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How a high-minded countercultural experiment ended up on everyone's bucket list

This Week's Paper

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

The next mayor: A very funny video

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This is a truly enjoyable (if a little off-base) video about the selection process for the next mayor. I particularly like the part about the duties of the acting mayor. Check it out after the jumpRead more »

SFBG Radio: Beyond body scans and patdowns

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Today we talk about the anger over full-body scans and patdowns at airports -- and why the critics are missing the point. Body scans are far less intrusive than the sort of data mining, wiretaps and assaults on personal privacy that go on every single day in both the public and private sector. Listen after the jump. Read more »

What I remember of my interview with Yard Dogs Road Show

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“I brought my costume, it's in this bag. Well except for the pants.” The song and dance man of the Bay's vaudevillian acid bordello, Broadway Freddie (aka Miguel Strong, or Michael if you're trying to get technical about it) is already seated at a corner table at the Right Spot Cafe when I arrive to chat about Yard Dog Road Show's first headlining show in San Francisco in years (The Independent, Sat/20). 

Broadway-Miguel is wearing a striped tie, suit jacket, and dapper fedora, which by Yard Dogs Road Show standards seems vaguely pedestrian. But then he stands up. Electric blue, leopard print, so-skinny-they're-emaciated jeans. “Miley Cyrus,” he confides, tossing his shoulder length blonde locks. Read more »

Appetite: Indy Spirits Expo poured it on

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This year's Indy Spirits Expo, which took place 11/17, was much improved since last year's inaugural festivity, though crammed into the cool, brick-walled nightclub space of The Mighty. This event offers one of the better opportunities I've seen to sample everything from cachaca and pisco, to absinthe and eaux de vie, all in one room, among the best small batch spirits happening in the US and a few places beyond. Read more »

Investing in the future

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Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom has covered labor and politics for a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 250 of his columns.

The nation's crumbling infrastructure is in very serious need of rebuilding. There's absolutely no doubt about that.

Miles and miles of roads, highways and airport runways need to be repaired or replaced, as do miles and miles of railroad track. Many bridges and other public structures need to be fixed. So do many streets and many street lights, many water and flood control systems, many park and recreation and port facilities' high speed train systems need developing and so does very much more that's vital to our daily lives. Read more »

Cynthia Hopkins brings success/failure to YBCA

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A rare flying object has been spotted this weekend at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, namely Cynthia Hopkins, as intergalactic space pilot Ruom Yes Noremac, a post-human “Druoc” in a floppy silver space suit hovering high above the stage of the Novellus Theatre. She’s returning from the far distant future to, what?, “save the earth, of course.”

The Success of Failure (Or, the Failure of Success), making its Bay Area premiere tonight and tomorrow, makes up part three of the wildly inventive Accidental Trilogy developed by New York–based artist-musician Hopkins and company Accinosco. I caught it last night, and while a full review will have to wait until next week, I can say that the sight of her twirling there before a sprawling spacescape projected across an enormous screen — in a comical operetta musing on “the pros and cons of evolution,” above a stage aglow and twinkling with arch sci-fi phantasmagoria, and in an all-pervading atmosphere of nostalgia and regret — seemed indeed to defy a certain gravity through the power of deft spectacle and ethereal song.

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Are you ready for GWAR??

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Apparently, even the massive, all-powerful aliens and scumdogs of the universe known as GWAR have trouble with reception on their iPhones.

While conducting a phone interview before a show in Hollywood, band leader Oderus Urungus’ connection cut out twice, leaving him grumbling, “Maybe I’m clutching my iPhone too tightly!”

Perhaps it was his giant claws proving to be too much for our puny human technology to handle — either way, once the connection was re-established, the intergalactic beast that has led GWAR for more than a quarter century had no shortage of hilarious and outrageous things to say.

Having just finished taping a segment for the Fuel TV show Daily Habit, Oderus was being informed that he had revealed a bit more of himself to the television audience than he had thought. “I just did the show apparently with my balls hanging out the entire time and nobody told me! That’s not like a big thing for Oderus, my balls usually are hanging out — but to try to get on national TV, I’m willing to do the ball tuck, but apparently the ball tuck didn’t work, it was horrible, it looked like a duck-billed platypus coming out of a burrow or something!”

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Broadway cabaret with Pascal and Rapp!

