Heart of the City Archives

Malloch Apartments
Autumn in the City of no Seasons
by Hank Donat

The rest of the world may think San Francisco has no seasons, but we know it has several. You can tell we're in the throes of autumn because of the tan lines made by our scarves. 

This time of year it's easy to be lulled into a sense of Hartford. The aroma of leaves on the ground and long-in-the-tooth jack o'lanterns rotting somewhere not too far creates a New England-like warmth in the cold air. 

Rick Gaub, the pun master news vendor who re-imagines the headlines for his customers, might say this time of year is "aromantic." If you think that's a groaner, here's one from Rick's archive: "Saddam Tells Bush: You Mess with Me You Gonna Get U.S. Kicked."

Rick is a cinch not to be invited to perform at Lisa Geduldig's Kung Pao Kosher comedy festival, which just announced eight shows for it's 10th anniversary engagement. 

Geduldig came up with the idea of celebrating Christmas the Jewish way - in a Chinese restaurant with Jewish comedians - when she was hosting showcases and appearing on Saturday nights at Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint in the Castro. 

Dinner and yuks will be served at New Asia Restaurant on Pacific Avenue, and if you think it's too early to think about the holidays, wake up and smell the turkey.

Even San Francisco couldn't save a show about three Ally McBeals. When word came down that producer David E. Kelly's San Francisco based Fox drama "Girls Club" had been canceled after only two episodes, curses were levied at some neighborhood businesses where unaired scenes were filmed. 

Neighborhood joints get a big boost from the exposure. Now, North Beach may have to wait for "Caffe Roma, the Lost Episode." 

The lively Edwin Heaven, also a North Beach favorite, has an Emperor Norton-esque suggestion for keeping money in the neighborhoods. He proposes a different currency for each Beach, Heights, Hill, and 'Loin. 

Angela Alioto will be happy to hear that Edwin's found a use for all those unwanted Lira. If you work at City Hall you could pay for everything with permits, but what would pass for legal tender in, say, the Haight? Did someone mention neighborhood joints?

In case you haven't heard, the Potrero Hill institution Just for You bakery cafe has relocated to 732 22nd at Third Street in Dogpatch. I love those grid busting intersections that make us scratch our heads and wonder how 22nd Street can cross Third. The corner of 16th and 6th is another map mangler.

The new Just for You offers the same great homemade corn bread and killer breakfast. However, unlike the cozy but claustrophobic Potrero digs, you won't be 86ed for cell phone use. The new venue's much larger, so you won't be force fed the details of John and Jane Doe's marital problems or shopping list.

Here's a scoop:ĘThe Scoop is back. The beloved ice cream shop at 18th and Missouri streets was recently replaced by a new French bistro. Maxine Siu and Joel Bleskacek, who own Bell & Trunk Flowers next door to the former Scoop, decided the neighborhood couldn't live without it so they opened a Scoop of their own a couple of doors down at 1415 18th. 

The new shop dishes out Mitchell's brand ice cream exclusively and also serves organic coffee. Even in autumn we have to support our ice cream shops. It could be 80 degrees tomorrow.

After I wrote about Robert Parks, the MUNI driver who's a stickler for rules like "no beverages onboard," I heard from some eagle-eyed San Franciscans who want you to know that Parks has more than one claim to fame. He's also the guy who throws the flowers onstage at the opera. 

Ahead of her time: The recent raid on a prostitution ring in the Sunset brought to mind Sally Stanford, San Francisco's madam who became Sausalito's mayor. 

In her 1966 autobiography, "Lady of the House," Sally writes about leaving Nob Hill with her husband, Ernie Spagnoli, a rising young attorney in the 1920s. "I suggested a home of our own in the Sunset District - the epitome of middle class respectability," Sally wrote, "Believe me, no scarlet woman ever set up housekeeping in the Sunset - except me."

Sally seemed to enjoy striving against the stream. She even called the city "Frisco" despite the custom, even in her day, for locals to revile the word. "The real San Franciscans," Sally said, "from Charles Cora to Fog Horn Murphy never called it anything but Frisco."

Parting Shot: While Supervisor Chris Daly was holding up action on a new ordinance that would make it illegal to urinate and defecate in public last week, I was walking down Post Street, a few paces behind two well-heeled female shoppers. 

"I hope I just stepped in dog poop," said the woman in red, almost nonchalantly. "Why do hope that?" asked the woman in blue with a puzzled look. "Because I just stepped in poop," said the woman in red whose face was even redder.

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Copyright 2002 Hank Donat
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