The Burning Man Project's boring bait-and-switch

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In a series of stories earlier this year, I outlined how the board that controls Burning Man doesn’t appear to be “relinquishing our control” over the event, as founder Larry Harvey announced would be happening in 2014. Read more »

Mayor Lee addresses Google bus controversy

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At a press conference on affordable housing today, the Guardian asked Mayor Ed Lee about San Francisco’s favorite pinata: tech buses. The monstrous private shuttles, which daily whisk tech workers away to Silicon Valley, currently use Muni bus stops without paying fines, like most private autos do. 

In Guardian News Editor Rebecca Bowe’s article in the print edition of the Bay Guardian this week, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Paul Rose tells her that although there is a proposal in the works to regulate them, the SFMTA won’t profit a single dime from the plan. 

“We are developing these policies to better utilize the boarding zones for these shuttle providers," Rose said. "What we're trying to do is provide a more efficient transportation network."

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Tech sets out to help the homeless

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Google “tech,” “San Francisco,” and “homeless” right now, and you will undoubtedly find the tale of Greg Gopman, former CEO of AngelHack, whose notorious Facebook comments comparing homeless people to “hyenas,” among other things, earned him a viral dose of public shaming delivered via Twitter and the blogosphere.Read more »

Mayor Lee orders affordable housing push

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Mayor Ed Lee stood on the rooftop terrace between high brick walls of the soon-to-be-built Natoma Family Apartments, and in the distance, the buzz and clanks of nearby construction echoed his message of the day: Build, baby, build. 

Today (Wed/18) the mayor announced an executive directive for all San Francisco government departments with a hand in housing development to prioritize construction of affordable units, from completely below market rate (BMR) projects to those that have a mix of BMR and market rate units. 

The Department of Building Inspection, Mayor’s Office of Housing, Planning Department and others involved with approving development will all reorient their priorities towards getting new affordable housing built -- a stark indicator of just how potent this issue has become after months of high-profile evictions and progressive organizing and demonstrations.

“It isn’t always on the private sector, we’ve got to have a stake in the action as well,” Lee told reporters gathered at the Natoma apartment building. 

“(San Francisco) is expensive,” he said, “but we don’t have to accept it. We can do something.”

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Year in Music 2013: Taylor Kaplan's top 10s

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Albums

1. My Bloody Valentine: m b v

2. Dean Blunt: The Redeemer

3. Julia Holter: Loud City Song

4. No Joy: Wait to Pleasure

5. Oneohtrix Point Never: R Plus Seven
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National Park Service asks Presidio Trust to hit the breaks on museum proposals

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The battle over the cultural fate of the otherwise outdoors-oriented Presidio could hit the pause button once again after a high-level letter sent to the Presidio Trust recommended the governing board put a hold on the already slow-moving selection process for a new museum to replace the Sports Basement.Read more »

Plans for SF clean energy program still underway, despite political opposition

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San Francisco’s longstanding effort to develop a municipal renewable energy program has been stymied by politics, but Sup. London Breed has taken up the cause of advancing aspects of the plan that haven't been obstructed.

At a Dec. 13 meeting of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), a committee comprised of members of the Board of Supervisors that has been working to develop CleanPowerSF for years, Breed called for putting out a Request for Proposals to develop a concrete plan for building out local renewable energy infrastructure. LAFCo adopted the motion. Read more »

SF Board of Supervisors approves new tenant protections

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The Board of Supervisors today (Tues/17) gave unanimous final approval to legislation aimed at giving renters in the city additional protections against being displaced by real estate speculators, and initial approval to legislation protecting tenants from harassment by landlords, both part of a wave of reforms moving through City Hall to address rising populist concerns about gentrification and evictions.Read more »

The Performant: Sleep No More

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Upon reaching the fifth floor of the California Institute of Integral Studies, a wall of makeshift web diagrams asks arriving oddience members to detail what the longest amount of time they went without sleep was, and what do they tell themselves to get through stress. The average appears to be around 36 hours — which is about as long as I can boast — but no responders quite match the Guinness Book record of 449 hours held by Maureen Weston, nor even to the 60 hours that Mugwumpin, creators of performative “occurrences,” intend to stay awake in this, its last presentation of the year, Asomnia.

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Homeless hater Greg Gopman was a jerk at the office, too

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Former AngelHack CEO Greg Gopman not only fanned the flames of San Franciscan tech resentment by calling the homeless “degenerates” and “trash” on Facebook, but it seems people in his own company didn’t like him much, either. 

Apparently the small staff of AngelHack rebelled against Gopman’s management style, leading to a power swap in October, said new AngelHack CEO Sabeen Ali. It all started when she took a vacation.Read more »

Carb your enthusiasm

Pop-up Mattarello rolls out authentic, handmade pastas

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On a bright November afternoon, I ducked into Biondivino, a tiny but tremendously well-stocked Italian wine shop in Russian Hill, to meet John Pauley and Anna Li of Mattarello — an artisanal, handmade pasta pop-up.Read more »

Amanda Lepore brings the body heat

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"You know how I'm obsessed with coordinating my outfits," NYC club legend and "most expensive body in the world" Amanda Lepore breathed into the phone, in advance of her Sat/14 appearance at Beaux in the Castro. "So I spend time getting ready for a night out. If I don't have a coat that matches I just grab one of my stoles -- and then run out real quick to get the cab!" 

I had asked her how she stays so put together, out at all hours in the winter cold. (Lord knows the plastic fantastic chanteuse and fashion muse shouldn't stand too close to a heater.) But of course she's a champion, having been at the club kid forefront for two decades. Her influence on nightlife glamour -- and appetite for parties -- has been enormous, despite her petite frame. 

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SF Sketchfest posted its schedule today! (Spoiler: it's awesome)

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Dudes! Nerds! Pedro-voters! SF Sketchfest 2014 posted its complete schedule today, unveiling over 200 shows to be held in 20 venues from Jan. 23-Feb. 9. Over the past 13 years, the fest has exploded from humble local offering to one of the most popular comedy events in the country, luring the biggest names in the biz — as well as cult comedy heroes — to town.

Tickets go on sale Sun/15 at 10am, and since SF Sketchfest is P.O.P.U.L.A.R., you won't want to delay if something in the line-up catches your eye. (Pro-tip: though the festival does contain sketch shows, it also has music, film screenings, live recordings of pod casts, panel discussions, lots of tributes, and more.) You want guidance? Highlights? Best bets and sleeper hits? Read on!

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Bus riding tech workers respond to national spotlight on evictions

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Evictions are rippling through San Francisco. Tensions are high. Tech workers with gobs of cash are driving up the rental market in what may be the newest tech bubble -- or the city’s new reality. Protesters took to the street earlier this week, blocking a Google bus to draw attention to gentrification, and our video of a union organizer posing as a Google employee shouting down those protesters lit up the InternetRead more »

Dragons and drag: new movies from Peter Jackson and Tyler Perry, plus more!

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Breathe easy, halfling: the middle installment in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy is a huge improvement over the first film. Also new this week: Emma Thompson turns in a cranky-yet-lovable performance as the woman who wrote Mary Poppins in Saving Mr. Banks (with Tom Hanks playing Walt Disney); Liev Schreiber battles oddly familiar space monsters in The Last Days on Mars; and Tyler Perry celebrates the holidays as only he can, with A Madea Christmas. Read on for reviews and trailers.

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