Volume 44 Number 06

Appetite: Food for Thought helps Mission grads, Frescobaldi gets Luce


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.

Digging into some Food for Thought

11/11-11/23 of the Mission’s best restaurants participate in "Food for Thought" to help Mission grads get to college
Do nothing but eat out at one of your favorite Mission restaurants this Wednesday night and you’ll be helping some of the neediest Mission high school grads get to college. With 23 of the ‘hood’s best restaurants participating, a portion of all dinner sales (restaurants have committed anywhere from 25-100% of that night’s sales) go to Food for Thought. In it for the long haul, Food for Thought offers, among other things, tutoring centers for elementary school kids, academic support groups in junior high, and college prep programs for high school students, working with them through each phase of schooling. There’s even raffle prizes at each restaurant, like a trip for two to Mexico. You don’t have to be told twice to eat out at Range, Mission Beach Cafe, Little Star Pizza, or Bar Bambino, do you?
11/11 regular hours at 23 Mission restaurants
List of participating restaurants: www.missiongraduates.org/foodforthought


A Luce interior

11/11 – Luce celebrates its Michelin Star with the Frescobaldi family
It’s an honor for a chef to receive a Michelin star, especially a French chef like our own Dominique Crenn at Luce in the Intercontinental Hotel (she’s also on this season of The Next Iron Chef). Luce celebrates in a big way by cooking a 6-course Tuscan feast, Inspirations of Tuscany, with Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi’s wine estates’ executive chef, Donatella Zampoli. Frescobaldi, the legendary Italian family who even traded their wines with Michelangelo back in the day, will, naturally, be pairing their wines with dinner. Not only is this a rare, special night, but $10 of every 6-course dinner benefits CUESA, so the focus remains local as it is international. Courses include Thomas Family Farms potato gnocchi with bone marrow and lobster paired with a glass of 2006 Attems Cicinis, or sweetbread and beef tongue with potato espuma (foam to you), slow cooked egg and pancetta jus partnered with a 2005 Nipozzano Riserva Chianti Classico. Can’t make it out Wednesday? The party rolls on all month until November 21, with a 4-course Michelin Star prix-fixe menu available any night for $60 per person.
$75; $30 for wine pairings
11/11 – make a reservation during regular hours, 5-11pm
888 Howard Street


Komeback Kink



MUSIC MLK’s and Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations, shaken confidence in Vietnam after a bloody and vengeful Tet Offensive, Haight-Ashbury’s rapid dissolving into a breeding ground for lost and burned-out hippies pathetically clinging to the idyllic notion of a "Summer of Love," and a free Charles Manson settling in Laurel Canyon to plot the perverse and gruesome murders his "family" would soon commit. Yes, 1968 was the year the darkness had arrived. Certainly flower power had gone wrong, wilting its way toward a strong sense of paranoia that not only seeped its way into society’s psyche and politics, but into popular music as well.

Stripped in tone and oftentimes more raw-sounding than the overly-produced psychedelia that dominated the previous two years, the Kinks’ masterfully produced November 1968 classic The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society is a prime example of Ray Davies’ maturing writing skill. It especially shines as an artist’s profound expression of his own insecurities. Village Green is loaded with accounts of Davies’ vain obsessions and his fears. It’s a document of the human condition — in particular, people’s longings to leave a lasting legacy and be remembered.

Thematically, Davies works himself into a frenzy, unable to live for the moment, facing the pressures of fading British tradition (on the title track) and changes in technology ("Last of the Steam-Powered Trains"), both of which symbolize a changing of the guard and uncertainty about how the album’s protagonist fits into the world. Don’t underestimate Davies’ fears of growing old. The bitterness on "Do You Remember Walter?" is almost too much to bear. It fits well, though, making Village Green a cohesive unit. Here he criticizes an old friend who he assumes has grown old, boring, and out of shape. But his disdain stems from Ray’s fear of being Walter (i.e., washed up), and is connected to the fact that Walter has moved on in life and perhaps wouldn’t even recognize or remember his dear old friend.

With its simple and bucolic flair, "Sitting by the Riverside" seems familiar enough. The ditty should be relaxing, with its nice, easy-going melody, but Ray even corrupts something seemingly innocent with a manic "la-da-da" that chimes in on occasion before bursting to a near crescendo during the song’s outro, sounding like a bad drug experience.

Listening to Village Green‘s "All of My Friends Were There," I’ve always imagined it playing at someone’s birthday party, with — of course — all their friends present. But it seems to be more of a performance with all eyes on Davies, because he’s built it in his head to be the biggest day in his life. Once again we see his sick longing to feel love, attention, and validation, this time through the power of numbers. Unfortunately, his gathering backfires to disastrous results. It’s just as well. Somehow I have a feeling that no matter how many people were present, he still feels alone and empty.

Two Village Green songs, "Picture Book" and the album-closing "People Take Pictures of Each Other," focus on how photographs are supposed to fill some sort of void, making us seem more important than we really are — as if a photograph is necessary to validate our feelings of love for one another and emotions from our past. Davies argues that we take pictures of one another to prove our existence. At the same time, he’s caught up in paranoid visions of what his own photograph will look like when he’s an old man: "Picture yourself, when you’re getting old." Finally a bit of optimism peeks through, but in an unsure way, when he sings, "People often change, but memories of people can remain." That is to say, I can remember you however I choose.


Thurs/12, 8 p.m., $40–$57

The Warfield

982 Market, SF


Hello, cello



There is something hauntingly beautiful — if not downright sexy — about the cello: a musician straddling the feminine curves of a human-sized instrument, bow sliding slowly and elegantly over the trembling strings, fingers plucking and vibrating in alternately gentle and assertive motions, and tones emitting from the smooth wood that range everywhere from soft whispers to deep moans.

It’s no wonder the cello has been compared to both the human voice and, in the many portraits of women’s backs painted to look like string instruments, the human body.

So perhaps it should also be no wonder that lately, particularly in the Bay Area, the cello has gained new popularity — one outside of the traditional concert hall. Cellists like Zoe Keating, formerly of Rasputina, and Sam Bass, of Loop!Station and Les Claypool, are gaining the kind of recognition formerly reserved for indie rockers. Cello Madness Congress, the monthly improv jam hosted by Joey Chang a.k.a. Cello Joe, regularly draws a crowd of musicians and enthusiasts alike. Cello Bazaar, a monthly cello concert held at Café Bazaar in the Richmond District, has become so popular it might have to expand. And Rushad Eggleston’s punk band Tornado Rider has rock ‘n’roll lovers moshing to cello music at venues like Red Devil Lounge. Not only does cello music seem to be a trend, as Cello Bazaar founder Hannah Addario-Berry says, "it’s a total scene."

Perhaps one reason for the increased visibility of cello in the Bay Area is due to recent developments in classical music. As symphonies get less funding and young musicians become more adventurous, classical musicians are finding new ways to play and new venues to play in. The most visible of these is Classical Revolution, which has taken instruments like violin, piano, and, yes, cello, out of the stuffy concert hall and into Revolution Cafe and SoCha Café for casual weekly concerts.

These gatherings are particularly advantageous for cellists. In an orchestra setting, cello tends to play a supportive roll. But there is a fabulous repertoire of music meant to be played by several cellos together, thanks mostly to the cello’s remarkable range. In a non-symphony setting, the cello can more easily take center stage.

Plus, cellists seem to like to socialize and harmonize together. Perhaps because of their role in larger symphonies, cellists tend not to be particularly competitive (unlike violinists, for example, who often compete for solos). Some musicians say people drawn to cello are naturally more easy-going than those drawn to other instruments. Others say that there is more a group of cellos can do together sonically than, say, a group of flutes. "Brass sections are incredibly social too," says Addario-Berry. "But of the string family, I’ve found cellists to be the ones who most want to hang out together."

But perhaps the largest reason for the cello’s new visibility and popularity is its versatility. The artist most famous for exploring the possibilities for cello is Yo-Yo Ma, but these days all kinds of artists are finding ways to use cello in other in the music of various cultures, in rock, and in electronic music. Indeed, it was the infinite possibilities for layering different cello sounds over each other and over the human voice that inspired the cycle of songs that composer/singer Amy X Neuburg began writing for the three-piece Cello Chixtet in 2005 — the same qualities that make Loop!Station’s sound so rich and varied, even though they’re only two people (and only one instrument).

One of the most exciting new developments, though, is not just using the cello with rock but to rock. According to Eggleston, who straps on his sticker-covered cello and plays it like an electric guitar, the progression is a natural one. With a cello you can play power chords with one finger instead of two, he says. There’s infinite sustain because there’s a bow. You don’t need a wah-wah pedal because you can get different harmonics from one string. Because there are no frets, you can bend notes various ways and get subtle details you can’t get from a guitar. Plus you have the option of sliding and jumping around on the frets. "It’s kind of like a vicious harmonica/slide guitar/ metal guitar/wild cat," he says.

But whatever direction cellists are taking, the Bay Area music community seems supportive. "So many people are intimidated by the concert hall protocol … not knowing when to clap and not to cough," says Addario-Berry. "The idea of taking cello music to people in a comfortable environment is really important."

Or as Eggleston puts it, "Yay! Cello power!"



Tues/17, 7 p.m.

Bazaar Café

5927 California, SF

(415) 831-5620



Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m.; $5

Blue Macaw

2565 Mission, SF

(415) 920-0577



Nov. 20, 9 p.m.; $10

The Uptown

1928 Telegraph, Oakl.



Nov. 25, 8 p.m.; free

Blue Macaw

2565 Mission, SF

(415) 920-0577





(Gearbox, 2K Games) XBOX360, PS3, PC
Video games are a remarkably derivative medium, recycling old tropes and exhausting cliches. This is made more frustrating by the industry’s relentless hype machine, which trumpets newer, better, more unfamiliar games, only to deliver tired titles bound up in a patina of pretty, cutting-edge graphical distraction.

Borderlands is one of the rare games that inverts this paradigm. A hybrid of shooter mechanics and RPG-style progression, it wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, borrowing unabashedly from the best to deliver a combination of the loot-hungry avarice of Diablo (Blizzard), the apocalyptic milieu of Fallout 3 (Bethesda), and the user-friendly set-up of World of Warcraft (Blizzard). With a few clever tweaks, the game becomes a Frankenstein of fun, delivering exuberant shoot-em-up gameplay and an avalanche of enticingly ever-increasing numbers.

To call the story icing on the cake is to be a little over-generous. Four adventurers arrive on the planet Pandora, thought to be the home of a mythical vault full of alien treasure. Violence ensues. Exposition is doled out courtesy of the game’s lone adaptive failure, a retread of the angelic "mysterious female voice on the radio" bit that was played out by the second Halo (Bungie/Microsoft).

Such sour notes are quickly forgotten once the action begins. Taking command of one of four archetypal classes — the brawling Berserker, the stealthy Siren, the head-shooting Hunter, and the stolid Soldier — the player is quickly thrown into a desolate world filled with bloodthirsty enemies, simple but not onerous fetch quests, and oceans of loot.

It is in the acquisition of exorbitantly powerful digital swag that any action-RPG lives and dies, and Borderlands delivers with aplomb, paying homage to Diablo’s seminal embrace of procedurally generated items. Nearly all the game’s weapons exist as random concatenations of statistics, gaining potency and usefulness by stringing together adjective-modifiers that mete out verbal hilarity as well as they deliver fiery death.

Want to wield a gun named the "Malevolent Thumper"? Have you dreamed of mowing down cannibalistic midgets with a sniper-scoped shotgun that fires rockets filled with acid? The game provides all this and more, and the player is inexorably egged along by the prospect of bigger, badder firearms with which to kill bigger, badder bad guys.

The developer’s commitment to levity is refreshing in a climate of increasingly self-serious titles. In comparable games, rare, powerful enemies are "elite." In Borderlands, they’re "badass." The voice-acting, though sparse, is littered with satisfying moments, from the exaggerated Southern drawls adopted by Pandora’s natives to the Hunter’s soft chuckle whenever a critical hit turns a rampaging adversary into a pile of bloody goo.

Though the game is at times gorily realistic, its most unique feature is its art style, which blends comic book techniques and cel-shading to add visual spice to what would otherwise be a drab, dusty wasteland. By swathing their adapted gameplay in this inimitable guise, Gearbox performs the important task of creating a game that’s familiar, but not too familiar.

Single-player and two-player splitscreen are both viable options, but the focus is clearly on online co-op, which allows up to four players and adjusts the difficulty on the fly to allow for the profusion of gunslingers. With no built-in loot allocation system, partying with trusted friends is recommended, cutting down on disputes as much as it increases the potential for social, frag-filled fun. While it is likely to be overshadowed by some of fall’s more high-profile titles, Borderlands gleeful gameplay, distinctive look, well-executed homages, and generous dispensation of big guns might just give the big guns a run for their money.

Button pushers



SONIC REDUCER Bend an ear toward Fuck Buttons’ ecstatic second album, Tarot Sport (ATP), and you’re only a card flip away from shuffling the Rider-Waite deck of the mind and coming up with visual corollaries for the tracks. Frenetic opener "Surf Solar" obviously boogie-boards to the freedom-first of the major arcana’s card zero, the Fool, whereas "Rough Steez" burrows into the deep ‘n’ dirty low end of the Tower card, and "The Lisbon Maru" cozies down amid warmly glimmering Doppler synths, akin to the Sun image. The glorious polyrhythmic cluster-fuck of "Phantom Limb" sparkles hard, reading just like the Star, while finale "Flight of the Feathered Serpent" breaks into a mind-expanding, all-encompassing loop, à la the closing picture of the major arcana: a baton-twirling cosmic cheerleader dancing within a circle of completion, or the World. Bring it on.

The tarot of sport — see the Vangelis shout-out of "Olympians" — or the sport of tarot did inform the album, says Fuck Buttons’ Benjamin John Power, by phone from D.C. "We’re both kind of interested in the mystical world in some way," he confesses, referring to bandmate Andrew Hung. But perhaps I’m reading too hard between the cards. Power and Hung didn’t quite rifle through the deck and riff off those airy swords, energetic wands, emotional cups, and earthy pentacles. Rather, they were both intrigued by the idea of formalized competition between psychics, which Hung had been reading about. "I mean, first and foremost, the words themselves were quite resonant for us," Hung says. "They struck a chord — and it’s quite a funny concept."

Battling psychics might conjure thoughts of Criss Angel mind-freaking the ladies of the Psychic Friends Network in Paranormal Activity‘s haunted townhouse, crystals and dowsing rods in fists. But the notion also plugs into Fuck Buttons’ music-making process — as well as the image of Hung and Power hunched diligently over their gadgets, pedals, and toy instruments at their packed, steamy Independent show last year. The hardcore-schooled Power is more serious. Hung, who has an electronic music background, is more puckish and playful. ("We’re based in a car right now," he jokes when asked where the two 27-year-olds live. Ask him what a Fuck Button is, and he quips, "I guess you’re talking to one.")

The Bristol, England, natives started playing together in 2004. "When we converged at the same point, that’s when things started to get quite loud," says Hung. Fuck Buttons’ writing process hinges on a similar sense of give-and-take. "We’ve always written songs the same way," explains Power. "We’ll get together in a room and it’s quite important that we don’t have any ideas brought in, that we approach it like a blank canvas. We’re both messing around with sound together — it’s been very free in that sense."

The beat-driven, less aggro sound of Tarot Sport, informed by the more ambitious musicians once confined to the New Age aisle, was the direct result of the twosome’s new equipment acquisitions — various analog synths, pedals, and "bips and bobs," as Power puts it — since their debut, Street Horrrsing (ATP, 2008). "The sounds are quite a lot richer on this record because we had a lot more stuff to play with," notes Power. "One particular thing that did happen was we got rid of our laptop. When a lot of people see a laptop onstage, they assume you’re a laptop band and just playing things off your laptop, which isn’t the case at all."

That’s where the psychic ability comes in very handy, though Fuck Buttons don’t cop to those powers — or even a good grasp of the Vulcan mind meld. "We’re definitely working on that one," Power deadpans. "We haven’t quite perfected it yet, but it’s something we’ve been trying to do, yeah." *


With Growing and Chen Santa Maria

Fri/13, 10 p.m., $10

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF




Onetime Jay Reatard bandmate Rich Crook turns up the twang with the No Dreams Please EP (Big Legal Mess). With the Splinters and Bass Drum of Death. Fri/13, 9:30 p.m., $7. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. www.hemlocktavern.com


Way disorderly in the new world and shit-hot to boot — that’s the Lisbon, Portugal, hybridized electro-kuduro party machine. Sun/14, 9 p.m., $16–$18. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com


Dusky SoCal fantasies meet Italian-American brutarian post-punk. Sun/15, 8 p.m., $15. Independent, 628 Divisadero, S.F. www.theindependentsf.com

Clean freak


Chilean writer-director Sebastián Silva’s newest "house" film, The Maid, swaps customary debates of bedroom politics for the upstairs/downstairs relations of domestic labor. In an upper-middle class subdivision of Santiago, 40-year-old maid Raquel (Catalina Saavedra), perpetually stony and indignant, operates a rigorous dawn-to-dusk routine for the Valdez family, her employers for 20 years. Although Raquel rarely behaves as an intimate of her longtime hosts, she remains convinced that love, not labor, bonds them. Whether the family shares Raquel’s feelings of devotion is highly dubious: father Mundo (Alejandro Goic) often ignores or avoids her except when giving orders; daughter Camila (Andrea García-Huidobro) actively despises her and lobbies for her dismissal from mother Pilar (Claudia Celedón), whose sense of noblesse oblige is a patronage bound by a mix of affection and pity.

When a rotating cast of interlopers is hired to assist Raquel, the paranoid domestic stoops to machinations most vile to scare them away. She dispatches young Peruvian maid Mercedes (Mercedes Villanueva) by cruelly disposing of her adopted kitten and forces the gruff and hot-tempered Sonia (Anita Reeves) into a violent confrontation before she resigns in disgust. But third comer Lucy (Mariana Loyola) is an altogether different challenge. Her unpredictable influence over Raquel sets the narrative of The Maid on a very different psychological trajectory — from moody chamber piece to eccentric slice-of-life.

If Silva’s film taunts the viewer with the possibility of a horrific climax, either as a result of its titular counterpart — Jean Genet’s 1946 stage drama The Maids, about two servants’ homicidal revenge — or from the unnerving "mugshot" of Saavedra on the movie poster, it is neither self-destructive nor Grand Guignol. Rather, it it is much more prosaic in execution. Filmed almost exclusively in the narrow hallways, bathrooms, and parlors of a Santiago McMansion, Sergio Armstrong’s fidgety hand-held camera captures Raquel’s claustrophobic routine. It also accentuates her Sisyphean conundrum: although she completely rules the inner workings of the house, she remains forever a guest. The more she makes the house into a home, the more it becomes a prison she refuses to escape from.

