Appetite: Break out the bourbon and gumbo, Fat Tuesday's coming

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On the heels of a first time ever Super Bowl win for my beloved city of New Orleans, comes Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Lent. No one celebrates this time of year like Nola, but we try in our own little way here. At least there's some local outlets for wistfully wishing I was there...

February 15-19: Fat Tuesday at the Front Porch
Outer Mission's Front Porch always knows how to throw a good party, and Fat Tuesday will be no exception. I can't think of a better way to usher in Mardi Gras than with a front porch crab boil. Don't forget to eat plenty of their jambalaya, drink Abita beer, and don those beads. Even better, if you can't make it Tuesday, they're doing the boil and French Quarter menu specials all week long, starting Monday.
5:30pm until close
65a 29th Street
415-695-7800
www.thefrontporchsf.com

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Logging helps the planet?

"In California, forestry is the only sector that has a positive effect on air quality," says Sierra Pacific Industries

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By Jobert Poblete

news@sfbg.com

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), an environmental group with offices in San Francisco, filed a series of lawsuits last month challenging the state's approval of 15 logging plans it says do not adequately address greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts. But the loggers take the opposite stance, arguing that their trees capture carbon and lessen global warming.Read more »

Mazel Tov! Shmaltz celebrates Jewbelation Bar Mitzvah during Beer Week

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I didn't have a Bat Mitzvah when I turned 13, but if I had, I would've wanted it to be just like the one Shmaltz Brewing Company threw for its newest Jewbelation ale last night at Amnesia. (And yes, I just said that I wish my 13th birthday party had been at a bar.) The event, which replaced the spot's regular Tuesday program of open mic and Rock'n'Schlock karaoke in honor of SF Beer Week, was hilarious, fun, and exactly as tongue-in-cheek as you'd expect from a brewing company whose first beer (He'Brew) was the result of an inside joke between founder (and Bay Area native) Jeremy Cowen and his high school friends. Read more »

The malevolence of Mercury Insurance

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Yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle reports on a long history of illegal practices by Mercury Insurance – including discrimination against soldiers, artists, bartenders, and other professions in auto insurance coverage and rates – and the long-overdue political and regulatory attention being paid to the company.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real story of Mercury’s dealings in California is even more insidious, and it has implications to the health care reform legislation being pushed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, which would require all Americans to buy health insurance, just as all California motorists are required to buy car insurance from Mercury and other companies.  

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Street Threads: Krystal and Wisdom

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SFBG photographer Ariel Soto scoops San Francisco Street Fashion.

Today's Look: Krystal and Wisdom, Cesar Chavez and Valencia

Tell us about your look: "Try to stay up to fashion and be color coordinated. Clothes represent who you are."

The heart of art

Love Everywhere to San Francisco: be mine!

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arts@sfbg.com

DANCE In 1960, San Francisco City Hall's glorious staircase became infamous when police turned fire hoses on protesters at a hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Fifty years later, these same stairs will become the stage for a very different event: Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project's Love Everywhere, a celebration of love and marriage equality.Read more »

Public employees feel blindsided by Newsom’s layoff scheme

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Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposal to lay off 10,000 city employees and rehire them at lower pay is being met with outrage by some public-sector workers. The plan, crafted as a way of saving money to balance the city budget, would amount to sweeping pay cuts across the board for a significant number of city workers.

Formal discussions about it are in the earliest stages, and Tony Winnicker, the mayor’s press secretary, described it as “just one alternative that we’re investigating.” Nonetheless, some members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 are furious that the mayor unveiled this plan in the San Francisco Chronicle instead of at a meeting with the city’s labor leaders.

“As far as we can tell, an idea he has ended up on the front page of the Chronicle that’s had a devastating ripple affect among the people who work for the city and county,” SEIU Local 1021 President Damita Davis-Howard told the Guardian. “We feel like we got a sucker-punch. … We really wish he had talked to us before he governed by press conference.”

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Hip-hop and chaotic beauty, Minneapolis-style: Eyedea & Abilities with Dosh

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Five years was far too long a break for most fans, but thankfully the Minneapolis hip-hop duo Eyedea & Abilities pulled things together just the way we like for 2009’s By The Throat (Rhymesayers Entertainment), the follow-up to the beloved sophomore album E&A released way back in 2004. They play Wed/10 at Bottom of the Hill, promising to spit their rude, ripping guitars, iron heavy bass beats, and surprisingly melodic choruses in your face. Read more »

alt.sex.column: Ars longa

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andrea@altsexcolumn.com

Dear Andrea:

I'm 43, good-looking, and reputedly sexy, funny, and easy to hang out with. I got laid almost daily in my 20s. But my last steady relationship was in 2007. My confidence is at an all-time low. I masturbate way too much to movies with Asian women and men who are hung to the floor, which makes me feel very small. I'm in a bad place right now and I don't see the point of approaching women since I won't be able to satisfy them like in the movies. Read more »

Biotech's bonanza

Is the local business tax exemption for this thriving industry worth the cost?

