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Storied: San Francisco

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Storied: San Francisco is an ongoing documentary about people and life in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Featuring audio and photography of some of the folks who make the city so special, the podcast delves into San Francisco’s history, what’s going on here now, and guesses as to where we’re headed. We invite you to get to know your neighbors, and, with us, try to put into words what makes this place unique. Continue Reading >>
Storied: San Francisco is an ongoing documentary about people and life in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Featuring audio and photography of some of the folks who make the city so special, the podcast delves into San Francisco’s history, what’s going on here now, and guesses as to where we’re headed. We invite you to get to know your neighbors, and, with us, try to put into words what makes this place unique. << Show Less
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Special: Eden Stein of Secession Art and Design Like many businesses, Secession Art and Design had to pivot in 2020. In this special episode between seasons, Secession's founder, Eden Stein, shares stories of opening a gallery in the Mission/Bernal 15 years ago. Starting Aug. 4 and running through Aug. 7, Secession will celebrate 15 years of business with a four-day pop-up up the hill on Cortland. Details about the event can be found below and on Secession's site. Eden grew up in Santa Rosa and moved to The City in 1999. In her hometown, she did a zine for many years called 7th Street. Her work on the zine helped her travel the country and to Europe. When she moved to San Francisco, she ended up on Mission Street across from El Rio. She went to SF State and worked at The Drug Store, which back in the day was a vintage store. Eden rented a booth there and sold vintage jewelry. It was her first inspiration to working with artists as a business. During this time, Eden became a teacher at a pre-school in The City. She got close with some of the parents, even nannying a little bit. One of the parents owned an architecture firm on Mission Street. He offered that space for Eden to do holiday art pop-ups. She was also selling jewelry, both vintage and some she made herself, at street fairs around town. These were the seeds of what would later become Secession. The original location opened in 2007. Then, in 2014, Eden lost her lease and miraculously managed to find a new spot a little further north on Mission. There's a fun overlap with Season 4 guest of the show Emmy Kaplan in the story of Secession's move. Earlier this year, after nearly two years of moving the gallery and events online, Eden gave up on her shift to things like 20-minute goat hugs in the gallery. The pandemic proved that her family's spot a few blocks from the gallery was too small, and an opportunity for them to move back to her hometown opened up. But that wasn't the way she wanted Secession to go out. As mentioned earlier, from August 4 through 7 on Cortland Street, Eden will be hosting a pop-up to celebrate 15 years of Secession Art and Design. Details: Featured Artists: Amos Goldbaum, Andreina Davila, Dianne Hoffman, Heather Robinson, Hilary Williams, Jenny Feinberg, Joshua Coffy, Nate Tan, Nathalie Fabri, Olena McMurtrey, Phillip Hua, Rachel Znerold, Silvi Alcivar, Shannon Amidon, and Stephanie Steiner. Hours: Thursday, August 4: 12-8pm Friday, August 5: 12-8pm - Anniversary Party 6-8pm Saturday, August 6: 12-8pm Sunday, August 7: 12-6pm Address: 307 Cortland Ave (at Bocana), SF ​ Photography by Jeff Hunt
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Special: Eden Stein of Secession Art and Design Like many businesses, Secession Art and Design had to pivot in 2020. In this special episode between seasons, Secession's founder, Eden Stein, shares stories of opening a gallery in the Mission/Bernal 15 years ago. Starting Aug. 4 and running through Aug. 7, Secession will celebrate 15 years of business with a four-day pop-up up the hill on Cortland. Details about the event can be found below and on Secession's site. Eden grew up in Santa Rosa and moved to The City in 1999. In her hometown, she did a zine for many years called 7th Street. Her work on the zine helped her travel the country and to Europe. When she moved to San Francisco, she ended up on Mission Street across from El Rio. She went to SF State and worked at The Drug Store, which back in the day was a vintage store. Eden rented a booth there and sold vintage jewelry. It was her first inspiration to working with artists as a business. During this time, Eden became a teacher at a pre-school in The City. She got close with some of the parents, even nannying a little bit. One of the parents owned an architecture firm on Mission Street. He offered that space for Eden to do holiday art pop-ups. She was also selling jewelry, both vintage and some she made herself, at street fairs around town. These were the seeds of what would later become