The Performant: Deck this!

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Aggro Yuletide fun with Will Franken and Satan’s finest

It’s a common misperception that the sensory-overload of the holiday season is an even greater irritant to the committed misanthrope than the ennui of the everyday, but I beg to differ. Actually the holidays are when misanthropes tend to shine: while everybody else is getting their longjohns in a bunch because of the line at the post office, the ever-increasing price of java logs, or Christmas carol earworms, misanthropes, accustomed to weathering the seas of perpetual annoyance, seem comparatively serene. Also, because everyone around them is suddenly on edge, their caustic observations and one-liners are more relevant to and therefore more appreciated by their usually more-sanguine acquaintances.

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Out with the old

Southeastern San Francisco celebrates the end of the Potrero power plant

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On the chilly morning of Dec. 21, a crowd of prominent local and state figures huddled in an industrial parking lot overlooking the brick smokestack of the Potrero power plant, which has been in operation for more than 40 years. It was the winter solstice, the morning after a lunar eclipse, and an historic environmental moment for San Francisco.Read more »

DJ Earworm's top pop mashup

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Honestly, we meticulously avoid the TV, the radio, the mall, the Explorer dealer, and Chili's all year, just so local wiz DJ Earworm's annual mashup of Billboard's top 25 hits will surprise us -- with brilliance. It's the only way we can digest all that auto-syrup in one big candy-colored blast.

March Fourth Marching Band reveals its gypsy secrets

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One of these days, I'll hop a bus outta this town. Pullin' out of here on the wind, if you want to quote the Boss (sometimes I do). One of the groups I've been keeping my eye on as a possible accomplice is March Fourth Marching Band. You can find the million-piece ensemble's rig parked at nearly every festival, ever – always with a few stilters or trombone players spilling out the door, sprawled on a tarp nearby, or if you're lucky, tapping out a cheerful marching band symphony by a campfire at around five in the morning (hello, High Sierra!) 

And onstage! They're like a big, loud circus onstage – until all of a sudden they're off the stage and you're engulfed in 360 degrees of marching band madness, now having a dance party with its frenzied audience. In anticipation of the band's upcoming pre-NYE show at The Independent (Thurs/30), March Fourth's bandleader John Averill sat down at his email portal to tell us all his secrets about where he found the mail order balls needed to make touring with so many moving parts possible. Read more »

Hot sexy events: December 29-January 4

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“Scott and I wanted to create an adult playground that wasn't just some hedonistic, narcissistic freefall into the apocalypse.” Co-founder Polly Superstar is ready to celebrate a decade of Mission Control's swingin' good times at the play space (which she founded with hubby Baron Scott Levkoff)'s NYE party-ten year anniversary soiree Fri/31. 

But first, a look back. “We wanted a place where people could feel safe exploring their sexuality without the rigidity of the BDSM scene, and without the expectation and pressure of the swinger scene.” And so MC's been throughout the aughts: a land where art, sex, and hell yeah, theme parties, have been coming together to the greater glory of SF's freaky, funky pansexual scene. Read more »

EDITORIAL: Get out of the way, Mr. Mayor

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 Let us begin with the obvious: Mayor Gavin Newsom has absolutely no business deciding who should replace him. His petulant statements suggesting that he will delay taking office as lieutenant governor until the supervisors pick a candidate he likes are an embarrassment to the city. If he actually refuses to take the oath of office Jan. 3, when his term in Sacramento begins, it will damage his reputation and political career.

Newsom knew when he decided to seek higher office that he'd be leaving the city early if he won. He knew that under the City Charter, the Board of Supervisors would choose a new mayor. He knew that a progressive majority on the board was likely to elect someone whose political views differ from his. If he didn't want that to happen, he should have stayed in town and finished his term. Read more »

Appetite: 2010, the year in absinthe

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Read up, absinthe seekers... whether you're intrigued by the (false) claims of hallucinogenic effects or an aficionado taken in by the culture surrounding the green fairy, a little reading will take you deeper. This year has produced three new absinthe books furthering knowledge of an artful drink best enjoyed with leisure and attention.

