Oct 21

Blues Concert This Saturday At The Amp

If you haven’t made it to a concert at the Amp this year, here is your last chance in 2016.  The Friends of the Amp are again presenting this year’s Blues Show with a solid line up of performances.  Take advantage of the dry weather while it lasts, it’s looking like rain is on the the way next week (hopefully). More details below!


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/10/blues-concert-saturday-amp/

Oct 11

New Multimedia Mural Receiving Lots Of Love

Portola District Mural

You may have noticed all the traffic jams occurring around San Bruno Ave lately.  Is it just another effect of the ever-increasing commuter congestion plaguing the Bay Area?  I sincerely doubt it… Most likely, these backups are art related (or at least that’s what I’d like to think).  All those curious motorist must be slowing down to  take in all the floral beauty emanating from the giant mural now blooming (had to say that at least once) over our main drag.  This must be the case as this bold new art piece is receiving a good deal of neighborhood attention and compliments according to Luke Spray, the San Bruno Corridor Manager.

Nico's concept rendering for the mural. On the right there is a plan of the Portola that morphs into flowers on the left. The student's images are placed in the center.

Nico’s concept rendering for the mural. On the right there is a plan of the Portola that morphs into flowers on the left. The student’s images are placed in the center.


The untitled piece covers the entire Thornton Street facade of Breakfast At Tiffany’s.  Its creation came about as a joint project between local artist Nico Berry and the Youth Art Exchange.  The Portola Neighborhood Association’s, Arts & Beautification Committee sponsored and managed the project.  The idea came about after receiving Nico’s proposal for a Grocery Outlet mural (more on that later).  While Nico’s submission was not selected for that project, it was so loved by the committee, that another location was secured to bring his concept to life.  And somewhat ironically, his mural was completed before the G.O. project’s.  Nico also shared with us, that while painting the mural up on a hydraulic lift, he had passerby on foot and in cars shout out complaints and encouragement.  The community support and engagement was one of the highlights of this project for him.

Youth Art Exchange Student Work of the abandoned greenhouses

Youth Art Exchange Student Work of the abandoned greenhouses

Meanwhile, during all that extremely interesting mural project coordination, the students of the Youth Art Exchange were embarking on a photographic exploration of the Portola. Led by their teacher, Mario Casillas, the high school level advanced photography students spent this past summer touring the neighborhood.  Their work captures images that describe the unique multicultural and historic character of our community.  Selected works were printed on durable stainless steel panels that were coordinated with Nico’s concept.    The pieces are placed in the center of the mural where the design morphs between a map of Portola’s urban grid and the organic floral forms of the Garden District.  There are more panels than space, so the works will be periodically switched out with new photos.

Youth Art Exchange Student Photograph of a San Bruno Ave street scene.

Youth Art Exchange Student Photograph of a San Bruno Ave street scene.

Funding on these types of projects tends to be the biggest hurdle but this project was a bit different.  In one last generous gift to the community, money from the Irene Crescio memorial fund, was donated to support the project.  Two weeks ago, at the ribbon cutting ceremony with all the artists in attendance, the mural was officially dedicated in her honor.  I imagine that she would have loved this beautiful addition to “the road”.

Portola Mural on Boylston Street, also by Artist Nico Berry

Portola Mural on Boylston Street, also by Artist Nico Berry

As an added mural bonus, we bring you Nico’s first mural in the neighborhood.  Last year, he teamed up with the San Francisco School and their students to create another Portola inspired work.   The mural is located on a retaining wall along Boylston St. A community minded neighbor gave permission for the art to be painted on their property.  Nico created the overall design and the students, parents and faculty of the school painted the flowers.

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/10/new-multimedia-mural-receiving-lots-love/

Sep 30

Achtung Portola! Oktoberfest Comes To The Neighborhood Brewery

I imagine it will look something like this.

I imagine it will look something like this.

Calling all neighborhood Fraus & Herrs, Oktoberfest at F.D.R. starts this Saturday! The space is in the middle of its Bavarian transformation as I write.   The German Brauhaus will be complete with traditional beer hall tables among other decorations and the owners, Shae & Kevin, will be strapping on their lederhosen and Dirndl. Expect festivities such as a beer stein holding competition (around 7:30 pm both Saturdays) and bratwurst grilling ($4 each on both Saturdays).  Festival beers specially brewed for the event such as  Kölsch, Bock, and Berliner will be on tap.  All week long, until it runs out, they will be serving a flight of four Berliner Weisse with Apricot, Grapefruit, Blueberry and Cherry.  If you are heading over to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this weekend, don’t fret, the celebration continues until next Saturday with a closing party on 10/8…  Prost Portola!

