Harvey Milk Plaza To Get Facelift

 

Planned renovations have yet to be released

 

 

Harvey Milk Plaza is ready for a makeover but the public has heard very little about it.

 

Unlike other developments, which have been the focus of public meetings with the SFMTA (SF Municipal Transit Agency), there has been little noise from City Hall regarding the development and architectural plans.

 

The space at the top of Castro at Market streets by the entrance to the Castro Street Muni station was named after the former city supervisor and neighborhood resident in 1997.

 

Neighborhood activist Michael Petrelis notes in his blog that although the city officials have created a team to discuss planning, little has been opened to the public.

 

Paul Rose, SFMTA spokesperson, states that a team of officials, members of the Castro Merchants Association, and members of the Castro Community Members District are all involved in the process.

 

Andrea Aiello, executive director of the Castro Community Benefit District, spoke to the Courier about the plans that she heard from the meetings between the SFMTA and the community organizations. She said the project is fully run by the SFMTA and funded by grants — likely federal.

 

The project is based around accessibility and ADA requirements, adding what is called a “redundant elevator” to allow disabled individuals to access the subway platform.

 

Members of the Castro CBD and the Castro Merchants, who have been in meetings with the SFMTA regarding the project, have suggested there be improvements to the plaza to further commemorate the life of Harvey Milk and champion the LGBTQ community. The Harvey Milk Plaza Improvement Group has also formed around this project.

 

These additional updates to the would require additional funding and the use of money currently available from a private donor.

 

Rose states that full community meetings should take place this month.

 

Literary Speakeasy

Suggestions For Getting More Out of Your Life

 

 

Did you see that article that reported research showing that millennials are having less sex these days than their parents, who grew up in a more puritanical environment? Has this anything to do with the old adage that scarcity makes the eventual prize that much more desirable and enjoyable?

 

In any event, a few Castro seniors, overheard while lamenting the claims of added years and less energy, observed that some of their younger peers were slowing down all too prematurely. What’s going on here? Perhaps they chased too many tempting studs and what used to be called fresh meat in their earlier years. Thank you, “sexual revolution.” Three transitional relationships later and these lost-at-love guys were looking at an early retirement from “the scene” while shuffling back and forth between the podiatrist and their stock broker.

 

The purpose of this article is to suggest activities that we might have overlooked or wouldn’t think of participating in ourselves. While there won’t be anything too unusual, sometimes a second look can yield an unexpected opportunity.

 

Too stressed out? There’s a relatively new business in the Castro that offers a methodology for handling a stressful life and for making important changes. The origin comes from Castro professional Pierre Khawand and his “People-On The Go” research. For those afflicted by the stress of modern living, Pierre offers a “Perfect 15-Minute Day” self-management method focused on individual productivity and being motivated and happy at work.

 

The change component originates with writer Jenny Blake and her focus on Pivoting, a career-change mindset and skillset based on a 4-stage process that you can cycle through as often as needed to move successfully into your new direction. Blake is the author of “PIVOT: The Only Move That Matters is Your New One,” and Khawand has several Amazon paperbacks and Kindles on leadership and accomplishment.

 

Have you looked up the latest possibilities on Meet-Up lately? Their fall basket of opportunities to meet others and explore both long-time common interests and new directions can broaden your range of interests. The best Meet-Up experiences I’ve had occurred when there’s been a fairly strong and well matched interest with one or several other participants. It helps to be open to new or different experiences and leave behind any rigorous criteria. Likewise, to avoid disappointment, it’s probably advisable to leave your search for Mr. or Ms. Right at the door. Of course outdoor adventures like hiking clubs and sports teams have always been natural group possibilities. But other gatherings can be found under arts and culture, dancing, bookclubs, figure drawing, wine and jazz appreciation, improv comedy and even “PlayReaders” for aspiring actors and more.

 

A closer though less predictable step to your interests might occur as you explore religious-based communities in the Castro. These can come in all shapes and sizes, as the expression goes, but often feature a group of friends who know and appreciate each other and who share a similar path to being and discovery. Frequently, church programs can be the anchors for these, and once you let go of any restrictive associations from childhood, it can be liberating to enjoy others on the same journey.

