Archive for the ‘Pacific Heights’ Category

Cathedral Hill Hotel to become hospital

      Gene Hackman as Harry Caul monitoring the goings-on in the Jack Tar Hotel

I was shocked to see this Curbed SF story on the proposed conversion of San Francisco’s Cathedral Hill Hotel to a hospital by the octopus-like California Pacific Medical Center. I don’t know about you, but the first thing I think about whenever I pass that hotel is that part of the great Coppolla film The Conversation (1974) was filmed there when it was known as the Jack Tar Hotel. (Part of it was also filmed at the Embarcadero Center, and somehow that office complex does not evoke the same associations.)

A personal memory I have of that hotel is the 1990 and 1991 Out/Write conferences, which brought together the whole LGBT literary world for the first time. Searching for some mention of these conferences on the web, I found a lovely piece by Edmund White, in which he gives a glowing description of the 1991 conference.

Also read: Curbed SF on the Jack Tar Hotel

Film: A Christmas Tale Opens Tonight at the Bridge


It’s hard to know where to start with a film as rich as A Christmas Tale (trailer), which opens tonight, November 21st at the Bridge Theater for an exclusive one-week run. It’s under consideration for one of France’s top film honors, the Louis Delluc prize, and no wonder: in two and a half hours that never drag or bore, director Arnaud Desplechin explores every aspect of a crazy dysfunctional family, and takes us on a journey that, for all its length, almost feels a bit too short.

The heart of the story is Junon (Catherine Deneuve) and Abel (Jean-Paul Roussillon), whose three adult children have been locked for years into a state of passive-aggressive feuding. Overshadowing their lives is the fate of their oldest child Joseph, who died of leukemia forty years earlier at the age of seven. When Junon develops the same disease — and there is a chance that one of her children may be able to donate marrow to save her life — they all return to the family home to be tested, and for the holidays. Merry Christmas!

It sounds like a depressing film — as Desplechin himself said of it, everything “in the scenario should scare a producer half to death” — but in fact it’s often quite hilarious, and all the tragedy is treated with a light touch that somehow doesn’t trivialize it. But in the end that’s very true to life. Add in the wonderful cast — Mathieu Almaric, Emmanuelle Devos, Hippolyte Girardot, and Chiara Mastroianni (the only actress I can’t stop thinking about and Deneuve’s real-life daughter) — and it’s a film you just can’t miss.

Desplechin visited San Francisco back in October to attend a screening of the film at the San Francisco Film Society’s French Cinema Now festival. We chatted in his hotel suite; his accommodations delighted him so much that he took us out onto the balcony to share the amazing view he had of downtown and the bay. We enjoyed a rich, wide-ranging discussion about this and his other films, about his process, his opinions about various films ranging from Fanny and Alexander to The Royal Tenenbaums to The Outsiders, his plans to make a film about the birth of hip-hop in France, and why he refuses to think about casting while working on a script — even if, as with the case of Catherine Deneuve in this film, there’s really nobody else who could do the role.

It’s a lengthy interview but well worth your time, if you’d like to get a glimpse into the mind of one of the finest directors working in France today. Full text after the jump.


Dog Mauling Daze Are Here Again

Just when you’d all but forgotten the story of the blood thirsty Presa Canarios that haunted the halls of a certain Pac Heights apartment tower, it seems the tawdry tale truly refuses to die.

This week, Marjorie Knoller, was back in court and sentenced, yet again. Knoller was the strange little woman whose giant dogs attacked and killed her neighbor, a college lacrosse instructor named Diane Whipple, back in 2001. The trial stirred up plenty of sordid details, including the pet owners’ “adoption” of an adult white supremacist convict they represented as attorneys, whose dogs they were apparently raising on his behalf.

The case was always controversial, and since a judge threw out the original jury’s second-degree murder conviction in 2002, an odd and continuing legal tug of war has existed between competing benches. In 2007, The California Supreme Court had ruled Knoller’s eventual 4 year sentence for a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter was inadequate. She would need to return to jail.

Knoller, who completed a four year stint (living in Florida and apparently estranged from her former husband who was paroled in 2003) has been brought back to California for re-sentencing that occured this morning. Little Marjorie is now expected to finish a “15 Years to Life” sentence, with eligibility for parole in 10 years when she’ll be 63 years old. The judge reportedly admonished Knoller and fined her as well, including almost $7000 in prison earnings…

Knoller’s attorney, Dennis Riordan, said they plan to file an appeal.

Bow Wow Yipee Yo Yippe Yay!

Pacific Heights in Reverse?

We’ve all heard variants of this story before, this time the details are flowing from the courts. If you haven’t seen Pacific Heights and you are a renter in SF, you need to check out this older film. The film’s tagline is: “It seemed like the perfect house. He seemed like the perfect tenant. Until they asked him to leave.”

Now this story from the Chronicle yesterday, SF Landlord Couple plead not guilty

A San Francisco landlord couple who are accused of waging a campaign of terror at a South of Market apartment building to drive out their renters are the victims of a lawsuit-happy tenant and did nothing wrong, their attorneys said Friday.

This gets interesting in this notable exchange where the landlords attorney ask for a reduction in bail.

“There were no actual threats of injury,” Whelan said, adding of Nicole Macy, “She’s clearly not a safety risk to society in general.”
Peltz said cutting out Morrow’s floor supports put him at risk of injury. He also said the couple had made death threats against tenants.