But while Saavedra’s title role is an interesting case study in the political and emotional complexities of the Latin American domestic, her character’s motivations often evoke as much confusion as wonder. In the absence of some much needed exposition, The Maid’s heavy-handed silences, plaintive gazes, and inexplicable eruptions of laughter feel oddly sterile, and a contrived preciousness begins to creep over the film like an effluvial whitewash. Its abundance makes you aware there is a shabbiness hiding beneath the dramatic facade — the various stains and holes of an unrealized third act.

THE MAID opens Fri/13 in Bay Area theaters.

Hell yeah!



FILM Before the Halloween and Friday the 13th series made slasher cinema’s top instruments of unstoppable evil, and after Frankenstein, Dracula, and Werewolf pretty much had their day, there was a brief sunny window of opportunity for Satan. Or rather, Satan and his Satanists — sounds like a garage band, yes? — who dominated horror for a few years highlighted by Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973), and The Omen (1976). Not to mention 1975’s Race with the Devil, that same year’s The Devil’s Rain (Ernest Borgnine as Satan’s acolyte? Credible!) and 1973’s Satan’s School for Girls.

Ah, those were the days. Who gives much screen time to Beelzebub now, when the multiplexes are cluttered with routine slasher sequels and Japanese horror remakes?

Somebody called Ti West evidently does. Bringing it all back with extra hugs, his new The House of the Devil is a retro thrillfest quite happy to sacrifice that babysitter to the Dark Lord. Without even a tip for her labor.

"Based on true unexplained events" (uh-huh), the buzzed-about indie horror has fanboy casting both old school (Dee Wallace, Mary Woronov, Tom Noonan — all performing seriously rather than campily) and new (AJ Bowen of 2007’s The Signal and mumblecore regular Greta Gerwig). Its heroine (Jocelin Donahue), a 1980 East Coast collegiate sophomore desperate for rent cash so she can escape her dorm roomie’s loud nightly promiscuity, signs on for a baby- (actually, grandma-) sitting gig advertised on telephone poles. For tonight. During a lunar eclipse. Bad move.

The House of the Devil takes its time, springing nothing lethal until nearly halfway through. Even then, things escalate ever-so-slowly. Its 1980s setting allows for ultratight jeans, feathered hair, rotary dialing, a synth-New Wavey score, and other potentially campy elements the film manages to render respectfully appreciative rather than silly.

All freakdom doesn’t break loose until very late, at which point writer-director West effectively abandons all restraint (and hope), much assisted by The Last Winter (2006) composer Jeff Grace’s suddenly panicked score. The best contemporary horror has understood that potency of waiting. Prolonged development of relatable characters, agonizing our dread for their fates, amplifies standard terror to no end in movies like 2005’s Wolf Creek or Paranormal Activity.

House isn’t significantly better than various fine indie horrors of recent vintage and various nationality that went direct to DVD. (Quality, let alone originality, aren’t necessarily a commercial pluses in this genre.) But it is dang good, and that cuts it above most current theatrical horror releases. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t be watching 1977’s Suspiria, 2005’s Satan’s Playground, 1994’s Aswang (a.k.a. The Unearthling) or 1981’s Possession instead of this deft throwback: now those surreal visions truly gave the Devil his due.

THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL opens Fri/20 in San Francisco.




SUPER EGO Apparently there’s some sort of "recession" happening, which explains all the cat-hair wigs, duct-taped platforms, sideways boob-jobs, and flask-filled socks on the dance floor. And yet, peculiarly, new SF clubs continue to open at the rate of one a week. Among the recent delectations: SOM (2925 16th St., SF. www.som-bar.com), club impresario Peter Glickstern’s Brazilian-tinged redo of the Liquid-Pink space in the Mission; Siberia (314 11th St., SF.), an intriguing if somewhat directionless ramp-up of the old Fat City, and a relaunch of the cozy 222 Hyde (222 Hyde, SF. www.222hydesf.com), which is starting to attract some mighty piquant talent. Are there enough crisp bucks to fold and tuck into these newbies’ spangled thongs? Don’t sneeze at my wig!


Good ol’ seamless sets of throwdown soulful house became a rarity in this fractional decade, and the rest seems to have done a world of good. That full-throated sound of yore is back on the rise, and former Bay Area fave DJ Ruben Mancias is bringing his joyful party back once more, hands up.

Thurs/12, 9:30 p.m., $10. Harlot, 46 Minna, SF. www.harlotsf.com


I practically grew up on Beats in Space radio (www.beatsinspace.net), DJ and DFA member Tim Sweeney’s tastily eclectic show on New York’s WNYU. From Carl Craig to Faze Action, Diplo to Shit Robot, BIS’s guestlist has been a crystalline signal through the Web static. Now the 10-year-old show’s on the move, kicking off a monthly here with DJ Brennan Green and Sweeney himself.

Fri/13, 9 p.m., $5. Triple Crown, 1760 Market, SF. www.triplecrownsf.com


Mr. Dirty Bird Records should be credited with injecting a sense of humor into minimal techno and producing a signature Bay Area sound. Although he sticks with his usual tricks on his new album, Bird Brain — guttural grunts, jungle calls, tympani rolls, locker room jokes, and ornithological obsession — he’s still hitting a dance floor sweet spot and occasionally breaking through into beauty.

Fri/13, 10 p.m., $10 advance. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com


Yes, future bass is still happening, and starting to enter its baroque phase. (Luckily, wacky maestro headliner Daedelus was baroque to begin with). The first two gut-rumbling installments of this party focused on more aggressive, dubstep-related variations of the future sound. This one looks a tad jazzier, with electro-boogie aficionado James Pants and progressive warper Free the Robots looking ahead.

Fri/13, 9 p.m., $12 advance. 103 Harriet, SF. www.1015.com


It’s all about Mason Bates, the local composer whose attempts to fuse classical orchestration with laptop electronics are never less than wowza. His Mercury Soul project is mixing up a fizzy Friday happy hour, interspersing live classical performances with house, trip-hop, and jazzy downtempo loveliness.

Fri/13, 5 p.m.-9 p.m., free. 111 Minna, SF. www.111minnagallery.com


Another lollapalooza of art and nightlife who’s-who at Yerba Buena, this time taking on "The State of the Queer Nation." Yes, that’s far too much to swallow in one tipsy evening, but performances by HOTTUB, Tim Miller, Diamond Daggers, DJ Black, and more will certainly whet your appetite for funky homo-intellectualization.

Sat/14, 9 p.m., free. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF. www.ybca.org


L-vis 1990’s videos, directed by James Connolly, are little slices of postmodern genius, positing a Soul II Soul meets Jane Fonda Workout era that never existed but kind of should have. His UK Funky sound, however, is definitely of the now, mixing tribal house beats with champagne-rave breakdowns. With fellow funker Bok Bok, he’ll bring the bangin’ Night Slugs party from the UK.

Sat/14, 10 p.m., $10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF. www.elbo.com


I once jokingly lamented that among all the ’90s grunge revival in the clubs, there wasn’t a complimentary boy-band tribute night. STFU, Marke B.! Here it is in all its glory, a galleria-drag bonanza with a healthy and shockingly unironic dose of Tiffany, Stacey Q., and uncloseted Backstreet Boys. Accessories by Claire’s, Glamour Shots provided.

Sat/14, 10 p.m., $5. UndergroundSF, 424 Haight, SF. *

Keefer of the flame



DANCE Next year it will be 30 years since choreographer and dance maven Krissy Keefer cofounded the radical feminist Wallflower Collective in Oregon, and 25 years since she relocated her social activist Dance Brigade Company to San Francisco. Perhaps those upcoming anniversaries naturally suggested a time for taking stock. Or perhaps it’s that Keefer’s 17-year-old daughter Fredrika (remember the little girl who couldn’t get admitted to the San Francisco Ballet School because she had "the wrong body"?) now dances with the company invited a look at the future — both Keefer’s and the country’s.

The new, full-evening The Great Liberation upon Hearing, Keefer’s largest work in years, is based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead; it runs Nov. 13-22 at Laney College in Oakland. For Keefer, this meant revisiting material she had already worked with in the 1995 Ballet of the Banshees. But her perspective has changed.

"I have been making issue-oriented work for over 20 years," she explains at her home base, Dance Mission Theater. "None of it has actually improved the social environment. The international trafficking of women is worse; the prison system is worse; the abuse of children and women is worse. And the polar cap, something I have made work about for years, is melting. That is no joke."

She admits having been skeptical about the new administration, yet jumped on the Obama bandwagon because "I did not want to be a party pooper." Now she is developing serious doubts. "What will happen in 2012? What if our puffed-up idea of hope doesn’t work out? What do we have left then?"

Strong-willed with a powerful voice and as articulate as she is opinionated, Keefer also has a sense of humor. Describing herself as "a little bit of Paul Revere because I always want to shout ‘wake up, wake up, wake up’!" she figured that theater-based information about that universal leveler — death and dying — might actually be useful in these troubled times.

"Useful" has been a key component in all of Keefer’s work. As an agent for social change in life and art, she may not have seen the hoped-for results. Nevertheless, she still believes that art can become a catalyst for people to "look deeper into our community structures or dig into our own personal hopes, joys, and oppression."

She can also point to at least one area of success where she has made important contributions: "Women’s music and culture have given rise to a whole generation of women who seem themselves reflected in it." Integral to Dance Brigade activities is its all-female taiko group; Grrrl Brigade, a junior ensemble for girls 9-18; and women-focused festivals such as the annual "SkyDancers: Women who Fly Through the Air." So perhaps taking on the taboo of death is just another way to accomplish Keefer’s dual goals of making good art and good social road maps. "We all have to die, and I find the Buddhist way actually liberating. It takes the fear of death away."

Her involvement with the Tibetan way of dying is also deeply personal. "When Nina [Fichter, Keefer’s friend and cofounder of Dance Brigade] died, I read the Tibetan Book of the Dead for 49 days." Thematically, Liberation is probably as big and ambitious a project as she has undertaken.

In a run-through at the company’s Dance Mission Theater, two weeks prior to the premiere, Liberation looked like a pretty straightforward dance theater realization of the process — in Tibetan Buddhist belief — that happens from the moment of death until reincarnation into a new life. Unusual for Dance Brigade, the cast includes a number of men: newcomer Clint Calimlim, the very experienced Jose Navarrete, and the magisterial Ramon Ramos Alayo.

The book is written in the form of a guide talking to the deceased to make the journey as peaceful as possible. The direct speech lends itself to the kind of dramatic dance theater Keefer often embraces. Here her voice weaves in and out of dance passages and speaks as much to the audience ("this is what will happen to you") as to the dead woman (portrayed by Lena Gatchalian).

The gorgeously intertwined Ramos Alayo and Tina Banchero represent the Samantabhadra, the Primordial Buddha who appears to the lucky ones at the moment of death. Recognizing the blinding light of ultimate reality, they enter nirvana. ("They are off the wheel," Keefer laconically observes.) Like most mortals, Gatchalian’s character has to go through "bardo" (transitional states) before being reincarnated. On her journey, she encounters the five Buddha families — in both their supportive and wrathful manifestations. Since they are danced by stylistically very different dancers, Keefer encouraged them to choreograph their own characters. The remaining choreography is by Keefer with contributions by Sara Shelton Mann. *


Nov. 13–22

Thurs.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun, 7 p.m., $23

Laney College Theater

900 Fallon, Oakl.

(415) 273-4633


The problem of happiness



CHEAP EATS Sometimes it just takes one word, and this week’s one is shoehorn. There. I’m done. And you barely even got your pants down, or your skirt up. Skype is an amazing thing, as is technology in general. As are words.

Yesterday morning, outside a coffeehouse in Guerneville …

Today, inside a coffeehouse in Oakland …

One night I put my laptop on the pillow next to me and slept while she went about her business.

It’s weird (or maybe not) that many of the men who mistreated, malpracticed, or underwhelmed me last year are trying to reconnect right now. Proving once again that straight guys just love a lesbian. Had I thought of this, I would have faked it.

Can I tell you how much pleasure I get from not doing anything at all? Well, I do read their e-mails. After months and months of silence, they suddenly can’t stop thinking about me, they’re sorry they blew it, blah blah blah. And I don’t write back, not even to say, Thank you for blowing it. I met someone a lot better than you.

And a lot better for me. Last month in Joshua Tree she taught me how to be more ladylike. Instead of saying, "I gotta go pee," I can now say, in German, Ich muss mich frischmachen, or roughly, "I have to freshen up" … which is really fun to say before going behind a cactus and squatting over some dirt, then wiping your hands on your jeans.

In New Jersey last week I returned the favor. I taught her how to put gas in a car. She’s never owned a car in her life, but loves to be the driver, and loves to do all the more classically manlier things, like getting the gas. So I showed her how. While the pump was pumping we stood straddling the hose (not really) and kissed real slow and long (really). I forgot where I was.

When the kiss was over, I looked away and accidentally into the wide eyes of a man filling his pickup truck next pump over. His mouth was a little bit open — more from pain, I think, than disbelief. I smiled. He didn’t. His hands were in his pockets.

It’s fun outside of the Bay Area, but good to be back too. This morning I had breakfast at Sconehenge with my friend Hickymajig, and we had a contest to see who was nervouser. She won. But I did not go down without a tremor. And a twitch. And a lightheaded feeling in my legs. And a fluttery stomach, cold sweat, shaky hands, and other more serious symptoms, like I only ate half of my huevos rancheros ($7.50).

The second half is on the floor in my car, fantasizing about lunch. For a restaurant called Sconehenge, Sconehenge has very few things called scones on the menu. But they do have them, and they’re supposed to be great.

But we both ate Mexican breakfasts. Very good. Very very very good. And cheap! And big! My huevos had a huge pile of salsa on top, and a ton of melted cheese. Warm flour tortillas that I slathered with butter, rolled up, and poked into my egg yolks. The rice and beans were delicious. Nevertheless, if Hickymajig reads this it will be from a hospital bed, so I would like her to know that the entire Bay Area, including me, is thinking about her and wishing her well, on buses, in bathrooms, and wherever else Cheap Eats is read. Behind a cactus …

My thing is partly a problem of happiness, which is a good problem to have. My armchair therapists tell me I deserve to be happy, get over it. And I’m trying, I swear. I breathe, I read, I write, I laugh. But my body continues to act as if it’s about to get run over by a minivan.

Maybe I drink too much coffee. And that’s another good thing about Sconehenge. Their coffee sucks. You can only drink one cup, if you’re lucky.

I told you this column was over after the first sentence. So if you made it this far, don’t blame me. It’s nighttime already where my heart is. And here I haven’t even gone to work yet! Kids need me. Their moms, more so. Oy.

Or, take my word for it: schuhlöffel.


Mon.–Sat., 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m.;

Sun., 8 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

2787 Shattuck, Berk.

(510) 845-5168

No alcohol


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

This is it



VISUAL ART In its opening week, the posthumous Michael Jackson film This Is It topped the international box office. It’s a testament to the enduring ardor of his fans. But one day in the not-so-distant future, the film will likely be core material in a media studies program. Perhaps even a Michael Jackson studies program.

In 2005, Candice Breitz, a Berlin-based, South African-born artist whose works of photography and video installation address the psychosocial power of pop, created King (A Portrait of Michael Jackson). Breitz’s multimedia project efficiently makes the case that the musician and his fans are engaged in a deeply complicated relationship, one with an infectious soundtrack. King is direct — 16 Jackson fans, videotaped singing and dancing to the entire Thriller album, are presented together in the gallery on plasma screens. The result is a dynamic image of the entertainer in which he never appears.

The similarly structured 2006 work Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) is one of two celebrity-appropriating Breitz works currently on view at SFMOMA. Like a good pop song, it seduces with a hook and takes a complicated foothold in your consciousness. The second piece, 2005’s Mother, isolates scenery-chewing performances by six major Hollywood actresses: Faye Dunaway, Diane Keaton, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, and Meryl Streep.

"I’m turned on by the potential for the work of art to articulate complex ideas and simultaneously engage a broader audience which might not be as invested in the discourse of contemporary art," the highly articulate Breitz explains in a recent conversation. She offers what she terms "the South Park model," suggesting the subversive cartoon is something you can simply be entertained by or write a PhD dissertation on.

Breitz’s projects frequently manage to have it both ways. The Lennon piece beckons with the sound of familiar songs. But encountering 25 video monitors, each one slightly enlarging a passionate fan, is involvingly witty — and frightening, due to the intensity of the performances. These are people who clearly take the music to heart and have made it their own. Being able to look at them so closely in a gallery is an uncomfortably intimate experience — an effect perhaps achieved by the fact that each participant is recorded alone.

"I’m interested in the ping pong, that they’re there both as individuals who have their own subtle or radically different ways of interpreting their challenge, but also as members of what Benedict Anderson refers to as an ‘imagined community,’" Breitz says. "They don’t know each other, but by virtue of their shared interests they belong to an abstract community." This explanation concisely identifies a key component of the media-dependent condition of modern life.

The scenarios in Breitz’s works have been complicated by the popularity of American Idol and YouTube. Breitz views them with characteristic criticality. "In as much as I am flirting with those formats, there are certain elements of those programs I don’t care to embrace," she admits. "One is the way in which participants are humiliated and stripped of dignity."

The Breitz exhibition recalls Phil Collins’ crowd-pleasing 2005 dünya dinlemiyor, a chapter of his Smiths karaoke video project that SFMOMA presented in 2006. Collins’ piece also accesses powerful pop bonds, allowing one to see young Turkish fans deliver versions of Morrissey’s lyrics in flawless English. Coincidentally enough, Collins made a project (2005’s the return of the rea / gercegin geri donusu) about people who felt damaged and exploited by their participation in British reality TV shows. While one might imagine a rivalry between the artists, Breitz acknowledges an appreciation and dialogue.

"Who did it first?" she asks. "I find it fascinating when different people do something similar at the same time. I find it affirming — there’s a relevance [when] other people are thinking about the same things."

Mutual thoughts seem to have been entertained by the screenwriters of Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Mommie Dearest (1981), which are among the vintage film sources for Breitz’s Mother. The piece essentially constructs new meanings from elements such as Faye Dunaway’s over-the-top performance as Joan Crawford and Shirley MacLaine’s fictitious Debbie Reynolds portrayal in Postcards from the Edge (1990). In the process, it spotlights the ways in which we embrace and consume maternal archetypes.

