SF street art: Catching some zzzs

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By Kimberly Chun

Sighted near Dolores Park: a doozy of a dozing garage door. Read more »

Meister: Obama's promise to women

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It's time to enact the Paycheck Fairness Act that would allow women to negotiate with employers for equal pay with men

By Dick Meister

(Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for a half-century.)

One of the most important promises made by President Obama in his State of the Union address has been largely overlooked – his promise to “crack down on violations of equal pay laws, so that women get equal pay for an equal day’s work.”Read more »

The new Amber: Can you go home again?

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We're not at Amber anymore. Photo by Darwin Bell

Blame it on "Fringe," but I've been thinking a lot about alternate realities lately - you know, the possibility that there's a parallel universe a lot, but not quite exactly, like this one. Perhaps there's still a Molly Freedenberg, but in the alternate reality, she's a doctor, not a writer. Or San Francisco is a mecca for conservatives. Or Amber is a non-smoking cocktail lounge.

Oh wait. This last one, as of January 16, is true. And a parallel universe is exactly what I felt like I was in when I visited the bar on 14th and Church that's served for three years as my living room, my last stop, my birthday party venue, and, not insignificantly, one of the last pieces of proof I could hold on to that smoking is cool, cosmopolitan, and bohemian, and not simply insane and self-destructive.

The strange thing about the new Amber, now called the Residence, is the way it still refers to its past incarnation. The seating is arranged the same way in the room, though it's now leather and whicker, rather than wood and '80s upholstery. The bar's in the same place, though the countertops are sanded down and stacked bottles of Stoli have been replaced by Grey Goose and St. Germain's on dark wood shelves (with mirrors behind them)! The bartenders are the same, but Phil wore a black shirt and tie rather than his green '70s jacket. Even the bathrooms are in the same place, but now sport floral and striped wallpaper. It felt like some kind of de ja vus. Something about this place is eerily familiar, but I know I haven't been here before.

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Derby 1975: "Bananas were the fastest fruit I could think of"

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By Marke B.

Via Boing Boing, this video was posted by Mike Haeg on his blog. It's an amazingly well-put-together feature-length documentary of the famed 1975 Artists' soap box derby, benefitting the SFMOMA. The doc was made in 1977 by Amanda Pope, and the vehicles are the parents of today's rough and tumble art cars. (For more Burning Man prescience, listen for the sound clip from participant David Best, the guy who makes all those beautiful playa temples...)

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Nite Trax: Tiger & Woods

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Marke B. goes on about recent dance tracks he loves. See the previous Nite Trax here.

Edit nation is still in full effect, with some amazing laptop Special Extended Disco Versions being put out by the likes of Wolf + Lamb, Tensnake, Soul Clap, and our very own Golden Goose -- taking those old, warped, uncanny soul classics into new territory with contempo-technological effects for the post-minimal nightlife set. Turn on the red light.

 

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Atlanta beats the pants off SF -- again

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Hot guys mostly not in their underwear at Atlanta's 2009 Pride Parade

In general, San Franciscans deal with an existential crisis in one of two ways: binge drinking or making idle threats to move to New York. Usually, it's a combination of both. Concerning the latter, we frequently cite the Big Apple's better nightlife, for which we are prepared to sacrifice amazing food, outrageously mild weather, and overall happiness and sense of well-being.

Our behavior needs to stop. Listen, whatever problems you may have, New York isn't going to solve them for you. I learned this lesson the hard way. Once upon a time, I turned threat into reality. I packed up all my things, threw myself a teary goodbye party, and got an apartment in Williamsburg. Several months later, I was happily back in San Francisco. It was embarrassing.

Here's a piece of advice. Next time you hate your life, instead of threatening to move to New York City, why don't you threaten to move to Atlanta?

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Street Threads: Jai

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SFBG photog Ariel Soto scoops SF street fashion. See the previous Look of the Day here.

Today's Look: Jai, Elsworth and Cortland

Tell us about your look: "The look is just me." Read more »

Back to the mat for Ting and the Catholics

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By Ryan Thomas Riddle

What city officials called the “second largest transfer tax event in our city’s history” is set to go back before the Transfer Tax Review Board. The Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco has filed an appeal, contesting the delinquent tax value of the board’s Dec 4. ruling that states an estimated $14.4 million in transfer taxes are owed to the city. Read more »

Source switch clouds SF's water

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By Jobert Poblete

If you've noticed that your water has been looking a little off recently, you aren't the only one. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is warning Bay Area residents that tap water may look cloudy for the next few weeks while maintenance and construction work is completed on the pipeline that delivers pristine water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park.Read more »

Gonna mixtape you up in my love

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Damn straight. Photo via tapedeck.org

Mixtapes were the bomb, right? They represented dedication; time spent crouching by your boombox, starting and stopping and racing for the ‘record’ button when that song came on the radio (early piracy?). The order of songs, the meaning of songs… remember when you’d even record sweet nothings in between tracks for that special someone?

