A first glance at 'Looking'

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Imagine a place where all the gay men are masculine, well-built, physically unselfconscious, and fashionably tousled; where young male artists and young male people of color mingle with young white male techies (yet are still happily banished to Oakland or work the door at Esta Noche); where having a "lazy eye" or being "slightly portly" renders you disqualified for relationships; where HIV, addiction, and politics barely exist; and where everyone is drenched in soft-spoken sophistication, vague existential ennui, and puppy-eyed cuteness.

This isn't quite San Francisco (yet), but it is the San Francisco of gorgeously produced, play-it-safe-so-far gay-themed HBO series Looking (it begins airing Jan. 19) -- at least the first two episodes, which previewed tonight at the Castro Theater. It's too early of course to pass any kind of judgment on the entire series, which in many ways may be an accurate reflection of current gay culture, and I maintain very high hopes, especially with such good actors, writers, and attention to detail involved.

But let me tell you: I have never wished more for a stereotypically sassy drag queen to stomp onscreen and break some shit in my life.

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Mar calls for hearing on recycling center evictions

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An eviction crisis of a different sort has hit San Francisco, as one by one, recycling centers are closing across the city. Supervisor Eric Mar today called for a hearing on recycling center closures, to measure the impact on the city’s poor and its zero waste policies. 

“I’ve heard from many of our residents that (the closures) will have severe impact on the low and no income members of our community,” Mar said at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “Many are immigrants who rely on this stream of income.”Read more »

Solomon: Why the Washington Post’s new ties to the CIA are so ominous

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American journalism has entered highly dangerous terrain.

A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos -- who’s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazon’s CEO and main stakeholder.

The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million “cloud” computing deal with the CIA.Read more »

SFUSD students may get new police protections

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Students who run afoul of the police may gain new protections under an agreement between the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco Unified School District up for vote at tomorrow’s Board of Education meeting

The new agreement explicitly calls for parents to be notified when their children are taken into the custody of police, or are questioned as a victim or a witness. The agreement also introduces graduated steps that increase the burden on school administrators and the police to exhaust all other options before arresting a student.

“What we’re outlining in this policy is that the school system has the first responsibility to ensure discipline and safety, but we don’t want to overreact or push students toward the criminal justice system unless it’s absolutely necessary,” Board of Education Commissioner Matt Haney told the Guardian. Read more »

Article overlooks key findings and new academic research

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By Corey Cook

I am writing in regard to Reed Nelson’s story “’Poll’ showing 73 percent approval for Mayor Lee was flawed.” As one of the two authors of the survey, I am deeply disappointed in the many insinuations in the article and the author’s cavalier abandonment of evidence or reason in order to make his politically expedient, but otherwise inane, point.

In fact, the author is so quick to dismiss the findings of the study, which is based upon accepted methodology, and which had nothing to do with mayoral approval scores, that he actually misses the entire thrust of the study – that voters in San Francisco are deeply ambivalent about the current environment, concerned about the affordability crisis, and not trusting of local government to come up with a solution. Read more »

Gimme 5: Must-see shows this week

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Happy Monday, kids! If you're feeling the comedown from a solid week of shows celebrating the Rickshaw Stop's 10th anniversary (read our feature on it here), quit yer whining. Here are a handful of rad upcoming shows to get you out of the house. It's winter, you're pale, you need to. 

Tues/14
Black Cobra Vipers
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"Poll" showing 73 percent approval for Mayor Lee was flawed

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There was a poll conducted in late November by the University of San Francisco, the results of which were released in conjunction with the San Francisco Chronicle, claiming that 73 percent of San Franciscans approve of Mayor Ed Lee's performance.Read more »

Solomon: The CIA, Amazon, Bezo, and the Washington Post: An exchange with Executive Editor Martin Baron

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By Norman Solomon 

(B3 note: This exchange between Norman Solomon and the Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron followed a Solomon column that dramatized the ethical issues involving the Post and its new owner Jeff Bezos, founder and CE0 of  Amazon. Solomon noted that Amazon has landed a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency.  He wrote that "news media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them" and that Bezo is now doing "big business" with the CIA "while readers of the newspaper's  CIA coverage are left in the dark.") 

 
To: Martin Baron, Executive Editor, and Kevin Merida, Managing Editor, The Washington Post
 
Dear Mr. Baron and Mr. Merida:

On behalf of more than 25,000 signers of a petition to The Washington Post, I’m writing this letter to request a brief meeting to present the petition at a time that would be convenient for you on Jan. 14 or 15.

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Here’s what the new FCC chairman heard when he came to Oakland

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Last night (Thu/9), the newly appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, visited Oakland’s Preservation Park for a town hall meeting.

It was the first time in more than five years that the head of the FCC engaged in this kind of face-to-face community dialogue in Oakland, Chancellar Williams of Free Press said at the start of the meeting. The event was hosted by the Free Press, the Center for Media Justice, the National Hispanic Media Coalition and the Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition.Read more »

Gods and mom-sters: the week's new films

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This week: August: Osage County (bumped from its previously-scheduled opening last week) unleashes 2014's first bolt of LOOK AT ME I'M ACTING! Other choices you have while you count down to the Golden Globes (Sunday night) and the Oscar nominations (next Thursday) include Ralph Fiennes' latest actor-director turn in Charles Dickens tale The Invisible Woman; Mark Wahlberg's Navy SEALs drama Lone Survivor; and Renny Harlin's CG'd-up action-tacular The Legend of Hercules.

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Dan Siegel announces candidacy for Oakland mayor

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Oakland attorney Dan Siegel, known for a long history of involvement in Bay Area social justice movements, joined a group of more than 150 supporters in front of Oakland City Hall this morning to announce his candidacy for mayor.Read more »

Voter Approval to Waterfront Development campaign officially underway

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The campaign to subject big projects proposed for San Francisco’s waterfront to popular approval is officially underway, with the City Attorney’s Office today issuing the ballot title and summary for what is now officially known as the Voter Approval to Waterfront Development Height Increases initiative.Read more »

Promo: Prom Night kickoff for IndieFest (Free admission for Bay Guardian readers)

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Attend the prom-themed Sweet 16 launch party for the 16th Annual SF IndieFest that also doubles as the kick off party for the I Was a Teenage Teenager teen-themed film series, screening January 10-14 at the Roxie Theater. DJ Shindog of New Wave City and DJ Junkyard of Litterbox will get your taffeta a-twirlin’ while Out of the Booth photobooth immortalizes your tiaras and tuxedos forever. They'll be showing trailers from the festival films and selling discounted tickets and passes at the party. For more info about SF IndieFest 2014 visit sfindie.com. Read more »

SFUSD sticker shock: new art school to cost $240 million

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Art advocates have tried to move the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts high school to its new home on Van Ness street since 1987. Last night the dream moved one step closer, the only barrier is cost. 

At a packed San Francisco Board of Education meeting, planners revealed the move’s sticker price, and it’s a big one: $240 million. Board of Education President Rachel Norton’s face sunk into one hand as she heard the news.Read more »

Got pests? Open data project reveals housing code violation data

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Thanks to a handy new online platform created by the city’s Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and Code for America, you can now determine whether the rental you’re eyeing is moldy, pest-ridden, or otherwise hazardous to your health – before signing a lease.Read more »