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After a 25-year stint on 16th Street in the now-teeming Valencia Corridor, and years of rumors of impending closure, a steep rent increase nearly caused literary, cultural, and artistic hub Adobe Books to shut its doors for good. But supporters launched a fundraising campaign using crowd-funding platform Indiegogo and succeeded in raising $60,000, enough to secure a new home on 24th Street — which, along with the re-situated Modern Times Bookstore, has become somewhat of a haven for gentrification-fleeing libraries.
"I've had it with these cheap sons of bitches who claim they love poetry but never buy a book," SF literary legend Kenneth Rexroth once supposedly said. Many share his sentiment when it comes to music — especially as our city rapidly empties itself of neighborhood record stores (and book stores, too, for that matter). Rexroth himself used to live above Jack's Record Cellar, one of our longest-operating vinyl concerns — since 1951! — and also one of the most poetic spots in the city.
All over the news last year: Medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco and other cities were being shut down by a spasm of overzealous and anachronistic enforcement by the federal government (see "Why?" 8/14/12). But a wave of young clubs were undaunted by the headlines. Indeed, many went through the entirely navigable local approval process for cannabis clubs and threw open their doors, come what may from Kamala Harris, Eric Holder, and the rest of the "drug warriors." Among the best of the bunch?
It has been remarked that West Portal is quite the happy village in the middle of this teeming city. We concur. Tucked into the side of a hill topped by a Twin Peak, slung happily along a leafy central promenade, the neighborhood is not the worst model for Main Street, USA. Tip and Top Vacuum & Shoe Service, particularly seen in this light, is an all-American gem. Bring in your dirt sucker for a fix-me-up and the capable staff will get it back to dirt bunny-busting in two shakes of a dusty rug.
Inside the massive American Steel building, a relic of Oakland's industrial past repurposed and managed mostly for the Burning Man art world, there's a beautifully intricate two-story Western saloon made from recycled materials, originally built as the Dustfish Bordello for Black Rock City in 2009. In the intervening years, the structure has matured into what is now known as American Steel's Oaktown Hall, an art gallery and event space that became a hub this year for a variety of ventures within what its organizers call the salvage and reuse arts. Skate ramps!
Local artist Amos Goldbaum hand-draws and hand-prints some of the most recognizable, SF-centric t-shirts (and hoodies, tanks, and baby onesies) available on the streets — literally, on the streets, since he also hand-sells his wares from wire racks on Valencia, near the Ferry Building, at street fairs like the recent Castro Street Fair, and other open-air spots.
Bolivian-born David Forte's SoMa workshop has one mission: to light up your life, and colorfully at that. Opened in 1971, Forte's San Francisco Stained Glass Works is the place to go for those who would have blooming lilies twinkling above a front door, or an Art Deco Emerald City to enliven the upper strata of one's workspace. The shop turns out devotional works for pane-minded churches and synagogues and extravagantly lovely flatware sets. Others flock to learn the craft themselves.
Powerful chrome and polished enamel parts, operated by hand, executing a series of swift cuts and swooping motions. Classic design masterfully crafted, all building to — gasp! — the perfect slice of salami. Welcome to the world of Emilio Mitidieri, the man who brings the Bay Area's venerable Emiliomiti "culinary toys" to life.
Wiggle your bike down to this sweet little corner shop near Duboce Park for lessons in fine and lovely things. Aline's Closet is the three-year-old queendom of a one Aline Dazogbo, a seamstress whose French-inflected takes on dresses, skirts, and blouses may just lead you to the customized wardrobe item of your dream. Dazogbo designs and creates nearly everything in the shop: yoga pants, handbags, column skirt-tube top combos, and more.
When Cable Car Clothiers — venerable haberdasher to dashing gents since 1946 — announced it was vacating its Sansome and Bush location in 2012, our hearts sank. Was this incredible emporium of all things Mad Men-Rat Pack-Nautical Chic-Dressy Preppy about to vanish, like so many other San Francisco institutions? Where, oh where, would we get our crushable Trilby fedoras, handsomely polka-dotted navy blue ascots, and elaborate cherry-handled horsehair brush sets? Never fear: the relocation a few blocks away signaled a snazzy revamp.