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LGBT Walk of Fame Hits the Street

 

First 20 Plaques of Rainbow Honor Walk Unveiled

 

 

 

On Tuesday, September 2 the first 20 plaques commemorating the ground-breaking achievements of members of the LGBT community were unveiled in the Castro.

 

Twenty years in the making, a landmark memorial to the heroes and heroines of the LGBT community finally came to fruition. Public Relations specialist David Perry suggested the idea for the project in 1994 and received the support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, though budgetary constraints meant that the support would be rendered non-monetary. Meanwhile, in 2009, Castro businessman Isak Lindenauer, unaware of the earlier effort, envisioned the Rainbow Honor Walk. Eventually both men joined forces, put together a volunteer committee and secured the unanimous support of the supervisors.​Former District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty (left) speaks at the Sept. 2 project unveiling in the Castro. The Rainbow Honor Walk will eventually stretch to the LGBT Center on Market Street. Plaques will be added in groups of 20 with 500 planned in total.

 

Today there is a Board of Directors composed of community leaders, with David Perry as president. In addition, there is an advisory committee of about a dozen other local leaders. Funds for the 20 plaques, totaling over $100,000, came as private contributions, secured by the entirely volunteer group.

 

The walk will eventually extend from the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy at 19th and Diamond, down to Castro Street and then to Market Street, continuing to the LGBT Center on Octavia Boulevard. Plaques will be added in groups of 20 up to eventually 500 plaques.

 

Criteria for selection were that the individual be deceased, be “self expressed” as LGBT, and be significant in terms of contributions to their field of work. Interestingly and probably very wisely the board allowed the criteria to change over time with the community.

 

More:

 

Rainbow Honor Walk Plans Move Forward

 

Photos : Bill Sywak

 

 

 

 

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Tech Buses at Heart of Castro Merchants’ Beef Over Parking

 

Businesses fret over loss of parkingBus companies that shuttle tech workers to and from their jobs have been given two bus stops in the center of the neighborhood as part of an 18-month pilot program with the City.

 

 

 

 

San Francisco officials have been busy addressing residents’ complaints about “Google” bus stops, but Castro business owners feel that officials haven’t spent enough time hearing about the stops from them.

 

“The merchants are not happy about the planned stops,” said Castro Merchants President Daniel Bergerac. “This seems to have been shoved down our throats by [the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency].”

 

The merchants’ displeasure stems from a reduction in neighborhood parking spaces that the merchant group says its businesses need for customers.

 

“It does not seem productive to have buses stopping right in the middle of a commercial area,” said Bergerac. The SFMTA has authorized two stops in the heart of the Castro business district.

 

Both stops are on Castro Street, one at the intersection with Market Street and the other at the intersection with 18th Street. Both are temporary stops, according to a August 21, 2014, map available on SFMTA’s website.

 

Bergerac said the SFMTA authorized the Castro and Market street location – in front of Pottery Barn – without any input from neighborhood groups. Merchants are upset about 18th and Castro streets location because they were promised “no net loss of parking” when they gave their support for the Castro Street sidewalk widening project.

 

One bus stop may take up as many as four parking spaces.

 

The agreement between the City and bus companies that shuttle commuters to technology firms in other parts of the Bay Area and to businesses within the City is an 18-month pilot program that began officially during the summer. Previously, the City did nor regulate the shuttles – which drew protests from residents.

 

The SFMTA has designated 105 stops for commuter shuttles, 93 of which are also used by City buses. Twelve stops are designated for commuter shuttles only. The cost of the pilot program is $1.5 million, with all the money coming from shuttle providers.

 

The pilot program will “test an approach to managing and regulating commuter shuttle loading activities, and … measure the effectiveness of this approach,” according to SFMTA. Findings from the pilot program will form the basis for the City’s longer-term approach to regulating shuttles.

 

Some businesses in the Castro have been struggling financially because the sidewalk widening project has prompted shoppers to buy elsewhere until the project was completed. Limiting parking could aggravate the situation.

 

In addition, Castro Merchants President Daniel Bergerac says shoppers need cars for some items such as cases of wine. “Our customers need parking,” he said.

 

The Castro neighborhood was initially left out of the network of commuter shuttle stops created by the SFMTA, which caused concern among riders of the shuttles, according to District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener’s July/August newsletter.

 

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City CarShare To Rev Up Locations

 

Contention over parking spaces persists

 

 

Although City CarShare’s efforts to seek the support of car sharing from the Castro Merchants stalled, the company still has its engines running.

 

“We want to be their [residents’] fourth choice” of transportation after walking, biking and taking public transit, said Brent O’Brien, director of member experience at City CarShare.

 

City CarShare has plans to introduce 14 cars to the neighborhood, spread among eight locations. Pretty much all of them have been approved by the SFMTA, O’Brien said.

 

O’Brien said there was some contention among members of the business group because the merchants’ fear losing coveted parking spaces for their customers. But O’Brien claims car sharing helps alleviate the need for parking spaces.

 

“On average we serve 20 people per car,” he said, referring to the number of vehicles taken off the road by one car share vehicle. A report by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) says car sharing has been shown to serve 13 people, on average.

 

“Car sharing has been shown to reduce household vehicle ownership rates, parking demand, vehicle miles traveled, and greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the SFMTA’s car sharing policy and pilot project. “Lower car ownership rates reduce overall parking demand, especially in residential and mixed use areas,” SFMTA’s report says.

 

In addition, people who opt to participate in car sharing rather than owning a car may save $600 to $800 each month, O’Brien said, suggesting residents could shop in the Castro with the savings.

 

“Ample and easily available car sharing is crucial to our city’s transportation future,” District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener wrote in his July/August newsletter. District 8 includes the Castro neighborhood. “San Francisco has grown by 85,000 people since 2003 and is projected to grow by another 150,000 people by 2040. We need to give people great options other than owning a car. If we don’t, we will have many more cars in San Francisco, worsening our already bad traffic and parking situations.”

 

O’Brien provided a list of the locations in the Castro where his company is planning to place cars. None of the spaces are on Castro Street. We’re “just trying to make the City a better place to live,” O’Brien said. City CarShare has been in business for 13 years, and is the pioneer of car sharing in the Bay Area, he said.

 

Although members of the Castro Merchants were upset at the thought of losing parking spaces to a car sharing company, O’Brien said the response of the group’s leadership was “pretty positive” overall.

 

“Some have expressed concern about using on-street parking for car sharing,” says Wiener in the his newsletter. “However, studies have shown that for every available car share, a half dozen private vehicles or more will go away as some people decide that they now can rely on car share. Whether one uses car share or not, it’s in all of our interest to make sure we have great car sharing access.”

 

The City’s pilot project will end is August 2015

 

 

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On the Big Stage

 

Bay Area Talent Showcased in Golden Gate Park

 

 

 

 

The impact felt by Bay Area artists during August’s Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park, brought a local feel to the mega-concert, which drew close to 50,000 spectators each of its three days. Between vaudeville, Americana, hard rock, spoken word and DJ spinning, there was an eclectic mix that offered something for every taste. Keep the following acts on your list of area names to watch for in the coming year.

