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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

Quick Lit: Sept 15-Sept 21

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Literary readings, book tours, and talks this week

Jonathan Safran Foer, Rebecca Solnit, How to Grow a School Garden, digital art collecting, and more. Read more »

Chron endorsement dishonestly attacks marijuana measure

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Once again proving itself to be an corporate-run embarrassment to a city that has been at the forefront of progressive reform – including the movement to legalize medical marijuana – the San Francisco Chronicle this morning recommended that voters reject Prop. 19, which would allow cities and counties to legalize marijuana use by adults. And it did so with tortured logic and a cowardly, disingenuous claim to support legalizing marijuana.Read more »

Better living through porn

The Good Vibrations independent erotic film festival once again touches uncharted territory

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When one door closes another opens: as summer comes to an end, Good Vibrations gives us something to ensure that warm sensation continues — porn.

Yes, it's that time of year again. On Sept. 23, the Castro Theatre opens its doors to the Good Vibrations Indie Erotic Film Festival's short film festival competition, after a lead-up week of diverse, sex-positive programming at various venues. The annual contest, now in its fifth year, offers filmmakers the chance to share their unique erotic visions on the big screen.Read more »

What is "Catfish"?

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Do not read this interview before seeing Catfish. I say that for a few reasons: 1. It’s mildly spoilery. 2. Some of it doesn’t make sense out of context. 3. I really want you to see Catfish. The documentary — or reality thriller, as it’s been called — follows filmmakers Rel Schulman and Henry Joost as they film Rel’s brother Nev’s online relationship. It’s a unique and contentious experience that I was still mulling over when I sat down with the documentarians and their subject. Here’s a transcript of our interview, minus some digressions about Saturday Night Live in the 80s and my attempts at Facebook stalkage.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: When did you realize you were making the movie that you made?

Henry Joost: When we discovered the songs — that scene. We just turned to each other and were like, “OK, we should probably not stop rolling for the next however long this takes.”
Rel Schulman: Yeah, we sort of just were swimming in the story very innocently up until that point, just trusting the fact that Nev was somehow engaging, and that he’d always been, and that we’d always filmed him and we film each other all the time. Something was happening and it felt like it might go somewhere, but we had no idea where.
Nev Schulman: And also, I have a history in my own life of — to a fault, sort of — pursuing things headstrong, without much consideration, just sort of going for it. And Rel’s observed those many situations where I’ve ended up getting hurt or in trouble or whatever it is, and I think always just sort of regretted not filming them. So he was like, “Henry, if it’s Nev, it’s probably going to get interesting. Let’s film it.”

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Endorsement interviews: Bert Hill

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Bert Hill is running to represent western San Francisco on BART's Board of Director, taking on incumbent James Fang, the city's only Republican elected official. But even though Hill has the support of Democratic Party and a wide variety of progressive organizations, voters won't see their party affiliation in this nonpartisan race. Instead, the race could be a referendum on an agency that Hill says isn't responsive enough to the needs and experiences of riders.Read more »

The Performant: What, me Fringe?

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Unfortunately for me, I’ll be unable to attend a whole plethora of sure-to-be-intriguing shows this weekend such as Right Brain Performancelab’s "The Elephant in the Room," The 11th Hour Ensemble’s "Alice," and The Offcenter’s “Waiting for Godot." But fortunately for me, it’s because I will be holed-up in the booth of the newest addition to the Exit Theatreplex -- The Studio -- where I’ve been running lights for a whole plethora of shows ranging from confessional monologues to sketch comedy to a whacked-out whodunit set in Super-Duper Mega-Marine Coaster World. Is that a bowl of free pretzels in my hand? It must be Fringe Festival season again in San Francisco.

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Appetite: 3 twists on the Caprese salad

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The purity and simplicity of a caprese salad, or insalata caprese as it is known in Campania, Italy, where it originated, is hard to outdo. Silky buffalo mozzarella, red tomatoes and fresh basil are drizzled with olive oil and salt. When I eat a quality caprese, I am immediately transported to Italia, eating lunch alongside glimmering water, maybe the canals of Venice or the expanse of Lake Como, the juice of the tomatoes dripping down my chin and a glass of Sangiovese in hand. That this experience could be improved upon is doubtful, but what of variations in a caprese's perfection? Read more »

Party Radar: Men, Kele, Kaos

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Ah, yes -- the fleeting maybe yes/ maybe no of San Francisco summer has (possibly) arrived. And even if the weather doesn't quite cooperate, at least we all feel our spirits lift and our clothing constrict. Fortunately, there are many, many parties to rip it all off at! Not literally, but why not? Besides some of the parties listed in this week's Super Ego clubs column, here's a few more at which you can run wild and free and hot.

