Starred, Striped



THE WEEKNIGHTER Dave’s bar is America. I don’t mean that in the sense that you walk in the door and get the hairy eyeball, with a chaser of, “What the kind of hippie-communist-homo are you?” (Spoken in a drawl, of course). I mean it in the most basic sense — the mythic melting pot of equality and freedom. When you enter Dave’s (29 Third St, SF) you are entering a new world. It doesn’t matter how much you make (or don’t make), what you drive, or whether you work on construction sites or the human brain. All of that is left at the door. The only thing that matters is if you like to drink.

There are no mustachioed bartenders in suspenders playing with tinctures distilled from random Amazonian berries you’ve never heard of. Instead, you’re often greeted by an Irish lady who you can tell won’t take any shit, but who will also chat with you all day long. This is a fucking bar, man. Some days you show up and there’s free food put out. Other days you sit on a stool and somebody you’ve never met buys a round for the entire bar. It’s almost like Dave’s has some supernatural ability to give you whatever it is that you need on that particular day.

You sit at that bar long enough you’ll hear every kind of story imaginable, from every kind of person. You’ll walk in just to have a quick shot and a beer — and leave four hours later, having met, dunk, and talked shit with a car salesman from Oklahoma, a recently off-work janitor, a tech millionaire, and someone whose family has had 49ers season tickets since they played at Kezar Stadium. You will never see any of these people again in your life, unless you go back to Dave’s.

I’ve actually taken a few girls on first dates to Dave’s. I mean, we didn’t spend the entire time there, but used it more as a meeting place from which to embark on the rest of our activities. You’re probably saying, “Hey Stu, why would you take girl you’re trying to impress, and with whom you’re hoping to touch special places, to a dive bar like Dave’s?” Besides the fact that I’m broke and can actually afford the awesomely cheap drinks, Dave’s, in its own way, makes everyone feel comfortable. It was voted least pretentious bar in SF for this reason. Dave’s is the bar that everyone has had a good time at, even if they’ve never been there before.

These days I worry about places like Dave’s. Sure it’s been there for like 30 years or something, but it doesn’t have the shine and sheen that so many recently opened bars in SF have. For those of us who know better, this is exactly why it’s attractive. I just worry that the Robert Moseses of the world, the people who would plow a giant freeway through quaint Greenwich Village, have too much steam behind them right now. These are the people who don’t realize that having reclaimed wood and Edison bulbs and $13 cocktails doesn’t make a place special. In fact, it makes a place just like everywhere else. I’ll take a shot and a beer at Dave’s over all that fluff any day of the week. Hell, I’ll probably see you there.

Stuart Schuffman aka Broke-Ass Stuart is a travel writer, poet, and TV host. You can find his online shenanigans at www.brokeassstuart.com 


Photo Gallery: Graffiti artists tagging in the sunshine at Precita Park


Normally the sound of 20 or so artists rattling and spraying aerosol cans would be quickly followed by the sound of sirens. But Sat/19 the fades went up with gusto. 

Artists tagged free standing art boards at Precita Park for the Urban Youth Arts Festival, an event that brings the ultimate underground art into a safe space. Attendees munched on burgers and listened to some good tunes at the festival, which is now in its 18th year.

Many of the street style murals paid homage to the Bay Area, from SF to Oakland. “We’re showing our love to the aesthetic of the community,” Xavier Schmidt, a 25-year-old organizer of the event and SF native, told us. One muralist hand painted a robot adorned in SF Giants and 49ers gear punching out a Google Glass-wearing Godzilla. 

“We’ve been doing this since 1987,” Schmidt said, speaking to the event’s roots. Even the event’s hosts, the Precita Eyes Muralists Association, have deep SF bonafides: they’ve been around since 1977.

“This is for solidarity, for community,” he said. “It’s a family event.”

Kids sprayed paint and played, adults kicked back and kvetched about youngsters, SF natives complained about tech employees, and many chowed down on burgers, hot dogs, and veggies donated by the local YMCA. Local musicians A-1 and Hazel Rose came out to play too, adding the head-banging element to the day. We’ve embedded one of A-1’s tracks below. Consider it your photo gallery soundtrack.

Names of the artists have been withheld because callin’ them out on the internet would be wack. All photos by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez. 




This dude’s head was bangin’ as he sprayed. We’re not sure how he managed to make it look so good.


This kid was super into it, which was hilarious.



A San Francisco robot takes down a Google Glass wearing tech-zilla.


Hazel Rose performed a bombastic set that the crowd, below, felt all sorts of love for. 

image 8

image 9

Oakland got plenty of love too.


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Xavier Schmidt, one of the event’s organizers, said this high schooler is a real up and comer in the graffiti scene.




Some of the art boards were for everyone to paint, leading to some dooby-ous results. (Get it? Ha!)


Mmmm, donuts. 


Painting with more colors



Not many plays feature an all-Latino cast, let alone all El Salvadoran. But Paul Flores’ Placas placed brown actors and a brown experience center stage. The 2012 production explored a father and ex-gang member’s struggle, leading his son out of a hard life of drugs, violence, and perhaps death.

The play garnered favorable but mixed reviews from critics, but among Salvadorans, it was a huge hit.

“You had older generations coming to see the play right alongside their grandkids,” Flores told the Guardian. The play’s premiere venue packed its 500-seat capacity, and sold out seven out of its eight nights in San Francisco. “We tapped a community thirsty to hear its stories told.”

Placas is the kind of creative work not being funded often enough by the city’s largest arts grant organization, critics are saying. At a contentious San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee hearing on June 20, artists told supervisors that programs serving diverse communities were severely underfunded, and alleged the city’s major arts funder, Grants for the Arts, awards money disproportionately to art forms favored by white audiences.

Spurred by public outcry and city studies, Sups. Eric Mar and London Breed recommended the transfer of $400,000 in unused funding from GFTA to another city arts funder, the Cultural Equity Grants (which funded Placas), to direct arts money to people of color.

The transfer won’t be approved until it goes before the full Board of Supervisors next month. But as San Francisco studio and housing rents soar, Mar said this was vital to keeping diverse artists in the city.

“I think the crisis for arts groups now is many of them are being displaced,” he told the Guardian. “How can the city subsidize groups with low rent or free rent, and how could we support small groups [to prevent them from] being displaced?”

"Arts inequity": San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst Report by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Above is a PDF of the Budget Legislative Analyst’s report, as it breaks down lack of funding to diverse programs. The report has relevant sections highlighted.

The Guardian reached out to City Administrator Naomi Kelly for comment (her office ultimately directs arts grants funding). She was unavailable for an interview before we went to press, but her spokesperson Bill Barnes told us, “I don’t think we should be in a position of having governments regulate artistic content.”

But in a way, the government already does. The GFTA funding is made up of city dollars, and for decades its funding priorities have scarcely changed, favoring many of the largest mainstream organizations.

GFTA funds many arts organizations, but a recent report by the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office found it awarded about 70 percent of grants to organizations with mostly white artists who mostly cater to white audiences. The San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Opera, City Arts, the Exploratorium, the Museum of Modern Art, and the American Conservatory Theater received over one-third of GFTA funding over the past five years, the report found.

“The Bay [Area] will soon be 70 percent people of color,” Andrew Wood, director of the SF International Arts Festival, told the Guardian. “Why invest so heavily in organizations that are such a minority of the population?”

Taken on its face, the findings show a stark divide between funding for smaller, struggling minority arts groups and large, independently funded arts groups with predominantly white patrons. The report divided the diversity of GFTA arts funding into three categories: people of color (Asians, African Americans, and Latinos), ethnic minorities (Arab/Middle Eastern/Jewish), and LGBT organizations. The funding for these categories remained steady at about 20, 2, and 5 percent of arts funding, respectively, since 1989.

The lack of funding is one thing, but critics say the pattern indicates an outright dismissal of the broader community. In a mass email entitled “The State of the Arts in San Francisco” sent to the arts community from a group calling itself Arts Town Hall Organizing Committee said the outcry against critiques of GFTA’s diversity funding was “advanced by fringe members of the arts community.”

Realizing it called Black, Asian, and Latino artists a “fringe community,” the San Francisco Arts Alliance (a signatory to the email comprised of San Francisco’s symphony, opera, and other GFTA funded organizations) quickly backpedaled. It said the email was sent on their behalf by the public relations firm Barnes Mosher Whitehurst Lauter & Partners, a group that often runs astroturf campaigns for mainstream organizations.

One reason for GFTA’s inability to fund diverse arts groups may be a lack of trying: The BLA found the GFTA “does not have a definition or criteria for granting funds to people of color organizations.”

This color blindness is a problem, Wood told us. “[The money] the city invests in the War Memorial Opera House compared to the Bayview Opera House, also city owned, is completely out of whack,” he said. The Bayview Opera House was one among six “cultural institutions” to receive a portion of a $400,000 GFTA award, according to the organization’s 2013/14 annual report. Conversely, GFTA awarded the San Francisco Opera $653,000 the same year.

“They’re two different universes,” Wood said.

Allocating more funding for the Cultural Equity Grants was an oft-mentioned method for better supporting disadvantaged artists, the report found, even though GFTA and CEG share many of the same grantees.

Some say the report’s numbers don’t add up. San Francisco Arts Commission Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny, a longtime local artist, disagreed with how the BLA defined which groups were white, ethnic, or otherwise.

“The methodology in the report assigns people an identity, and I know some of our grantees were referred to as white when they’re not,” DeCaigny told the Guardian. “We would want to see organizations self identify.”

Those faults undermine the value of the BLA’s findings, although he said, “I’m hesitant to comment on the value of that report.”

But some in the arts community felt DeCaigny’s opinion aligns suspiciously closely to the mayor’s priorities: funding the preferred arts organizations of his wealthy donors (like the symphony). We reached out to the San Francisco Symphony for comment but its representatives told us it would be unable to respond before our deadline.

DeCaigny defended the symphony, noting its annual Lunar New Year and Day of the Dead concerts serve diverse audiences. For the economically disadvantaged, he said, the symphony offers free concerts open to the public in Dolores Park, and that the symphony’s “artists are very diverse.”

DeCaigny pointed out the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s youth programs (shown above) are notably very diverse.

