Fall Arts preview: movies, concerts, festivals, theater, dance, nightlife, videogames, gallery shows, and more. Plus: hip-hop tricksters Souls of Mischief return, local police gifted military weapons, witness comes forward in Alex Nieto shooting. Articles Online | Digital Edition
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.
Based on the founding of Facebook and Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires, The Social Network has already received rave reviews from critics. I offer no dissent: the film is unquestionably one of the year’s best. I recently spoke to three of its lead actors — Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Armie Hammer — and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.
The magical settings, moments and drinks were many in the 4th Annual SF Cocktail Week, which set the bar high for all future Cocktail Weeks... consider attending next year, as it's far from being just for drink aficionados. It's for those who love a memorable party done in true San Francisco style.Read more »
On the first Friday afternoon in September, as most folks were trying to get an early start on their Labor Day weekend, C.L.A.E.R. director Sharen Hewitt and her advisory board member Carrie Manuel welcomed friends, family, neighbors—and a handful of D10 candidates—to a basketball hoop dedication ceremony outside C.L.A.E.R.’s office on Brookdale Ave at the heart of the violence-racked Sunnydale housing project in Visitacion Valley.
By afternoon''s end, Hewitt had managed to get D 10 candidates Malia Cohen, Kristine Enea, Chris Jackson, Tony Kelly and Marlene Tran shooting hoops with a dozen African American youngsters who live in Sunnydale, the city's largest public housing project, and talking about what they have learned about life and death in this deceptively pleasant-looking sun-and-fog bathed spot that overlooks the Bay, backs onto McLaren Park and the neighboring Gleneagles Golf course--little knowing that within two hours, yet another young black man would be fatally shot one block away from C.L.A.E.R.'s office. Read more »
California Pacific Medical Center's plan to build a massive new regional hospital on Van Ness shouldn't be under the jurisdiction of the Planning Commission
EDITORIAL More than 100 people showed up at the Planning Commission Sept. 23 to oppose California Pacific Medical Center's plan to build a massive new regional hospital on Van Ness Avenue. Most were neighborhood residents who raised an excellent point: what, exactly, would the shiny new $2.5 billion hospital offer for low-income people in the Tenderloin?
And that's just the starting point for discussion. The new project is a piece of a much larger plan: CPMC wants to shut down part of its Laurel Heights campus, reduce the number of beds and the scope of service at St. Luke's, turn Ralph K. Davis into a specialty facility, and reshape the way health care is provided in San Francisco.
That's a huge deal — but right now, the city is looking at the projects piecemeal. That's poor public health policy and poor land-use planning. In fact, there's no real way to evaluate the Van Ness hospital in its proper context — the Planning Commission, which will rule on the development issues, is hardly the best venue in which to discuss the future of health care in San Francisco.
Documentaries that “tell” the Holocaust tend to employ archival footage generically as a kind of historical flavoring. It’s rare that we are asked to contemplate either the provenance of the images or the individual lives depicted. Yael Hersonski’s A Film Unfinished simultaneously confronts both of these gaps with a taut historiography of several reels of Nazi propaganda footage. Even in the German film’s inchoate form, we easily apprehend the propagandistic moves to further manipulate an already constructed reality (the Warsaw Ghetto) for objective “proof” of the necessity of Hitler’s Final Solution. And yet here before us, flowing at the speed of life, are the faces and places that would be destroyed within months of the filming.
Hersonski attempts to extricate the documentary value of this footage using frame-speed manipulations and edits which call attention to telling movements. She also films elderly survivors watching the footage alone in a darkened theater. In their capacity for recognition and incredulousness, they unravel the German point-of-view. By weaving these live responses with diary entries of those consigned to the ghetto along with the deposition of a German cameraman, Hersonski draws a fragmentary, highly specific account of the Holocaust’s crisis of representation. We discussed the film in a recent email exchange.
