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    By Bruce B. Brugmann

    (Note: In July of 1972, when the Bay Guardian was short a Fourth of July story, I sat down and cranked out this one for the front page on my trusty Royal Typewriter. I now reprint it each year on the Bruce blog, with some San Francisco updates and postscripts.)

    Back where I come from, a small town beneath a tall standpipe in northwestern Iowa, the Fourth of July was the best day of a long, hot summer.

    The Fourth came after YMCA camp and Scout camp and church camp, but before the older boys had to worry about getting into shape for football. It was welcome relief from the scalding, 100-degree heat in a town without a swimming pool and whose swimming holes at Scout Island were usually dried up by early July. But best of all, it had the kind of excitement that began building weeks in advance.

    The calm of the summer dawn and the cooing of the mourning doves on the telephone wires would be broken early on July Fourth: The Creglow boys would be up by 7 a.m. and out on the lawn shooting off their arsenal of firecrackers. They were older and had somehow sent their agents by car across the state line and into South Dakota where, not far above the highway curves of Larchwood, you could legally buy fireworks at roadside stands.<!--break-->

    Ted Fisch, Jim Ramsey, Wiener Winters, the Cook boys, Hermie Casjens, Jerry Prahl, Elmer Menage, and the rest of the neighborhood gang would race out of  their houses to catch the action. Some had cajoled firecrackers from their parents or bartered from the older boys in the neighborhood: some torpedoes (the kind you smashed against the sidewalk); lots of 2 and 3-inchers, occasionally the granddaddy of them all, the cherry bomb (the really explosive firecracker, stubby, cherry red, with a wick sticking up menacingly from its middle; the kind of firecracker you’d gladly trade away your best set of Submariner comics for.)

    Ah, the cherry bomb. It was a microcosm of excitement and mischief and good fun. Bob Creglow, the most resourceful of the Creglow boys, would take a cherry bomb, set it beneath a tin can on a porch, light the fuse, then head for the lilac bushes behind the barn.

    “The trick,” he would say, imparting wisdom of the highest order, “is to place the can on a wood porch with a wood roof. Then it will hit the top of the porch, bang, then the bottom of the porch, bang. That’s how you get the biggest clatter.”

    So I trudged off to the Linkenheil house, the nearest front porch suitable for cherry bombing, to try my hand at small-town demolition. Bang went the firecracker. Bang went the can on the roof. Bang went the can on the floor. Bang went the screen door as Karl Linkenheil roared out in a sweat, and I lit out for the lilacs behind the barn with my dog, Oscar.

    It was glorious stuff - not to be outdone for years, I found out later, until the Halloween eve in high school when Dave Dietz, Ted Fisch, Ken Roach, Bob Babl, and rest of the Hermie Casjens gang and I made the big time and twice pushed a boxcar loaded with lumber across Main Street and blocked it for hours. But that’s another story for my coming Halloween blog.

    Shooting off fireworks was, of course, illegal in Rock Rapids, but Chief of Police Del Woodburn and later Elmer “Shene" Sheneberger used to lay low on the Fourth. I don’t recall ever seeing them about in our neighborhood and I don’t think they ever arrested anybody, although each year the Lyon County  Reporter would carry vague warnings about everybody cooperating to have “a safe and sane Fourth of July.”

    Perhaps it was just too dangerous for them to start making firecracker arrests on the Fourth – on the same principle, I guess, that it was dangerous to do too much about the swashbuckling on Halloween or start running down dogs without leashes (Mayor Earl Fisher used to run on the platform that, as long as he was in office, no dog in town would have to be leashed. The neighborhood consensus was that Fisher’s dog, a big, boisterous boxer, was one of the few that ought to be leashed).

    We handled the cherry bombs and other fireworks in our possession with extreme care and cultivation; I can’t remember a single mishap. Yet, even then, the handwriting was on the wall. There was talk of cutting off the fireworks supply in South Dakota because it was dangerous for young boys. Pretty soon, they did cut off the cherry bomb traffic and about all that was left, when I came back from college and the Roger boys had replaced the Creglow boys next door, was little stuff appropriately called ladyfingers.

    Fireworks are dangerous, our parents would say, and each year they would dust off the old chestnut about the drugstore in Spencer that had a big stock of fireworks and they caught fire one night and much of the downtown went up in a spectacular shower of roman candles and sparkling fountains.

    The story was hard to pin down, and seemed to get more gruesome every year – but, we were told, this was why Iowa banned fireworks years before, why they were so dangerous and why little boys shouldn’t be setting them off. The story, of course, never made quite the intended impression; we just wished we’d been on the scene.  My grandfather was the town druggist (Brugmann’s Drugstore, “Where drugs and gold are fairly sold, since 1902") and he said he knew the Spencer druggist personally. Fireworks put him out of business and into the poorhouse, he’d say, and walk away shaking his head.

    In any event, firecrackers weren’t much of an issue past noon – the Fourth celebration at the fairgrounds was getting underway and there was too much else to do. Appropriately, the celebration was sponsored by the Rex Strait post of the American Legion (Strait, so the story went, was the first boy from Rock Rapids to die on foreign soil during World War I); the legionnaires were a bunch of good guys from the cleaners and the feed store and the bank who sponsored the American Legion baseball team each summer.

    There was always a big carnival, with a ferris wheel somewhere in the center for the kids, a bingo stand for the elders, a booth where the ladies from the Methodist Church sold homemade baked goods, sometimes a hootchy dancer or two, and a couple of dank watering holes beneath the grandstand where the VFW and the Legion sold Grainbelt and Hamms beer  at 30¢ a bottle to anybody who looked of age.

    Later on, when the farmboys came in from George and Alvord, there was lots of pushing and shoving, and a fist fight or two.

    In front of the grandstand, out in the dust and the sun, would come a succession of shows that made the summer rounds of the little towns. One year it would be Joey Chitwood and his daredevil drivers. (The announcer always fascinated me: “Here he comes, folks, rounding the far turn…he is doing a great job out there tonight…let’s give him a big, big hand as he pulls up in front on the grandstand…”)

    Another year it would be harness racing and Mr. Hardy, our local trainer from Doon, would be in his moment of glory. Another year it was tag team wrestling and a couple of barrel-chested goons from Omaha, playing the mean heavies and rabbit-punching their opponents from the back, would provoke roars of disgust from the grandstand. ( The biggest barrel-chest would lean back on the ropes, looking menacingly at the crowd and yell, “ Aw, you dumb farmers. What the hell do you know anyway? I can beat the hell out of any of you."  And the crowd  would roar back in glee.)

    One year, Cedric Adams, the Herb Caen of Minneapolis Star-Tribune, would tour the provinces as the emcee of local  variety shows. “It’s great to be in Rock Rapids,” he would say expansively, “because it’s always been known as the ‘Gateway to Magnolia.” (Magnolia, he didn’t need to say, was a little town just over the state line in Minnesota which was known throughout the territory for its liquor-by-the-drink roadhouses. It was also Cedric Adams’ hometown: his “Sackamenna," as Caen would say.  Adams kissed each girl (soundly) who came on the platform to perform and, at the end, hushed the crowd for his radio broadcast to the big city “direct from the stage of the Lyon County Fairgrounds in Rock Rapids, Iowa.”

    For a couple of years, when Rock Rapids had a “town team,” and a couple of imported left-handed pitchers named Peewee Wenger and Karl Kletschke, we would have some rousing baseball games with the best semi-pro team around, Larchwood and its gang of Snyder brothers: Barney the eldest at shortstop, Jimmy the youngest at third base, John in center field, Paul in left field, another Snyder behind the plate and a couple on the bench. They were as tough as they came in Iowa baseball.

    I can remember it as if it were yesterday at Candlestick, the 1948 game with the Snyders of Larchwood. Peewee Wenger, a gawky, 17-year-old kid right off a high school team, was pitching for Rock Rapids and holding down the Snyder artillery in splendid fashion. Inning after inning he went on, nursing a small lead, mastering one tough Larchwood batter after another, with a blistering fastball and a curve that sliced wickedly into the bat handles of the right-handed Larchwood line-up.

    Then the cagey Barney Snyder laid a slow bunt down the third base line. Wenger stumbled, lurched, almost fell getting to the ball, then toppled off balance again, stood helplessly holding the ball. He couldn’t make the throw to first. Barney was safe, cocky and firing insults like machine gun bullets at Peewee from first base.

    Peewee, visibly shaken, went back to the mound. He pitched, the next Larchwood batter bunted, this time down the first base line. Peewee lurched for the ball, but couldn’t come up with it. A couple more bunts, a shot through the pitcher’s mound, more bunts and Peewee was out. He could pitch, but, alas, he was too clumsy to field. In came Bill Jammer, now in his late 30’s, but in his day the man who beat the University of Iowa while pitching at a small college called Simpson.

    Now he was pitching on guts and beer, a combination good enough for many teams and on good days even good enough  to take on the Snyders. Jammer did well for a couple of innings, then he let two men on base, then came a close call at the plate. Jammer got mad. Both teams were off the bench and onto the field and, as Fred Roach wrote in the Reporter, “fisticuffs erupted at home plate.” When the dust cleared, Jammer had a broken jaw, and for the next two weeks had to drink his soup through a straw at the Joy Lunch cafe, John Snyder, it was said later, came all the way in from center field to throw the punch, but nobody knew for sure and he stayed in the game. I can’t remember the score or who won the game, but I remember it as the best Fourth ever.

    At dusk, the people moved out on their porches or put up folding chairs on their lawns. Those who didn’t have a good view drove out to the New Addition or parked out near Mark Curtis’ place or along the river roads that snaked out to the five-mile bridge and Virgil Hasche’s farm.

    A hush came over the town. Fireflies started flickering in the river bottom and, along about 8:30, the first puff of smoke rose above the fairgrounds and an aerial bomb whistled into the heavens. BOOM! And the town shook as if hit by a clap of thunder.

    Then the three-tiered sky bombs – pink, yellow, white, puff, puff, puff. The Niagara Falls and a gush of white sparks.

    Then, in sudden fury, a dazzling display of sizzling comets and aerial bombs and star clusters that arched high, hung for a full breath and descended in a cascade of sparks that floated harmlessly over the meadows and cornfields. At the end, the flag – red, white and blue – would burst forth on the ground as the All-American finale in the darkest of the dark summer nights. On cue, the cheers rolled out from the grandstand and the cars honked from the high ground and the people trundled up their lawn chairs and everybody headed for home.

    Well, I live in San Francisco now, and I drive to Daly City with my son, Danny, to buy some anemic stuff in gaudy yellow and blue wrapping and I try unsuccessfully each year to get through the fog or the traffic to see the fireworks at Candlestick. But I feel better knowing that, back where I come from, everybody in town will be on their porches and on the backroads on the evening of the Fourth to watch the fireworks and that, somewhere in town, a little boy will put a big firecracker under a tin can on a wood porch, then light out for the lilacs behind the barn.

    P.S. Our family moved in l965 from Daly City to a house in the West Portal area of San Francisco. There are, I assure you, few visible fireworks in that neighborhood. However, down at the bottom of Potrero Hill, the professional and amateur action is spectacular on the evening of the Fourth of July.

    From any Potrero Hill height, you can see the fireworks in several directions: the waterfront fireworks in the city, fireworks on the Marin side of the Golden Gate bridge, fireworks at several points in the East Bay, fireworks along the Peninsula coast line.

    And for the amateur action, parents with kids, kids of all ages, spectators in cars and on foot, congregate after dusk along Terry Francois Boulevard in San Francisco along the shoreline between the Giants ballpark and the  Mission Rock restaurant.

    The action is informal but fiery, fast, and furious: cherry bombs, clusters, spinning wheels, high flying arcs, whizzers of all shapes and sizes. The cops are quite civilized and gingerly patrol the perimeter but don't bother anybody. I go every year. I think it's the best show in town. B3.

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    You sir are hereby accused of circulating a petition with fatal legal flaws!

    Opponents of 8 Washington, a hotly contested development project that would erect 134 new condos priced at $5 million apiece and up along the San Francisco waterfront, are seeking to thwart a counter-initiative developers have launched to solicit voter approval for the project on the November ballot.

    In a July 1 letter from The Sutton Law Firm to Hanson Bridgett LLP, a firm representing the project proponents, political lawyer and fixer Jim Sutton highlights “fatal legal flaws” he claims would invalidate each and every signature collected in support of the 8 Washington initiative. It’s likely a precursor to a lawsuit. Apparently, Sutton got involved through his connection with former City Attorney Louise Renne, who opposes the 8 Washington plan.

    Organized under No Wall on the Northeast Waterfront, opponents circulated petitions of their own earlier this year to challenge San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ approval of 8 Washington, asking voters to weigh in on the Board’s waiver of building height limit restrictions. Polling has indicated they'll succeed (a win in their case is a majority of “no” votes), effectively sinking the project. That prompted 8 Washington proponents to generate their own counter-initiative.

    Sutton’s letter demands that 8 Washington proponents not submit the initiative to the Department of Elections for signature verification, unless they first re-circulate the petitions. Of course, that would torpedo the whole endeavor, since there’s no way proponents could gather enough signatures in time for the imminent filing deadline.

    The aforementioned “fatal legal flaws,” meanwhile, seem to illustrate why high-powered attorneys like Sutton rake in the big bucks. Apparently, the initiative proponents neglected to attach a few maps detailing the height limit increases, in violation of a requirement that proponents present the “full text” of a proposal to voters. And then there’s this:

    Whether it’s a photocopying error or an attempt at obfuscation, the map on the left (circulated by the pro-development camp) makes it impossible to read the height limit increase. (The map on the right was circulated by opponents.) This seemingly minute detail matters, according to No Wall on the Northeast Waterfront spokesperson Jon Golinger, because “the whole point of this is the height increase.”

    David Beltran, a spokesperson for the pro- 8 Washington folks, responded to a Guardian request for comment by saying, “Our opponents are offering up yet another baseless claim.” He called it a distraction “from having to justify why they are asking our City to give up new parks, jobs, and housing and millions of dollars in city benefits that includes $11 million for new affordable housing—to protect an asphalt parking lot and private club,” referencing a recreational center that’s served a predominantly middle class clientele for years that would be razed to make way for 8 Washington.

    Beltran also attached a complaint Hanson Bridgett had filed with the San Francisco Ethics Commission, charging that No Wall on the Northeast Waterfront had failed to meet campaign filing deadlines, and urging city officials to “immediately investigate the delay” and impose fines of $5,000 per violation.

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    America, fuck yeah!

    On the eve of Independence Day, too many San Franciscans seem eager to give up on the very idea of independence, instead willingly buying into the divide and conquer strategies of those who seek to control and exploit us. Just consider the big news of the day.

    On Day Three of the BART strike, mainstream and social media are once again awash with angry anti-union diatribes by people who are resentful of the fact that some workers in this society still manage to earn the pensions and decent salaries that most of us wage slaves are being denied.

    Pensions are the one thing that allows the working class some degree of independence during its twilight years. And the average BART salary of $72,000 annually shouldn’t be considered excessive in an expensive city that will chew up at least a third of that in housing costs.

    But they are each more than most of us are getting, so it’s easy to turn many people against their fellow workers, even though the real targets of our ire should be the bosses and economic system that are denying us our independence and the means to pursue our happiness.

    It’s a similar story with the breaking news of the day: City College of San Francisco losing its accreditation and being turned over to state control. While there are some reasons to criticize how this important institution has been managed over the years, it was still being managed by locally elected trustees who made the best decisions they could under bad circumstances.

    They made decisions to maintain a broad-based curriculum that this community wanted and needed, and to avoid exploiting the faculty like so many other educational institutions are doing, in the process taking a gamble with lower reserves than may be needed. And the voters of San Francisco stepped up to support CCSF with a parcel tax that was helping to ease it away from the brink, acting as a proud and independent community does during troubled times.

    But a commission of unelected bureaucrats on a ideological mission to transform educational institutions into something less than the broad-based community resources that CCSF has strived to be decided to make an example of San Francisco. And they did so with the full support of Mayor Ed Lee, who issued a statement today criticizing local officials for not embracing even harsher austerity measures than they did, and saying “I fully support” the state takeover.

    Lee’s hand-picked panel recommending reforms of the Housing Authority is also proposing to sacrifice the independence of poor San Franciscans in favor of ever-more subsidies to real estate developers, according to a story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle.

    Among the “reforms” is a proposal to divert federal money from the Section 8 program that offers rent-subsidies to the poor, as Chron reporter John Cote described like this: “A terribly run program that provides low-income residents with vouchers for private housing would be administered by the city, rather than the federally funded public housing agency. The vouchers would be prioritized for certain affordable housing projects, creating dedicated revenue to help secure loans to build them.”

    So the vouchers that allow low-income people some independence -- rather than living in squalid, chronically mismanaged public housing projects in San Francisco -- will instead subsidize development projects. Yes, we do need to subsidize affordable housing development, which this city is underfunding, but we shouldn’t be taking the meager resources of society’s least fortunate families to do so.  

    I have no doubts that Lee will jump at this suggestion (although its unlikely to be so eagerly embraced by federal regulators at HUD) given his penchant for shady real estate schemes that line the pockets of the powerful, like the one that the Center for Investigative Reporting uncovered this week.

    CIR reported that the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Center -- a for-profit company connected to Willie Brown that is arranging immigration visas for Chinese nationals who invest in Lennar’s Hunters Point housing development -- is getting key help from Lee and members of his staff.

    This project was already looking like a bait-and-switch scam, as we also reported this week, with Lennar being guaranteed profits without even putting up its own money, thanks to Lee’s willingness to use the power of his office to solicit funds on behalf of the country’s biggest residential developer.

    If Lennar wasn’t going to build the affordable housing we need on the front end, or put up the money itself, why didn’t the city just administer this project and give the work to local contractors? What exactly is this Florida-based corporation doing in exchange for being handed some of the most valuable real estate in the city, except for helping its powerful local friends who pulled strings on its behalf?

    What’s motivating Lee these days? Well, considering that Brown and other power brokers placed him in the Mayor’s Office after a career at City Hall doing their bidding -- a role he seems to be still playing today in his powerful new role -- I’d say it was a lack of independence.