The donors are mostly white, he said, “but that’s true in other sectors as well. It has more to do with how wealth is distributed in our society.”

But Flores, Placas’ director, explained the need for ethnically diverse art was not just about who consumes it, but what message the art is sending to the audience. Nothing revealed this more, he said, then when he took Placas on tour across the United States. While in New York City, he conducted an informal poll.

“I asked ‘when I say San Francisco, what do you think of?’ They said the 49ers, the San Francisco Giants, the Golden Gate Bridge. They didn’t think gangs, pupusa, cumbia,” he said. That’s why Placas, which told the story of gang life among San Francisco Salvadorans, had such impact in the city and even beyond its borders.

“I love telling stories about San Francisco,” Flores told us. “The symphony doesn’t do that, the opera doesn’t do that. What does that? Locally generated art.”

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance committee is tentatively slated to hold a hearing on allegations made in the BLA report on July 16.  

Jasper Scherer contributed to this report.

Kaepernick incident report details bong hits, blackout, and alleged assault


San Francisco 49ers star quarterback Colin Kaepernick, player Quinton Patton and Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette are being investigated for sexual assault by Miami police, according to reports earlier today by TMZ sports (and other media outlets). 

The name of the woman at the center of the allegations was redacted from the report, which was obtained by sports site Deadspin. The only descriptor available is that she is African American. 

Tuesday night, April 1, she went to visit Lockette’s apartment, she told officers. Kaepernick and Patton were there as well, and she mixed them drinks and the players all drank shots. The players told her in order to take a shot she needed to take a hit of a bong “filled with marijuana,” according to the report.

From the report:

“They sat down, talked, and watched the basketball game. She started to feel light headed and went to a bedroom to lie down. [Redacted name] took off her jacket and jewlery. Mr. Kaepernick came behind her into the bedroom and started kissing her. She advised they were kissing [mouth] and Mr. Kaepernick started to undressed [sic] her. She got completely naked. Mr. Kaepernick told her that he was going to be right back and left the bedroom. They did not have sex. [Name redacted] advised that she was in bed naked and Mr. Patton and Mr. Lockette opened the door and “peeked” inside. She told them ‘what are you doing? Where is Colin? Get out!’ They closed the door and left. She cannot remember anything after that.'”

 Next, the woman alleged, things took a turn for the worse.

“[Name redacted] woke up in a hospital bed and doesn’t remember how she got there or who transported her to the hospital. [Name redacted] advised that she has had a sexual relationship with Mr. Kaepernick in the past.”

49ers General Manager Trent Baalke told TMZ reports that the team is “gathering the pertinent facts.” The full text of the incident report is below.


Colin Kaepernick sexual assault incident report by FitztheReporter

Appeal to the Giants



By John Farrell

OPINION We all love our 2010 and 2012 World Champion Giants and wish them all the best in 2014. But I also want to see the team do right by San Franciscans.

The Giants organization built its ballpark for over $350 million in 2000 and leased land from the Port. The 2012 property assessment was approximately $196.8 million, at least $200 million under value in my opinion, resulting in a property tax loss to the city of over $2.3 million annually.

Yet the Giants are appealing even this $196.8 million assessment, seeking to reduce the value to $140 million, an additional revenue loss to the city of over $650,000 annually.

When I worked in the San Francisco Assessor’s Office years ago, one of my assignments was to value the Giants ballpark. After construction was completed in 2000, a principle appraiser, a senior manager, and I met with Giants management in 2003 to finalize the ballpark value. I have worked with the Giants management numerous times in the past and they have always been professional, courteous, and fair.

Both parties agreed that a cost approach would be the preferred method of valuation and agreed on costs of around $350 million up to that point. The only difference in the final valuation being challenged was a marketing cost of $7 million in assessed value, reflecting $80,000 in tax revenue.

The Giants agreed to a middle ground to increase the assessment by $4 million. I advised the senior manager to accept this middle ground since it was reasonable and since the Giants already agreed to the approximate $350 million construction cost. It was a win-win for both the Giants and the city.

But this senior manager refused and would not budge on the $7 million assessed figure, reflecting a difference of only $35,000 in revenue. Giant’s management left the office very upset. I looked at the principle appraiser and he also couldn’t get over that we wouldn’t work with the Giants.

I had worked closely with this principal appraiser over the years and we always got the best and fairest value for the city. I left the office a year later and the Giants subsequently appealed and received a reduction of $200 million in assessed value and have been receiving a reduced assessment ever since.

When a taxpayer files an appeal for a reduction in property value under Proposition 8, it is generally due to a decrease in value as the result of a stagnant economy. I can understand the Giants asking for a reduction if their revenues were going down and justify it.

Without the ballpark, the Giants would not receive its revenues from the tickets, vendors, restaurants, advertising, cable TV, etc. Its revenues continue to grow, which is wonderful. But in my opinion and experience, the Giants should have never received such a reduction in assessment.

The proposed reduction to $140 million makes no sense. The land assessment alone is at least $40 million, from the capitalization of lease payments to the Port leaving the balance of $100 million for the improvements.

Naming rights were never assessed. Pacific Bell paid $45 million for naming rights in 2000, which was subsequently transferred to AT&T. What are these naming rights worth today? Keep in mind that the 49ers/York and Levi Strauss & Co recently entered into a naming rights agreement for a 20-year, $220 million deal at $11 million annually. Are you telling me the Giants naming rights are not worth at least half this amount when its contract with AT&T expires?

I appeal to the Giants owners and management to withdraw all their assessment appeals, which are insulting to the taxpayers of San Francisco, and continue to be the class act that they are. This appeal is from a fifth generation San Franciscan who has been a Giants fan since I can remember and had the privilege to see the two Willies, Juan, the Clarks, the Bonds and other Giants greats along the way.

John Farrell, MBA, Broker/Realtor®, former Assistant Assessor, Budget and Special Projects


Cap and frown



Just in time for baseball season, Giants hats may be allowed back into San Francisco public schools. A new Board of Education resolution may change the school district dress code to allow hats to be worn indoors in classrooms, a resolution that is also sparking conversations about cultural sensitivity.

The resolution, which the board will likely vote on April 8, would eliminate a San Francisco Unified School District no-hats policy, allowing schools to set their own dress codes individually as long as they’ve considered community input.

Some schools currently allow hats in schools in violation of district policy, but others have no-hat rules due to long standing conflation of hats with gang clothing, Board of Education Commissioner Matt Haney, who authored the resolution, told us.

“Our students should not be treated as a threat or a gang member because they wear hats,” Haney said. “If the message we send to them is that the way they dress in their communities is somehow a threat, we should not be sending that message as a school system.”

Hats seem like an unlikely starting point for a discussion about race and social justice, but Haney connects freedom of dress to the story of Trayvon Martin, whose tragic slaying many connected to negative assumptions due to wearing a hoodie, sparking a national “Million Hoodie Movement for Justice.”

Haney said allowing hats in classrooms is one step of many ensuring students know they’re accepted, and not viewed as a threat.

“When I went to a middle school to visit, they asked ‘why we can’t wear hats?’ I said it’s because people may think they’re in gangs,” Haney told the Guardian. “They looked at me like they had never heard anything so crazy or disrespectful in their lives.”

In a world where some people view those dressed in a simple hoodie as a reason to fear a teenager, the change in dress code rules could be seen as rebellious. But not everyone is a fan.

“I’m both ways on it,” Jackie Cohen, co-founder of the student tutoring program 100 Percent College Prep Institute, told the Guardian. “They should be able to express themselves as young people, but I don’t think they’re ready for the consequences that come with it.”

The institute offers many workshops to youth in the Bayview, but one offered last October taught kids to be what Cohen calls a “social chameleon.” The class taught code switching, when Cohen as how people change behavior based on social surroundings.

It’s a concept that youth of color in her neighborhood grapple with every day. Do they wear a hoodie to a job interview? A hat in the classroom? How much slang should be used in any given conversation? How does the media portray them?


Teenage (and younger) members of 100 Percent College Prep Institute learn about code switching from adult peers in a workshop held in October. Photo courtesy of Jackie Cohen.

San Franciscans were treated to a glaring moment of code-switching violation at last year’s NFC championship, when the 49ers were defeated by the Seattle Seahawks, whose cornerback Richard Sherman dissed 49ers player Michael Crabtree loudly in a TV interview, shouting, “Well, I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me.”

The moment drew fire from football fans and commentators nationally; many called Sherman a thug due to his aggressive speech. In interviews later, Sherman equated the “thug” label with a racial epithet.

The message? Men of color have to act and dress within certain boundaries, and young persons especially can have trouble navigating those social boundaries, just or not. Young people of color’s clothing and speech styles can often be an impediment to breaching white-dominated power structures, Cohen said.

“If you put that resolution on the table, [Haney] should expand that to teach the other side,” she told us. “The code switching class should be part of that resolution.”

Haney, for his part, agrees that families should have a say in how their children dress at school.

“I think it’s a fair point,” he said. “The resolution doesn’t say schools must allow hats, it says it should be up to the school community and can be up to the school staff.”

But in a way, the resolution is pushing back against the need for code switching, and even mentions that the school district should recognize different forms of dress as a part of a community’s culture.

The resolution states: “A District-wide, positive, relationship-based culture is best supported by contemporary, culturally relevant Dress and Appearance standards with consistent application.”

And in San Francisco, as other big cities with pride in their sports team, saying hats are “culturally relevant dress” is an understatement.

Len Kori is a 26-year-old design major at California State University East Bay. But first and foremost, he is a San Francisco native, born and raised — he went to Thurgood Marshall High School, one of the schools affected by the resolution on hats.

He remembers the ban on hats well, which makes sense since Kori owns more than 200 of them, most bearing that unbeatable abbreviation: SF.


Kori stands amidst some of his hat collection. Photo courtesy of Len Kori.

“You’d be surprised how deep the philosophy of collecting caps goes, as far as why people collect what they collect,” he told us. “My collection is solely based on who I am, and how important for me it is to acknowledge my roots,” Kori told the Guardian.

Hats defined his identity as a San Franciscan since he was a youngster, and as an adult he channeled his passions into designing hats himself.

