Balmy Alley and 24th Streets. Photo by Mike Schuller.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner and Lunar New Year in full swing, love is in the air again! Where better to celebrate than in the heart of the city?

This Neighborhood Notes rounds up updates on our past stories, places to grab gifts for your Valentines, and of course, fun events. Let’s go!

Neighborhood Watch

Red tags and broken hearts 

Unfortunately, there’s been some heartbreaking news of late: Last week, the building that houses Taqueria Los Coyotes on 16th Street and the tenants in the adjacent building caught fire, displacing all the residents

A call to Jon, the owner of the neighboring store Dollar & Up, revealed that the building is still red-tagged — in other words, inhabitable — and it’s unclear how long it will take to rehabilitate the building. 

Luckily, the city is doing the best it can to help the tenants and business out. Manny’s on 16th Street said that the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority gifted the tenants 44 free monthly bus passes this past week, and the city and the Red Cross are striving to help and shelter tenants. Forty-four passes were given in total at the Red Cross’s behest. 

“The SFMTA has historically provided such relief to disaster victims. In addition to Muni passes for local fires, we provided temporary residential parking permits for Bay Area wildfire displaced residents,” Stephen Chun, SFMTA’s deputy spokesperson said in a statement. 

Our heart will go on 

The city has lost some of its most beloved citizens, and definitely won’t allow them to go without proper honors. The sons of disability and civil rights activist Robert Planthold, who died recently, opened up an in-person and virtual memorial service to the public. 

“Family, Friends, and Colleagues of Bob, Thank you again for joining us in celebrating our dad’s life,” an email from his sons stated. “You are warmly invited to attend the memorial service for Bob Planthold this coming Friday.”

Join in at the San Francisco Columbarium and Funeral Home, located at 1 Loraine Ct. Persons who need accessible seating or can’t easily climb stairs will have dibs on the first floor, which seats 50 people. “There will be ample standing room on the second floor overlooking the ceremony, as well.”

Can’t come in person? Join the service this Friday Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. Head over to this link and sign in with the code 671-037. Unable to make that, too? It will be recorded.

“Bob impacted the lives of more people than anyone could track,” his sons added. Feel free to pass the information along to anyone else Planthold’s sons may have missed.

Swan Song 

Funnily enough, swans are one of the most renowned symbols of love, and that appears to be how Mission locals remember Swan the most. Our own John Ratliff “Lone Star Swan” died this past Monday, and caused an ache that ripped through the community. 

I continue to be moved by the outpouring of love our community has shown on the internet and delivered to my inbox — and so has the family, who live states away.

Maybe if you look at the sky, you can see him again, reincarnated as a star. Next time you pass a pigeon, maybe toss them some seeds. 

Milkin’ it

Milk SF, your favorite queer-owned cafe on Valencia Street, extended its hours, thanks to a boost in business. Hooray! Now enjoy unique cups of joe and local pastry treats on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Save the date 

A delirious birthday party 

Delirium Bar is throwing a party to celebrate Jessica’s Biggity Birthday Bash tonight! The bar is throwing it back with some TBT music videos, some tunes courtesy of DJ Chicken Skratch. Don’t be late; it starts at 8 p.m.!

Swing by Thursday, Feb. 10,at 8 p.m. ‘til 1 a.m. No cover!

Delirium is at 3139 16th Street, near Albion Street. 

Book lovers unite 

Need some brain fuel for those love letters? Pick up some inspiration at Dog Eared Books’ gambler’s book sale, a sale where the prices drop after every “round.” In this case, a “round” is a day. Choose from literally thousands of books starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 11, up until Valentine’s Day (or when the books run out). 

Books begin at $5 for hardcovers, $3 for paperbacks on Friday, and lower by one dollar each day. By Monday, the books will cost $1, or $5 for a bag!

Don’t walk, run! Dog Eared is at 900 Valencia St. by 20th Street, and is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Contact 415-282-1901 or for more information. 

Music to your ears

Music is just as healing as the power of books, according to 24th Street bookshop Medicine for Nightmares. I agree. Come through on Friday, Feb. 11, to the shop’s gallery and hear the stylings of Boohabian multi-reed horn player David Boyce, honorable guitar-playing guest Scott Foster, and the Poet Medicine Woman Tureeda Mikell

You know the deal: masks and vax (booster, too!) required. Tune in from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Medicine for Nightmares, at 3036 24th St. Contact them at 415-824-1761 or visit their website

Lovers Lane

Balmy Alley is showing some love. Paseo Artístico launches its twelfth “Lovers Lane” event with food, art, music, raffles, games, and uh, milk? (Yup, Clover will be there.) See your favorites, like Lucia Gonzalez Ippolito, All in SF, Mission Lotería, Acción Latina and way, way, more. Maybe save the lip-locking for later; masks and other safety precautions recommended. Pop in Saturday, Feb. 12, from noon to 6 p.m. 

Flipping out

Did someone say pancakes?

At the end of January, Curtis Kimball, who you may remember as the Creme Brulee Cart man, embarked on a somewhat social experiment to make new friends – flipping them some free pancakes. About 75 people of all ages and races showed up to nosh on blueberry, chocolate chip and plain pancakes last time, and Kimball knows you’re bummed you didn’t get to go.

Don’t worry! His in-laws are in town and he wants to impress them. Now, he’s got triple the number of griddles and will offer similar flavors of pancakes. Come by, and come hungry. Tomorrow, Sat. Feb. 12 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., on Alabama Street between Cesar Chavez Street and Precita Ave., a stone’s throw away from Precita Park. Toppings such as butter, syrup, and whipped cream included. Kids welcome!

