Tag Archives: San Francisco


EyeBobs Readers At City Lights Bookstore [PHOTOS]

The beat generation was raised at a bookstore, just a stone’s throw from Wingtip, on a jagged block of Columbus Avenue, nestled between San Francisco’s North Beach and Chinatown districts. City Lights Bookstore was opened in 1953, the brainchild of Peter D. Martin, but it was co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti who turned it into a place where poets could read and publish works that weren’t necessarily “fit to print,” in the established sense.

EyeBobs Peckerhead Reading Glasses At City Lights BookstoreFerlinghetti’s name became synonymous with free speech in 1956 when he published a diminutive book of poems with a four-letter word emblazoned on the cover in stately Albertus type: “Howl.”

The contents of Allen Ginsberg’s monumental poem raised the ire of morality police and both Ferlinghetti and store manager Shigeyoshi Murao were arrested for disseminating “obscene” material. The case was taken to the California State Superior Court and tried under Judge Clayton Horn, where, thankfully, reason prevailed. Judge Horn’s decision reads,
in part, “There are a number of words used in “Howl” that are presently considered coarse and vulgar in some circles of the community; in other circles such words are in everyday use. […] Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemism?”

City Lights was granted landmark status in 2001. The adjacent Adler Alley, once a seedy shortcut, (and the only thing that stood between the poets and their favorite haunt, Vesuvio Cafe), is now a paved-over pedestrian walkway called Jack Kerouac Alley, with colorful walls and bronze placards of poetry set into the ground. City Lights continues to publish new works and serve as a Mecca for San Francisco literary adherents and tourists alike.

Special Thanks to Scott and Andy at City Lights Bookstore for their kind assistance in helping us shoot this series of photos.

EyeBobs Readers

We recently visited City Lights Bookstore and Jack Kerouac Alley to test out our EyeBobs reading glasses. [TOP: Wingtip Master Barber Joe Roberts wears Board Stiff reading glasses in green spotted tortoise; ABOVE-LEFT: Mr. Roberts wears Peckerhead reading glasses. All reading glasses pictured are $79.]

EyeBobs Dot-Com Reading Glasses At City Lights Bookstore
Wingtip Bespoke Assistant Timothy Niven wears Dot-Com reading glasses in tortoise / blue

EyeBobs Peckerhead Reading Glasses At Jack Kerouac Alley
Mr. Roberts wears Peckerhead reading glasses

City Lights Bookstore, Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

EyeBobs Total Wit Reading Glasses At Jack Kerouac Alley
Mr. Niven wears Total Wit reading glasses in clear

Jack Kerouac Alley, Chinatown, North Beach, San Francisco

EyeBobs Board Stiff Reading Glasses At City Lights Bookstore
Mr. Roberts wears Board Stiff reading glasses in green spotted tortoise


Noir City Lurks Tonight (and keeps creeping through 1/25)

Hey, all you readers looking for something stark to rest your retinas on better get hep tonight and dig the danger that Baghdad By The Bay has on offer. Just shuffle your wingtips down to the Castro Theatre, where Noir City is launching another festival of high-octane, high-contrast flicks about doomed dudes and thrilling dames. The series starts today and runs through the 25th. Here are the screenings we’re hoping to catch:

Woman on the Run (dir. Norman Foster, 1950) Based on the short story “Man on the Run” by Sylvia Tate, this film follows a newspaperman (Dennis O’Keefe) and a woman (Ann Sheridan) as they track her husband who’s running for his life after witnessing a gangland murder. Set in San Francisco in the mid 20th century, this film does a great job of showing the city we know and love as well as the style and aesthetics from the same era. Noir City notes that, “Anyone who was here in 2003 for the first Noir City will recall the thrill of discovering “Woman on the Run,” a fabulous film we retrieved from obscurity only to see the sole surviving print burn in a studio fire years later. Now, years of indefatigable effort culminate on Opening Night with the resurrection of this extraordinary film.” The world premiere of this 35mm print screens tonight, 1/16 at 7:30pm.

