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weekcoverGrover Norquist brings the Black Rock blues as Burning Man Jumps the Shark! Pro-Palestine protesters block the boat, fed-up teachers take strike vote, and crack cocaine sentences may soon get smoked. Plus: Myron & E lay down street soul at Noise Pop, Nick Monaco belts out his Mating Call, and Aubrey Plaza slays in Life After Beth. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

Snap Sounds: James Blake

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JAMES BLAKE
James Blake
(Atlas)

This is probably the most-anticipated album of 2011, thanks to the promise of Blake's lavishly praised EPs, which have conjured the ghost of Aaliyah ("CMYK" draws brilliantly from "Are You That Somebody?") while deploying a innovative sense of dubstep's space and silence. (See the starts and stops and teasing not-there quality of "I Only Know (What I Know Now)" for an example.) Here, Blake adopts a more traditional pop vocal songwriting approach akin to his cover of Feist's "Limit to Your Love," which is included. The result teeters between Kid A-era Radiohead angst and something a lot more interesting and unique — a singular interplay between the possibilities of composition and production. Read more »

The Free University of San Francisco kicks off teaching -- to a lot of white people

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“A piece of blank paper means anything you want can happen,” SF beat poet laureate Diane Di Prima was imparting a rare free lecture on shamanic poetry, the marquee event of this weekend's popular first Free University of San Francisco teach-in at Viracocha. She had a packed the antique store-community center's first floor showroom, encouraging in regards to the FUSF collective's run at making free education available to all. But if the Free University wants to teach the world, why are the vast majority of its students – let's not parse words here – white?

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Appetite: A tale of two (French) bistros

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On a cozy winter’s night (admittedly not forefront in anyone's mind given the weekend we just had), French bistro fare becomes supreme comfort food. Whether it’s a cassoulet of duck confit, white beans, and sausage or a steaming bowl of les moules with a side of frites, the French are masters of satiation. While my favorite bistros in the city remain Chapeau and L’Ardoise, recent visits to two provided gourmet sustenance with authentic French cheer. P.S. They are both taking Valentine’s Day reservations...

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Deconstructing Cinderella, deconstructing La Llorona

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They say you shouldn't judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Ana Teresa Fernandez, the featured artist in Galería de la Raza’s upcoming video exhibition “La Llarona Unfabled,” (opening Sat/12) has obliged in regards to that feminist foil, Cinderella. For her video installation, Fernandez spent hours standing wearing a melting pair of “glass slippers” made of ice on a dirty West Oakland street. The experience, she feels, left her more than qualified to criticize the social constructs embodied by fairy tale's scullery maid-cum-princess.

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SFBG Radio: Why the HuffPo deal sucks

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Arianna Huffington just sold the Huffington Post to AOL for $352 million. Johnny and Tim talk about why it's a bad deal for everyone except Arianna and her investors. Check it out after the jump. Read more »

Richard Johns is closer to developers than preservationists

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The controversial mayoral appointment of attorney Richard Johns to historian's seat on the Historic Preservation Commission is being challenged in court by Gertrude Platt and a group of local preservationists calling itself The Prop. J Committee. They are asking the judge to remove Johns from his post.Read more »

I solved the state's budget problem

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And you can, too! The Sacramento Bee has a handy tool to evaluate options for closing the budget gap -- and unlike some of the other versions of this I've seen, it actually offers a wide range of revenue options. I cleared up the $26 billion shortfall without cutting anything at all (except prisons; I checked the box for letting out low-level offenders early. I'd go even further, and repeal three strikes and the death penalty, but those options weren't on the table at the Bee).Read more »

SFBG Radio: Is the recession over?

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Is the recession really ending? The government says so -- but what do small businesses need to make that prediction real? Johnny and Tim discuss after the jump. Read more »

Love, Gainsbarre

Indiefest taps into new waves of interest in Serge Gainsbourg

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FILM/INDIEFEST "Oh, it's a problem with women," Serge Gainsbourg says in an interview clip only a few seconds into Pascal Forneri's entertaining and energetic made-for-TV documentary Gainsbourg, The Man Who Loved Women. For Gainsbourg, the problem was a rewarding one — women were the vehicle by which he moved from a brooding writer of chanson into a national and international provocateur and icon. Read more »

Dick Meister: Black Porters Led the Way

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Dick Meister, formerly labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor, politics and other matters for a half-century.


February is Black History Month, a good time to honor the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, one of the most important yet too often overlooked leaders in the long struggle for racial equality.

The union, the first to be founded by African Americans, was involved deeply in political as well as economic activity. It joined with the NAACP to serve as the major political vehicle of African Americans from the late 1930s through the 1950s.

Together, the two organizations led the drives in those years against racial discrimination in employment, housing, education and other areas, and in doing so, laid the groundwork for the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Read more »

Sound and environment: Moving beyond tropical bass with Chief Boima

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A couple weeks ago I shot a long-winded email to former Bay Area DJ and producer Chief Boima. I had just finished speaking to Dun Dun of the Los Rakas crew for what eventually became this article, and he mentioned an upcoming EP with former Bay Area DJ and producer Boima. Now, if you don’t know about Boima, you need to get acquainted with the Banana Clipz digital funk on Ghetto Bassquake (for free download, too). It’s a joint instrumental album between Boima and Oro 11 of Bersa Discos that merges electronic architectonics with rhythms, melodies, and sound bits from the African diaspora.
Enough of that, though -- Boima withstood my long-windedness, and after a couple exchanges, he did all the explaining. Read more »

Black history, local hire, living color

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City Hall kicked off its annual Black History month celebrations with a talk by Los Angeles philanthropist and former Xerox Corp. VP Bernard Kinsey about the importance of debunking myths about the absence of blacks in American history. And Mayor Ed Lee, who had just met with five dozen unemployed black construction workers from the Bayview, revealed how, when he was growing up in the projects in Seattle, his neighbors were black, and an African American named Darnell was one of the most loyal patrons of the restaurant that Lee’s father was trying to make succeed.Read more »

Two's a crowd?

Comical and existential, The Companion Piece explores life and love as a vaudeville act

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The Companion Piece is a charmingly inventive new work of devised theater conceived by actor Beth Wilmurt and directed by Mark Jackson for Z Space. It unfolds as a series of arch "meta" vaudevillian routines by a frustrated long-time duo (played with uncommon chemistry and comedic finesse by Wilmurt and Christopher Kuckenbaker).Read more »

Fried

On orgy of progressive values -- and cheeseburgers! -- at Chris Daly's new bar. Plus: Puppy Pile, Miss Honey, Pink Mammoth, and Egyptian Lover parties

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I don't have a lot of pet peeves — that would break my lease. Other than, say, invading a country for no reason, making fun of people with mental illnesses and addictions, refusing to pay taxes because you think people of color are moochers, or ordering Uggs online, still, not much reliably gets my goat, ties it down with friendship bracelets and Danish dreadlocks, and forces it to listen to Ke$ha remixed by Tiësto while wearing Juicy Couture or Pink by Victoria's Secret.  

Baaa.Read more »

Travels in a strange sushi

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Tanuki Restaurant on California and Sixth Avenue was my first taste of the Richmond and my millionth of raw fish. On a quiet block in unfamiliar territory far from Mother Mission, I saw her “Open Sushi” neon sign and walked towards the light. But before I go on, I should admit that my heart belongs to another: We Be Sushi on 16th and Valencia. Theirs is simple, clean, casual, and delicious fish. But as every baby bird must one day leave its nest, so must I leave my small, insular universe to discover nourishment in new land.

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