Volume 41 Number 19

February 7 – February 13, 2007

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The Guardian Iraq War casualty report (2/14/07)


Click here for the last casualty report

Casualties in Iraq

Iraqi civilians:
78 Iraqi civilians were killed today when three car bombs went off in a crowded marketplace in Baghdad, according to the Associated Press.

Source: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/4547774.html

98,000: Killed since 3/03

Source: www.thelancet.com

56,102 – 61,816: Killed since 1/03

For a week by week assessment of significant incidents and trends in Iraqi civilian casualties, go to A Week in Iraq by Lily Hamourtziadou. She is a member of the Iraq Body Count project, which maintains and updates the world’s only independent and comprehensive public database of media-reported civilian deaths in Iraq.

Source: http://www.iraqbodycount.net

A Week in Iraq: Week ending 11 February 2007:

For first hand accounts of the grave situation in Iraq, visit some of these blogs:

Antiestablishmentarianism attitudes among Iraqi religious groups is fueling intolerance and violence towards homosexuals in Iraq, according to the UN.

Source: http://www.gaypeopleschronicle.com/stories07/february/0202071.htm

U.S. military:

3,334: Killed since the U.S. invasion of Iraq 3/20/03

Source: http://www.icasualties.org/

For the Department of Defense statistics go to: http://www.defenselink.mil/

For a more detailed list of U.S. Military killed in the War in Iraq go to:

Iraq Military:

30,000: Killed since 2003



151: Killed since 3/03

Source: http://www.infoshout.com/


Border policies are tightening because one million Iraqi refugees have already fled to Jordan and another one million to Syria. Iraqi refugees who manage to make it out of Iraq still can’t work, have difficulty attending school and are not eligible for health care. Many still need to return to Iraq to escape poverty, according to BBC news.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6293807.stm

1.6 million: Iraqis displaced internally

1.8 million: Iraqis displaced to neighboring states

Many refugees were displaced prior to 2003, but an increasing number are fleeing now, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ estimates.

Source: http://www.unhcr.org/iraq.html

U.S. Military Wounded:

47,657: Wounded since 3/19/03 to 1/6/07

Source: http://www.icasualties.org/

The Guardian cost of Iraq war report (2/7/07): Bush asks congress to approve $622 billion for 2008. So far, $365 billion for the U.S., $46 billion for California and $1 billion for San Francisco.
Compiled by Paula Connelly

Bush asked congress to approve $622 billion for defense spending, most for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a $2.9 trillion budget request for 2008, according to Reuters.
Source: http://today.reuters.com/news/articlebusiness.aspx?type=tnBusinessNews&storyID=nL05586874&imageid=top-news-view-2007-02-05-151653-RTR1M0R9_Comp%5B1%5D.jpg&cap=A%20copy%20of%20U.S.%20President%20George%20W.%20Bush’s%20budget%20sits%20on%20a%20table%20in%20the%20office%20of%20the%20House%20Committee%20on%20the%20Budget%20in%20Washington%20February%205,%202007.%20Committee%20members%20had%20used%20the%20scissors%20to%20open%20the%20packages%20of%20the%20new%20budget.%20REUTERS/Jonathan%20Ernst%20%20%20(UNITED%20STATES)&from=business

Here is a running total of the cost of the Iraq War to the U.S. taxpayer, provided by the National Priorities Project located in Northampton, Massachusetts. The number is based on Congressional appropriations. Niko Matsakis of Boston, MA and Elias Vlanton of Takoma Park, MD originally created the count in 2003 on costofwar.com. After maintaining it on their own for the first year, they gave it to the National Priorities Project to contribute to their ongoing educational efforts.

To bring the cost of the war home, please note that California has already lost $46 billion and San Francisco has lost $1 billion to the Bush war and his mistakes. In San Francisco alone, the funds used for the war in Iraq could have hired 21,264 additional public school teachers for one year, we could have built 11,048 additional housing units or we could have provided 59,482 students four-year scholarships at public universities. For a further breakdown of the cost of the war to your community, see the NPP website aptly titled “turning data into action.”



FEB. 12


Tears of the Black Tiger

If you like spaghetti westerns, you’re sure to love the “Tom Yum Goong cowboys” of Tears of the Black Tiger. Unveiling a world of orange wheat fields and purple, pink, and lemon sunsets, Tears has something for everyone: action sequences with ricocheting bullets and slo-mo romantic melodrama set on an elaborate gazebo by a lotus pond. (Johnny Ray Huston)

In Bay Area theaters
See Movie Clock at www.sfbg.com


“Nikki McClure: New Work”

For some, the phrase paper cuts provokes thoughts of papyrus so sharp it can slice skin. But for me, it brings to mind Nikki McClure, who has made the craft of cutting paper an ever more versatile art form – some of her images have a detail and flow one might think impossible in such a form, while others make full use of paper cutting’s capacity for strong, blunt imagery. McClure was at the roots of the international pop underground when it formed in Olympia, Wash., in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Since 2000 she’s also been making calendars; her 2007 calendar should be on display at this show, also featuring new works as tiny as stamps. (Johnny Ray Huston)

Through March 11
Needles and Pens
3253 16th St., SF
(415) 255-1534



FEB. 11



Stick this one in your pocket flask and suck it: the holy trinity of badassedness sport the names Coco, Poni, and Jem, and together they carry enough swagger to send you running home to Mama, red faced and yowling. This LA trio – known collectively as the Ettes – slashes out leather jacket heroics in floorboard-punishing bursts lasting three minutes or less, and their strain of garage punk paints flaming visions of Nancy Sinatra (or, better yet, Holly Golightly) drag racing with the Sonics. Their latest release, last year’s Shake the Dust (Sympathy for the Record Industry), sets the record straight once and for all: three-chord rock ’n’ roll has plenty more to say. (Todd Lavoie)

With Masmelo
9:30 p.m., $6
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk, SF
(415) 923-0923


Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now

This is the week when African American dance kicks into high gear: the third annual two-weekend “Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now” gives a local perspective to contemporary dance by African American and diaspora artists both experienced and emerging. (Rita Felciano)

7 p.m., $20
Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts
1428 Alice, Oakl.
(415) 863-9834
Also Feb. 15-17, 8 p.m.; Feb. 18, 7 p.m.
ODC Theater
3153 17th St., SF
See Web site for more information



FEB. 10


Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Carrying on the rich legacy of Latin jazz big bands such as Tito Puente’s legendary salsa ensemble, pianist-arranger Oscar Hernandez assembled the Spanish Harlem Orchestra seven years ago. He and his mighty army of percussionists, brass players, and vocalists have fed their contagious love for this music with their songwriting wizardry, thus infusing classic sounds with contemporary concerns. The result? Well, just some of the most skin-soakingly glorious party music you’ll ever hear, that’s all! (Todd Lavoie)

8 p.m., $22-$42
Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley
Lower Sproul (near Bancroft
at Telegraph), Berk.
(510) 642-9988


Francis Bok,
Escape from Slavery

For most readers of the 1845 autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, the continued existence of human bondage is unthinkable. But Francis Bok, a former Sudanese slave, is living proof that the institution still thrives worldwide. The estimated 27 million individuals in servitude continue to gross $13 billion annually, according to antislavery groups. Now an abolitionism advocate and author, Bok will read passages from his 2003 autobiography, Escape from Slavery, to raise awareness for this contemporary plight. (Joshua Rotter)

2:30pm, $7-$10
Museum of the African Diaspora
685 Mission, SF
(415) 358-7200



FEB. 9


Top 10 DJ Dreamteam

Within San Francisco’s DJ dynasty, house DJs and breaks DJs have long battled for clubgoers’ absolute allegiance, with house maintaining a strong lead. But the decks have turned, if Nitevibe’s Top 10 DJ Dreamteam 2007 is any indication. After polling thousands of night crawlers, the online publication assembled a showcase of top 10 favorite local DJs, which places breaks masters Bassnectar, Smoove, and Syd Gris alongside house heavyweights David Harness and Miguel Migs. (Joshua Rotter)

With Taj, Mancub, Dirtyhertz, and Seven
10 p.m., $15
1015 Folsom
1015 Folsom, SF
(415) 431-1200


“Midnites for Maniacs:
So Straight, It’s Gay”

Freddy Krueger’s bent in Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. In the 1985 sequel the knife-fingered one possesses the body of fey blond twink Jesse, played by Mark Patton. When he isn’t performing dance routines to hi-NRG in his bedroom, he’s prone to fits of hysteria. But who wouldn’t be after slapping an S-M gym teacher’s ass raw and red with hot wet gym towels? Directed by Jack Sholder, it shares a “So Straight, It’s Gay” Midnites for Maniacs bill with the Patrick Swayze beefcake vehicle Road House and Top Gun, which, face it, looks exactly like a Falcon video with all the fuck scenes cut out. (Johnny Ray Huston)

Road House 7:30 p.m.
Top Gun 9:45 p.m.
Nightmare on Elm Street 2:
Freddy’s Revenge 11:59 p.m.
$10 for all three films
Castro Theatre
429 Castro, SF
(415) 621-6120



FEB. 8


Crying in Public

Octavio Paz once said life is not made according to human frailty, though the Nobel Prize-winning poet probably worded it better than that. The underlying question is woefully obvious: why would we create a world that doesn’t suit us? It’s enough to make a girl want to pitch a full-on hissy fit, and no one throws a tantrum like Monique Jenkinson. In Crying in Public, the choreographer and faux drag queen Fauxnique spins the flip side of “modern man’s alienation” with all the fierceness of a spurned celebrity. (Deborah Giattina)

Through Sun/11
8 p.m., $12-$20
1310 Mission, SF
(415) 435-7552



To the already long list of Canadians who bleed pure Americana please add the Breakmen. Like their countrymen in the Band before them, they have been known to inspire a bit of the old-time religion with their sublime four-part vocal harmonies. Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine recently named Ivan Rosenberg, one of the four multi-instrumentalists in the band, “one of the more prolific masters of the resonator guitar,” while songwriter Archie Pateman was offered a spot on the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame’s New Faces Project. (Nathan Baker)

9 p.m., $10
12 Galaxies
2565 Mission, SF



FEB. 7



If you made a short movie for the cost of a lunch, how much would yours cost? In the case of Bobcat Goldthwait, the answer was $26.79; for Jem Cohen, it was $11.30. The person footing the bill each time was Mike Plante, whose LunchFilms project gets various directors to make a movie for a meal, with the contract written on a napkin. Every LunchFilm has some self-imposed rules: Martha Colburn is making a life-affirming movie with a bunny in it, while Cohen’s must contain full frontal. (Johnny Ray Huston)

7:30 p.m., $4-$8
Pacific Film Archive
2575 Bancroft Way, Berk.
(510) 642-1412


Day of solidarity with Haiti

Join an international protest of military violence in Haiti by United Nations troops, particularly a mostly Brazilian squad that raided Cité Soleil in late December 2006, killing many civilians. (Deborah Giattina)

4:30 p.m. rally at Powell and Market, SF
5 p.m. march to the Brazilian Consulate
300 Montgomery, SF
(510) 483-7481, www.haitiaction.net

Valentine’s Day shopping guide


Valentine’s Day can be a sneaky, if not downright dangerous, holiday. It has a way of rushing you on the 12th, taking you down in the tackle on the 13th, and — if you fail to deliver the gifty goods — knocking you out on the 14th. Fortunately for you, you’re still in the 7-day-advance safety zone, with enough time to perfect your game plan. To help you avoid an embarrassing fumble, we’ve scoured SF’s best gift and novelty stores for some guaranteed-to-please gift ideas. So read carefully and choose wisely, and when the big day comes, you could be well on your way to scoring.

