Volume 43 Number 52

Appetite: Notoberfest, Ollalieberry Sour, barley beer brats, 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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Barrel-aged beer sounds delicious right now. Photo from www.beerandnosh.com

EVENTS
10/10 Beer & Nosh presents Notoberfest
Jesse Friedman, whose popular blog Beer and Nosh is one of the best out there on the sudsy stuff and accompanying foods, throws an event beer and food lovers shouldn’t miss. But be forewarned… the event is already half sold out though weeks away.

With a cap at 150 people, Friedman told me he plans to keep it a comfortable party with various outposts around the room, flowing with food and beer. In the spirit of collaboration, Jesse assembled quite a line-up. None other than Ryan Farr and the 4505 Meats team prepare a feast with details not completely confirmed, though I hear rumors of grass-fed beef roasted over a fire, malt-studded/malt extract-glazed pork belly (yes!), barley beer brats on a stick, fried croquet on barley & sour apple chutney, and hopped rolled face on a fence(!) Dessert promises to be equally stunning with Humphry Slocombe creating six custom beer ice creams and treats just for this event. Wow.

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Sampling the goods with Steve Altamari (Valley Brew), Ryan Farr (4505 Meats), and Jake Godby (Humphry Slocombe). Photo from www.beerandnosh.com

And the beer? Valley Brewing Co. serves their suds: Reinheitsgebot-breaking beers, each non-traditional, modern takes on heirloom styles:

* Luna Blanca – Central Valley Golden Ale
* a tart Olallieberry Sour that’s been fermented using wild yeast
* Brandy Barrel-aged “Collaborative Evil” Belgian Strong Golden Ale
* India Pale Ale
* Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout
* a rich Valley Brew Skullsplitter Root Beer
* the event’s signature beer, “Notoberfest” Bourbon Barrel Maibock Lager

This collaborative night brings together passionate craftspeople serving one-of-a-kind beers, meats and ice cream. If you need any more reasons to attend, I can’t think of them.
October 10, 1-5pm
$50 pre-purchase; $60 at the door (if not sold out): includes beer, food, commemorative glass and poster (shown on Web site)
Mars Bar
798 Brannan Street
415-621-6277

www.beerandnosh.com/notoberfest

This just in: Dinners from Chef Melissa Axelrod
Read about wine or beer pairing dinners around town from Chef Melissa Claire in my current issue of The Perfect Spot.
www.melissaclaire.com

Northen high (and low) lights

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>>Check out Jesse Hawthorne Ficks’ TIFF takes here.

FILM FESTIVAL REPORT There weren’t exactly tumbleweeds rolling through Park City, but this January’s Sundance Film Festival did have a becalmed feeling reflecting the economic panic — money, corporate sponsors, and industry personnel weren’t falling from the sky quite so thickly as usual, which naturally made the experience that much more pleasant for those simply there to see movies. There was no such diminished frenzy apparent at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 10-19), even if one of the local papers lamented "parties are smaller and over early." (Cue the Bee Gees’ "Tragedy.")

There’d been more serious lamentation in recent years that TIFF has gone too Hollywood, too average-viewer-unfriendly, its programming now driven by (rather than simply attracting) celebrity and media attention. That’s clearly not true of the program’s bulk. Still, you’ve got to wonder just how the "art" of cinema is being celebrated when one big-noise 2009 premiere was no less (what could be less?) than Jennifer’s Body, which put Diablo Cody’s Oscar in perspective.

Not much more defensible were a slew of hollow costume flicks, from opening night’s kinda-’bout-Darwin Creation to the closing Young Victoria, with Oliver Parker’s latest Wildean crapfest Dorian Gray, Carlos Saura’s frivolous I, Don Giovanni, and Stephen Poliakoff’s silly Glorious 39 among the plush time-killers unveiled like papier-mâché statuary between.

Those are movies likely to underwhelm soon at a theatre near you — though not so soon as the enthusiastically received latest efforts by the Coen brothers, Terry Gilliam, Michael Haneke, Jason Reitman, Michael Moore, Steven Soderbergh, Jane Campion, Pedro Almodóvar, Todd Solondz, and others no doubt already ramping up their Oscar campaigns. Those were easy to put off. But there was a great deal I was very sorry to miss, like Cornieliu Porumboiu’s Romanian Police, Adjective, Raoul Peck’s Haitian Moloch Tropical, and Shirin Neshat’s Tehran period piece Women Without Men, films whose chances of U.S. distribution are variably remote.

Among titles caught, low expectations were more often met with high rewards than vice versa. Das Boot (1981) in a tank, Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner Lebanon proved an effective but unremarkable war-is-hell statement. There was controversy over Tel Aviv’s spotlight in the inaugural "City to City" sidebar. But if government propagandist efforts secured that slot as charged, other Israeli features here, like Danny Lerner’s lurid Kirot, were hardly goodwill ambassadors.

On the other hand, Lars von Trier’s Cannes scandal Antichrist turned out neither brilliantly here nor appallingly there — though one viewer did upchuck at a press screening, and a publicist called mine the first neutral reaction she’d heard of.

Elsewhere, the flowers of evil bloomed in myriad hothouse forms, some rather wilted on arrival. Perhaps most intriguing was a portrait of a movie that will never fully exist: L’Enfer de Henri-Georges Clouzot reconstructs footage from an aborted early ’60s thriller by the French genre master. Experimenting with psychedelic imagery to evoke pathological jealousy, he abandoned ship midway, but the remains still fascinate. Another mental health vacation, Werner Herzog’s improbable Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, won numerous fans. Yet it’s much less fraught with danger than Abel Ferrera’s 1992 original, and for all its gratuitous goofing too often looks/sounds like direct-to-cable product.

Plumbing sillier darknesses were the lamentable latests by George Romero (Survival of the Dead) and Joe Dante (The Hole), not to mention yet more not-different-enough vampire stuff (Suck, Daybreakers), a middling Manson recap (Leslie, My Name is Evil), and one dullish Robert E. Howard adventure (Solomon Kane). Midnight Madness’ one shining light was a nasty little Australian number, The Loved Ones, after which you will never hear Kasey Chambers’ "Not Pretty Enough" without cringing. I mean, even more than previously.

Elsewhere, pleasures were scattered and unpredictable, with some uneven films elevated by performances — Woody Harrelson’s delusional superhero in Defendor, Edward Norton as twins in Leaves of Grass, and just about everybody in Rebecca Miller’s The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Major attention went to Drew Barrymore’s directorial bow Whip It, but Samantha Morton’s own, comparatively overlooked debut The Unloved ranks almost up there with the medium’s greatest horrible-childhood portraits. For originality, nothing quite trumped Corey Adams and Alex Craig’s surreal skateboarder fantasia Machotaildrop, even if its charms eventually wore a bit thin. Which was not an issue for French stop-motion animation A Town Called Panic, 75 minutes of perfect silliness that provided a Gallic heaven to complement Clouzot’s hell.

Mark of quality

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a&eletters@sfbg.com

DANCE REVIEW The Mark Morris Dance Group’s regular visits to the Bay Area have assured it a faithful and knowledgeable audience. Yet rarely has it received the kind of enthusiastic applause that greeted its West Coast premieres of Visitation and Empire Garden, and the magisterial V (2001), at Cal Performances. Morris is that rarest of contemporary artists — a great entertainer and a great humanist.

In the history of Western art, the Visitation refers to paintings that depict the pregnant virgin meeting her cousin, Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. They illustrate a tender relationship between two mothers-to-be. It’s doubtful Morris had this kind of religious iconography in mind when he set his lovely Visitation to Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 4 in C, although the work did suggest the intimacy of old friends. The outstretched hand became the central gesture for convivial meetings and partings that were as public and private as the ongoing "conversation" between the piano and the cello. You found yourself looking in on an elegant salon that — after all, this is Mark Morris — was also a playground of rabbits hopping and toy soldiers stomping. Maile Okamura was the butterfly looking for a place to light.

The other new work, Empire Garden, supposedly took its name from a Chinese restaurant; it’s a much darker affair. I can’t pretend to have penetrated Charles Ives’ gnarly Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano, best known for threading Americana music into its central scherzo section. Morris responded by densely layering kaleidoscopically-changing images that tumbled on top of each other. He packed a pulsating stage space with prayer meetings, hunting scenes, ballroom couples in rigor mortis, robotic escorts, human pyramids, and pontificating leaders. But he also gave his dancers tiny wistful gestures for the hands or a foot. The whole Brueghelian canvas had a slightly deranged energy from which emerged a rather foreboding dance of death finale. Julie Worden, magnificent in the grandeur with which she enlivened her singular role, stood out from an ensemble that has never looked better.

V, to Schumann’s Quintet for Piano and Strings, resonated with particular poignancy at its local premier in October 2001, three weeks after 9/11. That reference — which Morris always resisted — has faded. What remains is a dance that is powered by the rigors of formal design. The dancers were divided into two groups of seven, dressed in either off-white pants or blue skirts (by Martin Pakledinaz). The choreography stuck closely to the music — sometimes almost mockingly so — and much of it had a swingy pliancy to it. Large arm gestures also suggested a ceremonial quality. Somewhat mysteriously, a duet called up an unsustained echo from the wings.

But V‘s most remarkable section starts in the central Largo, for which Morris uses the simplest of human movements. One group walks, the other crawls, out of the wings. The drama happens when the vertical and horizontal lines intersect — basic geometry. The piece has two endings: an orgy of embracing, and a V-shaped military phalanx moving downstage. Take your pick.

Godsend

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a&eletters@sfbg.com

SONIC REDUCER God Is Good, the name of Om’s new long-player on Drag City, may run the risk of landing the heavy, heavy drone dealers in the gospel section of your clueless big-box retailer, but founder-bassist Al Cisneros couldn’t help the tug of title: "To me, at this point, in the journey of my life, that’s really all I can say."

The soft-spoken, spectacled musician, all in black with his instrument tucked beside him, laughs a little — and who can blame him? The longtime Bay Area fixture has been tackling some major changes in the past year. I almost don’t recognize him, now shorn of his long, black tresses, amid the bustling throng and espresso-machine groan of Muddy Waters at 16th and Valencia streets. He waves goodbye to his wife, whom he followed last year to San Luis Obispo, close to where she’s attending graduate school. In ’08 he also said farewell to the drummer he’s played with since high school, Chris Haikus, who quit in the middle of the last Om tour and retired from music. And after our chat, Cisneros will drive up to Portland, Ore., a commute he now makes regularly in order to practice with Om’s new drummer Emil Amos. Cisneros, who, with Hakius, once made up two-thirds of the legendary doom/stoner metal trio Sleep, is fully awake and in motion — and everything appears to be falling effortlessly into place.

"I have to keep playing," he explains. "I have music all the time, and it has to come out." To that end, Amos, who’s also in Grails, slipped into the drummer’s seat perfectly. "His playing style spoke my language directly when I first saw him playing drums," Cisneros murmurs. "The specific lyricism that he puts into his drumming, aside from the flow itself — which is beautiful. It was absolutely what I’d hear inside in many riffs and many parts I have, the complement of what I hear. There are certain fills, the way he’ll sit in a beat, the way he’ll be with a beat — it felt so familiar."

So he called up Amos on the chance that he would be able to work on a scheduled Sub Pop single. The two had already bonded during late-night rock-philosophy jam sessions while Om and the Grails were on tour a few years ago. After each show, Cisneros, Amos, and Hakius would hang out and analyze everything from dub to Billy Cobham — "the extremely nerdy academic aspects of the records we grew up with," the amicable Amos recalls by phone, taking a break from his day job at a Portland homeless shelter. "We’d get into philosophical debates, almost Platonic dissections of, when a verse ends and you go into chorus, what do you do on drums in this specific situation, in 1971? It was just this weird way of talking about music as a metaphor for spiritual education. We’re obsessed to that level. I think Al’s brain just thought, who can I trust?"

Remarkably, Cisneros — a man who has a Sanskrit passage from the Bhagavad-Gita tattooed on the left hand he uses for fingering — was right on, and though the two had never played together, a three-day rehearsal in Amos’ basement yielded the 7-inch. The Steve Albini-recorded God bears out the partnership, picking up the tempo, folding in tamboura and flute, and coming close to realizing the sounds in Cisneros’ head — the only other instance, he says, occurred with Sleep’s Holy Mountain (Earache, 1993), and "in the best way, we didn’t know what we were doing. It happened to us." Still, he offers, chuckling, "I don’t want to be in Sleep for the rest of my life."

For metal monks, as well as spiritual disciples of any order, the key is to focus on the practice — not fixate on whether or not Amos has a beard, a discussion the drummer says he’s found on some online forums. "I’ve never seen another band that gets so much attention about changing one bass guitar pedal or overdubbing one extra tambourine," Amos observes. "Nobody would say anything if Men at Work switched out a bass, but in this band, there’s the sense of trust between an artist and audience. It’s a delicate thing."

And it sounds like Cisneros has found an understanding new foil in his ever-evolving dialogue. "It’s a joy to work with Emil," he says softly. "The interplay between the instruments — the very premise of having a duo is to have a conversation between the instruments, and it literally happens nonstop when we play."

OM

With Lichens

Thurs/24, 8 p.m., $15

Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

www.theindependentsf.com

Easy as one 23

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a&eletters@sfbg.com

MUSIC Brought together by the 23 enigma (and, more than likely, straight-up friendship), the two folks behind Rainbow Bridge get a bit elusively new age in discussing their musical partnership. After several minutes of semi-coded phone conversation from their Olympia, Wash., home base, touching on author and teacher José Arg?elles, the Mayan calendar, and the idea of "cultivating obscurity," it becomes increasingly clear that the band’s raison d’être is actually pretty simple: maximizing the two-piece drum and electric guitar format — "trying to see how much spirit we can cultivate with super-basic things" as drummer/co-vocalist (and sometimes keyboardist) Bridget O’Brien Smith puts it — for a shuffling, mesmerizing twang that really ought to reach ears well beyond the Pacific Northwest.

Guitarist-vocalist Adam Croce and O’Brien-Smith are in the process of intensive rehearsals and days spent recording a prospective LP. "Each time we’ve recorded, we’ve had a different set-up — getting a different ambience, the breath of the day," explains Croce, relieved to "exhale finally" after one such session.

Rainbow Bridge began playing together early last year in Olympia, where both members attended Evergreen College, and each thought up the name individually before — simultaneously, I guess — suggesting it to the other. This was a fortuitous early sign of what they describe as their "harmonic convergence," not unlike the Arg?elles-initiated 1987 event of the same name. While their band’s name might seem to allude to Jimi Hendrix’s 1970 Rainbow Bridge concert in Hawaii ("a different kind of harmonic convergence," Croce assures), it has more to do with Arg?elles, whose 2012 Circumpolar Rainbow Bridge meditation is said to be able to spiritually unify the planet.