Ferment Drink Repeat: 2636 San Bruno Ave. www.fermentdrinkrepeat.com


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/09/achtung-portola-oktoberfest-comes-neighborhood-brewery/

Sep 23

Beautiful Weekend Ahead! Enjoy It With The Garden District Tour & Shakespeare!



There seems to be so many events happening in the neighborhood over the past several weeks that I’ve had not time to post about anything else. This weekend is packed as well, starting with the 10th Annual Portola Garden Tour happening on Saturday.  Here are the details in the words of our neighbors Bob & Mindy:

The Portola Garden Tour is next weekend! Join us and tour 20+ magical gardens in the Portola neighborhood. Learn about what plants thrive in SF, how to make even small spaces outstanding, ideas for decks and patios and fun landscaping tips — and get inspired to work on your own back yard. It’s an awesome community building experience as neighbors open their yards to scores of tour participants and everyone parties together at the host house at the close of the tour.

The tour is a fund raising event for the Portola Garden District Scholarship at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) for students in the Environmental Horticulture and Floristry department. The Portola Garden Tour has awarded 16 scholarships to CCSF students and five work projects in the Portola. The neighborhood, recently officially recognized as the Garden District, is roughly bordered by Silver Avenue to the north, Mansell Street to the south, San Bruno Avenue to the east and McLaren Park to the west.

Date:Saturday, September 24, 2016

Time:10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Place:  The private and public gardens of San Francisco’s Garden District, the Portola

Cost:  Tickets are $25 each or $40 for two

Tickets can be purchased the day of the event at Four Barrel Coffee, 2 Burrows Street. This is also the starting location to grab your map.   Tickets are also available online here

You can also check our sneak peak of last year’s tour to get an idea of what to expect.  Click here.


In addition to the Garden Tour, we also have an event at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater.  On both Saturday & Sunday The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival will present The Winter’s Tale at 2 pm.  Here is more info straight from the source:

The Winter’s Tale has been a hit with audiences and criticsall summer. Celebrate the start of Fall with our run of performances at Jerry Garcia Amphitheater. This Greek-style theater has outstanding acoustics and is one of the most spectacular performance venues in San Francisco! Shows are this Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm, but come early for a good spot and enjoy our 15-minute Green Show at 1:30 pm. The Shakes-Bears’ Picnic is a lively and informative introduction to the main-stage show that’s fun for all ages.

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/09/beautiful-weekend-ahead-enjoy-garden-district-tour-shakespeare/

Sep 15

Would You Like To Get Involved In Beautifying The Portola?

This Friday stop by the neighborhood Brewery to share a beer and your ideas on how to green and beautify the Portola. Several community groups from the neighborhood will be there to share what they are working on and provide an opportunity for interested neighbors to learn more about the missions of each group. This is an informal social event that will provide a fun opportunity to meet neighbors active in the community, share your ideas and perhaps join the effort to green and improve our community.

Groups in attendance with a cold brew in hand:

  • The Green House Project
  • SF Bee Cause
  • Goettingen Neighbors Group
  • Portola Urban Greening
  • Portola Neighborhood Association
  • Help McLaren Park


Event will be this Friday (9/16) from 6pm-7:30pm @ F.D.R. Brewery, 2636 San Bruno Ave.



Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/09/like-get-involved-beautifying-portola/

Sep 09

Kid’s Festival & Guac-Off This Saturday!

Looking for something to do locally after a holiday weekend away? We have two events in and near the neighborhood for you to check out this weekend. Saturday is the annual “Guac-Off” over in Bernal. It’s not in the Portola but it’s hosted and created by our very own Luke Spray, the Corridor Manager for San Bruno Ave.  It’s also co-sponsored by our neighborhood brewery, F.D.R. sot there will be plenty of Portola representation.   Expect LOTS of guac that you can sample and awards for he best will be determined by popular vote.  If you have your own recipe that you would like to enter, bring it along but beware, there may be a run on avocados tonight in S.F. judging from the growing size of the event.  See the flyer below or visit the website here for more details.


