Con and on


FILM There is probably no clinical study proving that a penchant toward being devious, ruthless, or even sociopathic makes a person particularly inclined toward writing crime fiction. But it can’t hurt. Patricia Highsmith has been dead two decades now, and one suspects there are still a few breathing souls who’d enjoy dancing on her grave. A bridge-burning bisexual (at least one ex-lover committed suicide) who openly admitted preferring cats — and, oddly, snails — to people, she was prone even when sober toward rants of variably racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-whatever-else-you-got nature. The Texas-born, Manhattan-raised European émigré frequently seemed to hate her own gender and country. Famous and successful after the publication of Strangers on a Train in 1950 (and the release of Hitchcock’s film version the next year), she didn’t need to be nice. So, that worked out for her.

Abhorrent as she might have been in person, her misanthropy turned golden in print, most famously via the five — yes, just five — novels she wrote about the ingeniously amoral Tom Ripley over a nearly 40-year span. A man who gets away with everything, frequently including murder, fellow expat Ripley invents himself as whatever and whomever he pleases, burying evidence (and any inconvenient bodies) whenever he risks being found out. We root for him even as we recoil at his actions, because he’s simply taking advantage of the wealth and privilege others are too stupidly complacent to protect from people like him.

One shudders to think what Highsmith would have made of the 1999 film Anthony Minghella made of 1955’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (already adapted in 1960 by Rene Clement as Purple Noon). It’s a wonderful movie, but its compassion toward Matt Damon’s Ripley as a closeted gay man only pushed to violence by desperate insecurity is about as far from the author’s icy wit and admiration for the scoundrel as one can get.

Ripley-free The Two Faces of January is presumably much closer to her intentions. The first feature directed by Hossein Amini, who previously wrote screenplays for a rather bewildering array of movies (from Thomas Hardy and Henry James adaptations to 2011 noir abstraction Drive and 2012 fairy tale mall flick Snow White and the Huntsman), it turns her 1964 novel into an elegant wide screen thriller very much of a type that might have been shot by Hitchcock, Clement, or someone else a half-century ago. You could even mistake Alberto Iglesias’ score for Bernard Herrmann at times. (Not the times when he’s lifting motifs whole from Arvo Pärt, though.) And if you still don’t think they make them like they used to, there’s Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac doing a damn good job of acting, and looking, like glamorous movie stars of yore.

Mortensen and Dunst’s Chester and Colette MacFarland meet the Isaac’s Rydal while they’re amid some sort of European grand tour in 1962 Athens — even staying at the Grand Hotel — and he’s a bilingual New Jerseyan of Greek descent eking out a living as a tour guide for Ivy League debutantes. Jaded, adventuresome types, the MacFarlands are intrigued enough to hire this openly gawking wannabe for a tour of the marketplace, then invite him and the Yankee heiress he’s momentarily snagged (Daisy Bevan as Lauren) for dinner.

It’s a pleasant evening they’d all soon file and forget. Or would have, if fate didn’t bring Rydal back alone to the couple’s hotel to return an item Colette carelessly left on the taxi seat. He finds Chester struggling with a man — whom he identifies as some drunk he’s simply wrestling back to his own room. But this fib thinly conceals a rapidly expanding sinkhole of criminality (already including major investment fraud and accidental murder) which Rydal now finds himself an accessory to. Rydal recognizes opportunity as well as risk in his new “friends'” urgent need to evade the authorities. But even as he helps them flee the hotel and city, he worries over the much younger, loyal yet nakedly vulnerable wife being dragged down by a “swindler” spouse. And as the awkwardly twined trio travels to less populous Crete, Chester (or whatever his name really is) worries his second wife — what happened to the first, anyway? — might well be swayed by someone as youthful, handsome, and blameless as Rydal.

At the one-hour point, The Two Faces of January looks, particularly in comparison to Mingella’s rather epic film (interestingly, that late director’s son Max is a producer here), like it might be something delicate yet rather simple — a portrait of a doomed marriage, its faults exposed by the third party the couple must take on amid crisis. But after this leisurely yet never boring buildup, Highsmith and Amini deliver so many harrowing complications you might end up shocked that this ultimately quite expansive seeming tale occupies just 96 trim minutes.

Mortensen, whose looks only grow more eerily, faultlessly chiseled with age, is so excellent-as-usual that one just has to shrug away puzzlement that he isn’t a bigger star — sufficiently occupied with his other creative outlets (painting, poetry, etc.), this actor clearly doesn’t care that he isn’t getting Brad Pitt’s roles, let alone his money. Having been raised in the system, Dunst would probably choose being Sandra or Reese if she could (and she certainly could, ability-wise), but fortunately the cards didn’t fall thataway. Now 34, she has the unfashionable heart-shaped facial prettiness of another generation’s wholesome starlets like Doris Day or Sandra Dee. If this particular role doesn’t begin to plumb the darker depths she’s more than capable of (as 2011 in Melancholia), it draws upon the same bottomless well of empathy she last tapped as another endangered spouse in 2010’s All Good Things. Which is, indeed, a very good thing.

As for Isaac, is this really the same guy from last year’s Inside Llewyn Davis? You can glimpse the same subtle, stage-honed technique in what’s superficially a much easier pretty-male-ingenue role. But yeesh: Looking like a fresh scoop from the same gelato tub that once surrendered young Andy Garcia, he sure cleans up nice. *


THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY opens Fri/10 in Bay Area theaters.

Still Steppin’


The Boogaloo is a dance, descended from the Twist but landing firmly between the Philly Dog and the Skate.

“I like to dance. Always did,” says Oscar Myers, who turns 70 next week, while demonstrating his moves in front of a whooping, sweating, grinning 1am crowd at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room. Myers knows the Boogaloo because he was there when it happened, and because he plays the melange of funk, soul, jazz, and Latin music that make up its unique sound.

Myers, a trumpet player, percussionist, and singer, has been a Bay Area mainstay for decades, but if you wandered into any of his regular nights here or Madrone Art Bar, you might not immediately realize you were in the presence of a musical forefather.

“Want something slow, something fast, or something half-assed?”

His band, Steppin’, plays tunes by Lou Donaldson, Melvin Sparks, and Ivan “Boogaloo Joe” Jones, alongside classics by James Brown and Michael Jackson. The 30-somethings in Steppin’ are talented, but all eyes are usually on the man up front: It’s Myers who played with James Brown, Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, Lowell Fulson, and R&B icon Jimmy McCracklin. There aren’t many musicians of Myers’ era left — much less playing regular late-night gigs around San Francisco. (His next will be his 70th birthday party, at the Boom Boom Room this Friday, Oct. 10.)

