Snap Sounds: Elephant9

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ELEPHANT9

Walk the Nile

(Rune Grammofon)

Norwegian power trio Elephant9 lays on the acid-laced, "wildly cavorting in fields of fusion" prog -- light on the kraut and pop, more in tune with the jazz -- on their second long-player, Walk the Nile.

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Why taxes need to be on SF's budget table

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San Francisco missed an opportunity last fall. While communities around the Bay Area were approving new revenue plans, addressing devastating budget cuts in part by raising their own taxes, San Francisco's mayor and supervisors were sitting on their hands, bewailing the fact that passing tax measures is tough.Read more »

This is what you get, Gavin

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For hiring a scorched-earth guy like Garry South, who will turn on you in a second.

Timothy Leary: now for cats

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Olympic ice dancing had me in its graceful, creepy thrall last night -- until this freaky Friskies psychedelic ash-id trip took all that gliding glitter to a whole nutha level. Yes, The Awl has live-blogged it.

A look back at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival (part one)

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Over the years, the Sundance Film Festival has become known for its superior documentary selections, exciting experimental programs, mumblecore masterpieces, a few foreign delights, and buzz-worthy indie flicks that eventually become the year's most under or overrated. The 2010 festival was no exception. Make sure to mark down any of these movies that sound interesting for the upcoming year -- for some reason, post-Sundance film releases seem to be shorter, smaller, and becoming even non-existent. (Johan Renck's decade-defining Downloading Nancy, which screened at Sundance in 2008, was finally released straight to DVD this past month.) Read on for the first in a series of posts detailing my top picks at this year's fest.

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SF Weekly mangles Mexican politics

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The SF Weekly, in its continuing effort to make everything the progressives in San Francisco do look stupid, just stepped in a major turd. A piece by Matt Smith seeks to trash the supes for passing a resolution supporting Mexican electricity workers against an effort by the Mexican government to privatize the nation's electricity system.

He notes:Read more »

Philosophy, get hip: "The Examined Life" comes to the Herbst

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In new documentary The Examined Life, eight of the most famous minds in contemporary philosophy -- Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Judith Butler, and Slavoj Zizek -- seem almost unintimidating. Detached from the props of intellectual life and presented in public setting away from rapt crowds, miked podiums, and the protective custody of academia, these philosophers appear comfortingly average, for entire milliseconds. For instance, on a sunny afternoon, post-structuralist scholar Judith Butler could almost be any other leather-jacketed San Francisco Missionite with a cool haircut ambling down Clarion Alley, perhaps en route to Thrift Town for some more leather jackets. That is, until she begins to discuss, in a slow and deliberate manner with eyes fixed intently into the middle distance, the body's morphologies as experienced by the subject. Cover blown.

Examined Life director Astra Taylor will be appearing -- along with philosopher Judith Butler and activist-artist Sunaura Taylor (who appears with Butler during the segment filmed in Clarion Alley) -- at a screening of her film at the Herbst Theater on Thu/25, at 7:30 PM. The three women will participate in a discussion and Q&A session following the screening.

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Live Shots: Erykah Badu with Dave Chapelle and Goapele, Fox Theater, 02/19/2010

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It's 1998 and I'm on a trans-Pacific flight to Japan with my mom to visit my "Japanese grandma" Kiyo. I've just received my first mix tape from my super-cool older "sister" Leenie, with cuts on it that range from the Runaway Bride soundtrack to Sash!'s Encore Une Fois. And then there's one of the last tracks, "On and On" by Erykah Badu. I blast this tape on my walkman for almost the whole 17-hour flight and play it throughout the trip, from bullet train rides through lush fields of tea plants to visually overstimulating jaunts in the neon-saturated neighborhood of Shinjuku in Tokyo.

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¿De dónde viene mi taco?

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A carne asada here, a lengua there... some days, you can't throw a stick without hitting a purveyor of fine tacos here in the city. But although we pick them up on our neighborhood streets, rarely do we think about the road that the ingredients in each little tortilla nugget had to journey to hit our belly. Luckily, we have experts to do it for us. And they'll be sharing their findings on taco sourcing -- sustainable and not so much -- this week (Thur/25) at "Tacoshed," an evening sponsored by Rebar and landscape architect David Fletcher.

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Newsom's getting closer

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There are really only two obstacles to Newsom's jumping into the Lt. Gov.'s race. One is the possibility that he might lose, but he would be the instant front runner. The other is the supposed fear of leaving the city in the hands of whatever mayor the Board of Supervisors chose.Read more »

Clean money campaign launches in SF

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The campaign for Prop. 15, the California Fair Elections Act, kicks off in San Francisco this Sunday afternoon. It’s an appropriate city to launch this effort, given San Francisco’s leadership on electoral reform, from our pioneering ranked choice voting system to our low political contribution limits to the public financing available in the races for mayor and the Board of Supervisors.Read more »

Feeling Nice's analog Avatar chic

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Just in time for spring (and a Primal Scream revival) comes the promo for local design collective Nice's spring 2010 "The Gathering" line -- complete with psychedelic military projections.

Berkeley's mayor pushes anti-PG&E protester

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At least, that's what Luke Thomas is reporting in Fog City Journal. He's got photos, too.Read more »

State by state, unions matter

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Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 250 of his recent columns.

Union members invariably have better pay and benefits than non-union workers. But, as a new study shows, the number of workers who’ve joined unions varies widely from state to state.

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Robert Skidelsky: The big bank fix

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If reformers are to win, they must be prepared to fight the world/s most powerful vested interest

By Robert Skidelsky 

Robert Skidelsky, a member of the British House of Lords, is Professor emeritus of political economy at Warwick University, author of a prize-winning biography of the economist John Maynard Keynes, and a board member of the Moscow School of Political Studies.

LONDON – Two alternative approaches dominate current discussions about banking reform: break-up and regulation. The debate goes back to the early days of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” which pitted “trust-busters” against regulators. 

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