Category Archives: Art

GIRLFY in the gardens again!

This year’s GIRLFLY poses on the Quesada Gardens’ Tiled Steps located at the Newhall end of Quesada Avenue

Photo by Megan Lowe

Have you seen young women dancing in the Quesada or Bridgeview gardens? It’s that time again! GIRLFLY is creating a site specific dance and studying writing as activism here in our neighborhood during July. You may see them practicing in the gardens, Tuesdays through Fridays.GIRLFLY and Quesada Gardens have been collaborating since 2013.

GIRLFLY brings neighborhood and neighboring teen girls to the gardens to make site specific dances, to learn from the community building that has gone on here, and to deepen the neighbor to neighbor activism that has blossomed here along with the gardens.  Our long time ally and partner Jeffrey Betcher has been front and center in making this partnership a success.

This year we are making dances that explore both diversity and support in and around the Bridgeview Garden, on the long tile steps at the Newhall end of Quesada, and in locations on the Quesada Gardens’ median.  We are also enacting a writing-as-activism project led by SF State ethnic studies professor and QG neighbor Wei Ming Dariotis.

We have 19 girls ready to dance and make a difference. Come see their performances in the gardens on July 29th at noon and two PM.

Pokeman Go gamers discovering Bayview


By Wei Ming Dariotis

Zubats! Goldeen! And Pidgeys, oh my!

Visitors to Quesada Gardens may now be coming not just to smell flowers and look at beautiful murals, but to catch Squirtles, Pidgeys, Zubats, and a few Sycthers — or, the latest craze: Pokémon Go, a mobile app update of the Nintendo game classic. In just a few short weeks, Pokémon Go has become a global phenomenon, enticing adults as well as teenagers and kids to get outside and explore.

What I find most exciting about playing the game is the feeling of being on a scavenger hunt. It makes you feel like you are on an adventure. It is a game that encourages communal playing, and social groups of co-workers and friends, and even families, are organizing PokéWalks to PokéStops and PokéGyms.

Pokémon Go has reshaped players’ relationships with the urban landscape. Bayview, like the Mission, provides an important cluster of PokéStops, many of which are places of artistry, like our community murals or Founders’ Memorial. These are often places that might be passed by, or are located in obscure locations. But, as they are marked on the PokéMaps people follow on their phones, these places are made more visible.

Both the Quesada Gardens’ Community Mural, at the Quesada turnaround, and the “Bayview Is…” Mural on Newhall just under the Bridgeview Garden are PokéStops. At a PokéStop, players can collect items like PokéBalls, which are used to capture or collect the seemingly infinite variety of creatures. (Pokémon is short for “pocket monster.”)

In a form of augmented reality, players can see the Pokémon superimposed on their lived environment through their phones’ cameras. It can be quite exciting to see the fish-like Goldeen gently waving its fins among the flowers you can see in front of you in real life, or the Pidgey jumping up and down on the hood of your car (while you are safely parked, of course!). It blurs the line between the virtual and the real. Using GPS, the game tracks players and gives bonuses — like specially hatched eggs — to those who make the effort to walk. (Driving or riding a bike does not unlock the Pokémon eggs.)

Not only can players collect important items at PokéStops, or battle other Pokémon at PokéGyms, but they can also find specific types of Pokémon in environments that draw that particular variety. For example, Ocean Beach is the place to go for water-type Pokémon. This aspect of the game has encouraged notoriously neighborhood-bound San Franciscans to venture forth beyond neighborhood boundaries in order to collect a wider variety of Pokémon. (There are over 150 in Pokémon Go and hundreds more in other iterations of the game.)

After less than a month of being active, Pokémon Go already has more users in the United States than Twitter. The Pokémon world includes card games, collectible stickers (in gum packets), television series, movies, and video games for various gaming platforms (handheld, console, arcade, etc.), as well as stuffed animals and other toys, but Pokémon Go is already the most successful version of the franchise. It is so revolutionary that it will reframe how video game apps will be developed from now on, and it may just pave the way for other forms of interactive, place-based entertainment.