 

One important offshoot has long been helping newcomers adjust and get settled in our communities, for example, refugees from the old Soviet Union through local synagogues. If we ever increase our immigrant programs in the Bay Area, the need to welcome and assist new arrivals, such as is happening in Germany, Greece, Jordan and elsewhere, can become urgent. In any case, assisting newcomers can be both a significant service to others and a generous way to give back to new members of the community.

Myriad Marketplace Gives Foothold to Local Businesses

 

 

At a time of high rents and labor costs in the city, the Myriad, an upscale incubator in the Castro calling itself “much more than mom’s market,” boasts a business model explicitly designed to help small businesses flourish.

 

The small business hall located on the ground floor of the new 2175 Market St. building celebrated its grand opening this summer with live music performances, gourmet cocktails, handcrafted beer and a variety of trendy eats from its many vendors.

 

“We offer a unique opportunity for first-time business owners,” said General Manager Andrew Ramsay. “The Myriad serves as an incubator to get startups on their feet. The goal is for them to graduate into having their own retail space one day.”

 

The project was created by partners Jordan Langer, Pete Glikshtern and Jeff Whitmore (also behind Jones, Oddjob and The Midway). The 4,000-square-foot space is divided into separate kiosks that can be moved around based on individual business needs. This is an ideal solution for entrepreneurs with a great idea that simply can’t afford opening a restaurant or food truck.

 

The Myriad allows tenants flexible lease options from as little as six months to a maximum of two years, according to Matt Granberg, an investor in the project. Rents range from approximately $1,500 to $3,300 a month based on location, size and accessibility of the individual kiosks. He points out that the per-square-foot prices are higher than market ($15-$30 per-square-foot), but that the entry point is significantly lower, making it feasible for first-time business owners to, “take a leap off the deep end.”

 

While the Myriad did a soft opening back in March, they were still finalizing vendors up until last month. One of the criteria to get into the Myriad is that the business either has to be brand new or have no more than two locations already open. The initial application process started last year.

 

“We’re geared for neighborhood businesses,” Granberg said. “We got over 400 applicants for just 15 spots. The most challenging part was to whittle down the ones we felt were the best fit.”

 

At the Myriad, you can get your cell phone fixed at while eating an ahi poke bowl. You can pick up a French baguette from the city’s first-ever vending machine for bread, and some raw, fresh-pressed juice at the same time. You can enjoy a cocktail while listening to someone on the grand piano. And soon to come is a virtual reality machine that may even allow you to swim with whales.

 

“We want our vendors to grow, and we want turnover,” Granberg said. “Some will do well and some will not. We want to give them a chance.”

 

The Myriad is currently home to its anchor bar, Mrs. Jones, and 10 other full-time vendors. Mrs. Jones is a full-service cocktail bar with a seasonal menu. It is situated in a 20-foot shipping container that was placed inside the market. Mrs. Jones is the little sister of the famous bar/restaurant 620 Jones and serves drinks until midnight. The San Francisco Brewing Co. also serves craft beer. On the flip side, local startups CRO Café and RAW – A Juice Company serve artisanal coffee and fresh juice as soon as the hall opens at 9 a.m. daily.

 

For the first time ever in San Francisco, Le Bread Xpress allows you to purchase freshly baked French bread with the push of a button. The dough is made at a bakery in Burlingame and the machine has been created to bake the bread to perfection in just 20 seconds. For those who like to deal with people, Crepes S’il vous plait serves authentic French crêpes, sandwiches, salads, cheese and a variety of French beverages.

 

Poke Delish allows customers to build their own poke bowl with fresh marinated fish like ahi tuna, albacore, salmon on top of rice and greens. Co-owner Johnny Eng said the idea for the company came about because his brother (co-owner Danny Eng) was a fisherman and had access to a lot of fresh fish. The newest vendor to join the Myriad team is NoNaMe Sushi. Chef Tommy Wong was trained in Japan and knows his fish. HIs spicy salmon handroll with avocado and crunchy garlic chips is not to be missed.

 

Other vendors include Antonik’s BBQ, (Filipino street food), Homestead Cookies (and soon to be ice cream), Mobile Rescue and Church Street Flowers. Plans to rent out the space for group parties and corporate events are in the making, as are plans to showcase more live music and offer late-night food options.