The Classics

Church Street Flowers
This floral boutique is no stranger to the Guardian’s Best of the Bay Issue, as it has taken the title five out of the past six years. You can’t go wrong with the old red rose standby, with its universal message of true love. But if you want to get a bit more creative and/or specific, ask the staff for their recommendations. (For example, try red-tipped yellow roses, which mean the giver is falling in love, or a red and white bouquet, which is a symbol of unity.) The shop does deliver, so there’s no excuse for allowing your paramour to leave work envious or empty-handed.
212 Church St, SF. (415) 553-7762, www.churchstreetflowers.com

Bittersweet, the Chocolate Café
Buying your Valentine’s gifts at Bittersweet doesn’t only benefit your V-Day date; it gives you a chance to indulge in some of the shop’s sinful creations while you’re there. Check out the vast array of Belgian, Swiss, Dutch, or Italian chocolates, bound to appeal to the international lover – er, chocolate lover — in your life. (And for folks who are solo and sad about it this Valentine’s Day, try one of Bittersweet’s rich hot chocolates to fill the void.)
2123 Fillmore St, SF. (415) 346-8715, www.bittersweetcafe.com

Think buying jewelry has to mean DeBeers and dollar signs? Think again. This little Noe Valley treasure is the perfect alternative for buying unusual (and affordable) amorous adornments. Here, you’ll undoubtedly find the owner, Guatemalan-born Gilbertina Guarini, painstakingly stringing together her latest one-of-a-kind design while perched behind the counter-cum-workspace. And since Guarini’s nature-themed pieces that are not only beautiful themselves, but are beautifully showcased by color and gemstone, visiting this Valentine haven is as easy on the eyes as it is on your wallet.
3961 24th St, SF. (415) 206-0704

Carol Doda’s Champagne and Lace Lingerie Boutique
San Francisco icon, the Condor’s own Carol Doda, has the perfect the recipe for a steamy Valentine’s date: a bottle of bubbly and a little lace number from her Union street boutique. You might have to go elsewhere for the champagne, but this is your one-stop-shop for intimate wear – for him and for her. And don’t worry if your date isn’t on the Don’t-Eat-Diet: the pinup queen’s specialty is still those bodacious plus sizes.
1850 Union St, SF. (415) 776-6900

Distinctive and Deviant

Does your honey already own a gemstone in every color of the gay pride rainbow? Or does your lover only wear jewelry that could double as sailing rope? Either way, if it’s jewelry you want, but convention you don’t, try making some yourself at Beadissimo, the holy grail of bead stores. The beads and stringing options come in every shape, size and color. The workstation in the back boasts every beading tool the savvy professional could want. And if you’re a clumsy novice, there’s a dexterous, young staff just waiting to help you figure out what to do with all this bounty. (Workshops also are offered year round.)
1051 Valencia St, SF. (415) 282-2323, www.beadissimo.com

If off-the-shelf art supplies simply won’t cut it for your creative-type cuddle partner, try shopping at Flax. The place is so comprehensive, assistants are only familiar with the supplies in their specific section. But this 69-year-old establishment is a serious art store, so if all you need is some construction paper and doilies, don’t bother. If you want artsy options and creative ideas about how to use them, though, check out the store and then visit their detailed Website.
1699 Market St, SF. (800) 343-3529, www.flaxart.com

Lo-Fi Customs
For Valentines who like it when you to turn up the heat, panties screen-printed with “Property of (your name here)” and embossed with a ghost flame logo may be the perfect gift – and this shop, co-founded by a motorcycle-messenger-turned-artist, is the perfect place to get them. Feel free to be as raunchy, risqué, or ridiculous as you want – there’s nothing the Lo-Fi staff won’t write on a T-shirt. Too busy getting last-minute dinner reservations to stop by the store? You can place an order by phone or online, too.
69A Duboce Ave, SF. (415) 861-0500, www.loficustoms.com

Good Vibrations
This isn’t the retail version of the innocent Beach Boys’ classic. Think of it more as the adult version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, where pleasure comes not from candy but, well, from coming. This is a world of pure, uncensored imagination, where there’s a fix for every adult Candyman’s fetish. (The edible cherry pasties chocolate body pens and peppermint nipples are scrumdiddlyumptious.) A gift from here may well be your golden ticket.
603 Valencia St, SF. (415) 522-5460; 1620 Polk Street, SF. (415) 345-0400, www.goodvibes.com

Ferry Plaza
If you think dining out on Valentine’s Day is just such a cliché, or you simply forgot to make reservations, consider the delights of a gourmet, home-cooked dinner. Even if you’re no Wolfgang Puck, Ferry Plaza and the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Markets will provide the ingredients and the inspiration for a still-better-than-Shake-n-Bake meal. And if the specialty groceries here can’t make a chef out of you, fall back on the staples — great seafood, cheese, breads, wine, berries, and chocolate — where all you need to do is provide serving plates. (The Fish Company’s prawns are right from the boat and the farm fresh produce is trucked in daily. Yum!)
One Ferry Building at Embarcadero at Market, SF. (415) 693-0996, www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

About Face and Body Day Spa
With the drudgery of tax season just around the corner, you can kill two birds with one stone (express V-Day love and prevent T-Day meltdowns) by pampering your lover with a gift certificate from the East Bay’s favorite day spa. With customizable massages and aromatherapy add-ons, this gift guarantees a major return on your investment. (Special service packages and discounts on walk-in waxing also are available.)
3190 College Ave, Berk. (510) 428-2600

American Conservatory Theater
Keep the drama on stage this Valentine’s with tickets to opening night of A.C.T.’s newest show, Hedda Gabler, directed by Richard E.T. White. Called the “female Hamlet,” Hedda Gabler is a woman whose married life (unlike yours, of course) is rife with controversy. She is either a murderous infidel or idealistic heroine, and the implications of her actions have struck a chord with audiences for over a century. Get tickets online, by phone, or at the box office, and remind your sweetie how good you two really do have it.
405 Geary St, SF. (415) 749-2228, www.act-sfbay.org

Valentine’s Day date ideas


Putting together a good date can be like planning a bank robbery. You’re investing time, you’re fronting a bunch of money, and you’re coordinating complicated logistics — all in hopes of breaking the law. In this case, Murphy’s Law. I mean, let’s face it, half the time Valentine’s Day dates carry so much nervous tension and promptitude that we should all consider ourselves lucky if we wake up on February 15 with all our fingers — never mind whether we wake up alone!

There is no foolproof plan for a good date, but there is one factor that can be almost impossible for even the most lethargic lothario to mess up: the view. A nice view is always a nice view, even if you’re enjoying it with a person you think you just might hate.

So sure, you might leave the tickets at home, lock the keys in your cars, tear your inseam, spill wine on your date, or find out that she’s allergic to shellfish after you’ve made her try your seafood bisque. But at least your date might still gasp out, “The… moon… looks… pretty…” before the EMT places an oxygen mask over her mouth and wheels her out of your life forever.


These are the places where either the views or the reservations are guaranteed. The rest (ahem) is up to you.

Buena Vista Café
This place is a good bet. Get a classic Irish coffee at the place that invented it while looking out at romantic sailing ships on the Hyde street pier. They don’t take reservations, and Valentine’s is no different, so call to see how long the wait is. (Since it’ll be a Wednesday, the wait could be as good as 15 minutes.)
2765 Hyde St, SF; (415) 474-5044, www.thebuenavista.com. Mon-Fri 9am-2am, Sat-Sun 8am-2am

This vegetarian restaurant offers views of the Fort Mason marina. Two can eat for less than $100. And if your special friend is a veggie, forget the windows — they’ll be blown away just looking at all their options on the menu.
Building A, Fort Mason Center, SF; (415) 771-6222. Mon-Fri 5:30pm-9pm

Fishermen’s Grotto
This restaurant is sunk deep into the kitsch and tourism of the wharf. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year, you might still be able to get reservations as late as a couple days in advance.
9 Fishermen’s Wharf, SF; (415) 673-7025, www.fishermensgrotto.com. Mon-Sun 11am-11pm

Cliff House — Sutro’s Restaurant
So yeah, the new exterior looks horrible, but the views from inside are just as good as ever. The bistro section doesn’t take reservations, so look for a good spot at the bar — they have three cocktail lounges — and enjoy the scenery and a drink while waiting for your table.
1090 Point Lobos Ave, SF; (415) 386-3330, www.cliffhouse.com. Mon-Sun 9am-10pm


Feeling adventurous? Try an out-of-the-ordinary option to impress your one-of-a-kind date.

Beach Chalet Brewery and Restaurant
This art deco dinner option is tucked inside Golden Gate Park, overlooking Ocean Beach. Reservations are recommended, though walk-ins may be able to find seats too. (Call to see if tables are available). At the very least, their bar is first come, first served — and hey, they’re a brewpub. The view isn’t as breathtaking as some (about half of it is parking lot), but it does have the clearest views of ocean waves.
1000 Great Hwy, SF; (415) 386-8439, www.beachchalet.com. Sun-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm.

Tower Market
Weather permitting, you could get some food a la carte from their deli and have yourselves a picnic on Twin Peaks while the sun goes down. Throw in a bottle of wine —perhaps Sebastiani’s 2003 Merlot, buttery with a smoky finish — and a blanket, and you just might get to miss the moonrise.
635 Portola Drive, SF; (415) 664-1609. Mon-Sat 8am-8:30pm, Sun 8am-8pm

Poncho Villa’s
Well, not the most romantic – or is it? If you’ve got just the right ruca, bonding with burritos by the Bay Bridge, sipping tallboy Tecates out of paper bags, and watching boats glide by the docks could be the perfect evening.
Pier 1, SF; (415) 982-2182, panchovillasf.com. Open until 10pm


Everything here’s going to be a bit pricier. But Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge have your back, so it just might be worth it.

Hog Island Oyster Company
This oyster bar is first come, first served, but they’re only open until 8pm.
1 Ferry Plaza, SF; (415) 391-7117, www.hogislandoysters.com. Mon-Fri 11:30am-8pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-6pm

Slanted Door
Showing up at 5:00 might get you seated, and, as always, the bar is first come, first served.
1 Ferry Plaza Bldg 270, SF; (415) 861-8032, slanteddoor.com. Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm

This old-school seafood restaurant is a classic standby. As an added bonus, their menu —including the lobster thermidor — is priced competitively. Call ahead to see if you can still get a table.
Pier 2 Embarcadero, SF; (415) 781-2555. Mon-Sun 10am-11pm

If you can swing it, take the ferry across the bay and cab it to this waterside Mexican seafood restaurant. It’s never been busy in the past, but they’re advertising a special prix fixe menu for the first time, so call about getting seated.
5 Main St, Tiburon; (415) 435-6300. Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10pm

Liquor and Love

Ok. You made it through dinner without bleeding. Congratulations. Now what? Sweep that special someone off their feet and into bed with another great view — and plenty o’ booze. These bars all offer the best moon-wedge garnish for your cocktail.

The View Lounge
The city seems a thousand miles away (and 36 floors down) as jazz flows through the cavernous rooms of The View Lounge. This sky-high bar is open to the public and features shell-shaped windows big enough to make you feel like a boardroom exec. The drinks are pricey, but the jazz is free. And they don’t take reservations, so you’ve got just as good a shot at a seat as anyone else.
Inside the Marriott, 55 4th St, SF; (415) 896-1600

Harry Denton’s Starlight Room
Denton’s place is having a special Valentine’s version of its weekly Indulgence club night, run by Sebastien Entertainment (415-979-3031). Starting at 8pm, there’ll be DJs, chocolate vodka truffles, champagne, and dancing. The cover is only $15, but the place will be busy. Call Sebastien Entertainment to see if they’re packed. Or reserve a booth or bottle service, if you roll like that.
Inside the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 450 Powell, SF; (415) 395-8595

Orbit Room Café
This art-deco bar also has café fare (bagels and pastries) and features a rare first-story view of downtown from high up on Market Street.
1900 Market St, SF; (415) 252-9525. Mon-Thurs 7am-12am, Fri-Sat 7am-2am

Bloom’s Saloon
Bloom’s is kind of a grimy sports bar. But perched on the north slope of Potrero Hill, it has the best view of downtown east of Twin Peaks.
1318 18th Street, SF; (415) 861-9467


Wow. You woke up with company. Now pull out the hat trick with View Number Three and get mom’s grandkids on lockdown — or at least get laid again…

Seal Rock Inn
This hotel and breakfast spot is perched on the cliff above the Cliff House.
545 Point Lobos Ave, SF; (415) 752-8000, www.sealrockinn.com

Louis’ Restaurant
Greasy spoon style! Dig the orange tile inside and the ruins of the Sutro Baths outside.
902 Point Lobos Ave, SF; (415) 387-6330


Unless you’re a high roller, or the restaurant’s owner, these places won’t be worth the trouble.

Pier 23 Café
This come one, come all waterfront restaurant and bar would be a great bet, except they will be CLOSED FOR REMODELING!
23 The Embarcadero, SF; (415) 362-5125, www.pier23cafe.com.

