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Happy Friday from Happy Diving


Feeling '90s-tastic this morning? (Okay let's be real, that is my baseline state of being.) SF's grungy power-pop four-piece Happy Diving helped today, though, with this new video for "Never Been," off the wholly excellent self-titled EP they released last month. It sounds like Pinkerton-era Weezer meets Sugar meets Dinosaur Jr. meets, er, 2014. Read more »

Sundance, part six: superlatives


More Sundance right here on Pixel Vision.

My biggest excitement of Sundance 2014 was the random email I received asking if I would be able to attend a "super-secret screening of a highly anticipated film by a major filmmaker." (Answer: DUH.) The packed house at Park City's defining Main Street theater, the Egyptian, had no clue what film was to be screened, though many thought it might be Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel.

In fact, turned out to be the premiere of Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac: Part One (Denmark/Germany/France) which is rated NC-17 (look for its theatrical release on March 21, or catch it On Demand starting March 6). Nymphomaniac: Part Two will follow shortly afterward, with a VOD debut on April 3 and a theatrical release on April 18.

Read more »

Uber neighborhood pricing surge charges Marina most


Uber charges the Marina and Pacific Heights districts up to three times as much for a ride as the rest of the city in its new “neighborhood surge” program, according to leaked emails and screen captures. 

The surges happen during rush hour, weekend night bar crawls, and also around concerts and other events that would draw riders to Uber’s app. Read more »

Locals Only: Steep Ravine


There's something in Steep Ravine's music that sounds older than their (fresh-out-of-college) years: It's a calmness, a soulfulness, a complete lack of pretention — which is not something that can be said for many bands of young dudes who hope to be the Next Big Thing in bluegrass and Americana. These Bay Area natives (Berkeley, Mill Valley, Menlo Park, and Watsonville, to be specific) are far from over-serious, but they take this music and its history seriously, and the result is pretty sweet. Ahead of their album release show at the Starry Plough this Friday, Feb. Read more »

San Francisco landlords targeted for elder abuse


Lisa Gray-Garcia, aka “Tiny,” led a press conference outside the San Francisco Hall of Justice Feb. 5 to announce that she and fellow activists were filing elder abuse charges against San Francisco landlords.

Clad in a gray pantsuit and flanked by activists and senior citizens who were facing eviction or had lost housing in San Francisco, the Poor News Network founder condemned landlords who’ve invoked the Ellis Act as “dangerous criminals.”Read more »

Board of Education president calls out thousands of “invisible suspensions”


K-12 student advocates have suspensions in their crosshairs.

At last night’s (Tue/4) Board of Education meeting, young students rallied against suspensions they see as unfair. Advocates negotiated rule changes. San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education commissioners shook their fists at injustice. Read more »

Live Shots: WATERS is stormier than expected at Brick & Mortar


Live shows are an opportunity for musicians and music lovers to share an experience together. After all, you’re standing in the same room. Brick & Mortar Music Hall is a treasure trove for musicians. The small space offers an intimate setting that gives musicians the chance to embrace their audience.

I stood five feet away from WATERS’ lead singer and frontman Van Pierszalowski Monday night and not once did I feel embraced. Read more »

Sundance, part five: Swanberg + Ross Perry


Missed a previous Sundance post? Check out Pixel Vision for more.

Director and sometimes actor Joe Swanberg is a household name among South by Southwest fest-goers (and mumblecore fans everywhere), with such gems as Nights and Weekends (2009), Marriage Material (2012), All the Light in the Sky (2012), and his segment in V/H/S (2012) entitled "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger." 

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Sue Hestor's 70th birthday party: "We Shall Overcome."


By Bruce B. Brugmann

Plus: Tim Redmond reports on Sue Hestor and her environmental legacy on his new local  website 48  

How do you say happy birthday to a San Francisco icon like Sue Hestor?

Some 200 of her friends, allies, pro bono legal clients, political heavies, and fellow warriors against big developers and their pals in City Hall gathered Saturday at Delancey Street for a surprise party to celebrate Sue's 70th birthday.

