Cool, Grey City


Exploring San Francisco – opinions, insights and info

Mickey’s Mouse-a-thon! | Walt Disney Family Museum

Film of the month: A collection of Mickey Mouse short cartoons!

DATE: Daily through March, except Tuesdays and on March 3 & 23.

TIME: 1:30pm

LOCATION: The Theater

via Mickey’s Mouse-a-thon! | Walt Disney Family Museum.


Filed under: Museums, ,

Cartoon Art Museum » Mini-Comics Day at the Cartoon Art Museum Bookstore

WHEN: Sunday March 24, 2013 – 11:30 am to 5:00 pm


WHERE: The Cartoon Art Museum Bookstore

655 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 94105 (between 3rd street and New Montgomery St., two blocks from Montgomery St. BART)

(415) CAR-TOON ext 310 –

DETAILS: The challenge is to create a mini-comic from start to finish (including writing, drawing and printing it) on Sunday May 24th, 2013.

You can make your mini-comic by yourself or with other creators. Space is limited and on a first-come-first-served basis. Find out more at the official site:

via Cartoon Art Museum » Mini-Comics Day at the Cartoon Art Museum Bookstore.

Filed under: Museums, SOMA, , ,

Cole Valley’s new hangout

Handmade, made-to-order old fashioned milk shakes, floats, frappes and phosphates; ice cream, sundaes and all the usual suspects at Cole Valley’s new Ice Cream Bar – and the joint is jumping, with couples and families. A great addition to the neighborhood – and to the City’s ice cream renaissance.

I’ve gone simple for the evening – just a dish of maple pecan.

Filed under: Cole Valley, Dessert, ,

Kaplans, Smoking, and Public Nuisance

At what point is a business responsible for what its patrons do outside?

This morning, the sidewalk in front of the Kaplans downtown was completely blocked by at least two dozen students waiting for a class – most of them smoking.

Much of the smoking was probably in violation of ordinances regulating smoking on sidewalks, near doors and in front of businesses. Of course, I have never seen anyone get cited for this in the City, though it would be nice if they were.

But at what point does Kaplans become responsible – at least in part – for the impact of its clients on the other (would-be) users of the sidewalk? Other businesses are held responsible – at least sometimes: bars for noise, lots of places for graffiti. So maybe Kaplans should be fined for the cloud of pollution and the blocked sidewalk…

Filed under: Financial District, , , , ,

Dr. Wotzon on Haitus

Ironically, there has been too much going on – in the Bay Area, and for me personally – for me to post anything, let alone roundups of events, lately.  I hope to get back to it in the next day or two, as things settle down.

Filed under: Events

Dr. Wotzon – tasty Bay Area events, from June 16 (updated)

What’s on for you, since you have the shear luck to call the Bay Area holmes… (Get it? Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson? – okay, sorry)

Must See/Do: Summer Solstice Beach Party – Monday, June 21, 6pm – Muir Beach – dress warm, be happy. Whether here or elsewhere, try to celebrate and mark the Solstice with others – connect yourself with the planet and your community

San Francisco

frameline34 – GLBT film festival – June 17-27 –

Koshland Park and Community Garden Workday – Saturday June 19, 11am-2pm – Koshland Park, corner of Page and Buchanan – more info

Mission Community Market – Saturday June 19, 4-8pm – 22nd between Mission and Bartlett – more info

Fruitcake – New Queer Dance Party! – Saturday, June 19, 9-late, The Stud, 399 – 9th St.

Urban Eats – Sunday, June 20 – Giants Country Fair –

The Tamale Lady’s Birthday Party – Monday, June 21, 6-10pm – Zeitgeist, the Mission

Meet the Grantmakers: Focus on Global Philanthropy – Tuesday, June 22, 2-4pm at The Foundation Center-San Francisco – more info

Kronos Quartet at Yoshi’s – June 22-23 – Yoshi’s SF

Finding Foundation Support for Your Education – Friday, June 25, 1:00-2:15 pm at The Foundation Center-SF – more info

Meshell Ndegeocello presents A Night of Gil Scott-Heron Covers – June 25-26 – Yoshi’s SF

Ani Difranco at the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival – June 25-27 –