Also on Saturday we have another fun & free event at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, the 4th Annual Kid’s Festival.  The event will include live music, story telling, magic and plenty more.  The “Not Its” are also headlining the event with their musical act.  From what I gather from all of Chuck & Trilce’s emails (Organizers from Help McLaren Park), the Not-Its are kind of big deal in the children’s music world….I’ll take they word on that one.  But for all the Portola families out there, this sounds like a great way to stay local and wear the kids out so that you can have a quite Saturday night.  More information on the flyer below


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/09/kids-festival-guac-off-saturday/

Aug 26

Acoustic Soul Fest This Saturday at the Amphitheater

More events are coming to the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater this summer with the Saturdays in the Park Concert Series.  Starting last Saturday (sorry, we missed one here at the Planet) and continuing through October with a total of six events.  This Saturday, August 27th, is the Acoustic Soul Fest featuring McLaren Park neighbor, Martin Luther McCoy and his R&B review.  In addition to Martin, the show features performances by DJ Jahi Sundance, Kev Choice, Three Bell and special guest Sol Development.  The event kicks off at 1pm and goes until 4.

Soul Fest V2 Image


Can’t make this weekend’s show?  Here is a list of upcoming dates and performances from The Friends of the AMP:

September 10 – The 4th Annual Kid’s’ Festival – Featuring The Not-Its, JAM with Charity Kahn, Tree Frog Treks, nature programs, The Exploratorium, magic show with Magician Mike Della Penna and “On the Move” Children’s’ Storytelling Theater, There will be 4 Hours (11am- 3pm) of art, music, magic, science, hikes and dance and much more. Fun for the whole family to enjoy.


October 8 – Let the Good Times Rock’n Roll Show! Four virtuoso bands of great musicians will take you on a three and a half hour ride of dance and sing-along music when we welcome Cocker Power –A Joe Cocker Tribute Band, Rock Candy with Lindsey Boullt, Lost Comet with Sharon Pucci and Big Rain– a Rockin’ Country and Blues group.


October 15 – In mid-October we welcome back, by popular demand, a non-stop three hours of new and traditional tunes sung and played by several of our local troubadours at The Bluegrass Festival. The Bluegrass Festival is a non-stop afternoon of new and traditional tunes sung and played by the Back Porch Band, The Beauty Operators String Band, Canyon Johnson and the Windy Hill Bluegrass Band.


October 22 – The Blues Show – our season finale concert once again offers a great lineup of local bay area blues performers, including the dynamic Tia Carroll and Bobbie “Spider” Webb, the Saturday in the Park House Band and special guests. This final show also celebrates the 45th anniversary of the Amphitheater with the annual Saturday in the Park Amphitheater Birthday Party.

 Click on over to youtube to enjoy a little sampler of past Saturday in Park concerts here!



Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/08/acoustic-soul-fest-saturday-amphitheater/

Aug 18

Weekend Photo Roundup, Jerry & Drag!

Wow, what a weekend!  I’m clearly a bit biased when it comes to my enthusiasm for this community but even I was surprised by the turnout we saw at both Jerry Day and Drag Queen Bingo.  Two very different but completely San Francisco events that take place right here in our little neighborhood.

Jerry Day 2016 - Photo by Bob Minkin Photography via Facebook. Minkinphotography.com

Jerry Day 2016 – Photo by Bob Minkin Photography via Facebook. Minkinphotography.com

Jerry Day was on Sunday and if you missed it, there was another record crowd.  Live performances were given by Melvin Seals & JGB, Midnight North and Stu Allen & Mars Hotel.  The crowds overflowed into the park with event goers dancing the afternoon away.

Photo by Bob Minkin Photography

Photo by Bob Minkin Photography

Photo by Bob Minkin Photography

Photo by Bob Minkin Photography

The Portola Neighborhood Association hosted the 3rd annual Drag Queen Bingo event last Thursday to another record crowd.  Every year the attendance seems to double with this year’s event attracting over 150 guest and over 30 Drag Queens & Kings of all ages.  Prizes ranging from homemade cheesecakes to Sephora gift certificates were awarded to winners but the biggest prize of the night went to the P.N.A. who raised over $2,000!  No plans for the funds yet but it will go to support the group which is responsible for such projects as the new mural that just went up on the side of Breakfast At Tiffany’s (more on that in another post.)


Drag Queen Bingo 2016 at El Toro Night Club on San Bruno Ave.

Drag Queen Bingo 2016 at El Toro Night Club on San Bruno Ave.

You had to get past this lady to get in the door...

You had to get past this lady to get in the door…


The delicious Paella was made by our neighbor Arthur Koch and sold out in less than an hour!

The delicious Paella was made by our neighbor Arthur Koch and sold out in less than an hour!



If you missed either event, there is always next year!

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/08/weekend-photo-roundup-jerry-drag/

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