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A night at Powell Station shows how BART rousts the homeless in enforcing its new ban on sitting and lying

This Week's Paper

coverLife and death at SF General as everyone's hospital moves into an uncertain period, BART's new policy of rousing vagrants, MEX I AM's latin sounds hit Yerba Bunea Center, and Wolrd War I Films blow up the screen at PFA. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

Enter if you dare! Spirited local actors highlight Jefferson Street's ghoulish new attraction

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A new attraction is coming to Fisherman’s Wharf June 26, and it’s pretty surreal. The San Francisco Dungeon, the eighth in a series by Merlin Entertainments and the first stateside (most of the other dungeons focus on medieval history and are scattered throughout Western Europe), is a subterranean labyrinth where actors lead patrons on a hodgepodge tour of creepy SF-inspired historical haunts. 

There’s obviously a lot to be skeptical of here. For one, Merlin, which is centered in the UK, is a gargantuan enterprise second only to Disney in the themed tourist trap world — other assets include Madame Tussauds, Legoland, and a bevy of contrived wildlife safaris. San Franciscans already talk a ton of smack about the half-assed efforts by huge corporate attractions on Jefferson St. to appear “local” — the one or two scattered Californian sports figures or cultural icons in Tussauds, for example, don’t conceal the sterility of the whole operation. 

My visit to the Dungeon didn’t run entirely contrary to these concerns.

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As Ellis Act reform bill faced death, where was Ron Conway?

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One week and one day -- that's how long Sen. Mark Leno has to push his Ellis Act reform bill through two committees in order for it to go before to the assembly floor, making its prospects for passage this year look dim.

The push would have been easier if it hadn't lost yesterday's vote, 3-4, in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. Now the bill's passage is a herculean task that even Leno admits is a tough slog. 

"I'd say it's challenging," Leno told us yesterday. San Franciscans have been displaced by real estate speculators, a dozen or more of whom are regularly "flipping" homes for profit and using the Ellis Act to clean out longtime renters. If passed, the bill would restrict the use of the Ellis Act to those who've owned their homes for five years or longer, allowing property owners to eventually get out of the rental business, as supporters of the Ellis Act say it was intended for. 

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Party Radar: Hardkiss Brothers celebrate 1991, "Flowers Blooming"

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It's a tribute to the resiliency of SF's classic Hardkiss Brothers -- and the soul of the SF house music scene -- that, after the devastating loss of musical brother Scott last year, Gavin and Robbie Hardkiss have bounced back with an exuberant tribute to the roots of their legendary collective, new album 1991.

This Fri/20 at Public Works (9pm-3am, $10. 161 Erie, SF), they'll be bringing the Hardkiss family together to celebrate the release of exuberant floor-stomping single "Flowers Blooming" -- a rework of lovely 1980 Change track "Glow of Love." Free download below!

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City agencies defend their slow response to Airbnb's illegal rentals

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More information has been coming out about how Airbnb is used to convert San Francisco apartments into tourist rentals — including an interesting study reported by the San Francisco Chronicle last weekend — in advance of next month’s hearings on legislation to legalize and regulate short-term rentals.

But questions remain about why the city agencies in charge of regulating such “tourist conversions,” which have long been illegal under city law, have done so little to crack down on the growing practice. For more than two years, we at the Guardian have been publicly highlighting such violations, which have finally caught fire with the public in the last six months. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Lone

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Matt "Lone" Cutler's heart belongs to hip hop.  It's easy to forget this given how the British producer only started to attract critical notice after switching from the post-J Dilla instrumentals of his early albums to a style that had more in common with house and rave music. The transition wasn't terribly unnatural given that his sonic trademark was rich synth chords, a sound rare in hip hop but prevalent in dance.  He kept those intact; he just switched up the rhythm and instantly went from generic beatmaker to underground dance hero, producing one of 2012's best electronic albums in Galaxy Garden. Read more »

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is Turning 17!

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Win a pair of VIP tickets to the official party Saturday, June 28 and celebrate seventeen years of brewing great beer in San Francisco. There will be unlimited beer tasting including flagship brews as well as rare and experimental offerings! You can also enjoy local food and live music. Email rsvp@sfmediaco.com with your first and last name and "Speakeasy 17" in the subject line. Tickets and more information are available at goodbeer.com/speakeasys-17th-anniversary.

Doo-wop (that thing): talking with the cast of 'Jersey Boys'

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The backstage musical that turned the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons — known for 1960s doo-wop ditties like "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," and a zillion more; you will recognize all of them — into Broadway gold ascends to the big screen Fri/20 thanks to director Clint Eastwood, a seemingly odd choice until you consider Eastwood's own well-documented love of music. 