    It’s all pretty depressing, but at least we have a holiday tomorrow to celebrate our independence. Happy Fourth of July, comrades.  

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    By Dick Meister
    Dick Meister is a veteran Guardian columnist and freelance writer.

    The Fourth of July, as we all know, is Independence Day. Hurray for George
    Washington and the revolutionaries, down with King George and the British.
    That sort of thing.

    But have you ever wondered what it's like on the other side? Have you ever
    celebrated the Fourth across the border in Canada, in that territory settled
    by pro-British "Loyalists" who fled the United States after the
    Revolutionary War? It is a most peculiar experience for one accustomed to
    the American way of viewing the events of 1776.

    My wife Gerry and I observed the Fourth on the other side a few years back
    -- in Fredericton, the beautiful little capital of New Brunswick, named in
    honor of King George's second son, Frederic. Going into Fredericton meant
    going into the camp of a former enemy -- a friend now, but a former enemy
    who openly hails the "Loyalists" who fought for them against us. I mean
    people who opposed our revolution and never even said they were sorry.<!--break-->

    Our first stop was the hallowed Loyalist Cemetery near the banks of the
    Saint John River at the far end of Waterloo Row, burial ground of
    Fredericton's revered founders -- anti-American tories, the lot of them. We
    trudged down a muddy path to a ring of trees around a swampy grass clearing
    in which the tory heroes lay, prepared to utter a revolutionary sentiment or
    two over them in honor of the holiday.

    We managed to get a quick look at a couple of thin, well-worn, tottering
    slate headstones -- but that was all. Before we could even open our mouths,
    they struck -- angry swarms of dread North woods mosquitoes. Backwards we
    dashed. Quickly. Very quickly. We slapped at each other as we squished
    awkwardly over the wet ground, batting mosquitoes off hair, face, neck,
    arms, clothes. Much buzzing. Much stinging. They were everywhere. The
    tories' revenge. For days afterward, we bore the swollen red marks of the

    More insults were to come, in the Legislative Assembly chambers downtown.
    The chambers are elegant: ornately carved desks, elaborately patterned silk
    wall covering, thick crimson carpeting. But look up on the walls, in the
    places of honor on either side of the Speaker's chair. To the left there's a
    portrait of George III, the very monarch we made a revolution against, to
    the right a portrait of his queen, Charlotte -- and both painted by no less
    a master than Joshua Reynolds.

    George is in fact treated much better in New Brunswick than he generally is
    in Great Britain. Historians there ridicule him for being a bit of a loon
    and for such loony acts as overtaxing the American colonists and
    overreacting to their protests by then waging war against them. In
    Fredericton, they think George did the right thing.

    In the United States, of course, we celebrate the end of colonialism. But in
    Fredericton they seem to yearn for its return. Union Jacks fly from staffs
    all over town and portraits of Queen Elizabeth and her consort hang in
    government and private buildings everywhere. Ceremonial guards outside City
    Hall wear the white pith helmets, long crimson jackets and black uniform
    trousers of the British colonial soldier.

    Just behind City Hall stand the restored quarters of the British garrison
    that was stationed in the city for more than a century, one of the buildings
    now housing a museum full of anti-revolutionary twaddle. Captions below
    portraits of leading Loyalists praise them for "faith, courage, sacrifices"
    against Yankees, who are for the most part described as violent, crude, rude
    and vulgar. Here, too, a portrait of George III hangs in a place of honor.
    Among the Loyalists singled out is that other fine fellow, Benedict Arnold,
    who lived in New Brunswick before slinking off to Mother England in 1791. At
    least the museum keepers have the decency to own up to Arnold's "reputation
    for crookedness."

    Loyalists also are favorites in New Brunswick's neighboring province of Nova
    Scotia, particularly in the capital of Halifax. There, the American
    revolutionaries are portrayed as bad guys who would have made Nova Scotia a
    U.S. colony if the British hadn't beefed up their garrison on Citadel Hill,
    a massive fortress that towers high above the city, guarding every access,
    be it by land or by sea.

    The champion Loyalist stronghold is the New Brunswick city of Saint John.
    "Loyalist City," it's called. It has a Loyalist Burial Ground, naturally,
    but also a Loyalist Trail, Loyalist Apartments, Loyalist Coin & Collectibles
    shop, Loyalist Pub and, among many other things loyalistic, Loyalist Days,
    an annual week-long festival honoring Saint John's founders. At a high point
    in the festival 100 or so appropriately costumed Loyalists -- "His Majesty's
    Loyal Troops" -- fend off a brigade of actors portraying American rebels
    attempting to "capture" Saint John.

    The latter-day Loyalists claimed to like us nevertheless. In Fredericton,
    for instance, a half-dozen U.S. flags fluttered smartly outside the Lord
    Beaverbrook Hotel, the city's finest, and the marquee proclaimed, "We Salute
    our American Friends. Happy 4th of July."

    Sure thing. But watch out for the mosquitoes.

    Dick Meister is a veteran Guardian columnist and freelance writer.

    (Bruce B. Brugmann, or B3 as he signs his emails and blogs, is the editor at large of the Bay Guardian and former editor and co-founder and co-publisher with his wife Jean Dibble, 1966-2012. He can be reached at the Bruce blog at



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  • 07/05/13--08:33: Hi-yo, stinker
  • The Lone Ranger: WTF happened to Johnny Depp's career?

    Put a bird on it: Tonto (Johnny Depp) confers with the Lone Ranger's horse, Silver.

    FILM Pop-culture historians who study 2005's top movies will remember Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the so-so action flick that birthed Brangelina; Batman Begins, which ushered in a moodier flavor of superhero; and Tim Burton's shrill Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    That last title is of particular interest lately. Not only did Charlie provide grim confirmation that a post-Planet of the Apes (2001) Tim Burton had squandered whatever goodwill he'd built up a decade prior with films like Ed Wood (1994) and Edward Scissorhands (1990), it also telegraphed to the world that Johnny Depp — previously a highly intriguing actor, someone whose cool cred was never in question — was capable of sucking. Hard.

    In the years since 2005, Depp hasn't done much to stamp out those initial flickers of doubt. If anything, he's fanned 'em into a bonfire. His involvement in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (which is plodding toward a fifth installment) has taken up most of his schedule, though he's always willing to don a wacky wig whenever Burton needs him (2007's Sweeney Todd; 2010's Alice in Wonderland; 2012's Dark Shadows). The rest of his post-2005 credits are a mixed bag, mostly best forgotten (ahem, 2010's The Tourist), though one does stand out for positive reasons: 2011's animated Rango, a cleverly-scripted tale that reunited Depp with Gore Verbinski, who helmed the first three Pirates movies.

    The pair returns to Rango's Wild West milieu for The Lone Ranger; certainly there'll be no Oscars handed out this time, though Razzies seem inevitable. The biggest strike against The Lone Ranger is one you'll read about in every review: it's just a teeny bit racist. The casting of the once and future Cap'n Sparrow — who apparently has a blank check at Disney to do any zany thing he wants — as a Native American given to "hey-ya" chants and dead-bird hats is very suspect. Some (white) people might be willing to give this a pass, because it's always been part of Depp's celebrity mythology that he's part Indian. I mean, he totally has a Cherokee warrior inked on his bicep, just below "Wino Forever"!

    Mmm-hmm. Let's go to the source, shall we? Speaking of his heritage in a 2011 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Depp mustered the following: "I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line. My great grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek."

    Sounds kinda sketchy, JD. The actor who played Tonto on TV may have been born Harold J. Smith ("Jay Silverheels" was his nom de screen), but he was also raised on Canada's Six Nations reserve and was the son of a Mohawk tribal chief. So The Lone Ranger TV series, which ran from 1949 to 1957 — and had its share of racial-insensitivity and stereotype-perpetuating issues — was able to cast an actual indigenous person to play Tonto, but 2013's The Lone Ranger, which elevates Tonto from sidekick to narrator and de facto main character, was not.

    In fact, it's not too far-fetched to assume that the casting of Depp (also credited as an executive producer) is the only reason this Lone Ranger exists. Clearly, he really wanted to play Tonto, and Depp has a way of making his performance the most important thing about whatever film he's in. Were audiences really screaming out for The Lone Ranger, a rather literal big-screen take on a 1950s TV show with some heavily CG'd train chases added in? Could not $250 million, the film's reported budget, have been better spent doing something ... anything ... else?

    Obviously "redface" is nothing new in Hollywood. It was frequently deployed in the pre-PC era, as when a white actor played a heroic Native American figure — think Chuck Connors in 1962's Geronimo. But shouldn't we have transcended that by now? You'd never see blackface in a film unless it was being used to make a character look ridiculous (2008's Tropic Thunder), or to make a satirical point, as with 2000's Bamboozled. Somewhere, Kevin Costner is clutching his Oscars for 1990 post-Western Dances With Wolves — more or less cinema's biggest mea culpa for all those "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" yarns of the John Wayne era — and weeping.

    Tonto isn't the only Native American character in The Lone Ranger. But the others (none of whom are given names, unless someone was called "set dressing" or "background actor" and I missed it) have a slightly sharper aura of authenticity than Depp, who spends the whole movie caked in either old-age make-up or campy face paint. They are mere plot devices, there to give contemporary audiences a reason to feel outraged when an evil railroad baron lays his tracks through their land and raids their silver mine. "Our time has passed," an elderly Indian character tells the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer, whose role literally consists of riding a horse and reacting to Depp's scenery-chewing buffoonery). "We are already ghosts."

    But back up, kemo sabe. Racism may be The Lone Ranger's worst problem, but it's not the film's only problem. There's also its bloated length (nearly three hours); its score, which dares to introduce an Ennio Morricone homage into a film Sergio Leone wouldn't line his gatto's litter box with; its waste of some great character actors (Barry Pepper, William Fichtner); its assumption that having random characters ask the Lone Ranger "What's with the mask?" over and over is the funniest joke ever; and its failure to follow through on its few inventive elements — that herd of Monty Python-inspired rabbits, for example.

    And another thing: if the moral of The Lone Ranger— spelled out with all the delicate subtlety of a fiery train crash — is "greed is bad," why did El Deppo sign onto this piece of crap in the first place? *


    THE LONE RANGER opens Wed/3 in Bay Area theaters.

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    Zoe Levin, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell, and Liam James in 'The Way, Way Back'
    Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

    By now you've heard how much The Lone Ranger sucks (for more on that, my review here), so what else should you be spending your weekly movie-theater budget on? Well, the Roxie just opened a doc about Detroit band Death (Dennis Harvey breaks it down here), plus there's a new Pedro Almodóvar joint, a coming-of-age summer flick starring Sam Rockwell and Steve Carell as cool and not-so-cool father figures, and (since one Carell movie ain't enough) Despicable Me 2  — just the thing for the kidz who've already seen Monsters University.

    Read on for our takes on these films, and more!

    AugustineWhen a 19-year-old Parisian kitchen maid (single-named French musician Soko) has a dramatic seizure during dinner service, she makes for Salpêtrière Hospital, where she becomes the superstar patient of Dr. Charcot (Vincent Lindon) — a real-life 19th century professor and neurologist who later mentored Sigmund Freud. There's no "talking cure" at work here, though; Augustine's medical treatment consists mostly of naked poking and prodding, as well as hypnosis-induced episodes of her increasingly sexualized "ovarian hysteria." The tension builds as Charcot struggles against popular disdain for his methods (read aloud to him from newspapers by his coolly elegant wife), as well as his forbidden attraction to Augustine. Occupying the same moody, sensual milieu as David Cronenberg's too-talky A Dangerous Method (2011), first-time feature writer-director Alice Winocour approaches her tale of misunderstood madness from a point of view that's more emotionally-driven, with some subtle feminist undercurrents. Points deducted, though, for some obvious symbolism — like costuming Augustine in a brand-new red dress right after she starts her period for the first time. (1:42) (Cheryl Eddy)

    Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay David Mamet fans will recognize Ricky Jay from multiple appearances in the director's work; he's also been in films like Boogie Nights and Tomorrow Never Dies (both 1997). But Jay's true passion is stage magic, specifically card and other sleight-of-hand tricks, performed with a skill so dazzling that it's tempting to believe he really does have supernatural powers. He's also a witty, self-deprecating, and sometimes "irascible" (to quote a word used in Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein's doc) character — and has a vast, ever-expanding interest in magic history. Using first-hand interviews, TV and stage-show clips, and some wonderful vintage footage, Deceptive Practice traces Jay's career (he was a child prodigy in the 1950s, thanks to his supportive grandfather), pausing along the way to pay tribute to the men who influenced him and, in many cases, taught him their top-secret techniques. Throughout, Jay is seen demonstrating his own mind-bending tricks — as "simple" as changing a card's suit, as elaborate as making it sail across the room and plunge like a knife into a watermelon rind — although never, of course, revealing how he does it. (1:28) (Cheryl Eddy)

    Despicable Me 2 The laughs come quick and sweet now that Gru (Steve Carell) has abandoned his super-villainy to become a dad and “legitimate businessman” — though he still applies world-class gravitas to everyday events. (His daughter's overproduced birthday party is a riot of medieval festoonage.) But like all the best reformed baddies, the Feds, or in this case the Anti-Villain League, recruit him to uncover the next international arch-nemesis. Now a spy, he gets a goofy but highly competent partner (Kristen Wiig) and a cupcake shop at the mall to facilitate sniffing out the criminal. This sequel surpasses the original in charm, cleverness, and general lovability, and it’s not just because they upped the number of minion-related gags, or because Wiig joined the cast; she ultimately gets the short end of the stick as the latecomer love-interest (her spy gadgets are also just so-so). However, Carell kills it as Gru 2 — his faux-Russian accent and awkward timing are more lived-in. Maybe the jokes are about more familiar stuff (like the niggling disappointments of family life) but they’re also sharper and more surprising. And though the minions seemed like one-trick ponies in the first film, those gibberish-talking jellybeans outdo themselves in the sequel's climax. (1:38) (Sara Maria Vizcarrondo)

    I'm So ExcitedI’m So Excited may be to Pedro Almodóvar what Hairspray (1988) was for director John Waters: a kind of low-intensity, high-fluff gateway drug for a filmmaker who’s otherwise an “acquired taste.” (Note: unlike Hairspray, this is not a family movie.) Almodóvar’s previous pictures were far more explicit about their obsessive thinking: mothers suffered (1999's All About My Mother); sex was deadly (1990's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!) and men were dishonorable (all of them). But in this drug and booze-addled flame-fest, Almodóvar takes one of his lesser themes (the joy of confinement) and transforms a flight from Madrid to Mexico into the funniest soap opera to ever feature cabaret and S&M talk. Early in the flight we learn the landing gear is shot; this means the flight’s dueling pilots have to find a place to host an emergency landing while Europe is on holiday. They anesthetize all of coach (um…metaphor, anyone?), leaving the rich to bellyache over their lost children, lost happiness, and stubborn virginity. Business class is full of drama queens so the flamboyantly gay attendants spike a cocktail with ecstasy (to make everyone get along) and an orgy ensues, complete with a seemingly victimless rape and multiple change-overs from hetero to homo. Almodóvar does have a knack for make-believe, but his biggest gift for fantasy happens in his stress-free transitions; oh, that coming out could be so liberating — but living in a Catholic country lousy with sexual disorientations, maybe the only place that can happen is at 30,000 feet. (1:35) (Sara Maria Vizcarrondo)

    Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain The comedian (2012's Think Like a Man) performs in this concert film, shot at Madison Square Garden during his 2012 stand-up tour. (1:15)

    ManiacAnd it came to pass that William Lustig's trashy classic Maniac (1980) was remade, with Elijah Wood assuming the role of twisted killer Frank, a role closely associated with its originator, the late, great cult actor Joe Spinell. Lustig is credited with a producing credit on this otherwise largely French effort, directed by Franck Khalfoun and co-written by Alejandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur — who also worked together on the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes. Though it's set in contemporary Los Angeles (complete with dating websites and cell phones), Maniac is shot to mimic the original film's late-1970s New York (cabs, deserted subways, grimy streetscapes), with a synth-heavy score enhancing the retro vibe. Frank is still obsessed with mannequins, scalps, and his dead mother, with shades of both Psycho (1960) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991) filtering through. When Frank meets Anna (Nora Arnezeder), a beautiful French photographer whose preferred subject is mannequins, he grows ever more confused — and more violent. The entire movie is shot from Frank's POV (we see Wood's face only in mirrors and photographs), an off-putting gimmick that fails to add much in the way of suspense or scares. As for the gore, there's nothing amid the CG enhancements that matches the work of special effects genius Tom Savini, whose memorable exploding-head scene plays just as repulsively effective in 2013 as it did in 1980. If you really wanna be freaked out by a movie maniac, skip this so-so do-over and spend some quality time with Spinell instead. (1:29) Roxie. (Cheryl Eddy)

    The Way, Way Back Duncan (Liam James) is 14, and if you remember being that age you remember the awkwardness, the ambivalence, and the confusion that went along with it. Duncan’s mother (Toni Collette) takes him along for an “important summer” with her jerky boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell) — and despite being the least important guy at the summer cottage, Duncan’s only marginally sympathetic. Most every actor surrounding him plays against type (Rob Corddry is an unfunny, whipped husband; Allison Janney is a drunk, desperate divorcee), and since the cast is a cattle call for anyone with indie cred, you’ll wonder why they’re grouped for such a dull movie. Writer-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash previously wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for 2011's The Descendants, but The Way, Way Back doesn't match that film's caliber of intelligent, dry wit. Cast members take turns resuscitating the movie, but only Sam Rockwell saves the day, at least during the scenes he's in. Playing another lovable loser, Rockwell’s Owen dropped out of life and into a pattern of house painting and water-park management in the fashion of a conscientious objector. Owen is antithetical to Trent's crappy example of manhood, and raises his water wing to let Duncan in. The short stint Duncan has working at Water Wizz is a blossoming that leads to a minor romance (with AnnaSophia Robb) and a major confrontation with Trent, some of which is affecting, but none of which will help you remember the movie after credits roll. (1:42) (Sara Maria Vizcarrondo)

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    Bob Dobbs, master of slack.