Suspicion (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1941) Directed by the man, the myth, the legend, Hitchcock’s film starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine tells the story of a recently married spinster who finds out that her husband is a broke degenerate gambler and pathological liar who might also be plotting to kill her. While not set in San Francisco, this film does a great job of highlighting the fashions of the era, especially Cary Grant in that double breasted pinstripe suit and Joan Fontaine in those dope overcoats. This film has all the elements of a classic noir film from suspense and mystery to elegant motifs. “Suspicion” screens tomorrow, 1/17 at 3:30pm

Shockproof (Dir. Douglas Sirk, 1949) Supposedly “Shockproof was so critically lambasted and financially stillborn that director Douglas Sirk got depressed and moved back to Europe. So why watch it now? Well, the film has its advocates–Two Boots Pioneer Theater and an online film enthusiast group were such enthusiasts that they planned the film’s first proper New York engagement in 2007. Plus it has a pivotal scene shot in LA’s moody Bradbury building. Plus, anything by Sirk is worth checking out once–and this one happens to be part of a Sirk double-feature, paired with restored print of “Sleep, My Love.” “Shockproof” screens 1/18 at 2pm and 7:30pm; “Sleep, My Love” follows at 4pm and 9pm.

Crime of passion (Dir. Gerd Oswald, 1957) Love knows no bounds in this crime/drama flick about a San Francisco news reporter who gives up her career to move to LA with her cop husband. Bored, with nowhere to channel her zeal, she begins to push her husband up the career ladder by any means necessary. This piece of work does a great job of showing the best of California from north to south, plus it’s actress Barbara Stanwyck’s curtain call insofar as noir is concerned. “Crime Of Passion” screens Wednesday, 1/21 at 9:15pm

The Steel Trap (Dir. Andrew Stone, 1952) We don’t know much about “The Steel Trap.” But what can we say, we have a soft spot for vintage bank vaults. After all, our vault-cum-tailorshop hosted a caper that was plotted by the Riddler and interrupted by Batman and Batkid. And we’re excited because the “Steel Trap” title makes it sound like the vault does the actual catching of the baddie in this one. “The Steel Trap” screens 1/24 at 12:30pm.

For more details, check out noircity.com


Wednesday: SF Gate’s #LoveLocalSF Celebration

SF Gate and the SF mayor’s office teamed up to make this Wednesday the official #LoveLocalSF day. Businesses and organizations all across the city are participating, and we’re pleased to get in on the fun by offering a 20% Discount off full-priced merchandise all Wednesday (in-store only; does not apply to alcohol). So wear the official color, red, and stop by for a deep pre-, pre-holiday discount.


Shop Goorin Bros. Hats at Wingtip

We are pleased to announce that, after a five year hiatus, Goorin Bros. hats are once again available at Wingtip.

Fourth generation hat-makers, the Goorin Brothers, have a rich heritage and tradition that stretches back to 1895, when Cassel Goorin founded his hat shop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company moved to San Francisco in 1949, and they continue to this day, outfitting men and women with “authentic family craftsmanship.” Order online or visit our Goorin Bros. shop-in-shop at Wingtip to see the 10+ new styles in person.


Gentleman’s Itinerary: 11/22–11/28

Film: Save The Waves Film Festival
Tonight at the Victoria Theater

“Save The Waves Film Festival is a nonprofit tour and fundraiser in 3 cities on 3 consecutive Fridays in November – a benefit for Save The Waves’ environmental campaigns & World Surfing Reserves.” Tonight’s show opens with a live set from Arann Harris.
Tickets and more info

Music: Deltron 3030
Saturday Night at the Fillmore Auditorium

It’s been over 13 years since Deltron 3030 released their landmark self-titled record. The long-awaited Event 2 dropped last month, and now the original members Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, Kid Koala, and Del the Funky Homosapien bring the fabled project back to life. Backing the trio will be a full orchestra. For more on the project, see our interview with Dan The Automator. Tickets available at Live Nation.

Theater: Red Virgin
Final Weekend. At the Berkeley City Club

“A new play about the tumultuous events of the great socialist uprising known as the Paris Commune of 1871. Written by company co-director, Gary Graves (who authored last season’s “Richard The First” trilogy), Red Virgin tells the story of Louise Michel, one of the most incendiary revolutionaries in the history of France–with live music from the period!” More info and tix at www.centralworks.org

Film/Theater: John Waters, “This Filthy World
Saturday at Yoshi’s

This event may be a little less genteel than the others on the list, but, if nothing else, you should pay a “Movember” tribute to John Waters’ signature pencil mustache. Per Yoshis: “John Waters’ one-man spoken-word show is a ‘vaudeville’ act that celebrates the film career and obsessional tastes of the man William Burroughs once called ‘The Pope of Trash.’ Focusing in on Waters’ early negative artistic influences and his fascination with true crime, exploitation films, fashion lunacy, and the extremes of the contemporary art world, this joyously devious monologue elevates all that is trashy in life into a call to arms to ‘filth followers’ everywhere.” Tickets and more info at Yoshi’s