Secession. The original location opened in 2007. Then, in 2014, Eden lost her lease and miraculously managed to find a new spot a little further north on Mission. There's a fun overlap with Season 4 guest of the show Emmy Kaplan in the story of Secession's move. Earlier this year, after nearly two years of moving the gallery and events online, Eden gave up on her shift to things like 20-minute goat hugs in the gallery. The pandemic proved that her family's spot a few blocks from the gallery was too small, and an opportunity for them to move back to her hometown opened up. But that wasn't the way she wanted Secession to go out. As mentioned earlier, from August 4 through 7 on Cortland Street, Eden will be hosting a pop-up to celebrate 15 years of Secession Art and Design. Details: Featured Artists: Amos Goldbaum, Andreina Davila, Dianne Hoffman, Heather Robinson, Hilary Williams, Jenny Feinberg, Joshua Coffy, Nate Tan, Nathalie Fabri, Olena McMurtrey, Phillip Hua, Rachel Znerold, Silvi Alcivar, Shannon Amidon, and Stephanie Steiner. Hours: Thursday, August 4: 12-8pm Friday, August 5: 12-8pm - Anniversary Party 6-8pm Saturday, August 6: 12-8pm Sunday, August 7: 12-6pm Address: 307 Cortland Ave (at Bocana), SF ​ Photography by Jeff Hunt
(Special) Jeff on His Move to SF and the Recall In this postseason special episode, Jeff reflects on his 22 years in San Francisco. Looking back brings us to today, where there's still so much to love about The City, but there's also plenty of fuckery, including yet another right-wing–originated recall. Here are some resources if you're still on the fence about how to vote by June 7. Hint: Only one SF media outlet is for the recall, and we won't bother mentioning who it is because they're terrible: 48 Hills Bold Italic SF Chronicle (paywall) SF Bayview Mission Local Bay Area Reporter Please vote no on H. Peace, y'all.
City Gardens Series: Caitlyn Galloway of the Greenhouse Project (S4E49P2) In this, the last new episode of Season 4 of this podcast, Caitlyn picks up where she left off in Part 1. She and a friend she'd been gardening with started selling salad mix and herbs to places like Tartine and other nearby restaurants. They also established a small CSA for folks in the building where their garden was as well as a few neighbors. The success of this project had them thinking on a larger scale—they wanted to establish a commercial farm. Of course, that's not so easy if you intend to stay in a city like San Francisco, which they did. They also decided not to go the non-profit route, preferring rather to keep things manageable and adopting more of a co-op model. Around 2010, they found a plot of land in the Excelsior that had once been a creek and was surrounded on three sides by backyards. They tracked down the landlord, who lived in LA, and convinced him to lease the land to them for one and a half years. Clearing the land and readying it for gardening took some time. But owing to the creek that used to flow through it, the land was fertile and nutrient-rich. But of course, there were challenges. Zoning was among the first. So they worked with The City to address issues around that. Little City Gardens was born. Three years or so into the project, her partner left San Francisco, but Caitlyn stayed on, enlisting more folks to help out. They ran Little City for another nearly four years, growing and selling vegetables, flowers, and herbs. They sold to even more restaurants than before, had an ongoing presence at farmer's markets, and expanded their CSA. When the lease ran out and the owner went to sell the land, they tried to get a trust to help buy it. But it didn't happen. A private school purchased the land in 2014, and LCG worked with them for two more years. Then Little City Gardens was no more. It was 2016 and before Little City closed, Caitlyn found the Friends of 770 Woolsey, a group of Portola neighbors dedicated to gaining the rights and raising the money to purchase a square block in the neighborhood that, until the 1990s, was a working greenhouse. Caitlyn shares a deeper version of the history of the lot than she laid out in Part 1. The greenhouses that today are relics were built in 1922 by the Garibaldi family. At the time, there were a couple dozen such locations in the Portola. The greenhouses shut down in the '90s, as we've mentioned, and the Garibaldis sold the property in 2017. In 2021, the developers who bought the lot made an offer to the community to buy it. The offer is time-sensitive and expires this July. And so, the Friends of 770 Woolsey and the Greenhouse Project are raising money to that end. You can donate to that effort here. You can follow both groups on IG: Friends of 77 Woolsey and Greenhouse Project. We end this episode and this season of Storied: San Francisco with Caitlyn's thoughts about what it means to still be here in The City, fighting not only to stay, but to make this seven-mile-by-seven-mile plot of Earth better for all the humans, plants, and animals who share this space. We thank you for listening, this season and the three that came before. In the coming weeks, we'll be rerunning episodes from our archives, so be on the lookout for those. We'll also pop in from time to time with messages about whatever's on our minds. We encourage you now as we always have to share with us and fellow listeners what's on your mind as we move ahead to whatever's next for this city we all love to hate and hate to love. Peace. We recorded this podcast at the Greenhouse Project in the Portola in April 2022. Photography by Jeff Hunt