No one ever asks for anything “half-assed.”

Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1944, Myers moved to Charleston, South Carolina as a kid. His father worked the graveyard shift at the city water pump station and dug actual graves during the day. His parents weren’t especially musical, but they had a piano, on which Myers began to pick out songs by ear. Through the family’s record player, he got to know the era’s swing greats: Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. He picked up the trumpet as a teenager, which got him into the orchestra and marching band at North Carolina A&T, alongside classmate (and future saxophone legend) Maceo Parker.

Oscar Myers. Photo by Saroyan Humphrey.

Following college, he joined the military, landing in San Francisco after serving in Vietnam. He doesn’t talk about it much, but he was wounded in the Tet Offensive, and ended up in physical therapy at the Letterman Army Hospital in the Presidio. He ultimately decided to stay: “The Bay Area was humming,” says Myers, with an inimitable, throaty husk in his voice. “There was music coming from everywhere.”

His list of collaborators is an index to the Bay Area’s music history — “The Bishop” Norman Williams, Jackie Ivory, Julian Vaught, Bill Bell, Bill Summers, and Babatunde Lea — and his gigs map out its nearly forgotten musical nervous system: the jazz, funk, and R&B clubs that once hosted the area’s thriving scene.

By the ’90s, Myers was leading a band that included two former bandmates of James Brown: organist Louis Madison and saxophonist C.A. Carr. Madison — a member of the Famous Flames, who were unceremoniously fired by Brown after a gig in San Francisco in 1959, reportedly after asking to be paid fairly — is rumored to have penned such Brown hits as “I Feel Good,” “Try Me,” and “Please, Please, Please.” Sans Brown, the Flames stuck around the Bay for good.

“How many of y’all know who the Godfather of Soul is?”

In the early ’90s, Myers got a call from James Brown’s manager, saying Brown wanted to meet up with Madison and this new bandleader in San Francisco. Myers declined, citing their gig at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland that night. Since two of Brown’s alumni were in the band, Myers added, Brown should actually come to them. Sure enough, during the show, Brown showed up with his wife, and the band broke into “I Feel Good.” After “I’ll Go Crazy,” Brown rushed the stage to hug his old band-members.

Soon after, Brown invited Myers to sit in on trumpet when he played the West Coast. Myers did about eight gigs with Brown, a perfectionist who notoriously fined his musicians for mistakes.

“All that’s true,” says Myers, though he didn’t personally receive any penalties. “He’d go down to the front of the stage and be leaning and crying and singing and then he’d hold up his hand: $5.” Don’t miss a note, was the lesson. “And don’t be late either!”

“I’ve never seen so many dead people breathing in my life!”

It takes a lot to get away with chastising a crowd. “He can tell the audience to shut up and it’s ok, because he has the credibility to do it,” says organist Wil Blades, who’s been playing with Myers for over a decade, since Blades was 20. “Oscar has big ears and he knows how this music should sound, because he came up with it.”

Mentorship is important to Myers, who now lives with his wife off Alamo Square. “Nowadays, you don’t see that stuff happening, where the older cats let the younger ones come and play and test their knowledge,” says the bandleader. Go to any Myers gig, and you’ll see one or two young musicians trying to prove their worth. If Myers likes what he hears, they’ll receive a smile and a handshake at the end of the night.

That said: “If you can’t play I’m not going to let you get up there. If you’re bad, I’ll run your ass off stage.” He’s not kidding.

“He let me up there and gave me an old-school butt-whooping,” remembers Blades. “That’s how you really learn this music, to me. You don’t learn it in school.”

How does it feel to be playing on his 70th birthday? “I did it when I was 69!” says Myers with a laugh. “You’re blessed just to be here this long. You can wake up, open your eyes, wiggle your toes, everything’s working. Everything from here on out is gravy for me.”

Which might explain why, on a typical night, you’ll find him dancing spontaneously during a set break, even when the curtain is down and the audience can’t see a thing.

With Bootie Cooler & DJ K-Os
Fri/10, 9pm, $10
Boom Boom Room
1601 Fillmore, SF


Tough decisions ahead: The Bay Area Record Fair, the Oakland Music Festival, and more


Ever get so overwhelmed by all the awesome events in the Bay Area on a given weekend that you give up on trying to decide between any of them and find yourself just hanging with whomever you can get to come to your house to drink with you and your cats? Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, venturing 50 yards down the street to watch baseball at the closest bar with a TV?

Haha, me neither! Just kidding; that person sounds like a loser who is definitely not me. ANYWAY, this is one of those weekends where you’re going to have to make some tough calls. It’s called being a grownup. Here we go.


San Franciscans may think they have the market cornered on psychedelia, but things sound a little different in the desert — dusty, moody, lonely, and super atmospheric. All of these are apt words for decker., a Sedona-based “desert folk” act led by singer-songwriter Brandon Decker that won hearts with its soulful live act at SXSW, among other stages. This show at Bottom of the Hill (1233 17th St, SF), which serves as a record release party for the band’s fifth album, Patsy, will actually be a double-helping of soul: Oakland favorites Whiskerman, with multi-instrumentalist Graham Patzner’s vocal chops at the helm, will help open the evening.

Bob Mould, Castro resident and extremely well-spoken guy in addition to being an exceedingly talented guitarist and legendary all-around frontman, is coming home — and his welcome party’s at the Fillmore (1805 Geary, SF) tonight with Cymbals Eat Guitars. Mould’s new record, Beauty and Ruin, has been on repeat in certain headphones; check our interview with him in this week’s paper for more.



The Bay Area Record Fair, aka the best new acronym to come out of the local music scene since possibly ever, is throwing the second edition of its schmooze-fest/record sale/party this Saturday at Thee Parkside (1600 17th St, SF) and the surrounding blocks. This free shindig, thrown by local label Father/Daughter Records alongside promoters Professional Fans, will feature live sets from Happy Diving (whose excellent debut LP is out next month), Hot Flash Heat Wave, Wild Moth, and Flim Flam and The Jet Stars of Three O’Clock Rock. All of that while you swing by tables from more than 30 Bay Area record labels, who’ll be hawking CDs, LPs, t-shirts, stickers, that one weird rare flexi-disk you’ve been looking for forever, etc. The party goes down from noon to 5pm, but $5 gets you early entry (first access to the crates, you fiends) at 11am. RSVP here. Oh, and here’s our review of the last one.

