Heart of the City Archives

A new and improved Orpheum emerges on Market Street for The Lion King.







Honeymoon in the city that says goodbye too soon
by Hank Donat

Anyone who doubted that Mayor Gavin Newsom would give political rival-turned-partner Angela Alioto something significant to do in his administration - and this includes me - was wrong.

Looking very mayoral at a press conference at the Department of Human Services on Mission Street, Newsom announced last week that Alioto would chair a task force responsible for preparing the city's 10-year plan to eradicate chronic homelessness.

Alioto, looking very vice mayoral, accepted the assignment. The city's share of $2 billion earmarked for homeless programs by the Bush administration is dependant upon the formation of a 10-year plan. Newsom and Alioto have promised the goods by June.

Critics whisper that the plan, which will contain goals and deadlines but is not legally binding, has no teeth. However, in the words of one insider, "It may be just a piece of paper, but Angela will roll it up and use it as a club."

Also between datelines, Newsom established a cabinet of relevant city officials to coordinate the effort on homelessness - something the public has long clamored for - and he took a pay cut. The honeymoon continues and why shouldn't it?

Order up! News that Sears Fine Food on Powell Street had been purchased by the owners of Lori's Diner and will reopen this spring came as no surprise. A deal was in the works even as Sears was eulogized from Union Square to the Sunset.

Other San Francisco institutions that were pronounced dead in recent years, only to be resurrected, include the Washington Square Bar & Grill, House of Shields, the Brown Bag, Jack's restaurant, and the pink section.

Hot 'n' Hunky, the burger joint on 18th Street at Hartford, was a neighborhood fixture in the Castro when disco was king. It closed for remodeling last month, but don't look for a speedy return. Healthier diets appear to be on the rise along with the economy.

Fans of grease and salt will remember Hot 'n' Hunky for dishes like the Macho Man Burger, the Miss Piggy, and I Wanna Hold Your Ham. A second Hot 'n' Hunky, on Polk Street, and another on Market Street next to the Mint karaoke bar also closed in the past decade.

Valencia Rose alum Charles Busch wrote "The Tale of the Allergist's Wife" for the actress Linda Lavin. With the planned Sears reopening I'm reminded of a story Lavin told in an earlier show. It's a story of a universal experience.

To paraphrase, maybe you've been on a flight and because you were in a happy mood you bonded with the lady sitting next to you. She told you about her nieces; you told her about your job in the city and the great vacation you've just had from it. You have a new best friend from Denver to SFO. You say goodbye as you're taking down your carry-on luggage. You go your separate ways.

Five minutes later, you run into your buddy at the baggage claim area where you find you have nothing at all to say to her. Absolutely nothing. Why? Because, you said goodbye too soon.

"All Over Coffee" by artist Paul Madonna of the Western Addition is the Chronicle's newest cartoon strip, having premiered in the pink section on Sunday, February 8. MisterSF.com's visitors are familiar with the strip, which was introduced here for a six-week run last November.

You'll be seeing much more from the talented Madonna. "All Over Coffee," which features internal reminiscences over graceful line drawings of San Francisco landmarks, runs four times a week in the daily.

With so many great events currently happening or quickly approaching, here are a few fabulous things to see and do.

The San Francisco Independent Film Festival continues through Sunday, February 15. There are still tickets available for some great films in the lineup. Peter Moody will attend the screening of his martini documentary "Olive or Twist" at the Women's Building on 18th Street on Valentine's Day. Visit sfindie.com for more information.

The Lion King at the Orpheum gives a much-needed boost to the city's "big theatre" community and the vitality of Market Street. If you have no use for Disney cartoons made into lavish stage productions, you can still be a part of the scene by visiting the Orpheum's new street level cafe. By opening up some of the grim, sealed-off entrances, the addition is a wonderful makeover for the building.

Erich von Stroheim's 1925 epic silent film Greed includes a scene that shows the Orpheum when the entire street level was an open arcade.

The Glitter Ball at the Ritz-Carlton on Friday, March 5 is a formal affair by the Junior Committee to the Woman's Board of the California Pacific Medical Center Foundation. A reception for organizers at Chaz on Fillmore Street revealed event co-chairs Aimee Fowler and Jenna Liddell Hunt as exemplars of a burgeoning community of young philanthropists in the Marina. They know a good cause when they see one. The Glitter Ball benefits CPMC's Child Development Center. Call 750-2413 for more information.

Mayor Newsom and Taxi Commissioner Arthur Jackson will launch a fleet of a dozen or more London taxis in front of City Hall this Thursday, February 12, at 11 a.m. The custom-built taxis, square and black, are an elegant addition to the streets of San Francisco. Like cresting cable cars, they provide memorable silhouettes for tourists, photographers and all admirers of the cityscape.

Anne Galjour's dark comedy Okra opens at the Brava Theatre Center on 24th Street on Wednesday, February 18. Galjour is Brava's artist in residence. The new play on Cajun themes is so authentic that its characters will cook a pot of gumbo each night during the performance. They'll get by with a little help from PJ's Oyster House. For more information visit brava.org.

Fort Mason Center hosts The Pacific Orchid Exhibition from February 19-22. The exhibition features thousands of varieties of orchids from 65 participating nurseries from around the world. For more information visit orchidsanfrancisco.com.

Matt Gonzalez's next monthly art opening, in his City Hall office on Friday, March 5, will showcase the paintings of San Francisco's first poet laureate, City Lights founder Lawrence Ferlighetti

Welcome to MisterSF.com. Please visit the site often to keep in touch with San Francisco, for your own amusement, and to use the Local Joints section as a portal for independent businesses. Keep your money in the neighborhoods... Watch this space for observations, interviews and more from around town. All other sections of MisterSF.com are also updated continually, so come back and watch us grow!

Contact MisterSF.com

Copyright 2004 Hank Donat
mistersf.com home