Feb 25

“Lovesick”, The Cat Allergy Musical Written By A Portola Author

Portola author and Garden Tour host, Pamela Holm, is bringing back a musical she wrote for its 10th anniversary. The musical comedy which features a 6 foot tall man in a furry cat suit, opened last night to a full house at the Exit Theater in the Tenderloin.  I have yet to see the full production so I’ll let Pam describe it in her own words:


Lovesick ~ the cat allergy musical, written by Pamela Holm, with songs by Jim Fourniadis, is a comedic musical romp through the world of online dating. While Serenity mines the internet looking for her soulmate, Lucky, her cat, does everything in his power, including dander, gaydar and physical restraint, to secure his position as the alpha male of the household. When the struggle between woman and beast escalates, Serenity is forced to take drastic measures…

Lovesick preview party in Pam & Phil’s Portola Living Room


Pam isn’t the only Portolan involved in the production, her husband Phil Clevenger, is on guitar in the show’s band and their long time friend and neighbor Flash Hopkins has a staring role.  Pam & Phil hosted a preview in their Living Room on Somerset Street last Friday for their supporters, friends and neighbors.  The stars of the show, Robin Coomer and Stephanos X, sang for the crowd and I can confidently say no one will be disappointed in their performances.  Not a surprise considering that the show has received positive reviews from SF Weekly & The Chronicle:


“The genius of the casting hits you during “Alphamale,” an early number about the cat being an asshole. Steffanos commands the stage, crooning manfully to the audience, totally at ease and completely in charge while wearing a cat suit”

– Michael Leverton, SF Weekly


“Stephan’s commands the stage, crooning masterfully to the audience, totally at ease and completely in charge while wearing a cat suit.”

  • San Francisco Chronicle

Pam putting the finishing touches on “Lucky”.


You can buy tickets online here and visit the show’s website here. Don’t wait though, it’s a short run and there are already sold out nights!

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/02/lovesick-cat-allergy-musical-written-portola-author/

Feb 17

Portography: Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s that time of year when the Portola’s large and diverse Asian community celebrates the coming of a new year with a bang. As most Portolans know by now, the neighborhood typically explodes with the sounds of celebratory fireworks during the month of February. Due to the nonstop but much-needed rains, the firecrackers have been a bit subdued this time around. Luckily, a small break in the weather over the past two weekends provided an opportunity for several San Bruno merchants to bring the year of the Rooster celebration to the Portola. Last Saturday morning you may have heard the rhythmic rumble of beating drums and popping firecrackers echoing through the neighborhood from San Bruno Ave. Accompanying the beat of the drums and bringing good luck to neighborhood businesses were two lion dancers making their way down the Avenue. . Several neighborhood photographers heard the celebration and made their way down to the Avenue to capture some of the excitement. Enjoy and Happy Lunar New Year Portola!

Credit: Ken L.

Credit: Ken L.

Credit: Arthur K.

Credit: Arthur K.


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/02/portography-happy-chinese-new-year/

Feb 06

“PORTOLOVE”, Drag Queen Bingo Fundraiser This Thursday!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Portola Neighborhood Association presents “Portolove”, Drag Queen Bingo 3.5 at El Toro Nightclub!  Portola’s BEST (and only) night club!

Due to popular demand, this yearly community fundraising event is now occurring bi annually. The Portolove edition of D.B.Q. will feature some changes to create more of a drag show atmosphere around the fierce bingo competition. The emcee is now “Vandetta”, a Portola Drag Queen who promises to sprinkle in some surprises between rounds. El Toro club owner, Jorge, is also rumored to have booked a full drag show that will begin after the last prize has been handed out. There will be a full cash bar as well as more food options including extra helpings of the wildly popular homemade Paella (sold out in 15 minutes last year). Finally, there will of course be plenty of prizes. Ranging from Portolove themed door prizes to Amazon gift cards and the coveted cheesecake. The funds raised by this event will benefit the Goettingen Neighbors Group, a local nonprofit focused on the beautification of Portola’s Goettingen staircase. As you may recall from past posts, the group is working with a local artist to create a grassroots community art project on the stairs.

