Live shots: Beck christens the new Masonic

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It's not often that you get to see a new venue on opening night — so yeah, even if Beck hadn't been part of the deal, we would've been stoked to spend Friday evening at the newly refurbished and rebranded Masonic.

While it's not technically a new venue, it might as well be: After months of construction (and literally years of fighting with Nob Hill neighbors) the historic Masonic temple reopened this weekend with a new sound system, completely revamped stage and seating areas, new bars and concessions, a shmancy new VIP section, you name it. Read more »

Ron Conway’s attack on Campos fails to persuade actual feminists

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Remember when deep-pocketed tech investor Ron Conway poured hefty cash into an independent expenditure committee to finance campaign mailers designed to smear Assembly candidate Sup. David Campos, by equating his vote to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi with support for murderous domestic abusers?

Well, those ads carried little sway with the National Organization for Women, California’s largest feminist organization. The statewide group’s political action committee sent out a press release Mon/22 to announce its endorsement of Campos for California Assembly District 17. In addition to listing some positive things Campos has done for women, such as creating a 25-foot buffer zone at the Planned Parenthood Clinic near St. Luke’s Hospital to protect women from harassment by anti-abortion activists, NOW’s press release specifically berated his opponents for these “misleading attacks.” Read more »

Golden Gate unions to strike this week, stall commutes

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The Golden Gate Bridge Labor coalition announced it will strike this week, impacting commutes via bridge or ferries, and perhaps both.

Thirteen unions in the Golden Gate Highway and Transportation District are members of the coalition, whose talks with the district stalled today, representatives told us.

It is still unclear which unions in the coalition will strike, but commutes will definitely be affected, Alex Tonisson, co-chair of the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition said.Read more »

Ellis Act evictor immortalized on a condom at Folsom Street Fair

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Now you can don rubbers against evictions.

Activists engaged in eviction "protection" of a different sort this Sunday at the Folsom Street Fair, as they handed out condoms with packages adorned by the face of Ellis Act evictor, Jack Halprin.

No doubt much boning ensued after the kinky leather fetish fair, and some of those copulations may have utilized the Halprin-condoms. But why are the protesters equating him with a rubber ejaculate receptacle?Read more »

TIFF 2014: Foreign favorites, part two (Asia and beyond)

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Jesse Hawthorne Ficks reports from the recent 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Previous installment here!

Zhang Yimou's Ju Dou (1990) was an unofficial remake of the American film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) — and it was also a showcase for the 25-year-old Gong Li. I've grown up with each of his films over the past decades, including classics To Live (1994) and The Road Home (1999). His latest, Coming Home (China), is his most gut-wrenching film yet. 

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: His 1932 speech to the Commonwealth Club previewed the New Deal

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By Bruce B. Brugmann (with the full text of FDR's address) 

Ken Burns' documentary on the Roosevelts, broadcast last week by KQED,  was a stunning achievement and the best work Burns has done. It previewed key elements of the New Deal and provided historic context and relevance for the progressive politics of San Francisco and California. But it didn't mention a key local angle, FDR's famous speech to the Commonwealth Club on Sept. 21, 1932, in the heat of his winning campaign for president. 

I got on to the speech when Joseph J. Ellis, the noted historian, spoke to the club last year on his new book, "Revolutionary Summer, The birth of American independence." In his introduction, Ellis said that "in my view the most important political speech in the 20th century was delivered here by Franklin Roosevelt."

 The speech was written by Adolph Berle, a member of Roosevelt's "brain trust," and drew heavily on earlier progressive ideas, particularly  those of John Dewey, a leading progressive scholar who taught mainly  at Columbia University in New York. His speech is in the Commonwealth Club collection "Each a Mighty Voice," a beautiful hardcover book published by Heyday.  Here is his speech. b3

https://online.hillsdale.edu/document.doc?id=282

(The Bruce blog is written and edited by Bruce B. Brugmann, editor at large of the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He was the editor and with his wife Jean Dibble the co-founder and co-publsher of the Guardian, 1966-2012.) Read more »

Double Duchess is back, and this time they've brought Kelly Osbourne

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Is the drab Friday weather outside getting you down as you gear up for a weekend full of leather- and whip-filled debauchery?

Never fear! You just need a dose of Double Duchess, the Bay's favorite queer electro duo, who invited Kelly Osbourne to do a Jem and the Holograms-style bit in this video for "Good Girl Freak Out," which also features LA's Future People.Read more »

TIFF 2014: Foreign favorites, part one

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Jesse Hawthorne Ficks reports from the recent 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Previous installment here!

** Working steadily for over 40 years, achieving more than 20 features, Mike Leigh has stayed true to his "kitchen sink realism" aesthetic. Contemporary audiences could all too easily take him for granted. His latest, Mr. Turner (UK), is a rigorous and immensely rewarding journey that explores the life of British artist J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851). 

Spall won the award for Best Actor at this year's Cannes Film Festival, not just for emulating Turner's cartoonish and almost frightening physique, but also inhabiting and truly expressing the ghastly terror one struggles with after the death of a loved one. Recalling Jane Campion's dazzling An Angel at My Table (1990), Leigh's film places emphasis on the immense difficulties that an artists put themselves — and the others around them — through, and cinematographer Dick Pope (who has shot ten of Leigh's films since 1990, and won a special jury award at Cannes for his work on Mr. Turner) gives every frame an almost spiritual look. 

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Lawsuit alleges Lee campaign accepted illegal donations from undercover agent

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By Max Cherney

Mayor Ed Lee has been named in a civil lawsuit that alleges he conspired to accept bribes in the form of illegal campaign contributions from an undercover FBI agent involved in the far-reaching federal corruption and racketeering probe into State Sen. Leland Yee, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, and 26 other defendants. The lawsuit is being leveled by an attorney working on Shrimp Boy’s behalf.Read more »

Questions of the week: Who is the walrus? And who is Liam Neeson gonna take down next? New movies!

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If Jesse Hawthorne Ficks' ongoing Pixel Vision posts about the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival have you longing for your own festival experience, check out the San Francisco Silent Film Festival's one-day "Silent Autumn" series at the Castro Theatre, as well as Cine+Mas' San Francisco Latino Film Festival, which opens tonight at the Brava Theater and runs through Sept. 27 at various venues.

First-run picks o' the week include Liam Neeson's latest lone-wolf action movie, an ensemble movie starring Tina Fey and Jason Bateman, and Kevin Smith's new joint, in which Justin Long turns into a walrus. Yep, you read that right. Read on for reviews and trailers!

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