Volume 43 Number 38

Appetite: Pomegranate molasses, pickled radishes, wild boar dogs, and more

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Every week, Virginia Miller of personalized itinerary service and monthly food, drink, and travel newsletter, www.theperfectspotsf.com, shares foodie news, events, and deals. View the last installment here.

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Cocktails at Clock Bar. Photo by Virginal Miller

EVENTS

7/13-17 – Clock Bar’s 1st Anniversary Week with guest bartenders and special cocktails every night
Cocktailians, take note! SF Cocktail Week is past, and many of our bartenders are working their way back from New Orleans’ Tales of the Cocktail, but this
week there’s a stellar guest line-up at Michael Mina‘s Clock Bar to commemorate the bar’s first anniversary. Each night, choose from well-crafted beauties, both classic and specialty cocktails featuring different spirit brands. Monday starts with a bang as none other than Scott Beattie and Jacques Bezuidenhout are behind the bar mixing with Partida Tequila. Tuesday’s got the dynamic duo of Brooke Arthur (Range) and Neyah White (Nopa) concocting Domain Canton and Chartreuse-based drinks. The next night, Steven Liles (Boulevard) creates cocktails with Plymouth and Beefeater 24 gins. Thursday, Erik Adkins (Heaven’s Dog) showcases Bols Genever, while Friday features “Mr. Mojito,” Dave Nepove, mixing Flor de Cana cocktails. It’s a unique week to enjoy the stylish (but not
chichi) setting and the handiwork of some of our city’s best. Happy Anniversary, Clock Bar!
7/13-17, 4pm-2am
Westin St. Francis
335 Powell, SF
415-397-9222
www.michaelmina.net

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NEW OPENINGS

Daniel Patterson’s casual eatery, Cane Rosso, debuts
Highly-trafficked Ferry Building is the site of Daniel Patterson’s latest, with chef Lauren Kiino at the helm. Since we can’t afford Coi as often as we’d like, there’s now Patterson’s quick-serve rotisserie and sandwich shop… comforting, convenient, on the other side of experimental. The rotisserie (in former Mistral space) is churning with chickens, pork, and other meats, while a host of sandwiches (such as gorgonzola and roasted peaches with walnut arugula pesto), asti (try marinated anchovies with pickled radishes), and breakfast options (like broken farro with salted butter, raisins and almonds) are available. Welcome to your new lunch (with Bay views) and take-out spot.
One Ferry Building #41
415-391-7599

Jannah serves Iraqi food from former YaYa chef
It was a loss when YaYa, the best Iraqi restaurant around, moved from SF to Burlingame (an unlikely fit?) awhile back. Nearby, but not close enough. Now chef Yahya Salih returns to our fair city, opening Jannah, a casual eatery north of the Panhandle. I’m expectant to see what he’ll serve in the new space with dreamy blue sea and sky murals. Think along the lines of pomegranate molasses chicken or Salih’s version of dolmas, wrapped in Swiss chard, stuffed with lamb and eggplant.
1775 Fulton, SF
415-567-4400

Showdogs, a hot dog joint connected to… Foreign Cinema?
The stretch of Market where the Warfield resides is notorious for a few things, great food not being one of them. Showdogs, from owners of Foreign Cinema, hits the bleaker edge of Market, a perfect pre-show or shopping stop. As the name might suggest, dogs are the focus here
with about a dozen of our local best from the likes of 4505 Meats, Golden Gate Meat Co. and Fatted Calf (its wild boar dog), served on Acme rolls. Settle into one of the old church pews lining the place with a beer and a dog. Or order the ultimate, addictive, “not just for special Ryan Farr guested events” anymore beer-battered beef corndogs.
1020 Market, SF
415-558-9560

Appetite: Wicked Emeralds, snail sliders, pindi chole, pickled Fresno chiles, and more

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Every week, Virginia Miller of personalized itinerary service and monthly food, drink, and travel newsletter, www.theperfectspotsf.com, shares foodie news, events, and deals. View the last installment here.

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Happy hour at Grand Cafe — delight on a stick. Photo by Virginia Miller

DEALS

Grand Cafe Happy Hour
Grand Cafe is one of those long time SF classics it’s easy for locals to forget is here, inside Hotel Monaco. Ideally located in the "theater district" for a little tete-a-tete or pre/post A.C.T. performance, Grand Cafe recently reopened with a new happy hour that lasts four hours each weekday with a cocktail list 23-deep, playfully employing current nearby theater plays (like one of three drinks as an ode to "Wicked": Elephaba’s Wicked Emerald-tini, a refreshing mix of Hendrick’s Gin, Ciroc Vodka with a sweet touch from St. Germain Elderflower and herbal notes of basil, cucumber and lemongrass syrup). During happy hour, drinks and appetizers, like gougere d’escargot (delicious escargot sliders!), salt cod beignets, salmon or duck rillette, are a mere $3-7, plus there’s $1 oysters and a 400-plus wine list. PS: the bar menu online notes the "secret" employee discount they give off bar food (50%!) on Monday nights if you mention the password, "Moulin Rouge". A truly happy "happy hour".
3pm – 7pm, Monday-Friday
501 Geary, SF
415-292-0101

www.GrandCafe-SF.com
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NEW OPENINGS

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Wexler’s opened Friday with gourmet ‘Que and Southern flavors in a former firehouse
The former Les Amis has been dramatically redone into Wexler’s, a space that reminds me of hip European bistros: lots of white, wood, clean line minimalism, warmed by 15 draught beers (of the Allegash and Ommegang kind) and generous wine list. This is "new American BBQ" from chef Charlie Kleinman, of Fish & Farm and Fifth Floor. I went for lunch (priced at $7-12) opening day and enjoyed fresh Monterey Bay Squid Salad with fried green tomato chunks, frisee, pickled Fresno chilies. A 4505 Meats Mission Dog is topped with bacon (there’s the Mission part), chilies and caramelized onions. A straightforward "Sloppy Joe" on an Acme roll was probably my initial favorite, the tender Texas-style burnt ends packing rich flavor. They were out of both desserts I wanted on opening day (the one I tried didn’t excite), but they’re certainly working out the usual opening kinks and I can’t wait to come back and try Sour Cream Japanese Pear Pie and Inside-Out Root Beer Float (house-made vanilla soda with Humphry Slocumbe root beer ice cream – yes!) Dinner ($9-23) equally intrigues with Smoked Maine Lobster, BBQ Scotch Eggs, Wexler’s Plate of Pork, and Hush Puppies. A balanced selection of fine bourbons, brandies, and other spirits make ideal pairings with smoky eats. Even cooler than the rib-like ceiling and red chandeliers is the (virtually) guilt-free combo of BBQ that’s local, sustainable and made with care.
568 Sacramento, SF
415-983-0102

www.wexlerssf.com

Sakoon debuts upscale Indian restaurant in Mountain View this week
It’s a drive down from the city to be sure, but with few upscale Indian dining options in SF, it’s nice to know brand new Sakoon (meaning peace), is not too far away. In a large, 6000-square foot former bank, there’s a mezzanine, fiber-optic chandeliers, Buddha in hand-carved wooden panels, and, yes, a waterfall rushing into pool dotted with lotus petals. Exec Chef, Sachin Chopra, formerly of Palo Alto’s Mantra, put together a menu of Indian food with contemporary touches well beyond the defined Northern or Southern Indian cuisine categories, with most entrees priced under $20, like Malabari Seabass, pan-seared with aloo tikki, pindi chole, and tamarind essence. The flavors of Kashmir show up in Gushtaba, lamb koftas in roasted onion and yogurt sauce. A five-course Farmer’s Market Tasting Menu (vegetarian: $35; non: $40) provides further taste opportunities, lunch buffets are offered daily, and a Sunday through Thursday happy hour (5-7pm) means $5 cocktails and cheap bar bites. General manager and sommelier, Nirupama Srivastava, lovingly features predominantly women wine-makers on her wine list, and cocktails ($8-10) like the Monsoon Wedding (Bacardi coconut rum, Hypnotiq liqueur, pineapple juice, lime). When you want Indian beyond your favorite Tenderloin curry house…
Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm
Sat-Sun 12-3pm
Sun-Thu 5-10pm
Fri-Sat 5-10:30pm
357 Castro Street, Mountain View

www.sakooncuisine.com

Hello sailor

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By Matt Sussman


a&eletters@sfbg.com

Revolution seems to be on the minds and in the hearts of many in LGBT folk these days. The desire for change is palpable at the marriage equality marches that have now become regular occurrences, even if one isn’t marching under the banner of marriage equality. Indeed, the large and sustained outpouring of grassroots activism that has sprung up since Proposition 8 "passed" last November has been hailed, however ill-fitting the comparison, as "Stonewall 2.0."

Stonewall is undoubtedly a milestone — and its resonance with our current historical moment is underscored by the fact that Frameline 33’s closing night happens to fall on the 40th anniversary of the New York City riots. But Stonewall is not our only example of queers taking power into their own hands (San Francisco’s own Compton Cafeteria Riots of 1966, in which transgender people fought for their right to occupy public space, immediately comes to mind.) Nor are the social justice movements and underground film culture of the Stonewall era — both subjects touched on in a swathe of ’60s and ’70s-related films at this year’s festival — our only historical models for envisioning and enacting change. There are other histories, other battles, and other scenes to explore.

Local filmmaker Cary Cronenwett’s Maggots and Men — a stunning black and white historical fantasia on the possibilities, pleasures, and perils of revolution — proposes such another scene. Set in a mythologized postrevolutionary Russia but based on actual historical events, Maggots marshals early Soviet cinema, the gutter erotics of Jean Genet, and what at times seems like a transgender cast of thousands to build its case for the necessity of queer utopias. "I made a school boy movie, Phineas Slipped [under the name Kerioakie, in Frameline 26], so the next logical step was to make a sailor movie," says Cronenwett, explaining the germ for his film over the phone. "I wanted to make a film that created another world."

Maggots dramatizes the events of 1921, when the sailors of the seaport town of Kronstadt (whose failed 1905 revolution would be immortalized by Sergei Eisenstein in 1925’s Battleship Potemkin) drafted a resolution that supported the factory workers on strike in St. Petersburg. Deeming the sailors’ declaration of solidarity and demands for food and greater autonomy as "counter-revolutionary," the Bolshevik government launched a propaganda campaign against them, eventually sending the Red Army to take their island stronghold by force. The Bolsheviks eventually won the two-week long battle, in which both sides suffered heavy losses, killing or exiling the remaining sailors.

Told through the fictionalized letters of sailor Stepan Petrichenko (played by dreamboat Stormy Henry Knight, aptly described by Cronenwett as "the transgender Matt Dillon") to his sister and the performances of agitprop theater group Blue Blouse, Maggots repurposes the aesthetics of socialist realism to both pay tribute to the Kronstadt sailors’ quashed communal experiment and to use that same history as a means to engage with contemporary transgender lives and radical politics. "I’m wrapping together my different fantasies," explains Cronenwett. "There’s the sexual, kinda homoerotic utopia and then there’s this sort of communal utopia, where you have a society based on mutual respect."

If Maggots were a poem, it would undoubtedly take the form of an idyll. The sailors engage in a bucolic routine of communal farming and exercise, angelically sleeping in hammocks, carousing with the local ladies, and occasionally engaging in some alcohol-fueled sex with their fellow mates. Flo McGarrell’s gorgeous production design and composer Jascha Ephraim’s accordion-rich original score certainly contribute to the film’s reverie-like passages, but much of what is beautiful about the film is due in no small part to the handsome chiaroscuro visages of the film’s primarily trans-masculine actors. Cronenwett is as quick to cite Genet’s Un Chant d’Amour (1950) and James Bidgood’s Pink Narcissus (1968) as he is Eisenstein, as influences — and it shows.

But Cronenwett has other things, aside from "dirty sailor beefcake," on the brain. As he points out in a follow-up e-mail to our conversation, the trans actors in Maggots don’t just rewire the long history of the sailor as subject of homoerotic image-making in terms of gender, but also reframe the homosocial world of Krondstadt in terms of anarchist politics. "It’s not just cute butts that turn me on — it’s also ideas, and people’s politics. Not politics, like chatting about Obama or whatever, but people that are into creative ways of living and aren’t into non-consensual domination."