Innovative traffic-calming at Quesada Gardens

Images by Shane King

John and friend

Shane King lives on the upper side of Quesada Avenue, which has a speed limit of 15 MPH, and he’s tired of seeing and hearing cars whiz by his house.

A speed bump was installed, to little avail. So King, Co-Chair of Quesada Gardens Initiative, brought up the idea of traffic calming cutouts shaped like local children and pets. He thought that putting up cutouts of the people and pets who actually live on the block might make speeders think about who lives here. Maybe they will slow down.

“I thought of this solution for three reasons,” King said “It’s a reminder that speed limit is 15 MPH on the street, it’s a way to show speeders who’s lives they are risking, and it is a way to show all the kids on the street they are honored members of our community.”

kids cutoutsThere are nine kids under ten on the 1700 block of Quesada. The cutouts should be finished and placed by mid-August. They will be placed in the garden in view of drivers.

If you have an idea for our community and would like to get involved, Quesada Gardens Initiative welcomes you to join us at our community building meetings the first Thursday of each month at 6pm. All community members are welcome.


Mary Booker honored

Mary Booker (holding flowers) with organizers of an event honoring her. Photo: Patricia Winston
Mary Booker (holding flowers) with organizers of an event honoring her. Photo: Patricia Winston

The contributions and accomplishments of one of Bayview’s hardest working change-makers were celebrated at Providence Church and Foundation last month when friends packed the large community room to surprise Mary L. Booker with some well-deserved love.

Mary is a respected writer and performer who over the years has lent her talents to causes she is passionate about, from Civil Rights and social justice to youth development and arts education.  Her plays have been performed by community members at the Bayview Opera House as part of Infinity Productions.  Her voice has lifted and her feet have stomped countless times while speaking her poetry in meeting halls throughout and beyond the neighborhood.

Footprints thanks Mary for a lifetime of community service, for keeping the fires of Bayview’s arts community stoked, and for continuing to make us proud that we can call her “neighbor.”

We also thank her for sending a couple poems along with permission to publish them!  We are honored to share “Holding Signs” and “A Moment of Silence.”

Foo Fighters bounce off San Bruno Mountain

Foo-Fighters-Dreamforce-Gala croppedJeffrey Betcher rolled out of bed and into a snarky mood this morning:

Why anyone would pay $500 or more to go to last night’s SalesForce concert is beyond me.  You could hear every word and drum beat just fine several miles away, for free.

At my @QuesadaGardens home, I stepped outside to find out which neighbor across the street had not invited me to their raucous party.  Turned out, of course, the party I wasn’t invited to was a neighborhood away at Pier 70, and the folks who actually live or work around here weren’t there.

No problem, that, if you don’t mind the cheap seats.  The sound quality was pretty good, compromised only by the echo off San Bruno Mountain.

We locals won’t complain. We’ve come to understand that urban developers like those who green-lighted the event know what’s best for us, and that anything the Benioff’s bless gets a pass.

But this event is worth comment if only for where it was, and for the fact that huge names in entertainment crept south of the ballpark, stamping as “officially discovered” the neighborhoods that once made visitors’ palms sweat from fear.

I hope @DaveGrohl and his @FooFighters got a chance to visit places like Quesada Gardens while they were around for their gig. They would have met folks just as nice as the conference-goers staying on the @DreamForce cruise ship.  And later they could say they experienced the streets of Southeast San Francisco before they were turned over to frat-like funsters relying on their smartphones to know where they are.

Really Mr. Grohl, if your driver took you down 3rd Street to get out of town after the concert, and if you glanced out the window, you can say you saw a cool neighborhood before it became indistinguishable from other quads of the San Francisco campus.

There’s no stopping the cookiecuttersmartgrowthparkletbulboutdoublepanedwindowstuccoloftification of urban America.  But who would want it stopped, especially when the sound track just got so good?