One has the peninsula of the city dead center on the front of the cap, half the city aqua blue and the other half a gold dusky land mass. It reads “Bay Era,” a play off of the name of the popular New Era hats. Reflecting a love of city sports, some of his designs hearken back to San Francisco’s original baseball team, the Seals, sporting the original 1903 team colors of blue and white.

He’s happy to see the hat ban lifted because he feels “it’s important for kids to be able to express themselves.” Hats expressing city pride have long been a part of urban San Francisco culture, he said, but they are especially important now.

With so many displaced in the city’s housing crisis, there are too few of his former schoolmates around anymore. It makes the need to declare his love of San Francisco through hats especially poignant.

“It’s just really sad to see so many of my friends who have gone and left elsewhere,” Kori said. “I take pride in my city.”

Goldies 2014 Comedy: Sean Keane


GOLDIES At a recent edition of the Business — his weekly comedy showcase at the Dark Room Theater — Sean Keane is fulfilling one of stand-up’s most cherished rituals: skewering the absurdities that inconvenience our daily lives.

Like BART seats, for instance. “Who’s the person with the bright idea of making BART seats out of carpet?” Keane asks, before re-creating one possible scenario for an uproariously-laughing audience: “Sir, I think we should use carpet, as much carpet as possible, carpet on the floor, carpet on the seats, carpet that we scavenge from an elementary school in the ’70s. And it should be as absorbent as a sponge. Every spill, every odor, every terrible thing that happens on a BART train should be preserved for eternity. And for cleaning we’ll shut down the whole system for six hours a night and lightly sweep it with a broom.”

Keane’s specialty is the observation beat. The self-described “baby-faced man with the body of a dad” deftly riffs on the various mishaps and oddities he encounters. With his sports-announcer voice, he spins comedy gold from that time he ate at an Ethiopian-Irish food truck, or witnessed the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death on ESPN, or found himself having to react to a stranger’s curiosity about his “I’ve Got Beaver Fever!” T-shirt (true story: he used to coach a middle school swim team with a beaver mascot).

It’s no surprise that a unique city like San Francisco has produced such an effective observational comic. “It’s interesting how what’s unacceptable in SF is acceptable in other places,” Keane says. “The worst thing you can do is use a plastic bag. At the Folsom Street Fair, you can see guy in a full leather outfit just sitting on a street corner jacking off, but if he was jacking off into a single-use plastic bag, he’s a monster.”

Keane is also a sports fanatic. Stories from one of his blogs, sportscentr.tumblr.com, have been picked up by Deadspin and other mainstream outlets. Though he avoids incorporating wonky inside-baseball jokes into his comedy act, he’s able to combine his two passions by regaling crowds with hilarious sports-related happenings. (Like, say, his ejection from a bar after accosting someone clad in a 49ers pajama onesie.) His best sports-related gag is his hilariously accurate impression of a British commentator covering the NFL draft, and the inevitable culture clash that follows.

Keane comes from a humor-loving family that encouraged his performing ambitions. In high school, he was involved in musical theater, which he credits for helping him overcome a speech impediment and learning to properly enunciate. At UC Berkeley, he started doing stand-up, opening for touring acts like Dave Attell.


Guardian photo by Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover

Cal is also where he developed his material-generating process. “We had a big white board in our living room where I would write ideas down,” he recalls. “The key is to write things down everywhere. When I’m driving, I record voice memos. You kind of feel like a crazy person when you do that, and duck to the side of the street and just start dictating something into the phone. I write things out like they’re lecture notes, with a subject and heading. Jokes comes first and then wording gets fixed later.”

After doing a lot of writing and improv, Keane fully committed himself to stand-up in late 2005 and early 2006. In 2009, he co-founded the Business, which has become a popular fixture on the local comedy scene.

“The Business helped with developing our style and skills due to the regular 20-25 minute sets,” says Keane. Of his fellow Business comics — including Caitlin Gill, Nato Green, and Bucky Sinister — Keane says, “When you perform with people every week, you pick up on stuff from them and you get pushed by seeing someone go out and kill.”

“Sean is someone who makes stand up look easy,” Gill says. “He is impossibly likable, endlessly witty, and incredibly fun to watch, even more fun to be around.” One of Gill’s most memorable moments with Keane was the “Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction” show, in which Keane performed bits entitled “Riding Miss Daisy” and “Zero Dark 69.”

Sadly for San Francisco comedy fans, Keane is at that point in his career where a move may soon be necessary. “SF is a great place, but I need to get to the next level and there’s no comedy industry here,” he points out. “Your ceiling as a SF comic is two weekends a year at the Punchline, and two weekends a year at Cobb’s. To become a headliner, you have to be famous. To be famous you have to get on TV. And it’s hard to get on TV in a place that does not produce many TV shows.”

Until then, Keane’s Business is booming on Mission Street, delighting audiences every week — even those who have to ride those carpeted BART seats to get home. Catch him while you can.


Best of the Bay 2013 Editors Picks: Arts and Entertainment




Editors picks are chosen by Guardian editors for special recognition for brightening the Bay Area experience.


It takes a lot to stand out in this town. Bands and entertainers are a dime a dozen, and quality cover or innovative, hilarious “tribute” acts fill venue lineups year-round. The First Church of the Sacred Silversexual, however, is a glittery entity all its own. Raucous and roiling with glam-rock glee, it’s an orgasmic sensation of all things David Bowie wrapped in tinfoil and pumped full of sparkly gospel soul. The boisterous crew of theatrical musicians and singers packs onto stages and blows the Bowie horn: All ye who enter here, know the Thin White Duke’s (or Ziggy Stardust’s, or Alladin Sane’s) name. The oft-adoring crowd, with lyrics sheets in hand, responds in time. It’s a Suffragette City spectacle that “tap dances on the lines between religion and revelry, beatitude and blasphemy, rock show and revival.” Wham, bam, thank you ma’am!




Tired of hum-drum literary events involving lecterns, monotones, and rumpled suit jackets? Has Janey Smith got the antidote for you. One part poetry reading, one part beer bust, and one part urban exploration escapade, literary gatherings at the Squat turn the pedestrian concept of a reading into a situational ritual. After assembling in Smith’s lower Haight apartment for mingling and judicious imbibing, the crowd is ushered silently to a secret location: an abandoned flat lit by dozens of tea candles with a small pile of rubble on the floor serving as a podium for the invited poets. The echo of empty rooms, the brave flickers of candlelight, and the rapt attention of the crowd makes poetry at the Squat resonate that much more, attracting a stalwart crew of hardcore wordsmiths and armchair literati alike.




Jaunty East Bay rapper-producer IamSu! has released a barrage of clever mixtapes and collaborated with the likes of big-timers like 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Juvenile, E-40, and Roach Gigz — but his career can be traced back to Youth Radio, a nonprofit media center based in Oakland. Like so many others before and since, the talented 23-year-old MC got his start there at age 15 and learned all about the art of beat making. Fast-forward a decade and IAmSu! (born Sudan Ahmeer Williams) is getting some serious love for attention-grabbing lyrics, bold beats, and his casual return to hyphy, not to mention team efforts with his crew HBK (Heart Break Kids) Gang. He still reps his hometown even while sending it up in hits like “Goin’ Up” feat. Khalifa, nonchalantly tossing out rhymes like “Ask around I got hell of love in the Bay/Get money give a fuck what a hater say” over a wobbly beat in a video directed by Kreayshawn and featuring cameos by locals like Gigz. He may be bursting outside the bounds of the Bay, but his output remains a family affair.




The home base for SFJazz was decades in the making, but the popular nonprofit jazz organization finally got its own permanent home this year — and the SFJazz Center‘s sparkling new glass building is a marvel of modern sound. The $63 million, state-of-the-art facility includes balconies, perches, a fancy restaurant, and a smaller performing space for up-and-comers. But the main bowl-shaped auditorium deep inside the venue is where all that jazzy action comes alive, a circular space with platforms that can accordion and retract to make room for different kinds of setup. Resident artistic directors like Jason Moran have made good use of that unique space; during his stay, Moran opened up the bottom level for an actual skateboarder’s half-pipe with live skating demos, and also widened it up for a Fats Waller dance party. And of course a diverse roster of jazz greats — McCoy Tyner, Eddie Palmieri, Esperanza Spaulding, Hugh Masekela, Bill Frissell — have reached the new rafters with their flights of sound.

201 Franklin, SF. (866) 920-5299, www.sfjazz.org



At first, the idea of opening a successful gay sports bar in the Castro might have struck some as either a shameful back-in-the-closet move (only manly men allowed, no swishing!) or another apocalyptic omen of gay assimilation (we’ve become the jocks who beat us up!). But then you watch the diverse crowds — including, yes, the swishy — pack into Hi Tops to cheer on our major championship teams and our lesser-recognized sports organizations and heroes. You see the Sports Illustrated picture of two male 49ers fans enthusiastically kissing — the first such photo to appear in that magazine. You check out the super-spiffy design of the place, which repurposes vintage bleachers, b-ball court floors, lockers, and cage lights. You sample the playful drink menu, which features an actual cocktail made with Muscle Milk, and a bar menu that twists standard game day food in a slightly gourmet direction. Finally, you see how owners Jesse Woodward, Dana Gleim, and Matt Kajiwara have created a community of like-minded queer sports fans who can finally express their mutual admiration openly, proudly, and loudly. Holy crap, is that a ball in your hand?

2247 Market, SF. (415) 551-2500, www.hitopssf.com



We’re declaring 2012-2013 the theatre season of Lauren Gunderson, y’all. Ever since this prolific Georgia native’s Exit, Pursued by a Bear debuted at Crowded Fire Theater in 2011, Gunderson’s scripts are smart, sassy, and fueled by revenge and science. “I think I write about scientists more than I write about science,” she told Creative Loafing Atlanta. “You could say that science is the landscape and ether of the plays, but the hearts and dreams of the scientists are what we’re really watching.” That empathetic approach to science may help explain why her plays have the taken tech-nerdy Bay Area by storm. This season alone saw the Bay Area-based productions of no fewer than five of her scripts: Emilie La Marquise du Chatalet Defends Her Life Tonight by the Symmetry Theatre Company in Berkeley, Toil and Trouble at Impact Theatre, By and By with the Shotgun Players, The Taming with Crowded Fire Theater, plus I and You at the Marin Theatre Company. Love a rising star? There’s still time to bolster your “I saw her back when” cred when both TheatreWorks and SF Playhouse produce her works in early 2014.




