Best of the Bay 2012

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Humpday happy hour Good Vibrations, 2504 San Pablo, Berk.; 1620 Polk, SF. 6:30-7:30pm, free. The strap-on: a necessity to many, mind-boggling to others, both to some. In Berkeley, tool over to your local Good Vibes for this guided shopping event where experts will talk to you about what you need to look for in a falsie friend. At the chain’s Polk Street location, GV employees will demystify the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon. What will it take for you to recreate a scene with your own Christian Grey? Chances are, you’ll find the tools you need here.


"Captured: Specimens in Contemporary Art" Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. (925) 295-1417, Through Nov. 18. Opening reception 6-8pm, $5. Trend watch! Throughout our history, humans have appropriated the natural world as raw material for our bizarre artistic impulses. Nowhere is this more true than in Walnut Creek, where a new exhibit opens showcasing reassembled taxidermy, curiosity cabinets, and specimen boxes.

Geoff Manaugh talks applied topology Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley. (510) 495-3505, 5-7pm, free. Things we know: Manaugh used to be a senior editor at Dwell Magazine, and a contributing editor at Wired UK. Currently, he runs a think tank for the Columbia University architecture department. Today’s UC Berkeley talked will be, according to the press release, about "burglary, tunneling, and urban perforation." In other news, UC Berkeley can sometimes create really confusing press releases.

Fillmore Fashion Night

MADison Avenue party Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission, SF. 7-9pm, $5-500. Celebrate the closing of "What, Me Worry?: 60 Years of Mad Magazine" at this little downtown shrine to the drawn and funny. Early 1960s attire is encouraged – in fact, you’ll get your date in for free if you’re both wearing Mad Men-style flair.


Paralympics viewing party LightHouse for the Blind, 214 Van Ness, SF. (415) 694-7350, 6-8pm, free. RSVP recommended. This center for the visually-impaired is celebrating its brand-new entertainment center with this party for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Yes, there will be pizza.

"Party Like It’s 1906" One City One Book launch party The Green Arcade, 1687 Market, SF. 7pm, free. It’s always a good idea to celebrate author-sociologist Rebecca Solnit, and no day better than today, when the SF Public Library launches a citywide reading of her community-forged-in-disaster book A Paradise Built in Hell. It’s the eighth time the library’s encouraged the city to read together, and today Solnit will be on hand, and snacks they were noshing around the time of the 1906 SF earthquake will be available like oysters, sourdough bread, and beer.

Night Market Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. 5-9:30pm, $5. "Bacon Crack" chocolates, vegan soul food, and champagne funnel cakes go fabulously with a ukulele chanteuse — as any attendee of Forage SF’s upcoming Night Market will be able to attest. The organization dedicated to promoting ultra-local nourishment has been striking gold with this recurring nightlife-snack event, at which local small vendors rub elbows with the Bay’s musicos, DJs, and of course, party-hard foodies. Check out Uni and Her Ukulele, the 29th Street Swingtet, and Izzy*Wise.

KALX 50th anniversary art exhibit opening Rock Paper Scissors Collective, 2278 Telegraph, Berk. 6-9pm, free. For a half-century, UC Berkeley’s been home to 90.7 FM, a.k.a. KALX, where John Lennon talked People’s Park riots and Green Day crashed when they came to town. Come tonight to check out a collection of KALX paraphernalia, flyers, and historic photos.


All You Can Dance Alonzo King Lines Dance Center, 26 Seventh St., SF. 1-5pm, $5. Don’t know jack about dancing? Take a four-hour crash course today, with a sampling of mini-courses on ballet, flamenco, Chinese movement, hip-hop, modern, and more. Teachers will be on hand to possibly turn you on to a whole new beat of your heart.

Babylon Salon Cantina, 580 Sutter, SF. 7pm, free. Explore the Bay at this evening of readings – you’ll hear tales from a special education classroom, from assassinated journalist Chauncey Bailey’s finals days and ensuing trial, plus words from the "refreshingly off-kilter" (according to the NY Times Book Review) Lysley Tenorio. Cash bar on-site.


The Last Picture Show free screening Berkeley Underground Film Society, The Tannery, 708 Gillman, Berk. 7:30, donations suggested. Small town life examined, in this film about Anarene, Texas, and a bunch of kids just trying to get along. High school honey Jacey is the babe every one wants, but will the perfect sweetheart be enough to counteract the slow death of the town she calls home?