    Today is weird. It’s in that black hole gap between a nationally recognized holiday (er, Fourth of July) and the actual weekend, which begins for many traditional workers around 5pm on Fridays. So with this weirdness, we celebrate both X-Day, a parody of cult holidays, and the more literal, Weird Al -- he shines down on the Alameda County Fair tonight with a beam of frizzy light. <!--break-->

    Let’s get to Al, straightaway. While he used to be big-time MTV stock, parodying Michael Jackson and Madonna types, Weird Al has done something interesting in the past few years, and gone cult. It may have started with his cartoon-genius take on R. Kelly’s masterpiece, “Trapped in the Closet” (by the way, the Castro is having a “Trapped in the Closet” sing-along later this month). Weird Al made it better with strangely appealing “Trapped in the Drive-Thru.”

    But before that, there were bona fide hits, this strange musical landscape, including “I Lost on Jeopardy,”  “Fat,” and Coolio’s worst nightmare, “Amish Paradise.” More recently, there was meh Gaga takedown “Perform This Way.”

    And now he’s on the county fair circuit (full disclosure: I saw him on said same county fair circuit more than a decade ago, and loved every obnoxious moment, especially the costume changes).

    Here’s the info on the fair and concerts. Show starts at 7pm tonight (July 5), and all concerts are free with paid admission to the fair.

    And then there’s X-Day. It’s a faux-holiday celebrated every July 5 as part of the Church of the SubGenius -- “a religion formed as a parody of cults and extreme religious groups.”

    For X-Day, the church prophesized that an army of weirdo alien invaders would land their spaceship on earth and destroy all the normals, those without sin.

    While celebrated worldwide, in Orange County, Calif. for many years and through the late ‘90s there was a nonprofit all-ages venue called Koo’s, which celebrated X-Day with a punky band called the Four Letter words -- and a paper mache spaceship. The Four Letter words returned recently for a few reunion shows, and one can only hope that was in part in allegiance with X-Day, the Church of the Subgenius, and the Church’s leader, Bob Dobbs.

    Or you could keep the weirdness more local tonight, and see Bart Davenport live in Oakland at the Uptown. The now LA-based leader of the avant-electro group Honeycut did the most surprising thing when he went solo a decade or so back, and put out tender, soulful pop songs, all about gooey love.

    He plays a free First Fridays show tonight with Extra Classic, Legs, and She Owl.
    Fri/5, 6pm, free. Uptown, 1928 Telegraph, Oakl.

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    San Francisco Mime Troupe debuts its latest play to a large crowd in Dolores Park.
    Steven T. Jones

    The San Francisco Mime Troupe overcame its recent financial troubles and debuted the SFMT's latest season of free, socially-relevant theater in Dolores Park yesterday (Thu/4), a rollicking send-up on the political culture and Chevron’s greedy plunder of Ecuador, delivered by a smaller than usual cast.

    "We all felt really great just to have the opportunity to do the show because of the financial issues,” Pat Moran, one of the SFMT’s head writers, told the Guardian.

    "It came very close to not happening this year,” Moran said. “There was a period of about a month or a month and a half when the show wasn’t going to happen, but we had to keep writing as if there were going to be one.”

    After a “successful grassroots fundraising effort,” according to the SFMT website, the Troupe knew for sure there would be a show, and was able to resume rehearsal in April. But it was a show marked by austerity measures that slashed the number of actors and musicians involved in the performance. There were just four actors who hurried through various costume changes to fill all the parts.

    Moran helped write the SFMT’s two-part “Oil and Water” that debuted Thursday. The first part “Deal with the Devil” begins in the White House Oval Office, set in the future, where a secret service agent finds the President dead on the day of an important speech on environmental issues. The second part “Crude Intentions” focuses on Chevron, whose headquarters is now in San Ramon, CA, but was previously in San Francisco.

    The performance "continues in a noir style with some slapstick comedy,” according to Moran. And as it has done since its beginning in 1959, the SFMT hits strongly on the political in "Oil and Water," focusing on Chevron’s mounting counter-suits and millions of dollars spent in order to fend off the settlement requirements that an Ecuadorian judge awarded to its people for damages Chevron committed.

    “We focus on Chevron as a specific and local entity, but also as a way to focus on the larger issue of how oil companies use tactics to control their image in public, from National Public Radio donations and advertisements," Moran said.

    These SFMT shows rely on foundational grants and on-the-spot cash donations from audiences. And earlier this year, the SFMT’s financial situation worsened due to the loss of foundation money, including its long-held National Endowment for the Arts grant and others. In addition, cash donations have gone down since, as Moran observed, “people carry less money around now” when they come to SFMT shows in the park.

    "But at this point, we are optimistic. We have a show up, and that’s our focus," Moran added. Although up and running now until its last show September 2nd, come the end of the season the SFMT may have to rethink doing its performances in public space for free, Moran said.
    "In September we might have to re-imagine the show. We may not be able to make shows happen in park, or at least free with donations; it may not work out. We might have to figure out something new, rather than strip away the elements of the current show so we can afford it."

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  • 07/08/13--09:45: Hey, grill
  • TABLEHOPPING: Outdoor delights (and dancing) at Chambers, Sunday love at Cotogna, new Ramen Underground, Le Marais Bakery treats, more 

    Green gazpacho at Cotogna's "Sunday Suppers"

    TABLEHOPPER Let's celebrate carbs at new (and expanded) bakeries, and dive into Sunday poolside barbecues and spiffy suppers.



    You have a taste for Frenchie baked goods? Bon. Hightail it over to the French-inspired Le Marais Bakery (2066 Chestnut, SF. in the Marina. This brand new place is legit: owner Patrick Ascaso is a Paris native, and the bakery is a tribute to the boulangeries he grew up with. (Some guys get all the luck.) You'll find croissants and French-style levain breads fed daily with natural starter from boulanger Justin Brown, who previously worked at Bien Cuit and Roberta's in Brooklyn. And since more is more, there's also a separate pastry program helmed by Phil Ogiela, formerly at Aziza and Presidio Social Club, with desserts like gâteau Basque with cream and apricots, fresh fruit tarts, and madeleines. The place is as good looking as the treats on your plate: Paxton Gate is behind the très charmant design, complete with vintage baking trays functioning as cabinets, light fixtures made from Bundt pans, and a floor featuring tile from the north of France.

    More bakery news: the fine folks at Cassava Bakery and Cafe (3519 Balboa, SF. have reopened — yay! — and it's even bigger and better than before. They recently finished expanding into the space next door, which means more seating, new dinner hours, and an augmented menu. Have you been there yet? Trust, you should go. Chef Kristoffer Toliao and co-owner Yuka Ioroi are also assembling a wine and beer list, with vino- and vermouth-based cocktails. In the works? This lovable Outer Richmond cafe plans to add a Parisian café–inspired sidewalk patio with heaters and a windshield; wish them luck, or even better, visit the website to see how you can help 'em out.

    Since we're in the neighborhood: fans of the xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and more at Shanghai Dumpling King (3319 Balboa, SF, 415-387-2088) will be happy to know they have reopened after renovations. Mmmm, dumplings.

    A couple solid local spots have expanded into second locations: Ramen Underground (22 Peace Plaza, Suite 530, SF. on Kearny now has a place in Japantown, in the former Sanuki Udon. And you can now score kati rolls and more at the new Kasa Indian Eatery (1356 Polk, SF. that just opened on Polk Street, where the relatively short-lived Fourth Wave Coffee was.



    Poolside BBQ. Has a nice ring to it, right? Well, the great minds at Chambers Eat + Drink (601 Eddy, SF. and the Phoenix Hotel have launched a new Summer Sunday Series every Sunday from 1pm–6pm. You'll be able to kick it poolside for brunch (which runs until 2:30pm) and tuck into some barbecue from 2pm–6pm. Chef Trevor Ogden's varied menu includes classic Southern barbecue dishes like brisket, ribs, and pulled pork, plus grilled burgers, hot dogs, and yakitori skewers (prices range from $7–$12). Throw in some mellow beats and alfresco cocktails, and you've got yourself a groovy little scene. And check this: future DJs will include Mark Farina and Afrolicious. Sweet. All we need is a repeat of last weekend's gorge weather and we're in business.



    While dining at the city's oh-so-fabulous Quince isn't within everyone's reach, the casual offshoot Cotogna (490 Pacific, SF. next door is certainly more affordable, and just as delicious. But unless you receive the weekly Cotogna newsletter, you may not know about its fab Sunday Suppers ($55 for four courses). The menu changes weekly, featuring ingredients at the height of seasonality. One late spring menu included an extraordinary green gazpacho made with avocado, butter lettuce, and Dungeness crab; fagotelli pasta (go ahead, make jokes) with zucchini and squash blossoms; buttermilk fried rabbit from Devil's Gulch Ranch; and oven-roasted peaches and lemon verbena ice cream for dessert. Yeah, four courses of hell yes. If you see a menu that sounds good to you, hop to it. Even if you can't get a reservation, you can probably score seats at the bar and communal table. Buon appetito!

    Marcia Gagliardi is the founder of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe for more at Get her app: Tablehopper's Top Late-Night Eats. On Twitter: @tablehopper.


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    Still beaming from the Supreme Court's DOMA and Prop 8 decisions? If you've come down with the Monday blues, here are some great photos from Amanda Rhoades of that historic moment in City Hall on June 26.

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  • 07/09/13--18:03: Last train
  • BART standoff has national implications in an age of wealth and austerity

    BART emplyees picket on the corner of Market and Montgomery on Moday. July 1

    Last week's four-day strike by Bay Area Rapid Transit workers dominated the news and made headlines around the country, marking the latest battleground in a national war between public employee unions and the austerity agenda pushed by conservatives and neoliberals.

    Of course, that wasn't how the conflict was framed by BART, most journalists, or even the two BART unions involved, all of whom dutifully reported the details of each sides' offers and counter-offers, the competing "safety" narratives (new security procedures demands by unions versus spending more on capital improvements than raises), and the strike's impact on commuters and the local economy.

    But once this long-simmering labor standoff seized the attention of a public heavily reliant on BART, fueling the popular anger and resentment increasingly directed at public employee unions in recent years, familiar basic storylines emerged.

    At that point, the Bay Area could have been placed in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, or Illinois — the most recent high-profile labor union battlegrounds, with their narratives of greedy public employees clinging to their fully funded pensions and higher than average salaries while the rest of us suffer through this stubbornly lingering hangover from the Great Recession.

    Around water coolers and online message boards, there were common refrains: How dare those unions demand the raises that the rest of us are being denied! Pensions? Who has fully funded pensions anymore? Why can't they just be more realistic?

    When Bay Area residents were finally forced to find other ways of getting around, within a transportation system that is already at the breaking point during peak hours thanks to years of austerity budgets and under-investment in basic infrastructure, those seething resentments exploded into outright anger.

    And those political dynamics could only get worse in a month. The BART strike could resume full strength on a non-holiday workweek if the two sides aren't able to come to an agreement before the recently extended contract expires.

    This is the Bay Area's most visible and impactful labor standoff, and it could prove to be a pivotal one for the modern American labor movement.



    Chris Daly was a clarion voice for progressive values while serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 2000-2010. Now, as political director of Service Employee International Union Local 1021, one of the BART unions, he says this standoff is about more than just the issues being discussed at the bargaining table.

    "The terms and conditions of workers in the public sector is a buoy for other workers," Daly told us, explaining how everyone's wages and benefits tend to follow the gains and setbacks negotiated by unions. "The right understands this, which is why the right has been mercilessly attacking public sector workers."

    Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Center, confirmed that union contracts affect the overall labor market. "When unions improve wages and benefits, it does have a ripple effect," Jacobs said. He agreed that the outcome at BART could be a bellwether for the question, "As the economy comes back, how much will workers share in that prosperity?"

    Demonizing public sector workers as greedy or lazy also serves to undercut the entire labor movement, Daly said, considering that public employees make up a far higher percentage of union members than their private sector counterparts. And during election time, it is union money and ground troops that typically contest wealthy individuals and corporations' efforts to maintain or expand power.

    "Labor is one of the main checks on unbridled corporate power, and public sector unions are the backbone of labor," Daly told us.

    So in that context, BART's battle is about more than just the wages and benefits of train drivers and station agents, with their average base salary of $62,000, just barely above the area median income, and their demand for raises after accepting wage freezes in recent years.

    Daly sees this as part of a much broader political standoff, and he said there are indications that BART management also sees it that way, starting with the $399,000 the transit agency is paying its lead negotiator Thomas Hock, a veteran of union-busting standoffs around the country.

    "He has a history of bargaining toward strikes, with the goal of breaking unions," Daly said, noting that Hock's opening offer would have taken money from BART employees, with new pension and healthcare contributions outweighing raises. "It was a takeaway proposal when you add it up, while they have a $100 million surplus in their budget and the cost of living in the Bay Area is shooting up."

    But BART spokesperson Rick Rice told us that Hock is simply trying to get the best deal possible for this taxpayer-funded agency, and he denied there is any intention to break the union or connection to some larger anti-worker agenda.

    "There is definitely a need to start funding the capital needs of the district," Rice told us. "I don't see that we're pushing an austerity agenda as much as a realistic agenda."



    But Daly said the very idea that austerity measures are "realistic" excuses the banks and other powerful players whose reckless pursuit of profits caused the financial meltdown of 2008. The underlying expectation is that workers should continue to pay for that debacle, rather than bouncing back with the rebounding economy.

    "They get in this austerity mindset, and we see it in every contract we're negotiating," Daly said, noting that capital needs and benefits have always needed funding, despite their elevation now as immediate imperatives. "You have good people with good intentions like [BART Board President] Tom Radulovich pushing this austerity mindset."

    Radulovich, a longtime progressive activist, told us he agrees with some of how Daly is framing the standoff, but not all of it. He said that BART is being squeezed into its position by unique factors.

    Radulovich said that healthcare and pension costs really are rising faster then ever, creating a challenge in maintaining those benefit levels. And he said that Hock isn't simply carrying out some larger anti-union agenda. "He's negotiating what the district wants him to negotiate," he said.

    Radulovich said that while BART's workers may deserve raises, most of BART's revenues come from fares. "So it's taking from workers to give to other workers," Radulovich said. "It's a little more complicated because it is a public agency and Chris is aware of that."

    Yet Radulovich acknowledged that BART has opted to pursue an aggressive expansion policy that is diverting both capital and operating expenditures into new lines — such as the East Contra Costa, Oakland Airport, and Warm Springs extensions now underway — rather than setting some of that money aside for workers.

    "And for a lot of those, we were being cheered on by the [San Francisco] Labor Council, one of many ironies," said Radulovich, who favors infill projects over new extensions. "These are some of the conversations I've had with labor leaders in the last few weeks, how we think strategically about these things."

    But if BART wanted to defeat the union, it may have miscalculated the level of worker discontent with austerity measures.

    "What they didn't plan on is some high-level Bay Area political pressure," Daly said, referring to the local uproar over the strike that led Gov. Jerry Brown to send in the state's two top mediators, who made progress and created a one month cooling off period before the strike can resume.



    One of the hardest issues to overcome in the court of public opinion may be the fully funded pensions of BART employees. "Times are changing, costs are escalating rapidly, and we're asking for a modest contribution," Rice said of BART's demand that employees help fund their pensions.

    Daly acknowledges the resentments about the pension issue, even though it was essentially a trap set for public employee unions back in the 1980s, when BART and other public agencies were the ones offering to pay for employee pensions in lieu of raises.

    But rather than resenting public employees for having pensions, he said the public should be asking why most workers don't have retirement security and how to fix that problem.

    "At what point do we organize and demand retirement security for all workers?" Daly said, noting that SEIU is now leading that fight on behalf of all workers, not just its members. "What we ought to be talking about is how we restore the social contract."

    Jacobs confirmed that SEIU has indeed been pushing the retirement security issue at the state and federal levels. And it's a crucial issue, he said, noting that just 45 percent of workers have pensions and that the average retirement savings is just $12,000.

    "The retirement problem we have is not the pension crisis, it is the lack of pensions crisis," Jacobs said.

    That's one reason that he said this standoff has implications that extend far beyond the Bay Area.

    "The fight goes beyond these particular workers," Jacobs said. "It's an important set of negotiations and an important strike in terms of looking at what happens in this country as the economy improves."

    Daly agrees there's a lot at stake, for more than just his members.

    "Losing on this means we'd be hard pressed to win elsewhere, anytime," Daly said. "It is important symbolically, and it is important to the strength and morale of the movement."


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  • 07/09/13--18:12: Who killed City College
  • Loss of accreditation tied to federal push for austerity and a curriculum that feeds universities and the economy

    Activist Windsong at a City College rally

    The day City College of San Francisco heard it would close was the same day, July 3, that 19-year-old Dennis Garcia signed up for his fall classes.

    With a manila folder tucked under his arm, he turned the corner away from the registration counter and strode by a wall festooned with black and white sketches of every City College chancellor since 1935, including a portrait of bespectacled founder Archibald Cloud. In a meeting room on the other side of that wall, the college's current administrators were receiving the verdict from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

    It was their worst fears of the past year realized: City College's accreditation was being revoked. Accreditation is necessary for the college to receive state funding, for students to get federal loans, and for the degree to be worth more than the paper it's printed on.

    Unbeknownst to Garcia, he walked out of the building just as the college received its death sentence, which is scheduled to be carried out next July unless appeals now underway offer a reprieve. In the interim, CCSF will essentially be a ward of the state, stripped of the local control it has enjoyed since Cloud's days.

    Just a few blocks down Ocean Avenue is the nerve center of City College's teachers union. Housed in a flat above a Laundromat, the scent of freshly washed clothes wafted up the staircase to an office that instantly became a flurry of ringing phones and rushed voices.

    Only an hour later, 10 or so union volunteers were calling their members, contacting nearly 1,600 City College faculty whose responses ranged from sad to furious. The volunteers read them bulleted factoids about accreditation and a call to join an upcoming protest march.

    But the woes of City College reach deeper than a three line script could ever cover, and can be traced back to the oval office itself, leading to a really odd question: Did President Obama kill City College?




    When the president trumpeted education in his 2012 State of the Union speech, he sounded an understandable sentiment. "States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets," Obama told the nation. "And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down."