For fans of great house music, packed dance floors, cute crowds, and sweating out the workweek, Wednesdays are the new Fridays, thanks to the stellar Housepitality party crew. Promoters and DJs Mikey Tello and Miguel Solari, along with about a dozen fantastic resident local DJs, bring in international underground superstars every week to get us over hump day (and play havoc with our Thursday mornings). But the Housepitalers go beyond merely roping in midweek talent — they’ve built a devoted community of new and old school dance mavens, crossing generational divides through the spirit of darned good music and a loving vibe. Now in their third year, they also dig deep to introduce the Bay to fresh talent and obscure legends: not too many parties on Earth can boast bringing in “DJ’s DJ” (and an inventor of Detroit techno) D. Wynn one week and then contemporary Bulgarian live acid house act Kink the next. Who needs sleep, anyway?

Wednesdays, 10pm-2am at F8, 1192 Folsom, SF. www.housepitalitysf.com



Humans beware. The great robot revolution is nigh, and builders of combat robots have done us no favors by creating machines whose sole function is to destroy. Way to go, guys. But, on second thought, maybe it’s for the best that these “combots” exist, and are still obeying their owners by fighting battles — exclusively with each other — inside a giant, bulletproof pen at the annual International RoboGames. This gives us an opportunity now to study their moves — before they launch their surprise attack on the human race. Combots have advantages such as brute force, whirling blades, super-sumo skills, and general imperviousness to pain. There are even androids that perform kung fu (shudder). But by observing them in action now, we can start formulating our defense strategy ahead of time. Thanks, RoboGames, for giving us this opportunity for the past decade.




Along with closely-affiliated nonprofit San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation, CinemaSF has stepped up to keep a pair of historic theaters located in non-trendy neighborhoods — the Vogue and the Balboa — alive and thriving, especially after a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year raised dough to ease the Balboa’s digital-upgrade costs. (The Vogue, thankfully, was already 21st century-ready.) It would be an easy moneymaker to simply screen the latest Hollywood releases, and while both theaters do show first-run stuff, they also offer exclusive and special-interest programming on the side, such as the Balboa’s “Popcorn Palace” kiddie series, and the Vogue’s hosting of San Francisco Film Society events like November’s “Taiwan Film Days.” Have we mentioned how awesome it is not to always watch a movie on your laptop alone in your tiny room, or be bombarded by sense-numbing multiplex gimmickry? Here’s to many more years of great indie flicks shared in great spaces with friendly film fans.




After 33 years of provoking thought and conversation about contemporary ideas and letters, City Arts and Lectures has a brand-new venue for hosting its famed series of onstage chats with boldfaced names (recent roll-call: Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Guest, Zadie Smith, Jaron Lanier, Marc Maron, Jhumpa Lahiri). But the Nourse Theater isn’t actually new at all — it was built in 1927, which makes it nearly as old as the Castro Theatre. The late Beaux-Arts beauty, once used as the High School of Commerce theater, sat neglected and closed for over 30 years. Now spiffily refurbished (think plush new seats and top-of-the-line sound and lighting) under the guidance of City Arts & Lectures founder Sydney Goldstein, with fabulously Rococo-like architectural details preserved, the hulking building on Hayes is fully revived and ready for heady artistic musings and bleeding-edge pronouncements.

275 Hayes, SF. www.cityarts.net/nourse



When it was announced in 2011 that legendary Soma gay leather biker bar the Eagle Tavern was closing, much of the queer population was stunned. Sure, although charitable Sunday afternoon beer busts and renowned Thursday Night Live local rock showcases were packed, the large bar and patio were not exactly swarmed the rest of the time — and the owners had recently sunk much of their money into the revamped Hole in the Wall Saloon. But the Eagle’s closure became a flashpoint for what many saw as the homogenization of SF’s gay population and the gentrification of traditional queer spaces. A determined activist coalition rallied the city’s political forces and helped find new gay buyers — Alex Montiel and Mike Leon — who vowed to keep the spot’s rough-and-tumble, rock and roll gay vibe while revamping the interior and programming to appeal to a new generation of sexy, bearded, kinky men and friends. The SF Eagle flew again in 2013, and has been by all accounts a success: still down and dirty, but the coolest “new” gay hangout in the city.

398 12th St, SF. www.sf-eagle.com



How long does it take to make a tradition? Surely a longevity spanning four decades denotes a yearly gathering that has taken hold of a group’s psyche. If this is indeed the case, consider the pagan faction Bay Area Reclaiming’s Spiral Dance a full-blown, locally born folkway. The rite takes place each year during the Halloween season, or Samhain, as the pagan holiday of death and regeneration is best known. During the gathering — which also serves as Reclaiming Bay Area’s biggest fundraiser of the year — dance, acrobatics, elaborate altars, and song mark a program largely geared around the spiral dance itself, in which group members move in a whorl (widdershins, as the counterclockwise movement is known in faiths from Wicca to Judaism) that invokes rebirth as the cold season approaches. It’s a gorgeous, all-inclusive sight, regardless of the number or character of the deities to which you pay homage. (You’re invited too, atheist babes.)




Oh, how we love Sister Spit — that incubator of radical feminist artists and punk-lit creators, host for two decades of some the best Bay Area spoken word performances. But the performance series (birthed by Michelle Tea and Sini Anderson back in 1994, and then again in 2006) may well hold more significance to those outside of the Bay. After all, when Sister starting touring in the late ’90s, packing its erudite rabble-rousers into a series of ramshackle vans, towns like Detroit and Tucson got a very special dose of San Francisco’s “talented, tattooed, and purple pigtailed” poets, writers, sexual outlaws, and more. Cultural ambassadors, we deem them all. The series continues to go on the road — with writers like Ali Liebgott, Eileen Myles, Robin Akimbo, and many more — and grow. Earlier this year publisher City Lights debuted its new Sister Spit imprint with a glorious anthology of pieces performed at past events, Sister Spit: Writing, Rants and Reminiscence from the Road.




Different Fur Studios is esteemed by the current generation of music fans for churning out a staggering variety of hip music from San Francisco — A B & the Sea, Main Attrakionz, Lilac, the She’s — and beyond. Given the storied studio’s long history, however, it’s no wonder it’s still helping define the sound of the Bay. It was founded in 1968, at the height of San Francisco sonic weirdness, by Patrick Gleeson, an energetic electronic music composer who brought in the likes of Herbie Hancock, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Stevie Wonder. The Fur stands on end: alert to the changing times and latest trends. Nowadays, it’s known for being highly Web-savvy, recording live iTunes-exclusive tracks, and uploading videos of in-studio sessions (like those of Little Dragon, Girls, Toro Y Moi, Big K.R.I.T., and more). Praise be to a different Pat — current owner and engineer Patrick Brown — who as a champion of local acts and labels alike keeps tradition alive in the heart of the Mission.




Gay gamers often have friends they can brag to about their Xbox Live gamerscore. And they often have friends they can take to the club. And never shall those two groups of friends meet. Yet for one glorious weekend in Japantown last August, LGBT nerds united to celebrate indie queer games and to dress in Princess Peach drag (her five o’clock shadows were fetching). GaymerX was the first LGBT video game convention in the nation, and its panels included executives from gaming super-giant Electronic Arts, where gaymers lobbied for more inclusion in a white-male-hetero-normative-dominated industry. The dance floor was rocking, as Pikachu, Kratos, Mario and a host of other costumed fans shook their pixilated tail feathers. The voice actress who portrayed the killer robot from Portal, GLAaDOS, even helped two beautiful bear boys get married on stage with her signature song “Still Alive.” And best of all, the convention announced its second run for next July at an even bigger space. As Mario would say, “Let’s-a-go!”




Hang out with rad musicians like Peter Case, Alejandro Escovedo, Nataly Dawn, Sean Hayes, The Mother Hips, Ben Kweller, Heather Combs, John Vanderslice, and Chuck Prophet at a genial house party — and then watch them play a full concert in the living room? This convivial scene (you may actually be able to pet a cat while singing along) is what KC Turner’s House Concert series is all about. Here, nothing separates the performers from their patrons, save a few extra inches of legroom and the use of a microphone. In the music business, it seems almost inevitable that you’ll wind up selling some portion of your soul to make a living, but so far the fresh-faced, formidably-prolific KC Turner seems to be avoiding that fate by helping to create the world — and by extension, the music business — he wants to live in. We are all the better for it. Just please try not to spill any wine on the rug.




In 1973, Japantown’s Nihonmachi Street Fair was devised along the lines of community protest — in the face of sweeping neighborhood redevelopment, the celebration of Japanese heritage was a line in the sand, a declaration that one of SF’s unique neighborhoods would not be erased by the vagaries of urban renewal. (Nihonmachi means, roughly, “Japantown.”) Forty years later, it is an enduring statement of the power of community, and the festival considers itself a representation of the Pan-Asian cultural experience in San Francisco. During the early August weekend of Nihonmachi, awesome food, unique crafts, and musical performances fill the streets, and Asian traditions like the Chinese Lion Dance, Hawaiian music, and Filipino acrobatics fill the stages. An estimated 30,000 people attended this year — fest organizers wager they were largely first-time fans of this neighborhood triumph, which only confirms the community’s deepening roots.




One game has the player land on a purple planet and get asked out on a date by a giant sea monster. Another has you shimmy a bumble-bee’s booty in the right sequence to win. Some of the games touch serious subjects like coming out for the first time, or dealing with poverty. And you can make one, too! The games on DIY text-based gaming platform Twine are wild and varied, but they’re always first person narratives. Remember “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? It’s kind of like that. Birthed three years ago by Chris Klimas, Twine really took off in the past year after being trumpeted by Anna Anthropy, a game designer known for “Dys4ia,” which chronicled her start in hormone replacement therapy. That’s the beauty of Twine: it’s a format suited to telling very personal stories in an interactive way. You don’t need to know any programming at all to make a free Twine game — it’s all text, so you just need to know how to write. And the games that result are presented as web pages containing a maze of hyperlinks: a pretty good metaphor for life.



