• Little Saigon

    Little Saigon and Tendernob

    Little Saigon and the Tendernob are two Tenderloin neighborhoods that are home to large immigrant populations and some of the best food in the city. Join us as we take you on the only food tour of this district and explore the flavors of Asia, the Middle East, and beyond!
  • The Mission

    The Mission District

    San Francisco's 1st neighborhood, The Mission District is still the heart & soul of this vibrant city. This area is so rich in culture, that we have 4 Mission food tours & 2 neighborhood walks.
  • North Beach

    North Beach

    North Beach is that rare thing -- a neighborhood that manages to be a perennial hit with tourists, and also to remain beloved by San Franciscans. It's San Francisco's Little Italy and the home of the beatniks.
  • Scenic Running

    Scenic Running

    Just a short run from the urban landscape of San Francisco's busy city streets you will find numerous trails and parks offering phenomenal views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the City Skyline and other gems.
  • Chinatown


    Established in the 1840s, San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia. Our food and walking tours are 2nd to none.
  • Parrots!


    Wild Parrots in San Francisco? Yes there are officially at least two flocks of wild Parrots here. These Parrots have evolved into a brand new species of parrot indigenous to San Francisco.

Tech Blogs


TOMORROW- TUESDAY JUNE 2ND, 1:00- 5:00PM or later…






Last time they feared us. Maybe this time they will do as we say.


Tuesday June 2nd 2015


1:00 pm :: Come early to guarantee a seat in the Chambers
1:30 pm ::  Rally on Steps of City Hall
3:00 pm ::  Hearing begins on moratorium at Board of Supervisors, Room 250 at top of grand staircase.

Hearing may last until 6pm or much later. Join whenever you can!

FOR UPDATES on day of hearing: 

Text to 415-710-8908

or follow on Twitter: @PlazaSixteen

or follow our Facebook page

– Seniors and parents with children will be granted priority in speaking at hearing and do not have to wait in line.

– Children welcome!

– Food provided!

– RSVP and stay tuned on the event page.

:: SUPPORT the LUXURY MORATORIUM for the Mission! ::

This temporary moratorium would allow time for a community-based plan for truly affordable housing. It would temporarily stop all market rate projects within the covered areas in the Mission, including the Monster at 16th and Mission.

Luxury housing accounts for 93% of the housing being built in the Mission. The SF Planning department has determined that only 13 sites remain in the Mission for the development of affordable housing. The very limited property left in the Mission must be prioritized for affordable housing, not luxury condos unaffordable to the majority of San Franciscans.





MARTES 2 de Junio en la Alcaldía de SF
1:30 PM MITIN en las gradas de la Alcaldía
3:00 PM LEVANTE SU VOZ en la mesa de los supervisores

La audiencia durara hasta las 6:00pm o más tarde. Alcancenos cuando puedas. Evnvie un mensaje al 415-710-8908 para manternerlo informado o signalos en twitter @PlazaSixteen. Niños y familias son bienvenidos.


Este alto temporal nos dara tiempo para crear un plan comunitario que ofresco viviendas de bajos ingresos.

Los espacios limitados en la Mission deben de ser una prioridad para vivendas de bajos ingresos y no para condominios de lujo.




:: ALERT!  ::  Breaking News! ::

Save our Cultural Spaces and family-run legacy businesses!

We have just learned that a huge, 274-unit development of mostly luxury housing, proposed for the 2000 Block of Bryant Street, will be coming before the Planning Commission on Thursday, June 18th. We will need a very big community turnout at this meeting! This Wednesday, June 3rd we will have an organizing meeting to begin the fight against the Monster on Bryant Street.

This project would allow for the demolition of:

  • three (3) rent-control dwelling units 
  • Tortilla Flats, a Legacy, family-run Business
  • Businesses employing Union and blue collar workers at the A.C.T. prop, a music studio, and an auto repair shop
  • Inner Mission (formerly Cell Space) artist space, a Mission cultural institution 


Wednesday, June 3 at 6PM
Inner Mission (fomerly Cell Space)
2050 Bryant St. between 18th and 19th

Please join us for this meeting to get the ball rolling on fighting the Monster on Bryant Street! It’s a perfect “next step” after the Mission Takes City Hall Part 2.



:: We Need You! ::

Thursday, June 18th at 12 noon
City Hall Room 400

We will need a very big community turnout for this hearing. Please join us and please help spread the word to anyone who cares about the affordable housing of the Mission and the preservation of our city’s priceless cultural institutions and legacy businesses.


More info on the website: Plaza16.org.

Join and endorse the Plaza 16 Coalition.

Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.



