Civil Grand Jury report highlights gifts made on mayor's behalf

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A major real-estate firm contributed $1 million to the America’s Cup Organizing Committee at the behest of Mayor Ed Lee, right around the time it sought city approval to expand a downtown tech office building that was already under construction.Read more »

Protest against "Prison of Love" Armory party leads to arrests

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At least six people were arrested and taken into custody shortly before midnight on Saturday at the 16th Street Mission BART Plaza following a raucous protest of Kink.com’s pre-Pride party, according to San Francisco Police Department spokesman Albie Esparza.Read more »

Sharon Van Etten banters happily through the sad songs at The Independent

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Sharon Van Etten had yet to play a note before someone in the crowd shouted forth a marriage proposal toward the stage. The term “adoring fans” might sound generic, but it’s apt in describing the audience at Van Etten’s first of a pair of sold-out shows at The Independent last night [Sun/29 -- the second is tonight].  For just short of two hours they sang along and showered the 33-year old singer with love at every chance they got.Read more »

Wax on: a journey into the new Madame Tussauds San Francisco

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You probably won’t win any staring contests inside the new Madame Tussauds that opened June 26 at Fisherman’s Wharf. (Besides, I wouldn’t recommend holding prolonged eye contact with any of the wax figures, especially the Nicolas Cage one.) Like the youngest sibling in the shadow of brothers and sisters who have already established themselves, the SF branch — the fifth North American branch — tries to make a name for itself by flaunting its individuality whenever it’s convenient. Its attempt showcases eerily lifelike figures of well-known San Franciscans in themed rooms.

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Will proposal to sell Hetch Hetchy power overshadow CleanPowerSF?

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Supervisors Scott Wiener and London Breed have proposed an ordinance to allow the San Francisco Public Utilities Power Commission’s Power Enterprise to sell hydroelectric energy from the Hetch Hetchy dam to retail customers -- particularly large real estate developments. Sup. Wiener and Breed say the ordinance would both generate revenue for the PUC and further the city’s overall goal of achieving a 100 percent greenhouse-gas free power mix. Read more »

Oakland joins other Bay Area cities in seeking higher minimum wages

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San Francisco isn’t the only Bay Area city looking to bump up its minimum wage rate. Alameda County today [Fri/27] certified a ballot measure that would raise minimum wage in Oakland to $12.25 and provide workers with paid sick days, affecting over 50,000 employees.Read more »

A great week for (indie) sci-fi and docs: new movies!

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This week, Frameline continues (our coverage here!), plus offbeat sci-fi winners Coherence and Snowpiercer are well worth seeking out ... especially if you're not in the mood for more giant robot smash-ups from the Michael Bay factory. Plus: new docs and more! Read on.

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Jury find SF officer used excessive force in beating a restrained arrestee

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A jury last week unanimously convicted a San Francisco police officer of using excessive and unnecessary force, although the San Francisco Police Department cleared the officer in an internal investigation and kept him on the streets.

In Magistrate Maria-Elena James' courtroom, the jury voted 8-0 that Police Officer Matthew Sullivan used excessive force against plaintiff Eduardo Alegrett on February 7, 2012.  Alegrett’s lawyer, Panos Lagos, told the Guardian that Alegrett was suffering a “mental crisis” when he allegedly battered a woman at 88 Perry Place.Read more »

Heavy metal time machine: "Dio: Live in London, Hammersmith Apollo 1993"

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December 12, 1993: Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and Whitney Houston were owning the American airwaves, but over in London's Hammersmith Apollo, a different soaring voice — one that veered more toward doom than bubblegum — was showing how it's really done. Dio: Live in London Hammersmith Apollo 1993 (Eagle Rock Entertainment) captures Ronnie James Dio (with band: drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jeff Pilson, guitarist Tracy G, and keyboard player Scott Warren ... Read more »

Uber wants to be the Vegas of gay weddings, only even faster

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In their frantic desire to be first with the next big thing and to grab market share by any means necessary, tech companies often act before really thinking through the implications of their ideas. And with its latest idea — facilitating on-the-spot weddings during Pride weekend — rideshare company Uber has finally jumped the shark.Read more »

A benefit series aims to keep the unique Meridian Gallery afloat

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In 2001, interns at Powell Street's Meridian Gallery planned and painted a 13x48 foot mural on the wall of the SRO Hartland Hotel, a few blocks away in the Tenderloin. The mural, a colorful and sunny street scene showcasing the multiculturalism of the neighborhood, was revered by residents and and left untouched for 10 years until it was vandalized by graffiti. In response, former interns who had worked on the project came back together and, alongside the current kids in the program, repainted the piece. The artists’ lasting willingness to help Meridian in times of need reemerges in a broader sense this week, which marks the climax of the gallery’s June Benefit Series (tonight's entry: "16 Years of Meridian Music," a diverse program of new music). 

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'Purple Rain' at 30

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Just over a year ago, Adam Tod Brown wrote a great article for Cracked called "4 Classic Albums That Get More Praise Than They Deserve." Though it contained as much Yoko Ono-bashing as you'd expect from a website as frequently fratty as Cracked, it made a great argument for Ringo's self-titled as the best solo '70s Beatles album and contributed substantially to the recent critical revival of Neil Young's On The Beach. The thing that interested me most, however, wa Read more »

Comedy without limits means 'No Happy Endings' for SF's Granny Cart Gangstas

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Sexy granny panties? Up-and-coming San Francisco comedy troupe Granny Cart Gangstas recently proved this isn’t an oxymoron. Taking a cue from the Kids in the Hall — one of member Ava Tong’s biggest inspirations — who were once photographed wearing bras over suits, the troupe decided to do something similar (one member flaunted a pair of leopard-print granny panties) for a photo shoot ahead of its Sat/28 show, "No Happy Endings," at SF's Little Boxes Theater. 

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Nob Hill neighbors seek to block mental-health clinic relocation

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A San Francisco mental-health clinic that has been in operation since 1975 is in danger of shutting down if it can’t find a new place to operate. But its possible relocation to medical offices on Hyde Street, subject to city approval, has prompted neighbors to organize in opposition.Read more »

Grand Jury warns SF to prepare for rising seas

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Following its recent report criticizing the Port of San Francisco for being unduly influenced by wealthy developers and their allies in the Mayor’s Office, the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury today released its second report of the current session, calling on the city to do more to prepare for the impacts of global warming.Read more »