    But the specifics of how to cut costs were outlined by years of policymaking and a State of the Union supplement sheet given to the press.

    The president's statement said that they will determine which colleges receive aid, "either by incorporating measures of value and affordability into the existing accreditation system; or by establishing a new, alternative system of accreditation that would provide pathways for higher education models and colleges to receive federal student aid based on performance and results."

    The emphasis is ours, but the translation is very simple: College accreditation agencies can either enforce the administration's numbers-based plan or be replaced. The president's college reform is widely known and hotly debated in education circles. Commonly known as the "completion agenda," with an emphasis on measurable outcomes in job placement, it had its start under President George W. Bush, but Obama carried the torch.

    The idea is that colleges divest from community-based programs not directly related to job creation or university degrees, and use a data measurement approach to ensure two-year schools transfer and graduate students in greater numbers. "Community colleges" would quickly become "junior colleges," accelerating a slow transition that began many years ago.

    But its critics say completion numbers are screwy: They discount students who are at affordable community colleges just to learn a single skill and students who switch schools, administrator Sanford Shugart of Valencia College in Florida wrote in an essay titled "Moving the Needle on College Completion Thoughtfully."

    Funding decisions made from completion numbers affect millions of students nationwide — and CCSF has now become the biggest laboratory rat in this experiment in finding new ways to feed the modern economy.

    "I think there was a general consensus that the country is in a position that, coming out of the recession, we have diminished resources," Paul Feist, spokesperson for the California Community College Chancellor's Office, told us. "Completion is important to the nation — if you talk to economic forecasters, there's a huge demand for educated workers. Completion is not a bad thing."

    Like dominoes, the federal agenda and Obama's controversial Secretary of Education Arne Duncan tipped the Department of Education, followed by the ACCJC, and now City College — an activist school in an activist city and an institution that openly defied the new austerity regime.



    In the ACCJC's Summer 2006 newsletter, Brice Harris — then an accreditation commissioner, now chancellor of the state community college system — described the conflict that arose when colleges rallied against completion measurements established by the federal government.

    "In the current climate of increased accountability, our regional accrediting associations find that tight spot to be more like a vice," Harris wrote.

    Many of the 14 demands the ACCJC made of City College trace back to the early days of Obama's administration, when local trustees resisted slashing the curriculum during the Great Recession.

    "There's a logic to saying 'We don't want to put students on the street in the middle of a recession,'" said Karen Saginor, former City College academic senate president. "If you throw out the students, you can't put them in the closet for two years and bring them back when you have the money."

    And they have a lot of students — more than 85,000. Like all community colleges in California, the price of entry is cheap, at $46 a unit and all welcome to attend. But since 2008, the system was hammered with budget cuts of more than $809 million, or 12 percent of its budget.

    So programs were cut, including those for seniors, ex-inmates re-entering society, or young people enrolling to learn Photoshop or some other skill without committing to a four-year degree.

    "As the recession hit, the Legislature instructed the community college system [to] prioritize basic skills, career technical, and transfer," Feist said. "That's to a large extent what we did. That was the reshaping of the mission of that whole system."

    It's easy to cast the completion agenda as a shadowy villain in a grand dilemma, but as Feist or anyone on the federal level would note, people were already being pushed out of the system, to the tune of more than 500,000 students since the 2008-09 academic year due to the budget crisis. Course offerings have been slashed by 24 percent, according to the state chancellor's office.

    But City College would only go so far. Then-Chancellor Don Q. Griffin raised the battle cry against austerity and the completion agenda at an October 2011 board meeting, his baritone voice sounding one of his fullest furies.

    "It was obvious to me when I heard Bush ... and then Obama talking about the value of community colleges ... they're going to push out poor people, people of color, people who cannot afford to go anywhere else except the community college," he said.

    But when it came to paying for that pushback, things got tricky.

    "No more of this bullshit, that we turn the other way and say it's fine. We're going to concentrate the money on the students," Griffin said at a December 2011 board meeting. "You guys are talking about cutting classes, we don't believe in that. Cut the other stuff first, cut it until it hurts, and then talk about cutting classes."

    So he slashed his own salary and lost staff through attrition and other means. The college had more than 70 administrators before 2008, and it now has fewer than 40.

    "Since the recession in 2009, we've been seen as the rebels," said Jeffrey Fang, a former student trustee on City College's board. "When most of the colleges went and made cuts in light of the recession, we decided to find ways to keep everything open while doing what we could to eliminate spending."

    But those successes in saving classes put City College on a collision course with its accreditor.



    Seven years ago, the ACCJC found six deficiencies that it asked City College to fix, finding it had too many campuses serving too many students, fiscal troubles, and hadn't enforced measurement standards. Last year, it faulted City College for resisting those changes and tacked on eight additional demands, threatening to revoke its accreditation.

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official who worked closely with ACCJC as a member of one of the visiting accreditation teams told us there was pressure to crack down on all the Western colleges.

    "The message they're hearing from (ACCJC President) Barbara Beno is that Washington is demanding, 'Why are you not being more strict with institutions with deficiencies that have lasted more than two years [and taking action] to revoke their accreditation?'" the source said.

    This official said this may soon ripple to other accreditation agencies. "What's anomalous about California is we're getting to where everyone will be in a few years."

    The ACCJC's next evaluation is this December, where it will be reviewed by the Department of Education. It wants to be ready, says Paul Fain, a reporter for Inside Higher Ed, a national trade publication.

    "Washington writ large ... is pushing very hard on accreditors to drive a harder line," Fain told us. "There's a criticism out there that accreditation is weak and toothless."

    The U.S. Department of Education declined to comment on the issue, saying only that it will formally respond to all officially filed complaints about ACCJC.

    But the numbers speak volumes. As an ACCJC newsletter first described federal pressure back in 2006, seven community colleges in California were on probation or warning by the ACCJC. By 2012 that number leapt to 28.

    But the California Federation of Teachers is fighting back, and recently filed a 280-page complaint about the ACCJC with the Department of Education.

    The allegations were many: Business conflict of interest from a commission member, failure to adhere to its own policies and bylaws, and even the commission President Beno's husband having served on City College's visiting team, which the unions said is a clear conflict of interest.

    Some people think it's a waste of time, that City College has already lost.

    "That process of fighting accreditation won't succeed, it just forestalls the problem," said Bill McGinnis, a trustee on Butte College's board for over 20 years. He's also served on many ACCJC visiting teams.

    But the unions are making some headway. The Department of Education wrote a letter to the ACCJC telling them to respond in full to the complaints by July 8, as this article goes to press. The accreditor will soon be the one evaluated.



    In the meantime, City College has exactly one year to reverse its fortunes: The loss of accreditation doesn't actually kick in until July, 2014. A special trustee appointed by the state will be granted all the powers of the locally elected City College Board of Trustees to get with the federal program. Without voting power, the elected body is effectively castrated.

    No one knows what that will mean for the college board, not even Mayor Ed Lee, who issued a statement supporting the state takeover and criticizing local trustees for not cutting enough. "The ACCJC is fundamentally hostile to elected boards and they've made that clear," City College Trustee Rafael Mandelman told us. "The Board of Trustees should and may look at all possible legal options around this."

    Although officials say classes will proceed as normal for the next year, some aren't waiting around to see if City College will survive.

    At its last board meeting, the CCSF Board of Trustees grappled with how to address dwindling enrollment. As news of its accreditation troubles spread, City College has been under-enrolled by thousands of students, exacerbating its problems. Since the state funds colleges based on numbers of students, City College's funding is plummeting by the millions.

    A frightening statistic: When Compton College lost its accreditation in 2005 and was subsequently absorbed by a neighboring district, it lost half its student population, according to state records.

    Even the faculty is having a hard time hanging on, said Alisa Messer, the college's faculty union president.

    "People are looking for jobs elsewhere already. Despite everyone's dedication to see the college through, it has tried everyone and stretched them to the limit," she told us.

    The college has two hopes — that the CFT wins its lawsuit and can reverse the ACCJC decision, or that the new special trustee can somehow turn the college around by next July. But either way, something will be lost. "City College is definitely changing," Saginor said. "What it will change into, and if those changes will be permanent, that I don't know."

    Caption here (*required)

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  • 07/09/13--18:16: More ill winds
  • America's Cup -- or America's flop?

    EDITORIAL After years of hype, the 34th America's Cup finally got underway on the San Francisco Bay this past week — with a single boat formally winning in a match against itself, a fitting metaphor for this whole disappointing affair.

    Emirates Team New Zealand sailed solo while its Italian would-be competitor, Luna Rossa, stayed ashore to protest a rule change on rudder design that had been unilaterally decided by regatta director Iain Murray. The third competitor with Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing team that is defending the cup and hosting the event, Swedish team Artemis, was still trying to rebuild its vessel after a tragic accident resulted in the death of a renowned sailor in May.

    It was a lame kickoff. The anticipated hordes of race-goers have yet to materialize, with the once-regal America's Cup reduced to just another Fisherman's Wharf tourist trap. In a display that might as well have been used to entice tourists to the Wax Museum, a barker outside the event's sprawling Pier 27 spectator area fruitlessly tried to lure passersby: "See the fastest boats in the world!"

    In an interview with ABC7 news, Oracle Racing CEO Russell Coutts declared the Italians to be "acting like a bunch of spoiled babies," adding that if they didn't want to race, they should just leave. You could practically hear the event's corporate sponsors burying their faces in the palms of their hands.

    It wasn't supposed to be this way. In 2010, when software tycoon Larry Ellison of the Oracle Racing Team hinted to city officials that he might want to stage the next Cup on the Bay, if not Italy or some other exotic destination, economists with the Bay Area Council trumpeted the economic gain that stood to be reaped if Ellison's plan was realized.

    Since a dozen teams competed during the last America's Cup, the authors of the study reasoned, at least as many could be expected to join this time around. Those initial projections — $1.4 billion in economic activity (like three Super Bowls!, the analysts enthused), thousands of new jobs, a tourism windfall — sounded so rosy in part because 15 syndicates were expected to compete.

    But in time, this optimism faded and the city is arguably on the hook for millions in race-related costs. Fortunately, then-District 6 Sup. Chris Daly scuttled an initial plan to cede vast swaths of city-owned waterfront property to Ellison in exchange for the expected economic gain, thus averting an even greater loss.

    Meanwhile, Oracle is weathering accusations that it cheated by slipping a design change into a list of safety recommendations, conveniently granting itself a competitive edge. An international jury's decision on whether to honor the rule change was still up in the air at press time. While we at the Guardian find ourselves rooting for the Kiwis, we remind Ellison that it isn't too late to right this ship — and cutting a check to the city to cover its losses would be a great place to start.

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  • 07/09/13--18:18: City College will appeal
  • "City College neither ignored nor fought ACCJC's recommendations, as many people wish we had."

    OPINION City College will appeal last week's decision by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to revoke City College's accreditation.

    The reason for the appeal is simple: Most of what ACCJC asked for has been accomplished, and the rest is well on its way towards completion within a year.

    First, the San Francisco City College district is financially secure. This is not a district that is close to fiscal collapse. This year's audit was "clean," and the budget is balanced, thanks to multiple cost-saving reorganizations, large spending cuts, reforms in practices, and the passage of Propositions A and 30. City College also has a healthy reserve fund well above that of state requirements. City College is even squirreling away money for a special "Ninth year" fund in the event that voters don't reapprove Prop A when it expires 8 years from now.

    The City College budget also increases spending in areas that ACCJC wanted: there is nearly $3 million per year for new technology and building maintenance, both long deferred through the years of radical state funding cuts. City College is also paying money towards the unpaid liability in retiree health benefits. The City of San Francisco also has this kind of liability — to the tune of $4.4 billion — but has so far not come up with a plan to deal with it. City College, on the other hand, has a plan and the funds to enact it.

    City College has also cut costs by millions of dollars. There have been layoffs and furloughs, and salary cuts. For instance, faculty members are earning 5 percent less than they did in 2007. Department chairs are earning less, and the Board of Trustees just cut administrators salaries. Streamlined operations have resulted in other savings.

    Governance is another area where City College has made major changes. There have been five major management overhauls to streamline bureaucracy, increase efficiency and speed the carrying out of decisions. And many administrators have been replaced. Any one of these overhauls could ordinarily have taken a year each to implement. There were all done in a matter of months.

    For instance, the job description of every dean's position was completely rewritten; some posts disappeared, and new ones were created. Every dean had to reapply for a job, and many did not return. The same is true for other management positions.

    City College also replaced a decades-old department chair structure with a system that costs less and has simpler lines of authority. And last fall, the Board of Trustees acted to completely restructure the Participatory Governance system. This is a state-mandated system of getting input from faculty and staff into management decisions. Over 40 committees were dissolved and replaced with a more streamlined system.

    The faculty and staff also worked hard in fixing problems identified by ACCJC, particularly in the areas of planning. One of the most important of these is in the collection of Student Learning Outcome data -– a measure of how well students do. Faculty filed thousands of reports in order to fulfill this requirement, a truly enormous amount of work. The collected data will then be used to improve courses next year. This cycle of planning, data collection, and improvement are the basis of ongoing reform effort that takes a year at minimum to prove that it's working. There is a lot more work to be done in this area. It will take another year to complete — if City College is given the time.

    Not everyone at the college agrees with all of the changes that were made. People have the right to express their views, and indeed, we want the internal experts to speak up and give their best advice. And given the speed and monumental scope of the changes, it is very likely that these changes have flaws and that improvements can be made.

    But regardless of what people think of the changes that have occurred, these are changes that ACCJC asked for. City College neither ignored nor fought ACCJC's recommendations, as many people wish we had. City College's response was to work to enact ACCJC's will as quickly as possible.

    Unfortunately, the decision to revoke accreditation will harm City College's otherwise good financial position by causing a large drop in student enrollment for fall — and the loss of millions of dollars in state funding. Ironically, this will make it more difficult to finish what ACCJC wants done.

    The best course for students is to let City College retain accreditation while it finishes the job that ACCJC wants done.

    John Rizzo is President of the City College Board of Trustees


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  • 07/09/13--18:35: Music Listings


    Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco, 621-4455. False Priest, Everyone Is Dirty, Merrimack, 9 p.m., $10.

    Cafe Du Nord: 2170 Market, San Francisco, 861-5016. Nightmare Air, Happy Hollows, The Broadheds, 9 p.m., $10-$12.

    The Chapel: 777 Valencia St., San Francisco. The Flamin’ Groovies, Deniz Tek, The Chuckleberries, DJ Sid Presley, 9 p.m., $22-$25.

    Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco, 552-7788. The Tambo Rays, Twin Steps, DJ set by Phntm Club & Popgang, 9 p.m., free.

    Milk Bar: 1840 Haight, San Francisco, 387-6455. Down Dirty Shake, The Electric Magpie, Acrobatic Dudes, Disappearing People, DJ Al Lover, 8 p.m., $2.

    Rickshaw Stop: 155 Fell, San Francisco, 861-2011. The Melodic, Song Preservation Society, Dyllan Hersey, 8 p.m., $10-$12.


    The Cafe: 2369 Market, San Francisco, 621-4434. “Sticky Wednesdays,” w/ DJ Mark Andrus, 8 p.m., free.

    Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco, 703-8964. “Bondage A Go Go,” w/ DJs Damon, Tomas Diablo, & guests, 9:30 p.m., $5-$10,

    The Cellar: 685 Sutter, San Francisco, 441-5678. “Eye Candy Wednesdays,” 9 p.m., free.

    Club X: 715 Harrison, San Francisco, 339-8686. “Electro Pop Rocks,” 18+ dance party, 9 p.m., $10-$20,

    Edinburgh Castle: 950 Geary, San Francisco, 885-4074. “1964,” w/ DJ Matt B & guests, Second and Fourth Wednesday of every month, 10 p.m., $2.

    F8: 1192 Folsom St., San Francisco, 857-1192. “Housepitality,” w/ Margaret Dygas, Blue Soul, Dao, Pwny, Zoz, 9 p.m., $5-$10,

    Harlot: 46 Minna, San Francisco, 777-1077. “Qoöl,” 5 p.m.,

    Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco, 421-8700. “Indulgence,” 10 p.m.,

    The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco, 550-6994. “Disorder,” Disorder, Vol. 1 vinyl release party with Eleven Pond, Drab Majesty, DJ Nickie, 10 p.m., $6,

    Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco, 703-9751. “What?,” 7 p.m.

    MatrixFillmore: 3138 Fillmore, San Francisco, 563-4180. “Innov8,” 8 p.m.

    Monarch: 101 6th St., San Francisco, 284-9774. “Soul Phunktion,” w/ resident DJs Kimmy Le Funk, Primo, and M3, 9 p.m.

    Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco, 864-2877. “Booty Call,” w/ Juanita More, Joshua J, guests, 9 p.m., $3,


    Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco, 800-8782. DaVinci, Main Attrakionz, Young Gully, Shady Blaze, Ammbush, Sayknowledge, 9 p.m., free.

    Double Dutch: 3192 16th St., San Francisco, 503-1670. “Cash IV Gold,” w/ DJs Kool Karlo, Roost Uno, and Sean G, 10 p.m., free,

    Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco, 621-9294. “Mixtape Wednesday,” w/ resident DJs Strategy, Junot, Herb Digs, & guests, 9 p.m., $5,


    Cafe Divine: 1600 Stockton, San Francisco, 986-3414. Craig Ventresco & Meredith Axelrod, 7 p.m., free.

    Johnny Foley’s Irish House: 243 O’Farrell St., San Francisco, 954-0777. Terry Savastano, Every other Wednesday, 9 p.m., free,

    The Lost Church: 65 Capp St., San Francisco, 437-0593. Mario Di Sandro, Bill Fried, 8 p.m., $10.

    Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco, 751-1122. Leigh Gregory, 9 p.m.


    Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco, 970-0012. Gaucho, Eric Garland’s Jazz Session, Dink Dink Dink, 7 p.m., free,

    Burritt Room: 417 Stockton St., San Francisco, 400-0555. Terry Disley’s Rocking Jazz Trio, 6 p.m., free.

    Club Deluxe: 1511 Haight, San Francisco, 552-6949. Patrick Wolff, Every other Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., free.