Julius’ Castle
Don’t bother with this Telegraph Hill restaurant either. It’s also closed for renovations.
1541 Montgomery, SF; (415) 392-2222

Top of the Mark
The Mark is having a special Valentine’s Day dinner and no one will be seated without reservations.
1 Nob Hill Circle, SF; (415) 616-6916, www.topofthemark.com

It’s healthy to be wary of revolving restaurants in general, but they’re also having a special prix fixe V-day menu.
Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero 5, SF; (415) 291-6619

Their prix fixe menu is $75 per person, plus 18% gratuity. And there’s no mention of champagne being included; so if you just drink water, you’ll get out of there for $177.
Pier 33, The Embarcadero, SF; (415) 864-8999

Splendor in the ass


365 NAKED DAYS I didn’t care if 2006 was half over when I discovered artist Sara Thustra’s poster-size, silk-screened and stitched butcher-paper calendar last year. Stuffed with a zine and riddled with mythical critters, a hairy hippie Adam and Eve, and a monstrous Paul Stanley–esque rock ‘n’ roll hydra head, it was so handsomely handmade — the paper-ephemera equivalent of a fun-loving, snaggletoothed boy toy with dirty locks who sews his own clothes — I had to have it anyway. Despite the handful of calendars dangling on my walls, I’m always late. So I seemed to be the last to discover the almanacs Thustra — also known as Z and notorious for his polemical posters, Gay Shame actions, and graf artifacts — has been whipping up over the past few years.

This time, however, Thustra has outdone himself. "Ten Pictures and Two Pin-Ups," the anarcho-artist and Brande Blah’s 2007 porn calendar, is chockacock full of hard-ons, pendulous boobies, and orifices that are fully open for business (and pleasure), along with a soupçon of hardcore still imagery. Writer Lorelei Lee distills life as a local porn talent in the episodic, dryly humorous centerfold text, but the real stars here are the gay/straight/whatev, proud, whimsical, body-painted, greased, Mohawked, skanky, scraggly, and beautiful sextivists, posed before a sweetly kicky and kinky colorful backdrop, as if crust punks were out to replicate a Laugh-In set, equipped with only childhood sheets and tube socks. Why does that down-home DIY flava continue to tantalize so many years after the advent of amateur vids and Calvin Klein ads? It works, and Thustra and Blah preface the affair with a manifesto of sorts: "We hope you look at these images with sweetness and kindness…. We live in a world where it is unsafe to be sexual. We think that this reality holds us back from honest communication between friends, family, and other communities. Most of all it holds us back from lots of fun, self exploration, and of corse [sic] … lots of fucking." Are those the creators themselves posing as December’s pinups? Are those dimples I spy with my little third eye? Nice knee-highs! (Kimberly Chun)

Calendar ($20) available at Needles and Pens, 3253 16th St., SF. (415) 255-1534, www.needles-pens.com


Sex on wheels


FIXED-GEAR FIX Mr. July, bare chested, coyly toys with a Rubik’s Cube, the waistband of his Champion boxer-briefs just visible above his brown leather belt with a "Philadelphia Freedom" buckle. Mr. November, sandwiched between two Muni cars, has his T-shirt pulled up to just above his nipples, revealing washboard abs and a plethora of tattoos. Mr. February gazes longingly over the Mission rooftops, one slippered foot swinging like a come-on over the edge.

What do they have in common besides month-based nomenclature? They’re all local bike messengers who were lustily photographed by Svet, Laura Downey, Peter Taylor, and Kevin White for the 2007 "At Your Service" bike messenger calendar.

If you’re a big gay like me, you spent most of the post–Chili Peppers, pre–Warped Tour ’90s playing not fantasy football but fantasy bike squad, dreaming of scruffy, rough-and-tumble boys like the ones pictured in the calendar streaking over hill and dale on their FrankenTreks to deliver their special package to you (insert back-door delivery joke here). A few years and several actual messenger scores later (yep, that was me on Craigslist) brought the reality that fantasy is best savored virtually — but that doesn’t mean I had to quit looking.

The calendar, shot by Bay Area photogs and laid out by local gear-queen designer Downey, brings a breath of sweaty, last night’s beer–scented air to any cubicle or bathroom. Indulge yearlong in the grungy goodness! (Marke B.)

Calendar available ($10) at Box Dog Bikes, 494 14th St., SF. (415) 431-9627, www.boxdogbikes.com; and Refried Cycles, 440 Haight, SF. (415) 621-2911, www.refriedcycles.com; or by e-mailing Laura Downey at blueakira@gmail.com


Attraction is hell


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REVIEW Rarely does ODC Theater pack them in the way it did Feb. 2 for SHIFT Physical Theater’s first full-evening piece, The Shape of Poison. Manuelito Biag has been making work for close to 10 years, but the buzz has really picked up since 2003, when he presented the anguished Giving Strength to this Fragile Tongue. With Poison, developed as an artist-in-residence project at ODC, he has created a work about the inarticulate, often unacknowledged forces that shape our realities. Watching the dancers in pursuit of endless and often turned-in-on-themselves encounters felt like looking for a cause in all those ruffles, vortices, and surges that continually disturb the ocean’s surface. Poison moves leisurely but doesn’t meander; for all its churning, at its core the piece is quiet and wistful.

Philippines-born and California-raised, Biag has described Poison as influenced by the yogic kleshas — corruptions of the mind that prevent enlightenment. It’s not necessary to know that Poison‘s three sections, which can stand independent of each other, explore three kleshas: ignorance, passion, and anger. It’s quite enough to realize that for each part the choreographer developed a highly charged, intensely physical language that he shaped into fluid, at-times soaring movements, which drop hints of narrative like beads of color into a pool of oil. As he did with Tongue, he turned to Jess Rowland for an inspired score, here partially performed live on piano.

The opening trio (Amy Foley, Damara Ganley, and Tessa Nebrida) began posed like statues facing different directions, until Ganley’s tiny tremor sent out enough waves to animate Foley and Nebrida. Even though each of them developed something of a personality — Foley’s lyric groundedness was particularly lovely — more than anything the dancers created a sense of space through which they were reaching for each other, at times tentatively, at times assertively. One had the feeling they were trying to pierce clouds or curtains that hid something. But whenever a connection or moment of clarity was made, it either evaporated or was cut off randomly. There was blindness to the way their hands reached out; touches became almost accidental. In a kneeling position, two dancers held hands and then simply dropped them. A cupped open hand welcomed another, but no emotional current flowed. Almost animal-like, the dancers nosed up to each other, aware of one another’s presence but rarely reutf8g.

The central duet for Biag and the resplendently fierce Erin Mei-Ling Stuart worked with material already explored in Tongue: the unspeakable tension in a relationship in which two individuals feed off each other’s heat. Here the two people were very much equals. Each emotional punch was matched by one of similar force; the two of them were always at a standoff, trapped with no end in sight. The heartbeat in Rowland’s score at times sounded like water torture as the pair watched wearily, waiting for the next explosion to hit. Biag had a stooped way of yanking his legs up — as if dragging them out of a swamp — and then ever so gently moving them like a tiger on the prowl that was truly terrifying. Though he designed wave after wave of full-bodied confrontations, one of the most telling came through his use of arms, which present very narrow points of contact. When the dancers stood face-to-face, forcing their stretched arms against each other, you could see the hell of this mutual repulsion and attraction. This duet is Poison‘s strongest component.

At this point, Biag has not quite mastered choreographing for his multicast group. In Poison‘s third section he looked at chaos and instability from a communal perspective. While he was wonderfully adept at designing fluid and formally inventive movements, the circle and diagonal lineups that he set in opposition to individual expressions of anger — tiny Tanya Bello was particularly fierce — didn’t quite add up. However, an excellent duet for Ganley and Noel Plemmons that peeled away from the ensemble brought on a finale that teetered between hope and despair. In the context of Naomi Lazard’s existential pessimism in her poem "Ordinance on Arrival" (read on tape), about a bleak world from which "there is no vehicle out," hands repeatedly planting seeds suggest futility. Yet the stricken Plemmons, after being brutally repulsed by Ganley, reached out his hand to receive a drop of saliva from each of the other dancers. Thus nourished, he veered toward a strong Ashley Taylor, who throughout seemed to function as a calm within the storm. Was he able to push through suffering into the light? It would be nice to think so. *

Love rebuff


SONIC REDUCER Hey, subliminal kids, watch out for those Music and Lyrics billboards all over town — they’re as deadly as Pretty Ricky’s between-the-sheets crunk, chased by Justin Timberlake covers such as the Klaxons’ strings-laced "My Love" and Rock Plaza Central’s mead-soaked "Sexy Back." The poster pic is so mundane that it catches then holds your attention: Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore shyly demur from meeting the viewer’s, and each other’s, eyes, choosing instead to moon over — what? Music, lyrics, Craigslist casual encounter ads, old mug shots? With Valentine’s Day shuffling furtively around the corner, I’d venture that it’s best Hugh and Drew weren’t out bonding over some cozy Cattle Decapitation appearance, because as all we brave, San Francisco live-music lovers know, hot hookups and cool shows don’t necessarily mix.

Unspoken rule number 14 of San Francisco rock, according to your cruise director on the Glumboat: don’t hit on the local wildlife at shows. San Francisco’s SFMFs (single female music fans, for all you acronym haters) know, Joe. Single is an increasingly obsolete format in vinyl, CD, and skin and bones — consider it a mission impossible to meet nonattached men, women, or potted plants at shows. I don’t care which way you swing (if — caveat — you’re not in the band itself), you’re more likely to have a close, personal relationship with the bouncer who’s forcibly removing you from the club than someone you’d potentially want to date. You have a better chance meeting some fast ninetysomething at a retirement home than at a show.

If you’ve just moved to town: so sorry to bust up your illusions of glam romance, but concerts here are simply not pickup scenes — for anyone other than the guys and girls in the band. Hip-hop, folk, C&W, blues, pop, and rock lovelorns — you’re all outta luck, though indie rock is the absolute worst. You know that cute, floppy-haired, gangly boy rocker in a polo shirt and Converse by the side of the stage? He may be by himself (and likely he has a futsy partner tucked away at home), but that doesn’t mean he actually wants to talk to anyone — let alone get a phone number.

All this is what I’ve gathered during my many years of showgoing — and a quick, extremely unscientific poll of singletons in Guardian editorial bears me out. Sample responses: "Everyone’s all cliqued up at shows." "You go with your friends, find your spot, and you don’t talk to other people. Ever." "At dance clubs you meet other people because you’re actually dancing with each other. At live shows everyone’s looking at the stage." "It’s too loud to talk." "San Francisco has a reputation of being aloof." "Maybe you can talk to someone when you’re standing in line at the bar?"

"Either it’s all guys or the one girl you want to hit on will be someone in the band’s girlfriend," said calendar editor Duncan Scott Davidson, who’s also clocked time as a doorguy at Slim’s, the Endup, and 111 Minna. "The only time I ever tried to pick up someone was at a Bomb show, and she turned out to be Bomb drummer Tony Fag’s girlfriend." Irony abounds.

He’s actually seen guys trying to hit on women at shows, he added, "But what do you say? ‘This band really rocks, huh?’ "

My favorite answer is "People are just there for the music," which does say something about our fair scene’s integrity if you believe music lovers are simply there to see and hear, not to hook up. And perhaps it imparts even more about the nature of local original music, which is less about the damsels than going dumb, less about the sex than the noise sax solos — with the Lovemakers in the horny minority. Chalk it up to the Bay Area’s feminist legacy and the p.c. ’90s, but on the plus side of the non-meat-market music scene, I’ve often felt as safe and unpressured while checking out music solo as any hulking dude in a black hoodie at a Mastodon show. Perhaps our live scene is thriving on that focus and the passion we have for the music — and lyrics — itself.

Ahem. I don’t know about you, horndogs, but pure intentions certainly get me all hot and bothered, though they don’t help when we’re sulking alone in the corner at the Husbands’ Valentine hoedown. If ya got a problem with that, prove me wrong. *



A question for the ages: Who to Trust, Who to Love, Who to Kill — and the title of the fierce San Diego blues punks’ new Alive disc. Wed/7, 9 p.m. Annie’s Social Club, 917 Folsom, SF. $5. (415) 974-1585


Nevada City homegrownies make haunting pop prog. P.S. K&Q’s Rich Good once teamed with Joanna Newsom in the Pleased. Thurs/8, 9:30 p.m. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. $6. www.hemlocktavern.com


Recently remixed up with Mt. Eerie and Anna Oxygen on Joyride, the K artist is too cute for her horn-rims. Little Brazil and the Affair also play. Fri/9, 10 p.m. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. $8–$10. (415) 621-4455


The moody Oaklanders are stitching up new songs for a summer album. Fri/9, 9:30 p.m. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. $7. www.hemlocktavern.com


Riot rrroar — the all-female Tuvan throat singers wrap their power pipes around lullabies and tunes about tea. Sun/11, 8 p.m. Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell, SF. $21. (415) 885-0750


The NYC chamber noise–niks sit down with Death Sentence: Panda! and Sword and Sandals. Sun/11, 9 p.m. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. $8. (415) 621-4455

G-string journey


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My girlfriend leaned over the table during brunch at the Pork Store recently and stared deep into my eyes. "Baby," she said, "when you’re out there looking at all those boobies today, just remember that they’re fake. And when you’re petting asses and sticking money in G-strings, just remember that those bodies, unlike mine, are going to be saggy and horrible-looking in a few years."

