Dick Meister: Scapegoating Public Empoyees

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Dick Meister, formerly labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor, politics and other matters for a half-century.

Let's pause for a moment to recognize some of our most important, yet most maligned workers. They are teachers and librarians. Police officers and firefighters. Bus drivers, doctors and nurses. Judges, lawyers, gardeners. They're laborers and other maintenance and construction workers, and many others who provide us vital services.

They are public employees. There are millions of them, who every day do the essential work that keeps our country going. Read more »

Appetite: 1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, 1 Beer

Drinkers, get thee to the Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts

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We San Franciscans are lucky to have a place like the Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts. Debuting last year at SF Cocktail Week as home base for the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail, this year sees the launch of Boothby classes, tastings and events on all things drink. Read more »

The Performant: Of eggs and robots

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Thomas John’s “The Lady on the Wall,” and the Slave Robots of Carl Pisaturo

A few years ago, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I saw Dov Weinstein’s imitable Tiny Ninja Theatre enact “Macbeth” on a dollhouse-sized stage, which one viewed through cheap plastic binoculars from a distance of about ten feet. It will always remain one of my favorite versions of that particular play. Weinstein’s ability to perform as a literal cast of hundreds and run his own tech without fumbling his lines nor cues put many much larger (and taller!) companies to shame, and though the intention was quite obviously to amuse, Weinstein and his tiny plastic ninja cast still managed to convey the nuances of a more  serious artistry. Thomas John’s puppet noir “The Lady on the Wall,” which played at the Garage last weekend, displayed the same perfect balance of dorky and deliberate, featuring an unlikely cast of, not ninjas, but eggs.

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Live Shots: Claudette King, Biscuit and Blues, 02/04/2011

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Do you ever watch a performer and find that they exude so much positivity and joy that you find your mouth stuck in a perpetual grin? And then you realize they're singing the blues, rambling away about whiskey woes and dead beat good-for-nothing dudes, and you're like “Why am I smiling?” This is what happened to me on Friday night for the Claudette King concert at Biscuit and Blues.

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SFBG Radio: Talking to Howie Klein

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Today we continue Johnny's interview with local music legends -- he talks to Howie Klein, the co-founder of 415 Records, about his start in the music industry, Harvey Milk, Bill Graham, and more. We're keeping these things short, so this is part one; we'll post part two to the interview Feb. 14. Listen after the jump. Read more »

Free jeans! -- A Q&A with Caleb Nichols of Grand Lake

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Hailing from San Luis Obispo, Calif. by way of Oakland, Grand Lake has become an art rock darling among the hip, not only because of its applauded 2010 LP Blood Sea Dream (Hippies Are Dead), but also for its cover of the theme song from The Adventures of Pete and Pete, originally done by Polaris. In March, the group is releasing an EP on Hippies Are Dead. In the interim, you can listen to the its take on Radiohead’s “The Tourist,” below. It was recorded in an art gallery in San Luis Obispo, and all of the reverb on the track comes from the room itself -- nothing is digital. Grand Lake is set to rock out with Yuck and with Smith Westerns on Sun./13 at Bottom of The Hill. In advance of the show, I caught up with Grand Lake bandleader (and Port O’Brien alum) Caleb Nichols by email. Read more »

Hyatt targeted as labor impasse drags on

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Hundreds of Hyatt hotel workers and supporters represented by the UniteHere Local 2 union continued their 18-month long struggle against the Hyatt Corporation yesterday (Thu/10) by protesting outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel near the Embarcadero.Read more »

More questions about death drug

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The Food and Drug Administration has finally released some more documents about the state's procurement of its death drugs. The Guardian and the ACLU requested the material under the Freedom of Information Act. You can see the latest here.Read more »

"He will probably drown in his beer hat": the post-punk vegan hits SF

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Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a believer in the power of baketivism. Emerging from the wilds of Food Not Bombs mass meals and the New York City punk scene, Moskowitz started a community access TV show, The Post Punk Kitchen in 2003. Since then she's gotten five animal product-free cookbooks published, starting with the seminal Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (Da Capo, 168 pages, $15.95) and progressing to her latest, Appetite for Reduction (Da Capo, 336 pages, $19.95) -- a collection of low-fat recipes (a couple of which we featured over the holidays), the result of Moskowitz's doctor's suggestion she cut back on fat after being diagnosed with a hormone imbalance.

