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From the Blogs

Will the Thrill says good-bye (kinda) to movies -- and hello to "Mermaid"

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I received an email the other day with the terribly alarming subject line "FINAL. THRILLVILLES. EVER. No fooling." Could Will "The Thrill" Viharo, a veteran host of cult movie nights around the Bay Area, be hanging up his fez and smoking jacket for good?

Well, not exactly. Fans already know he's been scaling back his "Thrillville" events since the Parkway Theater closed and the Cerrito Theater changed ownership in 2009 (both East Bay venues, operated by Speakeasy Theaters, had hosted Viharo's regularly-scheduled B-movie extravaganzas). Over the past year, Viharo's taken his show -- which includes his wife and assistant, Monica Tiki Goddess, and usually a pre-movie band or performing group -- on the road, sprinkling a bit of sleaze, gore, trash, and monster mayhem on an assortment of Bay Area theaters.

Now, he explains in his (sorta) sign-off email, "I am giving up the Thrillville road show concept and sticking exclusively to my new home base at Forbidden Island in Alameda, where I'll be hosting my mellower movie series 'Forbidden Thrills' one Monday a month, for as long as people show up. It's a stripped down version of Thrillville — (mostly) public domain cult classics, cocktail specials, prizes, no cover, [and] free popcorn." In other words, you can take the Thrill off the B-movie road, but you can't take him out of the tiki bar. Or something.

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Hotel Fairness Initiative qualifies for fall ballot

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By Brittany Baguio

The Department of Elections has announced that the Hotel Fairness Initiative was approved for the November ballot. Labor and community groups last week turned in 10,544 signatures, a little more than the required 7,168 signatures needed to put an initiative on the ballot. The Department of Elections did a sample of 500 signatures to check the validity and reported that 478 of the 500 signatures sampled were valid, resulting in a 95.6 percent accuracy rate. Read more »

Board accepts EIR, but vows to amend Candlestick-Shipyard plan

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Text by Sarah Phelan, images by Luke Thomas

At the end of a ten-hour hearing to appeal the final environmental impact report  for the city and Lennar’s massive Candlestick-Shipyard redevelopment project, the Board voted 8-3 to accept the FEIR, with only Sups. John Avalos, Chris Daly and Eric Mar voting to reverse certification of what they said was a flawed document.Read more »

Appetite: With Campo de Encanto, SF gets its own pisco

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You might have heard? There's a new pisco on the streets "for bartenders, by bartenders": Encanto Pisco, created by Duggan McDonnell of Cantina, sommelier and spirits guru Walter Moore, and Peruvian master distiller Carlos Romero. Although an authentically Peruvian pisco (distilled -- and already making waves -- in Peru), it's a homegrown San Francisco product, a labor of love from locals who know their spirits. Read more »

The Performant: Shrouds Illuminated at the LAB and Garage

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Nicole Gluckstern reports on the Bay Area arts and culture scene

It sounds a little strange, but I’ve been thinking about shrouds. Not in a morbid way, just in the practical sense. Mostly I wonder what kind of material gets used. Movie mummy shrouds always seem to be made of cheesecloth, but that strikes me as a little flimsy for a swaddled delivery into the afterlife. Actually, speaking of swaddling, doesn’t it seem a little curious that babies and corpses should be wrapped so similarly -- at least in the days before they invented the Tickle-Me-Elmo onesie?

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Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Katrin and Kristoffer, Bannan and Green

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Up Mission Creek with Mark Matos and Os Beaches

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 I had a “hold me closer, Tony Danza,” moment when I first heard the hyper-localized anthem “High Priest of the Mission,” on Mark Matos and Os Beaches’ 2009 Porto Franco release Words of the Knife. I thought Matos sang “the high priest of omission,” then I suspected that maybe he was singing “the high priest of submission,” which gave the song an entirely different slant. Read more »

Half-remembered kaleidescopes: the Jewish Film Festival's youngest storytellers

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Could the past be a kaleidescope, a pattern of images that shift with each disturbance of a sudden breeze... and if the shift is everywhere, how would we know?

-Alan Lightman

If heritage remains constant, what changes is the inheritors. In a project that will live in interactive kiosks at the Jewish Film Festival (Sat/24), as well as in our own Internet devices, young artists are using websites to tell tales that only last year would have taken the shape of a movie. Modernity, man. Their theme? “Half Remembered Stories,” subject matter that lends itself to the nebulous, fragmentary nature of our online lives.

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The woman remembered

Norma Talmadge shines at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

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The changeover from silent to sound cinema revolutionized the world's most popular entertainment form. As in most revolutions, some heads got lopped off. The industry saw this upheaval as a chance to clean house, getting rid of pricey or difficult talent by claiming they couldn't make the transition. The public went along, suddenly hungry for all things talking, singing, dancing, and new, eager to dismiss yesterday's favorites as old-fashioned.Read more »

At your cervix

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Dear Andrea: As long as I can remember, I've had a fascination with gyno play and playing doctor. I've grown more and more interested in the idea of cervical dilation/cervical insertions, but have been unable to find any literature on the subject. I understand that any cervical penetration has the possibility of causing cramps and/or other pain, but I am anxious and willing to experiment with this aspect of such play. Any advice?

Love, Stretch meRead more »

Whitman criticized for opposing high-speed rail

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By Brittany Baguio

Although Republican gubernatorial Meg Whitman claims job creation is one of her top priorities, she recently stated that she opposes the plan to build a high-speed rail system in California – a project that is being eagerly anticipated in San Francisco, its northern terminus. Read more »

Fix the BART police force - or disband it

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18 months after a BART cop shot Oscar Grant, the transit agency still doesn't have effective police oversight

EDITORIAL Who murdered Oscar Grant? Part of the equation is the years of neglect of the BART Police. — Assembly Member Tom Ammiano

We're angry, too.

Angry that a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man could wind up with little or no prison time. Angry that the news media whipped up such a fervor over the potential for a riot in Oakland that it almost guaranteed someone would show up and break a few windows. Angry that the jury who decided this case was 400 miles away and included no African Americans.

But mostly we're angry that 18 months after a BART cop shot Oscar Grant, the transit agency still doesn't have effective police oversight. And until the BART board recognizes that it still has 200 poorly trained, poorly supervised,* armed officers on the streets — and that this shooting wasn't an anomaly, it was simply the latest in a series of criminal acts by BART police officers that led to the deaths of innocent people — and until the BART Board starts treating this like the emergency that it is, the problems are going to continue.

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Board votes on Candlestick-Shipyard project EIR appeal today

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All images by Luke Thomas

The Chronicle’s suggestion that the city’s massive Candlestick-shipyard project may be facing smoother sailing seems like wishful thinking to those who attended a July 12 noontime rally that was organized by POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights) and featured two Louisiana-based advocates who protested the project’s EIR and shared many of the longstanding concerns about project cleanup, infrastructure and financing.

The Chronicle was of course referring to five amendments to the city’s massive redevelopment proposal that Board President David Chiu introduced during yesterday’s July 12 meeting of the Board’s Land Use committee. The Chron interpreted these amendments as a sign that Chiu plans to approve the project's environmental impact report, which comes before the Board today, after several groups appealed the final EIR that the Planning Commission approved last month.

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Oakland considers limiting and licensing marijuana growers

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Updated info below

The medical marijuana community – everyone from small growers to Harborside Health Center, the biggest dispensary in Oakland – are reacting strongly against an ordinance proposed by Oakland City Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Larry Reid to limit and license marijuana cultivation, a proposal that will be heard tonight (7/13) at 6 p.m. by the council's Public Safety Committee. Read more »

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Katelyn, Grant and Green

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