Not exactly our ordinary breakfast conversation, but then again, it was no ordinary morning. I was about to embark on a whirlwind tour of some of the city’s notorious gentlemen’s clubs, and that gloomy Sunday seemed perfect. What better day than the Christian Sabbath to burn some cash on sex, right? I finished my eggs, said a little prayer, and hit the streets to find some heathens — I mean, strippers. I knew exactly where to go.


By the time I got to the corner of Market and Sixth streets, it was raining like hell, and various shady-looking characters were hogging every dry spot in sight. Despite my burning desire for a nip of whiskey, I decided to abandon my preparty bar plans and walk directly into the Market Street Cinema. I passed through the mirrored doors, paid the cover charge, and found a seat at the foot of the catwalk just in time to catch the next act.

I don’t know if the girls or the DJs pick the songs, but the music fit the sad spectacle like a latex glove. As the opening riff of the Smiths’ "How Soon Is Now" filled the club, a young girl stepped out onto the stage. Sexy Susan (or Luscious Lucy or whatever the DJ-MC had decided to call her) strutted down the catwalk in her fuck-me pumps, looked at her scant audience, and made her way to the pole. She swung around it with one leg and rubbed herself up and down before finally climbing to the top, where she hung for a full minute before sliding to the floor with a thump. She then stood up and beelined toward me.

"You look shy," the stripper whispered as she squatted in my face and began tugging at the elastic rim of her panties. From a distance the girl had seemed rather pretty, but up close her jagged teeth, stretched belly, and hollow eyes bespoke a street-style homeliness. She made me uncomfortable, and I knew the only way to shoo her off was to produce an embarrassingly small tip. So I dug down in my wallet and threw a buck by her feet. "Uh, thanks," she said. "Do you, like, want a lap dance or anything?"

"No, I’m OK. But I think that guy might want something," I said. She took my money and walked across the stage toward a scary-looking dude waving a five-dollar bill around in the air.

The young girl finished her set with a clumsy attempt to sync her body movements to Nine Inch Nails’ "Closer." She humped the pole, stumbled down the walk, and finally bent over for a spread-eagle encore. She then picked up her seven- or eight-dollar tip stash and took off. I was blown away. This girl had just showed us the holiest of holies for less than it takes to fill the gas tank on a moped. This was, presumably, her daily routine. Was it worth it? I felt too guilty to ponder the question. As soon as the young stripper was out of sight, I pushed all sympathetic thoughts out of my mind and bolted. Next stop: the Crazy Horse.


I didn’t expect much from the Crazy Horse, but it proved to be less depressing than the previous venue by a long shot. Sure, there were weird old men roaming around the lobby. And yes, the girls seemed a little sad. But at least the place was clean. The bouncer gave me a knowing smile, opened the door, and pushed me into a dimly lit room where 30 or 40 businessmen sat watching the show.

This stripper was definitely not a drug addict or a runaway who had recently celebrated the big one-eight. She was fit and healthy, and her dance routine was well rehearsed. She strutted like a cat, slowly removing the only two garments she wore. Soon she was naked and humping the air in front of an old man with glasses and dirty jeans. When she stood up to leave, the man threw down a few bills and waved a wad of cash in the air. It was a signal the stripper knew well. She scooted his donation to the middle of the stage, jumped into his lap, and began gyrating. The pattern repeated as the stripper moved from mark to mark until she was a couple seats down from me. I decided to leave at this point. My wallet had grown significantly lighter since I began this endeavor, and I still had one more cover charge to pay.


By midafternoon I was exhausted and bitter, but I had to press on. I knew my last destination, the Nob Hill Theatre, a seedy gay hideaway, was going to require true grit. After all, naked chicks are nothing new — you see them every time you turn on the tube. But how many times have you seen a bunch of dudes with five-foot dongs petting one another onstage? For me the answer was never. And truth be told, I was a little scared. Still, I tried to be nonchalant as I walked into the theater.

Soon I was in a dark room watching a naked man dance to Bel Biv Devoe. I picked an inconspicuous seat in a shadowy corner, but as soon as the dancer saw me, he stepped off the stage and wandered into my private space. The naked man shook his wiener from side to side as he stared into my eyes. "How’re you doing?" I asked. "I’m good," the naked man said. He stepped closer and closer until his leg was touching mine. "Would you like a lap dance?" he asked. "No, actually, I’m here from the newspaper, writing a story about strip clubs," I blurted. He sensed my apprehension and backed off a little. Then, with a mischievous smile on his face and a growing member in his hand, he said, "That’s OK, honey, I’ll give you one for free." He placed my trembling hands on his ass cheeks and began to sway.

All told, I think I had another man’s penis in my face for about two minutes. When he was finished, he said, "That was just a taste, and you should still tip a little, but if you want more, you gotta pay."

"Thanks for everything," I said, "but I gotta get going." I dug in my wallet for some ones and then looked up in confusion. Where the hell was I supposed to put the money? When he noticed the look on my face, the naked man turned around and put his bum in the air. "Here you go," he said. I hesitated for a moment and then just figured it was protocol. As I went to put the money in the naked man’s ass, he jumped away and said, "Gotcha! You think I let people put dirty-ass bills in there? You must be crazy." I realized at this point that the dancer had been fucking with me the entire time. He stuck his tongue out, winked, and left to go dance for a group of daytime drunks in back.


On my way out the door, I was approached by two other strippers, Craven and Kaci, who had heard I was writing about their club. They laughed and posed and told me stories about stripping days gone by. They liked working at the club, they said. They were happy there.

As I sat smoking and hanging out with them in the doorway, I realized that the whole day had felt pretty gross until now. Something about the straight clubs made me feel sick, but that something was all but absent here. These dudes were actually enjoying themselves. The two straight clubs I had seen seemed to reflect the general population’s attitude toward sex. They were dark, shameful places, hidden in bad neighborhoods, where rules abounded. It seemed that here at the Nob, though, you could pretty much do whatever the hell you wanted. I had an epiphany that night: if I had to choose between hanging out at a gay strip club and a straight one, I would choose the former. Does that mean I’m gay? *


1077 Market, SF

(415) 255-1005



980 Market, SF

(415) 771-6259



729 Bush, SF

(415) 781-9468



San Francisco lovin’


Valentine’s Day date ideas
V-Day shopping guide
Complete V-Day events listings

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Oh! What a web of tangled flesh we postbohemian, rapidly gentrifying, pandemic-aware, pre-spray-on-condom and mint-flavored chewable RU-486 San Francitizens weave! Folks still trot out the ol’ misty-eyed cynicisms: romance is dead, sex is boring, love is impossible, "I’m too fat"…. But that doesn’t stop ’em from doing it until their knees ache when they get the winky come-on (or hoping for Mr. or Ms. Right to ease the tax burden). Sure, in the age of the Internetz, sex is now a shopping trip — just log on for huge fake tits (aisle four), smart-mouthed ghettosexuals (aisle six), muffin tops gon’ wild (aisle nine), or guys who inject a gallon of saline into their shaved balls (clean up, aisle five). No need to be a bitch or a ho — you’re already both on the webcam, dude. Don’t forget your password.

But still. Love exists, right? Christina Aguilera tells us so. And love leads to sex. Or to real sex. Or the other way around. Something. And don’t even ask about the whole monogamy thing! Can’t it all be easier? Aren’t we robots yet? No, not yet. For good or ill we live in a magical place where impulse meets emotion in technology’s dark corner and heads upstairs with it to a small room marked "free love" ($29 an hour) — leaving behind a trail of used rubbers, hopefully. Below we delve into the sex-and-romance pros and cons of some especially San Franciscan things. Maybe it’ll help make things a little clearer. Maybe!


Carrie Bradshaw, Marissa Cooper, and Dr. Meredith Grey have their trumped-up Trumps, Shin-die schlubs, and Doc McDreamys, but what do so many straight, single women get in the Bay bohemia otherwise known as America’s gay mecca? Commitmentphobic Peter Pan–ders, crusty granola cronies who only cruise twentysomethings, workaholic geeks who seldom see the light of day (apart from the blazing orbs of Burning Man), and windburned adventurers with a never-ending thirst to mountain bike, lick that downward dog, and hike the closest REI. Face it: single straight sistahs have the toughest lot in this town. A 2004 San Francisco magazine story estimated that unmarried straight 20- to 44-year-old SF men outnumbered their female counterparts by about 12,000. But I bet most eligible gals feel — nay, know — that the ratio is weighted in the dudes’ favor. It doesn’t help that years of STD- and AIDS-inspired social conservatism seem to have spurred peeps and perps to hook up early and less often — despite our fair city’s freewheeling rep when it comes to sex roles, relationships, and gender politics. San Francisco’s single chicks sometimes find themselves wondering, "Whatever happened to dating? Where did everyone go? Is it my breath?" When one male friend told me his ex’s claim that she’s dating multiple fellahs in various NorCal cities, my bullshit detector started honking. Tell it to all the attractive, smart, independent, and nubile femme singletons I know who are sitting home Saturday nights.

Pros: Never having to worry about getting macked on at guycentric sports events, shows, and construction sites. Women are always free at the Power Exchange. There’s sisterhood in desperation. You can always join a girl gang and accost hapless men walking alone in dark parking lots. That yawning bore across the table is looking better every sec.

Cons: Dating. Shooting down poseurs who are into shopping for the pick of the litter. Resigning yourself to your anemic online-dating shopping options. And how depressing is it to go to a sex club by yourself? That yawning bore across the table is looking better every sec. (Kimberly Chun)


I worked security at the Endup for four years. As a straight guy, I found myself jealous of my gay compatriots out there on the dance floor, nuts to butts, letting it all hang out. Obviously, gay men have committed, complicated, and drama-filled relationships too. But boys will be boys, and it seemed things were so much simpler and, pardon the pun, more straightforward for gay guys in San Francisco. Less of a mating ritual and more mating. It’s the classic straight guy’s lament: if women acted like dudes, I’d be getting laid right now. Or, as Michael Dean once said in a Bomb song, "The girl that I miss is just me in a dress." Still, after 15 years in San Francisco, I’m starting to see the bonuses of being single, straight, and not so young in a city known worldwide for Rice-a-Roni, sourdough bread, and buffed-out, hunky young gay guys.

Pros: At 35, I may actually be starting to enjoy dating. No one’s lugging around that "my heart was broken, and I can’t go through that again" cross anymore. We’re all adults here, and like the young, restless, and gay, we’ve gotten in touch with our biological needs. Thirtysomething Bay City rollers know they need to get off and they don’t have to meet their soul mate to do it. Sure, the roller coaster of love is one hell of a ride, but sometimes it’s enough to get Indian food, hit a bar with a good jukebox, rent a movie, go home, and fuck.

Cons: People really do get married. Which means the thirtysomething dating pool shrinks and you can end up dating someone younger. This might seem like a pro, until you try to make a pop culture reference on a date and hear crickets chirp. There’s not a lot of eye-to-eye going on when your love interest ejects Mania, by the Vibrators, to put on Green Day. (Duncan Scott Davidson)


Oh, the burden! Straight guys think you get laid more than them. Straight girls think you get laid more than them. Both of them think you like turtlenecks and cologne. It’s horrifying! And history! Here you are over the rainbow, in the fiercely romantic-looking burg all those haters in high school screeched at you to move to, and you’re scrounging for any bit of affection you can find among the forest of online profiles and the coral reef of lopsided haircuts. Plus you’ve got billboards screaming "AIDS!" in your face on every corner. It’s enough to drive a lonely fag to the gym or a dyke to the (one) bar, if that weren’t just as fucked-up a defense mechanism as huddling with your old Smiths EPs and a tankard of Merlot in your cubby. But c’mon, at least you can walk home from your trick’s house….

