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From the Blogs

Keep watching the skies! "Birdemic" is coming!

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By Peter Galvin

Birdemic: Shock and Terror: it's heeeere! This underlit, out-of-focus and erratically-edited independent film is America’s newest cult obsession, recently booking a West Coast theater tour (including Fri/30-Sat/1 at the Roxie) on the back of some impressive press coverage and a thumbs-up from Adult Swim superstars Tim and Eric. It’s the story of a freak eagle attack on Half Moon Bay, and there’s no pussyfooting around the reality that Birdemic is an amateur work. If it weren’t for the awkward fades between scenes, I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that the film was cut entirely in-camera. With all the fuss building around the picture, the allure must be in laughing at it, and setting out to laugh at a bad film can be a tricky endeavor. Searching for whimsy in a poorly-made film can be an infuriating struggle of highs and lows, a pitfall Birdemic avoids by being laughably inept in every frame.

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CounterPULSE's three day maypole

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It’s a big weekend for celebration. May 1st is International Worker’s Day, it's the day when winter has finally left the Northern Hemisphere building, and marks the dawn dances of the pagan Beltane. All in all, it’s an apt time for rejoicing in the people and places what that make our world beautiful.

And given that we’re in the Bay, one of the Earth’s great cradles of populist art, there may be no better place to do that than CounterPULSE, the community art performance space that is celebrating 20 years (five in their current location) of helping cool artist do what they do. CounterPULSE has been sponsoring classes, performances, and residencies for some of our most progressive and exciting artists over the past decades -- and they're making it easy for you to throw some dough their way with three days of diverse, exciting programming that could really only happen here in San Francisco Read more »

Welcome to Elm Street: Part Seven

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Before Wes Craven got meta with Scream (1996), he tried his self-referential hand at the Nightmare on Elm Street series. The result was New Nightmare (1994), which reunited Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund as … Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund. Also playing themselves: actor John Saxon, writer-director Wes Craven, producer Robert Shaye, and Freddy Krueger. Yep, that’s how he’s credited.

Where was there to go after the dreadful Freddy’s Dead (1991)? Not because of the title’s finality — see also: the so-called Final Chapter (1984) of Friday the 13th — but rather its inescapable shittyness. Part six offered more comedy than horror, with lazy deaths, bad acting, and weak puns — even by Freddy standards. But New Nightmare was a reinvention in the truest sense. It’s a film that, while far from perfect, was well ahead of its time. In fact, Craven pitched it as the plot for part three, but the studio decided against it.

That’s probably for the best. New Nightmare works well when it’s referencing its predecessors: that’s kind of the whole point. Part three would have been too soon — that film could have been clever, but it wouldn’t be full of the Easter eggs that make New Nightmare such a treat for longtime fans. And, yes, I’ve been rewatching these movies for the past week and am, in general, above-average geeky: this film works for me in a way it might not work for others. But I think that’s OK. Scream is broader (and better) because it appeals to fans of all ‘80s horror — New Nightmare is just for Freddy Krueger devotees.

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PG&E pitches the Guardian for support

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You know that Pacific Gas & Electric is carpet-bombing voters with its campaign to kill the CleanPowerSF program and pass Proposition 16 – which would prevent such renewable public power programs in the future – when one of their minions calls the Bay Guardian City Editor at his desk at work with their pitch.Read more »

SFBG radio! Johnny Angel Wendell and Tim Redmond

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Today we launch SFBG radio, with host Johnny Angel Wendell. His show will be appearing twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. On today's show, Johnny talks to Tim Redmond about the governor's race, reapportionment and the state of state politics.

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The invaluable legacy of Willard Wirtz

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Dick Meister, formerly labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for a half –century.Read more »

The Daily Blurgh: No more toys for you

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The Black and White Ball: Not just for the city's elite anymore.

*****

The Prop 8 trial could wrap in time for Pride, causing either waves of rainbow-colored jubilation to ripple across the LGBT populace or a massive flashback to the bummer November of '08.

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Welcome to Elm Street: Part Six

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In honor(?) of the new A Nightmare on Elm Street, we're recapping all of the Elms so far. Find more on the Pixel Vision blog.

