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From the Blogs

Whistling in the dark: Noir returns to the Roxie

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It’s hard to guess what fictive icons of popular culture will endure and which will evaporate from the collective memory. In the 1940s, probably few would have imagined kiddie heroes Batman or Superman retaining marquee value into the next century. Bigger bets would no doubt have been placed on the Shadow, the Saint, and the Whistler, long-running radio men of mystery with uncanny (but not exactly supernatural, or super-heroic) abilities to witness the moral misdeeds of mortal men, not to mention their inevitable comeuppance.

In fact, the S-men usually doled out that payback themselves. Even more evanescent than his compatriots, the Whistler was less hands-on, more a Greek chorus sardonically telling the tale of each episode’s protagonists, gloating over the impending arrival of their just desserts. He was never a participant -- was even a He, or an otherworldly It? He was, simply, a gimmicked-up omniscient narrator, the storyteller’s own voice turned into a character slash-framing device.

As a result the Whistler probably didn’t seem natural movie material -- what can you do with a character that isn’t seen and doesn’t interact with others? Yet the 13-year series’ popularity was such that Columbia Pictures took the plunge anyway. The result was eight films made between 1944 and 1948, six showing during the two weeks of “I Still Wake Up Dreaming!,” Elliot Lavine’s latest noir revival extravaganza at the Roxie -- in restored 35mm prints struck for the occasion, yet. (The Whistlers will also play Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive May 29-June 5.)

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Ending the crackdown is as easy as ABC

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Sup. Bevan Dufty brought a surprise guest to the “Death of Fun” panel at SPUR that we each served on last night: Steve Hardy, director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, an agency that has played a key role in the crackdown on San Francisco nightlife.Read more »

Quick Lit: May 12-May 18

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Literary readings, book tours, and talks this week

Norris Chruch Mailer, Daniel Clowes, real live magic, authors on immigration, the urban farming movement, and more. Read more »

Benefits: May 12-May 18

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Ways to have fun while giving back this week

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Hot sexy events: May 12-18

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By the looks of things, I’m set to become the sexiest lady in San Francisco. After all, two of my favorite activities, reading and riding bikes, are being sex-a-fied and objectified this week -- and I kinda like it. Check out Dr. Sketchy’s Cute Girls on Bicycles, and Naked Girls Reading for a double dose of tame-ass female hotness (Sketchy’s girls will have clothes on, but the bookworms will be in all their literary glory). Geez, I hope next week doesn’t bring a Naked Girls Drinking Beer night, or a Naked Girls Using Too Many Adjectives In Their Writing night -- they’ll be ripping off my clothes in the streets! Read more »

Appetite: Sneak peak at Comstock Saloon

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Bartenders extraordinaire, Jeff Hollinger (also author of The Art of the Bar) and Jonny Raglin of Absinthe, debut Comstock Saloon, scheduled for a May 20 opening date. Read more »

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Kazu, Chris, and Angeline at SF State

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The Daily Blurgh: Is Gaga union?

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Curiosities, quirks, oddites, and items from around the Bay and beyond

Large, hairy gay men fashionably invaded Berkeley Art Museum on Mother's Day in honor of large, hairy Belgian fashion designer. Did you go? We'd love to hear your on-the-scene reports. (Alas, we were dining with Mum). Read more »

Goat news

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City Grazing, the adorable weed-eating goat herd in Bayview, has a ton of upcoming events, starting tomorrow, May 12, at 6 p.m., when City Grazing founder David Gavrich will talk at a community forum on the urban farming movement at the Commonwealth Club.

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Chris Jackson leaps into the District 10 race

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Community College Board Trustee Chris Jackson has thrown his hat into the District 10 Supervisor race. The move is guaranteed to upset the already crowded field of candidates in the district. District 10 lies in the city's southeast sector and is home to San Francisco's largest remaining African American community, and some of its most economically disadvanted communities and environmentally polluted lands.Read more »

Live Shots: Julieta Venegas, Fox Theater, 5/5/2010

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Julieta Venegas is a sparkling bubble of cuteness, with maybe just a hint of Amy Sedaris and Frida Kahlo mixed in.

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SF bears gone viral!

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See video

Caught by the hairily wonderful DJ Rotten Robbie (and via The Awl), a "brief" look at designer Walter Van Beirendonck's furry fashion extravaganza that had all the cubs panting in Berkeley this past Sunday. Let the fur fly free! (Can you name all the bears?) Maybe NSFW?

Muni reform that might actually work

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EDITORIAL The 2007 ballot measure that was supposed to give Muni more political independence and more money has failed to provide either. It's time to say that Proposition A, which we supported, hasn't worked — in significant part because the administration of Mayor Gavin Newsom hasn't allowed it to work. It's time for a new reform effort, one that looks at Muni's governance structure, funding, and the way it spends money. Read more »

Sit-lie proponents criticize their allies

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It's really amusing to read the recriminations and second-guessing from the most vociferous proponents of criminalizing sitting or lying on San Francisco sidewalks after yesterday's Public Safety Committee hearing on the matter. And the funniest part is their failure to understand that this punitive, overreaching law just isn't needed to deal with aspects of street life that scare them most, as the police reluctantly testified.Read more »

John Ross: To stop is to die

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Editors note: John Ross is finishing up a book tour across the United States, and sending us his impressions of Obamalandia. You can read some of his previous posts here, here and here.

  

I. Baltimore/Washington

 

The Amtrak rumbles into the back end of Baltimore past block after block of abandoned, boarded-up row houses ripe for burning. This city of such magnificent renegades as Edgar Allen Poe, John Wilkes Booth, and Billie Holliday is mapped by grimy pocket ghettoes that made Baltimore a perfect stage-set for "The Wire." When contrasted against the gleaming, refurbished downtown, these crime-scene neighborhoods incubate urban uprising.   Read more »