All the pertinent information is on the flyers posted above but here are a couple of additional tips:

Cash Only with the exception of the Bar & Portola merchandise (Bank of America ATM across the street)

Those who come in drag or a fabulous costume will be in good company and will receive a complimentary bingo card

Seeing as how this is San Francisco, children are welcome and encouraged to wear their favorite Halloween costume or dress up attire

Hope to see a lot of neighbors there, I’ll be int he blonde wig so say hello!

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/02/portolove-drag-queen-bingo-fundraiser-thursday/

Feb 02

The Bay Times & The Chronicle Feature L.G.B.T.Q. Life In The Portola

Move over Castro, southeast S.F. appears to be home to a growing L.G.B.T.Q. scene.  Last week, not one, but two Bay Area publications had pieces profiling the rainbow culture of the Portola.

Portola as featured in The Bay Times. Note the free advertising for our upcoming Drag Queen Bingo

The San Francisco Bay Times had a lovely article about “Queer life in the best little neighborhood you’ve never heard of.”  It was written by a Portola couple, John Lewis & Stuart Gaffney, who have proudly called the neighborhood home for over seven years.  You may recognize John & Stuart from the extensive media coverage on the marriage equality movement in California and nationally.  They have been active in the fight for L.G.B.T.Q. rights for over 30 years.  During this time both have held prominent positions at the advocacy group, Marriage Equality USA and they are now co-directors of the non-profit, Marriage Equality. Most notably though, they were plaintiffs in the 2004-2008 California Supreme Court case for Marriage Equality which catapulted the couple into the national media spotlight (see image below).  Despite their relentless drive for human rights, John & Stuart still find time to be active in the Portola community, attending and supporting the various neighborhood groups and events.  You can read further about their love for the neighborhood here.

Portolans, John & Stewart, showing their pride on the cover of the New York Times

Meanwhile over at the Chronicle, a story popped up last week profiling the life of another notable neighbor.  In this piece we are given a peek into the life of a prominent San Francisco Drag Queen.  Pollo Del Mar, a.k.a Paul Pratt, lives on the “outskirts of the Excelsior” (a.k.a. literally on the border of the Portola according to my sources).  Ms. Del Mar’s story is a familiar one for most artists struggling to make ends meet in an increasingly expensive city.  Priced out of the traditional gayborhoods, now living in the rear cottage of a home in what she describes as a “very heterosexual, very diverse and very blue-collar neighborhood.”   A slightly different take on the community from John & Stuart’s in the article above but perhaps they can introduce her around to the Portola’s gay scene.  You can read the whole article here and hopefully we will see Pollo Del Mar at our upcoming Drag Queen Bingo!

Keep your eyes peeled for this muscular 6′-0″ tall blonde strutting around the neighborhood.

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/02/bay-times-chronicle-feature-l-g-b-t-q-life-portola/

Jan 16

Interview with our new District 9 Supervisor, Hillary Ronen

The Portola Planet was created in 2011 (yip we past our 5th year birthday on Dec 19th last year!) to be an online resource for those interested in neighborhood goings on. We made a decision to avoid any politically charged posts and wouldn’t be publishing any content that endorses any campaigns.

However, we did interview David Campos in August 2012, after the redistricting of the city. The goal of the interview was to learn about how his role impacts our neighborhood, considering the Portola had just become a part of District 9 along with The Mission and Bernal Heights. So after the cities 2016 elections, we thought it would make sense to interview our new incoming supervisor, Hillary Ronen.

We reached out and she’s more than happy to meet with us and discussion her plans for her office and how they will reflect on the Portola.

So… unlike last time where we made up our own questions for David Campos. This time we have many more readers to the blog and we’d like to know what you want to ask her. Contact us via email at [email protected] or Tweet us @portolaplanet. You can also leave a message for us on our Facebook page!