Pros: Be all you can be! Journey of discovery! There’s a new opportunity around every corner. The hottest FTMs on the face of the planet. Boys aren’t wearing so much product as in 2002. Being the envy of the gay world. Invisible lipstick lesbians. Trash drag. Crystal meth played out (pretty much). Domestic partnership laws (if only …). Gay love is real (ask your serial monogamous friends). Hey, at least it’s not Chelsea!

Cons: Too many to choose from. No need to grow up. Too many bottoms. Ever-present feeling you should get more tattoos — or is that trying too hard? Everyone wants to be your fag hag. Monogamous or "negotiated"? Holier-than-thou activists, hotter-than-thou street life. "What if I’m really straight?" Knowing everyone’s as shy as you but not being able to do anything about it. (Marke B.)


What a difference a few screaming headlines make. Throw in a Scientology siren, underage cocktail gulpers, and a couple plowed society babes with fiercely straightened fright wigs and outta-hand cheekbones — and ya got yerself a mayor! All we need are some flesh-eating pigs and anesthesia-free surgery to dub this the return of the wild, wild, perhaps very wild, especially when tanked, west — a Deadwood of sorts, if that didn’t imply a kind of flaccid fumbling. Nonetheless, let’s call it the latest in a grand tradition of San Francisco’s romantic and sexual politico-explorers from days of yore — from Harvey Milk to Willie Brown — that we have Mayor Gavin Newsom finally unchained from his legal-eagle Victoria’s Secret model missus and free to allegedly cruise Cow Hollow’s finer drinking establishments after hours, as rumor has long had it. Oh, the list is long and ever growing: encompassing the CSI: Miami starlet and the city mag editor eager to vet her boy’s cover pic alike. Now comes the real test of testosterone: whether Newsom can summon that ironclad Clintonesque charm to weather the latest scandal. My question for the Gavinator: what are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

Pros: The ever-changing cast of hotties at parties and photo ops sure dresses up society pages. No more tacky Harper’s Bazaar fashion spreads. Plenty of heavily gelled, aerodynamic-looking helmet hair. The notion of a Scientologist mayor clears rooms. We can now use that hallowed line, "Is that your Plump Jack — or are you just excited to see me?" Feeling privy to the secret life of frat boys. He’s never boring.

Cons: Kennedy comparisons are starting to grate. Clinton comparisons are starting to chafe. And there’s too much chafing in general. The ever-changing cast of hotties is starting to resemble a sale crowd riding the revolving door at Neiman. Paris Hilton?! And we won’t be shocked to see Britney Spears stumbling out of a mayoral Four Seasons suite next. He’s so predictably not boring that it’s starting to get tiresome. (Kimberly Chun)


You see them everywhere but mainly on the Muni and at medical marijuana rallies. Some of them look saintly but a little crazed, as if they see a spaceship in your hair. Others resemble your sexy-yet-matronly high school French teacher, smiling indulgently but always ready to rap your knuckles with a day-old baguette if you get your future perfects wrong. Still others seem like they can’t wait to explode with rage at … well, anything, really. All of them are lovable in a historical light. When they’re off their meds — not so much. They’re living monuments to the golden age of free love, and, as medical science advances and rent-control laws stand, they’re not going away anytime soon. (Can young people afford to move here anymore anyway?) They also have a world of sensual knowledge to impart.

Pros: Mother figures, father figures, lusty lovers, spiritual guides — these Baudelairean kickers against the pricks can do it all — and they bake a mean hash brownie to get it all started. Plus: years of experimentation have made them freaky. You may have to crank up the solar defibrillator, but they’re experts in how to "get your motor running."

Cons: Occasional bad-trip flashbacks. Always slightly wary. Strawberry-scented oxygen tanks. Pillow talk = Allen Ginsberg stories. Hairy. Half tantric. Forgot if they put out candles. Ponytail or braid can get caught in teeth. (Marke B.)


Burning Man is a sexual and emotional cauldron. Liberally mix together a world of sensory delights, a spirit of reckless abandon, beautiful exposed bodies everywhere, sudden sandstorms that send you scurrying into the nearest tent or trailer, countless peak experiences, exposure to a myriad of lifestyles and communities, and 40,000 people with time on their hands, goodwill in their hearts, and lust in their loins, and it’s no surprise that people end up hooking up left and right. This place oozes sexual energy while stripping away our emotional defenses and leaving us exposed to Cupid’s arrows.

Pros: Whatever you want, it’s here, often with no strings attached. When people come back from the playa all blissed-out and saying how it changed their lives, that’s usually not just the drugs talking. People do things they wouldn’t do in the everyday world — and then they do it again and again. And if you follow the sound advice of veteran burners to leave your expectations at home and just be open to the experience, then you’re also in the ideal place to not just get laid but truly find love. Believe it or not, I know of lots of lasting, loving marriages between people who met on the playa.

Cons: All the things that make Burning Man so conducive to sex and romance can also create problems. People get emotionally splayed by the often overwhelming nature of daily life on the playa. They’re vulnerable to everything from small slights that get exaggerated to the predators who invariably exist in any town. Couples get tested. Singles can at times feel lonely and desperate. Everybody has a few hard mornings after. And as a practical matter, dust gets everywhere — and I mean everywhere. (Steven T. Jones)


The Bay has a long and luxuriously twisted history of female sexual empowerment, full of Brights, Queens, Dodas, Califias, Blanks, Chos, and other sparkling heroines of don’t-do-it-and-die philosophy — some of whom have gone on to become heroes, even. The two major, classic phalanxes of gyno-horno-positivism to have arisen from the mists of all that groundwork are the Lusty Lady and Good Vibrations. The Lady, currently a worker-owned stripper co-op, has been baring a broad variety of intelligent, worldly-wise physical types for almost 30 years, and Good Vibrations, a women-centered chain of erotica shops that offer a plethora of workshops and training sessions for both women and men, has helped make vibrators the Tupperware of the new millennium. Despite the ubiquity of silicone enhancements and Girls Gone Wild antics in today’s culture, the Lusty Lady and Good Vibrations try to keep it real by focusing on the pleasures inherent in strong, natural femininity. In an era when guys are being forced like never before to question their physical attributes and sexual virility, thanks to size-queen porn and erectile dysfunction spam, the gals — who’ve had to deal with that kind of shit forever — may have a bit of an upper hand, self-image-wise, thanks in part to these two affirming San Francisco institutions. Not that it’s a competition.

Pros: Lusty Lady’s the best place to take your gay friends for a fabulous girls’ night out. Everything I know about labias I learned from Good Vibrations.

Cons: I have to hand-wash all my plates because my dishwasher’s usually full of Good Vibrations dildos. I have to hand-wash all my clothes because I spend all my quarters in the booths at the Lusty Lady. (Marke B.)


Right up the Peninsula from Silicon Valley, we find ourselves in techie heaven. Most of the global advances in online technology burst first and foremost from our fertile area. The bust and boom that locked the Bay in a violent coital grasp in the early ’00s exhausted us, but Web 2.0’s got us all atingle again. This time we’re sure we won’t make the same mistakes. We’ll keep it social, we’ll keep it personal. Most of all, we’ll keep it sexual. Thanks to advances in digital production and online distribution — and our wondrously pervy nature (not to mention our desirable market) — the porn industry in San Francisco has exploded. The city is now home to a majority of the biggest gay porn companies and quite a few straight and fetish ones.

The most barefaced manifestation of the lucrative intersection of porn and technology is the purchase of the ginormous Armory in the Mission by fetish header Kink.com to house its offices, studios, and online operations. (Personally, I can’t wait for them to open a Kink Café in there as well. St. Andrew’s croissandwich, anyone?) This may be a harbinger of things to come. We’re not exactly holding our collective breath for Bang Bus to take over the LucasArts HQ in the Presidio or for the former Candlestick Park to be rechristened Naked Sword Arena — but hey, it could happen. Alas, the fortuitous marriage of porn and technology may be about to hit the skids. Hi-def can reveal a whole lot of ass pimples and nipple lifts — Blu-ray killed the porn star? Then again, it might just provide more employment opportunities for digital touch-up artists. "Hey, man, what’s your new gig?" "I’m rastarizing Busty Fillips’s underarm stretch marks — full-time, plus benefits." Local HMOs are lining up.

The ever-rising tide of digital wonders raises more sensual — and sensitive — boats than porn, however. While no one’s yet perfected the vibrator–cell phone (what ringtone would I put on that? Oh yeah, Beyoncé), rest assured that some little tech elf is working fiendishly away in his or her bright pink laboratory to bring that dream to fruition. Which brings us to the new iPhone. It may not be dildo-ready, exactly — watch that touch screen! — but some of its romantic applications were immediately apparent on its unveiling here in January. What other piece of handheld technology allows a person to be rejected in so many different medias at once? Now when you want to break up with someone, you can call them, text them, and e-mail them all at the same time. Plus, you can share a break-up song on iTunes with them and even throw in a YouTube clip of yourself gently weeping to show how torn up you are inside (clip must be less than 10 minutes in duration and not imitative of copyrighted material). Send a slide show! Skype an e-card! Use PayPal to buy them a "Just Got iDumped" mug on eBay! The possibilities are infinite.

Now if only there were software that could mend a broken heart. Sigh.

Pros: Online hookups? No problem: anywhere, anytime. You don’t have to be physically present to enjoy an entire relationship. Everyone’s a winner: people unable to afford the latest gadget or upgrade get to feel more real. Soon everyone in the city will have a job at Kink.com.

Cons: Much of the Bay population is more interested in staying up all night with a two-liter of Coke, a cold pizza, and a roomful of servers than a warm body. Web 2.0 has brought a horny flood of freshly flush Googlers, Tubers, Diggers, ‘Spacers, and Mac heads on the make to already packed and overpriced Mission bars (watch for those hybrid Tundras parked on the median). You will literally go blind if you jack off to video iPod porn in the bathroom stall at work — that screen’s so small! Soon everyone in San Francisco will have a job at Kink.com. (Marke B.)

Confessions of a porn director


› culture@sfbg.com

Let’s talk about porn honestly. Porn is about making money. Despite any pretense to producing beautiful art, hot erotica, or well-crafted portrayals of masculinity at its most intense, money is what makes everybody cum. I’ve dealt with "regular" filmmakers, even fancied myself as one for a while. Yet at the end of the day I don’t believe strongly enough in the power of the movie medium to justify the expense, time, and effort it takes to create a masterful mainstream film. So I’ve ended up, at least for the moment, in porn.

I find myself endlessly justifying my passion for it: making porn is work, and many days are filled with anger and frustration and often a kind of empty feeling in my guts. But I couldn’t imagine another employment opportunity that would offer me as much as porn does. I’ve been at this for three years so far, although it feels like much longer. I’ve been behind the camera for a little more than two years and directing for one. I’ve been to Hawaii and Brazil and spent a few too many days in Palm Springs. I’ve been inches from some of the most famous pricks in the world. (And when I say pricks, I mean it.)

Sex has always been a motivating factor in my life, at least since I discovered it. I remember vividly the blacked-out magazines in the back of bookstores being so appealing and the first time I convinced a straight man to pose naked for my photographs. Our culture prepares us from moment one to objectify beauty; now it’s what I do for a living.

For many gay guys, my job is a dream: getting to see naked men every day with hard-ons having all kinds of sex. Yes, sometimes I even get to touch them. I’ve already reached the point in my career where I’ve been accused a few times of playing casting couch. For those who want to know, I only deny it as much as I have to. I’ve had sex with a few models in my day, I admit it, but never with the purpose of waving around my power as a director and almost always after a shoot, not before.

Men can be beautiful, I promise — and porn can produce a kind of beauty. As a director, I get to pick out human objects, place them together in an artificial space, and film them doing hot things. In my mind, making porn — and films in general — is all about telling lies. I don’t feel bad about lying; it’s what we all do to get by. But porn lies are the best kind. They’re called fantasies.

I won’t deny the downside of these fantasies. Porn creates false expectations of what people should look like. It creates false ideas about class and gender. As a director who has just received a nomination for Best Ethnic (Latin) Movie, I feel especially involved in the issue of race in porn. It’s extremely complicated. I could easily get lost in an academic discussion about representation and its effect on the audience. There’s plenty of theories about the video medium as a one-to-many distribution method, inherently disempowering the viewer and subjugating pretty much everyone involved. All these theories and thoughts may be valid, but I don’t know too much about that kind of stuff. I will say that race in my profession has come up many times in many different situations. There are considerations of who appeals to whom and how to avoid racial stereotypes while dealing with the fact that they often get men hard. I don’t have any answers, but I do have lots of questions and concerns.

