Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fire, ‘hard landing’ for JetBlue plane in Sacramento

Sacramento’s KCRA is reporting that 15 people suffered minor injuries today when a JetBlue flight from Long Beach to Sacramento made a “hard landing.”

At least one of the plane’s tires blew and caught fire on landing, possibly due to brake trouble. Earlier reports which suggested there was a fire on board the plane appear to have been a misunderstanding.

The plane had 86 passengers and crew aboard. This KCRA page has twitter-like updates. And a complete story on CBS News.

Whose rocket sculpture is more awesome?

Seattle (left) and San Francisco (right) dedicated new rocket sculptures in public parks this summer. Which do you prefer?

Hit and Run during Bike Party

So sad- if you have any information, please contact the police:
(from official SJ Bike Party post)
These are two follow-ups to two separate Hit & Run incidents.

* Race St (Green Ride) on March 19, 2010
* Hwy 9 on April 8, 2009


This incident occurred on Race St on Friday, March 19th. The fact that this happened on the ride where we were honoring Joshua Ryan West who was killed by a driver on Feb. 1, 2010 is especially ironic.

The SJ Police need all of the eyewitness accounts. If any eyewitnesses have not gotten in contact with the victim and/or SJ Police, now is the time to do so. Please act NOW before it’s too late!

Catch Him If You Can: The Heartbreaking Jimmy Scott

A master balladeer is in town Tues Feb 23rd & Weds Feb 24th, and although he is well past his prime at age 85, and only 4 ft 11” tall, he’s a true giant, and just being in the room with him is well worth the pittance Yoshi’s is charging this week at the door. He is known for infusing songs with so much pathos, pain and beautiful angst it’s hard to take it all in… and if you’ve never heard of him…sadly, you are not alone.

Fortunately, you still have time familiarize yerselves with his saga, and a musical legacy that was obscured by bad business breaks, pride, and deep prejudice, the kind that was not only racial, but sexual & medical …

Almost strangled to death by the umbilical cord at birth in 1925, Jimmy Scott was soon orphaned by a car crash, along with his 9 other siblings in depression era Cleveland. If the odds against him were not bad enough, they were further stacked by a strange genetic pituitary hormonal defect known as “Kallman’s Syndrome”. This medical disorder accounts for his somewhat effeminate looks & unnaturally high singing voice. Basically Scott’s pubescent development was stunted, causing his arms to appear longer than the rest of his torso while the diminutive singer never developed facial hair.

Finding solace away from the bleak foster homes on stages, he sang in combos of the post war R&B era, notably as a featured singer with band leader Lionel Hampton, with whom he made his recorded debut in 1950 (although his name did not appear on the label). After the chart making & touring stint with Hampton ended, Scott began dividing his time between night spots in Cleveland, New York and Newark, New Jersey.

Unable to secure proper record deals, or even respect on the road from fellow musicians due to his androgynous appearance, Jimmy Scott’s show biz career was a hard road. That road hit a brick wall by the late 1960’s when tight fisted Herman Lubinsky of the Savoy label refused to release Scott from a long dormant contract, and legally prevented comeback albums for Atlantic & Ray Charles’ Tangerine label from being released purely out of spite.

Jimmy’s numerous shots at stardom had been so hampered by fiscal mismanagement & bad business dealings, it lead to failed relationships, drinking and drugging, and a career ending downward spiral that took him away from the limelight for decades, until a break finally occurred when he was well into his 60’s.

Strangely enough, it appears death is something he won’t take sitting still, and is actually the catalyst that has brought Jimmy Scott’s career back to life…

read more about the show, plus detailed info on his life & career accomplishments below the fold
more on little-jimmy-scott

Face The Music This Week: Jello, McLagan, Ruby Howl, etc

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.

Macs Latest Release on his Maniac imprint Never Say Never

Mac's Latest Release on his Maniac imprint "Never Say Never"

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

Pat & Laurie

Pat & Laurie

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…

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?

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

the ongoing War the US started in Iraq some six years ago was the main impetus for the demonstration.

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

Thou Shall Not Kill My Hope

The Black Rock: The African American Experience on Alcatraz

This Friday night the Red Vic hosts the San Francisco premiere of “The Black Rock”, a new film that explores the largely undocumented history of the African American prisoner experience on Alcatraz. Heralded local filmmaker Kevin Epps has shifted his documentary lens from previous subjects like life in Hunters Point, and the Bay’s Hip Hop underground, to life in SF’s notorious offshore federal lock up.

new Alcatraz film : The Black Rock

new Alcatraz film : The Black Rock

The film, presented in starkly haunting black & white, had it’s first public screening earlier this month in the actual Alcatraz mess hall for 300 lucky guests of Epps and The National Park Service. Now, having been released from it’s island prison exile, it can reach mainland audiences and will run at the Red Vic on Haight St this week through March 5th. The NPS has indicated it will soon use portions of the film in the permanent exhibits and tours of the historic prison.

