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How a high-minded countercultural experiment ended up on everyone's bucket list

This Week's Paper

weekcoverGrover Norquist brings the Black Rock blues as Burning Man Jumps the Shark! Pro-Palestine protesters block the boat, fed-up teachers take strike vote, and crack cocaine sentences may soon get smoked. Plus: Myron & E lay down street soul at Noise Pop, Nick Monaco belts out his Mating Call, and Aubrey Plaza slays in Life After Beth. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

Who profits from ICE's electronic monitoring anklets?

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One of the many troubling things to emerge from the threatened deportation of the wife and stepsons of Muni bus driver Charles Washington is the extent to which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is using electronic monitoring bracelets to track immigrants--and is turning to private contractors to deliver these service Read more »

Appetite: Scotch dreams come true

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For someone whose every day is a taste adventure, I will say a recent, private Russell’s Room tasting at Bourbon & Branch of Highland Park scotches was one of the most memorable I’ve ever been privileged to be a part of. There were only two such tastings in the country: here and in New York. I felt lucky to be one of less than 10 around the table (and only 2 women – scotch remains predominantly a man’s world?) tasting HP’s awesome 18, 25, 30 and 40 year scotches. But the magnificent centerpiece was a just-released, $3999 per bottle, limited-edition 1968 vintage. 

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Willie Brown to speak in favor of Prop 16 tomorrow

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A public forum will be held tomorrow at the California Public Utilities Commission to discuss Proposition 16, the ballot initiative that PG&E is bankrolling in order to require a two-thirds majority vote before any municipality can become an electricity provider.

The Guardian has received word that former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown will be speaking in support of Prop. 16. We initially heard that he would be speaking on behalf of the California Chamber of Commerce, so we placed a call with the COC to verify whether that was the case. That prompted Robin Swanson, spokesperson for the Yes on 16 Campaign, to call and clarify that Brown is speaking on his own behalf. “He’s just speaking in support of Prop 16,” she said, speculating that maybe he was interested in the issue due to his own experience in local government.

Willie Brown formerly worked for PG&E providing “consulting services,” according to a 2007 annual report. Read more »

Editorial: Who wins with the Transamerica condos?

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The developers aren't offering to build something that will create permanent jobs for local residents. They want a huge favor from San Francisco: they want the city to ignore its own planning rules, ignore its park-shadow ordinance, and hand over a piece of city street, just to make their project more profitable.

EDITORIAL  As the Planning Commission prepares to vote March 18 on a pointless and overly large condominium complex next to the Transamerica Pyramid, let us take a moment to look at who would benefit from the project's approval.Read more »

Oakland's Camaron Ochs may inspire folk-pop Barbie

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Big blonde hair, rosy cheeks, and an adorable little frame ... folk-pop songstress Camaron Ochs -- who'll be performing Wed/17 at Cafe Du Nord -- is a doll. Coincidentally, she is also being stalked by one— the Oakland singer-songwriter has seen quite a lot of Barbie in the past year, the long plastic limbs have been spotted at two East Bay venues where Ochs took the stage: the Stork Club, where the bar is decorated with stacks of cased holiday Barbies and Mama Buzz, the coffee shop/art gallery that hosted an art exhibit of the dolls in adult-style dioramas.

 

“There’s a Bat Girl Barbie at the Stork Club and I want it,” she says with a warm smile. “And I really liked the Barbie on the unicorn at Mama Buzz.”

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Steve Poizner is scary!

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I knew that Republicans have gotten pretty loony these days, but gubernatorial hopeful Steve Poizner was downright scary in his debate with Meg Whitman yesterday, threatening to create racial unrest and bankrupt the state in the name of being more conservative-than-thou.Read more »

Hot sex events this week: March 17-23

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Break out the green latex, St. Patty's day has unleashed an Irish car bomb of sex events. So whether you're in the mood to perfect your rub skills, bid high for a quality sub, or land you a chubby hubby, the following events will have you dancing a jig. You know, a sexy jig.

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On excessive usage of flat screens and greased up women

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It's a good week for hip-hop. After my interview with Chilean rapera Ana Tijoux, I caught this vid, thanks to the homeboys over at Mission Mission.

