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.
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.
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.
It is not everyday that a San Francisco Bay Guardian culture writer finds herself going for an interview in the Financial District. Something about the fumes of avarice making poor atmosphere for the creative process. But high above the Starbucks and town cars is the banjo-packed office of a rich man who puts on the best free bluegrass festival of the year. And so, for Warren Hellman and his Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (Fri/1-Sun/3), I braved the world of name tags and extravagant corner offices.
What's going on in sexy San Francisco this week? Everything. End of column. Jokes! As a matter de facto, however, Folsom Street Fair has unfurled its chaps from its carry-on from Detroit and would already be generating some friction between its thighs (were they not a crotchless affair), the amount of sexy parties its been stirring up from SoMa to NoMa to Ma and beyond. After all, with all the fresh meat on the street this week, it seems a shame to relegate all the naughtiness to Sunday's main event. Here's a smattering of what's going on in terms of pre-planned bacchanalia.
“The stage used to be right here.” Bob Ayres, founding partner of the classic Haight-Ashbury stand up comedy club, The Other Café, is sitting in his old yuckster stomping grounds, now a neighborhood crepery. He’s gesturing to the corner of the restaurant, roughly where we’re sitting, and where his small stage used to host everyone from Robin Williams to Jerry Seinfeld. Now in its place it’s just me and Bob and a guy eating a sandwich two tables down. Could a desire for resurrection be driving Ayres’ Other Café reunion show this weekend (Sat/25)? Read more »
Enough of the silicon and studio lighting! Sex in San Francisco just isn't that scripted – or is it? Good Vibrations put its yearly call out to amateur filmmakers to turn in their own seven minutes and under blue films. Straight, gay, perverted, vanilla, the rainbow of oohs and aahs will show you what's really going on in your neighbor's bedrooms (the hots ones, obviously). But wait, that's next week. This week, you can attend the IXFF kick off party at El Rio, where clips of queer hipster porn will be showing and burlesque babies will shimmy and shake for your viewing pleasure. Look at it this way, if you're going to be squirming in anticipation, you might as well have a cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon in hand.
You are perhaps in the market for an accessory statement that mimics pink plastic unicorns jumping through your ears? Maybe a connected tube top-tutu smattered with a happy orgy of babydolls and hair-bows in the shape of a heart? Fret not, little cream-puff – your kawaii savior, Sebastian Masuda of Harajuku brand 6% DOKIDOKI (it's name is an onomatopoeia of a beating heart) will be making an appearance at New People's J-Pop Summit (Weds/15) for a lecture on Tokyo's “cute culture,” a fashion show featuring members of his store's famously, fabulously saccharine staff, and a glitz-tastic 6%DOKIDOKI pop-up store. The brand's focus on wide-eyed adorable and the shockingly juvenile has been termed “happy anarchy” by people that know about these things, so we shot Masuda some questions via email about what the hell he's up to. His answers were vague -- but they include the possibility of world salvation, so you might wanna check them out.
Entering into its twelfth year of existence this weekend, Michael Franti's Power to the Peaceful music and yoga festival doesn't appear to pack quite the big name punch on (recycled, written on with hemp ink) paper – the Talib Kwelis and String Cheese Incidents that shared the bill with Franti in years past have been cycled out for Rupa and the April Fishes, SambaDa, and other relatively little known acts. But we caught up with Franti a few weeks ago to talk about this weekend's (Fri/10-Sun/12) life-loving festivities while he was driving through the Nevadan desert, and he says there's a method to the grooviness.
Well bless my Star Wars! All that tassel twirling and shimmy-shimmy of burlesque, at times it seems you can't turn around with a eyeful of curves hitting you at full speed in this town. Not that I'm complaining. But I must admit, I've always been concerned – when do the sci-fi aficionados get their very own night of burlesque beauties? One would think that more would follow in the steps of LA's Devil's Playground, which performed a mind-busting strip down of C3PO and even Jabba the Hutt this spring. Disturbing? Hot? Both? Maybe I'm worrying too much -- but when does SF get a piece of that action? Leave it to Bombshell Betty to heed my heart-felt cry for our darling and economically life-affirming nerds (you know we're a cradle for Tech 2.0 or whatever, right?). Strutting the stage on a very special night at the Elbo Room (Tues/14) will be any number of ladies loving the heroes, the bad guys, the technology, the far-fetched cleavage of the sci-fi genre that you would think just begs for a little more spec-ta-ta-tacular exploitation. Oh wait. Lara Croft. Never mind.