Volume 41 Number 23

March 7 – March 13, 2007

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Mission: fresh-air beer


› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Listen up, troops: Spring is here and decent weather may be on the radar. It’s time to escape from the barracks and attack life with a blitzkrieg of beer and BBQ. Below is a list of checkpoints that are reported to condone and encourage the outdoor consumption of alcohol.

Good luck, soldier. Now get out there and knock ’em back!

Big guns


The HQ of patio bars — the grand pooh-bah, the big cheese. Hands down the biggest, baddest patio west of the bay. Although owing to the line of porta-potties, it’s probably one of the stinkiest. This is your safe station, no matter what company you’re signed up with. Zeitgeist’s commissary will stock you up on burgers and fries, and its Bloody Marys will keep you flying.

199 Valencia, SF. (415) 255-7505, myspace.com/zeitgeistsf


Outer Mission hideaway El Rio is big enough for large outfits but romantic enough for a date while on leave. A portion of the yard is sheltered by a tent for rainy-day ops — and there’s nothing to stop you from lighting up. Mmmm — gotta love the smell of cigarettes in the midafternoon.

3158 Mission, SF. (415) 282-3325 www.elriosf.com


Few cantinas can muster as many features as the Pilsner Inn. Twenty-four beers on tap, two pool leagues, and a lush, landscaped garden patio with two koi ponds should be enough to make anyone stand at attention. A strong contingent here flies the rainbow flag, but the Pilsner welcomes troops from all outfits to its relaxed environs.

225 Church, SF. (415) 621-7058, www.pilsnerinn.com

Smaller outposts


This little Mission spot will flash you back to life as a guerrilla fighter in Cuba or Guatemala. A beer and wine café with a secluded backwoods feel and a heated streetside patio, Papa Toby’s Revolution Café offers a variety of troop entertainment, from free trade to tango lessons. With enough alcohol here, you may be able to brainwash your copilot into believing he or she is the reincarnation of Che Guevara.

3248 22nd St., SF. (415) 642-0474


An enclave of Cole Valley regulars is keeping Finnegan’s Wake top secret. The back patio is a mini-Zeitgeist, equipped with a grill and picnic tables. Surrounded by apartments, this little retreat goes on lockdown after 21:00 hours, making this site good for daytime expeditions only.

937 Cole, SF. (415) 731-6119


The patio of this Haight Street joint has a nicely elevated rear portion — high ground, easy to defend from marauding tourists and the like. And if you can’t successfully pilot your hand-rolled smokable through the crowd, you’ve no business flying so high, soldier.

1569 Haight, SF. (415) 626-1112


Bright red and green paint often makes the Mad Dog in the Fog’s vibrant little patio hard to handle without a pint or two. Local hostiles have managed to shut down maneuvers here after 22:00, so your best bet is to set up a happy-hour camp during the soccer off-season — around World Cup time, soccer insurgents outfitted in reversible jerseys and knee-high socks seize the position.

530 Haight, SF. (415) 626-7279


Taken together, Flippers restaurant and Marlena’s bar in Hayes Valley can provide a prime afternoon drinking and lounging target. Flippers serves burgers, beer, and wine. Its patio is outfitted with a variety of flora: lilies, trees, and lawn. Right next door, with a full bar, Marlena’s has a minimal cagelike smoking facility with just three benches gated off from the street.

Flippers Gourmet Burgers, 482 Hayes, SF. (415) 552-8880

Marlena’s, 488 Hayes, SF. (415) 864-6672


A secluded SoMa bar and restaurant often overrun by hordes of concertgoers and workers from the neighboring Concourse Exhibition Center in the evening, Mars Bar and Restaurant makes for an excellent outdoor lunch break. Late at night you’ll often locate barkeeps from other watering holes gathered here to blow their tips.

798 Brannan, SF. (415) 621-6277, www.marsbarsf.com

Coast Guard


This waterfront bar and restaurant features live music most nights of the week. Its outdoor area is an expansive field of patio furniture flanked by the bay. A popular evening destination for locals, Pier 23 Cafe just underwent a complete remodel, now ready for inspection.

Pier 23, SF. (415) 362-5125 www.pier23cafe.com


Little more than a kitchen shed up front and a tent with bar in back, Red’s Java House is nestled beneath the Bay Bridge on Pier 30. The only thing that might obstruct your skyward reconnaissance is the occasional SUV parked next to the fenced-off, bare-bones patio. There’s a widescreen TV for sports fans in the tent and a menu of burgers, dogs, and fish and chips.

Pier 30, SF. (415) 777-5626


Right next to PhoneCompany Park, Momo’s has a limited view — the baseball stadium and a massive apartment complex obstruct most of the horizon. The bar is incredibly well equipped, but Momo’s is a restaurant, which may impair smoking operations. While there, enrich yourself with the art installation in the front garden box: a giant heart-shaped olive. Enriching!

760 Second St., SF. (415) 227-8660, www.sfmomos.com

Eastern Theater


Just a short flight east of San Francisco, Jupiter is the majordomo outdoor operation of the East Bay. This two-story brewpub and pizza restaurant in downtown Berkeley is attached to a giant compound replete with heating lamps and ivy. You’ll have to stow those stogies, though: this place is a restaurant and doesn’t take kindly to smoking.

2181 Shattuck, Berk. (510) 843-8277, www.jupiterbeer.com


The two-story Irish pub is equipped with two fireplaces and two functional bars. Its patio is a small balcony above a cobblestone alleyway — the perfect size for an elite task force to secure a position and commence a-blazing.

2271 Shattuck, Berk. (510) 647-1790, www.beckettsirishpub.com


Deep into East Bay territory is the Oasis Restaurant and Bar. By day this Oakland position operates as a Nigerian restaurant; at night it becomes a grooving outdoor lounge with DJs and two dance floors. A staggering canyon of cement surrounds the small rear patio. The heated paradise has multiple tables and chairs, a stage, a massive sound system, and a wraparound grass-covered overhang.

135 12th St., Oakland.



Carmen’s, Pier 40, SF. (415) 495-5140

Cinch, 1723 Polk, SF. (415) 776-4162, www.thecinch.com

Connecticut Yankee, 100 Connecticut, SF. (415) 552-4440, www.theyankee.com

Eagle Tavern, 398 12th St., SF. (415) 626-0880, www.sfeagle.com

Jay ‘n Bee Club, 2736 20th St., SF. (415) 824-4190

Kennedy’s Irish Pub and Curry House, 1040 Columbus, SF. (415) 441-8855, www.kennedyscurry.com

Lone Star Saloon, 1354 Harrison, SF. (415) 863-9999, www.lonestarsaloon.com

Lucky 13, 2140 Market, SF. (415) 487-1313

Medjool, 2522 Mission, SF. (415) 550-9055, www.medjoolsf.com

Mix, 4086 18th St., SF. (415) 431-8616

Parkside, 1600 17th St., SF. (415) 503-0393, www.theeparkside.com

Il Pirata, 2007 16th St., SF. (415) 626-2626

Ramp, 885 Terry Francois, SF. (415) 621-2378

Red Jack Saloon, 131 Bay, SF. (415) 989-0700

Rosewood, 732 Broadway, SF. (415) 951-4886, www.rosewoodbar.com

Wild Side West, 424 Cortland, SF. (415) 647-3099


Dance dance revolution


"If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution" is a club-friendly sentiment traditionally attributed to estimable anarchist Emma Goldman. But even if she didn’t put it in quite those words, the message is clear: changing the world doesn’t have to be a grim slog. Why struggle at all if it doesn’t result in a world we can actually enjoy? That’s where these benefit-hosting, rabble-rousing, community-oriented bars, clubs, cultural centers, and performance spaces come in. Like the spoonful of sugar that masks the medicine, a nice pour and a few choice tunes can turn earnest liberation into ecstatic celebration.


Billing itself as "your dive," El Rio defines "you" as a crowd of anarchists, trannies, feminists, retro-cool kids, and heat-seeking salseros as diverse as you’re likely to find congregating around one shuffleboard table. Whether featuring a rawkin’ Gender Pirates benefit show or a rare screening of The Fall of the I-Hotel as part of radical film series Televising the Revolution, El Rio encourages an intimacy and camaraderie among its dance floor–loving patrons less frequently found these days in an increasingly class-divided Mission.

3158 Mission, SF. (415) 282-3325, www.elriosf.com


Although it’s really an aboveground Mission storefront, Balazo 18 has a great "in the basement" underground vibe, and within its gritty labyrinth, upstart idealists lurk like scruffy Minotaurs. The low overhead and inclusive ambience has proven fertile ground for local activist functions such as the recent Clarion Alley Mural Project fundraiser and December 2006’s Free Josh Wolf event (freedom still pending). The dance floor’s generous size attracts top-notch local bands and sweaty, freedom-seeking legions who love to dance till they drop.

2183 Mission, SF. (415) 255-7227, www.balazogallery.com


Applause for the Make-Out Room‘s green-minded stance against unnecessary plastic drink straws (it doesn’t serve ’em), its championing of literary causes (Steven Elliott’s "Progressive Reading" series, Charlie Anders’s "Writers with Drinks"), and its calendar of benefit shows for agendas as diverse as animal sanctuary, tenants rights, and free speech. Plus, not only are the (strawless) drinks reasonably priced, but the wacked-out every–day–is–New Year’s Eve disco ball and silver star decor hastens their effect.

