Archive for February, 2009

Asian Art Museum’s Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan – A Fantastic Exhibit

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

First things first – you should check out the reviews of the Asian Art Museum‘s Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Kenneth Baker, SF Weekly All Shook Down’s Sam Pretianni, San Francisco Examiner Art Examiner Marisa Nakasone, San Jose Culture Examiner Todd R. Brown, and KGO-TV View From the Bay’s Nick Smith. Then watch the YouTube entries and listen to KQED Forum’s Michael Krasney

Then you should go to the exhibit itself (win a pair of free tickets here) – it’s like taking a Bhutan Excursion and getting some of the benefits of going to Bhutan without ever leaving the Bay Area. Let’s take a look. 

Honorable Secretary Dasho Penden Wangchuk, Bhutan Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs helped to bring this art to San Francisco. It’s quite a tale, as the New York Times explains. Click to expand:

Here’s a map, if it helps. You can’t position Bhutan in the world without referencing the neighbors’ border dispute. China and India fought the appropriately-named Sino Indian War back in 1962, but there’s still some confusion over just where one country starts and another ends. Anyway, Tibet to the North, Nepal to the west and India all around:

The Buddhist deity Vajrabhairava does his war dance. Quasi NSFW. Click to expand – it gets big:


Can you see what he’s holding onto with his 32 arms and what he’s stomping on with his 16 feet? He’s a one-god war machine, compare the photo with this description: 

The central main hands of the deity hold a chopping-knife (karttrka) and human skull-bowl (kapala), colored gold and ornamented by pearl chains, flammiforms and scepters (vajra). The lower main hands hold a magical knife (purba) and the severed multi-faced head of Brahma the Creator. The upper main hands hold a red right hand holding an arrow and an elaborately decorated golden shield with a Chinese-style makara or dragon face at the center. The other hands hold a ritual scepter (vajra), lance, axe, double-drum (damaru), Wheel of Law (dharmachakra), dagger, swirling flames, ritual bell (ghanta), skeleton-staff (khatvanga), banner, a red human right foot, a transfixed corpse, various magical knives and stakes, a noose, a skin, and other Tantric weapons.”

O.K. then. You can also see illustrations of parables, thusly:

Lord Buddha in the form of King Dayoe: The Buddha, as King Dayoe, was very generous and helpful towards others. A neighboring king became jealous of him and offered a reward of half his kingdom for whoever would bring back King Dayoe’s head. A man volunteered and asked King Dayoe for his head as alms, and the king gave it to him, thereby increasing King Dayoe’s popularity. The neighboring king and the man who beheaded King Dayoe both died of heartsickness.

And thusly:

Lord Buddha in the form of a Turtle: A boat carrying a group of merchants capsized and the merchants were thrown into the water. The Buddha, in the form of a turtle, rescued the merchants and carried them to shore on his back. The turtle was tired and fell asleep, and the merchants, who were hungry, tried to kill the turtle by throwing stones at it. The turtle’s shell protected him, but out of great compassion for the merchants, the turtle turned over and sacrificed himself for them.

Padmasambhava, considered by some to be the second Bhudda:

Terese Bartholomew, Curator Emeritus of Chinese Decorative Arts and Himalayan Art at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco serves as Guest Curator.

So there you have it, another unique show at the Asian. You should check it out. More deets after the jump.

See you there!

And here’s what’s coming up in a few months:


Free Swing Dancing in Golden Gate Park Every Sunday – Lindy in the Park

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Five star Yelp-rated Lindy in the Park is a free dance party that happens on JFK Drive between 8th Avenue and the de Young Museum / California Academy of Sciences area every Sunday from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Check to see if it’s cancelled due to rain first and then head on out for the Lindy Hop-ping.


Click to expand

Nancy Pelosi and Gavin Newsom Bring the Bacon Home to San Francisco

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Perhaps this morning’s annoucement about funding for the hazardous Doyle Drive approach to the Golden Gate Bridge might be a tad premature, but assistance from federal stimulus is “expected” so that’s cause enough for celebration in today’s economy. And, we’ll get started sooner rather than later:  

“Today Mayor Gavin Newsom and Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined regional leaders in announcing that construction to replace Doyle Drive, the main southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, will be expedited by Caltrans and save taxpayers $90 million dollars. Construction on the project is now slated to begin this year, instead of the originally scheduled date of 2010.”

So, take a look at today’s event and read the deets below.