 

Commercial corridors are nothing new to San Francisco. 331 Cortland, a small incubator in Bernal Heights featuring five food vendors, opened in 2012. Several others followed the trend in 2014: Second Act (Upper Haight), The Hall (Mid-Market) and The Market inside the Twitter building (Mid-Market). Second Act announced that it had to shut its doors last month due to a mass exodus of vendors that weren’t making enough profit. But of them all, the Ferry Building still remains the most popular.

Supportive Housing for Area Homeless

 

 

Five previous mayors have tried to end homelessness with little success, so Mayor Ed Lee has narrowed his focus on a new tactic: supportive housing. The Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement Office (HOPE) has now grown into the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

 

Supportive housing is where people live independently but have access to on-site resources like job counseling.

 

The city opened 529 new units of supportive housing last year, and San Francisco already passed proposition A, which designated $3.1 million for supported housing. The city now has about 6,300 units of supportive housing. The costs for leasing or building units are variable but the city is leasing units for $600 a month on some recent projects. Many units are SROs (single room occupancy).

 

According to Sam Dodge, deputy director of the new homelessness department, the city plans to construct 600 additional units this year. In addition, all tents will be taken down citywide, a plan that has caused an acrimonious debate between homeless advocates.

 

Navigation centers and supportive housing homes provide access to a case manager and medical services. Some never leave this kind of care.

 

Keeping track of the number of homeless people in the city is important in terms of not duplicating services and the next census is going to be in January 2017.

Film To Show History of Castro Street Fair

 

 

John Raines is the driving force behind Mighty Reels, which screen at the GLBT History Museum on a monthly basis, and are typically shown in sync with major LGBT events. This month, just prior to the Castro Street Fair, Mighty Reels will be offering an evening of rare footage taken during the 1976 and 1978 Castro Street Fairs. Admission includes museum access before the film begins at 7 p.m. on September 30th.

 

Wendy: This month you’ll be screening some great footage of the Castro Street Fair in the ‘70’s, from the Queer Blue Light Media Collective, including an interview with Harvey Milk. It will be cool for people to attend this year’s fair with that historical perspective.

 

John: In general we are trying to time the topics of these programs around important calendar dates. It’s open reel videotape, which is not a very common form of media. It was put together to create a documentary. I’m going to be showing the raw footage, or excerpts from the raw footage, which is mostly kind of wandering around and taking in the sights and sounds of the performers, the crowd; that interview with Harvey. It’s a very atmospheric, ambient recording that I’ll be showing. It’s an immersion into the 1976 and 1978 Castro Street Fairs.

 

Wendy: What are these screenings like; what can one expect? Where are the films shown?

 

John: The screenings are held in the museum. They’re screens that are in use during the day, but we take over one of them in the evening to show these videos. It seats about 40 people and it’s generally been pretty full. It’s five dollars and that includes admission to the museum so if people want to come a little early they have time to look around in the museum as well.

 

Wendy: Some of the screenings that you’ve done in the past have been, the 40th birthday party for Sylvester, the first Ms. Leather, Pride in the 1970s, and the White Night Riots.

 

John: That’s all of them so far.

 

Wendy: Sylvester’s 40th birthday party must’ve been fantastic.

 

John: He threw it for himself two years early. He actually turned 40 in 1987; he threw this party in 1985 because he wanted to look young. He wanted people to say, Wow! You look so good for 40!” It’s at the Trocadero Transfer, which was one of the big gay discos in town. He’s backed by a live jazz orchestra and sings mostly sentimental, ballad type music; he does not do any of his funk or soul or disco or high-energy material that he was known for most recently. We also [showed] some encore material, some other video from the same collection, of Sylvester and other Megatone recording artists performing live. I had the tape of Sylvester singing “All I Need” and it didn’t have any music. I went back and got the album track and mixed it in so it would sound right, like you were there.

 

Wendy: You went through a stage when you were doing this every day, almost like a full time job, although of course you volunteer your time and skills.