Over on the other side of the Bay, the second annual Oakland Music Festival highlights the best in local-ish hip-hop, funk, R&B, dance and electronic music, with a few folky singer-songwriters in there for good measure. The daylong fest has four stages throughout downtown (21st, 22nd, and Grand Streets between Broadway and Webster) with headliners like rapper Dom Kennedy, beatmaker Esta, soulful singer SZA as headliners, while the legendary Chuy Gomez and hometown heroes Trackademicks and 1-O.A.K hold down the DJ stage. Plus, you know, food, beer, a beautiful day in the East Bay sunshine. Tickets (for $28 or $35, unless you go VIP) right here.



How do you get away with throwing a bonkers dance party on public Ocean Beach in broad daylight? Pipe the music directly into the crowd’s headphones, that’s how. The Silent Frisco crew has found the ultimate underground vibe, above ground, with HushFest. Here’s how it works: Gather at the party spot (imbibe your libations beforehand, please, no drugs or alcohol on the beach), pay $20 for special wireless headphones, and dance in the sand with a huge gaggle of other wildly, silently gesticulating aficianados — all for $20, kicking off at 11am. DJs at this annual event around include genius duo Psychmagik, who rejigger deepest funk-rock memories of the 1970s, Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation, and Fort Knox Five. Yes, you can still yell “woo!” (Marke B.)

The Aislers Set, Cold Beat, and the Mantles at The Chapel (777 Valencia, SF). This here’s an SF triple-threat, with the Brit-influenced, late ’90s/early aughts indie-pop veterans The Aislers Set making their much-awaited return tonight. Hannah Lew’s (ex-Grass Widow) Cold Beat will lend a harder edge to the evening, sandwiched alongside the Mantles’ 60s-tinged dream-pop. Also for $20, we can think of worse ways to stave off the Sunday night blues.



Guardian Intelligence: Sept. 24 – 30, 2014



Beck brought his endlessly funky band to the new Masonic Sept. 19 for opening night, where they ran through melancholy new tunes from this year’s Moon Phase before switching gears toward his more upbeat hits for a serious dance party (there was caution tape involved). See a full review and more photos on our Noise blog at PHOTO BY ERIN CONGER


Bay Guardian film festival correspondent Jesse Hawthorne Ficks returned from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, having deployed his usual tactic of seeing as many films as possible — and then writing about them at length on the Pixel Vision blog at Visit the Pixel Vision blog for his series of posts, including takes on the trend toward ultra-long films (FYI, he’s a huge Lav Diaz fan…), Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence (pictured), Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and other buzzed-about titles. PHOTO COURTESY OF TIFF


The Bay Area’s edition on the Sept. 21 Global Climate Convergence was held on the edge of Lake Merritt in Oakland, where some of the best speakers went full-on commie in connecting capitalism to the climate crisis, calling for revolutionary change. Socialist Action’s Jeff Mackler brought the old-school Trotskyite class analysis while up-and-coming Socialist Alternative (the party of Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant) had a strong presence. The Coup’s Boots Riley opened with an a cappella “Love for the Underdog,” followed by some fiery oratory and a couple more strong songs, including the militant anthem “Ghetto Blaster.” Power to the people!


San Francisco pushed the envelope in building cycletracks, bike lanes physically separated from cars, before state law allowed them. But on Sept. 20, when Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1193, a bill by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-SF) that inserted cycletrack standards into state transportation codes, they suddenly became a legal, easy option for cities around the state to start building, just like they already do in Europe. So as cyclist safety improves in California, they can have San Francisco to thanks. You’re welcome.


Major kudos to actor and local hero Danny Glover for his recent visit to the San Francisco County Jail Reentry Pod. “With that great smile and laid-back style, Danny connected with inmates about preparing to get out and staying out,” said Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who spent some time with Glover and inmates preparing for release. “Be the example.” The reentry pod stems from a collaboration between the Sheriff’s Department and Adult Probation, to prepare AB109 prisoners from state realignment for their release. PHOTO COURTESY SF SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT


Now you can don condoms against evictions! At Folsom Street Fair, activists handed out condoms adorned by the face of Ellis Act evictor (and leather lover) Jack Halprin. Why are the protesters equating him with an ejaculate receptacle? Halprin purchased a San Francisco property on Guerrero two years ago and filed to evict the tenants under the Ellis Act, one of whom is a San Francisco elementary school teacher with a 2-year-old son. From the condom wrapper: “Jack be simple, Jack’s a dick! Jack’s evictions make us sick!”


This issue of the Guardian is all about delicious travel — here’s something close to home that will have beer lovers gripping their steins. The new Tri-Valley Beer Trail lights up Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon, Dublin and Danville with foamy craft goodness — reinstating that area as one of the original homes of California beer (the region formerly contained one of the largest hops farms in the world). Fifteen stops, innumerable beers to try, and warm weather all the way. See for more details.


Art Explosion Studios, the Mission’s largest artist collective, prides itself on supplying affordable studio space to local painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelers, fashion designers, and other creative types. An affordable situation for artists? In the Mission? What is this, 1994? Support this organization and meet the artists (over 100 in total) right where they do their makin’ at the annual Art Explosion Fall Open Studios. Hit up the opening gala Fri/26, 7-11pm, or stop by Sat/27-Sun/28 from noon-5pm. 2425 17th St, SF; 744 Alabama, SF;


A wonky tale of woe just got a happy ending. Developers looking to make big bucks from the construction of the new Transbay Terminal tower, now the SalesForce tower, were looking to skim money off San Francisco by reneging on their required taxes, possibly costing the city $1.4 billion dollars. After the developers hired slick ex-Mayor, lobbyist, and SF Chronicle columnist Willie Brown to smooth the deal, they almost got away with saving hundreds of millions of dollars that would go to Muni, pedestrian safety, and infrastructure. At the last minute, the city changed its tune, and now the SoMa area will get the funding it was promised. The people win, and the fat cats lose.


Viracocha is legit! Here are five things from the past five years that we wish we could’ve written about


As you may have heard by now, Viracocha — everyone’s favorite Never-Never Land of a music venue/spoken word performance space/speakeasy/antiques store/beautiful place to stop and use the bathroom should you find yourself having to pee on Valencia — has gone legit.

