Looking glass love

Abbas Kiarostami returns with a surreal take on Tuscan romance

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FILM Abbas Kiarostami's beguiling new feature signals "relationship movie" with every cobblestone step, but it's manifestly a film of ideas — one in which disillusionment is as much a formal concern as a dramatic one. Typical of Kiarostami's dialogic narratives, Certified Copy is both the name of the film and an entity within the film: a book written against the ideal of originality in art by James Miller (William Shimell), an English pedant fond of dissembling. After a lecture in Tuscany, he meets an apparent admirer (Juliette Binoche) in her antique shop. Read more »

Make waves

Stand up for your dance rights. Plus: Angela Bowie, Kingdom, Todd Terje, Hacienda, and Steam Punktrick's Day parties

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SUPER EGO Hilariously, I think there are now more hearings at City Hall about raves than there are actual raves within the city limit, and those hearings are becoming the kind of fun old-school rave reunion events that everyone plans their outfits for. Situationism lives!Read more »

5 Things: March 17, 2011

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>>THREE VEILS TO THE WIND You're probably already green around your St. Patrick's Day gills -- maybe it's the perfect time to rustle up a bridal gown, and a wee bit more liver to damage, for this Saturday's Brides of March dash around the city. The raucous, open-to-all annual event is the Santarchy of hetero privilege, so let's get sloppy-ironic and "WOOOOO" like a bachelorette.Read more »

Ethics Commission complacency continues

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As the Rules Committee considers two diametrically opposed nominees to the Ethics Commission – one a reformer and the other an ally of those who want this political watchdog to be as toothless as possible – Larry Bush with the new CitiReport blog has penned an excellent rundown of the sad recent history of an agency that is ineffective at best and corrupt at worst.Read more »

Two East Bay rallies for clean energy

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As a nuclear emergency continues to unfold in Japan, Bay Area grassroots organizations are trying to drum up support for incorporating clean energy into long-range local planning.

Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, and other grassroots organizations have declared March 17 a "Green Day of Action," and they'll mark it with a rally before the City of Richmond's Planning Commission meeting to call for a meaningful plan for reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions. Read more »

Chase Bank tightens grip on Divisadero location

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For the folks living in Western Addition who weren't stoked about having Chase Bank move in on an already chain-heavy block of Divisadero (despite creepy ads trying to convince them otherwise), last night was a long one at City Hall. A neighborhood activist's appeal to deny Chase a permit to build on the corner of Oak and Divisadero was denied, and his other tabled pending an absent board member's vote next week on Wednesday, March 23. 

We caught up with the man who'd filed the action against Chase, Dean Preston, around one a.m. as the rest of the hearing's audience -- which included residents on both sides of the issue, including a very vocal contingent featuring Joe O'Donoghue, ex-president of the Residential Builders Association -- was rubbing their eyes and wondering how the hell they had sat in City Hall for the last seven hours. “The Board of Appeals is blindly deferring to the planning department,” Preston told a small assemblage of supporters. “We had hoped that they would uphold the letter of the law.” Read more »

Hip-hop heroes

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I'm rolling with the big timers: the executive director and founder of a community circus arts program, an after-school program b-boy teacher, the most beautiful family in Bay Area hip-hop, and my boyfriend, who is snapping photos on his Nikon of the rest of us. We're standing under the high ceiling of Acrosports, in a room filled with trapezes, a balancing beam, an over-sized trampoline, and the contorting, jack-knifing bodies of young, aspiring circus professionals. The people assembled (minus me and my man) are using the power of hip-hop to bring a cultural skill swap to underprivileged youth in Zanzibar.

