Archive for March, 2009

SF Supes Approve New Film Rebate Schedule

In a bit of good news for filmmakers trying to shoot projects in San Francisco, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors today approved a major change to the rebate structure so that film projects can get up to $600,000 in tax rebates as opposed to the $100,000 maximum previously allowed (which Milk received). These sums represent taxes and fees that City Hall is forgoing. Here’s an article on Examiner.com that explains why this is a good idea despite the budget shortfall. The short version is that city rebates encourage filmmakers and TV producers to bring their productions to San Francisco, which stimulates the local economy. City Hall’s own Office of the Budget Analyst estimates that Milk — a $22 million production constrained to shoot on location for obvious reasons — brought $4.8 million in business to San Francisco.

Last summer, I talked to a number of independent filmmakers (and Graham Leggat, the executive director of the San Francisco Film Society) for an article that was never published about making films in San Francisco, and this was one issue that kept coming up in my interviews: the rebates just weren’t high enough to encourage production in the city. Perhaps this legislation will go some way towards helping that problem. As it happens, I have interviewed the creators of Harrison Montgomery (one of the films cited in the Examiner article), and while neither one mentioned rebates per se, I can assure you that an additional $12,000 in their production budget would have been a huge help to them.

Merlin Mann Says Goodbye to Stacey’s

The abandoned mezzanine level of Stacey’s Books, photographed by Merlin Mann, who has posted the above photo and some reflections on the closure here. When this news was announced, I had a feeling that it was the rent that killed them, and Mann’s post would seem to confirm it: he reports their rent as having been $65,000 a month. That’s a lease of $780,000 a year. You just try to run a bookstore, of all things, with an expense like that on your P&L.

Given that they had too much space in a prime retail space, I still wonder why they didn’t choose to relocate. That question has puzzled me from the beginning. If you happen to know the background of this choice, please let us know in the comments.

[Thanks to Allan of Mission Mission for sharing this link.]

Albany Little League parade rings in springtime

This morning I was sleepily reading in the recently opened and very nice Café Sainte Honoré on the corner of San Pablo and Solano in Albany (for those not familiar with the East Bay, that’s just north of Berkeley) when I was roused by police sirens. Through the windows I could see a large crowd at least two blocks long coming down Solano, led by police and fire vehicles. They were proceeding at such a funereal pace that I thought at first it had something to do with yesterday’s huge funeral of four Oakland police officers.

But as the crowd — demonstration? religious rite? — grew closer, I saw all the kids. And then I realized it was the town’s Little League parade.
More after the jump

Recession around the Bay

stimulus!A friend visited the Emeryville branch of Borders Books and found it half-empty. Must be a little rough in Emeryville these days, considering that the big Circuit City there closed when that chain went down.

Also today, I was in Noe Valley and saw employees of the AAA storefront there literally carrying equipment out the door. A sign posted in the window said the branch was closing that day.

Meanwhile, the Chronicle carried an unintentionally funny story about how something called the Bay Area Council Economic Institute is meeting to split up funds from federal stimulus bills. Great quote:

“If we all work together in the next 66 days and get a great plan, we win,” said John Grubb, spokesman…

Yeah, that’ll definitely happen.

City wins again in scheme to take over world

The recent vote by the New Hampshire legislature to legalize gay marriage in the state was ““an attempt by liberal Democrats to impose what he calls their San Francisco agenda on the state of New Hampshire.

Next, we make their official state meal the burrito.

Meanwhile, here’s another out-of-stater’s take on visiting San Francisco. My favorite sentence:

For a foggy interlude visit Ocean Beach and stroll the wide sands or trace the outlines of the ruined remnants of the Sutro Baths, an old pleasure ground.

Heh! Yes, and sometimes a new one, too.

All Things Ferlinghetti

Today is Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 90th birthday. Give City Lights some love and buy a book from them today! In person or online, it’s a gift for him that you get to receive.

