Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim talks "Waiting for 'Superman'"

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Where do you go from global warming?

Director Davis Guggenheim won an Academy Award for 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth. His latest film, Waiting for “Superman”, takes on the United States’ failing public education system. In some ways, the documentary represents a return to Guggenheim’s first subject. “The very first documentary I made followed first-year teachers, because I believed that teachers were the answer to our schools,” he says. “And I still believe that. Now I wanted to talk about the kids and their families, and what’s at stake for them.”

The kids and families in question are the subjects of Waiting for “Superman”, which follows five young people in search of a better education. While the scope of the film is large — covering the history and bureaucracy that has created this national epidemic — Guggenheim is careful never to stray far from the victims of the crisis.

“The really hard part about it is how complicated this issue is, and it’s hard to simplify it,” he explains. “And I wanted it to be understandable to everybody. Whenever I got lost, I would always bring it back to the kids. It’s a very simple story: five kids, all they want is to go to a great school.”

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Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Daniella, Pierce and Ellis

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Sfbg Radio: The debate and the wealth gap

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In today's episode, Johnny and Tim deconstruct the Whitman-Brown debate -- and talk about how the gap between the rich and the poor is so unsustainable that it's taking the nation down a very dangerous road. Check it out after the jump. Read more »

Crusader of the cables: Fannie Mae Barnes

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Whoever said a cable car couldn't be operated on woman power alone clearly had never met the steam engine on this grandmother. Fannie Mae Barnes of Oakland, California was the first woman ever to operate a cable car grip – not because it was a higher paying position, or an easier gig, but because she was told that women didn't have the strength to do the job right.

Barnes started pumping iron, passed the 25-day grip operator training program notorious for its 80 percent drop out rate, and became a source of civic pride. She even drove the Olympic torch up the Hyde Street hill en route to the 2002 Winter Olympics. A documentary about her achievement, “Getting a Grip,” will be shown tonight at Lunafest, a traveling film festival that screens movies made by and about women to benefit the Breast Cancer Fund. We caught up with Barnes for a phone interview about knocking down one of the city's diehard gender divisions of labor.

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Whitman calls out SF and immigrants, and karma calls back

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During last night's gubernatorial debate, Republican nominee Meg Whitman bashed “illegal” immigrants and singled out San Francisco as the state's worst coddler of those without proper immigration papers. But today, it was revealed that Whitman employed an undocumented Mexican immigrant as her housekeeper and nanny from 2000 until last year. Ah, karma, the great leveler.

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Snap Sounds: Clubroot

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CLUBROOT

II MMX

(LoDubs, 2010)

Purposely constructed anonymity as a reaction to this supposed Internet Age of Information is by now pretty passe in music circles (cf. Silver Columns, jj, Burial). So some may have rolled their eyes when future dubber Clubroot went that route with his first releases, even though the music was intellectually sensuous and the first full-length release received raves from Dubstepforum to Pitchfork.

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Our queer children are killing themselves: You can help UPDATED

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Update: According to LGBTpov.com, Gov. Schwarzenegger yesterday "signed the Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth Act (SB 543), which will expand access to essential mental health services for youth ages 12-17. The bill, authored by openly gay State Sen. Mark Leno and sponsored by Equality California, allows teens to obtain counseling without parental consent." Unfortunately,  "Friday morning, Charles Robbins, Executive Director of The Trevor Project reported a fifth suicide -- Raymond Chase, 19, a sophomore at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island took his own life on Wednesday." Hopefully kids in California will at least have expanded access to mental health counseling services. Original post is below.

For the fourth time this month, a kid who was harassed by anti-gay bullies has taken his own life. Seth Walsh, an out gay 13-year-old in Tehachapi, in central California, had been transferred from middle school to an independent study program, reportedly because he had been teased relentlessly about his orientation. Ten days ago he was found unconscious at the base of a tree in his backyard, apparently after he had attempted to hang himself. His parents took him off life support yesterday in Bakersfield.   

Even though other kids admitted to harassing Seth -- police reported that some of them "broke down in tears" because "they had never seen this outcome," and wished they hadn't participated in the bullying -- no charges will be pressed against them: their actions do not constitute a crime

Horribly, this was no isolated incident.  

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Jerry v. Meg: Reality and the robot

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I watched the Brown-Whitman debate on TV, and I had an eerie Nixon-Kennedy experience. On the tube, Whitman looked .... creepy. That fake, plastic smile and the strictly scripted talking points made her appear almost robotic. I kept thinking about the employee she allegedly abused and I wonder if she had that same scary expression on her face when she pushed around and fired people.Read more »

Hot sexy events Sept 29 - Oct 5

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With Folsom's fumes still coming out of your pores thanks to this week's weather's surprise cameo by Death Valley, you are perhaps wondering the best spot to get hot and sweaty with your newfound best trick. We got you covered -- as we do each week here in the schvitzy dungeon of the SFBG stables. Read on for porn parodies, artistic foreplay, and techno-free touching.

 

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Appetite: Highlights of SF Cocktail Week, part 2

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That fizzy, magical week during which cocktails take over our fair city has just washed over us. Here are more highlights -- check out part 1 here.

9/26 - Cocktail Cookout on the Island  Read more »

Lending art in the TL

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Throughout the course of writing my feature story about the Tenderloin this week, which looks at the role art is playing in the gradually changing neighborhood, a couple of questions kept cycling back into the forefront of my mind. What should be the role of art in community-building? What kinds of art benefit the residents of a neighborhood? It's tough to categorically define the answers, but Rick Darnell and the North of Market Community Benefit District's plans for a TL art lending library come damn close to a perfect score.

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Getting our rocks off: a historical perspective

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San Francisco is waiting for its Boogie Nights. Unbeknownst to Hollywood, our fair berg was the infant creche of hardcore pornography, spawning a subculture of porn theaters that thrived despite police harassment and political pressure.

We were number one! Luckily, a few brave men are resurrecting our porn golden age money shot – read on for a first look at documentary The Smut Capital of America and an interview with the director himself, Michael Stabile.

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Why "The Social Network" isn't just "the Facebook movie"

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Based on the founding of Facebook and Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires, The Social Network has already received rave reviews from critics. I offer no dissent: the film is unquestionably one of the year’s best. I recently spoke to three of its lead actors — Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Armie Hammer — and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.

We’re all Facebook friends now. (Lie.)

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Appetite: Highlights of SF Cocktail Week, part 1

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The magical settings, moments and drinks were many in the 4th Annual SF Cocktail Week, which set the bar high for all future Cocktail Weeks... consider attending next year, as it's far from being just for drink aficionados. It's for those who love a memorable party done in true San Francisco style.Read more »

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Yoko, Fillmore and Clay

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