The CrackBerry Chronicles

Written by Elaine Santore. Posted in Culture, Politics

Published on February 19, 2008 with No Comments


Elaine Santore
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Elaine Santore

February 19, 2008

Mirkarimi honors Fillmore documentary photographer

Legendary documentary photographer David Johnson was honored Friday by District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi during Mirkarimi’s monthly art reception.


Johnson is best known for chronicling the Fillmore District during its jazz heyday in the 40’s and 50’s. During this time, the Fillmore was dotted with jazz clubs, fine restaurants, and black-owned businesses.


Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi with documentary photography David Johnson.

Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Johnson first visited the Fillmore while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

He returned years later to study under Ansel Adams at California School of Fine Arts, which was later renamed San Francisco Art Institute. Adams established the first fine art photography program in the U.S.

Johnson wrote a letter to Adams requesting admission to the school, but was hesitant to apply because of his race.

“Ansel wrote back to me and said, ‘If you’re a photographer, you’re welcome in our school,'” Johnson said. He was Adams’ first black student.

Johnson dedicated the art show to his late wife, Lucy, who died last week. His sons, Andre, Charles, and Michael attended the show, along with his grandchildren.

Following the reception, the party moved to 1300 on Fillmore. Johnson’s photography is featured on the restaurant’s History Wall.


Johnson signs an enlarged photograph he took circa 1947
depicting a bustling FIllmore Street scene.


“In memory of Lucy Johnson.”

Johnson signed copies of “Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era” by Elizabeth Pepin and Lewis Watts, which includes Johnson’s photographs. He’s the only surviving photographer featured in in the book. Pepin and Watts curated the History Wall inside 1300 on Fillmore.


David Johnson signs copies of “Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era,”
featuring Johnson’s documentary photography.

“It’s such an honor to be here in the Fillmore, and have this space here so that we can recognize the photographers who have contributed to this community. It’s an honor for me to do this for David,” 1300 on Fillmore owner Monetta White said.


1300 on Fillmore owner Monetta White, David Johnson, and Ross Mirkarimi.
White co-owns 1300 on Fillmore with her husband, Chef David Lawrence.

Mirkarimi sang Johnson’s praises, noting the historical significance of his work.

“This is not just San Francisco renowned, it’s world renowned now,” Mirkarimi said.

Outtakes: Check out more event photos here.

Willie Brown talks to Charlie Rose about Obama, brings topic back to himself

Charlie Rose interviewed former Mayor Willie Brown February 11. As with most of Rose’s guests, the conversation shifted to the race for the Democratic Party nomination.

Brown claimed he wasn’t endorsing any candidate for president. He also made sure to do plenty of name-dropping.

“Part of what makes me pretty good as an analyst is that I had five friends running for the nomination. I had [Joe] Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, and the final two. And all of them I had some relationship with over 40 years that would’ve made it impossible for me to just select one,” Brown said.

But a reliable source suggests Brown is a reluctant supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton.

“She’s in his political family,” the source said, “but deep down Brown recognizes Obama is the superior candidate.”

SF Weekly printed several excerpts from Brown’s memoir, “Basic Brown: My Life and Our Times.” The book was written in collaboration with former Examiner columnist P.J. Corkery, as told by Brown over several breakfast meetings.

Here are CrackBerry’s favorite Willie-isms regarding political fashion:

“You really shouldn’t try to get through a public day wearing just one thing. … Sometimes, I change clothes four times a day.”

What he meant to say: “If you repeat an outfit, Gavin will win and Jesus will cry.”

“Then there’s Dianne Feinstein, who also has the resources for high fashion, but that’s not her route. … While she never looks sloppy, she sometimes looks hit or miss, as if she were caught between seasons.”

What he meant to say: “DiFi needs to start wearing bows again. Those bows were fierce!”

The Art of Progressive Politics

Fog City Journal traveled across town to the foggy Richmond District February 11 to attend a San Francisco Green Party fundraiser. The event, held at the Bazaar Café, doubled as an art show featuring the work of artists Heike Seefeldt and Sue Vaughan.


Bazaar Café owner Les Wisner (center) with cheerful employees Sarah and Katie.


Featured artists Heike Seefeldt and Sue Vaughan
pose with Vaughan’s “Underart.”


Heike Seefeldt with her collages.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Program Director Andy Thornley described the Richmond District in political terms.

“The Richmond District is like the Wisconsin of San Francisco because it’s more progressive than you think,” Thornley said.


Vicki Leidner, SFBC Program Director Andy Thornley,
and District 11 candidate John Avalos.

District 11 candidate John Avalos, District 1 candidate Eric Mar, and District 9 candidate Mark Sanchez practiced their stump speeches and rallied supporters.


Mark Sanchez, John Avalos, and Eric Mar.

The Ethics Commission announced February 13 Sanchez is the first candidate to qualify for public financing in 2008.

“I’m grateful to all the folks who have contributed to my candidacy for supervisor and to the great team working on this campaign,” Sanchez wrote in a statement.


Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, District 12 candidate for Congress Barry Hermanson,
and Mark Sanchez.


Sasaneh Solaimani, Karen Babbitt, Elaine Santore, Aaron,
Sue Vaughan, and Sacha Ielmorini.

Elaine Santore

Elaine Santore

Elaine Santore was born in San Francisco during the awesome '80s. She spent a considerable amount of her childhood around City employees, all of whom taught her the value of pretending to be productive. After graduating from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, she transferred schools three times but eventually received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in Psychology, with a double minor in Political Science and Textiles, Clothing and Design. This unique area of expertise makes her qualified to critique the sartorial missteps and psychological problems of local politicians. Elaine's work has also appeared in 7x7, California Home + Design, Filipinas, the Daily Nebraskan, SF Bay Guardian, and Spin.com.

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