Plans of Action for Vesuvio:
We have many ideas to further integrate Vesuvio into the San Francisco community. We also want to welcome and increase the diverse populations of locals and tourists from around the world that interact with Vesuvio both in person and virtually. Our ideas include the promotion of safety measures; preservation precautions; the pursuit of different heritage and historical statuses; a greater use of technology for advertisement, economic and artistic prosperity; and the “digital preservation” of the bar. We hope that these ideas introduce unacquainted residents of San Francisco and the world to Vesuvio, connect them to the bar’s history and future projects, maintain established community events, and inspire more to come.
In the short term, or the next five years, our aims for Vesuvio are to engage the local and tourist public, utilize technology for both publicity as well as documentation, and ensure safety at the bar.
This means that Vesuvio should continue current events they host such as “Art in The Alley,” “Jazz in the Alley,” and “A Fair to Remember” and their ongoing art shows, which reach out to the broader San Francisco community. Our team proposes to introduce a new event, a “Caption Contest,” that encourages the community to interact with the artwork at Vesuvio on an ongoing basis.
Some of our more engaging ideas involve the implementation of technology and social media. One way to use these tools is with an advertisement and networking campaign that integrates the bar’s re-designed website and Facebook page into a more widely accessible, user-friendly format. Published updates would be for Vesuvio’s hosted art exhibitions in order to increase exposure of the showings; reach out to interested artists and patrons, spread the word about other Vesuvio happenings like World Cup screenings, fundraisers, and all-age, community events; give some contextual information about the bar’s history; and provide a place where patrons can interact with and comment on their favorite aspects of this long-time hangout. We suggest these events be photographed both for documentation purposes and as reference to enrich other new media as it becomes available.
Another ongoing project is the development of a new-and-improved website as the current one is out of date. This interactive space will also demonstrate another technological endeavor, the GigaPan documentation project that came about in collaboration with Professor Michael Ashley’s Spring 2011 Digital Documentation and Representation of Cultural Heritage class at the University of California at Berkeley. The GigaPan software captures high-definition, panoramic photographs that can be made available online as well as embedded into other media formats. The main benefit of this technology is that it allows the viewer to zoom in extremely close on specific elements of the scene, which reveal images usually hidden in a standard digital photograph. This feature is particularly valuable to us as anthropologists because we would like to use this technology on Vesuvio’s re-designed website to document the bar’s tangible heritage such as its artwork and specialty drinks, in addition to providing other intangible, anecdotal information such as stories behind the origins of a drink or the history behind a work of art. Shots were taken of the mural on Vesuvio’s exterior wall in Jack Kerouac Alley, the view inside looking down over the bar from the balcony, and the entire bar area on the main floor (see image and link below). For other examples of the projects Ashley and his group produced, see their image gallery on the GigaPan website. To view some behind-the-scenes photos of how the class made this magic happen, go to their Flickr account that documents all of their hard work.
We also recommend increased planning and safety measures be designed and taught to the staff in the event that there should be an emergency. Specifically, crucial tools such as an earthquake-preparedness kit is highly advisable.
It is also suggested that Vesuvio continue in its pursuit to be environmentally friendly. Currently, all glass, cardboard, paper, and plastic bags are recycled, energy-efficient lighting is utilized where possible, low-flow toilets have been installed, and “Eco Friendly Cocktails” are offered that include organic wine, vodka and sake.
Medium and Long Term
For our Medium-Range Plan (to happen over the next 5-10 years) we suggest that Vesuvio apply to become a San Francisco Local Landmark by working to implement the requirements of the the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board that ultimately would decide their case. Two features that are in Vesuvio’s favor are its connections to crucial figures of the Beat Movement, and its unique lighting fixture – the last gas-lit chandelier in the city – that ultimately could be the deciding factors in this campaign. Once landmark status is established, Vesuvio would then be designated an official Historic Structure, so it is recommended that Vesuvio investigate TPS Tax incentives for preservation that it would then be eligible for in order to maintain the integrity of the building.
We hope that this time period past traditions of the bar are also revived, such as “The Bartender’s Bike Race,” which in days past was a popular event on which even the local paper looked forward to reporting.
In the long term, we hope to find ways that Vesuvio can expand the public’s exposure to its art showings by incorporating a larger, more diverse quantity of work that requires a larger amount of space than Vesuvio can currently offer. After years of building a base of art enthusiasts through the social networking and other online projects we recommend, we propose a collaborative project with Cookhouse, Vesuvio’s upstairs neighbors. Cookhouse is both a location for dinner parties and a unique catering service that occupies the top-floor loft space of the building. Vesuvio could host art openings in the bar downstairs while simultaneously using the loft as a “spill-over” room for the opening’s guests as well as extra space in which to display pieces that do not fit in the bar itself. The art could then be left in the loft to be viewable during upcoming Cookhouse events. This would expand the potential sales market for the artist and add an interesting aesthetic to the room for the guests of the catered event.
There are also hopes for a Vesuvio Museum, where the documented artwork from the Bancroft Library as well as sample art pieces could be hosted.