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Food Delivery, Food Courts, The New Black

The Next Big Thing and an Unsuspecting yet Dubious Populace

Regardless of what developers, realtors, or those that they have purchased on the Board Of Supervisors will tell you, what makes San Francisco such a great place is it’s historic resistance to change, particularly change for greed’s sake. People come from all over the world to see the Victorians, the cable cars, the street cars, the parks, the mom and pop retail stores, the independent restaurants, the quaint neighborhoods built in a human scale. These are all beautiful creations that compliment a healthy lifestyle, they invigorate and stimulate us. The same thing cannot be said for boxy glass and steel condos that have been and continue to be built all over the city as if there is no tomorrow. There is no time to take a step back and reflect on how these cold and visually insulting behemoths will ultimately take away our sense of community, draining us of what we have taken for granted for so long: our delight in moving around what has always been such an engaging and aesthetically pleasing city. But although no one thought that there would be so much change happening so quickly, it is here all around us. Few are happy about it, but a small group of people have clearly grown very rich as a result of all of this change, and they don’t care who they had to evict to make it happen, so take it or leave it. They moneyed interests have won, and the city is being remade so that they might benefit.

There is yet another new change that is now being thrust upon us without any time to reflect or to discuss how the change will affect our society or or community. It isn’t the ride-sharing services that employ the under employed. No these services whose drivers are now trying to make ends meet in a city that was stolen out from underneath them are no longer new, in fact they are legal now, and I hope will start paying taxes and maybe insure their drivers. It isn’t Air BnB, again many of the people renting out their living spaces to out of town travelers, are also just trying to make ends meet in a city that is no longer theirs. No, the newest thing to be shoved down our throats as the newest thing on this race to the bottom,  is a revolution in how we choose to eat. Two new ways to eat are being deployed at a rate faster than atrocious condos can be built. Are they necessarily bad?  You be the judge:

First up, we have a slew of new home or office meal delivery services, many promise gourmet meals delivered to you in as little as 10 minutes for around $10 or less. Huh?

Munchery (munchery.com), a company that’s been around since 2010 but has taken off recently —  the company fills about 4,500 orders a day and claims double-digit month-over-month growth. Munchery calls on seven staff and around 35 part-time chefs to make a wide variety of main dishes, sides, kids meals, and desserts that you order on the website or the iOS app at least two hours and up to two days ahead of time. The cost is around $10-$12 per entree, $2.95-$4.95 per delivery for most of the Bay Area, and it offers a wide selection and delivery range. The items are made earlier that day and delivered chilled. You have to heat them up yourself.
Sprig (eatsprig.com)  The start-up’s easy iOS interface offers three rotating meals a day prepared by Nate Keller, formerly head chef at Google’s cafeteria. I ordered chicken agridolce with brown rice and spicy broccoli, and French onion shredded beef with carrots and green beans (there was a vegetarian option, a quiche, but it looked a little lackluster in the photo). Every dish is $10, with a $2 delivery fee. The hot food was at my door within 12 minutes of ordering. It was basically magic.
Spoon Rocket (spoonrocket.com)  Started in the East Bay by two college students delivers meals (lunch) around $8.00 in about 10 minutes.
Chefler (chefler.com) Delivers “healthy” meals to buy professionals and parents but they are not currently accepting customers.
Plated (plated.com) is one of several services that deliver food and recipes to your door, you would  then follow the instructions and prepare  the ingredients yourself. Not sure if having someone who is so uncreative that they can’t manage to find their own recipe or choose their own ingredients prepare anything in the kitchen is a good thing.

Having tried these services, I have to say, the food is okay, not great, but it could be worse. I feel for the drivers, you know they aren’t being paid much and I’m told that you are not supposed to tip them. In a city with a restaurant on every block I find it hard to imagine these businesses being able to compete, but I wish them all the best of luck. The saddest thing is that all of these services encourage the consumer to not leave their home or office and makes it convenient to not interact with real people in the outside world. In our increasingly fragmented society where more and more people never look up from whatever screen they are using, this does not bode well.

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Food Courts, I mean Food Halls Invade 

Next up, we have  a deluge of Food Courts heading our way, but they have been made over to look like Whole Foods meets the Ferry Building to make the dot com crowd feel safe, and they have been rebranded oddly enough as Food Halls:

Second Act (the former Red Vic Theatre)

Haight Street between Cole and Shrader Streets

The Haight’s Red Vic Movie House was a legendary place, you could watch movies on couches and recliners, and eat real popcorn with real butter. Now it is a mid-sized food court called, The Second Act Marketplace, a food stall and events space inside the now-defunct theater. Second Act is designed to serve as a neighborhood hub, offering coffee, juice and food options alongside book readings, film screening, shows and more. Betsy and Jack Rix, who were part-owners of the original Red Vic, are behind the metamorphosis, which brings five food vendors to the new space. We wish them luck.