By the way, a film about Ferlinghetti’s life and works is going to premiere at the upcoming San Francisco International Film Festival on April 28. Film site here. Tickets are available now to SFFS members!

UPDATE: Streetsblog has this great article about Ferlinghetti’s proposal to create an Italian-style piazza on Vallejo Street (near Trieste).

UPDATE: SFist reports that it’s also Frank Chu’s birthday. Well, how about that?

‘Propaganda’ suggests Mixon is ‘greatest cop killer of all time,’ among other things

A posting on propagandapress.orgwhoever they are — about Lovelle Mixon, the Oakland parolee who gunned down four Oakland cops, includes a fake URL that suggests, among other things, that Mixon is the “greatest cop killer of all time” and is “getting his dick sucked by virgins” in some unspecified hereafter. Click the thumbnail for a full view. The URL is, of course, non-existent; the post explains that it was “was removed from the web for being too offensive to big.whitey.”

lovelle-mixon_fake-url1

The train to Portland and back

Hidden in recent stimulus bills were $$$ not only for the California bullet train but also funding for the Coast Starlight, Amtrak’s long-distance passenger train between Seattle and Los Angeles. The Coast Starlight passes through the Bay Area via Sacramento, Davis, Martinez, Emeryville, Oakland, San Jose, and thereby southward. (map)

I just returned from a weekend jaunt to Portland and back on the Coast Starlight, and it was a smooth, convenient ride coming and going. The highlight had to be the snowy portion over the Cascades in Oregon yesterday between Eugene and Klamath Falls, with endless vistas of Ponderosa Pine trees covered with thick gobs of snow that had fallen that morning. (Just like in this picture.) Neither the loudmouthed cowboys in the dome car nor a weird family of 20 with matching customized aqua-blue t-shirts were able to spoil the ride.

Geek Reading at 111 Minna, Monday the 23rd

From the EFF’s weekly newsletter:

You’re Invited to a “Geek Reading” with Authors Cory Doctorow, Rudy Rucker, Annalee Newitz, and Charlie Anders at 111 Minna Gallery.

Join EFF on Monday, March 23rd, for a fundraising event featuring award-winning writer Cory Doctorow. Cory will be reading from his novel, “Little Brother,” a story of high-tech teenage rebellion set in the familiar world of San Francisco. As he currently calls the UK home, this is a rare opportunity to to hear Cory read from his work in person. He will be joined by fellow writers Rudy Rucker, Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders reading from their latest works.

WHEN: Monday, March 23rd, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: 111 Minna, SF, CA

6th anniversary of Iraq War brings out thousands

An anti-war march with at least a couple thousand diverse participants ventured up Market St this afternoon. The organizers were mostly focused on the sixth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, but the marchers expressed a wide variety of dissatisfaction with numerous foreign & domestic policy issues. The contingent was loud, but peaceful, if not festive at times, replete with marching band and numerous chants bandied about the slow moving crowd that stretched for a couple full blocks.the ongoing war the US started in Iraq some six years ago was the main impetus for the demonstration. Local celebrity spotters can note the black Frank Chu 12 Galaxies sign rising out of the pack

Unlike recent splintered demonstrations in Oakland, a fairly large contingent of dozens of overtime collecting SFPD officers on foot and motorcycles seemed prepared to quell any possible property damage or disturbances from the bandana’d few who tend to ignite trash cans and engage in the more annoying and disruptive behaviors.

The march assembled near Justin Herman Plaza circa 11am and ended with a rally at Civic Center Plaza at about 1:30 , where a contingent of pro-Palestinian marchers were met with pro-Israeli occupation demonstrators stationed in front of City Hall.

Other marches took place concurrently in locations such as the Pentagon just outside of Washington DC, and in LA, while another protest is scheduled for tommorrow in Fresno.

Bringing up the rear, just behind the infamous Bay Area Women in Black, was this masked lone wolf demonstrator.
Thou  Shall Not Kill My Hope

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