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The Fairmont Hotel’s storied Venetian Room, a.k.a. the San Francisco club where Tony Bennett first left his heart, has recently re-opened its doors to live music, courtesy of Marilyn Levinson’s Bay Area Cabaret series. Chita Rivera wowed them earlier this month, and this weekend Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp do their thing, some of which you may have caught last year when they appeared in the touring revival of Rent at the Curran, in the roles they originated of Mark and Roger.

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Lust for justice, Tony Serra style

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“So Paulette Frankl, why did you want to write a book about Tony Serra?” It seems like a reasonable question. After all, the “long hair” woman before me spent a good 17 years of work on her biography of San Francisco's most famous counter culture lawyer (book release party at Fort Mason Sat/20, btw). Her answer was a bit surprising. 

“I didn't want to write a book about him! I wanted to be his artist!" Read more »

Hey, gay men: Are you "Between Sizes"?

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It may be a mainstream cliche that gay men are obsessed with their weight and appearance, but -- hey presto! -- it's also pretty true. It's also something not much discussed aloud in the gay community, although the bear movement of the 1990s managed to at least squeeze an entire subculture out of the topic. This Saturday evening, Andy Bydalek, director of last year's Frameline festival fave, Skinnyfat! The Movie (which dealt with the plight of two characters panicked over the loss of their six packs -- neither of whom would qualify for "The Biggest Loser" anytime soon), is organizing an important, local-luminary-studded panel at the LGBT Community Center called "Between Sizes" to address the issues of body image in the gay community after a screening of the director's cut of Skinnyfat! Lose your issues, not your tissue. Trailer and info after the jump.

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Sync up, time's come for Zion I's Atomic Clock

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Bay Area hip-hop heads are grateful that Zion I walks these mean streets. Emcee Zumbi and DJ Amp Live have been expanding the boundaries of what dope beats and lifted lyrics can be ever since they fled the industry culture of Atlanta and hit the Oakland scene with 1997's underground hit Enter the Woods. Their vibe's stayed positive while resisting major label affliation and a lot of the turf warring that plagues hip-hop in a weird, stereotype-enhancing way around some of the Bay's venues.

We spoke with Morehouse College grad Zumbi over the phone on the cusp of the duo's weekend-long Slim's celebration (Sat/20 and Sun/21) in honor of new album Atomic Clock, and the gig will be the duo's last before hitting the road on tour. Clock is a bangin', lifted affair studded with gems like "Always" and "Girlz" featuring Martin Luther's sweet hook -- but all the same, we still found ourselves talking politics. Sheesh. Read more »

The Performant: We want the airwaves

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Aeriel Art Soars at Theatre Artaud and Teatro Zinzanni

Do you dream of the day when you finally learn how to fly? For aerielists, that future is now, and that dream an everyday reality. It’s a career choice not for the faint of heart -- right up there, I’d say, with driving a fire truck or sailing around the world on a catamaran made of plastic bottles. But I imagine the psychic rewards to be tremendous. Life on the edge. Teasing gravity, tempting fate. To soar—perchance to jetstream.

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Return to me

Adia Tamar Whitaker explores her identity in the exceptional Ampey!

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If magical realism is rooted in Latin American cultures, nobody told Adia Tamar Whitaker. Her Ampey!, a 50-minute dance, chant, music, film, and narration piece, is an incantatory celebration of life — including the parts of life ingrained in our muscles and our dreams. If CounterPULSE's Performing Diaspora program had produced nothing but Ampey!, it would have been worth doing. Performed by a stellar cast of dancers and musicians, Whitaker has succeeded in pulling together strands of complex subject matter into a first-rate, original piece of poetic theater.Read more »

45 sessions

With a little help from Finland, Myron & E bring sweet Bay Area soul to the vinyl grooves

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If you type "Myron and E" into the search engine on YouTube.com, you'll likely find a simple video clip of a record player with one of the duo's 7-inch singles on the turntable. Play the video clip, and the turntable's needle will descend on the vinyl. And then some of the most wonderfully sweet grooves will pipe through your speakers.Read more »

Breaking down the cost of hosting the America’s Cup

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San Francisco’s Budget and Legislative Analyst has released a report outlining the costs and benefits of hosting the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco. Bottom line: If the world-famous yacht race is held here, it will cost the city an estimated $42 million.

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