The Market Hall

Mission Bay

Forget that Oakland has already had a venue called Market Hall, albeit the official name is Rockridge Market Hall, and they have been in business since 1987. Not to mention, like the name implies, Market Hall in Rockridge is actually a market and not a food court. Forget about that Market Hall for second and remember that big sterile food halls are really the new black, as we’ve seen in the recent announcements of South Beach’s The Market Hall,  This non-market  which is also not a hall, is from the creative brain of Los Angeles Developer Tony Riviera, who comes with an idea and a 1990-ish look that would probably look great in the Southern California wasteland or San Mateo yet look completely out of place in San Francisco, except in maybe the new UCSF wasteland in South Beach/ Mission Bay, but if you want to travel to San Francisco from cities like Burbank, is better to use a car service to Burbank Airport so you can make sure you don’t miss your flight. This impersonal and icy-cold,  huge and vapid space looks like the interior of a German airport but not as interesting. The only saving grace about this endeavor and this whole disgusting area, where no true San Franciscan would be caught dead, is that if the Big-One hits, it’s all going into the quick-sand and will return to SF Bay. So pray for an earthquake before it’s too late.


Twats Inside

The Twitter building has turned out to be a major job killer and a curse on the Mid-Market neighborhood. When the Twit nest first opened, the rents all around the immediate area went up, doubling and tripling almost over night, many restaurants closed immediately. But many struggled to stay open, believing that the the twatty employees would become customers. What they didn’t realize, was that much like home-schooled children, the Twit-staff rarely leave their building and do not mix much with the neighborhood. Their food is prepared for them inside the building and served to them for free. So it was with surprise that we heard about the food court that the Tweets are opening in their building. One great thing we heard, The Cadillac Bar and Grill is being resurrected inside the food court:  The Cadillac Bar & Grill, a revival of a Mexican restaurant that’s been closed since 1999. Inside Scoop got the details from owner Michael Rodriguez, who’s ready to revisit the concept 15 years after the last fajita was served.


The plan is for the revived Cadillac to occupy a huge, 8,000-square-foot space, including a 50-foot bar pouring margaritas and the like. Family-style taco and fajita plates will dominate the menu (half of which will date to the original incarnation, and half of which will be updated for modern tastes), and a mesquite-fired grill will be in action. With a big patio, mariachis roaming the room, and tables designed for groups, it’s definitely meant to be a party atmosphere, in line with that of the original (which lasted for 17 years before meeting its end in the Moscone Center expansion and redevelopment). It’s set to reopen sometime this fall.


 The Hall (L.A. North)

6th and Market Streets


One on of the most dangerous and sketchy blocks in the city, a giant Food Court has been announced: Called The Hall, it’s taking over the former billiards parlor at 6th and Market, and comes from entrepreneurs Ted Wilson (a wine distribution exec and vintner) and Scott Peterson (a former chef at Bocadillos, Bizou and Chow). Matt Semmelhack (AQ, TBD) is also consulting on the project, which will feature seven vendors, including a seafood restaurant, an Indian spot, coffee and pastries, and more.

Here are the seven participating vendors:

· Fine & Rare: A concept from Wilson and Peterson, this spot will offer Southern-influenced seafood dishes sourced as locally as possible, as well as a raw bar and a wine shop with bottles to go.

· The Whole Beast: A brick-and-mortar incarnation of the popular food stand and pop-up, featuring dishes created from whole animals.

· Little Green Cyclo: A food truck gone perm, with Vietnamese dishes like pho, banh mi, and spring rolls, as well as bubble tea and housemade sweets.

· Raj + Singh: Curries and other Indian fare, including vegan and vegetarian options, and naan freshly baked on-site.

· Cassia: Moroccan-Peruvian fusion in dishes like a meatball masala bowl or a coconut pork pita pocket, from the folks behind the Fuki food truck.

· Dignitá: Coffee (including cold brew), pastries, and healthy snacks.

· Anchor Brewers and Distillers: An on-site bar, featuring wine and beer from the Anchor portfolio.


All of this fare will be offered in a communal setting, with picnic tables, trees located both indoors and out, and what’s described as an “indoor-meets-outdoor, rustic-industrial vibe.” An outdoor grill will apparently cook many of the meats and vegetables, which all the involved vendors are attempting to source as locally as possible. The Hall says it plans to land by the end of September; we’ll have an update later today with more info.




Castro Food Court Hall  


Market and 15th at Sanchez Streets
Project yet to be officially named



The Century Building at 2200 Market. Bandido’s from the owners of Hi-Tops has opened on Leticia’s old spot.

Next door to “No-Tell” MotelBeck’s Motor Lodge, on the spot that used to house, “Home“, is a building that I wanted to hate. The owner of the now defunct Rosie’s Cantina owns the land and she didn’t want a building that didn’t fit in with the neighborhood, and in my opinion, she did a great job and the building is stunning and a good fit for the surrounding area. The main floor of the building houses an upscale restaurant that just opened it’s doors called, “Bandidos.” So far the clientele appears to be mainly gay men, probably because this restaurant has been opened by the owner’s of the wildly popular gay bar across the street, “Hi-Tops.” So perhaps this is a new gay bar in the hood? One thing is for sure, this intersection needs a street light or two to see all the pedestrians in the cross walk at night.