There’s a definite spiritual connection between Rainbow Bridge and the Bay Area, where Croce grew up and played in a ton of bands, including the SPAM Records-affiliated Tommy Lasorda and Los Rabbis. I first heard his music on a self-titled album by Broken Strings, a solo work that circulated extensively on CD-R before its vinyl release on True Panther Sounds last year. It’s a weird, home-recorded rock revelation, peppered with Carl Sagan soundbites and crackling with a feverish energy reminiscent of Robert Pollard’s mid-1990s brilliant streak.

Broken Strings is over now, but Croce and O’Brien-Smith already appear set to considerably improve on that work, judging from both sides of Rainbow Bridge’s killer debut seven-inch, "Big Wave Rider/Birdcage" (True Panther Sounds), out this month. "Rider" is a knockout, small-scale anthem, a summery song of measured meter ("Hangin’ 10 /Gnarly session /Shootin’ the curl /Shootin’ the curl for the world! /For a surfer girl /Waves they unfurl!") and ecstatic delivery. The flip is a chugging, jilted blues, likewise remarkable.

Rainbow Bridge plays its first show outside Olympia in Seattle later this month, and hopes to tour the West Coast soon. Just be sure to understand their reasons for being: "We are connected by the 23 enigma," says O’Brien-Smith, while Croce adds, "And we don’t wanna be stigmatized for that."

www.myspace.com/rainbowbridge23

www.truepanther.com

Seattle slew

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Montreal-based turntablist and producer Kid Koala (born Eric San) is the type of artist you can expect to take some formidably playful risks. Known for his virtuoso skills scratching and mixing on the wheels of steel, back in 1996 he was the first musician in North America signed to the U.K.’s boundary-busting label Ninja Tunes. Arriving in the wake of a fantastic mixtape, San’s debut hip-hop-jazz-funk crossover Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Ninja Tunes, 2000), featured a video game and a surreal comic book he designed himself. For him, the creative impulse is dedicated to telling a compelling and unlikely story. Free for download at www.nufonia.com, The Slew’s 100% — San’s self-released fourth effort in collaboration with long time friend Dynomite D — continues this tradition.

San and Dynomite (born Dylan Frombach) had discussed collaborating on a full-length project ever since vibing together on a couple spacey jazz singles about a decade ago (peep their "Third World Lover"). Thus, when Frombach was enlisted by his cousin Jay Rowlands to produce the score for a feature documentary on elusive Seattle psych-rock recluse Jack Slew, he brought San along. That was four and a half years ago. The documentary has since fallen through, but the score evolved independently into a masterfully abrasive and chest-rumbling soundscape. "We wanted to do some Black Sabbath meets the Bomb Squad," San tells me, laughing.

Initially the loosely-defined "Black Squad" duo gathered concrete inspiration from Jack Slew’s unreleased material — an ample body of work, thick with ferocious dusty breaks, bluesy vocals, and fuzzed-out riffs. Slew has a gravelly yet piercing voice that cuts right through the drums. He sings knowingly of freedom lost and the fragile sentiments of an ape trying to become a man. It’s rich material that just begs for sampling. San and Frombach reassemble the parts to produce a fresh perspective on the dangerously free spirit of the outlaw. "We needed a car chase scene, and a jail break scene, and then we ran with it," says San. Indeed, the album roves widely and digs deep, concluding with the epic moral struggle of "A Battle of Heaven & Hell."

Despite a cinematic narrative akin to a rogue spaghetti western, The Slew nearly succumbs to the usual pitfalls faced by turntablist albums. In the aesthetic sphere of turntablism, the scratching and abrupt pattern changes can sound gluttonous and overtly technical, warping the sonic landscape into a show of narcissism. "On the one hand [100%] is super-psychedelic, loud, and banging," San explains. "On the other hand" — he laughs — "it’s the most masochistic, purist turntable record I’ve ever made."

However, what saves the effort from sadism as well is that the Slew’s hip-hop inspired pastiche takes cues from authentic recording techniques of early ’70s rock. San and Frombach dove into their history books to study the methods for producing the screeching drums and sandblasted guitar riffs of that era. To really polish the coarsely hypnotic sound, they asked Mario Caldato Jr. — the engineering innovator behind the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique (Capitol, 1989) among others — to master the effort. The result is an interweaving of pummeling breaks and wa-wa guitar nastiness fractured by effects modulations and the emboldened seams of mixing and scratching. And it hits loud.

Koala and Dynomite originally entertained the idea of performing 100% live with 14 turntables. Fortunately, they scrapped that idea in favor of working with Chris Ross and Myles Heskett, the former rhythm section of Australia’s the Wolfmothers. Ross and Heskett play bass guitars, drums, and organ while Kid Koala and mad scientist partner P-Love (Paolo Kapunan) handle six turntables. San had to build "bass-proof, shock-proof turntables" to face the monster loudness that will ensue on the Slew’s two-and-a-half-week North American tour. "We bought spring-loaded tone arms and made custom vinyl to cue faster, so we can just drop the needle and go," he says. "We are going to just cut loose."

KID KOALA PRESENTS: THE SLEW

With Adira Amran

Fri/25, 9 p.m. (doors 8:30 p.m.), $15

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421

www.independentsf.com

Come of age

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a&eletters@sfbg.com

FILM A bittersweet tone in movies is an easy thing to flub. The most common culprits are asinine sentimentalism and mock-solemnity, neither of which figures into the graceful cinema of Ermanno Olmi. His early films, Il Posto (1961) and I Fidanzati (1963), still exhibit an impossibly light touch, with a warm humanist core of glances, material texture, and yearning wrapped in a dispassionate view of industrialized alienation.

In Il Posto, a boy’s coming-of-age is rendered a split decision: his entrance into the Milanese workplace is a gloomy premonition of adulthood, but there’s a taste of love for succor. Olmi’s breakthrough would have seemed small even if it hadn’t come on the heels of L’Avventura (1960) and La Dolce Vita (1960). It’s easy to imagine that Il Posto‘s quotidian pleasures might have seemed retrogressive in this context—but with contests for neorealism’s soul laid to rest, it’s easy to appreciate Olmi’s remarkable skill directing amateur actors, his elegant sequencing, and his aching cinematography, as ravishingly revealing as Robert Frank’s contemporaneous photographs. Insofar as the world-weariness of The Exiles (1961) and Killer of Sheep (1977) relate to the Italian style, they travel the Olmi path.

The director has been drawn to simple characters and stories throughout his career, but his own formal means can be surprisingly experimental. In the prolonged opening of I Fidanzati, for instance, Olmi fragments two estranged lovers’ circumnavigation of a dance, stitching together the story of a relationship with a series of elusive encounters plucked from time. The jag echoes Alain Resnais’ early films, but a bookending montage of the lovers reading each other’s letters uses the same technique against the modernist grain, for emotional warmth.

While Olmi’s more highly esteemed cousin in pictorial ennui, Michelangelo Antonioni, absconded with neorealism to the metaphysical realm, Olmi plunged back to earth. To wit: his new film, Terra Madre, is the official documentary of the 2006 Slow Food conference in Turin. A strange hybrid of educational film and poetic reverie, Terra Madre leaves polemics to the conference participants. Olmi’s presence is felt in the digressive close-ups of soil, plants, faces and hands. In a beguiling sequence midway through the film, his camera studies the ramshackle space left behind by a self-sufficient hermit. Does the director see himself in the story of this man who found the world in a small plot of life and tended his own garden for decades? Regardless, the "Life’s Work" retrospective at the PFA is an abundant harvest.

LIFE’S WORK: THE CINEMA OF ERMANNO OLMI

Sept. 25–Oct. 30, $5.50–$9.50

Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft, Berk.

(510) 642-5249, www.bampfa.berkeley.edu

Welcome weirdness

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DNA science has taught us everyone is unique. Art teaches that everyone — even wildly derivative sons-of-bitches — are kinda sorta likewise (at least technically). Still, there’s ordinary "individuality," actual distinctiveness, and then there’s whoa. Belonging to this last category is Swedish writer-director Roy Andersson, who’s made four features in four decades and surely won’t be hurrying up anytime soon.

Does it really take him that long? (Yes: he’s directed hundreds of commercials over the same period, yet took the perceived failure of 1975’s Giliap hard enough to pause a quarter-century before making another movie.) Or is it simply that the unclassifiable gimcracks he now records on film take years to create, not unlike someone’s backyard Lego-built Disneyland or Popsicle-stick Florentine Duomo?

No matter. Andersson’s films are like nothing else in the medium, if anything landing closer to multimedia maxi-minimalist stage avant-gardism like Robert Wilson’s vintage stage spectaculars. Albeit with considerably more humor and warmth, like Meredith Monk’s work both live and cinematic (1988’s Book of Days). But funnier still — like Buster Keaton without the character focus — and cinematically master-diagrammed à la Jacques Tati. Plus droll yet existentially dour in a particularly Scandinavian way.

Which is a long way of explaining You, the Living — finally here for a short theatrical run two years after its Cannes debut — as a bewildering whatsit of immeasurable invention and delight. (Arguably more-awesome Songs from the Second Floor, from 2000, took even longer before it got one week at the Roxie.)

How can one describe You, the Living? Fifty stationary-camera scenes, preceded by a Goethe quote, arrange mostly nonprofessional actors in tableaux of increasing musicality heavy on Dixieland tuba. Characters and settings do occasionally recur, but there’s very little "plot" per se. The highly worked production design (almost entirely studio-bound) is all queasy pastels, with a particular fondness for ’70s grandma-sweater-yarn lime.

There is, however, a slyly escautf8g absurdity in which Nordic miserabilism and fantasy apocalypticism somehow jigger a perfect cocktail. The taste is odd, at first — then it knocks you pleasurably sideways. There’s no easy convincing till you’ve seen it. Then there’s no easy convincing anyone else until you’ve made them see it. That’s worth the effort, though, because they will be so glad, and astonished by your rarefied good taste. (Dennis Harvey)

YOU, THE LIVING opens Fri/25 at the Sundance Kabuki.

Flesh tones

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markeb@sfbg.com

Like a cold, wet pinky, porn has truly inserted itself into every facet of our lives — even our nightlife. Gay porn, especially, is big business in the Bay, and besides the endless stream of between-flicks go-go boys this provides many mainstream gay clubs and a host of porn-themed parties, most featuring DJ Pornstar, it also draws a lot of international hopefuls to our fair shores, maintaining some diversity on the homoclub scene. You wouldn’t believe the amount of Swiss buttboys I’ve met at the disco, child.

But what about the music of gay porn? Has it moved beyond the stereotypical boom-chaka-wahow-wahow to reflect our hip-hop-infused, electronic reality? I recently talked via hot pink iPhone with The minor9 (www.theminor9.com), a young production duo who’ve been working with Raging Stallion for the past few months, helping to infuse that megastudio’s soundtracks with a little contemporary flavor, from the neo-tango trappings of the forthcoming Hombre to the trip-hop trimmings of shoe-and-weed fetish flick High Tops, which features a sampled recipe for marmalade(!).

Minor9 members Marcus and Chris stepped into the giant shoes of legend JD Slater, a cofounder of Raging Stallion whose soundtrack work helped bring rock, ambient, and industrial sounds into the porn mainstream, and who recently retired to concentrate on his own music. "It’s amazing the amount of opportunity composing for porn provides," says Marcus. "Obviously we’re not out to make a big artistic statement — the director tells us his vision and we do our best to match it in the background. So no grand chord changes or cymbal crescendos at the climax. But in terms of creative outlets, you couldn’t ask for more."

"My greatest triumph was slipping some bassoon into a scene," adds Chris. The local duo share a past as independent musicians and combine live instrumentation with software hijinks to set the right backseat blow-job mood. Chris and Marcus asked me not to use their last names to avoid future employment kafuffles. So, is there still a porn stigma?

"Porn’s such a fact of life now, and my mom said, ‘That’s great!" when I told her about my new job," says Marcus. "But you never know." Chris chimes in, "Let’s put it this way. I used to be a graduate student in math. Talk about stopping a conversation dead. Now I tell people what I do and suddenly I’m the life of the party."

—————

BEARRACUDA MAGNUM

Sweaty gay leather bears packed in hairy shoulder-to-shoulder, grunting to live sets by dark duo Ejector and drag tragedy Christeene, plus electro-pop DJ Francisco Guerra. Fri/25, $10. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., SF. www.bearracuda.com

BLOWOFF

Another hairy bear woof attack, this time on the rock remix tip, with indie hero DJs Bob Mould and Rich Morel at the first anniversary of this too-popular party. Sat/26, 10 p.m., $15. Slim’s, 333 11th St., SF. www.slims-sf.com

SISSY FIT

"Rock ‘n roll, cheap bear, and sloppy dick" brought to us by the queer punk Trans Am boys. DJs Dirty Knees and Pickle Surprise help usher in the mosh madness. Sat/26, 10 p.m., $6. Sub Mission, 2183 Mission, SF. www.myspace.com/transamtheclub

SS TRANNYSHACK

What’s better than nutso drag? Nutso drag on a boat. Try to stay seaworthy at this swingin’ who’s-who with Heklina, Dirty Sanchez, DJ Juanita More! and more. Sat/29, 8:30 p.m., $45 advance. Pier 41, SF. www.trannyshack.com

Sunrise

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS I take back everything I said about Kaiser. Not because the receptionist at the Oakland lab asked if my semen sample was my husband’s, and not because not one sperm was seen in said sample (although both these little details did make me smile) … but because the day after my incendiary diatribe hit the streets, causing widespread rioting or at least a knowing chuckle on the 21 Hayes bus, I got a phone call from an endocrinologist in Martinez.

A Kaiser endocrinologist, mind you.

Who was not a buffoon, mind you.

Rather, he spent more than an hour on the phone with me, which is longer talk-time than I had with my previous endocrinologist in four years, total. Whereas my previous n-doc said, and I quote, "Hormone therapy is not rocket science" (which is true, I admit, but still a pretty dumb thing to say while you are getting someone’s hormones all screwed up).

The new guy, who had researched my entire Kaiser career before he called, got it all back together, my hormones, my head … He knew every single thing about my medical past. He asked me questions no one else had ever asked, about my work, my mom, my kids, my opinions. He even asked me what my questions were, and when I said what they were, he answered them intelligently, patiently, and in detail, in many cases contradicting what other doctors had told me. An hour plus … on the phone!

While I was at work!