 

Mike Shine/ Dr. Flotsam and the Carny Bastards

 

Mike Shine is a Bolinas artist who creates paintings and performances. This year’s show also hosted a special stage in the woods of McLaren Pass called Dr. Flotsam’s Hell Brew Review, a live installation by Shine that has grown in popularity throughout its years at Outside Lands, especially after Jack White made a surprise appearance on the ragtag stage in 2012. At the center of the show is Pyotr Flotsam, the dark, Mephistophelean ringleader who controls the other costumed throw-back mime-like vaudeville actors.

 

Slim Jenkins

 

Playing the Flotsam stage at the same time as the headlining act of Kanye West was San Francisco-based Slim Jenkins, a group of tall, skinny guys in striped suits who play a fusion of American rock, jazz and blues. They have strong presence and sound and have played at venues from Slims in the SOMA to the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

 

Bassist Timothy Vickers said he enjoyed the opportunity of giving a more indie crowd what they wanted. “I think there were a lot of people that wanted something alternative to Kanye West, so it worked out really well for us.”

 

Drummer Felix Macnee, who lives in the Western Addition, said the band, who closed out Café Du Nord on New Year’s Eve, often takes trips to the Castro for munchies. “You can get good pizza down in the Castro,” Macnee said. “When we play late gigs we love to go to Orphan Andy’s and have the best milkshake.”

 

Tycho

 

By contrast, San Francisco-based Tycho has no vocalist. Bandleader Scott Hansen started out as a more insular laptop DJ/producer and then added his other band members a few years ago. He said bringing guitarist/bassist Zac Brown and drummer Rory O’Connor into Tycho’s creative fold expanded his songwriting and propelled the project forward. “It took the music and recontextualized it, made it a little bit more driven, more visceral,” he said.

 

“All of us have been here several times before so this is definitely kind of a dream to play this,” he said. “And that was actually, no joke, the biggest and best show we’ve ever played. That’s as good as it gets.”

 

The music is instrumental but the live sound, when coupled with Hansen’s trippy videos of occult symbols overlaying other images of pyramids and natural settings on large TV monitors throughout the Twin Peaks stage, did manage to lift the wordless musical experience above the mere ambient.

 

Hansen said he was enjoying the food at the venue, but as a local, he was no stranger to good eats, name-dropping Gracias Madre as one of his favorites.

 

“I live in the Mission, so there are a number of great restaurants around, to my financial detriment.”

 

Niki Bluhm and the Gramblers

 

Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers played a dynamic afternoon set on the first day at the Sutro Stage that hit a fever pitch at its crescendo with the swath of revelers bouncing and screaming. The folk-rock band relies heavily on Bluhm’s soulful vocals and big stage presence, along with the strong musicianship of the Gramblers, namely the talented lead guitarist Deren Ney. Just when they do go a bit country-western sounding at times, they bring it back to a folk, soul or rock sound. Nicki lives in San Francisco with her husband Tim Bluhm of the SF indie band The Mother Hips. As a Grambler, Tim plays guitar, keys and sings backup.

 

Mikal CroninMikal Cronin

 

If you like head-banging heavy rock bands with hair and a grunge feel, these guys are for you. A mosh pit broke out during their Friday afternoon performance on the Panhandle stage, hair whipping, distortion guitar resonated. Cronin used to live in Los Angeles but now calls San Francisco home, now associating with fellow SF rocker, Ty Segall, who played the same stage at Outside Lands in 2011.

 

Trails and Ways

 

Trails and Ways make bossanova dream pop in Oakland. Lead singers Emma Oppen and Keith Brower Brown, both UC Berkeley grads, went abroad to Brazil and the other to Spain. When they came back they fused the music of Brazilian jazz, Latin pop and basement dream pop. The two female and two male members of Trails and Ways all sing, sometimes in foreign languages. Through 2012, they rode a swell of singles and covers, and are currently working on their debut album.

 

Finish Ticket

 

This five-piece indie rock band from Alameda played on the Panhandle stage on Saturday afternoon.

 

The Tumbleweed Wanderers

 

Returning to the music festival was Oakland’s Tumbleweed Wanderers, who combine folk and rock while weaving smooth transitions from banjo-rock to soul. Since forming in April of 2011, the band has found a wider audience, from their early performances at small venues to selling out shows around the Bay Area.

 

Christopher Owens

 

Singer/songwriter Christopher Owens, former front man for the indie rock band Girls, played a daytime set the second day on the Sutro Stage. Owens was born in Florida but moved to San Francisco after spending nine years in Texas. Last year he released his debut solo album, Lysandre.

 

Watsky

 

Hitting the large Twin Peaks stage on Sunday was Hip Hop artist Watsky (George Virden Watsky), who grew up at 5th Avenue and Fulton Street, just steps from Golden Gate Park. Watsky combines humor and storytelling with poetic lyricism on top of a full band experience. He returned to the city in April 2013 and sold out the Fillmore after being featured on the TV show Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO in 2007. His most recent album Cardboard Castles peaked at #1 in iTunes hip-hop.

 

The Brothers Comatose

 

The San Francisco quintet blends Americana, folk and bluegrass. A number of stringed instruments grace the stage in their performances, including fiddle, mandolin and banjo. They played the Panhandle stage on Sunday afternoon.

 

Local DJs

 

Shawn ReynaldoShawn Reynaldo

 

Shawn Reynaldo spun in the DJ tent on Saturday afternoon. Originally from San Jose, DJ Shawn Reynaldo now lives in the Mission. He said one of his musical partners lives in the Castro on Douglas Street in a crazy old mansion that was once a hospital, a place he often visits. “He literally lives in the spire. It looks like a castle. So I go there a lot — it has an amazing view of the city.”

 

He’s a co-founder of the renowned Icee Hot parties, a monthly house and techno party that moves locations. “We try to keep it small, like 200 or 300 people. Occasionally we have a bigger one.”

 

Deejay Theory

 

Repping Faction Sound Crew and leading online Caribbean lifestyle magazine LargeUp.com, Deejay Theory continues to push the DJ / producer role forward in his home base of San Francisco, CA and throughout the world. Creating music all his life and now a key player in the explosive tropical bass movement, Theory has a natural strength for producing and flipping a broad range of formats, putting his signature touch on everything from Demi Lovato to Mavado. Think dancehall meets club music, bass meets soul, turntablism meets rave, tropical disco meets the pool, and we’re literally just getting warm.

 

Motion Potion

 

Motion Potion is a DJ/producer based in the city with almost two decades of experience. After spending the last several years working on his production companies Silent Frisco and SunsetSF, “MoPo” seems poised to reemerge onto the scene in 2014.

 

Shouts!

 

Shouts! is a project by San Francisco music producer Jason Apple. After many years of producing as Ground Control, Shouts! became a way out for more experimental, felling-driven music while still working a dance floor. Shouts! aims to mix music and mood.