The building itself is a ‘Flatiron Building”, which is a triangular shaped building built on an irregular shaped lot. This intersection is where Market, 15th and Sanchez meet, so the lots at the intersections are triangle shaped. A new building directly across from this structure is also a flat iron and points back across the intersection, and across Market Street on the current vacant lot next to the Swedish American Hall, a third flat-iron with the same style of architecture is going to be  built. Although I wanted to hate it, it sounds like it could be very cool when all three buildings will be finished. Let’s see if I can find an artist’s rendition of the yet to be built building…



An artist’s rendition of the third flat-iron building to be built at this intersection. This one is a little bland, but at least they are incorporating below market rate housing on-site


Ugh…No imagination in this building, no detail at all, just bland and boxy. But am told that there will be lots of bicycle parking. So in other words, they will all be parking their cars on the street. Too bad this city has no leadership worth anything…

But back to the building across the street…



2175 market 1-9-10

An artist’s rendering of the new building.


The Bay Area Reporter says that the new multi-use building, which is located at 2175 Market Street (at 15th)  and is just completing construction, will feature a 3,895-square-foot emporium-style marketplace, to be shared by a collection of food vendors. The new space will join behemoth-to-be Market Square (that’s the Twitter building) and the smaller Second Act and 331 Cortland in adopting a shared-space model. This building is especially hated by it’s neighbors to the south and south southwest because it completely blocks the view of the entire neighborhood. There used to be a gas station here just a few months ago…

Though the specific vendors are still being decided, the planning report notes that the concept will be similar to the Ferry Building or a “European-style” marketplace, with a bar rumored to be part of the upcoming plans. A formula retail clause will restrict the vendors to local businesses only. There’s also an adjacent restaurant space whose tenant is yet to be determined. The building is expected to open its units to tenants in the fall; updates on potential tenants will follow as soon as they’re announced.



331 Cortland Marketplace

Bernal Heights

331 Cortland

So we began in the Haight and looked at a smaller scale food court that began organically and brings something to the neighborhood without dominating it or destroying the eco-system that is already in place. We end with more evidence that the Food Hall concept can work if done right. In fact, besides Haight Street, it is currently working very well in Bernal Heights at 331 Cortland Avenue. It has been open now for about 5 years, it doesn’t have the cutting-edge restaurant scene of the Mission District or the tourist pull of the Ferry Plaza. But an influx of innovative food companies, embraced by a community with a fervor for locally grown businesses and food, has turned the neighborhood into something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago: an epicurean destination.

Food delivery has transformed into one of the most competitive industries with the likes of start-ups, restaurants, and grocers all vying for a piece of the pie. In less than 5 years the percentage of online food delivery orders has doubled (Gloria Food). Those who succeed in the space will need to solve the complex challenge of how to insure themselves when rushing food to a demanding customer base. It’s more than likely that a driver’s personal insurance policy does not cover them in the scope of their food delivery job. Get a food delivery insurance by comparecourierinsurance.co.uk.

Alyson Jacks moved to Bernal Heights 20 years ago when the neighborhood was best known for its drug trade; the commercial strip, Cortland Avenue, had only a handful of unremarkable restaurants and liquor stores.

“In my time living here it’s been an extraordinary transformation,” said Ms. Jacks, wearing a black sweatshirt with “Bernal Heights” in gold letters. “I don’t have to get in my car to get anything.”

Local residents trace its initial revival in the early 1990s to the opening of Good Life Grocery, a midsize market, and Liberty Cafe, which later drew a following for its upscale twist on chicken potpie. After young families, attracted to the neighborhood’s tiny Victorian homes and narrow, walkable streets, created a real estate boom a few years ago, others built on the culinary foundation that had helped spark the turnaround.

The latest batch of food businesses focus on handmade products. Last month, an indoor marketplace at 331 Cortland Avenue opened with six kiosks inside 1,000 square feet. At Bernal Cutlery, Josh Donald slowly sharpens knives with Japanese whetstones behind an ornately carved wooden counter. Paulie’s Pickling sells East Coast-style deli sandwiches from a space barely larger than a pickle crock. Ichi Lucky Cat Deli offers fish and prepared sushi rolls. El Porteño Empanadas fills beef empanadas with meat from Prather Ranch and sweet ones with banana and dulce de leche. There’s also an organic produce stand and Wholesome Bakery, which sells vegan and gluten-free sweets.

The owner of the building, Debra Resnik, was inspired to create the market while volunteering at La Cocina, a San Francisco nonprofit organization that supports food entrepreneurs. The vendors previously had street food stands or worked in catering, and Most of the vendors live within blocks of the market. At the opening the owner came on a Limo Fayetteville NC with her closest friends and invited them for dinner at the restaurant.

“I love that it’s all artisan food, and I love supporting local people that we live around,” said Joey Bennett, who has lived in the neighborhood for eight years and brings her young children to the marketplace.


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Clarion Alley Mural Project VS Tour Guides (Including Explore SF?)