Fascination with Alcatraz permeates pop culture and the crumbling prison ranks high amongst San Francisco’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting more visitors than the city’s total population each year. Epps’ new film approaches the prison from a very different socio-political angle than the usual Hollywood fare, and pulls together tales that are unique amongst the plethora of prison videos, books and memorabilia that already clutter local gift shops.

For More, Including A Peak At The Trailer, Read On… (more…)

Hearst to Chronicle: Implement Massive Layoffs or be Shut Down

In yet another manifestation of the long, sad and widely-noted decline of the San Francisco Chronicle, Hearst Corporation has threatened the paper with sale or closure if it doesn’t make major, immediate cuts to both union and non-union staff.

While no deadline was laid down for making these cuts, and their scope was not quantified, it’s clear that Hearst means business. SFist has published a memo sent to Chronicle employees by Chairman and Publisher Frank Vega, in which he intimates “a series of cost-saving initiatives designed to alleviate” the continuing losses at the paper. Well, we all know what that means.

Vega goes on: “First and foremost of these cost savings will be a significant reduction in force across all areas of our operation affecting both represented and non-represented employees. We will shortly begin discussions with union leadership on proposals. Our current situation dictates that we accomplish these cost savings quickly. Business as usual is no longer an option. If we are unable to accomplish these reductions in the immediate future, Hearst Corporation, which owns the Chronicle, has informed us that it will offer the newspaper for sale or close it altogether.”

The San Francisco Business Times also reported on the story, adding that the paper lost $50 million dollars in 2008, and possibly that much every year going back to 2001.

And SFGate itself posted a story — byline, Hearst Newspapers — giving the story the predictable, rolling-up-the-sleeves angle that the company would have: it’s a venerable institution amidst industry turmoil; this’ll hurt, but it’s got to be done.

However, some have suggested that the “if” phrase in the memo makes the subtext read like this: if the unions don’t cave to our demands, we’ll shut the paper down, and then where will they be?

This is distressing news to me for personal reasons: I know a number of people who are now employed, directly or indirectly, by the paper. But I can’t help but think it might be for the better, in the long run, if the Chronicle did shut down. As a San Francisco reader who really cares about the news, it’s impossible not to have noticed that the Chronicle has been a sub-par news source for many years. SFGate always seems to be the last site to publish breaking stories, San Francisco itself appears almost not to exist in its pages apart from shootingsCity Hall, and entertainment, and much if not most of its content is taken straight from the AP wire. I keep checking the page out of a sense of duty, but I’m not sure what it gets me, when I get such excellent national news from the New York Times, and most of my local news from Streetsblog, Missionlocal, Eater SFCurbed SF, SFCitizen, and San Francisco Business Times — all of which routinely feature original reporting. As for arts stories, you can’t go wrong with KQED. And I haven’t even mentioned the sites that are less about news per se but which are fun to read and are often useful, such as SFistMission Mission, and this blog. I’d probably feel differently if it were my job at stake, but somehow I think that journalism in San Francisco has a future with or without the Chronicle — and it just might have a brighter future without it.

Film: The Betrayal, 2/27-3/5 @ Lumiere


[Thavisouk Phrasavath and his mother, Orady Phrasavath in Ellen Kuras’ documentary, The Betrayal. Courtesy of The Cinema Guild.]

[Disclosure: I haven’t seen this film, so I can’t recommend it on that basis. But I got a quick glimpse of it and heard good things about it at Landmark’s Film Club Spring Preview a couple of weeks ago.]

The Betrayal is a documentary about one Laotian family’s flight from Laos and their journey to NYC, and their struggles to survive. Thavisouk is the eldest of 10 children, and responsibility for the family fell upon him when his father was arrested in 1975 by the Pathet Lao. His father’s crime? Working for the Americans. Allow me to quote the press release:

[Director Ellen] Kuras and Phrasavath have created a lyrical film that fluidly incorporates archival footage, cinema verite, interview material and visually poetic montages. The result is a story of what it means to be in exile, of the far-reaching consequences of war, and of the resilient bonds of family. Thavisouk’s unforgettable journey reminds us of the strength necessary to survive unthinkable conditions, and of the human spirit’s inspiring capacity to adapt, rebuild, and forgive.

Twenty-three years of filming and research went into this film. Director Ellen Kuras is a famed cinematographer; she has won the Best Dramatic Cinematography award at Sundance no fewer than three times, and she also shot Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The Betrayal is her directorial debut.

The film opens at the Lumiere this Friday, February 27th, and will run until March 5th. Showtimes: Fri-Sun (2:20 4:45) 7:10 9:20. Mon-Thu (4:45) 7:10 9:20.

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