My City: Karaoke, books and late-night adventures

Faves and raves by Jesse Hawthorne Ficks

 

Personal stats

AGE: 33

YEARS IN THE CITY: 10

NEIGHBORHOOD: Mission district

OCCUPATION: Teaches film history at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and curates/hosts the “Midnites for Maniacs” series at the Castro Theatre

SELF-DESCRIPTION: Mama’s boy with a late-night streak.

FAVORITE PLACE TO HAVE A DRINK
King of Thai Karaoke Noodle House
WHERE: Inside Hotel Milano, 55 Fifth St. at Jessie Street
WHAT: Watch dance videos and drink Thai iced tea
INFO: (415) 974-6285

It’s a little tricky finding this one, being inside a hotel and whatnot. But once you do, you can watch all the hottest new dance videos and listen to some crazy kids sing karaoke while drinking a gigantic, delicious Thai iced tea.

FAVORITE CHEAP EATS RESTAURANT
El Metate
WHERE: 2406 Bryant St. at 22nd Street
WHAT: Excellent fish tacos
INFO: (415) 641-7209

My favorite fish tacos anywhere, and the specialty is an addictive Chicken Milanesa!

FAVORITE BOOKSTORE
Green Apple Books
WHERE: 506 Clement St. at Sixth Avenue
WHAT: Great place to browse, and it’s close to other attractions
INFO: (415) 387-2272 or www.greenapplebooks.com

The perfect store to browse at before or after a film at the Bridge or a trip to Ocean Beach to look at all the bonfires. They were the only place I’ve ever been to that carried “Wrapped in Plastic,” the fan mag for “Twin Peaks.”

FAVORITE THRIFT STORE
Thrift Town
WHERE:
2101 Mission St. at 17th Street
WHAT: Filled to the brim with cheap finds
INFO: (415) 861-1132
 
Packed, stuffed and spilling over with goodies. I even got a bike there!

FAVORITE REPERTORY MOVIE THEATER
Castro Theatre
WHERE: 429 Castro St. at Market Street
WHAT: Best movie theater in the country; the experience of just walking in is worth the admission
INFO: (415) 621-6120 or www.castrotheatre.com

To be able to experience the new, digital Pixar film in 3-D on one night and then the next night delve up a double feature of “Repulsion” and “Possession” makes my heart pound just thinking about it.

FAVORITE TOURIST TRAP
Alcatraz (evening) tour
WHERE: Pier 33, Hornblower Alcatraz Landing
WHAT: Explores the prison more completely than the other trips
INFO: (415) 981-ROCK or www.alcatrazcruises.com

The evening tour of Alcatraz showcases many areas inhabited by the late-’60s American Indian occupation, and the haunting cell house audio tour uses the real voices of inmates and guards. Just being out there at such a late hour with such a quiet, intense wind creates a truly profound experience.

FAVORITE PLACE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS
Dolores Park
WHERE: 18th and Dolores streets
WHAT: A nighttime walk that feels safe
INFO: www.yelp.com/biz/dolores-park-san-francisco

What a wonderful feeling to be able to walk into a park late at night with an out-of-towner, feel totally safe and sit on a hill watching a bunch of people play giant volleyball.

FAVORITE PLACE TO LISTEN TO LIVE MUSIC
The Rickshaw Stop
WHERE:
155 Fell St. at Franklin Street
WHAT: Dance all night
INFO: (415) 861-2011 or www.rickshawstop.com

After literally being turned away from the Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park this summer (they had no record of my ticket), I found myself winding up at this little ditty of a club and danced all night long to one of the greatest shows I’ve ever been to (Amanda Blank and Gang Gang Dance). I’ll go to anything at this place now.

FAVORITE PLACE TO BUY MUSIC
Recycled Records
WHERE: 1377 Haight St. at Masonic Avenue
WHAT: Great selection and wacky staff conversations
INFO: (415) 626-4075 or www.recycled-records.com

I love Amoeba and Aquarius and all, but this record store not only has the Alice Cooper, King Crimson and Giorgio Morodor classics you’ve been looking everywhere for, it has the wacky conversations between the staffers that you’d pay money just to listen to.

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