The God of the Underworld. Galería de la Raza, Photo by Lydia Chávez

Today’s Afternoon Report comes form the southeast Mission and includes Sammy’s Corner Store, Park Life, the 76 Lube Garage at Potrero and 23rd streets, and the Galería de la Raza.

Old news first: A student picking up some snacks at Sammy’s at the corner of 22nd and Bryant streets, said that police arrived at the International High School on York Street near 22nd one day last week to clear students out and evacuate them to Moscone Elementary School. They remained there for 20 minutes or so while police checked the school for bombs. There were none, but it was the first news out of Claudia’s mouth when asked, “So, what’s new at school?”

The school confirmed the incident, but declined to speak about it.

Park Life is now a gallery.

Park Life  has moved out its merchandise and turned the store at 22nd and Shotwell into a gallery.  “We converted it to a gallery and expanded the retail here,” said one of the owners, Jamie Alexander. “Here,” is  their flagship store at 220 Clement St. in the Inner Richmond.

They will be having a new show every five weeks in the Mission.  S W I R L, new paintings by Serena Mitnik-Miller, runs until October 5th.

Ulysses talking to a customer at 76 Lube at Potrero and 23rd streets.

The 76 Lube Garage at 23rd and Potrero streets looks like any other car repair shop in the Mission, but like many of them, it tells the story of an immigrant’s rise from mechanic to owner.

Ulysses Macias, 51, started working at the garage more than 16 years ago, saved up money and when the owner sold it two years ago, Macias was able to buy  it.

The timing, he said, wasn’t the best, but that probably also made the price affordable. Macias said the garage is still recovering from a 30 percent drop in business after the 2008 recession.

When the store was doing well before 2008, they had four employees, but he’s able to manage his clients with one other mechanic, Paco, who was trained at City College of San Francisco.

Macias said he’s unsure if business will ever boom again. “There are fewer people here, fewer cars,” he said – possibly a sign of more biking.

The cars that do come in, he added, are newer. He suspects some of his clients to be tech workers, but he doesn’t know. A favorite car that his customers seem to have? A Toyota. And no, he doesn’t live in the Mission. He lived all over San Francisco including the Mission, but was finally able to buy a house in Pleasanton.

Ralph Maradiaga is on the left. Can you identify the other two artists?

Galería de la Raza

Ani Rivera, the director of the Galería, was in the midst of hanging a new show on Friday afternoon that will feature one of the Galería’s co-founders, Ralph Maradiaga, who died in 1984.

“We’ll be working up until the last minute,” she said. The first crisis of the day – discovering some of the posters were too heavy for the magnets they had.

Although Rivera was tense, much had already been done. A god of the underworld, a reminder of death and darkness, filled a back wall. Since we are in the “muerto” or Day of the Dead season the god is an appropriate presence, Rivera said.

Maradiaga, a 1971 graduate in printmaking from San Francisco State University, also earned a Master’s Degree there and a second MA from Stanford in documentary film. He curated the first show at Casa Hispana, a precursor of the Galería in 1970. “As the corridor changes it’s important to remember and get guidance,” from artists like Maradiaga, Rivera said.

The show at the Galería will reflect all facets of Maradiaga’s work as well as historical photos. The show is drawn from various archives including the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives at UC Santa Barbara, the Galería’s and Rupert Garcia’s.

The show opens tomorrow at noon and there will be a reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This has been your Afternoon Report—a new series we’re trying out in which we offer a quickie post-meridian rundown of some minor developments in the always-happening streets of the Mission District. Got ideas or suggestions? Let us know what you think by sending an email to

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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