Shell station won’t have a garage

Construction continues on the new Shell station at California and Steiner.

Construction continues on the new Shell station at California and Steiner.

AS THE demolition, excavation and reconstruction of the Shell gas station on the corner of California and Steiner proceeds, it has become apparent it will no longer include a garage when the station reopens this summer with more gas pumps and a Loop convenience store.

Neighbors rallied to save the garage, which had been on the corner for decades, when new owners of the station proposed to replace it with twice as many gas pumps and a massive grab-and-go store offering soda, snacks and more food options, including a sushi bar.

Before giving its go-ahead, the Planning Commission reduced the number of additional gas pumps, limited the size of the store and directed the owners to rebuild the garage.

But soon after its renovation plans were approved in June 2015, Au Energy evicted the mechanics who leased the garage and shut it down. It remained empty until demolition began earlier this year.

As construction began, the general counsel for the company said “I don’t know” whether a garage would be included. He said the project “turned into a full rebuild” and was expected to take at least five months, with the station reopening “at the end of May at the earliest.”

EARLIER: “Shell gets go-ahead, garage gets the boot

Farewell to two of our finest

Carol and John Field

Carol and John Field, longtime neighborhood residents.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD lost two of its outstanding citizens and creative minds in recent weeks when architect John Field and author Carol Field died within a few days of each other.

John Field was noted for the homes he designed in Pacific Heights and especially for his enlightened approach to shopping centers, including the Stanford Shopping Center and downtown Santa Barbara. He was also a filmmaker and a photographer.

Carol Field was a prolific author who became an authority on Italian food, even though she acknowledged she was “the first Italian in my family tree.” After trips to Italy to make The Urban Preserve, John’s first architectural documentary, Carol made it her mission to learn everything about Italian baking. They later owned a home there, and many more books and a novel followed. Earlier she had been a co-owner of the beloved Minerva’s Owl bookstore on Union Street.

Shortly after John died of cancer, Carol suffered a stroke and never recovered.

“She couldn’t make it without him,” neighboring chef and cookbook author Joyce Goldstein told the Chronicle. ”They were a blessed couple.”

“She seemed to listen as much with her eyebrows as her eyes,” wrote Corby Kummer in The Atlantic. He told the Fields he enjoyed visiting them “to observe at close range your utter companionability. You were and will remain my models for the complete and caring civility with which two people can treat each other.”

EARLIER: “Fillmore to Italy and back again

A younger Carol and John Field.

A younger Carol and John Field: always utterly companionable.

MORE: “She tied tradition to captivating stories

The New York Times
The Washington Post

Carol Field tied tradition to captivating stories

Carol Field at home in her kitchen on Washington Street.

Carol Field at home in her kitchen on Washington Street.

By MARK FANTINO

My introduction to Carol Field came in the spring of 1997, in the weeks preceding the release party for her book In Nonna’s Kitchen. An informal dinner was planned with dishes from the book, which was at least one part investigative journalism into the secrets and traditions of Italian grandmothers.

The dinner was to be held at Vivande Ristorante in Opera Plaza, and all of us cooks were to page through the house copy of In Nonna’s Kitchen and select recipes that spoke to us. I chose Tuscan Chicken Liver Pâté (Crostini di Fegatini), which was a bewitching concoction of soft-cooked onions, capers, anchovies and chicken livers, all moistened with Vin Santo.

I remember testing a batch. My coworker peered into my pot, squinched up his face and declared: “That’s everything I hate all mixed together.” I disagreed. But livers, like anchovies, will forever fall firmly into two dividing camps: those who think it must be an acquired taste and those, like me, who insist it is instead a required taste. It remains one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken livers, though difficult to talk about without causing some kind of reaction.

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He makes sculptures that write

Photographs by Jon Batle

Photographs of Agelio Batle’s graphite sculptures by Jon Batle

ART | CLAIRE CARLEVARO

Twenty-five years ago, I saw a piece of artwork by Agelio Batle at the Hayes Valley gallery owned by the visionary Federico de Vera. I bought the wall sculpture, then went in search of the artist.

Thus began my journey with a man whose creativity is born in spirituality and nurtured by skill: a true seeker, an explorer and a remarkable inspiration. Nature and the human figure are his inspirations. He delights in discovering the potential of unused materials, often castoffs: found photos, plastic milk cartons, discarded reference books.

In addition to his steady creation of unique works, Batle has invented a form of graphite artistry available in many museums and shops, including Hi Ho Silver at 1904 Fillmore Street.

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The ancient art of origami

Paper Tree's Linda Mihara with a goldfish made of gold paper.

Paper Tree’s Linda Mihara with a goldfish made of gold paper.

By FRAN MORELAND JOHNS

If you’re interested in creating a bit of art to make your home the envy of the neighborhood, here’s how: Pick up a 6-by-6-foot piece of paper at Paper Tree, located at 1743 Buchanan in Japantown. Fold it carefully about a thousand times or so in precisely the proper manner and voila    a dragon such as few have ever seen.

You may want to practice on something slightly less elaborate. But a glimpse of “Ryujin 3.2,” the dragon created by one of the world’s most highly skilled origami artists, now on display at the Paper Tree, is definitely an inspiration.