3225 22nd St., SF. (415) 647-2888, www.makeoutroom.com


The Rickshaw Stop hosts progressive literary luminaries by the library-load, raising the roof and the funds for programs such as the 61-year-old San Francisco Writer’s Workshop and the reading series "Inside Storytelling." Other beneficiaries of the Rickshaw’s pro-arts programming include SF Indiefest and Bitch magazine, and the club calendar is filled with queer dance parties, record release shows, and even an upcoming "Pipsqueak a Go Go" dance party for l’il kiddies with the Devilettes and the Time Outs. If teaching a roomful of preschoolers the Monkey isn’t an act of die-hard, give-something-back merrymaking martyrdom, well …

155 Fell, SF. (415) 861-2011, www.rickshawstop.com


A dancer- and activist-run performance incubator, CounterPULSE hosts a diverse collection of cutting-edge artistes ranging from queer Butoh dancers to crusading sexologists to mobility-impaired aerialists. It’s also home to the interactive history project Shaping San Francisco and a lively weekly contact jam. But it’s the plucky, DIY joie de vivre that pervades its fundraising events — featuring such entertainment as queer cabaret, big burlesque, and an abundance of booty-shaking — that keeps our toes tapping and our progressive groove moving. Best of all, the "no one turned away for lack of funds" policy ensures that even the most broke-ass idealist can get down.

1310 Mission, SF. (415) 626-2060, www.counterpulse.org


Sometimes a dance club, sometimes an art gallery — and sometimes not quite either — 111 Minna Gallery is pretty much guaranteed to always be a good time. Funds have been raised here on behalf of groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the West Memphis Three, and Hurricane Relief as a plethora of local and big-name artists and music makers — from Hey Willpower to Henry Rollins — have shown their stuff on the charmingly makeshift stage and the well-worn walls.

111 Minna, SF. (415) 974-1719, www.111minnagallery.com


It’s true — the revolutionary life can’t just be one big dance party. Sometimes it’s an uptown comedy club adventure instead. Cobb’s Comedy Club consistently books the big names on the comedy circuit — and it also showcases some side-splitting altruism, such as last month’s THC Comedy Medical Marijuana benefit tour and the annual "Stand Up for Justice" events sponsored by Death Penalty Focus. Even selfless philanthropy can be a laughing matter.

915 Columbus, SF. (415) 928-4320, www.cobbscomedyclub.com


The headless guardian angel of cavernous, city-funded cultural center SomArts has been a silent witness to countless community-involved installations and festivals, such as the "Radical Performance" series, a Day of the Dead art exhibit, the annual "Open Studios Exhibition," and the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival. And plenty of fundraising celebrations have been hosted beneath its soaring rafters on behalf of organizations such as the Coalition on Homelessness, Survival Research Labs, and the Center for Sex and Culture. We’ve got to admit — nothing cries "community" like a space where you can drink absinthe and build misfit toys one night, dance to live salsa the next, and attend a sober seminar on pirate radio the following afternoon.

934 Brannan, SF. (415) 552-2131, www.somarts.org


Even if the Edinburgh Castle were run by community-hating misanthropes, we’d come here for the craic and perhaps a wistful fondle of the Ballantine caber mounted on the wall. But general manager Alan Black has helped foster a scene of emerging and established writers, unsigned bands, and Robbie Burns lovers in the lively heart of the upper TL. The unpretentious, unflappable venue also hosts benefits for causes such as breast cancer research and refugee relocation. And the Tuesday night pub quiz, twice-monthly mod-Mersybeat dance nights, and annual swearing competition keep us coming back for more (except maybe the haggis).

950 Geary, SF. (415) 885-4074, www.castlenews.com


Turning martini shaking into charitable moneymaking, Elixir has been the go-to drinks dispensary for fundraisers of all varieties since it launched its unique Charity Guest Bartending program. The concept is simple: the organizers of a fundraising effort sign up in advance, beg or bully a hundred of their best buddies to show up early and stay late, get a crash course in mixology, and raise bucks behind the bar of this green-certified Mission District saloon (the second-oldest operating bar in San Francisco). Did we mention it’s green certified? Just checking. Barkeep, another round.

3200 16th St., SF. (415) 552-1633, www.elixirsf.com


A 2006 Best of the Bay winner, CELLspace has weathered the usual warehouse-space storms of permit woes and facility upgrading, and yet it continues to expand its programming and fan base into some very far-flung realms. From roller disco to b-boy battling, hip-hop to punk rock, art classes to aerial performances, the CELL has been providing an urban refuge for at-risk youth, aging hipsters, and community builders since 1996. Though we mourn the loss of the Bike Kitchen, which moved to its new SoMa digs, we’re glad to see the return of the Sunday-morning Mission Village Market — now indoors!

2050 Bryant, SF. (415) 648-7562, www.cellspace.org


Attack of the killer Ts


› kimberly@sfbg.com

"Ironic T-shirts — where the lameness of my T-shirt is in inverse proportion to my hipness!" comedian Patton Oswalt shouted at a recent sold-out Noise Pop show, pointing out in particular one special Salinas lass in a skull-and-hearts T. "I’m so cool I can defeat my own T-shirt!"

You know T-shirts have arrived — and by now may even be taking the last BART train to Fremont — when they’ve crept into the routines of comics desperate to warm up a 6 p.m. crowd. Is there anything more appropriate for every occasion, barring the most obscenely uptight cotillion? Be it basic formal and fiendish black, all-purpose "what are you rebelling against?" white, or any hue in the spectrum between. Be it worn on the chest, sleeve, or belly. Be it decorated with words and pictures so promo, pomo, and porno, with bands and teams, mugs and slugs of the sheer truth, alliances and affiliations, affirmations or fighting words — there’s no place like the homely T-shirt. Provided you have the right cut, cult, or message, you can throw it on and rock that bod with just jeans and trendoid footwear — consider yourself done.

Ts are our wearable tabula rasa, once underwear suitable only for soldier boys circa World War II, later campus and business iron-on throwaways in the ’50s, and even later rock band promos ready to be gracefully defaced with pins and zippers during the punk years (and now we’re back to white Ts for gangstas dodging crippling colors). Remember when the only T-shirt sizes available were L and XL? Remember when the sole women’s Ts around were toddler ready, fit for showing off every chub roll acquired from here to the nearest bakery? Whether you break them down between screen prints and iron-ons or between skate-beach-BMX, rock–metal–punk–pop–hip-hop, and TV-film-cartoon-advertising specimens, as Lisa Kidner and Sam Knee do in their 2006 book, Vintage T-Shirts (Collins Design, $19.95) — there’s an unsnooty, democratic beauty to a T.

Long after those faux–feed store and John Deere–logoed T-shirts have evaporated and aeons after the not-so-ironically offensive faux-Asian biz T-shirts have been yanked from Abercrombie and Fitch, we can still fall for a few artfully decorated scraps of tissue-thin jersey — and not just those by newbie local hotshot T designers such as Turk+Taylor (www.turkandtaylor.com) or My Trick Pony (www.mytrickpony.com). Only a few months ago I was bewitched into purchasing a $9 Flying V–bedecked shirt with a factory-frayed neck and sleeves at Le Target, of all places — the ideal block-rockin’ New Year’s Eve outfit with a black chiffon tiered skirt and boots. Why did I fall? It never fails to get compliments and fits like a teenage dream, and I can always make room for another music T in my collection, which encompasses an ’80s Sex Pistols reproduction purchased from the back pages of Creem, a boxy Poison pachyderm rewarded after a gig loading out for the hair metal combo, and a Scottish-slurred "Where am I and what the fuck’s going on?" Arab Strap T.

Lucky us, living at ground zero of the rock-T explosion: in 1968, the late Bill Graham began printing shirts regularly for the first time, an effort that distinguished him from fan club and individual band merchandising designs, according to Erica Easley, who cowrote Rock Tease: The Golden Years of Rock T-Shirts (Abrams Image, $19.95). Bill Graham Presents still sells vintage articles and reproductions on its Wolfgang’s Vault site (www.wolfgangsvault.com), though if you want the real thing, you might have to settle for the Doobie Brothers and Exodus rather than the Stones and Hendrix.

A buyer for one of the largest buy-sell-trade clothing stores on the West Coast, Red Light Clothing Exchange in Portland, Ore., Easley can pinpoint the beginning of the recent rock-T trend to the late ’90s when designers began buying vintage shirts and modifying them with grommets, trim, and patchwork. "They were able to do that because they were so cheap," she explains, citing Lara Flynn Boyle as one of the first celebs to sport a T (Bob Seger) on the red carpet, and attributes the longevity and cultural relevance of the rock-T trend to the resurgence of new bands such as the White Stripes.