As Tourism Rises, So Do Mural Turf Clashes

Sign posted on Clarion Alley.

Sign posted on Clarion Alley.

The Mission’s status as a global tourism destination has never been more acutely felt—walking down any of the Mission’s increasingly famous mural alleys, French, Japanese, German, Korean, Swedish and the ubiquitous snap of cameras can all be heard. As the number of tourists increases, so have the companies providing neighborhood walking tours—at least a dozen coming to the Mission. Not everyone, however, is thrilled about these arrivals.

Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP), the non-profit that first organized the creation of murals in Clarion Alley in the 1990s, has asked private tour companies to refrain from including Clarion in their tours—going so far as to list specific companies contacted on their website including: Avital Tours, Precita Eyes, Wild SF, Dylan’s Tours, and the Real SF.

“We obviously have had a lot of problems with the tours on the alley,” said Megan Wilson, one of CAMP’s artists and organizers, which offers its own tour of the alley. “Our position is that we want to represent ourselves, we want to give people a tour that gives an accurate lens through which we operate.”

Wilson says that despite notifying numerous companies to cease offering tours of Clarion Alley, she’s observed new tours coming through the alley every day she’s there. These visitors are part of a growing trend affecting the entire city. According to the San Francisco Travel Foundation, the city welcomed 16.9 million tourists in 2013, a 13-year high.

“There’s more now than ever before,” said Precita Eyes tour coordinator Patricia Rose, of the mounting number of tour groups in the Mission. “Because our smaller neighborhood-based tours are successful, it’s drawn the attention of mega tour companies….their scale is really out of sync with the rest of the neighborhood.”

Most of the companies CAMP listed on its website confirmed that they had been asked by the arts group not to use the alley and several said they no longer operate tours down Clarion because of interactions with the arts-group. For some of the tour operators, the alley was clearly a heated subject.

“We talk about other murals in the Mission, but this is probably not something we want to engage in a discussion about,” said the founder of one tour company. “If the story is about Clarion Alley, we don’t want to talk about it.”

Another tour operator said an apparent representative from CAMP shouted at one of his tour bus drivers and then left a very negative review of his company on Yelp.

“If you want to sell your canvas and I can take it home with me that’s one thing, but if you’re going to be painting on what’s essentially public property, you shouldn’t be able to restrict it,” said the bus tour operator. “I’ve been living in San Francisco my whole life; the last thing I want is to deal with some newly-arrived Mission District hipster complaining that my bus is disturbing them.”

Michael Moran, a longtime Mission resident and owner of the tour company ExploreSF, explained that after having conversations with CAMP he now drops off his walking tours at one end of Clarion Alley, lets them walk down the alley on their own, and meets them on the other side.

“They have never said, don’t come to alley; they’ve just said they’d like to represent themselves,” said Moran, who explained that he has every intention of respecting CAMP’s requests. “I agree it’s surprising, but it’s their prerogative, it’s their business.”

According to Wilson of CAMP, the restriction on tours other than their own has little to with business competition and everything to do with representation. Though CAMP is still in the process of building a website that will provide more details about its tour, Wilson says the tours will be offered on a sliding scale and may include a tour of the alley as well as a potential tour of the Roxie Theater, which has murals by CAMP artists. Other tours in the Mission, which include more than Clarion Alley and range in services provided, can be free or cost upwards of $70.


floweralleyhouse (Photo credit: mpmoran)

Wilson says that in the many hours she’s spent painting in the alley, she’s heard numerous private tour groups sharing inaccuracies about Clarion, getting things wrong such as basic facts about who painted each mural as well as the project’s general philosophy.

“Listening to the tours go through, a lot of them are so bad…it’s like a nails on a chalkboard,” Wilson said. “It’s a public space, and obviously anybody can come in, it’s not like we can stop them, but we can ask these tour companies to please request our wishes and not come down the alley.”

For Paula Tejeda, owner of Chile Lindo and a longtime neighborhood activist, CAMP’s requests seem counterproductive to the neighbor’s well-being, in that tourism is an industry that supports the Mission’s economy. It’s also personal for Tejeda. Her aunt Juanita Rieloff lived on the corner of Clarion Alley when it first became a public canvas and welcomed the artists into her home. Rieloff’s name is inscribed in one section of the alley as a commemoration of her support of the original artists.

“When you are an artist, everyone is going to interpret your work differently; you can’t hold a patent on how your work is interpreted…it’s a street, it’s public,” Tejeda said.

Wilson stressed that she has no problem with individuals coming through independently and says the alley is open to everyone and their own unique interpretation.


back (Photo credit: mpmoran)

“Self-guided tours are better…you can come and interpret the work however you want. But if you have a guided tour, they’re doing that work for you and speaking for the project and by some degree it implies it’s okay, when in fact it’s not the case” Wilson said.

