Gimme 5: Must-see shows this week

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The Bay Area music-related Internets was ablaze this week with the rumor that whiskey-fueled nights at the Mission's belovedly divey Elbo Room may be numbered, thanks to everyone's favorite new word to pronounce like it's an epithet: Condos. The Elbo Room's current owners and management say they're just that — rumors — and until we hear more, we refuse to panic. Read more »

Sundance, part three: diamonds in the rough

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Missed out on last week's Sundance glee? Part one here; part two here

Malik Vittal's Imperial Dreams (US) won the Audience Award in the NEXT category, created for films that stretch limited resources to create impactful art. John Boyega (from 2011's Attack the Block) delivers another complicated and hypnotic performance as a young father trying to make good in the 'hood. In this spot-on throwback to powerful, low-budget urban films — think the Hughes Brothers' Menace II Society (1991) and Spike Lee's Clockers (1995), and even back to Ulu Grosbard's Straight Time (1978) — director Vittal coaxes some spectacular acting moments, not just from Boyega but also his forlorn friends, played by De'aundre Bonds and R&B singer Rotimi. You don't want to miss this little treasure.

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Presidio Trust decides on museum proposals

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The Presidio museum showdown has come to an end for now, and the winner of the hotly contested mid-Crissy Field site is (drum roll, please) ... no one.

Not the Golden Gate National National Park Conservancy. Not the Bridge Institute. And no, not Star Wars creator George Lucas.

At an impromptu press conference this afternoon, Presidio Trust Chair Nancy Hellman Bechtle said the board unanimously voted to not move forward with any of the museum proposals.Read more »

The Flaming Lips save Valentine's Day

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It doesn't matter if you're single, dating, or attached at the hip to your spouse/live-in partner(s)/[insert questionable pet name here] — Valentine's Day has always presented a veritable Hallmark-sponsored landmine field of ways to screw up, disappoint your loved ones, and/or generally feel terrible about yourself. Until now.Read more »

Sex culture, Kinky Salon, and the three Pollys

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Polly Whitakker has been one of my favorite superstars of San Francisco sex culture, traveling a path from her native London through the Polly Pandemonium persona she created while getting into BDSM to the Polly Superstar alter-ego she created along with the Kinky Salon play and performance parties in a Mission District space dubbed Mission Control.Read more »

Monologos de la Vagina finds new actress to replace controversial conservative

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Following national controversy over the resignation of a politically conservative actress from the local Spanish-language production of The Vagina Monologues, producer Eliana Lopez announced yesterday that the production has found a replacement.

Actress Alba Roversi, a veteran of the Spanish language Monologos de la Vagina, will take the place of Maria Conchita Alonso, whose departure from the play had Fox News crying foul over her being “forced out” for her conservative political views. 

Any chance to needle San Francisco, right? 

Roversi starred in over 20 Spanish language soap operas, though she may not have the same name recognition in the US as Alonso, whose filmography includes Predator 2 and The Running Man (with our former Governator). Roversi is in, and Alonso is out. Read more »

Sundance, part two: Linklater love

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My second year of attending the Sundance Film Festival was at the age of 15; it was 1991 and I took a chance on a film called Slacker by Richard Linklater. 

This is the ticket stub that started my film journals. It's still taped into a spiral ring notebook that cradles my coming of age, and I have treasured every film of Linklater's since: his mainstream breakthrough, cult classic Dazed and Confused (1993); his hilarious remake of The Bad News Bears (2005); his underrated adaptation of Fast Food Nation (2006); his overlooked staging of Tape (2001); his pioneering, existentialist, rotoscoped duet Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006). And, of course, his soul-searching Before trilogy.

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CCSF students angered by class cancellations

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Despite a day of misty downpours and gray skies, students, faculty members and their supporters gathered in the lobby of the City College of San Francisco’s Conlan Hall on Wed/28 in anticipation of a sit-down with the school’s chancellor, Dr. Arthur Q. Tyler.Read more »

Live Shots: Yuck finds its voice at The Independent

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“I remember the last time I was here the room was filled with the smell of weed,” said Yuck’s lead vocalist Max Bloom with his charming British accent, facing yet another thick fog looming over the audience. “I feel like I’m getting high out of proximity.” The herb-filled air wasn't new to The Independent, and this wasn’t Yuck’s first time in San Francisco. But the band that showed up there Wednesday night [1/30] was a very different band than Yuck has been in the past.Read more »

RIP Colonel Meow

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Alas, minions! Our fearless, fuzzy leader Colonel Meow has passed away. We will always remember him for championing the Cat Pack and sharing his wise words with us. The culling of beloved Internet kitties has begun too soon.

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Sundance, part one: crowd-pleasers and dino heists

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Check out Jesse's intro to his Sundance Film Festival series here.

This year, there were few films that stood out as across-the-board crowd pleasers. Gareth Evans' violent, 148-minute The Raid 2: Berandal (UK/Indonesia) — a sequel to his 2011 cult hit — is an absolute must-see, as is the latest from Wet Hot American Summer (2001) director David Wain, They Came Together (US); it's a comedy spoof that pitches Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler into a slew of rom-com tropes and clichés (delivering some huge laughs in the process).

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The future of civic engagement is here (so far it's not pretty)

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Last week, we wrote about San Francisco City Hall's foray into “civic innovation,” to foster greater governmental openness through web-based technology.

We spotlighted the OpenGov Foundation’s partnership with the city to upload the entire municipal code to a website, SanFranciscoCode.org, to make local laws readily accessible for anyone (regardless of city of residency, apparently) to comb through, offer comments, or suggest legislative tweaks.Read more »

San Francisco and its cycletracks lead the way toward safer biking statewide

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San Francisco has been blazing the trail toward safer cycling with innovative designs such as cycletracks, or bike lanes that are physically separated from cars, which have been installed on Market Street and JFK Drive. But cycletracks aren’t legal under state law, something that a San Francisco lawmaker and activist are trying to solve so that other California cities can more easily build them.Read more »

Tee time: a peek inside Urban Putt, the Mission's indoor mini-golf course

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On the back wall of the main room of the old Victorian building at 1096 S. Van Ness is a sculpture of two creepy angels. One holds the other in its arms, their wings keeping them up. These angels are part of the original construction of the building, back when it functioned as a mortuary. Perhaps due to the haunting angels, perhaps due to the thought of a dead body storage center, the building has sat empty on the corner of South Van Ness and 22nd Streets for 15 years.

Today, the angels are still there and the building’s new owner has no intention of taking them down. “We will preserve as much as we can from this old look,” says Steve Fox, the man behind San Francisco’s first indoor mini-golf course, Urban Putt, set to open in April. The “high-concept” course will feature a restaurant with “eclectic California comfort cuisine” upstairs and two bars with a “creative bar program,” according to Urban Putt’s most recent press release. 

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An ally and a union brother: Pete Seeger's legacy in the labor movement

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Pete Seeger's sweet voice was, among other things, a clear, articulate, consistently outspoken one for workers' rights. In honor of Seeger's legacy of activism, we reached out to longtime community activist and LaborFest co-founder Steve Zeltzer to hear about what he meant to the labor movement in the Bay Area and beyond. Read more »