This is Doyle Drive – see the blissfully unaware tourists waving to the crowd? Like the Bay Bridge, this thing isn’t ready for the next big earthquake. Click to expand:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the aging viaduct that’s not long for this world…

…along with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom:

Jake McGoldrick brought a prop from his shed to show the Feds how “shovel-ready” this project is:

The whole affair had a party-like atmosphere with numerous local pols, such as Senator Mark Leno, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell

…and Supervisor Bevan Dufty:

The United States Park Police, avec dog and pony, were on hand to pose near the Golden Gate Bridge: 

Will Doyle Drive get fixed before this tyke gets into driver’s training?

We can only hope.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today Mayor Gavin Newsom and Speaker Nancy Pelosi
joined regional leaders in announcing that construction to replace Doyle
Drive, the main southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, will be
expedited by Caltrans and save taxpayers $90 million dollars. Construction
on the project is now slated to begin this year, instead of the originally
scheduled date of 2010.
“With California receiving a nearly $2.6 billion share of highway funding
under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we have another
significant opportunity to move the new Presidio Parkway closer to becoming
a reality,” Speaker Pelosi said.  “Together, we will build not only a new
bridge, but a new opportunity for job creation and economic recovery here
in San Francisco.”
“The Doyle Drive Replacement project has been a vision for more than 15
years, and because of the strong regional commitment to partner and
prioritize this critical infrastructure project, it is now a reality,” said
Mayor Newsom. “This project is shovel ready and a signature example of how
the federal stimulus can close the funding gap, stimulate the economy,
improve transportation, and create jobs in San Francisco.”
In the past year, the region has worked together to fill the funding gap in
the reconstruction project.  Last January, the anticipated shortfall was
over $400 million.  The reduction is in part, a result of redirected
federal earmarks, $90 million in savings from expediting the project, and
the State share of federal stimulus funds.
Doyle Drive on U.S. 101 traverses the Presidio of San Francisco and serves
as the southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge.  This badly
deteriorated structure is designated a Post Disaster Recovery Route and is
the only link between the San Francisco peninsula and northern California
counties. The project will replace this aging facility with a new parkway
connecting San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio of San
Francisco, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The
project features six travel lanes plus an eastbound auxiliary lane between
the Park Presidio interchange and a new Presidio access at Girard Road.
The Federal Highway Administration issued a Record of Decision on the
environmental document for the Doyle Drive Replacement Project in December
2008.   Due to its importance, the City and County of San Francisco, the
San Francisco Transportation Authority (SFCTA), and the Metropolitan
Transportation Commission (MTC) have partnered with the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) and the State of California Department of
Transportation (Caltrans) to advance a project to improve seismic,
structural, and traffic safety along Doyle Drive.  The implementation plan
is the result of about 15 years of planning, studies and negotiations.

Huge SFPD Traffic Enforcement Action on Geary Boulevard in the Richmond District Today

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Did you catch “Operation Safe Corridor” today on busy, busy Geary Boulevard today? It seems Richmond Station Captain Richard Corriea and the San Francisco Police Department really, really want you to obey speed limits, stop at stop signs, and yield to pedestrians. Why’s that? Well, four pedestrian deaths in the Richmond District last year might have something to do with it.

Today’s effort isn’t a secret or anything. If you didn’t catch yesterday’s announcement in the Richmond Forum, then witessing three motorists pulled over at the same time by three SFPD vehicles within a block of each other might clue you in.

Thusly. Click to expand:

This looks to be the biggest enforcement action ever. How many moving violations will get handed out today?

Richmond Station ADVISORY, Captain Richard Corriea

On Saturday, February 28, 2009, between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, officers from Richmond station will be participating “Operation Safe Corridor”, a Richmond Station traffic enforcement program.

As part of this operation the officers will be focusing traffic enforcement efforts on motorists violating pedestrian right-of-way laws at the following locations:

§ Geary Boulevard and Blake Street

§ Geary Boulevard and 15th Avenue

§ Geary Boulevard and 22nd Avenue

Officers will also focus their enforcement efforts at the following locations:

§ Lake Street between Park Presidio and Arguello (Stop Signs)

§ Park Presidio between Fulton and Lake (Speed)

Our overall goal is to reduce the number of traffic related injures in the Richmond District. In 2008 there were 300 such injuries and four fatalities. In the last seven days we have received 4 reports injury traffic collisions and 16 reports of non-injury collisions. 

