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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

The "Roman Wild West": chatting with "Centurion" director Neil Marshall

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Genre junkies, rejoice! Neil Marshall — 2002 werewolf thriller Dog Soldiers, 2005 cave-monster chiller The Descent, and 2008 post-apocalyptic actioner Doomsday — has a brand-new film: Centurion. The latest from the man some call "the new John Carpenter" is getting a release with actual fanfare (however humble in comparision to, say, The Expendables or whatever), though you'd best hustle to the theater if you care to see Centurion, about a Roman soldier doing battle with tribal Picts in what's now Scotland, on the big screen. (It's also now available On Demand, but c'mon: the big screen is always better.) Evident in Marshall's films is the fact that he himself is a movie fan, which makes him all the more pleasurable to talk to. [Spoiler warning: there are some. Just so you know.]

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Centurion takes a documented event, the building of Hadrian's Wall, and creatively fills in some of the history surrounding it. Why did you write the story this way?

Neil Marshall: It was kind of a case of compacting a couple of dates, which weren't that far apart anyway. The myth of the Ninth Legion is based around 117 AD, which is when the film is set. That was when the entire Ninth Legion marched into Scotland and supposedly vanished without a trace. Historians have since been spoilsports and disproved that, and proved that they were attacked but they didn't get massacred, they were dispersed, and such like. But then, in 122 AD, Hadrian's Wall started being built. And I just thought, "Well, couldn't I tie the two in together somehow, that logically, what happened to the Ninth Legion could have been part of the reason for Hadrian to build the wall in the first place?" So, yeah, it was a question of kind of condensing that slightly. Read more »

Alioto-Pier vows to take D. 2 re-election bid to California Supreme Court

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Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier announced today that she will file an appeal with the California Supreme Court by the end of tomorrow (August 25), following today's California Court of Appeal ruling that found she was ineligible to seek another term.

Alioto-Pier's announcement came shortly after City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued a press release, announcing that today's California Court of Appeals’ decision "strongly vindicates” his office.Read more »

We sue the FBI

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The Bay Guardian has joined the ACLU of Northern California and the Asian Law Caucus in suing the FBI to demand access to records of federal agents spying on Muslim communities and organizations.

We filed a Freedom of Information Act request five months ago, seeking access to key records, including documents that would show how the FBI is:Read more »

Editorial: Beyond Chief Gascon's reforms

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There are cops at every level on the force who ought to be fired for misconduct — and the discipline process has been so slow that it's utterly ineffective.

EDITORIAL You have to give San Francisco Police Chief George Gascón credit: he talks more about reform, and seems to take discipline more seriously, than anyone who has headed the department in at least 30 years. In the wake of the crime lab scandal, he did what the department should have done years ago: ordered a complete investigation of the background of every officer on the force to determine if anyone has skeletons that might affect his or her ability to testify in criminal cases.

But if the list of problem officers becomes nothing more than a closely guarded secret used only when the district attorney fears for the future of a criminal case, the exercise will have only limited value.

Read more »

Yee blocks traffic camera at Octavia

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The Market-Octavia intersection is one of the most dangerous places in the city for bicyclists. Cars making an illegal right turn onto the freeway ramp hit riders; there were nine collisions in 2008 alone, and there have been 20 injury accidents since the freeway ramp opened. The city's built barriers and traffic signs, but the illegal turns continue.Read more »

Brilliant essay on the state of California

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Vast treatises have been written about the California mess and how we got where we are today. But a professor at UC Berkeley's school of public policy sums the whole thing up in one brilliant, short letter to his students. You can read the whole thing here (thanks, Calitics), but the gist is that today's generation of California kids is the collective victim of a massive swindle:Read more »

SFBG Radio: Conservative stupidity

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Remember John Stuart Mill? Is it still true that, while all conservatives aren't stupid, most stupid people are conservatives? Johnny and Tim discuss the relevance of the 19th Century philosopher's wisdom to today's Republican Party. You can listen after the jump. Read more »

Bay Bridge tolls a boost for congestion pricing?

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San Francisco officials are watching closely to see if higher tolls on the Bay Bridge might help the city make the case for charging fees to drive into downtown in high-traffice periods -- and so far, the evidence is promising.

Since tolls increased July 1, an additional 4,000 commuters turning to BART -- and that means fewer cars on the bridge.
The Bay Area Toll Authority elevated fees during the hours of 5 am to 10 am and 3 pm until 7 pm for crossing all bridges except the Golden Gate, which is managed by a different agency.Read more »

Historic election for labor

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Labor and Democratic Party leaders are concerned – and rightly so – that labor's rank-and-file may not turn out in November to support labor-friendly Democrats in the massive numbers that played a major role in the election of President Obama and Democratic congressional majorities in 2008. Read more »

SFBG Radio: Religion and Dr. Laura

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Today Johnny and Tim take a break from Meg Whitman and talk about why the Republicans are really upset about the Islamic center at ground zero -- and why Dr. Laura isn't a victim of censorship. Read more »

Following Newsom's money trail to City Hall and beyond

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The Chronicle reports that Jennifer Matz of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development is the leading contender to replace Mayor Michael Cohen, who announced his resignation yesterday as Gavin Newsom’s top economic advisor.

Newsom’s most recent campaign finance filings in the Lt. Governor’s race show that Matz contributed $1,000 to the Newsom for California campaign. Read more »

Appetite: The scene at SF CHEFS

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SF CHEFS, the week-long celebration of all things food and drink in SF ushered in its second year last week and it was as full, fun, and delectable as the first. From industry seminars like the intriguing Tales from the Still, which kicked off the week last Tuesday, to the Grand Tasting tent in Union Square, there was never a dull moment... nor a hungry one.

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Alexandra, 24th Street and Church

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Farewell, Mayor Michael Cohen

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No one who has been closely tracking the shipyard development will be surprised that Michael Cohen. Mayor Gavin Newsom's top economic advisor, is leaving City Hall.  Folks have long speculated that city officials would start jumping ship--and even become real estate developers themselves--the minute the ink dried on Newsom’s signature on the deal. Read more »

The Performant: The Witching Hour -- Puritan girls gone wild and midnight museum marauders

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Checking out the local arts and culture scene ...

There’s no doubt about it—San Franciscans love a rock opera. From the faux-real heavy metal anthems of “Live Evil” to the afterlife explorations of “Exit Sign,” the suicide art movement of “Thanatics” to the human sacrifices of “Wicker Man,” we like our rock operas loud, messy, and tinged with darkness and humor both. So an original rock opera about the Salem Witch Trials seems an obvious pairing between our love of the darkside plus power chords. Appropriately held at the Temple nightclub on Howard, “Abigail the Rock Opera” straddles the SF rock opera line between serious and silly.

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