I’d never had a medical experience like this, where somebody both seems to care and has the time to do a thorough job of it. After we talked I got a long e-mail from him, putting it all in writing.

While we were talking, he completely rewrote my hormone regimen, likely adding 13 1/2 years to my life (just a guess). He made sure the new, safer prescription would be ready at the pharmacy of my choice by the next day. (It was!) He figured out the probable cause of my eight-week headache, effectively ending it on the spot. And, as if all that weren’t enough, he went ahead and gave me a hysterectomy.

"Excuse me?" I said.

He said he was putting it in the computer that I’d had a hysterectomy — that way I’d stop getting bugged by computerized notices and nurses about my next Pap smear.

To perform such a delicate operation over the phone seemed above and beyond the call of medicine; it bordered on miraculous. Dazzled by my new favorite doctor’s medical prowess, I neglected to mention that I actually love it when nurses try to schedule me for a Pap smear, or ask about my period, or if I’m pregnant — stuff like that. But I’m glad I didn’t say anything, because in retrospect I would gladly trade those fleeting moments of real-girl-glory for the even gloriouser distinction of having had an over-the-phone hysterectomy.

Who wouldn’t want one of those? I mean, Pap smears and periods come and go, but a hysterectomy is forever, even if you have it in a doctor’s office or operating room.

But speaking of carne asada, there’s the Sunrise Restaurant on 24th Street between Shotwell and Folsom. Judging from its name, and the extensive Latino and Americano breakfast choices on the menu, it’s more of a morning place. I went there at sunset, and wished I’d had breakfast for dinner.

The carne asada plate ($9.95) comes with black beans, rice, and salsa. OK: the steak was tough, and there’s nothing you can do about that but shake your head, maybe make a mental note to get something else next time. But: the beans and the rice really really wanted flavor. They didn’t taste like much of anything.

There are things you can do about that, one of which is called salsa. But the little tiny tin of what-they-call-salsa was surprisingly shockingly inedibly yucky.

Meaning: there won’t be a next time. When even the salsa sucks, you are sitting in an irredeemable restaurant. Or, in other words, ugh.

If it wasn’t for good old table top Tapatío, I would have gone away entirely undernourished. As it was, I went away caloried, but not much else. No nice taste in my mouth. No plan of ever returning. No good stories to tell.

SUNRISE RESTAURANT

Mon., Wed.–Thu.: 7 a.m.–8 p.m.;

Fri.–Sun.: 7 a.m.–9 p.m.

3126 24th St., SF

(415) 206-1219

Beer and wine

MC,V

L.E. Leone’s new book is Big Bend (Sparkle Street Books).

Creamin’ for comics

0

culture@sfbg.com

Erotic comics are a special breed of porn. Unlike prose, they can show as well as describe. Unlike photos, they’re narrative. Unlike film, they have a limitless special effects budget. Comics are capable of everything from gritty, realistic detail to "yowza!" flights of fancy — perfect for the demands of erotica.

And yet good erotic comics seem in short supply. Despite a venerable history that stretches from the Tijuana Bibles of the 1920s to the wild antics of the underground comix movement in the ’60s and ’70s, porn comics have languished of late. Alternative and independent comics have been trending more toward asexuality. And gay male erotic cartoonists are only now struggling out of the shadow of Tom of Finland, whose comics of square-jawed, fascist-reminiscent leathermen and bikers have dominated gay erotic art in the same way that Tolkien’s imagination bound and gagged fantasy writers for generations.

Once you start digging, however, it’s remarkable the gems you can find. The fact that comics are so marginalized creates a kind of purity to the art form. Cartoonists aren’t motivated by fame and fortune, but rather by their passion for their stories and their art. The same is doubly true for erotic cartoonists, whose work is often an evolution of the naughty pictures they drew compulsively while growing up.

Here are a few of the most unusual, hot, and fun recent erotic comics collections to get your juices flowing.

BEST EROTIC COMICS 2009

Greta Christina, Editor

(Last Gasp)

www.lastgasp.com

A man stimulates the orifice of a bound mermaid with a twig, an infertile professor convinces a student to impregnate his wife, a dominatrix hires a gay masseur to fuck her boyfriend, a sadistic dom pisses all over her girlfriend, King Kong and Godzilla have hot sex in the ruins of Tokyo.

Best Erotic Comics, an annual collection of the best and brightest of kinky comics, is yet another reason to be proud of our sexy Bay Area, published as it is by legendary, local institution Last Gasp. Editor Greta Christina has assembled an impressive collection of literary smut comics that run the full gamut of sexual interests, from octopus sex to airplane sex. It’s especially refreshing to see straight porn side by side with gay and lesbian imagery — it allows the reader to understand sexuality as a spectrum of possibilities, and to see how hot the fantasies of others can be.

PRIDE

Gengoroh Tagame

(G-Project, 2007)

www.tagame.org

Odd as it may seem, the best bear comics porn in the world is coming out of Japan, a country with a noticeable lack of big, hairy men. Clearly the exotic has its erotic charms. Unlike yaoi — the popular manga genre in which female cartoonists create stories of gay male romance and sex for an audience of girls and women — bara is gay manga created by actual gay male creators and usually does not feature the yaoi breed of androgynous boys with big eyes and floppy hairdos, but rather burly, hypermasculine men.

No one is better at portraying these than Gengoroh Tagame, arguably the world’s greatest, living erotic cartoonist. His universe is populated with the hottest muscle bears outside of the Lone Star’s patio during Folsom Street Fair weekend, and they have a tendency to be tied up, humiliated, and fucked senseless. Pride is a recent trilogy of books from the master, detailing the gradual transformation of a cocky, hirsute hunk into an obedient slave by a buff, bearded professor. The books are full of all sorts of S-M shenanigans, with our hero being put through the paces, from extreme bondage and piercings to fistings and scat play. Tagame has yet to be translated into English, but he’s such an accomplished cartoonist that his work can still be thoroughly enjoyed.

SMALL FAVORS

Colleen Coover

(Eros Comix, 2002)

www.eroscomix.com

While lesbian imagery exists in various straight publications, there is an unfortunate dearth of true lesbian erotic comics. Colleen Coover’s Small Favors is a notable exception. Coover is an excellent cartoonist and clearly has a great time illustrating her two heroines, Annie and Nibbil, having wild, fun, and juicy sex.

Annie is accused of masturbating too much by her own conscience and is assigned a finger-tall guardian to stop her from getting jiggy with it too often. Fortunately, this tiny watcher winds up being a nympho herself, and jumps Annie at her first opportunity, leading to comics’ best introduction line ever: "Ummm … Hi, Annie! My name’s Nibbil! Gosh, I hope you don’t mind me fucking myself on your nipple!"

WANKY COMICS

BiL Sherman

(Self-published)

www.wankycomics.com

Occasionally you’ll stumble across some underground, barely-distributed mini-comic, put together by the creator with a photocopier and a stapler, that will take your breath away. BiL Sherman’s Wanky Comics is bizarrely brilliant, completely original, and about as underground as you can get.

While the subject matter of the stories in WC ranges wildly from horny unicorns and space-age sex clones to an inexplicably naked superhero and his quest for love, Sherman has a distinctive style that unifies the series. He draws like a thirteen-year-old with OCD and a hard-on, filling his pages with burly, hairy men. Each chest hair is lovingly and obsessively drawn, and the faces are rugged and expressive.

Sherman is unafraid to get both funny and surreal, a refreshing trait in porn comics. The "Mike Thorn and the Nine Satanic Statements," episode, for example, is a blow-by-blow illustration of a scene on a porn set, while the text underneath the images is taken directly from Anton Levey’s Satanic Bible, creating a strangely disconnected, campy, yet beautiful juxtaposition.

BIRDLAND

Gilbert Hernandez

(Eros Comix, 1992)

www.eroscomix.com

Hernandez is one of the creators, along with brothers Jaime and Mario, of Love and Rockets, arguably the single greatest American comic book. Rarely does such a world-class, literary cartoonist turn his talents to porn. Luckily, however, the highly prolific Hernandez created Birdland, a voyeuristic foray into the lives of strippers, bodybuilders, and horny aliens — and one of the classics of erotic comics.

Birdland introduces characters such as Fritz, the large-breasted, brainy psychiatrist with a lisp and a passion for guns, which Hernandez later incorporated into L&R. But while L&R certainly never shies away from sexual material, Birdland is unabashedly erotica, with copious cum shots filling the pages.

Though Hernandez identifies as straight, Birdland is in many ways pansexual erotica, with every type of coupling depicted. The final scene, in which the characters have a giant orgy in a spaceship, is one of the most oddly liberating and transcendent sex sequences ever conceived. After reading it, anything seems possible.

————-

A GUIDE TO PORN CARTOONISTS AT THIS YEAR’S FOLSOM STREET FAIR

The Folsom Street Fair on Sun/27 is all about community, and one of the ways it demonstrates this is by donating a block of booth space to queer erotic artists, many cartoonists. This year’s little section of the Fair, at 11th Street and Folsom, is very exciting. Here’s some highlights.

Chuck Connor and Sean Platter: the duo’s Demonic Sex series pulls no punches with its depictions of satanic transformations and sexual hells. www.triplesixcomics.com

Dave Davenport and Justin Hall: An accomplished tattoo artist, Davenport uses his illustration chops to create horny werewolves, skate punk ghosts, and other wholesome characters in Hard To Swallow, co-created with Justin Hall (that’s me!). www.hardtoswallowcomics.com

Steve MacIsaac: As the co-creator (along with Dale Lazarov) of Sticky, MacIsaac offers sex-positive stories instead of the rape fantasies that often dominate gay porn. www.stevemacisaac.com

Bradley Rader: Harry and Dickless Tom is the story of two homophobic truckers who screw and then beat up fags. It turns surreal when one wakes up with a vagina. www.flamingartist.com

Sean Z: Sean’s Myth is a superb fantasy comic with complex plots, gorgeous color work, and big-dicked vampires. www.sean-z.com

See www.folsomstreetfair.org/art for more kinky artists.

The $2.8 billion rate hike

0

news@sfbg.com

In the middle of what economists are calling the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, when California unemployment rates have hit post-WWII records, commercial defaults are rising, and families and businesses are hurting, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is asking for electricity rate hikes that would take at least $47 million out of the local community, a Guardian analysis shows. By some estimates, the impact could be has high as $787 million.

And the economy is already losing between $174 million and $483 million a year because the city hasn’t created a public power system. So the total impact on the San Francisco economy of paying PG&E’s high private rates could total $2.8 billion. That’s money that local residents can’t spend on good and services, local businesses can’t use to hire more workers and city government can’t collect taxes on.

The analysis is based on work done in 2002 by Irwin Kellner, chief economist for Marketwatch and a former economics professor at Hofstra University. Kellner analyzed the savings to the Long Island economy after that community replaced a private utility with a public power system (see "The $620 million shakedown, 9/4/2002).

It’s not a complicated set of calculations.

During the fiscal year ending in 2009, San Francisco residents and businesses paid $644 million on electricity, according to data from the city’s Controller’s Office. If PG&E’s proposed 6.5 percent average rate hike is approved for 2011 (with additional hikes of 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent the following two years) that number would ultimately rise to $704.5 million.

Over the next four years, as those rate hikes kick in, San Franciscans would be handing PG&E an extra $157 million. That’s $106 million businesses won’t have to pay employees or make capital improvements, and $51.3 million consumers won’t have to spend in local businesses.

"That’s $51 million less that would otherwise go into San Francisco neighborhood businesses," said Ted Egan, chief economist in the city’s Office of Economic Analysis. "Instead the $51 million goes to PG&E, and they won’t spend it all in San Francisco. Some will go to shareholders and outside the region, so the rate hike would end up having a larger impact than the initial $51 million."

That "larger impact" is called the multiplier effect: if you give one dollar to someone likely to spend it locally, he or she will buy shoes at a local shoe store, whose owner will use the dollar to buy groceries at the local grocery store, whose owner will pay the counter worker, who will spend the money on paint at the local hardware store — and by the time it’s circulated through the local economy, that dollar has created far more than a dollar’s worth of economic activity.

Economists argue on how to figure the exact impact of that dollar. Kellner has done studies of the economic impact of utility rates and estimates the multiplier — the economic impact of electricity rate hikes — to be five, expanding the $157.4 million to over $787 million.

Egan takes a more conservative view of the San Francisco economy and consumer spending. He estimates that the multiplier for utility rate hikes is closer to 0.3 — or slightly higher when commercial rates are factored in. According to his estimate the impact would be closer to $47,231,083.86.

The multiplier suggested by federal government economists during the stimulus bill discussion is 1.8, the number cautiously posited by Cynthia Kroll, senior regional economist for the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at UC Berkeley. Based on her calculations, PG&E would be yanking $283 million out of the local economy.

Either way, it’s a huge sum of money, particularly in a bad economy.

A PATTERN OF RATE HIKES


This latest rate hike, Mindy Spatt, communications director of the Utility Reform Network told us, is only part of a pattern of attempts by PG&E to raise rates. Every three years, utility companies present a general rate case to the California Public Utilities Commission. But Spatt said utilities can come to the PUC in between to ask for other rate hikes.

"They’re constantly coming back to the commission for this that and the other thing," she said. "[PG&E] came back after they got money for smart meters to get money for smarter meters.

"Overall, the pattern is that rates continue to go up," she continued. "The only other thing going up is executive compensation. We are still plagued with blackouts, we still get crappy service."

She’s right: data from other local utilities show that PG&E rates are anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent higher than cities that have public power. PG&E would like its customers to believe that higher rates will improve service and reliability — but that’s not what’s happening.

"They don’t spend the money on giving us good service, instead [they focus] on convincing us they are giving us good service," Spatt said.

In its announcement of the proposed hike, PG&E claimed the rate hikes are to maintain infrastructure and reliability. A further $1.1 billion is also being asked for as part of a Cornerstone Improvement Project to increase reliability.

"Reliability" is an old battle horse trotted out every few years as the justification for rate hikes. PG&E is consistently less reliable than other local utilities and even less reliable than other large private utilities. So the company constantly asks for money to upgrade its system — except that reliability doesn’t seem to improve much, and it hasn’t improved much in the past decade, according to California Public Utilities Commission data.

"It’s interesting to compare their rates to municipal utilities and how much higher they are," Spatt said. "What do we get for the extra money we pay? Because by most measures they’re not doing a great job."

In fact, Guardian research shows that local municipal utilities have consistently better reliability records than PG&E (see "The blackout factor," 8/5/09).

PUBLIC POWER SAVINGS


The direct cost of PG&E’s high rates costs the local economy — and those losses are compounded by the money that could have been saved with public power.