    Jazz Bistro At Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco, 397-5397. Charles Unger Experience, 7:30 p.m., free.

    Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco, 931-3600. The Cosmo Alleycats featuring Ms. Emily Wade Adams, 7 p.m., free.

    Oz Lounge: 260 Kearny, San Francisco, 399-7999. Hard Bop Collective, 6 p.m., free.

    Rasselas Ethiopian Cuisine & Jazz Club: 1534 Fillmore, San Francisco, 346-8696. M.B. Hanif & The Sound Voyagers, 8 p.m.

    Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco, 285-3369. “Cat’s Corner,” 9 p.m., $10.

    Top of the Mark: One Nob Hill, 999 California, San Francisco, 616-6916. Ricardo Scales, Wednesdays, 6:30-11:30 p.m., $5.

    Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco, 885-8850. Chris Duggan, 7:30 p.m., free.


    Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco, 826-9287. Timba Dance Party, w/ DJ WaltDigz, 10 p.m., $5.

    Cafe Cocomo: 650 Indiana, San Francisco, 824-6910. “Bachatalicious,” w/ DJs Good Sho & Rodney, 7 p.m., $5-$10.

    Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco, 646-0018. “Cafe LatinoAmericano,” 8 p.m., $5.


    Union Square Park: 333 Post, San Francisco, 831-2700. My Peoples, 12:30 p.m., free.


    Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco, 292-2583. The Hound Kings, 8 & 10 p.m., $15.

    Union Square Park: 333 Post, San Francisco, 831-2700. Crosscut, 6 p.m., free.


    Vertigo: 1160 Polk, San Francisco, 674-1278. “Full Tilt Boogie,” w/ KUSF-in-Exile DJs, Second Wednesday of every month, 8 p.m.-1:30 a.m., free,


    The Cellar: 685 Sutter, San Francisco, 441-5678. “Color Me Badd,” w/ DJ Matt Haze, Wednesdays, 5-9 p.m.

    The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco, 550-8667. Freddie Hughes & Chris Burns, 7:30 p.m., free.



    Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco, 621-4455. Great American Cities, Matt Jaffe & The Distractions, M. Lockwood Porter, 9 p.m., $10.

    The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco, 771-1420. Sorne, Dirtwire, Metal Mother, 9 p.m., $15.

    The Lab: 2948 16th St., San Francisco, 864-8855. Three Day Stubble, John Trubee & The Ugly Janitors of America, Merchants of the New Bizarre, 9 p.m., $5-$10.

    Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco, 252-1330. Daikaiju, Aloha Screwdriver, The Atom Age, 9 p.m., $7.


    Abbey Tavern: 4100 Geary, San Francisco, 221-7767. DJ Schrobi-Girl, 10 p.m., free.

    Aunt Charlie’s Lounge: 133 Turk, San Francisco, 441-2922. “Tubesteak Connection,” w/ DJ Bus Station John, 9 p.m., $5-$7.

    The Cafe: 2369 Market, San Francisco, 621-4434. “¡Pan Dulce!,” 9 p.m., $5,

    Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco, 703-8964. “All ‘80s Thursdays,” w/ DJs Damon, Steve Washington, Dangerous Dan, and guests, 9 p.m., $6 (free before 9:30 p.m.),

    The Cellar: 685 Sutter, San Francisco, 441-5678. “XO,” w/ DJs Astro & Rose, 10 p.m., $5,

    Club X: 715 Harrison, San Francisco, 339-8686. “The Crib,” 9:30 p.m., $10, 18+,

    Danzhaus: 1275 Connecticut, San Francisco, 970-0222. “Alt.Dance,” Second Thursday of every month, 7 p.m., $7, 18+,

    DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco, 626-1409. 8 Bit Weapon, ComputeHer, Crashfaster, Gnarboots, DJ Tracer, VJ Eliot Lash, 9 p.m., $8-$11.

    Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco, 552-7788. “Afrolicious,” w/ DJs Pleasuremaker, Señor Oz, and live guests, 9:30 p.m., $5-$7,

    The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco, 646-0999. EDMSF Thursdays, 10 p.m., $10 (free before midnight).

    Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco, 421-8700. “I Love Thursdays,” 10 p.m., $10.

    Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco, 241-0202. “Night Fever,” 9 p.m., $5 after $10 p.m.

    MatrixFillmore: 3138 Fillmore, San Francisco, 563-4180. “Fusion,” w/ DJ Big Bad Bruce, 9 p.m., $5.

    Mighty: 119 Utah, San Francisco, 762-0151. “Ritual,” w/ Blockhead, Sixis, Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist, Bluz, Sedriss, Self Dustrukt, 10 p.m., $10-$20,

    Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco, 864-2877. “Throwback Thursday,” w/ DJ Jay-R, 9 p.m., free.

    Raven: 1151 Folsom St., San Francisco, 431-1151. “1999,” w/ VJ Mark Andrus, 8 p.m., free,

    Ruby Skye: 420 Mason, San Francisco, 693-0777. “Awakening,” w/ Adrian Lux, 9 p.m., $15-$20.

    Temple: 540 Howard, San Francisco, 978-9942. Brian Kearney, Reverse, Mitka, 10 p.m., $15-$20 advance,

    The Tunnel Top: 601 Bush, San Francisco, 722-6620. “Tunneltop,” DJs Avalon and Derek ease you into the weekend with a cool and relaxed selection of tunes spun on vinyl, 10 p.m., free.

    Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco, 864-7386. “Bubble,” 10 p.m., free,

    Vessel: 85 Campton, San Francisco, 433-8585. “Base,” w/ Arjun Vagale, 10 p.m., $5-$10.


    Eastside West: 3154 Fillmore, San Francisco, 885-4000. “Throwback Thursdays,” w/ DJ Madison, 9 p.m., free.

    John Colins: 138 Minna, San Francisco, 512-7493. “Party with Friends,” w/ resident DJs IllEfect, GeektotheBeat, Merrick, and Delrokz, Second Thursday of every month, 9 p.m., free.

    Neck of the Woods: 406 Clement St., San Francisco, 387-6343. “Skratchpad,” Second Thursday of every month, 10 p.m., free,

    Park 77 Sports Bar: 77 Cambon, San Francisco. “Slap N Tite,” w/ resident Cali King Crab DJs Sabotage Beats & Jason Awesome, free,

    The Parlor: 2801 Leavenworth, San Francisco, 775-5110. “Locals Night Out,” w/ DJ Illy D, 9 p.m., free.

    Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco, 621-9294. “Peaches,” w/lady DJs DeeAndroid, Lady Fingaz, That Girl, Umami, Inkfat, and Andre, 10 p.m., free,


    Atlas Cafe: 3049 20th St., San Francisco, 648-1047. Bermuda Grass, 8 p.m., free.

    Cafe Du Nord: 2170 Market, San Francisco, 861-5016. New American Farmers, Tin Cup Serenade, Maurice Tani & 77 El Deora, 8:30 p.m., $10.

    The Chapel: 777 Valencia St., San Francisco. Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, Horseshoe Hill, 9 p.m., $15-$17.

    The Lucky Horseshoe: 453 Cortland, San Francisco. Joe New, Brian Oberlin, and Pat Campbell, 8 p.m.

    Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco, 751-1122. The Shannon Céilí Band, Second Thursday of every month, 9 p.m.


    Blush! Wine Bar: 476 Castro, San Francisco, 558-0893. Doug Martin’s Avatar Ensemble, 7:30 p.m., free,

    Bottle Cap: 1707 Powell, San Francisco, 529-2237. The North Beach Sound with Ned Boynton, Jordan Samuels, and Tom Vickers, 7 p.m., free.

    Club Deluxe: 1511 Haight, San Francisco, 552-6949. Michael Parsons, 8:30 p.m., free.

    Harry Denton’s Starlight Room: 450 Powell, San Francisco, 395-8595. An Evening with Molly Ringwald, July 11-13, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 13, 1 p.m., $50-$125 advance,

    Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco, 931-3600. Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums, 7:30 p.m.

    The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco, 550-8667. Chris Siebert, 7:30 p.m., free.

    Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco, 285-3369. Savanna Jazz Jam with Eddy Ramirez, 7:30 p.m., $5.

    Top of the Mark: One Nob Hill, 999 California, San Francisco, 616-6916. Stompy Jones, 7:30 p.m., $10.

    Yerba Buena Gardens: Fourth St. & Mission, San Francisco, 284-9589. Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco, 12:30 p.m., free.

    Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco, 655-5600. Halie Loren, 8 p.m., $25-$29.

    Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco, 885-8850. Barbara Ochoa, 7:30 p.m., free.


    Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco, 970-0012. Japonize Elephants, 9 p.m.

    Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco, 826-9287. “Pa’Lante!,” w/ Juan G, El Kool Kyle, Mr. Lucky, 10 p.m., $5.

    Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco, 646-0018. “Jueves Flamencos,” 8 p.m., free.

    Rasselas Ethiopian Cuisine & Jazz Club: 1534 Fillmore, San Francisco, 346-8696. Latin Breeze, 8 p.m.

    Verdi Club: 2424 Mariposa, San Francisco, 861-5048. The Verdi Club Milonga, w/ Christy Coté, DJ Emilio Flores, guests, 9 p.m., $10-$15,


    Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco, 647-2888. “Festival ‘68,” w/ Revival Sound System, Second Thursday of every month, 9:30 p.m., free.

    Pissed Off Pete’s: 4528 Mission St., San Francisco, 584-5122. Reggae Thursdays, w/ resident DJ Jah Yzer, 9 p.m., free.


    Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco, 292-2583. Shane Dwight, 8 & 10 p.m., $20.

    Jazz Bistro At Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco, 397-5397. Bohemian Knuckleboogie, 7:30 p.m., free.


    The Luggage Store: 1007 Market, San Francisco, 255-5971. jMaa, Lob, Jordan Glenn & Robert Lopez, 8 p.m., $6-$10.


    Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco, 800-8782. Kendra Morris, Myron & E, DJ Platurn, 9 p.m., $12-$15.

    FRIDAY 12


    Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco, 621-4455. Glaciers, Beware of Safety, Winfred E. Eye, 9:30 p.m., $12.

    Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco, 923-0923. Rezzin, Count Dante, 9 p.m., free.

    The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco, 771-1420. Rogue Wave, Hey Marseilles, 9 p.m., $20.

    Milk Bar: 1840 Haight, San Francisco, 387-6455. Dangermaker, Mary Jones’ Lights, Hibbity Dibbity, 8:30 p.m., $10.

    Neck of the Woods: 406 Clement St., San Francisco, 387-6343. The Lost Project, The Moonlight Orchestra, Fresh Juice Party, 8 p.m., $7-$10.

    Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco, 252-1330. Urban Waste, Out of Tune, Guantanamo Dogpile, Ill Content, 9 p.m., $10.


    1015 Folsom: 1015 Folsom St., San Francisco, 431-1200. Beirut (DJ set), Mr. Little Jeans, Hard French DJs, Braza! DJs, Justin Milla, DJ MyKill, White Mike, Richie Panic, 10 p.m., $17.50 advance.

    Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco, 970-0012. “Indie Slash,” w/ DJs Rance & Sweethearts, 10 p.m., $5,

    BeatBox: 314 11th St., San Francisco, 500-2675. “Bears in the Dark,” w/ DJs Brian Maier & Luke Allen, 9 p.m., $5-$10.

    Cafe Flore: 2298 Market, San Francisco, 621-8579. “Kinky Beats,” w/ DJ Sergio, 10 p.m., free,

    The Cafe: 2369 Market, San Francisco, 621-4434. “Boy Bar,” w/ DJ Matt Consola, 9 p.m., $5,

    Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco, 703-8964. “Dark Shadows,” w/ DJs Daniel Skellington, Melting Girl, and guests, 9:30 p.m., $7 ($3 before 10 p.m.),

    The Cellar: 685 Sutter, San Francisco, 441-5678. “F.T.S.: For the Story,” 10 p.m.

    DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco, 626-1409. “Fag Fridays Gets Honey Dipped,” w/ resident DJ David Harness plus Honey Soundsystem DJs Jason Kendig & P-Play, 10 p.m., $5,

    Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco, 552-7788. “Last Nite: A 2000s Indie Dance Party,” w/ DJs EmDee & Jamie Jams, 10 p.m., $5-$10,

    The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco, 646-0999. “Fever,” 10 p.m., free before midnight.

    F8: 1192 Folsom St., San Francisco, 857-1192. “Vintage,” w/ DJ Toph One & guests, 5 p.m., free.

    The Grand Nightclub: 520 4th St., San Francisco, 814-3008. “We Rock Fridays,” 9:30 p.m.

    Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco, 421-8700. “Escape Fridays,” 10 p.m., $20,

    Lone Star Saloon: 1354 Harrison, San Francisco, 863-9999. “Cubcake,” w/ DJ Medic, Second Friday of every month, 9 p.m.

    Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco, 703-9751. “HYSL,” 9 p.m., $3,

    MatrixFillmore: 3138 Fillmore, San Francisco, 563-4180. “F-Style Fridays,” w/ DJ Jared-F, 9 p.m.

    Monarch: 101 6th St., San Francisco, 284-9774. [a]pendics.shuffle, Dr. Rek, AntAcid, Abandoned Footwear, Max Gardner, benefit for Japan Cat Network and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 9 p.m., $5-$20.

    Project One: 251 Rhode Island, San Francisco, 465-2129. “Modular,” w/ Super Flu, Pedro Arbulu, MFYRS, 9 p.m., $15-$20,

    Public Works: 161 Erie, San Francisco, 932-0955. “Resonate,” w/ Jeremy Ellis, Teeko, Comma, Jermski, Ruff Draft, Tone, Citizen Ten, Bdot, Mr. Muddbird, Joe Mousepad (in the OddJob loft), 9 p.m., $5-$10,;“Below the Radar,” w/ Acid Pauli, Eduardo Castillo, Bells & Whistles (in the main room), 9 p.m., $12-$15.

    Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco, 864-2877. “Pump: Worq It Out Fridays,” w/ resident DJ Christopher B, 9 p.m., $3.

    Rebel: 1760 Market, San Francisco, 431-4202. “Fix Yr Hair,” w/ resident DJs Andre & Jenna Riot, Second Friday of every month, 10 p.m., $7,

    Rickshaw Stop: 155 Fell, San Francisco, 861-2011. “Bardot A Go Go: Pre-Bastille Day Dance Party,” w/ DJs Brother Grimm, Pink Frankenstein, and Cali Kid, 9 p.m., $10.

    Slide: 430 Mason, San Francisco, 421-1916. “E2F,” Second Friday of every month, 9 p.m.

    Wish: 1539 Folsom, San Francisco, 278-9474. “Bridge the Gap,” w/ resident DJ Don Kainoa, Fridays, 6-10 p.m., free,


    Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco, 800-8782. New Dealers, 100 percent of ticket sales benefit Justin Doty, 9 p.m., $20-$25,

    EZ5: 682 Commercial, San Francisco, 362-9321. “Decompression,” Fridays, 5-9 p.m.

    John Colins: 138 Minna, San Francisco, 512-7493. “Heartbeat,” w/ resident DJ Strategy, Second Friday of every month, 9 p.m., $5 (free before 11 p.m).

    Mighty: 119 Utah, San Francisco, 762-0151. “45 Live,” w/ Prince Paul, Peanut Butter Wolf, J. Rocc, Dâm-Funk, DJ Shortkut, DJ Platurn, 9 p.m., $20 advance,

    Slate Bar: 2925 16th St., San Francisco, 558-8521. “The Hustle,” w/ DJs Sake One & Sean G, Second Friday of every month, 9 p.m.


    Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco, 831-5620. “Sing Out of Darkness,” American Foundation for Suicide Prevention benefit featuring Peter Chung, Manjali Light, Roscoe Born, Melted State, and host Julie Mayhew, 6:30 p.m.,

    The Chapel: 777 Valencia St., San Francisco. Megan Keely & Jessie Bridges, 9 p.m., $12-$15.

    Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco, 751-1122. Tell River, Crosby Tyler, 9 p.m.

    The Sports Basement: 610 Old Mason, San Francisco, 437-0100. “Breakfast with Enzo,” w/ Enzo Garcia, 10 a.m., $5,


    Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant: 1000 Great Highway, San Francisco, 386-8439. Johnny Smith, 8 p.m., free.

    Bird & Beckett: 653 Chenery, San Francisco, 586-3733. Jimmy Ryan Quintet, Second Friday of every month, 5:30 p.m., free.

    Cafe Royale: 800 Post, San Francisco, 441-4099. Robert Kennedy Trio, 9 p.m.

    The Emerald Tablet: 80 Fresno St., San Francisco, 500-2323. Epicenter, 8 p.m., $5-$10 suggested donation.

    Harry Denton’s Starlight Room: 450 Powell, San Francisco, 395-8595. An Evening with Molly Ringwald, July 11-13, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 13, 1 p.m., $50-$125 advance,

    Jazz Bistro At Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco, 397-5397. Charles Unger Experience, 7:30 p.m., free.

    The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco, 550-8667. Jules Broussard, Danny Armstrong, and Chris Siebert, 7:30 p.m., free.

    Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco, 285-3369. Savanna Jazz Trio, 7 p.m., $5.

    Top of the Mark: One Nob Hill, 999 California, San Francisco, 616-6916. Black Market Jazz Orchestra, 9 p.m., $10.

    Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco, 885-8850. Joyce Grant, 8 p.m., free.


    Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco, 826-9287. “Makossa West,” w/ The Latin Soul Brothers (Wonway Posibul & Joe Quixx), Second Friday of every month, 10 p.m., $5.

    Cafe Cocomo: 650 Indiana, San Francisco, 824-6910. Taste Fridays, featuring local cuisine tastings, salsa bands, dance lessons, and more, 7:30 p.m., $15 (free entry to patio),

    Little Baobab: 3388 19th St., San Francisco, 643-3558. “Paris-Dakar African Mix Coupe Decale,” 10 p.m.

    Mezzanine: 444 Jessie, San Francisco, 625-8880. Seu Jorge, 9 p.m., $25.

    Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco, 646-0018. Cuban Night with Fito Reinoso, 7:30 & 9:15 p.m., $15-$18.