Origami is the ancient art of folding paper into limitless shapes. While other cultures have adapted paper-folding into various traditions, it is most closely associated with Japanese culture and heritage. It was the aspiration to honor and perpetuate this cultural tradition that led Nobuo and Shizuko Mihara to found Paper Tree in 1968. The shop is one of only a handful of family owned and run businesses remaining in Japantown.

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Fire at the Elite

Elite

IT WAS A sunny Friday morning, and it looked as if the historic neon sign fronting the Elite Cafe would at last be fully lit. Then suddenly a swarm of fire trucks was on the scene.

“We finally found the part to fix the sign to light both sides,” says owner Andy Chun, “and the sign guys somehow caught the thing on fire when they were installing it.”

Chun says the extent of the damage and how long repairs will take are both unknown at this point.

elite_fire

London Market takes a spirited turn

Kyle Nadeau in the rebuilt corner store that is now Corbeaux's London Market.

Kyle Nadeau in the rebuilt corner store that is now Corbeaux’s London Market.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD LOST another of its corner groceries last year when the century-old London Market at Divisadero and Sacramento closed. This weekend it is being reborn as the sleek and modern Corbeaux’s London Market, a wine and spirits shop.

It’s the brainchild of Kyle Nadeau — who worked at D&M Liquors on Fillmore Street for nearly a decade — and his partner Evan Krow, both of whom live nearby.

The grand opening will come later this month, but it’s “softly open” as of this weekend. “We’ve had a lot of desire from people in the neighborhood wanting to get in here,” says Nadeau.

Still to come: a gourmet deli in the back offering cheese, charcuterie and caviar. It will be operated by the owners of the new Greenbox takeout shop that just opened a block south at California and Divisadero.

Hospital may sell its historic library

The hospital's Health Sciences Library was built in 1912.

The Health Sciences Library at Sacramento and Webster was built in 1912.

THE CLASSIC REVIVAL sandstone building at Sacramento and Webster that has housed the medical library for the nearby hospital since 1912 is headed for a new life in its second century.

Its collections have been dispersed and the library’s small staff is relocating by the end of March to the nearby Gerbode Research Building at Webster and Clay.

A hospital spokesman said the library has not been listed for sale. But library director Anne Shew confirmed the building was being vacated and said: “It will be put on the market soon — in the next couple of months.”

The library lost much of its patronage in 2014 when the University of the Pacific’s dental school left its longtime home across the street. The dental school had shared the library with the hospital.

Among those said to be interested in buying the landmark building: Trumark Urban, developer of The Pacific condominium complex at 2121 Webster, which replaced the dental school.

“I have no comment on that,” said Arden Hearing, managing director of Trumark.

She brought art to the street

Cassandria Blackmore created a showcase for her work on Fillmore Street.

Cassandria Blackmore created a showcase for her work on Fillmore Street.

FOR SEVEN YEARS, people walked by the gallery at 1906 Fillmore, looked in to admire the artwork on the walls, but never found the jewel box of a space open.

That was exactly the idea.

Cassandria Blackmore, who first made her mark in the glass art scene in Seattle, transformed the storefront in 2010 into a San Francisco showcase for her art, which is uniquely her own. She does reverse paintings on glass, then shatters and reassembles them.

“I had used the concept of a small locked storefront in Seattle,” she says. “The space was shallow and easily viewed from the sidewalk. For some it was more comfortable than stepping into a gallery. I found the idea of bringing my art to the street an intriguing one and discovered that it sustained itself.”

Cassandria Blackmore painting on glass.

Cassandria Blackmore painting on glass.

Blackmore created similar spaces in Seattle, San Francisco and Carmel, and her career flourished.

But she and her husband, the musician Jon Blackmore, and their two kids wanted more warmth and sunshine than San Francisco offered. They found it in Santa Barbara.

“I had always intended to stay in San Francisco,” she says. “But when we came to Santa Barbara, I was struck by the south-facing light. There was a glow to it, nestled between the mountains and the sea.”

Then serendipity stepped in. They responded to a posting on Craigslist for a live-work space built by a pair of photographers in 1907. It turned out to be a neglected historic building two blocks from the ocean with studios that had been used by many other artists — including Diego Rivera, who painted his self-portrait there now gracing the front of Mexico’s 500 peso note.

They bought it, fought back the jungle in the side yard, and created a studio for her, a gallery for her work, a home for their family and a rental unit.

“Fillmore led us to Santa Barbara,” Blackmore says. “It was so special to be on Fillmore as a child and to return to it as an adult. It was the reentry point back to my roots in California. I will always be grateful.”

She gave up her space on Fillmore Street in February. The dream continues in Santa Barbara.

blackmore

The Blackmores have found an artistic home in Santa Barbara.

MORE: “The Blackmore family’s dream

An honest job

Luis Garcia on his new job with Mission City Rebar.

Luis Garcia on his new job with Mission City Rebar.

GOOD WORKS | FRANCINE BREVETTI

When Luis Garcia was 13, he thought robbing people was normal. Now, at 22, after multiple incarcerations, he sees working an honest job for a decent living as normal. He turned his head around with the help of the Success Center, a nonprofit at 1449 Webster Street providing vocational and education services for area youth.

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