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell’s Barack Obama Handbag – For The Win

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Here’s San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell TCB (Taking Care of Business) on a weekend trying to sort through issues relating to Speaker of the the House Nancy Pelosi and the Golden Gate Bridge. But what’s this – a vibrant Barack Obama leather handbag? Let’s take a closer look:

Is that a Coach Leatherware brass grommet? It seems to be: 

Why doesn’t Coach follow the lead of Ben & Jerry’s and Southwest Airlines and make a million of these? They’d sell well.


Engage in Human Trafficking, Lose Your House Under Leland Yee’s New Bill

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Over in Sacramento, San Mateo and San Francisco Counties’ very own Senator Leland Yee, PhD has been busy, busy, busy getting new bills in before deadline. SB 557 is today’s effort, below.

If we can get this into law, will this take some of the fight out of human traffickers in California? Doing a little stretch in the hoosegow is one thing, but losing a house or the rolling stock – well, that’s a whole ‘nother ball game.

The California Senate’s Assistant President pro Tempore:

Here’s the new bill:

Yee Introduces Bill to Seize Property of Criminals Convicted of Human Trafficking
Funds would be used to assist law enforcement and victims

Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) today introduced legislation to assist victims of human trafficking and support law enforcement by allowing courts to seize any personal property, such as house or automobile, of a person convicted of human trafficking.
SB 557 will bring much-needed resources to help fight human trafficking, while also ensuring victims receive the services they need to recover from this horrific crime,” said Yee.  Between 14,500 and 17,500 victims are trafficked into the United States each year and enslaved for purposes of sexual or labor exploitation, and unfortunately many of the cases occur here in California.  Our state has led the way in combating human trafficking and exploitation, but we should not stop our efforts until all women, men, and children are free and safe from such an appalling offense.”
Under Yee’s legislation, funds accumulated from all property seized from those convicted of human trafficking will be split between funds to assist law enforcement in cracking down on the crime and funds dedicated to groups who work with victims.
Approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims annually are trafficked across international borders worldwide, according to the US Department of State. Victims are generally trafficked into the US from Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. Many human trafficking victims do not understand English and are therefore isolated and often unable to communicate with service providers, law enforcement and others who might be able to help them.
Research by the Human Rights Center at the University of California found 57 forced labor operations between 1998 and 2003 throughout California.  These operations – mostly in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose – involved more than 500 victims from 18 countries. 
The US Department of Justice recently announced that in the first 21 months of operation, the Human Trafficking Reporting System (HTRS) recorded information on more than 1,200 alleged incidents of human trafficking.
According to the Justice Department, over 90 percent of victims in both alleged and confirmed human trafficking incidents were female. Nearly 60 percent of victims in labor trafficking cases were female and almost all (99%) victims in sex trafficking cases were female. 
Hispanic victims comprised the largest share (37 percent) of alleged sex trafficking victims and more than half (56 percent) of alleged labor trafficking victims.  Asians made up 10 percent of alleged sex trafficking victims, compared to 31 percent of labor trafficking victims.  Approximately two-thirds of victims in alleged human trafficking incidents were age 17 or younger (27 percent) or age 18 to 24 (38 percent).  Sex trafficking victims tended to be younger (71 percent were under age 25) and labor trafficking victims tended to be older (almost 70 percent were age 25 or older).
Nearly eight in 10 human trafficking suspects were male. US citizens accounted for 66 percent of suspects in alleged incidents.
If you are a victim of trafficking or an organization needing assistance, please contact the Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
In 2004, Senator Yee also passed legislation to combat human trafficking.  Yee’s AB 3042 increased penalties to those who solicit children through prostitution.

Just Released: Revised Plans for the Presidio Main Post – Museum, Theatre, Lodge

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Well here it’s here – the revised plans, posted tonight – February 26th, 2009, for the Main Post area of San Franciso’s Presidio. Of course, things got a bit heated last year, but it looks like Progress is back on track. So now, you are more than welcome to check out the Summary Brochure or the whole magilla that is the Revised Draft Main Post Update to the Presidio Trust Management Plan. Bone up on these docs and then plan to attend a few meetings:

Public Meeting Wednesday, April 1 (no fooling), 8:30AM[!] to 10:00AM Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop

Presidio Trust Public Board of Directors Meeting Tuesday, April 7, 6:30PM to ???? Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Avenue

Public Meeting Thursday, April 16, 6:00PM to 7:30PM Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop

Of course, the Presido is a special place, home to Aloha Festivals, aggressive policing, active volunteers, misinformed Fox shock jocks wandering around at night, living history, first class bike lanes, and colorful, noisy, loving, wild parrots, so you might be interested. See you there at the (endless) meetings!