When she arrived, she was obviously surprised to find a band playing "We shall overcome" and her friends standing, clapping, cheering, and singing  in admiration for a woman who has spent more than four decades as a citizen activist and attorney fighting for one good cause after another, usually at bad odds against the big guys, often for clients without pay. It was truly a historic moment in the history of San Francisco politics. 

I first knew Sue when she popped up as a feisty volunteer in the Alvin Duskin anti-high rise campaign of the the early 1970s. The Bay Guardian was doing an investigative book, "The Ultimate HIghrise," on the impact of highrises on the city. She pitched in on the project and was in the book's  staff photo, jauntily wearing her trademark straw hat, standing next to the hole in the ground for the Yerba Buena Center development. Read more »

Richmond’s sugary beverage tax lost big, how's SF different?


What’s old is new again, the saying goes.

And the saying definitely applies to the hotly followed sugary beverage tax resolution, introduced at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. 

The two cents per-ounce tax on sugary beverages would be levied at the point of distribution, with the ultimate goal of reducing the consumption of sodas and other sugary drinks to combat obesity in San Francisco. The tax, sponsored by Supervisors Scott Wiener, Eric Mar, Malia Cohen John Avalos and David Chiu, is similar to a resolution made two years ago in Richmond, CA. Read more »

Sundance, part four: indie heroes and genre flicks


Missed yesterday's Sundance installment? Right this way!

In Ira Sachs' Love Is Strange (US), Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) — together for 39 years — are finally married, and suddenly find themselves having to deal with the fallout from an ill-considered world. Both actors are pitch-perfect at portraying longtime lovers, and Marisa Tomei has an intelligent supporting role as a relative of the couple. 

Sundance favorite Sachs (2012's Keep the Lights On), who debuted with the shockingly memorable The Delta in 1996, treats the material with finesse, and the end result is genuinely earned heartache (and, likely, will yield serious crossover potential). It's a cliche, but true: at the screening I attended, there was not a dry eye in the house. 

Read more »

Marcus Books approaching landmark status as fundraising continues


It may be a long shot, but there is still time.

Marcus Books, which faces eviction from its Fillmore Street location, seeks to raise $1 million to remain in Jimbo’s Bop City building, the violet-colored Victorian it has operated out of since 1981. If Marcus Books succeeds in its fundraising endeavor, the building will be turned over to the San Francisco Land Trust and the bookstore will remain as a tenant in perpetuity.Read more »

Gimme 5: Must-see shows this week


The Bay Area music-related Internets was ablaze this week with the rumor that whiskey-fueled nights at the Mission's belovedly divey Elbo Room may be numbered, thanks to everyone's favorite new word to pronounce like it's an epithet: Condos. The Elbo Room's current owners and management say they're just that — rumors — and until we hear more, we refuse to panic. Read more »

Sundance, part three: diamonds in the rough


Missed out on last week's Sundance glee? Part one here; part two here

Malik Vittal's Imperial Dreams (US) won the Audience Award in the NEXT category, created for films that stretch limited resources to create impactful art. John Boyega (from 2011's Attack the Block) delivers another complicated and hypnotic performance as a young father trying to make good in the 'hood. In this spot-on throwback to powerful, low-budget urban films — think the Hughes Brothers' Menace II Society (1991) and Spike Lee's Clockers (1995), and even back to Ulu Grosbard's Straight Time (1978) — director Vittal coaxes some spectacular acting moments, not just from Boyega but also his forlorn friends, played by De'aundre Bonds and R&B singer Rotimi. You don't want to miss this little treasure.

Read more »

Presidio Trust decides on museum proposals


The Presidio museum showdown has come to an end for now, and the winner of the hotly contested mid-Crissy Field site is (drum roll, please) ... no one.

Not the Golden Gate National National Park Conservancy. Not the Bridge Institute. And no, not Star Wars creator George Lucas.

At an impromptu press conference this afternoon, Presidio Trust Chair Nancy Hellman Bechtle said the board unanimously voted to not move forward with any of the museum proposals.Read more »