The spirit of the underground is still alive in Larry Gonello Jr.’s world. The ace renegade soulful house and techno DJ was everywhere this year — from official street festival to not-so-official one, from licensed afterhours loft party to extralegal sunrise beach rave — joining in the fabulous mobile soundsystem tradition pioneered by great tricyclist Amandeep Jawa’s speaker-wired Trikeasaurus Rex, Monkeylectric’s Off-Grid Party Trailer, or anyone whose strapped an old transistor radio onto a bike during critical mass and rocked the freak out to Michael Jackson. Gonello’s Boombox Affair, though, usually went one better: wiring together an array of large, vintage, insanely covetable boom boxes to form a wall of sound at his pop-up dance parties. Adding a couple innocuous bass bins, he creates a DIY soundsystem that looks cool as hell while moves the crowd. “Sick” is the word usually uttered by first-time viewers. But by the time that overused yet totally appropriate word is swallowed up by beats, they’re already dancing.




Books on tape, books on schmape. If you’re looking for the words of great literature to leap off the page (or titanium dioxide electrophoretic screen, if you’re Kindlin’), look no further than the 20-year-old tradition that is Z Space’s Word for Word series. In 1993, the legend goes, Susan Harloe and JoAnne Winter founded the company in order to “tell great stories with elegant theatricality, staging performances of classic and contemporary fiction.” The first production, of Dorothy Parker story “The Standard of Living,” played to a packed house. Seventy staged works — from classics like Sherwood Anderson’s homey Winesburg, Ohio and Tennessee Williams’ homo-textual “Two on a Party” to cutting edge contemporary works like Siobhan Fallon’s resonant Iraq War-fallout story cycle “You Know When the Men Are Gone” and Nathan Englander’s post-Holocaust domestic tale “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” (performed at the Jewish Community Center) — and a tour of France later, the inimitable W4W troupe just took on the title story of Dan Chaon’s 2012 collection Stay Awake for Litquake. In a delightful meta-move, Word for Word will stage 36 stories by SF’s patron saint of the theater, Sam Shepard, in May 2014.




Everybody’s saying the feisty, freaky soul of San Francisco is dying. Finally someone did something about it, in the form of resurrecting one of the city’s most treasured cult arts figures, Ed Mock. A black, gay, free-spirited improvisational dance pioneer who died of AIDS in 1986: welp, you can’t get much more “vanishing San Francisco” than that. (Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf premiered in his studio. Enuf said.) The fact that Mock and his eponymous dance company heavily encouraged, trained, and influenced a generation of young artists surely helped cement his immortality. So much so that former student and UC Berkeley dance instructor Amara Tabor-Smith, who met Mock when she was 14 and joined his company three years later, joined with several collaborators in June to bring his specter back to the byways of our fair town. He Moved Swiftly But Gently Down the Not Too Crowded Street: Ed Mock and Other True Tales in a City That Once Was consisted of 11 site-specific performances that journeyed through Mock’s life, from “A Roomful of Black Men” in LaSalle Pianos to various “acts of improvisatory disruptions” up and down Valencia Street. You could feel Mock smiling fearlessly, glorious in a giant pink tutu, back on the streets.






At first, the idea of opening a successful gay sports bar in the Castro might have struck some as either a shameful back-in-the-closet move (only manly men allowed, no swishing!) or another apocalyptic omen of gay assimilation (we’ve become the jocks who beat us up!). But then you watch the diverse crowds — including, yes, the swishy — pack into Hi Tops to cheer on our major championship teams and our lesser-recognized sports organizations and heroes. You see the Sports Illustrated picture of two male 49ers fans enthusiastically kissing — the first such photo to appear in that magazine. You check out the super-spiffy design of the place, which repurposes vintage bleachers, b-ball court floors, lockers, and cage lights. You sample the playful drink menu, which features an actual cocktail made with Muscle Milk, and a bar menu that twists standard game day food in a slightly gourmet direction. Finally, you see how owners Jesse Woodward, Dana Gleim, and Matt Kajiwara have created a community of like-minded queer sports fans who can finally express their mutual admiration openly, proudly, and loudly. Holy crap, is that a ball in your hand?

2247 Market, SF. (415) 551-2500, www.hitopssf.com

Thunder from West Portal: Quentin Kopp savages the Warriors’ Embarcadero Wall and its $220 million taxpayer subsidy


(Scroll down to read Kopp’s column from the Westside Observer)

When then State Sen. Quentin Kopp was appointed to the bench in San Mateo County, some of his fellow judges took him out to lunch.  “We hope you realize you have now given up your First Amendment rights,” he was told.

Judge Kopp did as he was told and kept silent for years on the bench on the many issues he felt strongly about and would have taken on in the public arena.   Today, however, he is retired, given up judicial restraint, and is back in action exercising his First Amendment rights with gusto. Operating from a desk in the office of Atty. Peter Bagatelos in West Portal, Kopp blasted the scavengers on behalf of an initiative aimed at upending the scavenger monopoly and controlling rates (he was right.) He has fired away at the RosePak/Willie Brown/Chinatown power structure on the Central Freeway.
He regularly blasts Mayor Lee for “compliancy” on big development, District Attorney for any number of misdemeanors and indiscretions, and former Sup. Sean Elsbernd for being Sean Elsbernd.

Now, in the current edition of the Westside Observer, Kopp has hit his stride with an acidic but well argued column titled appropriately, “The Art of Picking the Public Purse.” 

His lead: “It’s all privately funded!  Those aren’t my words; those are the words of the billionaire owners of the San Francisco Warriors and compliant Mayor Edward Lee respecting the proposed (and financially complicated) Warriors proposal to build a mammoth sports and entertainment arena on San Francisco Piers 30-32.”

Kopp wryly urges his readers to forget that the proposed project, “with Lee as the spear carrier (proudly proclaiming that the wrongly placed arena would be his ‘legacy’) would, if ever built, be higher than the “hated Embarcadero Freeway, which many San Franciscans spent years detesting and attempting to eliminate.”

Instead, he said taxpayers should concentrate on the “taxpayer subsidy of up to $200,000 (including interest) to the Warriors.” And he lays out the arguments and stats that demolish the Warriors’ line that “it’s all privately funded.”  Warming up, Kopp writes that the Warriors demand that Piers 30-32 be fully reconstructed, at Port cost, to a standard that will support the immense 19,000-seat arena.  The reconstruction cost is an estimated $120,000,000. Every single penny of such $120,000,000 is public money, i.e. the Port. The Port must borrow the money to reconstruct those piers.

“From whom? The Warriors, of course, and for the privilege of borrowing such money (for the Warriors’ benefit), the Port will pay the Warriors an exorbitant 13% per year as interest.”

More: “the port must sell the Warriors an enormously valuable piece of public land across the Embarcadero (Seawall 330) for a highrise hotel, condominium and retail development (b3: gulp).” Still more: “under the proposed Warriors’ deal, the $120,000,000 borrowing would be approved by a simple majority of the Board of Supervisors. The San Francisco Giants in 1996 and the San Francisco 49ers in 1971 were not afraid to secure voter/taxpayers approval. Maybe Lee and the Warriors are afraid the truth is that $120,000,000 is needed for the extraordinary cost of bearing the proposed arena’s weight, and supporting facilities the Warriors want to build on a platform over San Francisco Bay (b3: gulp again.)” You get the idea. 

Kopp’s arguments cry for an independent analysis by Harvey Rose, the city’s respected  budget analysis, who did a prescient assessment of the costs of the America’s Cup project. Kopp’s columns, along  with the excellent reporting of Patrick Monette-Shaw on Laguna Honda and George Wooding on the Ethics Commission and others, demonstrate that the Westside Observer under Editor Doug Comstock and Publisher Mitch Bull has become a sharp critic of City Hall from a neighborhood point of view and the best neighborhood paper in town.

Click here to read Kopp in full: http://westsideobserver.com/columns/quentin11.html#jun13
The paper is distributed monthly  West of Twin Peaks but you can see it easily by going to the Observer’s website at westsideobserver.com  b3

(Bruce B. Brugmann, who signs his blogs and emails b3, writes and edits the Bruce blog at the Bay Guardian website at sfbg.com. He is the editor at large of the Bay Guardian and former editor and co-founder with his wife Jean Dibble, 1966-2012.  He is now off to attend his 60th reunion of the dream high school class of 1953 in Rock Rapids, Iowa. He will keep you posted.)

Friends of London Breed


Got an interesting email invite: A group of the most pro-downtown, pro-landlord, conservative folks in town is holding a fundraiser for Sup. London Breed, who represents the most progressive district in the city.

Oh, and none of the members of the Host Committee lives in or has any direct connections to District Five.

The Feb. 25 event is at the home of Wade and Lorna Randlett. Wade Randlett is a scorched-earth political operative who created a group called SFSOS with the late Republican GAP mogul Don Fisher. His wife was the spokesperson for disgraced former school superintendant Arlene Ackerman. Randlett tried to shoot down a school bond after Ackerman was fired. He was the secret force behind an effort to recall former Sup. Sophie Maxwell.

Also on the list: Ron Conway and Anne Moeller Caen, who is a terrible, pro-PG&E member of the SFPUC.

Oddly, powerhouse lawyer Joe Cochette is on the invite, as is 49ers tight end (and generally cool guy) Vernon Davis.

Oh, and Mayor Ed Lee, who, I’m told, can’t stand Wade Randlett. Which puts him in good company.

I called Sup. Breed and asked her about the event, and she told me she met Randlett working on the first Obama campaign, “and he volunteered to do this.” She said she needed the money for office essentials like extra computer screens and a couch, and she has to pay off her inaugural celebration.

As she normally does, Breed went out of her way to say that her votes are not for sale, and that she won’t do the bidding of the people who give her money. “If you want to hold a fundraiser for me, I’d be happy to take your money too,” she said. As for a host committee that might be offensive to the majoirty of her constituents, she said “it is what it is.”

