted on August 5, 2016 by editors
Nate Thurmond and his Silver Shadow were familiar sights in the neighborhood when he owned a restaurant at 2020 Fillmore Street.
LOCALS | MARK J. MITCHELL
Sports fans mourned the death of Nate Thurmond, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, who died on July 16 at the age of 74. He was the first player ever to score a quadruple-double in the history of the game and the only player to have his number retired by both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.
He will be remembered as an immortal of the game, and many San Franciscans will also think of him as the man behind Big Nate’s Barbecue for 20 years.
Those of us with deep roots in the Fillmore have other memories.
Back in the 1970s — when Pacific Heights started strictly on the north side of California Street and everything south was still the Western Addition — Nate the Great roamed our little corner of San Francisco.
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Posted on June 1, 2016 by editors
IN MAY 1986, founding editor and publisher David Ish published Volume 1, Number 1, of the New Fillmore — the premiere issue.
The name was a bit of a joke. The Fillmore had forever been reinventing itself, from its roots as a Jewish neighborhood, then a Japanese neighborhood, then the Harlem of the West, which sported the New Fillmore Hotel and the New Fillmore Theater. The early ’80s brought another new era as upper Fillmore began to emerge as a bustling shopping and dining district and the surrounding area became an ever more desirable place to live.
We took over the newspaper in June 2006, so this issue also marks our 10th anniversary. It has been an eventful decade. As Fillmore Street has been transformed into a coveted location for international fashion and cosmetics brands, many of the one-of-a-kind shops and essential services that made it so attractive have been squeezed out. The street, in some ways, has become a victim of its own success.
Yet this neighborhood remains a wonderful place to live, with a rich history, a vibrant economy and many tales to tell. Thank you for inviting us into your homes every month.
Barbara Kate Repa
Thomas R. Reynolds
Filed under: Locals, Neighborhood History | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 29, 2016 by editors
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…)
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