San Francisco Bay Guardian: The question of how to use archival footage responsibly is one that haunts the great Holocaust-themed films — Night and Fog (1955), Shoah (1985), and the films of Péter Forgács all find very different solutions. Can you describe the way your own attitudes regarding the appropriation of this archive developed during the time you worked on A Film Unfinished? Read more »
James Keys, a former legislative intern in Sup. Chris Daly’s office now running for supervisor in D6, is making economic and social justice the centerpiece of his campaign. He talks, for example, about using city resources to make sure that SRO residents have a chance to move on to more traditional apartments. “We have a lot of housing in the pipeline,” he told us. “But I’m not sure if people are really moving in.”Read more »
It is not everyday that a San Francisco Bay Guardian culture writer finds herself going for an interview in the Financial District. Something about the fumes of avarice making poor atmosphere for the creative process. But high above the Starbucks and town cars is the banjo-packed office of a rich man who puts on the best free bluegrass festival of the year. And so, for Warren Hellman and his Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (Fri/1-Sun/3), I braved the world of name tags and extravagant corner offices.
Today Johnny and Tim talk about the bill that the Democrats are using to fight back against Republican nonsense -- and why the GOP is all about scaring white people. You can listen after the break. Read more »
Gavin Newsom's campaign for lieutenant governor might have a tough time beating moderate Latino Republican Abel Maldonado – indeed, even many of his local allies privately tell us they fear he's going to lose – but it is still using some of its significant resources and energy to promote the candidacy of Theresa Sparks, whom Newsom endorsed to replace Chris Daly on the Board of Supervisors. Read more »
Bruce Brugmann always says that the way to tell where a big-city daily newspaper stands is to look at its endorsements for mayor and United States Senate. And on Sept, 26, the Chronicle endorsed for United States Senate and said:
When Let Me In — the film which dares an Americanized do-over of 2008 Swedish import Let the Right One In — was first announced, fans of the original film let rip synchronized screeches of "Whyyyyy?", shortly followed by angry, ten-point arguments as to why Hollywood is really sucking balls lately. Consensus was that Let the Right One In, which picked up armloads of festival and critical awards (including the San Francisco Film Critics' Circle's Best Foreign Language Film honors), was not a film that deserved to be put through the remake machine. Sure, it only made a couple of million bucks stateside, but maybe it wasn't the kind of film (unlike 2008's similarly vampire-themed Twilight) that the masses were supposed to gobble up. After all, it had subtitles. Such a drag.
Matt Reeves, he of Cloverfield (2008) and Felicity fame, is aware of the fanboy-hater contingent that awaits his latest release. His Let Me In is a largely faithful retread, with some recognizable kid actors — Kodi Smit-McPhee (stronger here than he was in last year's The Road) and tween It Girl Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick Ass) — and the lure of legendary British horror house Hammer (back in the producing biz after decades) helping him attract audiences. I suspect many people who'll go see Let Me In may not have seen Let the Right One In — either because the original's release wasn't wide or lengthy enough, or because of that whole foreign-film bias. (Also, diehard fans of the first film may boycott the new version, just on principle. Hey, I did it with the recent A Nightmare on Elm Street, which in my mind NEVER HAPPENED).
Gotta say, though, Let Me In could have been worse than "faithful," which is way better than "redundant" or "totally offensive." Reeves, who penned the script from John Ajvide Lingqvist's novel (Lindqvist himself wrote the script for the 2008 film) stays true to the material, shifting the action to the snowy New Mexico mountains and injecting some Cold War and new wave flair into the 80s setting. I spoke with him recently, just after the film's screening at Austin, TX's Fantastic Fest — coincidentally the very festival where Let the Right One In won the Jury Prize for Best Horror Feature in 2008. He kindly put up with my many remake-themed queries.
San Francisco Bay Guardian: How was Fantastic Fest? Read more »
District 2 supervisorial candidate Janet Reilly is running to represent San Francisco's most conservative political district, and even though she has the support of many progressive groups and the local Democratic Party, she's running on a platform of mostly conservative positions. She opposes all the revenue measures on the November ballot and argues that closing the big budget deficits the city faces in coming years should involve “more fiscal discipline” and making cuts to wasteful city programs and the city money going to nonprofit groups.
But when asked how she'd be an improvement on incumbent Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier, an uncompromising conservative who consistently votes against the board's progressive majority, Reilly says that she has good relationships with local leaders off all political stripes and will therefore be able to play a key role in facilitating good policy discussions and compromises.