These politics were put into practice, as much by necessity as design, over the course of the four years it took to make the film. Shooting sporadically in rural Vermont (a frozen Lake Champlain uncannily summons the wintertime Baltic captured in photos of the Red Army’s 1921 advance); San Francisco backyards and gallery spaces; and Battery Boutelle in the Presidio and Battery Mendell in Marin, Cronenwett describes making Maggots as a "highly collaborative" process that involved the talents of friends, DIY artists, political organizers, nonprofessional actors, and anyone else who could be tapped via word-of-mouth (the film also received financial support from the Frameline Film and Video Completion Fund). At times, the filming even started to take on the communal can-do atmosphere of Kronstadt itself. "People slept on the floor and took cooking shifts, and helped make costumes," remembers Cronenwett of the Vermont shoot.

As much as Maggots is a homoerotic pastoral, the film doesn’t shy away from exploring the difficult, sometimes painful, realities attendant to any act of self-determination. As its very title — itself a reference to the rotting meat that sparks the sailors’ mutiny in the first act of Potemkim — suggests, the consequences of our actions can fester within us. "The sailors are still lugging around the violence from the revolution with them," writes Cronenewett. "Even in the salad days the violence is there just under the surface."

This violence takes on a different cast in the context of transitioning genders, something which the actors’ own mixed gender expressions continually underscore. "Transitioning is, hopefully, a liberating, positive experience. But it can also have some elements of violence associated with it. That can be a literal kind of violence — like chopping off body parts — or can be something more ethereal, like squashing aspects of ourselves to fit into either gender category."

The film is careful, though, not to hold up the sailors’ bloody defeat as a cautionary example of revolutionary hubris, just as it stylistically evokes Russian cinema of the ’20s and ’30s while avoiding that period’s penchant for egregious hero worship (flirting with martyrdom can be a slippery slope when engaging with the Soviet realism). In a sense, Maggots‘ restaging of history captures the full allegorical meaning of "utopia" — a social ideal that doesn’t exist and yet, nonetheless, remains an ideal. But, as Maggots also proves, film gives us the means to envision such ideals. At a time when our "revolutionary" moment seems blinded by tunnel vision — and has largely become defined by terms we never dictated — Maggots‘ kino eye reminds us that our past and our present are full of radical possibilities. *

MAGGOTS AND MEN

Sun/21, 1:30 p.m., Castro


The 33rd San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival runs June 18–28 at the Castro, 429 Castro, SF; Roxie, 3117 16th St., SF; Victoria, 2961 16th St, SF; and Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, 2966 College, Berk. Tickets (most shows $8–$10) are available at www.frameline.org.

Kucharmania!

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johnny@sfbg.com

PREVIEW I was going to review It Came from Kuchar, Jennifer Kroot’s documentary about George and Mike Kuchar, but a combination of exhaustion, absent-mindedness, and deep innate logic got the best of me. Instead of writing a straightforward appraisal of a movie about two filmmakers who are anything but straight, I’ve decided to pay tribute to a pair of brothers whose filmography and videography is longer and larger and (sorry!) more freely imaginative than all of the pictures in this year’s Frameline festival put together.

For sure, there is an irony at the heart of Kroot’s dedicated endeavor, just as there was one at the core of Mary Jordan’s equally appreciative Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis (2006). Underground filmmaking as preached and practiced by Smith and the Kuchars is too wild to be summarized by a stadium of talking heads, let alone condensed into one of 21st century cinema’s most common manias, the feature-length documentary portrait. In 1997, when George and Mike published the midlife autobiography Reflections From a Cinematic Cesspool (Zanja Press, 182 pages, $19.95), they’d already created at least 300 films and videos. Just as Smith’s unfinished projects tease and outright mock any neat categorization or traditional definition of art work, how could a single film or commentator do justice to the myriad lovely warts and hidden undersides of such a gargantuan filmography? Most likely, Kroot has fashioned an introduction, so I will try to as well, using words instead of a camera.

If you’re a movie-lover in San Francisco, you have some Kuchar memories, and maybe even some bonds forged partly through an admiration of George and Mike Kuchar. I remember planning to wear an ape suit to a Roxie Cinema screening of Curt McDowell’s Thundercrack!, which is scripted by George. I remember how one friend’s private screening of George’s Color Me Shameless (1967) helped jostle me out of a deep depression rooted in embarrassment about past shameless behavior. However silly they might seem on the surface, many Kuchar movies tap into truths about life, and for that I’m thankful.

Another vital aspect of cinema Kuchar is its continued influence on contemporary San Francisco creativity. Kroot’s movie spotlights the Kuchars’ influence on cult icons and iconographers such as John Waters, Bill Griffith, and Guy Maddin. But name a local moviemaker you like, and that person is probably a Kuchar devotee, or even — like Kroot — a former student from one of George’s San Francisco Art Institute classes. When I enjoy a movie by Sam Green, David Enos, Martha Colburn, or the late, great (and currently resurgent) McDowell, I sense the spirit and essence of Kuchar. When I take note of Sarah Enid’s behind-the-camera direction and before-the-camera emotion, I see a Kuchar heroine beginning to tell her own story. Meanwhile, George keeps making whirwlind star-wipe video diaries and cooking up scripted genre goulashes that possess a singularly strange flavor. A couple of months ago, someone near and dear enthusiastically showed me a recent paradisical movie by Mike, and I was blown away by the potent high it derived from the beauty of its male lead actor. Secondhand smoke? Yes please.

It Came From Kuchar is an apt title not just because George and Mike Kuchar take their inspiration from B-movies, but because something about the Kuchar brothers as a phenomenon is not of this world — so of the world as to be almost too good for it. It came from outer space, and it came from beneath the sea, but not until it came — goopily — from the creative intestines and pleasure centers of George and Mike Kuchar did cinema truly phone home.

IT CAME FROM KUCHAR

Sun/21, 6:30 p.m., Castro

The man from camp

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If I had to choose a true SF son of the Kuchar brothers, it might be Gary Gregerson. Unlike a number of great local filmmakers, Gregerson — as far as I know — has never taken a class from George Kuchar. When it comes to wild B-movie imagination, he was born that way. A madcap mainstay whose zines (Fembot), music (with Sta-Prest in the 1990s, and Puce Moment, featuring Jon Nikki, today), DJing (at the Clap) and DIY filmmaking (Mondo Bottomless) make this city lively, Gregerson is currently at work on a movie titled AIDS Camp. I recently jumped on my pogo stick and caught up with him to discuss fashion, the perils of directing, the last days of a landmark, and his role in a film at this year’s Frameline festival.

SFBG What are you wearing?

GARY GREGERSON One of my favorite shirts from the ’60s, baby blue cords, and a button that says, "Tennis is a ball."

SFBG AIDS Camp: please break down the title in all its potential meaning.

GG Originally I wanted it to be set in a place a sci-fi wasteland but outdoors. There’d be a discussion about breaking out and someone would say, "But there’re no walls here," and someone else would say, "Look around, it’s camp! Everywhere you look it’s camp, camp, camp!" Oh, and I have HIV.

SFBG This movie is more of a group effort, with a large cast that needed to be wrangled. How was the experience different?

GG Continuity was a challenge. It was a challenge getting the same people to spend all day in the "internment" area and then another day in Glen Canyon Park for the "liberation" scenes. I didn’t have any problem finding "untrainables" (sex radicals) but it was hard to find "trainables" (straight-laced gays).

SFBG You appear in The Lollipop Generation, which is playing at this year’s Frameline fest. What was that experience like, and what have you learned from the film’s director, G.B. Jones?

GG I was supposed to be flagging tricks from in front of DeGrassi Junior High — that’s the actual location. I had one car honk at me. I learned that Super 8 looks even better when it’s been sitting around for 15 years, maybe in a fridge somewhere. The condensation gives it a neat effect.

SFBG What is your favorite dance?

GG The Hip-o-crite.

SFBG You are a known Sid Krofft admirer. What is your stance on the current film "remake" of Land of the Lost? What are your views on Sleestaks in general?

GG Maybe a "serious" remake would actually be more enjoyable, but we’ll see. I wanted to do a short with Alvin Orloff called H.R. Buff-n-stuff. I can’t weigh in on Sleestaks, but I like guys with Chaka hair.

SFBG If you paid no heed to the words of the Flirts and put another dime in the jukebox right now, what three songs would you choose to play?

GG A jukebox?! How quaint. Let’s see … maybe "Goin’ Cruisin’" by Malibu (another Bobby O group), "Cruising" by Hunx and his Punx, and "Just Like the Leaves" by my friends the Bippies.

SFBG As a host of many events there, tell the people: What is great about Aunt Charlie’s?

GG The scents and sensuality. And Joe and the gang are really awesome for letting me film there.

SFBG What are your thoughts on the closing of the Central YMCA?

GG It’s only two blocks from my house, so I’m ridin’ a bummer. I need a tile from the steam room for a memento.

SFBG Gary Gregerson, is that what you call sockin’ it to me?

GG Well, it is my happening and it’s freaking me out.

AIDS CAMP premieres in August at Homo A Go Go in Olympia, Wash. Puce Moment plays Club Club You’re Dead at the Stud in July.

Hot topic

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a&eletters@sfbg.com

 

If you’ve seen Flesh (1968) or Trash (1970) or Heat (1972), there’s a good chance you’d like to spend an hour alone with Joe Dallesandro. Let’s face it — that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon, so you may have to settle for something a bit less private. As substitutes go, Little Joe is a nice alternative: no, you can’t talk to (or touch) Dallesandro directly, but the experience is certainly intimate.

Little Joe just isn’t your standard documentary. Forget the talking heads or — horror of all horrors — reenactments. This is Joe on Joe: 90 minutes of the Warhol superstar reflecting on his accidental fame and everything that came after. It’s a fascinating story, even without the cinematic embellishments. Of course, it helps that Dallesandro himself does all the talking. For one thing, he’s undoubtedly the best authority on his life. For another, he’s not bad to look at, even pushing 60.

The film was conceived and produced by Vedra Mehagian Dallesandro, Joe’s daughter, and Nicole Haeusser, who also directed. Speaking about their unusual approach, both agree that the close, conversational style gives a better sense of the subject than other films might be able to do.

“Our original goal was to make a great documentary on Joe, because many have tried,” Vedra Dallesandro explains. “And we’re very intimate and connected to him. That’s the reason he did this for us.”

But, as Haeusser elaborates, the filmmakers’ decision to do the film as a one-on-one with Dallesando wasn’t appealing to potential producers, who sought a more conventional documentary technique.

“When Vedra tried to get financing, they were all worried about the third act,” she says. “They were worried that Joe was still alive and wanted to wait for him to die, basically. So Vedra and I were talking, and I was like, ‘Well, we don’t need money. We can just do it ourselves.'”

The decision turned out to be a happy accident: Little Joe’s biggest strength is its almost amateur quality. Which is not to say that the film feels lacking — it’s just an intentionally limited production. There are no experts over-explaining Dallesandro’s overnight success (he was hot) or later substance abuse (it was readily available). Nor are there any TMZ-esque voiceovers highlighting the more illicit aspects of his career. And who needs ’em? The clips of Dallesandro strutting nude through, well, all of his early films speak for themselves.

Of course, the point of all the real talk with Dallesandro is to show that he’s more than just a sex object — and the message definitely comes across. He is, as he puts it, smarter than people give him credit for.

“A lot of times you hear people talk about him like he’s a piece of meat,” Haeusser says. “And he’s a very spiritual person.”

I don’t know if that’s quite the impression I got, but Little Joe does flesh out Dallesandro (pun fully intended) more than frequent collaborator Paul Morrissey ever did. Dallesandro’s early career was about his appearance: the muscles, the hair, the manparts. And that’s all well and good, but no one wants to be defined solely by how good they look naked. This documentary is the ideal vehicle for Dallesandro to prove, as the saying goes, that he’s more than just a pretty face.

Still, there’s no denying Little Joe‘s eye candy status. To its credit, the film never shies away from that. No one appears embarrassed or regretful about the past, and why should they?