Started in 1992, inspired in part by the murals on Balmy Alley, CAMP hoped to create a subversive arts space that was more open-ended than Balmy’s focus on Latin American politics. The alley’s artworks represent a range of political issues and styles and it has long been a place for anti-capitalist and subversive manifestos.

For example, the recent work “Wall of Shame & Solutions” by Wilson with Mike Reger and Christopher Statton addresses perpetrators of gentrification and displacement, listing specific tech companies and politicians. As part of this tendency towards subversion, CAMP also has a history of opposing unauthorized and commercial use of their work; there are signs posted throughout the alley asking that any reproductions of the murals r

"Wall of Shame" by Megan Wilson, Mike Reger, and Christopher Statton. Photo by Ramón Burgos y Ruíz

eceive consent from the artist.

When Absolut Vodka used footage of Clarion Alley in an advertisement in 2011, CAMP campaigned against the beverage company. This past fall Mission Local was the target of CAMP’s frustration when the opening of the alley was featured on the winning entry, a Google Street View, in our Bedazzle a Tech Bus contest.

“We just want people to respect the fact that we put so much time and energy into this project,” said Wilson, who has been working on Clarion Alley’s murals since 1998. “It’s unreal how much of our lives we put into this project, it’s tens of thousands of hours.”

On behalf of Precita Eyes, Patricia Rose says she completely understands CAMP’s territorial stance.

“Balmy Alley got started years and years before Precita Eyes began, so we can’t claim it in the same way… but Clarion Alley is different; until CAMP there wasn’t anything there,” Rose said. “I can certainly understand the irritation that they see these groups bringing hordes of people, making up information and getting so much wrong.”

While Precita Eyes used to operate tours along the alley, Rose says the organization stopped once CAMP started their own tours. Rose added that she, too, hears a lot of frustrating inaccuracies about Balmy Alley and has offered free Precita Eye tours to several erring tour guides.

“I have to say, none of them ever want to,” Rose said. “Why would they take the time, when they’re already getting the benefits?”

J. Jo, the founder of the new free tour provider called Wild SF Tours, also used to lead tours down Clarion Alley but has stopped out of respect for CAMP’s wishes. He acknowledges the complexity of leading tours in a neighborhood in the midst of so many often-fraught changes.

“To bring tourism into the Mission is delicate,” J. Jo said. “For me, I’d only want to bring in fresh eyes of tourists to the Mission if it’s helping the community, pointing wallets to where it counts. We want to support shops and cultural centers, but also try to raise awareness about the issues going on here.”

For Wilson, one of those issues is the displacement of artists and their work. As such, she suggests that anyone interested in learning more about Clarion Alley get it touch with CAMP directly.

  1. 26 Comments

    1. John

      These CAMP’ies come across as parochial, possessive, self-absorbed control freaks.

      I thought that when they were whining about being honored by the winner of the Google shuttle art contest (so admirably organized by ML) and I’m thinking that now as they seek to discourage those who come to see their work.

      I cannot really express this better than the tour operator who said:

      “If you want to sell your canvas and I can take it home with me that’s one thing, but if you’re going to be painting on what’s essentially public property, you shouldn’t be able to restrict it . . . I’ve been living in San Francisco my whole life, the last thing I want is to deal with some newly-arrived Mission District hipster complaining that my bus is disturbing them.”


      • Mission of Mercy

        “…I thought that when they were whining about being honored by the winner of the Google shuttle art contest (so admirably organized by ML)…”

        I read what CAMP wrote on their Facebook page about the Google Bus art contest, and I could not agree more. The idea that artists should compete to decorate a Google Bus, the very buses that transport workers into their neighborhoods and have caused the rents to skyrocket and led to thousands of people being displaced, many of them artists, is disgusting, repulsive and insulting. The winning artist was paid some minimal amount of money for an original piece of art as their reward, not even enough money to pay a weeks worth of rent. The whole thing was so vile, I thought it was a joke at first, something straight out of the Onion.

    2. missionresident

      If CAMP’s real goal is making sure the art is interpreted in their way, why don’t they put pamphlets at each end of the alley with an explanation of each mural? OR at least the name of the artist for each mural. Then everyone can get along.

    3. marcos

      Enclosing on the commons is always a bad idea.

    4. seth

      i live 2 blocks from Clarion and have for over a decade. I understand where CAMP is coming from – if I put a lot of work into something I would want accurate information about it given out.

      however, they should do a better job of ensuring the passers-through can access that information. Perhaps a history of the alley and CAMP’s role painted in a corner at the entrance? maybe getting that website up and running so they can promote their tours?

      i agree that they are coming off as “control freaks” – understandably so to a degree, but they can do better at ensuring the right information gets passed on, instead of being heavy-handed.

    5. pete

      Dear CAMP,
      You don’t own a public street.

    6. Beercamper

      Why don’t they just work together and get their artist story right? Then everyone will be happy at the end.

      It is because those artist want to get a piece of the pie as well; as in the tourist guide profit. Perhaps the tourist group should give a donation to the artist, then I’m sure it will be okay then.