 She's vegging out in SF this weekend -- you can catch her doing a cooking demonstration and book signing at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market on Sat/12 -- and hell, read that bio again, awesome. So we interviewed her and now we know where to get vegan cheese that actually tastes good, among other highly salient points.

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Jerry Hill grandstands on local hire

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Assemblymember Jerry Hill -- who's facing term limits and reapportionment -- has launched a pretty silly attack on San Francisco's local hire law. He wants to make sure that no state money is used on local-hire projects (because the San Mateo County folks are mad about it.)Read more »

Why payroll tax breaks are stupid

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Jeez, the folks at BeyondChron are so enamored of mid-Market payroll tax breaks you'd think they were getting one themselves. (But since nonprofits don't pay the city's business tax, maybe Randy Shaw doesn't understand how it works.) Paul Hogarth, using a term typically employed by the Chamber of Commerce, call the tax a "job killer:"Read more »

To the bone

No longer a baby with whiplash, Brontez Purnell is ready to dance and rock flawless

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DANCE/MUSIC There are a lot of interesting things in Brontez Purnell's room. Giant self-made posters of Josephine Baker (“The most famous black party kid ever,” he says), Arthur Evans' Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture, and the legendary Harlem Renaissance publication Fire!!. An arrangement of Polaroid Instamatic nude shots of old flames and interview subjects from his zine, Fag School. A few more Instamatic shots – of him and his mom and grandmother. A framed letter from Kathleen Hanna. An autographed copy of the Go-Go's' Talk Show. A typewriter. Read more »

Commercial, free

Jose Luis Pardo, a.k.a. DJ Afro, dishes on 20 years with Los Amigos Invisibles and his solo debut

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MUSIC For a band with some of the horniest lyrics around, the members of Los Amigos Invisibles have remained remarkably faithful to one another. They've been together since the early 1990s, when they were teenagers rebelling against the goth- and rock-dominated Caracas music scene. It was then that these six amigos set out to make music with one purpose: to make people lose their shit on the dance floor. And 20 years later, they show no signs of being tardy for the party. Read more »

Twitter tax break could help a well-connected landlord

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Opposition to the proposal to give millions of dollars in city payroll tax breaks to Twitter and other companies that open for business in the mid-Market area has focused on the bad precedent of caving into demands for corporate welfare and the lead role that two people who call themselves progressives – Sup. Jane Kim and Board President David Chiu – are taking in pushing the deal.Read more »

Date with Satan? "Mosh Potatoes" to the rescue!

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Sure, Julia Child was a badass in her own way — but do you think she ever blasted Seventh Son of a Seventh Son while cooking up beef bourguignon? (Gonna guess ... not. I saw the movie so I'm kind of an expert.) For all the would-be chefs who prefer their kitchen adventures with a side of Satan comes Steve "Buckshot" Seabury's Mosh Potatoes: Recipes, Anecdotes and Mayhem from the Heavyweights of Heavy Metal (Atria Books, $15).

Mosh Potatoes isn't the first-ever metal-themed cookbook (see also: Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook by Annick Giroux, which similarly features recipe contributions from famous headbangers). But Mosh Potatoes has the better name. Also, download site Loudtrax.com is running a contest (it ends Monday, a.k.a. February 14, a.k.a. Valentine's Day) in conjunction with the book. For brave culinary warriors only, "We Dare You to Cook Up Lemmy!" offers Kilmister-approved prizes for folks willing to attempt the Motorhead legend's contribution to the book. (Details here; the recipe involves chocolate syrup, curry powder, brandy, and fire, among other things. It is called "Krakatoa Surprise," and I wouldn't get near it even if you offered me a suit made out of Ove Gloves.)

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