"There’s a tug of war for meaning going on, and at the end of the rope there are all of those existing meanings and identifications and desires already invested in that material," Breitz says. "And then there’s me — I’m doing my best to bring a new translation or angle."

She manages the feat, not least because her perspectives on her material and equipment are so spot-on. "I think of those plasma displays as vitrines," she says of the screens in her works. "They’re like glass boxes in the natural history sense. Almost immediately, what you put into them is something of the past — they’re less objects of our present than documents that refer back to something which was." Like the first time we heard that favorite Michael Jackson song.


Through Dec. 20., $9–$15 (free for kids and on first Tues.; half-price Thurs. evenings)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

151 Third St., SF

(415) 357-4000


Encapsuutf8g pulses


I happened upon the opening of "Our Best Machines are Made of Sunshine," a sound installation by Jacqueline Gordon at Queen’s Nails Projects that has inspired noisy throngs both inside and outside the gallery’s small walls. The work relays miked sound from the sidewalk and street outside QNP, ricocheting it through the gallery’s innards via four white constructions of paneled vinyl and protruding, point-less (but sharp with meaning) pyramids. The result is a lot of fun; outsiders can create sound from outside the gallery’s walls, while those inside are subject to an echo of cacophony. Inspired by anechoic chambers, John Cage, Brutalist architecture, the limitations of technology, utopia and dystopia, and, of course, sunshine, "Our Best Machines" is simultaneously intimidating and intimate, especially when visited alone. I recently sat down with QNP director Julio Cesar Morales and Gordon on the gallery’s comfy floor cushions to get a sense of why this is, and what’s so special about sunshine.

SFBG How did you arrive at the gap and tension between nature and machines?

Jacqueline Gordon I’m interested in the history of technology and how we create — or not necessarily how we create, but why we create — and the kind of tools that we create for ourselves. In particular, the tools and the ideas and machines created in pursuit of utopia, and how that approach can actually be a confining thing. So it’s that push-pull between the search for an escape and then the confinement of that search. To me, this search is a universally human, psychological phenomenon.

SFBG Why or how does this search become confining?

JG It could become limiting because maybe you’re only focused on one thing, and you kind of get stuck.

I started knitting when I was really depressed, which I think a lot of people do (laughs). And I was noticing that I couldn’t not knit for eight hours a day. I got really into it. But then I started noticing that I wasn’t progressing; I was just continuing on and I wasn’t necessarily improving on certain aspects of my life. Instead, I was just totally obsessed with knitting.

SFBG It just became really repetitive.

JG Yeah, it was really soothing and comforting, but just total escape.

SFBG Would you say that "Our Best Machines are Made of Sunshine" is an attempt to elucidate or expose the push of technology and its tools toward a utopia, or an attempt to break out and disrupt that occurrence?

JG I’m investigating that occurrence by asking "What is that?" or "Why do we do these things, and how do we see them related to our lives?"

SFBG I’ve noticed that some of your earlier work, such as "Black Matters," takes its design direction from the natural world. And the title for this work obviously privileges sunshine (the natural) over the man-made (machine). How does this inform its form?

JG All the designs came from the natural environment. These patterns [the cone or stud-looking shapes that house the speakers] came from a building on the corner of Market and 11th streets. The vinyl pieces come from log cabin quilting patterns. It’s very simple. All of it is from the world. I like to think of it as actually coming from reality.

SFBG So, architecturally speaking, you’re interested in being "site-specific." What else?

JG In terms of architecture, in terms of inspiration, I was looking at a lot of Brutalist architecture.

SFBG How come?

JG I think that in a way it demonstrates a striving for progression. Brutalist architecture was a kind of symbol for, or the epitome of, progress. Yet the buildings are so derelict; they’re not good to live in. But they are these emblems of power and structure — they symbolize utopia.

SFBG Why did you choose to house the speakers in the Brutalist forms as opposed to the quilted patterns? Could it have been the other way around?

JG I wanted the sound to come out of something hard. I also wanted it to be a little, I don’t know if "scary" is the word, but a little intimidating.

When I first started working with sound I got the idea that I wanted to make an anechoic chamber. I had read about John Cage’s theory of the anechoic chamber and I eventually got to experience an installation of one in New Jersey. The walls’ insides were patterned, and wedges come out in different directions.

SFBG Aside from the obvious "white cube" connection, why else did you choose white?

JG I’m interested in the manipulation of the senses and perception. I wanted to do something that was all white, but it’s also a way of creating sensory deprivation. (Spencer Young)


Through Nov. 20,

(music performance with Wobbly, Nate Boyce and Greg Zifcak, Thurs/12, 8 p.m.)

Queen’s Nails Project

3191 Mission, SF

(415) 314-6785


Housing cars or people?



GREEN CITY San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has introduced legislation that would curtail the ability of residential property owners in Telegraph Hill, North Beach, and Chinatown to evict tenants and replace them with garages.

The ordinance, which is currently being reviewed by staff before it is considered by the Planning Commission, seeks to prohibit the construction of garages in rental properties that have been the site of a no-fault eviction in the past decade. Even if no evictions have occurred, owners would have to apply for a conditional use permit from the Planning Department to build the garage.

"We have seen a pattern of applications for garage installations following no-fault evictions," Chiu aide David Noyola explained.

The Ellis Act, a state law passed in 1986, gives owners the right to evict tenants if they decide to "withdraw from the rental market." The law specifies that all units in the building must be evicted. In 2005, the Board of Supervisors also began requiring landlords to pay $4,500 to each evicted tenant for relocation costs, with an additional $3,000 for seniors and the disabled.

Ted Gullicksen, director of the San Francisco Tenant Union, said the Ellis Act was intended to allow property owners to get out of the business of being a landlord, but "in practice it is utilized far more often by developers who are looking to rent the properties at considerable profit."

Although there are restrictions on re-renting property that has been cleared of tenants under the Ellis Act, a primary concern of tenant activists is the use of evictions to convert the building into a tenancy-in-common. A TIC is a form of joint ownership whereby multiple owners can buy the building and live in separate units.

"Often the real estate developer will try to make improvements following a TIC conversion to make it more sellable, and one of those is garages," Gullicksen said.

Malcolm Yeung, the public policy manager of the Chinatown Community Development Center, told us that "a garage generally increases the market value of a property by $30,000 to $50,000."

Yeung worked with Chiu’s office to develop the legislation after arguing in a discretionary review hearing before the Planning Commission that a particular Ellis Act eviction in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood was in violation of Sec. 101.1(b) of the San Francisco Planning Code, which states "that existing housing and neighborhood character be conserved and protected in order to preserve the cultural and economic diversity of our neighborhoods."

Following the distribution of Ellis Act notices to four low-income families, the property owner also filed for a garage add-on. Yeung successfully made the case that the eviction contradicted the Planning Code’s commitment to the preservation of economic diversity. He told us that the addition of garages "incentivizes owners to take on the financial costs of an Ellis Act eviction" and can "transform communities from long-term low-income residents to TICs, which go on the market at high value."

Gullicksen also said landlords often threaten an Ellis Act eviction and offer a buyout. "One of the benefits of the legislation is that it put tenants more in the driver’s seat when negotiating a buyout," he said. He also noted that homeowners are twice as likely to own cars as renters, which means that the conversions to TICs increase the number of vehicles in neighborhoods already congested with automobiles.

But like with all housing activity, there have been a greatly reduced number of both Ellis Act evictions and buyouts since the crash of the housing and credit markets a year ago, slowing to zero from March through May before slowly picking up in July.

Critics have decried the legislation as creating the burden of obtaining a conditional use permit and exacerbating the lack of street parking in the neighborhoods. But Noyola told us, "This problem has been around for a long time and will continue to be an issue when the market picks up again."

The legislation would also decrease the number of parking spaces that may be built with each new housing unit, part of a citywide trend. Noyola said the legislation is "progressive planning policy that prioritizes housing over parking, especially in the densest part of the city."

Listen to the community



The HIV/AIDS support community celebrated when President Barack Obama recently lifted the 22-year long U.S. travel ban against people infected with HIV. But officials say the federal government is still deaf to local needs and not making the best use of scarce resources.

The U.S. Conference on AIDS, held Oct. 29-31 at the Hilton San Francisco Hotel, attracted more than 3,000 AIDS treatment and prevention professionals and emphasized the unmet needs of the most at-risk communities.

"By extending the Ryan White Care Program and by lifting the ban, Obama has made a lot of people very happy," said Ravinia Hayes-Cozier, director of government relations and public policy for the National Minority AIDS Council, which sponsored the conference. "But we have to continue to do things differently here, to do things better, and to let the rest of the country know about the epidemic that is in all of our communities."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 56,000 Americans become infected with HIV each year — one every nine-and-a-half minutes — and more than 1 million people living with HIV in the U.S.

Despite these figures, community workers said little movement has been seen on the domestic side in the last eight years and that federal funding often fails to fund the full range of services people need.

"The CDC wants to see deliverable results in the fight against AIDS, which is understandable," said Alfred Forbes, a holistic consultant who led a workshop at the conference on how support and quality of life services have been neglected. "But I believe it has come to the point where we have missed our missions. A lot of organizations are more in touch with the federal funding in their pockets than their own communities."

While Obama’s 2010 budget request includes an estimated $25.8 billion for HIV/AIDS activities, only 4 percent of that is allocated toward domestic HIV prevention, thanks to the emphasis on more traditional care services.

"In the early days of epidemic, most of the work was done by the community, and we would try everything," said Karl Knapper, a program manager at the SF-based nonprofit Shanti. "But while it’s easy to look at results for providing care for people with HIV and AIDS, preventing it is very hard to prove — it’s like trying to prove a negative."

An organization that understands this problem well is the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, an agency that offers one of the oldest syringe exchange services in the country, a program banned from receiving federal funds.

"There is proof this program is saving lives. Before these services were available, 16 to 19 percent of new HIV-infections were caused by sharing syringes. But now in San Francisco, less than 1 percent of new infections are caused this way," said interim vice president of programs and services Keith Hocking.

Of the 28,114 cumulative AIDS cases in San Francisco at the end of 2008, 94 percent were male, 4 percent were female, and 1 percent were transgender persons. Seventy percent of male AIDS cases were among men who have sex with men.

Yet when a San Francisco group working to prevent HIV transmission among all gay and bisexual men created what it thought was a powerful publicity campaign five years ago, it got vilified in Congress and lost its federal funding. "We produced materials that we thought were appropriate for our constituents, and it was a disaster," said Kyriell Noon, executive director of the STOP AIDS Project. "They called it pornography and indecent. But to be perfectly honest, community norms when talking about sex are different in gay and bisexual communities.

"We have to meet the community if we are going to have any effect on the epidemic," Noon continued. "But there is a real disconnect between what we know is effective and what the government wants to fund."

The federally funded Ryan White Program, which covers underinsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS, got $2.3 billion this fiscal year, a $54 million increase over last year. While the CDC has increased funds for HIV prevention by the same amount, many community-based organizations must rely on the San Francisco Department of Public Health to fund less traditional services.

In July of this year, SFDPH allocated $11.5 million for HIV prevention, with $5 million coming from city and state funds. Dr. Grant Colfax, director of HIV Prevention and Research at SFPDH, said community partnership is crucial when tackling the disease.

"We work closely with the community planning council and base our priorities on what communities want and need," he said. "But I really do think it’s progressive to be able to hold ourselves accountable for the preventive methods we use. We do have to show it works."

"There are lots of different opportunities for funding, but we can’t afford to fund everyone," said CDC spokesperson Nikki Kay. "Community-based organizations must apply competitively."

Crossing the line



Estella (a fake name she used to protect her identity) is a single mother of five who came to the United States from Latin America when her oldest daughter was a baby, hoping for a better future for her family.

But thanks to a shift in San Francisco’s sanctuary policy that Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered last year, Estella’s daughter — we’ll call her Maria, now 15 — was seized by federal immigration authorities this fall, ripped from her family and community, and shipped to a detention center in Miami.

Her crime: she got in a fight with her younger, U.S.-born sister.

The experience shattered Estella’s dreams and terrified her family, whom immigration experts describe as "mixed status" because Estella also has U.S.-born children.

It also convinced Estella to speak out publicly to try to convince Newsom that legislation that ensures due process for kids like her daughter is the right thing to do.

Last month, a veto-proof majority of the Board of Supervisors voted to support amendments to Newsom’s current policy in an effort to make sure juveniles get their day in court before being hastily and needlessly referred to federal immigration authorities.

But the next day, Newsom vetoed the legislation introduced by Sup. David Campos, claiming it violates federal law. And now Newsom is refusing to debate the issue with Campos or meet with the community whose kids are at risk of being deported because someone in local law enforcement suspects them of being here without paperwork and accuses them of committing a serious crime.

Under Newsom’s policy, which he ordered without public review in June 2008, city officials are required to refer juveniles whom they suspect of being undocumented felons to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when they book them at Juvenile Hall.

Last month Newsom defended his policy, saying that the city’s sanctuary ordinance, as originally conceived and adopted, was designed to protect law-abiding city residents.

"It was never meant to serve as a shield for people accused of committing serious crimes in our city," Newsom wrote in his veto letter.

His comments followed close on the heels of a San Francisco Chronicle editorial claiming the majority of these juveniles detained are subsequently found guilty of serious crimes.

But this is not true: the Juvenile Probation Department’s 2008 statistics show that 68 percent of the young people arrested in San Francisco that year were found to be innocent.

And as Estella’s story shows, under Newsom’s policy juveniles who have not committed serious crimes are at risk of being reported and detained for possible deportation.

This means a teenager — a 15-year-old girl in this case — could get dropped off in a country she last saw when she was a baby, with no family to meet and take care of her. These kids are at risk of being preyed upon by criminal gangs or "coyotes," often-unscrupulous human traffickers known to abuse and abandon young people during the perilous border crossing.

Most kids in Maria’s situation would want to return to their U.S. home — to their parents, families, friends — the only community they know. But since the federal government has made border crossings increasingly perilous, getting back to the U.S. often requires several thousand dollars in smuggler fees — leaving teens open to harsh exploitation.

In other words, deportation — in Maria’s case, for the crime of a fight with her sister — could be a sentence to years of forced labor, life in a violent gang … or death.


It’s not clear how Maria got into the altercation at school with her sister; fights between siblings and friends in high school are hardly a rare or even terribly remarkable experience. But in this case, Estella told us, a school official reported her daughters’ fight to a social worker, who brought a police officer to Estella’s house for questioning.

As a result, Estella’s daughter was taken to Juvenile Hall. A year ago, she would have had access to a lawyer, who would have helped sort things out. If the fight had been serious or violent, she might have been placed on supervised probation.

But thanks to Newsom’s new policy, probation officers referred her to ICE and its agents swooped in, seized her, and shipped her to Miami.

Ultimately, a juvenile judge in San Francisco recommended Estella’s daughter be put on probation — but by that time, Maria was already in Florida, in a detention center run by a private company under contract to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Detainees have no right to a public defender or free legal services. It’s often hard for their families to find out exactly where they are, so detainees wait in detention for immigration officials to decide what to do next.

Maria was fortunate that ORR recommended temporary reunification. Immigrant advocates say that Estella’s daughter is now back in the Bay Area with her family, but is still under deportation proceedings.

They note that one way parents can get their kids back from ICE is by giving up information — including the names, fingerprints, and addresses of other family members — to federal immigration authorities. But parents are not always willing to do that, especially if it could lead to other family members, including children, being deported.

As of press time, a super-majority on the Board of Supervisors is planning to override Newsom’s veto of Campos’ legislation at its Nov. 10 meeting. But the mayor has said he intends to ignore the Campos legislation — a posture that is not only legally questionable, but leaves immigrant parents facing the ongoing nightmare that their teens could get deported to a country they never knew for a crime they didn’t commit.

Immigrant advocates cite the case of a 14-year-old boy who is under ICE removal proceedings after he brought a BB-gun to school, and a Mexican youth who was deported, even though the District Attorney’s Office dismissed the robbery charges against him.

Patti Lee, managing attorney for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office Juvenile Unit, described how the feds recently snatched a kid outside juvenile court, even though the District Attorney’s Office had dismissed his case.

"The kid was coming into court with his mother and the ICE agent had a photo of him, and grabbed him outside the building," Lee said. "His mom was hysterical and it was traumatic for our staff."

These are not isolated cases. ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice told us that 150 juveniles from San Francisco have been referred to ICE, and 114 have been taken into federal custody and transferred to detention facilities since Newsom ordered his policy change in 2008.

Immigration advocates say some of the kids have been sent to Yolo County, while others have been shipped to Oregon, Washington, Indiana, and Florida, making visits from family members, who may themselves be undocumented, extremely difficult.

Eric Quezada, an immigrant advocate and the executive director of Dolores Street Community Services, told us that while kids may try crossing the border to rejoin their families and friends, "lacking the serious dollars to come back, many are deported into extreme poverty or to be part of a gang."

Lee notes that federal immigration authorities have a duty to reunite children with their families. "But if the family is undocumented, its members are afraid to step forward, afraid to step into the Youth Guidance Center," Lee said. "So there are some children sent back to their alleged country of origin, without a family and resources. Because we can’t track them, that may be a death sentence."


As a volunteer with No Mas Muertes (No More Deaths), a humanitarian camp in Arizona, SF Pride member Molly Goldberg has seen firsthand what being deported and trying to cross the border means to immigrants in terms of loss of dignity and life.

Arizona has been an immigrant rights testing ground for years. Shortly after its creation as an agency, the Department of Homeland Security provided millions of dollars to build a wall blocking the easiest terrain, forcing border crossers into the most rugged and dangerous areas, Goldberg said.

"They are bottle-necking it so folks cross in the most difficult, deadly area," she said.

Since the wall went up, the numbers crossing have gone down — but numbers dying have gone up. Goldberg said 184 people have died so far this year. But the numbers of dead could be much higher. "Because of the vultures and other scavengers, bodies are gone pretty quickly," she said.

This year, Service Employee International Union Local 1021 organizer Robert Haaland accompanied Goldberg to the border. Haaland says what he saw convinced him of the need for Campos’ amendment.

"I kept thinking about the Campos legislation in terms of seeing the impact of people crossing the border after being deported," Haaland said. He described a makeshift memorial to a 14-year-old El Salvadoran girl named Josseline whom smugglers left behind after she got sick from eating a bad can of tuna, according to her younger brother. He managed to cross the border, but Josseline died after wandering alone and without water in the border’s dry and inhospitable no man’s land for a week.

