About pragmatism

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I want to say a word about pragmatism, about Sup. David Chiu's contention that "we were voted into office to get things done." 

I'll all for pragmatism. I've even for compromise sometimes. And I'm certainly in favor of getting things done. But just for a moment, I want to take a step back and remember what Chris Daly (who was actually quite good at getting things done) said during his final board meeting:Read more »

Ed Lee is San Francisco’s interim mayor

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After a unanimous vote by San Francisco’s newly installed Board of Supervisors on Jan. 11, City Administrator Edwin M. Lee was sworn in as interim mayor of San Francisco. The swearing-in was regal affair staged in the rotunda of City Hall. A host of prominent political figures, including Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, congregated to witness the changing of the guard.

Former Mayor Willie Brown served as master of ceremonies, standing behind a podium on the grand staircase with members the newly elected board to his right and former Mayor Gavin Newsom and Mayor-elect Ed Lee to his left. Read more »

How Jerry can save $125 million a year

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Here's an excellent point from Julia Rosen at Calitics: While Jerry Brown is scrambling around saving a few million here and a few million there (not that I'm against cutting back on state cell phones), the state could save far, far more just by abolishing the death penalty. That's a lot of money. Read more »

John Ross is dying

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My friend John Ross -- investigative poet, reporter, internationational shit disturber and reluctant honoree of the City and County of San Francisco is dying. Read more »

The Performant: Do you SQUART?

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Let it be resolved, improv-based speed-playwriting competitions involving queer performance artists, cake, fabulous spandex, atrocious wigs, adult diapers, bare bums, wind-up hamsters, and flasks of whiskey should always be bestowed a title which sounds like an uncouth bodily function. Because at the very least it leads to the humorous speculation of what particular bodily function that might be. Though hopefully your attention will mostly be on the crazed mish-mash unfolding onstage, because queer performance artists armed with cake, fabulous spandex, and all the rest, put on quite a show.

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EDITORIAL: The Agenda for Mayor Lee

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San Francisco has its first Chinese American mayor, and that's a major, historic milestone. Let's remember: Chinese immigrants were among the most abused and marginalized communities in the early days of San Francisco. In 1870, the city passed a series of laws limiting the rights of Chinese people to work and live in large parts of the city. Chinese workers built much of the Transcontinental Railroad at slave wages and in desperately unsafe conditions that led to a large number of deaths. The United States didn't even repeal the Chinese Exclusion Act (an anti-immigration law) until 1943, and for years, Chinatown was one of the poorest and most neglected city neighborhoods. Read more »

Dan Witz gifts SF his finest S&M grates

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Given that he's best known for his series of tiny, jewel-like airbrushed hummingbirds, it may strike his hordes of ardent fans as dissonant that street artist Dan Witz's latest offerings are so, well, fucked up. His current show at White Walls (on display through Feb. 5) is comprised of fake grated windows that Witz sneak-bolts onto buildings. The windows reveal chiaroscuro women with ball gags in their mouths and wasted man-prisoners. Witz, a classically trained artist, has rendered them realistically enough to invoke stomach-lurching concern in the onlooker. WTF, right?

But the artist, who I called up at while he was working at his chilly studio in dead-of-winter New York City, doesn't see the birdies and the ball gags as being all that different. “Everything I do is an act of cultural aggression in some way,” he says. In 1979, when a young Witz airbrushed 40 of his now-famous hummers below 14th Street in Manhattan, their preciousness was a radical departure from the then-current trends in street art. Now, he says, his window grates onto depravity similarly represent what's lacking in today's milieu. Read more »

Appetite: Mixology times two

From classic tequila to liquid nitrogen -- two innovative classes help you polish your shaker skills

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BERETTA MIXOLOGY CLASSES -- Class is equal parts learning and pleasure at Beretta during their monthly Monday educational cocktail classes led by Bar Manager Ryan Fitzgerald. Ryan is one of our city’s great bartenders and he shares his ability to showcase the essence of a drink with you. Set up with your own station of bar utensils and ingredients, you’ll experience an interactive two hours with a small group in Beretta’s basement. Shake and stir -- learning when it’s appropriate to do each -- as you sample your creations. Read more »

Judge Kopp to run for D.A.?

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Yep: Quentin Kopp, the 82-year-old former supervisor, former state Senator, retired Superior Court judge and political fixture in this city for four decades, is being talked about as a potential challenger to the new district attorney, George Gascon.Read more »

Tucson, the rabid right and gun control

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In today's episode, we talk about the Tucson shootings, how the right wing has inflamed violence -- and whether America needs more impulse control or more gun control Listen to Tim and johnny mix it up (guess who favors gun control?) after the jump. Read more »

Turn to the left: Transgender threads hit the online runway

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Fashionable transsexuals are in the air, floating about on a current of gender smarts and well-fitting blazers and pant hips. Consider the evidence: on Friday, local trans rag Original Plumbing held a runway show at the Elbo Room to celebrate the release of its fashion issue, Justin Vivian Bond just issued a flowering proclamation of pronoun for those looking for a way to describe v (read it already), and now, a transpeople website that promises it will finally provide you with a dress that'll fit right over those shoulders of yours. 

“This is a group of people that often need custom clothing and haven't figured out how to get it yet.” Sarah Dopp is a transgender connector. The founder of Genderfork, a warm feeling-inducing collection of photos and stories from folks rejecting the binary model of gender from around the world, Dopp identifies as a “female, androgynous, genderqueer.” When we got the chance to catch up with her via phone last week, she told us that the idea for Genderplayful is one that she holds close to her own zipper. Read more »

Appetite: Best Restaurant Openings of 2010, Bay Area

Food and drink writer Virginia Miller picks her favorite new dining spots outside of San Francisco

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Earlier in the week, I listed the top 10 new restaurant openings of the year in San Francisco. Now I list an additional four best new Bay Area openings: one in the South Bay, two in the East Bay, one in Wine Country. Read more »

Street Threads: Sabrina

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Today's Look: Sabrina, 17th Street and Valencia

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What progressive means

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Willie Brown says that choosing a person of color for a leadership position should be a “progressive” value. David Chiu says Ed Lee is a progressive. Several supervisors, and other political observers, say the six-vote progressive majority on the board is gone.

And nobody really talks about what that word means.Read more »

Chiu and pragmatism win over the new board

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Despite the re-election of David Chiu as president of the Board of Supervisors today, there was a palpable shift in the political dynamics at City Hall. “Ideology” has been deemed a dirty word by a majority of the Board of Supervisors, while the politics of identity and “getting things done” is the new imperative. Read more »