Jersey Boys weaves a predictable tale of show biz dreams realized and then nearly dashed, with a gangster element that allows for some Goodfellas-lite action (a pre-fame Joe Pesci is a character here; he was actually from the same 'hood, and was instrumental in the group's formation). With songs recorded live on-set, à la 2012's Les Misérables, there's some spark to the musical numbers, but Eastwood's direction is more solid than spontaneous, with zero surprises (even the big finale, clearly an attempt at a fizzy, feel-good farewell, seems familiar). 

Still, the cast — including 2006 Tony winner John Lloyd Young as Valli, and Christopher Walken as a sympathetic mobster — is likable, with Young in particular turning in a textured performance that speaks to his years of experience with the role. I spoke with Young, Michael Lomenda (who plays original Four Season Nick Massi), and Erich Bergen (as Bob Gaudio, the member who wrote most of the group's hits) when the trio made a recent visit to San Francisco to promote the movie.

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Free Sunday meters challenge rejected, SFMTA board's independence questioned

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The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to reject an environmental appeal of the decision to repeal paying for parking meters on Sundays, which was voted on by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in April as part of the agency's annual budget approval.Read more »

DCCC calls against Prop B did not have desired effect, did raise questions

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Chairperson Mary Jung of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, a highly influential political body that governs the San Francisco Democratic Party, has come under fire for “misuse of funds” after authorizing the use of DCCC dollars to make calls to voters just before the June 3 election.

The funds in question, according to DCCC members who raised concerns, came out of a $25,000 check from billionaire venture capital investor Ron Conway, received by the DCCC May 30.Read more »

Board of Supervisors considers environmental appeal of paid Sunday meters

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The Board of Supervisors is now hearing an environmental appeal of the SFMTA's proposed budget, specifically over the decision to make Sunday parking meters free once againThe move by the SFMTA to repeal paid parking meters deprived the agency of $11 million annually. Read more »

Supervisors consider affordable housing half-step

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While the Board of Supervisors today considers placing a measure on the fall ballot that would slow market rate housing projects when affordable housing development drops below 30 percent of total production, it is also slated to quietly approve another item showing San Franciscans actually need more than double that amount of housing.Read more »

Your Treasure Island Music Festival lineup: Outkast, Massive Attack, and more

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Thanks to a glitch in Ticketmaster's system (or a human who works for Ticketmaster who is now having a very bad day), we got the lineup for this year's Treasure Island Music Festival (Oct. 18 and 19) a little earlier than promoters Another Planet Entertainment were planning on announcing it. [Update as of noon-ish: The lineup's now on the festival's official website, too.] Here we go:Read more »

Win Tickets to see Angélique Kidjo June 21!

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Throughout the ‘90s and beyond, Angélique Kidjo has performed globally, winning honor after honor, including a Grammy, while using her visibility to campaign for women's rights, provide educational opportunities for girls, and support environmental initiatives. She's performing June 21 at Nourse Theater in San Francisco. Enter to win a pair of tickets by emailing rsvp@sfmediaco.com with your first and last name, and Angélique Kidjo in the subject line.

Picture of SF's extreme income equality worth thousands of words

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Sometimes visuals paint a picture in a visceral way that mere numbers can’t, and that was the case when the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project recently released a graph highlighting the magnitude of San Francisco’s high rate of income inequality growth and how it compares to other major cities around the country. San Francisco's purple bubble is floating way up, all alone, above Atlanta, Georgia's orange bubble and everyone else closely grouped together. Read more »

American revolution: Smith Henderson talks 'Fourth of July Creek'

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Smith Henderson is all smiles. His debut novel, Fourth of July Creek, has been receiving rave reviews since its release two weeks ago, has a 100,000 copy pressing from HarperCollins, and was recently called "the best book I’ve read so far this year" by Washington Post critic Ron Charles.

"I was not expecting the Ron Charles thing ... that was amazing," Henderson says, sipping his beer on the outdoor patio of Farley’s East in Oakland. (He'll be reading from the book Tue/17 at San Francisco's Book Passage.) While the degree of success that the book is receiving tickles Henderson, he doesn’t pretend to be shocked that people are enjoying his work. "When people tell me 'I love your book,' I’m happy, but not chagrined. I wrote the book toward my interests, so of course I like my book." Henderson smokes a cigarette as he chuckles. 

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