Finally, we suggest that the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) transportation system, which is the main public transport for most of the Bay Area, be expanded into the North Beach neighborhood as it does not currently function in that part of the city. Personal vehicles and Muni (San Francisco Municipal Railway) buses are presently the only ways (other than by walking) to get to the area. Buses are widely accessible and several stop on the same block as Vesuvio, but they often require several transfers from other bus routes. It would be easier for most people (both visitors and locals) if the BART system that originates downtown, could provide a direct link to North Beach. The city’s famous cable cars do intersect parts of the neighborhood and are another option for transportation, but the routes do not pass by Vesuvio directly and require some neighborhood navigation that might intimidate a tourist unfamiliar San Francisco streets. Parking is restrictive at best for those who wish to drive into North Beach and only street parking is available near the bar with little prospects for any more space to be allotted for parking lots or garages as the densely populated area lacks the space needed for such projects. We therefore prefer to focus on public transit, which would also be the more environmentally friendly direction to take.
Interview in February, 2011 about the cultural heritage of the bar. Part 1.
Interview in February, 2011 about the cultural heritage of the bar. Part 2.
Crowd Listening to Mussolini Speak
A Quiet Night at Vesuvio
For Customers Barred From Vesuvio
The Former Walls of Vesuvio
Bohemia’s Last Stand
The Outside of Vesuvio in Days Past
Another Look at Vesuvio in Days Long Gone
Bartenders and Waitresses at Vesuvio
A Bike in the Bar
Rallying the Troops
Don’t Bother Your Bartender!
Lenoir Looking Sharp
Vesuvio Ready for its Advertising Debut
Saloon Keepers Bicycle Race
Saloon Keepers Bicycle Race Begins
Winners of Saloon Keepers Bicycle Race
Henri Lenoir and Vesuvio
A Bartender at Work in Vesuvio
The Social Scene
Lenoir and a Waitress at Vesuvio
“Where the Neater Beats Meet to Bleat”
Artwork on the Walls
Bob Dylan at Vesuvio
Mural on City Lights Books
Come on in!
Beware Pickpockets and Loose Women!
Interior Wall Artwork
A short film about the different types of cultural heritage of one of San Francisco’s gems in historic North Beach, and why it deserves a little more recognition and acclamation.
A little footage documenting one of the all-ages community events sponsored by Vesuvio in Jack Kerouac Alley.
In determining the significance of Alcatraz Island, the island’s different values must be taken into account. Alcatraz Island has restitutive, cultural, economic, environmental, historical, social and spiritual values. It represents a pivotal moment for the Native American movement and also has considerable historic value as a former Military Fortress and as a Federal Penitentiary.
The environmental values of Alcatraz include unique geological formations, rare birds, and an abundance of plants. The flora on Alcatraz have significant value because they were introduced to the island and cultivated for decades.
Social, Spiritual and Symbolic Values
Since Alcatraz has a significant amount of history, it also has a significant amount of social, spiritual and symbolic value. For Native Americans the island stands as a symbol of Native American activism and to them it always has been and always will be “Indian Land”. With the advent of the “Unthanksgiving” ceremony, Alcatraz Island has also become a place with spiritual values. The island’s social values pertain to anyone who has had a relationship to the island, for example prisoners, prison guards and their families during the island’s time as a federal penitentiary.
By realizing the overall significance of Alcatraz Island, the National Park Service has created a well thought-out and comprehensive management plan that helps to preserve the island’s values and minimize the threats to the site. The aim of this management plan has been to conserve and protect the island’s significance and to make it available for future generations to appreciate. Nevertheless, the National Park Service should place more emphasis on the period (1969-1971) when it was occupied by Native Americans.
View of SF from Alcatraz
By Julia Frers-Karno
Alcatraz: A Brief History
18,000 years ago, at the end of the last glacial period, Alcatraz was a sandstone hill at the entrance to a valley. As the ice melted, the Pacific Ocean rose and the valley filled with seawater to become San Francisco Bay, while the hill became an island. According to the National Park Service, Native Americans have lived in the San Francisco Bay area for over 10,000 years. The two native groups that inhabited the area when the Spanish arrived in the late 18th Century were the Miwok and the Ohlone. The Miwok lived to the North of the Golden Gate, while the Ohlone lived to the South and the East.
Little is known about Alcatraz from the pre-contact period: based on oral histories it appears that local tribes gathered bird eggs there, and also used it as a place of banishment.
Alcatraz lighthouse was the first to be established on the west coast of the United States, and began operating in 1854. It was damaged during the 1906 earthquake, and replaced with a new lighthouse in 1909.
The commanders of the garrisons at Fort Point and the Presidio realized that Alcatraz would be a convenient place to send their worst offenders, and in 1861 it became a military prison.
Expansion of Prison
Beginning in 1909 the army demolished the original fort and replaced it with a huge prison complex which, when completed in 1912, was the largest reinforced concrete building in the world.
Because of the prison’s high maintenance costs, the Army handed it over in 1933 to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which turned it into a maximum-security federal penitentiary. During this time it housed some of the country’s most notorious criminals. Eventually, like the Army, the FBP decided that the prison was too expensive to maintain, and closed it in 1963. The island was now declared surplus federal property.
On March 9, 1964, five Sioux Indians occupied Alcatraz for a few hours, demanding that the government build a cultural center and an Indian university on the island. This protest inspired a group of Native students led by Richard Oakes to occupy the island for 19 months, beginning November 20, 1969. US Federal Marshals ended the occupation on June 10, 1971.
By Ian Wilson
All picture metadata can be found at our Flickr account; To access it, please click one photo from the right side-bar.