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings at The Warfield – June 25

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at the Red Vic Movie House, Haight St. – June 27 & 28 –

Cultural Encounters: Friday Nights at the de Young presents Mission Muralismo – July 2, 2010 – 5:00pm – 8:45pm – more info

Femi Kuti – Saturday, July 3, The Fillmore, 1805 Geary – tix at

Beth Custer Ensemble – Thursday, July 8 – Cafe du Nord – 415-861-5016

Superhero Street Fair – Saturday, July 10, 1-midnight,

Berkeley / East Bay

Free Cooking Class with Kitchen On Fire – Sunday, June 19 – Saturday Berkeley Farmers’ Market – more info

El Futuro está aqui: Sci-Fi Classics from Mexico – June 24-27 – Pacific Film Archive

Free Talk: Know Your Soil – Saturday, June 26, 2-4pm – Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave, near Dwight Way, Berkeley – more info

Michael Franti and Spearhead – Friday, July 16, The Greek Theatre

Ecohouse Tour – Sunday, August 8, beginning at 10am – more info

Shopping and Sales

Nothing special

Filed under: Events, , , , , ,

Starting Over

It’s been exactly one week and 6 hours since I arrived back in San Francisco, after spending most of the past decade living overseas.

The immediate causes of my return were fairly negative – the painful end of a serious relationship and the imminent expiry of my immigrant visa – but coming to San Francisco could never be solely a negative experience. As Oscar Wilde put it, “It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world.” So I disappeared from my old life, the life I had been living for most of the 21st Century, and now here I am in that place with all the attractions of heaven, or at least of some people’s notion of a heaven – San Francisco.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Personal,

Calamity: No Other Change of Hobbit

Today I made my first trip to Berkeley since moving back to the San Francisco Bay Area at the beginning of the week. I was going through my usual ritual of renewal and re-acquaintance, visiting the Farmer’s Market for some lunch and then heading off down Shattuck towards Peet’s and Live Oak Park when disaster struck: The Other Change of Hobbit was gone, boarded up.

I’ve been shopping at The Other Change of Hobbit pretty much my entire life, and it is what all science fiction and fantasy bookstores aspire to, perfection of its kind, particularly in its earlier incarnation, next to the elevators in the Durant parking structural. A big open space, lined and filled with books, with chairs and cushions scattered around for comfy reading, a couple of cats on patrol, and a staff and customers of incredibly knowledgeable and friendly science fiction aficionados, experts on the genre in all its form and manifestations.

Rarely would a visit to Other Change pass without encountering a conversation along the lines of “novels that a nephew who enjoyed Star Wars would like” or “what to read after Tolkien/Narnia/Harry Potter” or something more erudite and obscure, such as novels focusing on xeno-sex or featuring species of star-faring intelligent plants, or talking/telepathic horses. As I got older and bolder, I increasingly joined in these discussions, or tried to at least. The patience and encouragement of the staff and the other patrons could set the standard for nurturing young minds and burgeoning interests. There were, of course, disagreements and disputes, but always within an atmosphere of collegiality, affection and respect. And I got to know some of the owners, and Dave Nee in particularly, pretty well over the subsequent years – decades, really, now that I think about it, encountering them in other contexts besides the store, but always finding them to be among the finest examples of the various intelligent species inhabiting this planet.

I’m sure it wasn’t really perfect, that there were mean and stupid customers, and the staff had off days when they were short with kids asking naive questions. But I never saw any of that. It was for me an oasis, a temple, a community.

And today it was gone.

When I came back to the Bay Area a couple of years ago, it was to discover that another bookstore, another key institution of my life, was gone – Cody’s. And over the course of the following year, both Black Oak and Stacey’s shut down for good. But while the loss of these bookstores – particularly Black Oak – was pretty devastating, it was nothing to the feeling I have now, that struck me as I stared at the boarded-up storefront where Other Change used to be. Just ten minutes ago. I sat down here, in the nearest café, to try to collect my thoughts. I still have tears in my eyes. I can’t bear to look online, to see if they have only moved, for fear of what I might find, or rather fail to find.