Absinthe Cocktails
by Kate Simon Read more »

The Year in Film: Guardian critics on 2010's best!

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Dennis Harvey's Top 20 of 2010

Note: because this was generally such a crap year, a "best" list seemed too much of a stretch. Ergo this is a Top 20 list, in no particular order, of films I enjoyed most one way or the other (The Killer Inside Me, Everyone Else, and I Spit on Your Grave definitely representing the other). No doubt The King's Speech, The Social Network, and several other currently awards-baiting titles have finer qualities than some here, but they're not what I'd gladly watch again right now.

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, UK/Netherlands)
The Tillman Story (Amir Bar-Lev, USA)
The Killer Inside Me (Michael Winterbottom, USA/Sweden/UK/Canada)
The Desert of Forbidden Art (Tchavdar Georgiev and Amanda Pope, Russia/UK/Uzbekistan)
Mother (Bong Joon-ho, South Korea)
City Island (Raymond De Felitta, USA)
OSS 177: Lost in Rio (Michel Hazanavicius, France)
Daddy Longlegs (Ben Safdie and Joshua Safdie, USA/France)
The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko, USA)
Let It Rain (Agnès Jaoui, France)

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Arthur Szyk: beauty in fairy tale... and Stalin

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Nowadays, being up on the news can actually make us stupider (more stupid, damn!), but when cartoonist Arthur Szyk was sketching his dense, fantastically detailed news caricatures, politics were still in need of explication – and all the more better if it was beautiful to boot. How else can one explain why one of the most whimsical artists of the 1930s and '40s became best known for his sketches of Hitler and Stalin playing poker?

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Appetite: In Tequila with Fortaleza

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Fortaleza is truly a special tequila. On my recent visit to Tequila, Mexico, this distillery enchanted with its agave covered hillsides and haunting caves. Fortaleza means fortitude, though in Mexico, you'll find their bottles labeled Los Abuelos in memory of the grandfathers of Guillermo E. Sauza, the fifth generation producer who passionately runs Fortaleza by old world methods. He comes from tequila royalty as a Sauza... Read more »

New Year's Eve 2011 parties

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As always, we recommend attending several parties on New Year's Eve — just to spread your personal brand of bubbly around (and change up the scenery a bit.) Below are some recommendations for maximum impact, all of which take place the night of Fri/31. Chin chin! (Check out our Music Listings for even more.)

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Maybe bankruptcy would save California

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First of all: ain't going to happen. The state needs to spend $6.6 billion on bond debt, and has more than $50 million available. No default looming. I'm with Robert Cruickshank at Calitics: The law shouldn't give bondholders first claim on the state's money. But it does.Read more »

Fine (and found) dining with Wild Kitchen

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Wild boar, Monterey squid, light-it-yourself flambe -- local, wild edibles are foraged and transformed into multi-course gourmet meals, as ForageSF hosts underground restaurant Wild Kitchen. Dig in to this SFBG exclusive.

Year in Music: Pantha du Prince's Top 10 (+1) of 2010

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Phill Niblock, Touch Radio 57
Efdemin, Chicago
Konrad Sprenger, Versprochen
Avey Tare, Down There
Foxtrot Echo Lima Tango fanzine
Autechre, Oversteps
Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Live In New York
Live jams by The Sight Below in New York
Sohrab, A Hidden Place
John Roberts, Glass Eights
Craig Haines, Until the Point of Hushed Support Read more »

Spoiled mayor wants to get his way

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I guess it's no surprise that Gavin Newsom takes his political cues from the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. But this spoiled-kid choose-a-mayor-I-like-or-I-won't-leave attitude isn't pretty. Newsom has chosen a new office; it's no longer his business who the folks he left behind want to put in Room 200.Read more »