 

John: Yeah, in the beginning in particular. In the first collection I did of audiotapes, there were about 250 tapes, so I went in every weekday and just plowed through the tapes. The film was very laborious as well.

 

Wendy: And that was in 2009?

 

John: 2010, actually. I started volunteering in 2009 and it was in the very early spring of 2010 when I started doing the digital preservation. The recent major thing I did was 8-millimeter film collections that were in the archive. Have you heard of Reel In The Closet?

 

Wendy: I have. It’s a documentary about your work, right?

 

John: Right, mine and a lot of other people’s as well. The fellow who made that film, Stu Maddox, gave us the use of a film scanner which I had for over two years, and used to scan through all of the footage, and in particular a really huge collection by a guy named Harold O’Neal. So, in return Stu got first dibs on all of the stuff that I turned up during that process, and it was pretty fascinating.

 

Wendy: Which decades did his films represent?

 

John: His collection has films from the very end of the 1930s through the 1980s. He started shooting film as an amateur way back in the late ‘30’s; he was a member of the Long Beach Cinema Club. He moved up to San Francisco in the ‘40s and then he lived in San Francisco for the rest of his life. There [are] all kinds of documents of his life, his trips, visits with relatives, and the opening of the Powell Street BART station.

 

Wendy: Are the films mostly of San Francisco historical happenings, or is there gay historical footage as well?

 

John: There’s a mix. He was not really out of the closet. There are some private films of some parties which are fascinating to look at. Men dancing together in film from the ‘40s is something to see. There are nuggets in there that provide a peek into gay life throughout those decades.

 

Wendy: Should people with historical footage donate it to the GLBT Historical Society if they wish?

 

John: We are always ready to consider donations. Space is limited but certainly they’re welcome to [submit] material. I know there are certain things they’re looking for. I don’t work at the archive so I don’t know exactly what’s on their list right now, but there is a managing archivist who’s the person to contact for that kind of information. They should contact Joanna Black.

 

Wendy: And of course people can also volunteer their time and skills to these projects.

 

John: We’re always looking for volunteers for various activities. We just moved the archive to a new location on Market Street and the museum is staffed primarily by volunteers. There is still a lot of media left to convert in the archive. I think what really needs to happen is to find some serious funding. Maybe this will be part of Terry’s [Beswick, Executive Director] push to get the archive and the museum under one roof. It’s a dream right now; it’s a campaign right now that’s just beginning. The idea is to really step up to the plate and say that the LGBTQ history is a really important component of San Francisco of course, and deserves to have a museum and an archive and an effort that is just as rich and well funded as the others. It’s a project waiting to be realized.

 

Wendy: Absolutely. What is your history and what is your background that motivated you to become involved in this volunteer work?

 

John: Many years ago I worked in radio and a little bit in TV, so I have experience with analog media. Since then, between then and now, I had a career in software development. This combines my areas of interest and experience in both the analog and digital worlds.

© Castro Courier 2014 No part of this website or artwork portrayed may be redistributed or republished without the express permission of the Castro Courier. Opinions expressed are strictly those of the writers and do not reflect the opinions of the publisher or staff.

 

Literary Speakeasy

Suggestions For Getting More Out of Your Life

 

 

Did you see that article that reported research showing that millennials are having less sex these days than their parents, who grew up in a more puritanical environment? Has this anything to do with the old adage that scarcity makes the eventual prize that much more desirable and enjoyable?

 

In any event, a few Castro seniors, overheard while lamenting the claims of added years and less energy, observed that some of their younger peers were slowing down all too prematurely. What’s going on here? Perhaps they chased too many tempting studs and what used to be called fresh meat in their earlier years. Thank you, “sexual revolution.” Three transitional relationships later and these lost-at-love guys were looking at an early retirement from “the scene” while shuffling back and forth between the podiatrist and their stock broker.

 

The purpose of this article is to suggest activities that we might have overlooked or wouldn’t think of participating in ourselves. While there won’t be anything too unusual, sometimes a second look can yield an unexpected opportunity.

 

Too stressed out? There’s a relatively new business in the Castro that offers a methodology for handling a stressful life and for making important changes. The origin comes from Castro professional Pierre Khawand and his “People-On The Go” research. For those afflicted by the stress of modern living, Pierre offers a “Perfect 15-Minute Day” self-management method focused on individual productivity and being motivated and happy at work.