After nearly a year of fundraising, inspections, and meetings with the city’s Entertainment Commission, the dreamily lit basement stage that has played host to so many awesome events will now be operating with an official venue permit.

No longer working under the veil of semi-secrecy, the folks who run the space (the tireless founder Jonathan Siegel, with help from new business partner Norah Hoover and a slew of local artists and musician employees) have spent the last six months renovating the space to meet city standards, and will now be free to actually publicize the venue’s shows. They’ll celebrate tonight with a free little gathering/party at Viracocha from 8pm to midnight — open to the public, legally, for the first time. [See a note Siegel sent to supporters early this morning at the end of this post.]

The booking process is also on the up-and-up, so bands, bookers — if you’ve always wanted to play that room but were unsure about the logistics of setting up a show you weren’t allowed to promote? Drop ’em a line.

Now, full disclosure: Roughly half the people I love in the SF arts scene have at one time or another played there, worked there, or lived there. I’ve watched Siegel give jobs to kids who arrived in San Francisco with very little, and then watched those kids make it a home. If employees or event attendees are there late and anyone seems drunk, he’ll order five pizzas. It’s been problematic, it’s seemed improbable, it has at times appeared to almost be a parody of itself and/or San Francisco. There’s a goddamn lending library in the back room that looks like it was built by whimsical 19th century fairies and chipmunks. But I adore Viracocha, and have wanted it to thrive the way you fall for the runt of any litter, the way you root for any underdog.

What this has meant, practically, as a music journalist, is that while the place is very close to my heart, it’s also been exceedingly frustrating to watch awesome shit happen there and not be able to write about it. Especially since the illegality meant that all things were basically equal and welcome — if that tame poetry reading you want to host is illegal, and so is the free workshop on tenants’ rights? Well, there’s nothing really more illegal about an aerial dance performance/dinner party/burlesque show. It was anything goes, and truly, anything went.

In closing: Congrats, Viracocha. And here are five-plus things that may or not have happened there that I really wish I could’ve written about.

1. The week after Amy Winehouse died, a bunch of local cats (many of whom normally command a pretty penny for live shows) got together to throw a last-minute tribute night revue of sorts. Folks dressed up. There was much sad drinking.

2. Jolie Holland played a week-long residency there, living in the tiny attic apartment attached to the store, and playing shows every night, lulling the packed room into a breathless trance.

3. That there video above (which is not great in visual quality I realize…but oh man, that voice) is also from a regular poetry/music/anything-goes revue called You’re Going to Die, started by writer Ned Buskirk, which continues to bring out some of the city’s finest writers and spoken word artists in addition to musicians. See SF writer and Rumpus film editor Anisse Gross reading at another one here:

4. A staged reading of an early, weird, rarely performed play by Louis CK, starring The Coup‘s Boots Riley as a dumb cop.

5. Hella music video shoots, with both local and big-name folks. Below: Wolf Larsen, and  Atmosphere.

6. Porn. (Supposedly.) (Did not see with own eyes.) (Unfortunately do not have video.)

Viracocha’s at 998 Valencia.

See you tonight?

Dear Steadfast Supporters, Family & Friends,

Viracocha is now open to the public, as a live venue in San Francisco!

Through many a trial — months of obstacles, pitfalls, setbacks, missteps, and hard choices — and by the unwavering energy, dedication and resolve of our staff & crew…we finally made it!

Five years ago, Viracocha began as space where creative people and their work could find advocacy. Our contributors arrived from many walks of life and varied circles within the local arts and performing community. That is, until December 2013, when we closed our doors, temporarily, to begin the process of legalizing our venue with the city. We created this underground space, despite the risk, because we felt that San Francisco needed a cultural anchor for its diverse artistic community  a place to gather and express who we are. There is a voice within each of us that yearns to be heard. In a city like ours, it’s easy to feel reduced to a face in a crowd, a point on a graph, a nameless number. We built our venue to become an intimate, welcoming place, where people can feel understood, connect, and feel less alone.

At times, Viracocha seemed to exist beyond the parameters of logic and pragmatism. We’ve had to be discreet when we talk about our space, and at times we’ve been misunderstood, misinterpreted, or misquoted.  When people asked “What is Viracocha, exactly? Who, actually, is behind it?” — the answers were as varied as the items in our shop.  Does secrecy create it’s own allure?  Perhaps so…but now’s the time to put secrets to rest, and open our doors to you! Come and meet the people who call Viracocha home — the poets, artists, and musicians who have worked and played here, laughed and cried, performed and shared. This place was built for you (yes you!) and for all of us — come on by!!

— Jonathan Siegel

Pixilated joy




Platforms: 3DS/WiiU

Nintendo is ready to pull on our retro-gaming heartstrings yet again with the newest Super Smash Bros. The fan-service fighter pits four characters against each other in a battle royale, and the now-familiar Nintendo roster of Mario, Link, Starfox, Donkey Kong, and gang will be joined by new third party characters: the blue bomber, Megaman, and everyone’s favorite pellet muncher, Pac-Man. Online play and the ability to create your own fighters using the Wii and 3DS Mii system are enough to get any Nintendo geek doing a barrel roll for joy.

Release: 3DS, Oct. 3; WiiU, Holiday 2014



Platforms: Windows/Mac OS/Linux

Leonardo Da Vinci has discovered a way to transmute egg yolk into a super-powerful golden substance that jump-starts human intelligence and allows the manipulation of space-time (like you do). This strange, wonderfully chicken-laden concept launches the French Revolution into space, as Renaissance-era kingdoms wage war in a Real Time Strategy-style game. It’s like Age of Empires meets Starcraft meets chickens. This is the game no one knew we wanted until we saw it enslave fowl, and launch to the stars. Bawk bawk bawk la revolucion!

Release: Fall 2014



Platforms: PC/Mac OS

World of Diving is like a fish tank you can dive into, and just relax. It’s not a game in the traditional sense, rife with goals, action, or perilous adventure (though you must avoid the occasional shark). The game outfits the player in diving gear for a leisurely paddle through ocean reefs, sunken ships, and other underwater settings. Your mission? To look at the pretty fish, snap photos of them, and chill out. There are occasional checklists (how many lionfish can you find?), and the randomly generated maps are sure to keep things fresh, but this is definitely a placid affair. Bonus: The game is Oculus Rift compatible, if you want a dose of virtual reality swimming.

