I've been dabbling in dystopia of late. A little Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, a little Brazil (1985) and bam! I'm up to my ears in fears of bureaucracy and government subterfuge and omnipresence – as if that's a new thing.
But on the real, it is a bit discomfiting, the similarities between our culture's visions of the fall. This discomfort sharpens with “black sites” researcher Trevor Paglen's monograph Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes (Aperture), an eerie book of photos and artifacts that acts like a show-and-tell of why we can't trust The Man to level with us. Paglen will be presenting it at City Lights – those anarchos, of course! – Thurs/21. Read more »
You thought the real Halloween parties started next weekend? Ha! Wrong on two counts.
For one, you're in San Francisco, so you know this is gonna be a ghoul gala that leaks out into the preceding and following weeks, if not months. Two, the portal to the other world opens the 22nd, not the 31st! (silly) Luckily, you have your deranged BDSM maniacs at the SF Citadel to remind you of the fact with Chamber of Horrors. For those together enough to have assembled their monster 'fit early, a swell party to play out this journey into another realm where “the gods of old reach out from their dark place,” according to the press release. After all, what better place to witness the chaos that will ensue than a good old-fashioned dungeon? Whips at the ready, there's gonna be evil spirits to subdue.
Intrepid travelers always get a bit of a bee in their bonnet when you mistake them for tourists, but tourism doesn’t have to be a dirty word. All it really means is the act of traveling for recreational purposes and as such, can be applied to even the smallest of pleasurable jaunts. Saturday morning, I went on a tour—replete with guides, maps, wristbands, a short jaunt by MUNI train, and a chaos (as opposed to a gaggle or a horde) of dancers. Yes, it was the 7th annual San Francisco Trolley Dances, and this year’s chosen line was the N-Judah. Read more »
Gavin Newsom seems poised to win his race for lieutenant governor, at least as indicated by his opponent Abel Maldonado's increasingly desperate campaign tactics and Newsom's string of newspaper endorsements, including the Spanish language La Opinion, which chose to pass over a moderate Latino that it has endorsed in the past. The only question now is voter turnout, and whether Newsom's negatives would be enough to drag him down if the Democratic base stays home in this lackluster election.Read more »
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 columns.
Never have the nation's younger workers been more in need of unionization. And never have the nation's unions been more in need of the membership growth that recruiting younger workers can bring them.
Here's how it looks, and it's not a pretty picture for labor: Last year, unions lost 10 percent of their members in private employment - the biggest drop in more than 25 years. That cut union membership by 834,000 workers, down to 15.7 million workers.
Which means that overall, counting public as well as private employment, unions now represent only a little more than 12 percent of the country's workers. Just 20 years ago, 20 percent of all workers were unionized.
So, how can organized labor add significantly to its numbers and thus add significantly to labor's political and economic strength. Read more »
In today's episode, we discuss why Abama is not FDR, why he's refusing to do what has to be done to put Americans to work -- and why that's his real political liability. Listen after the jump. Read more »
If you want a case study that illustrates why San Francisco needs Proposition M, taken a look at Bernal Heights.
In 2008, two people were killed at the Alemany public housing project, topping off a disturbing increase in street crime. Neighborhood activists responded by working successfully with the captain of the Ingleside Station to a beat cop on Cortland Ave. Crime dropped.
But several weeks ago, Captain Louis Cassanego cut that foot patrol, citing the need to reallocate scarce SFPD manpower to more violent areas. Read more »
Sups. John Avalos, Sophie Maxwell, David Campos and Board President David Chiu, plus community advocates, construction contractors, neighborhood leaders and union members rallied outside City Hall today to announce the launch of LOCAL SF, a campaign for local opportunities and hiring for San Francisco residents.
And this afternoon, Avalos introduces the first measure of this campaign--legislation mandating local hiring on publicly funded construction projects. Read more »
When I interviewed director Kelly Reichardt at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival about her gut-wrenching masterpiece Wendy & Lucy (2008), she spoke of watching many old Westerns in preparation for her next project. She delivered the exquisite Meek's Cutoff at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. The film follows three families as they make their trek along the Oregon Trail circa 1845. As they follow their hired mountain man through the Cascade Mountains they start to question if their leader really knows where he is leading them. And when they come across a Cayuse American Indian, the emigrants are forced to question who to trust. While Wendy & Lucy seemed inspired by the Italian Neo-Realists Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini, Meek's Cutoff draws upon cinema's earliest documentaries, like Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North (1922).
Collaborator Jon Raymond, who also wrote Reichardt's Old Joy (2006) and Wendy & Lucy, uncovered the infamous story of Meek's Cutoff while doing local research in Oregon. The tale seems perfect for Reichardt's distinctive visual storytelling by exploring humble characters who are confronting everyday troubles while taking a journey outside of their natural habitat. The striking style strips down her character's actions and allows the viewer to feel the weight of each procedure. Since Reichardt emphasizes her camera over dialogue, the solitary result can culminate in a truly transcendental experience for a viewer, while for others (like at the press screening in Toronto) a long nap. Somehow the fact that a film can evoke such extreme yet internal reactions conjures up the cinema of Yasujiro Ozu and most recently, Claire Denis. Read more »