 

Lights Down Low

 

LDL is a DJ project initiated by Corey Sleazemore and Richie Panic. Now rotating parties between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It has been a primary fixture in the city nightlife over the last five years. LDL had the privilege of being the last Bay Area-based act to rock the DJ tent.

 

Photo: Ted Andersen

 

 

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15th Street Tennis Court Project Seeks Funding

 

The 15th Street tennis courts in the Castro are in need of some late summer lovin’.

 

The run-down courts represent much more than merely a place to play tennis. Since 1980, they have been home to the first gay tennis league in the world, the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation. The 15th Street courts evolved into what came to be known as the “Mecca of Gay Tennis.” They mark the ground zero of the gay and lesbian organized sports movement and have provided a safe, comfortable, and sometimes competitive environment for local players.

 

The members of the GLTF proposed the idea to renovate the courts in 2010. After the 30th anniversary celebration of the first openly gay tennis tournament, the United States Gay Open (USGO), the members undertook the 15th Street Public Tennis Court Renovation Project to immortalize the founding site of the GLTF. This renovation project aims not only to help improve the condition of these courts for the community but also to commemorate the GLTF’s humble origins at the courts. The project seeks to establish the place in the LGBT struggle and build a “clubhouse” to mark the GLTF’s role in the fight to overcome hate and discrimination.

 

“Not everyone has been able to go to a 15th Street and play tennis and not be in fear,” member Sean Buler explained. “Not everyone, unfortunately, can afford to come to the USGO and find that sense of relief.”

 

Another aspect of resurfacing the courts is to extend the on-court bench to welcome more members of the community with a picnic area, improved gardens, rest rooms, a water fountain and an informational kiosk.

 

Four years later, the project is far from finished.

 

District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener mentioned the courts in his last newsletter.

 

“Through the budget process,” Wiener wrote, “I worked with Rec and Park to ensure that we have funding to fully renovate the 15th Street courts (also known as Corona Heights.) The Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation is a LGBT community tennis club that has its roots on those courts and the nearby 15th Street courts.”

 

GLTF member Martha Ehrenfeld was able to clarify that while many members do utilize the Corona Heights/Flint Street courts Wiener managed to secure funding for, they are not the same courts that the GLTF aimed to renovate through their project. According to Ehrenfeld, the 15th Street courts that are home to the GLTF, also known as the Peixotto Playground & Tennis Courts, are still in dire need of maintenance. Enhrenfeld created a promotional video about the 15th Street project back in 2010. Unfortunately, they were not able to raise the funds to complete it.

 

“I don’t know much about the status of the project [today],” Ehrenfeld said. “Scott [Wiener] has been very supportive about the Flint St. courts, but it will take a lot of money to get the [Peixotto] courts playable and be ADA compliant. The 15th St. courts project has stalled, so I don’t think we will get that going in the near future. So much potential if only we could find the money.”

 

Today, the GLTF has over 500 members and continues to grow. The club hosts events for players of all levels, from novice to pro. Members play year-round at courts across the Bay Area and also participate in club-sponsored tennis events and tournaments, such as monthly Social Doubles, Spring and Fall Team Tennis, the Holloran Club Singles Championships, the Sissenstein Club Doubles Championships, and the year-end Awards Banquet. Most importantly, the GLTF offers a sense of community and a safe environment for tennis players.

 

“Without community, individuals have no protection from persecution, and I think that the GLTF is a wonderfully fun way to create a political community,” said member Kathy Emery.

 

For questions about GLTF membership, or to donate money to the 15th Street Public Tennis Courts Renovation Project, contact Board President Winnie Fink at: president@gltf.com.

 

 

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Local Astronomers Meet at the RandallFor over six decades the SF Amateur Astronomers have gathered to discuss the cosmos. Now at the Randall Museum in Corona Heights, they meet monthly for lectures and events.

 

For over six decades the SF Amateur Astronomers have gathered to discuss the cosmos. Now at the Randall Museum in Corona Heights, they meet monthly for lectures and events.

 

 

 The San Francisco Amateur Astronomers began their meetings in 1952 and continue to organize and host events throughout the year. Every month the SFAA presents a lecture at the Randall Museum, at 199 Museum Way, just up the hill from the Castro, in Corona Heights Park. I spoke with Board Member Mitchell Schoenbrun about the SFAA.

 

Wendy:

 

San Francisco Amateur Astronomers presents public lectures just a short walk from the Castro, at the Randall Museum. What are those evenings like?

 

Mitchell:

 

Once a month we have a meeting at the Randall. It’s usually preceded by a board meeting, which members are welcome to [attend]. That’s followed by refreshments. People socialize and catch up, and then we have a lecture. The lecturers are typically PhD astronomers or physicists who are doing current research. Occasionally we’ll have somebody who will give a lecture of a historical nature. For example, a few months ago someone gave a lecture on a famous observatory in Ireland, which was used 100 years ago to make at that time a big discovery. We have all different kinds of lectures. The level of the lecture can vary; sometimes the researcher will aim it more at the general audience who isn’t that familiar with astronomy, and oftentimes by the end of the lecture they’re describing some very interesting cutting edge research they’re doing. Thankfully usually even if you’re not that well versed in astronomy, it has meaning to you. Overall the quality of the lectures [is] just quite amazing. On a regular basis we go in and we hear something that somebody just discovered within the last few months. The lectures are certainly a highlight of the club and many people choose to come almost every month.

 

Wendy:

 

This month’s lecture is about black widow pulsars. Are you familiar with those?

 

Mitchell:

 

I’m sure I’ll know more when I hear the lecture. I imagine from that name, just to give you a background, there are some extremely, not just massive, but dense astronomical objects. The one that people are most familiar with is a black hole, which is so dense that gravity has collapsed it and it’s kind of left the universe as we know it. You can go in there to see what it is but you can never come out. The neutron star is the next step up. It’s not quite as dense; it actually has a physical size. A typical neutron star would be about the size of the earth. A neutron star was formed from a collapsing star, so if you can imagine the sun collapsing down to the size of an earth, that gives you an idea how dense it is. I once heard that a teaspoon of material from a neutron star would weigh as much as the Empire State Building. I imagine what a black widow is - this can happen with black holes and with stars and with neutron stars, is they have material around them. That material gravitationally gets pulled towards them. If it was the sun it would go into the sun and be gone, but because this thing is so massive and the gravity is so great, I imagine what happens is this material gets accelerated and as it hits the star, it probably gives off a lot of radiation, x-rays and so forth. Another possibility is a neutron star rotating around a companion and sucking it’s material in. Scientists often name things in amusing, catchy ways.

 

Wendy:

 

You also hold Star Parties, which sound great. Often they happen outside of San Francisco, on Mount Tam for example, but you sometimes do hold them in the city, near the Cliff House mostly, from what I understand.

 

Mitchell:

 

Generally speaking, although over the next few months we’re going to be doing them in different locations. I believe the next one is going to be at the Exploratorium.

 

Wendy:

 

And you look for an area that has less streetlight or less fog?