 

The change component originates with writer Jenny Blake and her focus on Pivoting, a career-change mindset and skillset based on a 4-stage process that you can cycle through as often as needed to move successfully into your new direction. Blake is the author of “PIVOT: The Only Move That Matters is Your New One,” and Khawand has several Amazon paperbacks and Kindles on leadership and accomplishment.

 

Have you looked up the latest possibilities on Meet-Up lately? Their fall basket of opportunities to meet others and explore both long-time common interests and new directions can broaden your range of interests. The best Meet-Up experiences I’ve had occurred when there’s been a fairly strong and well matched interest with one or several other participants. It helps to be open to new or different experiences and leave behind any rigorous criteria. Likewise, to avoid disappointment, it’s probably advisable to leave your search for Mr. or Ms. Right at the door. Of course outdoor adventures like hiking clubs and sports teams have always been natural group possibilities. But other gatherings can be found under arts and culture, dancing, bookclubs, figure drawing, wine and jazz appreciation, improv comedy and even “PlayReaders” for aspiring actors and more.

 

A closer though less predictable step to your interests might occur as you explore religious-based communities in the Castro. These can come in all shapes and sizes, as the expression goes, but often feature a group of friends who know and appreciate each other and who share a similar path to being and discovery. Frequently, church programs can be the anchors for these, and once you let go of any restrictive associations from childhood, it can be liberating to enjoy others on the same journey.

 

One important offshoot has long been helping newcomers adjust and get settled in our communities, for example, refugees from the old Soviet Union through local synagogues. If we ever increase our immigrant programs in the Bay Area, the need to welcome and assist new arrivals, such as is happening in Germany, Greece, Jordan and elsewhere, can become urgent. In any case, assisting newcomers can be both a significant service to others and a generous way to give back to new members of the community.

Supportive Housing for Area Homeless

 

 

Five previous mayors have tried to end homelessness with little success, so Mayor Ed Lee has narrowed his focus on a new tactic: supportive housing. The Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement Office (HOPE) has now grown into the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

 

Supportive housing is where people live independently but have access to on-site resources like job counseling.

 

The city opened 529 new units of supportive housing last year, and San Francisco already passed proposition A, which designated $3.1 million for supported housing. The city now has about 6,300 units of supportive housing. The costs for leasing or building units are variable but the city is leasing units for $600 a month on some recent projects. Many units are SROs (single room occupancy).

 

According to Sam Dodge, deputy director of the new homelessness department, the city plans to construct 600 additional units this year. In addition, all tents will be taken down citywide, a plan that has caused an acrimonious debate between homeless advocates.

 

Navigation centers and supportive housing homes provide access to a case manager and medical services. Some never leave this kind of care.

 

Keeping track of the number of homeless people in the city is important in terms of not duplicating services and the next census is going to be in January 2017.

Film To Show History of Castro Street Fair

 

 

John Raines is the driving force behind Mighty Reels, which screen at the GLBT History Museum on a monthly basis, and are typically shown in sync with major LGBT events. This month, just prior to the Castro Street Fair, Mighty Reels will be offering an evening of rare footage taken during the 1976 and 1978 Castro Street Fairs. Admission includes museum access before the film begins at 7 p.m. on September 30th.

 

Wendy: This month you’ll be screening some great footage of the Castro Street Fair in the ‘70’s, from the Queer Blue Light Media Collective, including an interview with Harvey Milk. It will be cool for people to attend this year’s fair with that historical perspective.

 

John: In general we are trying to time the topics of these programs around important calendar dates. It’s open reel videotape, which is not a very common form of media. It was put together to create a documentary. I’m going to be showing the raw footage, or excerpts from the raw footage, which is mostly kind of wandering around and taking in the sights and sounds of the performers, the crowd; that interview with Harvey. It’s a very atmospheric, ambient recording that I’ll be showing. It’s an immersion into the 1976 and 1978 Castro Street Fairs.

 

Wendy: What are these screenings like; what can one expect? Where are the films shown?