    7. marco

      Since when does CAMP own a public street?

      English: June 1853 advertisement of horse race...

      June 1853 Poster from Pioneer R

    8. Jean

      Artists have the right to assert their voice in how their work is presented. Period. CAMP is not trying to “own” anything but their own voice. Part of the reason that tourism is so booming right now is because corporate air b&b is currently operating ILLEGAL HOTELS. Check the mural “shame & solutions” in the alley. And check your entitlement to others’ work.

      • marcos

        You are making privatization claims on a public thoroughfare and are asserting that others have entitlement issues?

        Once you put your art out there, you no longer control it. THAT IS WHAT MAKES IT ART.

      • John

        Jean, the folks at CAMP are free to do their own tours and presentations if they wish. The problem here is that they appear to want to stop others doing the same.

        If they had wanted exclusive rights to show and present their art, they should not have chosen to locate their art in a public place.

        • Clarion Alley Mural Project

          Thanks Daniel Hirsch and MissionLocal for covering this ongoing point of contention for Clarion Alley Mural Project … as we continue to try and convey to tour groups and others that the issue is one of respect, and as noted in the article – CAMP wants to represent our project and the 22 years of labor we’ve put into it. The concept of respect seems really simple to us, however, it’s clearly foreign to many others. Our response to those who believe our wishes aren’t worthy of that respect is – start your own mural project! If you feel so negatively towards how we choose to run our project and our desire to represent ourselves, then start your own project and run it the way you want to run it. CAMP does provide tours when requested and we are in the process of developing a new Website to better formalize our tours. We can’t stop others from giving tours – we’ve asked that they respect our wishes not to.

          • marcos

            Respect does not mean doing whatever CAMP says.

            CAMP needs to respect the fact that they’ve chosen to put their PUBLIC ART on a PUBLIC STREET.

            Run your project as you would, but after the paint dries, public streets are the commons, for the public.

            If CAMP wants total control, then find a private space to instal your art. Oh, yeah, the public would be able to see your art if it was installed in a private location.

            So the desire of the artist to receive the gaze gets trumped by assertions of control on who gazes, when they gaze, how they gaze and the motives of the gazing.

          • SciLaw

            How about you respect my wish not to paint graffiti on public space?


            Exactly. I can’t force you to acquiesce to my wishes on public space and neither can you force others.

          • missionresident

            We can’t stop others from playing on the playground at Dolores park, but we ask that they respect our wishes that they not play there. It’s our playground since we’ve been there for 22 years and anyone else playing there doesn’t have any RESPECT!

    9. Russell

      Seeing many comments here around the concept of “you don’t own a public street.” The artists do in fact own their public art. And the tours do in fact capitalize on the artists’s murals. On top of that, I have seen commercial photo shoots many times in Clarion Alley, where corporations want the “cool, edgy” look. And guess what, they are capitalizing on artist-owned murals without any compensation. In SF, the exterior walls of buildings are privately owned. If there is a graffiti tag on a building, you can bet a local hater will post a “paint over or get fined” notice so that the property owner has to deal with the problem (in that part of the Mission, there are a few haters who constantly post these notices). Property owners even own the sidewalks in front of their buildings, as well as the trees. So…. the streets are public and the rest is not. Finally, I have given art tours in the Mission for the past 2 years. I am also a muralist, author, and document street art. In the public art world (street art, graffiti, murals, etc) there is a word you learn very early that must be kept: RESPECT. When CAMP asked me to back off the alley, I had to see their 22 year history, their activism, their talents, and RESPECT their request. When it comes down to choosing between tourists, making money, and respecting the artists’s wishes, I’ll go with the local creative folks any day. That’s how things work in the streets. With the murals I have painted, and the walls I have helped get painted, I can only hope that the other artists will do the same for me.

      • Clarion Alley Mural Project

        Well said Russell – thank you!!!

      • marcos

        Are you seriously trying to assert private intellectual property rights over representations of public façades of buildings?

      • SciLaw

        Where did you get your law degree?

        You can enforce copyright protection on “reproductions” of your art but trying to stifle “freedom of speech” about publicly display ed artwork is a non-starter.

      • Your friend

        Why do you characterize those who object to graffiti tags as “haters”?
        Does this point support your argument?
        Point of information: property owners in SF don’t “own” the adjacent sidewalk or the trees; they are legally responsible for the sidewalk and tree maintenance, however.

        • marcos

          In a Charter City in California, the property lines run to the street center line but the public has right of way to the sidewalk and street.

          • John

            I have no reason to doubt that but, as a practical matter, the city tries to make property owners pay for repairs to the sidewalk outside their property but not the roadway itself.

            The most obvious reason why the mural artists do not “own” their art is that someone can come along and paint over it. They are temporary.

            If anything, the art is owned by the person who owns the property wall on which the painting resides. While it may be viewed by the public without charge, let or hindrance.

            Russell is deluded.