 

Mitchell:

 

Actually the site out by the Cliff House is much better or darkness, although it’s clouded over a lot. The Exploratorium isn’t that good as far as getting a dark sky, so we’re mostly going to be looking at fairly bright objects - planets or the moon. One of the goals of our club is to bring the excitement and fun of astronomy to the public, get people interested who may be interested if they had any exposure to it. Certainly one of the highlights of astronomy is when you get to look through a telescope; to actually see a planet out there, a little sphere hanging out there in the sky, is very exciting. Some planets are more exciting than others. Saturn seems to really get people excited because you can see the rings, and Jupiter’s also quite fun to look at. You always can see at least three, and usually four, moons around Jupiter. In a big telescope you can actually see detail on the surface there, different colored gasses, kind of like rings going around the planet.

 

Wendy:

 

Do people need to join SFAA in order to attend these events?

 

Mitchell:

 

Not at all; the public is always welcome. We like to encourage people to join; it’s very inexpensive and there are some benefits, but the public Star Parties and the lectures, and there are some other events, are open to the public.

 

Wendy:

 

Some of the benefits that you were mentioning include members only Star Party events and loaner telescopes.

 

Mitchell:

 

There are some people who are just not interested in going out and looking through telescopes; they just come to the lectures, but many people are, and eventually if [they] really like doing that, people typically want to buy a scope of their own. To just go out and buy one is probably a bad idea because you don’t really know what you want, how much to pay, and what you’ll be able to see, so we provide these telescopes for people to get an idea. They can use them and if they want to go on and buy their own scope, they can. We also have a class we give once a year to teach people to make their own telescope. This is possible; you can build your own telescope, and many of the members have home-built telescopes that they bring to the Star Parties.

 

Wendy:

 

How did you become interested in Astronomy?

 

Mitchell:

 

I’m 59, and when I was 13 I got interested in astronomy and my parents got me a small telescope, which I used. Later - this was in New Jersey - I got involved with the local astronomy group in New Jersey. They met at a place called the Sperry Observatory in Cranford. When I was 18 this group decided to go on an expedition to see a solar eclipse, so I went on that. We went to Africa; we went to the middle of the Sahara Desert and we saw a solar eclipse. Then, when I was in college, I was interested in math and science, and I ended up majoring in astronomy. I didn’t go on in astronomy but I always enjoyed that period, and then a few years ago I discovered the club out here. I joined and started getting involved with their activities. So, my interest goes way back, but one doesn’t need to have that kind of background to enjoy astronomy. It’s something anybody at any age - it’s always fun when children come to the public Star Parties. If they’re old enough, and they can figure out how to look through the telescope, they always get really excited. There’s really no age limit.

 

The SF Amateur Astronomers will host three public events during the month of September. On September 6th there will be a City Star Party at the Exploratorium from 7 - 11:30 p.m. Sept. 17 is the Randall Museum lecture, given by Roger Romani, a physics professor at Stanford University entitled: “Black Widow Pulsars: Vengeful Star Corpses.” On Sept. 27 the SFAA will hold the last Star Party of the month on Mount Tam, at the Rock Springs parking lot, from 7 - 11.

 

Photo courtesy of Mitchell Schoenbrun

 

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The Castro Gentleman’s Guide to Healthy and Dapper Foot Care

 

Are you back from warm summer days in Key West, Rehoboth Beach, Provincetown, Ongunquit, Fire Island, Guerneville, Palm Springs or destinations abroad? Was it a welcome escape from the overcast days of our San Francisco summer?

 

Did you come back to a new job and dream apartment, or maybe a daily pampered bus ride home to the Castro from Mountain View or Cupertino? Once you check out the spanking new Levi’s Stadium at Great America, are you ready to dive into the fall high-energy cycle of Castro fairs and festivals?

 

Of course, what’s going to get you there and back and everywhere in between are your two dependable friends, your feet! Not to be taken for granted (fess up, you do already), this is a perfect time to treat yourself to that foot spa you’ve thought about. Well, there is a new program especially for Castro Gentlemen to help out.

 

Elevate Podiatry + Spa is a new resource for the Castro Gentleman, a place to add to your gym routine for healthy legs and feet. Specialists in both medicine and spa relaxation and style, Elevate is a unique spot where luxurious spa meets first-class foot and ankle specialty medicine in an oasis for mind, body and spirit. To assure the utmost in cleanliness, they offer natural pedicures in a sterile and relaxing environment. Moreover, they are proud to feature zero-gravity chairs and use only first-class, toxin-free organic products.

 

According to Elevate Co-Founder, Dr. Susan Choe, DPM, their Elevate Spa Pedicure is a building block of dependable, healthy feet and is now available during the promotional week of September 15-19 at an introductory 15% discount. To schedule a 50-minute session on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, call 415-890-3377, or book online at www.elevatefoot.com and be sure to mention “Castro Gentleman”.

 

They are located at 490 Post Street, Suite 336, on the corner of Post and Mason Streets, near San Francisco’s Union Square. Knowledgeable staff will be on hand all week to discuss practices and procedures and to answer special questions.

 

Elevate Podiatry is the perfect pedicure experience for a refined gentleman from the Castro.

 

Photo : Bill Sywak

 

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My2024 To Create LGBTQ Future

 

Foundation, think tank team up
in effort

 

 

A foundation and a think tank in late August in the city launched an enormous venture to have the LGBTQ community across the United States envision their own future.

 

Given the incredible advances that LGBTQ’s have witnessed in their communities over the past several years, many ask where the movement goes now. The answers, say the Arcus Foundation and the Menlo Park Institute for the Future — the foundation and the think tank — are many. The challenge is a 10-day event in October “to think about the future . . . in a live national conversation and a giant 10-day party to imagine our lives in the year 2024.” The paths we come up with will undoubtedly be many.

 

From October 7-8 there is going to be a so-called Community Crowdsourcing Event, an online 48-hour round-the-clock generating of visions of the future. For those who were exposed to business degrees in earlier times, this might be thought of as a giant online brainstorm.

 

Then the week of October 9-16 is focused on what are called “Missions”, meaning expanding the crowdsourcing visions into videos, images and stories of the future.

 

In this project the end result is a “Declaration and Closing Party” on October 17 in which the My2024 declaration built by participants in the 48-hour community crowdsourcing event and the “Make the Future” Missions are synthesized, publicly launched and shared. “Every story contributed will help build the My2024 Futures Declaration, a call-to-action that will help guide change,” says the guidelines.

 

How do you get involved, whether you are just plain straight or LGBTQ? Log on to My2024 and/or the My2024 #FutureFriday missions and check out the quick weekly challenges on their Facebook (facebook.com/my2024), Twitter (@My2024game), Instagram (@My2024), and Tumblr (@My2024game) feeds.

 

Besides some social media technical skills, the structural building blocks are the My2024 Community Partners (LGBTQ organizations willing to reach people and ensure their participation), and the Community Catalysts (volunteers who serve short periods as facilitators of the process, fast and creative thinkers, fluent on social media, supportive and motivational).

 

This has all the hallmarks of an exciting and participatory once-in-a-lifetime experience. October 7 is right here, so jump in and play!

 

Photo: Winnie Fink

 

 

 

 

© 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.