By 1991, when the optimistically-titled Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare rolled around, the Elm Street series was still making money, but delivering few scares. Not like the series’ beloved hero cared, really — Freddy Krueger was as popular as ever. Just look at the opening credits of Freddy’s Dead, which equate Krueger and Nietzsche as quotable icons (“Welcome to prime time, bitch!” remains a phrase of note among philosophers, I’m sure.)

The only Nightmare film directed by a woman (Rachel Talalay, who made her directing debut; she later made 1995’s Tank Girl and has since helmed a shit-ton of TV shows), and the only to utilize 3-D (more on that later), Freddy’s Dead is set ten years in the future (so, 2001?) Freddy has slaughtered every kid in Springwood; the adults who remain are bonkers. The sole survivor is a height-phobic teen (Shon Greenblatt) we only ever know as John Doe; the film’s opening sequence pays homage to both The Twilight Zone and The Wizard of Oz (1939) as John ejects from a freaky airplane ride into a house spinning through a wind storm. Do I really have to tell you Freddy sails by on a broom stick? “I’ll get you, my pretty — and your little soul, too!” Read more »

Whitman and Goldman should be rich fodder for Democrats

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Democrats are now benefiting from the confluence of the public’s outrage over reckless self-dealing on Wall Street, debate over a Democratic bill to regulate such casino-style financial practices, and prosecution of Goldman Sachs for profiting from an economic collapse it helped cause. But the bigger question is whether top Democrats are willing to make the sustained case that it’s the rich who have screwed over the vast majority of Americans, and it’s time to recover that plundered wealth to deal with pressing problems like poverty, global warming, and infrastructure needs. Read more »

Hot sexy events: April 28 - May 4

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It's time to take control, cats and kittens. And no, I don't mean you've gotta throw away all those naughty thoughts of ropes and handcuffs -- rather, it's time to lay claim to your own sex life. This week's sexy events give you ample room to play with this concept, be it Cleo Dubois (2008 leather Marshall of the Pride parade)'s weekend long intensive on mastering the whip for female dominants, or Julian Wolf's class at Good Vibes on reaffirming the divine in your S&M. Read more »

alt.sex.column: Rubber soul

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Dear Andrea:

I have memories from early childhood onward of masturbating. (I'm a woman.) I'm talking when I was four years old or possibly even younger. I remember doing it in public too, like in front of family members.

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Benefits: April 28-May 4

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Ways to have fun while giving back this week

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North Beach and Chinatown lift forks for Noodlefest 2010

Plus, pasta pennings from San Francisco's past

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I do love me some noodles. As do we all -- just ask the cooks carving them from a solid, gyro like block of pasta at the Seattle Chinese restaurant I once blissfully attended, or the happy fettuccine eaters at the sidewalk cafes on Columbus Avenue. The world would be a better place if we could all put down our weapons and pick up our forks and spoons. Read more »

Reading the tea leaves in the Arizona Governor race

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A newly released survey of the AZ governor’s race at Public Policy Polling shows a tight race, with Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat, leading all the GOP candidates, including current Arizona governor Jan Brewer, who just signed the state's racist immigration bill, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been treating undocumented Mexicans like animals for years.

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Welcome to Elm Street: Part Five

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In honor(?) of the new A Nightmare on Elm Street, we're recapping all of the Elms so far. Find more on the Pixel Vision blog.

Here’s some friendly advice — don’t be friends with Alice. She’s a nice girl and all, but she’s kind of a getting-stabbed-to-death magnet. It’s like Greta says in Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989): “The bottom line, Alice, if anyone’s trying to hurt you, supernatural or not, they’re going to have to go through us first.” Yeah, that’s not really a problem for Freddy Krueger, who’s all too happy about dispatching Alice’s friends and lovers. Souls make him strong! Hey, remember when he was just trying to get revenge? In the words of President Barack Obama, “This shit’s getting way too complicated for me.”

Part five of the Nightmare on Elm Street series isn’t all that well-regarded, but I actually like it far more than part four. Lisa Wilcox’s Alice breaks Carol Clover’s “Final Girl” model: she has sex, she gets naked, and she survives — twice! In The Dream Child, she’s transformed from the meek and mousy victim in Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) to a kick-ass mama bear. That’s right, she’s with child. The plot is really silly, though it doesn’t matter. As Cheryl pointed out, by this point in the series we’re mostly watching for the nightmares. And the ones here are great.

Let me break it down, nightmare-by-nightmare.

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