The last mixtape in my possession was made for me by one of my best friends (shout out to you, A cup!) when we were 15 years old, to bring on my exchange student summer in Mexico. It contained the following classics:

1. “The Bad Touch” (the ‘Discovery Channel’ song) by the Bloodhound Gang
2. “I Get Around” by Tupac Shakur
3. “Thug Passion” by Tupac Shakur
4. “Ojos Asi” by Shakira
5. “Bye Bye Bye” by N*SYNC

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Street Threads: Vivian

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SFBG photog Ariel Soto scoops SF street fashion. See the previous Look of the Day here.

Today's Look: Vivian, Cortland and Bennington

Tell us about your look:"Comfort, classic and simple." Read more »

Kinky Comic Carnival will get fingers sticky

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By Amber Schadewald

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Justin Hall's Hard To Swallow will go nicely with a Wicked Grounds mocha -- extra whip, of course

Surprising, unsettling, naughty and quite nice, kinky comics are way more fun than the traditional cats in the daily papers. Whether you’re already a fan or instantly curious at the thought, the Kinky Comics Carnival is the perfect place to entertain your illustrated fantasies. Charm local comic creators, grab their goods, and beg for an autograph while sipping lattes among a stellar lineup of pervy cartoonist-types like Serena Valentino (Gloom Cookie), Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin), Tristan Crane (How Loathsome) and Greta Christina (Best Erotic Comics).

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How bad does Muni have to get

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By Tim Redmond

Before Gavin Newsom is willing to consider extending parking meter hours to make drivers pay their fair share?Read more »

Obama to base: "Continue to fight"

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Tosca in North Beach was packed last night for the State of the Union watch party that was thrown by Organizing for America, President Barack Obama’s grassroots organizing operation, and the crowd was predictably supportive of the president despite his political difficulties and declining popularity.Read more »

"Waiting for Guffman" forever!

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By Louis Peitzman

In honor of SF Sketchfest’s Jan. 31 screening of Waiting for Guffman (1996) with star Fred Willard in person, I tried to interview the entire cast of the film. I failed. I did, however, speak to four cast members — two of Corky’s actors and two Blaine councilpeople — who reflected fondly on their experience and humored my fanboy questions. Where are these characters now? And, of course, is Broadway finally ready for Red, White and Blaine?

Fred Willard (Ron Albertson, travel agent)

On getting involved with director Christopher Guest: “I was in Spinal Tap. I’d worked with Michael McKean and Harry Shearer before, and I knew Rob Reiner. I was doing a show called Fernwood 2 Night at the same time he was doing All in the Family. We would pass in the halls and say hello, how are you. I would say mostly it was because of Harry Shearer, who’s a fairly good friend and who I’ve worked with. So I got in Spinal Tap, and then I was in a movie that Eugene Levy wrote and directed in Toronto called Sodbusters, which is kind of a spoof of Shane. Then next I knew, I got to know Christopher Guest.”

On the improv process: “[Guest] calls you and discusses your character and kind of aims you in the right direction. But there’s nothing, no lines written down. So he films a lot and then cuts out what he doesn’t need, and puts in what moves the plot forward, as he puts it. Which always kind of frustrates me, because some of the funniest stuff that not only I do but that a lot of people do, doesn’t really move the plot forward, but it’s just stuff I’d enjoy seeing. But he likes his movies about 85, 86 minutes. And that way, I think, a lot of people I find tell me they watch them over and over, which you can’t do with a two-and-a-half hour movie.”

On creating Ron: “First, [Guest] kind of gave me everything. He said I was a high school athlete. It was his idea, the penis reduction joke. In fact, he wanted to have a scene where I was running, you know an old film clip of me running the hurdles, and each hurdle being knocked over. That never was filmed or put in the movie, which I’m kind of glad about. He pretty much told me that Catherine [O’Hara] and I were like the Lunt and Fontanne of this little town, that we’d been in every production and when we had to audition, it was just kind of a technicality. We considered ourselves the pros of all the amateurs. I can say we’re about the most annoying couple I’ve seen in film.”

On the Chinese restaurant scene: “[Guest] just said, all right, what we’re going to do is, you’re going to take Eugene Levy and his wife out, because this is their first show and you’re going to try to make them more comfortable, because they’re the newcomers. So my key there is, in making them more comfortable, we would make them as uncomfortable as possible. And I didn’t know that Catherine was going to be drinking and get kind of tipsy during this scene, which added a whole nother dimension. And Eugene is a perfect victim. … [Guest] said the Chinese restaurant scene, we’ll probably film for two hours and then cut it down. And my first thought is, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to think of to say for two hours?’ But the night we did it, it was filmed late at night. We’d finished another scene. We got to the restaurant and we started filming, and went on and on. And finally, he said, cut, that’s it. And I said, ‘Wait a minute, Chris. There’s more! We can still do more!’”

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