Others get left behind and die because they are wearing the wrong shoes and end up with badly blistered feet or are too weak to continue the grueling trek. Haaland recalled seeing water bottles that volunteers had left on the coyote trails but had subsequently been slashed, presumably by nativist vigilantes.

"The Border Patrol is using the desert as a weapon and harassing people who go to the border to give humanitarian aid," Haaland said.

That’s where some of the kids Newsom has sent for deportation will wind up.


Although Newsom has made it clear he intends to keep referring kids to ICE, their whereabouts and fate under his policy remains somewhat of a mystery.

Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesperson for ORR, which is responsible for detained juveniles deemed "unaccompanied" (a category they could be placed in if they refuse to divulge the whereabouts of undocumented family members in the U.S.) said he can’t divulge their precise whereabouts because of juvenile confidentiality rules.

Wolfe told the Guardian that kids could be placed in juvenile halls or shelter-like facilities run by private contractors, depending on their crimes. He said ORR is required to report to Congress annually about the program, but the report for FY 2008-09 won’t be available for a few months.

In the meantime, Wolfe e-mailed the Guardian a copy of ORR’s 2007-08 report, which includes a map featuring colored circles to represent the numbers of apprehended kids based on Department of Homeland Security referrals.

The map shows that in 2007-08, less than 100 juveniles were apprehended in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington; 100-250 were apprehended in San Diego; 1,000-1,600 in Phoenix; and 1,600-2,600 at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Presumably, next year’s map will include a colored circle around San Francisco, representing an apprehension rate similar to San Diego. But it probably won’t reveal which facilities these kids were sent to or whether they were ultimately deported, even though these kids were apprehended on the basis of referrals made by local city officials.

Nor will it show what the local community knows full well: that many deported kids cross back over the border to rejoin their families. Only now, because they have been deported, they are forced to go underground and are at risk if being recruited by gangs.

The federal government’s Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program was transferred from ORR to the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. "The program is designed to provide for the care and placement of unaccompanied alien minors apprehended in the U.S. by Homeland Security agents, border patrol officers, or other law enforcement agencies and are taken into care pending resolution of their claims for relief under U.S. immigration law or released to adult family members or responsible adult guardians," reads the U.S. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. "Resolution of their claims may result in release, granting of an immigration status (such as special immigrant juvenile or asylum), voluntary departure, or removal."

According to a 2008 ORR report, "a great number of UAC have been subjected to severe trauma, including sexual abuse and sexual assault in their home countries or on their journey to the U.S.: gang violence, domestic violence, traumatic loss of a parent, and physical abuse and neglect. In addition, UAC experience the increased probability of ongoing trauma as a result of their uncertain legal status and return to difficult life circumstances."

The report also notes that "UAC have indicated that, among other reasons, they leave their home countries for the U.S. to rejoin family, escape abusive family relationships in their home country, or find work to support their families in their home country."

ORR has approximately 7,200 UAC a year in its facilities, which are operated by organizations such as the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. There are more than 41 ORR-funded care provider facilities in 10 different states.

Last year’s ORR report noted that average length of stay in federal detention facilities is 55 days before children are released to family members and other sponsors, move into the adult system, or are returned to their home countries.

"As these programs increase and ICE increasingly places people in them, there’s a financial incentive to keep detaining people." Francisco Ugarte, an immigration lawyer with San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network, told us.

But Abigail Trillin, staff attorney for Legal Services for Children, says ORR is doing a better job of handling juveniles than ICE did. "ORR has the right and obligation to try and place these kids in the least restrictive option," Trillin said. "But being reunified with your family does not in any way change the fact that you are under federal removal proceedings. So you still have a very significant risk of being deported alone to your country of origin."

Having a documented parent helps a juvenile make the case for staying in the U.S. permanently, as does having grounds for asylum. Having siblings who are U.S. citizens or having been here since you were a small child does not significantly help someone’s case.

But ending up in lockup can makes things worse. "If a child is in an ORR secure detention facility, they are less likely to fight their deportation case — a fight that could take up to two years — than if they were reunified with their family," Trillin said. "We have not yet seen a juvenile move from a secure facility to a foster home, but we have in the case of kids who are in ORR shelters for more than three months and have a legal case for staying."

Still, she said it’s possible a child could be flown to an airport in their country of origin without much subsequent support in most Latin American countries. "If they are Mexican, they are flown to the airport in Tijuana, and if there are no relatives, they are turned over to a child welfare agency in Mexico," Trillin said. "I don’t believe that level of cooperation exists elsewhere, though there might be some temporary shelters for them to wait in while their relatives are coming."

All countries of origin will have some involvement, Trillin noted, to the extent that they are contacted because all these kids need travel documentation. But that support is minimal. As she said, "Our country feels that it’s done its duty once the consulates are contacted."


In his Oct. 28 veto letter, Newsom claimed that the supervisors had changed the sanctuary ordinance by "restricting the ability of local law enforcement officers to report juveniles who are in custody after being booked for the alleged commission of a felony and are suspected of vioutf8g the civil provisions of our sanctuary ordinance."

But in a Nov. 2 response to Newsom’s veto, Campos countered that his amendment won’t shield anyone guilty of such crimes and he invited Newsom to publicly debate the issue. "The board and the people of San Francisco deserve to understand more fully why you intend to ignore this policy and the time-honored democratic processes followed in enacting it," Campos wrote. "At stake is the protection of innocent immigrant children that have been unjustly separated from their families."

He also accused Newsom of spreading misinformation about what federal law requires. "City officials have no affirmative legal duty under federal law to expend limited local resources and funding on immigration enforcement," Campos wrote, citing a July 1, 2008 public memo from the City Attorney’s Office and legal experts from Yale Law School, Stanford Law School, and UC Davis Law School who "have all agreed that there is no federal duty to inquire or report."

Noting that the City Attorney’s Office has made it clear that his proposed amendment is "a legally tenable measure," Campos concluded that "the point at which a referral of a minor is made to ICE is ultimately not a legal decision but a policy decision.

"Our criminal justice system rests on the principle that everyone is innocent until proven guilty; that is why providing youth an opportunity to contest a charge in court is a matter of basic due process," Campos continued. "The current policy is creating a climate of fear in immigrant communities, which means that immigrants who have been victims or witnesses to crimes are afraid to come forward."

The City Attorney’s Office has declined to comment on whether the mayor has the authority to ignore properly approved legislation. "We are not going to comment on legislation that’s still in the legislative process," City Attorney spokesperson Matt Dorsey told us.

But Campos believes the mayor lacks any such authority. "Can the mayor ignore legislation because he believes it’s illegal? Does he have the authority to have the final say? I don’t think so," said Campos, who is an attorney.

Trillin sees Newsom’s refusal to debate the issue with Campos as further confirmation that the Mayor’s Office doesn’t have a substantive argument that its sanctuary policy is a good one. "They can’t defend their position. They can’t win on substance," said Trillin, whose organization frequently provides legal guidance and support for immigrant youth.

She noted that the controversy that prompted Newsom’s policy change started with family reunification efforts. City officials were trying to reunite undocumented teenagers who were caught selling crack in downtown San Francisco with their families in Honduras when ICE officials intercepted them at George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport in December 2007 and May 2008.

These interceptions led U.S. Attorney Joe Russoniello, who opposed San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinance when it was introduced in the 1980s, to claim that flying youth back to their families without first referring them to ICE was tantamount to harboring criminals.

After the apprehended city officials claimed they were acting in accordance with San Francisco’s sanctuary ordinance, Russoniello convened a federal grand jury to investigate the city’s juvenile probation department. That investigation still hangs over JPD, even as Sen. Barbara Boxer mulls recommending candidates to replace Russoniello.

Meanwhile, right-wing activists have been blaming the city’s sanctuary policy for the tragic 2008 shootings of three members of the Bologna family, after they discovered that 23-year-old Edwin Ramos, the alleged killer and an MS-13 gang member, was apprehended by San Francisco’s juvenile justice system as a teen, but was never referred to the feds.

Facing this firestorm, Newsom caved to public pressure and followed the advice of Kevin Ryan, his Republican criminal justice director and the only prosecutor fired for cause during the 2006 U.S. attorneys firing scandal, by ordering that the city treat juvenile immigrants as adults, referring them to ICE at the moment of arrest on felony charges.


The same day supervisors approved Campos’ amendment, outgoing LAPD Chief William Bratton urged his department to keep its focus on fighting crime, not illegal immigration, plunging headfirst into the controversy over the federal 287(g) program.

Created in 1996 and expanded in the wake of 9/11 purportedly to counter terrorism and violent crime, the 287(g) program allows the federal government to enter into agreements giving local police the authority to enforce federal immigration laws. This has led many immigrants to mistrust and refuse to cooperate with local cops.

"My officers can’t prevent or solve crimes if victims or witnesses are unwilling to talk to us because of the fear of being deported," Bratton wrote in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece.

"I think what Chief Bratton is saying is different from what we are hearing in San Francisco" Campos said. "Mayor Gavin Newsom seems to be implying that San Francisco’s juvenile probation officers have no choice. But really, there is no law requiring them to refer kids to ICE. So it seems that what the mayor is doing is creating a de facto 287(g) program that gives local officers the power of federal agents."

That’s why Campos said it’s important for Newsom to participate in a public discussion of his intentions. "We need to ask the mayor if what he is saying is that JPD is an arm of ICE. If that’s the case, we need to know."

President Obama promised during the campaign that immigration reform would be part of his legislative agenda, but the White House hasn’t acted much on the issue. Yet immigration attorney Francisco Ugarte is hopeful that the tide is turning locally, as witnessed by the outpouring of support for Campos’ legislation. "Thirty-three percent of San Francisco residents are foreign-born," Ugarte observed. "That’s a really high number, a significant part of the constituency."

Russoniello told the Guardian that immigrants are not entitled to the same level of due process as citizens, implying that the U.S. has a two-tier criminal justice system. "There are citizens, and then there are people," Russoniello said.

Ugarte finds such arguments laughable. "The federal government has to make the argument that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to undocumenteds," Ugarte said. "These are hare-brained ideas that stem from hate and fear. The wonderful part of our country is that we have respect in the laws for all."

Ugarte believes that blaming the tragic Bologna murders on the city’s immigrant youth policy is like arguing that putting people on parole leads to crime. "Yes, there are going to be bad apples," Ugarte said. "But that doesn’t mean we can solve our problems by sending people to another country. L.A. thought it could get rid of gangs by deporting people to El Salvador. But guess what? They only grew the problem."

Patti Lee of the Public Defender’s Office doesn’t believe that the sanctuary policy will change unless the Board exerts financial pressure on Juvenile Probation. "I do not believe the policy will change because JPD is under orders from the mayor," Lee explained. "But JPD is supposed to comply with the legislation. So the Board of Supervisors, through its Public Safety Committee, could question JPD’s chief about his current process and why he isn’t complying with it. The board does have control over JPD’s budget, so it can put the squeeze on them."

"When police arrest and detain an undocumented child and bring them into detention charged with a felony, the minute they come in front gate, JPD has been directed to contact ICE," Lee said. "So we are not even aware until a day or two later, when we receive a police report or when we get a house list the next day, if someone is ICEed or not."

If the kids are unaccompanied and there are no family members in town, they typically go to juvenile lock-up for 30 days and then are released to ICE and get deported," Lee said.

"They are being ICEed even if they are adjudicated," Lee added, noting how her department got one youth’s charges reduced to misdemeanors but JPD reported the youth to ICE anyway, based on the current policy that any undocumented person booked on a felony should be reported at the moment of booking. "So they were ICEed without due process," Lee said. "And these are children."




Wine — unlike, say, Coca-Cola — has never been a big breakfast drink. Unless you count mimosas, which are basically an exercise in camouflage anyway, champagne bearded with orange juice to give the appearance of healthfulness. No, even the most dedicated wine-drinker must make do with something else in the morning, and that something else is probably coffee.

At Noeteca, a handsome establishment opened by Alex Kamprasert and Scott McDonald in early October on a residential stretch of Dolores Street in outer Noe Valley, the wine-bar aura is modified by glass cases of whole-bean coffee displayed just inside the door, next to a glass case full of pastries. You might feel slightly disoriented at the sight, as if you’ve drifted by mistake into a Starbucks. The coffee station is, in part, a bow to the space’s previous tenant, the Last Laugh Café, and also a visual expression of Noeteca’s commitment to be a kind of public "living room" that isn’t just a place to gather in the evening — although it is that — but to visit in the morning or any time during the day. In this sense, despite the Italian-ish name, Noeteca’s nearest relations are probably the wonderful cafes of Paris, those nameless but indispensable places where you can get an espresso early in the morning, a glass of wine late at night, and good food at any time.

Notwithstanding a similarity in philosophy, Noeteca doesn’t look like any Paris café I’ve ever been in. It resembles, instead, a fusion of lounge (including, for enhancement of living-room atmospherics, a chaise or two in a far corner of the dining room), restaurant, and takeaway bar, and it manages all this in a fairly tight space. And while the food has some traditional Gallic touches, it’s a little more eclectic than anything you’d likely find in a typical French café. As for the wines: the by-the-glass list is lengthy, worldly, and reasonably priced, with — in a welcome touch — pours available in half- as well as full sizes. Need a switch from Cotes du Rhone? Try a hit of Polesio, a tight, quick-on-its-feet wine made from Sangiovese grapes in Italy’s little-known Marche region along the Adriatic.

Since the closing of mc2 in the first dot-com Götterdammerung, the Alsatian specialty tarte flambé, a pizza-like flatbread topped with onions, bacon, and crème fraîche, has been a rare sighting in these parts. I don’t remember seeing one for years, in fact, until recently it turned up on Noeteca’s menu ($7.95), with a lovely thin, blistered crust that was a bit softer and more luxurious than a typical pizza crust. The pie itself wasn’t quite large enough to be a main course, but it did make a tasty, splittable starter.

Autumn means mushrooms and stew, and maybe mushroom stew ($10.95). Here the funghi included shiitake, portabella, and white button; they were swirled into a cream sauce heavy on pearl onions, then packaged in a nice earthenware crock under a gratin blanket of coarse bread crumbs. Very tasty and meaty, although the pearl onions did become oppressive. We couldn’t finish them all.

Our old friend the croque monsieur — basically a ham-and-cheese sandwich — was cleverly recast here as croque napoleon ($8.95), an elegant, savory bread pudding layered with ham and cheese. The pudding was cut into thick slices that leaned against one another like dominoes under a slicking of mornay sauce. On the side: a heap of mixed baby greens dotted with cherry tomatoes. Little side salads like this turn up with many if not most of the larger courses; they are colorful and light but turn repetitive after a while.

One way to get around an uninvited little salad is to have a big salad, like Kris’s chicken salad ($9.95). The theme here was deconstruction; the (chopped) chicken was mixed with pecans and red onions and molded into a disk that stood on one side of the plate, while on the other was the obligatory pile of baby greens and, all around, scatterings of cucumber coins and cherry tomatoes. The vinaigrette was simple but very good.

Given the display of sweets in the glass case at the door, it’s not surprising that the desserts are pretty convincing. And there is at least one genuine star: the chocolate bomba ($6), a softball-sized shell of dark chocolate filled with vanilla and chocolate gelati. Eating it combined some of the pleasures of an Easter-morning hunt for hidden chocolate eggs and of breaking open a piñata. With drama and spectacle like that, the coppa catalana ($6), a version of crème brûlée, suffered slightly by comparison, although its caramel flavor was deep and its texture nicely balanced between firm and creamy. The bomba, incidentally, did not come from the glass case, but the coppa catalana might have. You should not construe these remarks as permission to have either of these delicacies for breakfast. Stick with a mimosa instead. *


Mon.–Sat., 7 a.m–9:45 p.m.; Sun., 7 a.m.–3 p.m.

1551 Dolores, SF

(415) 824-5524


Beer and wine


Moderately noisy

Wheelchair accessible

In the mood



Dear Andrea:

I get irritable with my boyfriend when he doesn’t want to have sex. This doesn’t happen that often — we’ve been together less than a year and have sex most times we’re together, which is about five days out of seven. But sometimes he’s tired or not in the mood. This should be OK, right? If I were the guy and he were the girl, everyone would say "Stop pressuring her!" But I can’t help feeling bad. What is wrong with me?



Dear Mood:

Indeed, what is wrong with you? Could it be that you are simply an irritable person, and if it were not this issue, you’d find something else about your interactions with Boyfriend Boy to make you cranky? No? Then you’re just a normal person who is acting kind of spoiled. You and BFB are occasionally out of synch. And even non-cranky people have a hard time wrapping their heads around this part, but it is nobody’s fault.

It would be a vast and silly oversimplification to say that everyone has a natural libido set-point, like the one that keeps your body-weight unsatisfactory (To you! I do not care!) no matter what changes you make to your ratio of calories-in to energy-out. People certainly do seem to have something of a tendency toward the high, middle, or low end of the libido scale, but life, moving on as it does, changes things. (Actually, body-weight set-points also shift, but shut up, it was a nice simile.) Things do calm down a bit post late-adolescence/young adulthood, and even for those who can honestly state that they feel just as driven as always by their own hormones, stuff gets in the way. And sometimes that stuff gets back out of the way eventually, the kids go to college, or a health issue resolves, or they start sleeping better, and a dampened libido can come roaring back to life. So no way am I positing that sex drive takes a long slow dispiriting slide toward oblivion as soon as we become grownups or anything, just that libido is dynamic. Even yours, sex-wanting girl, is subject to change.

You have got yourself a very minor, occasional mismatch. You want sex five times a week. That’s fine. Sometimes he doesn’t. The tricky part, of course, is that that’s fine too. "Not the same as you" does not mean "broken." It doesn’t mean he owes you anything; nor does he need to change. Neither do you, as far as the sex drive goes. The irritability, well, that could be a problem.

Take a look at how you’re handling the communication end here. Are you telling him, covertly or overtly, that he has been weighed and found wanting? Are you sulking or crabbing at him when he doesn’t put out, or sighing heavily, or doing your best to make him feel guilty? ‘Cause I gotta tell you, all those have been rigorously laboratory tested and found to be potent anti-aphrodisiacs. You want to make sure your own attitudes or actions are not exacerbating the problem, assuming there is a problem. Which, frankly, there isn’t.

You do not have to dial back your natural level of desire, assuming that is even possible. You may need to dial back your expectations; those you have some control over. If he’s naturally content at something like three or four times a week (that’s officially "lots of sex," by the way) it’s fairly unlikely that’s suddenly going to change. So don’t make yourself crazy. I have no idea if Einstein really said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, but somebody ought to have.

