By Larry Cronander
You may have noticed in your travels through Hayes Valley a new shop at 66 Gough Street near Market in the former space of the Fecal Face Gallery with the abbreviation on its awning “G.O.S.F.” My curiosity led me to the store, and what a wonderful discovery! G.O.S.F. is an acronym for “Gangs of San Francisco”, the brain child of Laureano Faedi.
Laureano was born in Buenos Aires but has lived in San Francisco for over thirty years. Laureano is a surfer and artist who lives in the Outer Richmond. His art works have been displayed at the Hotel Biron (45 Rose Street, where exhibitions of new artists are changed monthly; www.hotelbiron.com). He is a San Francisco history buff and decided to combine his interest in the arts with his love of San Francisco’s history by opening a business of his own products with a San Francisco theme.
“A self-taught maker of things, I do all the design work, silk screening, shipping and research….I have found San Francisco to be one of the best cities in the world to live in , Laureano said recently when I sat down with him to learn more about his unique business. “This project serves as an outlet for my learning of its history as well as a way to teach myself silk screening. I hope that not only will people enjoy my products but that it might also inspire them to learn more about the City.”
Beginning as an online business www.gangsofsanfrancisco.com about three years ago, Laureano opened the shop at 66 Gough in July, 2011. And what a treasure it is. Laureano researches famous and infamous San Francisco amusements, businesses, attractions and organizations from yore and silk screens their iconic logos on t-shirts, jackets, glasses and other items. These include Playland at the Beach, the Vigilance Committee logos, Zim’s , Woodwards’ Gardens, the Chutes, Sutro Baths and many others. He makes limited edition items such as pillows bearing the photo of Adolph Sutro, Emperor Norton and Lily Hitchcock Coit, and drinking glasses with some of the same images. He also makes and sells reproductions of antique bus and streetcar destination scroll signs, and has done a limited edition line of baseball hats with the San Francisco Seals emblem (sold out). About 40% of his products are made in his garage, and others in other parts of the Bay Area.
The tiny shop itself is an homage to the more colorful aspects of the City’s history, including the Vigilance Committees of the 1850s and some mug shots of female pickpockets on the Barbary Coast. Designed by Kelley of WorkshopSF, who also designed the offices of The Bold Italic, the shop uses only recycled and used wood to create the unique flavor of the shop.
The name Gangs of San Francisco derives from the work of the late author Herbert Asbury, who wrote the book Gangs of New York (later made into a movie by Martin Scorsese in 2002), and wrote another book published in the U.K. as Gangs of San Francisco and in the U.S. as The Barbary Coast.
Gangs of San Francisco at 66 Gough Street is open Wednesdays from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Stop by this wonderful Hayes Valley shop, learn about San Franciso’s history and check out Laureano’s great products.