Cheryl Eddy

Punk-rock farewell

Recession sinks Annie's Social Club
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cheryl@sfbg.com

MUSIC In late October, I spent a particularly thrilling evening at Annie's Social Club, watching North Carolina-by-way-of-Venus band Valient Thorr fling copious sweat beads into a beer-soaked crowd. Annie's, one of my favorite spots in San Francisco, was the perfect setting for the show — cozy (but not cramped), dark and low-ceiling'd enough to feel like the coolest basement ever, and packed full of friendly punk and metal fans. Read more »

That's a wrap

Holiday Guide: Wrap it up! Gifts for movie geeks
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art@sfbg.com

Everyone's got one — that movie-freak friend or relative who's able to hold court on everything from His Girl Friday (1940) to Next Friday (2000); dazzle the dinner table with obscure trivia and dead-on quotes; and is possessed of a memory that's never met an unconquerable round of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." What to do when this human Internet Movie Database pops up on your holiday shopping list? Read more »

The call of the weird

Herzog and Cage activate Wonder-Twin powers in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
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Consider that ridiculous title. Though its poster and imdb entry eliminate the initial article, it appears onscreen as The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. That's the bad lieutenant, not to be confused with Abel Ferrara's 1992 Bad Lieutenant, starring Harvey Keitel as a nameless New York City cop who gambles and grubs drugs until one harrowing case nudges him in a less wretched direction.

The bad lieutenant has a name: Terence McDonagh, and he's a police officer of similarly wobbly moral fiber. Read more »

Get rich or smell good (?) tryin'

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50+Cent+-+Before+I+Self+Destruct.jpg

50 Cent: man, rapper, actor, multi-gunshot wound survivor, Eminem pal, Ja Rule foe, G-Unit mastermind, sneaker designer, video game character, Vitamin Water pusher, weight-lifting enthusiast, philanthropist, condom endorser, memoirist, novelist, occupier of mansions, bajillionaire, father, and probably several more descriptors his Read more »

Thrillpeddlers

GOLDIES 2009: Buzzers, blackouts, spook shows, and a thrilling resuscitation of "marginal" traditions
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If you dare! Venture to the Hypnodrome, home of San Francisco's Thrillpeddlers. The company is America's preeminent producer of plays from the Grand Guignol, the infamous Parisian theater that peddled thrills (if you will) from 1897-1962; the Hypnodrome, which seats 45, has been in operation for five years. The brave can choose to sit in "shock boxes" that line the theater's back row — each box is tricked out with buzzers and other devices designed to lend an extra-sensational experience. Read more »

Cary Cronenwett

GOLDIES 2009: Filming revolutionary ideas that extend beyond historical reenactment
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Cary Cronenwett first heard the cinematic call in 1998. He was volunteering at Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, and caught an experimental film, Dandy Dust, by Austrian director A. Hans Schierl. "That made me think, 'Wow — I could make a film.' I think it's a natural reaction that everybody has after watching a shorts program. I was like, 'I'll make something five minutes [long] — it'll be really cool!'"

As Cronenwett soon realized, nothing is easy when it comes to filmmaking. Read more »

Know the unknown

New doc explores H.P. Lovecraft's lasting influence -- and Cthulhu slippers!
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Straight-to-DVD bio-doc Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (Cinevolve, $24.95) is stylistically pretty ho-hum, especially for a film about one of the most creative minds in supernatural horror fiction. Talking heads and slow pans over illustrations do most of the heavy lifting, since the author, who died in 1937, apparently didn't leave behind much in the way of photographs, recordings, diaries, or relatives. Still, the film offers an informative experience. For a guy obsessed with Old Ones and tentacled beasts, H.P. Read more »

Is the truth out there?

SF DocFest's tales from the dark side come to the Roxie
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cheryl@sfbg.com

FILM Habitual attendees of documentary films in San Francisco might be surprised to see so many familiar titles in this year's SF DocFest lineup. At least one (American Artifact: The Rise of American Rock Poster Art, which played the Red Vic a few months back) is skippable. Others — like I Need That Record: The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Off and Running, and especially Johnny Weir portrait Pop Star on Ice — make welcome returns. Read more »

Mind your own

Indie idol Andrew Bujalski's Beeswax is a lo-fi standout
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There's no filmmaker working today who more accurately captures awkward moments than Andrew Bujalski. Read more »

San Francisco Fringe Festival

250 performances of over 40 experimental works by companies near and far in just two weeks
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PREVIEW There is literally something for everyone at this year's 18th annual San Francisco Fringe Festival. Don't try to argue, man — this year's slate, which jams over 250 performances of over 40 experimental works by companies near and far into just under two weeks, is incredibly diverse. Read more »