    Gestalt Haus: 3159 16th St., San Francisco, 655-9935. “Music Like Dirt,” 7:30 p.m., free.


    Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco, 292-2583. John Lee Hooker Jr., 8 & 10 p.m., $24.

    Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco, 673-8000. Bill Phillippe, 6 p.m., free.

    Lou’s Fish Shack: 300 Jefferson St., San Francisco, 771-5687. Willie G, 8:30 p.m.


    Center for New Music: 55 Taylor St., San Francisco, 275-2466. Gino Robair & Matthew Goodheart, 7:30 p.m., $10-$15.


    Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco, 647-2888. “Loose Joints,” w/ DJs Centipede, Damon Bell, & Tom Thump, 10 p.m., $5,


    Edinburgh Castle: 950 Geary, San Francisco, 885-4074. “Soul Crush,” w/ DJ Serious Leisure, 10 p.m., free,

    Feinstein’s at the Nikko: 222 Mason St., San Francisco, 394-1111. Nicole Henry, Fri., July 12, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 13, 7 p.m., $30-$45.

    The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco, 550-6994. “Nightbeat,” w/ DJs Primo, Lucky, and Dr. Scott, Second Friday of every month, 10 p.m., $4,

    Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco, 241-0202. “Yo Momma: M.O.M. Weekend Edition,” w/ DJ Gordo Cabeza, Second Friday of every month, 9 p.m., $5 (free before 10 p.m.).



    Bender’s: 806 S. Van Ness, San Francisco, 824-1800. Butt Problems, The Secret Secretaries, 10 p.m., $5.

    The Chapel: 777 Valencia St., San Francisco. Mammatus, Residual Echoes, Peace, 9 p.m., $12-$15.

    Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco, 923-0923. Sonny Vincent, Violent Change, Etts Feats, POW!, 8:30 p.m., $8.

    The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco, 771-1420. Rogue Wave, Hey Marseilles, 9 p.m., $20.

    The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco, 550-6994. Big Black Cloud, Drunk Dad, CCR Headcleaner, 9 p.m.

    Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco, 255-0333. Palms, Crypts, 9 p.m., $18.

    Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco, 252-1330. Mom, Little Pilgrims, Sock Children, FNU Clone, 9 p.m., $6.


    Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco, 970-0012. “2 Men Will Move You,” w/ DJs Primo & Jordan, Second Saturday of every month, 9 p.m.,

    BeatBox: 314 11th St., San Francisco, 500-2675. “I Just Wanna F*ckin Dance: Made in America,” w/ DJs Eddie Elias & Brian Urmanita, 10 p.m., $15-$20.

    Cafe Flore: 2298 Market, San Francisco, 621-8579. “Bistrotheque,” w/ DJ Ken Vulsion, 8 p.m., free.

    Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco, 703-8964. “Club Gossip: Echo & The Bunnymen vs. Thompson Twins,” 9 p.m., $5-$8 (free before 9:30 p.m.),

    DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco, 626-1409. “Bootie S.F.,” w/ DJs Tripp, Adrian, Billy Jam, Devon, MyKill, Sparkle, Myster C, and Mr. Washington, 9 p.m., $10-$15,

    S.F. Eagle: 398 12th St., San Francisco, 626-0880. “Dark Days,” w/ Lady Bear, DJ Le Perv, guests, Second Saturday of every month, 3 p.m.; “Sadistic Saturdays,” Second Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., free.

    Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco, 552-7788. “Tormenta Tropical,” w/ Paul Devro, Jeremy Sole, Jah Wave, DJ Oro11, DJ Theory, 10 p.m., $5-$10.

    The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco, 646-0999. “Eclectricity,” w/ Monchis the DJ, Filipside, Micky Tan, Cuervo, Jamie Navares, 10 p.m.

    The Factory: 525 Harrison, San Francisco, 538-7977. “The Five Elements: Earth,” w/ Dave Aude, Paul Johnson, Dan Eisenhauer, Ricky Sinz, Forest Green, DJ Chaos, Hawthorne, James Torres, more, 9 p.m., $15-$30,

    The Hot Spot: 1414 Market, San Francisco, 355-9800. “Love Will Fix It,” w/ DJ Bus Station John, Second Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., $5.

    Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco, 421-8700. “One Way Ticket Saturdays,” w/ Eric D-Lux, Second Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., $20.

    Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco, 703-9751. “Bounce!,” 9 p.m., $3.

    Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco, 241-0202. “Music Video Night,” w/ DJs Satva & 4AM, Second Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., $5.

    Mighty: 119 Utah, San Francisco, 762-0151. “Salted: 8-Year Anniversary,” w/ Tortured Soul, Miguel Migs, Julius Papp, 10 p.m., $15-$20 advance.

    Monarch: 101 6th St., San Francisco, 284-9774. “Green Gorilla Lounge,” w/ Psychemagik, M3, Anthony Mansfield, Shiny Objects, 9 p.m., $10-$20,

    Public Works: 161 Erie, San Francisco, 932-0955. “Isis,” w/ Jacques Renault, Mountaincount, more (in the OddJob loft), 9:30 p.m., $10-$15.

    Rickshaw Stop: 155 Fell, San Francisco, 861-2011. “Cockblock,” w/ DJ Natalie Nuxx & guests, Second Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., $5-$10,

    Ruby Skye: 420 Mason, San Francisco, 693-0777. The 10th Annual Bastille Day Party, w/ DJs Frenchy Le Freak & Tall Sasha, 9 p.m., $20 advance.

    Slate Bar: 2925 16th St., San Francisco, 558-8521. “The KissGroove S.F.,” w/ DJ Vinroc & The Whooligan, Second Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., free.

    The Stud: 399 Ninth St., San Francisco, 863-6623. “Frolic: A Celebration of Costume & Dance,” w/ DJs HouseHead, Ikkuma, Shiranui, and NeonBunny, 8 p.m., $8 ($4 in costume),

    Wish: 1539 Folsom, San Francisco, 278-9474. “All Styles & Smiles,” w/ DJ Tom Thump, Second Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., free,


    111 Minna Gallery: 111 Minna St., San Francisco, 974-1719. “Back to the ‘90s,” Second Saturday of every month, 9:30 p.m., $10.

    Double Dutch: 3192 16th St., San Francisco, 503-1670. “Cash IV Gold,” w/ DJs Kool Karlo, Roost Uno, and Sean G, Second Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., free,

    John Colins: 138 Minna, San Francisco, 512-7493. “Second Saturdays,” w/ resident DJ Matt Cali, Second Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., free,


    Atlas Cafe: 3049 20th St., San Francisco, 648-1047. Craig Ventresco & Meredith Axelrod, Saturdays, 4-6 p.m., free.

    Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco, 831-5620. Alex Jimenez, 7 p.m.

    Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco, 621-4455. Shugo Tokumaru, Tara Jane O’Neil, Strawberry Smog, 9 p.m., $12.

    Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco, 800-8782. Hackensaw Boys, The Beauty Operators, 9 p.m., $12-$15.

    Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco, 751-1122. Seek the Freek, Dusty Green Bones Band, 9 p.m.

    The Riptide: 3639 Taraval, San Francisco, 759-7263. Sweet Felony, 9 p.m., free.


    Cafe Royale: 800 Post, San Francisco, 441-4099. The Glasses, 9 p.m.

    Center for New Music: 55 Taylor St., San Francisco, 275-2466. Shelton-Ochs Quartet with Mark Dresser & Kjell Nordeson, 7:30 p.m., $10-$15.

    Club Deluxe: 1511 Haight, San Francisco, 552-6949. Saturday Afternoon Jazz, w/ Danny Brown, Danny Grewen, Eugene Warren, & Beth Goodfellow, 4:30 p.m., free.

    Harry Denton’s Starlight Room: 450 Powell, San Francisco, 395-8595. An Evening with Molly Ringwald, July 11-13, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 13, 1 p.m., $50-$125 advance,

    Jazz Bistro At Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco, 397-5397. Bill “Doc” Webster & Jazz Nostalgia, 7:30 p.m., free.

    Rasselas Ethiopian Cuisine & Jazz Club: 1534 Fillmore, San Francisco, 346-8696. The Robert Stewart Experience, 9 p.m., $7.

    The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco, 550-8667. Wil Blades & Jack Tone Riordan, 7:30 p.m., free.

    Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco, 285-3369. Savanna Jazz Trio, 7 p.m., $5; Gina Harris & Torbie Phillips, 7:30 p.m., $12.

    Yerba Buena Gardens: Fourth St. & Mission, San Francisco, 284-9589. Tribute to Khalil Shaheed with Mansa Musa & The Oaktown Jazz Workshops Performance Ensemble, 1 p.m., free.

    Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco, 885-8850. Barbara Ochoa, 8 p.m., free.


    1015 Folsom: 1015 Folsom St., San Francisco, 431-1200. “Pura,” 9 p.m., $20,

    Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco, 826-9287. Misión Flamenca, Monthly live music and dance performances., Second Saturday of every month, 7:30 p.m.,

    Little Baobab: 3388 19th St., San Francisco, 643-3558. “Paris-Dakar African Mix Coupe Decale,” 10 p.m.

    Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco, 647-2888. “El SuperRitmo,” Latin dance party with DJs Roger Mas & El Kool Kyle, 10 p.m., $5.

    Meridian Gallery: 535 Powell, San Francisco, 398-7229. Hyosung Jeong, 7 p.m., $8-$10.

    Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco, 646-0018. Peña Eddy Navia & Pachamama Band, 8 p.m., free.

    Public Works: 161 Erie, San Francisco, 932-0955. “Non Stop Bhangra: Documentary Release Party,” w/ DJ Scorpio, Jimmy Love, Rav-E, Dholrhythms dance troupe, more, 9 p.m., $10-$15,


    Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco, 292-2583. Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, 8 & 10 p.m., $22.

    Lou’s Fish Shack: 300 Jefferson St., San Francisco, 771-5687. Willie G, 8:30 p.m.

    The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco, 989-7666. Dave Workman, Second Saturday of every month, 4 p.m.


    The Lab: 2948 16th St., San Francisco, 864-8855. “Experiments in Levitation: An Evening of Sound and Image,” w/ John Davis, Paul Clipson, Ashley Bellouin, Ben Bracken, Rick Bahto, Jim Haynes, 8 p.m., $8.


    Feinstein’s at the Nikko: 222 Mason St., San Francisco, 394-1111. Nicole Henry, Fri., July 12, 8 p.m.; Sat., July 13, 7 p.m., $30-$45.

    SUNDAY 14


    The Chapel: 777 Valencia St., San Francisco. The San Francisco Album Project: Radiohead’s OK Computer, 8 p.m., $15-$20.

    Monarch: 101 6th St., San Francisco, 284-9774. ‘Lectric Was House, Duckyousucker, Dream Trees, 6 p.m., $6.

    Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco, 252-1330. Name, Armed for Apocalypse, Lament Cityscape, Guttershark, Wave Well (DJ set), 8 p.m., $8.


    The Cellar: 685 Sutter, San Francisco, 441-5678. “Replay Sundays,” 9 p.m., free.

    DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco, 626-1409. The Sparkly Devil Memorial Celebration, w/ Lee Presson & The Nails, DJ JsinJ, much more, 7 p.m., free.

    The Edge: 4149 18th St., San Francisco, 863-4027. “’80s at 8,” w/ DJ MC2, 8 p.m.

    Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco, 552-7788. “Dub Mission,” w/ DJ Sep & J-Boogie, 9 p.m., $6 (free before 9:30 p.m.),

    The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco, 646-0999. “T.Dance,” 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; “The Rhythm Room,” Second Sunday of every month, 8 p.m.; “Sunday Sessions,” 8 p.m.

    F8: 1192 Folsom St., San Francisco, 857-1192. “Stamina Sundays,” w/ Ben Soundscape, Lukeino, Jamal, 10 p.m., free,

    Holy Cow: 1535 Folsom, San Francisco, 621-6087. “Honey Sundays,” w/ Honey Soundsystem & guests, 9 p.m., $5,

    The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco, 550-6994. “Sweater Funk,” 10 p.m., free,

    Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco, 703-9751. “Jock,” Sundays, 3-8 p.m., $2.

    Otis: 25 Maiden, San Francisco, N/A. “What’s the Werd?,” w/ resident DJs Nick Williams, Kevin Knapp, Maxwell Dub, and guests, 9 p.m., $5 (free before 11 p.m.),

    The Parlor: 2801 Leavenworth, San Francisco, 775-5110. DJ Marc deVasconcelos, 10 p.m., free.

    Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco, 864-2877. “Gigante,” 8 p.m., free.

    Temple: 540 Howard, San Francisco, 978-9942. “Sunset Arcade,” 18+ dance party with bar games and video arcade, 7 p.m., $5,


    Cafe Du Nord: 2170 Market, San Francisco, 861-5016. Lauren Mann & The Fairly Odd Folk, The Emily Anne Band, Marty O’Reilly, 7:30 p.m., $10.

    Club Deluxe: 1511 Haight, San Francisco, 552-6949. Musical Mayhem with the Dimestore Dandy, 5:30 p.m., free,

    Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco, 923-0923. Zac


    Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco, 970-0012. Slim Jenkins, Second Sunday of every month, 9 p.m., $7-$10.

    Chez Hanny: 1300 Silver, San Francisco, 552-2729. Chuck Metcalf Tribute with David Udolf, Steve Heckman, Jim Zimmerman, Ratzo B. Harris, and Ron Marabuto, 4 p.m., $20 suggested donation.

    Club Deluxe: 1511 Haight, San Francisco, 552-6949. Jay Johnson, 9 p.m., free.

    Jazz Bistro At Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco, 397-5397. Bill “Doc” Webster & Jazz Nostalgia, 7:30 p.m., free.

    Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco, 241-0202. “Sunday Sessions,” 10 p.m., free.

    Martuni’s: 4 Valencia, San Francisco, 241-0205. Madame Jo Trio, second Sunday of every month, 4-6 p.m., free,

    Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco, 642-0474. Jazz Revolution, 4 p.m., free/donation.

    The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco, 550-8667. Lavay Smith & Chris Siebert, 7:30 p.m., free.

    Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco, 285-3369. Vocal Jam with Benn Bacot, 7 p.m., $5.


    Atmosphere: 447 Broadway, San Francisco, 788-4623. “Hot Bachata Nights,” w/ DJ El Guapo, 5:30 p.m., $10 ($15-$20 with dance lessons),

    Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco, 826-9287. “Brazil & Beyond,” 6:30 p.m., free.

    Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco, 800-8782. Chico Mann, El Kool Kyle, 9 p.m., $10-$13.

    El Rio: 3158 Mission, San Francisco, 282-3325. “Salsa Sundays,” Second and Fourth Sunday of every month, 3 p.m., $8-$10.

    Oasis Bar & Grill: 401 California Ave., San Francisco, 765-1900. “El Vacilón,” 4 p.m., $10.

    Thirsty Bear Brewing Company: 661 Howard, San Francisco, 974-0905. “The Flamenco Room,” 7:15 & 8:30 p.m.


    Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco, 292-2583. Daniel Castro, 7 & 9 p.m., $15.

    Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco, 642-0474. HowellDevine, 8:30 p.m., free/donation.

    The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco, 989-7666. Blues Power, 4 p.m.

    Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco, 440-7414. Bohemian Knuckleboogie, 9 p.m., free.


    The Riptide: 3639 Taraval, San Francisco, 759-7263. Joe Goldmark & The Seducers, Second Sunday of every month, 7 p.m., free,


    The Lab: 2948 16th St., San Francisco, 864-8855. “Godwaffle Noise Pancakes,” w/ National Disgrace, Butt Fungus, Old Million Eye vs. Infinite Plastic Internal, Ze Bib!, /The Nothing\, noon, $5-$10; “Replicant: Part 1,” featuring music & art by Marshstepper, Jock Club, Kerri & Sky, Ray Mack, 8 p.m., $5-$8,


    Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco, 673-8000. “Deep Fried Soul,” w/ DJs Boombostic & Soul Sauce, 9:30 p.m., $5.

    Delirium Cocktails: 3139 16th St., San Francisco, 552-5525. “Heart & Soul,” w/ DJ Lovely Lesage, 10 p.m., free,

    MONDAY 15


    Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco, 621-4455. Deafheaven, Marriages, Monuments Collapse, DJ Rob Metal, 9 p.m., $12.

    Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco, 800-8782. The Baptist Generals, 8 p.m., $9-$12.

    Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco, 552-7788. Mobile Deathcamp, Hollywood Jesus, 9 p.m., $7.

    Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco, 923-0923. Slick 46, Rust, 7 p.m., $10.


    DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco, 626-1409. “Death Guild,” 18+ dance party with DJs Decay, Joe Radio, Melting Girl, & guests, 9:30 p.m., $3-$5,

    Playland Bar: 1351 Polk St., San Francisco, 440-7529. “Nightcall,” w/ DJs Don Lynch & Scotty Fox, 9 p.m., free.

    Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco, 864-2877. “Wanted,” w/ DJs Key&Kite and Richie Panic, 9 p.m., free.

    Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco, 864-7386. “Vienetta Discotheque,” w/ DJs Stanley Frank and Robert Jeffrey, 10 p.m., free.


    Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco, 970-0012. Windy Hill, Third Monday of every month, 9 p.m., free.

    Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco, 831-5620. West Coast Songwriters Competition, 7 p.m.

    Cafe Du Nord: 2170 Market, San Francisco, 861-5016. Shannon McNally Band, Rachel Efron, The Highway Poets, 7:30 p.m., $12.

    The Chieftain: 198 Fifth St., San Francisco, 615-0916. The Wrenboys, 7 p.m., free.

    Fiddler’s Green: 1333 Columbus, San Francisco, 441-9758. Terry Savastano, 9:30 p.m., free/donation,

    Hotel Utah: 500 Fourth St., San Francisco, 546-6300. Open mic with Brendan Getzell, 8 p.m., free.

    The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco, 771-1420. Langhorne Slim & The Law, The Easy Leaves, 8 p.m., $18-$20.

    Osteria: 3277 Sacramento, San Francisco, 771-5030. “Acoustic Bistro,” 7 p.m., free,


    Cafe Divine: 1600 Stockton, San Francisco, 986-3414. Rob Reich, First and Third Monday of every month, 7 p.m.

    Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco, 931-3600. Le Jazz Hot, 7 p.m., free.

    Rasselas Ethiopian Cuisine & Jazz Club: 1534 Fillmore, San Francisco, 346-8696. Open Mic Jazz Jam with Tod Dickow, 8 p.m.

    The Union Room at Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco, 931-6012. “The Session: A Monday Night Jazz Series,” pro jazz jam with Mike Olmos, 7:30 p.m., $12.

    Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco, 885-8850. Anya Malkiel, 7:30 p.m., free.


    Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco, 621-9294. “Skylarking,” w/ I&I Vibration, 10 p.m., free.


    Jazz Bistro At Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco, 397-5397. Bohemian Knuckleboogie, 7:30 p.m., free.

    The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco, 989-7666. The Bachelors, 9:30 p.m.


    Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco, 241-0202. “M.O.M. (Motown on Mondays),” w/ DJ Gordo Cabeza & Timoteo Gigante, 8 p.m., free,

    TUESDAY 16


    Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco, 621-4455. Vinyl Spectrum, The Grizzled Mighty, The Iron Heart, 9 p.m., $8.

    Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco, 800-8782. Eddie Spaghetti, He Who Cannot Be Named, 9 p.m., $9-$12.

    DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco, 626-1409. Blistered Earth, Invader, Archea, HyperGyant, 7 p.m., $10.

    Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco, 923-0923. Commissure, Set and Setting, Wander, 8:30 p.m., $7,

    The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco, 550-6994. The Fucking Buckaroos, Sweat Lodge, The Parmesans, DJ Alberto, 9:30 p.m., $7.

    Rickshaw Stop: 155 Fell, San Francisco, 861-2011. Sea of Bees, Brass Bed, Garrett Pierce, 8 p.m., $10.


    Aunt Charlie’s Lounge: 133 Turk, San Francisco, 441-2922. “High Fantasy,” w/ DJ Viv, Myles Cooper, & guests, 10 p.m., $2,

    DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco, 626-1409. “8bitSF: Chiptune vs. Nerdcore,” w/ Danimal Cannon, Mega Ran, Dual Core, DJ Rey Gutierrez, 8 p.m., $8-$11.

    MatrixFillmore: 3138 Fillmore, San Francisco, 563-4180. “TRL,” w/ DJ Big Bad Bruce, 10 p.m.

    Monarch: 101 6th St., San Francisco, 284-9774. “Soundpieces,” 10 p.m., free-$10,

    Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco, 864-2877. “Switch,” w/ DJs Jenna Riot & Andre, 9 p.m., $3.

    Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco, 864-7386. “Shelter,” 10 p.m., free,

    Wish: 1539 Folsom, San Francisco, 278-9474. “Tight,” w/ resident DJs Michael May & Lito, 8 p.m., free.


    Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco, 621-9294. “True Skool Tuesdays,” w/ DJ Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist, 10 p.m., free,


    Amoeba Music: 1855 Haight, San Francisco, 831-1200. Matt Nathanson, 5:30 p.m., free.

    Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco, 831-5620. Songwriter-in-Residence: Alan Monasch, 7 p.m. continues through July 30.

    Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco, 751-1122. Seisiún with Sean O’Donnell & Jack Gilder, 9 p.m.


    Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant: 1000 Great Highway, San Francisco, 386-8439. Gerry Grosz Jazz Jam, 7 p.m.

    Burritt Room: 417 Stockton St., San Francisco, 400-0555. Terry Disley’s Rocking Jazz Trio, 6 p.m., free.

    Cafe Divine: 1600 Stockton, San Francisco, 986-3414. Chris Amberger, 7 p.m.

    Club Deluxe: 1511 Haight, San Francisco, 552-6949. Eugene Warren Trio, 8:30 p.m., free.

    Jazz Bistro At Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco, 397-5397. M.B. Hanif & The Sound Voyagers, 7:30 p.m., free.

    Oz Lounge: 260 Kearny, San Francisco, 399-7999. Emily Hayes & Mark Holzinger, 6 p.m., free,

    Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco, 642-0474. West Side Jazz Club, 5 p.m., free; Panique, Third Tuesday of every month, 8:30 p.m., free/donation.

    Verdi Club: 2424 Mariposa, San Francisco, 861-5048. “Tuesday Night Jump,” w/ Stompy Jones, 9 p.m., $10-$12,

    Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco, 885-8850. Hubert Emerson, 7:30 p.m., free.


    Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco, 826-9287. “Underground Nomads,” w/ rotating resident DJs Cheb i Sabbah, Amar, Sep, and Dulce Vita, 10 p.m., $5,

    The Cosmo Bar & Lounge: 440 Broadway, San Francisco, 989-3434. “Conga Tuesdays,” 8 p.m., $7-$10.

    Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco, 552-7788. “Brazilian Wax,” w/ DJs Carioca & Lucio K, Third Tuesday of every month, 9 p.m., $7.


    Milk Bar: 1840 Haight, San Francisco, 387-6455. “Bless Up,” w/ Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi, 10 p.m.,


    Rasselas Ethiopian Cuisine & Jazz Club: 1534 Fillmore, San Francisco, 346-8696. Bohemian Knuckleboogie, 8 p.m., free.

    The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco, 989-7666. Lisa Kindred, Third Tuesday of every month, 9:30 p.m.


    Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco, 241-0202. “Boogaloo Tuesday,” w/ Oscar Myers & Steppin’, 9:30 p.m., $2,


    Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco, 647-2888. “Lost & Found,” w/ DJs Primo, Lucky, and guests, 9:30 p.m., free, 647-2888.

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  • 07/09/13--18:39: Stage Listings
  • Stage listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at



    Endgame Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa, SF; $18-24. Previews Thu/11, 8pm. Opens Fri/12, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through July 20. International Theater Ensemble performs Samuel Beckett's Theatre of the Absurd classic.

    Keith Moon: The Real Me Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; $40. Opens Wed/10, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through July 28. Mick Berry performs the world premiere of his solo play about the Who drummer.

    Wunderworld Creativity Theater, 221 Fourth St, SF; $10-15. Opens Sat/13, 11am and 2pm. Runs Sat-Sun, 2pm (also Sat, 11am; Sun, 5pm). Through Aug 11. Sara Moore and Michael Phillis wrote and star in this "world-premiere human cartoon," a pantomime about an elderly Alice going back down the rabbit hole.


    The Loudest Man on Earth Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; $19-73. Previews Wed/10-Fri/12, 8pm. Opens Sat/13, 8pm. Runs Tue-Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Aug 4. TheatreWorks presents the world premiere of Catherine Rush's unconventional romantic comedy starring acclaimed actor Adrian Blue, who is deaf.

    The Spanish Tragedy Forest Meadows Amphitheater, 890 Bella, Dominican University of California, San Rafael; $20-37.50. Opens Fri/12, 8pm. Presented in repertory Fri-Sun through Aug 11; visit website for performance schedule. Marin Shakespeare Company performs Thomas Kyd's Elizabethan revenge tragedy.

    The Wiz Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College, Berk; $17-60. Previews Thu/11, 7pm; Sat/13, 2pm. Opens Sat/13, 7pm. Runs Wed-Thu and Sat, 7pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, noon and 5pm. Through Aug 25. Berkeley Playhouse travels to Oz with the Tony-winning musical.


    Betrayal Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, Sixth Flr, SF; $40. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through July 20. Off Broadway West Theatre Company performs Harold Pinter's out-of-sequence drama about an unfaithful married couple.

    Can You Dig It? Back Down East 14th — the 60s and Beyond Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Aug 25. Solo performer Don Reed returns with a prequel to his autobiographical coming-of-age hits, East 14th and The Kipling Hotel.

    Chance: A Musical Play About Love, Risk, and Getting it Right Alcove Theater, 415 Mason, Fifth Flr, SF; $40-60. Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 5pm. Through July 28. New Musical Theater of San Francisco presents Richard Isen's world premiere work inspired by the writings of Oscar Wilde.

    Dark Play, or Stories for Boys Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; $5-20. Fri/12-Sat/13, 9pm. Do It Live! Productions offers a steadily engrossing production of this slippery play from Chicago playwright Carlos Murillo, wherein a less-then-trusty teenage narrator, Nick (a clever, tightly wound, darkly charming Will Hand), addicted to "making shit up," recounts his fateful internet-baiting of a fellow teen upon whom he had become fixated. As the unwitting object of Nick's desire, sweet guy Adam (Adam Magil) gets pulled into an online love affair with Rachel (Amy Nowak), his first love, and — as fate and Nick would have it — Nick's sister. But Rachel exists only online. And her equally fantastical evil stepdad (Nathan Tucker) soon intercedes, throwing Nick and Adam closer together. All of this disembodied desire floating around the ether leads to a physical climax even Freud might find a bit much, but the way there proves increasingly tense and interesting — if also a little frustrating itself at times in some strained plot points and, especially, its overwrought psychopathologizing of homoerotic desire. (Erik LaDue's awkward set design also takes a little getting over.) But despite various flaws, the story intrigues, thanks to the solid performances from director Logan Ellis's sure cast. Tucker and Kelly Rauch are dependable throughout in a varied range of sharp and often hilarious supporting roles. Nowak's take on the vital (albeit imaginary) teen heroine is refreshingly straightforward. And Hand, while slightly slower to catch fire, ends up a persuasively complex figure at the center of it all. (Avila)

    Foodies! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; $30-34. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. AWAT Productions presents Morris Bobrow's musical comedy revue all about food.

    God of Carnage Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; $26-38. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 7. Shelton Theater peforms Yasmina Reza's award-winning play about class and parenting.

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma, SF; $27-43. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. John Cameron Mitchell's cult musical comes to life with director Nick A. Olivero's ever-rotating cast.

    In A Daughter's Eyes Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; $15. Thu/11-Sat/13, 8pm; Sun/14, 3pm. Brava! for Women in the Arts and Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience present the award-winning 2011 play by A. Zell Williams. It's a tense, sophisticated exploration of the politics of class and race in the story of two daughters drawn together in uneasy alliance over a legal case that forever scarred each of their families. Based on the story of journalist-activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, placed on death row in 1982 for allegedly killing a Philadelphia police officer (he was removed form death row in 2012 but remains in prison), Williams's well written and unpredictable two-hander takes place in the legal office of Rahema Abu-Salaam (a tough, tightly wound Britney Frazier), the young Stanford law graduate trying to get a new trial for her father, a well known Black Panther, author, and death row political prisoner. To this end, she's convinced Katherine Tinney (a quietly forlorn, conflicted Lisa Anne Porter), daughter of the murdered white police officer with a checkered past, to craft a statement to the court requesting admittance of heretofore unexamined evidence. Director Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe and her excellent cast astutely draw out the subtleties and mounting tension in a timely and involving political play, convincingly re-set in West Oakland, that forgoes easy answers for a complicated portrait of competing filial claims to justice. (Avila)

    Sex and the City: LIVE! Rebel, 1760 Market, SF; $25. Wed, 7 and 9pm. Open-ended. It seems a no-brainer. Not just the HBO series itself — that's definitely missing some gray matter — but putting it onstage as a drag show. Mais naturellement! Why was Sex and the City not conceived of as a drag show in the first place? Making the sordid not exactly palatable but somehow, I don't know, friendlier (and the canned a little cannier), Velvet Rage Productions mounts two verbatim episodes from the widely adored cable show, with Trannyshack's Heklina in a smashing portrayal of SJP's Carrie; D'Arcy Drollinger stealing much of the show as ever-randy Samantha (already more or less a gay man trapped in a woman's body); Lady Bear as an endearingly out-to-lunch Miranda; and ever assured, quick-witted Trixxie Carr as pent-up Charlotte. There's also a solid and enjoyable supporting cast courtesy of Cookie Dough, Jordan Wheeler, and Leigh Crow (as Mr. Big). That's some heavyweight talent trodding the straining boards of bar Rebel's tiny stage. The show's still two-dimensional, even in 3D, but noticeably bigger than your 50" plasma flat panel. Update: new episodes began May 15. (Avila)

    So You Can Hear Me Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-50. Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through July 20. A 23-year-old with no experience, just high spirits and big ideals, gets a job in the South Bronx teaching special ed classes and quickly finds herself in over her head. Safiya Martinez, herself a bright young woman from the projects, delivers this inspired accounting of her time not long ago in perhaps the most neglected sector of the public school system — a 60-minute solo play that makes up for its relatively slim plot with a set of deft, powerful, lovingly crafted characterizations. These complex portraits, alternately hysterical and startling, offer their own moving ruminations on a violent but also vibrant stratum of American society, deeply fractured by pervasive poverty and injustice and yet full of restive young personalities too easily dismissed, ignored, or crudely caricatured elsewhere. An effervescent, big-hearted, and very talented performer, Martinez's own bounding personality and contagious passion for her former students (as complicated as that relationship was), makes this deeply felt tribute all the more memorable. (Avila)

    Steve Seabrook: Better Than You Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-50. Sat, 8:30pm. Extended through August 24. Self-awareness, self-actualization, self-aggrandizement — for these things we turn to the professionals: the self-empowerment coaches, the self-help authors and motivational speakers. What's the good of having a "self" unless someone shows you how to use it? Writer-performer Kurt Bodden's Steve Seabrook wants to sell you on a better you, but his "Better Than You" weekend seminar (and tie-in book series, assorted CDs, and other paraphernalia) belies a certain divided loyalty in its own self-flattering title. The bitter fruit of the personal growth industry may sound overly ripe for the picking, but Bodden's deftly executed "seminar" and its behind-the-scenes reveals, directed by Mark Kenward, explore the terrain with panache, cool wit, and shrewd characterization. As both writer and performer, Bodden keeps his Steve Seabrook just this side of overly sensational or maudlin, a believable figure, finally, whose all-too-ordinary life ends up something of a modest model of its own. (Avila)

    Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma: The Next Cockettes Musical Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF; $30-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Extended through July 27. Thrillpeddlers and director Russell Blackwood continue their Theatre of the Ridiculous series with this 1971 musical from San Francisco's famed glitter-bearded acid queens, the Cockettes, revamped with a slew of new musical material by original member Scrumbly Koldewyn, and a freshly re-minted book co-written by Koldewyn and "Sweet Pam" Tent — both of whom join the large rotating cast of Thrillpeddler favorites alongside a third original Cockette, Rumi Missabu (playing diner waitress Brenda Breakfast like a deliciously unhinged scramble of Lucille Ball and Bette Davis). This is Thrillpeddlers' third Cockettes revival, a winning streak that started with Pearls Over Shanghai. While not quite as frisky or imaginative as the production of Pearls, it easily charms with its fine songs, nifty routines, exquisite costumes, steady flashes of wit, less consistent flashes of flesh, and de rigueur irreverence. The plot may not be very easy to follow, but then, except perhaps for the bubbly accounting of the notorious New York flop of the same show 42 years ago by Tent (as poisoned-pen gossip columnist Vedda Viper), it hardly matters. (Avila)

    The World's Funniest Bubble Show Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $8-50. Sun, 11am. Through July 21. Louis "The Amazing Bubble Man" Pearl returns after a month-long hiatus with his popular, kid-friendly bubble show.


    Oil and Water This week: Rhythmix Cultural Works, 2513 Blanding, Alameda; $15-25. Also Cedar Rose Park, 1300 Rose, Berk; Free. Sat/13-Sun/14, 2pm. At various NorCal venues through Sept. 2. It's a rough year for mimes, or at any rate for the San Francisco Mime Troupe who, after presenting 53 seasons of free theater in the parks of San Francisco (and elsewhere), faced a financial crisis in April that threatened to shut down this season before it even started. The resultant show, funded by an influx of last-minute donations, is one cut considerably closer to the bone than in previous years. With a cast of just four actors and two musicians, plus a stage considerably less ornate then usual, even the play has shrunk in scale, from one two-hour musical to two loosely-connected one-acts riffing on general environmentalist themes. In Deal With the Devil, a surprisingly sympathetic (not to mention downright hawt) Devil (Velina Brown) shows up to help an uncertain president (Rotimi Agbabiaka) regain his conscience and win back his soul, while in Crude Intentions adorable, progressive, same-sex couple Gracie (Velina Brown) and Tomasa (Lisa Hori-Garcia) wind up catering a "benefit" shindig for the Keystone XL Pipeline giving them the opportunity to perpetrate a little guerilla direct action on a bombastic David Koch (Hugo E Carbajal) with a "mole de petróleo" and a smartphone. Throughout, the performers remain upbeat if somewhat over-extended as they sing, dance, and slapstick their way to the sobering conclusion that the time to turn things around in the battles over global environmental protection is now — or never. (Gluckstern)

    Sea of Reeds Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; $20-35. Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Aug 18. Josh Kornbluth's brand new comedy — it involves atheism, oboes, and the Book of Exodus — opens at Shotgun Players "before it goes on Torah."

    Superior Donuts Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; $10-30. Thu/11-Sat/13, 8pm; Sun/14, 2pm. Pear Avenue Theatre performs Tracy Letts' comedy about the redemptive power of friendship.

    This Is How It Goes Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; $32-60. Tue and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm); Wed-Sat, 8pm. Extended through July 28. An awkward love triangle between former high school classmates gets the caustic Neil LaBute treatment in Aurora Theatre Company's production of This is How it Goes. Not content to merely skewer the familiar battles between the sexes, LaBute further prods his captive audience with the big stick of race relations, and the often unacknowledged prejudices that lurk in the hearts of men. And women. There are no innocents in this play, though each character certainly has moments where they play upon audience sympathies, only to betray them a few inflammatory lines later. As the marriage between the successful yet self-conscious African American alpha male Cody (Aldo Billingslea) and his neurotically placating Caucasian wife Belinda (Carrie Paff) erodes, the mostly affable (and former fat kid) "Man" (Gabriel Marin) insinuates himself in the middle of their troubled relationship, obviously still carrying the torch for Belinda he did 15 years ago — as well as the same wary animosity an unpopular kid carries for the star of the track team, in this case, Cody. All three actors do a very good job of shape-shifting between their middle-class Jekyll and Hyde selves, assisted in part by Marin's amiable asides, which don't so much lull the audience as tease them with the idea that things are about to get better, when they can only get worse. (Gluckstern)


    BATS Improv Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason, SF; Fri, 8pm. Through July 26. $20. BATS Improv performs spontaneous shows based on current events.