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Behind the Mexican drug war

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Editors note: The killings of three U.S. consular employees in Ciudad Juarez has brought increased press attention in this country to the violence of Mexico’s drug gangs.  Our Mexico City correspondent, John Ross, reports on the background story.

MEXICO CITY - Last July, in a meticulously planned raid reminiscent of the classic guerrilla jail breakouts that are legend in Latin America, a commando force of 20 heavily armed fighters freed 53 comrades from a prison in the northern state of Zacatecas. Were the perpetrators in fact guerrilleros from some as-yet unknown revolutionary foco or narcos emulating a guerrilla-style jailbreak intent on freeing their own?

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Music for all those left behind by SXSW

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The rapture that is South By Southwest has taken all that’s good and pure to Texas for Austin’s week of non-stop music, showcasing bands that have descended from the heavens themselves. Reading this post means you too have been left behind, your friends, family, music store clerks and critics disappeared over the weekend and didn’t even bother to leave you a mix-tape. Thou shall not fear, my friends. Austin may be wining and dining some of your favorite bands this week, or maybe each and every goddamned one, but thank the Lord San Francisco has your best interests at heart with plentiful options for entertainment.

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U.S. Census begins, officials work to quell fears

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By Adrián Castañeda

Federal Census forms are being mailed out today, March 15. It’s a massive government effort to count everyone who lives in the United States that comes every 10 years, and it’s being matched by an equally strong effort by nonprofit groups to ensure that even marginalized residents get counted.

In a country that once counted slaves as 3/5 a person and did not count Native Americans at all, it appears that the 2010 census will come the closest to counting all people living in the U.S. Millions of dollars are being spent to inform people of the importance, and the function, of responding to the decennial census – and saving the feds from spending further millions on door-to-door enumerating. 

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Downtown's DCCC slate fizzles

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I'm actually a bit surprised that Gavin Newsom's allies haven't made a bigger push to take back control of the San Francisco Democratic Party, which will play a key role in the fall supervisorial races. It looked for a while as if the downtown folks were organizing to put a slate of strong candidates with solid name recognition on the ballot. But when the Department of Elections closed Friday afternoon, and the deadline for filing passed, there weren't that many new names on the ballot. Read more »

Rapera rules everything around her: Ana Tijoux rising

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As ever and ever the divide grows between what we hear on the radio versus what's truly fly in hip hop these days, Ana Tijoux plots her coming to America. Born to Chilean parents who fled from the brutal reign of Augusto Pinochet, the MC's life reads as the manifesto for the counterculture universality of hip hop. How to express the feelings stirred up by moving across the world at 14? How about coming to a country whose democratically elected president was slaughtered, replaced by a dissident-torturing dictator, that happens to be where your parents grew up? Tijoux found her anger reflected in the rhymes of the American rappers of the early '90s- and shortly after, used their "force" to raise her own voice. She's been a player on the South American hip hop scene ever since, and is releasing her second solo album, 1977, which may be her most personal project yet, looping scenes from a remarkable life story with her direct, staccato flows. Here in the Bay, we're getting a chance to catch her beats live (Thurs/25, La Peña Cultural Center), not too long after her debut among the gringos at South by Southwest. She wanted me to tell you that if you were born in 1977, you get into the Berkeley show for free. Read on to our telephone chat with Tijoux, an awesome conversation tweaked but a little by the intricacies of chatting with a translator and my own gradually stiffening Spanish.

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Melissa Febos whips it good

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Whip Smart
By Melissa Febos
(Thomas Dunne Books)

In her new memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos -- who'll be reading at Eros on April 4 -- examines, with frankness, generosity, and unexpected grace, the four years she spent working as a dominatrix in a midtown Manhattan dungeon. Readers are invited into the world of high-price humiliation, in dungeon rooms decked to the nines in the accoutrements of masochistic fantasy, where Wall Street types pay huge sums to be flogged, diapered, and pissed on. Her revelations are often funny, occasionally sad, and fearlessly candid. Febos also writes of the heroin habit that led her to accept the job, and details the emotional strain and psychological effort of kicking addiction. She speaks with the SFBG about life as a professional domme and the process of turning that life into memoir.

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farm:table brings deliciousness into the round

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Newish restaurant farm:table floods the Tenderloin with seasonal delights and "camp cooking." Gourmet hardboiled eggs, anyone?