 

John: The screenings are held in the museum. They’re screens that are in use during the day, but we take over one of them in the evening to show these videos. It seats about 40 people and it’s generally been pretty full. It’s five dollars and that includes admission to the museum so if people want to come a little early they have time to look around in the museum as well.

 

Wendy: Some of the screenings that you’ve done in the past have been, the 40th birthday party for Sylvester, the first Ms. Leather, Pride in the 1970s, and the White Night Riots.

 

John: That’s all of them so far.

 

Wendy: Sylvester’s 40th birthday party must’ve been fantastic.

 

John: He threw it for himself two years early. He actually turned 40 in 1987; he threw this party in 1985 because he wanted to look young. He wanted people to say, Wow! You look so good for 40!” It’s at the Trocadero Transfer, which was one of the big gay discos in town. He’s backed by a live jazz orchestra and sings mostly sentimental, ballad type music; he does not do any of his funk or soul or disco or high-energy material that he was known for most recently. We also [showed] some encore material, some other video from the same collection, of Sylvester and other Megatone recording artists performing live. I had the tape of Sylvester singing “All I Need” and it didn’t have any music. I went back and got the album track and mixed it in so it would sound right, like you were there.

 

Wendy: You went through a stage when you were doing this every day, almost like a full time job, although of course you volunteer your time and skills.

 

John: Yeah, in the beginning in particular. In the first collection I did of audiotapes, there were about 250 tapes, so I went in every weekday and just plowed through the tapes. The film was very laborious as well.

 

Wendy: And that was in 2009?

 

John: 2010, actually. I started volunteering in 2009 and it was in the very early spring of 2010 when I started doing the digital preservation. The recent major thing I did was 8-millimeter film collections that were in the archive. Have you heard of Reel In The Closet?

 

Wendy: I have. It’s a documentary about your work, right?

 

John: Right, mine and a lot of other people’s as well. The fellow who made that film, Stu Maddox, gave us the use of a film scanner which I had for over two years, and used to scan through all of the footage, and in particular a really huge collection by a guy named Harold O’Neal. So, in return Stu got first dibs on all of the stuff that I turned up during that process, and it was pretty fascinating.

 

Wendy: Which decades did his films represent?

 

John: His collection has films from the very end of the 1930s through the 1980s. He started shooting film as an amateur way back in the late ‘30’s; he was a member of the Long Beach Cinema Club. He moved up to San Francisco in the ‘40s and then he lived in San Francisco for the rest of his life. There [are] all kinds of documents of his life, his trips, visits with relatives, and the opening of the Powell Street BART station.

 

Wendy: Are the films mostly of San Francisco historical happenings, or is there gay historical footage as well?

 

John: There’s a mix. He was not really out of the closet. There are some private films of some parties which are fascinating to look at. Men dancing together in film from the ‘40s is something to see. There are nuggets in there that provide a peek into gay life throughout those decades.

 

Wendy: Should people with historical footage donate it to the GLBT Historical Society if they wish?

 

John: We are always ready to consider donations. Space is limited but certainly they’re welcome to [submit] material. I know there are certain things they’re looking for. I don’t work at the archive so I don’t know exactly what’s on their list right now, but there is a managing archivist who’s the person to contact for that kind of information. They should contact Joanna Black.

 

Wendy: And of course people can also volunteer their time and skills to these projects.

 

John: We’re always looking for volunteers for various activities. We just moved the archive to a new location on Market Street and the museum is staffed primarily by volunteers. There is still a lot of media left to convert in the archive. I think what really needs to happen is to find some serious funding. Maybe this will be part of Terry’s [Beswick, Executive Director] push to get the archive and the museum under one roof. It’s a dream right now; it’s a campaign right now that’s just beginning. The idea is to really step up to the plate and say that the LGBTQ history is a really important component of San Francisco of course, and deserves to have a museum and an archive and an effort that is just as rich and well funded as the others. It’s a project waiting to be realized.

 

Wendy: Absolutely. What is your history and what is your background that motivated you to become involved in this volunteer work?

 

John: Many years ago I worked in radio and a little bit in TV, so I have experience with analog media. Since then, between then and now, I had a career in software development. This combines my areas of interest and experience in both the analog and digital worlds.