Posts From November 2008

November 19, 2008

Gold Alley Delights

by guest writer, Brooke Cheshier

Like the snaking streets and bridges of Venice, San Francisco’s cross-hatching of alley streets makes the idea of getting a little – or terrifically – lost seem truly promising. Last week, I took a day to get intimate with Gold Alley, one of the most delicious cobbled back ways in North Beach.

Tucked behind Montgomery Street and just below Broadway – the strip that’s home to Little Darlings, The Condor Club and the Roaring 20s – Gold Alley is a neighborhood within a neighborhood. Reminiscent of the glamour of the 1930s (minus the unsanitary row and slum housing of the alleys of the same decade), it is the yang to Broadway’s “ladies of the night” yin.  Here, amid the exposed red brick and mortar, fresh new galleries and luxury boutiques bump up against restaurants and shops that have had their doors open for over 30 years.

I was instantly smitten with this diverse micro-community. Gold Alley isn’t big, and I had no idea so many goodies could be folded into such a tiny space. Bix Restaurant, Hedge Gallery, William Stout Books, and Japonesque are the alley’s mainstays, along with the neighborhood’s youngest addition, Carrots. With its artist’s soul and aesthetic, it’s a community worth getting to know. Here are a few highlight’s…

William Stout Books: You don’t have to be an architecture buff to fall in love with Stout Books, which has been a Montgomery Street bastion for over 30 years. This jewel box bookstore flanking Gold Alley smells like printed paper and dust-covered book jackets (although there’s hardly a speck of dust in sight) and is full of towering metal shelves dedicated to rare, out-of-print books and current releases in architecture, urban planning, interior and graphic design, landscaping, and fine and decorative arts.

The airy, two-story space holds over 20,000 hardbacks and paperbacks, including a collection of graphic design volumes which were, to me, the visual equivalent of a Shakespearean sonnet or a Miller Williams sestina. In other words, pure poetry. Since I had set a budget for the day’s adventure, I resigned myself to a single purchase – a beautiful anthology of Jazz Album cover designs – and then beat a hasty retreat before I changed my mind and bought the entire section.


804 Montgomery Street 415.989.2341
Mon- Fri
10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Japonesque: I found refuge at Japonesque, a unique, soul-renewing gallery and the other entryway “flank” to Gold Alley. Spending a few minutes at this Zen-like gallery was as mentally and emotionally revitalizing as a day spent at Japantown’s Kabuki Springs.

Proprietor Koicha Hara loves art that seems to breathe, and every piece on Japonesque’s gallery floor, from the graphite wall panels by Hiromichi Iwashita to the glazed porcelain by Masamichi Yoshikawa, seems to possess movement and life.  That’s because Hara serves as both curator and artist at Japonesque, and he works hard to maintain a harmony between his own works and those of the artists his gallery represents. 

As an artist, Hara often combines recycled materials with freshly plucked organic matter. As a curator, Hara travels to Japan twice a year and hand selects woodwork, ceramic sculpture, shaped paintings, glazed porcelain, Japanese calligraphy and other pieces by artists like Masatoshi Izumi and Morino Hiroaki Taimei to showcase alongside some of his own pieces at his deceptively large, two-story showroom.


824 Montgomery Street
Tues – Fri
10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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November 3, 2008

Napa's Pro Attitude Director Announces Spring Release of New Book, Mystic Cool

Human performance expert and author Don Goewey’s new book, “Mystic Cool,” will be published by Simon and Schuster / Beyond Words in April of 2009.  Goewey heads the Napa based office of ProAttitude, which he established in 2006 with Bonny Meyer, co-founder of Silver Oak Cellars.  ProAttitude is a corporate training and coaching service helping businesses and individuals discover the transformational power of “neuroplasticity.”  Neuroplasticity is the scientific term for the brain’s ability to rewire in ways that allow us to fully tap our creative intelligence.  He can be reached at: 866.448.1001 at

Mystic Cool shows us how we can rewire our brain to make us immune to stress, gaining higher brain function to turn work into the joy of excelling.  It shows us how to change our brains to sustain more enthusiasm, resilience, and positive emotion at every level of life. All these qualities are actually neurological properties activated by a dynamic shift in attitude. As we make this shift our brain wires to generate the new experience. Mystic Cool is the first to provide a proven approach to actualizing this enormous power. It is simpler than most of us might think.

Don Goewey’s career has focused on the innate potential in human beings to transform their lives. He has worked with pre-eminent leaders in the field of human potential including Carl Rogers, Ph.D. and Gerald Jampolsky, M.D., and helped advance a school of psychology based on attitude. Currently, Don is president of ProAttitude, a human performance firm with the mission of ending stress in the workplace.

Links :
ProAttitude website
To pre-order Mystic Cool

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Art and Wine in Yorkville Highlands

One of California’s last and most lovely frontiers can be found off Hwy. 101 between Cloverdale and the Mendocino Coast.  It is Yorkville Highlands where several very nice wines are being made including Matt and Karen Meyer’s Meyer Family Cellars Syrah.  There is also a diverse art community that includes glassblower Ferdinand Thieriot and Antoinette von Grone, among others.  Have a look at Fernand’s propeller-inspired decanter and glass, an interesting gift idea for the season.

To purchase this holiday special.
To visit Meyer Family Cellars and Yorkville Highlands.

Posted by Pamela at 9:52 AM | Comments (0) | Share on Facebook | Meyer Family Cellars