It's a feel good moment, particularly because it comes during a week that hosted some of the darkest days in the past century of the labor movement, the start of unimaginable hardship in Japan, and disheartening scenes from our nation's leaders' announced Muslim witch hunt. But enough of that for now, Zumbi's talking: Read more »

Lit: A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness

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This review originally appeared in the Jan. 7-13, 2009 issue of the Bay Guardian:

John Gall's art for A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness (Vertical 160 pages $19.95) is unique in a gaze-snatching fashion. It combines hues of yellow and green, block patterns, and a news photo backdrop into an attractive, enigmatic, and faintly disturbing image that makes a browser wonder, "What exactly is inside this book?" Read more »

Taxes = prosperity

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I found this nifty chart on DailyKos, along with an article about the idiot who wants to cut taxes on the rich again. I realize it's a little hard to read the exact dates, but here's the overall point:

High taxes on the wealthy, generally speaking, correspond to periods of economic prosperity. Low taxes on the rich, generally speaking, correspond to bad economic periods.

Gee, could there be a connection here?

SxSW Music Diary: Day 1

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After making it to Dallas on the early flight from SFO we found gate A36 (connecting to Austin), a hipster ghetto in DFW's sea of middle Americans. A friend spotted Toro y Moi in the crowd... and off we were to the live music capital of the world.

We got credentialed and then attempted to go to Fader Fort to check out Raphael Saadiq who was going on soon. But the line to get wristbands stretched literally as far as the eye could see, wrapping around a huge field. The best estimate I got for the wait was over 2 hours. Nevermind.Read more »

Simulation of dispersal routes of radioactive pollution cloud

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The Belgium Institute for Space Aeronomy has posted simulations of the dispersion routes of clouds of radioactive pollution emitted by the explosion in Daiichi Building-3 nuclear power plant in Fukushima in Japan. Read more »

Thornfield calling! Director and star discuss the new "Jane Eyre"

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It’s not exactly the oldest story in the book, but with an 1847 publication date and dozens of adaptations, Jane Eyre has been done before. That presented director Cary Fukunaga, an Oakland native, with a unique challenge — making his 2011 film version of Jane Eyre (out Fri/18) different from what had been done in the past. But after his last movie, 2009’s critically acclaimed Sin Nombre, it was a project he was eager to take on.

“[Jane Eyre] was a story I knew as a kid,” he said in a recent roundtable interview. “The ’44 version Bob Stevens directed was one of my favorites. After spending six years on my last film, I really wanted to do something different in terms of scenery and style and location and even time period.”

But despite Jane Eyre’s status as 19th Century Gothic romance, Fukunaga felt it worked for a modern audience. Mia Wasikowska, who stars in the titular role, was inclined to agree.

“It kind of doesn’t need reinterpreting,” she reflected. “The popularity, as a character and a story, it hasn’t died down — it’s continued to grow, and people continue to connect to her story. If you took away all the costumes and the setting, at the heart of it is a story about a young girl trying to find love and a family, and that’s so, so much a part of what happens every day here.”

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American Idol: Elvis and the Lion Queen

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I was out at the SPJ FOI Awards event early in the evening, so I missed the first few performances, but no worries: Vivian and Michael were taking excellent notes and filled me in. And the best stuff came at the end anyway.

First: What was UP with J-Lo's hair? I can't find any pix on the web (Idol is insanely protective of its imagery) but trust me: She looked like something out of the Lion King. And the leopard-print dress didn't help much. It's a jungle out there, Jennifer. Grrr.Read more »

Supervisors scale back Mid-Market tax break

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In the face of testimony that the proposed Mid-Market/Tenderloin/Twitter payroll tax exemption zone included properties that don't need tax breaks to fill vacancies, sponsoring Sup. Read more »

Hot sexy events: March 16-22

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Although it's not often that the Wall Street Journal alerts us to convincing arguments for the existence of prostitution, that seems to be the case today. The Journal published findings from a Duke University paper done on sex workers in Kenya that concluded that many prostitutes found relief in hard times from their clients. Illnesses in the family, unexpected handicaps, and staggering funeral bills were all cited as instances in which sex workers fell back on the largesse of their regular clients for financial support. 

Respectful relationships between sex workers and johns – yet another nail in the coffin for those that would ban the industry on the basis of worker exploitation. Read more »