Release: Fall 2014 (demo available now)



Platform: 3DS

The Final Fantasy series is known for its stellar orchestral compositions, so it’s surprising so few games in the series have centered around music. But now that historic injustice has ended! TheaterRhythm is a rhythm game (like Guitar Hero), centered entirely around chibi-versions of well-known Final Fantasy characters. Okay, it is a little strange to avenge the death of Aerith while battling Sephiroth using hip-swinging dance moves, but still … Chocobos, dancing! The quest mode spans most of Final Fantasy‘s 13-plus games, giving every FF fan music to jam to.

Release: Sept. 16



Platforms: Linux, Mac OS, OUYA, Windows

The life of a cat seems easy, but this game will convince you otherwise. Cats have goals, dammit, and in Catlateral Damage you must knock over as many of your owner’s possessions as you can within the time allotted. Look, a perfectly whole coffee mug! It’s an obvious invitation for a swat of your paws. The satisfying crash signals gaming success. The demo, out now, features cel-shaded cartoon graphics à la Zelda: The Wind Waker, and your kitty avatar seems to be able to jump with super-feline prowess. But don’t hiss over the small stuff, because you’ll have too much fun swatting the big stuff, like that TV on the dresser.

Release: Fall/Winter 2014 (demo available now) *


Guardian Intelligence: August 13 – 19, 2014



As Beatles lovers and Candlestick fans gear up for Sir Paul McCartney’s show there Thu/14 — a performance that will serve as a farewell to the stadium, and a callback to the Beatles’ last-ever concert, which took place at the park Aug. 29, 1966 — a group of filmmakers led by Ron Howard is asking for help with a new documentary that charts the rise, world domination, and eventual combustion of the Fab Four. The film, which reportedly has secured McCartney, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, and Olivia Harrison as producers, is looking for stories from fans who attended that last Beatles show — bonus points if you’re there on Thursday as well. Drop ’em a line at


Certain animals have spiked in popularity thanks to the magic that happens when their cuteness combines with the power of the internet, including sloths, cats that play musical instruments, and pugs. The Pugs for Mutts Summer Carnival (Sun/17 at the perfectly named Dogpatch WineWorks) offers a chance to see Minnie and Max — “YouTube famous head-tilt pugs” — in panting, grunting real life, plus a costume contest, a “Wiggliest Pug” contest, a pug kissing booth, and more. Pugs (and friendly dogs of other breeds) are welcome to join the festivities at this benefit for a very worthy cause: Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.


The lineup for this year’s LitQuake Festival (October 10-18) has been announced, and it’s a real potboiler. Headliners of the 15th annual free literary extravaganza include Chinelo Okparanta, Emma Donoghue, Nicholson Baker, Paolo Giordano, Marc Maron — and dozens of other local and international scribes. Of course, there’s also the raucous Litcrawl, 10/18, which turns everything from Laundromats to your favorite bars and bookstores into 99 buzzing reading spaces — the Guardian will be presenting its annual Celebrity Twitterature event (during which the city’s best known drag queens, led by D’Arcy Drollinger, hilariously break down infamous social media blunders), 7:15-8:15 at the Mission’s Beauty Bar.


It seems like everyone in San Francisco had a Robin Williams sighting at some point. He was an Oscar-winning A-lister who excelled in both dramatic and (especially) comedic roles, but he was also a regular dude who happened to live in and love the Bay Area. He’d be spotted riding his bike, shopping in local stores, attending Giants games, and popping up at comedy shows — his unannounced appearances were legendary, and never failed to delight audiences who were lucky enough to catch him in the act. As we all mourn his passing, we can take comfort in the fact that the performances he left behind will never diminish. Our personal favorites follow:

Steven T. Jones: Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) — a nice early combo of his manic comedy and dramatic acting abilities. And his first comedy album, Reality … What a Concept (1979)

Rebecca Bowe: Mrs. Doubtfire: It’s so much easier to laugh about divorce when there’s a fake boob costume involved.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez: Hook (1991). “Bangarang!”

Cheryl Eddy: Mrs. Doubtfire (“It was a run-by fruiting!”); Aladdin (1992); Dead Poets Society (1989)

Brooke Ginnard: Dead Poets Society: A couple of months ago, my friend woke up to find me enraptured by it, and sobbing into her cat’s fur. Also Jumanji (1995), even though I’m still terrified of spiders.

Emma Silvers: Dead Poets Society (1989), The Birdcage (1996), Aladdin (1992). I knew every single word to his songs in Aladdin, including lots of jokes that went way over my head until five or six years later.

Marke B: Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), but recut via the magic of YouTube into a stunning horror movie trailer


Ever been sent to the principal’s office? What if you got there and the principal started playing hip-hop? It’s happening. Academy of Arts and Sciences Assistant Principal Joe Truss joined with two friends to form a rap group, Some of All Parts. When kids who get kicked out of class are sent his way, he said, “We’ll talk for 15 or 20 minutes about rap, and then I’ll be like, ‘So. Why did you get kicked out of class? How can we get you back in?'” Truss’ creative approach to reaching kids — even producing a music video for the track “Rappers Ain’t Sayin Nothin'” — follows recent outcry over the number of students facing suspensions at SF Unified School District. “There’s too many African American students failing and getting pushed out of schools,” he said. Now that more educators are seeking to address it, “We’re much more understanding of where kids come from and where they want to go.”


Alejandro Nieto was killed after a hotly debated, horrifying confrontation with the SFPD nearly five months ago. Since his death, his family and loved ones often gather at a memorial on Bernal Hill to remember him. Now, however, Nieto’s memorial has been repeatedly vandalized, and one suspect (who was seen kicking down part of the memorial) was caught on video by a bystander. For more, see the Politics blog at


It isn’t enough for the tech folks to blow up our nightlife and real estate, now they’re blowing up our damn landmarks — again! Gun-happy gamers are frothily anticipating the newest shoot-em-up, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. But the latest iteration of the game franchise that-wouldn’t-go-away (there are almost as many COD games as there are Bond films) is exploring new territory by blowing up the Golden Gate Bridge in its newest trailer. Thanks, Foster City-based developers Sledgehammer Games, we really more symbolism for tech’s destruction of the city like a (digital) hole in the head.


Locals Only: Tom Rhodes


There are artists who are known for being shy and reclusive — for producing their best work while holed up in their room, or in a cabin in the woods, or on a solo bender.