    10. I would like to say that considering that CAMP dedicated the alley to my aunt Juanita Rieloff, I wish they would put a little bit of work to their dedication, for it looks very run down. My aunt was very supportive of CAMP, as she was supportive of anyone creating their own path. I know, for a fact, that Michael Moran, founder of ExploreSF, is a very creative and progressive individual. He is the owner of a small business that supports other small businesses in the community. My aunt would have been supportive of his endeavor as well. These are sensitive times in the Mission, no doubt. I know only too well for I’m loosing my home of 17 years. However, that does not give me the right to decide who is or who isn’t welcomed in this community. The speculators creating this havoc are no where near Clarion Alley. Just “Let It Be”.

      • Clarion Alley Mural Project

        Your aunt was a wonderful feisty character in the neighborhood and she is missed by many. She is also one of many, many folks the alley has been dedicated to over the project’s 22 year history … perhaps you would consider making a donation to Clarion Alley Mural Project to purchase materials to help maintain the alley – as a volunteer-run project, all donations are greatly appreciated …

    11. angus

      This is about territorialism and self promotion plain and simple.

      In street art, like a dog peeing on a tree, competing for territory, is a long standing tradition in everything from simple tagging to more complex forms of graffiti. It stems from the same chest thumping territorial competition of gang banging and early rap/hip hop, but, in essence, it is much the same as commercial interests competing for limited market share or tribes competing for arable land.

      As a painter who has been mounting street art anonymously in the Bay since the late 80′s, I know that any public work survives at the discretion of the community. I find it amazing that so many supposedly “socially conscious” street artists would rather focus on promoting themselves while bemoaning the encroachment of commercial interests that gravitate to their beauty, rather than promote the simple truth that public art is a gift to the community, a gift meant to stimulate, question and inspire. If it is valued it will be celebrated, and that is wonderful.

      A gift, once given, is no longer “owned” by the giver.

      If the work needs to be explained, or the artist is striving for more recognition, then that should drive the artist to do a better job, plain and simple. If the artists feel they deserve more commercial benefit then they have a responsibility to bring the work to a commercial arena or to create innovative ways to market their public work. But to begrudge other parties for engaging freely in public space that you have adorned smacks of a certain kind of self serving shortsightedness that dramatically reduces the beauty and merit of such public gestures.

      Embrace the world and it will embrace you. Within that embrace you can change it, albeit slowly. Rail against it and you will be marginalized, sometimes slowly, sometimes not. Sounds like romantic philosophy but it is the code of Respect. The code of the street, any street.

    12. Mission Of Mercy

      I am surprised that no one has mentioned just what it is that CAMP does to Tour Groups that disobey the laws of CAMP.

      CAMP attacks on Yelp. Douchey is as douchey does and if there is a douchier forum in which to attack someone who cannot fight back, I am not aware of it.

      So although CAMP says that they cannot make tour operators stop touring the public street whose adjoining buildings CAMP covers with copyright protected free public art. They know that businesses catering to out of town visitors rely heavily on small-business-fleecing Yelp. Less than 4 stars on this horrible site and you might as well not exist. Several months ago, CAMP tried launching their own tours of (one block long) Clarion Alley and fell flat on their faces. Back then they made no bones about why they wanted other tour operators out of the alley, so that their own tours would make money. They were completely unconcerned that this attitude is completely at odds with their core values, and they were willing to publicly destroy on Yelp, anyone who might get in their way.

    This is about territorialism and self promotion plain and simple.

    In street art, like a dog peeing on a tree, competing for territory, is a long standing tradition in everything from simple tagging to more complex forms of graffiti. It stems from the same chest thumping territorial competition of gang banging and early rap/hip hop, but, in essence, it is much the same as commercial interests competing for limited market share or tribes competing for arable land.

    As a painter who has been mounting street art anonymously in the Bay since the late 80′s, I know that any public work survives at the discretion of the community. I find it amazing that so many supposedly “socially conscious” street artists would rather focus on promoting themselves while bemoaning the encroachment of commercial interests that gravitate to their beauty, rather than promote the simple truth that public art is a gift to the community, a gift meant to stimulate, question and inspire. If it is valued it will be celebrated, and that is wonderful.

    A gift, once given, is no longer “owned” by the giver.

    If the work needs to be explained, or the artist is striving for more recognition, then that should drive the artist to do a better job, plain and simple. If the artists feel they deserve more commercial benefit then they have a responsibility to bring the work to a commercial arena or to create innovative ways to market their public work. But to begrudge other parties for engaging freely in public space that you have adorned smacks of a certain kind of self serving shortsightedness that dramatically reduces the beauty and merit of such public gestures.

    Embrace the world and it will embrace you. Within that embrace you can change it, albeit slowly. Rail against it and you will be marginalized, sometimes slowly, sometimes not. Sounds like romantic philosophy but it is the code of Respect. The code of the street, any street.



    martinlutherkingjr (Photo credit: mpmoran)

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