“Who he is, is who he is,” Vedra Dallesandro offers. “I think it’s amazing.” Amazing may sound like a stretch, but consider the life of a sex symbol. It takes courage to bare it all — and it takes star quality to turn that into a career. (Louis Peitzman)

LITTLE JOE

Sat/20, 4:15 p.m., Castro ————

ODE TO JOE: A FIRST-PERSON TESTIMONY TO STARDOM OF DALLESANDRO

“Don’t do this to me and leave me, Joe!” So rasps Sylvia Miles as Joe Dallesandro dutifully pleasures her missionary-style in a scene from Andy Warhol’s Heat (1972). When it comes to mid-coital dirty talk, could any line possibly be more comically terrible? Miles’ character is Sally Todd, a past-prime actress with a Beverly Hills mansion whose “game show money” doesn’t keep her in hairspray. Dallesandro is Joey Davis, an ex-child star terminally on the make in an attempt to revive his marooned career. But really, anyone who enjoys Heat — and I’ll come right out and say it’s my favorite movie, ever — is enjoying the people behind the characters.

A key reward of the Warhol movies that star Joe Dallesandro is that he doesn’t just do it to us and leave us — his signature brand of candid male sexuality, something entirely new in American cinema when it arrived, is still available to us today. “Little Joe” brought before the camera the fantasies that biographers and gossip tattle-tales entertained about James Dean and Marlon Brando, and his naturalism helped pave the way for Robert DeNiro’s and Al Pacino’s brands of Italian-American charisma and machismo, even if he wasn’t theatrically trained. Yes, Dallesandro was usually stoic-to-stony, scarcely reacting to the hijinx of the myriad feminine characters with whom Paul Morrissey and Warhol paired him. But he knew enough to realize that he didn’t have to do much, which is more than most actors learn in a lifetime.

Joe Dallesandro played a key role for me in terms of knowing I was attracted to men, and I can hardly be alone in that experience. When I first saw him, it was only a portion of his body — his sculpted chest and abdomen, tinted a plum color on the cover of the Smiths’ self-titled 1985 debut album. This image was too oblique to be lust at first sight, but still images of Dallesandro from Flesh (1968) in Parker Tyler’s book Underground Film and Stephen Koch’s Warhol cinema survey Stargazer resolved any lingering issues or teenage doubts. The treat in discovering the movies behind these images was that Dallesandro’s unapologetically naked good looks were simply the hook on which Warhol, and especially director Morrissey, hooked a fantastic crew of eccentrics.

Little Joe, Nicole Hauesser’s new feature-length biographical portrait of Dallesandro, has as much in common with That Man: Peter Berlin (2005) as it does the legion of documentaries about Warhol superstars. Like the Berlin movie, it fascinates as a study of an icon of masculine glamour, though Dallesandro isn’t as narcissistic (who could be) or as detached and cerebral. Hauesser skims over the coded symbols of Dallesandro’s physique model days, and I wish she’d had Dallesandro sound off more about dearly-departed costars such as the amazing Andrea Feldman.

But Little Joe‘s story can’t help but be dramatic. Who knew Dallesandro had an ill-fated handsome brother — shades of Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorléac — or that the love of his life was Suspiria (1976) star Stefania Casini? Still handsome today, Dallesandro addresses the camera with a directness missing from his Warhol performances, wrestling uncomfortably with his manipulation by Morrissey, and reminiscing with little sentiment about latter-era Warhol films such as Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) and Blood for Dracula (1974), which includes his best and most hilarious performances — as a Marxist servant with a Brooklyn accent in medieval Europe.

“Have you even lived to know what beautiful is?” Lydia (Pat Ast) asks a male stripper jealous of Joe’s good looks during a sunny afternoon scene from Heat. As Joe descends down some stairs for an underwater swim across the length of a pool, she answers her own question: “You’re just a spoiled brat, living the life of Riley.” Watching Joe Dallesandro in Flesh, in Trash (1970), and most of all, in Heat, we’re all spoiled brats living the life of Riley. (Johnny Ray Huston)

 

When we grow up

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a&eletters@sfbg.com

In the 1960s and early ’70s there was great enthusiasm behind the idea of loosening up the public school system. You know, making things more participatory, sparking kids’ imaginations, encouraging those who might have be bored or neglected in traditional classroom models.

Suddenly grade-school veteran Mrs. McGregor was prodded — not that some sterner specimens didn’t resist — to read the hidden signs of each child’s psychological well-being as well as drill ye olde reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. If the freshly arrived 20-something teacher (or teacher’s assistant) seemed more cool, accessible, and just plain interested, that’s because she or he was; universities had started moulding them that way.

Anyone who grew up in that era remembers the incongruity of old playground games alternating with teacher-led, noncompetitive new ones. Old instructional and filmstrips that seemed prehistoric because they came from the Eisenhower era, offering laughably corny behavioral (not to mention grooming) advice, were shown alongside hip new edutainments urging tolerance, getting in touch with one’s feelings, and treading gently on Mother Earth. (Most of the latter were produced by questionable corporate friends of the planet like Exxon and DuPont.) Where minority students had always had to accept their absence from textbooks and other media, now kids in the whitest small-town or suburb saw rainbow-coalition peers depicted in revised or brand-new materials.

This happened fastest on TV, where much children’s programming seemed to grow sophisticated and viewer-improving overnight. On the commercial networks, there were the likes of Schoolhouse Rock and Fat Albert. The bounty on PBS, then fatly funded and as yet undiminished by cable competition, included Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and ZOOM. All knocked themselves out painting learning as fun, group inclusion and individual differences as neat. The messages were subversive by prior standards: girls could grow up to be astronauts too; boys were encouraged to cry if they felt like it. (And we all know they sometimes do.)

Perhaps the era’s zenith was Free to Be … You and Me, a multimedia phenomenon that hasn’t died yet. (The original album is still in print.) Chosen this year for the annual Sunday kids’ matinee slot at Frameline, it has a special place in the memories of umpteen lesbian, gay, and trans adults — because while it didn’t directly address sexual identity, the emphasis on upending stereotypical gender roles echoed deep for kids who mostly didn’t know yet just how "different" they might turn out to be.

The story goes that Free first grew from liberated That Girl star Marlo Thomas’ desire to create something for her young niece. Something that didn’t reinforce traditional "See Dick! He’s building a mud fort! See Jane! She’s happy just watching him, keeping her dress clean!" sentiments in kid lit.

That idea became a half-million selling 1972 LP by Thomas and starry "friends" including one 6’5 NFL legend (and author of Rosey Grier’s Needlepoint for Men) singing sensitive boy anthem "It’s All Right to Cry." There were also tracks like "Parents Are People," "William’s Doll," and "Helping," performed by everyone from Dionne Warwick and Diana Ross to Tommy Smothers, Carol Channing, and Dick Cavett.

Many of them were back for the prime-time, hour-long special on ABC two years later, joined by Alan Alda, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, some Muppets, Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge, Roberta Flack and Michael Jackson (still cosmetically intact), and the choral Voices of East Harlem.

A broadcast staple for some years, the show is still pretty great, reflecting the contributions of such brains as Carl Reiner, Shel Silverstein, Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), and Thomas’ major collaborator Christopher Cerf. Mixing sketches and songs, live action and cartoons, it humorously soft-pedals myriad corrective lessons: revising the Greek legend of suitor-outrunning Princess Atalanta so that the happy ending is feminist, not marital; clucking at the selfishness of a superfemme, pink-clad girl who brattily insists "Ladies First" (and gets eaten by tigers as a consequence).

The term "politically correct" hadn’t been invented yet, but it could certainly be levied against Free. As it duly was/is, in some quarters. "Make no mistake, this is propaganda aimed at children. The message is that girls will find happiness only if they mimic boys," harrumphs one current Amazon customer. (He also considers the running skits with wisecracking Muppet infants "disturbing" and "revolting.") Alert Rush Limbaugh, quick!

This dangerous brainwashing tool generated picture books, a belated TV sequel (1988’s Free to Be … A Family), and a 35th anniversary revised-form original print reissue for which Thomas made the publicity rounds last year. These days she may be lesser known in gay circles for public philanthropic expressions than her alleged private despotic ones (see scurrilous unauthorized biography That Girl and Phil: An Insider Tells What Life is Really Like in the Marlo Thomas-Phil Donahue Household, a camp tell-all classic right up there with Call Her Miss Ross.) All gossip aside, however, innumerable grown-up queers are still in Thomas’ debt. A self-Acceptance 101 dose as easy to swallow as Flintstone multivitamins, Free to Be … You and Me remains good for you, and baby too.

FREE TO BE … YOU AND ME

Sun/21, 11 a.m., Castro

Quickies

0

FRI/19


The Lollipop Generation (G.B. Jones, Canada, 2008) To truly appreciate G.B. Jones’ decades-in-the-making solo follow-up to her 1991 queer punk classic collaboration with Bruce LaBruce No Skin Off My Ass, you probably have to be a fan of Doris Wishman. Jones is on record as a major admirer of the woman behind Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965) and the Chesty Morgan vehicle Double Agent 73 (1974), whose singular directorial style had no need for dramatic momentum, synced-up dialogue, or sensible camera angles. (In a scene with dialogue, Wishman was more likely to lavish close-ups on nearby furniture than on the humans involved.) Lollipop Generation skewers the lust for youth at the rotten core of pop culture through its look at a loose gang of candy-licking teen and preteen trick-turners and the suckers who would like to prey on them. The cast includes writer Mark Ewert and Calvin Johnson, but Vaginal Davis steals a sizeable portion of the movie by throwing her all into a molester role in a sequence that shifts back and forth between Super 8 and video. My favorite aspect of Lollipop Generation is Jones’ eye for funny or dirty signs or landmarks, from giant smiling balls on the sides of freeways to sites with double entendres for names. By placing what story there is within this framework, she creates her own world with no need for special effects. (Johnny Ray Huston) 10:45 p.m., Roxie.


Making the Boys (Crayton Robey, USA, 2008) Whether you adore it as a nostalgic, pre-HIV throwback or despise it for its self-loathing and slew of gay stereotypes, The Boys in the Band was revolutionary for its time as the first play to revolve around a homosexual circle of friends and to present an honest examination of the gay community. In director Crayton Robey’s compelling and insightful new documentary, Mart Crowley, the playwright of Boys, recounts his days rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite as a burgeoning screenwriter only to be cast aside after a failed Bette Davis pilot and a film deal fell through. New York theater proved to be his salvation as he struggled with perceived personal and professional failure as well as alcoholism. With nothing to lose, he bravely penned Boys, secured the producer from Edward Albee’s equally controversial Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and released it off-Broadway on April 14, 1968 to commercial acclaim. Robey interviews both Broadway and Hollywood mainstays such as Albee, Terrence McNally, Robert Wagner, and Dominick Dunne, who reflect on the impact of Boys, for better and for worse, and its role in challenging mainstream opinions of homosexuality as a mental illness and in jumpstarting the gay rights movement. In the middle of the film, I started wishing Robey had interviewed more of the cast of Boys. After all, they were the ones who experienced the highs of being in an exciting and subversive new play as well as the lows of later being essentially blacklisted from Hollywood. Then it dawned on me that five of the nine original cast members of Boys have since died from AIDS. Ultimately though, their cause to validate the gay community’s presence in society is forever immortalized with the legacy of Boys, the play that Vincent Canby hailed "a landslide of truths." (Laura Swanbeck) 7 p.m., Victoria. Also Mon/22, 1 p.m., Castro.

SAT/20


Greek Pete (Andrew Haigh, U.K., 2009) A deadpan serving of real-life drama, this night-and-day portrait is a 21st-century update of Andy Warhol’s Flesh, the 1968 movie that made Joe Dallesandro a star. In Flesh, Dallesandro is a hustler named Joe in New York. Here, Peter Pittaros is an escort named Pete in London. In Flesh, we see Joe school comparatively naïve and weak street corner boys on the tricks of rough trade. Here, Pete is a responsible breadwinner in comparison to his drug-spun chicken boyfriend. Both Flesh‘s Joe and the title character of Greek Pete hang with trannies, though Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis are more camera-ready than Pete’s goth gal pals. But whereas a strange optimism radiates from Flesh, which is understandably too smitten with its charismatic star to knock the hustle, Greek Pete has a strong undertow of melancholy. Its sadness doesn’t stem from a moral tut-tut stance about whoring but from a sense of modern emptiness that haunts Pete whether he’s with friends, alone in his apartment, or watching footage of himself winning a competition that’s the male escort equivalent of Miss America. Well-shot and anchored by a performance that’s just deep and ordinary enough to remain compelling, Greek Pete isn’t just easy meat. (Huston) 10 p.m., Victoria. Also Tues/23, 2:30 p.m., Castro.