LGBT Walk of Fame Hits the Street

 

First 20 Plaques of Rainbow Honor Walk Unveiled

 

 

 

On Tuesday, September 2 the first 20 plaques commemorating the ground-breaking achievements of members of the LGBT community were unveiled in the Castro.

 

Twenty years in the making, a landmark memorial to the heroes and heroines of the LGBT community finally came to fruition. Public Relations specialist David Perry suggested the idea for the project in 1994 and received the support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, though budgetary constraints meant that the support would be rendered non-monetary. Meanwhile, in 2009, Castro businessman Isak Lindenauer, unaware of the earlier effort, envisioned the Rainbow Honor Walk. Eventually both men joined forces, put together a volunteer committee and secured the unanimous support of the supervisors.​Former District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty (left) speaks at the Sept. 2 project unveiling in the Castro. The Rainbow Honor Walk will eventually stretch to the LGBT Center on Market Street. Plaques will be added in groups of 20 with 500 planned in total.

 

Today there is a Board of Directors composed of community leaders, with David Perry as president. In addition, there is an advisory committee of about a dozen other local leaders. Funds for the 20 plaques, totaling over $100,000, came as private contributions, secured by the entirely volunteer group.

 

The walk will eventually extend from the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy at 19th and Diamond, down to Castro Street and then to Market Street, continuing to the LGBT Center on Octavia Boulevard. Plaques will be added in groups of 20 up to eventually 500 plaques.

 

Criteria for selection were that the individual be deceased, be “self expressed” as LGBT, and be significant in terms of contributions to their field of work. Interestingly and probably very wisely the board allowed the criteria to change over time with the community.

 

More:

 

Rainbow Honor Walk Plans Move Forward

 

Photos : Bill Sywak

 

 

 

 

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Tech Buses at Heart of Castro Merchants’ Beef Over Parking

 

Businesses fret over loss of parkingBus companies that shuttle tech workers to and from their jobs have been given two bus stops in the center of the neighborhood as part of an 18-month pilot program with the City.

 

 

 

 

San Francisco officials have been busy addressing residents’ complaints about “Google” bus stops, but Castro business owners feel that officials haven’t spent enough time hearing about the stops from them.

 

“The merchants are not happy about the planned stops,” said Castro Merchants President Daniel Bergerac. “This seems to have been shoved down our throats by [the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency].”

 

The merchants’ displeasure stems from a reduction in neighborhood parking spaces that the merchant group says its businesses need for customers.

 

“It does not seem productive to have buses stopping right in the middle of a commercial area,” said Bergerac. The SFMTA has authorized two stops in the heart of the Castro business district.

 

Both stops are on Castro Street, one at the intersection with Market Street and the other at the intersection with 18th Street. Both are temporary stops, according to a August 21, 2014, map available on SFMTA’s website.

 

Bergerac said the SFMTA authorized the Castro and Market street location – in front of Pottery Barn – without any input from neighborhood groups. Merchants are upset about 18th and Castro streets location because they were promised “no net loss of parking” when they gave their support for the Castro Street sidewalk widening project.

 

One bus stop may take up as many as four parking spaces.

 

The agreement between the City and bus companies that shuttle commuters to technology firms in other parts of the Bay Area and to businesses within the City is an 18-month pilot program that began officially during the summer. Previously, the City did nor regulate the shuttles – which drew protests from residents.

 

The SFMTA has designated 105 stops for commuter shuttles, 93 of which are also used by City buses. Twelve stops are designated for commuter shuttles only. The cost of the pilot program is $1.5 million, with all the money coming from shuttle providers.

 

The pilot program will “test an approach to managing and regulating commuter shuttle loading activities, and … measure the effectiveness of this approach,” according to SFMTA. Findings from the pilot program will form the basis for the City’s longer-term approach to regulating shuttles.

 

Some businesses in the Castro have been struggling financially because the sidewalk widening project has prompted shoppers to buy elsewhere until the project was completed. Limiting parking could aggravate the situation.

 

In addition, Castro Merchants President Daniel Bergerac says shoppers need cars for some items such as cases of wine. “Our customers need parking,” he said.

 

The Castro neighborhood was initially left out of the network of commuter shuttle stops created by the SFMTA, which caused concern among riders of the shuttles, according to District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener’s July/August newsletter.

 

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City CarShare To Rev Up Locations

 

Contention over parking spaces persists

 

 

Although City CarShare’s efforts to seek the support of car sharing from the Castro Merchants stalled, the company still has its engines running.

 

“We want to be their [residents’] fourth choice” of transportation after walking, biking and taking public transit, said Brent O’Brien, director of member experience at City CarShare.

 

City CarShare has plans to introduce 14 cars to the neighborhood, spread among eight locations. Pretty much all of them have been approved by the SFMTA, O’Brien said.

 

O’Brien said there was some contention among members of the business group because the merchants’ fear losing coveted parking spaces for their customers. But O’Brien claims car sharing helps alleviate the need for parking spaces.

 

“On average we serve 20 people per car,” he said, referring to the number of vehicles taken off the road by one car share vehicle. A report by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) says car sharing has been shown to serve 13 people, on average.

 

“Car sharing has been shown to reduce household vehicle ownership rates, parking demand, vehicle miles traveled, and greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the SFMTA’s car sharing policy and pilot project. “Lower car ownership rates reduce overall parking demand, especially in residential and mixed use areas,” SFMTA’s report says.

 

In addition, people who opt to participate in car sharing rather than owning a car may save $600 to $800 each month, O’Brien said, suggesting residents could shop in the Castro with the savings.

 

“Ample and easily available car sharing is crucial to our city’s transportation future,” District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener wrote in his July/August newsletter. District 8 includes the Castro neighborhood. “San Francisco has grown by 85,000 people since 2003 and is projected to grow by another 150,000 people by 2040. We need to give people great options other than owning a car. If we don’t, we will have many more cars in San Francisco, worsening our already bad traffic and parking situations.”

 

O’Brien provided a list of the locations in the Castro where his company is planning to place cars. None of the spaces are on Castro Street. We’re “just trying to make the City a better place to live,” O’Brien said. City CarShare has been in business for 13 years, and is the pioneer of car sharing in the Bay Area, he said.

 

Although members of the Castro Merchants were upset at the thought of losing parking spaces to a car sharing company, O’Brien said the response of the group’s leadership was “pretty positive” overall.

 

“Some have expressed concern about using on-street parking for car sharing,” says Wiener in the his newsletter. “However, studies have shown that for every available car share, a half dozen private vehicles or more will go away as some people decide that they now can rely on car share. Whether one uses car share or not, it’s in all of our interest to make sure we have great car sharing access.”

 

The City’s pilot project will end is August 2015

 

 

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On the Big Stage

 

Bay Area Talent Showcased in Golden Gate Park

 

 

 

 

The impact felt by Bay Area artists during August’s Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park, brought a local feel to the mega-concert, which drew close to 50,000 spectators each of its three days. Between vaudeville, Americana, hard rock, spoken word and DJ spinning, there was an eclectic mix that offered something for every taste. Keep the following acts on your list of area names to watch for in the coming year.