We have not confirmed a date yet, but we hope to be sitting down with Hillary sometime in Feb… so get your questions in now!

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/01/interview-with-our-new-district-9-supervisor-hillary-ronen/

Jan 12

Check Out Seeds At The Portola Library

Attention Garden District green thumbs, you can now “borrow” seeds from our local Library. Thanks to Alta Vista’s second grade class (now third grade), there is a free collection of seeds available to all patrons. The students took on the project with the help of their garden education teacher, Miss Marissa and our own fabulous Portola Librarian, Nicole. The students created the charming depository that is now located in the Library and then reached out to seed suppliers.  They were able to fill the seed library all through donations from local Bay Area companies.  The project was installed just before the holidays at the Portola Branch Library and now open to all local gardeners.

FullSizeRender (16)

So how does a seed library work (I had no idea myself to be honest)?  It’s quite simple, you can “borrow” the seeds to plant in your garden.  When the plants you have grown go to seed, collect some of those seeds and return them to the Library to restock. Seeds are dormant but living and have a time frame before they are unusable, so the cycle of replenishment is key to the Library’s success.  You can find a much more detailed explanation of the idea and benefits of a seed library here.


This is Alta Vista’s second project in the Portola community. Last year, they worked with the Portola Neighborhood Association to install the very popular Little Free Library nestled in Burrows Pocket Park.  Thank you Alta Vista!


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/01/check-seeds-portola-library/

Dec 31

Want To Celebrate N.Y.E. in the Portola Tonight?

Come celebrate New Year’s Eve within walking distance tonight! Say goodbye to a crappy year and welcome 2017 with your neighbors at F.D.R. It’s a theme party, so put on your dancing shoes and 70’s best and head down to San Bruno Ave.!brew-years-eve-promotion-poster-autosaved-copy

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/12/want-celebrate-n-y-e-portola-tonight/

Dec 08

Sweet, Salty & Bubbly: This Saturday On San Bruno Ave.



Sugar Foot Southern Food Pop-Up & Iron Brewer Competition

As much as I enjoy Ling Ling Chinese or a sandwich from the new Bahn Mi house, I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more culinary diversity on San Bruno Ave. This Saturday, there will be something a little different available, Southern Food. Sugar Foot is teaming up with F.D.R. Brewery to host a pop-up during the Brewery’s “Iron Brewer” Competition. The menu will be small but tasty with favorites like Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese and Hot Wings.. F.D.R. will have their wide selection of beers and sodas to wash down the comfort food.

Concurrently, while Sugar Foot is serving up Southern cuisine, FDR will be crowning their “Iron Brewer.”  36 brewers submitted their beers using the same “secrete ingredient”.  The judges have narrowed them down to four finalists and with the purchase of a $10 ticket, you can help decide the winner. The champion will brew their winning beer to be served at FDR and will also go on to present their creation at San Francisco Beer Week.  All proceeds from this event are being generously donated by F.D.R. to the Portola Neighborhood Association.

The Details:

Where: F.D.R. Brewery, 2636 San Bruno Ave.

When:  This Saturday 4pm-7pm

Honey harvested in our back yard.

Honey harvested in our back yard.

Holiday Honey Sale

To add a little something sweet to our pulled pork and beer weekend.  The San Francisco Bee Cause, our neighborhood bee farm, is having their holiday honey sale.  All the honey is collected from their hives along San Bruno Ave in the “Vis-tola”.  The honey is so good that it is currently  one of 25 finalist in the national 2017 Good Food Awards.  In addition to straight honey, there will be spreadable honey, beeswax tea candles, t-shirts and a variety of Fermented Honey & Fruits.  All proceeds go to supporting the farm.

The Details:

Where:  The Bee Farm, San Bruno Ave @ Ordway (East Side of Street)

When:  This Saturday 12/10, 11AM – 3PM

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/12/sweet-salty-bubbly-saturday-san-bruno-ave/

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