A detailed Guardian analysis concluded last year that San Francisco would be able to cut electric rates by 15 percent if it ran its own utility (see "Cleaner and cheaper," 9/10/2008). That’s an entirely reasonable estimate, according to Jeff Shields, general manager of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District, which is fighting with PG&E to take over electricity distribution in its service area. He projects similar savings for his customers.

Shields thinks his system (and one in San Francisco) could cut rates even further. As nonprofit, he explained, SSJID can save money in multiple areas and pass those savings onto customers.

"We don’t pay taxes on earnings," he told us. "PG&E, as a shareholder company, can collect an 11.45 percent margin of profit. We don’t pay that. We don’t have the same overhead. We don’t have high-rises or corporate jets."

Public power agencies pay less to borrow money, are eligible for tax-exempt financing, typically have a higher credit rating and often keep a substantial cash reserve.

"[Selling electricity] will continue to produce substantial income," he said. "As a nonprofit, the only thing we can do with that income is continue to drop rates."

Other municipal utilities, like Silicon Valley Power in Santa Clara, have been able to keep rates low as PG&E has continued to raise rates. Larry Owens, customer services manager at SVP, said its residential rates are half of PG&E’s, and less for larger users.

The opportunity cost of not having municipal power — factoring in PG&E’s proposed rate hike and the assumption, based on Guardian and SSJID analyses, that rates would be lowered by at least 15 percent — is approximately $545 million over the next four years. Theoretically, that money could have resulted in a $980 million to $2.8 billion bump in the local economy.

This doesn’t include what some municipal utilities call "general fund transfers" or money that goes directly into a city’s piggy bank to be spent on libraries, schools, public health, and other services.

"Private sector utilities pay money to shareholders," said Joyce Kinnear, utility marketing services manager in Palo Alto. "We give these payments to the general fund to give services to local residents."

In Palo Alto’s case, this amounts to more than $9.25 million annually, or 9 percent of annual sales revenue, according Ipek Connolly, senior resource planner for the Palo Alto Utilities Department. Alameda Municipal Power’s Alan Hanger says AMP pays at least $4.2 million into city coffers. Silicon Valley Power, according to Owens, sends 5 percent of its revenue back to the city in the form of $12.92 million.

Shields, at SSJID, said the utility plans to give 4 percent of revenue to a public benefits program for "various social services, conservation, and energy efficiency programs." This, in addition to general fund transfers, constitutes a direct contribution to the community 50 percent larger than PG&E’s.

"Public power systems provide a direct benefit to their communities in the form of payments and contributions to state and local government," Nicholas Braden, director of communications at the American Public Power Association, told us. "The total value of the contributions made by the publicly-owned utilities often comes in many forms and is not always easily recognized. In addition to payments such as taxes, payments in lieu of taxes, and transfers to the general funds, many of the utilities make other contributions in the form of free or reduced cost services provided to states and cities."

San Francisco has a 7.5 percent utility user tax, but the tax is only levied on homes and businesses. In other words, PG&E takes hundreds of millions out of the local economy — and gives back nothing.

————-

HOW SF COULD LOSE $2.8 BILLION

Amount San Franciscans paid for electricity IN 2009: $644 million

Additional cost of PG&E rate hike (per year): $157 million

Multiplier (maximum estimate): $787 million

Reduction in costs under public power: $483 million

Multiplier: $2.1 billion

Total impact of high PG&E rates: $2.87 billion

SOURCE: Guardian research based on public records

————

RATE HIKES HIT THE POOR HARDEST

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. estimates that its current rate hike proposal will add between $2.23 and $16.76 per month to an average residential electricity bill. That may not seem huge — but it adds up.

"Each rate hike in and of itself isn’t that much money," acknowledges Mindy Spatt of the Utility Reform Network (TURN). "But overall, rates are very high."

And if you’re in one of the 24,000 San Francisco families that, according to U.S. census data, livie in poverty, even the smallest increase in utility bills can have serious ramifications.

"A few dollars here, and a few there can really affect low-income households," said Stephanie Chen, legal fellow at the Greenlining Institute, a public policy research and advocacy group. "It can mean the difference between ‘Do I pay the power bill, or do I buy groceries?’"

Utility bills are not a discretionary expense, and, as unemployment continues to rise and adjustable rate mortgages continue to adjust upward, more households are finding themselves squeezed on all sides. Depending on timing and cash flow, Chen said it would be easy to imagine a formerly stable household unable to pay the utility bill.

And if a household can’t pay the bill for two weeks, PG&E sends a notice of termination and shuts off power. According to Spatt, PG&E shuts off 15,000 households in its service area each month.

"Rate hikes are certainly not going to bring down that number," she said. "These are not people who can’t pay for a Mercedes and got it repossessed. They are people who are losing heat, electricity, the ability to cook."

To turn the power back on, PG&E requires a deposit of twice the average bill to reestablish credit. If a household can’t pay its regular bill, paying twice the amount is even harder.

Spatt says TURN is working to push the CPUC to do something about this and help consumers who are struggling. Chen says utility companies already know their customers are hurting during the recession.

"All the utilities are facing decaying infrastructure concerns and renewable energy goals," Chen said. "They are facing increased costs, which they pass on to ratepayers. We know rate increases are inevitable — but we want to make sure they are necessary and cost-effective."

Remaking Market Street

0

steve@sfbg.com

GREEN CITY Market Street is a mess that doesn’t work well for any of its users. In famously fractious San Francisco, that’s something politicians and citizens of all political stripes can agree on — and it’s now something that a wide variety of city agencies and interest groups have finally started to work on improving, experiment by experiment.

Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Sept. 10 announcement of a series of pilot projects on Market Street — including a plan to divert many automobiles from Market Street that begins Sept. 29, followed by creation of more sidewalk seating areas and art projects in the coming months — drew from work started a year ago by his arch-rival, Sup. Chris Daly, who in turn was furthering plans for an eventually carfree Market Street initiated by former Mayor Willie Brown.

"I’m glad that it’s going to get done and we’re going to take cars off of Market Street," Daly told the Guardian after Newsom’s announcement. Newsom presented the changes in grander terms, saying in a prepared statement, "The new and improved Market Street will rival main streets around the world."

Among the streets Newsom cited as an example is Broadway in New York City, "for piloting ways to use streets as open space," according to the Mayor’s Office statement. But while many San Franciscans like Broadway’s new separated bike lanes and street-level open space, others covet Broadway’s flashy electronic signs and billboards, which this November’s Proposition D would bring to the mid-Market area.

"The next thing is going to happen whether Prop. D passes or not," said David Addington, the Warfield Theater owner who proposed the measure to allow more commercial signage on Market between Fifth and Seventh streets as a source of revenue to improve mid-Market. "This area could be fantastic."

Indeed, it appears that Market Street is bound for some big changes. And unlike efforts in the past, which involved long studies of ideas that were never implemented, there’s a sense of experimentation and immediacy that marks the latest push.

"I’m very excited about the Market Street changes and I think it’s good for San Francisco to be in a mode where we give ourselves permission to experiment with our streets," said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, which is supporting Prop. D and Newsom’s Market plans.

"I really appreciative that the city is willing to start things in Market Street in trial phases so we can wade in," said Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "Reducing the number of cars on Market Street will definitely be a benefit for those walking and biking, as well as speeding up transit."

Plans call for signs encouraging eastbound motorists on Market to turn right at 10th Street before requiring them to do so at Eighth Street and again at Sixth Street.

The San Francisco Transportation Authority (governed by the Board of Supervisors), which prepared the study on diverting cars from Market Street, was also poised to approve (on Sept. 22, after Guardian press time) some complementary measures to "calm the safety zone" on Market Street.

That plan is to create better markings on the street to delineate the spaces used by motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, including colored pavement and moving back the points where cars stop at intersections to create safer access to transit stops.

Once the court injunction against bike projects is lifted — for which a hearing is set Nov. 2 — the plan would also create colored "bike boxes" at Market intersections and a buffer zone between the bike lanes and cars between Eighth Street and Van Ness. "It would be the city’s first separated bike lane, with very little work," Shahum said.

The Mayor’s Office says various city agencies will monitor and evaluate the Market Street pilot projects being implemented over the next year, with full implementation of a designed Market Street coming in 2013 after taking community input.

"We’re excited about it. There’s a long history of ideas about what to do about Market," said Judson True, spokesperson for the Municipal Transportation Agency, which is guiding the improvements. "This is the start of the next phase on Market Street."

Crunch time

0

sarah@sfbg.com

The proposal by city officials and Lennar Corp. to build more than 10,000 new housing units at Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point is entering a critical phase, particularly for Bayview-Hunters Point residents who want greater oversight and scrutiny of the project.

Candidates are lining up to replace termed-out District 10 Sup. Sophie Maxwell next year; the project’s draft environmental impact report will be released, considered for approval and potentially challenged; and Lennar officials will seek to get the final development agreement with the city signed before Mayor Gavin Newsom leaves office in 2011, or earlier.

The 770-acre redevelopment plan, which the Mayor’s Office is touting as a shining example of a public-private partnership, has come under repeated attack from community advocates after Lennar’s failures to monitor and control toxic asbestos dust at the shipyard. The crash of the housing market and plunge in the company’s stock price also triggered concerns about the project.

And in light of the U.S. Navy’s recent decision to dissolve the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board (RAB), the community is concerned that decisions about radiologically-affected dumps and the shipyard’s early transfer from the Navy to the city could occur without important public oversight.

Another aspect of the project — a proposal to build condos on 42 acres of Candlestick Point State Recreation Area — was criticized by the Sierra Club, Arc Ecology, and Friends of Candlestick Park. Lennar argued it was necessary for the project to pencil out and this sale of state land was to be authorized by Senate Bill 792, sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno.

In August, Leno secured the neutrality of the environmental groups and the support of the California Assembly (but not Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, the lone dissenting vote) for an amended version of his bill, arguing that selling 23 acres for $50 million would spare the rest of Candlestick Point SRA from being closed by budget cuts. The legislation now awaits Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature.

Now, with the project’s EIR due to be released Sept. 28, people have the chance to register concerns about plans for such a massive development project, which includes condos on the Bayview’s only major park and a controversial bridge over Yosemite Slough.

On Sept. 15, community members packed the Board of Supervisors’ meeting to demand an investigation into their concerns, which also include the apparent inability of Newsom’s African American Out Migration task force to issue its overdue final report about the ongoing exodus of the city’s black population, which this project could exacerbate.

Sup. John Avalos told us he is now gathering information on the issue and hopes to schedule Land Use Committee hearings on the shipyard cleanup and Lennar’s economic health. "The documentation gives real strength and power to the community’s contentions," Avalos said.

He also noted that Maxwell is scheduling a hearing into the dissolution of the RAB, while Sup. Ross Mirkarimi is resurrecting legislation that seeks to put the San Francisco Redevelopment Authority under the control of the Board of Supervisors.

Arc Ecology director Saul Bloom said his group will study the project’s EIR to see if it accurately assesses the effects of Lennar’s development.

"We are concerned about the impact of truck traffic, the bridge over Yosemite Slough, and whether the transportation plan is going to effectively put the Bayview between three freeways," Bloom said. "But we’re going to be even-handed. If the EIR does a good job, we plan to say so."

Jaron Browne of the Bayview advocacy group POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights) told the Guardian that her group wants the shipyard cleaned up and the community respected.

"This is not just a Bayview issue," Browne said. "The whole city will be affected by the decisions that take place in terms of the future of affordable housing and environmental protection."

Microfinance for radicals

0

news@sfbg.com

In 1969, 11 antiwar protesters loced up at the Santa Rita County Jail began questioning each other about the future of the movement. By the time they were released, they’d decided that the creative nonviolent projects that were emerging would all need funding — and the Agape Foundation was born.

Agape, which celebrates its 40th anniversary Sept. 24, is not the only progressive foundation in San Francisco, and not the only source of money for small progressive groups. But it is, in many ways, the boldest, the one most willing to take risks on organizations that are new, small, and doing things far out on the political edge.

Nina Dessart, Agape’s administrative director, says the group is "unusual for funding only social justice or change." And unlike other foundations that look for long track records, Agape funds startups. Indeed, an organization must be less than five years old to be eligible for Agape’s funding options.

"We love to be the first ones [to give aid to an emerging cause,]" Dessart said. "It is hard to get grants to organizations without track records."

Some big, nationally prominent organizations also have benefited from Agape’s money, including Amnesty International, the National Farm worker Ministry, and Bread and Roses.

Agape — the name comes from the Greek word for altruism — also prides itself on helping the likes of People’s Grocery in West Oakland, a small operation that promotes food and health awareness in an economically depressed community.

And long before microloans became popular, the folks at Agape realized that a little money could go a long way. For example, the National Farmworkers Ministry "used [a] 1959 Plymouth station wagon [purchased with Agape funds] continuously until its demise in the autumn," according to Agape records. The group used the station wagon to bring food and relief to families whose families members had been jailed for picketing, to carry protesters to picket lines from jail, and to map out the picket lines.

Agape funds have supplied portable toilets for antinuclear protests. The group has been funding gay military counseling since 1972. That same year, Agape underwrote a four-day "consciousness raising" conference for ex-prisoners and their families. In 1975, Agape paid for the construction of the Trident Monster — a submarine-like sculpture used to raise awareness of nuclear weapons.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Agape gave money and support to antinuclear organizations such as the Honeywell Project and the Abalone Alliance — a time when groups that were constantly engaged in civil disobedience and defying federal and state authorities would have had trouble getting tax-exempt status.

Indeed, tax-status assistance has been one of Agape’s most powerful tools — groups can use the foundation as a fiscal sponsor and not have to worry about wrangling with tax documents.

Women for Genuine Security, a Bay Area advocacy group, uses Agape to process contributions to "minimize administrative aspects of getting a tax-exempt status," coordinator Gwen Kirk told us.

Five years ago Agape broadened its focus from fundraising by starting an annual awards program to spotlight the people and groups that are creatively and actively working toward peace. Nicole Hsiang, an Agape board member, explains that around the initiation of the Iraq War, Agape started giving out peace awards "to the real heroes."

Last year the Agape Peace Prize went to Nancy Hernandez, youth program coordinator of H.O.M.E.Y. (Homies Organizing to Empower Mission Youth). Hernandez used the money from the prize to take rival Mission District gang members camping. These youth — and those helped by Youth Together and other organizations funded, aided, and spotlighted by Agape — are "the next 40," Hernandez says, the ones at the forefront of social change for the next 40 years in San Francisco.