 

Mike Shine/ Dr. Flotsam and the Carny Bastards

 

Mike Shine is a Bolinas artist who creates paintings and performances. This year’s show also hosted a special stage in the woods of McLaren Pass called Dr. Flotsam’s Hell Brew Review, a live installation by Shine that has grown in popularity throughout its years at Outside Lands, especially after Jack White made a surprise appearance on the ragtag stage in 2012. At the center of the show is Pyotr Flotsam, the dark, Mephistophelean ringleader who controls the other costumed throw-back mime-like vaudeville actors.

 

Slim Jenkins

 

Playing the Flotsam stage at the same time as the headlining act of Kanye West was San Francisco-based Slim Jenkins, a group of tall, skinny guys in striped suits who play a fusion of American rock, jazz and blues. They have strong presence and sound and have played at venues from Slims in the SOMA to the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

 

Bassist Timothy Vickers said he enjoyed the opportunity of giving a more indie crowd what they wanted. “I think there were a lot of people that wanted something alternative to Kanye West, so it worked out really well for us.”

 

Drummer Felix Macnee, who lives in the Western Addition, said the band, who closed out Café Du Nord on New Year’s Eve, often takes trips to the Castro for munchies. “You can get good pizza down in the Castro,” Macnee said. “When we play late gigs we love to go to Orphan Andy’s and have the best milkshake.”

 

Tycho

 

By contrast, San Francisco-based Tycho has no vocalist. Bandleader Scott Hansen started out as a more insular laptop DJ/producer and then added his other band members a few years ago. He said bringing guitarist/bassist Zac Brown and drummer Rory O’Connor into Tycho’s creative fold expanded his songwriting and propelled the project forward. “It took the music and recontextualized it, made it a little bit more driven, more visceral,” he said.

 

“All of us have been here several times before so this is definitely kind of a dream to play this,” he said. “And that was actually, no joke, the biggest and best show we’ve ever played. That’s as good as it gets.”

 

The music is instrumental but the live sound, when coupled with Hansen’s trippy videos of occult symbols overlaying other images of pyramids and natural settings on large TV monitors throughout the Twin Peaks stage, did manage to lift the wordless musical experience above the mere ambient.

 

Hansen said he was enjoying the food at the venue, but as a local, he was no stranger to good eats, name-dropping Gracias Madre as one of his favorites.

 

“I live in the Mission, so there are a number of great restaurants around, to my financial detriment.”

 

Niki Bluhm and the Gramblers

 

Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers played a dynamic afternoon set on the first day at the Sutro Stage that hit a fever pitch at its crescendo with the swath of revelers bouncing and screaming. The folk-rock band relies heavily on Bluhm’s soulful vocals and big stage presence, along with the strong musicianship of the Gramblers, namely the talented lead guitarist Deren Ney. Just when they do go a bit country-western sounding at times, they bring it back to a folk, soul or rock sound. Nicki lives in San Francisco with her husband Tim Bluhm of the SF indie band The Mother Hips. As a Grambler, Tim plays guitar, keys and sings backup.

 

Mikal CroninMikal Cronin

 

If you like head-banging heavy rock bands with hair and a grunge feel, these guys are for you. A mosh pit broke out during their Friday afternoon performance on the Panhandle stage, hair whipping, distortion guitar resonated. Cronin used to live in Los Angeles but now calls San Francisco home, now associating with fellow SF rocker, Ty Segall, who played the same stage at Outside Lands in 2011.

 

Trails and Ways

 

Trails and Ways make bossanova dream pop in Oakland. Lead singers Emma Oppen and Keith Brower Brown, both UC Berkeley grads, went abroad to Brazil and the other to Spain. When they came back they fused the music of Brazilian jazz, Latin pop and basement dream pop. The two female and two male members of Trails and Ways all sing, sometimes in foreign languages. Through 2012, they rode a swell of singles and covers, and are currently working on their debut album.

 

Finish Ticket

 

This five-piece indie rock band from Alameda played on the Panhandle stage on Saturday afternoon.

 

The Tumbleweed Wanderers

 

Returning to the music festival was Oakland’s Tumbleweed Wanderers, who combine folk and rock while weaving smooth transitions from banjo-rock to soul. Since forming in April of 2011, the band has found a wider audience, from their early performances at small venues to selling out shows around the Bay Area.

 

Christopher Owens

 

Singer/songwriter Christopher Owens, former front man for the indie rock band Girls, played a daytime set the second day on the Sutro Stage. Owens was born in Florida but moved to San Francisco after spending nine years in Texas. Last year he released his debut solo album, Lysandre.

 

Watsky

 

Hitting the large Twin Peaks stage on Sunday was Hip Hop artist Watsky (George Virden Watsky), who grew up at 5th Avenue and Fulton Street, just steps from Golden Gate Park. Watsky combines humor and storytelling with poetic lyricism on top of a full band experience. He returned to the city in April 2013 and sold out the Fillmore after being featured on the TV show Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO in 2007. His most recent album Cardboard Castles peaked at #1 in iTunes hip-hop.

 

The Brothers Comatose

 

The San Francisco quintet blends Americana, folk and bluegrass. A number of stringed instruments grace the stage in their performances, including fiddle, mandolin and banjo. They played the Panhandle stage on Sunday afternoon.

 

Local DJs

 

Shawn ReynaldoShawn Reynaldo

 

Shawn Reynaldo spun in the DJ tent on Saturday afternoon. Originally from San Jose, DJ Shawn Reynaldo now lives in the Mission. He said one of his musical partners lives in the Castro on Douglas Street in a crazy old mansion that was once a hospital, a place he often visits. “He literally lives in the spire. It looks like a castle. So I go there a lot — it has an amazing view of the city.”

 

He’s a co-founder of the renowned Icee Hot parties, a monthly house and techno party that moves locations. “We try to keep it small, like 200 or 300 people. Occasionally we have a bigger one.”

 

Deejay Theory

 

Repping Faction Sound Crew and leading online Caribbean lifestyle magazine LargeUp.com, Deejay Theory continues to push the DJ / producer role forward in his home base of San Francisco, CA and throughout the world. Creating music all his life and now a key player in the explosive tropical bass movement, Theory has a natural strength for producing and flipping a broad range of formats, putting his signature touch on everything from Demi Lovato to Mavado. Think dancehall meets club music, bass meets soul, turntablism meets rave, tropical disco meets the pool, and we’re literally just getting warm.

 

Motion Potion

 

Motion Potion is a DJ/producer based in the city with almost two decades of experience. After spending the last several years working on his production companies Silent Frisco and SunsetSF, “MoPo” seems poised to reemerge onto the scene in 2014.

 

Shouts!

 

Shouts! is a project by San Francisco music producer Jason Apple. After many years of producing as Ground Control, Shouts! became a way out for more experimental, felling-driven music while still working a dance floor. Shouts! aims to mix music and mood.

 

Lights Down Low

 

LDL is a DJ project initiated by Corey Sleazemore and Richie Panic. Now rotating parties between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It has been a primary fixture in the city nightlife over the last five years. LDL had the privilege of being the last Bay Area-based act to rock the DJ tent.

