Grover 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
At last week's California Music and Culture Association forum on San Francisco's war on fun, I was on a media panel with San Francisco Chronicle columnist CW Nevius that answered questions posed by the audience, and Nevius steadfastly denied that he has any kind of agenda in writing so regularly about the need to crackdown on nightlife and streetlife. Read more »
The County Board in Arlington, Virginia and the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors both voted unanimously September 28 to opt out of S-Comm, a controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data-sharing program also known as Secure Communities. Read more »
Local Arts: “Bodies in Space(s)” and Project Bandaloop float beneath and soar above
Because words so often fail in the realm of the everyday, it’s not surprising that some performers prefer to eschew them altogether, crafting their manifestoes with the indelible inks of pure action. Of course just as the written or spoken word can be misinterpreted, the language of the body can also be misunderstood.
How, for example, to interpret the Mad Maxian figure duct-taped to the pillar in front of Madrone Art Bar with his eyes wrapped shut with cord and a tiny television under his arm (Daniel Blomquist)? Or the spectacle of watching another get wrapped up in strips of calligraphied bandages and papier-mâché (Justin Hoover)? Sure, you could read a florid artist’s statement about the impetus behind such actions, but those often only underscore the inadequacy of words to convey the immediate. Allowing oneself to be simply drawn in should be a surrender more frequently employed when confronted with the emphatically unfamiliar.
Director Davis Guggenheim won an Academy Award for 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth. His latest film, Waiting for “Superman”, takes on the United States’ failing public education system. In some ways, the documentary represents a return to Guggenheim’s first subject. “The very first documentary I made followed first-year teachers, because I believed that teachers were the answer to our schools,” he says. “And I still believe that. Now I wanted to talk about the kids and their families, and what’s at stake for them.”
The kids and families in question are the subjects of Waiting for “Superman”, which follows five young people in search of a better education. While the scope of the film is large — covering the history and bureaucracy that has created this national epidemic — Guggenheim is careful never to stray far from the victims of the crisis.
“The really hard part about it is how complicated this issue is, and it’s hard to simplify it,” he explains. “And I wanted it to be understandable to everybody. Whenever I got lost, I would always bring it back to the kids. It’s a very simple story: five kids, all they want is to go to a great school.”
In today's episode, Johnny and Tim deconstruct the Whitman-Brown debate -- and talk about how the gap between the rich and the poor is so unsustainable that it's taking the nation down a very dangerous road. Check it out after the jump. Read more »
Whoever said a cable car couldn't be operated on woman power alone clearly had never met the steam engine on this grandmother. Fannie Mae Barnes of Oakland, California was the first woman ever to operate a cable car grip – not because it was a higher paying position, or an easier gig, but because she was told that women didn't have the strength to do the job right.
Barnes started pumping iron, passed the 25-day grip operator training program notorious for its 80 percent drop out rate, and became a source of civic pride. She even drove the Olympic torch up the Hyde Street hill en route to the 2002 Winter Olympics. A documentary about her achievement, “Getting a Grip,” will be shown tonight at Lunafest, a traveling film festival that screens movies made by and about women to benefit the Breast Cancer Fund. We caught up with Barnes for a phone interview about knocking down one of the city's diehard gender divisions of labor.
During last night's gubernatorial debate, Republican nominee Meg Whitman bashed “illegal” immigrants and singled out San Francisco as the state's worst coddler of those without proper immigration papers. But today, it was revealed that Whitman employed an undocumented Mexican immigrant as her housekeeper and nanny from 2000 until last year. Ah, karma, the great leveler.
Purposely constructed anonymity as a reaction to this supposed Internet Age of Information is by now pretty passe in music circles (cf. Silver Columns, jj, Burial). So some may have rolled their eyes when future dubber Clubroot went that route with his first releases, even though the music was intellectually sensuous and the first full-length release received raves from Dubstepforum to Pitchfork.
