Mia Sullivan

Green shopping guide: 8 shops to jump-start your spring garden

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You can turn your slice of this concrete jungle into jungle, with a bit of elbow grease and ingenuity. Oh, and resources might help, too. Whether you're looking to build a succulent-laden sanctuary, an extensive drip irrigation system, or a simple window box, our local gardening centers and shops have you covered. Come for the enthusiastic and knowledgeable staffs, quirky clientele, and a chance to momentarily forget you live in a hectic city.

Flora Grubb Gardens

For those of us who like our plants and gardening implements flawlessly presented to us, Flora Grubb’s where it’s at. A gardening virgin won't escape this place without picking up something beautiful and fertile. Read more »

Peter Whitehead manipulates strange and beautiful sounds using unlikely materials

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“When I hear instrumental music, I often see how it’s designed – the movement of the different shapes in space; the changing of colors,” says Peter Whitehead, a San Francisco-based musician-visual artist who makes instruments out of found materials and visual art that represents his world of sound. Read more »

7 spots for wine and wi-fi

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Are those cubicle walls closing in? For those of us who prefer to pair our work with a side of wine, here are some places to consider retreating to when the office begins to feel stale.

The Grove

Curl up in a comfy chair or communal wooden bench with a glass of red wine at one of this quaint café’s three locations, and you won’t want to leave. 

Mon.-Thu. 7 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri. 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-11:30 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-11 p.m. 2016 Fillmore, SF. (415) 474-1419 Read more »

Moment of Zen

Pioneering musician Laurie Anderson on meditation, art, and human contact

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC When I spoke with art legend-cult hero Laurie Anderson — known for her experimental music involving invented instruments and poetry — her soothing manner caught me off guard. She's critical, yet positive; accomplished, yet humble. She's also somewhat of a Zen goddess (although she'd probably dislike that tag).Read more »

Outerlands: Serving sunshine by the seashore

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Speaking with surfing-baking co-owner Dave Mueller about the Outer Sunset hotspot

I’m on the southeast corner of Judah Street and 45th Avenue—roughly five blocks from the cold, churning sea—on a bright winter morning. Outerlands will open for lunch in an hour, and the restaurant’s chef and a couple of employees are swiftly making preparations. Dave Muller offers me a cappuccino, which he whips up seamlessly, and asks if we can chat outside in the sun.

Muller co-owns this cozy Outer Sunset eating space known for its savory soups and sandwiches, handcrafted bread, and earthy atmosphere with his wife, Lana Porcello. Muller and Porcello had teamed up on visual art and music projects before Outerlands, but Muller calls the restaurant their most 50/50 artistic collaboration.

Noticing a need for food in this remote San Francisco neighborhood pressed up against the Pacific, Muller and Porcello set out in 2008 to design and build a soup kitchen of sorts. “We planned on serving a few soups a day and fresh-baked bread,” Muller says, smiling. “Simple.”

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5 bathrooms we'd consider renting

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In a city with so many artistically adept individuals, perhaps it’s only natural for great design to extend to the toilet. Here’s a list of five bathrooms around town you’ll want to squat in for a while.

Viracocha

Viracocha’s bathroom pretty much has everything you need for long-term survival -- a Victorian shower, the most comfortable chair of your life, interesting art, beautiful flowers, and there’s a kitchen right outside the door. Yeah, this place is definitely nicer than our apartment. 

998 Valencia, SF. www.viracochasf.com Read more »

Snap Sounds: Islands

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ISLANDS
A SLEEP & A FORGETTING

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Nick Thorburn started constructing A Sleep & A Forgetting alone, on a piano, while processing a painful breakup. His soul-exposing lyrics carry questions and incredulity. Although there aren't many uplifting spots in here — literally every song is sad — his voice oscillates between sunny and depressive, heartfelt and sardonic. Quite a conceptual turn from Islands' last album, Vapours, which featured upbeat, carefree love songs. Read more »

Noise Pop Photo Retrospective, with Plastic Villains and Cool Ghouls

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The 20th anniversary of Noise Pop is oh-so-close to upon us. In celebration and commemoration of how far the festival has come, and of the musicians who’ve made Noise Pop a much-anticipated Bay Area tradition, Bottom of the Hill will be hosting a retrospective photo gallery. The exhibit's opening reception takes place Tues/7 from 6 to 9 p.m. and is free to the public. Read more »