There's mezcal and there's Del Maguey. You may have heard me talk about Del Maguey mezcals and the line's founder, Ron Cooper, in the past. A session with the gentle yet passionate Ron (like his mezcal seminar at 2010 Tales of the Cocktail) is an experience you're not likely to soon forget. Even the way he describes fermentation stays with you: "wild creatures eating sugar, farting carbon dioxide, pissing alcohol!"
I'm leaving for Mexico next week, so sipping Del Maguey was getting me in the south of the border mood -- even though I'm going to Tequila vs. Oaxaca, where most mezcal is produced. For the unfamiliar, mezcal is a spirit made from the heart (piña) of the maguey, an agave plant native to Mexico. Piñas are roasted underground, giving mezcal its distinctive smoky properties. Mezcal is the peaty scotch of tequila, which by definition is a mezcal made specifically from blue agave in Tequila, Mexico. Read more »
Morgan Fitzgibbons isn't thinking small when it comes to goals for his Western Addition sustainability group, the Wigg Party. “We want to make our community a leader in the transformation in resilience,” he tells me during our coffee date to discuss the group's upcoming anti-boycott “carrotmob” at Matching Half Cafe (Sat/23).
It's no coincidence that his language sounds a little new age-y. The basis for Fitzgibbons' vision for the Wigglers seems grounded in the PhD of Philosopy, Cosmology, and Consciousness he received at California Institute for Integral Studies. “We're these sacred beings,” he tells me earnestly of his San Francisco community. “This is a sacred movement – I want people to look back in a hundred years and see that.” Read more »
In today's Appetite installation, Virginia Miller ranged near and far (in a fabulous pair of vintage pumps, as is her wont) in search of the meatiest hunk of sandwich available for hungry city souls. Sink your teeth into one while watching your -- cross your fingers -- new league champion baseball team. Go Gigantes!
Iran's authoritarian regime still gets away with locking up artists and intellectuals for their opinions. (The renowned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi spent three months in prison this year for speaking his mind in public.) The contours of this system of political persecution come to the fore in the most personal and riveting of terms as longtime Iranian dissident, journalist, and author Houshang Asadi talks about (and reads from) his new memoir, Letters to My Torturer: Love, Revolution, and Imprisonment in Iran, in conversation with journalist and author Jonathan Curiel (Al’ America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots) at Berkeley Arts and Letters. The event is co-sponsored by the National Iranian American Council, Amnesty International, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.
I've been dabbling in dystopia of late. A little Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, a little Brazil (1985) and bam! I'm up to my ears in fears of bureaucracy and government subterfuge and omnipresence – as if that's a new thing.
But on the real, it is a bit discomfiting, the similarities between our culture's visions of the fall. This discomfort sharpens with “black sites” researcher Trevor Paglen's monograph Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes (Aperture), an eerie book of photos and artifacts that acts like a show-and-tell of why we can't trust The Man to level with us. Paglen will be presenting it at City Lights – those anarchos, of course! – Thurs/21. Read more »
You thought the real Halloween parties started next weekend? Ha! Wrong on two counts.
For one, you're in San Francisco, so you know this is gonna be a ghoul gala that leaks out into the preceding and following weeks, if not months. Two, the portal to the other world opens the 22nd, not the 31st! (silly) Luckily, you have your deranged BDSM maniacs at the SF Citadel to remind you of the fact with Chamber of Horrors. For those together enough to have assembled their monster 'fit early, a swell party to play out this journey into another realm where “the gods of old reach out from their dark place,” according to the press release. After all, what better place to witness the chaos that will ensue than a good old-fashioned dungeon? Whips at the ready, there's gonna be evil spirits to subdue.
Intrepid travelers always get a bit of a bee in their bonnet when you mistake them for tourists, but tourism doesn’t have to be a dirty word. All it really means is the act of traveling for recreational purposes and as such, can be applied to even the smallest of pleasurable jaunts. Saturday morning, I went on a tour—replete with guides, maps, wristbands, a short jaunt by MUNI train, and a chaos (as opposed to a gaggle or a horde) of dancers. Yes, it was the 7th annual San Francisco Trolley Dances, and this year’s chosen line was the N-Judah. Read more »
Gavin Newsom seems poised to win his race for lieutenant governor, at least as indicated by his opponent Abel Maldonado's increasingly desperate campaign tactics and Newsom's string of newspaper endorsements, including the Spanish language La Opinion, which chose to pass over a moderate Latino that it has endorsed in the past. The only question now is voter turnout, and whether Newsom's negatives would be enough to drag him down if the Democratic base stays home in this lackluster election.Read more »
Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 250 of his columns.
Never have the nation's younger workers been more in need of unionization. And never have the nation's unions been more in need of the membership growth that recruiting younger workers can bring them.
Here's how it looks, and it's not a pretty picture for labor: Last year, unions lost 10 percent of their members in private employment - the biggest drop in more than 25 years. That cut union membership by 834,000 workers, down to 15.7 million workers.
Which means that overall, counting public as well as private employment, unions now represent only a little more than 12 percent of the country's workers. Just 20 years ago, 20 percent of all workers were unionized.
So, how can organized labor add significantly to its numbers and thus add significantly to labor's political and economic strength. Read more »
In today's episode, we discuss why Abama is not FDR, why he's refusing to do what has to be done to put Americans to work -- and why that's his real political liability. Listen after the jump. Read more »
If you want a case study that illustrates why San Francisco needs Proposition M, taken a look at Bernal Heights.
In 2008, two people were killed at the Alemany public housing project, topping off a disturbing increase in street crime. Neighborhood activists responded by working successfully with the captain of the Ingleside Station to a beat cop on Cortland Ave. Crime dropped.
But several weeks ago, Captain Louis Cassanego cut that foot patrol, citing the need to reallocate scarce SFPD manpower to more violent areas. Read more »