Facial hair isn't something that Xavier Marvel grows for the glory. This is his life. “I didn't decide to go to the championships and then grow my musketeer,” says the dashing Marvel, who will represent the Bay Area at the upcoming 2010 National Beard and Mustache Championships in Bend, Oregon (June 5). I spoke to him recently on the phone, painfully divorced from seeing his follical glory in person. “I already had it. The competition is not the reason for my facial hair, it's just sort of a bonus.” Read more »
Mama's goin' strong. Mama's movin' on. Mama's all alone. Mama doesn't care. Mama? Ma-ma-ma-mama? Mama's very alone (not to mention a bloody mess) in Louise Bourgeois' "Mother and Child," the nonagenarian artist's fifth exhibit at Gallery Paule Anglim.Read more »
Puff, puff, pass on the good news. A new poll finds that a majority of California voters—51 percent—support the fall ballot measure to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for even strictly recreational uses (40 percent opposed it). And support rises a point when respondents are asked about its various benefits. Read more »
Since its release a couple of months ago, I've been savoring Firelit Spirits' one-of-a-kind coffee liqueur, featuring none other than Blue Bottle Coffee. Starting off with 1,800 bottles (which are just about gone, by the way), founding partners, Jeff Kessinger and St. George Spirits distiller Dave Smith have created a coffee liqueur that retains all the nuance and glory of fine coffee. Read more »
The San Francisco Association of Realtors, which has a long history of actively opposing the protection of tenants and rental housing, now wants tenants to believe it is on their side. The Realtors even recently formed and funded the Committee to Preserve Rental Housing to alert tenants about a ballot measure that they say favors dreaded rich people.
SANTA CRUZ TANACO (May 20th) - When I first settled into this tiny Purepecha Indian village high in the Meseta Tarasca of west-central Michoacan state 50 years ago, few women tilled the land. Tending the “milpa" (corn patch) was strictly a man's work. The men ploughed the fields and planted in the spring and the wives and daughters would help to weed ("barbechar") and glean in the harvest -- but it was the men who strapped on the "tchundi" basket as they moved up and down the rows, snapping off the big ears of maiz to be sold in the markets of neighboring cities.
While the men lorded it over the corn patch, women had dominion over the home and the children. They cared for the kids and the chickens and prepared the meals. At mid-day, they wrapped up fresh, warm tortillas in colorful "servietas" and carried them out to the fields to feed their husbands.
Only two women in Tanaco actually worked their own "parcelas" (plots.) Dona Teresa Garcia had a handful of fields scattered up and down the valley she had inherited from her murdered husband and many sons to work them, and although she was known to get her hands dirty, she was more an overseer and administrator. Read more »
I've gotten a pretty strong stomach after 25 years of political reporting, but when I read stuff like this, I reall want to throw up. It's not just pandering or corruption or sleaze -- that shit's common enough, and I can deal. It's this utter, blatant, mind-boggling lack of reality that makes me start to lose my lunch.Read more »
One questions the need for another coffeehouse on Divisadero – seems like every time I turn around there's another corner store churning out lattes and biscotti. But clearly I lack the vision of Haile Taddesse, owner of the 99¢ Divis Variety Discount at Divisadero and McAllister. “I am a coffee addicted person,” the Eritrean business owner tells me. “I grew up in a coffee country.” And no offense to the other establishments on his street, but he thought their coffee was mediocre. Read more »
The video for "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros plays like a Super 8 summer memory you wish you had. The happy, whistling back-and-forth duet between front man Alex Ebert and real-life girlfriend Jade Castrinos is illustrated with scenes from a 21st-century Merry Prankster stopover in Marfa, Texas. Everyone's playing guitars, running through fields, and prancing about holding hands in a way that suggests the 11-piece folk band's bond goes beyond the ecstatic sing-alongs that have been the toast of festival crowds from here to Coachella.Read more »
Your chops sink into the rich, sweet fluff and your lips are left with a coat of luscious frosting; cupcakes are the things dreams are made of and especially the dozens that will be up for tasting this weekend at the Rock Paper Scissors Collective's 2nd Annual Vegan Cupcake Bake-off. No butter, no eggs people-- all that delicious and they're animal friendly...pretty sure that will be my excuse for chomping well over five cups. Read more »
Curiosities, quirks, oddites, and items from around the Bay and beyond
Local, totally awesome new media experiment 48 H -- a print magazine produced, as its title suggests, in just two days using online social networking and publishing resources -- was sent a cease and desist letter by old media dinosaur CBS, which owns the television news magazine 48 Hours. Come on folks. We're all journalists here. Can't we all just get along?
Forget all the talk of anti-incumbent (and by implication, anti-Democrat and anti-Obama) sentiment in the electorate. The primaries May 18, which I talk about here, actually sent a much more interesting message.Read more »
Dick Meister, a San Francisco-based columnist, covered the Caryl Chessman case as a reporter for The Associated Press, correspondent for The Nation magazine, and commentator for Pacifica Radio, which won a Peabody Award for its coverage. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com.
It's February 19, 1960. Caryl Chessman, tall, broad-shouldered, hawk nosed, sits on the edge of a hard, narrow bed. Clenching his fists and biting his lips, he stares at the bare walls of Cell 2455, Death Row, then out through a small, barred window and across the dark waters of San Francisco Bay – from San Quentin Prison to the lights of the city.
One-hundred miles north, Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, the pudgy, owlish 32nd governor of California, also sits alone, perched on the edge of an overstuffed arm chair. Puffing incessantly on a cigar, he studies the ornate design in the pale green wallpaper that covers the walls of the Victorian parlor of the governor's mansion in Sacramento, as he agonizes over whether to spare Caryl Chessman from execution the next morning. Outside, I and a half-dozen other reporters, chilling in the harsh night air, anxiously await his decision.