And then there are those who feed off the energy of an audience. The magic of a live performance is in the interaction, right? In the knowing that, though you’re just a face in a crowd at a venue like thousands of others across the country, the experience you’re having with a musician live on stage is unique to that evening; whether it’s a drum coming in a millisecond later than it did the previous night or banter that changes based on what the band drank backstage.

With Or Without, the fourth self-released album from East Bay singer-songwriter Tom Rhodes, has taken the concept of a live album — the attempt to capture that specific face-to-face, performer-audience magic — and distilled it like a fine whiskey. Created over the course of four separate live performances in November in front of intimate studio audiences at San Francisco’s own Coast Recorders, the resulting music sounds like you’ve been snuck into something secret and awesome: There’s a particularly liberated-sounding husk in Rhodes’ voice (one could guess he falls into the latter camp of artists), an excitingly un-tucked feeling behind pedal steel man Tim Marcus’ guitar, and the overall feeling of the band playing directly to you; this album would be particularly welcome on a solo road trip.

Perhaps relatedly, Rhodes has traveled extensively, and also swerved between genres a good deal. Ahead of his show with fellow local alt-country/folk heavyweights The Lady Crooners (who also appear on his album) and Kelly McFarling this Wednesday, Aug. 13 at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, we caught up with Rhodes to hear about the inspirations for this album and, of course, his favorite foods.

SF Bay Guardian How and when did you first start playing music? Who are the songwriters you look to for inspiration? What’s the first record you really remember loving?

Tom Rhodes I have been playing music for as long as I can remember. As a very young child I remember my mother teaching me piano, singing at home and at church; instruments were all over the house and I was never told that I was too young or clumsy to experiment with them. My mother is a classically trained singer and multi-instrumentalist (she played the oboe, clarinet, piano, and guitar) and my father is an incredibly passionate music collector. So I wound up in this perfect environment for creating a child who would grow up to be a musician: A kid in a house filled to the brim with instruments and parents who were constantly listening to music on top of the line stereos, and discussing that music with parents who really dove into it themselves. My dad’s record collection numbered in the thousands, we had a room that was filled with shelves of records and I would play them all the time. Then it was tapes, then CDs.

The music that I came of age to was so diverse that I can’t begin to list even my favorites…it’s everything…they all had pretty equal weight, but the first “songwriter” that I remember falling in love with lyrically and musically was (and still is) Paul Simon. It’s really a toss-up between him and the older Jackson Browne stuff for me when it comes to a benchmark that I have always tried to get close to. The first record that opened up huge doors in my head as far as songwriting goes was Paul Simon’s Graceland. It has this scope, and tenderness, and insight that continues to this day to have new and deeper meanings to me, and it was like nothing I had ever heard.

SFBG From your bio, it sounds like you’ve lived all over. Do you think your style has changed with geographic location? How are you influenced by the place you live? What led to the fuller band sound on this album?

TR Living in lots of places has definitely affected my style. Everywhere I go I try to find the music that makes that spot special and dig into it. In the Bahamas I would follow around the musicians in the Calypso bands trying to figure out how their crazy rhythms worked. In New Orleans I fell in love with Zydeco and Second Line…I played with local cats and tried to catch their vibe. I’ve busked everywhere I have lived, and I always check out the local buskers…they will tell you where the heart of the city is quicker than any overpriced bar. San Francisco is a bit different on its influence on me. It has been less musical and much more intellectual. For the first time in a long time I have had the social freedom to explore some concepts about humanity and myself by being surrounded by other people on a similar quest. San Francisco has such a diverse and transplanted population that it’s style seems to be more about what you’re saying than how you are saying it. That has rubbed off on me a bit. 

As far as the fuller sound on the album, that has come from the amazing musicians that I am surrounded by.  The musicianship in the Bay Area is top notch right now, and some very special stuff is going to start emerging from it very soon.  I look at SF as a town on the brink of being a center of music in the next 5-10 years.

SFBG Can you tell me a bit about how the way this album was recorded, using live sessions? How do you think it affects the overall sound/feel of a record?

TR This album was a concept before the first note was recorded. The concept was to create a record that would be the most real and honest piece of art I had ever made.

The record is self-financed, and even the crowd funding was done in a way that didn’t ask for donations but rather I asked people to hire me to do work with the knowledge that the money I made was going into making this album. I wanted to walk away from the process with a piece of art that I would pay $15,000 for, and I have it.

To create that we had to do everything the hard way (i.e. the right way). I brought in Charlie Wilson (SonicZen Records) to help me build a band around these songs that I had labored over for almost three years and record them live in a top shelf studio. We rented out Coast Recorders for four days, invited in a small audience each night, and played the album for them live. We took the best takes and that’s the record that you hear.

Recording live is very hard and very risky, so it is very rare to see artists attempting it these days, unless they are trying to make a record on the cheap.  There are so many variables that can go wrong (you can lose your voice, there can be technical issues that take up recording time, the band can make mistakes, some small thing can be out of tune) and if any of them happen, you wind up with a bad sounding album and no back-up plan.  Most records are tracked separately these days to avoid that, but to me it takes all of the real life out of it, and it tells me almost nothing about the person who recorded it.

Another thing is doing it in front of an audience. I am a live performer by trade really, I spend 90 percent of my time in music with a guitar strapped to my chest and singing to real, live, human beings (and sometimes my dog). Performing is what I do best, so why go into a studio and do anything other than that? I find tracking vocals in a booth takes all of the emotion out of it for me, and I have to put it back into the music in some fake kind of way. Why not just do it the right way and record it? (The answer most producers and engineers would tell you is that most people can’t do that. They make too many mistakes, don’t know their songs, it’s hard to isolate the voice and guitar from each other to edit them later.) One of the amazing things that Charlie Wilson did in this whole process was to not back down from those challenges.

So in the end we have this album.  It is exactly what I wanted.  It is a collection of songs that say exactly what I want them to say, and it doesn’t just sound like what we sound like when we play as a band… it IS us playing as a band.  Performing these songs with our hearts wide open.  But when someone hears the record I hope that they don’t hear that it’s live, I hope that they FEEL that it’s real.

SFBG How do you describe your genre, when forced to? (Sorry.) There have been some pretty real shifts from album to album — is that conscious/intentional/inspired by anything in particular?