And now, some solutions: since you sound young and saucy and unabashed, why not suggest a little mutual masturbation on his off nights? You, at least, would emerge dehornified, and who knows? Maybe a little action with no pressure to perform would give him ideas. Sometimes we think we’re a lot tireder or less in the mood than we really are. If he cannot be spurred to mutuality, you can always just say "OK, don’t mind me, then!" and reach for your sex tool (now that I have kids and approximately 1 billion actual toys the word "toys," like "play" and "play date" has been substantially desexified for me, so I’m trying something new here; do we like it?) and have it as though he weren’t there. And if that doesn’t seem doable, excuse yourself and come back when you’re done.

The most interesting part of your question, to me, was actually none of this stuff, but the part that people would think you were awful if you were a guy pressuring a girl for sex. And my answer is yes, they totally would. But that is no excuse to do it yourself.



See Andrea’s other column at carnalnation.com.

Music listings


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.



Shareef Ali, Tenderloins, Middle Initials, Scotch and Bones Rock-It Room. 8:30pm.

All Time Low, We The Kings, Hey Monday, Friday Night Boys Regency Ballroom. 7pm, $22.

Chris Barron Swedish American Hall (upstairs from Café du Nord). 8pm, $15.

Burning the Masses, Enfold Darkness, Dismal Lapse, Fallujah, Witness the Horror Thee Parkside. 8pm, $8.

Tia Carroll and the Hard Work Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $15.

Jesse DeNatale, Scott Nolan Hotel Utah. 9pm, $10.

Jad Fair, Grass Widow Hemlock Tavern. 8pm, $12.

Forget About Boston, Pills and Jackets, Frontwomyn Elbo Room. 9pm, $5.

Javelin, Lucky Dragons Knockout. 9pm, $8.

Lawrence Arms, Teenage Bottlerocket, Cobra Skulls, Druglords of the Avenues Bottom of the Hill. 8:30pm, $14.

Magik*Magik Orchestra, Birds and Batteries, Eric Jakabson Quartet San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak, SF; www.sfcm.edu. 7pm, $40-100. Benefit for scholarship students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; line-up also features 49 Special, Edmund Welles: The Bass Clarinet Quartet, Pacific Guitar Ensemble, Venus Loops, and Bay Area DJs.

Pete and J, Blackstone Heist Red Devil Lounge. 8pm, $10.

Supersuckers, Last Vegas, Cockpit Slim’s. 8pm, $16.

Used, Almost, Drive A Warfield. 7:30pm, $29.


"B3 Wednesdays" Coda. 9pm, $7. With Patrick Greene Organ Combo.

Blas River Trio Café du Nord. 9:30pm, $22.

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

Marcus Shelby Jazz Jam Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:45pm, free.

"Meridian Music: Composers in Performance" Meridian Gallery, 535 Powell, SF; www.meridiangallery.org. 7:30pm, $10.

Leon Russell Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8pm, $35.

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


Cook County Corrections, Sara Judge, Hyde West El Rio. 8pm, $5.

Gaucho, Michael Abraham Jazz Session Amneisa. 8pm, free.

Halau O Keikiali’l, Kumu Hula Kawika Alfiche Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 7:30pm; $10.

Julian Marley feat. Stephen Marley, Javaughn, Gully Bank Sound System Independent. 9pm, $25.

Orquesta Borinquen Jelly’s, Terry Francois Boulevard, SF; (415) 399-9554. 7pm, $15-150. A fundraiser for the San Francisco International Arts Festival featuring special guests John Calloway, John Santos, Wayne Wallace, and more.

Somerville and Keehan Plough and Stars. 9pm.


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

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

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

Open Mic Night 330 Ritch. 9pm, $7.

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 Daddy Rolo, Young Fyah, Irie Dole, I-Vier, 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.



Anvil Chorus, Warning SF, Ghost Next Door Slim’s. 8pm, $14.

Ray Davies Warfield. 8pm, $42.50-59.50.

Distance from Shelter, Gnarboots, Tribe of Shadows, Noise Clinic Annie’s Social Club. 8pm, $7.

Dorado, Resin 7 Boom Boom Room. 9:30pm, $7.

Electric Six, Gay Blades, Millions of Brazilians Independent. 8pm, $16.

Fine Frenzy, Landon Pigg, Among the Oak and Ash Great American Music Hall. 8pm, $18.

Headlights, Anni Rossi, Pomegranates Café du Nord. 9pm, $12.

Inflight Nymphs, Blair Hansen El Rio. 9pm, $8.

Lawrence Arms, Teenage Bottlerocket, Cobra Skulls, For.The.Win Bottom of the Hill. 8:30pm, $14.

Loch Lomond, Dame Satan, Tether Horse Hotel Utah. 9pm, $8.

Michael Musika, Quinn DeVeaux and the Blue Beat Review, Loyd Family Players, Indianna Hale Rickshaw Stop. 7:30pm, $12.

New Maps of the West, Stella Royale, Catherine Anne Davis Bollyhood Café. 7pm, $5.

Off With Their Heads, Smalltown, Young Offenders, Detournement, Complaints Thee Parkside. 9pm, $8.

Sex Type Thing Red Devil Lounge. 8pm, $10.

Unauthorized Rolling Stones Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $15.

Worker Bee, Jet Age, Crazies Will Destroy You Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $6.


Widespread Panic Fox Theater. 8pm, $45.


Joe Bagale Amnesia. 9pm, $5. A tribute to Ray Charles.

Celia Malheiros Trio Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8pm, $20.

Michael Coleman Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:45pm, free.

Graham Connah Socha Café, 3235 Mission, SF; (415) 643-6848. 8:30pm.

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

Laurent Fourgo Le Colonial, 20 Cosmo Place, SF; (415) 931-3600. 7:30pm, free.

Lloyd Gregory Shanghai 1930. 7pm, free.

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

Wally Schnalle Coda. 9pm, $7.

"SF Jazz Presents Hotplate: Joe Bagale Plays Ray Charles" Amnesia. 8pm, $5.

Shayne Steele Yoshi’s San Francisco. 10:30pm, $14.

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


Banish the Dogs Plough and Stars. 9pm.

Jueves Flamencos Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 8:15pm, 9:30pm; $10-12.

Shut-Ins Atlas Café. 8pm, free.

Theresa Perez and guests Duboce Park Café, 2 Sanchez, SF; (415) 621-1108. 7:30pm, free.


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

CakeMIX SF Wish, 1539 Folsom, SF. 10pm, free. DJ Carey Kopp spinning funk, soul, and hip hop.

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

Data Beez DNA Lounge. 8pm, $12. Chip music with Minusbaby, Trash80, Starpause, Crashfaster, and more.

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.

Gymnasium Matador, 10 6th St., SF; (415) 863-4629. 9pm, free. With DJ Violent Vickie and guests spinning electro, hip hop, and disco.

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.

Kissing Booth Make Out Room. 9pm, free. DJs Jory, Commodore 69, and more spinning indie dance, disco, 80’s, and electro.

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

Mercury Lounge 111 Minna. 5pm, $4. With DJ Masonic and MarsBassMan on the upright bass bringing you groovy downtempo mixed with classical.

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

Motion Sickness Vertigo, 1160 Polk; (415) 674-1278. 10pm, free. Genre-bending dance party with DJs Sneaky P, Public Frenemy, and D_Ro Cyclist.

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.

Solid Club Six. 9pm, $5. With resident DJ Daddy Rolo and rotating DJs Mpenzi, Shortkut, Polo Mo’qz and Fuze spinning roots, reggae, and dancehall.



Cartel, This Providence, Summer Set, Dares Slim’s. 7:30pm, $18.

Chemystry Set, Love, Isabel, Luke Thomas Trio Hotel Utah. 9pm, $8.

Cy Curnin, Love Seat Trio Red Devil Lounge. 8pm, $12.

Dead To Me, Grant Hart, Started-Its Thee Parkside. 9pm, $10.

Distant Relatives El Rincon. 9pm, $5.

Foma, Like Trains and Taxis, Blood and Sunshine Rock-It Room. 8pm, $8.

Fuck Buttons, Growing Bottom of the Hill. 10pm, $10.

Glassjaw Regency Ballroom. 9pm, $25.

Mark Growden Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. 8pm, $25-55.

Insane Clown Posse, (hed) p.e., Dayton Family, Mars Warfield. 7pm, $30.

DJ Lebowitz Madrone Art Bar. 6-9pm, free.

Lover!, Splinters, Bass Drum of Death Hemlock Tavern. 9:30pm, $7.

My First Earthquake, Generationals, Attachments Café du Nord. 9:30pm, $14.

Orange Peels, Hollyhocks Make-Out Room. 7:30pm, $7.

Persephone’s Bees, Sonny and the Sunsets, Stilts, Thorny Brocky Knockout. 9pm, $7.

Pinback, Joe Jack Talcum Bimbo’s 365 Club. 9pm, $22.

Pomplamoose, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Greet National Road Brainwash, 1122 Folsom, SF; (415) 861-3663. 8pm, free.

Psychology of Genocide, Farticus, Nerv Annie’s Social Club. 6-9pm, $5.

Raekwon Independent. 9pm, $30.

They Might Be Giants Fillmore. 9pm, $26.50.


Buddy Guy, Elvin Bishop Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael; www.marincenter.org. 8pm, $25-75.

Widespread Panic Fox Theater. 8pm, $45.


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

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

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

Steve Gadd and friends Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $25.

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

Mr. Lonesome and the Blue Bells Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:45pm, free.

Proteges of Hyler Jones Shanghai 1930. 7pm.

Hannah Rifkin Socha Café, 3235 Mission, SF; (415) 643-6848. 8:30pm.

Lavay Smith and Her Red-Hot Skillet Lickers Biscuits and Blues. 8 and 10pm, $20.


Acoustic Grateful Dead Music Plough and Stars. 9pm. With David Gans and Dave Stein.

Boca Do Rio Coda. 10pm, $10.

Café Flamenco Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa, SF; (415) 861-9199. 8pm, $22.

Cuban Nights Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 8:30pm; $19.95 with tapas.

Rapid Transit Acapella Duboce Park Café, 2 Sanchez, SF; (415) 621-1108. 7:30pm, free.

Rob Reich, Craig Ventresco Amnesia. 7pm, free.

Dawn Richardson and guests Dolores Park Café. 7:30pm, free.

Quijeremá Red Poppy Art House. 8pm, $12-15. Latin American fusion jazz.

Sol’Jibe Mojito, 1337 Grant, SF; (415) 596-3986. 10pm, $5.


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, $15. With DJs Jeffrey Paradise and Richie Panic spinning dance music.

Deviant Nation DNA Lounge. 10pm, $18. Rock and industrial with Kaura, Everything Goes Cold, Deconbrio, and more.

DJ T Mighty. 9pm, $8.

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.

Fo’ Sho! Fridays Madrone. 10pm, $5. DJs Kung Fu Chris, Makossa, and Quickie Mart spin rare grooves, soul, funk, and hip-hop classics.

Future 003 103 Harriet, 103 Harriet, SF; (415) 431-3609. 10pm, $13. With DJs Daedelus, James Pants, and Free the Robots.

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.

I can’t feel my face Amnesia. 10pm, $3. With DJs EUG and J Montag.

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

Lovebuzz Annie’s Social Club. 9pm, $5. DJs Jawa and Melody Nelson spin 90s, punk, and classic rock.

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

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.

6 to 9 800 Larkin, 800 Larkin, SF; (415) 567-9326. 6pm, free. DJs David Justin and Dean Manning spinning downtempo, electro breaks, techno, and tech house. Free food by 800 Larkin.

Soulclap and Dance-off 111 Minna. 9pm, $5. With DJs ian Svenonius, Jonathan Toubin, Paul Paul, Jello Biafra, and Primo spinning some 45 rpm soul action.

Treat Em Right Elbo Room. 10pm, $5. Hip-hop and funk with DJs Vinnie Esparza, Josh B, and Doctor Delay.

Claude VonStroke Mezzanine. 10pm, $20. With DJ Solar.



AC/DShe, High Voltage, Powerage Slim’s. 9pm, $14.

*Cash’d Out, Bone Cootes, Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank Thee Parkside. 9pm, $10.

Crimson Ivy, Cynical Mass, Crash Faster Annie’s Social Club. 8pm, $8.

Josh Damigo, Tan Sister Radio, Jordan Epcar Brainwash Café, 1122 Folsom, SF; (415) 861-3663. 8pm, free.

Dear and the Headlights, Kinch, Distraction Fit Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $12.

Destruments, Raw Deluxe Coda. 9pm, $7.

Zakiya Hooker Biscuits and Blues. 8 and 10pm, $20.

Jackopierce, Creede Williams Red Devil Lounge. 9pm, $25.

Victor Jones and Culture-Versy Boom Boom Room. 9:45pm, $12.

Mission of Burma, Erase Errata Independent. 9pm, $20.

Mountain Goats, Final Fantasy Fillmore. 9pm, $25.

Or, The Whale, Hello Kavita, Brothers Comatose Café du Nord. 9:30pm, $10.

Ty Segall, Baths, Culture Kids Amnesia. 9pm, $7.

Thunderheist, Winter Gloves 330 Ritch. 8pm.

Turks, Rats Eyes, La Guardia Hemlock Tavern. 9:30pm, $6.

White Flag Down, Aires and Graces Hemlock Tavern. 6pm, free.


Widespread Panic Fox Theater. 8pm, $45.


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.

Steve Gadd and friends Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $25.

Janis Mercer San Francisco Community Music Center, 544 Capp, SF; http://sfcmc.org. 8pm, free.

Rob Modica and friends Simple Pleasures, 3434 Balboa, SF; (415) 387-4022. 8pm, free.

Jack Pollard Shanghai 1930. 7pm, free.

Regina Pontillo Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:45pm, free.

Ricardo Scales Top of the Mark. 9pm, $15.

Valerie Troutt and Classical Revolution Red Poppy Art House. 8 and 9pm, $12-15.


Black Crown Stringband, Water Tower Bucket Boys Swedish American Hall, 2170 Market, SF; (415) 861-5016. 7:30pm, $15. A benefit for a rare form of leukemia.

Buraka Som Sistema Mezzanine. 9:30pm, $16. With DJ Shane King.

Hamsa Lila with Airto Moriera Regency Ballroom. 9pm, $28.

Johnson Girls Ship Balclutha, Hyde Street Pier, Fisherman’s Wharf, SF; (415) 561-6662 x33. 8pm, $14.

Klezmer en Buenos Aires JCCSF, 3200 California, SF; (415) 292-1233. 8pm, $35. With the Lerner Moguilevsky Dúo.

Roy McNamara Plough and Stars. 9pm.

Mystical Arts of Tibet Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, SF; (415) 392-4400. 8pm, $25-45. Featuring the multiphonic singers of Drepung Loseling monastery.

SF Hootenenny Night Café International, 508 Haight, SF; (415) 665-9915. 7pm, free. With Quake City Jug Band, Jugtown Pirates, and Blvd Park.

Yellow Dress, Maggie Morris Amnesia. 7pm, free.


BADNB Club Six. 9pm, $10. With DJs 2Cents, Method One, Mikebee, Push, and more spinning drum and bass.

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

Bootie DNA Lounge. 9pm, $12. Mash-ups with DJ Tripp, Adrian and Mysterious D, and Dada.

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.

Reggae Gold SF Endup. 10pm, $5. With DJs Daddy Rolo, Polo Mo’Quuz, and more spinning reggae, dancehall, and remixes all night.

Same Sex Salsa and Swing Magnet, 4122 18th St., SF; (415) 305-8242. 7pm, free.

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

Strength in Flavor DNA Lounge. 3-8pm, $15. Hip-hop with DJ Kool Herc, two on two dance battles, and more.

Tormenta Tropical Elbo Room. 10pm, $5. Electro cumbia DJs L-Vis 1990 and Bok Bok, plus Disco Shawn and Oro 11.



Black Heart Procession, Bellini Independent. 8pm, $15.

Blacklist Knockout. 8pm, $10.

*Christ on Parade, Lewd, Eskapo, Kim Phuc Thee Parkside. 8pm, $8.

Dr. Mojo Boom Boom Room. 9:30pm, free.

Lloyd Gregory Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $15.

Grant Hart, Blank Stares, Off Campus Hemlock Tavern. 8pm, $7.

David Lindley, John Hammond Great American Music Hall. 8pm, $25.

*Russian Circles, Young Widows, Helms Alee Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $13.

Sippy Cups, Frances England Bimbo’s 365 Club. 1 and 4pm, $17.

20 Minute Loop, True Margrit, Griddle Bottom of the Hill. 1pm, $8.

White Tie Affair: The Traveling Talent Show, Every Avenue, Stereo Skyline, Runner Runner Slim’s. 7pm, $15.


Steve Gadd and friends Yoshi’s San Francisco. 7pm, $25.


David Choi Café du Nord. 8pm, $12.

Festa de São Martinho Horatius, 350 Kansas, SF; (415) 252-3500. 6pm, $35. With a performance by Ramana Vieira and featuring traditional Portuguese food.

Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three, Sour Mash Hug Band, Shovelman Amnesia. 9pm, $7-10.

Los Boleros Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 7:30pm, 11:45pm; $10-12.

Makru Coda. 9pm, $7.

Playing for Change Band Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon, SF; www.ticketmaster.com. 8pm, $45.

Reduced to Ruin, Hang Jones Thee Parkside. 4pm, free.

Seisiún Plough and Stars. 4pm.


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, Ludichris, and guest Roommate.

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

Green Festival After Party 1015 Folsom. 8pm, $15. Featuring performances by Dead Prez, Speech of Arrested Development, and Hard Knock Radio’s Davey D and DJs Sake One, Wisdom with DJ Skwint and Seasunz, JBoogie, and more.

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.

Play DNA Lounge. 5pm-midnight, $30. House with DJ Ted Eiel.

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.



Big, Round, Rad Cloud, Pine Away El Rio. 8pm, $5.

DJ Spooky Independent. 9pm, $17.

Crystal Monee Hall Coda. 9pm, $7.

Lovvers, An Albatross, Fresh and Onlys, Religious Girls Elbo Room. 8:30pm, $10.

Terry Riley’s In C, Lickets, Julianna Barwich, DJ Stereo Steve and the World of Living Sound Café du Nord. 8pm, $10.


Clarinet Thing Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8pm, $14.

"Jazz at the Rrazz" Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; 1-866-468-3399. 8pm, $25. With the Mike Greensill Trio and Noel Jewkes.

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


Homespun Rowdy, Bluegrass Jam Amnesia. 6:30pm, free.


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!