Jefferson Graham’s "Video Nation: A DIY Guide to Planning, Shooting, and Sharing Great Video" The Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF. (415) 863-8688, 7:30pm, free. These days, it’s all about video. Author Graham knows it – that’s why he compiled this book on how to create the best footage for bloggers, web show hosts, and small business owners. The USA Today columnist and tech video host shares how to get your clip to go viral.

Women’s comedy night The Layover, 1517 Franklin, Oakl. 7pm, free. Sponsored by downtown Oakland’s sex-positive community shop Feelmore510 (a Best of the Bay 2012 winner!), this evening is for female-focused yucksters. Grab a drink, peruse the art that covers the Layover’s walls, and ready yourself for quips.




Speak up: stop and frisk Southeast Community Complex, 1800 Oakdale, SF; Stop and frisk — the controversial, pretty much definitely Fourth Amendment-violating policy that police in New York cling to despite protest and that Mayor Ed Lee recently proposed implementing in San Francisco — just won’t go away, despite opposition from pretty much everyone. This panel discussion and opportunity to debate issues relating to the proposed stop and frisk policy. The event is presented by the Osiris Coalition and filmmaker Kevin Epps.

First District 5 debate of the season Park Branch Library, 1833 Page, SF; District 5 is in the center of San Francisco, and much of the excitement of November’s city elections will center on its race for supervisor. A wide range of candidates will vie for the coveted spot that Ross Mirkarimi left to become sheriff. All of the candidates have promised to show up to this first debate in the hotly contested race. The debate is presented by District 5 Democratic Club, the District 5 Neighborhood Action Committee, and the Wigg Party.


Occupy the Bay Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists’ Hall, 1924 Cedar, Berk; 7pm, $5-10 suggested donation. Filmmakers Name Name and Namey Namey have been documenting Occupy in the Bay Area since the fall. Come reminisce, learn, and be inspired by their film at its premier. You made this history happen, celebrate it, baby!


Black Riders Liberation Party La Peña Cultural Center, 10pm, $5-10. The Black Riders Liberation Party considers itself the new generation of the Black Panther Party, organizing similar programs to stop police violence and gang violence and feed communities. This Saturday, the Party parties. Come celebrate the Black Riders and meet organizers, bring a canned food donation for a discount.

Pistahan Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission and Third St., SF; 11am, free. This giant annual Filipino celebration goes all weekend. Start off the weekend with a parade from Beale and Market streets to Yerba Buena Gardens, where the festival of music, food, performance and education begins.

Foreclosure victory block party 376 Bradford, SF; 10am, free. Shortly after we named Ross Rhodes a Local Hero (Best of the Bay 2012) for his work protecting his home and those of his Bernal Heights neighbors from unjust foreclosure, he received a loan modification agreement. Come celebrate with Ross and others from Occupy Bernal with a block party at his house. There will be educational presentations about banks’ predatory role in the foreclosure crisis and efforts to fight back in the morning, followed by general partying.


Lessons from Vermont Eric Quezada Center, 518 Valenica, SF; 3-5pm, free. Yes, we have the Affordable Care Act, but it leaves much to be desired, unless you’re in Vermont. There, Governor Peter Shumlin signed universal healthcare into law in May 2011. But of course, Shumlin didn’t do this alone. Come hear a presentation from some of the organizers who won this victory, all the way from the Vermont Workers’ Center.


Undocumented and unafraid Asian Law Caucus, 55 Columbus, SF; 12-1:30pm, free. The Asian Pacific Islander undocumented student group ASPIRE will lead this talk on the immigration rights struggle. The last talk in the Asian Law Caucus-led summer brown bag series is especially timely as undocumented youth work on figuring out if and how they might benefit from President Obama’s policy directive giving limited amnesty to undocumented college students, and what it means for family and friends, especially those already in ICE custody. This talk on the issues youth without legal status face and how to keep building towards the DREAM Act, which would offer broader protections that Obama’s policy.