American Apparel’s sexy softcore ads and no-logo trendy styling haven’t hurt either, while street artists have taken to embellishing Ts as they might a skateboard, and fashionistas continue to layer short-sleeve with long-sleeve Ts in what Easley calls the "Spicoli surfer look." To her eye, the urban art trend "raises all sorts of sociological questions. It’s from the street and supposedly authentic and tends to be pricey — it’s not what a street rat can really afford. There’s the price of a shirt and who’s wearing it and who’s supposed to be wearing it — you’re buying into a lifestyle." Personally, she’d "love to see a resurgence of do-it-yourself T-shirts, writing on T-shirts making personal statements."

Easley confesses the overall rock-T trend is waning. "It was such a fashion fad and so oversaturated. The sense of exclusivity that made it really hard at any other part of this decade to find T-shirts is gone," says the writer, who got into collecting by way of a Mötley Crüe obsession. "But I think long term it has been great for rock T-shirts and put them into the collectible realm."

Steven Scott, the manager of Aardvark’s Odd Ark (1501 Haight, SF; 415-621-3141), agrees that the trend for music Ts seems to be ebbing, while morphing from a ’70s to an ’80s focus. The store’s personal best: a Michael Jackson "Thriller" T, which sold for $125. "You can’t get that for it now," Scott says. "But [the appeal] is like San Francisco rents — they never go down, and landlords keep hoping people will come back."


When shopping for a vintage T — or really any T — Rock Tease coauthor Erica Easley says, "It’s all about the image. I don’t care about the band, even though I’m always excited about a good Alice Cooper T. It’s all about a strong image, colors, and, personally, a shirt where I don’t have a sense of computer-generated graphics."

When looking for oldies, do, however, beware of fakes. "The colors won’t be correct, the green is too bright, or the cut wasn’t being produced at that point," Easley warns.


Ringers, jerseys, worn-soft garb adorned with Firesign radios and corny sayings: Aardvark’s re-creates the thrifter’s thrill of discovery with a jam-packed rack of oldies.

1501 Haight, SF. (415) 621-3141


The most fashion-conscious print-free Ts around, regardless of how you feel about the jailbaity marketing campaigns. Gotta love me some blouson and dress-length styles.

2174 Union, SF. (415) 440-3220; 1615 Haight, SF. (415) 431-4028; 2301 Telegraph, Berk. (510) 981-1641. www.americanapparel.net


Customize your own cool: this international chain provides the iron-ons, puffy wood-panel lettering, and brightly fierce ’80s accessories. Where else can you get spanking new-old "Cheer up, emo kid," Mr. Snuffleupagus, Roxy Music, and Johnny Wadd Ts in one fell, freshly ironed swoop?

1603 Haight, SF. (415) 255-8446, www.bang-on.ca


Get your Ipath Bigfoot and Western Edition Mingus shirts right here, along with oodles of other contenders.

1632 Haight, SF. (415) 626-0663, www.ftcskate.com


The large-livin’ API groundbreakers still peddle locals Barry McGee and Mark Gonzales as well as Daniel Johnston shirts and the ever-popular Geoff McFetridge 2K "I’m Rocking on Your Dime" T.

618 Shrader, SF. (415) 876-4773. www.gr-sf.com


A rail of vintage Ts beckons, from a ’70s-era "Natural Gas" number to a Morrissey You Are the Quarry lovely.

1542 Haight, SF. (415) 864-0818


Marcel Dzama’s frail ye olde comic critters, Ferris Plock’s sketchy characters, Neckface’s doom metal demons, and Clare Rojas’s folkloric scenes populate Park Life.

220 Clement, SF. (415) 386-7275, www.parklifestore.com


Joining the Gucci knockoffs, denim, and ’70s leather are soft-as-my-55-year-old-uncle’s-midriff surfer shirts.

1764 Haight, SF. (415) 422-0046


Poppy yet pretty in-house screens by, for instance, store co-owner Dora Drimalas coexist with Bawana Spoons, Spicy Brown, Hedorah, and Gama-Go Ts.

1628 Post, SF. (415) 409-4700, super7store.com


Urban outfits cry "Brother, please" for a Zoo York T sporting a Ruthless Records’ NWA single, Parish’s pop art Popsicles, Akomplice abstractions, or Free Gold Watches’ splashy ’80s evocations. Ladies, check Ts by Tens, Palis, Heavy Rotation, and Blood Is the New Black, as well as Mama T’s pseudo-airbrushed ghetto sweetness.

True Men, 1415 Haight, SF. (415) 626-2882; True Women, 1427 Haight, SF. (415) 626-2331; True, 1335 S. Main, Walnut Creek. (925) 280-6747. www.trueclothing.net


The hella loyal cult that follows this pioneer of urban styles can stock up on all the Muni and Miles UP and Fifty24SF Ts it can stand now that the shop has split in two for men and women — with fresh Jeremy Fish, Sam Flores, and Estevan Oriol for all.

220 Fillmore, SF. (415) 252-0144, www.upperplayground.com


Emergency exits


› marke@sfbg.com

I’ve got one copy of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace strapped under my right foot, one strapped under my left. The new 1,400-page Penguin Classics translation by Anthony Briggs makes for a great pair of platforms. My fantasy party posse’s at my side: Felicia Fellatio rocking a hot red bandito bandanna, a full white tutu, and a number 5 Tim Hardaway jersey; Baby Char Char in an oversize pajama-print homeboy hoodie and a pair of random, paint-spattered Levi’s; Nova all angles on her retro-future ’80s Nagel dangling neon banana earrings, turquoise ruffled skirt, and shoulder-padded acid-washed cropped jacket trip; and Hunky Beau in Juicy Couture pipe pants and war paint.

Somebody else is in the corner, wearing pink panties on his head and a giant chain, but no one knows his name.

I feel great. I just finished six weeks of Third Street Gym boxing boot camp, and you could bounce a full congressional subpoena off my abs, darling. (OK, that’s a lie — but I think about going to the gym every time I light up a smoke. That should count for something, no?) We’re out the door to my drag idol Juanita More’s weekly Saturday all-nighter, Playboy, at the Stud (www.juanitamore.com), when suddenly it hits me: today is Saturday, right? I better check the Internet.

I put down my flask of Cuervo and log on, and this little box of "gay news" pops up. (How does the Internet know? Oh, that’s right: all my online porn accounts.) "UN Confirms Anti-Gay Death Squads in Iraq" the top headline reads. Kidnappings, mutilation, charred bodies found by the road. Hmm. A few clicks later: "Iraqi Leaders OK Gay Pogroms." According to activists, Shiite militias are engaging in one of the "most organized and systematic sexual cleansings in history" with the government’s two-cheeked kiss of approval, and the US is refusing asylum to gay Iraqis.

Oh dear. Suddenly the thought of whooping it up while my gay Iraqi rainbow family burns seems kind of, you know, gross.

I’m so fucking sick of feeling powerless against this stupid war. Of always tucking the grief of it somewhere in the back of my mind as I down another shot and hit the dance floor. Not only is it a major buzzkill among other omnipresent buzzkills — global warming, fundamentalist terror, constant surveillance, government-sanctioned queer discrimination, bad hair days — but, as a citizen of the allegedly participatory democracy that started the whole thing, I feel somehow responsible, no matter whom I voted for however many times. And just admitting that, I feel like a spoiled American. It sucks.

On top of that, I have to watch myself and many of those around me struggle to keep the flame of resistance sparkling. It seems exhaustion has seeped into our consciousness and may actually be taking root. I fondly recall the first exhilarating flush of protest — of taking back the streets until my pumps wore through on the first night of "shock and awe," of lying down and blocking traffic in an orange jumpsuit (on purpose for once) as the bombs continued to rain down on civilians half a world away, of wildly dancing with Code Pink and cute Puerto Rican socialists in the NYC streets during the 2004 Republican Convention, hoping the nets the cops threw over us wouldn’t snag my weave. Sure, I still bang my pan with a stick at the occasional ANSWER weekend protest, despite my massive hangover. But after four years of war, it often seems I’m banging fruitlessly. If a club freak chants in a vacuum, will the killing please stop now?

Thank goddess I’ve got the beautiful souls I’ve met at the clubs around me. The kind of nightlife I love is inherently subversive: when one kind of music, location, or style becomes dominant, a host of alternatives immediately springs up. That energy refuels my rebellious spirit and keeps my fight up during the day. Yes, yes, partying is an escape from reality — but it’s also a play space, a way to work out the anxieties of the world by fooling with your identity, a place to push the boundaries of society into a personal utopia.

To me, underground nightlife can also be a fascinatingly warped mirror of the problems facing the world, its trends the raw expression of deep-seated angst. As W. consolidated his political power in the early ’00s, nightlife fashions and music (and drugs) returned to the tastes of the Reagan and Thatcher ’80s, when angular pop and cold synths were a loud rebuke to false sincerity and hubris. The recent explosion of pre-AIDS-era disco and imagery in many gay clubs may be an unconscious wish to transport ourselves to the time before the Republicans’ disastrous "morning in America." And the vibrant local hyphy scene is based on auto sideshows: literally wasting gas (use it while you got it!). Now, well into W.’s second term, we’re reliving the rococo styles of Bush the Elder without irony. Dance floors are looking like a punk rock Cosby Show, and I’m into it.