Our models come in all shapes and sizes: from PhDs to high school dropouts, hookers to weekend fetishists. There are divas, down-to-earth daddies, and everyone in between. Some may be pumped up on various substances, but most are pumped up on nothing more than having a chance to be the sexual person they are inside for an appreciative audience.

A lot of people consume porn. But it’s not a subject people talk about at the watercooler — it’s something more personal. Porn touches people in a different head space, when they are aroused and distracted, when something instinctual is hitting them. Porn is about sex, and sex is why we are all here. *

Ben Leon is an editor-videographer and director for Raging Stallion Studios (www.ragingstallion.com). This year he received five nominations for the GayVN Awards, the Oscars of gay porn, which will be held in San Francisco on Feb. 24.

When the lights go down


Now that our winter festivals have ended, taking their candle-lighting rituals with them, we are left with winter’s deep and early darkness. We are left with it even in restaurants, many of which seem to be increasingly dim and shadowy, and how are you supposed to read a menu in such brown-out conditions? If you’re lucky, your table is set with a votive candle, which you can pass back and forth, like boys in a tree house sharing a flashlight to ogle purloined porn. If you’re luckier, someone in your party might have one of those little Sharper Image squeeze lights that attach to key chains.

If you’re not lucky at all, you just squint and struggle in the gloom and wonder why a restaurant with a mood-lighting fetish would also choose to print its menu in black ink on crimson paper or in gold ink on taupe paper. These sorts of combinations might look very handsome and arty in daylight or under ordinary room lighting, but for some of us they become unreadable when the lights go down. Are restaurant staff testing these objects in battle conditions? If so, the testers must be people in their 20s, people whose rods and cones are still working at peak efficiency. We higher-mileage models can tell you, though, that at some point well before dementia and having your driver’s license revoked, you will find that seeing in dim light has become a challenge undreamed of in your barfly days.

How about menu cards printed in big letters in black ink on plain white paper? If it matters, the paper can have a nice texture or maybe some beautiful border design. The font can even be striking and fancy (though not too much, please!) Such a menu card might turn out to look like an overachiever’s résumé, but at least it will be readable — a key consideration for the people who hope to order from it.

Erratum: a reader wrote to point out that my recent piece about the Portuguese soup caldo verde ("Hot Green," 1/24/07) bungled the translation. "Caldo" means "soup" or "broth" — ergo, "caldo verde" means "green soup." The Latin root "cal" does mean "heat," though, and from it we take our words "cauldron" (for the making of green and other soups) and "calorie," counters of which will find much to appreciate in caldo verde.

Paul Reidinger

› paulr@sfbg.com

Valentine’s Day events



"Amor del Mar" Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39, Embarcadero at Bay; 623-5323, www.aquariumofthebay.com. Wed/14, 7pm, $125 single, $200 couple. Support the nonprofit Aquarium of the Bay Foundation during this romantic evening featuring cocktails, culinary delights, and a live salsa band.

"Cupid Stunt — Club Neon’s Third Annual Valentine’s Day Underwear Party" Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell; 861-2011, www.neonsf.com. Wed/14, 9pm, $10. A chance to dance with no pants, featuring DJs, a lingerie fashion show and trunk sale by designer Danielle Rodriguez, and Valentine’s visuals by Chris Golden.

"Isn’t It Romantic: New Connections Valentine’s Day Benefit Concert" Castro Theatre, 429 Castro; www.newconnections.org. Wed/14, 7:30pm, $20. Local chanteuse Nancy Gilliland sings love songs from the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s to benefit New Connections’ HIV/AIDS healthcare services. Tickets available via www.ticketweb.com.

"Love Your Way to Abolition: Party with Saint Valentine" El Rio, 3158 Mission; www.elriosf.com. Thurs/15, 6pm, $5-50. This benefit for Justice Now, an organization that works with incarcerated women and local communities to build a safe, compassionate world without prisons, will feature speakers and live music.

"Pink’s Valentine’s Party: Cupid’s Back" 296 Liberty; www.pinkmag.com. Sat/10, 8pm, $25. This party will raise funds to support the GLBT Historical Society’s world-class archives of queer history. Romance tips given by Clint Griess, life coach on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and an open bar provided by Bulldog Gin and Peroni Beer. Space is limited.

"Randall Museum Presents a Valentine’s Day Sex Tour" Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way; 554-9600, www.randallmuseum.org. Thurs/15, 7:30pm, free, donations encouraged. Guest speaker Jane Tollini of the San Francisco Zoo leads an entertaining and educational romp through the wild kingdom, featuring fairly explicit photos and her own blend of knowledge and humor.

"Sea of Love Scavenger Hunt" California Academy of Sciences, 875 Howard; 321-8000, www.calacademy.org. Sat/10-Thurs/15, 10am-5pm, free with museum admission. Embark on a self-guided scavenger hunt to find the museum’s most amorous creatures and earn fun prizes. G-rated tours available for children.

"The Sweet Cheat Gone — a Free Public Street Game" Meet at corner of Steuart and Market; www.sfzero.org. Sat/10, 7pm, free. Participants take sides in the prosecution of a defendant accused of committing a crime. Teams will travel by foot, bike, or Muni (no cars or taxis) to various San Francisco locations, competing with each other to collect or destroy evidence and prove their case.

"Valentines, Fashion, and You" Nordstrom San Francisco Center, 865 Market; 243-8500, ext 1240. Sat/10, 12pm, free. Event features live models, the hottest fashions in lingerie, refreshments, and prize drawings. Space is limited to the first 100 who RSVP to the number listed above.

"The Vampire Tour of San Francisco" Meet at corner of California and Taylor; (650) 279-1840 (reservations), www.sfvampiretour.com. Wed/14, 8pm, $15-20. Spend Valentine’s Day in the company of a vampire, and take an amorous walk through beautiful Nob Hill. A few special guests are dying to meet you.

"Woo at the Zoo" San Francisco Zoo; Sloat Blvd at 47th St; 753-7263, www.sfzoo.org. Sun/11, 12pm, Tues/13-Wed/14, 6pm, $70. This new and dynamic multimedia event provides an entertaining approach to the erotic life of animals, including how they choose their mates and raise their families. The 90-minute tour features up-close animal encounters and romantic refreshments. Admission includes presentation, refreshments, parking, and zoo admission.


"Have a Heart" MOCHA — Museum of Children’s Art, 528 Ninth St, Oakl; 510-465-8770, www.mocha.org. Sat/10-Sun/11, 1pm-4pm, $5 per child. Make a papier-mâché heart sculpture or a lacy wire heart mobile and design unique cards for your loved ones.

"Nils Peterson’s Valentine’s Day Poetry Reading" Le Petit Trianon Theatre, 72 N Fifth St, San Jose; www.pcsj.org. Wed/14, 5:30pm, $10 includes glass of wine. The Poetry Center San Jose presents Nils Peterson, whose long literary career includes a 30-year tenure teaching creative writing at San Jose State University. Also featuring Sally Ashton.

"Saint Valentine’s Day Poetry Reading" Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru, Alameda; (510) 523-6957, www.frankbettecenter.org. Wed/14, 7pm, free. Alameda’s poet laureate Mary Ridge and others will read about people they have loved and welcomed.

"Week of Valentines at Habitot Children’s Museum" Habitot Children’s Museum, 2065 Kittredge, Berk; (510) 647-1111, www.habitot.org. Wed/7-Wed/14, $6 per child and $5 for accompanying adult. Add your unique artistic touch to a large heart sculpture and create handmade Valentine cards for your family and loved ones using recycled materials at this award-winning discovery museum for young adults.


"BATS Improv Special Valentine’s Day Performance" Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason Center, bldg B, Marina at Laguna; 474-8935, www.improv.com. Wed/14, 8pm, $10 advance, $15 at the door. In the first half of the show, audience suggestions will spark scenes and improv games that illustrate the humor in romance. In the second half, the audience will supply a title and a theme for an improvised story that will be created on the spot by BATS’s improv troupe.

"Club Chuckles Presents: Soft Rock vs. Smooth Jazz Valentine’s Day Bash" Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk; 923-0923, www.hemlocktavern.com. Wed/14, 9pm, $5. A battle of the bands that pits the forces of soft rock against smooth jazz, as played by bands Cool Nites and the Sound Painters, respectively. Moderated by comedy duo Carole Murphy and Mitzi Fitzsimmons, who will also dispense advice to the lovelorn and romantically challenged.

"Love Bites the Hand That Feeds It" Theatre Rhinoceros, 2940 16th St; 861-5079, www.therhino.org. Fri/9-Sat/10, 8pm, $15-$30. The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco presents its annual anti-Valentine’s Day cabaret. Both evenings feature a variety of solo, duet, and group performances and will include a fifty-fifty raffle. The Feb. 10 event features a live auction.

"The Love Show by the Un-Scripted Theater Company" Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason; www.un-scripted.com. Wed/14, 8pm, $15-40. "The Love Show" will feature songs, scenes, and love-themed fun, all completely improvised. Couples and singles are encouraged to come. (There will even be a "quirky alone" seating section.)

"Mortified: Doomed Valentine’s Show" Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St; www.makeoutroom.com. Fri/16-Sat/17, 8pm, $12. Frequently featured on This American Life, Mortified is a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, poems, letters, lyrics, and home movies), as shared by their original authors. More information at www.getmortified.com.

"Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad" Red Devil Lounge, 1695 Polk; www.nicejewishgirlsgonebad.com. Wed/14, 9pm, $12. Featuring comedy, music, spoken word, and burlesque from performers seen on Comedy Central, HBO, and MTV. These girls thrill everyone but their mothers.

"Valentine’s Day Film Program: Labor of Love" Exploratorium, McBean Theater, 3601 Lyon; www.exploratorium.edu. Sat/10, 2pm, free with museum admission. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the Exploratorium presents a program of short, expressive films about people who love what they do.


"Comedy Night in Novato" Pacheco Playhouse, 484 Ignacio Blvd, Novato; 883-4498, www.pachecoplayhouse.org. Wed/14, 6:30pm and 8:30pm, $15. Local comics bring levity to this most romantic of nights. A champagne celebration will close the evening.

"Valentine’s Day Comedy with Johnny Steele and Pals" Village Theater, 223 Front, Danville; (925) 314-3400; www.johnnysteele.com; Wed/14, 8pm, $18. Winner of the San Francisco International Comedy Competition, Johnny Steele has been plying his trade for nearly 20 years. A cavalcade of comics joins him for the third annual event.



"All Heart" Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby, Berk; (510) 644-4930, www.expressionsgallery.org. Fri/10, 6pm, free. A collaborative art show with Children’s Hospital Oakland and Art for Life Foundation. The show runs through March 9. Presenting the work of patients participating in Art for Life programs as part of their care and rehabilitation. *

Believe the buzz


› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Signed to Frenetic Records and publicized by Fanatic Promotion, local boys–made–groovy the Makes Nice are surprisingly mellow. Perhaps they’ve been consorting with a resurrected British freakbeat muse — it’s been "more relaxed than you’d think, given the name and all," vocalist-guitarist Josh Smith writes via e-mail, discussing the group’s deal with Frenetic. The San Francisco label — also home to releases by one of Smith’s previous bands, the Fucking Champs — is proving an ideal base for these kind and raucous rockers. Their debut, Candy Wrapper and 12 Other Songs, is a head rush without the dizziness. Think honey versus synthetic sweeteners, Tartine Bakery’s shimmering morning buns versus Costco’s limp croissants.

Throughout Candy Wrapper there’s a certain calm — call it the clarity that comes with good ole musicianship. Phil Manley of Trans Am expertly engineered the album at Lucky Cat, and he emphasized how the jazzlike rapport among the players helps the ripping guitar solos become play-it-again hooks, while the drum beats groove like funky piano solos. "I always know that your opinions are stale / When you say fresh, I know it’s fucking stale / And it don’t mean nothing at all," the boys harmonize smoothly over staccato syncopation on the title track. On "As Long As I Can" a crowded drumbeat that could throw off lesser percussionists dances in the agile hands of Jack Matthew (also a member of Harold Ray Live in Concert). When I compare the vocals on "Anna Karina" to those of punk groups on Fat Wreck Chords, Smith responds, "They were supposed to have been stolen from Les Fleur de Lys, Powder, SRC, and maybe the Everly Brothers." The members of the Makes Nice don’t have SRC’s fantastic hair, but the Mothballs’ Aaron Burnham plays bass that would stand strong in any decade of rock.