Rosy gifts for your Valentine 

Our own Mission Native debuted a new line of Valentine’s themed jewelry, which it will sell on Saturday, Feb. 12, at Speakeasy Brewery in the Bayview. Come through from noon to 6 p.m. at 1195 Evans Ave. There will be micheladas, mocktails, and plenty of awesome food vendors to pick from. 

If you’re looking for another style of accessory, try local painter @kpxsf, who launched a new Muni-homage gold necklace. Why not score the one adorned with hearts?  

Mission Bowling Club, too, will host a Mini Mart on Feb. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. and sell homemade jewelry and crafts that will be perfect for last-minute gifts. Stop by its patio at its location on 3176 17th St.  

Dirty Dancing 

Bruno Mars regretted not taking his girl dancing. Don’t be Bruno Mars. Be better. You’ll have ample opportunities, starting first with El Rio. Put on your dancing shoes by 3 p.m. and prepare to shake it out to Sazon Libre’s tropical bass music, coming to El Rio on Feb. 19. Word on the street is it’ll be an all-day party, and special guests Mr. E and Vic G will be in attendance as well. And, duh, there will be food.  

El Rio is at 3158 Mission St. 

Bowling for Queer rights

Throw down that bowling ball and score some major cash for the queer nonprofit LYRIC Center for LGBTQQ Youth. That’s right, head down to Mission Bowling Club at 3176 17th St. and grab $5 beers and $8 cocktails and know that the money you spend will give back to the community. Buy tickets in advance and, as a thank-you, Mission Bowling Club will give you a complimentary drink. To sweeten the deal, the bowling will be free, there will be drink specials and “small bites” all night long, and a performance by Siobhan Aluvalot. 

Roll on down from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Feb. 21. Vaccination will be checked.

Grab your $10 tickets here

Puerto Rico, you lovely island 

The Roxie presents a new documentary, “We Still Here/Nos Tenemos,” in person on Thursday, Feb. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. 

The film, created by Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi and Defend Puerto Rico, FistUpTv and Clenched Fist Productions, zeroes in on how the youth of Comerío, Puerto Rico, attended to its city when it needed it most, following the horrific Hurricane Maria. 

Viewers follow Mariangelie Ortiz, 24, who catalyzes a group of youth to lead their community and find themselves advocating and protesting for their land before the United States Congress. 

The project also received support from organizations Alliance for California Traditional Arts and The Redford Center. 

In addition to the film screening, Jacobs-Fantauzzi and producer Kahlil Jacobs-Fantauzzi will participate in a Q&A. Aguacero will perform Puerto Rican Bomba, a dance, as well. 

It’s a mask and full vaccination event held at the Roxie, located at 3317 16th St. Tickets cost $20. Buy them here. For more information, contact Roxie Theater at 415-863-1087 or click here

Over the moon

It’s the Year of the Tiger, baby! Happy Lunar New Year to all who celebrate. If you wish to venture out of the neighborhood and play cards with the cute old Asian citizens in Portsmouth Square, the garage will offer two-hour free parking on a first-come, first-served basis from 5 a.m. to midnight all February long. Because, you know, there’s nothing tigers love more than free parking.


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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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1 Comment

  1. Learned so much about Planthold’s life at the memorial service. Who knew that he was a Trekkie? That’s two decades of missed high quality TOS banter right there.

    What really struck me was that he was a Clamper who, I learned today, all partake of the glories of the healing waters (they clamped down to a local saloon post-wake), but also worked with the Bruces from Alcohol Justice. Bob was a pedestrian and people with disabilities force of nature, but was not an anti-car zealot, regularly threw down for better Muni, and signed onto calls to reopen JFK to cars for basic civil rights.

    Bob was not a single issue person. He not only saw saw connections between issues in the big picture, but was empathic to the needs of others. Working with Bob took me a long way towards “de-ableism-ing” my thinking.

    I was fortunate to work with Bob on Ethics advocacy when he was commission chair, later in Friends of Ethics (with the late Eileen Hansen and Joe Lynn) that racked up an impressive record of ballot measure wins in the 2010s–we beat Scott Wiener…twice and were amongst the last SF Bay Guardian Local Heroes. Most recently we met last year in preliminary organizing meetings for the nascent San Francisco Anti-Corruption Coalition during a lull in the pandemic.

    It was said by many that Bob was known for his pain in the ass-ness, being prone to hammer home the truth relentlessly. One regular memory was when I’d be me and speak the truth, that sometimes that was too much even for Bob–that look on his face, half shushing me, half egging me on. Perhaps long term exposure to Planthold has helped me shake off my immunity to circumspection.

    From “The Savage Curtain,” TOS S03E22, 1969.

    LINCOLN: What a charming negress. Oh, forgive me, my dear. I know in my time some used that term as a description of property.
    UHURA: But why should I object to that term, sir? You see, in our century we’ve learned not to fear words.
    KIRK: May I present our communications officer, Lieutenant Uhura.
    LINCOLN: The foolishness of my century had me apologising where no offense was given.
    KIRK: We’ve each learned to be delighted with what we are. The Vulcans learned that centuries before we did.
    SPOCK: It is basic to the Vulcan philosophy, sir. The combination of a number of things to make existence worthwhile.

    Planthold lived long and we prospered for it.

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