Culture: Unbuilt San Franciso
At the California Historical Society

This exhibit runs through 12/29, but this short week will be a good opportunity to see it before the holidays heat up. Per the CHS: “The twentieth century saw both a series of ambitious efforts to reimagine the city of San Francisco and the explosive growth of the Bay Area as a metropolitan region. In Unbuilt San Francisco: The View from Futures Past, the California Historical Society and SPUR present some of the most revealing episodes in these distinct but related streams of civic discourse through projects that were proposed but never realized. Concern with a particular site, problem, or opportunity often spans a period of decades and presents a window into a city’s changing attitudes, politics, and values. Every bit as much as the cities we build, the cities we imagine and reject reveal the collective creativity of the urban project and the imperfect civics of place-making.” More info at California Historical Society


Gentleman’s Itinerary: 10/31 to 11/6

Film/Music: “The Lodger”: silent film with organ
Tonight at Davies Symphony Hall

San Francisco Symphony presents this Halloween night screening of “The Lodger,” an Alfred Hitchcock work from 1927. Based on a book that explored London’s infamous Jack The Ripper killings, the story centers around Mrs. Bunting, a landlady who may have just rented a room to a serial killer called The Avenger. Organist Todd Wilson will provide live musical accompaniment, and will precede the program with a rendition of Bach’s moribund “Toccata and Fugue in D minor.” Tipplers take note: The main lobby bar is serving a Hitchcock-inspired drink called “The Voyeur,” “a spine-tingling sparkling cocktail accented with VSOP cognac and a hint of Grand Marnier.” Available both before the show and during intermission. Tickets available at sfsymphony.org

Film: “Let the Fire Burn”
One week only starting 11/1 at Landmark Cinemas: Opera Plaza Cinema

Philadelphia native Jason Osder examines the events leading up to the day in May 1985 when Philadelphia police, locked in a stand-off with black activist group MOVE, bombed the group’s bunker, setting off a neighborhood inferno that claimed 11 lives and 60 homes. Philly has ever since held the dubious mantle, “The City That Bombed Itself.” Editor and Bay Area native Nels Bangerter will be on hand for the 11/3 screenings at $4:50 and 7:00pm. Advance tix at landmarktheatres.com

Art: The International Vintage Poster Fair
11/1 to 11/3 at the Fort Mason Center

“The International Vintage Poster Fair is one of the largest sales and expositions of original vintage posters. Thousands of posters dated from the 1890s-1980s are on display and available for purchase throughout the weekend. […] Poster styles include the popular Art Deco and Modernism posters, as well as classic Art Nouveau, Victorian images, and more. […] This year’s feature exhibit, “Dressed to Sell,” highlights fashion in advertising. A curated collection of posters showcases fashion through the decades, demonstrating how one’s wardrobe mirrored its moment in time. From the conservative clothing of the 1890s to the glitz and glamour of the Roaring Twenties and the mod looks of the Mad Men era, these original vintage posters capture the cultural climate of the past century through fashion.” More info at fortmason.org

Dance: 13th Floor Dance Theater presents “Being Raymond Chandler”
Final weekend 11/2-11/3 at the ODC Dance Commons

Call it hard-boiled ballet. This new dance work by Jenny McAllister takes on pulp fiction author Raymond Chandler (who wrote the novel “The Big Sleep” and the noir screenplay “Double Indemnity,” among many others) as he struggles through a late-night bout of writer’s block. When scotch and nicotine won’t get the job done, his mind conjures spirits of stories past, who spill onto the stage; they “cavort, slink and machinate with hilarious, heartrending and ultimately triumphant results.” See the stark, shadowy promo here. Advance tix at app.arts-people.com

Film: Mortified Nation
SF Premiere 11/3 at the Brava Theater

Mortified Live, the literary tell-all sensation in which adults dig up their most embarrassing “awkward stage” diary entries gets the big screen treatment. “The film blends performance footage with an examination of the rise of Mortified stage shows, and chronicles how the simple act of exposing one’s private past can inspire an entire nation to “share the shame.” Transporting viewers back to a time of awkward firsts– first love, first rejection, first total freak out– the film captures the adolescent experience in a way few of us truly remember and most of us tried to forget.” More info at mortifiednation.com Advance tix available here


Extras Style: Tim Burton Takes North Beach Back to the 60s

Yesterday, SFist tipped everyone off about Tim Burton filming Walter Keane bio-pic “Big Eyes” in North Beach, near the intersection of Grant and Green. While yesterday’s shoot reportedly was set in the late-50s, today they were shooting for the mid-60s, as evidenced by the VWs, Continentals, and blend of funky and Jackie O-type costumes.

