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.

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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.



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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


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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!



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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.

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

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!

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Aug 09

Party In The Portola: Drag Queen Bingo & Jerry Day!


Two of our neighborhood’s most popular events fall in the same week this year. Starting Thursday night at El Toro Night Club, it’s the 3rd Annual Drag Queen Bingo. There will be drinks, prizes, homemade Paella, local art and of course fabulous Drag Queen hosts.  Guests that arrive in Drag, costumes or festive attire get a free Bingo card so let your freak flag fly Portola!  Proceeds support the P.N.A. and more information can be found here.


On Sunday, trade in your wigs and stilettos for a tie-dye t-shirt and a splash of patchouli oil.  Then head over to McLaren Park’s Jerry Garcia Amphitheater for the annual Jerry Day celebration.  The event opens at 11:00 a.m. and the various music acts run into the afternoon.  Get there early for a good spot, last year’s event attracted several thousand guests and it grows steadily every year.  More information on the event here.



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Aug 03

Portola’s Own KALW Radio Turns 75


Did you know the Portola is home to the oldest FM radio station west of the Mississippi? Well it is and KALW is celebrating its 75th birthday tomorrow. The Chronicle has a very interesting write up on the history of the station as well as its current success in a changing media world.   Tune in and help NPR  affiliated KALW celebrate as it continues its long-standing mission of bringing innovative local programming to the people.

Read the full article here: SF Chronicle

Visit the KALW website with live streaming and podcasts here:

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Jun 02

Neighbor Featured On KQED’s “Perspectives”


If you are a KQED listener – which I believe by San Francsico law we are all required to be – you may have heard a perspective the other week by our neighbor Ren Volpe. Her perspective entitled, “Public Space Is…Public,” is a nice reminder to all of us in this increasingly congested city, that perhaps it’s time we all just chill the “F” out a bit.  Okay, so maybe she didn’t say it quite like that, but I think her message about coexisting in an increasingly tight space was well made and very apropos to the growing tension in this city.  Even here in the neighborhood that nobody knows about, new residents and businesses are moving in and with that comes less space to spread out.  While change such as freshly painted houses, park improvements and Breweries are welcome by most, the trade-off appears to be less street parking and more packed buses.  But as Ren suggests, living in an urban area is about sharing our common spaces and sometimes we all need a little reminder that the park, road, bus or sidewalk belongs to all of us.   I’ll try to remember that and remain cool next time I find myself sharing the sidewalk with someone else’s parked car.

You can read Ren’s thoughtful piece and listen to it in her own words at the KQED website: CLICK HERE

Hat tip to Elisa for recognizing our neighbor on the radio.


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