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From the Blogs

Business tax breaks in SF jumped to nearly $17 million last year

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Employers in San Francisco received nearly $17 million in special business tax breaks from the city last year, with the biggest ticket corporate welfare categories being the Central Market Street and Tenderloin Area Exclusion — commonly known as the Twitter tax break after its catalyst and biggest beneficiary — and a tax break given to small businesses.Read more »

SF arts funding prioritizes symphony, other stuff white people like

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Disadvantaged artists might be getting the short end of the paintbrush in favor of the city’s more affluent art community in Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed 2014-16 city budget.

That’s what a seemingly endless line of advocates expressed in a hearing in front of the San Francisco Budget and Finance Committee Friday [6/20] when given the opportunity to suggest ways to better apportion funding in the budget. According to a recent report from the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office, the dissenters might be onto something.Read more »

Happy Hour: The week in music

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Hey you. Yeah, you. Are you still sitting at your desk, despite it being a beautiful day outside, and despite the proximity of large-screen TVs tuned to the World Cup inside multiple alcohol-serving establishments within three blocks of you in every direction?

Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it. And you have less than an hour to go!

To help kill those last few minutes of clock-watching, here are some musical highlights of the past week, and a thing or two to do this weekend: Read more »

Sufi community to protest designer of outrageously horrible 80s pants

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As if designer Roberto Cavalli hadn't committed enough fashion atrocities, now he's pissed off an entire religious community.

Tomorrow a gathering of Sufi students will protest the Just Cavalli line at Union Square, alleging the famous fashion designer used a sacred religious symbol in his clothing and perfume product lines.Read more »

Jury finds Recology cheated in waste diversion bonus program

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A jury has determined that Recology, San Francisco’s garbage collection contractor, was not honest with the city when it collected a bonus payment of $1.36 million for successfully diverting waste from the landfill.

Brought by a former employee, the lawsuit claims that Recology misrepresented the amount of diverted waste in order to qualify for the bonus money. This is especially significant because San Francisco is recognized nationwide as a leader in its quest to send zero waste to the landfill as an environmental goal.Read more »

Is the SF District Attorney’s Office biased against cyclists?

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There’s been much discussion over the last year about whether police and prosecutors in San Francisco are biased against bicyclists. And while the San Francisco Police Department has admitted problems in their investigations of collisions that injure cyclists and pledged to do better (with mixed results), the District Attorney’s Office doesn’t seem have gotten the message. Read more »

Amour Vert brings its eco-friendly designs to Hayes Valley

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"Paris Chic, Cali Cool.” That’s the tagline behind the eco-friendly clothing brand Amour Vert. Usually, the people who refer to California as “Cali" are non-natives. The term implies a certain unfamiliarity with the golden state and a desire to be more ~CaLiFoRnIaN~. Yet, the slogan is fitting. Founded out of a need for clothing that doesn't sacrifice style for sustainability, Amour Vert’s garments are created by a French designer and made within a 20 mile radius.

Until now, the Palo Alto-based brand was only available in department stores and small boutiques but Amour Vert opens its first retail store today. Nestled in the heart of Hayes Valley, at 437 Hayes, the boutique neighbors the french confectioner Chantal Guillon Macarons and clothing store Steven Alan.

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Frameline is underway! Plus: crooners, ping-pong champs, and more, in new movies

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Frameline 38, the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, kicked off last night and runs through June 29; check out our big list o' blurbs right here. Elsewhere, Clint Eastwood directs a musical, Guy Pearce prowls the outback, a very good suburban noir emerges from the Netherlands, a documentary takes on the cost of higher education, and more! Read on for the goods (and bads). 

