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Quick Lit: March 31-April 6

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Literary readings, book tours, and talks this week

Wednesday, March 31

Vito Acconci
Hear writer/visual artist turned designer and architect, Vito Acconci, talk about “Words/Action/Architecture,” where he will discuss recent and upcoming projects of Acconci Studio like an artificial island in Graz, an elevated subway station in Coney Island, and a street that runs through a building in Indianapolis.
7:30 p.m., free
Mills College
Lisser Theater
5000 MacArthur, Oak.
(510) 430-2164

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Snap Sounds: Dum Dum Girls

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DUM DUM GIRLS

I Will Be

(Sup Pop)

Dee Dee. Jules. Bambi. Frankie Rose. Their names would be perfect for the pole and dollar-bill dances, but the only stage these four L.A. ladies take on is one with a mic. Together they are The Dum Dum Girls and today these bad-ass babes put out their first full-length record, I Will Be. Primarily dirty garage-pop with a shot of girl-group charm, the Dum Dum's combination of sweet and ratty comes off with a second-wave feminist punch. Hot harmonies, lo-fi fuzz, sexy black outfits, and sassy melodies that stick like bubblegum. 

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A 40-year Last Gasp that's getting stronger

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By Cécile Lepage

Last Gasp, San Francisco’s landmark independent and underground publisher, is turning 40. To celebrate this feat – in four decades, Last Gasp has spawned more than 300 comics and 250 books – it is throwing a party and an art show Thurs/April 1 at 111 Minna Gallery. Read more »

The state budget isn't growing

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I heard a great show on NPR the other day about the new rules on compensation for executives whose banks got federal bailout money. The feds have cracked down (a bit), and some of those massive salaries have been cut and top bankers are now accepting much less pay, and stock that can't be sold for three years.

And guess what: More than 80 percent of these people are still hard at work at their desks, including almost all of the most senior folks. Very few have left. It puts the lie to this notion that extreme salaries are needed to attract and retail the top talent; even after those salaries have been cut by more than half, the "talent" doesn't flee.

There's a new study by the California Budget Project (PDF) that says makes the same kinds of points. Jean Ross, the director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan group, says that urban legends die hard, so she's chosen the top ten myths about the state budget and demonstrated how utterly inaccurate they are. Read more »

Editorial: CCA: Get it done by the deadline

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If the mayor and his handpicked PUC director, Ed Harrington, and his handpicked commissioners dawdle and delay, they'll be giving a corrupt private utility exactly what it wants

EDITORIAL San Francisco has been talking about creating a community-choice aggregation system to sell cleaner electricity for five years now. There have been hearings, studies, debates, discussions, and negotiations. And now it's coming down to the wire: to avoid the prospect of a Pacific Gas and Electric Company initiative on the June ballot that cuts the city's effort off at the knees, San Francisco officials need to get CCA up and running before June 8.

But the mayor and the Public Utilities Commission don't seem to have any sense of urgency. And the slow pace of negotiations with the contractor that would handle the electricity purchases is playing right into PG&E's hands. If the mayor and his handpicked PUC director, Ed Harrington, and his handpicked commissioners dawdle and delay, they'll be giving the corrupt private utility exactly what it wants.

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Yee's two-fer: Bashing Palin while promoting sunshine

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Sen. Leland Yee scored a two-fer yesterday when he blasted a California State University organization for hiding how much it’s playing Sarah Palin for a speaking gig, raising an important sunshine issue and knocking Palin’s populism-for-pay schtick in the process. And at the heart of the issue is how public education institutions increasingly use foundations to avoid accountability.Read more »

Study: Cuts to health programs a bad plan for state economy

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It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to understand that people who earn less shell out a greater percentage of their income from month to month than those occupying more elite ranks. Anyone fortunate enough to be holding down even a low-paying gig in a state where unemployment stands at 12.5 percent knows that basic living expenses can quickly consume a paycheck in San Francisco.