    "Botany's Breath"Conservatory of Flowers, 100 JFK Dr, Golden Gate Park, SF; Wed/10-Sat/13, 7:30-8:30pm and 9-10pm (short, free outdoor video/dance performances take place each night from 8:30-9pm). $30. Epiphany Productions Sonic Dance Theater performs a site-specific contemporary dance work.

    Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña's Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; Sat/13, July 21, and 27, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.

    "Courage"CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; Fri/12-Sat/13, 8pm. $10-15. Rasika Kumar presents a solo Bharatanatyam performance.

    "Mission Position Live"Cinecave, 1034 Valencia, SF; Thu, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Stand-up comedy with rotating performers.

    "Randy Roberts: Live!"Alcove Theater, 414 Mason, Ste 502, SF; Tue, 9pm. Through July 23. $30. The famed female impersonator takes on Cher, Better Midler, and other stars.

    "The Rape of Lucretia"Everett Auditorium, 450 Church, SF; Thu/11, 7:30pm; Sat/13, 2pm. $25-60. Merola Opera Program presents Britten's chamber opera.

    Red Hots Burlesque El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF; Wed, 7:30-9pm. Ongoing. $5-10. Come for the burlesque show, stay for OMG! Karaoke starting at 8pm (no cover for karaoke).

    "San Francisco Magic Parlor"Chancellor Hotel Union Square, 433 Powell, SF; Thu-Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $40. Magic vignettes with conjurer and storyteller Walt Anthony.

    "Union Square Live"Union Square, between Post, Geary, Powell, and Stockton, SF; Through Oct 9. Free. Music, dance, circus arts, film, and more; dates and times vary, so check website for the latest.

    "Yerba Buena Gardens Festival"Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission between 3rd and 4th Sts, SF; Through Oct 15. Free. This week: AXIS Dance Company, inMotion Dance Workshop (Sun/14, 1-2pm).

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  • 07/09/13--18:42: Alerts

    Laborfest: CCSF's accreditation crisis City College of San Francisco, Mission Campus, 1125 Valencia, SF. 6-8pm, free. City College serves about 85,000 students and faces threat of closure in July 2014 if its appeals to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which has threatened to revoke the school's accreditation in a year, aren't successful. At this forum, Marty Hittelman, former president of the California Federal of Teachers, will speak on accreditation and the ACCJC. Sponsored by Save CCSF Coalition and AFT 2121.


    Laborfest panel: The press and the powerful First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin, SF. 7-9pm, free. Gray Brechin, author of Imperial San Francisco, will join Westside Observer publisher George Wooding, former Berkeley Daily Planet reporter Richard Brenneman, and former Bay Guardian reporter Savannah Blackwell for a panel talk on the erosion of investigative journalism in the face of commercialization and monopolization of the media.

    SUNDAY 14

    Panel: The continuing battle for free expression Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission, SF. 3-5pm, $12. Allen Ginsberg's seminal poem, Howl, represented a landmark in the history of freedom of speech, obscenity issues, and the censorship of literary works. This panel talk, led by Peter Maravelis of City Lights Booksellers with panelists Rebecca Farmer of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Mark Rumold of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and James Wheaton of the First Amendment Project, will focus on the continuing fight against censorship today. Presented in conjunction with The Allen Ginsberg Festival and the exhibition Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

    TUESDAY 16

    Green renters expo Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave, Berk. 7-9pm, free. Who says you have to own a home to live a green and energy efficient lifestyle? The Bay Area offers a myriad of resources for renters who wish to green their living spaces with efficiency upgrades, which can also help save money. Representatives from Rising Sun Energy Center, Community Energy Services Corps, the City of Berkeley Recycling Program,, the Ecology Center and others will be on hand to offer presentations, tips and advice, and to answer questions.


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  • 07/10/13--08:47: Bhangin'
  • Nightlife: Non Stop Bhangra, Blockhead, Pepper 20-year reunion, Bardot A Go Go, Fag Fridays, Hanukkah in July, Disco Daddy, more great parties

    Soul in the dhol: Raise your hands for Non Stop Bhangra

    SUPER EGO Few things light up our nightlife scene like the whirling, clapping, shouting, laughing, dhol-drum-driven monthly bonanza that is Non Stop Bhangra. The recent influx of Indian arrivals, mostly due to tech-related jobs, has given Bay Area culture a nice, bright kick in the pakoras — we were already home to a flourishing Indian community, too — and the eight-year-old NSB monthly party is a welcome wagon everyone can hop on.

    DJ Jimmy Love, dancer Vicki Virk, the dholrythms dance crew, and live musicians and artists take the classic Punjab-via-UK sound of bhangra (a post-disco phenomenon that incorporates electronic innovation into traditional musical forms) and blow it up, showcasing the wonderful sonic effects and refractions of the recent Indian diaspora. Celtic bhangra? Underground bhangra hip-hop? Bhangra flashmobs? Bhangratronica? Balle balle, no problemo. Chak de phatte!

    This month's installment's a special one, with an early screening (before 10pm) of Non Stop Bhangra documentary footage by filmmaker Odell Hussy. Three years in the making, the doc promises an intimate look inside one of SF's night-time treasures. And after that: dancing, dancing, and more dancing. (Lessons at 9:30pm, y'all.)

    NON STOP BHANGRA Sat/13, 9pm-late, $10 before 10pm, $15 after. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



    The Ritual bass crew's weekly Thursday parties, now at Mighty, are pretty damned great — especially when they're reconnecting with their lowdown influences. Like, say, seminal Ninja Tune ripper Blockhead, whose 2004 disc Music by Cavelight was a prophetic reanimation of trip-hop, pitch-shifted vocals and all.

    Thu/11, 10pm-3am, $10. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF.



    Nothing embodies that spirit of scrappy, funky-house, old school dance-on-the-tables SF like Pepper. With DJs Pal Joey, Smash, Toph One, Doc Fu, Steady-P, and Consuelo.

    Fri/12, 9pm-late, $5. f8, 1172 Folsom, SF.



    Honestly one of may favorite annual all-ages parties. Celebrate Bastille Day with cool cats and kittens into French pop ditties, with a special emphasis on the swingin''60s of Serge Gainsbourg and the pre-hateful Miss Bardot herself. DJs Pink Frankenstein, Brother Grimm, and Cali Kid get you in le groove. Plus! Free '60s hairstyling by Peter Thomas Hair design from 9-11pm, oh mon dieu.

    Fri/12, 9pm, $10. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF.


    45 LIVE

    Basically, here's the deal: funky beat all-stars Prince Paul, Peanut Butter Wolf, Dam Funk, J Rocc, Shortkut, and Platurn play vinyl funk and soul 45s while we eat free BBQ and live the dream. I'm kind of freaking out about it.

    Fri/12, 9pm, $20 advance. ighty, 119 Utah, SF.



    The gay 'n joyful big-room house monthly gets a sticky splash of techno from Honey Soundsystem boys Jason Kendig and P-Play. Lick your fingers.

    Fri/12, 10pm-late, $5. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., SF.



    Hostess Lil Miss Hot Mess hoists a giant MANorah for a summertime festival of lites at weekly artsy dragsplosion Some Thing. With DJ Josh Cheon and performances by Jil Filta Fish, Elijah Minelli, and more. It's a mitzvah!

    Fri/12, 10pm-late, $8. The Stud, 399 Ninth St., SF.



    LA space-bass new school, post-trap funkmaster Taurus Scott of LA burns up the decks at this new monthly joint, which prides itself on downtown grittiness and fly style. (Traci P from Sisterz of the Underground puts it on, so you know the bonafides are in order.)

    Sat/13, 10pm, $5 for two. Showdown, 10 Sixth St., SF.



    I am digging mysterious new party promotion entity Isis. Who else would start a press release for an appearance by DC disco re-edit/acid-jack prince Jacques Renault with "Mighty mother, daughter of the Nile, we rejoice as you join us with the rays of the sun." This party should be equally as supernatural.

    Sat/13, 9:30pm-3am, $10 advance. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



    The Eagle: our beloved old school rock 'n roll gay leather biker bar. Bus Station John: our beloved old school gay bathhouse disco and funk DJ. Put them both together on Sunday evening once a month and what do you get? Hot fudge! (And a real cute dance party.)

    Sun/14, 7pm-midnight, $5. SF Eagle, 398 12th St., SF.



    Fantastic drag collective The San Francisco Album Project is presenting "theatrical lipsynch reenactments" of epic discs every month, this time taking on Thom Yorke and Co.'s "OK Computer," which basically made widescreen rock OK again in the late '90s. With Trixxie Carr, Precious Moments, Raya Light, Nikki Sixx Mile, and many more.

    Sun/14, doors at 7pm, show at 8pm, $15–$20. The Chapel, 777 Valencia, SF.


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  • 07/10/13--08:54: We are the weirdos, mister
  • Peaches Christ raises 'The Craft' with Sharon Needles and Alaska Thunderfuck

    The coven rises: Sharon Needles, Peaches Christ, Alaska Thunderfuck, Honey Mahogany

    FILM RuPaul's Drag Race season four winner Sharon Needles and boyfriend/season five finalist Alaska Thunderfuck rarely do live shows together. But for Peaches Christ, and her stage-and-screen showing of witchtacular occult movie The Craft (1996), they made an exception.

    The Pittsburgh-based couple will star alongside one another in Christ's Craft-based pre-movie play, as pure evil "Nancy" (originally played to perfection by wild-eyed, real life Wiccan actress Fairuza Balk) and Neve Campbell's scarred and shy "Bonnie." The rest of the gothy teen coven will be filled out by Christ as good witch "Sarah" and San Francisco's first RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Honey Mahogany as "Rochelle."

    "It's such a foursome vehicle," Christ says in a phone call. "I said to Sharon, 'how do you feel about working with your boyfriend?' Obviously it makes more sense for them to split themselves up and do more gigs. And especially since Sharon was such a phenomenon and Alaska is now coming fresh off the show, and she was such a hit. But I said, 'see if you'll make an exception for me?'"

    Christ has been sending up cult classics in San Francisco since 1998, and says that it's become increasingly clear that she needs to keep looking for newly cult titles. (This November look out for 9 to 5 with Pandora Boxx , and likely, a Clueless send-up.) "[The Craft] was brought to my attention by some of my fans these past few years, so I rewatched it and determined like, oh my god, why did I ever dismiss this? It's witchy goth girls. It's everything, it's grunge, it's goth, it's witch."

    And Thunderfuck and Needles were both enamored of the film from an early age.

    "It was like, one of those movies that everyone knew and saw when I was in high school and it made us feel like we were witches too, which we weren't, we were just like, nerdy theater kids," Thunderfuck nasally says from a Best Western hotel in Chicago. "But it made us feel really badass. And everyone was a weirdo in high school anyway."

    "And I'm from the '90s so the witchcraft was always there," Needles adds.

    The film has grown cult thanks to now-iconic scenes of the witches looking fierce at Catholic school, walking in a line down the hallways with sexy '90s music filling the montages. Favorites scenes by the performers include the ones of the witches down at the beach, intensely invoking "Manon" then passing out after an electric bolt hits Nancy, or the next morning, walking by beached whales and sharks, or giddily casting spells on another while driving through town, or vividly messing with teen-queen parties, and throwing sleazy jerks out of windows.

    During our conversation, Needles perfectly intones the Nancy line, "then why are you still bleeding?!"

    "I'll tell you, this was one of the hardest and most challenging stage plays I've ever had to write, because the movie is so full of moments that people love, trying to cram them into a 50-minute stage show was almost impossible — I had to go back in and kind of kill babies here and there," Christ says. "My memory of it was that it was a lot tamer, and a lot more PG-13 then it is. It's actually rated R and it's harsh, and in some ways really horrifying. The way the girls treat each other, even despite the violence or the snakes — I hate snakes — just the meanness of the witches."

    That meanness should play out in some deviously amusing ways during Christ's The Craft: Of Drag show before the film. The queens play themselves emulating characters in the movie, with key scenes thrown in (someone will get thrown out of a window, and there will be a levitating "light as a feather, stiff as a board" moment) — but with a Drag Race twist. The reason the witches all turn on Christ's "Sarah" this time, is because she's never been on Drag Race.

    This inevitably leads to the question of why not? "I don't think I'd survive," Christ says. "I've said this to Sharon, I admire them so much for being able to go on that show but Peaches is a very established character that I've been doing for a long, long, long time, so it's very hard for me in a lot of ways to be flexible. You know, I always wear that Bozo the Clown paint, and I just know I'd be ripped to shreds," she says. Though she has been sending out signals to producers World of Wonder and RuPaul that she should come on as a guest judge for a hypothetical Scream Queen challenge.

    It was the show though that first introduced her to Needles — Elvira was the guest judge on the first episode of Needles' season, and she fell in love with the queen (who spurts blood from her mouth during her runway walk). Elvira immediately told Christ, and that's why she first reached out to Needles, last year.

    Along with heaps of praise for Elvira, and the show in general, Needles and Thunderfuck both tell me the drama in their seasons was all real.

    Says Needles, "When you take 13 adult males and dress them up like teenage girls, take away their cigarettes and booze, and force them in front of a camera for 16 hours a day for two months, you don't need a producer or a storyboard, it writes itself."


    Sat/13, 3pm and 8pm, $25

    Castro Theatre

    429 Castro, SF

    0 0
  • 07/10/13--08:59: Once upon a time in Oakland
  • Ryan Coogler talks Oscar Grant and 'Fruitvale Station'

    Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, and Ryan Coogler on the Fruitvale Station set

    FILM By now you've heard of Fruitvale Station, the debut feature from Oakland-born filmmaker Ryan Coogler. With a cast that includes Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and rising star Michael B. Jordan (The Wire, Friday Night Lights), the film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, winning both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize en route to being scooped up for distribition by the Weinstein Company. A few months later, Coogler, a USC film school grad who just turned 27, won Best First Film at Cannes.

    Accolades are nice, especially when paired with a massive PR push from a studio known for bringing home little gold men. But particularly in the Bay Area, the true story behind Fruitvale Station eclipses even the most glowing pre-release hype. The film opens with real footage captured by cell phones the night 22-year-old Oscar Grant was shot in the back by BART police, a tragedy that inspired multiple protests and grabbed national headlines. With its grim ending already revealed, Fruitvale Station backtracks to chart Oscar's final hours, with a deeper flashback or two fleshing out the troubled past he was trying to overcome.

    Mostly, though, Fruitvale Station is very much a day in the life, with Oscar (Jordan, in a nuanced performance) dropping off his girlfriend at work, picking up supplies for a birthday party, texting friends about New Year's Eve plans, and deciding not to follow through on a drug sale. Inevitably, much of what transpires is weighted with extra meaning — Oscar's mother (Spencer) advising him to "just take the train" to San Francisco that night; Oscar's tender interactions with his young daughter; the death of a friendly stray dog, hit by a car as BART thunders overhead. It's a powerful, stripped-down portrait that belies Coogler's rookie-filmmaker status.

    I spoke with Coogler the day after Fruitvale Station's emotional local premiere at Oakland's Grand Lake Theater.

    San Francisco Bay Guardian How was the screening at the Grand Lake?

    Ryan Coogler It was intense! Pretty much everybody at the screening had a stake in the film and the story: being from the Bay Area, being there when [Grant's death] happened, being a member of Oscar's family, being an employee of BART or a law enforcement officer, being a member of my family, or being someone who opened up their home or business to our film. Everybody was there under one roof, you know? In many ways, we wanted our film to be something that brought people together — and that screening was a personification of that.

    SFBG The film doesn't make Oscar out to be a saint; rather, it shows that he was a real human who'd made some serious mistakes. Were you careful to portray him that way?

    RC Absolutely. We set out to examine him through the lens of his relationships with the people who knew him best. I think that's often what's not looked at, in terms of tragedies that get politicized like this: people forget that this guy was a person who mattered to specific people — and he couldn't make it home to those people. When you know somebody intimately, you know their good qualities and their faults. You know their flaws firsthand, and [their behavior] affects you firsthand. I think it would have been a mistake not to look at the things he was struggling with in his life.

    SFBG You were born in 1986, the same year as Oscar, and you're both from the East Bay. Were there other things that drew you to his story?

    RC Those commonalities were a major factor. But young people like Oscar Grant's lives are lost constantly over violence, and I was really interested in exploring why it happens, and why people shouldn't be OK with it.

    Oscar was the kind of person who is often marginalized, both in the media and in fiction films. I thought that giving his story this type of personal perspective could be eye-opening for people that wouldn't get to know a character like him in their own lives. So that's what really drew me to it — to add a perspective that might promote some healing and some growth.

    SFBG What was the reaction when members of Oscar's community found out you were making the film?

    RC The Bay Area is culturally diverse, but it's also diverse as far as opinions go. Obviously, there were people on both sides of the fence, since this was a complicated situation. Some people were glad the story was being told; others were like, "That story doesn't deserve to be told." There were also a lot of opinions between those two ends of the spectrum. But overwhelmingly, the community supported the film in many ways, especially when they found out the approach we were taking.

    SFBG Did you ever consider making the BART cops full-fledged characters, or did you always plan to just focus on Oscar?

    RC I decided from the beginning that Oscar would be the focal point of the story. That was the type of film that I wanted to make, and that was the one perspective that I felt wasn't really heard — because he's not around to speak anymore. In terms of filmmaking, it was really a creative choice. You have these types of films that follow one character around, and we really wanted to follow Oscar and see how other characters bump off of him. In the scope of his day, the cops were only involved for a very small amount of time.

    SFBG BART itself is almost a character in the film. It's something that non-locals might not pick up on, but Bay Area residents will be able to tell how carefully you chose your locations to include it in the background.

    RC When I was researching the film, I noticed a lot of things that were always there, but that I hadn't thought about before. In San Francisco, BART is underground. You don't see or hear it when you're walking around. In the East Bay, however, it's always above you. Oscar's from the East Bay, and I'm from the East Bay, so that's how I know BART. It's something that you can always hear in the distance — and it's something that rushes over you. 


    FRUITVALE STATION opens Fri/12 in Bay Area theaters.

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