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Around the world with SF International Film Festival documentaries

This Week's Paper

 Tons of SFIFF film fest previews. Plus: Sunday parking fail, leftie Gov candidates, California punk, 'Tribes,' mapo tofu, more. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

Police pledge new pedestrian safety reforms, and to revisit collision cold case

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One might call it the police’s act of contrition. At last night’s (Thu/16) meeting on pedestrian safety, Police Chief Greg Suhr promised to re-open a traffic collision case that left a 31-year-old woman with a traumatic brain injury, causing a loss in her sense of smell and taste, short term memory loss, insomnia, and a loss of motor skills.Read more »

Welcome to San Francisco, "Welcome to Night Vale"

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Hello, listeners. Brilliant breakout podcast "Welcome to Night Vale" has gained a rabid (yet adorably introspective) fanbase since it launched in June 2012. The twice-monthly, 20-minute-long show, created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, takes the form of a surreal newscast, coming to us from "somewhere in the Southwestern United States" by way of Twin Peaks.

Describing a community of indelible characters, it's a twisted take on Lake Wobegone that vacillates cunningly from whimsical to chilling, often veering into outright poetry. "Night Vale" also recalls the golden age of radio plays: even though it lacks sound effects and depends mostly on the deep, hypnotic voice of narrator Cecil, it summons the entrancing atmosphere of such classics as "The Shadow."

And now it's coming to the Victoria Theater for a big live show-reading on Tue/21. Expect seismic things, tiered heavens, off-limits dog parks, magic lightbulbs, hovering livestock, public service koans, and the heirarchy of angels.

Read more »

Of course Beyoncé is a feminist: On gender equality and women in entertainment

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A specific corner of the Internet was abuzz this week with the news that Beyoncé, fresh off inciting think-piece warfare about whether or not her new visual album amounted to a feminist manifesto of sorts ("The record both drips with sexuality and samples the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talk about women's rights -- are you Read more »

Promo: The Edwardian Ball is happening this weekend

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The Edwardian Ball is an elegant, whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and famed author Edward Gorey, set in an imagined “Edwardian” era. Now in its fourteenth year, this year’s event features an original staging of Gorey’s classic, “The Curious Sofa”, presented by co-hosts Rosin Coven and Vau de Vire Society.Read more »

SFUSD backs supervisors’ sugary beverage tax, with concerns

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A San Francisco ballot initiative to levy a tax on sugary beverages got a boost last night as the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education voted 5-2 to endorse it.

“The school district has done amazing work around nutrition for kids,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, one of the initiative’s authors, shortly after the meeting. “This is a big win.” Read more »

Study: 30 percent of tech shuttle riders would move from SF if there were no tech shuttles

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We weren’t able to attend the San Francisco Commission on the Environment’s policy committee meeting on Mon/13, but there were clues (okay, a live Twitter feed) that the debate around the city’s tech shuttle policy was heating up.

The SF Environment commissioners were considering the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s newly introduced private shuttle pilot program, a system that will require tech shuttles to pay for their routine use of Muni bus stops.

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Lee panders to motorists and undermines SFMTA with Sunday metering repeal

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First Mayor Ed Lee ignores the rising cost of living in San Francisco (fueled partly by his own corporate welfare for the tech industry and commercial landlords), and now he’s using his sudden concern about gentrification as an excuse to make parking meters free again on Sundays, a blatant bit of political pandering that blows a $6 million annual Read more »

A first glance at 'Looking'

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Imagine a place where all the gay men are masculine, well-built, physically unselfconscious, and fashionably tousled; where young male artists and young male people of color mingle with young white male techies (yet are still happily banished to Oakland or work the door at Esta Noche); where having a "lazy eye" or being "slightly portly" renders you disqualified for relationships; where HIV, addiction, and politics barely exist; and where everyone is drenched in soft-spoken sophistication, vague existential ennui, and puppy-eyed cuteness.

