SFist reports that “store closing” discount signs have appeared in the aisles of the Borders bookstore on Third and King Streets, depriving Giants fans of a rendezvous spot and after-game shopping experience. The store, whose cafe was usually lively, has been open pretty much ever since the ballpark opened ten years ago, is another victim of the changing book retail industry. A bowling alley may go in its place, SFist reports. LiveSOMA has more details, and the closing date, Oct. 16.
Lots of good music has been, and continues trickling through the local live music stream lately, and this week is no exception. Tonight, the amazing and amusing Dengue Fever is at The Castro Theater, while the Red Devil Lounge offers up a rare opportunity to see Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan’s latest band. The silver haired Brit who relocated to Austin TX, continues his legacy as a road warrior with a resume including too many greats & near greats to mention in one blog post. If you are familiar with the Faces and Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones or Billy Bragg…you have likely been exposed to his key tickling skills.
His latest indie album is a solid & sincere effort from a veteran rocker, and of course he’ll likely spice up the live set with old faves, possibly dating back to his first chart topping days circa 1966 with Steve Marriott & Ronnie Lane in The Small Faces.
On Thursday night, while Bimbo’s in North Beach features Cake, meanwhile the deep down underground will possibly be sucked into the Vortex Room with Mr. Lucky and the Ramshackle Romeos. Others may be down on Harrison @ The Eagle Tavern. Bands playing there include former Nice Strong Arm bandleader Kevin Thompson’s new project “bun bun bun” and Sunward Spike. Ruby Howl hits the stage in the middle slot, a band featuring the talented alterna-chanteuse Laurie Hall who has played in numerous local combos over the past couple decades. Maybe you saw her with her mom in the Hall Flowers, or with her sis in Ovarian Trolley, or perhaps opening for the Pixies reunion at The Greek with Knife + Fork. She knows her craft and has a new band called Ruby Howl plying their trade with her husband Pat and a somewhat shy drummer who wishes to remain anonymous. More info on Ruby Howl at
Friday night , two soul music legends hit the stage on a double bill at the Independent, Booker T. Jones of the MG’s preceded by Detroit’s own Bettye LaVette, both of whom are promoting new albums on the Anti label, an Epitaph offshoot.
On Saturday night @ Annie’s Social Club, old school punkers will be in force catching Social Unrest, and Ribzy as well as the debut of Jello Biafra’s latest unnamed musical project. Before leaving on a reunion tour with his old band, Faith No More bassist Billy Gould will be backing Biafra alongside drummer Jon Weiss and guitar wizard Ralph Spight of Victim’s Family. If you get bored of the jurassic punks onstage at this Alcoholocaust, head to the backroom and be yer own D.I.Y rock star via the punk schlock karaoke set up…
[Above, Marina Abramovic and her posse dare the ocean to hit them with its best shot.]
Our City Dreams chronicles the careers and lives of five female artists, now based in New York City, who have been drawn there by everything the city represents — all its chaos, romance, and the advantages of being at the center of the art world. It opens with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge — from a car driving on it, presumably into Manhattan — a jazz soundtrack, and an apt epigraph from Susan Sontag, whose own career was inextricably bound up with the city: “I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but rather for my life to interpret my dreams.” The words well suggest what is to follow: a documentary about five women who have each been able to realize their “dreams,” by which is meant both their ambitions and their artistic visions.
Director Chiara Clemente (herself the daughter of a famous painter, Franciso Clemente) followed each of these artists for a year, documenting some key moments in their lives. One artist opens her first solo show and another opens a 25–year retrospective. The women are profiled in order of age, so that in the course of the film you develop a sense of what an entire lifetime in art might mean for a woman. But since each artist started her career about a decade earlier than the one previously interviewed, we also get a brief history of contemporary art in reverse order, a series of personal views into some of the major currents in art over the past half-century, starting with street art and moving backwards through performance art, art explicitly informed by feminist criticism, and Expressionist art.
More than that, though, we get a clear insight into what it means to be a female artist in our society after the feminist movement — and something of what it meant to be one before. Near the end of the film, the painter Nancy Spero (born 1926) celebrates her eightieth birthday, and recalls, of the 1950s and early 1960s: “I was dying for people to ask me what I was working on,” as it didn’t happen much in those years. That memory makes for a sharp contrast with the first woman profiled, the street artist Swoon (born 1977; incidentally, you might have gone to this recent event) who seems to have the world before her: she says she feels lucky to be working “at a moment when women are being really encouraged” to be artists — and as if to prove the point, we’re shown footage of her first solo show, given when she was twenty-eight, at Deitch Projects. In between these two, we get studio visits and some time spent with Ghada Amer, Kiki Smith, and the self-described “grandmother of performance art” Marina Abramovic.
Altogether it’s a fascinating film and a good introduction to five of the most significant artists of our time.
