Live shots: A hot and sticky Hardly Strictly

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In keeping with Hardly Strictly weekend weather of years gone by, this past weekend was the most summerlike the Bay Area's been all year. Ooo-weee, it was hot out there.

While you're chugging your coconut water and dabbing your sunburn with aloe vera, here are our photos and reviews of our favorite sets.

Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams is about the only person I can think of who actually makes me wish I drove a car more often. Read more »

Mill Valley, 'Gone Girl,' and TWO flicks featuring Satan: yep, must be time for new movies!

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The 37th annual Mill Valley Film Festival opened last night and runs through October 12 at all the big Marin venues (Larkspur's Lark Theater, Mill Valley's Cinearts@Sequoia, and San Rafael's Smith Rafael Film Center). Guardian critics take on the Children's FilmFest program, docs, and offer short takes; for complete information, visit www.mvff.com

This side of the Golden Gate, it's a big week for Hollywood as David Fincher's latest thriller goes up against Jason Reitman's take on social-media malaise, as well a demonic doll and a Nicolas Cage-goes-evangelical howler (all involved in the latter better clear a shelf or two when Razzies season rolls around).

Read on for short reviews and trailers! 

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Head First: Explosive Sexual Healing hurts so ... good?

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I’ve got a lot of repressed issues, and I came to San Francisco to try to get them resolved. But I never imagined a possible solution to my problems would be to have some guy finger me while his wife does reiki over my naked body and I scream bloody murder. 

But this kind of thing is an option in the Bay Area, and it’s called Explosive Sexual Healing (ESH). The practice uses things like pain, pleasure, breath work, spiritual alchemy, vocal therapy, and g-spot massage to access emotions and trauma stored in the body. The idea is that once these deep-rooted issues are discovered, they can be dealt with and ideally released. 

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Social Distortion digs up its roots

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Although they got their start in the fast and loud world of the southern California punk rock scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Orange County rockers Social Distortion have long embraced American roots music, incorporating country, rockabilly, folk and blues influences into their songwriting and overall sound.Read more »

Chuck Prophet on glam rock, his new record, and how the Castro is turning into a strip mall

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Chuck Prophet's been around the San Francisco music scene long enough to make a name for himself in a few regards: He can be counted on for rock 'n' roll story-songs, for startlingly visual writing. The influence of Lou Reed shines plainly through his somewhat disaffected drawl. And more often than not his adopted hometown of San Francisco (he's lived here for nearly 35 years) is the central subject of his musical mash notes, as in 2012's elegy for the city, Temple Beautiful, with its lamentations about long-dead rock clubs and Halloweens in the Castro. Read more »

Festival-sized doses of art, food, and technology at Portland's TBA fest

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As the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) presented the 12th iteration of the Time-Based Art Festival September 11-21, two newer festivals (Feast Portland and XOXO) also peppered the Rose City with foodie events and tech talk galore.

TBA, under the artistic direction of Angela Mattox, formerly the performing arts curator at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, emphasized music and vocal experiments in this year’s program. The international festival is distinct in its presenting platform and density of experimental performance, making it well worth the hour flight to Oregon from San Francisco.

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The Aislers Set reunion welcomed with open arms, nostalgia at The Chapel

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By Rebecca Huval

After an 11-year hiatus, dream-pop lovables The Aislers Set played to a sold-out room swooning with nostalgia at The Chapel Sunday night.

Singer-songwriter AV Linton sang catchy melodies backed by a curtain of reverb and Yoshi Nakamoto’s chest-thumping, punk-infused drumbeats. Unlike the typical audience of young rapscallions drawn to Valencia, this late ‘90s band surfaced the 30- and 40-year-olds — and even had them jumping and dancing past 11pm on a Sunday. Read more »

Drag queens win, Facebook says "real name" changes coming

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Put on your six-inch pumps and throw some glitter, the drag queens have won. After the newest round of negotiations with Facebook today, the social-media giant bowed to pressure and told Sup. David Campos, drag queens, and other activists it would change its controversial "real name" policy

"Drag queens spoke, and Facebook listened," Campos told us in a phone interview just after the announcement was made. Read more »

Ralph Nader writes a letter to Rep. John Boehner

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September 22, 2014

Dear Speaker Boehner,

While millions of hardworking Americans are working more and more for less and less, you and your House of Representatives seem to have no problem working less and less for more and more.

If a mother of one in Butler County, Ohio — your home county — working at the Ohio minimum wage ($7.95 per hour) wanted to make a living wage — according to MIT’s Living Calculator for the county — she would have to work 88 hours a week, which adds up to a little over 12 hours of work per day, 7 days a week. You once defended the placement of Ten Commandments on public property. If this mother wanted to obey the Fourth Commandment — “Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy” — by not working one day a week, she would have to work over 14 hours per day, leaving her with only two hours left to spend with her child, given eight hours of sleep. For millions of Americans, the fair deal of eight hours of work, eight hours of rest, and eight hours of discretionary time has been broken. Read more »

Two-fer Tuesday: New music videos from Cathedrals and The Stone Foxes

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Because nothing showcases the breadth of music being made in the Bay Area better than some chilled-out electro R&B followed by a driving blues-rock sprint of a song: Here are the latest music videos from local faves Cathedrals and the Stone Foxes. Read more »