TR I’m ok with this [question] now…This album is Americana. It’s a weird term, but it’s where this record sits, probably the last one too. The stylistic shifts aren’t just from album to album, they are from song to song inside of those albums. Those shifts aren’t actually purposeful (other than being strongly guided to have more of a rock record for “No Apologies”) as much as they are a byproduct of the way that I write. I don’t write music to fit a genre, I just write the songs that come to my mind in the most effective way that I can to get the idea across. Sometimes that requires a completely different feel than other songs that I write. Each song needs to be served to the best of my abilities, regardless of what sort of music is expected of me. I grew up listening to and learning such a diverse collection of music that I have a pretty broad pallet in my head to choose from. It’s actually pretty coincidental that this album has such a singular vibe that way. Even on this album there are some genre swings; “Dying is Easy” is what I would call an R&B tune, “Nobody’s Listening” is pretty poppy, but the band and the circumstances gave this record a much more specific vibe, and we recorded it live so we couldn’t go back later and alter that feel. Not that I would do that in a million years.

SFBG Plans for the coming year?

TR This year is all about trying to spread the word about this record. That is the absolute hardest part about being an independent musician, just getting in front of new eyes and ears.  There are some big shows lined up, some tours in the works, music videos to be released…hopefully I can find people who can help me with that. That is my goal for this year, find a team of people who can help to spread this music around. I think that this album has what it takes, now I just need to show it to the world.

SFBG Where in the Bay do you live? What’s the one Bay Area meal/food item you couldn’t live without?

TR I live in the East Bay, in the Emeryville/Oakland area. There is a Mexican place out here that has the best burritos in the area, called Chili Jalapeño. It’s a hole in the wall, but I honestly daydream about their food.

SFBG Other Bay Area bands you love?

TR I love The Lady Crooners (not just because they are on my album!). They have some of the best harmonies in the business, and they make me smile every time I see them. Con Brio is an absolute must-see if you like to dance. Quiles and Cloud destroy me with their tight two-part harmonies and dark beautiful songs. When it comes to local songwriters, Lia Rose, Andrew Blair, Kelly McFarling…there is an awesome scene in this city right now, it’s bubbling under the surface, and someone smart is going to come along and figure that out. When the top blows off of the kettle I just hope to be around to see it.

Tom Rhodes, Kelly McFarling and the Lady Crooners

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 8pm, $17

Freight & Salvage Coffehouse

2020 Addison, Berk.

Locals Only is our shout-out to the musicians who call the Bay Area home — a chance to spotlight an artist/band/music-maker with an upcoming show, album release, or general good news to share. To be considered, drop me a line at

Guardian Intelligence: July 23 – 29, 2014



The annual J-Pop Summit in Japantown drew a lively crowd of anime and other Japanese pop culture treasures to Japantown last weekend (including Shin, pictured). This year’s festivities included a Ramen Festival portion, featuring noodle cooks from around the world — and lines up to two hours long to sample their rich, brothy creations. PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE


Former San Francisco Mayor and current Chronicle columnist Willie Brown, often just called Da Mayor, is widely acknowledged to be one of the most politically influential individuals in San Francisco. But until recently, he’d never registered as a lobbyist with city government. Now it’s official: Brown has been tapped as a for-real lobbyist representing Boston Properties, a high-powered real-estate investment firm that owns the Salesforce Tower. News outlets (including the Bay Guardian) have pointed out for years that despite having received payments for high-profile clients, Brown has never formally registered, leaving city officials and the public in the dark. Da Mayor, in turn, has seemed unfazed.


On July 20, marked as the deadliest day yet in the Israeli-Gaza conflict, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in San Francisco to march against the ongoing violence. Waving flags, participants chanted “Free, free Palestine!” and progressed from the Ferry Building to City Hall. It was just one of hundreds of protests staged worldwide in response to the bloodshed. As of July 21, the Palestinian death toll had risen to about 500, while 25 Israeli soldiers were killed. PHOTO BY STEPHANY JOY ASHLEY


Last year, the SF SPCA ( assisted with over 5,000 cat and dog adoptions. With its new adoption center near Bryant and 16th Streets, which opened June 13, it aims to increase capacity by 20 percent — saving 1,000 more furry lives in the process. The new facility features improved condo-style enclosures rather than cages, a small indoor dog park, and SF-themed climbing structures for cats. (So far, there’s a Golden Gate Bridge, a Transamerica Pyramid, a cable car, the Sutro Tower, and the SF Giants logo; a Castro Theatre design is in the works.) These improvements make the shelter life more comfortable for the animals, but they also help entice visitors, making the adoption process “a fun, happy experience,” says SF SPCA media relations associate Krista Maloney. See more kitties and puppies at the Pixel Vision blog at PHOTO BY CHERY EDDY


The quarterly SF Mixtape Society event brings together people of all, er, mixes with one thing in common: a love of the personally curated playlist. This time around (Sun/27, 4pm-6pm, free. The MakeOut Room, 3225 24th St, SF. the theme is “Animal Instinct.” You can bring a mixtape in any format to participate — CD, USB, etc. (although anyone who brings an actual cassette will “nab a free beer and respect from peers.”) Awards will be given in the following categories: best overall mixtape, audience choice, and best packaging. Hit that rewind!


This week San Francisco plays host to the Libertarian conference/slumber-party Reboot 2014, aimed at — you guessed it — tech workers. Conservatives and government-decrying libertarians are natural allies, wrote Grover Norquist, scion of the anti-tax movement, in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Uber swerves around transportation regulations, Airbnb slinks under housing regulations. It’s no wonder politically marginalized libertarians are frothing at the mouth to ally with Silicon Valley’s ascendant billionaires. Reboot 2014 speaker Rand Paul’s recent meeting with Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, and Peter Thiel should have liberals all worried.


BART announced via a press release they’d begin “ensuring safe evacuation” of downtown BART stations. By this they mean they’ll start sweeping out anyone sitting or laying down in the stations, clearly targeting the homeless. Deflecting those accusations, BART said they are one of the few transportation agencies with a dedicated outreach and crisis intervention coordinator, as if that gives them a pass.


At 66, Jimmy Cliff put on one of the most energetic live shows we’ve ever seen on Saturday, July 19 at the Fillmore, high-kicking through newer songs, like “Afghanistan,” an updated version of eternal protest song “Vietnam,” as well as the classics: “The Harder They Come,” “Many Rivers to Cross,” etc. Check the Noise blog at for a full review.


Purr-suit of happiness: SF SPCA aims to save more lives with its new adoption center


Last year, the SF SPCA assisted with 5,084 cat and dog adoptions. With its new adoption center near Bryant and 16th Streets, which opened June 13, it aims to increase capacity by 20 percent — saving 1,000 more furry lives in the process.

