Category Archives: Uncategorized

Circus Center: An Historic School For Clowns, Jugglers And Acrobats

Hoodline, 3/4/15


In years past, running away to join the circus was a childhood fantasy. Today, at the Inner Sunset’s Circus Center, responsible adults attend evening and weekend classes with names like “Flying Trapeze” and “Intro to Parkour.”

To learn more about what Wikipedia describes as “one of the foremost circus schools in the western United States,” Hoodline spoke to Barry Kendall, the organization’s Executive Director.

“If you can master the knee hang, you can try a catch in your very first class,” Kendall told us. “Which is great for one-shot people who want instant gratification. We get a lot of people who just want to try something new, like tight wire walking or juggling.”

Kendall said many new students attend so they can cross an item off their bucket list, but returning students are more motivated by personal fitness goals: “We like to say there’s ‘fit,’ and then there’s ‘circus fit.’”

“What we teach is definitely functional movement, but a lot of people also like it for the artistic element. There’s overlap with dance and gymnastics,” he added. “We do have students here who came in with an aspiration to become professionals” – by way of explanation, he pointed to a man swinging from his knees about 25 feet over our heads. “He’s now auditioning for major circus schools around the world, and he’s going to make a career of this.”

Many students seek a career in a traditional circus environment or in an ensemble company like Cirque de Soleil, he added. Others are acquiring skills they can use to entertain at children’s parties or corporate events. “Producers very often don’t just hire you, they’re hiring your act. Hopefully, you get an agent to hire you, and you’re off and running,” he said.

Circus Center’s offices and performance spaces are located in the former gymnasium of Polytechnic High School, which Hoodline recently looked at here. After the school was demolished, its gym and auditorium were left standing so that the city could turn them into community centers, “but the city didn’t have the money for that” as Kendall put it. Circus Center, which bills itself as “the Bay Area’s oldest 501(c)(3) non-profit circus performing arts facility,” doesn’t have a lease, but he said the school will be able to use the space indefinitely. After years of ongoing renovations, the school has about 40,000 square feet.

Circus Center instructs students in the finer points of pulse-pounding specialties like acrobatics, flying trapeze, parkour and Chinese pole, but Kendall emphasized that safety is their first priority.

“We have a professional rigger who’s been doing stagehand and rigging work for many, many years,” Kendall assured us. “We have a very clear and well-documented system for how we maintain and rotate out all of our equipment.” New students receive safety training and start off wearing harnesses attached to safety lines managed by someone firmly rooted on the ground.

“You’re still going to have overcome some fear just to climb 25 feet into the air, however,” he said.

Circus Center’s youth circus will perform during the first two weekends in May in a show called “Circtopia.” The school’s spring session begins on March 30 and runs through June 7. For more details, be sure to explore the many options available on their site.


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Meet Go, Cat, Go!, The Inner Sunset’s Cat Consultancy

Hoodline, 1/28/15


After more than a decade working with people who’ve adopted cats, Daniel Quagliozzi launched Go Cat, Go!, a consulting service that promotes understanding between felines and their guardians. Quagliozzi, an Inner Sunset resident who spent 13 years with the SF Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, now makes home visits so he can help clients find their way back from feline crises.

“You need to be somewhere in between a social worker and a cat advocate, so my experience with SFSPCA got me where I am now,” said Quagliozzi. His decision to launch a private consultancy was born from frustration regarding the limitations of the telephone. “I launched a business where I could go to people’s homes and see the problem in the environment where the cat is more comfortable. I try to interpret what’s going on for people to help them make sense of it.”

In a typical day, Quagliozzi sees a handful of clients in and around San Francisco and deals with a broad spectrum of cat behavior issues, including (but not limited to) litter box avoidance, spraying, aggression, undersocialized behavior, scratching, and excessive meowing. “My general fee for a first consultation in the city is $125, but for Inner Sunset residents, I offer a $25 discount,” he said, since he lives in the neighborhood. Each client receives 30 days of free correspondence for “troubleshooting,” and follow-up visits are $75 each.