This is the plan, below (as opposed to the old plan pictured here). The answer to those, such as Andy J. Wang of Curbed SF, who question whether the “white box” will live: No. About which more anon. Note the expansion of the currently abandoned Presdio Theatre (aka Main Post Theatre, aka “massive multiplex” aka The Rat House) in the upper left and also the Lodge (aka “massive hotel”) near the middle. (Also note the new Walt Disney Family Museum (aka The Mouse House, aka Building 104) – on the upper right – see the lighter colored terrace of one of the barracks? Don’t worry about it though – it’s a done deal, opening soon.)


As always, click to expand

Some more detail. The revised proposal for the Contemporary Art Museum of the Presidio (CAMP) is set for a lower height than last year’s proposal and, in fact, a lower height than the building it will replace – the doomed Presidio Bowling Center. Note the green roof of the art museum – that’s new as well.

Speaking of doomed, this 700-car parking lot is similarly not long for this world. What’s that – you like to drive in from Marin, park here and then go about your business every day? Sure you do, but you’ll just have to make do. See the white outlines in the lower picture? That shows the maximum size of the Lodge on the left and CAMP in the middle. Unless the new architects are more Gluckman than Gluckman (he’s a minimalist, you know), the revised CAMP proposal will be a bit more complex than the lower, smaller, quasi-underground rectangular box shown. We won’t know the details until the San Francisco Chronicle’s John King is good and ready to let us in the secret, per Luke Thomas of Fog City Journal (NB to FCJ commenter HB: The billion dollars plus worth of art in question is currently not “properly mounted” and can not “easily be accessed by the public.”)

Are you still reading? Wow. All right, here’s your Supplement to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (February 2009). Click away:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • Appendix A – Transportation
  • More deets after the jump.


    Get Tiny Organic Hot Dogs at Tiny Underdog in the Sunset District

    Thursday, February 26th, 2009

    Well, here’s tiny Yelp-rated Underdog, the Organic Sausage Joint at 1634 Irving St (near 17th Avenue) in the Sunset District’s Middle Fog Belt. Things haven’t changed too much since its debut in 2007, when these photos were taken.

    Underdog pleasantly fires the synapses of UCSF pharmacy students and lots of others as well.

    But how about you? Just like Spork restaurant, you owe it to yourself to check it out just once. It’s a little pricey, but very unique.

    Tiny. Click to expand:

    This is it, the whole thing:


    The manifesto:

    UNDERDOG – “The Organic Sausage Joint” is exactly just that. we are a restaurant that serves grilled organic meat and vegetarian sausages on lightly toasted gourmet organic buns. you can dress your sausage anyway you like at our self-serve organic condiment stand. we also offer organic salads, desserts, sodas, juices, drinks, chips, snacks, and candies. Everything we sell is made with natural and organic ingredients. We will never sell anything that contains gmo’s, artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, transfats, or high fructose corn syrup. We conduct business in ways that make the least negative impact on our planet by trying to always use packaging, supplies, and disposables made from either recycled paper and/or biodegradable products made from renewable and sustainable resources like corn, potatoes, bamboo, or sugar cane. We recycle as much as we can and encourage you to do the same. We try to always only use non-toxic and biodegradable cleaners. We donate a portion of our profits to local charities. We are the UNDERDOG!

    See you there!

    The Trouble with “The Trouble with Romance” Movie Premiere

    Thursday, February 26th, 2009

    Fox News is certainly worked up these days, huh? But is The Trouble with Love the same film as what San Francisco movie-goers saw a couple years back?  Will the real The Trouble With Romance please stand up?

    The Trouble with Romance (2007)

    The Trouble with Romance (2008)

    The Trouble with Romance (2009)

    Maybe it’s a kind of remixed version, something like:

    Don’t Stand So Close to Me (1980)

    Don’t Stand So Close To Me (1986)

    But what about the reviews?