Death Guild DNA Lounge. 9:30pm, $5. Gothic, industrial, and synthpop with Decay, Joe Radio, and Melting Girl.

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.

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.



Blue Rabbit, Valerie Orth Band, Deborah Crooks, Tiffany Petrossi, Monica Pasqual Café du Nord. 8pm, $12.

Body or Brain, Finish Ticket Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $8.

BrokeNCYDE, Breathe Electric, Watchout! There’s Ghosts, Blood on the Dance Floor DNA Lounge. 7:30pm, $14.

Julian Casablancas Regency Ballroom. 8pm, $33.

Flobots Slim’s. 8pm, $15.

Flood, City of Ships, Kowloon Walled City Knockout. 10pm, free.

Foxtail Somersault, Threadspinner, Tomihira Elbo Room. 9pm, $6.

Little Claw, Talk Normal, Short Hair Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $7.

Ron Thompson Union Room at Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $10.

Whigs, Features Independent. 8pm, $14.


"Booglaloo Tuesday" Madrone Art Bar. 9:30pm, $3. With Oscar Myers.

Dave Parker Quintet Rasselas Jazz. 8pm.

Euliptian Quartet Socha Café, 3235 Mission, SF; (415) 643-6848. 8:30pm.

"Jazz Mafia Tuesdays" Coda. 9pm, $7. With Shotgun Wedding Quintet.

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

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


Lea Grant, Andy Pratt El Rio. 8pm, free.

Slow Session Plough and Stars. 9pm. With Vince Keehan and friends.


Alcoholocaust Presents Argus Lounge. 9pm, free. With DJs What’s His Fuck, Classic Bar Music, and Denim Yeti.

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.

La Escuelita Pisco Lounge, 1817 Market, SF; (415) 874-9951. 7pm, free. DJ Juan Data spinning gay-friendly, Latino sing-alongs but no salsa or reggaeton.

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.

Shout at the Devil Red Devil Lounge. 8pm, free. Karaoke with a smoke machine and heavy metal tunes.

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

Film listings


Film listings are edited by Cheryl Eddy. Reviewers are Kimberly Chun, Michelle Devereaux, Max Goldberg, Dennis Harvey, Johnny Ray Huston, Louis Peitzman, Lynn Rapoport, Ben Richardson, Matt Sussman, and Laura Swanbeck. The film intern is Fernando F. Croce. For rep house showtimes, see Rep Clock. For first-run showtimes, see Movie Guide.


Art and Copy Doc maker Doug Pray (1996’s Hype!, 2001’s Scratch, 2007’s Surfwise) uses the mid-twentieth century’s revolution in advertising to background an absorbing portrait of the industry’s leading edge, with historical commentary, philosophical observations, and pop-psych self-scrutiny by some of the rebel forces and their descendants (including locals Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein). We see the ads that made a permanent dent in our consciousness over the past five decades. We hear conference-room tales of famous campaigns, like "Got Milk?" and "I Want My MTV." And during quieter interludes, stats on advertising’s global cultural presence drift on-screen to astonish and unnerve. Lofty self-comparisons to cave painters and midwives may raise eyebrows, but Pray has gathered some of the industry’s brighter, more engaging lights, and his subjects discuss their métier thoughtfully, wittily, and quite earnestly. There are elisions in the moral line some of them draw in the process, and it would have been interesting to hear, amid the exalted talk of advertising that rises to the level of art, some philosophizing on where all this packaging and selling gets us, in a branding-congested age when it’s hard to deny that breakneck consumption is having a deleterious effect on the planet. Instead the film occasionally veers in the direction of becoming an advertisement for advertising. Still, Art and Copy complicates our impressions of a vilified profession, and what it reveals about these creatives’ perceptions of their vocation (one asserts that "you can manufacture any feeling that you want to manufacture") makes it worth watching, even if you usually fast-forward through the ads. (1:30) Roxie. (Rapoport)

The Boondock Saints II: All Saint’s Day Track down 2003’s Overnight if you have any urge to see this. (1:57)

For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism Informative, nostalgic, and incredibly depressing, Gerald Peary’s For the Love of Movies traces film criticism from ye olden days (Vachel Lindsay’s appreciation of Mary Pickford) to today (Harry Knowles drooling over Michael Bay). Peary, himself a film critic, captures big-name writers working (or recently out-of-work) today, with Roger Ebert, A.O. Scott, J. Hoberman, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and multiple others explaining why they chose to make a career out of their love for movies, and how the gig has changed over the years. Peary clearly believes the heyday of film criticism is over, having hit peak in the 60s and 70s, when new releases by filmmakers like Scorsese and Altman were argued-about in print and on talk shows by longtime rivals Andrew Sarris (who weighs in here) and the late Pauline Kael. Of course, these days, anyone with a blog can call him or herself a film critic, and while For the Love of Movies acknowledges the importance of the internet, it also points out that when "everyone’s a critic," quality control suffers. Welcome to the future. (1:21) Roxie, Smith Rafael. (Eddy)

The Maid See "Clean Freak." (1:35) Shattuck, Smith Rafael.

Pirate Radio I wanted to like Pirate Radio, a.k.a., The Boat That Rocked –- really, I did. The raging, stormy sounds of the British Invasion –- sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and all that rot. Pirate radio outlaw sexiness, writ large, influential, and mind-blowingly popular. This shaggy-dog of a comedy about the boat-bound, rollicking Radio Rock is based loosely on the history of Radio Caroline, which blasted transgressive rock ‘n’ roll (back when it was still subversive) and got around stuffy BBC dominance by broadcasting from a ship off British waters. Alas, despite the music and the attempts by filmmaker Richard Curtis to inject life, laughs, and girls into the mix (by way of increasingly absurd scenes of imagined listeners creaming themselves over Radio Rock’s programming), Pirate Radio will be a major disappointment for smart music fans in search of period accuracy (are we in the mid- or late ’60s or early or mid-’70s –- tough to tell judging from the time-traveling getups on the DJs, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rhys Darby, among others?) and lame writing that fails to rise above the paint-by-the-numbers narrative buttressing, irksome literalness (yes, a betrayal by a lass named Marianne is followed by "So Long, Marianne"), and easy sexist jabs at all those slutty birds. Still, there’s a reason why so many artists –- from Leonard Cohen to the Stones –- have lent their songs to this shaky project, and though it never quite gets its sea legs, Pirate Radio has its heart in the right place –- it just lost its brains somewhere along the way down to its crotch. (2:00) Oaks, Piedmont. (Chun)

*Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire This gut-wrenching, little-engine-that-could of a film shows the struggles of Precious, an overweight, illiterate 16-year-old girl from Harlem. Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe is so believably vigilant (she was only 15 at the time of filming) that her performance alone could bring together the art-house viewers as well as take the Oscars by storm. But people need to actually go and experience this film. While Precious did win Sundance’s Grand Jury and Audience Award awards this year, there is a sad possibility that filmgoers will follow the current trend of "discussing" films that they’ve actually never seen. The daring casting choices of comedian Mo’Nique (as Precious’ all-too-realistically abusive mother) and Mariah Carey (brilliantly understated as an undaunted and dedicated social counselor) are attempts to attract a wider audience, but cynics can hurdle just about anything these days. What’s most significant about this Dancer in the Dark-esque chronicle is how Damien Paul’s screenplay and director Lee Daniels have taken their time to confront the most difficult moments in Precious’ story –- and if that sounds heavy-handed, so be it. Stop blahging for a moment and let this movie move you. (1:49) Shattuck. (Jesse Hawthorne Ficks)

2012 Smash-happy director Roland Emmerich (1996’s Independence Day; 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow) returns with yet another sapocalyptic tale. (2:40) California.


Amelia Unending speculation surrounds the fate of aviator Amelia Earhart, who, with navigator Fred Noonan, disappeared in 1937 over the Pacific while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. However, Mira Nair’s biopic Amelia clarifies at least one fact: that Earhart (played by Hilary Swank) was a free-spirited freedom-loving lover of being free. We learn this through passages of her writing intoned in voice-over; during scenes with publisher and eventual husband George Putnam (Richard Gere); and via wildlife observations as she flies her Lockheed Electra over some 22,000 miles of the world. Not much could diminish the glory of Earhart’s achievements in aviation, particularly in helping open the field to other female pilots. And Swank creates the impression of a charming, intelligent, self-possessed woman who manages to sidestep many of fame’s pitfalls while remaining resolute in her lofty aims. She’s also slightly unknowable in her cheery, near-seamless virtue, and the film’s adoring depiction, with its broad, heavy strokes, at times inspires a different sort of restlessness than the kind that compels Earhart to take flight. Amelia is structured as a series of flashbacks in which the aviator, while circling the earth, retraces her life –- or rather, the highlights of her career in flying, her marriage to Putnam, and her affair with Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor), another champion of aviation (and the father of author Gore). And this, too, begins to feel lazily repetitive, as we return and return again to that cockpit to stare at a doomed woman as she stares emotively into the wild blue yonder. (1:51) Oaks. (Rapoport)

Antichrist Will history judge Lars von Trier as the genius he’s sure he is? Or as a humorless, slightly less cartoonish Ken Russell, whipping images and actors into contrived frenzies for ersatz art’s sake? You’re probably already on one side of the fence or the other. Notorious Cannes shocker Antichrist will only further divide the yeas and nays, though the film does offers perhaps the most formally beautiful filmmaking von Trier’s bothered with since 1984’s The Element of Crime. Grieving parents Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe retreat to a forest primeval enabling widescreen images of poetic succulence. Yet that beauty only underlines Antichrist‘s garishness. One film festival viewer purportedly barfed onto the next row — and you too might recoil, particularly if unaccustomed to gore levels routinely surpassed by mainstream horror. Does Antichrist earn such viewer punishment by dint of moral, character, narrative, or artistic heft? Like slurp it does. What could be more reactionary than an opening in which our protagonists "cause" their angelic babe’s accidental death by obliviously enjoying one another? Shot in "lyrical" slow-mo black and white, it’s a shampoo commercial hard-selling Victorian sexual guilt. Later, Dafoe’s "He" clings to hollow psychiatric reason as only an embittered perennial couch case might imagine. Gainsbourg’s "She" morphs from maternal mourner to castrating shrike as only one terrified of femininity could contrive. They’re tortured by psychological and/or supernatural events existing solely to bend game actors toward a tyrant artiste’s whims. There’s no devil here — just von Trier’s punitive narcissism. (1:49) Smith Rafael. (Harvey)

*The Box In recent interviews, Donnie Darko (2001) director Richard Kelly has sounded like he’s outright begging to go Hollywood with The Box. But try as he might (and the horribly cheesy trailer does try to puff up this dread-imbued, downbeat thriller into the stuff of big-box blockbuster numbers), Kelly can’t stop himself from making a movie that rises above its intentions — and its trashy entertainment value. Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur (James Marsden) seem like a perfect, beautiful couple, until the cracks begin to quickly appear in their sporty, well-groomed facade: the victim of a girlhood accident, Norma has a startling masochistic streak, while NASA engineer and would-be astronaut Arthur is eager to channel his interest in exploring outer space toward mysteries closer to home: a box that suddenly appears, courtesy of the maimed, besuited Arlington Stewart (Frank Langella). Press the button and someone will die — but the couple will receive one million dollars. Pointing to the existential parable of No Exit like a pretentious, AP-course-loaded high-schooler, The Box also touches on such memorable genre-busters as Kiss Me Deadly (1955) with its Pandora’s box conceit, but more obviously it’s boxed in and stuck in the ’70s, fascinated by the fear, loathing, and paranoia generated by conspiracy-obsessed flicks like The Parallax View (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975). Those films reveled in a romantic fatalism and radiating all-encompassing negativity that had its roots in the conformity-fearing Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and found its amplified, arguable apotheosis in the body horror of David Cronenberg. The analog synth score by Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Regine Chassagne and Final Fantasy’s Owen Pallett also cues memories of Cronenberg, while the soft-focus shots of Cameron Diaz with Charlie’s Angels hair and well-chosen songs like "Bell Bottom Blues" conjure a mood that overcomes narrative potholes as big as the Scanners-like gap in Arlington Stewart’s face. (1:56) 1000 Van Ness, Presidio, SF Center, Shattuck. (Chun)

*Capitalism: A Love Story Gun control. The Bush administration. Healthcare. Over the past decade, Michael Moore has tackled some of the most contentious issues with his trademark blend of humor and liberal rage. In Capitalism: A Love Story, he sets his sights on an even grander subject. Where to begin when you’re talking about an economic system that has defined this nation? Predictably, Moore’s focus is on all those times capitalism has failed. By this point, his tactics are familiar, but he still has a few tricks up his sleeve. As with Sicko (2007), Moore proves he can restrain himself — he gets plenty of screen time, but he spends more time than ever behind the camera. This isn’t about Moore; it’s about the United States. When he steps out of the limelight, he’s ultimately more effective, crafting a film that’s bipartisan in nature, not just in name. No, he’s not likely to please all, but for every Glenn Beck, there’s a sane moderate wondering where all the money has gone. (2:07) California. (Peitzman)

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (1:48) SF Center.

Coco Before Chanel Like her designs, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel was elegant, très chic, and utterly original. Director Anne Fontaine’s French biopic traces Coco (Audrey Tautou) from her childhood as a struggling orphan to one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. You’ll be disappointed if you expect a fashionista’s up close and personal look at the House of Chanel, as Fontaine keeps her story firmly rooted in Coco’s past, including her destructive relationship with French playboy Etienne Balsar (Benoît Poelvoorde) and her ill-fated love affair with dashing Englishman Arthur "Boy" Capel (Alessandro Nivola). The film functions best in scenes that display Coco’s imagination and aesthetic magnetism, like when she dances with Capel in her now famous "little black dress" amidst a sea of stiff, white meringues. Tautou imparts a quiet courage and quick wit as the trailblazing designer, and Nivola is unmistakably charming and compassionate as Boy. Nevertheless, Fontaine rushes the ending and never truly seizes the opportunity to explore how Coco’s personal life seeped into her timeless designs that were, in the end, an extension of herself. (1:50) Albany, SF Center, Sundance Kabuki. (Swanbeck)

Couples Retreat You could call Couples Retreat a romantic comedy, but that would imply that it was romantic and funny instead of an insipid, overlong waste of time. This story of a group of married friends trying to bond with their spouses in an exotic island locale is a failure on every level. Romantic? The titular couples — four total — represent eight of the most obnoxious characters in recent memory. Sure, you’re rooting for them to work out their issues, but that’s only because awful people deserve one another. (And in a scene with an almost-shark attack, you’re rooting for the shark.) Funny? The jokes are, at best, juvenile (boners are silly!) and, at worse, offensive (sexism and homophobia once more reign supreme). There is an impressive array of talent here: Vince Vaugh, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Jean Reno, etc. Alas, there’s no excusing the script, which puts these otherwise solid actors into exceedingly unlikable roles. Even the gorgeous island scenery — Couples Retreat was filmed on location in Bora-Bora — can’t make up for this waterlogged mess. (1:47) 1000 Van Ness, Presidio, SF Center. (Peitzman)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (1:36) 1000 Van Ness, Presidio, Sundance Kabuki.

*An Education The pursuit of knowledge — both carnal and cultural — are at the tender core of this end-of-innocence valentine by Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig (who first made her well-tempered voice heard with her 2000 Dogme entry, Italian for Beginners), based on journalist Lynn Barber’s memoir. Screenwriter Nick Hornby breaks further with his Peter Pan protagonists with this adaptation: no man-boy mopers or misfits here. Rather, 16-year-old schoolgirl Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is a good girl and ace student. It’s 1961, and England is only starting to stir from its somber, all-too-sober post-war slumber. The carefully cloistered Jenny is on track for Oxford, though swinging London and its high-style freedoms beckon just around the corner. Ushering in those freedoms — a new, more class-free world disorder — is the charming David (Peter Sarsgaard), stopping to give Jenny and her cello a ride in the rain and soon proffering concerts and late-night suppers in the city. He’s a sweet-faced, feline outsider: cultured, Jewish, and given to playing fast and loose in the margins of society. David can see Jenny for the gem she is and appreciate her innocence with the knowing pleasure of a decadent playing all the angles. The stakes are believably high, thanks to An Education‘s careful attention to time and place and its gently glamored performances. Scherfig revels in the smart, easy-on-eye curb appeal of David and his friends while giving a nod to the college-educated empowerment Jenny risks by skipping class to jet to Paris. And Mulligan lends it all credence by letting all those seduced, abandoned, conflicted, rebellious feelings flicker unbridled across her face. (1:35) Albany, Piedmont, Sundance Kabuki. (Chun)

The Fourth Kind (1:38) 1000 Van Ness.

