Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Candace Roberts' Eviction Blues


Candace Roberts
Print this Page
Send to a Friend
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on MySpace!

Singer-songwriter Candace Roberts has been pet-sitting and couch-surfing, (or is it pet surfing?) for a few years now. Another statistic of San Francisco' outrageously high rents, Roberts manages to stay in the city she loves by advertising her services on Craigslist.

"We do what we have to do to survive here," Roberts said matter of factly. "But it's not a sustainable situation. I can only do it for so long."

But she wants to stay in the city that's become her home, and so she moves from place to place, hanging her hat wherever she can so she can continue pursuing her love of music and performing here.

"I lived in a communal house," Roberts said. "It was difficult to write and make noise as a musician. I was looking to live alone, and looked for a year in 2011. The cheapest place I found was $1500 a month for a studio."

Though she lives by the seat of her pants, Roberts has managed to avoid actual homelessness, though she's come close a few times. "I have a great network of friends, family, and I can still go back to my old place in the Mission to rehearse."

Roberts has a background in children's theater, and holds a Bachelor Degree in music from UC Santa Cruz. She's been trained in classical and Latin music, musical theater and jazz.

"I never felt like any one thing fit," she said. "I knew I wanted to write my own music. I'm a singer-songwriter-cabaret performer." She said that she draws on a variety of musical genres in creating her own tunes.

On Wednesday, June 25, Roberts will appear at Gold Dust Lounge to host a launch party for "Not My City Anymore," her new song and video which addresses the city's escalating economic crisis. Through music and humor, Roberts illustrates how the city's skyrocketing rents are forcing the artists, writers and musicians who gave San Francisco its heart to move elsewhere.

Ironically, the Gold Dust Lounge was itself a victim of the City's escalating eviction crisis. The iconic nightspot, which recreates the rowdy nights of San Francisco's legendary Gold Rush and Barbary Coast eras, was evicted from its Powell Street location near Fisherman's Wharf, a location it occupied since 1933. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Gold Dust Lounge reopened in February 2013 at 165 Jefferson, still in its iconic Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood. The new Gold Dust bears a striking resemblance to the old, featuring the same lush red velvet seating, flaming red walls, and bulb-studded marquee, all designed to make patrons feel as though they've stopped in to order a whiskey in 1863.

Candace Roberts' music video for "Not My City Anymore" finds the singer-songwriter dressed like an old-time saloon gal. The video was shot in the new Gold Dust, where Roberts is surrounded by "Old San Francisco," a bevy of iconic figures such as drag icon Trauma Flintstone as one of the saloon gals who represent the City's past. Lesbian comic Marga Gomez is also on hand, hilarious in male drag as a real estate developer.

A fun local celebrity-filled selfie from the music video shoot for "Not My City Anymore"

"She's not my city anymore," Roberts sings plaintively. "They tied my hands, forced me to watch, while she became what she is not..." As the video continues, a handsome techie (John Dilley) and a group of developers push the old-timers out. Dilley, Roberts says, is an acclaimed independent filmmaker. He is not a techie, she assures us.

Also seen as a bartender in the video is Blackberri, one of the most visible Black queer artists in the country, and a pioneer in gay music. The video was directed by Danny Plotnick, who runs the USF Film and Video Department.

Many who worked on the video with Roberts will appear for the June 25 launch party at Gold Dust Lounge, which will serve as an awareness raising session for the city's housing and economic issues, in addition to being a fun party.

Roberts and Erin McElroy are now working on a list of things people can do to help save the city. They encourage people to pledge not to move into units with an eviction history and to show up for protests. Bodies are needed, Roberts said, and protests have managed to halt a few evictions.

Roberts' video will be screened at the God Dust party, and she'll perform the song live. "The event is to celebrate the cast and crew of Not My City Anymore, and also to celebrate Art Meets Activism," Roberts said. 

It will no doubt be a fun event, and a chance to get involved.

Roberts can regularly be seen around town performing at a variety of gigs, including at Martuni's on the fourth Thursday of each month. She won't be at Martuni's in June due to the Gold Dust event. Her next Martuni's appearance will by July 24.


See Candace Roberts at the Gold Dust Lounge, 165 Jefferson St. Wednesday July 25, 7-8:30pm.


Follow The Bay Area Reporter
Newsletter logo
twitter logo
facebook logo