    The film features San Francisco First Lady Jennifer Siebel

    Here are some “reviews”:

    Two thumbs up

    Ten-star rating (That’s a lot of stars, huh? **********)

    Now let’s hear from reviewers who weren’t actually involved in the production of the movie:

    Roaring void of talent (via the Village Voice)

    Vapid and aimless

    Ouch. This movie’s release is tomorrow, apparently on just one screen in New York City. Check it out, New Yawkers, and see if it’s any different than the 2007 version.

    “This heartfelt and hilarious film about sex and relationships presents a quartet of vignettes about young adults exploring the challenges and heartaches that come with falling and staying in love. Each story follows the inhabitants of different rooms in one hotel on the same night. Infusing the film with visual flair, director Gene Rhee has a lot to say about romance, breaking up, moving on and trying to recognize when you’ve found the One. An audience favorite at festivals, the film stars cast members from “Sex & the City”, “Entourage”, “Better Luck Tomorrow”, “Two and a Half Men” and many other hit films and TV shows. (Running time: 1:28)

    More Info: Movie Web Site

    See you there!

    San Francisco Writer Attacks the “Persecution of Barry Bonds” in Playboy Magazine, April 2009

    Thursday, February 26th, 2009

    San Francisco-based author and journalist Jonathan Littman has a Playboy Special Report coming out in the upcoming April 2009 issue, but you can read the whole thing right now. Here’s some of the stuff Hugh Hefner’s magazine wants you to know:

    – New Information Revealed in an Exclusive Report inside the BALCO Steroids Probe –

    – Questions Raised About Real Motives Behind the Investigation

    Things seemed much happier on San Francisco’s Barry Bonds Day near the Ferry Building back in 2007. Click to expand:

    Playboy Special Report: The Persecution of Barry Bonds

    ‘Previously unknown facts uncovered in Littman’s report include:

     1.  NOVITZKY’S GAME: How Agent Jeff Novitzky got the green light for an unprecedented multi-million dollar IRS witch hunt. Before the 2003 raid on BALCO, before a single headline was ever written, Littman knew that Agent Novitzky, a then unheralded IRS agent, was obsessed with bringing down Barry Bonds.

    Was this Playboy shoot of former mistress Kimberly Bell “one of the most liberating experiences of her life?” Yes, per KTVU. 

     2.  PROTECTING BUD: How Novitzky and the BALCO federal prosecutors seemingly protected Bud Selig and Major League baseball, by not calling the Commissioner or baseball’s owners to testify to their knowledge of rampant steroid use in baseball.

     3.  HIDING THE CLEAR: Previous press reports repeated the government account that The Clear, the centerpiece drug in BALCO was an illegal steroid. Secret grand jury testimony of Jeff Novitzky himself reveals that the government knew early on that it was not an illegal drug.

    Barry was interviewed in this issue during a happier time a decade and a half ago. See? That’s why you’ve been saving these things:   

     4.  PERJURY TRAP: The BALCO investigation, far from an attempt to clean up sports, was designed to entrap one man, Barry Bonds.  How the government misled Bonds on the day of his Grand Jury testimony and
    appears to have to set up baseball’s all-time home-run king on a perjury charge.

     5.  TRUTH TELLER UNMASKED: At the very time Agent Novitzky was given unprecedented powers and funds to trip up athletes in lies, the Treasury opened an investigation that questioned his credibility. The origins of a five-year-old secret investigation that has already caused the lawyer for one BALCO defendant to ask a judge to set aside a conviction and may imperil the Bonds case.

    “For more than five years the national media coverage of the BALCO investigation has been fed by a national obsession to shame, humiliate and prosecute athletes for alleged lies about sports doping. In “The Persecution of Barry Bonds” San Francisco based author and journalist Jonathan Littman takes a different view of the greatest steroid sports scandal in history, one that asks what it was all about, and whether the point of the whole multi-million dollar investigation has been to divert attention from the real villains, Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Major League baseball and the owners who profited for more than a decade by a culture of rampant steroid abuse.  The full report is available online now at and will be printed in the April issue of Playboy, on newsstands Friday, March 20.

    “Littman broke the inside story of BALCO in May 2004 for Playboy in “Gunning for the Big Guy.” He has reported on this story for nearly six years, filing more than fifty stories on the topic.  Littman has met and interviewed the key players in this drama dozens of times over the past half decade. The only journalist to have interviewed three of the four original BALCO investigators, Littman has attended nearly every trial and hearing in the sprawling, massively covered scandal, from the BALCO trials to the hearings in the perjury case against Barry Bonds, to the Clemens Congressional hearing.