Milk Club District 5 debate Eric Quezada Center, 518 Valencia, SF; 7-8:30 p.m., free. A District 5 supervisors race debate hosted by the Harvey Milk Democratic Club. Milk Club President Glendon Hyde, aka Anna Conda, says candidates will cover drug policy, public space, sex worker rights, the housing crisis, queer seniors’ issues, and much more. As an extra special bonus, the debate will be hosted by transgender performer Ben McCoy and the Guardian Managing Editor Marke Bieschke.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST ROBOT DUNGEON


From the outside, it’s an unassuming Mission District storefront, infrequently open to the public. But inside, Area 2881 reveals a rare glimpse into the private lives of robots. Perched on miniature foot-lit pedestals, two robot slaves dance for roving audiences, their slightly jerky motions belying the complexity of their 41 meticulously designed joints. The slaves appear both vulnerable yet indestructible, humanoid yet alien, and the weird spectacle of their forced entertaining is both unsettling and strangely affecting. The rest of the room is a whirring, spinning, buzzing paroxysm of light and kinetic sculpture, ushered into this world from a parallel plane by the human hands of mild-mannered applications engineer by day, mad scientist by night, Carl Pisaturo.

2881 23rd St., SF.



Some may have seen the deserted stretch of Harrison Street as a business liability, but Jay Beaman and Oliver Piazza of Thieves Tavern and Dirty Thieves didn’t let the low walk-up potential dissuade them from opening Dear Mom. We’re glad. Because if they had, we’d be bereft of their expansive boozery (once the salsa club El Rincon) flush with affordable booze, a photobooth, beckoning seating areas, and a kitchen that hosts pop-up eateries hawking sushi, fried green tomato hamburgers, and everything in between. The one thing Mom needs to be an SF standard is cheapo local icon Broke Ass Stuart hawking picklebacks (whiskey shots with pickle juice chaser, duh) on Wednesday nights in his never-ending quest to pay rent. Oh wait, that actually happens.

2700 16th St., SF. (415) 625-3362

8 cultural happenings this week in the big, best, beautiful Bay


It is inevitable after reading today’s Best of the Bay 2012 issue that your heart will be swole with pride for our beautiful Bay Area By the Bay. Seize the moment! There are a plethora of arts and culture happenings this week that are perfect examples of — as our managing editor Marke B. put it in his intro to BOB — “the sheer gorgeousness, thriving alternative culture, and promise of freedom and acceptance that are unique to our shores.” Cheers!

CELLspace open critical studio

Turns out, artists aren’t always their best critic. That’s why CELLspace’s open critical studio is such a great opportunity for creatives. Come discuss your art, discover the work of others, and — hopefully — take away a dose of constructive criticism that every creator needs from time to time. 

Wed/25, 7-10pm, free


2050 Bryant, SF

Cobb’s Comedy Club Showcase

Though it’s one of the city’s premier comedy clubs, Cobb’s isn’t stupid enough to forget the little guys. This Wednesday, check out the club’s up-and-comer showcase, where you can see some of the Bay’s funniest fledglings before they hit it big and really start taking your money. 

Wed/25, 8pm, $12.50

Cobb’s Comedy Club

915 Columbus, SF 

SF International Poetry Festival

The San Francisco International Poetry Festival brings you tons of excuses to brood in a vaguely-Italian coffee house while penning lines into your journal. The series of readings from poets of international acclaim — from Iraq to Italy, Sweden to Malta — kicks off this Thursday. Set ever-so aptly in Jack Kerouac Alley, hosts Jack Hirschman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and city librarian Luis Herrera will introduce the festival’s lineup of poets with the accompaniment of a modern concert from Neeli Cherkovski, Matt Gonzales, and Jonathan Richman. 

Thu/26, 7-9:00pm, free.

Kerouac Alley, SF

The Wizard of Oz movie night with the San Francisco Symphony

Join the San Francisco Symphony for a unique screening of America’s favorite kids-movie-that’s-not-actually-a-kids-movie. Beyond the fantastical plot line of The Wizard of Oz, the film’s striking visual elements and majestic music and score are part of what has made it the timeless classic it is today. Bridge the gap between silly and sophistication this Thursday by dressing up in your favorite Oz costume, watching the movie, and listening to the SF Symphony perform the score live.

Fri/27, 7:30pm, $12.50-$70

Davies Symphony Hall

201 Van Ness, SF

“Re: Told” closing night 

If you missed this month’s run of Root Division’s modern story-telling art exhibit, you still have a chance to catch this glamorous culmination, closing reception, and publication release. Taking a page from Ernest Hemingway, “Re: Told” reframes cultural narratives in order to create a contemporary storytelling experience, yielding an accessible look into some very intimate realities.