*Gentlemen Broncos One of the sweet (and pleasantly sour) surprises to come out of the otherwise deadly serious fall movie season, Gentlemen Broncos is both a jab in the gut and loving wink to freaks and geeks of the homeschooled, sci-fi/fantasy-loving variety. Napoleon Dynamite (2004) director Jared Hess is apparently their chief champion — and tormenter — by the looks of Gentlemen Broncos, which wallows in the quirk of high-waisted, acid-washed mom jeans; mullets and outta-hand facial hair; and the clumsily airbrushed, outsider fantasies that accompany them. Perpetually put-upon, home-schooled Benjamin (Michael Angarano) has a healthy fantasy life, which he jots down in the form of thinly veiled and highly sexualized sci-fi stories collected in collaged binders when he isn’t helping his mother Judith (Jennifer Coolidge) sell her "country balls" and prim nighties. The latest — starring redneck space-cowboy figure Bronco (Sam Rockwell) who bears an uncanny resemblance to Benjamin’s dead father and a lost yeti member of Lynyrd Skynyrd — makes its way to a writing workshop and into the hands of pompous sci-fi author Dr. Chevalier (Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords). Benjamin must cope with a Hollywood screenwriter’s fate as his work is (hilariously) mangled by friends and would-be indie filmmakers Tabatha (Halley Feiffer) and Lonnie (Hector Jimenez) and mooched by the plagiarizing Chevalier. Much snake poo and many ardent would-be Wondercon attendees later, Benjamin learns how to fight for his vision — and we learn that Hess is the Mormon nerd bard, its latest latter-day cinematic saint. (1:51) Embarcadero. (Chun)

Inglourious Basterds With Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino pulls off something that seemed not only impossible, but undesirable, and surely unnecessary: making yet another of his in-jokey movies about other movies, albeit one that also happens to be kinda about the Holocaust — or at least Jews getting their own back on the Nazis during World War II — and (the kicker) is not inherently repulsive. As Rube Goldbergian achievements go, this is up there. Nonetheless, Basterds is more fun, with less guilt, than it has any right to be. The "basterds" are Tennessee moonshiner Pvt. Brad Pitt’s unit of Jewish soldiers committed to infuriating Der Fuhrer by literally scalping all the uniformed Nazis they can bag. Meanwhile a survivor (Mélanie Laurent) of one of insidious SS "Jew Hunter" Christoph Waltz’s raids, now passing as racially "pure" and operating a Paris cinema (imagine the cineaste name-dropping possibilities!) finds her venue hosting a Third Reich hoedown that provides an opportunity to nuke Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, and Goering in one swoop. Tactically, Tarantino’s movies have always been about the ventriloquizing of that yadadada-yadadada whose self-consciousness is bearable because the cleverness is actual; brief eruptions of lasciviously enjoyed violence aside, Basterds too almost entirely consists of lengthy dialogues or near-monologues in which characters pitch and receive tasty palaver amid lethal danger. Still, even if he’s practically writing theatre now, Tarantino does understand the language of cinema. There isn’t a pin-sharp edit, actor’s raised eyebrow, artful design excess, or musical incongruity here that isn’t just the business. (2:30) Oaks. (Harvey)

Law Abiding Citizen "Spike Lee’s Inside Man (2006) as re-imagined by the Saw franchise folks" apparently sounded like a sweet pitch to someone, because here we are, stuck with Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler playing bloody and increasingly ludicrous cat-and-mouse games. Foxx stars as a slick Philadelphia prosecutor whose deal-cutting careerist ways go easy on the scummy criminals responsible for murdering the wife and daughter of a local inventor (Butler). Cut to a decade later, and the doleful widower has become a vengeful mastermind with a yen for Hannibal Lecter-like skills, gruesome contraptions, and lines like "Lessons not learned in blood are soon forgotten." Butler metes out punishment to his family’s killers as well as to the bureocratic minions who let them off the hook. But the talk of moral consequences is less a critique of a faulty judicial system than mere white noise, vainly used by director F. Gary Gray and writer Kurt Wimmer in hopes of classing up a grinding exploitation drama. (1:48) 1000 Van Ness. (Croce)

The Men Who Stare at Goats No! The Men Who Stare at Goats was such an awesome book (by British journalist Jon Ronson) and the movie boasts such a terrific cast (George Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor). How in the hell did it turn out to be such a lame, unfunny movie? Clooney gives it his all as Lyn Cassady, a retired "supersolider" who peers through his third eye and realizes the naïve reporter (McGregor) he meets in Kuwait is destined to accompany him on a cross-Iraq journey of self-discovery; said journey is filled with flashbacks to the reporter’s failed marriage (irrelevant) and Cassady’s training with a hippie military leader (Bridges) hellbent on integrating New Age thinking into combat situations. Had I the psychic powers of a supersoldier, I’d use some kind of mind-control technique to convince everyone within my brain-wave radius to skip this movie at all costs. Since I’m merely human, I’ll just say this: seriously, read the book instead. (1:28) Cerrito, Empire, 1000 Van Ness, Presidio, Shattuck, Sundance Kabuki. (Eddy)

*Michael Jackson’s This Is It Time –- and a tragic early death –- has a way of coloring perception, so little surprise that these thought pops into one’s head throughout This Is It: when did Michael Jackson transform himself into such an elegant, haute-pop sylph? Such a pixie-nosed, lacy-haired petit four of music-making delicacy? And where can I get his to-die-for, pointy-shouldered, rhinestone-lapeled Alexander McQueen-ish jacket? Something a bit bewitching this way comes as Michael Jackson –- now that he’s gone, seemingly less freakish than an outright phenomenon –- gracefully flits across the screen in this final (really?) document of his last hurrah, the rehearsals for his sold-out shows at O2 Arena in London. This Is It is far from perfect: this grainy video scratchpad of a film obviously wasn’t designed by the perfectionist MJ to be his final testament to pop. Director Kenny Ortega does his best to cobble together what looks like several rehearsal performances with teary testimonials from dancers (instilled with the intriguing idea that they are extensions of the surgery-friendly Jackson’s body onstage), interviews with musicians, minimal archival footage, and glimpses of Jacko protesting about being encouraged to "sing through" certain songs when he’s trying to preserve his voice, urging the band to play it "like the record," and still moving, dancing, and gesticuutf8g with such grace that you’re left with more than a tinge of regret that "This Is It," the tour, never came to pass. It’s a pure, albeit adulterated, pleasure to watch the man do the do, even with the gaps in the flow, even with the footage filtered by a family intent on propping up the franchise. Amid the artistry and kitsch, critics, pop academics, and superfans will find plenty to chew over –- from Jackson’s curiously timed physical complaints as the Jackson 5 segment kicks in, to the surreally CGI-ed, golden-age-of-Hollywood mash-up sequence. (1:52) Cerrito , Empire, Four Star, Marina, 1000 Van Ness, SF Center, Sundance Kabuki. (Chun)

New York, I Love You A dreamy mash note to the city that never sleeps, New York, I Love You is the latest installment in a series of omnibus odes to world metropolises and the denizens that live and love within the city limits. Less successful than the Paris, je t’aime (2006) anthology — which roped in such disparate international directors as Gus Van Sant and Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron and Olivier Assayas — New York welcomes a more minor-key host of directors to the project with enjoyable if light-weight results. Surely any bite of the Big Apple would be considerably sexier. Bradley Cooper and Drea de Matteo tease out a one-night stand with legs, and Ethan Hawke and Maggie Q generate a wee bit of verbal fire over street-side cigs, yet there’s surprisingly little heat in this take on a few of the 8 million stories in the archetypal naked city. Most memorable are the strangest couplings, such as that of Natalie Portman, a Hasidic bride who flirtatiously haggles with Irrfan Khan, a Jain diamond merchant, in a tale directed by Mira Nair. Despite the pleasure of witnessing Julie Christie, Eli Wallach, and Cloris Leachman in action, many of these pieces — written by the late Anthony Minghella, Israel Horovitz, and Portman, among others — feel a mite too slight to nail down the attention of all but the most desperate romantics. (1:43) Shattuck. (Chun)

*Paranormal Activity In this ostensible found-footage exercise, Katie (Katie Featherson) and Micah (Micah Sloat) are a young San Diego couple whose first home together has a problem: someone, or something, is making things go bump in the night. In fact, Katie has sporadically suffered these disturbances since childhood, when an amorphous, not-at-reassuring entity would appear at the foot of her bed. Skeptical technophile Micah’s solution is to record everything on his primo new video camera, including a setup to shoot their bedroom while they sleep — surveillance footage sequences that grow steadily more terrifying as incidents grow more and more invasive. Like 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, Oren Peli’s no-budget first feature may underwhelm mainstream genre fans who only like their horror slick and slasher-gory. But everybody else should appreciate how convincingly the film’s very ordinary, at times annoying protagonists (you’ll eventually want to throttle Micah, whose efforts are clearly making things worse) fall prey to a hostile presence that manifests itself in increments no less alarming for being (at first) very small. When this hits DVD, you’ll get to see the original, more low-key ending (the film has also been tightened up since its festival debut two years ago). But don’t wait — Paranormal‘s subtler effects will be lost on the small screen. Not to mention that it’s a great collective screaming-audience experience. (1:39) Metreon, 1000 Van Ness, Sundance Kabuki. (Harvey)

Saw VI (1:30) 1000 Van Ness.

*The September Issue The Lioness D’Wintour, the Devil Who Wears Prada, or the High Priestess of Condé Nasty — it doesn’t matter what you choose to call Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. If you’re in the fashion industry, you will call her — or at least be amused by the power she wields as the overseer of style’s luxury bible, then 700-plus pages strong for its legendary September fall fashion issue back in the heady days of ’07, pre-Great Recession. But you don’t have to be a publishing insider to be fascinated by director R.J. Cutler’s frisky, sharp-eyed look at the making of fashion’s fave editorial doorstop. Wintour’s laser-gazed facade is humanized, as Cutler opens with footage of a sparkling-eyed editor breaking down fashion’s fluffy reputation. He then follows her as she assumes the warrior pose in, say, the studio of Yves St. Laurent, where she has designer Stefano Pilati fluttering over his morose color choices, and in the offices of the magazine, where she slices, dices, and kills photo shoots like a sartorial samurai. Many of the other characters at Vogue (like OTT columnist André Leon Talley) are given mere cameos, but Wintour finds a worthy adversary-compatriot in creative director Grace Coddington, another Englishwoman and ex-model — the red-tressed, pale-as-a-wraith Pre-Raphaelite dreamer to Wintour’s well-armored knight. The two keep each other honest and craftily ingenious, and both the magazine and this doc benefit. (1:28) Marina. (Chun)

*A Serious Man You don’t have to be Jewish to like A Serious Man — or to identify with beleaguered physics professor Larry Gopnik (the grandly aggrieved Michael Stuhlbarg), the well-meaning nebbishly center unable to hold onto a world quickly falling apart and looking for spiritual answers. It’s a coming of age for father and son, spurred by the small loss of a radio and a 20-dollar bill. Larry’s about-to-be-bar-mitzvahed son is listening to Jefferson Airplane instead of his Hebrew school teachers and beginning to chafe against authority. His daughter has commandeered the family bathroom for epic hair-washing sessions. His wife is leaving him for a silkily presumptuous family friend and has exiled Larry to the Jolly Roger Motel. His failure-to-launch brother is a closeted mathematical genius and has set up housekeeping on his couch. Larry’s chances of tenure could be spoiled by either an anonymous poison-pen writer or a disgruntled student intent on bribing him into a passing grade. One gun-toting neighbor vaguely menaces the borders of his property; the other sultry nude sunbather tempts with "new freedoms" and high times. What’s a mild-mannered prof to do, except envy Schrodinger’s Cat and approach three rungs of rabbis in his quest for answers to life’s most befuddling proofs? Reaching for a heightened, touched-by-advertising style that recalls Mad Men in look and Barton Fink (1991) in narrative — and stooping for the subtle jokes as well as the ones branded "wide load" — the Coen Brothers seem to be turning over, examining, and flirting with personally meaningful, serious narrative, though their Looney Tunes sense of humor can’t help but throw a surrealistic wrench into the works. (1:45) California, Empire, Piedmont, Sundance Kabuki. (Chun)

*Skin This is one of those movies that works in large part because you know it’s a true story –- its truth is almost too strange to be credible as fiction. In 1955 the Laings, a white Afrikaner couple (played by the blond and blue-eyed likes of Sam Neill and Alice Krige) gave birth to a second child quite unlike their first, or themselves. Indeed, Sandra (Ella Ramangwane) was, by all appearances, black. Mrs. Laing insisted she hadn’t been unfaithful –- further, the couple were firm believers in the apartheid system –- and it was eventually determined Sandra’s looks were the result of a rare but not-unheard-of flashback to some "colored" genes no doubt well-buried far in their colonialist ancestry. Living in rural isolation, the well-intentioned Laings were able to keep Sandra oblivious to her being at all "different." But when time came to send her off to boarding school, she got a rude awakening in matters of race and class, resulting in court battles and myriad humiliations. Sophie Okonedo (2004’s Hotel Rwanda) plays the rebellious adult Sandra, who must reject her upbringing to find an identity she can live with –- as opposed to the wishful-thinking one her parents insist upon. Based on the real protagonist’s memoir, Anthony Fabian’s first feature observes the institutional cruelty and eventual fall of apartheid from the uniquely vivid perspective of someone yanked from privilege to prejudice. It’s a sprawling, involving story that affords excellent opportunities for its very good lead actors (also including Tony Kgoroge as Sandra’s abusive eventual husband). (1:47) Shattuck, Smith Rafael. (Harvey)

(Untitled) The sometimes absurd pretensions of the modern art world have –- for many decades –- been so easily, condescendingly ridiculed that its intelligently knowing satire is hard to come by. (How much harder still would it be for a fictive film to convey the genius of, say Anselm Kiefer? Even Ed Harris’ 2000 Pollock less vividly captured the art or its creation –- better done by Francis Ford Coppola and Nick Nolte in their 1989 New York Stories segment –- than the usual tortured-artist histrionics.) Bay Arean Jonathan Parker attempts to correct that with this perhaps overly low-key witticism. Erstwhile Hebrew Hammer Adam Goldberg plays a composer of painfully retro, plink-plunk 1950s avant-gardism. (His favorite instrument is the tin bucket.) His lack of success is inevitable yet chafes nonetheless, because he’s a) humorlessly self-important, and b) sibling to a painter (Eion Bailey) whose pleasant, unchallenging abstracts are hot properties amongst corporate-art buyers. But not hot enough for his gorgeous agent (Marley Shelton), who puts off showing him at her Chelsea gallery in favor of cartoonishly "edgy" artists –- like soccer hooligan Vinnie Jones as a proponent of lurid taxidermy sculpture –- and takes a contrary (if unlikely) fancy to Goldberg. (How could her educated like not know his music is even less cutting-edge than the brother’s canvases?) (Untitled) holds interest, but it’s at once too glib and modest –- exaggerative sans panache. This is equivalently if differently problematic from Parker’s 2005 Henry James-goes-Marin County The Californians. It can’t compare to his 2001 feature debut, the excellent Crispin Glover-starring translation of Melville’s Bartleby to Rhinoceros-like modern office culture. (1:30) Shattuck. (Harvey)

Where the Wild Things Are From the richly delineated illustrations and sparse text of Maurice Sendak’s 1963 children’s book, director Spike Jonze and cowriter (with Jones) Dave Eggers have constructed a full-length film about the passions, travails, and interior/exterior wanderings of Sendak’s energetic young antihero, Max. Equally prone to feats of world-building and fits of overpowering, destructive rage, Max (Max Records) stampedes off into the night during one of the latter and journeys to the island where the Wild Things (voiced by James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker, Chris Cooper, Lauren Ambrose, Paul Dano, and Michael Berry Jr.) live — and bicker and tantrum and give in to existential despair and no longer all sleep together in a big pile. The place has possibilities, though, and Max, once crowned king, tries his best to realize them. What its inhabitants need, however, is not so much a visionary king as a good family therapist — these are some gripey, defensive, passive-aggressive Wild Things, and Max, aged somewhere around 10, can’t fix their interpersonal problems. Jonze and Eggers do well at depicting Max’s temporary kingdom, its forests and deserts, its creatures and their half-finished creations from a past golden era, as well as subtly reminding us now and again that all of this — the island, the arguments, the sadness — is streaming from the mind of a fierce, wildly imaginative young child with familial troubles of his own, equally beyond his power to resolve. They’ve also invested the film with a slow, grim depressive mood that can make for unsettling viewing, particularly when pondering the Maxes in the audience, digesting an oft-disheartening tale about family conflict and relationship repair. (1:48) 1000 Van Ness, Sundance Kabuki. (Rapoport)

Whip It What’s a girl to do? Stuck in small town hell, Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page), the gawky teen heroine of Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, Whip It, faces a pressing dilemma — conform to the standards of stifling beauty pageantry to appease her mother or rebel and enter the rough-and tumble world of roller derby. Shockingly enough, Bliss chooses to escape to Austin and join the Hurl Scouts, a rowdy band of misfits led by the maternal Maggie Mayhem (Kristin Wiig) and the accident-prone Smashley Simpson (Barrymore). Making a bid for grrrl empowerment, Bliss dawns a pair of skates, assumes the moniker Babe Ruthless, and is suddenly throwing her weight around not only in the rink, but also in school where she’s bullied. Painfully predictable, the action comes to a head when, lo and behold, the dates for the Bluebonnet Pageant and the roller derby championship coincide. At times funny and charming with understated performances by Page and Alia Shawcat as Bliss’ best friend, Whip It can’t overcome its paper-thin characters, plot contrivances, and requisite scenery chewing by Jimmy Fallon as a cheesy announcer and Juliette Lewis as a cutthroat competitor. (1:51) SF Center. (Swanbeck)

*The Yes Men Fix the World Can you prank shame, if not sense, into the Powers That Be? Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano, the jesters-activists who punked right-wing big-business in the documentary The Yes Men (2003), continue to play Groucho Marx to capitalism’s mortified Margaret Dumont in this gleeful sequel. Decked in sharp suits and packing fake websites and catchphrases, the duo bluffs its way into conferences and proceeds to give corporate giants the Borat treatment. The stunts are often inspired and, in their visions of fantasy justice, poignant: Bichlbaum and Bonnano pose as Dow envoys and announce the company’s plans to send billions to treat victims of the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster, and later appear as HUD representatives offering a corrective to the shameful neglect of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Yes Men may not fix the world, but their ruses once more prove the awareness-raising potential of comedy. (1:30) Roxie, Smith Rafael. (Croce)

*Zombieland First things first: it’s clever, but it ain’t no Shaun of the Dead (2004). That said, Zombieland is an outstanding zombie comedy, largely thanks to Woody Harrelson’s performance as Tallahassee, a tough guy whose passion for offing the undead is rivaled only by his raging Twinkie jones. Set in a world where zombies have already taken over (the beginning stages of the outbreak are glimpsed only in flashback), Zombieland presents the creatures as yet another annoyance for Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg, who’s nearly finished morphing into Michael Cera), a onetime antisocial shut-in who has survived only by sticking to a strict set of rules (the "double tap," or always shooting each zombie twice, etc.) This odd couple meets a sister team (Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin), who eventually lay off their grifting ways so that Columbus can have a love interest (in Stone) and Tallahassee, still smarting from losing a loved one to zombies, can soften up a scoch by schooling the erstwhile Little Miss Sunshine in target practice. Sure, it’s a little heavy on the nerd-boy voiceover, but Zombieland has just enough goofiness and gushing guts to counteract all them brrraiiinss. (1:23) 1000 Van Ness, Shattuck. (Eddy)

Events listings


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.


Food for Thought Participating restaurants in the Mission District, SF; www.missiongraduates.org/foodforthought. All day, free. Enjoy some of what the Mission has to offer while helping to invest in it’s future at this annual dine-out fundraiser for Mission Graduates, a nonprofit that prepares Mission youth for college careers. Participating restaurants will donate 25-100% of your total bill.


From the Hood to the House San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness, SF; (415) 674-6117. 7pm, $75-500. A benefit to honor Reverend Cecil Williams’ 45th anniversary at Glide featuring Maya Angelou, Rita Moreno, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, and more.

Sugar Rush 111 Minna, 111 Minna, SF; (415) 626-5470. 7pm, $60. Attend a sweet fundraiser benefiting Spark, a local youth empowerment organization that organizes one-on-one apprenticeships, featuring unlimited dessert-tastings from high end restaurants like Boulevard, Chez Panisse, Range, Humphry Slocombe, and more.