City Gardens Series: Caitlyn Galloway and the Greenhouse Project (S4E49P1) There's an unused square block in the Portola District that's Ground Zero in the fight over land in San Francisco. In this podcast, we learn all about the Greenhouse Project. Volunteer Caitlyn Galloway shares some of the history of the block bordered by Woolsey, Bowdoin, Wayland, and Hamilton streets as well as the efforts underway to reclaim the area as a green space in The City's southeast side. Then we hear about Caitlyn's life and how she got to this moment. She was born in Union City and raised there and in Livermore, where she went to high school. Her extended family has been in the East Bay for several generations. Once she was old enough to ride BART without an adult, she and her cousin would come into San Francisco to go shopping around the Powell station. When it was time to go to college, she chose Santa Barbara. Despite a lot of what Caitlyn calls "sameness" there, she found pockets of people she could relate to, people who had different ways of living—punks, hippies, folks who worked at co-ops. Caitlyn started working at a food co-op in Santa Barbara around the same time she began to garden there. She was still in school and all of these activities started to shape Caitlyn's worldview, especially around food and land. After graduation, she moved to New York City, partly to get away and partly to ready herself for a move to San Francisco. She found work as a gardener at a landscaping company, where she worked on rich people's gardens around town. Caitlyn also worked on some green roofs in New York, well before the trend that would emerge later. Two years into her time on the East Coast, she decided that it was time to come back to California. She missed a number of things—people, a smaller-city vibe. But perhaps more than anything else, California sagebrush drew Caitlyn back to her home state. There was no question of where in the state she'd be. ​Upon landing in San Francisco in 2007, Caitlyn apprenticed at New Bohemia Signs, a hand-painted sign shop based in the South of Market neighborhood. Through her work there, she met and befriended someone who was gardening and growing vegetables in a backyard in the Mission. Caitlyn soon joined her new friend in gardening. We end Part 1 with a detour of sorts, when Jeff and Caitlyn discover that they were neighbors 15 years ago or so. Please join us for Part 2 and the final new episode of Season 4 this Thursday. We recorded this podcast at the Greenhouse Project in the Portola in April 2022. Photography by Jeff Hunt
Photographer Doug Salin (S4E48P2) In this podcast, Doug picks up where he left off in Part 1. He shares stories of his Jewish family's escape from Nazi Germany and their journey to the U.S. His dad went to Basel, Switzerland, first. So many of his friends died in World War II that, after the war ended, he came to New York. Being highly educated and speaking five or six languages, he got a job as an editor at the Academy of Sciences. An uncle had immigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s, landing in Minnesota first. An ambidextrous artist, he could draw with either hand. He was also a storyteller and puppeteer. Eventually, he made his way to North Beach. Despite having eight or nine different names and honoraries, people knew him by the name Wolo. He did some work in the Central Valley for the WPA, caricatures here in The City, and was a fixture in his neighborhood in the '20s and '30s. Wolo had a regular spot in the Chronicle pre-Herb Caen. "I Saw You There" was a caricature of the day from somewhere around town. Readers who spotted themselves in the art could go to the Chronicle and collect a prize. Wolo is perhaps most famous for his designs at the now-shuttered Van Ness restaurant Hippo Burger. His nephew (Doug's dad) came to join him here, and that's how the Salins arrived in San Francisco. Doug considers his mom, who was born and raised in San Francisco, to have been a Bohemian. She was a poet and an artist herself. His dad was quite the dresser. Doug isn't sure of the exact story of how they met, but those factors make sense for the two of them to have connected in North Beach. ​However they met, they got married and moved up to San Rafael, where Doug and his brother were born and raised. His dad was a printer and his mom came into San Francisco to the binderies that were here back in the day. Doug has fond memories of coming to The City and going to Playland at the Beach. He especially loved the enchiladas at the Hot House. As a kid, Doug loved walking around with the postal-delivery guy and later got his own paper route. He hung out with a lot of adults whose jobs he was curious about. He went to college at Santa Clara University, as mentioned in Part 1. He shares a wild story of driving to The City from the South Bay in 1974 and almost running out of gas during the fuel crisis that year. ​After his time at Macy's (also covered in Part 1), Doug went out on his own as a photographer, specializing in architectural lighting. We end this podcast with Doug's thoughts on San Francisco losing its color and his hopefulness that it can get it back. We recorded this episode at Doug's house in the Sunnyside in April 2022. Photography by Michelle Kilfeather