But that’s all theoretical musing. The most important thing about nightlife is community, whether you’re a full-time club kid or just going out for a drink after work with your friends. You want to be around other people, to not feel so alone in this crazy world, to make a connection. You walk into a bar, and suddenly you’re in a minisociety, one you hope you can handle better than society at large.

Can this community make a difference? Sure. The nightlife community, gay and straight, was instrumental in the fight against AIDS (and still is). It banded together to defeat the antirave legislation of the early ’00s. Tons of parties raise money for good causes. Currently, party-oriented groups such as the League of Pissed Off Voters (sf.indyvoter.org), which reaches out to young people through DJ events, and the SF Party Party (www.sfpartyparty.com), which influences local politics by combining education with clubbing, are doing their best to change the world.

"People on the left these days seem to think that denying themselves pleasure is the only way to take back the government. The early energy of protest against Bush has turned into a kind of self-punishment. That’s so dry and boring — and ultimately useless," says Dr. Stephen Duncombe, editor of the Cultural Resistance Reader and author of the new book Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy. I called him because I wanted to talk about the guilt some of us feel about partying when the world’s going to shit. He’s been a prime mover in theatrical resistance groups such as Reclaim the Streets, the Lower East Side Collective, and the utterly fabulous Billionaires for Bush. (He’s also kind of cute in a young-professor-at-NYU way.)

"We should be using the positive energy of nightlife to show people that politics can be both entertaining and transformational," he continues. "Politics should be a fun, interactive spectacle, like the kind nightlife provides. No one wants to get involved with something if it seems like more work."

Yet still I worry. What would life be like if the war were here? What if I were a gay Iraqi? I trolled the Internet gay hookup sites to find a gay Iraqi to talk to about it. All I could find at first were half-naked American soldiers stationed in the Middle East (we are everywhere!). I eventually came upon a Western-educated gay Iraqi refugee living in Jordan who identified himself as Arje. He said I was being foolish. "Go out and have fun," he replied when I wrote that I didn’t feel like partying off the weight of the world. "Have a dance for me."

Building the bomb


It seems to be a matter of when, not if, another terrorist bomb will go off in the United States. One day we’ll come across the headline and let out an anguished "Oh, fuck" — a little later we’ll watch a stately funeral in St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, DC. After such tragedy, will I ever be able to walk into a bar and order a nifty Irish Car Bomb again? What’s the buffer zone of alcoholic irony? With limited time before the next blast, I’d like to devote some space to bomb cocktails — in which a shot of something is dropped into a glass of something else — before it’s too late. Something about the plop of the shot and the glup of the drink always leaves a grin. And since I go drinking to get giddy, I’m all for drinks that make me giddy by their mere inception.

Because bombs fall below the purview of many published cocktail guides, there’s actually some debate about what to call them. Johnny Raglin, the bar manager at swanky Absinthe, insists they’re called boilermakers. But that seems to be too general a term: most mixologists say a boilermaker refers only to a shot with a beer. Many bombs don’t involve beer. Gary Regan, author of The Joy of Mixology, told me that he thought "depth charge" sounded good. But ordering a depth charge makes me feel like I’m at a WWII-era flea market. Mark Petrus of the Haight’s Gold Cane Cocktail Lounge may agree; he said he’d probably just call them bombs as well. Below are some of my local favorites — raise a glass and set it off.


(Mandarin vodka in Sparks)

The arrival of Red Bull led to a proliferation of bombs in America. It was long accepted that the receiving ingredient (what’s in the glass) ought to be carbonated. So before there was Red Bull, beer, champagne, soda, and sparkling water were the only available mediums, and the latter three were rarely used. When Red Bull blew up, it became the bomb tinkerer’s experimental plaything. The Tic-Tac (mandarin vodka dropped in Red Bull) is one of the better leftovers from this heyday of discovery. But now its 2007, and Sparks energy drink has proven its mettle by tasting better. Commendations, then, to the Knockout for upgrading the Tic-Tac to this new formula.

Knockout, 3223 Mission, SF. (415) 550-6994, www.theknockoutsf.com


(Baileys and mandarin vodka in Red Bull)

Like the Broseph, the Orange-cicle is just one permutation away from the Tic-Tac. Yet the two couldn’t taste further apart. When tossed back with the proper intensity, the Orange-cicle is creamy and full-bodied and definitely deserving of its name. Aub Zam Zam is also one of those perfect bars for enjoying bombs. With simple decor and a convex bar taking up much of the front room, the cocktail lounge makes it easy to remain focused on drinking.

Persian Aub Zam Zam, 1633 Haight, SF. (415) 861-2545


(Amaretto and Kahlua, with a flaming floater of 151 rum dropped in cerveza)

The Flaming Dr. Pepper (amaretto and rum dropped in beer and set on fire) is one of the oldest bombs outside a shot of whiskey dropped into some cheap beer. It is also the most notorious: numerous novice drinkers (most of them rowdy teens) have found themselves in the emergency room with second-degree burns after gulping down too many rounds of FDPs. It seems best to avoid the drink, out of fear not for one’s delicate lips but for one’s reputation — who wants to look like an amateur? Fortunately, La Cucaracha at Bahia, which just adds a little Kahlua to the mix, is even better than the original. First of all, it disposes of the pretension that the drink tastes like Dr. Pepper. More important, though, the Kahlua gives it added bite — round after round, this bomb never fizzles out.

Bahia Restaurant, 3239 22nd St., SF. (415) 642-7224, www.forored.com/bahiarestaurant


(Amaretto dropped into Pabst with a splash of orange juice)

I slowed down halfway through gulping back the Wisconsin Lunchbox at Mauna Loa Club because it tasted so good. The nutty tones of amaretto mix great with the citrus kick of the OJ, but the tastes blend even better with the sweet starchiness of Pabst. Two sips later, though, and I knew my lax pacing was a mistake. When the cocktail’s drunk slowly, all the flavors that once sailed off hand in hand became boorish. It tasted like a way-too-fruity beer. Throw this one down quickly.

Mauna Loa Club, 3009 Fillmore, SF. (415) 563-5137


(Soju in champagne)

In Korea business deals are consummated over a drink called Poktanju ("alcohol bomb," or "bomb shot"), which is whiskey or the less expensive Soju dropped into beer. Seeing as we don’t have the same thirst for beer as Koreans, I wouldn’t feel comfortable completely copying them. It’s better we go our own way with this sprightly and slightly tangy bomb. Hitherto, I’ve only been able to chug champagne in those moments when I recognize how boring my friends are and start daring myself to see how many gulps of bubbly I can take in a row. On this occasion, at Bar 821, after the clank of the shot glass and the fizz of the drink, I just got caught up in the bliss of it.

Bar 821, 821 Divisadero, SF. www.bar821.com


(Red Bull in Jägermeister)

What tonnage! The Suicide Bomb will definitely lead you into some mischief. Pops Bar doesn’t regularly serve this cocktail — I found it while screwing around on Wikipedia, and Pops was willing to serve it to me at a reasonable price. You could probably ask for a shot of Red Bull to drop into a half glass of Jäger almost anywhere. Just as a grain of vermouth does wonders to bury the edges of gin in a martini, the Red Bull brings precisely enough luster to this drink. That’s not to say it tastes good. But with a little Red Bull, you at least have something else to focus on while you pour flat, heavy, extremely alcoholic goop down the hatch.

Pops Bar, 2800 24th St., SF. (415) 401-7677


The Guardian Iraq War casualty report (3/12/07)


Casualties in Iraq

Iraqi civilians:

31 Iraqi civilians were killed yesterday as a part of the violence targeting Shiite religious pilgrims, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. This week’s toll for Shiite religious pilgrims is 220.


98,000: Killed since 3/03

Source: www.thelancet.com

58,598 – 64,405: 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 March 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:

3,421: 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/


The Bush administration plans to increase quota of Iraqi refugees allowed into the U.S. from 500 to 7,000 next year in response to the growing refugee crisis, according to the Guardian Unlimited.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2013034,00.html

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 (3/12/07): Bush asks congress to approve $622 billion for 2008. So far, $407 billion for the U.S., $51 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/

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.”

leno attacks — blog



politics blog — siebel



Bruce Blog — Josh



Abolish PG&E Corp.


OPINION Pacific Gas and Electric Corp. is a holding company whose only property is Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a regulated utility. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) exercises little regulatory oversight over PG&E Corp. Oversight by federal authorities has been curbed by recent legislation, which abolished most of the consumer protections of the New Deal’s Public Utilities Holding Company Act. To protect ratepayers and stockholders, PG&E Corp. should be abolished and its corporate charter revoked.

All of PG&E Corp.’s income comes, in effect, from tax minimization strategies, which allow PG&E Corp. to keep revenue that would otherwise be paid as income taxes. What are the consequences?

• The creation of the holding company constitutes a legal money-laundering strategy that has greatly benefited the holding company. A 2002 brief by California’s attorney general says that PG&E Corp. collected $663 million in net revenues from 1997 to 1999 by avoiding payment of income taxes.