In the end, of course, Breed will be — and should be — judged by her votes, not by her associates, and we’ll have an excellent indication of where she’s headed when Sup. Scott Wiener’s TIC legislation comes before the board. But in the meantime, the reason this is all relevant (other than the fun of watching Ed Lee and Wade Randlett try to get along) is that it indicates that some very bad actors think (rightly or wrongly) that Breed is their ally.




Quarterback sack



CHEAP EATS Mz. Grizz is tall and beautiful with a gleam in her eyes that says both I have something funny to add and, if you put a football in her hands, I will knock you over like a freight train hitting bowling pins.

If we played tackle instead of flag football, she would lead the league in yardage and touchdowns, and probably a lot of people would quit. As it is, her area of dominance is the defensive line. And the bowling pins are the opposing team’s O line.

I know I wouldn’t want to quarterback against her. Other hand, if I am totally honest (which I mostly totally am), I haven’t always exactly loved being Mz. Grizz’s teammate either. There’s the generational gap that bebaffles me to most of my teammates at least some of the time, and there was this thing I overheard her say once on the sideline: “I don’t care whether we win or lose,” she said. “I’m in it for the personal glory.”

Which statement bristled me for a while, even though I knew she was saying it to be funny — a twist on it’s how you play the game.

I must have been in a bad mood. Meaning: we must have just lost. Because for me, partially, it is whether you win or lose. That’s what makes it sports. And, in particular, team sports. Supposedly, although spelling is not my forte, there is no I in team. But this was a long time ago.

And, alas, there is an I in time.

Like a lot of our team, Mz. Grizz is a med student. Still, she manages to make more practices than anyone. And games. And she plays and practices –- and eats, it turns out — with an endearingly fierce and bearlike voracity.

Coach’s 35th birthday party was not the first time I got to eat next to Mz. Grizz, but it was the one that won me over. All the way, and in spite of any previously held differences of opinion regarding queer politics or English spelling.

Hers was the biggest plate of food I have seen since the days of Ann’s Cafe. And the way she pinned her ears back (in the parlance of pass-rushing specialists) and tackled it … it earned my undying respect and admiration. It was, in fact, glorious. And I understood.

I mean: first of all, we’re talking Celia’s — which should change its name to Surrealia’s — in San Rafael. I forget what they called the plate, but it had tacos, enchiladas, flautas, chile relleno, steak, beans, rice, and just basically all-things-Mexican all over it. And Mz. Grizz picked up her fork and knife with this super-sexy look, and fucking sacked its ass. I’m not saying it was quick. Or easy. You could tell she was using all her moves: the spin move, the stunt, the club, the rip, the hoop, the inside-out sock…

And those were just the ones that I saw! For the most part my attention was drawn to the wide-screen TV at the opposite end of Celia’s banquet room, on which the 49ers were all-of-the-above-ing it to the Green Bay Packers.

Also I had my own plate to deal with: big, yummy grilled shrimps with beans and rice and a big ball of salad dolloped quite pleasantly, thank you, with pico de gallo.

Everything was great. Warm, fresh-made chips and hot table salsa kept coming, margaritas happened, and Coach presided very thirty-fivishly at the head of the table, until the mariachi band came over from the main dining room behind a small flan with a single lit birthday candle in it.

They sang in Spanish. They sang in English. And by the time Coach wished for another winning season this Spring and blew out the candle, her birthday dessert was mostly melted wax. Yum!

While everyone else was woohooing her, I hugged and high-fived Mz. Griz, who was just then putting the finishing hurt on her quarterback. I think it was called “The Perfecto Special.” Look into this.

“You’re my hero,” I said.

Then, very mysteriously, everyone started disappearing into the restroom in pairs and coming back with each other’s pants and shirts on. Kids! Then they all went bowling across the street, but Hedgehog and I, being old, came home.


Mon-Thu 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11am-10:30pm; Sun 4-9:30pm

1 Vivian, San Rafael

(415) 456-8190


Full bar


Avast ye


CHEAP EATS Crawdad called me on speakerphone, like she does: in the car, with the childerns. “Will you tell us the story of Moby Dick?” she said.

“Moby Dick,” I said, about as meaningfully as one can say, into an Android, Moby Dick. As it happens, I had just hung up with my dad, who (as it further happens) is an actual, dyed-in-the-whale Melville scholar. Me, no. Not so much. I’ve read it, of course, but . . .

“Dang, is traffic that bad over there?” I asked.

“No. We’re going to get ice cream,” she said. As if that explained everything.

“OK,” I said. “Ice cream.”

I said, “Kids . . . listen up: Moby Dick.”

And while clearing the dishes I proceeded to abridge one of the substantialest-ever works of American literature into four sentences:

“This guy Ahab goes out in a boat to get some whales, and in particular this big old one name a Moby Dick. But Moby Dick is so big and so old that he outsmarts Ahab. Anyway, he outsizes him. He busts up Ahab’s boat and most if not all of his crew, The End.”

I forgot to mention Queemquack, or whatever his name was, but — no worries — I’m de la Cootersitting tomorrow, so I’ll have all day to bring them up to speed.

Poor kids. Even without any knowledge of Queemquack, they were speechless.

“Why did people fish for whales?” Crawdad asked.

“I think maybe they made lamp oil out of their fat, or something,” I said, rendering the kids even speechlesser.

“You have to understand, Chunks,” I added, “this was before the age of light bulbs. People couldn’t just flip a switch and see things; they had to go out and kill giant whales and split their heads open. There was this oil in there that they needed for their lamps, so they could stay up late and read Moby Dick.”

Without which — a century and a half later — my father would never have been able to feed his family. Which reminds me: I would love to tell you about the not-great hashbrowns and sold out “Millionaire’s bacon” at my new favorite restaurant in the Tenderloin, but after all I’m on strike, so …


by Hedgehog

It’s been hard to rally any interest in the Giants lately in the Chicken Farmer and Hedgehog household, I’ll admit. It’s not that we wouldn’t be thrilled to hug and high five strangers on the street should they go All The Way, but it seems we left our baseball hearts in Oakland this season — somewhere under the cheap seats in the Coliseum.

It’s been looking like the Giants lost theirs somewhere other than San Francisco, too. Maybe in St. Louis? We went out tonight in search of a TV screen with 49ers on it, and at Hogs and Rocks on 19th they had two screens: one for the 49ers and one for the Giants.

By way of play-by-play, I eavesdropped on a conversation between a father and his small son, sitting across from us.

“The Giants have given up,” declared Father.

“What do you mean?” asked Son in an innocent little voice.

“They’re playing like a team that’s lost its heart,” Father said.

“There’s still time to win I know,” said Son (bottom of the seventh, Giants trailing 8-1). “I have never gaven up in baseball. Ever. I can steal home, it’s so easy. It’s how I make runs!”

I think maybe this kid has figured something out that grown-assed men who get paid way too much to play games haven’t. At least on this side of the bay.

Cheap Eats continued…

Yes, my dear, I just hope your cute little eavesdropee doesn’t grow up to be a whaler. Because in life as in Moby Dick, sometimes it is better to give up than to fight. Call me chicken.

No …

Call me Chicken Farmer.


Daily: 7am-2pm

375 Taylor St., SF

(415) 567-4031


No alcohol


The Performant: Boxed in at Boxwars


Putting the glad into Gladiator

You are a warrior. Sheathed in armor of the finest corrugated paper pulp and armed with the righteousness of a hundred possible causes (pick one, any one), you grab your war hammer, fashioned perhaps from a couple of paper towel tubes and an empty case of 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die, and hie thyself to Dolores Park for the grand melee.

The last-gasp October sun beats down hot on the sloping hills of the park, which are covered in defiantly bared flesh and picnic supplies, while blimps slowly drift across the impossible blue of the afternoon sky. A gladiatorial spirit vibrates through the giddy ether, doubtlessly carried over from the Giants and 49ers games being played just a couple of miles away. It’s a good day to do battle. It’s a good day for Boxwars.

Entering the park you start sizing up the competitors, an assortment of deceptively nonchalant combat geeks nursing Tecates and sporting bulky breastplates, cumbersome helmets, cardboard shinguards, and Samurai-inspired shoulderplates. One calamity-courting individual has what appears to be a target centered on his chest, another, dressed like Captain America, pronounces himself “Middle Class America,” perhaps in honor of the ass-kicking he will soon receive at the hands of his fellow combatants. A creative array of medieval weaponry bristles from the hands of each box-warrior: lances, maces, battle-axes, and swords. Some people carry shields. Some have left no holes for arms and therefore carry nothing at all.
“That’s a poor choice,” observes one sage spectator near me.

Entering the battlefield is a man perhaps too congenial to be taken seriously as an uncontrolled berserker, holding a megaphone. This is Mat Kladney, co-creator of the UK version of Boxwars (which originated in Australia), and driving force behind the San Francisco edition. One by one, he introduces the combatants by their *noms de guerre*: the aforementioned Middle Class America, Robox, Tower of Power, I love Microwaves. Five year-old Ben Michaels captures the “aww cute” vote in his self-decorated cardboard cube, while Dapper Ehren (Tye) and Awesome Ashley (Raj) capture the “hell’s yes” award with a pre-battle marriage proposal and acceptance of same—moments before all assembled box-warriors are given the go-ahead to clobber the snot out of each other.

After a countdown from the crowd, the cardboard-clad foot soldiers rush into the mostly unstructured fray, pummeling whoever happens to be nearby. Alliances are forged and broken almost immediately, an armless Gameboy is beaten down and set upon by a mob. Awesome Ashley, recovered from her beau’s surprise announcement, swings her cardboard war hammer with experienced vigor, while a pair of disarmed legionnaires start wrestling each other instead. Just fifteen minutes after it begins, the battle is effectively over, a growing pile of destroyed armor and discarded weaponry left in the middle of the field. There is no clear winner of a Boxwar, which Kladney (whose fight philosophy is simply “have fun”) emphasizes as the point.

“Everyone wins at Boxwars,” he asserts. “When winning…comes into play, people start to take things way too seriously.




CHEAP EATS After the game we went to the Pilsner Inn to drink with the other team and watch the 49ers. Who, btw, ended up winning that Sunday by twice as much as we did.

