In honor of Valentine's Day, a series of parochial films called "Love, Sex, and Venereal Disease," presented by Oddball Film and Video, will premiere at 275 Capp Street on Saturday/13. Local filmmaker Stephen Parr runs the enterprise, and Oddball's public showings are compiled from Parr's enormous archive of offbeat film stock footage.
"Love, Sex, and Venereal Disease" is a motley repertoire. Included are films like "VD Attack Plan," a Disney animation about syphilis and gonorrhea, and the judicious "Social-sex Attitudes in Adolescence," which assures viewers that, being merely a phase, teenage gayness is not to be feared. There is also "Lot in Sodom," a 1933 avant-garde interpretation of the well-known Biblical story, and "The Innocent Party," about a lascivious teen whose past is checkered by venereal disease.
While still basking in the afterglow from their radically successful Underground Farmers Market last month, new cool kid on the block forageSF is running full steam ahead—offering a Valentine’s Day version of their Wild Dinners event that will coincide with their one year anniversary. The theme? Best dishes of the year (contingent on what can be rummaged, of course). For $99, diners can look forward to an eight-course meal with uncultivated delicacies such as escargot (I have come to consider myself a instinctual gourmand after listening to my parents’ horrified accounts of my predilection for plucking snails off the backyard walk and gnashing them up into foamy bits as a toddler), nettle soup with Cowgirl Creamery crème fraiche, slow roasted wild boar porchetta, acorn bread with candy cap mushroom ice cream, and more bounties from the Bay Area wilderness.
There’s not a lot to look forward to in February. Unless, of course, you happen to be into beer. (And, er, love.) Yes, we're currently in the middle of a great SF Beer Week. But the city has also embarked on an entire month of sudsy exploration. A proud tradition imported from Munich, Germany, strong beer (Starkbier) festivals have become part of the beer drinker’s winter calendar worldwide. In San Francisco, where good beer is as easy to find as a decent burrito, and not much more expensive, Strong Beer Month, co-hosted by Magnolia Pub and Brewery and 21st Amendment (both of which make their own) still stands out on the beer enthusiast radar as a special occasion. First, because it’s about beer. Second, because it’s about strong beer – as in extra-alcoholic. And mostly, because like any celebration of the craft of beer-making, it’s full of delicious and surprising nuances.
Literary critic, Stanford professor, and sexy-brainy scholar Terry Castle will be speaking at City Lights Books on Tuesday, Feb. 9, about The Professor and Other Writings, a series of meditations on topics ranging from Art Pepper to the Polermo catacombs to Susan Sontag. When read together, the essays coalesce into a singular, fearless new memoir.
Castle has produced an incredible body of literary criticism and, in her work, she often explores the complicated relationship between literature and sex. Books like The Apparitional Lesbian and The Literature of Lesbianism examine depictions of love between women in the Western literatary canon. Boss Ladies, Watch Out: Essays on Women, Sex, and Writing investigates female sexuality in works by famous women writers.
But don't let the lit theory put you off. Even those allegedly allergic to theory will enjoy the candid, intelligent essays in Castle's latest work. Her intellectual gifts are obvious -- even her informal pieces have the pleasing effect of making their reader feel smarter -- but Castle remains accessible to a wide audience. In fact, her writing seems targeted at those who exist on the outskirts, or even outside, of the literary cognoscenti. Castle makes no secret of her distaste for the "preening and plumage display" of current day literary criticism, or what she calls "jargon-ridden pseudo-writing," and her informal pepperings of middle- and low-brow references throughout The Professor add to Castle's likableness. None of my college professors would ever (admittedly) discuss the "hotitude" of famous Hollywood stars; neither would they (admittedly) jam out to bass-bomping hip hop on their iPods.