Rural Wisconsin is full of freaks. I can attest to this because I grew up one state west and interacted with similarly entertaining crazies on a pretty regular basis. This brand of strange usually keeps to small town shenanigans, but Nika Roza Danilova translated her weirdness into artistic independence and rose to become Zola Jesus.
As far as books go, Everything Flowers (Chronicle Books, $22.95) may just be my favorite to come out of the Bay Area this year. And not for its revelatory prose or whip-smart characters (it has neither). The small volume is filled with Clare Rojas' quietly woman-centric, garden-toned designs that – can a book do this? – make me feel supported. I found myself breathing deeply while reading it, as if I'd just shook an asymmetrically packed satchel from my shoulders.
>>BE STILL OUR WALLETS the Alameda Flea Market (ahem, Alameda Point Antiques Faire) was in full effect Sunday, a gently heaving behemoth of vans and makeshift shady areas packed with the finest in 20-plus-year-old posters, leather jackets, doilies, and more. Per usual though, our pulses raced for the clothes. 1960s hula wear, perfectly affordable granny boots, and darling handmade cardigans – all for very reasonable prices, for the Bay Area that is. If you're going to the next one on June 5, we counsel stopping by St. George's Spirits afterward for the $15 tasting menu, or at least a shot of the Firelit Coffee Liquer. Read more »
City Hall’s steps were awash in multi-lingual black and yellow “Ross Mirkarimi for Sherrif” signs at noon today, as Mirkarimi supporters watched Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who is stepping down after 31 years of service and eight elections, endorse Sup. Mirkarimi as the next sheriff. “New Leadership for a Safe San Francisco” was printed on the English version of the signs that Mirkarimi’s supporters carried. They included former Mayor Art Agnos, Sups. David Campos and Eric Mar, Tim Paulson of the Labor Council, Debra Walker, Linda Richardson, Sharen Hewitt, Terry Anders, and Mirkarimi’s partner Eliana Lopez and their almost two-year old son Theo. And everyone had plenty of great things to say about outgoing sheriff Hennessey and sheriff candidate Mirkarimi. And Hennessey even pinned a shiny toy sheriff’s badge onto the T-shirt of Mirkarimi's son Theo, making him the happiest kid in town. At least for the day. Read more »
Like most Americans, I've been fascinated by the news of Osama bin Laden's death, although my reaction has been a strange mix of relief (at the fact that this monster is gone) and revulsion (that murdering our enemies has become so widely accepted). And after processing it for a couple days, I think that we as a country need to go back to the point where things went so horribly wrong and to try to figure out whether there's a better path that we might take.Read more »
Feathers will cease to fly over alleged cruelty practices at the Heart of the City Farmers Market that we reported in February. The outdoor Civic Center market has announced it will no longer offer live poultry for sale as of May 27, a practice that had been grounds for a lawsuit and two years of fervent protesting from animal rights groups.Read more »
The president of the state Senate, Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), has a bill that could profoundly change that way California pays for government. At lot of insiders think it's just a ploy, a way to force Republicans to come to the table and accept some tax measures, but Steinberg appears serious. He's presenting the bill to the Governance and Finance Committee May 4, and a simple party-line majority vote could get it to the governor's desk. Read more »
The University of San Francisco’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service will host the political season's first major mayoral candidate forum – this one focused on public service and staged in partnership with the nonprofit group buildOn – on Thursday, May 5, at 6 pm.Read more »
Over the past decade, Kelly Reichardt has consistently created an alternative cinema that is in opposition to modern Hollywood blockbusters. Her films, which emphasize minimalist and highly visual storytelling, transcend even the industry’s edgiest darlings (think Darren Aronofsky and Quentin Tarantino). Her films Ode (1999), Old Joy (2006), Wendy and Lucy (2008), and now Meek's Cutoff (2010) cannot be categorized in the decade’s overhated mumblecore movement of Andrew Bujalski or the Duplass Brothers. Neither are they part of the world of extreme experimental artists, a la James Benning or Sharon Lockhart.
Somehow Reichardt has found a cinematic middle ground, balancing quiet and poetic allegories with accessible and emotional journeys — an achievement that present and future audiences will be hypnotized by for generations to come. After interviewing her for Wendy and Lucy, I spoke with her after Meek's Cutoff played the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; it recently had its local debut at the San Francisco International Festival, and opens theatrically Fri/6.
San Francisco Bay Guardian: I recently saw your earliest films at the Pacific Film Archive retrospective and your adaptation of the Robby Benson-starring Ode to Billy Joe (1976), Ode (1999), was amazing! You shot the whole thing on Super 8, right? Do you like your earlier films?
The Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee spent several hours yesterday hearing from city officials and members of the public on the hot-button issue of historic preservation. The informational hearing was called by Sup. Read more »
Japan Times is reporting that Physicians for Social Responsibility, a U.S.-based nonprofit, is challenging Tokyo’s position that it is safe for school kids to use playgrounds in the nuclear-stricken Fukushima Prefecture as long as the dose they are exposed to does not exceed 20 millisieverts (20 millirems) a year.
Dick Meister, formerly labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor, politics and other matters for a half-century.
OK, Nike, pay up! You owe me big. Exactly how much, I can't say, since I don't know the going rate for athletes and others who act as human billboards for you. You know, those whose team uniforms, workout gear and other garments display your swoosh brand symbol prominently. Read more »
“Foreclosures are the new F-Word.” So said Regina Davis, executive director of the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, at an April 29 seminar at SFHDC's office on Third Street that explored ways to prevent more foreclosures in San Francisco, California and beyond.
Since the economic meltdown in 2008, there have been 2,000 foreclosures in San Francisco. And the majority have impacted low-income folks and communities of color, who were sold more predatory loans than other groups, Davis and a panel of foreclosure experts warned And as the recession drags on, another 2,000 foreclosures could be in the works, further destabilizing communities and draining more resources from the city, in terms of lost property values and related tax revenues.
And while deep-pocketed lobbyists have been making it hard to pass laws that would offer at-risk homeowners more protections, homeowner defender groups have decided to target, and now protest against, the group they believe stand directly in the way of equitable reforms: the banks. Read more »
I fear I'm going way, way out on a limb here. So let me be clear: I understand why so many people are so happy that Osama Bin Laden's dead. I'm never happy about anyone's death, but I get the point. I oppose the death penalty, even for international terrorism, but I don't see how the U.S., once the CIA knew where he was, could have done much else. Capturing him alive would have been nearly impossible; even if the Navy SEALS could have done that, taking him back and trying him (and them imprisoning him -- where? Read more »