Gavin watch: The Lt. Gov. rumors

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The rumors that Newsom is going to announce imminently that he’s running for Lt. Governor turned out to be a bit premature.

But I am still hearing from very solid sources that he’s seriously considering jumping into the race -- and while the San Francisco left didn’t back his run for governor, this would be a very different campaign. The Lt. Gov. isn’t really in charge of anything, but has a certain amount of power, not just from the platform and the ability to issue press statements (one of Newsom’s favorite hobbies), but because that person gets a seat on the state Lands Commission (offshore oil drilling) and the U.C. Regents (education cuts). Newsom would most likely be fine on both issues.

And the truth is, we all know Newsom doesn’t really want to be a wine clerk.

And lieutenant governors are often well positioned to move on to higher offices it worked for John Kerry, for example (and for Gray Davis, if you call that working). I think Newsom would love to position himself to run for U.S. Senate when Dianne Feinstein, who will be 79 when her current term expires in 2012, decides to retire.

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MTA works on deep Muni service cuts

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By Nima Maghame

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, has pushed back a City Hall meeting (originally set for today) to make a decision on budget-related plans for cutting transit services by 10 percent across the city and raising prices on monthly passes, setting it for Friday 26th at 9 a.m. instead.Read more »

The Gavin and Leah Show

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With rampant rumors that Mayor Gavin Newsom will announce his candidacy for lieutenant governor as soon as today – and with San Francisco Bicycle Coalition executive director Leah Shahum today announcing a leave of absence – it’s interesting to see the two paired up in Newsom’s latest You Tube video.

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Bike Coalition chief takes a leave

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Leah Shahum, longtime director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, will be taking an eight-month leave of absence to live with her partner, Ted Strawser, in Amsterdam, which is widely considered one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities.

“As committed to bicycle advocacy as I am, the idea of living in Amsterdam is like a dream come true, so there’s no way I couldn’t do it,” Shahum said of the opportunity created when Strawser, an accountant for Dolby Laboratories, was transferred to Amsterdam for a year.Read more »

Live Shots: Huun Huur Tu, Cowell Theater, 02/11/2010

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Sometimes music is so powerful that it can transport you to another world. Huun Huur Tu, a throat-singing group from the Russian Republic of Tuva, create melodies that make you think you're riding a horse through some ancient, windblown prairie.

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Oakland to be soaked in Moregasms

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Heads up, fans of informative playfulness: Babeland co-founder Rachel Venning will be at Diesel Books in Oakland on Tues/16 to read from and sign copies of her latest book Moregasm, a guide to getting more from our sexual forays.

The majority of mainstream sex guides currently available follow a formula I've never understood, which is to feature real people in the cover photo and then nowhere else in the book. These ludicrous covers, mostly featuring underwear-clad models in suggestively prone positions, are a source of embarrassment at the cash register, but a worse offense is found inside. Upon opening the book the reader discovers, rather than any useful or instructional photos, a slew of black and white diagrams in stick-figure detail accompanied by text that is generally inscrutable. The sexual acts are described in ways that are alternately clinical and deliberately vague, peppered with medical terms like "vasocongestive arousal" along with meaningless Cosmopolitan-isms about revving engines or raising temperatures or similar banalities with which we are all familiar.

Taking this convention into consideration, Moregasm happily does the opposite.

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SF Indiefest drops by the Corner Store

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“We were looking for a working class hero story,” said Katherine Bruens, creator of feature film documentary Corner Store at its SF Indiefest preview this weekend. They found it. Corner Store (to be shown again on March 27) widens to include more, however- becoming a portrait of what it is to be an immigrant in this country, on missing home and personal conflict. On what it means to sleep in the back of the convenience store you work in 16 hours a day. The film joined a stellar lineup of shorts and features at the festival, a film geek's delight which continues through Thur/18 around town.

The producers followed their protagonist, Yousef Elhaj, for 14 months, during which they say he was “too polite not to have a documentary made about him." Elhaj hadn’t seen his family for the 10 years he'd spent funding a life for them at his Castro/Mission (“Mistro,” as an interview with some neighbors memorably dubs it) convenience store, where the majority of Corner Store takes place.

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Snap Sounds: Scene of Action

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SCENE OF ACTION

20 Minute Hourglass

(PopSmear)

San Francisco needs its own Stone Temple Pilots, no? One with a good dose of Killers sprightliness?

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Lip-smacking kalbi burrito action at John’s Snacks and Deli

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You didn’t even know you needed a kimchi taco till you began to hear about those trucks down in LA, didja? Sure, Namu at the Ferry Building delivers the Korea-Mex goods on Thursdays, but what about every other day of the week? Read more »

Nerdcore rising: Mc Frontalot represents

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By Nima Maghame

They say hip-hop is about who you represent. Gangster rap glorifies cheap women and expensive cars. But rapper MC Frontalot, who performs Mon/15 at Cafe du Nord, represents an entirely different group of people who are more into computer software and Internet jokes then cash and hoes. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Blitz the Ambassador

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BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR

Stereotype

(Embassy MVMT)

Loving the string-drenched, ecstatically brassy, flamenco-guitar-and-handclap flourishes of production on this Ghanaian rapper's debut. (He'll be performing Mon/15 at the Elbo Room.)

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A union that made black history

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The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was a pioneering union that led the battle from the l930s to l950s against racial discrimination that laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement of the l960s. 

Few of the groups that we should honor during Black History Month are more deserving than the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a pioneering union that played a key role in the winning of equal rights by African Americans. The union, the first to be founded by African Americans, was involved as much in political as in economic activity, joining with the NAACP to serve as the major political vehicle of African Americans from the late 1930s through the 1950s. It led the drives in those years against racial discrimination in employment, housing, education and other areas that laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

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Live Shots: Best Coast and Vivian Girls, Bottom of the Hill, 02/09/2010

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The vintage starburst lights were tinted red and Bottom of the Hill was packed with hipsters toting hand-me-down apparel: ratty old sweaters, torn hats and grandma’s old prescription glasses. Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino let out the first words to “When I’m With You,” and the crowd anxiously listened to each note echo through the mic, paired with her slow, distorted guitar strums.

I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone else in the room felt like we had just stepped into a time machine and shot straight back to a 1960’s dive bar on the beach. A little bit Beach Boys and part Ronnettes, the antique sounds were innocent and as gold as Cosentino’s sandy locks. Read more »

Film Pick: "Terribly Happy"

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The Coen Brothers' Blood Simple (1984) is the obvious corollary for this coolly humorous Danish import, though director/co-writer Henrik Ruben Genz's firmly dampened-down thriller of sorts is also touched by David Lynch's parochial surrealism and Aki Kaurismäki's backwater puckishness.

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A brief meditation on erotic comics (slightly NSFW)

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The Kinky Comic Carnival was held at S&M cafe Wicked Grounds a couple Saturdays ago. Comic book fanatics, stimulated by both caffeine and visual erotica, swarmed in unexpected numbers to meet local creative talents that included Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumren), Justin Hall (Glamzonia, the Uncanny Super Tranny), Serena Valentino (Gloom Cookie), Greta Christina (Best Erotic Comics), Tristan Crane (How Loathesome), and Storm (Princess Witch Boy). The crowd was a mix of committed comicphiles, local kink enthusiasts, passerbys intrigued by the fuss, and confused SOMA-ites who just wanted their coffee.

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