Caitlin Donohue

Whiskeyfest whispers

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What words could be more beautiful to hear upon entrance into the skyscraper-y, shiny den of downtown's Marriot Marquis? From the mouth of a woman in a blazer and matching knee-length skirt: “It smells like a frat house on a Saturday morning!” Ah, last Friday's Whiskeyfest, you came to conquer my liver, but you left after conquering my heart.

To the tune of 250 whiskies, no less! Once ensconced in the hotel's basement ballroom and properly attired with our souvenir tote and tasting glass, naught could be seen but opportunities to drink myself into an unproductive Saturday of cowering from the Blue Angels. Row upon row of the finest whiskies – the even finer ones available only for the special VIP tasting hour, whose $150 price tag may have seemed a little step were one not aware of the general admission's $110 bar tab. Read more »

Open Studios spotlight: Calixto Robles

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Because Open Studios is about more than just the free wine and occasional sushi board score. Really! The annual organized voyeurism of creative space in the city will showcase artists' studios in different neighborhoods each weekend this month. In gleeful anticipation, we visited screen-printer and long time Mission visual artist Calixto Robles, who is helping to throw open the doors to his Life Art Studios (151 Potrero, SF) this weekend. Read more »

Hot sexy events Oct 6-12

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It's about that time, cats and kittens. Time to start fantasizing -- Halloween is just around the corner. And though everyone and their mother is going to be Stephen Colbert's Muslim vampire this year, many will seize the autumnal juncture as an opportunity to whore it up and out – in a good way! 

After all, who doesn't love the sexy nurses, kitties, police officers, and Snookies that stalk the city bars each year on the 31st? Look, the point is that on this day of days society indulges those that follow their dreams. May as well make it a wet dream, no? Sexy Muslim vampire it is! Oh, and here are some sexy events that'll wet your whistle this week, with an emphasis on finding that alluring inner equilibrium. Read more »

The family Yañez and their evolving altars

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To hear father and son artistic team Rene and Rio Yañez talk about San Francisco's Day of the Dead celebration is to realize how much the holiday has taken on its own light here in the city. “It's about personal experience, but also politics,” Rene says. The duo have crafted another year of homage to the dead around us -- and in so doing also reflect a shifting scene in San Francisco art.

No art event in the city reflects evolving tradition more than the Yañezs' yearly exhibit of Dia de los Muertos altars at SOMArts Cultural Center (opening Fri/8). As the three of us sit in Rene's office at SOMArts next to the cow brain in a mason jar on top of which the elder Yañez -- the center's director of special projects -- has stacked a pair of headphones and a plush Taco Bell chihuahua, Rene tells his son and myself about the first public Day of the Dead celebration in San Francisco. Read more »

Ebony Hillbillies string along Hardly Strictly's biggest year yet

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Nine hundred thousand people and over 70 bands braved the drifting fog banks for this weekend's 10th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. With a crowd that size, you have to think logistics. So at my interview with HSB bankroller-birthday boy Warren Hellman well before the madness, I asked who were the up and comers to look out for. I chicken-danced our way through Speedway Meadows accordingly.

“The Ebony Hillbillies,” Hellman told me, chuckling over lead singer – and as the band's press kit explains, “bones” of the group -- Gloria Gassaway's penchant for abrupt audience interaction. The HSB performance would be its first in the Bay Area, and Hellman was happy to have been its means of infiltration, particularly for Gassaway's no-nonsense stage presence. “She's quite a woman,” he said. Read more »

NSFR(estaurant): My dinner with Dixie

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All photos by Benjy Feen

I had a blind date with Dixie De La Tour, but I wasn't nervous. If all else failed, at least she would bring stories to tell. And how – De La Tour is the founder and emcee of Bawdy Storytelling, a randy live series with two events next week (Wed/6 and Sat/9) that will bring writers, comedians, and normal folk-like to the stage to share corset-busting sexcapades with an audience of vicarious pervs. Read more »

Crusader of the cables: Fannie Mae Barnes

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Whoever said a cable car couldn't be operated on woman power alone clearly had never met the steam engine on this grandmother. Fannie Mae Barnes of Oakland, California was the first woman ever to operate a cable car grip – not because it was a higher paying position, or an easier gig, but because she was told that women didn't have the strength to do the job right.

Barnes started pumping iron, passed the 25-day grip operator training program notorious for its 80 percent drop out rate, and became a source of civic pride. She even drove the Olympic torch up the Hyde Street hill en route to the 2002 Winter Olympics. A documentary about her achievement, “Getting a Grip,” will be shown tonight at Lunafest, a traveling film festival that screens movies made by and about women to benefit the Breast Cancer Fund. We caught up with Barnes for a phone interview about knocking down one of the city's diehard gender divisions of labor.

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Hot sexy events Sept 29 - Oct 5

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With Folsom's fumes still coming out of your pores thanks to this week's weather's surprise cameo by Death Valley, you are perhaps wondering the best spot to get hot and sweaty with your newfound best trick. We got you covered -- as we do each week here in the schvitzy dungeon of the SFBG stables. Read on for porn parodies, artistic foreplay, and techno-free touching.

 

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Lending art in the TL

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Throughout the course of writing my feature story about the Tenderloin this week, which looks at the role art is playing in the gradually changing neighborhood, a couple of questions kept cycling back into the forefront of my mind. What should be the role of art in community-building? What kinds of art benefit the residents of a neighborhood? It's tough to categorically define the answers, but Rick Darnell and the North of Market Community Benefit District's plans for a TL art lending library come damn close to a perfect score.

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Getting our rocks off: a historical perspective

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San Francisco is waiting for its Boogie Nights. Unbeknownst to Hollywood, our fair berg was the infant creche of hardcore pornography, spawning a subculture of porn theaters that thrived despite police harassment and political pressure.

We were number one! Luckily, a few brave men are resurrecting our porn golden age money shot – read on for a first look at documentary The Smut Capital of America and an interview with the director himself, Michael Stabile.

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