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By Adam Lesser

news@sfbg.com

It's difficult to measure the value a biotechnology company receives from locating in San Francisco. Most measures are qualitative: scientists talk about synergy with other biotech companies in the area, the intellectual community that thrives at the University of California-San Francisco, and support offered at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3).Read more »

Style Lines: Bianca Starr fulfills your heart's desire

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By Chhavi Nandi

Music and fashion are often so intrinsically connected, it's hard to tell where one starts and the other stops. Which came first? Fall Out Boy or the emo haircut? So it should be no surprise that the impeccable taste that Bianca Starr brought to operating the former nightlife wonderland Club 222, now techno hotspot  222 Hyde, also carries over into the world of clothing with her new vintage boutique. The concept is providing carefully edited and cleaned pieces that appeal to Bianca herself (the store motto is "If we wouldn't wear it, we wouldn't sell it"), all in a fun, collaborative, friendly setting that includes rotating DJs playing every weekend.

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Editorial: The attack on district elections

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Nobody can honestly say that the district supervisors have ignored citywide issues or that they don't have a citywide perspective.

The Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor's Office, and the San Francisco Chronicle have created, apparently out of whole cloth, a new attack on district elections of supervisors. And although there's no campaign or formal proposal on the table, the new move needs to be taken seriously.

And it's important to understand from the start what this is really about.

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DJ Similak Chyld dances to an unfamiliar beat

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DJ Similak Chyld doesn’t mess with inspiration. When asked how she came up with the idea for Afro Chico Electro, her dance party that hits the floor at Triple Crown on Wed/10, she’s narrowed the concept down to a single visual. It’s a purple pencil drawing by graffitist Mode 2 that shows a swath of party people intertwined, their arms thrown in the air, eyes closed, smiles open. There’s a bald girl, a blonde girl, some b-boys, a cool guy in a hat- but they’re all dancing to the same beat. Quote the pint sized Similak, “the idea is basically merging all the genres that I love, to bridge the gap between different crews, djs, artists, etcetera. I figure it makes sense to me- why not throw a party that represents who I am at the core?”

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In defense of Beyoncé

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By Tim Redmond

I want to come to the defense of Beyoncé. Not that anyone who just won six Grammys needs my defense or cares much what I have to say, but the talented Ms. Knowles has gotten some shit lately, particularly from my colleague at BeyondChron, Randy Shaw, who says she “embodies the soulless Starbucking of the Music Industry.”

He complains:

“Beyoncé provides the homogenized sound that today’s music industry touts, and which it rewards as the best it has to offer.”

And he waxes nostalgic about the good old days of

“the rebellious rock stars of the 1960’s, and the soulful and truly passionate voices of Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, and the stars of Motown.”

Well, Randy Shaw’s not known as a music critic, and neither am I, but I can tell you this: As the father of a seven-year-old girl, I know from today's pop.

Movin’ 99.7 is the soundtrack of the Redmond-Field household these days. Vivian has pretty much seized control of the CD player, and when she’s dancing at night instead of doing her homework, and dancing in the morning instead of getting dressed and ready for school, the living room is filled with Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, the occasional Jonas Brothers tune (although she generally sneers at anything that isn’t sung by a girl) and, of course, Beyoncé.

We watch Hannah Montana, I Carly, and Wizards of Waverly Place. We party with “Party in the USA.” Sometimes, we go to the show.

It’s what’s going on in her world – and frankly, it’s not that bad.

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Join the Orchid and Hound fan club

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I hate to be objectifying, but journalistic integrity be damned- Orchid and Hound are damn good looking. The queer pop duo, comprised of satyr-esque John Constantine and the coyly shaggy Lawrence Alarcon, were also charming and beautifully turned out when I met them for drinks the other night- and, of course, they are brilliant onstage. Their upcoming show at The Blue Macaw (Thur/11) promises to look a lot like what would happen if High School Musical came out of the closet, hired a better stylist and started partying. So you’re going to have to excuse me if the following article starts to sound like Tiger Beat at times. I’m a little smitten, so shoot me.

This is what you will see at an Orchid and Hound show. Lawrence Alarcon will bang out lovely up and down tunes on his piano, while John Constantine provides jazzy vocals that ease over here to a sound reminiscent of Broadway, then smooth down there to recall a smoky lounge somewhere in Vegas. They’ve dubbed it “queer pop”- a highly listenable, intimate little cabaret. "We like to think of 'queer' as 'different,' like melodrama," says Constantine of their sound.

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