There was a developer who would burn his own buildings to the ground to get around the permitting process in SF a few years back. This doesn’t seem beyond comprehension that these owners would start to dismantle their own building to get their tenants out.

h/t to SFGate.


SF’s newest Broadway Show : Camp Pelosi

It’s on Broadway, but here in San Francisco, it’s not a traditional musical, although occasionally there are songs, perhaps you could call it “political theater” of sorts. It’s Camp Pelosi, and reviews are decidely mixed, particularly in the tony Pacific Heights enclave that is hosting the activists. Tickets are free though, if you don’t include the deadly costs of the ongoing Iraq war which prompted the group’s action.

This past weekend after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, the Code Pink group marched through the Presidio and arrived at Nancy Pelosi’s 2640 Broadway address (between Scott & Divisadero) around four o’clock in the afternoon. The group read aloud the names of all US servicemen killed in Iraq and called out for Pelosi.

The intentions of Code Pink, whose most prominent nationally known members include Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan, is to personally pressure Nancy Pelosi to do more about ending Bush’s botched & apparently somewhat costly Iraq War. A war whose mission was supposedly “accomplished” several years ago, yet is still ongoing and approaching it’s 4th anniversary this weekend. Since GW Bush declared the $400 billion dollar war, over 3000 thousand American servicemen have perished, and it’s estimated that well over half a million Iraqis have died.

It was just this sort of info that on Monday March 12th prompted some SF Board of Supervisors members to announce their own non-binding and largely symbolic resolution that calls on Congress to “discontinue funding for ongoing military operations” and requests Congress to hold the Bush administration to account for its “total failure in Iraq.” Co-sponsored by Chris Daly, Tom Ammiano, Bevan Dufty and Ross Mirkarimi, the item was brought up during a typically dull but seemingly unrelated Budget and Finance Committee hearing. The resolution will be considered by the full Board of Supervisors at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled afternoon Board of Supervisors meeting. Over 63% of SF Voters approved a ballot measure calling for troop withdrawal from Iraq in November 2004.

Pictures from and Code Pink

Other activities for those wishing to publically voice opposistion to a really fine , costly & outstanding US war effort include a teach in at the Federal Bldg on Weds, two marches this coming weekend, with organizer contact info provided after the jump…

43 Bus Favors and Dangers

10 Townsend Picked up the 43 Masonic at Upper Haight tonight (Sat) and rode it almost all the way to northern end of North Beach – a mile or so farther than it usually goes because the driver was returning it to the terminal, which is close to my apt. Score since I had planned on transferring to the 30 – probably involving a wait, at midnight, with bridge and tunnel partiers drunkenly pissing about in the Marina.

Before we got started chatting, he stopped at the Letterman campus. A lady there, started yelling at him , why did the outbound 43 not pick her up? She asked. Because you’re not standing at the right stop, he replied. Go across the street. She still didnt’ get it and continued to yell. He left, then turned to me to explain. Then, we started chatting and figured out that I was near his route’s end. Dangers, after the jump.

The Kabuki Gets Beer

Went to see Casino Royale* this weekend at the Kabuki, and noticed the permit license posted on the window. Because of the Sundance purchase (yes, related to Redford’s Sundance theaters), they will serve wine/beer. Yee ha! No longer do I have to figure out transportation to the Parkway for my guilty pleasure of beer + independent movies. Hurrah! I hope they do continue the Int’l Film Fest & the Asian American Film Fest, too. See this Yelp thread on more SF thoughts on the purchase.

* Casino Royale movie haiku:
total chick movie
craig is naked a whole lot
and we like that, yep.

Look! Another Buena Vista!

Wow! I have to say that I really love the views of San Francisco.

This breath taker was round a bend as I ran my morning workout. Look closely, its Telegraph Hill there in the distance.

In the foreground, another, different landmark – America’s curviest road.

Both of these I came about just wandering around town. An amazing town with a different sight at every turn.

Photography, Bands, Books, Bars, Cinema & Combinations There Of…

Thursday and Friday a few different local photography related events crept up on my calendar worth sharing that could be semi-intertwined yet are sort of altogether separate at the same time…
Chronicle Books has just published a new book by local Photographer Peter Ellenby documenting a decade’s worth of pix of the local indie rock scene. Entitled “Everday Is Saturday”, a few events have been set up to celebrate including a free reception & signing event Thursday from 6-9 at 111 Minna and a rawkin’ multi-band showcase at Ellenby’s fave live venue The Bottom Of The Hill on Friday.

Danny Plotnick, a local indie filmmaker who in the past has documented the city’s indie rock underbelly via his 8mm masterpieces, and his late great magazine Motorbooty, now has curated a unique cinematic themed photo art show opening this week opening on Friday as well at a unique gallery spot in Pac Heights…

ABC Takes Famous Perv On A Date Around Town

UPI is reporting that San Francisco police have questioned the beyond bizarre former JonBenet Ramsey suspect John Mark Karr after he was taken by Good Morning America producers on a limo tour that included stops for him to peek in windows at a local Catholic girls school.

Karr reportedly was spotted peering into the window of the Convent of the Sacred Heart school, where he worked as a teachers aid for awhile. This was of course, after emerging from a limousine hired by that cheery & wholesome breakfast program “Good Morning America” .

more bizarre baffling non-news on this lil incident , and how you can thank ABC’s parent company Disney for helping a bro out…after the jump…

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