No film at this year's Sundance Film Festival festival encountered as much controversy as Craig Zobel's Compliance. At the first public screening, an all-out shouting match erupted, with an audience member yelling "Sundance can do better!" You can't buy that kind of publicity. Every screening that followed was jam-packed with people hoping to experience the most shocking film at Sundance, and the film does not disappoint. (Beware: every review I have happened upon has unnecessarily spoiled major plots in the film, which is based on true events.)
Compliance aims to confront a society filled with people who are trained to follow rules without questioning them. Magnolia Pictures, which previously collaborated with Zobel on his debut film Great World of Sound (which premiered at Sundance in 2007), picked up the film for theatrical release (it comes out Fri/24 in Bay Area theaters); if you dare to check it out, prepare to be traumatized as well as intellectualized. You'll be screaming all the way home about one of the most audacious movies of 2012 — and that's exactly why the film is so brilliant.
San Francisco Bay Guardian I have attended Sundance since I was 11 years old, and there have been a handful of particularly volatile screenings in which audience members passed out, threw up, stormed out of the theater, or berated the filmmakers during the Q&A: Bryan Singer's Public Access and Rémy Belvaux and André Bonzel's Man Bites Dog in 1993; Mary Harron's American Psycho and Kim Ki-Duk's The Isle in 2000; Gaspar Noe's Irreversible in 2002; and Johan Renck's Downloading Nancy in 2008. Now, you've joined the ranks of the infamous Sundance elite. Were you prepared for how vulnerable your film Compliance was going to make audience members?
Craig Zobel Absolutely not. It really caught me off guard.
HERBWISE Author Doug Fine's last book, Farewell My Subaru, is about the year he moved to a secluded New Mexico farm and attempted to live without petroleum. He's just as creative about advocating against the War on Drugs as is his against fossil fuel dependency -- for his new book Too High To Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution Fine spent a cannabis season living in a Mendocino grow town. Read more »
I met New Orleans bounce artist Nicky Da B in a Mardi Gras beer bust at a Nola leather bar. His manager Rusty Lazer (check out my interview with from the same trip) introduced us, shortly before the two ventured to the DJ booth upstairs where people started shedding clothes fast on the dancefloor.
And not (just!) for your run of the mill nightlife encounters that can be found at Eagles across the country -- they were doing fast, sweaty DJ and the hella diverse crowd was losing it, including the leathermen who were down to give the scene a try, or at least continue their standard bar-time activities while a bunch of twenty-somethings flung themselves around them. Asses were popping so fast you didn't know their owners' hip sockets were going to be okay, it was that kind of party. Come to think of it, New Orleans tends to be that kind of party. Read more »
CAREERS AND ED In July, the unemployment rate in California was 11 percent. Which got us thinking: what's the smart way to job hunt these days? We're not the only ones — this month, the Commonwealth Club is hosting a series of lectures and workshops called "The Future of Work." We tapped two of the series' experts for email interviews, asking Marty Nemko, author of Cool Careers For Dummies, and Joel Garfinkle, Oakland-based career coach, for their takes on the matter. They offered two points of view on today's dreary job market. Upside? Read more »
There is good and bad about the rise of the "mommy blog," says mother and author Kate Hopper. Good: women should write! Writing spreads one's voice, motherhood can be an intense time. Bad: why must we qualify them as something apart from any other blogger, memoirist, etc. Hopper promises to discuss these topics -- and more saliently, how you can get started on a chapter of your own -- at her upcoming appearance at Good Vibrations' mothers-specific hang-out, which also features Carol Queen speaking about post-natal nookie, on Wed/1. We caught up with her before she hit SF to get a sneak peek at her relationship with the written word. Read more »
After a hectic Pride weekend, it’s about time to slow down. A Sat/30 performance-workshop (part of this week's stellar This Is What I Wantperformance art fest -- read Guardian theater critic Robert Avila's enlightening interview with artistic director Tessa Wills here) should fit the bill nicely. Introducing “Slow Sex Symposia” and its curator, internationally-acclaimed writer and dancer Doran George. George is planning an afternoon exploration into alternative sexual practices, lifestyles, and unique relationships. Slow sex is a term the artist coined to serve as counterpoint to today’s fast-paced, commercialized notions of sex. Last week, George and I spoke about what it was like to work with a blockbuster lineup of artist, “the economics of queer desire,” and a childhood solo of “Yankee Doodle.” Read more »
HERBWISE It's Sunday afternoon and the hosts of Mutiny Radio's Cannabis Cuts: The Next Generation have effectively commandeered the smoking lounge at SoMa's Igzactly 420. They are deep into solving the world's problems.Read more »
“My job is really weird. I think about that all the time.”
The Mission is a neighborhood accustomed to eccentric individuals. One would think Brande Baugh’s key lime hair and vintage Misfits t-shirt would make her fit right in. Yet her presence in a neighborhood cafe still elicited several stares when she walked in -- with her perfectly-curated face, pastel pink lipstick, and evenly-powdered face, Baugh looked like one of Warhol’s Marlyn Monroe silkscreens. Though Baugh stays pretty busy living and working in Los Angeles, she also has regular gigs at Kink, a San Francisco-based pornography website that specializes in bondage and BDSM.