Jacqueline Cabasso, this year’s recipient of the Enduring Visionary Prize, is executive director of Western States Legal Foundation, which helped form the nation’s largest antiwar coalition, US Abolition 2000 and the People’s Nonviolent Response Coalition after 9/11.

Eileen Hansen, acting director of Agape, puts it simply: "We fund new, struggling, barely formed groups that can hardly call themselves an organization — and nobody else will take a chance on them," she said. "When you look back at the social justice movement over the past 40 years and all the groups we’ve helped, you have to wonder where that movement would have been without Agape."

Agape’s awards ceremony and anniversary party is Sept. 24, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Green Room, San Francisco War Memorial, 401 Van Ness. $50 donation. www.agapepeaceprize.org.

Tiff 09

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Of human bondage

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culture@sfbg.com

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Swingin’ with a star: Madison Young, photographed by Pat Mazzera

San Francisco is America’s capital of kink. Consider Sunday’s Folsom Street Fair (www.folomstreetfair.org) as a flagship holiday and the Armory, occupied by Kink.com, as a kind of sexual City Hall, and there’s little dispute.

But it may seem peculiar for a city so committed to gender and sexual equality to be the patron city of BDSM: a complicated acronym that stands for bondage and discipline (BD), domination and submission (D/s), sadism and masochism (SM). In crude terms, BDSM relationships are marked by deliberate and sometimes extreme inequality, where a submissive party voluntarily forfeits partial or complete physical, psychological, and emotional control to a dominant one. Although "switching" does occur, D/s — the Dominant (capital D) and submissive power dichotomy — may seem to be everything our traditional concept of liberal empowerment and classical feminism rail against.

But while it might be difficult for some to grasp, BDSM — which includes a broad spectrum of sexual acts including (but not limited to) bondage, corporal punishment, electrostimulation, piercing, branding, suspension, golden showers, and asphyxiation, as well as general play relationships like age play, pet play, medical play, and cross-dressing — is controlled by a strict code of behavior referred to as "SSC," or "safe, sane, and consensual." San Francisco even has its own BDSM nonprofit, the Society of Janus, which was founded in 1974 to promote safe adult power exchange.

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Ropes aficionado Fivestar, photographed by Pat Mazzera

And unlike that other U.S. capital, Washington, D.C., where women are systemically outnumbered in the decision-making process, in San Francisco’s kinky community, strong and sexually empowered women are well represented — if not always well understood.

Women in BDSM, unfair as it seems, often receive some of the harshest criticism from a varied opposition. D/s women frequently find their lifestyles attacked by religious groups, academics, psychologists, and sexual conservatives, as well as much of the midsection of the United States. Whether stigmatized as self-loathing antifeminists or insatiable man-eating jezebels — or dismissed as insane — much misinformation has been spread about women (gendered, self-identified) who operate within the community.

However, the strong, independent-minded D/s women of San Francisco will have the vanilla (their term for those who do not engage in BDSM activities) know that BDSM is not what you think. Indeed, BDSM: It’s Not What You Think! premiered last year at the Frameline Film Festival. Frameline, the longest-running film festival dedicated to LGBT programming, featured a cast of prominent figures in the San Francisco leather community, many of them women.

For the women of bondage in our city, many of whom maintain 24/7 D/s relationships, BDSM is considered a liberating force. The following profiles are shout-outs to just some of these women, each representing a different facet within the BDSM spectrum. Most have participated in the community for more than a decade — and all really, really love what they do.

In San Francisco, the old Rousseauian adage "Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains," could easily be rephrased as: "Woman is born free, and everywhere she uses chains to get off".

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Madison Young, photographed by Pat Mazzera

MADISON YOUNG, THE INGÉNUE

Madison Young refers to herself as the "kinky girl next door." With blue eyes, strawberry blonde hair, and a translucent, Kidmanesque complexion, Young is one of the most recognizable performers in the adult entertainment industry, though perhaps more recognizable to those who enjoy inflicting pain on women tied with rope.

"I found a Kink.com posting on Craigslist," Young says. "I had been involved in kinky sex before then, and was really into things like fisting and golden showers and light bondage. But I had never really done flogging or anything around rope bondage. Peter [Ackworth] was the first person who ever tied me up, and I fell in love with it instantly." Since then, she’s become famous, adored by fans for her raw, honest performances and for her incredible toughness.

And Young is really, really tough. Run a simple Google Image search and you’ll find photos of her subjected to things that would make a Navy Seal weep — like being suspended from one elbow by a single rope strung from the ceiling, with her legs pulled apart as far as legs can go. Young is one of the few working models who can withstand what is known as a "category five suspension," bondage positions so grueling they can only be endured for mere seconds. "I have a really high pain tolerance," she says. On a scale of 1 to 10? "Out of the models that exist, I’m a 10."

A self-identified masochist, Young’s interest in bondage is uniquely centered around rope. "I’m not really into metal restraints, scarves, zip ties, or anything like that. It has to be rope."

Young is also among a small but growing number of women who are writing, directing, and producing porn, and runs her own production house called Madison Young Productions. She also finds time to run Femina Potens, a female-focused art gallery located in the Castro.

www.madisonbound.com; www.feminapotens.org

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Midori, photographed by Constance Smith

MIDORI, THE SENSEI

Midori, the artist formerly known as Fetish Diva Midori, is adamantly opposed to being portrayed exclusively within the confines of BDSM. "A lot of people, sure, see my bondage stuff. But that’s just one of many, many things that I do."

That may be so, but all the same, you can’t talk about San Francisco’s women of bondage without including a legend like Midori. While she might claim "I don’t distinguish S-M, because it’s just all sexuality," she is a huge personality, respected sex-educator, and popular author in the realm of BDSM. Her sought-after bondage workshops include weekend-long intensives on "rope bondage dojo," a type of bondage she developed and trademarked.

For Midori, growing up in Japan has had an enormous impact on her work, and her heritage manifests itself not only her rope bondage specialty in but also in her academic interests. She published a collection of S-M stories titled Master Han’s Daughter based in a Tokyo of the future and developed a course on contemporary sex culture in Japan. She also has written instructional books like The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage and Wild Side: The Book of Kink and taught sex education courses all over the world.

Although stunning, this one-time fetish model and former professional dominatrix is wary of her status as a sex symbol. "If people appreciate my writing and enjoy my classes and get something out of it, and dig my work because of my art and my activism and stuff that I do, hey, that’s great. I think I’m, like, way past the age of being the pretty something, because after all I’m well in my 40s. There are certain people in my private life, well, I hope they think I’m sexy. But beyond that, I hope people appreciate my work because of its content."

www.planetmidori.com; www.ropedojo.com

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Simone Kross, photographed by Constance Smith

SIMONE KROSS, THE ROLLING STONE

The perceived life of a traveling dominatrix is alluring: exotic getaways, extravagant dinners, five-star hotels transformed into makeshift dungeons. But the reality is not easy.

Says Simone Kross, a traveling pro-domme: "The perception is maybe that I am wealthy and I have clients flying me around and it’s really exotic and glamorous. It’s really not. It’s hard work, and I pay my own way. The clients and sessions help me fund getting from one place to the next, but it’s not as glamorous as it may seem. At least not for me."

Kross has no illusions about her frequently grueling work. While working out of hotels, she runs her advertising on Eros Guide, a large online erotic service listing. "I can get busy to the point where I might not see the outside of a hotel room for three or four days. After I finish my sessions I can be pretty tired, order room service, and go to bed. I could be doing sessions from one in the afternoon until 10 at night."

An added stress is traveling with heavy gear. "The biggest problem is weight requirements, because you have to keep it under 50 pounds," she says. What could be so heavy? "You’d be surprised," she says. "Leather and metal, D-rings, rope, whips. I don’t even use half the gear I pack, but you never know what someone requires for a scene. The shoes also tend to weigh quite a bit."

Explaining a suitcase full of floggers, rope, gags, whips, and harnesses to airport security might seem awkward, but Simone says "they have checked my bags because they are a little heavier, but no one has given me any problems."

You can see Kross, a gorgeous brunette with cheekbones that appear perfectly convex from every angle, in action on Men in Pain, a chapter of Kink.com.

www.simonekross.com

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Natasha Strange, photographed by Constance Smith

NATASHA STRANGE, THE PRINCESSA

Now that the age of feudalism has passed, not many women can admit to having a coterie of ladies-in-waiting, so Natasha Strange’s "pink posse" — cross-dressing clients who have offered their services to her — is quite the blast from the past. And their title is not in name only: these ladies (or "sissy boys") actually do wait on Natasha.

For instance, Sissie Sandra’s responsibilities include walking Strange’s dog and running errands, duties that Sandra faithfully blogs about on a site called "Sandra in Waiting." Who knew moving someone’s car to avoid a street- cleaning ticket could be so erotic?

To her ladies-in-waiting, Strange is "the Princessa": a draconian ruler (they wouldn’t have it any other way) whose Marie Antoinette-esque whims become the word of law. With her wide blue eyes and long wavy hair, she resembles a cupcake Glinda the Good Witch, and it’s not hard to see why her pink-clad sissies have grown attached over the years.

Strange lives a charmed life. Her career began at Fantasy Makers, a fetish house in Oakland, when she was 25. Through her relationships with dedicated clients, her talents as a mistress, and sheer luck, she has fallen into a life many young dominatrices can only dream of.

She doesn’t take that luck for granted. "I have been really, really lucky to establish myself with a clientele that is really devoted to me," she says. "I don’t have to go out and hustle nearly as much as I did when I started out, even in this economy."

While she isn’t taking new clients, Strange hasn’t retired as a dominatrix just yet.

"I don’t think good dommes really retire. They sort of fade away. They take their favorite clients and they go. That’s probably what I’m starting to do. I haven’t advertised anywhere in two years. I’ve taken 90 percent of my website down. But I still have my tight-knit little group of subbies and sissies."

www.kittenwithawhip.com; sandrainwaiting.blogspot.com

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Val Langmuir, photographed by Constance Smith

VAL LANGMUIR, THE ACTIVIST

If you’re not living a BDSM lifestyle, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of the Exiles and the sizable contribution they have made to the San Francisco BDSM scene.

This group, an educational organization (for women) that teaches safe BDSM (between women), had several lives before becoming the organization it is today. Says Val Langmuir, co-coordinator, "The Outcasts was the name of the former group. It originated in 1984 and ceased to exist in 1997. The Exiles was founded in 1997 by former Outcasts and immediately held its first program: Guns, Knives, and Choking, Oh My."

While it appears as if these women enjoy flirting with death, hardcore BDSM is the reason the Exiles exist in the first place: they want to make sure women know how to engage in it and survive. Their classes have included controversial topics like "Brutal Affection: Punching, Kicking, Slapping, and Sex," "The Art of Hazardous Age Play," and a program educating attendees on breath play, or what Langmuir describes as "how not to kill yourself when engaging in erotic asphyxiation." Langmuir moved to San Francisco 12 years ago from London, where she protested the horrifying Spanner Operation in 1990 that saw 16 Manchester gay men arrested and thrown in jail for participating in BDSM. Since then, Langmuir has been dedicated to advocating the right to participate in BDSM.

She has been involved with the Exiles since its inception. "We have meetings in the Women’s Building the third Friday of every month. Usually at each meeting, I’ll see at least one new face."

www.theexiles.org

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Selina Raven, photographed by Constance Smith

SELINA RAVEN, THE MRS. ROBINSON

A former Catholic schoolgirl who attributes her sadistic tendencies to "all of those Sunday mornings spent contemputf8g the bloody figure of Christ," Raven began her pro-domme career in a structured, hierarchical way: she apprenticed. "There aren’t a lot of other women who are practicing BDSM as professionals who went through the process of apprenticing themselves to an older mistress. There’s only one other woman in SF right now, Eve Minax, who has actually done things in a more traditional manner."

Now Raven is not only one of the most established mistresses in San Francisco (and a 2007 Guardian Best of the Bay winner), but something of a mentor to up-and-coming dommes. Perhaps it’s because Raven benefited personally from the tutelage of an older mistress, Sybil Holiday, that she "always resolved to be a friendly face in the community, in being that person who I wish was around when I was 18: a little wicked but armed with good information and good experiences. That’s why I see myself as Mrs. Robinson."

A popular guest lecturer at UC Berkeley and sex educator at the Academy of SM Arts, an organization based in Menlo Park with workshops around the Bay Area, Raven is a happily-settled Oaklander with a supportive leather family. "I have my slave, and I have my former apprentice. And her boy lives with us too. I do not lack for love and companionship, but it’s not in the traditional hetero-normative form."

www.selinaraven.com

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EVE MINAX, THE TRANSFERRED QUEEN

"I love diapering," says Eve Minax. "Age-play is a huge force in my life."

AB/DL, which stands for adult baby/diaper-lover, is a paraphilia most people tend to find either comical or disturbing. Minax disagrees. "Diapering in and of itself isn’t about age play as much as it is about getting somebody into a primal state — that baby state, that place before you’re actually living, thinking, feeling, in civilization."

In terms of maternal figures, Minax — who is six feet tall in heels, with short spikes of orangey-red hair and a fluty, theatrical voice — looks more Auntie Mame than Mommy Dearest. That is, if Auntie Mame looked like she could flog you into an intensive care unit. (In fact, the first time I met Minax in person, her right wrist was in a cast. She sprained it while flogging a client too enthusiastically.)

And speaking of intensive care, Minax is known as much for her medical play as she is for age play — in case you’re on the market for a rectal exam.

After eight years of working in San Francisco and living in Chicago, Minax finally made the decision to make SF her home base last year, much to her own delight. "I come from Chicago. I’ve lived in Paris. I’ve lived in Melbourne. But San Francisco is the mecca for alternative sexuality. All everyone ever talked about was San Francisco! It was almost like having a religious experience. I wanted to wait until I was about to retire, but then finally I was like: fuck it, I’ll just move here."

Minax’s current projects writing a cookbook of "food and BDSM pairings", such as "pork ribs with a side of rubber gimp".

www.mistressminax.com

Editor’s note: This list is by no means exhaustive. There are an impressive number of women making an impact on San Francisco’s BDSM scene. In particular, we’d also like to give a nod to Cleo Dubois, Sybil Holiday, Madame Butterfly, Luncida Archer, Mistress Morgana, Fivestar, Maitres Madeline, Janet Hardy, Hollie Stevens, and Princess Donna.