This will all seem a bit melodramatic if it has indeed only moved, but if that were the case you would think there would have been a notice or sign of some sort. And the truth is I have been expecting something like this ever since I got back – expecting to turn a corner and find something I love gone… But not this. This is really about the worst.

Filed under: Berkeley, Bookstores,

Event: 70’s Soul Jam, Oakland – This Sunday

SUNDAY, JUNE 13 @ 7:00 PM

70’s Soul Jam

Doors open 60 minutes before show time.
Tickets: $69.75 | $55.75 | $39.75

70’s SOUL JAM – Artists performing include The Stylistics, Chi Lites, Bloodstone, Ray Goodman & Brown, Harold Melvin’s Bluenotes, and New Birth. Hosted by Jimmie “JJ” Walker

via Calendar of Events: Paramount Theatre, Oakland.

How cool is that! The Stylistics! Harold Melvin! Jimmie “JJ” Walker!

Good Times

Filed under: Events, ,

Dr. Wotzon – tasty Bay Area events from June 11

What’s on for you, since you have the shear luck to call the Bay Area home…

San Francisco

Midnight for Maniacs: She-roes at Castro Theatre, Friday June 11, starting with A League of their Own at 6:30pm – $13 for three movies

Friday Nights at the de Young, in Golden Gate – this Friday, June 11, live French Gypsy music by Le Jazz Hot (sounds like a Django Reinhardt inspired act) from 5-8:45pm.

Davies After Hours – Friday, June 11, 8pm

World Cup Football (soccer) begins Friday, June 11 – catch the games The Mad Dog in the Fog in the Lower Haight or Gestalt in the Mission. Be sure to catch USA v England at Edinburgh Castle, Saturday, June 12 at 11:30am.

SF Etsy Sample – A tasty trunk show featuring work from Bay Area Etsy sellers – Saturday, June 12, 1-pm, Artist Xchange Gallery, 3169 – 16th St.

Bikers for Barkers – benefit for dog charities – Saturday, June 12, 6.30-10pm, Dainese D-Store, 131 South Van Ness

Tuvan Throat Singers at Cafe du Nord – Sunday, June 13 –

Jenny Owen Youngs at Bottom of the Hill – Monday, June 14 –

Salsa at El Rio (your dive!) – Sunday, June 13, 3pm, $8 –

Afrolicious at the Elbo Room, Valencia and 17th in the Mission – Thursday, June 17, 9:30pm, $5/7

frameline34 – GLBT film festival – June 17-27 –

Fruitcake – New Queer Dance Party! – Saturday, June 19, 9-late, The Stud, 399 – 9th St.

Urban Eats – Sunday, June 20 at the Giants Country Fair –

Ani Difranco at the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival – June 25-27 –

Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings at The Warfield – June 25

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at the Red Vic Movie House, Haight St. – June 27 & 28 –

Kronos Quartet at Yoshi’s – June 22-23 –

Femi Kuti – Saturday, July 3, The Fillmore, 1805 Geary – tix at

Superhero Street Fair – Saturday, July 10, 1-midnight,

Berkeley / East Bay

Berkeley CRITICAL MASS bike ride (I won’t be there – my mom threw out my brand new bike while I was away) – Friday, June 11, 6pm – rendezvous at Berkeley BART, Center and Shattuck

Live Oak Park Fair – June 12 & 13, 10-6, Live Oak Park in Berkeley

Michael Franti and Spearhead – Friday, July 16, The Greek Theatre


Stormy Leather – big sale on now – 1158 Howard St.

Current Bay Guardian has a $2 off coupon for El Castillito on page 15 – coupon good till late July

New Kristin Hersh album at Amoeba

Signed copies of Cory Doctorow’s For the Win at Borderlands on Valencia

Filed under: Events, , , , , ,



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cool, grey city

is dedicated to exploring San Francisco, from the point of view of a native recently returned after many years abroad. Information for residents and visitors on where to go, what to do - and where to get coffee and a burrito while you're doing it.

Originally intended as more of a guide and review type thing, I now also hope to use it to explore the process of trying to build a life in the Bay Area in these difficult times, and so will discuss issues like job hunting, frugal living, cheap/free eats, government services, etc.


here or at
nwchapman gmail dot com

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