Another year and another ferocious super-natural lion symbolically rips and spits out heads of lettuce along the storefronts of Kearny Avenue. This is the lion dance, a highly visceral and visually unique performance that is a centerpiece in the city's Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year parade, a 150-year old event that draws the participation of over 100 community groups.
Although each performance is different, one thing stays the same: the lion dancers' faces are never revealed and their identity stays behind the mask. We were lucky enough to speak with one veteran lion dancer about growing up with the parade and his time inside the lion. Read more »
I believe it's almost everyone's dream to be able to fly and for some, it is a reality. I stopped by ODC Theater this week to check out a final rehearsal of a dance piece choreographed by Raissa Simpson and actually got to watch her fly across the stage. OK, she was actually attached to cables, but there was still quite a bit of airborne action going on, and to be honest, it made me a little jealous.
Is the Bay Area's experimental beat scene finally coming together? After a few years of lagging behind the explosion of beat conductor talent in Los Angeles, and suffering a steady exodus of potential down south, the Bay Area's time for creating a forward leaning psychedelia — composed from the bass-infused backbone of instrumental hip-hop — might have arrived.Read more »
Long Meadow Ranch Winery does it all in Wine Country: grass-fed beef, heirloom fruits and vegetables, eggs from their chickens, lush olive oils, and, of course, wines. Seeking to grow everything used in their restaurant and winery, they continue to push boundaries, currently exploring a dairy and cheese-making.
Yesterday, I talked to Public Defender Jeff Adachi about the latest efforts to address pension reform in San Francisco. Readers may remember that Adachi roused the ire of the labor unions last year, with the ultimately unsuccessful Proposition B. At the time, most folks felt Adachi’s measure didn’t have a snowball’s chance because it asked public employees to bear the brunt of the city’s ballooning retirement and health plan costs. Yet, they all praised Adachi as a great city leader who has been on the right side of many other battles in this city’s rich political history. Read more »
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is looking for new ways to bring in money, which is a fine thing. I think taxes for transportation make perfect sense. And while not everything in government gets better when you throw money at it, Muni generally does. Some of the ideas are pretty sound and take a progressive approach; it's hard to argue against a vehicle impact fee, since private cars on the road increase traffic and slow down the buses. Read more »
Consider the need to be seen. The dance world is consumed by this challenge. Dancers repeatedly put ourselves in situations where we have optimal visibility via auditions, performances, and even day-to-day classes. Choreographers market themselves to be presented through grants and venues. But is this need, this desire to interest and engage and ultimately compel people to watch us, heroic, or simply pathetic? Suppose for a second not the plight of a common dancer trying to be seen, but of a very high profile dancer or choreographer, who for better or worse is seen, has been seen, and who people clamor to see. Would the work err more toward heroic because it is practically their duty to be seen? Read more »
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano is moving to close a huge tax loophole that costs state and local government millons -- and while his last attempt failed, this year he has a much better shot. The measure will probably make it out of the Legislature (hard to argue against something that doesn't raise taxes at all but just makes sure nobody cheats) and I can't imagine Jerry Brown deciding to veto it.Read more »
Former Sup. Chris Daly has an opinion piece in today's Guardian on the Twitter controversy; today, Johnny interviews him and gets more details on his argument that giving Twitter a tax break is a bad idea (among other things, he raises the question: what happens if Google buys Twitter and moves most of its operations down the Peninsula anyway?) Listen after the jump.
Strange world we live in, where the likes of Björk and Stephin Merritt have written musicals, but we don't have one by Paddy McAloon, whose songs far outdo contemporary Broadway's best in terms of melody, emotional poignance, and poetic wordplay. It's a tragedy that a composer and vocalist of such unashamed purity has been stricken with Ménière's disease, which effects hearing. But it's a blissful pleasure to hear previously-unreleased music by one of the late-20th century's greatest pop songwriters. Read more »
Queer Palestinian activists are on tour in the Bay Area speaking about queer struggles in the context of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. (Tonight is your last chance to catch the three representatives of the organizations Aswat and Al Qaws as they relate their stories, 7-9pm at the Pro Arts Gallery, 150 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakl. Facebook info here.)
Last night they spoke at Mission High School in an event organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center and co-sponsored by a diverse coalition of groups. Most asked be be identified by their first names only, fearing discrimination for the sexual orientation and reprisals for speaking out. Here are some highlights
“The Palestinian queer movement has managed to combine queer, feminism, and resistance to occupation into one integrated struggle,” said Haneen, who is active with Al Qaws, which promotes the development and growth of the Palestinian LGBTQ community. “When you talk queer rights in Palestine you cannot overlook the fact that Palestinians live under occupation. It is important not to overlook.”
Do you want the pristine first edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula for 45 grand, or the slightly worn copy for 25 grand? Such were the questions that presented themselves at the 44th Annual California Antiiquarian Book Fair, which took place at SF's Concourse Exhibition Center from February 11 through 13. Read more »
Update: Saybeline has been crowned the new Empress. Congratulations to both the outstanding candidates, and warm wishes for the future.
In this week's Super Ego column in the paper, I give a grateful nod to our esteemed - if little acknowledged -- Imperial Court system, an incredible, drag-based 45-year-old institution that raises tens of thousands of dollars for charitable Bay Area causes. (Really, do yourself a historical favor and check out the recently revamped Imperial website.) Below are my full interviews with the candidates, Saybeline and Monistat.
The annual elections for Empress of San Francisco are coming fast upon us (Sat/19, free. Noon–7 p.m. at Castro Muni Station, Castro and Market, and 11 a.m.–6 p.m. at Project Open Hand, 730 Polk, SF.) The winner will devote the next year of her life to raising funds and repping SF -- after she graciously endures a daylong coronation ceremony on Sat/26, one of the city's true mind-blowing spectacles. (The winner will be announced at Coronation.)
I emailed a series of questions to both candidates in order to get a better sense of who they are and why we should vote for them. They each bring a different, welcome perspective to the competition that ultimately helps refresh this cherished local tradition.