Pixel Vision

Chocolate. It's what's for dinner.

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By Meghan McCloskey

I’m not the kind of girl who craves chocolate. I don’t need boxes of candy from my boyfriend to know he’s into me. Hell, I’d rather get a sweater or even a cheesy bouquet of flowers than a fatty gift that’ll up my waistband.

But since last week I’ve changed forever, thanks to Orson, a trendy restaurant in SOMA known for its forward thinking and groundbreaking use of chocolate in its main dishes. That’s right. I said chocolate. For dinner. Read more »

'Star Wars: The Force Unleashed''s Haden Blackman untethered

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By Ben Richardson

While attending the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed launch event at the Harrison Street Best Buy on Sept. 15, I got a chance to part the ranks of cosplayers in Storm Trooper armor and ask project lead Haden Blackman a few questions about his game. Read more »

The red and the black: Shepard Fairey at Shooting Gallery, White Walls

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By Kat Renz

I had no idea when I pitched a piece on Shepard Fairey’s “Duality of Humanity” solo show that I’d be getting an up-close preview, a public/private wheat-pasted hanging on the western wall of my room, now amounting to the best street “graffiti” (it was sanctioned by my landlord)/anti-war advert in the ‘hood. Read more »

Mugwumpin 'n' denial: it's not just a river in Egypt

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By Robert Avila

In October, local performance company mugwumpin - a kinetic and fervidly experimental ensemble that does not shy from being highly entertaining, too - travels to the massive Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre.

There it will represent the US with a newer, leaner version of its 2006 deconstruction of the American hero complex, super:anti:reluctant. Read more »

Toronto International Film Festival: More from Jesse Hawthorne Ficks

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By Jesse Hawthorne Ficks

Having had one helluva good time at this year's festival (25 films in 6 days!), here's an overview that you can use as a nice checklist for the upcoming months.

* Wong Kar-Wai's Ashes of Time Redux amped up his 1994 classic, adding colors galore and some new cello solos by Yo-Yo Ma. Luckily Wong kept intact the complex, existential storylines, which blur characters into memories of the past, present, and future while giving his actors tear-induced melodrama that still radiates 15 years later. Read more »

Slumming with high society

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By Paula Connelly and Deborah Giattina

We arrived at the Clift hotel fashionably late in the hopes of fast forwarding to Gavin and Jennifer’s grand appearance. Last night was the Redwood Room’s 75th anniversary, and a staff member told us that picking the mayor and first lady to host the fete would guarantee its Social(ite) Event of the Year title.

Rolling with high society is not our usual modus operandi, but we snapped at the chance to indulge in the open bar and up-close look at 7x7 back pages fodder -- only problem was, we didn't know who's who. Read more »

Tailing the Fringe: more plays to catch

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By Rob Avila

Here are a few plays especially worth checking out at the San Francisco Fringe Festival, but premiering too late for review: For more, see "Knuckballin'."

Exit Sign: A Rock Opera
SF musician and songwriter Carrie Baum’s autobiographical flight, glimpsed over the weekend, has some sentimental aspects but is frequently inspired, tuneful, heartfelt, and good fun. Read more »

Toronto International Film Festival: Days 5-6

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It's over! Well, for me, anyway -- the festival rolls on through the weekend, but tomorrow I'll be jetting back to SF, watching edited-for-content episodes of The Wire on Air Canada's seatback television. I only had one spontaneous celebrity sighting (Wyclef, scampering into an SUV outside his hotel as I plodded past in search of breakfast this morning). But I did see some enjoyable movies these last two days, plus a few feh offerings.

Toronto International Film Festival: Days 3-4

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While San Francisco was having some of its nicest weather of the year, it rained in Toronto. Fortunately, my chief focus was indoors, in the dark, so it didn't matter, really -- soggy socks be damned. I made it to JCVD, Belgian director Mabrouk El Mechri's surprisingly dignified tribute to Jean-Claude Van Damme, and probably my most-anticipated movie of the 2008 festival. Read more »

Toronto International Film Festival: Days 1-2

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If you ask me, there's no better way to start your Toronto International Film Festival experience than with a film that contains a money shot revolving around a shredded set of intestines. Ohhh yeah, I knew the France-UK-Belgium co-production Vinyan was gonna be intense when I noted the director, Fabrice Du Welz, had also helmed 2004's Calvaire -- one of those don't-get-off-the-main-road horror flicks that rang more depraved than most. Read more »