A study released by the Center for Labor and Research Education at the University of California at Berkeley has found that cutting relatively low-paying jobs in the state’s health and human services sector would deal a harsher blow to California’s financial health than alternative budget-balancing measures, like raising taxes on the wealthiest residents. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed cutting $6.4 billion from California’s health and human services budget, part of his solution for closing a roughly $20 billion budget gap.

“The budget proposals that the governor is making would … significantly worsen the economic crisis in the state, rather than pull us out,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at UC Berkeley. Read more »

Live Shots: Air, Fox Theater, 03/26/2010

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It was the first time I traveled by myself. I was exploring Boston, meandering along the red line that winds its way from one historical site to another, while the discman in my purse blasted Air. The red line (aka The Freedom Trail) ends at Bunker Hill. The sun was brilliant on that June day and I lay in the grass, squinting up at the clouds. Cherry Blossom Girl started playing. I watched a little girl do somersaults in the grass and dance. Her tumbles were in perfect time with the soft rhythm of the song. The little girl was pure joyfulness. She found a feather in the grass and for some reason brought it over to me and said "This is for you." Then her dad called to her, telling her it was time to go home.

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Appetite: It's Passover -- so come on over

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As Passover begins tonight through next Monday, here's a few places where you know you can eat quite well and stay quite kosher:

4/5 - SLOW FOOD Seder at Mission Beach Cafe
Heeb magazine teams up with one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Mission Beach Café for a Slow Food Seder. Yes, that's slow food principles, modern cooking sensibilities, traditional Jewish dishes. In fact, with each course, you have the choice of traditional or California-style dishes, each made with local ingredients. Will it be smoked black cod with potato kugel or matzo flatbread with haroset, balsamic reduction, basil scallion pesto and messo seco cheese?

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Bay Area Sistah Sound celebrate two years of femme beats

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The ladies of Bay Area Sistah Sound know their place -- and it’s in the beat kitchen. The all female DJ crew (which includes DJ Zita, the legendary Pam the Funkstress and newest addition to the cast, DJ Similak Chyld) is celebrating its second anniversary at 111 Minna on Fri/2. It seemed like a good time to reflect with the women on their past two years.Read more »

A good, stubborn Irishman

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He was one of the last of the old-line labor leaders who once had great influence in many cities. He was Irish-Catholic, of course, a resident of the city's principal working class district, and from one of the blue-collar trades.

 His name was Joseph Michael O'Sullivan. He had been president of the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council and for four decades head of its main carpenters union local.
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Deadline looms for San Francisco’s green power program

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Negotiations between city government and Power Choice LLC, a contractor selected to implement San Francisco’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, began Feb. 9. Almost seven weeks later, there’s still no end in sight -- but if a deal isn’t secured soon, San Francisco could risk losing an opportunity to implement a cutting-edge green power program that would significantly reduce the city’s reliance on fossil fuels and give customers an alternative electricity provider.

About a half-decade of studies, debate, public meetings, and input from all sides have brought San Francisco’s CCA to the threshold of finally becoming a reality. The program would offer an energy mix comprised of 51 percent renewable power by 2017 for those who opted in.  

Assuming the program can operate successfully without an adverse impact to customers’ wallets, San Francisco could become a shining example of how to transition to a more sustainable energy model. It could represent giant step -- rather than an inch-by-inch crawl -- toward carbon-free power generation serving the needs of a major U.S. city. Read more »

The pot initiative's going to win

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It seems pretty clear to me that, with polls showing widespread support and money pouring in for the campaign, the initiative to legalize pot in California is going to pass. Read more »

Us and the Weekly: It wasn't personal

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I really liked The Stranger's article a couple of weeks ago about our battle with SF Weekly and it's corporate parent, Village Voice Media. Eli Sanders is a good reporter, and he got most of it right.Read more »

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Raeann, Van Ness and Washington

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