By Tom Temprano
I managed to squeeze in a rare out-of-states trip to Mexico this past week and found myself doing my finest 6am zombie walk through SFO’s International Terminal. As I walked past groups of people from countries around the globe whose checking appeared to be happening more coherently than mine, I couldn’t help but wish that on my next spin through this terminal I’d be greeted by the name and face of Harvey Milk and the incredible message of hope and inclusivity that he brings.
The ego of Diane Feinstein managed to torpedo efforts to rename our entire airport after Harvey and the word is that she’s now dead-set on seeing a DiFi International Terminal, despite the important message that queer representation on the terminal would send to travelers from across the world.
Message of hope aside, having the name of a woman who voted for wars abroad, co-sponsored the Patriot Act and has a spotty record on immigration reform on our gateway to the world seems kind of rude Plus, DiFi already has an AK-47 magazine named after her so demanding more seems downright greedy.
Seeing realtors declare my backyard, aka the north slope of Bernal Heights the nation’s “Hottest neighborhood of 2014” made my stomach churn. Now, I’m not getting my NIMBY on just because I like to have Precita Park all to myself, I’m doing it because only a few years ago homes in Bernal received national attention also – as their owners fought one of the worst foreclosure crisis’s in the City with Occupy Bernal.
Apparently all it takes to turn a neighborhood into a big boon for your industry is to bring it to its knees, displace all of the low and middle income homeowners, and then flip their homes to folks who are attracted to things that appear at the top of lists that begin with the word “hot.”
We’re only two weeks into 2014 and already Google Buses are feeling the heat. It’s hard not to pile onto the luxury shuttles that have fast become the symbol of all things ostentatious about our tech boom/diversity bust, what with their $1 rent and the fact that without them, 30% of the tech workers being blamed for displacement in our neighborhoods would get out of town.
Fortunately for buses under duress, there are two new lines of defense in town: private security guards, to keep the 20-ton behemoths safe from 140- pound protestors, and the literary savants at San Francisco Magazine. In a post this week, SF Mag, whose magazine arguably contains less actual content and more luxury housing adspace than those free Real Estate Times Magazines, stepped in front of the Google Bus backlash and lobbed a silver tongued missive toward Rebecca Solnit for her ongoing/righteous crusade against our Bauer-going overlords. The post bemoans, what SF Mag calls, Solnit’s repeated “self-plagiarizing” attack on tech-rooted displacement and what those of us who don’t sell Zephyr ads for a living call real talk.
I’m sure that Rebecca is so grief-stricken by this biting critique of her writing from such a well-respected publication that she has done nothing but cry into her long, long, list of accolades which include a National Book Critics Circle Award, a nomination for a National Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and more.
MOVIE TIME: What a week! The Oscar nominations were announced! This week, more than any other, is so ripe for a riveting preview of Best Picture competition and the who’s who of who’s left out. Unfortunately, I don’t really watch movies, especially the good kind that win awards. For example, I reviewed the fourth episode of the second season of My Cat From Hell in my last Movie Time and honestly I’m just including this section to keep this as true to the Willie Brown format as possible (as an aside how does Willie Brown find so much time to watch movies what with him still being the mayor and all?)
Fortunately, I had the time to actually watch something more than 26 minutes long on my flight back from Puerto Vallarta this week AND it happens to be Oscar Nominated.
20 Feet From Stardom, nominated for Best Documentary Feature, had me crying into my complimentary Diet Coke as it followed the careers of the incredible background singers behind the hits of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Darlene Love, Merry Clayton and many other women whose voices you’ve sung along to a thousand times but whose stories have passed you by are given long, long overdue exposure for their indelible contribution to rock and soul music.
These women literally had their voices stolen from them and their dreams dashed but they’ve kept on singing. As much as it will make you squirm to see white male millionaires like Sting, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger sing the praises of the women whose voices padded their wallets and took their songs to the top of the charts, it’s well worth the discomfort to watch this film and learn more about these remarkable women.
Tom’s Top Two Things To Do This Weekend
1.) Watch TV on Sunday
If you were born sometime in the past week, it may be news to you that the two biggest televised events in San Francisco history are happening this Sunday: the 49ers NFC title game against the Seattle Rotisserie Chickens and the series premier of The Real Gay Lives Of San Francisco aka HBO’s Looking. You should probably watch one or both of these things depending on what your preferred format is for viewing man-on-man drama.
2) The Richmond/Haight Tenants Convention. Saturday, January 18, 2014 at the SF Public Library Park Branch.
By all accounts last week’s Castro Tenants Convention was a smash success. Lots of action items left the room and are headed to the citywide tenants convention on February 8th. If you live in the avenues or the Haight, this is your chance to have your voice heard and generate solutions for the West/Central side of the city.