SUN/21


Training Rules (Dee Mosbacher and Fawn Yacker, USA, 2009) Homophobia in sports is, depressingly, still an enormous issue. But compared to the macho world of the NBA, you’d think that women’s college basketball would be a comparatively safe realm for queer players. In the case of Penn State, you’d be dead wrong. For 27 years, coach Rene Portland intimidated and harassed players who were lesbians — and those she thought might be lesbians, or who had lesbian friends. As players from past teams recall (often through tears), Portland was an outspoken homophobe who revoked scholarships as she pleased and made basketball a joyless pursuit for those she targeted. In 2006, former player Jennifer Harris, a star athlete and standout student, sued the school for discrimination. Though Harris can’t speak at length due to the terms of her settlement (and of course Portland, who resigned in 2007, did not agree to an interview), Training Rules is an eye-opening document, exposing not just the ugly truth about one coach, but a systemwide crisis that those in power (athletic directors, the NCAA) have been painfully slow to address. (Cheryl Eddy) 3:30 p.m., Castro

TUES/23


City of Borders (Yun Suh, USA, 2009) Forty-five minutes away from Middle Eastern "gay mecca" Tel Aviv lies Jerusalem, ancient religious center and, unfortunately, bastion of equally time-tested attitudes toward homosexuality. Many Tel Aviv gays don’t even see the point of living, let alone fighting for rights, in Jerusalem. Yet Jerusalem’s sole gay bar, Shushan, was one place where Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, mingled as equals. Yun Suh’s documentary focuses on a few diverse patrons, plus Shushan’s owner Sa’ar Netanel, who became Jerusalem’s first openly gay elected official (as a city councilman) on the same day it elected its first ultraright Orthodox mayor. He endures routine death threats, Gay Pride parades attract violent protest, and the other principals here have their problems and flaws too: lesbian couple Samira and Ravit try to stay together despite major cultural differences; Palestinian youth Boddy fears he’ll eventually have to leave for his own safety; Adam, an Israeli activist since being queer-bashed, doesn’t see any ethnical conflict in building a house on occupied territory with his boyfriend. Borders is a vivid snapshot of a gay rights struggle that is still very much an uphill slog. (Dennis Harvey) 7 p.m., Roxie

Patrick, Age 1.5 (Ella Lemhagen, Sweden, 2008) Freshly settled in suburbia, gay couple Goran (Gustaf Skarsgard) and Sven (Torkel Petersson) are eager to adopt a child — or at least Goran is, with Sven reluctantly caving in. But when against the odds they’re informed a native-born boy is available, a misplaced bit of bureaucratic punctuation means they get not the 18-month-old toddler expected but 15-year-old Patrik (Tom Ljungman). He’s a foul-tempered foster home veteran who makes it clear he’s no happier cohabiting with two "homos" than they are with him. Nevertheless, they’re stuck with each other at least through the weekend, allowing a predictable mutual warming trend to course through Ella Lemhagen’s agreeable seriocomedy. While formulaic in concept, the film’s low-key charm and conviction earn emotions that might easily have felt sitcomishly pre-programmed. (Harvey) 7 p.m., Castro

JUNE 24


Prodigal Sons (Kimberly Reed, USA, 2008) When Kimberly Reed (who studied film at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University) set out to make Prodigal Sons, she was probably pretty certain the doc would be deliberately self-focused. The film’s first act takes place in Helena, Mont., at Reed’s 20-year high school reunion — amid former classmates who remember Kimberly Reed as Paul McKerrow, a football star who was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" (and, indeed, a success she has been; though she alludes to a difficult period during her transition, she’s clearly arrived at a happy and confident place in life). But Prodigal Sons is plural for a reason, and not because of brother Todd (who happens to be gay). Instead, it’s adopted brother Marc — who is given to terrifying rages as a result of a personality-altering brain injury; remains eternally resentful of Kimberly’s high school-era smarts and popularity; and (as is shockingly discovered) the grandchild of Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth — who becomes Prodigal Sons’ focus. He is the most heartbreaking figure in an intimately personal (sometimes uncomfortably so) film that’s ultimately about identities lost and found. (Eddy) 7:30 p.m., Castro

JUNE 27


Off and Running (Nicole Opper, USA, 2009) Teenager Avery, an African American, was adopted as an infant by a single white mom, who soon afterward meets another single white mom who had recently adopted an African American baby boy. Before long, a family (nicknamed "the United Nations," especially after a Korean child joins the mix) was formed. A track star who dreams of running in college, Avery loves her moms, but she’s curious about her biological parents. She knows she’s from Texas and was originally called Mycole Antwonisha, facts that hint at a cultural experience far removed from her upbringing as a Brooklyn Jew. After a few letters are exchanged with her birth mother, Avery is crushed when the woman mysteriously ends communication. A profound identity crisis ensues. "It’s like something really traumatic happened to her, and nothing did," Avery’s caring if clueless adoptive mother says. But Off and Running suggests otherwise. The doc may not speak for every adopted child’s experience, but it’s eye-opening nonetheless, and is blessed with a subject who is sensitive and articulate even in her darkest moments. (Eddy) 2:15 p.m., Roxie

Pop Star on Ice (David Barba and James Pellerito, USA, 2009) Yay, Johnny Weir! If you don’t share my sentiments about the sassy, sparkly, outspoken (but not on-the-record out) figure skater, then you might want to skip this documentary, which was filmed over a two-year period and offers an up-close-and-personal (like, you see him in a tanning bed) look at the three-time national champ. Or maybe not, actually — haters might come around after realizing how hard he’s worked to achieve his ice-rink dreams, born after watching Oksana Baiul win Olympic gold on TV and learning to skate (at the ancient age of 12) on the frozen-over cornfield in his Pennsylvania backyard. Competition footage backs up claims by longtime coach Priscilla Hill (with whom he breaks up over the course of the film) and others of Weir’s extraordinary talents; backstage clips and off-the-cuff interviews establish the fact that he’s one of the sport’s most fun personalities, probably ever. Weir pouts, jokes, struts in a fashion show, speaks in a Russian accent, discusses his collection of furs, and lands quadruple jumps with ease. Gay or (ahem) nay, he’s clearly 100 percent comfortable with who he is. (Eddy) 11 a.m., Castro

Rusty never sleeps

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johnny@sfbg.com

I’ll be honest: interviewing Rusty Santos was a last-minute thing. I just found out that Santos’s group the Present is coming to SF. And let me tell you, I’m bummed. While Santos and bandmates Jesse Lee and Mina are making music here, I’m going to be across the country in their hometown of New York City. One listen to Santos’ production for Panda Bear’s sublime Person Pitch (Paw Tracks) is all it takes to recognize his special studio grace, and based on the spacious beauty of World I See (Lo Recordings, 2008) and the new Way We Are (Lo Recordings), the Present is one of the few contemporary bands I’m eager to see live. So if you check out one of the shows, tell me how good it was for you.

SFBG What are some of the first sounds you remember?

RUSTY SANTOS The sweet potato salesman’s song I heard as a kid in Japan. A lot of the vendors there sing these jingles that have probably been sung for generations and remind me of hymns. I lived in Nagoya for a few years when I was growing up, and my earliest sonic memories are from there.

SFBG What were some of your favorite musical experiences as a kid, in terms of listening to music and making it?

RS Playing in hardcore bands in high school was my most formative musical experience. Also singing in chorus in elementary school was important. My life was changed the first time I heard Michael Jackson.

SFBG You’re from Fresno and you’ve also lived in the Bay Area. What things did you love and not love about both?

RS I love how Fresno rests in the valley at the foot of an immense mountain range. Being at sea level but separated from the ocean felt pretty isolated, but there’s also this sense that the sky’s the limit. San Francisco has a lot more history, and is of course more worldly, so that was my introduction to the kinds of cultural activities I would pursue after moving to New York.

SFBG The Present is the Present, and as Rusty Santos you have songs or titles such as "Eternity Spans" and "Moving Time." What is it about time that interests or compels you?

RS Time has always fascinated me because I kind of feel like it doesn’t exist or at least doesn’t behave in exactly the same way recording equipment captures it. I feel that with music it’s possible to change the way people perceive time and help [them] appreciate it more.

SFBG Did you see that Alan McGee of Creation Records fame named the Present as one of his favorite groups?

RS Someone showed me that. I like a lot of Libertines and Babyshambles songs, and of course My Bloody Valentine. And Felt.

SFBG What’s the strangest or best description you’ve heard of your music?

RS That would have to be Alan McGee comparing it to [Wolfgang Voigt’s project] Gas. He’s wrong, but that’s a huge compliment.

SFBG Panda Bear’s Person Pitch is one of my favorite albums of recent years. You recorded it in Lisbon, and I’m wondering about your impressions of that place and how it might have influenced you.

RS Portugal is amazing. My last name is Portuguese and the first time I traveled there I felt like there was some lost family connection.

SFBG In an interview I did with him around the time of Tilt (Fontana, 1995), Scott Walker said he doesn’t like the compression of most modern recordings. Would you agree with his view?

RS Yes, I completely agree, except for when I disagree. Most of the time new music sounds flat and over-compressed, but in some cases it’s used to genius effect.


SFBG What are you looking forward to doing while you’re in the Bay Area?

RS I’m looking forward to checking out the bands we’re playing with and seeing old friends. It will also be nice to get some coffee and visit Golden Gate Park.

THE PRESENT

With Queens, Religious Girls, Our Brother the Native, New Future

Thurs/18, 9 p.m., $7 (21 and over)

The Knockout

3223 Mission, SF

(415) 550-6994

www.theknockoutsf.com


With Queens, Railcars, Egadz

Fri/19, 9 p.m., $8 (21 and over)

Thee Parkside

1600 17th St., SF

(415) 252-1330

www.theeparkside.com

Adventureland, ho

0

a&eletters@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER I’m in the mood for adventure — and so are you, apparently. Something off the beaten down and battered tourist path, something wild and glee and free to be you and me. And who is "me," anyway — when "me" is perpetually in flux, in free fall, riding the rapids of the collective unconscious? Don’t fear the reaper, the creeper, the negative creeps, the swine flu, the digital, the Burner, the busted, the Man, the dude who defecates on your doorstep (especially if he cleans up after himself like a responsible pooch owner).

Maybe that’s why adventure is the underlying theme, streaming willy-nilly, in talks with two very different guitarists and vocalists, generating very different sounds: Aaron Turner of Isis (and founder of Hydra Head Records) and Charlie Saufley, frontperson for San Francisco’s Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound (see below) You know it’s in the air when players working in such varied modes of music-making as Isis and AHISS start talking about taking it off-road. Ask, for instance, Seattle resident Turner what he looks for as the sole A&R guy (and de facto art director) of Hydra Head, and he says, somewhat reluctantly because, "at the moment we’re trying to cut back on what we take in — sort of because our boundless enthusiasm has led us take on too much. But if I were to summarize what we look for, it’s an adventurous spirit."

Isis’ latest album, Wavering Radiant (Ipecac) feels boundless, too: as clean and deep as a dive into a wooded swimming hole. Richly melodic passages, with unexpected ambient hues, make me picture the band is listening widely, beyond thrash and forebears (and Hydra Head like-mindeds) like the Melvins. From "Hall of the Dead," a layered, seven-minute-plus opus that brings to mind a more symphonic Neurosis or Mono, to "Ghost Key," which is at moments almost frothy and airy in its interplay of electronics and guitar and at others ascending and falling with loud, earthy thunder, the album, engineered by new producer Joe Barresi (who presently happens to be working with Saviours), seems to step back from crushing aggression and toward more nuanced arrangements tinged with post-rock and mathcore elements associated with Dillinger Escape Plan, Explosions in the Sky, and Mogwai.

And now that Isis has made inroads into the Billboard 200 — Wavering Radiant arrived at No. 98 — I wonder whether the group’s sense of adventure may be contagious. "I don’t think our music is inaccessible," Turner muses. "There’s enough melody there, and certainly there’s an energy that a lot of people will latch onto. But when it boils down to it, there’s an element to the music that will make that a stretch in the mainstream realm." Hold on.