Here are a handful of shots, mostly of the actors and the fabulous cars. Scroll clear down for a few shots of Burton, including one with leading man Christoph Waltz. (His lead lady, Amy Adams, may have been sitting near him inside the Cafe Trieste where they were filming. Oh, and, apologies, but the photo of Helena Bonham Carter photo-bombing Burton and a background actor didn’t really turn out.)

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Tim Burton films 'Big Eyes' in San Francisco's North Beach

Duncan Nichols, left, at the Bank Exchange Bar in the Montgomery Block Building

Pisco Punch, the preferred drink of 49ers

Saturday is National Pisco Sour Day, the only holiday dedicated to the Peruvian spirit Pisco. We have a soft spot for Pisco since it got its introduction to the States right across the street at the Montgomery Block Building, which stood from 1853–1959, when it made way for the Transamerica Pyramid (See it, below, a month after the Great Quake of 1906).

The Montgomery Block, at a modest four stories, was arguably SF’s first skyscraper, and housed the offices of people like Mark Twain and Jack London, in addition to the Bank Exchange Bar, where bartender Duncan Nicol (above-left) concocted the Pisco Punch.

The punch contained lime and pineapple, but the original recipe has been shrouded in mystery. We got in touch with Pisco authority and Pisco Latin Lounge co-owner Guillermo Toro-Lira, who wrote two books on the subject, to find out more about the famed tippler.

Where did you try your first pisco or pisco punch?

I tried my first pisco (a Pisco Sour) in my native Lima, Peru when I was around 16 years old. My first Pisco Punch was prepared by myself for Thanksgiving of the year 2000.

What does the name of your book, “Wings of Cherubs” refer to?

The famous English writer Rudyard Kipling visited the Bank Exchange in the 1880s and tried a punch. He mentioned about the secrecy of the recipe and wrote that he thought “it was made of shavings of Cherubs’ Wings.” I borrowed his last part in allusion to uncovering the Pisco Punch recipe.

How did you go about researching your two books on the subject of pisco?

I started researching the historical relations of Peruvians in the history of California by the end of the 1990s. I was surprised on how significant it was and decided to write a book, mainly for Peruvians to know about.

When I discovered the existence of Pisco Punch, I decided to write the book centered on the Pisco Punch aspect but including the general Peruvian part too. This was “Alas de los Querubines” (“Wings of Cherubs”). It won a Gourmand award in 2007. One year later it was published in English. My second book, “History of Pisco in San Francisco,” is more historical and shows the historical evidence used in the research of Wings… It has been publshed only in English.

How did pisco wind up a Gold Rush staple?

When San Francisco was a small village with a couple of hundred of habitants back in the 1830s, Pisco was one of the drinks they were used to. It came from Peru in sailing ships doing business trading hide and tallow from mission Padres and Ranchers. When the Gold Rush started, Pisco was already in SF. Many an East Coaster tried Pisco for the first time in SF, not in Peru, and thus its association with the City.

We hear that a pisco-style brandy was also made from California grapes when true Pisco was unavailable. Is that true? Do any wineries make a pisco-type brandy today?

One “aguardiente de vino” (wine distillate) was made in Sutter Fort in Sacramento in the early 1840s. As such, it could have been considered a “Pisco.” But today nobody in the US can make a wine distillate and call it Pisco by US Law.

Do you know Nichol’s secret Pisco Punch recipe?

I think I do. At [Pisco Latin Lounge] we serve there what we believe is Nicol’s recipe, down to the Pisco Italia type, the gum arabic, distilled water, Hawaiian pineapples, and Mexican limes.

For more information, read Mr. Toro-Lira’s books and articles, available at his website, piscopunch.com. Better yet, stop by Pisco Latin Lounge for some “field reporting.”

Photographs: California Historical Society

Black-and-orange San Francisco Giants confetti

Sport: Black and Orange Parade [PICS]

What a gift!

To give a city known for fanatic costuming and a fan base known for wearing black-and-orange a parade on Halloween is surely more than kismet. These are the baseball gods piercing through the fogs of San Francisco on a drizzly October 31st that will not soon be forgotten.

Here are a few pics for the 10 or so San Franciscans who couldn’t skip work to see the parade today.