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The threat to San Francisco bookstores goes beyond Amazon and ebooks to rising rents and demand for commercial space

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coverWide Angle Lens: During turmultuous conflict, the SF Jewish Film Fesitval shows multiple perspectives. Plus: Central American child refugees flood SF, GRMLN, head of Sunday Streets steps down and more. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

Ammiano wants to change bike laws

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Assemblymember Tom Ammiano wants to change the way bicycles and cars are treated under state traffic laws.

He's responding in part to the furor over the bike crackdowns in Berkeley, but it's nothing new for Ammiano -- he also tried to get bicycle traffic legislation through last year. This time, though, he told me, "I think we're going to be able to pass something." And incoming Gov. Jerry Brown ought to be willing to sign it.Read more »

Scott Hammel's street treats

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One of the beauties of living in weirdo town is that the streets can always surprise you. The other day, I went out for a mushroom taco and came back with a bag of sparkly fabric from an artist collective's yard sale on lower Divisadero. I'm sure something attractive will happen with that bag, but after subsequently stumbling into Scott Hammel's toy art show in Mini Bar (through Jan. 30), I can't help but wonder: what would have happened if my plastic sack was instead a full trash bag of plastic kids toys, cigarette butts, and the odd syringe?

Besides the possibility of contagion, of course. But real talk, even in the heady first days of a blood-borne pathogen, I still wouldn't have come up with stuff this cool. Hammel's art looks like the productions of an adult Sid from Toy Story, if Sid had gotten fabulous and started doing LSD. Read more »

Supes OK America’s Cup deal

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At its meeting today, Dec. 14, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a host city agreement for bringing the 34th America’s Cup to San Francisco. However, it's still unclear whether billionaire yachtsman Larry Ellison and the BMW Oracle Racing Team will select San Francisco as the host city for the next world-famous sailing match. Read more »

Big day at the Board of Supervisors

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Before the Board of Supervisors can adjourn for the year, it has some serious business to take care of at this afternoon's regular meeting: approving the city's ever-evolving America's Cup bid, requiring party promoters to register with the city, giving final approval to the local hire ordinance, modifying the affordable housing requirements on developers, mandating building owners to study creating on-site childcare facilities, creating new special districts, strengthening local purchase standards for city contracts, and, oh yeah, selecting someone to replace Mayor Gavin Newsom.

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Oooh, let's have a border war

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If San Francisco tries to enact a congestion management fee, San Mateo officials are going to fight back with their own. How fun; a border war. Since I've long suggested that our future may be in city-states, not nations, it strikes me as an interesting political moment.Read more »

Brown's education summit gives me hope

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Most of what's going on is just really, really disturbing -- Brown is doing a good job of explaining just how bad the economy is, just how awful things are for education -- and what that means for students. But he made one comment that struck me as critical (and that might, maybe, make Brown a great governor) came about an hour into the presentation.Read more »

The true cost of local hire

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Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andy Ross are claiming it will cost $2.2 million annually to carry out Sup. John Avalos’ newly approved legislation that mandates local hire rates on city-funded construction projects,

And Human Rights Commission director Theresa Sparks is claiming it will actually cost $3 million to run the program. Read more »

Libidinous literature with Naked Girls Reading

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I had asked Lady Monster, over a pair of red wine glasses and the pleasant buzz of nearby patrons at Revolution Cafe, to tell me what story she'd read at the Halloween installation of her Naked Girls Reading literary series. We were chatting in anticipation of her International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers edition of NGR (Fri/17) which will take place at the Center for Sex and Culture after the day's City Hall vigil and march.

The curvaceous redhead is quite the story teller, even clothed. “I did the elevator scene from The Shining,” she told me, launching into a brief summary of the Torrance family's elevator travails. By the end of it I had the crap scared out of me – and she was fully clothed! Imagine what this lady can get done in the buff – surely, a live literary luminary not to be trifled with. Read more »

Bikes are not cars

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Okay, first of all, this is ridiculous. California cities are supposed to be encouraging people to ride bikes instead of cars. And bikes aren't 3,000-pound metal devices propelled forward with internal combustion engines; yes, a bike can hit a pedestrian, but the likelihood of fatal injuries isn't that high. Certainly not compared to cars.Read more »

SFBG Radio: What will Jerry do?

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When Jerry Brown goes to UCLA to talk about education, what's he going to say? How's he going to promote the UC system when he's facing a $25 billion budget crisis? Johnny and Tim talk abou that (and the Obama health care law and a few other things) after the jump. Read more »

Forget "Deborah" -- Debbie Gibson is back!

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Despite having had a nearly 25-year (and counting) career in show business, singer Debbie Gibson is still full of youthful energy and excitement when talking about recent projects and what she has planned for the future — perhaps that is due in part to the fact that she had her first hit single and taste of fame when she was only 16 years old. The ever-vivacious Gibson is particularly excited about taking part in a benefit concert and cabaret show tonight here in San Francisco, “One Night Only: A Shrektacular Holiday Celebration,” which will also feature the cast of Shrek currently at the Orpheum Theatre, and raises funds for the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation.

“Pretty much if I’m available, I can’t say no to this organization,” says Gibson, who has always been heavily involved with helping charitable groups throughout her career. “I really enjoy these intimate shows with solo theater performers, and it’s kind of a perfect fit for me — obviously I bring my pop persona to the table, but at the same time I’m part of the theater community, so it makes perfect sense really.”

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Open letter: The case for Campos

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Editor's note: A group of progressive activists is organizing to urge the Board of Supervisors to elect Sup. David Campos as interim mayor. They're circulating the letter below. A list of signatories is at the end:

We start by asking: What qualities does San Francisco need in its new mayor? What does the city need, as a whole, in this time of many challenges?Read more »

Mike Giant meditates

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When you're meeting up with a skateboarding design-graf-tattoo art giant, you prep a certain kind of question – 'how do you post your art on your website without getting arrested' comes to mind. But when I hung with Bay legend Mike Giant this week while he put the final touches on the pieces for his upcoming fine art show at Guerrero Gallery (opens Sat/11), I found myself ditching my notes for another line of inquiry. 

Which followed this line, roughly: where do I find some of what he's smoking? Read more »

Live Shots: Roger Waters' epic "The Wall," HP Pavilion, 12/08/2010

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In the minutes before Pink Floyd mastermind Roger Waters took to the stage at HP Pavilion earlier this week to perform the band's epic 1979 double album The Wall, the playlist coming through the house speakers gave way to Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," a song that seemed well-matched for the impending performance. For an artist that is commonly known for romantic jazz ballads, Holiday's "Strange Fruit" was a defining moment in her career, a point in which she ascended beyond the simplest manifestations of her identity and delved into the  darkest corners of her times.

In a similar sense, there is no easy way around The Wall. Pink Floyd's last album during their monumental run in the '70s -- Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals -- was not only their most artistically ambitious, but a lingering challenge to the nature of the band's legacy. Longview attempts to define Pink Floyd in the realm of blacklight posters, spacey sounds, or a Dazed and Confused mindset, will inevitably get stuck at The Wall: a dark and confrontational album that is ultimately the most emblematic of Pink Floyd's greatest characteristics.

So, with Waters (at age 67) suggesting that this will be his last tour, it is appropriate that he would finish with his masterpiece. And make no mistake - this was a concert for the ages.

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SFBG Radio: In praise of Pelosi

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Not words you hear around here too often, but today we say: Pelosi's doing exactly the right thing holding the line on tax cuts for the rich. So what happens next? We'll fill you in after the break. Read more »