Our relatively new li’l football team, like the big ol’ San Francisco one, is developing an identity as a defensive powerhouse. I like this. It was the talk of the opposition, down the bar: how we had befuddled the bejesus out of them, to the tune of four interceptions, two returned by Stringbean for touchdowns, and a fumble recovery.

Their quarterback, who sat next to me at the bar with a gigantic oozing turfburn on her leg, revisited these frustrations smilingly, and with compliments all-around. I doubt the Bills were so gracious, bellying up to the bar with the Niners later that afternoon, but I imagine they oozed too. Football is a tough sport, even when you play it with flags.

But baseball hurts more.

How I know is the next day I was at the Mission Playground with Hedgehog playing one-on-one baseball on the basketball court, and she lined one off my arm, then another one into my stomach, and then a third off the top of my knee.

Now that she’s been cleared to swing a bat, she just won’t leave me alone. She’s making up for lost time, baseballwise. But gets bored easily with soft toss, which is a shame, because really that’s the safest way to perfect your swing in an outdoor basketball court.

So now I am blacker and bluer than ever. And I am soaking in the tub with a package of frozen edamame on my knee, listening to postseason baseball and reading Great Expectations. Re-reading. Technically, if you must know: re-re-re-re-reading.


by Hedgehog

I missed Chicken Farmer’s FMOIBWFIOBPFFL (female, male, or otherwise-identified bio-women and female-identified other-bodied persons flag football league) game on Sunday because I had a pre-production meeting with Pork Chop Sal, my right hand gal (Chicken Farmer gets the left because she broke it. And because I’m left-handed so, you know…) We’re in pre-production on the next short movie.

Yes: already.

And no, you’re not working on it.

Why not? You really should be. Chicken Farmer caters, I boss people around … It’s just like any other day in the Chicken Farmer/Hedgehog household except there’s a camera rolling and Earl Butter sits on our couch more, often with the Maze, cracking wise.

Anyways, Sugoi Sushi popped up at Hill and Valencia back in July-uary, around about the same time we popped back into town. Like us, they decided to stay. Which is good because it took us a while to get there. It took us until Monday, when the sushi mood struck. And then again on Wednesday, because Bikkets and her mister were in town and the sushi mood struck them, too.

I’m no food writer but both times the sushi was fresh, the ramen was firm, the waitstaff was friendly, and they brought little treats to the table. For free! Can’t get cheaper than free. The things with prices attached aren’t overly pricey, either. It’s Chicken Farmer’s new favorite restaurant. But be warned: spicy doesn’t mean the same thing to Sugoi as it does to the rest of the world. So don’t expect much heat out of the spicy sausage.

It’s more like smoky, teeny kielbasa.

Cheap Eats continued

But delicious nonetheless. It reminded me a little of longanisa, those little Filipino sausages I so love.

It was the treats I took issue with. A mayonnaise-having dynamite roll one night, and mushrooms the other. And if there are two things that start with m that I don’t like, those are them.

But Hedgehog is right: You can’t argue with free.

As for her over-acronymization of the SFWFFL, I can argue … but won’t.


Mon-Thu 5:30-10:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30-11pm; Sun 5-9:30pm

1058 Valencia, SF

(415) 401-8442


Beer & wine


SF Stories: Benjamin Bac Sierra



Puro San Fran: These words have inspired me to somewhere beyond my city and to someone beyond myself. Puro San Fran, I have howled into our smashed streets, into the lush jungles of Okinawa, death deserts of Saudi Arabia, the overly intellectual classrooms at U.C. Berkeley — into barrios worldwide.

Puro San Fran can be literally translated into Pure San Francisco, but what exactly is so pure about this Golden Gated city is the subject for this musing.

As an adolescent homeboy from our Mission district, I shouted Puro San Fran with anger, as a demand to combat. In different evolutions, though, St. Francis blessed me with different powers that forced me to confront profound paradoxes, within myself and my home.

Puro San Fran is more than a battle-cry; it is a meditation, a mantra that has soothed me and granted me an identity that has fueled my consciousness. I like to pride myself as a Missionero and Cortlandero before gentrification of those gritty hoods, but it is idealistic impurity to tell the tale that the Mission district is all I knew. I liked to claim those territories as if I, we, owned those streets, but those streets were only half my story.

A veteran Muni bus rider by age 11, I would graffiti tag my name and the name of our break dance crew all over every neighborhood — the Haight, Noe Valley, Soma (back when all that existed there were dull warehouses), the Sunset, Excelsior, etc. At 14 years old, we, brown skinned, would blow white angel-dust smoke halos into San Francisco’s spitting seashore at Ocean Beach. During the crack-era 1980s, we would drink and fight at rat-infested Union Square, a home for black-bearded bums who we would share our Mad-Dog 20/20 wine with. Parading our poverty on 30th street after our many 49ers Superbowl victories, we proclaimed the streets as ours, not knowing or understanding that the actual tar and cement would be “rehabilitated” (gentrified) before we would be, so that now almost all of my former San Franeros have vanished outside its borders.

Except for very brief stints in backyard cities, I did not truly explore outside of San Francisco until I was seventeen and joined the Marine Corps. Before then, I had never even heard of other major Bay Area cities called Santa Rosa, Richmond, Berkeley, or Menlo Park. My world, my life was Puro San Fran, but it was that spirit that also charged me forward, so that now I have trumpeted our unique city everywhere I have traveled. With San Fran spirit, I thrust myself into becoming a student, a writer, a professor, a father, a sinner, and a fuller human being.

San Francisco is changing, as it has always been changing, but we are at our roots Native American hippie Missionary 49er Giant locos. Thanks to our counterculture tradition, we believe in peace and diversity as an essence, yet we contradict ourselves by also being hedonistic kings and queens who wear the golden crown of capitalism on the West Coast. What goes on in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what goes on here in San Fran becomes a permanent tattoo on our souls, and we like to believe we have them, that stuff of souls. We live in the moment trusting it is forever. Go to AT&T Park during the Giants playoffs; you will feel the forever, and you will fall in love with it. Puro San Fran, therefore, is a hopeless romantic nostalgia for something that never really existed but that always is possible. With that purity, that hopeless possibility, that profound paradox, I write and represent us all. Con Safos.

Benjamin Bac Siera is a San Francisco City College English composition and literature professor and author of Barrio Bushido, an ode to Mission District vato locos.

Das Racist’s Kool A.D. on hip-hop, baseball, and losing his virginity


Self-proclaimed, “second best rapper with glasses after E-40” and Bay Area native by way of Brooklyn Victor Vazquez aka KOOL A.D. of rap group Das Racist has had quite the prolific past year in the hip-hop industrial complex. 

He and his group Das Racist — featuring rapper Heems and hypeman Dapwell (Dap for short) — released their debut LP and critic darling Relax. Soon after that he released not one but two positively received mixtapes in the span of three months, The Palm Wine Drinkard and the Bay Area homage 51. Das Racist plays DNA Lounge this Fri/12. 

KOOL A.D. took time off from his 10-city tour with Das Racist, Leif, Safe, and Lakutis to rhapsodize with the Guardian about playing for the A’s, his punk band, and getting free weed.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Are you for the Giants/ 49ers or A’s/Raiders?

KOOL A.D. I don’t really care. But A’s.

SFBG If you played for the A’s what would be your stepping up to the plate song?

KAD [Long laugh] “Le Freak” by Chic.

SFBG Where in the Bay Area did you live when you were growing up?

KAD Potrero Hill, Hunter’s Point, Alameda, West Oakland.

SFBG I heard a rumor that you lost your virginity in the back of a fruit truck in Alameda? Can you confirm or deny this?

KAD I lost my virginity in the cab of the produce truck at Paul’s Produce (now called Dan’s Produce I think) where I used to work.

SFBG What are your favorite spots in the Bay to kick it at? What places do you take Heems and Dap?

KAD As a youngster, I went to punk shows in warehouses and houses, kicked it at Donut Shops, burger spots, and Mexican restaurants, dollar ten Chinese, drank and smoked weed in parks. Not particularly good at “recommending cool shit” to people.

SFBG The Guardian had a recent cover story entitled “Is Oakland Cooler Than San Francisco” What’s your take on that? As a Brooklyn resident do you think Oakland could be SF’s Brooklyn?

KAD I lived in both and love both and it always bugged me that SF fools don’t want to come to the East Bay and East Bay fools don’t want to go to SF. I think a large part is because BART closes too early. Never understood why BART couldn’t get it together to be 24 hours.

SFBG Who are some Bay Area rappers you’ve been into lately?

KAD Favorite people making music in the Bay are Amaze 88, Trackademicks, 1-O.A.K., The Coup, Main Attrakionz, Davinci, Young L, Lil B, Kreayshawn, Beed Weeda, Too Short, E-40, Droop-E, Issue, YG, Cuzzo Fly, Stone Vengeance, Las Malas Pulgas, Under 15 Seconds, Fracas, Fucktard,  Reivers, @AAANTWON, Nacho Picasso, Mike Baker, Safe.


SFBG Finish this phrase: “Rap Game [blank].”

KAD Keith Morris.

SFBG Das Racist frequently asks fans to throw various objects on stage. What’s the most outlandish or weirdest thing any fan has ever thrown on stage?

KAD Hundreds of Soy Joy snack bars at a festival in Washington was pretty weird. Also hellof weed, cigarettes. One time in Oakland I asked for money and got like 30 bucks in small bills.

SFBG If presented with the opportunity to join the Illuminati, would you accept?

KAD Depends on what’s in it for me.

SFBG What are you currently working on?

KAD I got a lot of tracks recorded, want do a mixtape or two, maybe an album. I got a punk band called Party Animal putting out a record in December. Got rap mixtape called Peaceful Solutions with Seattle jazz man Kassa Overall. Co-writing for a project called Cult Days.

SFBG I see you’ve been tweeting a lot about Bud Light Platinum, are you fan? Would you and the crew let them use a DR song in a commercial?

KAD Never drank it. But yeah, it’s hard to turn down large sums of money.

SFBG What’s your take on the current state of the hyphy movement? Some say it’s peaked, do you agree or disagree?

KAD Hyphy is a feeling.