Update:According to LGBTpov.com, Gov. Schwarzenegger yesterday "signed the Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth Act (SB 543), which will expand access to essential mental health services for youth ages 12-17. The bill, authored by openly gay State Sen. Mark Leno and sponsored by Equality California, allows teens to obtain counseling without parental consent." Unfortunately, "Friday morning, Charles Robbins, Executive Director of The Trevor Project reported a fifth suicide -- Raymond Chase, 19, a sophomore at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island took his own life on Wednesday." Hopefully kids in California will at least have expanded access to mental health counseling services. Original post is below.
For the fourth time this month, a kid who was harassed by anti-gay bullies has taken his own life. Seth Walsh, an out gay 13-year-old in Tehachapi, in central California, had been transferred from middle school to an independent study program, reportedly because he had been teased relentlessly about his orientation. Ten days ago he was found unconscious at the base of a tree in his backyard, apparently after he had attempted to hang himself. His parents took him off life support yesterday in Bakersfield.
Even though other kids admitted to harassing Seth -- police reported that some of them "broke down in tears" because "they had never seen this outcome," and wished they hadn't participated in the bullying -- no charges will be pressed against them: their actions do not constitute a crime.
I watched the Brown-Whitman debate on TV, and I had an eerie Nixon-Kennedy experience. On the tube, Whitman looked .... creepy. That fake, plastic smile and the strictly scripted talking points made her appear almost robotic. I kept thinking about the employee she allegedly abused and I wonder if she had that same scary expression on her face when she pushed around and fired people.Read more »
With Folsom's fumes still coming out of your pores thanks to this week's weather's surprise cameo by Death Valley, you are perhaps wondering the best spot to get hot and sweaty with your newfound best trick. We got you covered -- as we do each week here in the schvitzy dungeon of the SFBG stables. Read on for porn parodies, artistic foreplay, and techno-free touching.
Throughout the course of writing my feature story about the Tenderloin this week, which looks at the role art is playing in the gradually changing neighborhood, a couple of questions kept cycling back into the forefront of my mind. What should be the role of art in community-building? What kinds of art benefit the residents of a neighborhood? It's tough to categorically define the answers, but Rick Darnell and the North of Market Community Benefit District's plans for a TL art lending library come damn close to a perfect score.
San Francisco is waiting for its Boogie Nights. Unbeknownst to Hollywood, our fair berg was the infant creche of hardcore pornography, spawning a subculture of porn theaters that thrived despite police harassment and political pressure.
We were number one! Luckily, a few brave men are resurrecting our porn golden age money shot – read on for a first look at documentary The Smut Capital of America and an interview with the director himself, Michael Stabile.
100 Years After WWI: The Poll Diaries - Franz Ferdinand, the band, has shaken up some summer music festivals in recent times, but 100 years ago in the summer of 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination shook up the world. In Chris Kraus's 2010 drama film The Poll Diaries, young Oda (Paula Beer) rejoins her aristocratic German family in Estonia. Throw in an Estonian anarchist and a society on the brink of World War I and you'll find there isn't too much hope for love. The Poll Diaries is the first film in the Goethe-Institut's weekly WWI film series and is an apt film to spearhead the selection of poignant, beautifully melancholy wartime movies. 6:30pm, $5. Goethe-Institut San Francisco, 530 Bush, SF. (415) 263-8760, www.goethe.de
Murder City Devils -- Combining elements of garage rock and punk with dark organ lines and caterwauling vocals, Seattle rockers The Murder City Devils were a musical powder keg from 1996 to 2001, just waiting to be lit by a live audience. After a five-year break up, the band has sporadically reunited for concerts here and there, but hadn't put out a new record until this month, dropping The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands, its first album release in 13 years. Fans can look forward to hearing the new material, along with old favorites, when Spencer Moody and cohorts hit the stage in what always promises to be a gloriously unpredictable and incendiary performance. 8pm, $22. Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell, SF. (415) 885-0750 www.slimspresents.com