But how to describe the nature of this superfun trio? A mandolin is subtle and effective because of its double strings. So maybe we could label the Makes Nice a double trio, though they would prefer either a ragingly ridiculous moniker or none at all. "If it’s cool, I would prefer to call my songs post-techstep neofreakbeat," Smith jokes. "I’d call Aaron’s songs anachronistic Spartacus watchband croon-wop. I’d consider Jack’s songs to be hybrid vapor-wetware tragicomedy…." Maybe they play un–surf rock for those who don’t like genre surf rock and don’t know how to surf. "I wish we could play surf music," Burnham writes, pretending to brood. "We sorta tried and failed."

I like to blame the vicious surf gangs in Santa Cruz for stymieing my surfing education. But honestly, I was just as happy to bodysurf in safer spots and then — sunned, exhausted, and deliriously happy (remember that time before laptops?) — find a big smooth rock and rest on it, reading comics. Eventually, I added a Walkman to this scene, then a lover. The Makes Nice capture such windswept feelings in the tunes "She Don’t Ever Let Go" and "California Sun."

Talented local artist Hellen Jo (www.helllllen.org — that’s five l’s) designed Candy Wrapper ‘s cover, an eye-grabbing minicomic depicting a terrible car accident. "I met Hellen about five years ago while we were both students at UC Berkeley, and we’ve pretty much been friends and mutual fans ever since," Burnham writes. "We sent her a few songs with lyrics and asked her to choose one to depict with a minicomic for the cover. And she did, exceeding all of our expectations. We emptied out the band piggy bank for her, of course."

Likewise, Candy Wrapper speaks clearly to a graphic-novel generation that sees stories in everything. Along with such similar punky doo-woppers as the Tralala, the Makes Nice are building a bridge recalling the missing link that the original freakbeat bands provided to psych rock in the 1960s. A bridge to what? Duh, to whatever is next. *


With the Moore Brothers and Miguel Zelaya

Feb. 14, 9 p.m., $8

Make-Out Room

3225 22nd St., SF

(415) 647-2888




Just bounce to this


› a&eletters@sfbg.com

While the majority of techno and house music producers have been obsessed recently with exploring their genre’s ’80s and ’90s origins via time-warp disco maneuvers, a select few dance connoisseurs have been making great leaps into the future. London artist Dave Taylor, who records as Switch for Freerange Records and his own Dubsided imprint, is at the forefront of pogoing, digitally chopped-up house music that sounds more like 2080 than 1980. Taylor makes electrifyingly twisted house tracks, tunes that mercilessly slice samples into slivers and glue them together with a torrent of liquid bass. This is not your daddy’s house music, but it could be a robot society’s soundtrack. Taylor’s currently constructing tracks for M.I.A.’s new album and remixing Diddy, but this lunatic’s music roots go back further.

Taylor burst onto the underground dance charts in 2003 under the alias Solid Groove with his 3-Stylin’ EP for occasional collaborator Graeme Sinden’s Loungin’ Recordings. The disc’s title would prove descriptive for Taylor’s hybrid broken beat–techno–house grooves, which were fleshed out on the singles and remixes that followed. In 2004 and 2005, Taylor went into warp speed, catching the global DJ community off guard with innovative productions for Freerange such as "Get Ya Dub On" and "Get On Downz."

These singles sounded like no others at the time, taking the meticulous hyperedit philosophy of glitch techno and souping it up with bouncy bottom-end bass influenced by Taylor’s sound system–rich Ladbroke Grove, London, surroundings. Today Taylor leads the ranks of a growing British house revolution that includes wild innovators such as Jesse Rose, Trevor Loveys, Jamie Anderson, and Will Saul.

It hasn’t take long for others in his native city to take notice. Freerange founder Jamie "Jimpster" Odell thinks Taylor is the hardest-working producer he knows and also an anomaly: an artist able to make fucked-up and twisted tracks accessible to the masses. Obviously, the assessment is accurate, judging by the volumes of DJ mix compilations and remix credits (Busta Rhymes, Basement Jaxx, Chemical Brothers) Taylor has racked up in the past three years. Odell also thinks Taylor’s success is instinctive, noting that "he [knows] what makes people freak on the dance floor but listens to so much different stuff all the time, he’ll never get stuck in a rut."

Solid Groove numbers such as "This Is Sick" and Switch tracks like "Just Bounce to This" are propelled by low-slung kick drums; thick, wobbly bass frequencies; and a blender full of chopped vocal samples that reference everything from Timbaland-style hip-hop to the sonic expanses of digital pop culture. Taylor’s sounds pan across the audio spectrum and rebound in your head like bingo balls in a tumbler. It’s easy to get worked up by a Switch set on the dance floor and wonder where three hours just went. But how do you sell Switch to a skeptical Bay Area audience?

Local DJs Qzen (née Susan Langan) and Bryan James of Moxie Musik recognized Taylor’s appeal and arranged to bring Switch to Mezzanine. The former describes Taylor’s recent remixes of the Futureheads and Lily Allen as twisted, jackin’ house that will drive a floor mad if dropped at the right time, and although she’s pioneered Switch and similar artists on her West Add Radio show (Sun., 9–11 p.m., 93.7 FM, westaddradio.com), she says she has a hard time finding words to describe his signature clatter. James chimes in that Taylor makes cut-up house loaded with quirky samples and boombastic bass, which is about as accurate a narrative portrait as you’ll get. Switch makes music you have to experience rather than talk about. *


With Claude VonStroke

Feb. 15, 9 p.m., $10


444 Jessie, SF

(415) 625-8880



Space disco disks



Imagine Klaus Nomi’s more butch and less robotic brother riding the peaks and valleys of a Giorgio Moroder blip roller coaster, and you have a glimpse of the personality of this EP by Bernard Fevre, who sure looks cute in the (circa late ’70s?) photo foldout within its shiny black jewel box. Was all of 28 After recorded 28 years ago, when Fevre was influencing what would become acid house, or was it spruced up recently? Whatever the answer, its six tracks are a treat. "I regret the flower power," the Parisian Fevre claims in the chorus of one song, but he shouldn’t regret the disco in its wake.


Even though it has one of the tag’s two words in its title, I’m not sure this shy singer’s gorgeous album qualifies as space disco. It could just as easily be deemed classic synth pop, with an emphasis on classic — which means something, considering how synthy and poppy it is from start to finish. Fans of St. Etienne and Annie should run out and buy it before they’ve finished reading this sentence. Everyone else should give one listen to writer-producer Johan Agebjörn’s "I Know" and see if it’s possible to resist the song’s charms, which are as immense as Shapiro’s voice is petite. Early contender for album of the year.


Gotta love the floating toothy black-lipsticked mouths on the high-gloss cover of this album by Annie’s roommate, Baard Lødemel. The title of "Holidays on Ice in Space" shows the Bergen, Norway, producer has a sense of camp humor, while the hovering sound of "Caravan" suggests that he’s Aphex Twin’s glitter ball–loving other half. Another highlight is "Boyvox," on which the vox in question is breathy. A word (via the liner notes) from the man himself: "This record is best experienced on a portable music player, or an evening walk in your nearest forest or park."


Italo disco is space disco’s illegitimate, polysexual parent. Disc one of this two-disc tribute to a top label largely showcases drag-ready originals such as N.O.I.A.’s "True Love" and Fawzia’s "Please Don’t Be Sad," though Radio Slave makes an excellent, shuddering cameo. The overall peak has to be Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas’s rock-powered remix of Answering Service’s "Call Me Mr. Telephone" on disc two. It adds a new bass line, guitar hook, and keyboard phrasing that rise in tension John Carpenter–style. It also condenses and enhances the best bits from the track’s female vocal, which plays like some modern Italian misunderstanding of "Please Mr. Postman." Viva Italo disco.


Metro Area, Kelley Polar Quartet. (Huston)

2007: a disco odyssey


› johnny@sfbg.com

What is space disco? Well, it’s a term some people have thrown around when the music of Hans-Peter Lindstrøm is written about or discussed. What does the man from Oslo, Norway, think of the two-word catchphrase? "I guess the good thing is that some people are telling me, ‘Hey, man, you invented a genre,’ " he says, speaking from Oslo and capping the remark with a characteristic quiet, slightly jittery laugh. "If people think about it that way, it’s fine for me, because I get mentioned. But I think it’s limiting in terms of my music. In my opinion, disco with space elements, lots of laser beams — " he laughs again " — is not a wide genre."

Space disco might not be a wide genre, but Lindstrøm, who’s released 12-inch singles under his last name since 2003 for his own Feedelity label, has provided many of its highlights, recently collected on the compilation It’s a Feedelity Affair. One example is "I Feel Space," a sonic floating shuttle with a title that seemingly plays off the epically orgasmic Giorgio Moroder–produced Donna Summer classic from 1977, "I Feel Love." Another is "Gentle as a Giant," a rhythmic percolator that goes so far as to incorporate the same signature opening trinitarian chords of Richard Strauss’s Thus Spake Zarathustra that Stanley Kubrick utilized in the score of his 1968 cinematic astro classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. As to whether the latter is a joking response to the space disco tag, Lindstrøm pleads innocence. "I just really like [Strauss’s] theme," he says.

Space disco might not even be a genre. But assuming it exists, Lindstrøm has also stepped far outside it, as on a 2005 collaboration with a fellow Oslo musician, Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas (Eskimo Recordings). That album’s expansive leanings are pastoral rather than interstellar. Beginning with a seemingly endless hit from a bong, "Don O Van Budd" sends autumnal wordless harmonies across acoustic plains with an easygoing charm Yo La Tengo might envy.

Asked about music that has emerged from Norway in recent years, Lindstrøm divides it according to city, saying he’s met the Bergen-based Annie and her roommate Skatebard and regularly communicates with fellow Oslo residents such as Thomas and the much sought-after remixer Todd Terje. "He’s one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to contemporary music," Lindstrøm says of the latter. But it’s a mistake to view Lindstrøm’s music in strictly contemporary terms. He was raised on country and western. He shares a multi-instrumental, unconventional approach to disco with the late Arthur Russell, whose Dinosaur recordings he especially enjoys. Many tracks on It’s a Feedelity Affair lock into rock-ready and steady live drum beats and bass lines that wouldn’t be out of place on a record by Neu! or Can.

On Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas‘s "Turkish Delight," Lindstrøm unwinds a Holger Czukay–like lengthy guitar solo — one ingredient, safe to say, that qualifies as a rarity on club tracks. Around the time of the Thomas collaboration’s release, Lindstrøm wasn’t averse to name-checking folks such as Yngwie Malmsteen in an interview and was full of praise for the fuzzed-out solo in the Carpenters’ "Goodbye to Love." But he’s since entered a minimal phase. "I’ve been touring and traveling, playing my music for other people at clubs, and for many people some of the early stuff is too inaccessible," he says. "I’ve been trying to make my music more simple, hopefully without losing what’s important."

It’s around this time that I hear a child crying in the background on Lindstrøm’s end of the line. As he continues to describe his musical approach — "I really like the combination of organic sounds, such as guitar, with digital programming" — the cries grow louder and contort into shrieks.

"Just a minute — can I call you back?" he asks.

Half an hour and one call later, peace has been restored. "My son really wanted to talk to me," Lindstrøm explains, a bit of embarrassment and pride mixed up in the words. Our conversation soon wanders to the subject of his studio. "It’s not like a professional studio. I’ve just installed all my equipment — and I don’t have that much — in a room," he says. "As you know, since we had to interrupt our conversation because of my kid, sometimes I have to go somewhere else."

Like a personal space? Certainly, space is important — Lindstrøm knows this more than most musicians working today. Space disco may not be a wide genre, and it may not exist, but Lindstrøm’s best recordings engage with notions of space in a way that multiplies the word’s meanings. As he jokes, the term can conjure literal images of melodies played on laser beams, and indeed, some of his songs do exactly that. But if that’s what space disco is or can be, the form was probably invented by Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Charting realms far from Star Wars kitsch, Lindstrøm uses a much more contemporary disco sound to manipulate notions of space. With — and even without — dub techniques, he expands the dimensions of a song’s sound so the melodies seem to travel into a neon and pitch-black eternity.

