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Three decades into his career, indie stalwart Jim Jarmusch delivers one of his best films yet

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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. 

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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.

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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 »

The Flaming Lips save Valentine's Day


It doesn't matter if you're single, dating, or attached at the hip to your spouse/live-in partner(s)/[insert questionable pet name here] — Valentine's Day has always presented a veritable Hallmark-sponsored landmine field of ways to screw up, disappoint your loved ones, and/or generally feel terrible about yourself. Until now.Read more »

Sex culture, Kinky Salon, and the three Pollys


Polly Whitakker has been one of my favorite superstars of San Francisco sex culture, traveling a path from her native London through the Polly Pandemonium persona she created while getting into BDSM to the Polly Superstar alter-ego she created along with the Kinky Salon play and performance parties in a Mission District space dubbed Mission Control.Read more »

Monologos de la Vagina finds new actress to replace controversial conservative


Following national controversy over the resignation of a politically conservative actress from the local Spanish-language production of The Vagina Monologues, producer Eliana Lopez announced yesterday that the production has found a replacement.

Actress Alba Roversi, a veteran of the Spanish language Monologos de la Vagina, will take the place of Maria Conchita Alonso, whose departure from the play had Fox News crying foul over her being “forced out” for her conservative political views. 

Any chance to needle San Francisco, right? 

Roversi starred in over 20 Spanish language soap operas, though she may not have the same name recognition in the US as Alonso, whose filmography includes Predator 2 and The Running Man (with our former Governator). Roversi is in, and Alonso is out. Read more »

Sundance, part two: Linklater love


My second year of attending the Sundance Film Festival was at the age of 15; it was 1991 and I took a chance on a film called Slacker by Richard Linklater. 

This is the ticket stub that started my film journals. It's still taped into a spiral ring notebook that cradles my coming of age, and I have treasured every film of Linklater's since: his mainstream breakthrough, cult classic Dazed and Confused (1993); his hilarious remake of The Bad News Bears (2005); his underrated adaptation of Fast Food Nation (2006); his overlooked staging of Tape (2001); his pioneering, existentialist, rotoscoped duet Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006). And, of course, his soul-searching Before trilogy.

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CCSF students angered by class cancellations


Despite a day of misty downpours and gray skies, students, faculty members and their supporters gathered in the lobby of the City College of San Francisco’s Conlan Hall on Wed/28 in anticipation of a sit-down with the school’s chancellor, Dr. Arthur Q. Tyler.Read more »

Live Shots: Yuck finds its voice at The Independent


“I remember the last time I was here the room was filled with the smell of weed,” said Yuck’s lead vocalist Max Bloom with his charming British accent, facing yet another thick fog looming over the audience. “I feel like I’m getting high out of proximity.” The herb-filled air wasn't new to The Independent, and this wasn’t Yuck’s first time in San Francisco. But the band that showed up there Wednesday night [1/30] was a very different band than Yuck has been in the past.Read more »