 

Photo: Ted Andersen

 

 

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15th Street Tennis Court Project Seeks Funding

 

The 15th Street tennis courts in the Castro are in need of some late summer lovin’.

 

The run-down courts represent much more than merely a place to play tennis. Since 1980, they have been home to the first gay tennis league in the world, the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation. The 15th Street courts evolved into what came to be known as the “Mecca of Gay Tennis.” They mark the ground zero of the gay and lesbian organized sports movement and have provided a safe, comfortable, and sometimes competitive environment for local players.

 

The members of the GLTF proposed the idea to renovate the courts in 2010. After the 30th anniversary celebration of the first openly gay tennis tournament, the United States Gay Open (USGO), the members undertook the 15th Street Public Tennis Court Renovation Project to immortalize the founding site of the GLTF. This renovation project aims not only to help improve the condition of these courts for the community but also to commemorate the GLTF’s humble origins at the courts. The project seeks to establish the place in the LGBT struggle and build a “clubhouse” to mark the GLTF’s role in the fight to overcome hate and discrimination.

 

“Not everyone has been able to go to a 15th Street and play tennis and not be in fear,” member Sean Buler explained. “Not everyone, unfortunately, can afford to come to the USGO and find that sense of relief.”

 

Another aspect of resurfacing the courts is to extend the on-court bench to welcome more members of the community with a picnic area, improved gardens, rest rooms, a water fountain and an informational kiosk.

 

Four years later, the project is far from finished.

 

District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener mentioned the courts in his last newsletter.

 

“Through the budget process,” Wiener wrote, “I worked with Rec and Park to ensure that we have funding to fully renovate the 15th Street courts (also known as Corona Heights.) The Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation is a LGBT community tennis club that has its roots on those courts and the nearby 15th Street courts.”

 

GLTF member Martha Ehrenfeld was able to clarify that while many members do utilize the Corona Heights/Flint Street courts Wiener managed to secure funding for, they are not the same courts that the GLTF aimed to renovate through their project. According to Ehrenfeld, the 15th Street courts that are home to the GLTF, also known as the Peixotto Playground & Tennis Courts, are still in dire need of maintenance. Enhrenfeld created a promotional video about the 15th Street project back in 2010. Unfortunately, they were not able to raise the funds to complete it.

 

“I don’t know much about the status of the project [today],” Ehrenfeld said. “Scott [Wiener] has been very supportive about the Flint St. courts, but it will take a lot of money to get the [Peixotto] courts playable and be ADA compliant. The 15th St. courts project has stalled, so I don’t think we will get that going in the near future. So much potential if only we could find the money.”

 

Today, the GLTF has over 500 members and continues to grow. The club hosts events for players of all levels, from novice to pro. Members play year-round at courts across the Bay Area and also participate in club-sponsored tennis events and tournaments, such as monthly Social Doubles, Spring and Fall Team Tennis, the Holloran Club Singles Championships, the Sissenstein Club Doubles Championships, and the year-end Awards Banquet. Most importantly, the GLTF offers a sense of community and a safe environment for tennis players.

 

“Without community, individuals have no protection from persecution, and I think that the GLTF is a wonderfully fun way to create a political community,” said member Kathy Emery.

 

For questions about GLTF membership, or to donate money to the 15th Street Public Tennis Courts Renovation Project, contact Board President Winnie Fink at: president@gltf.com.

 

 

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Local Astronomers Meet at the RandallFor over six decades the SF Amateur Astronomers have gathered to discuss the cosmos. Now at the Randall Museum in Corona Heights, they meet monthly for lectures and events.

 

For over six decades the SF Amateur Astronomers have gathered to discuss the cosmos. Now at the Randall Museum in Corona Heights, they meet monthly for lectures and events.

 

 

 The San Francisco Amateur Astronomers began their meetings in 1952 and continue to organize and host events throughout the year. Every month the SFAA presents a lecture at the Randall Museum, at 199 Museum Way, just up the hill from the Castro, in Corona Heights Park. I spoke with Board Member Mitchell Schoenbrun about the SFAA.

 

Wendy:

 

San Francisco Amateur Astronomers presents public lectures just a short walk from the Castro, at the Randall Museum. What are those evenings like?

 

Mitchell:

 

Once a month we have a meeting at the Randall. It’s usually preceded by a board meeting, which members are welcome to [attend]. That’s followed by refreshments. People socialize and catch up, and then we have a lecture. The lecturers are typically PhD astronomers or physicists who are doing current research. Occasionally we’ll have somebody who will give a lecture of a historical nature. For example, a few months ago someone gave a lecture on a famous observatory in Ireland, which was used 100 years ago to make at that time a big discovery. We have all different kinds of lectures. The level of the lecture can vary; sometimes the researcher will aim it more at the general audience who isn’t that familiar with astronomy, and oftentimes by the end of the lecture they’re describing some very interesting cutting edge research they’re doing. Thankfully usually even if you’re not that well versed in astronomy, it has meaning to you. Overall the quality of the lectures [is] just quite amazing. On a regular basis we go in and we hear something that somebody just discovered within the last few months. The lectures are certainly a highlight of the club and many people choose to come almost every month.

 

Wendy:

 

This month’s lecture is about black widow pulsars. Are you familiar with those?

 

Mitchell:

 

I’m sure I’ll know more when I hear the lecture. I imagine from that name, just to give you a background, there are some extremely, not just massive, but dense astronomical objects. The one that people are most familiar with is a black hole, which is so dense that gravity has collapsed it and it’s kind of left the universe as we know it. You can go in there to see what it is but you can never come out. The neutron star is the next step up. It’s not quite as dense; it actually has a physical size. A typical neutron star would be about the size of the earth. A neutron star was formed from a collapsing star, so if you can imagine the sun collapsing down to the size of an earth, that gives you an idea how dense it is. I once heard that a teaspoon of material from a neutron star would weigh as much as the Empire State Building. I imagine what a black widow is - this can happen with black holes and with stars and with neutron stars, is they have material around them. That material gravitationally gets pulled towards them. If it was the sun it would go into the sun and be gone, but because this thing is so massive and the gravity is so great, I imagine what happens is this material gets accelerated and as it hits the star, it probably gives off a lot of radiation, x-rays and so forth. Another possibility is a neutron star rotating around a companion and sucking it’s material in. Scientists often name things in amusing, catchy ways.

 

Wendy:

 

You also hold Star Parties, which sound great. Often they happen outside of San Francisco, on Mount Tam for example, but you sometimes do hold them in the city, near the Cliff House mostly, from what I understand.

 

Mitchell:

 

Generally speaking, although over the next few months we’re going to be doing them in different locations. I believe the next one is going to be at the Exploratorium.

 

Wendy:

 

And you look for an area that has less streetlight or less fog?