Fri/27, 6-9pm, $1-$20

Root Division

3175 17th St., SF 

Naoya Hatakeyama: Nature Stories 

Prominent Japanese nature photographer Naoya Hatakeyama shows us the dualistic relationship between man and nature in this large-scale photography exhibit illustrating man’s attempt to control nature and, in the wake of the Tohuku earthquake and tsunami. The austere power of nature over humans’ best attempts to rein it in figures prominently in “Natural Stories,” which possesses an ironically calm visual approach to such a powerful concept. 

Through Nov. 4

Opening reception: Sat/29, 10am-5:45pm, $18 (adult general) 


151 Third St., SF 

Ohlone basket welcoming ceremony 

The native Californian basket collection at the Oakland Museum of Art would, from a novice’s eye, seem to be complete. Yet due to the Ohlone tribe’s tradition of burning their possessions after death, the tribe’s baskets are scarcely represented among the collection’s 2,500 pieces. To remedy this dearth, the museum commissioned Ohlone artist and scholar Linda Yamane to create a basket. After a two-year documented process, we have an opportunity to welcome the 20,000-stitch, several thousand feathers, and 1,200-bead that make up the Ohlone basket into the museum’s collection with a day of festivity, including story-telling, dance, and song. 

Sat/28, 1-3pm, $12 general. 

Oakland Museum of California

1000 Oak, Oakl.

The Coming Century of War Against Your Computer

Hey you, the one with the oversized headphones and approximately windows to burn open on your laptop, listen up. As part of its specialization in the speculative — that is, fantasy, horror, and science fiction — Borderlands Books presents Corey Doctorow and his book The Coming Century of War Against Your Computer. Copyright laws, net neutrality, and SOPA may be much more serious indicators of the technology takeover than we thought, so let this be your opportunity to decide whether you’re going to let technology-driven measures govern your life.  

Tue/31, 7:30pm, $10

Borderlands Cafe

870 Valencia, SF 


Best of the Bay 2012: BEST ARTS HIGH NOTE


Whether it’s the free yoga classes, creative summer art camp, or Saturday afternoon alfresco concerts, the Bayview Opera House‘s offerings are as vibrant and active as they were when the building was built in 1888 (maybe more so? The Guardian wasn’t around back then). The historic landmark community center supports the still-diverse neighborhood of Bayview-Hunters Point, hosting awesome fundraisers like Black Men Can Cook and Mendell Plaza Presents, a 12-week concert series that transforms a little triangle of pavement into a full-on dance floor featuring local neighborhood musicians — not to mention domino tables and BBQ — alongside a community garden filled with vibrant veggies. Kids from the 100% College Prep Club make up much of the musical talent. Here’s to 125 more amazing years.

4705 Third St., SF. (415) 824-0386,

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST NIGHT IN THE MUSEUM


Afterhours museum parties full of bright young things witnessing cool artistic happenings are anything but a rarity in our forward-thinking area. And really, we wouldn’t have it any other way. May we especially highlight the amazing series that is L@TE: Friday Nights at BAM/PFA? This is — probably — the only such affair at which an “electric orchestra of pickle jars accompanied by abstract lighting machines” and the occasional pop-in by Devendra Banhart are a given. The wonderfully heady and innovative social gatherings fill the Berkeley Art Museum with experiential art and music (construct rainbow prisms, listen to Negativland, deconstruct Scritti Politti records, join an avant-cabaret) and light up the Pacific Film Archives with glorious 16mm and 35mm prints of rare and recently restored films. Also: dancing! If you’ve ever dreamt of meeting a soul mate while watching 3-D animation, participating in interactive dance performances, and peeping the latest emerging local artists, you need to get L@TE.

