Mask Envy

A San Francisco costume designer inspires us to upgrade our drab face coverings of 2020

A person with a blue bob haircut wearing a huge purple hairbow and a mask with shiny bats + moons and purple spiderwebs
A person with a blue bob haircut wearing a huge purple hairbow and a mask with shiny bats + moons and purple spiderwebs
Photos courtesy of Sarah Boll

This story is part of The Bold Italic’s Mask Envy series, where we showcase San Franciscans’ pandemic creativity and spotlight the coolest masks spotted around the city. Have a look you want to submit? Email info@thebolditalic.com.

At this point, we’re all face mask veterans — truly, we’ve sampled the full gambit: N95s, disposable ones, homemade ones, and a trendy one here and there. If 2020 was all about figuring the whole mask thing out, 2021 is about absolutely owning the look.

Given that masks are likely to be around for a while, we ask: Why not make wearing them more…


ICU rates have improved enough to open back up slightly, but we’re not totally in the clear yet

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a vial of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles. Newsom announced a statewide lift of stay-at-home orders on January 25, 2021. Photo: Jae C. Hong-Pool/Getty Images

It’s been a long six weeks since California entered its second full-on shutdown of the pandemic meant to get us through the holidays and their aftermath. As expected, this time turned out to be the darkest yet with regional ICU rates hitting scary low levels. But the good news is that they’ve now improved enough for us to reemerge cautiously.

On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced health officials cleared regional stay-at-home orders to lift across the entire state because all — including the Bay Area — are projected to rise above the 15% ICU rate threshold that triggered the…


The city also opened its first mass vaccination site

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A person bikes past the parklet at Zazie restaurant in Cole Valley. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Welcome news for our city’s small businesses (and the rest of us): San Francisco Mayor London Breed gave a hint today that the city could reopen soon if the Covid-19 infection rate continues at its current rate or declines.

The Bay Area has been in a second shelter-in-place for more than a month, since December 16, with no end in sight. The order was originally set to lift on January 7 but then was indefinitely extended due to continued dismal ICU capacity rates. …


Pro boxer Karim Mayfield was arrested for weed as a teen. Now, he owns his own cannabis shop.

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Photo: Authentic 415

When Karim Mayfield was just 18 years old, he had a run-in with San Francisco cops, who arrested him and his friends for possessing weed. Those marijuana charges nearly derailed his life, with a criminal record making it difficult to find a job.

Given the state of the free-flowing, legal cannabis industry today, it’s upsetting and wild to imagine how a little weed could completely destroy someone’s life. But that was the case until only very recently —and still is in some places—with the war on drugs disproportionally targeting people of color.

Luckily, Mayfield found an outlet and a community…


The 22-year-old from California blew the country away

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Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Today’s inauguration was a star-studded affair: a glowing Jennifer Lopez, a regal Lady Gaga, and a denim-wearing Garth Brooks all performed as part of the ceremonies in Washington, D.C., to usher in the Biden-Harris administration. But the real star of the show came at the end, when Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman stepped to the mic and blew the country — and the world—away with her powerful words.

The 22-year-old from California is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history. She recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” in front of the crowd on the Capitol lawn and millions watching…


The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards

These locals and businesses seriously impressed us this year with their hustle and creativity

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Illustration: Nicole Album

We launched The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards earlier this month with one goal in mind: celebrating the small businesses and local residents that made 2020 more bearable. We wanted to honor the Bay Area people who stepped up, got creative, and worked their asses off to make to survive this hellish year and make our community better along the way.

And now, we have our winners!

From the best parklets to the most crave-worthy takeout to the most impactful community organization, you all — The Bold Italic readers — nominated hundreds of amazing people and businesses. …


The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards

This breakout culinary star is the chef behind Oakland’s best new restaurant

A long line of people waiting to be served food.
A long line of people waiting to be served food.
Photo: Dana M. Chang

This article is part of The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards, which celebrate the Bay Area’s small businesses and local residents who have hustled and shown creativity throughout 2020. See all the award winners here.

Ten years ago, C-Y Marie Chia was working at l’Arpège, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Paris, when its famous chef/owner, Alain Passard, instructed her to stage in his vast vegetable gardens.

“For someone who had never grown anything before, it was eye-opening,” Chia tells the Bold Italic. …


The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards

Zeitgeist wins for its spacious and safe patio

An outdoor dining area with 3 people sitting on separate wooden benches under tent covers.
An outdoor dining area with 3 people sitting on separate wooden benches under tent covers.
Photo courtesy of Zeitgeist

This article is part of The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards, which celebrate the Bay Area’s small businesses and local residents who have hustled and shown creativity throughout 2020. See all the award winners here.

If restaurants have been hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions (which they have), bars have been hit even worse. As the lowest notch on the totem pole considered essential, it look the longest for our local watering holes to get the green light to reopen this year. …


The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards

Homeroom has the winning combo of mac and cheese in a colorful space

Homeroom‘s outdoor dining area, fenced off from the street by a fence painted with paper airplanes.
Homeroom‘s outdoor dining area, fenced off from the street by a fence painted with paper airplanes.
Photo: Homeroom

This article is part of The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards, which celebrate the Bay Area’s small businesses and local residents who have hustled and shown creativity throughout 2020. See all the award winners here.

Fact: Oaklanders love Homeroom. I mean, what’s not to love? The restaurant specializes in one thing: ooey gooey mac and cheese that has won over hearts since the restaurant opened in 2011. Oh, and homemade Oreos.

Homeroom has fared a bit better than other restaurants throughout the pandemic since it already had a very robust takeout operation with its sister restaurant, Homeroom To Go. But they…


The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards

Launched from a Kickstarter, this eatery offers mind-blowingly flavorful Singaporean-Chinese vegan fare

Overhead view of many dishes on differently sized and colored plates.
Overhead view of many dishes on differently sized and colored plates.
Photo: Emma K. Morris/Lion Dance Cafe

This article is part of The Bold Italic’s 2020 Awards, which celebrate the Bay Area’s small businesses and local residents who have hustled and shown creativity throughout 2020. See all the award winners here.

Opening a restaurant during a time considered the worst time to be in the restaurant industry requires a special kind of personality, hustle, and drive. Despite the unthinkable challenges presented to a new business in 2020, Oakland has seen its fair share of brand new restaurants this year, and they’re producing some of the most exciting food in The Town.

Case in point: Lion Dance Cafe

Clara Hogan

Editor in Chief of The Bold Italic

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