Too clever by half

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“>THEATER REVIEW With a notable streak of successful New York–bound liftoffs and landings — for everything from solo shows (Bridge & Tunnel) to unconventional musicals (Passing Strange) — it’s fair to call Berkeley Rep the regional NASA to Broadway’s firmament. It therefore seemed more savvy than surprising that the Rep took on staging Green Day’s humongous hit concept album, American Idiot, as a musical. Given the attention-grabbing concept-squared, the built-in youth market, the local angle, and the precedent (and writer-director Michael Mayer) borrowed from Spring Awakening — the faux-punk teen-angst Tony-winner of 2007 — American Idiot the musical must have been something of a no-brainer.

And sure enough, there are no brains in this show, just lots of songs and outfits and group dancing and mild thrashing and writhing around amid high-grade eye candy. It lasts 85 minutes, or an eternity, I’m not sure which came first. I wasn’t expecting much, having not cared for the hollow gestures in Spring Awakening, but I got even less. Shot out of the circus canon of commercial instinct, the stage version of Green Day’s album is as tarted up and vapid as they come. It will do the band and the Rep no harm, but anyone who actually takes their theater seriously or, yeah, even rebellion against a body-and-soul–smashing capitalist machine will be, uh, let’s say, disappointed. The gestures of rebellion here — thoroughly watered down and washed away by a flood of sentimentality, admittedly derived largely from the album itself — are worthy of any of the more slick corporate advertising campaigns. Meanwhile, a vague storyline of redemptive dissolution and lost love preens around a loser-hero and two distant and less central buddies, but it’s all faded imprints of a million things you’ve seen before.

AMERICAN IDIOT

Through Nov. 1

Check Web site for schedule, $16-$95

Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk

1-888-4-BRT-Tix, www.berkeleyrep.org

Jannah

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paulr@sfbg.com

DINE The brightness of Yahya Salih’s new restaurant, Jannah, belies — or redeems — what went before. Jannah’s immediate predecessor was a place called Gabin, a Korean-inflected karaoke bar that drew some spicy Yelp commentary. Before that, it was Café Daebul, also Korean-influenced, maybe a bit less commentable. Both places were, apparently, on the gloomy, claustrophobic side.

Jannah, by contrast, is all about openness. Huge plate-glass windows look onto the lively Fulton-at-Masonic street scene, while the interior consists of a vast, pillarless dining room embroidered by a bar set off by a half-wall. The main floor is an expanse of wood planks worthy of a basketball court, but the ceiling is a little low, so it would probably have to be Nerf basketball. And BYO hoops.

Salih’s other city endeavor, the four-year-old YaYa (on Van Ness at the western edge of Russian Hill), manages to combine Iraqi and Californian influences to impressive effect, and Jannah does much the same thing, at a lower price point, as befits its quasi-college-town location. (USF and its hordes of collegians on budgets is practically across the street.) All the main courses are $11, and, as if that weren’t enough, the list includes dishes and ingredients you don’t often see, including fesenjoon (the chicken dish associated both with Iraq and Iran) and a version of masgouf, the grilled-fish preparation that is one of the gastronomic signatures of Iraq.

Of course, the menu offers plenty of items that will seem familiar, including that trinity of tasty mushes from the Middle East, tabbouleh, hummus, and baba ghanoush — or, as it is spelled at Jannah, ghnooge. There’s even falafel, but it’s not like the falafel we generally see, chickpea fritters the size and shape of golf balls. Instead the batter is worked into a small disk ($5) and, like a pizza, topped with a tasty Mediterranean mélange of eggplant, roasted red-bell pepper, scallions, red onions, shiitake mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and feta and goat cheeses. The crust, in the best triangle-slice tradition, is sufficiently rigid even at the point to support the toppings without wilting or crumbling, and it’s tasty enough to stand on its own. In an odd way, the pie reminded me of the chickpea-flour tort known as a farinata in Liguria and a socca in the south of France.

Kelecha ($3) are ravioli-like dough pockets, stuffed here with dates, cardamom, and cinnamon and topped with yogurt that’s been coarsened with chopped walnuts and subtly eniched with Parmesan cheese. The menu lists this dish as a starter, with other salads and dips, but it’s also just sweet enough to qualify as a light dessert. The yogurt sauce, in particular, is reminiscent of the cream-cheese frosting often found on carrot cakes.

We did think the variety of pickles ($3) tended a little too much toward saltiness — especially the cauliflower florets. But the plate (which also included radish, cabbage, peppers, and olives) was a festival of slightly surreal colors worthy of the Enterprise cafeteria on the original Star Trek, with lime green, bubble-gum red, and electric yellow being well-represented.

The main courses include an array of phyllo-dough preparations that vaguely resemble pot pies: the principal ingredients are sealed in a pastry crust and baked. In the case of kubsee ($11), the pastry is formed into a squat cylinder, then filled with prawns, scallops, fava beans, chickpeas, and rice. The rather staggering roster of seasonings includes cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, almond, tomato paste, hot pepper, and sun-dried lime, and the whole thing is ringee by a smoky tomato-eggplant purée.

Sun-dried lime, incidentally, is one of those ingredients that’s almost unknown in the occidental kitchen and helps give this kind of cooking a lot of its distinctive aura. To get a better idea of its flavor, you can have it as a lightly sweetened drink, a kind of Middle Eastern limeade whose sunset color won’t give you any sort of clue as to what it’s made of.

The masgouf ($11) features a subtly seasoned, butterflied trout — a freshwater fish (often sustainably farmed now) whose pinkish flesh is reminiscent of salmon. The freshwater angle is appropriate here, since Iraqis tend to grill fish taken from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and it also lends the final result a certain similarity to gravlax. The rest of the plate consists of a heap of rice, another of tomato-eggplant compote, and a colorful honor guard of cauliflower and broccoli florets and carrot and yellow summer squash coins, all steamed and arranged around the periphery.

For dessert (assuming you don’t want the kelecha or had them earlier on), how about kahi ($5), a pair of fried pastry triangles, like a child’s set of military hats from the 18th century, bronzed for posterity? They are stuffed with cardamon whipped cream (which has a cheesy-thick texture, neither pleasant nor unpleasant) and are set afloat on a small red sea of raspberry purée, which is nearly an event in itself. Bright, too.

JANNAH

Dinner: Mon.–Thurs., 5–9 p.m.; Fri.–Sun., 5–10 p.m.

Lunch: daily, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

1775 Fulton, SF

(415) 567-4400

Beer and wine

AE/DC/DS/MC/V

Echoey noisy

Wheelchair accessible

Volume 43 Number 52 Flip-through Edition

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Events listings

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Events listings are compiled by Paula Connelly. Submit items for the listings at listings@sfbg.com. For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.

WEDNESDAY 23

Barback Olympics Ruby Skye, 420 Mason, SF; (415) 693-0777. 8:30pm, free with RSVP at going.com. Twenty San Francisco bars send their best barback gladiators to compete for prizes in a bottle relay, beer restocking race, keg changing competition and many more rigorous activities. Also featuring DJs, performances, and libations.

Queer Mommy/Boy Femina Potens, 2911 Market, SF; (415) 385-5814. 8pm, $8-12 sliding scale. Join in on a community discussion on the often invisible, misunderstood dynamic of Mommy/Boy in the leather, kink, LGBT, and BDSM communities.

BAY AREA

LGBTTIQ in the U.S. Free Speech Movement Café, Moffitt Library, UC Berkeley, 2200 University, Berk; (510) 642-3773. 6pm, free. Hear panelists, who are contributing writers from the recently published book Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation , discuss the history of this movement while linking it to current social and legal battles for equality.

THURSDAY 24

Big Book Sale Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason, SF; (415) 626-7500. Thursday – Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-6pm; free. Hundreds of thousands of books, DVDs, CDs, and other forms of media are being sold for $5 or less to benefit the San Francisco Public Library.

Women’s Building Celebration Women’s Building, 3543 18th St., SF; (415) 431-1180. 4pm, free. Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Women’s Building at the open house featuring tours of the historic building, food, entertainment, and storytelling.

BAY AREA

Life of Ramparts Magazine First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing, Berk.; (510) 848-3696. 7:30pm, free. Hear Robert Scheer and Peter Richardson discuss the short and remarkable life of Ramparts magazine (1962-1975), one of the most influential leftist publications of its era.

FRIDAY 25

Ghetto to Gaza POOR Magazine, 2nd floor, Redstone Building, 2940 16th St., SF; (415) 671-0789. 7pm, free. Hear Mutulu Olugbala, also known as M1 from the rap group Dead Prez, share his recent experiences in Gaza, Cairo, and Europe and compare them with ghetto life in Black communities in the U.S.

Ride Too! CELLspace, 2050 Bryant, SF; (415) 648-7562. 8pm, $10-20 sliding scale. Enjoy bikes, beer, and bands at this benefit for CELLspace and the Florida St. Mural Project and neighbor welcome back party for the Bike Kitchen.

Taste of Greece Annunciation Cathedral, 245 Valencia, SF; (415) 864-8000. Fri.-Sat. 11am-10pm, Sun. Noon-9pm; $10, print out a free ticket at www.annunciation.org. Enjoy some authentic fresh Greek food at San Francisco’s only Greek food festival.

SATURDAY 26

Asian American Women Artists SOMArts Cultural Center, Bay Gallery, 934 Brannan, SF; (415) 722-4296. 6:30pm, $15-50 sliding scale. Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Asian American Women Artists Association at this event featuring three exhibitions with art from Bay Area women, live music, activities, and more.

iB Crafty Workspace Limited, 2150 Folsom, SF; www.market-sf.com. Noon, free. Shop local at this handmade craftmasters and artists showcase. Featuring fashion, jewelry, paintings, cards, housewares, and more.

Tour de Fat Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, SF; www.sfbike.org. 11am-5pm, free. Don’t miss this years bicycle festival featuring a bicycle parade, live music, food, bicycle performances, and more. Proceeds to benefit the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the Bay Area Ridge Trails Council.

Trannyshack Boat Cruise Pier 41, Fisherman’s Wharf, SF; visit www.trannyshack.com for info and tickets. 9pm; $45, tickets not available at the dock. Get on board the S.S. Trannyshack 2009 as it sails around the San Francisco Bay with cruise director Heklina presenting a show featuring Dirty Sanchez and the gorgeous ladies of Trannyshack.

BAY AREA

Watershed Environmental Poetry Fest Civic Center Park, downtown Berkeley; (510) 526-9105. Noon, free. Join poets Robert Haas, David Mas Masumoto, Arthur Sze, Carol Moldaw, and many more at this day of poetry, music, and activism.

SUNDAY 27

Folsom Street Fair Folsom between 7th and 12th St., SF; www.folsomstreetfair.org. 11am-6pm, donations appreciated. The 26th Folsom Street Fair offers over 250 exciting, sexy exhibitors and vendors, food, drinks, and artistic and cultural entertainment.

BAY AREA

Last Sundays Fest Telegraph between Dwight and Bancroft, Berk.; www.lastsundaysfest.com. 11am-7pm, free. Take in the culture of the East Bay at the last Last Sundays Fest of the year. Featuring entertainment, culture, recreation, shopping, and dining.

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Music listings

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Music listings are compiled by Paula Connelly and Cheryl Eddy. Since club life is unpredictable, it’s a good idea to call ahead to confirm bookings and hours. Prices are listed when provided to us. Submit items at listings@sfbg.com.

WEDNESDAY 23

ROCK/BLUES/HIP-HOP

"Blue Bear School of Music Band Showcase" Café du Nord. 7:30pm, $12-20.

Dance Gavin Dance, Emarosa, Of Mice and Men, Tides of Man Slim’s. 9pm, $14.

Dillinger Four, Riverboat Gamblers, Arrivals, Young Offenders Bottom of the Hill. 7pm, $12.

Do, Hollywood Mon Amour Great American Music Hall. 9pm, $10.

David Dondero, Christopher Lockett, Shaun Paul Gordon Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $10.

Pete McGill and His Cottonfield Blues Band Rasselas Jazz. 8pm, free.

Goh Nakamura, Doug Paisley, Lesser Lights Rickshaw Stop. 8pm, $10.

Pet Shop Boys Warfield. 9pm, $55-89.50.

Pitbull, David Rush Regency Ballroom. 8pm, $32.50.

Portugal. The Man, Drug Rug, Robert Francis Independent. 9pm, $15.

Shari Puorto and Alastair Greene Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $15.

Revolting Cocks, Jim Rose Circus Fillmore. 8pm, $25.

Sinner, Sinners, Unko Atama, Horror X Annie’s Social Club. 8pm, $7.

BAY AREA

Rodrigo y Gabriela Fox Theater. 8pm, $35.50.

JAZZ/NEW MUSIC

Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8pm, $20.

"B3 Wednesdays" Coda. 9pm, $7. With Adam Shulman.

Cat’s Corner Savanna Jazz. 7pm, $5-10.

Michael Chase Rite Spot, 2099 Folsom, SF; www.ritespotcafe.net. 8:30pm, free.

Ben Marcato and the Mondo Combo Top of the Mark. 7:30pm, $10.

Tin Cup Serenade Le Colonial, 20 Cosmo Place, SF; (415) 931-3600. 7pm, free.

FOLK/WORLD/COUNTRY

49 Special Climate Theater, 285 9th St., SF; (415) 704-3260. 8pm.

Freddy Clarke and Wobbly World Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 751-6090. 8:30pm, $10.

Liz Rogers Plough and Stars. 8pm, free.

Tippy Canoe SoCha Café, 3235 Mission, SF; (415) 643-6848. 8:30pm, free.

DANCE CLUBS

Booty Call Q-Bar, 456 Castro; www.bootycallwednesdays.com. 9pm. Juanita Moore hosts this dance party, featuring DJ Robot Hustle.

Club Shutter Elbo Room. 10pm, $5. Goth with DJs Nako, Omar, and Justin.

Hands Down! Bar on Church. 9pm, free. With DJs Claksaarb, Mykill, and guests spinning indie, electro, house, and bangers.

Indulgence Wednesdays Harry Denton’s Starlight Room, top floor, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 450 Powell, SF; (415) 395-8595. 9pm, $15. With DJs Sam Isaac, Bruce, Live Models, and more helping you to relax, dance and indulge in good food and good company.

Jam Wednesday Infusion Lounge. 10pm, free. DJ Slick Dee.

Qoöl 111 Minna Gallery. 5-10pm, $5. Pan-techno lounge with DJs Spesh, Gil, Hyper D, and Jondi.

RedWine Social Dalva. 9pm-2am, free. DJ TophOne and guests spin outernational funk and get drunk.

Respect Wednesdays End Up. 10pm, $5. Rotating DJs Lonestar Sound, Young Fyah, Sake One, Serg, and more spinning reggae, dancehall, roots, lovers rock, and mash ups.

Synchronize Il Pirata, 2007 16th St.; (415) 626-2626. 10pm, free. Psychedelic dance music with DJs Helios, Gatto Matto, Psy Lotus, Intergalactoid, and guests.

