March Fourth Marching Band reveals its gypsy secrets


One of these days, I'll hop a bus outta this town. Pullin' out of here on the wind, if you want to quote the Boss (sometimes I do). One of the groups I've been keeping my eye on as a possible accomplice is March Fourth Marching Band. You can find the million-piece ensemble's rig parked at nearly every festival, ever – always with a few stilters or trombone players spilling out the door, sprawled on a tarp nearby, or if you're lucky, tapping out a cheerful marching band symphony by a campfire at around five in the morning (hello, High Sierra!) 

And onstage! They're like a big, loud circus onstage – until all of a sudden they're off the stage and you're engulfed in 360 degrees of marching band madness, now having a dance party with its frenzied audience. In anticipation of the band's upcoming pre-NYE show at The Independent (Thurs/30), March Fourth's bandleader John Averill sat down at his email portal to tell us all his secrets about where he found the mail order balls needed to make touring with so many moving parts possible. Read more »

Hot sexy events: December 29-January 4


“Scott and I wanted to create an adult playground that wasn't just some hedonistic, narcissistic freefall into the apocalypse.” Co-founder Polly Superstar is ready to celebrate a decade of Mission Control's swingin' good times at the play space (which she founded with hubby Baron Scott Levkoff)'s NYE party-ten year anniversary soiree Fri/31. 

But first, a look back. “We wanted a place where people could feel safe exploring their sexuality without the rigidity of the BDSM scene, and without the expectation and pressure of the swinger scene.” And so MC's been throughout the aughts: a land where art, sex, and hell yeah, theme parties, have been coming together to the greater glory of SF's freaky, funky pansexual scene. Read more »

EDITORIAL: Get out of the way, Mr. Mayor


 Let us begin with the obvious: Mayor Gavin Newsom has absolutely no business deciding who should replace him. His petulant statements suggesting that he will delay taking office as lieutenant governor until the supervisors pick a candidate he likes are an embarrassment to the city. If he actually refuses to take the oath of office Jan. 3, when his term in Sacramento begins, it will damage his reputation and political career.

Newsom knew when he decided to seek higher office that he'd be leaving the city early if he won. He knew that under the City Charter, the Board of Supervisors would choose a new mayor. He knew that a progressive majority on the board was likely to elect someone whose political views differ from his. If he didn't want that to happen, he should have stayed in town and finished his term. Read more »

Appetite: 2010, the year in absinthe


Read up, absinthe seekers... whether you're intrigued by the (false) claims of hallucinogenic effects or an aficionado taken in by the culture surrounding the green fairy, a little reading will take you deeper. This year has produced three new absinthe books furthering knowledge of an artful drink best enjoyed with leisure and attention.

Absinthe Cocktails
by Kate Simon Read more »

The Year in Film: Guardian critics on 2010's best!


Dennis Harvey's Top 20 of 2010

Note: because this was generally such a crap year, a "best" list seemed too much of a stretch. Ergo this is a Top 20 list, in no particular order, of films I enjoyed most one way or the other (The Killer Inside Me, Everyone Else, and I Spit on Your Grave definitely representing the other). No doubt The King's Speech, The Social Network, and several other currently awards-baiting titles have finer qualities than some here, but they're not what I'd gladly watch again right now.

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, UK/Netherlands)
The Tillman Story (Amir Bar-Lev, USA)
The Killer Inside Me (Michael Winterbottom, USA/Sweden/UK/Canada)
The Desert of Forbidden Art (Tchavdar Georgiev and Amanda Pope, Russia/UK/Uzbekistan)
Mother (Bong Joon-ho, South Korea)
City Island (Raymond De Felitta, USA)
OSS 177: Lost in Rio (Michel Hazanavicius, France)
Daddy Longlegs (Ben Safdie and Joshua Safdie, USA/France)
The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko, USA)
Let It Rain (Agnès Jaoui, France)

Read more »

Arthur Szyk: beauty in fairy tale... and Stalin


Nowadays, being up on the news can actually make us stupider (more stupid, damn!), but when cartoonist Arthur Szyk was sketching his dense, fantastically detailed news caricatures, politics were still in need of explication – and all the more better if it was beautiful to boot. How else can one explain why one of the most whimsical artists of the 1930s and '40s became best known for his sketches of Hitler and Stalin playing poker?

