Outside Lands 2013 Review

Outside Lands 2013 is officially gone. If you are a neighbor on either the Sunset side of the festival or the Richmond side of the festival, I’d love to hear your feedback about how you felt the organizers handled the neighborhood impact of crowds and noise.

I had the good fortune to attend a few shows over the three day festival, and below were a few of my personal favorites and highlights:

Favorite – Emeli Sande! I fell in love with this album while traveling this summer, so when I realized she was at Outside Lands I was super-psyched. She was phenomenal in person, my only complaint being that her set was short and there were a whole lot of songs that I was hoping she was going to sing… that she didn’t!

Emeli Sande at Outside Lands 2013

The picture below is – I’m fairly certain – from the Griz performance on the Panhandle stage. I’ll confess that I went to Outside Lands with a bunch of friends with far more musical taste and concert-going skills than I possess, and that I didn’t do my homework in advance. Fortunately, my friends have pretty excellent musical taste and steered me right many a time over the weekend. Seeing Griz was a whole lot of fun, he really rocked it.

Griz on the Panhandle stage


The Tallest Man on Earth, it turns out, is not the tallest man on earth. Not that I’m complaining or anything, but given that I work in an industry that gets continually dinged for excessively optimistic marketing, I just thought I’d point out that he’s really not that tall. But his voice is very Bob Dylan-esque, and I really enjoy the show.

The Tallest Man on Earth is not. On the Sutro Stage.

Finally, below is a picture from Friday evening during the Sir Paul McCartney concert. All I have to say about that is I hope I have that level of energy and passion when I hit 71 years old, because Paul was up there rocking it for a very long time.

The Lights at Outside Lands

Those are just a few highlights from a very full weekend – what were you favorite shows?

Upper Haight Farmer’s Market

San Francisco is filled with farmers’ markets, with the world-renowned Saturday morning at the Ferry Building being perhaps the most well known.  There are, however, plenty of other farmers’ markets located throughout the city, some seasonally and others year round. We’ve written about the Alemany farmers’ market before, but I wanted to take a moment and spotlight some other markets that might be closer or more convenient to your neighborhood.

The Upper Haight Farmers’ Market is a seasonal market that runs from April through October. It is located on a quirky little stretch of Waller Street that once carried vehicular traffic from Kezar/Lincoln ino to the Haight Ashbury neighborhood. The street was remodeled and closed to traffic a while back, and now in addition to being a hangout for skaters, punks, homeless people, and dogs of varying friendliness it also hosts the Upper Haight Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays from 3pm to 7pm, and Off the Grid food trucks on Thursday evenings.

Above and below are pictures from the market that I took yesterday afternoon as setup was starting. The vendors vary by the week, but just like every other farmers’ market in the city, the produce and fruit are excellent and the people are a pleasure to get to know. A few years back I embarked upon a major tomato-sauce-making venture and got a very good deal on crates of heirloom tomatoes from a vendor at this location, although for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the farm.

If you happen to find yourself in The Haight on a Wednesday afternoon, I definitely recommend taking a stroll through the market. You’ll undoubtedly find something delicious to enjoy.

And while asking a person to pick their favorite farmers’ market is a bit like asking someone to pick their favorite holiday, I’ll do it anyway – leave a comment and let me know your favorite spot to pick up awesome seasonal produce from the local foodshed.

Get Outside Saturday!

This Saturday has a lot going on outside in San Francisco. The San Francisco Parks Alliance is sponsoring “Love Your Parks Day” which has a ton of awesome events happening throughout the city.

Get out and Love Your Parks!

The following events are already full:

  • Golden Gate Park Oak Woodlands Habitat and Trail Restoration
  • Visitacion Valley Greenway Native Planting
  • Free Kayaking on the Blue Greenway
  • Mountain Lake Park Clean Up, Planting, and Nature Walk

However, there are still an incredible number of awesome things that you and your family can go do outside this coming Saturday, including:

As if the oppportunity to get out and about, enjoy some of San Francisco’s great open spaces and meet new neighbors and community members wasn’t enough of an incentive, volunteers that sign up in advance will also get a free t-shirt and lunch. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for free t-shirts.

I just asked Siri what our weather for Saturday is like, and even she had to agree it is forecast to be beautiful, with sunny skies and a high of 68 degrees, which sounds like a pretty perfect San Francisco day to me.

One of the (many) things I love about San Francisco is the incredible amount of awesome outdoor spaces and places that sprinkled across our city, from the Presidio on the northern tip to Mclaren Park on the southern end and everything in between. I hope to see you out helping take care of our awesome parks this Saturday!



