Chase Center to open for Warriors' final games / JFK Drive debate heats up

It's Thursday, April 8th.

Good evening, San Francisco. 

Live indoor events (like concerts, plays, and sports) can officially resume a week from today on April 15, Mayor Breed announced on Thursday. 

“San Francisco just isn't the same without live events, and I'm excited they'll soon be able to return with capacity limits and safety precautions in place,” Breed said on Twitter. 

Moments before Breed’s tweet, the Warriors issued a statement of their own saying that starting on April 23, the Chase Center will open at 35% capacity for the team’s nine remaining home games. Similar to the protocol at the Giants’ stadium, fans will be required to either show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test taken within the past 48 hours. 

Every day, it seems, we are getting news that restaurants, bars, museums, etc. are opening back up. It’s great and gets me thinking about what our city is going to look like in the next 6 months or so. 

That’s part of the reason why I was excited to see that Manny Yekutiel of Manny’s in the Mission is hosting an upcoming, four-part speaker series that digs into the future of politics, art, work, and transportation in San Francisco. 

These talks, of course, won’t solve the problems our city faces, but it’s good to get the ideas and energy flowing. 

The first event on April 15, entitled “Is San Francisco Becoming a Caricature of Itself?,” will feature a conversation between two of the best reporters in the city, Heather Knight of the Chronicle and Joe Eskenazi from Mission Local. Tickets, which include dinner, are on sale here. Much cheaper tickets are available as well if you just wanted to Zoom-in. 

And with that, onto some news… 

Speaking of Heather Knight, she wrote a good piece on Wednesday about the building tension between those who want to keep the main drag of Golden Gate Park (JFK Drive) closed to car traffic and those who want it opened back up. Apparently, conversations about what to do with JFK Dr. have been taking place since 1967, when a stretch of it was first sectioned off to cars on certain days. 

Museum officials have long said a permanent closure would hurt their visitor numbers. But this time around, Supervisors Shamann Walton and Ahsha Safaí argue that doing so would also cut off access to residents who don’t live near the park, like in the Bayview and Mission, because parking would be more limited. Also, they say, it could disproportionately impact people of color. 

“A lot of the folks in my district — working families, Black, Latino, others — aren’t able to get their entire family over there other than by a car, and everyone needs to have a seat at the table,” Supervisor Safaí said.

Supervisor Walton told Knight that closing JFK to cars was “segregationist,” though he said he hadn’t visited the park during the pandemic himself to see the parking situation. 

David Miles Jr., who runs the Church of 8 Wheels and has been skating in Golden Gate Park since 1979, referred to the supervisors’ argument as “gaslighting.” “People here are from every walk of life,” Miles said. “But of course if you’ve never been here, you don’t know that.”

As it stands, the car ban on JFK Drive is set to expire 120 days after the current health order is lifted unless city officials take action otherwise. 

Quick bits:

  • 🏠 Mayor Breed has named Shireen McSpadden as the city’s newest director for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, which oversees a roughly $600 million budget and supports the city’s more than 8,000 homeless residents. The department was created in 2016 by Mayor Ed Lee and had been without a permanent lead since early last year. (Examiner

  • 😔 A noose was found hanging from the balcony of a University of San Francisco dorm late last month. USF’s Black Student Union president wrote a list of demands to the school in response to the situation, including a call for the student’s name to be made public. University officials said the student’s identity would not be revealed due, in part, to privacy protections. (Chronicle

  • 🚴 The SFMTA board approved four additional “Slow Street” corridors this week in the Inner Sunset, SOMA, Western Addition, and Sunnyside neighborhoods. (SFBay

  • ⚾ The Giants and A’s both won their respective games last night in the 10th inning. The Giants beat the Padres to move to 3-3 on the season, and the A’s beat the Dodgers to get their first win in 2021. They currently sit at 1-6 on the season. (ESPN

And finally… Yesterday, I spoke with Kevin Seaman, an artist in the city whose work focuses on queer identity and drag culture, about what the pandemic has been like for them and the broader arts community in San Francisco. 

You might know Seaman by their drag name—LOL McFiercen. But after getting burned out from Zoom performances last year, Seaman turned their attention elsewhere, like to their photography and a speaker series that they just launched on Wednesday called MASCellaneous

“The idea of these workshops is just to offer a space for people who are looking to expand their understanding of queer masculinities or they’re looking to investigate their own relationship with gender or they’re not even sure what their question is but they know they want to ask something,” Seaman said. 

Seaman’s also a video maker and in June, his work will be featured atop the Salesforce Tower for the whole city to see from midnight to 1 am. “They’ll definitely be some drag representation in one form or another,” they said. 

As for the state of the arts community in the city over these past 12 months, Seaman admitted it was a complicated question. But they did say San Francisco has “always been and will always be” an artistic place. That’s because, they said, “there's so much about identity and resistance that is infused into the culture of this city that we will never not be an artistic city… It’s who we are.” 

I also liked what Seaman had to say about “cultural participation” once San Francisco fully opens up again. 

“As we start moving towards a post-Covid world, I want to see… more support for your local neighborhood coffee shop that hosts an open mic night,” Seaman said. “I really want to see people participate in stuff they've never done before, like taking chances and saying yes to things.” 

That’s all for today! Thanks for reading y’all and if you haven’t told your friends yet about The SF Minute, maybe consider taking a chance and sending them a link 😉 .

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See ya tomorrow! - Nick B. 

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