• From 2000 to 2004, Mark Bumgardner of the CPUC’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) wrote in a 2006 report, "PG&E Corporation has been able to save $683 million in Utility taxes…. Since the benefits of being able to write off unprofitable affiliates for tax purposes is [sic] solely for the Holding Company’s benefit, DRA allocated 100% of the tax department’s costs to PG&E Corporation."

• Top officers at PG&E Corp. made out like bandits: President Robert D. Glynn’s total pay skyrocketed from $2 million in 1998 to $34 million in 2003, despite the fact that he led the company into bankruptcy.

• Almost all of PG&E Corp.’s revenues from 2001 to 2004 came from its regulated utility. PG&E Corp. got to keep an extra $1.346 billion from 1997 through 2004 by taking advantage of the tax benefits available to utility holding companies, if the attorney general and the DRA’s Bumgardner are correct.

The CPUC and the legislature created the holding company in a series of decisions and laws in the mid-1990s. However, the idea that deregulation California-style would bring competition and lower electric rates has proved to be false. Abolish the holding company, and this lucrative PG&E Corp. tax dodge ceases to exist.

To deal with PG&E’s high rates and unresponsive electric service, San Francisco public power activists and public officials tried to take over PG&E’s San Francisco grid in 2001 and 2002. In Yolo County, just west of Sacramento, activists and elected officials worked for years to drive out PG&E and replace it with electrical service from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. The SMUD charges 30 percent less than PG&E and far exceeds PG&E in the use of solar and wind power per customer. PG&E spent a record $50 per customer — at least $15 million, on 300,000 voters in Sacramento and Yolo counties — in November 2006 to turn back the public power challenge.

For others in Northern California, a return to traditional regulation as it functioned before the deregulation disaster may be the best that can be expected. Abolishing the holding company — a step the CPUC has the power to take — would be a good place to start.

Dan Berman

Dan Berman is the author of Who Owns the Sun? and is a longtime public power activist in Northern California. He lives in Davis and can be reached at danmberman@gmail.com.

The sunshine posse


› amanda@sfbg.com

On Saturday mornings, with roughshod regularity, a handful of San Franciscans gather at the Sacred Grounds Cafe on Hayes Street to swap strategies and catch up on their political triumphs and setbacks. They don’t look like a powerful bunch, and they aren’t household names, but they’re changing the way the city handles public records, meetings, and information.

All of these folks started with one simple request for what ought to have been public information. All of them ran into a stone wall. They eventually found one another at hearings in front of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, where they took their cases and debated the minutiae of the law that grants them access to what they’re looking for.

For Wayne Lanier, it started with a $600 tax for neighborhood beautification. James Chaffee and Peter Warfield were seeking reform at the San Francisco Public Library. Kimo Crossman wanted more transparency in the city’s wi-fi deal with Google-EarthLink. Michael Petrelis was trying to find a keyhole into local nonprofit AIDS agencies. Allen Grossman thought the city’s attorneys should shelve their redactive black ink. And Christian Holmer — he just considers sunshine a part of his job.

They’ve been working together loosely during the past year or so — and in most cases, they’ve won. Their ongoing battles also show how the city’s laws and practices badly need reform.

Collectively, the sunshine crew considers the issue of metadata its biggest victory of the year (see "The Devil in the Metadata," 11/15/06), because it forced city officials to abandon their fear of the unseen electronic data that is generated whenever they hit send or open a new word-processing document.

Paul Zarefsky, a deputy city attorney with the City Attorney’s Office, argued that electronic documents could be rife with redactable goods and hackers could use this data to crack into the city’s server. According to him, this was ample reason to only release public information as a paper document or a PDF. The sunshine activists said this was an environmental waste and a very un–user friendly format in this age of electronic searches. The task force and Rules Committee of the Board of Supervisors agreed, found the city attorney’s arguments specious, and demanded agencies follow the letter of the law and release documents in an electronic format.

Some departments still aren’t doing that, which is a problem these citizens have discovered: the Sunshine Ordinance, though very good, could be much better and is overripe for reform.

The ordinance, adopted by voters in 1993, grants San Franciscans far more traction and power than the federal and state open-records laws by setting deadlines and offering the forum of the task force for addressing complaints when documents are not forthcoming.

When a citizen makes a request for a public document, it’s often because somebody sees something from the kitchen window while washing dishes and says, "Huh, I wonder what’s going on."

For Wayne Lanier, that moment came when he received a bill from the city for $600 after he improved the sidewalk and installed some planters in front of his house on Fell Street. Lanier had gone through the proper planning and permit process and was confident everything he’d done was within the law. So why was he being fined?

With a little research, Lanier discovered that an ordinance, recently passed by the supervisors at the urging of the mayor, inadvertently took into account sidewalk fixtures such as planters when taxing property owners and merchants for putting up signs and cluttering rights-of-way. Lanier began to research how the law came to pass.

"I was told there were various meetings with the mayor," Lanier said. "I didn’t know when they were. So I started using the Sunshine Ordinance as a means to getting the mayor’s calendar. First I wrote a rather chatty letter asking for it, and there was no response. So I wrote a more formal request and also said maybe you ought to make your calendar public. The governor of Florida’s done it. It’s quite easy to do."

But it wasn’t easy for room 200. Lanier filed his original request March 3, 2006. A year later he has not received what he asked for. He’s been told by the Mayor’s Office of Communications that the calendar can’t be released because it tells exactly where Gavin Newsom is supposed to be and who is going to be protecting him. Lanier has urged the office to make the document public at the end of each week, once security concerns have passed. That hasn’t happened.

In addition to losing portions of the mayor’s calendar during a staff turnover and heavily redacting the few calendar items it has made available, the Mayor’s Office has not set or followed a policy regarding public access to this public document. But Lanier’s original request has not been dropped. Christian Holmer picked it up.

Holmer is sunshining for sunshine. A manual laborer by day, Holmer’s been a longtime resident of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and became volunteer coordinator of the San Francisco Survival Manual, a manifestation of the 40-year-old Haight Asbury Switchboard, once a clearinghouse of services and information for city residents. The modern-day equivalent is part of a public information pilot project approved in 2004 with the support of 10 members of the Board of Supervisors that encourages the sharing of all city documents in an open forum. Holmer makes regular and massive requests for all manner of information from a variety of agencies, urging them to employ the technological ease of e-mail to send him documents as soon they’re created by the city — in effect, CCing him on everything.

Holmer says the point is not only to compile a library of city documents but to establish best practices for the agencies that are supposed to provide information when the public requests it. By encouraging this free flow of information that takes, according to him, only a few keystrokes and mere seconds to disseminate electronically, Holmer hopes a culture of openness is being cultivated.

"You push a department to a certain level of compliance, and it raises all the boats," Holmer said.

James Chaffee began seeking public information about the San Francisco Public Library in 1974, long before the Sunshine Ordinance was born. The tall, professorial man has a habit of employing erudite references from literature, philosophy, and film in his regular newsletters decrying the secret actions of the Library Commission. His writings have received attention and acclaim in the national world of library news.

"The original library commissioners would be shocked if they could see the openness that exists now," Chaffee says.

He’s pushed for more weekend library hours and successfully brought enough attention to block the public library’s plans to purchase costly and suspicious radio-frequency identification tags and grant the task of collecting overdue fees to a debt agency.

Peter Warfield, executive director of the Library Users Association, and Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, picked up the radio-frequency issue and ran with it, making public records requests that might substantiate the library’s argument that thousands of dollars in workers’ compensation claims for repetitive stress injuries would be remedied by an investment in the expensive new technology.

The library wouldn’t turn over any documents, so Tien and Warfield went across the bay to Berkeley, which doesn’t have a Sunshine Ordinance (though the city is currently working on one). The Berkeley Public Library gave enough information to fully debunk the claims. Of more than $1 million spent on five years of workers’ comp, just 1 percent was for repetitive stress injuries. The Chaffee-Warfield-Tien efforts halted a nationwide move toward employing this potentially privacy-invading technology.

Then there’s Kimo Crossman.

Crossman is regularly criticized for his public records requests, which some city agencies feel are voluminous and burdensome. "I’ve had to stop the office a couple times. There are 300 people in this office," said Matt Dorsey, spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office, which receives almost daily requests or reminders of requests from Crossman, the length and breadth of which bring some city departments to their knees.

Technology is Crossman’s interest, and he made his first public records request of the Department of Telecommunications and Information Services in September 2005, for contracts and related documents between the city and Google-EarthLink.

"As an interested citizen, I wanted to participate in the wi-fi initiative," Crossman told us. He received his request — with 90 percent of the information redacted. The DTIS claimed attorney-client privilege and the need to protect proprietary information to keep Crossman from seeing more than a fraction of the data.

Even though a specific section in the Sunshine Ordinance allows for the release of a contract when there are not multiple bidders and today the deal is strictly between the city and Google-EarthLink, the DTIS still refuses to hand over the documents Crossman wants. DTIS spokesperson Ron Vinson continues to cite the advice of the City Attorney’s Office.