Happy Birthday, San Francisco Public Library

Happy Birthday, Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library! We would have raised a book to toast your birthday yesterday, but the city street signs hogged the limelight with their makeover.

When I was at the library over the weekend, they had a banner up celebrating the opening of the flagship library location, the Civic Center Main Library.

It’s across the plaza from city hall, next to the Asian Art museum, and is a public facility which means… that you can pretty much count on encounters with people from the the homeless and indigent populations that camp out nearby.

I want you to visit the library and marvel in such a great public resource, but I don’t want it to freak you out, so here are my tips for visiting the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library:

  1. Don’t use the bathrooms on the main floor. They will be scary, and most likely involve sitting in a stall next to someone having a psychotic episode and/or a very loud and very public conversation with the voices in their head. There are other bathrooms in the building, find them.
  2. The Fisher Childen’s Center in the library is an awesome place to take your kids. There are plenty of tables and workspaces, it can be a great spot to read together, do homework, or otherwise enjoy a quiet spot conducive to concentrating. Kids can also check out their own books (assuming they have a library card), which my daughter always finds to be super fun.
  3. If you need to use the internet but didn’t bring your own device, the internet stations are heavily in demand and lock you into using Internet Explorer. Which might make you cry if you use gmail.
  4. The SF history center is in the building and it’s awesome – well, awesome if you’re into that sort of thing (which I am).

Here are a few more photos from the main branch of the library:
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The Story behind Storrie Street Park

Storrie Street is a one-block street that runs between Market St. and 18th St. in the Castro neighborhood.  While it isn’t a mini-park or a parklet, the south-east side of Storrie street is open space that for years was nothing more than overgrown shrubbery that served as a convenient (if unsightly) dumping spot for garbage and debris.

Area neighbors worked with the San Francisco Parks Alliance to transform the overgrown plants into an enjoyable and attractive “street park” that is a pleasure to walk through and spend a little time at. The description of the street park from their website is a great description:

This plot of land was formerly a public eye sore, mainly a place for dumping trash rather than any kind of community space. However, now converted to a Street Park, the area has been reclaimed by local residents and is quickly becoming a beautiful garden greenway. Still in the process of implementation, the Storrie Greenway will soon have a dog walking area and host educational tours and garden visits. The greenway is providing habitat for endangered butterflies like the Mission Blue Butterfly by including local flower species and reducing water and energy use by incorporating drought-tolerant plants and recycling materials such as bark mulch for weed abatement. Features planned for the site include improved lighting, seating and a wall mural.

Storrie street is a quirky little street, and while I’m not sure how either the street or the open-space (street park? garden greenway? street greenway?) came to be, it is a delight to see how beautiful the land has become. I wouldn’t recommend it as a meditation spot, you can hear plenty of traffic from both Market and 18th streets, but it is a delightful and unexpected surprise to stumble upon when you are walking through the neighborhood.

If you happen to know more about how Storrie Street came to be, please leave a comment or get in touch, I’d love to know more!

Storrie Street Park/Storrie Greenway Photos:
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The Secret Community Garden in Diamond Heights

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It’s not exactly a secret in the sense that you aren’t supposed to know about it, but it is secret in the sense that you probably don’t know it exists… What am I talking about?

I’m talking about a lush little plot of land, tucked away next to a Policy Academy, across the street from a large condominium complex, and at the entrance to a “sub-division” of single family homes known for their mid-century architecture and views of Glen Park Canyon

The Little Red Hen Community Garden in the Diamond Heights neighborhood opened on Mother’s Day of 2011. Later in the year they got their snazzy new sign, and in December of last year the Police Department threw a little party to help them celebrate.

Located on San Francisco police academy land, the community garden is immediately to the east of Amber Drive, just to the south of Duncan (to keep things confusing, Amber and Duncan intersect each other twice. The garden is located at the southern-most intersection of the two streets – closer to the Safeway shopping center than to Portola.

Diamond Heights has a deserved reputation for fog and blustery weather, so I was happily surprised to stumble across the Little Red Hen after previewing a classic mid-century home for sale in the Diamond Heights neighborhood. The Glen Park Association has a great write up about the project, and I’d also encourage you to visit the garden’s website to learn more about opportunities to garden in Diamond Heights.

According to the Glen Park Association website, the garden has been incredibly popular and there is currently a waiting list for garden plots. The site used to be overgrown and under-utilized, so it is really exciting to see what the efforts of some committed neighbors and neighborhood enthusiasts can make happen!