Lee 'Scratch' Perry - The God of Dub may be pushing 80, but his live shows and constantly evolving studio production are not slowing down. Lee "Scratch" Perry, who helped to transform reggae into an aurally and technologically complex genre while virtually inventing "the remix," released a new album, Back at the Controls, earlier this year. The work was a true group effort, both because it was a collaboration with Rolling Lion Studios' producer Daniel Boyle as well as the fact that it benefited from a thriving Kickstarter campaign. To complement his new record, Perry embarked on an ongoing world tour, which hopped over to Europe for a three-month stint starting in March. Now back in the States, Perry looks to continue dazzling audiences with his idiosyncratic fashion, pulsating beats, and exhilarating reworkings of timeless classics from every kind of music. 79pm, $25. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF. (415) 771-1421 www.theindependentsf.com
My Drunk Kitchen with Hannah Hart - How many YouTubers have baked brownies with Mary-Louise Parker (of Weeds fame) while drunk? Hannah Hart, the mastermind behind the "My Drunk Kitchen" YouTube channel, has come a long way since her first video, in which she set out to make grilled cheese — getting by with a little help from her friend, wine — and realized mid-video that she didn't have any cheese in the house. She appears this evening to promote her new cookbook, which is chock-full of tasty recipes (ones she made up while writing and hasn't tasted) and spontaneous fun. And hey, she has drunk Jamie Oliver's stamp of approval, so what more could you ask for? 7pm, free. Books Inc. 601 Van Ness, SF. (415) 776-1111, www.booksinc.net
Name Drop Swamp Records + Quiet Lightning - This new collaboration between independent SF record label Name Drop Swamp Records (Fox & Woman, Split Screens) and the long-running lit and spoken word series Quiet Lightning brings together live music, poetry, and performance for an evening that's sure to draw a crowd full of all kinds of artists — in addition to those being featured on stage. Featured performer Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba is someone you won't get to see in a small room for too much longer, thanks to her unique, rich vocals and skilled storytelling through song. The door is sliding scale and the aim is for this evening to be the first in a bimonthly series at the Emerald Tablet (sorry, "Em Tab,") so get in before it blows up. 5 - 9pm, $10-20; no one turned away for lack of funds. The Emerald Tablet, 80 Fresno, SF. (415) 500-2323, www.emtab.org
Built to Spill - Boise's Built To Spill has been churning out heartbreakingly lovely indie rock songs for over 20 years. Doug Martsch, formerly of Treepeople, formed the group in 1992. Since then, the band has gone through a whirlwind of lineup changes with Martsch as the only constant, but have managed to create seven equally beautiful, reverb-heavy studio albums. Martsch's music has been cited as a major inspiration by such indie rock royalty as Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Though it's been five years since they've released an album, Built To Spill's live show hasn't declined a bit. This three-night run at Slim's is a very special event, and certainly not to be missed. With Slam Dunk, The Warm Hair. 8pm, $28, Slim's 333, 11th St, SF. (415) 255-0333, www.slimspresents.com
Fucked Up Toronto's Fucked Up might be the most ambitious punk band on the planet. This six-piece hardcore band has been releasing more and more epic and boldly experimental records since their explosive entrance to the scene in 2001. The group has even been recognized by the Canadian government, winning the prestigious Polaris Prize in 2009 for its incredible, sprawling punk-rock opera The Chemistry of Common Life. Their most recent effort, Glass Boys, maintains their hardcore edge while finding more rock depth, borrowing simultaneously from Dinosaur Jr. and Negative Approach. The record asks questions about what it means to be an aging and successful punk band. Known and notorious for their tempestuous relationship and wildly unpredictable live shows, Fucked Up is one of the best hardcore bands and certainly one of the best live acts on the road. Tijuana Panthers, The She's, 8pm, $20. The Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF. (415) 771-1421 www.independentsf.com