3rd Street Playhouse is new force in community theater

Phil Surtees
Phil Surtees performs at Elton John at Piano Fight tonight at 9, a benefit for 3rd Street Playhouse.

If community theater in Bayview were a character, that character would be smart, fun, community-connected and nimble enough to show up at sites from the Shipyard to the Opera House, Zaccho or the street you live on (if not hanging from a wire above your head).

Hey, that sounds a bit like Amy Crumpacker and the 3rd Street Playhouse she is part of!

3rd Street Playhouse is a group of community-minded performers who describe their collective self as “a floating theater of community for SF’s District 10 and the Bay Area.”  You can catch the Playhouse floating nearby tonight at 9pm at Piano Fight for your fix of Elton.

Bayview Footprints is proud to be a community communications partner of 3rd Street Playhouse.  We will bring you updates about their artful antics as they unfold.  For now, consider the talent of just two Playhouse leaders with deep Bayview connections:

Zack Collier is a young writer and comedic actor from DC, who has been a resident of the Bayview for the last 5 years.  He’s been a part of the Not Your Grammy’s Theater, as actor and tech support, and has been writing youth plays for the 3rd on Third events for the Bayview Opera House.

Amy Crumpacker is a theatre artist who acts, directs, writes and teaches. She has been seen on stages from Seattle to Los Angeles.  Amy is also a voice over artist and a properties designer (currently for NCTC and Playground Sf’s 2015 Festival at Thick House).  She is the artistic team leader for the 3rd Street Playhouse.

On October 17th and 18th, meet Amy at her studio (Hunters Point Shipyards, Bldg. 110, Studio 206) when she displays some of her favorite theatre creations: Difficulty with an Object: A Confluence of Performance and Design.

See more about 3rd Street Playhouse and the community-minded artists behind it

Tile staircase another destination point attraction at Quesada Gardens

Stairs in progress with Scott 6-19-2015 webv
Scott has been doing tile installation since the ’70’s. The work that Scott and his colleagues Noe and Rosheddy have done at Quesada Gardens earned them lots of friends in the area. Photo: Footprints

The completion of a public gathering space project at Quesada Gardens in Bayview that began in 2006 will be celebrated as part of a block festival called “JUST LOVE on the block” scheduled for Saturday October 3rd.

Professionals from SF Department of Public Works – Scott, Noe and Rosheddy – recently installed nearly 600 ceramic tiles on a long cement staircase located at the end of a cul de sac on Quesada Avenue between 3rd Street and Newhall.

Boxes of tiles had been stacked in a Quesada Gardens member’s garage for the past seven years as the group struggled to find funds to complete the project. The staircase connects a large mural by Diedre DeFranceaux with Santie Huckaby, finished in 2007, to a landscaped vista designed by Steve Aiello that was dedicated to Quesada Gardens’ founders by Mayor Gavin Newsom.

While the community has been improving and using the public spaces where the staircase is located for many years, the completion of the staircase tilework brings the destination point project to life in a new way.  It also records the view neighborhood children had of their neighborhood in 2007, expressed through drawings on tile.

Those bright tiles are now on the risers between each of 80 steps, years after they were created by Bayview children who participated in an environmental education program orchestrated by Heidi Hardin of Think Round Inc.  Bayview children participating in the project were in neighborhood schools at the time: Dr. George Washington Carver Academic Elementary School, Malcolm X Academy, Thurgood Marshall High School and Visitation Valley Middle School.

In addition to Heidi, participating artists were Mauricia Gandara, Pernilla Persons, Izzbelle Graezer and Suzanne Couture.

The overall project initially was funded by a grant from the SF Community Challenge Grant program. The recent tile work was made possible in part by a gift of DPW labor facilitated by Supervisor Malia Cohen. The neighborhood group, Quesada Gardens Initiative, raised money through product sales to purchase commercial tiles at Latch Tile, a nearby independent business, to complement the tiles created by neighborhood children.