THURSDAY 24

ROCK/BLUES/HIP-HOP

B-52s, Venus Infers Regency Ballroom. 8pm, $55.50-67.50.

Back40 Simple Pleasures, 3434 Balboa, SF; (415) 387-4022. 8pm, free.

"Blue Bear School of Music Band Showcase" Café du Nord. 7:30pm, $12-20.

Cormorant, Velinas, Fell Voices, Elm, Servile Sect, DJ Rob Metal Thee Parkside. 9pm, $8.

Cotton Jones, Frontier Ruckus, Garrett Pierce Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $10.

Shane Dwight Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $15.

Mark Eitzel, Victor Krummenacher Red Devil Lounge. 8pm, $15.

Hundred Days, Mata Leon, Black Mercies Knockout. 9:30pm, $5.

John Brown’s Body, Black Seeds Rickshaw Stop. 8:30pm, $17.

Manic Street Preachers Fillmore. 8pm, $22.50.

*Om, Lichens Independent. 9pm, $15.

On the Spot Trio, Audible Mainframe Boom Boom Room. 9:30pm, $7.

La Plebe, King City, Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars Eagle Tavern. 9:30pm, $7.

Jerry Jeff Walker, Django Walker Great American Music Hall. 8pm, $35.

"World Record Appreciation Society" Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $8.

BAY AREA

Bon Iver, Megafaun Fox Theater. 8pm, $22.50.

JAZZ/NEW MUSIC

Al Coster Trio and jam Savanna Jazz. 8pm, $5.

Andrew Elmer Shanghai 1930. 7pm, free.

Eric Kurtzrock Trio Ana Mandara, Ghirardelli Square, 891 Beach, SF; (415) 771-6800. 7:30pm, free.

Kitten on the Keys Rite Spot, 2099 Folsom, SF; www.ritespotcafe.net. 9pm, free.

Marlina Teich Trio Brickhouse, 426 Brannan, SF; (415) 820-1595. 7-10pm, free.

"Music for People and Thingamajigs Festival" Meridian Gallery, 535 Powell, SF; (510) 418-3447. 8pm, $10-15. Experimental music incorporating found and made instruments and alternate tuning systems.

Soulive Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $22-26.

Stompy Jones Top of the Mark. 7:30pm, $10.

Walter Earl Group Coda. 9pm, $7.

FOLK/WORLD/COUNTRY

Bluegrass and Old Time Jam Atlas Café. 8pm, free.

Flamenco Thursday Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 751-6090. 8:15pm, $10-12. With Carola Zertuche.

Denise Funari, Misisipi Mike Wolf, Gayle Lynn, Maurice Tani Café Royal, 800 Post, SF; (415) 441-4409. 8pm, free.

Phil Johnson Castagnola’s, 286 Jefferson, SF; (415) 776-5015. 8pm, $10.

Old Blind Dogs Plough and Stars. 8pm, free.

Sarah Stiles, Rachel Wood-Rome Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market, SF; (415) 255-5971. 8pm, $6-10.

DANCE CLUBS

Afrolicious Elbo Room. 9:30pm, $5-6. DJs Pleasuremaker, Señor Oz, J Elrod, and B Lee spin Afrobeat, Tropicália, electro, samba, and funk.

Bingotopia Knockout. 7:30-9:30pm, free. Play from drinks, dignity, and dorky prizes with Lady Stacy Pants.

Caribbean Connection Little Baobab, 3388 19th St; 643-3558. 10pm, $3. DJ Stevie B and guests spin reggae, soca, zouk, reggaetón, and more.

DJ Jah Yzer Icon Lounge. 10pm, $5. Hosted by ArtNowSF.

DJ JayCeeOh Ambassador Lounge, 673 Geary, SF; (415) 563-8192. 10pm. RSVP to guestlist@justoneent.com with subject "jco".

Drop the Pressure Underground SF. 6-10pm, free. Electro, house, and datafunk highlight this weekly happy hour.

Funky Rewind Skylark. 9pm, free. DJ Kung Fu Chris, MAKossa, and rotating guest DJs spin heavy funk breaks, early hip-hop, boogie, and classic Jamaican riddims.

Heat Icon Ultra Lounge. 10pm, free. Hip-hop, R&B, reggae, and soul.

Kick It Bar on Church. 9pm. Hip-hop with DJ Jorge Terez.

Koko Puffs Koko Cocktails, 1060 Geary; 885-4788. 10pm, free. Dubby roots reggae and Jamaican funk from rotating DJs.

Mestiza Bollywood Café, 3376 19th St., SF; (415) 970-0362. 10pm, free. Showcasing progressive Latin and global beats with DJ Juan Data.

Mirza Party and Soul Movers Infusion Lounge. 9pm, free. Featuring Designer DJs.

Popscene 330 Rich. 10pm, $10. Rotating DJs spinning indie, Britpop, electro, new wave, and post-punk.

Represent Icon Lounge. 10pm, $5. With Resident DJ Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist and guest.

Toppa Top Thursdays Club Six. 9pm, $5. Jah Warrior, Jah Yzer, I-Vier, and Irie Dole spin the reggae jams for your maximum irie-ness.

FRIDAY 25

ROCK/BLUES/HIP-HOP

Addison, Started-Its, Semiconductors Hotel Utah. 9pm, $8.

Dave and Confused, Funky Beulah, Spacelord, Ghosts on the Radio Rock-It Room. 9pm, $5.

Dead to Me, Nothington, Re-Volts, Semi Evolved Simians Thee Parkside. 9pm, $10.

Felonious Coda. 10pm, $10.

Foolproof, Cuban Cigar Crisis, Dum Sprio Spero House of Shields. 9pm, $5.

Galactic Fillmore. 9pm, $29.50.

Gov’t Mule, Carney Warfield. 8pm, $37.

"Kid Koala presents the Slew: Live" Independent. 9pm, $17. Adira Amram opens.

Living Colour, Fishbone Regency Ballroom. 9pm, $27.

One in the Chamber, Sabertooth Zombie, Hell Hath No Fury, Waylin Jenocide Annie’s Social Club. 9:30pm, $7.

Proclaimers, Pants Pants Pants Bottom of the Hill. 9:30pm, $15.

Radiators Great American Music Hall. 9pm, $25.

Slavic Soul Party, Brass Menazeri Elbo Room. 8:30 and 11:30pm, $15 (two-show pass, $25).

Tainted Love, Mustache Harbor Bimbo’s 365 Club. 9pm, $23.

Billy Talent, Poison the Well, AM Taxi Slim’s. 8:30pm, $15.

This Charming Band, Erasure-Esque, Love Vigilantes Café du Nord. 9:30pm, $12.

3 Leafs, Carletta Sue Kay, Si Claro Hemlock Tavern. 9:30pm, $6.

Whip Boom Boom Room. 1am, $20.

Wonder Bread 5 Red Devil Lounge. 8pm, $10.

BAY AREA

Chickenfoot, Queensryche, Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam Greek Theater, UC Berkeley, Berk; www.ticketmaster.com. 7pm, $39.50-65.

Hammer, Whodini Fox Theater. 8pm, $45.75-65.75.

JAZZ/NEW MUSIC

Audium 9 1616 Bush, SF; (415) 771-1616. 8:30pm, $15.

Black Market Jazz Orchestra Top of the Mark. 9pm, $10.

"Cultural Encounters: Friday Nights at the deYoung presents Jazz at Intersection" Wilsey Court, de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, SF; www.deyoungmuseum.org. 6:30pm, free. With Sarah Wilson’s Trapeze Project.

Eric Kurtzrock Trio Ana Mandara, Ghirardelli Square, 891 Beach, SF; 771-6800. 8pm, free.

Jim Butler Quartet Savanna Jazz. 8pm, $5.

Kitten on the Keys Rite Spot, 2099 Folsom, SF; www.ritespotcafe.net. 9pm, free.

Lucid Lovers Rex Hotel, 562 Sutter, SF; (415) 433-4434. 6-8pm.

Soulive Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $22-26.

Terry Disley Experience Shanghai 1930. 7:30pm, free.

FOLK/WORLD/COUNTRY

Cuban Nights Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 751-6090. 8:30pm, $19.95. With singer Fito Reinoso.

Makana Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $20.

Quijerema, Rafael Manriquez Red Poppy Art House. 8pm, $12-15. Developing the Chilean new song movement.

Social Sunday, Goodbye Gadget Dolores Park Café. 7:30pm, free.

Brandon Stanley Plough and Stars. 8pm, $6.

BAY AREA

Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Jimmy Wayne Shoreline Amphitheater, One Amphitheater Pkwy, Mtn View; www.livenation.com. 7:30pm, $29.25-58.75.

DANCE CLUBS

Activate! Lookout, 3600 16th St; (415) 431-0306. 9pm, $3. Face your demigods and demons at this Red Bull-fueled party.

Bar on Church 9pm. Rotating DJs Zax, Zhaldee, and Nuxx.

Blow Up Rickshaw Stop. 10pm, $10-15. DJ Jefrodisiac and Ava Berlin present this electro-disco-noir nightclub.

Bombastik 103 Harriet, 103 Harriet, SF; (415) 431-7444. 10pm, $15. With DJs Benga, PantyRaid, Martyn, and more.

Boom Boom Room 9pm, $10. With Pleasuremaker, DJ Señor Oz, and Afrolicious.

Drop the Lime Mighty. 10pm, $12. With DJs Tim Exile, Warp and Sleazemore.

End of Summer Party Jelly’s, 295 Terry Francois, SF; (510) 692-7069. 10pm, $15. With DJs Rick Lee, Kel’s, Gator Boots, and more. September babies free until Midnight.

Exhale, Fridays Project One Gallery, 251 Rhode Island; (415) 465-2129. 5pm, $5. Happy hour with art, fine food, and music with Vin Sol, King Most, DJ Centipede, and Shane King.

Fat Stack Fridays Koko Cocktails, 1060 Geary, SF; (415) 885-4788. 10pm, free. With rotating DJs Romanowski, B-Love, Tomas, Toph One, and Vinnie Esparza.

Gay Asian Paradise Club Eight, 1151 Folsom, SF; www.eightsf.com. 9pm, $8. Featuring two dance floors playing dance and hip hop, smoking patio, and 2 for 1 drinks before 10pm. Gymnasium Stud. 10pm, $5. With DJs Violent Vickie and guests spinning electro, disco, rap, and 90s dance and featuring performers, gymnastics, jump rope, drink specials, and more.

Look Out Weekend Bambuddha Lounge. 4pm, free. Drink specials, food menu and resident DJs White Girl Lust, Swayzee, Philie Ocean, and more.

M4M Fridays Underground SF. 10pm-2am. Joshua J and Frankie Sharp host this man-tastic party.

Miles Medina, Slick D Infusion Lounge. 9pm, $20.

Punk Rock and Shlock Karaoke Annie’s Social Club. 9pm-2am, $5. Eileen and Jody bring you songs from multiple genres to butcher: punk, new wave, alternative, classic rock, and more.

Stupid Fresh Club Six. 9pm, free. With DJs Delivery, Bling Crosby, Frank Footer, and more spinning hip hop, reggae, and club hits.

Suite Jesus 111 Minna. 9pm, $20. Beats, dancehall, reggae and local art.

Teenage Dance Craze Party Knockout. 10pm, $3. Teen beat and twisters with DJs Sergio Igledias, Russell Quann, and dX the Funky Gran Paw.

SATURDAY 26

ROCK/BLUES/HIP-HOP

!!!, Indian Jewelry Independent. 9pm, $20.

Birdmonster, A B and the Sea Bottom of the Hill. 2:15pm, $5-20. Benefit for the Potrero Hill Public Library.

Bridge to Hope Great Meadow, Fort Mason, SF; 1-800-595-4849. 11am, $38-78. A benefit for the Lazarex Cancer Foundation featuring Brian McKnight, Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Zakiya Hooker, and more.

Epiphanette, Great Girls Blouse, Polyphonic Monk Brainwash Café, 1122 Folsom, SF; (415) 861-3663. 8pm, free.

Eric McFadden Trio Boom Boom Room. 9:30pm, $12.

Five Fingers of Death, Holy Remodel, Kumbulus Thee Parkside. 3pm, free.

Grannies, Meat Sluts, Maklak, Psychology of Genocide Annie’s Social Club. 9pm, $7.

Notorious, Glorified HJ Red Devil Lounge. 8pm, $10.

Ovipositor, Generalissimo, Cartographer Hemlock Tavern. 9:30pm, $6.

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions Fillmore. 9pm, $26.50.

Tainted Love, Barely Manilow Bimbo’s 365 Club. 9pm, $23.

Telefon Tel Aviv, Race, Cloud Archive Bottom of the Hill. 10pm, $10.

Earl Thomas Biscuits and Blues. 8 and 10pm, $22.

Wallpaper Rickshaw Stop. 9pm, $10-15.

JAZZ/NEW MUSIC

Audium 9 1616 Bush, SF; (415) 771-1616. 8:30pm, $15.

Eric Kurtzrock Trio Ana Mandara, Ghirardelli Square, 891 Beach, SF; (415) 771-6800. 8pm, free.

"Jazz Mafia Presents: Remix Live" Coda. 10pm, $10.

Proteges of Hyler Jones Shanghai 1930. 7:30pm, free.

Roberta Gambarini Quartet Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $18-22.

Ricardo Scales Top of the Mark. 9pm, $10.

Susannah Smith and band Savanna Jazz. 8pm, $5. With jazz harpist Motoshi Kosako.

FOLK/WORLD/COUNTRY

Hank Cramer San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, west end of Fisherman’s Wharf, SF; (415) 561-6662, ext. 33. 8pm, $14. Part of the Sea Music Concert Series.

Toshio Hirano Rite Spot, 2099 Folsom, SF; www.ritespotcafe.net. 9pm, free.

Paddy Keenan Plough and Stars. 8pm, $6.

Peruvian Night Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 751-6090. 7:30pm, $19.95. With Luis Valverde and Jose Monteverde.

Sila, DJ Santero, DJ Jeremiah and the Afrobeat Nation Café du Nord. 9:30pm, $15.

BAY AREA

Paulina Rubio Fox Theater. 8pm, $39.50-69.50.

DANCE CLUBS

Baby Loves Disco Ruby Skye. 2pm, $18. A child proof disco party for toddlers, preschoolers, and parents looking for a break from the routine playground circuit.

Bar on Church 9pm. Rotating DJs Foxxee, Joseph Lee, Zhaldee, Mark Andrus, and Niuxx.