This approach is cinematic, really, as that 2001: A Space Odyssey link within "Gentle as a Giant" might suggest. "Hey, wait a minute," I think to myself as I hang up the phone. "Don’t the liner notes of A Feedelity Affair imagine Lindstrøm giving a track-by-track movie pitch to 2046 director Wong Kar Wai?"

It’s a link worth exploring. I’d call Lindstrøm back and ask him about it, but I don’t want to come between him and his son. *


With Carl Craig, Gamall, and ML Tronik and TK Disco

Fri/9, 10 p.m.–4 a.m., $12 advance


444 Jessie, SF



Strive for More Music Showcase


LOCAL LIVE The art of soul singing is far from dead, even if it’s taken a backseat to hip-hop. The current chart successes of R&B singers such as Akon and Mary J. Blige surely provide proof of soul’s vitality, as does the fact that most of the strongest contestants on American Idol, both black and white, are immersed in the tradition. Used to be, however, that budding Bay Area soul singers had plenty of clubs at which to hone their skills in public. Such opportunities have largely vanished, and today many singers perform only inside recording studios while working on landing deals. A few get their contracts, but if the product fizzles, no one is likely ever to hear them, aside from friends and family.

Maxwell’s Lounge, a downtown Oakland supper club with a predominantly upscale African American clientele, is one of the few venues now presenting live R&B vocalists once a week. Local favorites such as Maya Azucena and Michael Cheadle appear at "R&B Fridays," booked by Kerry Fiero, whose Strive Management has worked in the past with R&B divas Ledisi and Goapele. On Jan. 26, Fiero presented the first of a projected quarterly showcase featuring three Northern California vocalists who had impressed her at a music camp in Los Angeles last summer.

Neither Rozzi Crane nor Taylor Thompson had ever performed in a club, which is understandable since both are 15. Crane, a Christina Aguilera–inspired siren from San Francisco, hit the stage first with a three-song set predominantly of oldies: Gladys Knight’s "If I Were Your Woman," Brandy’s "Baby," and the blues standard "Call It Stormy Monday." She was solidly backed, as were the other participants, by Clear Soul, a jazz-imbued quartet that is especially distinguished by member Quetzal Guerrero, who alternates between acoustic guitar, congas, and electric violin. Though her cadenza on the blues was overwrought, Crane has alto pipes that are remarkably pliant, and her phrasing at times suggested an Anita Baker influence. She shows much promise and is currently working on a demo with Sundra Manning, Ledisi’s former musical director, now Prince’s organist.

Fairfield resident Thompson followed, singing R. Kelly’s "I Believe I Can Fly" and two other numbers in a chilling high tenor that could have been mistaken for a falsetto if his speaking voice weren’t in the same register. Unfortunately, as Randy Jackson might say, Thompson was rather "pitchy." Not so for 31-year-old Nikko Ellison. The Suisun City vocalist, who regularly performs as a member of the United States Air Force Band’s rock and jazz ensembles, effortlessly moved between a soaring falsetto and a ringing lower tenor during a set of songs associated with Usher, Stevie Wonder, Robin Thicke, and Brian McKnight, as well as one of his own. Spine-chilling melismata and Sam Cooke–like yodels were employed in service of the material, never ostentatiously, and Ellison worked the crowd like a pro, falling on his knees at one point to croon to a group of women at a front table. It was a most auspicious club debut. (Lee Hildebrand)

STRIVE FOR MORE MUSIC SHOWCASE April 27, 8 p.m. Maxwell’s Lounge, 341 13th St., Oakl. Call for price. (510) 839-6169, www.maxwellslounge.com


Brutal fucking movie


› a&eletters@sfbg.com

A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course. And no one can talk to a corpse, of course. Unless, of course, that corpse is brought to you by the famous Mr. David Lynch. In this case the corpse gets up and shuffles away, walking the earth like something out of a Samuel Beckett play directed by George Romero.

My thirty-three-year practice of the Transcendental Meditation program has been central to my work in film and painting and to all areas of my life.

"Are you looking for an opening?" Look over here, if you dare, and make your entrée through a tableau of rabbit-headed domesticity complete with sitcom-style applause and a laugh track inserted at decidedly odd moments. Entrances and exits are everything in Inland Empire, which takes place in a universe so slippery your front door may no longer open into your living room but rather into a dark alleyway — and your identity might change if you step through.

So in July 1973 I went to the TM Center in Los Angeles and met an instructor, and I liked her. She looked like Doris Day.

"You have a new role to play?" Yes, you do, at the place where evil was born; your creepy new neighbor is more than happy to warn you of your imminent danger even as you stride around the ornate mansion that you and your violently jealous husband occupy. No matter, though. That new role is your big break, and your star turn in On High in Blue Tomorrows could mean you’ve finally stepped over the threshold into that magical land "where stars and dreams come true." Not coincidentally, it’s also where evil was born — and where hammy Southern accents go to die.

I call that depression and anger the Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit of Negativity. It’s suffocating, and that rubber stinks.

Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 fantasy is Lynch’s almost three-hour New Nightmare, both a film and a studio lot overrun with elliptical numerical references: stages 4, 5, 6, 32, and 35; page 57. Where are we? Hollywood or Poland? And what time is it exactly? Is it 9:45 or just after midnight? Is it real time or remembered time, those two warring temporal spaces at the core of so many film noirs? Douglas Sirk–ian blue tomorrows are always just out of reach, but this is a rare instance in which the answer It’s only a movie isn’t very comforting — both viewers and characters seem trapped in a hellish real or imagined world that Lynch himself can’t or won’t explain. One thing is for certain: if you’re running along the Walk of Fame, it’s safe to say you’re in danger.

It’s so magical — I don’t know why — to go into a theater and have the lights go down. It’s very quiet, and then the curtains start to open. Maybe they’re red. And you go into a world…. It’s best on a big screen. That’s the way to go into a world.

Oh yes, Inland Empire was shot entirely on digital video. And it’s not that fancy-shmancy digital either. No, it’s crap digital. But it’s glorious crap — at once making the horror more potently ugly and profane and lending it the quality of gauzy impressionism. By the 4,000th squashed close-up of Laura Dern’s twisted face, you’re thinking there’s nothing so grotesque as a degraded image — see YouTube, tweaked-out coverage of the Iraq War. Then Lynch’s digital expressionism rallies, the incandescent flares of pixilated light at the twilight’s last gleaming. Everything is illuminated unless it’s not. A cut is not a cut but rather a buzzing lightbulb; a long shot is not a long shot but instead a menacing corridor.

I love Los Angeles.

Delivering her lines like a long-lost relative of Maria Ouspenskaya in The Wolf Man and lensed and styled to look like a cross between Jane Wyman and an evil squirrel, Grace Zabriskie plays the ultimate nosy neighbor — one who inaugurates this pleasure and boredom zone by opening a window into the leading lady’s future. Her director has a digital-video eye for combinations of lemon and gray as well as cheap Pepto-Bismol pinks and barf tones — he can make a palatial mansion look as grim as Eraserhead‘s dead living room. This is a movie about the horror of set design, the terror of lamps. Lynch can’t help but look for and stare down the rabbit hole, that spot where it’s hard to disappear, that place just down the way, the space that’s tucked back, difficult to see from the road — the lost highway that connects to the dark hallway and the innumerable nooks and crannies of negative space. As always, he fixates on the sinister brutality in pop’s lexicon; this time, instead of candy-colored clowns tiptoeing into bedrooms, it’s hearts wrapped up in clover.

It was the light that brought everybody to LA to make films in the early days. It’s still a beautiful place.

Is Inland Empire really The Passion of Laura Dern? Yes, this is Dern’s movie, her face being cut up in nearly every scene ("brutal fucking murder," as one character puts it), and Laura, what do you make of it? Are you in there? A spotlight trained on you, long and lean, running horizontally through the night in silent slow-motion, then toward the camera, then fast, then screaming like Rita Hayworth in the mirrors at the end of The Lady from Shanghai, but for three hours. Come back, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, Gene Tierney and Mary Pickford, Judy Garland and Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Fontaine and Natalie Wood, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe: Lynch wants to make you stars again! A coast-to-coast search will soon be under way for the shot-for-shot remake of Inland Empire.

And sometimes things happen on the set that make you start dreaming.

No doubt, as the fate-strapped actress Nikki Grace, Dern makes an exquisite corpse. Oh, wait — she’s actually Susan Blue, Nikki’s alter ego and the character she plays in her latest film, a Southern potboiler that also stars Devon Berk (Justin Theroux) as Billy Side. Susan wanders through her fever dream screaming desperately for Billy, who always seems to be around the next darkly lit corner but rarely materializes. As the giant talking bunnies say, it all has "something to do with the telling of time." Of course, Nikki and Susan might have just fused into some kind of Lynchian-Freudian beast. The infamous Lynch psychofugue. It’s an assumption borne out by a third Dern personality, a ball-busting broad with a mysterious bruise on her lower lip who permanently totes a rusty screwdriver.

What struck me about O.J. Simpson was that he was able to smile and laugh.

Dern’s performance is like a disco ball in a hall of mirrors; it’s rarely clear which character she’s playing, but she’s never less than entirely committed. One minute she’s a kittenish starlet, long legs stretched out across a sun-drenched gazebo. The next she’s a haggard has-been with a busted lip, climbing a set of dingy steps into a dark office, where she tells the man seated there — who is he exactly? And who’s he talking to on the phone? — about how she once thwarted a rapist by plucking out one of his eyeballs.

I don’t necessarily love rotting bodies, but there’s a texture to a rotting body that is unbelievable. Have you ever seen a little rotted animal?

"Hey — look at me and tell me if you’ve known me before." This line repeats throughout Inland Empire, and yeah — there’s definitely David Lynch déjà vu at work here: Mulholland Drive‘s twisted Tinseltown, Twin Peaks‘ slutty-girl world, Blue Velvet‘s dark suburbia, Wild at Heart‘s seedy glamour and endless Dern worship. Plus the inevitably singular moments: Where, before or since, has a splattered bottle of ketchup foreshadowed a murder? Committed on the exact square foot of cement that encases Dorothy Lamour’s Hollywood Boulevard star?

I love seeing people come out of darkness.

Just as it’s tempting to view Mulholland Drive‘s semiuseless dude passages as a simple opportunity for Lynch to spank Quentin Tarantino, this time around his humane take on Eastern Europe might be a genial yet hostile retort to Eli Roth. The director himself won’t say anything about his movies or their influences — he’ll never fess up that Mulholland Drive is essentially Carnival of Souls moved from Salt Lake City to showbiz central, even if one of Inland Empire‘s most terrifying moments echoes the zombies-running-at-the-camera shock tactics of Herk Harvey’s 1962 cult classic. (The scariest Dern close-up adds more voltage to the peak jolt of Takeshi Shimizu’s video version of Ju-on, which goes to show, what comes around goes around.) Inland Empire‘s new capitalist whores might be talking with or back to the ones in Lukas Moodysson’s Lilya 4-Ever and Ilya Khrjanovsky’s 4, a recent movie with an amazing sound design overrun by Lynchian subsonic rumbles.

Fellini had me sit down. He was in a little wheelchair between two beds, and he took my hand, and we sat and talked for half an hour…. That was Friday night, and Sunday he went into a coma and never came out.

Inland Empire is more than long enough to have some dodgy or cringeworthy moments, which include a fair amount of bad acting by models, the jarring soundtrack misfire — rare for Lynch — of Beck’s "Black Tambourine," and a final lip sync of Nina Simone’s "Sinnerman." No one can double for the late Dr. Simone! But Dern, her dirty strands of hair looking like facial wrinkles and bruises, can double over endlessly. By the time she’s on Hollywood Boulevard, caught between a young female junkie and a homeless untouchable calmly discussing how to get the bus to Pomona, she’s suffered a shattering fall from the confines of her lavish, hermetically sealed estate in the recesses of the Inland Empire (both the one in her zip code and the one in her mind).

I went to a psychiatrist once.

"You gotta swing your hips, now. Come on, baby. Jump up. Jump back. Well, now, I think you’ve got the knack. Now that you can do it, let’s make a chain, now. (Come on baby, do the Loco-motion.) A chug-a chug-a motion like a railroad train, now. (Come on baby, do the Loco-motion.) Do it nice and easy, now, don’t lose control: a little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul. So come on, come on, do the Loco-motion with me."

So I say: Peace to all of you. *

All the sentences in italics are from Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, by David Lynch (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006).


Opens Fri/9

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