This isn't quite San Francisco (yet), but it is the San Francisco of gorgeously produced, play-it-safe-so-far gay-themed HBO series Looking (it begins airing Jan. 19) -- at least the first two episodes, which previewed tonight at the Castro Theater. It's too early of course to pass any kind of judgment on the entire series, which in many ways may be an accurate reflection of current gay culture, and I maintain very high hopes, especially with such good actors, writers, and attention to detail involved.

But let me tell you: I have never wished more for a stereotypically sassy drag queen to stomp onscreen and break some shit in my life.

Read more »

Mar calls for hearing on recycling center evictions

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An eviction crisis of a different sort has hit San Francisco, as one by one, recycling centers are closing across the city. Supervisor Eric Mar today called for a hearing on recycling center closures, to measure the impact on the city’s poor and its zero waste policies. 

“I’ve heard from many of our residents that (the closures) will have severe impact on the low and no income members of our community,” Mar said at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “Many are immigrants who rely on this stream of income.”Read more »

Solomon: Why the Washington Post’s new ties to the CIA are so ominous

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American journalism has entered highly dangerous terrain.

A tip-off is that the Washington Post refuses to face up to a conflict of interest involving Jeff Bezos -- who’s now the sole owner of the powerful newspaper at the same time he remains Amazon’s CEO and main stakeholder.

The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million “cloud” computing deal with the CIA.Read more »

SFUSD students may get new police protections

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Students who run afoul of the police may gain new protections under an agreement between the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco Unified School District up for vote at tomorrow’s Board of Education meeting

The new agreement explicitly calls for parents to be notified when their children are taken into the custody of police, or are questioned as a victim or a witness. The agreement also introduces graduated steps that increase the burden on school administrators and the police to exhaust all other options before arresting a student.

“What we’re outlining in this policy is that the school system has the first responsibility to ensure discipline and safety, but we don’t want to overreact or push students toward the criminal justice system unless it’s absolutely necessary,” Board of Education Commissioner Matt Haney told the Guardian. Read more »

Article overlooks key findings and new academic research

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By Corey Cook

I am writing in regard to Reed Nelson’s story “’Poll’ showing 73 percent approval for Mayor Lee was flawed.” As one of the two authors of the survey, I am deeply disappointed in the many insinuations in the article and the author’s cavalier abandonment of evidence or reason in order to make his politically expedient, but otherwise inane, point.

In fact, the author is so quick to dismiss the findings of the study, which is based upon accepted methodology, and which had nothing to do with mayoral approval scores, that he actually misses the entire thrust of the study – that voters in San Francisco are deeply ambivalent about the current environment, concerned about the affordability crisis, and not trusting of local government to come up with a solution. Read more »

Gimme 5: Must-see shows this week

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Happy Monday, kids! If you're feeling the comedown from a solid week of shows celebrating the Rickshaw Stop's 10th anniversary (read our feature on it here), quit yer whining. Here are a handful of rad upcoming shows to get you out of the house. It's winter, you're pale, you need to. 

Tues/14
Black Cobra Vipers
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"Poll" showing 73 percent approval for Mayor Lee was flawed

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There was a poll conducted in late November by the University of San Francisco, the results of which were released in conjunction with the San Francisco Chronicle, claiming that 73 percent of San Franciscans approve of Mayor Ed Lee's performance.Read more »

Solomon: The CIA, Amazon, Bezo, and the Washington Post: An exchange with Executive Editor Martin Baron

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By Norman Solomon 

(B3 note: This exchange between Norman Solomon and the Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron followed a Solomon column that dramatized the ethical issues involving the Post and its new owner Jeff Bezos, founder and CE0 of  Amazon. Solomon noted that Amazon has landed a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency.  He wrote that "news media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them" and that Bezo is now doing "big business" with the CIA "while readers of the newspaper's  CIA coverage are left in the dark.") 

 
To: Martin Baron, Executive Editor, and Kevin Merida, Managing Editor, The Washington Post
 
Dear Mr. Baron and Mr. Merida:

On behalf of more than 25,000 signers of a petition to The Washington Post, I’m writing this letter to request a brief meeting to present the petition at a time that would be convenient for you on Jan. 14 or 15.

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