Heart of the City Archives

BV legend Paula Hazzauri.

Making connections from countertop to hilltop
by Hank Donat

Hands down the best art exhibit in the City is Candacy Taylor's photo series, "Making Connections: Career Waitresses of San Francisco." Taylor is a graduate of San Francisco State and the California College of the Arts. "Making Connections" grew out of her CCA thesis on labor issues and career waitresses.

An artist and writer, Taylor presented a paper at a conference of the American Society on Aging in Philadelphia earlier this year. "Making Connections" calls to mind the book "Nickled and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich, but here a face is worth a thousand words and then some. You can see Taylor's extraordinary photos on display at City Hall.

One career waitress of San Francisco, Paula Hazzauri, said goodbye to the Buena Vista Cafe this week after 20 years of service. Congratulations and good luck to a BV legend! My unreliable attempt to calculate the number of Irish coffees Paula has served in her career topped out at over 30,000. Make that 30,003 and you will understand what made my method so unreliable.

A visit last week to a favorite diner in the Castro had me frozen in my tracks. Over the decades, The Cove Cafe has lined its walls with framed photos of people from the community. The gallery became a defacto museum and a record of the customers who over the years made the Cove a neighborhood kitchen. Some of the subjects, including Harvey Milk, are no longer alive.

On this particular day, the walls of the Cove were bare. Not a single photo graced the freshly painted walls. The new color is a buttery one, fitting for a favorite breakfast joint. But what of the Walls of Fame? As I composed myself, the staff explained that the number of images had long since outgrown the space. The photos will return shortly, but with a 21st Century update. Rather than displaying the more than 2,000 images a few hundred at a time in rotation, all of the photos will soon be displayed as a continuous slideshow seen on three video monitors. Call it "Making Connections: Career Customers."

Is Tappe's Sutter Street Bar and Grill bewitched? Since Mike Tappe passed away earlier this year, regular customers have been aware that Tappe's heirs will likely sell the restaurant - a 50-year institution in the Tenderloin - before the end of the year. The customers' reaction has been typical of San Francisco, where change is a four-letter word. But this was Mike's place, Mike's "Cheers," Mike's life; and now Mike is gone.

Two weeks ago, when a runaway rental car plowed into the front of the restaurant, the car crashed head-on into a framed photo and Tappe's obituary that were displayed in the window. The incident has some regulars convinced that this was Tappe's message from beyond the grave, telling everyone that it's okay to let the joint go. PS: No one was hurt in the accident.

Yes, that was Mayor Gavin Newsom singing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" from the mayor's balcony at City Hall last Tuesday. Newsom was taping an interview as part of a video program for Oracle's Open World conference, which comes to Moscone Center in the fall. The mayor became so effusive in his praise for his favorite City and yours that he burst into song along with cast and crew. By the way, the co-hosts for Open World's video production are Kris Kosach of the Travel Channel and TechTV, along with yours truly, "Heart of the City."

Between takes, Newsom stopped to pose for photos with and offer congratulations to some newly married couples. His advice on wedded bliss, "Last longer than I did, please."

A couple of great new shows are here or coming up. These are worthy of sharing before another weeks passes between us.

Milliner, author, and producer Ruth Dewson of Fillmore Street brings the musical "Crowns" to the Marines Memorial Theatre through August 21. Mrs. D. tells me this is a hit with "hattitude" and says if you want to stir your soul with gospel music that's sung, stomped, and testified from the heart - and all in hats - then this is your ticket. Mrs. Dewson hosted a rousing kick-off event Tuesday at Union Square.

The curtain rises on Help is on the Way XI, a benefit for the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation, on August 1 at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. This year's theme is the music of Jule Styne and Harold Arlen. Performers include Tim Hockenberry, Paula West, Meg Mackay, Lorna Luft, Nancy Dussault, Debby Boone, Mary Jo Catlett, and Susan Anton. Help is on the Way always delivers memorable TV stars, but this is no cheesy "Love Boat" reunion. Most of these people became stars when talent was still required. Are you listening, Paris Hilton?

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