ISIS

With Helms Alee and Mamiffer

Tues/23, 9 p.m., $16

Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750, www.musichallsf.com

———–

ASSEMBLE HEAD IN SUNBURST SOUND’S ‘GLORIOUS RESIGNATION’

You’d never suspect Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound was on a similar tip as Isis, but if you chat with guitarist-vocalist Charlie Saufley, he’ll stop what he’s doing — namely caring for his ailing father in Mountain View — and ponder the phenomenon, and yes, the adventurous vibe, of the current psych/stoner rock scene in the Bay Area. "The common thread of this newer generation of what we loosely call psychedelic bands is that I think they’re running with what the first generation forgot," he explains good-naturedly. "A lot of them turned into a cliché, self-indulgent dinosaur bands. Now maybe everyone is carrying on the spirit of what those bands had when they were young and didn’t know better and just fueled by that feeling of creating something new."

New for ASHISS: the kudos it’s fielded for its new When Sweet Sleep Returned (Tee Pee), a successful cosmic-cowboy-derived marriage of Floyd and country-fied Byrds, as Saufley describes it, with a drizzle of Revolver-esque pop. Still, he’s not sure what to make of the attention. "I haven’t stopped aspiring to the dream of making a living doing this. I think someone might sneak through the cracks and break through. Aspirations exist but I do think there’s a glorious resignation, like, ‘Fuck it, I’m not going to see dollar one, so why not do what I want to do. There is that democratization of music creation: people who are really psyched if you put out a record on your own and make 500 of them. But I do also think people rally around that spirit — ‘I’m never going to make money, so I’m just going to be prolific and put it out there.’ It’s the hardcore ethic come to life."

WITH SLEEPY SUN, SPINDRIFT, AND DJ WET BURRITO

Fri/19, 9 p.m., $13

Great American Music Hall

Juicy gotcha krazy

0

superego@sfbg.com

SUPEREGO Oh, who the hell cares what I think this week? It’s summer and our party hormones — partymones — are totally going apeshit. Before I get into the upcoming party musts, though, I will leave you with one quasi-abstract musing. The thing I’ll miss most about analog TV, besides the term "vertical hold," is the sound of someone frantically banging the top of the box to stabilize the picture. If anyone’s thinking of sampling that in a killer track, now’s the time. Slap that bitch!

NINJA TUNE


It’s been a coon’s age since the forward-thinking label threw one of its freaky bashes here in San Francisco, and despite some questionable recent signings (Thunderheist? Er, pass), it’s pulling out its new big guns with this one. Before he brought down the house on the Brainfeeder tour last year, I couldn’t look at foppish L.A. synth-master Daedelus without flashing back to my more ill-starred ’80s sartorial choices. But he proved himself up to the minute with edgy future bassism and over-the-top Beethoven-like symphonic flourishes. New New Romantic? Sure. Montreal dancehall warper Ghislain Poirier is back as well, and will benefit from Mighty’s mighty bass boost. Opening up is Daly City’s underground patron saint, Mochipet.

Thu/18, 9 p.m., $10 advance. Mighty, 119 Utah, SF. www.mighty119.com

"THE CREATIVES"


There’s nothing more terrifying to me than a drag queen out of drag. Here I’ll be all gossiping tipsily with someone and say something like, "Oh gurl, that Ambrosia Salad mess truly sucked a big one with her number last Friday." And then he’ll say in a deep voice, "I’m Ambrosia Salad, asshole" — and I’ll have to backtrack faster than Scooby and Shaggy from Bluebeard’s tacky ectoplasm. Luckily, hottie photographer Molly Decoudreaux provides a key with her new exhibition, "The Creatives: Daytime Portraits from a Queer Nightlife," in which she ingeniously snaps notorious movers and shakers in their casual home habitats. Who knew these queens had homes? The opening party should be darling.

Sat/20, 7 p.m.–10 p.m., continues through July 10, free. A.Muse Gallery, 614 Alabama, SF. www.yourmusegallery.com

SUREFIRE


That lively Bay nexus for all things dubstep, Surefire Sound, has gone monthly at Triple Crown (yay) and has a stellar June lineup planned. Distance, a hurricane force from the U.K. whose "Night Vision" track on Planet Mu pummels the darkness into submission, brings his streetwise wobble to the tables. Toronto’s XI gets gnarly, his ragamuffin moments reflective of Canada’s simmering melting pot. And much-admired local DJ Antiserum possesses the just-right combination of longtime jungle and breaks experience and wild viral style to crank the party up madly.

Sat/20, 10 p.m., $10. Triple Crown, 1760 Market, SF. www.triplecrownsf.com

GREEN VELVET


True eccentricity is still a rarity on the techno scene, which tends to forego stand-out personalities in favor of mix-friendly assimilation. This can be a good thing: we don’t need another Prodigy, surely. But Green Velvet, the wacky track producer also known as house pioneer Cajmere, gets the balance between dance floor motion and the conceptually bizarre perfectly. The influence of his earworm cuts like "The Stalker," "Flash," and the oddly Eminem-summoning "La La Land" is strongly felt on recent underground Berlin styles and throughout the goofy Dirty Bird label technoverse. He’ll be in town with bonkers duo Designer Drugs, who manage to make electro-sleaze still relevant-sounding, to help celebrate the birthday of one of my favorite SF DJs, Richie Panic.

Sat/20, 9 p.m., $15 advance. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com

DJ SAID


A decade ago, when the Internet was still booming, Said Adelekan brought some serious dance floor spirit to that oft-soulless go-go period with his local Afro-House movement, his Fatsouls label, and his lovely Atmosphere parties. I’m absolutely delighted that he and Fatsouls have resurfaced — goddess knows we could use a little more Afro-injection — to release a new full-length Fatsouls joint, Sun of Gao. Joining Said (and many familiar friendly faces from those days, I hope) will be the luminous DJ Dedan of the great Brothers and Sisters party in Oakland. Expect everything deeply felt, from Afrobeat to minimal techno — oh, and Nigerian legend Rasaki Aladokun on the talking drum.

Friday, June 26, 10 p.m., free. Otis, 25 Maiden Lane, SF. www.otissf.com

The odds

0

le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS Speaking of clocks running down, here it is, the second half of June, meaning by the time you read this I will be either in Germany, or dead. I’m pulling for the former.

My favorite ex-therapist, who shares my fear of flying, once told me every time he got on an airplane he had to first live his own death.

"Hmm. Tell me more about this," I said, crossing my legs and scribbling in my note pad, because that’s the kind of student of life I was, at that time: the kind who takes notes about every single thing, but learns nothing. "For instance," I prodded, because he was just sort of staring at me, speechless, "by ‘living your own death’ do you mean imagining it, accepting it, facing it face-to-face, kissing it on the lips? …" I looked at the box of Kleenex on the coffee table between us, and I looked at him. My goal in therapy has always been to reduce my shrink to tears. "Or do you mean wanting it, like anal sex," I said. "Take your time."

Now I am a different kind of student of life: the kind who stays out late drinking, sleeps through her first class, spends more time in the bathtub than at her desk, and couldn’t find the library with a map and eight weeks.

There’s a lot I don’t know. Give you an example: does my plane go down on the way there, or on the way back? My personal preference, and it’s a strong one, would be the way back. Kiz, who is coming with me but returning earlier, shares this preference.

My friend, my friends, I’m good at math, and philosophy. Death doesn’t listen. It kisses you back, but doesn’t care a lick about personal preferences. There is a 50 percent chance I will be dead by the time you read this. And a 50 percent chance that I will be a donut. And then dead when you read next week’s column, which I’ll hammer out as soon as I finish this, to be safe.

Plus, I don’t want to have to work while I’m on vacation. Which word (vacation) I use very very poetically. Are you listening, IRS? I am doing a reading in Berlin, I am meeting many times with my German translator, and we are pitching my book, our book, to publishers there. Honestly, I’m not just saying this in case the taxman is a fan of Cheap Eats. I mean, I am, obviously, but it also happens to be true.

I would like to look pretty while I’m there. To this end, I had another laser treatment to my chin before I left. Now, please don’t misunderstand me: I think the world of bearded ladies. I think they rock. I think they are the most beautiful people in the whole wide freakshow, and this is coming from a huge fan of both contortionists and strong men. But I have no idea how the Germans feel about them. Us. And, given what I am going through to get there (50 percent + 50 percent = let’s face it, 100 percent) I really really really REALLY would like to be loved in Berlin.

So, yeah, laser. Now, the thing about laser hair removal is you can’t pluck for a few weeks before, and then after, it takes a few weeks more for the hairs to fall out. Meanwhile you still can’t pluck. So that’s all together, what, a whole month of being kind of grizzly and self-conscious, learning to talk and eat and even in some cases kiss with your hand over your chin. Being naturally pensive, and thoughtful, I’m pretty good at this.

But the day of the treatment is the worst, because then you’re all red, too, and there are tears in the corners of your eyes and snot on your nose. Plus I had decided to get something else done too, while I was there, so my overall discomfort was, well, pretty dang discomfortable. Let’s just say that neither walking, nor sitting, felt quite right.

Still, you gotta pay the driver. Steak and eggs for Earl Butter, and, since I was moving, standing, and maybe looking a little bit truckerish anyway . . . chicken fried steak for me. These things — like death — you go with them.

Oh, and, yum! But where?

CRAIG’S PLACE

Daily: 7 a.m.–4 p.m.

598 Guerrero, SF

(415) 461-4677

Beer & wine

MC/V

L.E. Leone’s new book is Big Bend (Sparkle Street Books), a collection of short fiction.

Wet stuff

0

andrea@altsexcolumn.com

Dear Andrea:

I know you’ve written about the G-spot before, but I have to say I’m still confused. I can have orgasms when my boyfriend goes down on me but not from intercourse, which I guess is pretty common. I keep wondering maybe if he could find my G-spot? I was also wondering about female ejacuutf8g. I don’t think I’ve ever female ejaculated or had a G-spot orgasm. What can I do?
Love,

Hoping For More

Dear Hope:

You and quite an army, actually. All of your desiderata are perennials on women’s must-have lists. Sadly, though, unlike the "it" bag of the season, you can’t get just get a cheap knock-off at Target and be satisfied. Oh, wait, that’s not true — it’s actually entirely possible that the right tool might get the job done, and those, you can buy.

The G-spot, as we have discussed ad infinitum, is not so much a discrete spot as it is a convenient catch-all for a bunch of associated structures, including the erectile tissue around the urethra (paraurethral sponge), and the vast internal portions of the clitoris, the body and crurae (the external part is the glans). OK. We’ve done that. You may also remember that because all that good stuff is largely above the vagina, any fingers attempting to access it are going to need to apply a firm upward pressure. Think of it as that "You! Over here!" gesture that Carmela Soprano made to Charmaine Bucco that time when Artie and Charmaine catered her party. Fingers can do this successfully, but most often those are somebody else’s. If you want to do the preliminary exploration on your own, or want to speed things along, one of the approximately 100 million sex toys made for the purpose will likely do the trick.

Now, the wet stuff. May I just say, before we get started, that I really object to the term "female ejaculate" as a verb, even though I occasionally end up employing it? Let’s try to stick to using it as a noun, the stuff in that puddle there, and use just plain "ejaculate" for the verb, figuring we know we’re talking about the women-folk here. Good. So, ejaculation has a funny sort of recent history, going from utterly obscure and unmentioned to the subject of heated argument to feminist cause célèbre in less than 30 years, starting with Grafenberg (he of the Spot) in the 1950s. By the ’90s women (or sometimes womyn) were making theater pieces and giant marching puppets about it, while others were watching instructional videos and driving themselves and their partners frantic looking for the elusive spot and its payload, the equally elusive (female) ejaculate. By the oughts, the endless stream of articles about how to get yourself an endless stream of orgasms along with their attendant rivers of body fluids seems to be drying up, replaced largely with articles about … dryness. Low sexual desire and no sexual desire and how to spark up your marriage. The audience is getting older, I guess. The how-to books and videos produced during the boom years are all still around, though, so no reason not to give ’em a shot.

Love,

Andrea

Don’t forget to read Andrea at Carnal Nation.com.

PG&E attacks consumer choice

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

A ballot initiative backed by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. could amount to a death sentence for community choice aggregation (CCA) and expanded public power in California.

Dubbed the Taxpayers Right to Vote Act, the proposed initiative would require a two-thirds majority vote at the ballot before any local government could establish a CCA program, use public funding to implement a plan to become a CCA provider, or expand electric service to new territory or new customers.