A Country Called Amreeka Arab Cultural and Community Center, 2 Plaza, SF; (415) 664-2200. 7pm, $5-10 suggested donation. Hear Syrian- American civil rights lawyer and author Alia Malek discuss her new book A Country Called Amreeka: Arab Roots, American Stories.

Drinking and Dancing The Lab, 2948 16th St., SF; (415) 407-0225. 8pm, free. A sport under recognized, dancing with a drink-in-hand requires coordination with your beverage, your partner, the music, and your liver. Join in the open floor competition followed by a knockout tournament. Stronger drinks awarded more points.

Farming and Food Golden Gate University School of Law, 536 Mission, SF; (415) 442-6636. 9am, $30. Attend this Environmental Law and Policy Conference that takes a look at the role law and policy plays in shaping aspects of food.

Green Festival Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th St., SF; 1-800-58-GREEN. Fri. Noon-7pm, Sat. 10am-7pm, Sun. 11am-6pm; $15. Discover the latest in renewable energy and green technology, savor Fair Trade, organic, and natural foods and beverages, and learn how to incorporate sustainability at home at this annual festival that integrates all aspects of environmentalism into one fun and educational event.

Masked Soirée DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., SF; (415) 626-1409. 9pm, $18. Enjoy a sexy soirée with live music, performances by Burlesque Deviant Nation models, suspension acts, an art auction, and a costume contest with free subscriptions to Deviant Nation magazine.

Young Workers United Station 40, 3030B 16th St., SF; (415) 621-4155. 7pm, free. Buy art, dance, and donate money to benefit Young Workers United, a nonprofit dedicated to improving working conditions of young people and immigrants in low wage, service sector jobs.


Coats for Cubs Buffalo Exchange, 1210 Valencia, SF; 1555 Haight Street, SF; 1-866-235-8255. Starting Nov. 14 through Earth Day on April 22, 2010. Bring your real fur apparel, including trims and accessories, to any Buffalo Exchange store and help provide bedding and comfort to orphans and injured wildlife. Condition of fur is unimportant.

Golden Gala Castro Theater, 429 Castro, SF; (415) 863-0611. 8:15pm, $35. Attend this tribute to Golden Girl Rue McClanahan, appearing live in-person, featuring performances by SF Golden Girls and a "Golden Girls Gone Wild" contest with cash prizes.

Mural Walks Café Venice, 3325 24th St., SF; (415) 285-2287. 11am, $12. Tour over 60 murals in this 10-block walk organized by Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center. Other walking tours available, go to www.precitaeyes.org for details.


A Day at Pixar Pixar Animation Studios, 1200 Park Ave., Emeryville; (415) 227-8666. 11am for VIP and 1pm for Family ; $35-149, advanced tickets required. Experience the world of Pixar films behind the scenes at this fundraiser for San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum. See art, sculptures, and other items from the Pixar archives, get a crash course on how to draw Pixar characters, and watch a selection of Pixar short films. VIP ticket holders can also enjoy special full length movie screenings, discussions with crew and staff, and discounts at the Pixar store.


Outdoor Bootcamp Kezar Stadium Track, Frederick at Stanyan, SF; www.02athletics.com. 7am, free. Get motivated and start moving your ass at this free weekly workout session.


Fur Ball Fundraiser Hopalong Animal Rescue, 5749 Doyle, Emeryville; (510) 267-1915×103. 1pm, $40. Help support Hopalong Animal Rescue at this fundraiser featuring live music, hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting, a silent auction, and special guest KTVU anchorman Frank Somerville. Hopalong offers rescue, placement, prevention and outreach programs to the community and strives to eliminate the euthanasia of adoptable animals.


Amy Goodman First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing, Berk.; 1-800-838-3006. 7pm, $15. Hear investigative journalist, Democracy Now! host, and New York Times best-selling author Amy Goodman discuss her new book, Breaking the Sound Barrier. Event to benefit KPFA radio.


Gardening in Small, Urban Spaces San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin, SF; (415) 557-4500. 6pm, free. Permaculturist Fred Bove takes us beyond the herb garden with a discussion about the possibilities, and produce, that can be coaxed out of tiny spaces for little effort or money.

Our weekly picks





Ripping up stages on the road for more than 20 years now, the Supersuckers continue to bring their high-octane blend of unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll to fans around the globe. Starting out in Tucson, Eddie Spaghetti and co. made their way to the Pacific Northwest in 1989, and thrived in the burgeoning Seattle scene, but never quite sounded like their local contemporaries. The broad range of American musical influences that make up the band’s sonic DNA have spawned a country album, collaborations with people such as Willie Nelson, and an overall appreciation for honest music made for real people. That fiercely independent attitude led the band to start its own label, Mid-Fi, on which it has been releasing material since 2001, including the latest, last year’s raucous Get It Together. (Sean McCourt)

With Last Vegas and Cockpit

8 p.m., $16


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333




Andy Caldwell

If you grew up in the 1990s, then you may remember dancing to mellifluous old-school house jams like "Superfunkidiculous," by Santa Cruz-born, San Francisco-turned-Los Angeles resident Andy Caldwell. A globally-renowned DJ and remixer of futuristic and experimental beats, the multifaceted Caldwell spun with late R&B legend James Brown and also happens to be a classically-trained trumpeter and pianist. His latest, Obsession (on his own Uno Recordings), offers what his Web site dubs "electro club thumpers" and draws on yet another Caldwell talent — pop songwriting. (Jana Hsu)

10 p.m., $20


85 Campton Place, SF

(415) 433-8585



DV8 Physical Theatre

When the British DV8 Physical Theatre made its San Francisco debut in 1997 with Enter Achilles, an angry and visceral examination of the idea of manhood and masculinity during the AIDS pandemic, the company was still relatively unknown. Audiences here were stunned by the raw, abrasive quality with which these guys threw themselves across barroom furniture and each other. Now the company is back with its 2008 To Be Straight With You, in which choreographer Lloyd Newson tackles religion, tolerance, and homosexuality. Integral to Straight are interviews with people who agreed — sometimes reluctantly — to speak on those topics. Many of DV8’s works have been reinterpreted for the camera. This engagement offers an opportunity to see some of them, including Saturday’s free screening of 2004’s The Cost of Living, starring legless dancer David Tool at 7 p.m.(Rita Felciano)

Through Nov. 14

8 p.m., $39

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission, SF

(415) 978-2787



Frank Fairfield

Frank Fairfield calls Los Angeles home, but his sound is strictly Appalachia: the valleys where British ballads were reborn in the craggy, high, lonesome lyricism of American country blues. The story of Fairfield’s being discovered busking at a Hollywood farmers market sounds like a Robert Altman plot, but then 20something’s mesmerizing apprenticeship of old ballads is something more than a PR pitch. Fairfield’s reedy voice returns familiar tunes to restless wandering. The warbly fiddle and dusky banjo inscribe the album in 78rpm shadows, but for all the cracks, Fairfield’s arrangements bear the emotive precision of a true disciple. (Max Goldberg)

With Devine’s Washboard Band

8 p.m., free

Adobe Books

3166 16th St., SF

(415) 864-3936,




There are many ways to divide and read this curious title. JIG-SAW-MENTAL-LAMA is the obvious one, but does this suggest a mindful Tibetan monk who saw a jig? Or, shifting the "S" and "L," the mouth of a llama jigs in aw(e)? Perhaps I’m way off and this complicated mashup actually refers to a picture puzzle of tall men and Japanese female sea divers in search of shiny pearls. However you cut it up, the title of this group exhibition and weekly film and video screening series — involving 18 locally and internationally acclaimed artists — foreshadows endless entertainment. (Spencer Young)

Through Dec. 19

Opening tonight, 7 p.m.

Gallery hours Thurs.–Sat., noon–6 p.m. and by appointment)

David Cunningham Projects

1928 Folsom, SF

(415) 341-1538





Fourteen years after Raekwon crowned himself the king of gangsta grit with the classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx … (Loud Records), he returns to the sonic kitchen with the long-awaited sequel, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx … Pt. II (H2O/EMI Records). Part myth, part manifesto, Pt. II continues the coke-addled narrative found on the first album. With RZA and Busta Rhymes serving as executive producers, the tracks spin kung fu soul radio and pounding instrumentation, creating an aesthetic that is vintage Wu-Tang but also prescient. After a decade of lackluster hip-hop releases, Rae’s Mafioso style has returned to change the game with a pack of veterans: Ghostface, Masta Killa, and Method Man all show up on the record. Ghostface even tops his own solo album, Wizard of Poetry (Def Jam), on songs like "Penitentiary" and "Cold Outside" — an open wound of a track dealing with love and death in a world where two-year-olds get strangled in the street. Lyrically genius, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx … Pt. II carries its promise of greatness all the way to the end. (Lorian Long)

9 p.m., $25–$30


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1422



Fuck Buttons

This British dirty electro drone duo have cleaned up real proper with their latest release, Tarot Sport (ATPR). By distilling the grating vocals and grinding, blitzkrieg gradients of their previous album (Street Horrrsing, on ATPR) for the ethereal and quixotic, Tarot Sport sounds more like Moby’s Play (V2/BMG Records) and less like Throbbing Gristle meets Kraftwerk. It’s actually somewhere in between, lost in the mist of glitter tank tops, autobahns, and leather dungeons. That being said, this is the only show I can imagine neon wand-twirling, pacifier-sucking, pogo-jumping, shoegazing, and head-banging all happily coalescing into one full house at Bottom of the Hill. (Young)

With Growing and Chen Santa Maria

10 p.m., $10

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF

(415) 621-4455




Mountain Goats

Before the new Mountain Goats album dropped, John Darnielle wrote on his Web site that the new album consisted of "12 hard lessons the Bible taught me, kind of." Indeed, The Life of the World to Come (4AD) does consist of 12 Bible verses that trigger Darnielle’s memory of Midwestern skies before rainfall, glances between lovers, dying family members, and old houses creaking beneath the weight of one’s hesitation to enter. Not one to suffer without hope, Darnielle comes close to finding salvation with King James’ heavy hand. In "Isaiah 45:23" he sings "And I won’t get better, but someday I’ll be free / ‘cuz I am not this body that imprisons me." In Chapter 45, God appoints Cyrus as the restorer of Jerusalem. In Darnielle’s verse, he calls for an existence without bodies. "1 John 14:16" sounds like a Jon Brion score from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). Darnielle considers his own "counselor" in that verse, as a source of love despite the beasts that too often surround him. (Long)

With Final Fantasy

9 p.m., $25


1805 Geary, SF

(415) 346-6000




Erased James Franco

With roles including James Dean and Harvey Milk’s boyfriend, Scott Smith, it’s clear why James Franco is hovering around gay icon status. Is it any surprise, then, that he’ll be appearing in person at the Castro Theatre? Maybe not, but it’s still exciting. True Franco fans can catch a double-dose of the eclectic actor, who will also be introducing episodes of Freaks and Geeks at SFMOMA earlier in the day. Sure, you’ve seen them 80 times already, but can you ever really have too much Daniel Desario? The Castro event is equally intriguing: Franco appears alongside artist Carter and SFMOMA associate curator Frank Smigiel for a screening of Erased James Franco. The film presents Franco stripped to the status of art object as he discusses his past performances. One word of caution: "stripped" is merely a euphemism. For actual James Franco nudity, you’ll have to use your imagination. (Louis Peitzman)

3 p.m., $10

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

151 Third St., SF


8 p.m., $10

Castro Theatre

429 Castro St, SF



Young Widows

Young Widows are redemptive heroes for a once-burgeoning post-hardcore scene. Seemingly everyone’s friend, they have unleashed a veritable tidal wave of split 7-inches in recent years, along with two full-lengths of their own. Alloying plutonium-heavy guitar tones with squalling, unpredictable lead-work, the trio produce a distinctive brand of sleazy, noisy hardcore, with anthemic gang-vocals and the occasional rusty hook layered on top. The band’s Louisville, Ky., roots grant them membership in a growing class of talented, idiosyncratic Southern headbangers. (Ben Richardson)

With Russian Circles and Helms Alee

9 p.m., $13

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St, SF

(415) 621-4455



SkirtChaser 5K

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! The SkirtChaser 5K is a race with a twist: women runners get a three-minute head start on the menfolk, who must then sprint to catch up to the pack (athletic skirts are optional, but encouraged — pick one up along with your registration fees). Part of a series of races held nationwide (the Bay Area version benefits Chances for Children), SkirtChaser offers a grand prize of $500 to the first finisher (male or female), and additional bonus goodies, like free sunglasses to the first couple who cross the line together. There’s also a post-dash fashion show and live entertainment segment, complete with dating games. (Hsu)

2 p.m. (women’s start); 2:03 p.m. (men’s start), $35–$85

Golden Gate Park, Music Pavilion,

36th Ave. at Fulton, SF


The Guardian listings deadline is two weeks prior to our Wednesday publication date. To submit an item for consideration, please include the title of the event, a brief description of the event, date and time, venue name, street address (listing cross streets only isn’t sufficient), city, telephone number readers can call for more information, telephone number for media, and admission costs. Send information to Listings, the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 487-2506; or e-mail (paste press release into e-mail body — no text attachments, please) to listings@sfbg.com. We cannot guarantee the return of photos, but enclosing an SASE helps. Digital photos may be submitted in jpeg format; the image must be at least 240 dpi and four inches by six inches in size. We regret we cannot accept listings over the phone.

Editor’s Notes



I went to a nice suburban high school in a nice suburban town, and my friends were all middle-class kids, mostly white, who were all headed for college. But at some point during our four-year stints, every one of us got in trouble.

There were fights. There was pot. There was underage drinking. There was the bowl-three-games-and run-out-the-door-without-paying plan. There was the time our poor Latin teacher fell asleep during a test and we all took our test papers and climbed out the second-floor window and ran off to a donut shop. Somebody shot out Mrs. DeLuca’s window with a Wrist-Rocket one night, and I’m not telling who.

The assistant principal got involved; parents got involved; and on a relatively frequent basis, the police got involved.

That, I think, is fairly typical of teenage life — and it’s why we generally don’t treat teens who commit minor infractions as criminals. None of my friends ever went to jail. A couple of times it got as far as Judge Bettman’s court, and he’d issue a severe lecture. But that would be the end.

I cannot imagine what it’s like to be an immigrant teen in San Francisco these days.

There’s a 15-year-old girl Sarah Phelan writes about in this week’s cover story who got in a fight with her sister at school. Not a great moment in the history of adolescent behavior, but not such a big deal, really. Somehow though, the girl was referred to the Juvenile Probation authorities, who reported her to Immigration Control and Enforcement — and without warning, she was taken away from her family, her home, her school, her community, and whisked off to an internment center in Miami. From there, she could have been deported — at 15, to a country she left as a baby.

Imagine what it’s like to be 15, a San Francisco kid who’s always been an American, suddenly flown to Mexico, turned over to that country’s child protection service, and told that you’re home. Or to be told (without access to legal counsel) that you either have to turn in your parents (who will then be deported) or spend the next three years in prison or a foster home. And the only way to get back to San Francisco, where your whole community lives, is to come up with thousands of dollars (and how do you suppose a teen is going to do that?) to pay a smuggler to take you through a perilous desert border crossing where a whole lot of people die.

I can’t imagine it. It’s too awful.

This is happening, folks, and it’s happening right under our eyes, thanks to Mayor Gavin Newsom and his approach to juvenile justice. This is the human side of the policy discussions over Sup. David Campos’ sanctuary legislation.

High school kids in San Francisco have to live in mortal fear — I’m not kidding, deportation can be a death sentence — every single day because they have brown skin and come from a family that may have entered the country without papers. I’m sorry — a kid who came across the border as a baby didn’t break any laws, and shouldn’t be punished for it.

And the "crimes" that are literally ruining these young people’s lives often amount to little or nothing — to the shit most of my friends did too, once upon a time. Except we were white.

Newsom: support just-cause eviction law


EDITORIAL Mayor Gavin Newsom, reeling from criticism of his disappearing act last week and his failure to quickly reengage with San Francisco, has an opportunity to repair some of his tattered image, particularly among progressives, and mend fences with the majority of the Board of Supervisors. It wouldn’t even require a dramatic or groundbreaking step — all he has to do is agree to sign legislation by Sup. John Avalos extending eviction protections to roughly 20,000 vulnerable San Francisco renters.

The Avalos legislation clears up a lingering loophole in the city’s rent-control ordinance, a leftover piece of a bad deal that tenants were forced to accept when the city first moved to limit rent hikes 20 years ago. Back in 1978, with greedy landlords taking advantage of a housing shortage to jack up rents by astronomical rates, the supervisors and then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein were under immense pressure to pass some kind of control. But the landlord-friendly mayor and at-large elected board were unwilling to do what Berkeley had done across the bay by setting permanent limits on how much landlords could raise prices. Instead, they approved a watered-down measure aimed largely at fending off a tenant initiative that would have gone further.

The deal capped rent hikes — but only for existing tenants, allowing landlords to raise rents whenever a unit became vacant. And, after the real estate industry whined that rent control would cause developers to stop building new housing in San Francisco (a dubious claim if ever there was one), the supervisors agreed to exempt all newly constructed housing (that is, anything built after 1979) from any rent regulations at all.

That housing is still exempt from rent control — and because the rent control law also includes eviction protections for tenants, the post-1979 housing stock is also exempt from those rules.

Most San Francisco tenants enjoy what’s known as "just-cause" eviction rules — that is, you can’t toss a tenant out on the streets without a reason. Failure to pay rent, of course, is legal grounds to send someone packing; it’s also okay to force a tenant out if the owner wants to move in.

But for the roughly 20,000 renters living in newer units, evictions can happen on a landlord’s whim — and one of the most dangerous problems is the lack of protection for people who live in a foreclosed building. Tenants in older, pre-1979 buildings have the right to continue to live in the property, under the same lease or rental agreement, after a sale or foreclosure. The Avalos bill would extend that protection (and the other just-cause protections) to all tenants in the city.

It’s hardly a radical idea — and given the boom in high-end housing construction in this city over the past decade (slowed only by the economic crash), the claim that tenant protections will doom new housing is demonstrably false. It would save vulnerable residents from losing their homes, protect people who live (through no fault of their own) in foreclosed properties, and restore a level of fairness to the local housing market.

The measure will almost certainly get six votes on the board, so the only real obstacle is the threat of a Newsom veto. The mayor should state publicly that he supports the measure and will sign it — which could be the start of a new, more promising chapter in Newsom’s political career.