Go Cat, Go! launched in 2013, but Quagliozzi said his business is now sustainable, adding that strong word of mouth and social media have helped him grow the business quickly. “I like to think I’m a good representation of San Francisco people, and my approach is unconventional, but it’s pretty straightforward. I’ll tell people that they’re effing up if they are.”

Quagliozzi’s top priority is resolving problems so cats can stay in their homes. “For me, when you say you’re going to surrender your animal, that’s life or death,” he said, explaining that adult cats surrendered to shelters have a hard time being adopted. “My objective is to avoid that suffering both in the animal and in the human being. When the human-animal bond breaks, that’s usually when the shit hits the fan. Or the rug.”

Since starting Go Cat, Go!, Quagliozzi was cast in Animal House, a reality TV show. “It’s kind of like ‘Extreme Makeover’ for animal shelters, only we’re not showing up with a big bankroll.” Last year, he shot a pilot in rural Othello, Wash., where Animal House “rallied a community together to build their shelter.” Program producers are currently seeking a network distribution deal so they can shoot additional episodes.

“The show really touches my heart because it’s about shelter work and changing shelter environments so they can save more animals or just serve their communities better,” said Quagliozzi, who plans to attend next week’s 4th annual “Be Mine” party at SFSPCA where attendees can enjoy a catwalk fashion show, cocktails and a “pop-up (REAL) tattoo parlor,” according to the event flyer.

Go, Cat, Go! Cat Behavior Consulting offers a $25 discount to Inner Sunset residents. For more information, call Quagliozzi at (415) 806-1351.

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What’s Moving Into The Former Son Loy Laundry Space On Stanyan?

Hoodline, 12/18/14

Straddling the border between Upper Haight and Cole Valley, Son Loy Laundry operated on Stanyan Street for more than 50 years. Since it closed several months ago, neighbors and passers-by have speculated about who’ll move into the 2,500 square feet commercial listing described as “wide open warehouse space.”

Yesterday, Hoodline learned that 784 Stanyan is coming off the market. According to Chris Homs, an agent with Lockehouse Retail Group, a new tenant is in the final stages of signing a lease. Homs wouldn’t say who’s moving in, but he said it won’t be a restaurant or a bar. “It’s a good local use,” said Homs, adding that his client already has a connection to the neighborhood.
After the laundry closed, contractors stripped the building down to the studs. Several skylights brighten up the now-cavernous interior; with 15-foot ceilings and no support columns, the space could accommodate nearly any retailer or service provider.
Built in 1940, a  Sanborn map describes the building as a Japanese laundry, which jibes with a 1941 directory listing for Tomoyuki Nozawa at this address. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1942, the US government deported or incarcerated many Japanese-Americans. In a sobering reminder of that dark chapter of American history, records from the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah indicate that a Nozawa family from Upper Haight/Cole Valley was held there.
A 1942 directory lists a VP Beck as the operator of  a hand laundry at 784 Stanyan St. The following year, Starlight Laundry moved into the space, and by 1954, the operation was doing business as Forest Hill & Stanyan French Laundry.
In 1961, Son Loy Laundry moved from 315 Broderick St. to the Stanyan building. According to a 1915 summary of a Board of Supervisors meeting, Son Loy Laundry had received approval  to install a 6-horsepower boiler on Broderick way back in 1914, making it one of San Francisco’s oldest laundries by the time it closed.
A century later, neighbors are wondering about the new tenant. Julianne Walsh owns Green Pawz, an environmentally-friendly pet shop at 772 Stanyan. “I would like to see ideally a local restaurant,” she said. “Another place to go to and dine after work. This neighborhood could use some more options.”
Katy Hooks manages the front desk at Yoga Tree, next door to the former laundry. She’d like to see a coffee shop. “Yogis can always use some caffeine intake before and after class.”
Zoning requirements narrow down the mystery tenant’s options, as 784 Stanyan is inside a buffer zone that restricts new restaurants and check-cashing establishments. We’ll let you know when we learn more about the next occupant of the space.

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