1. Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols, US) The creepiest film at this year's Sundance follows Curtis, a hard working father and husband who is either truly having premonitions that a terrifying storm is a-comin', or is slowly slipping into a mental breakdown. Michael Shannon's performance is not only played to an absolute perfection, but the director's script truly takes the time to let these characters earn their merit badges. And similar to previous festival experiences like Donnie Darko (2001) and Downloading Nancy (2008), the eerie tone and consistent pacing will either send you for the exit door (quite a few impatient audience members stormed out) or it will clamp around you, not letting go until the jaw-droppingly unexpected finale. The metaphor-filled Take Shelter is a genuine treasure that lingers for days after — here's hoping it gets a higher-profile post-festival life than the previous Nichols-Shannon collaboration, the impressive Shotgun Stories (2007).
2. The Off Hours (Megan Griffiths, US) Originally chosen to compete in the Dramatic Competition, this haunting ensemble piece was unexpectedly bumped into the NEXT category, which showcases innovative low-budget features.
It's raining for the first time in weeks, and you know what that means. Somewhere in San Francisco, someone is standing on an outdoor MUNI platform and wondering why those stylish, clear sloping roofs fail so miserably when it comes to keeping the rain out. And while MUNI drivers should not take the blame for this and other transit-system flaws, we cannot help but feel the pain of the passenger who vented their frustration by leaving this bombastic complaint at the T-Third 20th Street station.
The giant cuts proposed by the Obama Administration (and worse ones suggested by the GOP) will hurt the economic recovery, hurt the poor, hurt the nation's future -- and hurt California. Let's remember, as Brian Leubitz notes at Calitics, we live in a net donor state -- for every dollar Californians send to Washington, the state gets 80 cents Read more »
The revolution in Egypt was about a demand for democracy and resistance to repression -- but it was also spurred in part by legions of angry young people who have no economic opportunity. And since the dramatic inequalities in Egypt were a factor in a stunning popular uprising, it's worth noting an interesting fact:Read more »
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 »
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 »
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.
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.