Sean McCourt

Cock Sparrer is mates first

The chummiest punk band you've never heard of celebrates 40 years

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arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC While it may not be a household name in the mainstream music world, Cock Sparrer has been one of the most beloved and influential bands in punk rock for four decades and counting.

Hailing from the East End of London, childhood friends Colin McFaull, Mick Beaufoy, Steve Burgess and Steve Bruce — who all remain members of the group today, along with Daryl Smith, who joined in 1992 — formed the band in 1972.Read more »

Large, in charge: "Elephant Seals" at the SF Ocean Film Festival

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Featuring an incredible variety of fascinating films about the ocean and its importance in nature, along with the role it plays in our society, the ninth San Francisco Ocean Film Festival (running now through Sun/11) showcases programs ranging from documentaries on marine life and environmental science to surfing videos and parables about pollution.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival is the short film Into The Deep With Elephant Seals (screening Sat/10), which offers a unique look at how marine biologists are using new technology to study the elephant seal population at Año Nuevo, just down the coast from San Francisco. Filmmaker Sheraz Sadiq, who produced the film for KQED as part of the station’s excellent QUEST series, says that he and his colleagues had wanted to do a story on elephant seals for some time, but had waited for the right mix of criteria to be met before setting out to do so.

“We wanted to take a different approach, we wanted to highlight the use of technology and the brilliant researchers who are pioneering the use of this technology to understand more information about elephant seals — where they go, what they eat, how long they dive,” he explains.

Read more »

Cheers, puppeteers!

Gelfling classic The Dark Crystal is 30 years old -- join the celebration at Castro Theatre, but watch out for Skeksis

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Showcasing the boldly imaginative and innovative talents of the artisans at the Jim Henson Company, the 1982 fantasy film The Dark Crystal broke new ground when it came to visual special effects and believable creature creations.Read more »

Come, as you are

YEAR IN MUSIC: An impassioned fan flocks to Seattle and Rasputin Music for Nevermind's anniversary

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YEAR IN MUSIC While thousands of shoppers — many appearing unfocused in their consumerist abandon — swarmed around me in the midst of Black Friday madness a couple of weeks ago, I knew exactly what I was looking for. Indeed, it was the only thing on my shopping list — the only thing that could make me get out of bed early the morning after Thanksgiving.Read more »

Visual wizard

Talking special effects with Bay Area legend Phil Tippett

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM Having brought life to a host of magical creatures and creations in movies including the original Star Wars trilogy, Jurassic Park (1993), RoboCop (1987), Starship Troopers (1997), and more, special effects legend Phil Tippett's film credits span more than three decades and counting.Read more »

Weird Al Yankovic never misses a beat at the Fox

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For someone who got his start in the music business by recording his first single in the men’s room, “Weird Al” Yankovic has certainly come a long way. Forging a wildly successful career that has lasted three decades and counting, the master of musical parodies hit the stage at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Sunday night, proving that while his act is hilarious, his talents for showmanship and performance are no joke. Read more »

The Damned celebrates 35 years of punk at Slim's

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The Damned first turned heads back in 1976. On Saturday night, the UK punk band took to the stage at Slim’s as part of its 35th Anniversary Tour and proved it's only grown better with time. Read more »

Spellbound

Houdini's fascinating magic endures at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

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Harry Houdini: the name conjures up a multitude of images and ideas about what a magician and escape artist should be. The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is currently celebrating that rich and long-lasting legacy with Houdini: Art and Magic, a new exhibit featuring a collection of vintage photographs, event posters, archival film, original props, art installations, and more, focusing on the world's most famous magician — who died in 1926, on Halloween.Read more »

Think this is Judas Priest's final concert? You've got another thing coming

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With some of the most memorable and recognizable heavy metal anthems ever put to tape or performed live, Judas Priest has been at the forefront of the scene for some 40 years now. Featuring singer Rob Halford’s piercing vocals, the twin guitar attacks of Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing, and the rock solid rhythm section of Ian Hill and Scott Travis, the band has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Birmingham, England, where it earned the moniker, “Metal Gods.” Read more »

The killer next door

Kane Hodder, a.k.a. Jason Vorhees, tells his story in Unmasked: The True Story of the World's Most Prolific Cinematic Killer

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TRASH Having terrified generations of horror film fans with his portrayals of some of cinema's most feared and iconic characters, Kane Hodder is a modern monster movie legend.Read more »