The new hurdle would make it very difficult for a local government to move forward with a CCA, while at the same time making it much easier for a utility to defeat public power at the ballot.

Signed into state law in 2002, CCA allows local governments to buy up blocks of power to sell to residents, making it possible for cities and counties to set up alternatives to private utilities such as PG&E and, in many cases, to offer electricity generated by clean, renewable power sources.

The initiative is in its earliest stages, and it likely would not be placed on the state ballot until the June 2010 election. At this point, "it’s unclear how much of a campaign it’s going to be," according to Greg Larsen of the Sacramento public relations firm Larsen Cazanis, a spokesperson for the effort. "It’s a long way off."

That hasn’t stopped local CCA supporters from sounding alarm bells. "Urgent/Bad! PG&E State Ballot Measure To Kill Public Power & CCA," public power activist Eric Brooks wrote in the subject line of a widely disseminated e-mail last week. "It’s red alert time boys and girls," he wrote, saying the proposal "will kill all new Public Power and Community Choice Aggregation projects statewide."

Brooks isn’t alone: everyone the Guardian spoke with who is involved in the creation of San Francisco’s CCA voiced concern that the proposal could kill any future community choice efforts.

The proposed initiative was submitted to the California Attorney General’s office May 28 with the contact listed as the Sacramento law firm Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, a powerful player with a long history of working with PG&E on ballot initiatives. Larsen confirmed that PG&E had provided the $200 filing fee, the only amount spent so far on the embryonic proposal.

The official proponent of the initiative is Robert Lee Pence, apparently the same person who was listed as an opponent of Proposition 80, a 2005 ballot measure that dealt with utility regulation. Opposition to Prop. 80 was heavily funded by PG&E and other utilities, and the initiative failed by a wide margin.

Pence’s group, Californians for Reliable Electricity, listed Steve Lucas as a contact on 2005 campaign documents. Lucas is also listed as the point person at Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor for questions regarding the Taxpayers Right to Vote Act.

The address listed for the organization is the same as that of Townsend, Raimundo, Besler and Usher — a Sacramento political consulting firm that also has a long history of working with PG&E on political campaigns. When asked about the PR firm’s role in the Taxpayer Right to Vote Act, Larsen acknowledged that they "may be involved as the campaign goes forward," but cautioned that any discussion so far has been preliminary.

The rationale behind the initiative is to protect taxpayers, Larsen said, because CCA programs "are major issues that communities undertake and require millions or billions of public dollars." The proposed initiative, he said, seeks to "ensure that voters — and frankly, their descendents — who will wind up being responsible for these programs have a say." If the measure passes, Larsen added, voters could still approve CCA programs — but with two-thirds of the vote, a supermajority that he contends is "staying in line with many other California requirements."

California Sen. Mark Leno, however, has a very different opinion. "I would hope that Californians would have come to understand that two-thirds vote thresholds are probably more responsible for damage to the state of California in the past 30 years than any other single factor," he said. "To hand a small minority controlling power is anti-democratic. This must be defeated." Leno also said he believes that the initiative would have drastic consequences for CCA programs if it passes.

Meanwhile, local CCA supporters say there is more to this than merely sticking up for taxpayers’ rights. If programs like Clean Power SF — the CCA initiative currently being developed in San Francisco — are fully implemented, then PG&E, which makes good money from its monopoly status, would face some actual competition. Naturally, the powerful utility would have an incentive to eliminate the alternative altogether.

Under the current system, PG&E "has to rely on the elected officials to kill CCA, and its much harder … to do that," says John Rizzo of the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club. But if the Taxpayers Right to Vote Act is enshrined in state law, "they could just pour in money and spread propaganda. Particularly the two-thirds requirement is just outrageous — it basically makes it impossible" to secure approval for any step toward CCA implementation.

"It’s a nasty ballot initiative," Mike Campbell, director of San Francisco’s CCA at the Public Utilities Commission, told us. "I think it’s clearly aimed at the heart of CCA." Campbell added that while he has been in discussion with SFPUC staff and others involved in hammering out Clean Power SF, he wasn’t at liberty to discuss a strategy for fighting the proposed initiative just yet.

Ross Mirkarimi, who chairs the city’s Local Agency Formation Commission — the body tasked with working in tandem with the SFPUC to implement San Francisco’s CCA — called the proposal "heinous — and yet I expect nothing less from PG&E.

"They can try to win by well-funded misinformation blitzkrieg," Mirkarimi noted. "If they’re able to spend $10 million without blinking here in San Francisco [on defeating a public power measure], they’re poised to spend tens of millions on this. As a state battleground, this elevates the fight that much more. We have to act in solidarity with other municipalities. We should be well-armed in repudiation of this effort."

There may be ways to attack the initiative in advance. The CCA legislation bars private utilities from seeking to undermine local CCA efforts. Assembly Member Tom Ammiano told us that the Legislature should look at how PG&E could be blocked from mounting a statewide effort to kill CCAs. "I think there’s some potential there," he said.

Julian Davis, who chaired the Prop. H campaign for public power last year, said he found the proposal very worrisome. "If you shut down community choice, you’re shutting down one of the major vehicles for clean energy," he said. To Davis, the initiative highlights "a disturbing trend of corporate America finding ever-more clever ways of tying the hand of local government in general. You know they’ll dump millions into this," he added. "The ultimate irony here is that none of us have the right to vote on anything PG&E does. None of us has a seat at the PG&E board table. It’s doublespeak."

Rachel Buhner contributed to this report.

Is there hope?

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steve@sfbg.com

GREEN CITY They agree global warming is happening, that it’s caused by the overuse of carbon-based fuels, that its impact on the planet and its myriad life forms will be devastating, and that Congress is failing to properly address the crisis. But the environmentalist and the oil executive disagreed about the most important issue: whether there’s any hope of saving the planet from the worst impacts of climate change.

Chevron CEO David O’Reilly and Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope squared off June 10 at the Hotel Nikko ballroom in San Francisco for a truly historic Commonwealth Club event titled "Drilling for Common Ground." And they did find some, including agreeing publicly to jointly lobby Congress for an energy policy that more quickly phases out coal, the worst of the fossil fuels.

But the more telling exchanges between these two giants highlighted a fundamental disagreement: can we do something about this, or are we simply fucked? And by fucked, I mean doomed to simply accept official predictions of rising seas creating a billion refugees by 2050, the extinction of a million plant and animal species, severe water shortages in California and many other regions, and an unpredictably unstable new world ravaged by severe weather and exotic diseases.

To avoid much of that (but not all — it’s already too late for that), Pope said the scientific community consensus is that we need to stop all coal burning by 2030 (unless emissions can be sequestered, which isn’t technologically possible yet) and reduce our consumption of oil and other carbon-based fuels by 90 percent by the year 2050. "You can’t meet the targets any other way," Pope said.

And he thinks that meeting those targets is not only possible, but it would help the U.S. economy. "The rapid changes in the telecommunications field were good for the economy, and a similar change in the energy field would be good for the economy," Pope said. "We have lots of options if we start moving like it’s a crisis."

But O’Reilly doesn’t think that’s possible. "Even with the best of intentions, we’re only going to get part of the way there," O’Reilly said, quickly adding, "I think we’ll be lucky if we can get 20 to 25 percent by 2050."

At a press conference after the forum, I asked the two men about the implications of only reducing our fossil fuel consumption by 20 percent. Pope cited impacts ranging from "Florida will be a lot smaller" to severe water rationing in San Francisco. "It’s not an acceptable risk to take," he said. O’Reilly didn’t disagree, but he avoided specifics, saying, "I do fear that we have to plan for some adaptations."

It was a remarkable admission, one that most media coverage buried far beneath angles focusing on the common ground they found. But if the oil industry isn’t willing to diligently address the crisis — or worse, if it hinders political efforts to do so, as it has done for decades — does it really matter that it acknowledge the problem?

That core conflict created the sharpest exchange of the forum. "This is the 21st century. We can move much faster than we ever have before," Pope said.

"Well, if you can get the government to move faster, good luck," O’Reilly replied.

"It would help if you would get out of the way," Pope retorted.

Indeed, it is aggressive lobbying by Chevron and its industry trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, that created the energy situation that O’Reilly now finds so intractable. But Pope said he’s happy to work with O’Reilly on policies that support their areas of agreement, which even includes instituting a carbon tax.

Their clash didn’t just focus on global warming; it also focused on the oil industry’s wanton exploitation of people and ecosystems around the world, from propping up despotic regimes and sponsoring human rights abuses in oil-rich countries to leaving toxic messes in Ecuador and elsewhere.

Pope called for the oil industry to set aside 10 percent of its profits to create a global trust fund for dealing with its impacts and for international operating and cleanup standards that would prevent oil companies from exploiting weak or corrupt governments. "Chevron has to come to the table with the global community." Pope said.

O’Reilly never responded directly to the suggestion.

Eliminating dissent

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sarah@sfbg.com

For years, the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board has served as the Bayview-Hunters Point community’s main voice in the U.S. Navy’s environmental cleanup plans for the toxic former naval station. But the committee is suddenly being disbanded just as the cleanup enters a crucial phase.

Used for shipbuilding and submarine maintenance and repair, and the decontamination, storage, and disposal of radioactive and atomic weapons testing materials, the shipyard was added to the Superfund national toxic site cleanup list in 1989. But it is also at the heart of where Mayor Gavin Newsom has partnered with Lennar Corp. on the city’s biggest development proposal, involving 10,500 homes and a new stadium for the 49ers.

As the Navy prepares to release a series of important studies and reports concerning the cleanup of the dirtiest parcels on the former shipyard, community members were outraged by the Navy’s announcement in late May that it is preparing to dissolve the RAB in the next 30 days.

In July the Navy will release draft feasibility studies for the cleanup of Parcel E, along with a final remedial investigation/feasibility study for Parcel E2, the dirtiest parcel on the base, and a radiological data-gathering investigation in the sediment surrounding Parcel F, which is the underwater portion of the base.

Some insiders say the announcement was not unexpected, given an escautf8g series of confrontational RAB meetings with the Navy over the last two years. But they fear the community will lose its ability to give the Navy direct, timely, and meaningful feedback, even if many believe the Navy wasn’t listening.

"The Navy fully supports the need for open, meaningful dialogue with the diverse Bayview-Hunters Point community regarding our environmental cleanup actions and decisions. However, the RAB is not fulfilling this objective," the Navy’s Laura Duchnak wrote in a May 22 letter to the RAB.

In her letter, Duchnak said the RAB meetings no longer provide community input on the Navy’s environmental cleanup program, that their atmosphere is not productive to effective public discourse, and that Navy attempts to improve the process have failed. "The revised community involvement program may include community environmental forums, including using Internet-based technologies to more easily reach a diverse audience, expanded monthly progress reports and fact sheets, and hosting technical discussions and tours of cleanup sites for interested community members," Duchnak wrote.

Duchnak’s announcement followed a tense January meeting in which RAB members reacted with horror when the Navy announced it was moving forward with controversial plans to cap radiologically-affected areas on the shipyard’s Parcel B instead of digging and hauling them, which the community preferred (see "Nuclear Fallout," 07/16/08).

Led by RAB co-chair Leon Muhammad, who teaches at the Nation of Islam’s Center for Self Improvement, which has been repeatedly dusted by unmonitored asbestos (see "The corporation that ate San Francisco," 03/17/07), and joined by newly sworn-in members Archbishop King, Marie Harrison, and Daniel Landry, the board voted to seek a civil grand jury investigation into whether local truckers are getting their fair share of the Navy’s shipyard contracts.

Members then voted to remove the city’s public health representative Amy Brownell from the RAB, and to call for the stoppage of all work on the yard until the Department of Defense, the Navy, and the city can prove, as Muhammad said, "where the ongoing dust exceedences are coming from."

The final straw, insiders say, occurred in February when members voted to remove the Navy’s RAB co-chair Keith Forman from the advisory board. Eric Smith, who was sworn onto the RAB in January but did not vote to remove Brownell and Forman, said the Navy’s dissolution response wasn’t surprising.

"The dissolution of RAB is not a good thing in terms of what it is supposed to do. But it was also doing things that were dysfunctional," Smith said. "The bitter irony is that the folks who caused the trouble were trying to get the Navy to sit up and take notice."

