Kimberly Chun

Love rebuff

Indie = no pickups?
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SONIC REDUCER Hey, subliminal kids, watch out for those Music and Lyrics billboards all over town — they're as deadly as Pretty Ricky's between-the-sheets crunk, chased by Justin Timberlake covers such as the Klaxons' strings-laced "My Love" and Rock Plaza Central's mead-soaked "Sexy Back." The poster pic is so mundane that it catches then holds your attention: Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore shyly demur from meeting the viewer's, and each other's, eyes, choosing instead to moon over — what? Read more »

Tiki wiki

Inverse exotica, bluegrass oasis
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER What exactly does exotica mean to a little brown girl from a tropical island? How does tiki translate to someone who once identified those fierce masks by name, as Lono, Kane, or Ku? To most, exotica tuneage boils down to Martin Denny and Esquivel; tikis, to that last retro revival that surfed in alongside early '90s alternative culture. Read more »

Grizzly spawn

A chat with Werner Herzog
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First off, an embarrassing disclaimer: I'm not a Werner Herzog groupie — I just want him to be my grandpa. I'd like him to take me on long rambles over misty mountaintops, through the ice, snow, and sand; teach me about his ecstatic yet jeopardy-strewn path; and push me to jump into cacti, dance with chickens, and come out with poetry on the other side. And yet, as all good UFO films go, I suspect I'm not alone. Read more »

Bus lust

40 feet of fun
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER What's 40 feet long and 13 feet, 9 inches tall and fun all over? Sounding like a potentially lame "you've gotta be kidding me" joke and accelerating in Bay Area underground rockers' imagination as a real alternative to your average bad show experience, John Benson's converted Muni veggie-biodiesel bus is the latest in a bohemian nation's short parade of party starters on wheels — driven by motorvators like the Merry Pranksters and Friends Forever in order to cavort, make art and sometimes community, and blow minds. Read more »

The video guy

SECA recipient makes pop moving pictures and remixes history-making moments
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kimberly@sfbg.com

PREVIEW The public furor set off last November by the imminent publication of onetime football star and Avis flunky O.J. Simpson's now-quashed book, If I Did It, on the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, and Ron Goldman, demonstrates how pivotal the 1995 Simpson trial was to so many, just as Newsweek's recent publication of details from a key chapter shows how much it continues to compel — and how tender the wounds remain on this country's notions of race, justice, media, and celebrity. Read more »

Idol musings

Pop and popularity
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Is there any escape from the tractor beam–pull influence of American Idol? Can someone do me a favor and put a plug in Paula Abdul's histrionics, leash the dawgs of Randy Jackson, douse the frat-boy smirk on Ryan Seacrest's mug, or, reluctantly, hold back the refreshing wave of honest harshitude rolling off Simon Cowell? And while you're up, get me a High Life, hand me the channel changer, and take a socket wrench to that persistent leak of CDs by Idol alums. Read more »

Posi posse

Matt and Kim: not cute
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER What's the expiration date on cute? Is it just limited to the length of time you can tag a cat a kitten, pull off head-to-toe pink, tolerate unironic smiley faces, or maintain a Britney Spears fan site? Does anyone older than 21 still strive to be cute — or anyone not in a boy band, not a showgirl, not wearing mouse ears? Read more »

High tide

Wooden Shjips ride waves of blogoscopic acclaim with lo-fi psychedelia
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kimberly@sfbg.com

Let's face it: half the kick of discovering a little-known noodler or late-night four-tracker lies in the shock of the unknown. Jaded ears perk up at the sound of some never-was untouched by time, history, or, hell, pop itself — after all, musical obscuros like High Speed and the Afflicted Man, one of Wooden Shjips guitarist Ripley Johnson's favorites, were far from popular.

Wooden Shjips itself — give or take that copycat culture–jamming "j" — might have easily slipped past notice. Read more »

Dark days indeed

Melville's Army of Shadows
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French noir rarely darkened, deepened, or explored more nuanced shades of gray and shadow than in the films of Jean-Pierre Melville. From his breakthrough gangster ode, Bob le Flambeur (1955), through 1962's underrated Le Doulos to the trio that put Alain Delon's icy beauty to proper use, Le Samouraï (1967), Le Cercle Rouge (1970), and Un Flic (1972), Melville infused the genre with a rigorous, formal power while simultaneously shooting quickly, stylishly, and on location. Read more »

P&J jam

The Village Voice's famous Pazz and Jop poll -- minus Christgau
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kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER Icons come and go, with all the fanfare, dressers, and folderol that legends demand, you know — with a wiggle of a ruddy nose, the flash of a cape, a blast of TNT, the slam of the estate gates. Goodbye, James Brown (RIP Godfather of Soul, Dec. 25, 2006), may you work a little less in heaven than

you did on earth. Fare thee well, Village Music (music geeks' vinyl treasure trove), readying to close Sept. 30, due to the high rent demanded in Mill Valley. Read more »