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Music to cross the globe for

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If you hoisted up a park bench, cut the back off of it, removed the legs, placed it on top of cushion on a saw stand, and commenced to thrum on it with headless croquet mallets with a dear friend, you'd have created a bootleg version of the txalaparta, a traditional instrument from the Basque region of Spain. Two of the area's most renowned musicians took this contraption on a trip to play with indigenous nomadic musicians the world over, creating Nomadak TX, a music documentary where notes are exchanged in culture-to-culture melodies. Read more »

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Kimberly, Fillmore and Sacramento

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Snap Sounds: The Books

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By Landon Moblad

THE BOOKS
The Way Out
(Temporary Residence)

During the far too long half-decade wait between albums, it became easy to wonder if maybe Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong, together known as The Books, had lost some of their creative juices. Luckily, one listen to The Way Out proves the wait was well worth it. If anything, this is an album so meticulously thought out and crafted that the two years (they officialy began recording in 2008) it took to create makes complete sense. It’s clear now that it wasn’t a lack of ideas, but rather a surplus of them to work through that caused the delay. And the final product, 15 tracks spread over nearly 55 minutes, is some of the finest work of their career. Read more »

Hot sexy events Sept 15-21

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Enough of the silicon and studio lighting! Sex in San Francisco just isn't that scripted – or is it? Good Vibrations put its yearly call out to amateur filmmakers to turn in their own seven minutes and under blue films. Straight, gay, perverted, vanilla, the rainbow of oohs and aahs will show you what's really going on in your neighbor's bedrooms (the hots ones, obviously). But wait, that's next week. This week, you can attend the IXFF kick off party at El Rio, where clips of queer hipster porn will be showing and burlesque babies will shimmy and shake for your viewing pleasure. Look at it this way, if you're going to be squirming in anticipation, you might as well have a cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon in hand.

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Eating Jonathan Safran Foer's words

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Well, hell, I thought, shutting Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals after reading its last page. There goes that. I have been a vegetarian (careful omnivore, pescatarian) off and on for fifteen years now. But having read the author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close's latest offering, Safran Foer's exploration of the horrific world and consequences of our current addiction to factory farming, I realized I could no straddle the fence. There would be, I realized, no more salmon on my plate, or "cage-free" eggs, or cheddar cheese. Why? Well besides the whole institutionalized torture thing in most slaughterhouses-dairy farms-egg factories today, here's a fact to chew on: omnivores generate seven times more carbon emissions than vegan. And I can live without eggs and bacon. Call me Natalie Portman if you must. I chatted with Safran Foer over the phone about his lyrical horror story in anticipation of his SF appearances next week, including a benefit for 826 Valencia (Weds/22). He's no activist, but I like him.

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Endorsement interviews: Theresa Sparks

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Theresa Sparks says her first priority is jobs and public safety. She wants to more agressively pursue clean technology, with tax breaks if necessary. She wants more development in the district (but "smart development.") She argues that the city should do an "incubator," to really focus on new technologies.Read more »

PG&E's deadly failures

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The CPUC should investigate how PG&E has been spending the money it collects from ratepayers for maintenance and system upgrades

EDITORIAL In 1994, a fire raged through the tiny community of Rough and Ready in Nevada County. The inferno destroyed a dozen homes and caused $2 million in damage. The cause: tree limbs that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. should have trimmed brushed against high-voltage power lines.

A furious local district attorney filed criminal charges — and in a dramatic trial, evidence emerged that PG&E had intentionally taken $80 million in ratepayer money designated for tree trimming and diverted it into executive salaries and profits.

After a natural gas line that was installed in 1948 burst last week in San Bruno, killing five and devastating a community, local and state officials should be asking if the company is still taking money that should be spent upgrading and maintaining its system and spending it elsewhere.

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