The city attorney’s relationship with sunshine is a problem, according to Allen Grossman, a retired business lawyer. Grossman’s requests for information have transcended their original intent — some Department of Public Works permits for tree removal near his home on Lake Street. They have become an inquiry into why so many departments regularly employ the City Attorney’s Office to represent them when it’s a direct violation of section 67.21(i) of the Sunshine Ordinance. That section states the city attorney "shall not act as legal counsel for any city employee or any person having custody of any public record for purposes of denying access to the public." The public lawyers are permitted only to write legal opinions regarding the withholding of information, which must be made public.

"The whole purpose of that section was to level the playing field and get the lawyers out of it," said Grossman, who says the office ghostwrites letters denying access, putting citizens who may not have legal counsel to advise them at an unfair advantage. It’s not in keeping with the spirit of the law.

Dorsey defends City Attorney Dennis Herrera, pointing out that deputy city attorneys no longer represent departments at the task force when there’s a complaint. They’re still writing those letters, though.

"When we give advice on sunshine, it’s a matter of public record. We will prepare a written cover-your-ass statement," Dorsey said. "To some we would appear as the bad guy, but I yield to no one on our commitment on sunshine in this city."

Bruce Wolfe, a task force member who’s seen scores of departments employ the ghostwriting tactic, said, "There is one area that concerns me greatly — the use of attorney shield. The question is what is the city attorney’s role? The advice is important because that’s something every other department can use, but it shouldn’t just be some way to squiggle out of providing records."

Dorsey related a recent case in which KGO wanted access to Muni documents that identified the names of operators. "We provided the documents, but we redacted the names. If we lose to KGO in front of the task force, we have to turn over docs. If we lose to a court that finds we violated privacy, we’re on the hook for potential substantive damages. These results can get very expensive for taxpayers. There’s an act of balance that has to occur."

Many task force members, activists, and citizens agree that the ordinance and task force are wonderful tools but still lack the necessary bite. The task force has no power to review documents and determine if a department’s secrecy claims are true. And when a department is found in violation, there are no specific fines or penalties that the task force can levy.

But some are still happy the body even exists. "We have a great Sunshine Ordinance Task Force," said Michael Petrelis, who has been trying to find information about local AIDS nonprofits and advisory boards that are usually exempt from public records law — unless they receive city funding. Petrelis found that avenue into these organizations, and when they don’t comply with records requests it’s still a boon for him, because filing a complaint requires them to come and be accountable in front of the task force, an open hearing that Petrelis can also attend. "I have learned so much at those meetings, just observing," Petrelis said. "The task force process is so valuable in all its beautiful permutations." *



March 13


Queen Anne’s Revenge and Black Cactus Choir

Since pirates are all the rage, you may have already guessed that local trio Queen Anne’s Revenge is named for Blackbeard’s notorious frigate, surely the setting for many a bloody and brutal act. However, these guys keep the peg leg count on the low end, favoring instead a garage-pop sensibility heightened with curious synth glissandi and warm vocals floating somewhere between Love and Rockets and Zombies territory. Also performing is the Black Cactus Choir, an experimental dance troupe pushing the boundaries of physical expression with brain wave–nourishing choreography. (Todd Lavoie)

With Brittany Shane
9 p.m., $7
Hotel Utah Saloon
500 Fourth St., SF
(415) 385-2100


“Moby Dick: Chapter 44 or 78,744 times”

Justin Quinn is transcribing Herman Melville’s Moby Dick into the letter e. So obsessive-compulsive they might wear out that nautical chart maker Captain Ahab, Quinn’s graphite drawings and prints have graduated from boxlike and crosslike maze formations to large and elaborate jellyfish shapes? The e in Quinn’s SF show “Moby Dick: Chapter 44 or 78,744 times” could stand for exile. Quinn tries to turn it into poetry. (Johnny Ray Huston)

Through April 12
101 Townsend, suite 207, SF
(415) 543-1550



March 12


Youth Group

It’s no small feat that Aussie gossamer popsters Youth Group were able to rescue Alphaville’s overwrought new wave flashback-grenade “Forever Young” and miraculously twirl it around into a glistening, gently unfolding four-minute pageant. Better yet, their latest release, Casino Twilight Dogs (Anti-), gushes with 11 other exquisitely crafted charmers destined to draw inevitable, but understandable, Shins comparisons, while elements of that glorious synergy achieved by English pop-anthem geniuses James with producer extraordinaire Brian Eno bubble up. (Todd Lavoie)

8:30 p.m., $13
333 11th St., SF
(415) 255-0333


“Seeing Memory”

If we live in an age of cynicism, one in which an existential leap of faith, to borrow from Søren Kierkegaard, is necessary to imbue with meaning this unbright rock we call earth, then Creativity Explored is a safe house in our land of dread. This inspirational Mission gallery and studio provides a venue for people with disabilities, many of whom are nonverbal, to create and express themselves. “Seeing Memory” — curated by Larry Rinder, California College of the Arts dean — is an exhibit of recent work by member artists exploring the images and mechanisms of memory. (Nathan Baker)

Through April 6, free.
Creativity Explored Gallery
3245 16th St., SF
(415) 863-2108



March 11


Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School

Luckily for artistically challenged people like me, Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School encourages such behavior. I’m sure my figures won’t look much better while I’m listening to the event’s promised “slutty jazz music” and participating in drinking and drawing contests, but who cares? (Elaine Santore)
4–7 p.m., $10
399 Ninth St., SF
(415) 637-8657


SFJAZZ Collective

Listening to SFJAZZ Collective’s suave Live 2006: 3rd Annual Concert Tour: Original Compositions and Works by Herbie Hancock (SFJAZZ), you’ll know that this “Monk and Beyond” performance, launching SFJAZZ’s spring season, is gonna be a hot one. New trumpeter Dave Douglas joins SFJAZZ artistic director and tenor and soprano sax machine Joshua Redman for a deep look at the wonderfully madcap music culled from the brilliant corners of Thelonious Monk’s mind. (Kimberly Chun)

3 and 7 p.m., $20–$65
Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness, SF



March 10



If you’re not a fan of contemporary choral ensembles, then you’ve probably never heard of Chanticleer, but scrupulous classical music fans know that this San Francisco choir operate at the pinnacle of their trade. Next month they will premiere And on Earth, Peace: A Chanticleer Mass (Warner Classics) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Here’s your chance to catch them on the home field. (Nathan Baker)

8 p.m., $25–$44
Also Sun/11, 7 p.m.
First Unitarian Church
1187 Franklin, SF
(415) 392-4400



Since the mighty Jesus Lizard had a brief flirtation with overproduced nu metal and broke up, live music has been missing a certain je ne sais quoi, to the tune of a whiskey-drunk Texan in shitkicker cowboy boots with his balls in his hand by the name of David Yow. While they might not be Jesus Lizard Mach 2, Yow’s new band, Qui, have that stripped-down, broken-glass noise rock edge that’s guaranteed to scare the kids. (Duncan Scott Davidson)

With Replicator
10 p.m., $7
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk, SF
(415) 923-0923



March 9


“Video Games Live”

To gamers, there is no touching longtime Nintendo composer Koji Kondo. Kondo, a classically trained musician, scored such games as Super Mario Bros. and the Legend of Zelda, which some might say are more culturally relevant, in this digital age, than Beethoven’s Fifth. Hear for yourself when Kondo takes the stage at “Video Games Live,” an interactive multimedia concert featuring orchestral and choral renditions of popular video games, from Mario to Final Fantasy, synched to cutting-<\h>edge visuals. (Joshua Rotter)

8 p.m., $38.50–$65
Nob Hill Masonic Center
1111 California, SF
(415) 776-4702


George Michalski and Friends

My résumé has nothing on George Michalski’s. He’s recorded with Blue Cheer, performed at Whiskey a Go Go with the first white band signed to Motown (Foxtrot), and played the role of Barbra Streisand’s favorite pianist. Disco lovers should recognize that it’s Michalski who scored the dramatic soundtrack for the couture slasher The Eyes of Laura Mars. I’m not even going to get into Michalski’s connections to Don Johnson or Shields and Yarnell. I’ll just say he’s recently been working with Eddie Fisher, he has a new album called San Francisco that’s devoted to the city, and he’s celebrating the 50th anniversary of his first piano recital with this show. (Johnny Ray Huston)

8 p.m., $18
Larkspur Cafe Theatre
500 Magnolia, Larkspur
(415) 924-6107



March 8


Hiss Golden Messenger

The most remarkable thing about Hiss Golden Messenger is not its personnel — members of the Court and Spark, Oranger, and the Mother Hips — but that the sum of its parts sounds much different than one might imagine given their respective histories, none of which hint at the reverbed, spliff-friendly jams born of this incarnation. While it’s true that, between them, these guys have played every gin joint from Willits to Escondido, this is just their second show together. (Nathan Baker)

With Citay
9 p.m., $7
Make-Out Room
3225 22nd St., SF
(415) 647-2888


Night of the Lepus

If the words “giant killer rabbits” aren’t enough to convince you to travel to the East Bay to see a movie, then you are truly beyond hope. Night of the Lepus, perhaps the glorious nadir of all monster movies, has bunnies in spades. An experiment in bunny population control in the Southwest goes horribly awry, resulting in a radiated breed of hopping Godzillas that terrorize model train sets and devour poorly blue-screened actors. (Matt Sussman)

