On excessive usage of flat screens and greased up women

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It's a good week for hip-hop. After my interview with Chilean rapera Ana Tijoux, I caught this vid, thanks to the homeboys over at Mission Mission.

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Behind the Mexican drug war

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Editors note: The killings of three U.S. consular employees in Ciudad Juarez has brought increased press attention in this country to the violence of Mexico’s drug gangs.  Our Mexico City correspondent, John Ross, reports on the background story.

MEXICO CITY - Last July, in a meticulously planned raid reminiscent of the classic guerrilla jail breakouts that are legend in Latin America, a commando force of 20 heavily armed fighters freed 53 comrades from a prison in the northern state of Zacatecas. Were the perpetrators in fact guerrilleros from some as-yet unknown revolutionary foco or narcos emulating a guerrilla-style jailbreak intent on freeing their own?

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Music for all those left behind by SXSW

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The rapture that is South By Southwest has taken all that’s good and pure to Texas for Austin’s week of non-stop music, showcasing bands that have descended from the heavens themselves. Reading this post means you too have been left behind, your friends, family, music store clerks and critics disappeared over the weekend and didn’t even bother to leave you a mix-tape. Thou shall not fear, my friends. Austin may be wining and dining some of your favorite bands this week, or maybe each and every goddamned one, but thank the Lord San Francisco has your best interests at heart with plentiful options for entertainment.

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U.S. Census begins, officials work to quell fears

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By Adrián Castañeda

Federal Census forms are being mailed out today, March 15. It’s a massive government effort to count everyone who lives in the United States that comes every 10 years, and it’s being matched by an equally strong effort by nonprofit groups to ensure that even marginalized residents get counted.

In a country that once counted slaves as 3/5 a person and did not count Native Americans at all, it appears that the 2010 census will come the closest to counting all people living in the U.S. Millions of dollars are being spent to inform people of the importance, and the function, of responding to the decennial census – and saving the feds from spending further millions on door-to-door enumerating. 

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Downtown's DCCC slate fizzles

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I'm actually a bit surprised that Gavin Newsom's allies haven't made a bigger push to take back control of the San Francisco Democratic Party, which will play a key role in the fall supervisorial races. It looked for a while as if the downtown folks were organizing to put a slate of strong candidates with solid name recognition on the ballot. But when the Department of Elections closed Friday afternoon, and the deadline for filing passed, there weren't that many new names on the ballot. Read more »

Rapera rules everything around her: Ana Tijoux rising

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As ever and ever the divide grows between what we hear on the radio versus what's truly fly in hip hop these days, Ana Tijoux plots her coming to America. Born to Chilean parents who fled from the brutal reign of Augusto Pinochet, the MC's life reads as the manifesto for the counterculture universality of hip hop. How to express the feelings stirred up by moving across the world at 14? How about coming to a country whose democratically elected president was slaughtered, replaced by a dissident-torturing dictator, that happens to be where your parents grew up? Tijoux found her anger reflected in the rhymes of the American rappers of the early '90s- and shortly after, used their "force" to raise her own voice. She's been a player on the South American hip hop scene ever since, and is releasing her second solo album, 1977, which may be her most personal project yet, looping scenes from a remarkable life story with her direct, staccato flows. Here in the Bay, we're getting a chance to catch her beats live (Thurs/25, La Peña Cultural Center), not too long after her debut among the gringos at South by Southwest. She wanted me to tell you that if you were born in 1977, you get into the Berkeley show for free. Read on to our telephone chat with Tijoux, an awesome conversation tweaked but a little by the intricacies of chatting with a translator and my own gradually stiffening Spanish.

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Melissa Febos whips it good

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Whip Smart
By Melissa Febos
(Thomas Dunne Books)

In her new memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos -- who'll be reading at Eros on April 4 -- examines, with frankness, generosity, and unexpected grace, the four years she spent working as a dominatrix in a midtown Manhattan dungeon. Readers are invited into the world of high-price humiliation, in dungeon rooms decked to the nines in the accoutrements of masochistic fantasy, where Wall Street types pay huge sums to be flogged, diapered, and pissed on. Her revelations are often funny, occasionally sad, and fearlessly candid. Febos also writes of the heroin habit that led her to accept the job, and details the emotional strain and psychological effort of kicking addiction. She speaks with the SFBG about life as a professional domme and the process of turning that life into memoir.

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farm:table brings deliciousness into the round

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Newish restaurant farm:table floods the Tenderloin with seasonal delights and "camp cooking." Gourmet hardboiled eggs, anyone?

Snap Sounds: Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba

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Four ngonis -- that's a lot of ngonis! Bassekou Kouyate -- Malian maestro of the stringed instrument which not only calls up the resounding Middle Eastern oud, the plucky Appalachian banjo, and the freewheelin' Greek zither -- has built a legendary sound around a quartet of ngonis (not as dirty as it sounds, but quite sexy), and has just released a bumptious and beguiling album, I Speak Fula (Sub Pop). He'll be bringing his multitudinous band and joyfully haunting sound to Slim's on Thu/11.

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Sit-lie gets skeptical reception

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By Skyler Swezy

On Wednesday, the Coalition on Homelessness held a press conference on City Hall’s front steps to denounce the proposed sit-lie ordinance shortly before the Police Commission convened to discuss the topic. Symbolically choosing to sit, more than 35 members of various San Francisco rights and neighborhood organizations. Speakers passed the microphone before a sparse group of journalists.

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Sunday Streets returns

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The first of nine Sundays Streets events -- San Francisco’s version of the car-free ciclovias that have caught on in cities around the world over the last few years, temporarily transforming roadways into vital public spaces -- was held Sunday (3/14) along the Embarcadero, drawing an impressive turnout on a beautiful day.Read more »

Ecuador natives push Chevron for settlement

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By Nima Maghame

The Rainforest Action Network, a non-profit organization that protests the pollution and destruction of natural habitats around the world, recently gathered on a bio-diesel bus named Priscilla with Ecuadorian tribal representative Emergildo Criollo and drove to new Chevron CEO John Watson's home in Lafayette to deliver a petition demanding the company pay for the clean up of Chevron-owned Texaco's contamination of the Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest.

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Editorial: Needed -- some teeth for the San Francisco sunshine law

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EDITORIAL The San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance is a national model for open government, the first and strongest local sunshine law in the country. It was written to improve public access to government records and meetings, and to clear up some of the problems and loopholes in state law. On paper, it makes San Francisco a shining example of how concerned residents can come together and eliminate secrecy at City Hall.Read more »

"Remember Me" is -- you guessed it -- forgettable

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Ominously set in New York City during the summer of 2001, Remember Me, starring Robert Pattinson (of the Twilight series) and Emilie de Ravin (of TV's Lost), pretty much answers the question of whether it’s still too soon to make the events of September 11 the subject of a date movie.

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Campos on the next mayor

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Just spoke with Sup. David Campos, who has some interesting thoughts on the next mayor and whether the supervisors should seek to change the City Charter to create a special election instead of filling a mayoral vacancy by appointment.

"I don't have a problem with people having the final say," Campos told me. "And they will, since there will be an election for mayor next year anyway.Read more »