Photographer Doug Salin (S4E48P1) Doug Salin has trouble doing anything longer than one hour. In this podcast, the career photographer shares his life story with us. We recorded in Doug's house in the Sunnyside, the same place we met and talked with ex-San Francisco poet laureate, Kim Shuck (Part 1 / Part 2). Kim is Doug's life partner, in fact. These days, Doug works as a robotics mentor for high school students in The City. He's been doing photography since he was four. He began college studying physics, but that didn't excite him. Somewhat by accident, he fell into mechanical engineering instead. He soon became the photo editor of the college newspaper and yearbook. Doug figured he was destined to work in journalism. But someone he knew mentioned heading up to San Francisco to see if there were any photo jobs for him. He wasn't planning to stay in San Jose, so he came up and met Paul Hoffman. Hoffman connected Doug with Macy's in Union Square, where there was an opening in the store's in-house photo department. He had no experience in commercial photography, but figured what the hell? He ended up getting the job and worked in the company's dark room, which was located inside the store. Then someone asked him to help with "paste-ups," which was more like the work he did for his college yearbook. About a year later, the photo department was looking to remodel their area of Macy's. Doug took a look at the plans and suggested something different, more efficient. They ended up going with Doug's revisions. Shortly after the renovations were made, Macy's named Doug an assistant studio manager. He still wasn't taking photos in that situation, though. But in his experience of managing photographers, he picked up what he needed along the way. We rewind to hear a little about Doug's German and Austrian Jewish ancestors and how they ended up in California. Please join us Thursday for Part 2 and the continuation of Doug's story. We recorded this podcast at Doug's home in the Sunnyside in April 2022. Photography by Michelle Kilfeather
Educator Christopher Coppola (S4E47P2) In this episode, Christopher picks up where he left off in Part 1. He tried college up north for a couple years, but that ended when he lost his scholarship. His dad knew a guy at the San Francisco Art Institute and encouraged Christopher to come see the school. The idea was that he would finish his education learning how to make movies. On that visit, Christopher met George Kuchar, who would later become Christopher's mentor. He went on to get a BFA from SFAI. We chat about the various neighborhoods he lived in back in those days and the stories that came with them. Then Christopher tells us all about some of the fights he was in here in The City when he was a kid, one on a moving 22-Fillmore. Christopher ended up graduating from SFAI, and the only person he had at the ceremony was his brother Nicolas (Cage). Afterward, the two went out on the town to celebrate. We back up a bit to hear the story of how Christopher's parents ended up in Southern California. His mom's family came from Illinois. And his dad's ancestors came from southern Italy to the U.S. August came to UCLA, where he met Christopher's mom. Her family had an in-law house, and soon, August's brother Francis lived in it. After graduating, Christopher made some films that he describes as "maybe pretentious," but Nicolas's agent liked them. They wanted him to come back to SoCal, but he wasn't interested. He got involved with producer Dino De Laurentis, and shares some of those stories with us. Christopher was able to navigate pressures from outside and get some of his more arty cinematic techniques into his early movies. ​Next Christopher contrasts his lives in San Francisco and Los Angeles/Long Beach. Today, he lives mostly in the Bay Area and teaches at SFAI, which he talks about. Then he shares the story of how he and his sons made Sammy & Quinn, his most recent short. We end this episode with Christopher's thoughts on what it means to still be in San Francisco. We recorded this episode at the San Francisco Art Institute in April 2022. Photography by Jeff Hunt