Read more »

Appetite: In Tequila with Fortaleza


Fortaleza is truly a special tequila. On my recent visit to Tequila, Mexico, this distillery enchanted with its agave covered hillsides and haunting caves. Fortaleza means fortitude, though in Mexico, you'll find their bottles labeled Los Abuelos in memory of the grandfathers of Guillermo E. Sauza, the fifth generation producer who passionately runs Fortaleza by old world methods. He comes from tequila royalty as a Sauza... Read more »

New Year's Eve 2011 parties


As always, we recommend attending several parties on New Year's Eve — just to spread your personal brand of bubbly around (and change up the scenery a bit.) Below are some recommendations for maximum impact, all of which take place the night of Fri/31. Chin chin! (Check out our Music Listings for even more.)

Read more »

Maybe bankruptcy would save California


First of all: ain't going to happen. The state needs to spend $6.6 billion on bond debt, and has more than $50 million available. No default looming. I'm with Robert Cruickshank at Calitics: The law shouldn't give bondholders first claim on the state's money. But it does.Read more »

Fine (and found) dining with Wild Kitchen

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Wild boar, Monterey squid, light-it-yourself flambe -- local, wild edibles are foraged and transformed into multi-course gourmet meals, as ForageSF hosts underground restaurant Wild Kitchen. Dig in to this SFBG exclusive.

Year in Music: Pantha du Prince's Top 10 (+1) of 2010


Phill Niblock, Touch Radio 57
Efdemin, Chicago
Konrad Sprenger, Versprochen
Avey Tare, Down There
Foxtrot Echo Lima Tango fanzine
Autechre, Oversteps
Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Live In New York
Live jams by The Sight Below in New York
Sohrab, A Hidden Place
John Roberts, Glass Eights
Craig Haines, Until the Point of Hushed Support Read more »

Spoiled mayor wants to get his way


I guess it's no surprise that Gavin Newsom takes his political cues from the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. But this spoiled-kid choose-a-mayor-I-like-or-I-won't-leave attitude isn't pretty. Newsom has chosen a new office; it's no longer his business who the folks he left behind want to put in Room 200.Read more »

Year in Music: Jesse Kivel of Kisses' Top 10 Albums of 2010


Beach House, Teen Dream
CEO, White Magic
Nite Jewel, Am I Real?
El Guincho, Pop Negro
Owen Pallett, Heartland
The National, High Violet
Joanna Newsom, Have One On Me
Ra Ra Riot, The Orchard
Delorean, Subiza
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Before Today

Read more »

Year in Music: John Cobbett of Hammers of Misfortune's San Francisco Top 10 of 2010


Farmers Market (Thursdays, Bartlett between 21st and 22nd streets). Finally, a farmers market in my neighborhood, and it opens just in time for breakfast!
Dishammer, Under the Sign of the D-beat Mark. For some reason this record made me very happy in 2010
Healthy San Francisco. I got your public option RIGHT HERE Read more »

Year in Music: Alexis Georgopoulos of Arp's Top 10 of 2010 (+1)


Durutti Column, "Stucki"
CFCF, The River
Oni Ayhun, "Untitled (OAR003–B)"
James Blake, Klavierwerke
Mario Basanov, Caribbean Girl
Sun Araw, Off Duty and Boat Trip
Charanjit Singh, Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat
Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Macho
Tensnake, Coma Cat
Tame Impala, Innerspeaker
The Radio Dept., "Heaven's On Fire"

Read more »