Smith said there is frustration with the Navy’s communication style, which the community feels is patronizing. "But the RAB was naïve to think the Navy would allow a forum over which it has unilateral authority to become a platform for attacks," Smith said.

RAB member Kristine Enea, who missed the RAB’s last two meetings, confirmed that the atmosphere got increasingly confrontational but added that the Navy ignored suggestions her calls for wider community involvement.

"It’s ironic that the Navy had decided to respond to criticisms, which include the charge that it is a poor communicator, by cutting off communications with the community," said Enea, who works at the India Basin Neighborhood Association. "Dissolving the RAB is a drastic step. There is so much going on, and so much that we need to know."

But Enea hopes IBNA can help fill that void, noting that the association has applied for a US Environmental Protection Agency technical assistant grant to review shipyard clean-up documents, provide fact sheets, and host community meetings.

The Sierra Club’s Arthur Feinstein said that his group’s main concern around the dissolution is that Parcel E2, which contains an industrial and radiologically-impacted dump that burned for six months in 2000, and Parcel F are both coming up for analysis.

"These are some of the most significantly contaminated areas on the shipyard, so the timing is terrible," Feinstein told the Guardian, observing that some RAB members did not appear to be looking for solutions and were so aggressive they destroyed meetings.

"Unfortunately there weren’t enough forceful people to say ‘shut up and sit down,’" Feinstein said. "But without a RAB, there will be no public forum where folks are able to get and read materials ahead of the meeting, and then ask and submit questions."

Harrison, a member of the environmental justice group Green Action, believes the Navy’s intent is that there be no meaningful interaction with the community. "When you don’t toe the line and play like good little children, the Navy shuts you down," said Harrison, whose group, along with the Nation of Islam and the Caravan for Justice, are planning a June 30 demonstration at the shipyard to protest the move.

In another point of controversy, Sen. Mark Leno has legislation that seeks to trade 25 percent of Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, the only major piece of open space in the Bayview, for small strips on the shipyard so Lennar can build condos on the parkland.

Noting that Sen. Leland Yee and Assembly Members Tom Ammiano and Fiona Ma oppose the parks-for-condos plan (see "Going Nuclear," April 29), Harrison said, "What possessed anyone to believe that we’d say, okay, take the only open space in the Bayview, and in exchange we’ll accept contaminated land scattered around on the shipyard?"

Environmental advocates believe the Sierra Club intends to fight Leno’s legislation with a challenge under the California Environmental Quality Act, but Leno told the Guardian that he is "continuing to work and meet with the lobbyists for the Sierra Club here in Sacramento to see if there are any additional amendments we can take that would get them to a neutral position on the bill.

"I think there is a good possibility we can get there," Leno said.

In February, Arc Ecology released a 133-report titled "Alternatives for study" that recommended the removal of the Parcel E2 landfill and explored changes in land use arrangements in the current redevelopment proposal to avoid environmental impacts (see "Concrete Plans," Feb. 4). Unfortunately, they were largely ignored by the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, which is working with Lennar on the public-private development deal.

Arc Ecology executive director Saul Bloom remains undaunted, recalling how 87 percent of voters citywide supported Proposition P, an advisory measure he wrote and that then-Sups. Ammiano, Leno, Michael Yaki, and the late Sue Bierman placed on the ballot in 1989 to establish community acceptance criteria for the shipyard, under federal toxic cleanup guidelines.

"The Navy had offered their opinion that voters in San Francisco, and especially in the Bayview, would accept a nonresidential industrial level cleanup for the shipyard because they were primarily interested in jobs," Bloom recalled. "We said that this was a mischaracterization and we’d go ahead and prove them wrong."

He believes the current struggle with the Navy over the RAB, and with the city and Lennar over Arc’s alternatives, are "emblematic of the problem facing the Bayview with regard to accessing good information and being told the straight story on health and development issues."

Wild Thing!

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This year’s Frameline — a.k.a. the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival — is one of the strongest in the event’s 33-year history. The Frameline Award, annually handed over to someone “who has made a significant contribution to lesbian/gay/bi/transgender film,” is being bestowed on George and Mike Kuchar, who in addition to meeting the criteria noted above, have also made significant contributions to filmmaking in general, and San Francisco filmmaking in particular. The Kuchar kudos mesh well with Frameline’s focus on 60s and 70s-themed films, including Guardian cover boy Joe Dallesandro (profiled in the doc Little Joe). Our coverage also includes a look at a long-awaited local project, Cary Cronenwett’s Eisenstein-inspired, transgender-populated Maggots and Men; nostalgic edu-tainment kid pic Free to Be … You And Me; and short takes on festival films, including Centerpiece selections Patrik, Age 1.5 and Prodigal Sons. (Cheryl Eddy)

The 33rd San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival runs June 18–28 at the Castro, 429 Castro, SF; Roxie, 3117 16th St., SF; Victoria, 2961 16th St, SF; and Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, 2966 College, Berk. Tickets (most shows $8–$10) are available at www.frameline.org

>>Hello sailor
Cary Cronenwett’s Maggots and Men (re)stages a revolution
By Matt Sussman

>>Kucharmania!
It Came from Kuchar is a splash of foam within a whirling cinematic cesspool
By Johnny Ray Huston


>>The man from camp
Movie maker Gary Gregerson likes guys with chaka hair
By Johnny Ray Huston

>>The man from camp
Little Joe reveals the real Joe Dallesandro — plus: a special appreciation
By Louis Peitzman and Johnny Ray Huston

>>When we grow up
’70s relic Free to Be … You and Me still resonates
By Dennis Harvey

>>Quickies
Our short, opinionated takes on several featured Frameline flicks

This one’s ugly

0

news@sfbg.com

The most painful and divisive city budget season in many years was just getting under way as this issue went to press, with dueling City Hall rallies preceding the June 16 Board of Supervisors vote on an interim budget and the board’s Budget and Finance Committee slated to finally delve into the 2009-10 general fund budgets on June 17.

Both sides have adopted the rhetoric of a life-or-death struggle, with firefighters warning at a rally and in an advertising campaign that any cuts to their budget is akin to playing Russian Roulette, while city service providers say the deep public health cuts proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom will also cost lives and carry dire long-term costs and consequences.

Despite Newsom’s pledges in January and again on June 1 to work closely with the Board of Supervisors on budget issues, that hasn’t happened. Instead, Newsom’s proposed budget would decimate the social services supported by board progressives, who responded by proposing an interim budget that would share that pain with police, fire, and sheriff’s budgets — which Newsom proposed to increase.

Rather than simply adopting the mayor’s proposed budget as the interim spending plan for the month of July, as the board traditionally has done, progressive supporters proposed an interim budget that would make up to $82 million in cuts to the three public safety agencies and use that money to prevent the more draconian cuts to social services.

“It’s the start of a discussion to figure out what that number should be. I don’t know where we’re going to end up,” Sup. David Campos, who sits on the budget committee, told us.

Board President David Chiu said Newsom did finally meet with him and Budget Committee chair John Avalos on June 15 to try to resolve the impasse. But he said, “We didn’t hear anything from the mayor that would change where we were last week.” They planned to meet again on June 19.

“What we proposed represents the magnitude of the challenge we face this year,” Chiu said of the interim budget proposal, seeming to indicate that supervisors are open to negotiation.

The real work begins the morning of June 17 when the Budget and Finance Committee dissects the budgets of 15 city departments, including the Mayor’s Office, of which Avalos told us, “I don’t think the mayor has made the same concessions as he’s had other departments make.”

The next day, another 13 city departments go under the committee’s microscope, including the public safety departments that were spared the mayor’s budget ax and even given small increases, and the budget of the Public Defenders Office, where Newsom proposes cutting 16 positions.

“This creates a severe imbalance in the criminal justice system,” Public Defender Jeff Adachi told us. “Why is he cutting public defender services while fully funding police, fully funding the sheriff’s department, and essentially creating a situation where poor people are going to get second-rate representation?”

That theme of rich vs. poor has pervaded the budget season debate, both overtly and in budget priorities that each side is supporting.

 

BUDGET JUSTICE

Hundreds of people whose lives would be affected by cuts marched on City Hall under the banner Budget Justice on June 10. Some of San Francisco’s most vulnerable citizens, including homeless people, immigrants, seniors, and public housing residents, turned out for the march, chanting and waving signs asking the mayor to “invest in us.”

Sups. John Avalos and Chris Daly delivered resounding speeches mirroring the anger in the crowd, and promised to fix the budget by reallocating money to protect the city’s safety net. Daly charged that even as services to the city’s vulnerable populations are being slashed, “the politically connected and the powerful get huge increases.”

Avalos took the podium just before heading into City Hall to lead the Budget and Finance Committee meeting and implored the hundreds of people gathered out front to make their voices heard. “Mayor Newsom, he told us, he said, ‘We have a near-perfect budget.’ Do we have a near-perfect budget?” Avalos asked, and then paused while the crowd cried out, “Nooo!!!!!”

During an interview discussing Newsom’s budget priorities, Avalos twice made references to The Shock Doctrine, using the Naomi Klein book about how crises are used as opportunities to unilaterally implement corporatist policies. “We have a budget deficit that is real, but it’s being used to do other things,” Avalos said. “I look at it as a way to remake San Francisco. It’s a Shock Doctrine effect.”

He referred to the privatization of government services (an aspect of every Newsom budget), promoting condo conversions and gentrification, defunding nonprofits that provides social services (groups that often side with progressives), and helping corporations raid the public treasury (Newsom proposed beefing up the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development by a whopping 32 percent).

“It’s things that the most conservative parts of San Francisco have wanted for years, and now they have the conditions to make it happen,” Avalos said.

Much of that agenda involves slashing services to the homeless and other low-income San Francisco and de-funding the nonprofit network that provides services and jobs. “There’s an effort to say nonprofit jobs aren’t real jobs, but they are an important economic engine of the city,” Avalos told us. Those cuts were decried during the June 10 budget rally.

“What people don’t realize,” Office & Professional Employees International Union Local 3 representative Natalie Naylor said, “is that everything that’s being proposed to be cut from the city is creating no place for homeless people to go during the daytime. I don’t think Newsom’s constituents realize that we’re going to see more homeless people on the street than ever before.”

Pablo Rodriguez of the Coalition on Homelessness told the crowd that he was furious that the mayor would make such deep cuts to social services. “Stop riding on the back of the homeless, and the seniors and the children and all the community-based organizations,” Rodriguez said. “Why make the poor people pay for the rich people’s mistakes? The poor people didn’t make the mistakes.”

 

WHOM TO CUT?

The public safety unions were equally caustic in their arguments. An announcement for the Save Our Firehouses rally — which was heavily promoted by members of the Mayor’s Office and Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign team — claimed that “the Board of Supervisors voted to endanger the progress that we’ve made in public safety by laying off hundreds of police officers, closing up to 12 out of 42 fire stations and closing part of our jail.”

Actually, all sides have said the interim budget probably won’t lead to layoffs, station closures, or prisoner releases, but those could be a part of next year’s budget.

Tensions temporarily cooled a bit in the days that have followed, but the two sides still seemed far apart on their priorities, mayoral spin aside. Asked about the impasse, Newsom spokesperson Nate Ballard told the Guardian, “The mayor has already included over 90 percent of the supervisors’ priorities in the budget. But he’s against the supervisors’ efforts to gut public safety. He’s willing to work with people who have reasonable ideas to balance the budget. Balancing the budget with draconian cuts to police and fire is unreasonable.”

Campos disputed Ballard’s figure and logic. “I don’t know where that number comes from,” Campos said. “A lot of the things we wanted to protect, the mayor cut anyway.”

Campos said Newsom’s slick budget presentation glossed over painful cuts to essential services, cuts that activists and Budget Analyst Harvey Rose have been discovering over the last two weeks. “I felt the mayor has done a real good job of presenting things to make it look like it’s not as bad as it really is,” Campos said.

 

COMMITTEE WORK

Avalos expressed confidence that his committee will produce a document to the full board in July that reflects progressive priorities.

“We’re going to pass to the full board a budget that we have control over,” Avalos said, noting that a committee majority that also includes Sups. Campos and Ross Mirkarimi strongly favors progressive budget priorities.