Filmmaker Christopher Coppola (S4E47P1) Christopher Coppola wants to tell you about his dad. In this episode, the filmmaker from the very famous filmmaking family shares his life story with us. Born and raised in Long Beach, he and his brother, Nicolas, spent a lot of time in San Francisco with their uncle, Francis. Christopher starts things off with his dad, August Coppola. According to him, August carried an old family tradition of creativity and "stick-to-it-iveness" into the modern era. His long career in education brought him to SF State, where he was the dean of Creative Arts for many years. He takes us on a sidetrack into some of the possible reasons that there's so much creativity and passion running throughout his relatives as well as his ancestors who date back to southern Italy. ​Then we head into another sidetrack, this time about Christopher growing up in Long Beach with an ill mother and a younger brother who later became a household name. The story involves the two youngsters misidentifying their own Chinese zodiac signs. The next sidetrack involves stories of Christopher riding with motorcycle gangs. This leads to one of his movie ideas—Biker McBeth. ​We talk about the origins of Coppolas in Northern California. It all started with "Uncle" Francis. Following the success of The Godfather, he moved to San Francisco. His brother (Christopher's dad), August, later followed suit. Because their mother was ill, when Christopher and his brother, Nicolas, were around 8 or 9, they were often sent up to The City to spend time with their aunt and uncle. Christopher speaks fondly of his Aunt Eleanor. They called her "mother aunt." During their stays in SF, she would give the kids allowances and send them on their way around town. People would ask if they were "those" Coppolas, which of course they weren't. It bothered both brothers when they were young, but Christopher learned to let it go. We end this episode with Christopher's tales of his and his brother's mischievous, creative lives in Long Beach and how San Francisco served as a sanctuary for them. Check back Thursday for Part 2 and the conclusion of Christopher Coppola's life story. We recorded this podcast at the San Francisco Art Institute in April 2022. Photography by Jeff Hunt
Emmy Kaplan of Emmy's Spaghetti Shack (S4E46P2) In this episode, Emmy picks up where she left off in Part 1, with the story of opening her own place. She'd been kicking around the idea of opening her own restaurant. Her classmates had more or less shot it down. Her dad, a restaurant-owner himself, wasn't crazy about the idea either. He couldn't see her raising the kind of money she'd need. But Emmy started saving. And saving. And saving. She worked on getting her credit score up. And in 2001, one of her dad's spots had an opening coming up. She decided to go for it. Her partner at the time was a bartender and she asked him to collaborate. They menu planned, got their supplies, hired a chef, brought in decorations Emmy already had, and opened the doors. About a week before they opened, Emmy found out she was pregnant. She waitressed well throughout her pregnancy, in fact. And after she had her kid, she'd serve tables carrying the child. Maybe some of you reading this will remember that unforgettable and awesome sight. Emmy says that having her own child inspired her to make her restaurant kid-friendly. But she always wanted to also cater to late-night service industry workers—her friends, essentially. And so she'd bring in DJs in the later hours. We talk a little about shopping at thrift stores back in the '80s and '90s. Emmy intentionally decorated the place with stuff she'd find at shops that used to exist in San Francisco back then. Emmy's dad was a tough landlord. He noticed the clumps of folks waiting to get into the Spaghetti Shack and responded by raising his daughter's rent. This happened enough times to prompt Emmy to look for a new location. About eight years ago, she opened in a new space—this time on Mission Street in the former El Zocalo space. The story of how Emmy got the space is one you just gotta hear. The bigger space meant shorter wait times for diners. In the move, they were closed only one day. We discuss the importance for Emmy of keeping the menu and the decor the same between spaces. Jeff will attest that they've been 100 percent successful at that. One difference is a much bigger kitchen, which has allowed them to expand the menu. We talk about some of the folks who've worked at Emmy's over the years and then gone on to open restaurants of their own. Sarah and Josey of Front Porch and Jay of Farmer Brown's (among others) come to Emmy's mind. The conversation inevitably ends up touching on the pandemic. Emmy goes into detail about the struggles that her and other restaurants continue to face. Things like mounting debt due to a lack of government assistance continue to take their toll. Emmy says she's able to retain staff and keep paying them and that's her take-away. We end the episode with Emmy's thoughts on what it means to still be here in San Francisco running a business. Follow Emmy's on Twitter and Instagram. Their current hours are Friday/Saturday, 5–9:30; Tues.-Thurs./Sunday 5–8:30; Monday takeout only. We recorded this podcast at Emmy's Spaghetti Shack in the Mission in April 2022. Photography by Michelle Kilfeather
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