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
Mission of Burma - It's been 33 years since Boston's Mission of Burma unleashed its initial volley of sound, an EP and an album, Vs., followed by more than 20 years of silence. While the band unleashed 70 minutes of recorded material before an unfortunate breakup spurred by singer and guitarist Roger Miller's worsening tinnitus, the group grew in stature for the next two decades. After an unexpected reunion in 2004, Mission of Burma has released four additional critically-acclaimed albums. The most recent, 2012's Unsound, is full of impossibly fast tempos, odd tape-loops, and complex rhythms — generally the band's modus operandi, but even more amped up than ever before. Truly ageless and anything but a nostalgia act, the band hasn't visited the West Coast in upwards of four years. This set should include both stuff from the '80s as well as newer albums, along with (if we're lucky) a couple of delightfully dissonant Beatles covers the band's been known to play on special occasions. 7pm, $20. Independent, 628 Divisadero, SF. (415) 771-142, www.theindependentsf.com
San Francisco Zine Fest - Put down your iPhone, tablet, or other glowing device and stop thinking about zines in the past tense. DIY culture is thriving, and the San Francisco Zine Fest — which returns to Golden Gate Park this year — spotlights indie artists and writers, small presses, and the readers who love them. This year, there'll be panels on "Race, Gender, and the Future of Zines" and "Creating Feminist Spaces in DIY Culture;" an "Intro to Silkscreen" workshop; and a rather impressive slate of exhibitors and special guests, including Ryan Sands (Youth in Decline), Tomas Moniz (RAD DAD), and illustrator-cartoonist Hellen Jo. Today, 11am-5pm; Sun/31, 11am-4pm, free. SF County Fair Building, 1199 Ninth Ave, SF. www.sfzinefest.org
Oakland Pride and Festival - San Francisco may get all the glory, but Oakland? Oakland's where Sheila E.'s from, and that, friends, is why Oakland's annual pride celebration gets the drum queen as a headliner and celebrity grand marshal. The festival, which will take over downtown Oakland until 7pm, features three stages with a stacked bill full of live music, a children's area, a senior area, and a "wedding pavilion" where couples will be able to tie the knot — there's a story for the grandkids. And of course, food, booze, and all your favorite LGBT organizations will be out in style. Worth the BART trip? And how. 5 - 9pm, $10-20; no one turned away for lack of funds. Parade starts at 10:30am, festival 11am-7pm, $10. Parade: Broadway & 14th St; festival: Broadway & 20th St, Oakl. (510) 545-6251 www.oaklandpride.org
12th Annual Cowgirlpalooza - Dust off your best boots and work up an appetite for hooch, because this party on the Mission's sunniest patio — that's El Rio's — will have you cuttin' a rug to the best country crooners the Bay Area has to offer, including the Patsychords (a Patsy Cline tribute band), Velvetta, Jessica Rose, and more. Enthusiastically encouraged: Boots, checkered shirts, creative belt buckles, lassos, getting there early. This annual shindig, thrown by the bar's beloved, longtime sound guy Frank Gallagher, fills up in less time than it'd take you to watch City Slickers again. 4pm, $10. El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF. (415) 282-3325, www.elriosf.com
Gina Arnold Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series of compact volumes examining popular albums offers a range of both musical styles (Dusty Springfield, ABBA, Jethro Tull, DJ Shadow, Sonic Youth, Van Dyke Parks, Guns N' Roses, Celine Dion) and authors (John Darnielle, holding forth on Black Sabbath). The 96th entry comes from veteran rock journalist and recent Stanford Ph.D Gina Arnold, whose take on Liz Phair's 1993 grunge-grrrl thesis Exile in Guyville offers what the New York Times calls "the most curious" entry in the 33 1/3 canon, taking a "free-form" approach rather than simply combing through each of Phair's lo-fi anthems. Seems kinda perfect, considering Phair's own unconventional music-biz approach — plus, any excuse to revisit "Fuck and Run" is always welcome. 7:30pm, free. Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF. (415) 626-1409 www.booksmith.com