9:15 p.m., $8
Parkway Speakeasy Theater
1834 Park, Oakl.
(510) 814-2400



There is an old adage: if you can talk, you can sing; if you can walk, you can dance. Add that if you have an ax to grind, you can wield a guitar. It’s a philosophy, and Oakland anarcho-punks Born/Dead are its champions. Don’t look to them for brainless entertainment. Born/Dead have a message to their madness: no one gets out alive. They’ll be challenging the status quo with Pittsburgh, Pa.’s Behind Enemy Lines, among others. (Nicole Gluckstern)

With Behind Enemy Lines, Peligro Social, Nightstick Justice, and War Trash
7 p.m., $6
Balazo18 Art Gallery
2183 Mission, SF
(415) 255-7227



March 7


Altman Tribute: McCabe and Mrs. Miller and 3 Women

This installment of the Castro Theatre’s Robert Altman tribute features two epics centering on the feminine mystique. McCabe and Mrs. Miller, from 1971, is a messy, unmelodramatic revision of the western. Similarly fixated on abstractions and identity, 1977’s 3 Women is dreamlike and hard to hold, with its title characters reutf8g in ineffable and sometimes mythic emotional situations. (Sara Schieron)

McCabe and Mrs. Miller, 2:15 and 7 p.m.
3 Women, 4:35 and 9:20 p.m.
$9 for double feature
Castro Theatre
429 Castro, SF
(415) 621-5288


Ellen Forney

Gritty, hilarious, incisive as the business end of a rapidograph, Ellen Forney makes cartooning seem as gloriously easy and fun as, well, scribbling in the margins of your college-ruled notebook during a heinously boring high school lecture. Whether she’s teaming with Dan Savage or simply waxing poetic — riotously — on the perfect music to die by in her new comics anthology, I Love Led Zeppelin, Forney is always beautifully perceptive about the pop-rockin’ alterna-culture she bolts from. I’m sure she’ll spring a few life lessons when she gives a multimedia performance promoting the volume. (Kimberly Chun)

7 p.m., free
1644 Haight, SF
(415) 863-8688

Guardian, ACLU seek ICE records


The Bay Guardian, the ACLU of Northern California and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights have filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents related the recent immigration raids in California.

The detailed request asks for a long list of documents explaining “Operation Return to Sender,” an Immigration Customs and Enforcement crackdown that had led to 13,000 arrests nationwide.

“Some of the abusive practices reported extensively in the press include: illegal entries and searches by ICE agents, misidentification of ICE agents as member of local police forces, inappropriate tactics related to children including conducting round-ups near schools and leaving minor children unattended upon their parents’ arrest, ethnic profiling, violations of due process and abusive treatment,” an ACLU press release notes.

“When the Mayor of Richmond describes the ICE raids as imposing a ‘state of terror’ and parents are afraid to send their children to school, civil rights organizations must investigate possible civil rights violations,” said Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney of the ACLU-NC. “The first step is to see all the records regarding the planning and implementation of Operation Return to Sender in northern California.”

The Guardian has worked with the ACLU in the past on federal FOIA requests, most recently seeking information about clandestine Pentagon spying on local peace groups.

Below is the press release:

ACLU Seeks Records on Immigration Enforcement Actions
in Northern California

Groups Investigate Possible Civil Rights Violations

SAN FRANCISCO – The ACLU of Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today seeking records reutf8g to recent enforcement actions conducted by U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). The ACLU-NC has requested expedited processing because of the urgency of this issue to members of several northern California communities.

The ACLU-NC is seeking documents regarding the recent ICE actions undertaken as part of “Operation Return to Sender” in Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, San Benito, San Francisco, and Fresno counties to name a few. Operation Return to Sender was launched in May 2006 and has led to the arrest of at least 13,000 people nationwide.

Some of the abusive practices reported extensively in the press include: illegal entries and searches by ICE agents, misidentification of ICE agents as member of local police forces, inappropriate tactics related to children including conducting round-ups near schools and leaving minor children unattended upon their parents’ arrest, ethnic profiling, violations of due process and abusive treatment.

“When the Mayor of Richmond describes the ICE raids as imposing a ‘state of terror’ and parents are afraid to send their children to school, civil rights organizations must investigate possible civil rights violations,” said Julia Harumi Mass, staff attorney of the ACLU-NC. “The first step is to see all the records regarding the planning and implementation of Operation Return to Sender in northern California.”

The ACLU has reviewed a number of complaints concerning ICE conduct that raise serious concerns about racial profiling and other constitutional violations. Finding out the truth about the raids—which are reportedly resulting in the arrest and deportation not only of “fugitives” with criminal histories, but many residents whose only unlawful actions relate to being in the country without authorization—is particularly important as Congress takes on the question of how to address the vast numbers of undocumented immigrants who currently live and work in the United States.

“If the federal government is going to spend taxpayers dollars on a very questionable enforcement action, the public has the right to know the details of how it was implemented — and particularly how local law enforcement agencies in cities like San Francisco, which has a policy of not co-operating with ICE, were involved,” said Tim Redmond of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Mass added: “We are seeking expedited processing because of the urgency of this issue. ICE enforcement actions have been widely reported in the press and have raised serious concerns about federal misconduct. The reports have caused widespread anxiety in communities throughout northern California.” If expedited processing is granted, the ACLU FOIA request would be processed “as soon as practicable,” and prior to the agency’s large backlog of less urgent requests.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights is accepting calls from members of the public who believe they were victims of abusive and unlawful ICE enforcement tactics. The ACLU-NC will be working with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights to evaluate information from the public as part of their investigation into the raids.

For a copy of the FOIA visit www.aclunc.org.

The “ire” in “satire”


TELEVISION Nowhere is it written that conservatives can’t be funny. Conservatives can, in fact, be absolutely rip-roaringly funny. Take South Park, which is conservative in its own smug libertarian way, or anything ever done by Christopher Buckley or Mike Judge (whose last film, Idiocracy, is as conservative as it is bitingly hilarious). So when Fox News trotted out The Half Hour News Hour, its version of Comedy Central’s liberal vanguard The Daily Show, there was no guarantee that it was going to be terrible. But it was. So terrible that there has been speculation among right-wing bloggers that the show is an evil Democratic plot to prove Republicans can’t do comedy. They may have a point. This show has a Metacritic.com score of 14, the lowest score a show has received in the site’s history. It has less than half the score of Pepper Dennis. Yes, it’s that bad.

Produced by Joel Surnow and Manny Coto — who also created 24, America’s favorite source of torture porn — The Half Hour News Hour debuted Feb. 18. The opening skit, set in January 2009, featured newly elected President Rush Limbaugh and Vice President Ann Coulter. Limbaugh gloated that "the grown-ups are finally back in charge" and that he was glad "Howard Dean has finally gotten the medical attention he so clearly needed." This statement was odd, considering Limbaugh’s recent prescription drug problems; it could have been funny if it contained even a single iota of self-awareness. The scene only made sense in the show’s context of the Republicans being out of power for years — meaning that their simply being in a position of authority is a joke in itself. Since two branches of government are firmly in Republican control and the other only changed hands a couple months ago, this reveals more about the forever embittered, always-the-underdog Republican psyche than it does anything reutf8g to humor.

The rest of the show involved jokes that were both stupidly obvious and hardly topical, such as making fun of Ed Begley Jr.’s electric car (1987 called — it wants its joke back) and the ACLU defending hate groups (1957 called — ditto). Even worse, The Half Hour News Hour never mentioned George W. Bush. It’s understandable that Fox doesn’t want to go after its own, but for a show that’s supposed to be topical, that’s unforgivable. Maybe Fox should stop trying to be funny and go back to being unintentionally hilarious, like it is with the rest of its programming. (Aaron Sankin)


“Rust” never sleeps


› a&eletters@sfbg.com

Between Kirsten Greenidge’s rumbling and ambitious Rust and Chantal Bilodeau’s titilutf8g if more staid Pleasure and Pain, a metatheme is already emerging from the Magic Theatre’s annual three-play Hot House festival. Both Greenidge and Bilodeau merge a contemporary identity-focused story line and a fractured mise-en-scène to explore the porous border between mundane reality and individual and collective fictions.

Rust centers on a troubled patch in the high-flying career of football star Randall Mifflin (Mikaal Sulaiman). The Mighty Miff, to his fans, has temporarily retired for vague reasons having to do with the corruption of the game’s ideals, setting off a controversy embodied by two comically artificial-looking TV sportscasters (Eric Fraisher Hayes and Lance Gardner) complete with navy blue blazers, puffy microphones, plastic hairdos, and even banks of stadium floodlights strapped to their backs. Miff, meanwhile, stays home in edgy seclusion playing video games and collecting antique mammy-shaped cookie jars (and other fixtures of a commercial culture once saturated with antebellum black caricatures). To the growing concern of his wife (April Matthis) and friends (Nicole C. Julien and Donald Lett), it becomes clear Randall is being haunted over the phone by the ghosts of product icons Aunt Jemima, here known as Ella Mae Walker (Cathleen Riddley), and Uncle Ben, or Mr. Peale (L. Peter Callender), who plead with him to deliver the race.