 

Mitchell:

 

Actually the site out by the Cliff House is much better or darkness, although it’s clouded over a lot. The Exploratorium isn’t that good as far as getting a dark sky, so we’re mostly going to be looking at fairly bright objects - planets or the moon. One of the goals of our club is to bring the excitement and fun of astronomy to the public, get people interested who may be interested if they had any exposure to it. Certainly one of the highlights of astronomy is when you get to look through a telescope; to actually see a planet out there, a little sphere hanging out there in the sky, is very exciting. Some planets are more exciting than others. Saturn seems to really get people excited because you can see the rings, and Jupiter’s also quite fun to look at. You always can see at least three, and usually four, moons around Jupiter. In a big telescope you can actually see detail on the surface there, different colored gasses, kind of like rings going around the planet.

 

Wendy:

 

Do people need to join SFAA in order to attend these events?

 

Mitchell:

 

Not at all; the public is always welcome. We like to encourage people to join; it’s very inexpensive and there are some benefits, but the public Star Parties and the lectures, and there are some other events, are open to the public.

 

Wendy:

 

Some of the benefits that you were mentioning include members only Star Party events and loaner telescopes.

 

Mitchell:

 

There are some people who are just not interested in going out and looking through telescopes; they just come to the lectures, but many people are, and eventually if [they] really like doing that, people typically want to buy a scope of their own. To just go out and buy one is probably a bad idea because you don’t really know what you want, how much to pay, and what you’ll be able to see, so we provide these telescopes for people to get an idea. They can use them and if they want to go on and buy their own scope, they can. We also have a class we give once a year to teach people to make their own telescope. This is possible; you can build your own telescope, and many of the members have home-built telescopes that they bring to the Star Parties.

 

Wendy:

 

How did you become interested in Astronomy?

 

Mitchell:

 

I’m 59, and when I was 13 I got interested in astronomy and my parents got me a small telescope, which I used. Later - this was in New Jersey - I got involved with the local astronomy group in New Jersey. They met at a place called the Sperry Observatory in Cranford. When I was 18 this group decided to go on an expedition to see a solar eclipse, so I went on that. We went to Africa; we went to the middle of the Sahara Desert and we saw a solar eclipse. Then, when I was in college, I was interested in math and science, and I ended up majoring in astronomy. I didn’t go on in astronomy but I always enjoyed that period, and then a few years ago I discovered the club out here. I joined and started getting involved with their activities. So, my interest goes way back, but one doesn’t need to have that kind of background to enjoy astronomy. It’s something anybody at any age - it’s always fun when children come to the public Star Parties. If they’re old enough, and they can figure out how to look through the telescope, they always get really excited. There’s really no age limit.

 

The SF Amateur Astronomers will host three public events during the month of September. On September 6th there will be a City Star Party at the Exploratorium from 7 - 11:30 p.m. Sept. 17 is the Randall Museum lecture, given by Roger Romani, a physics professor at Stanford University entitled: “Black Widow Pulsars: Vengeful Star Corpses.” On Sept. 27 the SFAA will hold the last Star Party of the month on Mount Tam, at the Rock Springs parking lot, from 7 - 11.

 

Photo courtesy of Mitchell Schoenbrun

 

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The Castro Gentleman’s Guide to Healthy and Dapper Foot Care

 

Are you back from warm summer days in Key West, Rehoboth Beach, Provincetown, Ongunquit, Fire Island, Guerneville, Palm Springs or destinations abroad? Was it a welcome escape from the overcast days of our San Francisco summer?

 

Did you come back to a new job and dream apartment, or maybe a daily pampered bus ride home to the Castro from Mountain View or Cupertino? Once you check out the spanking new Levi’s Stadium at Great America, are you ready to dive into the fall high-energy cycle of Castro fairs and festivals?

 

Of course, what’s going to get you there and back and everywhere in between are your two dependable friends, your feet! Not to be taken for granted (fess up, you do already), this is a perfect time to treat yourself to that foot spa you’ve thought about. Well, there is a new program especially for Castro Gentlemen to help out.

 

Elevate Podiatry + Spa is a new resource for the Castro Gentleman, a place to add to your gym routine for healthy legs and feet. Specialists in both medicine and spa relaxation and style, Elevate is a unique spot where luxurious spa meets first-class foot and ankle specialty medicine in an oasis for mind, body and spirit. To assure the utmost in cleanliness, they offer natural pedicures in a sterile and relaxing environment. Moreover, they are proud to feature zero-gravity chairs and use only first-class, toxin-free organic products.

 

According to Elevate Co-Founder, Dr. Susan Choe, DPM, their Elevate Spa Pedicure is a building block of dependable, healthy feet and is now available during the promotional week of September 15-19 at an introductory 15% discount. To schedule a 50-minute session on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, call 415-890-3377, or book online at www.elevatefoot.com and be sure to mention “Castro Gentleman”.

 

They are located at 490 Post Street, Suite 336, on the corner of Post and Mason Streets, near San Francisco’s Union Square. Knowledgeable staff will be on hand all week to discuss practices and procedures and to answer special questions.

 

Elevate Podiatry is the perfect pedicure experience for a refined gentleman from the Castro.

 

Photo : Bill Sywak

 

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My2024 To Create LGBTQ Future

 

Foundation, think tank team up
in effort

 

 

A foundation and a think tank in late August in the city launched an enormous venture to have the LGBTQ community across the United States envision their own future.

 

Given the incredible advances that LGBTQ’s have witnessed in their communities over the past several years, many ask where the movement goes now. The answers, say the Arcus Foundation and the Menlo Park Institute for the Future — the foundation and the think tank — are many. The challenge is a 10-day event in October “to think about the future . . . in a live national conversation and a giant 10-day party to imagine our lives in the year 2024.” The paths we come up with will undoubtedly be many.

 

From October 7-8 there is going to be a so-called Community Crowdsourcing Event, an online 48-hour round-the-clock generating of visions of the future. For those who were exposed to business degrees in earlier times, this might be thought of as a giant online brainstorm.

 

Then the week of October 9-16 is focused on what are called “Missions”, meaning expanding the crowdsourcing visions into videos, images and stories of the future.

 

In this project the end result is a “Declaration and Closing Party” on October 17 in which the My2024 declaration built by participants in the 48-hour community crowdsourcing event and the “Make the Future” Missions are synthesized, publicly launched and shared. “Every story contributed will help build the My2024 Futures Declaration, a call-to-action that will help guide change,” says the guidelines.

 

How do you get involved, whether you are just plain straight or LGBTQ? Log on to My2024 and/or the My2024 #FutureFriday missions and check out the quick weekly challenges on their Facebook (facebook.com/my2024), Twitter (@My2024game), Instagram (@My2024), and Tumblr (@My2024game) feeds.

 

Besides some social media technical skills, the structural building blocks are the My2024 Community Partners (LGBTQ organizations willing to reach people and ensure their participation), and the Community Catalysts (volunteers who serve short periods as facilitators of the process, fast and creative thinkers, fluent on social media, supportive and motivational).

 

This has all the hallmarks of an exciting and participatory once-in-a-lifetime experience. October 7 is right here, so jump in and play!

 

Photo: Winnie Fink

 

 

 

 

© Castro Courier 2014