Occasional Fridays, 5:30-9pm, $7. Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way, Berk. (510) 642-0808,



City Notes: San Francisco will never counsel you to try the chowder bowl at Fisherman’s Wharf. Nor will it prove useful in finding the best way to walk between Chinatown and the Ferry Building. It won’t give you directions at all, for that matter. The artful wood-bound guidebook, put together by a team of Wesleyan alumni headed by Jesse Coburn, is comprised of quiet shots and histories behind 25 little-known sites in San Francisco, such as the Columbarium, Molinari-Mana Park, Mount Davidson, and the Swedenborgian Church. City Notes doesn’t spill the address beans, making it the perfect treasure hunt for the urban explorer-wanderer. The book’s covers are hand-bound to the velvety sheets within; its producers had so much fun making the finely crafted object, in fact, that they plan on putting together similar guides for other cities around the world.



Basic bar moves and halting hip-hop steps may be what stuck with you from the dance classes of your youth, but (thankfully) today there’s a new kind of movement program that’s all about teaching confidence and power, in addition to how to rule a dancefloor. We’re talking about Grrrl Brigade. Dance Mission Theatre hosts this series of classes in hip-hop, jazz, modern, and taiko (that’s Japanese drum dancing) for nine to 18-year-old females. As they rock the courses, their leadership develops along with their dance skills. Grrrl Brigade students roar with self-esteem, thrive on collaboration, and have been known to pound away on gigantic drums, taking the stage each year in a young person’s version of The Nutcracker, and in a springtime show focusing on real-life issues the performers deal with when they’re not in the spotlight.

Dance Mission Theater, 3316 Mission, SF.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST FOGOLYSTICS


Since 1989, when the troupe was founded by community leader Carlos Aceituno, Fogo Na Roupa has been taking to the streets, the stages, and the dance studios with its rhythmic, Latin-African-hip-hop fusion beats. Where might you have seen them perform? Perhaps during its be-feathered, be-dazzled promenades through SF Carnival — with as many as 200 performers in a single appearance, the group is hard to miss. If you’re feeling the fogolystics — the term the troupe has coined to describe its powerful mix of musical genres — you can add your sparkle to the mix. On Tuesdays and Saturdays they hold an open practice at Mission Cultural Center that you can jump in for just $10. Seriously, everyone is invited — the group prides itself on performers ranging from kids to senior citizens.

(510) 286-7926,



How does Stagewerx proprietress Ty McKenzie do it? She always finds the way to a “yes” where others might jump to a “no.” In both its old location on Sutter Street and its brand-new digs on Valencia, Stagewerx has created a supportive environment par excellence for performers of every discipline, amateurs and seasoned pros alike. From ongoing performance series such as Solo Sundays and Previously Secret Information to the raucous hi-jinks of Picklewater Clown Cabaret and Circus Finelli; from Tom Sway’s low-key, lo-fi music series Underground Sound to ambitious runs of new works by companies such as PianoFight, Wily West Productions, and Foul Play, Stagewerx’s focus on helping quirky and emerging artists find a “yes” of their own is more than refreshing — it’s essential.

446 Valencia, SF.


Best of the Bay 2012: BEST YOU BETTA WORK


Voguing — that drop-dead fabulous and seriously competitive gay African American dance-battle art form — has recently come back into the spotlight, with a new generation of club kids and art queens taking to the floor to chop, mop, drop, drag, gag, and get “cunty.” San Francisco, of course, has put its own spin on the high-attitude, limb-flinging style that originated in the ’70s in underground ballrooms on the East Coast, transforming the dance into a way to get in shape. You may not have come from the streets, but you’re going to leave Vogue and Tone with amazing thighs, honey. The wiggy workout class — Tuesdays, 7-8:30pm, at Dance Mission Theater and Thursdays, 8:30-9:45pm, at ODC Commons — is led by kicky, spinny showman Sir JoQ, a.k.a. Jocquese Whitfield. The dance has also hit the club circuit, leaping on a recent trend of retro-style dance-floor workout sessions, so be on the lookout and don’t throw shade. If all you know of vogue is that old Madonna track, it’s time to get in-shape and up-to-date.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST TECHNO OUR WAY


In response to the onslaught of mass-produced, sugar-rush electronic sounds ruling the pop charts these days, many finer San Francisco dance floors have returned to a more underground aesthetic. This renaissance of sophisticated techno plugs into a global movement — unabashedly intelligent, yet still madly danceable. And while many fantastic local party promoters have emerged, the As You Like It crew has been on a massive tear like no other. In just two years, they have risen from a nomadic underground existence to pack larger legal venues with dozens of parties that feature uncompromising local and international talent, yet never lose that singular, slightly extra-legal vibe and attention to detail. Some of the most exciting names in dance music have passed through the Bay Area thanks to As You Like It’s dedication, helping to make our party scene an essential destination for dance fanatics. To fittingly repurpose one of the crew’s favorite adjectives: quality.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST FAIRY EXPLOSION