Barracuda 111 Minna. 9pm, $5-10. Eclectic 80s music with Djs Damon, Phillie Ocean, and Mod Dave, plus free 80s hair and make-up by professional stylists.

Blowoff Slim’s. 10pm, $15. Hosted and DJ’d by Bob Mould and Rich Morel.

DJ Solarz Infusion Lounge. 9pm, $20.

4OneFunktion Elbo Room. 10pm, $5. Hip-hop with Computer Jay, F.A.M.E., and DJs A-Ron, B. Cause, and Mista B.

Funkentanzen Paradise Lounge. 10pm, $15. Featuring Poker Flat and DJs Burnski, Adnan Sharif, Limaçon and Zenith.

Go Bang! Deco SF, 510 Larkin St; (415) 346-2025. 9pm, $5. Experience the Atomic Dancefloor Disco Action with DJs Eddy Bauer, Flight, Nicky B., Sergio and more.

HYP Club Eight, 1151 Folsom, SF; www.eightsf.com. 10pm, free. Gay and lesbian hip hop party, featuring DJs spinning the newest in the top 40s hip hop and hyphy.

Spirit Fingers Sessions 330 Ritch. 9pm, free. With DJ Morse Code and live guest performances.

Summer Saturdays Bar On Church. 9pm, free. With DJ Mark Andrus spinning top 40, mashups, hip hop, and electro.

SUNDAY 27

ROCK/BLUES/HIP-HOP

Blitzen Trapper Independent. 8pm, $16.

Bonfire Madigan, Kelli Rudick, Odessa Chen Café du Nord. 8pm, $12.

Brothers Goldman Boom Boom Room. 9:30pm, free.

Didimao, Swahili Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $5.

Edguy, Epicurean, Luna Mortis, Epidemia Slim’s. 8pm, $22.

Honor Society Fillmore. 8pm, $7.11.

*"Leonard Cohen Tribute" Make-Out Room. 8pm, $7. Musicians Jeffrey Luck Lucas and Justin Frahm celebrate their birthdays with a Cohen tribute, featuring performances of Cohen songs by Kelley Stoltz, Sean Smith, Nathan Wanta, Kira Lynn Cain, and more.

Sondre Lerche, JBM Gret American Music Hall. 8pm, $21.

JAZZ/NEW MUSIC

Don Alberts and Michael Jones Savanna Jazz. 7:30pm, $5.

Cecilio and Kapono Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8pm, $40.

Terry Disley Washington Square Bar and Grill, 1707 Powell, SF; (415) 433-1188. 7pm, free.

Grupo Falso Baiano with Eva Scow Coda. 8pm, $7.

Rob Modica and friends Simple Pleasures, 3434 Balboa, SF; (415) 387-4022. 3pm, free.

Roberta Gambarini Quartet Yoshi’s San Francisco. 2pm, $5-22.

FOLK/WORLD/COUNTRY

Jack Gilder, Kevin Bemhagen, Richard Mandel and friends Plough and Stars. 8pm, free.

Grupo Falso Baiano Coda. 8pm, $7.

Kami Nixon and the Skiddy Knickers Thee Parkside. 4pm, free.

DANCE CLUBS

DiscoFunk Mashups Cat Club. 10pm, free. House and 70’s music.

Dub Mission Elbo Room. 9pm, $6. Dub, roots, and classic dancehall with DJ Sep and guests International Observer and Jacob Cino aka DJ Chinbambino.

Gloss Sundays Trigger, 2344 Market, SF; (415) 551-CLUB. 7pm. With DJ Hawthorne spinning house, funk, soul, retro, and disco.

Honey Soundsystem Paradise Lounge. 8pm-2am. "Dance floor for dancers – sound system for lovers." Got that?

Jock! Lookout, 3600 16th; 431-0306. 3pm, $2. This high-energy party raises money for LGBT sports teams.

Kick It Bar on Church. 9pm. Hip-hop with DJ Zax.

Last Sunday Bollyhood Café. 9:30pm, $2. With DJs Noble and Duroja spinning dance hall, soul, and R&B.

Religion Bar on Church. 3pm. With DJ Nikita.

Stag AsiaSF. 6pm, $5. Gay bachelor parties are the target demo of this weekly erotic tea dance.

5 O’Clock Jive Inside Live Art Gallery, 151 Potrero, SF; (415) 305-8242. 5pm, $5. A weekly swing dance party.

MONDAY 28

ROCK/BLUES/HIP-HOP

Alabama Mike and Third Degree Rasselas Jazz. 9pm, free.

Alice in Chains Fillmore. 8pm, $25.

Dead Meadow, Spindrift, Howlin Rain, Kymberli’s Music Box DJs Great American Music Hall. 8pm, $15.

Jeffertitti’s Nile, B and Not B, Boyfriend Search, Love Dimension Knockout. 9pm, $7.

MV and EE, Expo ’70, Bronze, Inner Beauty, DJ Andy Cabie Café du Nord. 9:30pm, $12.

Metalkpretty Elbo Room. 9pm, $5.

Rain Machine Independent. 8pm, $15.

JAZZ/NEW MUSIC

Cecilio and Kapono Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8pm, $40.

Lavay Smith Trio Enrico’s, 504 Broadway, SF; www.enricossf.com. 7pm, free.

Richard Rite Spot, 2099 Folsom, SF; www.ritespotcafe.net. 8pm, free.

DANCE CLUBS

Black Gold Koko Cocktails, 1060 Geary; 885-4788. 10pm-2am, free. Senator Soul spins Detroit soul, Motown, New Orleans R&B, and more — all on 45!

Going Steady Dalva. 10pm, free. DJs Amy and Troy spinning 60’s girl groups, soul, garage, and more.

King of Beats Tunnel Top. 10pm. DJs J-Roca and Kool Karlo spinning reggae, electro, boogie, funk, 90’s hip hop, and more.

Krazy for Karaoke Happy Hour Knockout. 5pm, free. Belt it out with host Deadbeat.

Manic Mondays Bar on Church. 9pm. Drink 80-cent cosmos with Djs Mark Andrus and Dangerous Dan.

Monster Show Underground SF. 10pm, $5. Cookie Dough and DJ MC2 make Mondays worth dancing about, with a killer drag show at 11pm.

Network Mondays Azul Lounge, One Tillman Pl; www.inhousetalent.com. 9pm, $5. Hip-hop, R&B, and spoken word open mic, plus featured performers.

Spliff Sessions Tunnel Top. 10pm, free. DJs MAKossa, Kung Fu Chris, and C. Moore spin funk, soul, reggae, hip-hop, and psychedelia on vinyl.

TUESDAY 29

ROCK/BLUES/HIP-HOP

Crown City Rockers hosted by Lyrics Born, Spaceheater’s Blast Furnace, DJ D-Sharp,

Mason Jennings, Crash Kings Great American Music Hall. 8pm, $20.

Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King Biscuits and Blues. 8 and 11:30pm, $15.

Lahar Boom Boom Room. 9:30pm, $5.

Samvega, Shimmies, Maere Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $8.

Sian Alice Group, Leopold and His Fiction, Enablers Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $10.

Destani Wolf Independent. 8pm, $10.99.

JAZZ/NEW MUSIC

Dave Parker Quintet Rasselas Jazz. 8pm.

David Binney Band Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $12-16.

"Jazz Mafia Tuesdays" Coda. 9pm, $7. With Shayna Steele and Jazz Mafia.

Michael Browne Trio Rite Spot, 2099 Folsom, SF; www.ritespotcafe.net. 8pm, free.

Ricardo Scales Top of the Mark. 6:30pm, $5.

FOLK/WORLD/COUNTRY

Kailash Kher, Cheb I Sabbah Fillmore. 8pm, $25.

Gino Napoli Simple Pleasures, 3434 Balboa, SF; (415) 387-4022. 8pm, free.

Song Session Plough and Stars. 8pm, free. With Vince Keehan and friends.

DANCE CLUBS

Bitches Get Stitches 222 Hyde, 222 Hyde, SF; (415) 812-6143. 8pm, $15. With DJ Holger Zilske.

Drunken Monkey Annie’s Social Club. 9pm-2am, free. Rock ‘n’ roll for inebriated primates like you.

Eclectic Company Skylark, 9pm, free. DJs Tones and Jaybee spin old school hip hop, bass, dub, glitch, and electro.

Rock Out Karaoke! Amnesia. 7:30pm. With Glenny Kravitz.

Share the Love Trigger, 2344 Market, SF; (415) 551-CLUB. 5pm, free. With DJ Pam Hubbuck spinning house.

Stump the Wizard Argus Lounge. 9pm, free. Music and interactive DJ games with DJs What’s His Fuck and the Wizard.

Womanizer Bar on Church. 9pm. With DJ Nuxx.

Stopping PG&E’s fraudulent initiative

0

EDITORIAL A ballot measure that could spell the end of public power in California is headed for either the spring or fall 2010 ballot — and so far, the opposition is missing in action. This is a profoundly important issue, and every elected official, city council, board of supervisors, and utility agency in the Bay Area needs to immediately come out in opposition and start organizing to defeat it.

The source of the proposition, of course, is Pacific Gas and Electric Co. PG&E is facing political wildfires all over the state as communities rebel against bad service and high rates. In Marin County, a community choice aggregation (CCA) plan is moving along, full speed. In San Francisco, CCA is a little slower, but still on track. These efforts could turn two of PG&E’s most profitable territories into public power beachheads. Meanwhile, in San Joaquin County, a public power movement is trying to take over part of PG&E’s service area, and PG&E just spent millions of dollars fighting a similar effort in Davis.

So the utility has decided to fight back — not just in the local communities where activists can beat PG&E back, or in the state Legislature, where the giant company has fewer and fewer friends, but with a ballot initiative that has a misleading name, a misleading political message — and tens of millions of dollars to back it up.

Signature-gatherers are out in force already, collecting names for a measure called "New two-thirds requirement for local public electricity providers." The paid petition crews are describing it as a "right to vote" measure, giving the public a chance to weigh in on government action.

What the measure would really do is require a two-thirds affirmative vote before any public power agency could add new customers, or any local agency could get into the power business. It would force the existing CCA movements to get two-thirds of the local voters to approve their efforts.

That’s an almost impossible standard — particularly when PG&E spends millions to block public power efforts everywhere they appear.

The two-thirds voting requirement is increasingly being assailed as undemocratic. The state Legislature has been paralyzed by its own two-thirds requirement for passing a budget, and there are multiple moves to reduce that threshold. The two-thirds mandate for passing local taxes has been widely blamed for driving cities and counties to the brink of fiscal ruin.

And yet PG&E is trying to add a new, crushing mandate — aimed entirely at snuffing out public power advances. The impact on the state will be enormous. As Megan Rawlins reports on page 8, high PG&E rates and the lack of public power cost the San Francisco economy alone as much as $2.8 billion a year. Multiply that by a factor of 10 or 20, and you see what a devastating financial blow this PG&E move would be to California’s crumbling economy.

So where, exactly, is the opposition?

Sup. Ross Mirkarimi called a meeting last week at the offices of the Utility Reform Network (TURN) to try to get other public power communities involved in a statewide campaign. But it’s been slow going.

That’s not going to work. Every elected agency in the Bay Area needs to get this on the agenda — now. Every city official (starting with Mayor Gavin Newsom, who wants to be governor) and every state official (starting with Attorney General Jerry Brown, who also wants to be governor) needs to loudly and publicly denounce this move, help establish a high-level coalition to beat it back, and start raising money for the campaign.

There may be a legal strategy, too. The law that authorized cities and counties to set up CCAs bars PG&E and other private utilities from interfering with local CCA efforts — and it’s pretty clear that this initiative is designed to do exactly that. City Attorney Dennis Herrera needs to immediately investigate the possibility of suing to get this disastrous initiative off the ballot. *

A new California tax revolt

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OPINION Don’t miss the struggle underway over the future of the University of California.

Some see it as just another chapter in the unfolding story of the state’s economic decline. That’s partly true. But what’s really interesting is what it could become.

If it’s played right, the showdown over university fees and salaries could inspire a revival of sorts of the California tax revolt. Except this time, the rebels wouldn’t be tax-haters, like we saw in 1978 with Prop. 13. This time, the protests would be coming from parents and future parents of UC kids, and future employers of UC graduates. They’d be protesting, alongside UC students and employees, the ever-steeper fee hikes — essentially an education tax — that threaten to make our public universities cost as much as any private school.

This pro-tax movement would force a rewrite of state law, arguing that higher education is a public good so important that property-owners and corporations are morally and economically obliged to chip in.

You already know the back story. The state and global financial crises have pushed the UC system into intense contraction, compounding years of rising student costs. Top UC administrators receive bonuses while issuing pay cuts, layoffs, mandatory furloughs, and sharply increasing student fees (undergraduate costs are rising by $2,500, to more than $10,000 next year, with more hikes likely soon).

Many people believe the fee hikes are inevitable. Is it true? Or have we been merely well-trained by the Thatcherian promise that there’s no alternative to a shrinking public sphere? In fact, the administration’s budget claims are impossible to verify because much of the university budget is, literally, a state secret.

What’s clear is that the UC system is less and less accessible to everyday Californians, who are already languishing in a flailing public school system. Meanwhile, the state’s economy depends heavily on UC graduates, who are both innovators and laborers in every economic sphere.

We know how we got here. Prop. 13’s budget-starving effects have intersected effectively with the prevailing inclination to privatize just about everything. The global financial crisis — and California’s particularly harsh variation of it — created the opening for long-imagined cuts across the board.

But the latest budget moves have jolted faculty and students awake. Bit by bit undergraduates, who are typically fairly mono-focused on their grades and individual futures, are paying attention. Graduate students from departments as diverse as English and chemistry are convincing colleagues to drop their dissertations (momentarily) to organize demonstrations.

If you know anything about academic life these days, in an age of constant budget cuts, economic restructuring, and individualistic competition, then you know how unusual this is. Widespread political mobilization on campus is rare. But on Thursday, Sept. 24, faculty are staging a systemwide walkout from classes. That same day, rallies, marches, direct action, and union pickets are planned in what could be the beginning of a season of protest on all ten campuses.

Let’s be real. In isolation these protests will simply be a marker on the steep downhill slide of our educational system.

But with broad and consistent community support, the campus insurrection could merge with tax-reform efforts already underway to form a California pro-tax revolt, a movement for property tax and budget reform to reverse Prop. 13’s ill effects. Pro-taxers could harness campus activism, arguing — perhaps even for the sake of the economy — to save public education in California. *

Rachel Brahinsky is a PhD candidate in the geography department at UC Berkeley. For more information, visit www.gradstudentstoppage.com/news-and-events.