Das Racist With Le1f, Safe, and Lakutis

Fri/12, 10pm, $25

DNA Lounge

375 11 St., SF





Roll with it



CHEAP EATS They said it would smell like a hamster cage. And it did, but we persevered. Our instructions were to go all the way to the back of the restaurant — past the cash register and past the kitchen, where there was another, much pleasanter room that did not smell like a hamster cage. And it didn’t.

It was a whole, secret, new favorite restaurant back there. With couches, plants, and wooden chairs with heart cutouts in the back. The floor was concreted river stones; small, pretty, shiny ones that I thoroughly enjoyed both walking on and looking at.

Hedgehog said it felt like a former Home and Garden Center, which was probably a pretty good guess. We sat at the table closest to the bookshelves, and she picked something out to read while we waited for our vermicelli.

My Milk Toof, by someone with a good sense of humor and a lot of time on her hands. She poses and photographs two kinda cute “baby teeth” named Ickle and Lardee into a comic strip. Now, I’m not a book reviewer, but Hedgehog was still reading their little tiny adventures, often out loud, even after our vermicelli bowls were served. So . . .




By Hedgehog

Since I was going to be watching Chicken Farmer third-string quarterbacking Sunday morning and be at Candlestick for the 49ers home opener Sunday afternoon, I really wanted to write about baseball.

Unfortunately, none of the baseball players I tweeted questions to got back to me. Which is a shame, because I really did want to know Brandon McCarthy’s favorite restaurant and Omar Vizquel’s views on same-sex marriage.

Even though I wasn’t going to say anything about football, I will say this: Chicken Farmer’s team was short a player and had no subs the entire game and they still won by one point! Of course, I didn’t know what the score was until we were walking back to the car, but even when I thought they had lost, I could tell it was a real good game.

Also: there are more assholes per square foot attending professional football games than there are at professional baseball games. Even at the $2 A’s games. But watching football live is enjoyable (excepting for all the other people doing it, too) and it was only partially humiliating to walk around the parking lot for three hours beforehand, stumping for donations for the Children’s Book Project with a Dr. Seuss hat on.

Moving on to more important matters: I am pleased to report that the Mission Playground reopened last weekend, all but the pool (which they say will be ready in December — perfect timing, since it’s an outdoor jobbie). I am not pleased to report that the food trucks promised to be in attendance in the adverts were gone by 2pm, when Earl Butter and I finally made our collective way over there. In addition to the kiddie areas, there is an artificial turf soccer field, two tennis courts, and a basketball court. So now you know where to find us.

There, or the Mission Rec Center, which has free racquetball and ping pong, and where there is a women’s boxing class I wish I could take being taught by an Olympic lady boxer. Boxerette? Boxer ladyperson.

Cheap Eats, cont.

Pugilista, I believe, is the word she was looking for.

Our vermicelli bowls, lemongrass chicken for her and grilled pork for me, were top-notch ‘uns, with plenty of crisp lettuce, carrots, red onion, basil, cilantro, and peanuts drenched in a red-peppery fish sauce dressing. Oh, and one sliver of not-hot jalapeno.

Oh, and the meat was delicious. Juicy and just perfect.

Mysteriously, we had also ordered an order of spring rolls. Maybe because we were too hungry when we first came in. But the thing is, the spring rolls are essentially the contents of the vermicelli bowls, only wrapped in rice paper. Equally excellent, but redundant.

They also have banh mi and noodle soups. Awesome food, nice people, and a really cool place, once you get past the hamster cage.


Mon. 9am-7pm; Tue.-Wed. 10am-7pm; Thu.-Sat. 9am-8pm; Sun. 9am-6pm

1309 Solano, Albany

(510) 525-7899


No alcohol


Oh, the cutlery



CHEAP EATS This bums me out: hearing straight-phobic comments from queers. It’s a San Francisco thing. I’ll leave it to better minds than mine to figure out why. But in New Orleans, among our queer community, I never heard anything like it. And in New York City, among Hedgehog’s … nope.


But here, home, in San Francisco, it happens repeatedly. And as much as it used to bother me, as a closeted queer, to hear straight friends (assuming my sameness), make trans- and homophobic statements and jokes, it hurts now to hear the reverse.

Plus which, it’s stupid. So stop it. Just: stop.

Seriously, if we’ve become so proud of being queer that we devalue and disrespect “other,” then it’s time to reread Dr. Seuss.

The one with the Star-Bellied Sneetches, I’m thinking. But really they’re all very good, even “Hop on Pop.” Theodore Dreiser may have been a straight white male, but — like a lot of straight white men, including my dad, and possibly yours — he fucking rocked.

See, so it’s never as simple as Us vs. Them. You, dear heterophobe, have allies — important, awesome, straight allies, like

continued after sports section


by Hedgehog

Last week was very football-oriented in our little neck of the Mission, what with the NFL and the San Francisco Women’s Flag Football League both kicking off their seasons and all.

Sunday morning, Kayday and I sat on the sidelines and watched Chicken Farmer and the rest of the team play their season-opener, but between the lack of instant replay and the lack of microphones on the refs, we rarely understood what the hell was going on. According to Chicken Farmer, her team lost. We’ll take her word for that.

And I’d tell you all about the 49ers game Sunday afternoon but that would be pointless since, obviously, you all witnessed it with your very own ocular orbs, right?

So what does that leave me with by way of football-orientated conversation? Gay marriage, of course. The nutshell, for those of you who are communists or live in a sports-free cave, is that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo supports same-sex marriage. Openly. A certain Maryland State Delegate name of Burns took exception to Ayanbadejo voicing opinions about politics and wrote a letter to the Raven’s owner requesting that he put a muzzle on Ayanbadejo.

Enter Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who is some kind of Good Will Hunting-type genius (except with words instead of numbers). He has a gay brother-in-law, and apparently is really stoked to see an honest man made of him some day because he wrote a doozy of a letter to this Burns fellow. Look it up. It’s the kind of letter that makes State Delegates blush and concede that maybe linebackers have First Amendment rights, too.

So there you have it, sports fans: 24 hours into the NFL regular season and I have not one but two new favorite football players.

continued from before sports section

….Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo.

But speaking of Dr. Seuss, Hedgehog and me get to don Cat-in-the-Hat hats and solicit donations for the Children’s Book Project at Candlestick before the home-opener Sunday. Meaning: Not only do we get to see the game, we get to annoy tailgaters beforehand.

Now, if only I can get Hedgehog a press pass (plus one), for the rest of the — Wait a minute. Isn’t there a connection now between the Guardian and the Examiner?

My new favorite restaurant is Spoon, that awesome Korean joint at the corner of Ashby and something-or-other in Berkeley, where we ate, coincidentally, with Spoonbender, my new favorite unprofessional football player.

I had this fantastic kimchi fried rice, with beef (or bacon), and topped with a sunny-side-up egg. Spoonbender had Jhap Chae, which she loved, and Hedgehog had (and loved) Kimbop and chicken wings.

Then we went to the park and played catch.


Daily 8am-8pm

933 Ashby, Berk.

(510) 704-9555


No alcohol


Finger waves



CHEAP EATS Oh, I have so many sporty things to tell you about! To my surprise I am playing baseball again, football season starts (for girls) on the same day it starts for the 49ers: next weekend! Meanwhile, the Giants and A’s are both very much “in it,” entering September. Steroid busts . . .

Next week I am going to hire a dedicated sports writer for Cheap Eats. Mine will be the very first cheap eats newspaper column with a sports section in it.

This makes sense, trust me, food and sports being intrinsically intertwined. As any old dog will tell you, chasing a ball makes you hungry. And as any old Hedgehog will tell you, watching people chase a ball makes you hungry too.

For hot dogs! For chicken wings! Pizza . . . What does intrinsically mean?

Well, whatever, this week is this special food issue thing, so I thought I would clue you into this great new brick oven pizza place where I ate with my pal Earl Butter one day while Hedgehog was out in the world. She’s been brought in to try and rescue a horrible horror movie, you see.

Popcorn . . .

Yes, in honor of the occasion, I will devote the rest of this column very very exclusively to this new, cool, quiet pizza place. Except, as I am also (as of this moment) going on my own private writer’s strike, you’re going to have to do most of the work.

Here’s how:

Stand in front of a mirror, please, and make a fist with your right hand, except for the pinky. Now, go on ahead and poke that there teacup-tipping pinky of yours into the palm of your other hand.

Got it? Did you do that? Do you feel kind of goofy? Do you know where I’m going with this?

Sorry: where you’re going.

I’m on strike.

You, my friend, are going to punch yourself in the throat, sort of. Not hard. Just touch that same teacup-pinkied fist to your neck, sidewise, so that your thumb and index finger encircle your Adam’s apple even as the side of your little finger touches your soul patch.

Nicely done, you hipster you!

Next we are going to . . . Next you are going to lose the fist and bring the palm of your hand to your heart, you pledge allegiance to the flag, and so forth. Don’t be afraid to love your country. This is important. We don’t have the best healthcare situation in the world, but we do have Bruce Willis.

So bend your left arm at the elbow and hold it to your stomach, palm up, if you will, as if cradling a baby. Or a watermelon or something. Now scoop your right hand, palm up, over your left hand and on up toward the opposite collarbone.

Do you ever wonder what is wrong with you? Well, start! I don’t recommend all-out hypochondria; just a healthy sense of wonder. Why, for example, are you a scab?

Don’t give me the finger! Give me the opposite of the finger. That is, bend your middle finger down and — all those other ones, even the thumb — give me those. Give me everything but the finger. OK?

Now tap that middle knuckle against your chin. That’s all I’m asking. Is that so much to ask?

And there is yet one more thing you can do for me, Ms. Picket Line Crosser. Cross your fingers for luck. Lord knows we can use it. There are elections coming up later this fall, as well as football seasons.

There are everyday dangers to be avoided, like crossing the street and riding your bike to work.

I’m saying, cross your fingers on your right hand and draw yourself a little Fu Manchu mustache, just the sides of it . . . Yeah, leave the upper lip alone. Just two straight lines, first down the right side of your jaw, then the left, with your fingers crossed. For luck.

Yeah. Like that. Okay.

Now. You know what you need to know.


Tue-Thu 5:30-10pm; Fri 5:30-11pm; Sat noon-11pm; Sun noon-10pm

3228 16th St., SF



Beer & wine