Once every year, right around Pride time in June, a fantastical fey Imaginarium of uninhibited queer art, dance, theater, ecology, lube-wrestling, puppy piles, porn debuts, and fearlessly naked fabulosity pops up in the old Tower Records building in the Castro. This is the fag-ulous Faetopia festival which, for one delirious week, complements the corporate-sponsored and slickly marketed Pride happenings with a burst of summer solstice fairy dust. The event comes courtesy of the Radical Faeries, those scruffy pan-sexual Pagan sprites whose naturist movement has a long history in the Bay Area, where they spread their gay-gay wings from untamed redwood groves to notorious Burning Man camps. More than 50 artists join forces to create programs — like Gay Hist-Orgy (performer Ian McKinnon’s “cruise of gay historical figures”) and Flaming Queens on Fire! (fire-dancing lessons) — that stuff some good ol’ polymorphous perversity into Pride’s polished corners. And at the very center? Faetopia’s there too, with the hippie-chill Fairy Freedom Village area within the Civic Center festival itself.



Really though, Disposable Film Festival is a misnomer. Founded in 2007, with an inaugural event at Artists’ Television Access in early 2008, DFF has since evolved into a traveling-fest juggernaut with screenings in Paris, Beijing, Brazil, Macedonia, Argentina — basically, anywhere with open-minded audiences hungering for unique short films. Here’s where the “disposable” part comes in: the films are made DIY-style, using technology of the hand-held, pocket-sized, and easily-accessible-to-everyone variety, like cell phones and webcams. And though its festival screenings are a global phenomenon, DFF also hosts workshops, panel discussions, and other events (bike-in movies!) aimed at inspiring artists — especially young folks who are just discovering the wide world of creative filmmaking beyond those 3D superheroes at the multiplex.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST JEDI MASTERS


A long time ago (actually every Sunday, noon-3pm) in a galaxy far, far away (in fact, Studio Gracia in SoMa) … there came a troupe of heroes to teach and uphold a masterful tradition of movement, grace, control, and oneness with a universal force. No, not yoga — think Yoda, and picture Force with a capital F. Then envision a choreography class filled with lightsaber-wielding Jedi aspirants eager to keep the Star Wars legacy alive IRL. Not that there’s any danger of that boundless franchise running out of nerd fuel, but the Golden Gate Knights, organized by Alain Bloch, certainly have a stellar thing going. Who wouldn’t want to learn the “fancy flourishes and spins, including forward and reverse spins, inverted grips, and figure eights” of lightsaber brandishment in an atmosphere so respectful of its Jedi legacy that each class begins with five minutes of meditation? You get a little exercise out of it, too — in no time, it’ll bye-bye Jabba, hello Leia.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST PUNK PUSHERS


Shop, record label, small concert purveyor — Oakland’s 1-2-3-4 Go! Records is a multi-use punk haven, selling rare and highly desirable underground vinyl, releasing albums by noisy locals, and hosting roaming growlers in an intimate setting. Like its down-south contemporary, indie-music haven Burger Records, 1-2-3-4 Go! harks back to the days of dusty record shops acting as all-purpose hangouts, and doing it well. The site has hosted all-ages shows by Australia’s Royal Headache, Audacity (a Burger Records favorite), and locals Uzi Rash, Apache, and Street Eaters. The label has released vinyl by East Bay garage messiahs Shannon & the Clams, King Lollipop, and the Sandwitches, among others. And the cozy store has welcomed scads of eager rock ‘n’ roll fans from throughout the Bay, with open denim jacket-clad arms.