He also praised the committee’s more conservative members, Sups. Bevan Dufty and Carmen Chu, as engaged participants in improving the mayor’s budget. “I think the tension on the committee is healthy.”

Ultimately, Avalos says, he knows the board members can alter Newsom’s budget priorities. But his goal is to go even further and develop a consensus budget that creatively spreads the pain.

“Ideally, I want a unanimous vote on the Board of Supervisors,” Avalos said.

In the current polarized budget climate, that’s an ambitious goal that may be out of reach. But there are some real benefits to attaining a unanimous board vote, including the ability to place revenue measures on the November ballot that can be passed by a simply majority vote (state law generally requires a two-third vote to increase taxes, but it makes provisions for fiscal emergencies, when a unanimous Board of Supervisors vote can waive the two-thirds rule).

Avalos has proposed placing sales tax and parcel tax measures on the fall ballot. Other proposals that have been discussed by a stakeholder committee assembled by Chiu include a measure to replace the payroll tax with a new gross receipts tax and general obligation bond measures to pay for things like park and road maintenance, which would allow those budget expenses to be applied elsewhere.

But Avalos said Newsom will need to step up and show some leadership if the measures are going to have any hope of being approved. “To get the two-thirds vote we need to win a revenue measure in this bad economy is going to be really hard,” Avalos said.

“The mayor is open to new revenue measures as long as they include significant reforms and are conceived and supported by a wide swath of the community including labor and business,” Ballard said.

Sup. Sean Elsbernd — one of the most conservative supervisors — has repeatedly said he won’t support new revenue measures unless they are accompanied by substantial budget reforms that will rein in ballooning expenditures in areas like city employee pensions.

“Pension reform. Health care reform. Spending reform. One of the above. A combination of the above,” Elsbernd told the Guardian when asked what he wants to see in a budget revenue deal.

Avalos says he’s mindful that not every progressive priority can be fully funded as the city wrestles with a budget deficit of almost $500 million, fully half the city’s discretionary budget. “It’s a crappy situation, and we can make it just a crummy situation.”

Terzo

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paulr@sfbg.com

Fish might not need bicycles, but does a restaurant with an Italian name need pasta? Terzo does offer fish on its menu — and pasta too, though rather glancingly, considering that many of us would put pasta right at the center of Italian cuisine. But despite the name — "terzo" means "third" in Italian and is meant to suggest the public spaces where people gather when they’re not at home or work — Terzo isn’t quite an Italian restaurant. It’s both less (a minimum of pasta and pizza-like items) and more, in its use of flavors and influences from around the Mediterranean. A friend found that the restaurant, with its emphasis on small, shareable dishes, reminded him of SPQR, the Roman-style small-plates spot on Fillmore, but for me the deeper resonance was with SPQR’s predecessor, Chez Nous, whose tapas-style cooking drew on all sorts of Mediterranean roots.

It must be said that, similarities in food notwithstanding, Terzo doesn’t remotely look like either of those places. Behind a demure street face, the surprisingly spacious interior is a kind of warm metropolitan glam: caramel-colored wood, flickering candles, mirrors, and touches of glass; the look is like that of a monastery designed by Mies van der Rohe. The patrons, while casually dressed, have an air of importance about them — but then, we are in Cow Hollow, an enchanted land of importance. Sort of our Green Zone.

That Middle Eastern staple hummus ($8), then, to set the mood. Our server told us that chef Mark Gordon’s kitchen is particularly proud of its version, and so it should be. The chickpea puree was rich and smooth, with no hint of tahini bitterness, but it was the house-made pita triangles, warm and swabbed with olive oil and za’atar, that provided the burst of extraordinariness. Pita bread like this tells you that you’ve probably never had fresh pita bread before.

Subtle touches similarly raise many of the other small dishes to the heights. A marriage of crispy polenta and morel mushrooms ($14) was discreetly though powerfully enhanced by a splash of crème fraïche scented with thyme and braised green garlic. Baby artichokes ($9), halved and achingly tender, had been braised — evidently in or with lemon juice — before being heaped atop piquillo peppers, then covered with tumbled sheets of prosciutto. A panzarotto ($9), a kind of calzone, was filled with mozzarella, chard, and chili (whose bite was palpable), then napped with a radiant marinara sauce, but it was the bread pouch that caught my attention, with its serrated lips and faintly shiny crispness, like that of pastry. And a salad of shredded fennel and porcini ($12), although laid flat on the plate like a kind of unsettled carpaccio, jumped up impressively under the coaxing of lemon, olive oil, and truffle pecorino.

Spiedini ($12.50) were simple skewers of free-range chicken chunks, bread, and onion, brushed with a cilantro-chili marinade and then grilled until everything was soft and lightly caramelized. Campfire food, for rather boutique-y campers. The only small plate that didn’t quite come off for me was roasted asparagus ($9). The spears seemed very much al dente (how much roasting did they get?) and were scattered with toasted hazelnuts — a clever idea that did not work, since these hard hemispherical pellets made an already difficult-to-eat dish that much harder to eat: knife and fork for the asparagus, plus a spoon to scoop up the nuts. At some early point, we dropped the pretense and used our fingers.

We also used our fingers, greedily, on a huge bowl of fried-onion rings ($6). No ballpark I’ve ever been to offers anything better. The red-onion rings were dunked in buttermilk batter, then fried to a delicate, crisp gold; the shreds seemed almost to want to float.

"Don’t let me eat any more, I’m going to be sick," moaned an addicted party from across the table, who nonetheless kept right on eating.

As is so often the case at small plate-ish restaurants that also offer some big plates, the latter at Terzo do not shine quite as brightly. I wonder if this doesn’t have something to do with plentitude — delight diluted by too many bites. I did like the roasted halibut ($27), topped with a surprisingly gentle radish-lemon salsa verde and presented in a shallow bowl on a rubbly bed of chickpeas. The fish had the sublime moistness I associate with poaching, while the chickpeas were plump and perfectly cooked. I liked this dish fine, but I suspect I would have thought it was a knockout if it had been half the size.

The flourless chocolate cake ($8), with fleur de sel and whipped cream, would have been a knock-out at twice the size. It had the primal intensity of some ingredient lifted from a pastry chef’s secret cache. Entre nous: amazing.

TERZO

Dinner: Sun.-Thurs., 5:30–10 p.m.;

Fri.-Sat., 5:30-11 p.m.

3011 Steiner, SF

(415) 441-3200

www.terzosf.com

Full bar

AE/DC/DS/MC/V

Moderate noise

Wheelchair accessible

Volume 43 Number 38 Flip-through Edition

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Goran Bregovic

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PREVIEW I’m a reactionary when it comes to miscegenated American pop and world music: Paul Simon’s South African appropriations (unself-conscious baby-boom entitlement), Vampire Weekend’s recent iteration (self-conscious, sneering entitlement), and Beirut’s similar (well-meaning, self-conscious attempts at naturalness) foray into the Eastern European musical forms. I mean, come on you well-born Eastern-seaboard Protestants, don’t you have your own cultural traditions to plunder?

Without a qualm, one can look toward the Balkans as a source for authentic cultural product. In the previous century alone, this region’s peoples have been battered about by bitter battles among fascist, communist, and capitalist systems. Against this political backdrop, ordinary life takes on an air of untethered surreality, and life can imitate art, and/or art becomes the most logical response to the ambient chaos. In the case of Goran Bregovic, his life resembles an amalgam of Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n Roll and Aleksandar Hemon’s Nowhere Man. Half-Serb, half-Croat, Bregovic has had a long musical career (he’s been a professional guitar player since 15) and currently composes film scores as well as modern-day gypsy music.

Bregovic played with a Yugoslavian rock band called the White Button, and became a bona fide Balkan teen rock idol. He lived in a drug-dazed Italian exile at 20, and was nearly a professor of Marxism by 24. He is a thoroughly modern global star, and has collaborated with Iggy Pop and Cesaria Evora. Bregovic is currently on tour with a nearly 40-person ensemble called the Wedding and Funeral Orchestra. The gypsies are real, the horns are very likely 100 years old, and there’s a string ensemble, a men’s choir, and three Bulgarian singers. The tunes range from mournful to ecstatic; if cathartic party music speaks to you, this is your show.

GORAN BREGOVIC WITH WEDDING AND FUNERAL ORCHESTRA Sun/21, 7 p.m., $20-$60. Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium, 1111 California, SF. (415) 776-4702. www.sfjazz.org

Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight

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REVIEW Stroll through New York City and you can’t help but stumble onto one of Milton Glaser’s iconic designs, be it a Brooklyn Brewery label, New York magazine cover, or even the big white nose perched above Trattoria dell’Arte across from Carnegie Hall. Of course, Glaser, one of the world’s most talented, postmodern graphic designers, has also left his stamp, quite literally, with the ubiquitous I Heart NY insignia. Wendy Keys’ new documentary Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight pays homage to this humble, erudite, and mirthful man who transcends traditional lines between high art and commercial design to make art accessible to the public. Keys incorporates anecdotes from students, clients, colleagues, and Glaser himself and highlights not only Glaser’s powerful aesthetic, but also his art’s implicit call for political and social responsibility. Whether encapsuutf8g the psychotropic ’60s in a Bob Dylan profile, rendering the plight of gay men in America in an print ad for Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, or embodying his pacifist beliefs in a poster condemning genocide in Darfur, Glaser informs and delights with his constant reinvention and incredible ability to capture the current zeitgeist.

MILTON GLASER: TO INFORM AND DELIGHT opens Fri/19 at the Roxie.

Planetary Dance

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PREVIEW By now the Planetary Dance, Marin County’s annual solstice celebration, has become a joyous, all-day event that starts at sunrise — for early trekkers — on top of Mount Tamalpais and ends, after the main event at Santos Meadow in Mount Tamalpais State Park, at a sunset fire at Muir Beach. The idea is to use communal dance as way of healing the earth, a concept and practice as old as humankind. Some hardy souls, event instigator Anna Halprin among them, have been participating since the beginning, 29 years ago. They are now bringing their children and grandchildren. Others drop in for a few years, then drift away. It’s worthwhile remembering that the event came out of a tragedy when, in the late ’70s, Mount Tam had to be closed because of ongoing murders of young women. Halprin and some friends wanted to take back the park and walked the very trails where the crimes had been committed. A few days later, the perp was caught. Coincidence — or did those simple meditative gestures result in healing the place? Either way, the event developed out of those tragedies by Halprin, its shaman, is inviting, simple, powerful, and beautiful. At the heart lies the three-part "Earth Run," which has been (accurately) described as a "moving mandala." No dance experience is required, and you can come and go as you like.

PLANETARY DANCE Sat/20, 11 a.m. $10–$20 donation (no one turned away for lack of funds).

Santos Meadow, Mount Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley. www.planetarydance.org

Hightower, One in the Chamber, Futur Skullz

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PREVIEW Hightower is quite possibly the only prog rock group that could be accurately described as "gnarly" (sorry, Van Der Graaf Generator). Proving that complex compositions and unpretentious rock ‘n’ roll aren’t mutually exclusive, the San Francisco power trio mixes unpredictable tempos and spacey guitar shredding with beer- and weed-fueled skate thrash to create a style tailor-made for raging circle pits and blacklight poster stare-downs. With song titles like "Wizardhawk" and "I Am the Wallride," the band celebrates and pokes fun at some of the, er, imaginative concepts of their bell-bottomed forefathers. But even if you think the term "progressive rock" is shorthand for overly complex wanking, Hightower proves the genre can be surprisingly crucial.

I inadvertently stumbled into a show featuring local metal band Futur Skullz about a month ago and was blown away by how LOUD these guys play. There’s nothing about them that isn’t deafening — the thrash-meets-sludge guitar, buzzing bass, crusty-ass vocals, and thundering drums are ready to pummel, but with enough variation to keep their sets interesting. Like Hightower, Futur Skullz combine massive, arena-ready riffs with relatable garage band energy; it’s a case of powerhouse heavy metal filtered through punk rock sensibilities. Oakland-based One in the Chamber’s collage of punk, stoner metal, aggressively jazzy weirdness, and everything in between completes this bill, which should be a revelation to anyone whose nights out have been lacking raw power.

HIGHTOWER, ONE IN THE CHAMBER, FUTUR SKULLZ Sat/20, 9 p.m., $7 (21 and over) El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF. (415) 282-3325, www.elriosf.com