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is presenting this film at 7:30 on four evenings starting on April 9th and continuing through the 12th. Tickets and trailer available here.
[Note: When originally published, this article incorrectly stated the opening night as April 8th.]
From the EFF’s weekly newsletter:
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
Courtesy Salon’s Broadsheet blog, I caught this NYT story on a cultish Folsom Street community, One Taste, in which fully clothed men daily get women off before breakfast. Not to be confused with the Center for Sex and Culture’s Masturbate-a-thon (it’s not til May 2).
Justin Juul of the SF Bay Guardian reported on One Taste last month, making it sound like the worst hell imaginable. “We spent the rest of the afternoon doing one-on-one vulnerability exercises,” is only one sentence from the sad tale. I was reminded of the legendary men-only workshops taught in the 1990s by a well-known San Francisco performance artist, who made his naked attendees stand in a circle with their dicks tied together with string to demonstrate their interdependence. Scissors were not permitted in the room, alas.
A Chronicle editorial says one out of three “massage” establishments is a brothel. Really? Only one out of three? Geez, I’ll bet it’s a pain in the ass to work at the other two-thirds and have men coming in all the time with the wrong idea. Shouldn’t they have some sort of identifying sign that means “Not that kind of massage place, really”?
CalTrans will reopen a brand-new Harrison St. offramp from the Bay Bridge to the South Beach district at 5:00 a.m. Monday morning, three and a half years after the original exit closed in 2005. For drivers new to the area, the exit is a left exit off the bridge, half a mile before the left-hand Fifth St. exit.
The new ramp is another milestone in the multi-year project to earthquake-retrofit the bridge, the biggest piece of which will replace the eastern span (the part between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland) with a new suspension structure due to open, oh, seven or eight years from now.
Detail of mural on 13th St. and Bernice St. [map] across from Rainbow Grocery. Click the image for a Google Street View showing a wider swath of the mural.
Next Wednesday night, GroundSpark — a nonprofit that creates film-based education campaigns to raise awareness about social issues in schools and communities — is holding a benefit to launch the latest phase of their ongoing Respect for All Project with a screening of the new film and reception afterwards at the YBCA’s Novella Theater.
The new film and educational program is called Straightlaced: How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up, and it’s about the extraordinary pressure to conform to gender stereotypes — and the pressure to accept anti-gay attitudes — that teens face from their peers and guardians. Sounds like a downer? Actually, it isn’t even remotely depressing. I went into this film with the fear it would consist solely of tragedies — yet another closeted teen driven to suicide, yet another horrible beating of another — but while Straightlaced takes the time to directly discuss one such tragedy, the film stays positive throughout.
In fact, I’m certain that the program will be a huge success largely because the documentary is so inclusive and upbeat. It features about fifty extremely intelligent and well-spoken teens, who speak out about their relationship to gender roles and homophobia in our society: that is, how they feel pressured to conform to certain notions of masculinity or femininity, to conform to certain notions of what sexual behaviors are appropriate for them, and how they accept or resist these pressures. Some hide, and others — often, wonderfully — flaunt their true selves.
Unlike other films about gender issues among youth, which tend to focus on teens who identify as LGBT, this film includes interviews with teens who identify all across the gender spectrum. There is at least one individual in the film for any viewer to identify with. The most remarkable thing to me is how self-possessed and seemingly unconflicted these teens are. Perhaps the greatest thing about this documentary is the way it provides dozens of models of self-acceptance and healthy attitudes towards the ways others express themselves in behavior and dress. It makes some pretty basic points — everybody deserves respect (including you), “gay” is not an insult, and your sexuality and sex life are your own — but for kids still enduring the soul-crushing absurdity of high school social life, where wearing the wrong garment too often can get you permanently ostracized, it can only be good to have a film making these points so forcefully.
As with GroundSpark’s other programs, the film is intended as a starting point to foment discussion in classrooms and community meeting places, and it will be provided to educators and activists with a packet of print materials. The proceeds from the benefit will go to launch this campaign and get these materials out into the hands of educators and activists.
The benefit will be held on Wednesday, Jan 14th at 6:00. Tickets are $40 for General Admission and $175 for VIP Sponsor, which includes a reception. Tickets and more information are available at this page.
According to a post on ZDNet’s Apple Core blog, so many people attending the MacWorld conference in San Francisco this week are using the highly touted cloud data-driven features of Apple’s iPhone that it’s almost impossible to access AT&T’s 3G network.
Phone calls are hit or miss… About half of my calls don’t connect, fail in the middle or otherwise have weird silent dropouts throughout the call… Data connections on AT&T are brutally slow… I thought SF was supposed to be wired?
Maybe it’s just as well Apple is dropping out of the show next year. With attendance this year already down, it should really fall off when the main vendor doesn’t show up — if the conference happens at all. So maybe next January there’ll be no problem at all making pizza orders on your iPhone.