423 40th St., Oakl. (510) 985-0325,



Car chases don’t get much better than the scenes of Steve McQueen speeding through San Francisco in Bullitt (1968). Given the driving, heart-pounding beat and casual-cool flow of San Jose rapper Antwon’s “Helicopter” music video — the track’s off the Fantasy Beds mixtape — it made perfect cinematic sense for director Brandon Tauszik to match the song with quick vintage clips of the classic flick. The resulting three-minute video dips between those intense McQueen thousand-yard stares as cars lunge over notoriously steep hills in a washed out Technicolor haze, spliced with modern next-big-thing Bay Area hip-hop producers (Antwon, MondreMAN, and Squadda B of Main Attrakionz) and their undeniably attractive pals, wandering their neighborhoods, chilling on porches, and pouring spicy Sriracha over hearty breakfasts. “Fuck ’em all/that’s my new motto” Antwon raps as the beat steadies and scenes flash by — a thrilling compliment to the classic footage, given the film’s original jazz score.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST MARIACHISTAS


Those of you who are familiar with such things will know one rarely sees a female mariachi musician. Rarely, but not never: introducing Mariachi Feminil Orgullo Mexicano. The 10-person troupe boasts full string, brass, and rhythm sections, and every member is a woman. Feminine force like this — wrapped in electric blue, floor-length skirted uniforms edged in stunning silver trim — isn’t something you see every day at your favorite restaurante. Established in 2007, the education-minded troupe was the first XX-chromosomed group of its kind in the Bay Area. Since then, it’s been winning over audiences with its plaintive, powerful renditions of Mexican classics and new favorites.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST EDIBLE PLAYLIST


We’ve heard the phrase “chefs are the new rock stars” enough to make us (s)cream. Turntable Kitchen both embodies this sentiment and finely chops it to pieces. Husband and wife duo Kasey and Matthew put together the website, with occasional help from a drop-by musician or chef. A typical visitor might stop by the Turntable Kitchen to hear “three belly-burning covers of the Clash’s ‘Guns of Brixton'” in the Served Three Ways feature, or to get the ingredients for the perfect asparagus frittata in the recipe index — musically paired to Field Music, thanks to the dishes’ festive and delicate notes. Or maybe they’ll sign up for the popular Pairings Box, which arrives each month with recipes, dry ingredients, and a limited-edition vinyl seven-inch single meant to match the mood of the meal inside.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST FRESH TROUT


Recent SFSU Theatre Arts grad Megan Trout might be relatively new to the Bay theater scene, but we’ve had our eyes on this rising young star since she burst out with the 11th Hour Ensemble’s first devised-theater piece Alice in 2010. Fearless, versatile, and dynamic, endowed with crack comic timing and equally enviable dramatic chops, Trout has swum in the weird and wonderful waters of the Aurora Theatre’s Metamorphosis, Symmetry Theatre Company’s Patience Worth, Megan Cohen’s A Three Little Dumplings Adventure parts one and two, Boxcar Theatre’s Buried Child, and A Lie of the Mind (to name but a few), while continuing to create new intensely physical theater works with the 11th Hour Ensemble, of which she is a co-founder. We honestly have no idea what play or theater space she’ll turn up in next — but we’re definitely looking forward to it. You should be too.

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST ART PARKING


On an otherwise nondescript block in SOMA, there is a door painted come-hither red. Don’t be shy, grab that knob! Inside you’ll find God knows what: dance, theater, performance art — it’s something different almost every night. And as bonus, if you come away confused or disgusted from this churning artists’ incubator, you’re only out a few bucks. The Garage has been around since Joe Landini opened shop in a storefront around the corner from his current location. Landini’s mission was to create a safe house for artists, a place to try anything. It has made the venue, with its programming, residencies, and workshop performances, appealing to local art-makers and adventurous audiences alike.

715 Bryant, SF. (415) 518-1517,

Best of the Bay 2012: BEST GRAND DAME MAKEOVER


Culminating in a grand reopening in 2009 after 43 years of dereliction, the revitalization of Fox Theatre should serve as a model for all of the Bay Area’s beautiful rundown old movie houses. As befitting a building owned by the City of Oakland and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the $73 million renovation was done with an eye for detail. Myriad are the Fox’s charms: its grand old marquee; its cross-legged statues flanking the stage, regarding the audience with glowing green eyes; the ornately-molded ceiling, mosaic walls, and exceptional acoustics. The A-list talent on stage can’t help but notice the grandeur of its surroundings, and awestruck shout-outs to the theater between songs, in front of 2,800 rapt audience members, are common. Whoever’s headlining is almost beside the point when one is surrounded by such architectural beauty.

1807 Telegraph, Oakl. (510) 302-2250,