A subplot features a yuppie brother (Gardner) and sister (Matthis) in the process of selling their late parents’ old house. Out of one wall steps a life-size version of Mary-Mary-Anne (Julien), a pickaninny the brother instantly recognizes from childhood as Farina, the cereal icon, one of many racist commercial images their mother bitterly pasted behind the wallpaper in a kind of symbolic burial. Mary-Mary-Anne leads the siblings on a hunt for the cookie jar now in Randall’s possession, as the two plot strands come together — along with an eerie set of lantern-wielding Gold Dust Washing Powder twins, Omas (Lett) and Snipe (Hayes) — in an antique shop operated by a drunken dealer named Gin George (Callender).

Setting these grotesque caricatures in motion among flesh-and-blood moderns is just one of the ways Greenidge’s uneven but vital, imaginative, and ambitious comedy theatrically realizes the uneasy blending of stereotypes and real life. It does so in a way particularly reminiscent of Suzan-Lori Parks’s work. As the enduring force of blackface caricature, and the white supremacist ideology behind it, threads its way into the present day, it becomes clear that the subtle negotiations and compromises attendant on personal and collective identity in 21st-century American culture stand in need of a little schooling, if not an exorcism.

The protagonist in Bilodeau’s Pleasure and Pain has her own problem with private demons bearing down on her social world. Peggy (Jennifer Clare) is an attractive, perky, semiawkward, almost unbelievably sheltered 21st-century young woman groping toward a more or less ’50s-style sexual awakening with an overactive fantasy life she half worries, half hopes will leave her "out of control." Needless to say, she gets her ambivalent wish. Her daydreams — ruled by a strapping dominator (Andrew Utter) dressed in casual S-M gear — soon spill out into her workaday world, which is split between secretarial duties alongside former babysitter and comically unguarded confidant Ruth (a sharp and amusing Catherine Smitko) and a prematurely settled home life with her schluby fiancé (Max Moore).

Not exactly new territory. Pleasure and Pain lacks anything like the imagination — let alone psychological or social import — of Luis Buñuel’s Belle du Jour or even a film by Catherine Breillat. Its limited journey is fairly dull. All the passing allure of bare midriff and lash could have come out of a Good Vibrations catalog circa 1978. *


Through April 1

See Web site for schedule, $20–$45

Magic Theatre

Fort Mason Center, bldg D, third floor

Marina at Laguna, SF

(415) 441-8822



Vettin’ the vets


Four world premieres during the two-week run of "ODC/Dance Downtown" prove there’s something to be said for long-term creative leadership. Both artistic director Brenda Way and co–artistic director KT Nelson have been with the company since before it relocated to San Francisco 31 years ago. And yet neither of them shows any sign of artistic burnout.

In Program One, Nelson’s free-spirited Scramble, set to Bach’s (overamplified) Cello Suite no. 6 in D Major, was an easy charmer for two couples in various combinations. Anne Zivolich and Daniel Santos — ODC’s most balletically elegant dancer — opened the piece on a note of airborne high; their antics were nicely balanced by the slow movements of Elizabeth Farotte and Justin Flores. With an evocative video by Hiraki Sawa and a serviceable score by David Lang, Way’s A Pleasant Looking Woman in Sensible Clothes contemplated the fear that has entered the daily lives of ordinary people. Sawa’s video of domesticity, which was invaded by a mounting number of toy airplanes, created a growing sense of terror and suffocation — one that the choreography only partially reflected.

The 1999 piece Investigating Grace concluded the evening on about as inspiring a note as one would wish. Surely, this extraordinarily beautiful and musically astute setting of Bach’s Goldberg Variations is one of Way’s enduring masterpieces. (Rita Felciano)


Through March 18, $10–$40

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater

701 Howard, SF

(415) 978-ARTS

www.ybca.org, www.odcdance.org


God chillin’


› kimberly@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER O brother, where art thou, blog-worthy, buzz-besieged bands? Whither the classes of 2004 and ’05? As memory fades and fads pass, the Klaxons and Beirut had best look to the respective fates of Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, both of which have spawned second albums at a time when Britney Spears’s postpartum-postbreakup cue-ball cutes (uh, was she actually a musician, mommy?) score almost twice as many hits as Beyoncé or any ole artist who has actually issued fresh tracks in the last four years. How has blogosphere-borne hypey held up? Can the viral gospel survive, with or without fast-buck comps with the word "Hitz" in their titles? (Was I dozing through Now That’s What I Call Indie! Vol. 23?) Was there any substance to the sound of the mid-’00s when it comes to Arcade Fire and CYHSY — two indie taste sensations that musically mimed Talking Heads and, in their number, resembled villages more than singular villains? Can they bring sexy back sonically, even though they never bumped billiard balls with the naked-noggined queen of pop?

From the sound of the last CYHSY show I caught at the Warfield, the Philly–New York sprawl seemed well on its way to sell-out-by staleness. Out were the frothy, Afropop-derived David Byrne–ing campfire rhythms. Enter monotonous, monochromatic indie rock.

Yet although CYHSY’s new (and still bravely self-released) ‘un, Some Loud Thunder, peters to a dull roar by the time "Five Easy Pieces" rolls around, the full-length still impresses with its sense of aural experimentation. Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann throws fuzz, shmutz, and the noise equivalent of cat fur and tumbleweed over the proceedings, futzing the opening, title track into a cunning combo of foregrounded murk and tambourine-shimmy clarity. CYHSY cut through the fog of pop with the dissonance-laced sweetness of a cockeyed, choral "Emily Jean Stock" and the Dylanishly titilutf8g manifesto tease of "Mama, Won’t You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?" Some Loud Thunder is a freakin’ busy record — with the emphasis happily on the freak — and it’s almost as if CYHSY were trying to reach beyond the easy, cumbersome cool of their name (always suspected to be a major part of their appeal) and toward, hoo-boy, depth. Too bad the lyrics aren’t often up to the musical intrigue on such songs as "Satan Said Dance" and "Goodbye to Mother and the Cove," making CYHSY sound like the E.E. Cummingses of indie, for whatever that’s worth. "Gravity’s one thing and / Gravity’s something but / How about coming down …," Alec Ounsworth whinnies. "Weird but you’re back talking." Wonderfully weird, yes, though is it unfair to ask if you have anything to say?

Back also, in priestly black, are Arcade Fire, who have plenty to tell in the three years since Funeral was unveiled. Amid the majestic choral sheen, synth pop flock, and Tijuana brass of their new album, Neon Bible (Merge), Win Butler and party have unearthed and dusted off the lost threads of connection between the teary tough-guy sentimentality of Gene Pitney and Roy Orbison, the jittery junked-up teardrops of "Little Johnny Jewel" and Suicide, and the quavering, coaguutf8g pop syrup of the Cure and OMD. Arcade Fire have crawled through a creaky, darkened looking glass and found a lost, perhaps losing world populated with forlorn soldiers, urban paranoiacs, rough water, guiding lights, lions and lambs, and idling vehicles.

Cloaked in increasingly trad folk and ’80s pop-song structures, engineering by Markus Dravs (Björk) and Scott Colburn (Sun City Girls), and contributions by members of Calexico, Wolf Parade, and Final Fantasy, Arcade Fire thankfully put lyrical clichés to work during Neon Bible‘s clamorous service, to the end of genuine storytelling. They’re preaching the gospel of transcendence through music and art — something that now seems unique to rock, in contrast to rap — questioning a holy war in "Intervention" ("Working for the church while my family died / Your little sister is going to lose her mind / Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home / Hear the soldier groan / He’ll go it alone") and the god-fearing hysteria of "(Antichrist Television Blues)" ("Don’t want to work in a building downtown / I don’t know what I’m going to do / Because the planes keep crashing, two by two"). Arcade Fire are far from the first to fire artful shots in response to wartime, but Neon Bible — as bold and beautiful, as hysterical and hopeful, as corny and acute as a rockin’ soap opera or Jesus Christ Superstar — feels like the best album of 2007 so far. *


June 1–2, 8 p.m., $31.50

Greek Theatre

UC Berkeley, Gayley Road, Berk.




The Portland, Ore., upstarts with mighty fine shaggy rooster cuts step up with ’70s-style glitter pop. With Time Flys and Apache. Wed/7, 9:30 p.m., $7. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. www.hemlocktavern.com


K Records’ wrecking crew just might find a deity at the bottom of a beer stein. With Tussle and the Weasel Walter Quartet. Wed/7, 10 p.m., $5. Knockout, 3223 Mission, SF. (415) 550-6994


CocoRosie’s girly rapper protégé freestyles with a thumb-sucking bounce. Is her Lovers and Crypts (Voodoo-Eros) for reals? With Tha Pumpsta and Bruno and the Dreamies. Thurs/8, 8 p.m., $6. 21 Grand, 416 25th St., Oakl. (510) 444-7263. Tues/13, 9:30 p.m., $7. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. www.hemlocktavern.com


A new self-titled EP finds the Bay Area moodniks waxing gothily. With Worship of Silence and This Isn’t It. Sun/11, 9 p.m., $6. Hotel Utah, 500 Fourth St., SF. (415) 546-6300