Pixel Vision

We will survive! Annalee Newitz's 'Scatter, Adapt, and Remember'

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Spoiler alert: Humans survive at the end of the world.

It’s a bit more complicated than that, of course, but it’s good to start on a note of hope. It’s a hope we can afford to have, as Annalee Newitz (editor of science and culture site io9.com, and a former Guardian contributor) discovered in the research that yielded her book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction (Doubleday, 320 pp., $26.95). She's among the participants in tonight's "Last Things"-themed InsideStoryTime at North Beach's Glass Door Gallery.

Fascinated with the possibility of future disasters, Newitz set out to learn all there is to learn about the history of mass extinctions on Earth. From megavolcanoes to meteor strikes, the common thread of disaster on this planet is that something has always survived. An impressive amount of work is being done to make it possible for us to continue this streak of survival, and we all possess some tools of survival already. Read more »

Chef Michael Anthony talks 'The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook'

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The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 352 pp., $50) takes you on a restaurant tour, beginning with Danny Meyer’s initial conception of opening this New York establishment, continuing past the chief steward and his wheelbarrow of fresh spring produce from the Greenmarket, around the harvest table where the floral designer pairs yellow sprays of sunflowers with splayed summer squash, into the kitchen during the staff’s family meal, past the pastry station where Nancy Olson creates her autumn peanut butter semifreddo, and ending at the dining table with a winter dish of guinea hen prepared by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Anthony.

By the time you’ve read through this serious and seriously exquisite cookbook, ogled the colorful photos, and closed the enormous, masculine-elegant back cover, you’ve spent a whole year eating inside the Tavern. Your appreciation for the minute mechanics that run a restaurant will have widened, and your list of must-try recipes? Exploded. (I’ve already checked off the curious “Cauliflower with Quinoa, Prunes, and Peanuts” with happy results). Chef Anthony, making his first trip to San Francisco in December, spoke to me about his vision behind the book.

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All in: author and activist Julia Serano talks 'Excluded'

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When we talk about feminist and queer exclusion, we aren’t just dealing with gendered pay gaps and marriage rights. In her new book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, Oakland-based author and activist Julia Serano delves into the types of exclusion that she and many others have faced within the very spaces that are supposed to make us feel safe and supported.

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Photo gallery: #Batkidfrenzy

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Days later Batkid is still warming our hearts, and taking a look at the interwebs shows that Miles Scott, aka Batkid, warmed the hearts of many worldwide. Make-a-Wish turned parts of San Francisco into Gotham City for the day Friday, Nov. 15 and the Guardian was on hand for photos. Below we've also compiled some of our favorite Batkid photos and memes from the weekend. Guardian photos by Amanda Rhoades.  

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The Performant: Louder, faster, more!

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When a friend of a friend held his 33 1/3rd birthday party, he filled the rooms of his apartment with turntables and stacks of LPs for his guests to play themselves. It was basically the best party ever, and a good argument for propagating the tradition of celebrating that particular milestone. And of course what better milestone to celebrate if you’re in the music business, like long-time independent label Alternative Tentacles? Particularly in a business climate unkind to independent anything, to be able to celebrate three-plus decades of sticking it to the establishment at all is some cause for jubilee.

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New movies: a great week for docs

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This week, doc lovers are in luck: not only is Chris Marker's seminal 1962 Le Joli Mai making a return to theaters (Sam Stander's take here), but Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney delves into cycling's greatest scandal in The Armstrong Lie (my review here).

Plus! The moving American Promise, filmed over 13 years; the latest from Lynne Sachs, Your Day Is My Night; and more, after the jump.

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Young and talented: SFSU's 26th Stillwell Student Exhibition

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The Stillwell Student Exhibition is San Francisco State University's annual showcase of undergraduate and second-year MFA artwork celebrated in the name of Leo D. Stillwell, an amateur artist who died at the young age of 22 in 1947.

But a Google search doesn’t even yield that small bit of information about Stillwell. So who was he, and why has SF State honored him for 26 years?

Mark Johnson, director of the Fine Arts Gallery at SF State, explained that the generosity of Stillwell’s mother, Josephine, created opportunities for student artists all in loving memory of her son.

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Vegan idol Isa Chandra Moskowitz brings ‘Isa Does It’ to SF, reveals restaurant name

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The first thing you need to know about Isa Chandra Moskowitz is that she's a punky legend in the global vegan community. She started the DIY Post Punk Kitchen public access show in Brooklyn and (perhaps more importantly) created the vegan hub website of the same name exactly 10 years ago.

While maintaining PPK she has authored or co-authored eight popular cookbooks, right up to this fall's unfussy workday vegan cookbook, Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week (320 pps, Little Brown, $30). (She’s on a book tour that brings her to SF this Wed/13 at Book Passage in the Ferry Building, and there will be rosemary chocolate chip cookies there to share.) Read more »

The Performant: Games people play

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Ask any gamer, or specialist in pedagogy, and they'll say the same thing: games are as important to human development as any the rest of our skill-building activities. There’s evidence of game-playing in almost every culture dating all the way back to ancient Sumeria and Egypt. They also offer an entrance point into other cultures, whether by playing a familiar game like chess and seeing how it translates in an unfamiliar environment, or by learning a game representative of a particular place — Xiangqi (Chinese chess), say, or Ghanaian Oware.
 
But while some games have been around for literally thousands of years, other games seem to drop off the radar almost as quickly as they appear. What essential component gives games like Go, hide-and-go-seek, poker, Monopoly, and Super Mario Brothers such staying power over some of their, perhaps best forgotten peers? This is a question the game designers of San Francisco’s annual Come Out and Play Festival must ask themselves each year, as they present their latest inventions in the hopes of capturing the imaginations, and just maybe the funds, to bring their games to the public at large.

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Chocolate + 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' = irony that tastes gooooood

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When I got to work Friday morning, I found the Arts and Culture editors, along with our publisher, huddled outside a cubicle, mouths agape. I joined them. A large rectangular box sat on the desk. Reminiscent of the strange stone tablet from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), it rose up from the desk, black, and ominous, only this one gleamed with golden letters, spelling out “Catching Fire.” Inside, I found chocolate.

(Here’s a quick rule of thumb in the newsroom: You will get promotional gifts. Another one: rarely will a promo grab your attention. But my favorite is: Do not let thy promo go to waste.)

I did what any food writer would do. I tasted each and every last chocolate bar — a total of 12, one for each “District” inside the post-apocalyptic world of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy The Hunger Games. (The timing of this delivery, of course, is to whet one's appetite for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, out Nov 22). Crafted by chocolate makers Vosges through their American farmer-sourced Wild Ophelia line, each chocolate bar incorporated aspects of American geography, on which Panem, the segregated, classist country where heroine Katniss lives, was based.

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