Strictly Faded Barbershop on 3367 20th Mission St. Photo by Julian Mark.

A blooming Mission

As spring approaches and reopening begins, the Mission seems to be in bloom. It’s hard not to feel a little optimistic seeing several new businesses get on their feet following a rash of closures. 

The affordable and longtime neighborhood eatery Valencia Pizza & Pasta at 801 Valencia St. opened up again and is inviting all to take a piece of the pie. This may assuage the fears of those who thought the establishment “quietly shut down” in January of 2020 after 25 years in business. 

Though Mission Local was unable to reach Valencia Pizza & Pasta by phone, a sign on the window indicated that it is indeed open. For Friday, March 19, stop by between 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. It’s also hiring if you are looking for a part-time server/cashier job; scan the code from the flyer in the window. 

Valencia Pizza & Pasta is reopened. Find it on 801 Valencia St. Photo by Annika Hom, taken March 19, 2021.

And not too far down from the pizzeria is another job opportunity from a business that seems to be on the point of recovery. Paxton Gate, a storied San Francisco oddity store at 824 Valencia St., announced it is hiring a buyer and a store manager. “If you’ve ever wanted to lead a staff passionate about curio or help us buy new inventory to fill our shelves, now is the time,” the announcement said. See the openings here.  

Call the kids out to play, because Garfield Square Park is ready for them. As of March 15, the park finished the $19.7 million renovation project that began in 2018. Though the lawn and athletic fields stayed open during the pandemic, there’s plenty more to enjoy: It currently features a clubhouse, indoor pool, a courtyard, locker rooms, a playroom, public art, and now novel basketball courts and splash-pads. 

There’s also an eight-foot-high glass mural that lines the pool, which was created by Favianna Rodriguez. But don’t forget the pool building’s 1980 Primal Sea diptych mural. This was restored to its former glory during the project too, thanks to Yano Rivera of Precita Eyes Muralists. 

And as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the mayor announced the clubhouse will also open as a Community Learning Hubs to offer eligible youth in-person support for online learning. 

Garfield Square Park’s indoor pool and art installation. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.

But not only are there signs of resurgence and revitalization in the neighborhood, there’s some new kids on the block.

One of those is Strictly Faded Barbershop, which is also hiring. On a recent Thursday, Jon Lanchinebre was cutting a customer’s hair at its unassuming storefront at 3367 20th Street, just a few doors down from San Jalisco. 

“I’m feeling pretty good about 2021,” said Lanchinebre, who opened Strictly Faded Barber with his friend in November, following a trend of young entrepreneurs rising from the ashes of the pandemic. 

After being closed for much of the winter, the alums of Chicago’s Barbershop on Divisadero Street finally felt comfortable putting up their new business’s sign this month. “We rolled with the punches,” Lanchinebre said, and now the barber shop is looking for two more barbers to join its team.

Some Women of Note

March is Women’s History Month, and some of the women doing work in the neighborhood received praise for their Covid-19 work and for uplifting women. On Thursday, March 18, Valerie Tulier-Laiwa was honored at the “Call to Challenge: The Urgency of the Needs of Girls and Gender Expansive Youth in SF” event for her work and leadership of The Latino Task Force and mentorship of women. Also recognized at the event were the women of SF Black Wall Street, and youth leader Geovanna Veloz, for promoting gender equality. 

And a few local medics received some high praise from public officials. UCSF’s Dr. Carina Marquez, an assistant professor of medicine, received a Certificate of Honor from Mayor London Breed at the 2021 Women History Month’s Ceremony for her work in Unidos en Salud during the pandemic. “It’s an incredible honor to receive a Certificate of Honor from @LondonBreed for International Women’s Month. I am grateful to the women leaders who inspire me daily and who work tirelessly to advance health equity and the health of the Latinx community,” she tweeted, making sure to tag the Latino Task Force and UCSF’s Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases & Global Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where she works.

UCSF’s Dr. Diane Havlir, a professor of medicine and a leader in the Unidos en Salud partnership, was chosen by District 19 state Assemblyman Phil Ting as his district’s 2021 Woman of the Year. “Her research focuses on pandemics such as HIV, TB & #COVID19. Dr. Havlir has also championed testing & vaccination sites in San Francisco’s underserved communities,” he tweeted.

Interested to learn more about these movers-and-shakers? Read about them here

Valerie Tulier-Laiwa with Peter Khoury at the Alabama testing hub on a recent Thursday in March, 2021. Photo by Lydia Chávez

Need a mask? Artists and Covid Command got you covered

Local artists and San Francisco’s Covid Command Center designed 20,000 custom masks that are intended to be passed out to the community in a “Mask On, Stay Strong” campaign. The artists were chosen via nominations at the end of 2020 and asked to create a design that reflects their community and culture. 

The San Francisco Health Officer on Thursday had updated mask recommendations to nix loose-fitting face coverings like bandanas or scarves, and to switch to two or three ply tightly woven masks and/or surgical masks, which work better to combat Covid-19 transmission. Current guidelines say to keep masks on when within six feet of someone outside your household in public. 

Some of the artists include Kimberley Acebo Arteche, a Filipina artist, and Kim Shuck, a recent San Francisco Poet Laureate and a weaver who chose traditional Cherokee beadwork for her mask.

What to do this weekend?

“Celebrating the Heart of Art” features much of the Mission

Hospitality House unveils its virtual fundraising event THHE Auction Online 2021. This year’s theme is “From Solitude to Solace — Celebrating The Heart of Art” and features and benefits dozens of artists from Hospitality House’s Community Arts Program. The auction lasts five days, with bidding starting Tuesday, March 30 at noon and ending on Sunday, April 4 at 9 p.m. Additionally, on April 4 at 6 p.m. a live-streamed presentation about the future of the Community Arts Program and a live auction will go down. Pre-register here or visit the site to learn more. 

But why wait? The art is available to view online or in person starting Friday, March 19 at the Hospitality House Community Arts Program location on 1009 Market St. It runs Mondays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. However, other featured partners, including several in the Mission, are available to view, too: Artillery AG on 2751 Mission St., the Drawing Room on 3260 23rd St., and an.ä.log SF on 886 Capp St.

The Drawing Room is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment; an.ä.log SF is open Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment. Call 415-548-0758. Artillery AG is open Mondays through Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Call 415-767-6640.

“ilyimy ~*”

Miss perusing local art galleries and bookshops? Don’t play coy. They miss you back. 

“ilyimy ~*” which translated from text-speak is “I love you I miss you ~*”, is an immersive art exhibit that hits the Adobe Books backroom gallery on 3130 24th St. this Saturday, March 20 form 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. The artwork will be exclusively in purple, green, and orange hues, though it’ll mix up the mediums between painted graphic plaid, a 7-foot-tall papier-mâché sculpture, and a 10-foot-wide orange peel curtain and satin rug adorned with the heart-filled message “ily” and “imy.” 

At 8 p.m., the party moves outside for performances by Desmi Vera, Desiree Lucero, and Lil Drama Boy. It’s all organized by San Francisco based artist and organizer Río García, who can be found on Instagram @bbybuu333.

Can’t make it? The show goes on for a month from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day. And while you’re there, why not buy a book?

Julian Mark contributed to this report.


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REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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