The Hopmonk Tavern’s dance floor is packed in front of the DJ tables onstage. Reggae beats, dub tracks -- the guy scratching gleefully up there even throws in a funk/soul number for good measure. Irie people groove, and couples grind to the sounds, which mingle with the smoke in the air. At the other end of the venue, the Hopmonk's home brewed ales are poured and there’s an entrance to an expansive patio, where greenery of all stripes sets the scene. This is Monday Night Edutainment with DJ Jacques and DJ Guacamole. And this is Sebastopol?
There’s a mural by my work I pass everyday that is visually astounding. It’s a super burner- a big, looping maze of letters, or maybe just design, that must represent in its whorls every color of the rainbow. It takes up the street side of a long building on a background of black-on-black fluer de lis design at Turk and Mason. Not to trivialize the sweet and sour roughness of ‘Loin life, but it gives the dope heads, the police cruisers and the general down-and-outery of the ‘hood an air of artistry.
You don’t see color like that just anywhere.
Which was why it was so nice to put a face to the piece during my trip down to Project One gallery to check out their current show “Four Squared,” a collaborative project between Chor Boogie, Apex One, Jet Martinez, and David Chong Lee. Apex One (who spray painted the mural in the Tenderloin) was there putting up a fresh new entryway sign for the gallery, and we got the chance to chat on how the group partnership came to be.
Just in time for the sun's critically acclaimed debut, the Internets has once again plotted to increase our digital dependence. Google Maps now has a bicycling option!
If you're a biker in San Francisco or Oakland, you don't need me to tell you that you gotta pick your routes around these cities. One false move and you're falling into the ruts of MUNI train tracks or on a freeway on-ramp (don't laugh, it happens... to me). But no longer, or at least less often, will you have to deal with these small catastrophes.
Even if Music by Prudence’s recent Oscar win for Best Documentary Short is currently garnering more blog pixels for its producer’s Kanye-like acceptance speech takedown, African music is experiencing an upsurge in attention these days. We could all use some uplift every now and again, and artists from the developing world, many of them singing through years of conflict and soul crushing poverty, somehow make that missed bus- even that found pink slip- seem like less of an end game.
Plus, some of them sing with the conviction and force of angels.
I'd like to introduce you to the Soweto Gospel Choir. A 26 singer strong troupe of some of the best singers in South Africa, the Grammy award winning Choir performs in big bright dashikis an interesting blend of traditional Zulu songs and “Many Rivers to Cross,” a combination that when stirred together in an exuberant pot yields African gospel. They're coming to the Paramount Theater (Sat/27), and the show should be great. Their music gets soaring, it gets heartfelt, it gets jazzy- it’s an epic listening experience that recalls what it means when the people you’re watching onstage are singing to carry out their mission on earth.
Break out the green latex, St. Patty's day has unleashed an Irish car bomb of sex events. So whether you're in the mood to perfect your rub skills, bid high for a quality sub, or land you a chubby hubby, the following events will have you dancing a jig. You know, a sexy jig.
As ever and ever the divide grows between what we hear on the radio versus what's truly fly in hip hop these days, Ana Tijoux plots her coming to America. Born to Chilean parents who fled from the brutal reign of Augusto Pinochet, the MC's life reads as the manifesto for the counterculture universality of hip hop. How to express the feelings stirred up by moving across the world at 14? How about coming to a country whose democratically elected president was slaughtered, replaced by a dissident-torturing dictator, that happens to be where your parents grew up? Tijoux found her anger reflected in the rhymes of the American rappers of the early '90s- and shortly after, used their "force" to raise her own voice. She's been a player on the South American hip hop scene ever since, and is releasing her second solo album, 1977, which may be her most personal project yet, looping scenes from a remarkable life story with her direct, staccato flows. Here in the Bay, we're getting a chance to catch her beats live (Thurs/25, La Peña Cultural Center), not too long after her debut among the gringos at South by Southwest. She wanted me to tell you that if you were born in 1977, you get into the Berkeley show for free. Read on to our telephone chat with Tijoux, an awesome conversation tweaked but a little by the intricacies of chatting with a translator and my own gradually stiffening Spanish.
Q. A woman with the mic croons the bloco afro riddims of her childhood growing up in Salvador. Around her, percussion reigns king and it's possible that a capoeira or samba dancer has snuck onstage to accentuate the party energy. Your body jumps to the beat. SambaDa has you in its grasp. But from whence does this musical group hail?
Steampunk has been described as a “step sideways in time.” It’s certainly not a regressive subculture- one peek at the kinds of clockwork corsetry and hydraulics operated moving machines that steampunk tinkerers fashion will convince you of that- but rather, a rethinking of where technology could have led us. It’s a topic that’s figuring prominently in the minds of many these days, which means this year’s New Albion Steampunk Exhibition (begins Fri/12) promises to be more whiz-bang than ever.
Picture, if you will, a mass of punks and nonconventional individuals in Victorian garb and laboriously created wings, monocles, wrist weaponry and whatnot, all milling about to waltz music in a very conventional hotel convention space. Surely, unsuspecting squares of Emeryville will be freaked.
EVENTS Diarmuid Philpott, chairman of this year's St. Patrick's Day parade and president of the Irish United Societies, knows a thing or two about SF's glorious Irish heritage, the holiday's significant religious and cultural roots, and of course, where the party is for the upcoming week. "First of all, it's a celebration of being Irish," Philpott explains. "Everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day. And they are welcome to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day!" So don that emerald green, and buckle down for a hooley of a time.