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Cry for neighborhood attention

Jenna Scatena | Photo: Keeny + Law Photography | June 16, 2011 | Story Best of the Bay

In a yellow painted lady on Fulton, called the Sunshine Castle, a few dozen Panhandlers are sick of hearing people refer to their turf as a flyover zone, so they’re fighting back—and collecting an army. Modeling themselves on their hippie predecessors (the late-1960s anarchist community group, the Diggers, was based a few blocks away), they’re determined to rebrand the Panhandle as a community unto itself. Once a month, the self-described Wigg Party holds a Wigg Party party—complete with colored lights, instruments, and murals, in a nod to a college jam pad—to brainstorm ideas about how to upgrade and unify the neighborhood. Regulars include folks from local interest groups Hayes Valley Farm, Bikes & Beats, SF Bike Party, Fix Fell, and NOPNA (North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association), along with an increasing number of fun-loving, civic-minded residents. Together, they’re revamping their famous bike path, “the Wiggle,” running skills-building workshops, minting their own neighborhood currency, organizing carrot mobs, and hosting progressive dinners, called the Urban Eating League, which are open to anyone with a 94118 zip code (but, honestly, no one is ever turned away). Though the whole project might sound like something you’d find around 16th and Valencia, the Wigg Party sees itself as the anti-Mission. “The Mission has too many niches,” says 27-year-old Wigg Party cofounder Morgan Fitzgibbons, a self-proclaimed community organizer. “It’s isolating.” Here, they’re aiming more for down-home togetherness than for trend-driven cliques. Meetings held at 8 p.m. on the second thursday of each month; wiggparty.org



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