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Boom asks "What's the matter with San Francisco?" and offers insightful answers

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“What’s the matter with San Francisco?” asks the Summer 2014 issue of the Boom: A Journal of California, a quarterly magazine produced by the University of California Press, tapping an amazing array of writers to explore the struggle for the soul of San Francisco that has captured such widespread media attention in the last year.Read more »

Enter if you dare! Spirited local actors highlight Jefferson Street's ghoulish new attraction

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A new attraction is coming to Fisherman’s Wharf June 26, and it’s pretty surreal. The San Francisco Dungeon, the eighth in a series by Merlin Entertainments and the first stateside (most of the other dungeons focus on medieval history and are scattered throughout Western Europe), is a subterranean labyrinth where actors lead patrons on a hodgepodge tour of creepy SF-inspired historical haunts. 

There’s obviously a lot to be skeptical of here. For one, Merlin, which is centered in the UK, is a gargantuan enterprise second only to Disney in the themed tourist trap world — other assets include Madame Tussauds, Legoland, and a bevy of contrived wildlife safaris. San Franciscans already talk a ton of smack about the half-assed efforts by huge corporate attractions on Jefferson St. to appear “local” — the one or two scattered Californian sports figures or cultural icons in Tussauds, for example, don’t conceal the sterility of the whole operation. 

My visit to the Dungeon didn’t run entirely contrary to these concerns.

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As Ellis Act reform bill faced death, where was Ron Conway?

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One week and one day -- that's how long Sen. Mark Leno has to push his Ellis Act reform bill through two committees in order for it to go before to the assembly floor, making its prospects for passage this year look dim.

The push would have been easier if it hadn't lost yesterday's vote, 3-4, in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. Now the bill's passage is a herculean task that even Leno admits is a tough slog. 

"I'd say it's challenging," Leno told us yesterday. San Franciscans have been displaced by real estate speculators, a dozen or more of whom are regularly "flipping" homes for profit and using the Ellis Act to clean out longtime renters. If passed, the bill would restrict the use of the Ellis Act to those who've owned their homes for five years or longer, allowing property owners to eventually get out of the rental business, as supporters of the Ellis Act say it was intended for. 

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Party Radar: Hardkiss Brothers celebrate 1991, "Flowers Blooming"

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It's a tribute to the resiliency of SF's classic Hardkiss Brothers -- and the soul of the SF house music scene -- that, after the devastating loss of musical brother Scott last year, Gavin and Robbie Hardkiss have bounced back with an exuberant tribute to the roots of their legendary collective, new album 1991.

This Fri/20 at Public Works (9pm-3am, $10. 161 Erie, SF), they'll be bringing the Hardkiss family together to celebrate the release of exuberant floor-stomping single "Flowers Blooming" -- a rework of lovely 1980 Change track "Glow of Love." Free download below!

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City agencies defend their slow response to Airbnb's illegal rentals

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More information has been coming out about how Airbnb is used to convert San Francisco apartments into tourist rentals — including an interesting study reported by the San Francisco Chronicle last weekend — in advance of next month’s hearings on legislation to legalize and regulate short-term rentals.

But questions remain about why the city agencies in charge of regulating such “tourist conversions,” which have long been illegal under city law, have done so little to crack down on the growing practice. For more than two years, we at the Guardian have been publicly highlighting such violations, which have finally caught fire with the public in the last six months. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Lone

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LONE
REALITY TESTING
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Matt "Lone" Cutler's heart belongs to hip hop.  It's easy to forget this given how the British producer only started to attract critical notice after switching from the post-J Dilla instrumentals of his early albums to a style that had more in common with house and rave music. The transition wasn't terribly unnatural given that his sonic trademark was rich synth chords, a sound rare in hip hop but prevalent in dance.  He kept those intact; he just switched up the rhythm and instantly went from generic beatmaker to underground dance hero, producing one of 2012's best electronic albums in Galaxy Garden. Read more »

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is Turning 17!

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Win a pair of VIP tickets to the official party Saturday, June 28 and celebrate seventeen years of brewing great beer in San Francisco. There will be unlimited beer tasting including flagship brews as well as rare and experimental offerings! You can also enjoy local food and live music. Email rsvp@sfmediaco.com with your first and last name and "Speakeasy 17" in the subject line. Tickets and more information are available at goodbeer.com/speakeasys-17th-anniversary.