“When our old adoption center opened in 1998, it was the first shelter in the country to house animals in condominium-style rooms instead of cages,” SF SPCA co-president Jason Walthall said in a June press release. The upgraded shelter continues this tradition — and continues to offer dog training classes, volunteer programs for youth, and other community-service activities — but with even more enhancements for the animals. Each glassed-in enclosure features a touch screen pad that provides more information about the pet inside, with an emphasis on personality type (“social butterfly,” “busy bee,” “delicate flower”) over breed — a more efficient way of linking animals with potential new families. 

For dogs, there’s a small indoor park that’s used to make introductions (especially important if the potential new owner already owns a dog — gotta make sure the new pooch gets along with the pack), while the cats, housed in a separate section of the building, get to scamper across SF-themed cat condos. (So far, there’s a Golden Gate Bridge, a Transamerica Pyramid, a cable car, the Sutro Tower, and the SF Giants logo; a Castro Theatre design is in the works.) These improvements make the shelter life more comfortable for the animals — though most dogs only stay two weeks; cats, just slightly longer — but they also help entice visitors.

“We want to make it a fun, happy experience,” says SF SPCA media relations associate Krista Maloney, pointing out that the shelter — which was founded in 1868, has an attached vet hospital (providing free and sliding-scale spay-neuter procedures, among other services), and is a nonprofit funded by donations — competes with pet stores and breeders to place animals in homes. Earlier this year, it joined forces with fellow nonprofit Pets Unlimited, which is located in Pacific Heights, to further its mission: “to save and protect animals, provide care and treatment, advocate for their welfare and enhance the human-animal bond.”

But wait! You’re a San Francisco renter! The words “NO PETS ALLOWED” haunt your nightmares! How can visiting an animal shelter be anything but depressing? SF SPCA’s website has an entire section offering advice for landlords and tenants (one tip: create a “pet resume” to include with your rental application) on the subject of pet-friendly housing. And if the landlord won’t consent to a dog, the SF SPCA just might be able to help out anyway. Coming soon to the new facility: adoptable small mammals, including rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs.

Events: July 16 – 22, 2014


Listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Selector.


“The James Webb Space Telescope: Science Potential and Project Status” Randall Museum Theater, 199 Museum Way, SF; 7:30pm, free. Tom Greene of NASA Ames Research Center discusses the highly advanced James Webb Space Telescope.

“Lyrics and Dirges” Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck, Berk; 7:30pm, free. Monthly reading series curated by Sharon Coleman, with Joyce E. Young, Monica Zarazua, Joshua McKinney, Katayoon Zandvakili, Rusty Morrison.

Celeste Ng Book Passage, 1 Ferry Bldg, SF; 6pm, free. The author shares Everything I Never Told You, her debut novel about a mixed-race family in 1970s Ohio.


“The Heights of Birding in Colombia” First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin, SF; 7-9pm, $5. Photographer and birding instructor Bob Lewis shows images of birds he observed in the Colombian mountains. Sponsored by the Golden Gate Audobon Society.

LaborFest 2014 Meet at M stop at 19th and Holloway, SF; 2-3pm, free. Park Merced Housing Walk led by members of the Park Merced Action Committee. Also 518 Valencia, SF. 7pm, donations accepted. “FilmWorks United: International Working Class Film and Video Festival:” “The Plundering” (Ressler, 2013), “Made in the USA: Tom Hudak’s Plan to Cut Your Wages” (Gillespie, 2013), “Judith, Portrait of a Street Vendor” (Pirana, 2013),” and “High Power” (Indulkar).


“Bay Area Now 7” opening night party Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; 8-11pm, $12-15. Celebrate the opening of YBCA’s signature triennial, an exhibit highlighting works by local artists who capture “the spirit of now,” with tunes by Honey Soundsystem.

LaborFest 2014 First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin, SF; 7pm, donations accepted. “FilmWorks United:” Empire of Shame (Hong, 2013).


“East Bay SPCA Pet Adopt-a-Thon” Jack London Square, Washington at Embarcadero, Oakl; 10am-3pm, free. Meet your new best friend at this event highlighting East Bay adoption agencies — and the dogs, cats, bunnies, rats, guinea pigs, birds, and reptiles they care for that need new homes. The event also features canine demos and $10 microchip implants.

“GeekGasm” Club OMG, 43 Sixth St, SF; 9pm-2am, $5 (free with advance RSVP and before 11pm). Let your inner geek out with fellow nerds, dorks, cosplayers, furries, sci-fi fans, gamers, and gaymers at this party, which features dancing, a costume contest, drink specials, and more.

LaborFest 2014 ILWU Local 34 Hall, 801 Second St, SF; 10am-1pm, free. “Life and Death! The Attack on OSHA, Workers Health and Safety, and Injured Workers” public forum. Also National Japanese American Historical Society, 1684 Post, SF. 2pm, free. “ILWU and Japanese Americans” presentation. Also ILWU Local 34 Hall. 7:30pm, donation. “Movement Energy: A History of May Day and the Eight Hour Day,” performance by the Rockin’ Solidarity Chorus, Sat, 7:30.

Sara Lautman Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission, SF; 1-3pm, free. The July cartoonist-in-residence shares and discusses her work.

“Meet Your Maker” David Brower Center, 2150 Allston, Berk; Noon-6pm. Free. Celebrate the alternative economies of the Bay Area at this event featuring artisans from Treasure Island Flea, educators from Institute of Urban Homesteading, Urban Ore scavengers, and more, plus a craft market, food trucks, workshops, presentations, and more.


“How a Chinese Game Shaped Modern America” Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission, SF; 1-2pm, free with museum admission ($10-12). Stanford’s Annelise Heinz discusses mah jongg’s journey from China to America’s Jewish community, with a focus on the Catskills and San Francisco. Part of the CJM’s new exhibit, “Project Mah Jongg.”

LaborFest 2014 First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin, SF; Noon-2pm, free. Reception for “Union Artists and Labor Art,” with works by Attila Cziglenyi, Carol Denny, David Duckworth, and others. Also 240 Second St, SF. Noon, free. “Irish Labor History Walk.” Also Niles Station, 37001 Mission, Fremont. 2pm, $7-12. “All Aboard the Niles Canyon Train and Films,” train ride and film screening at the Edison Theater.


“We Are CA: Glen Denny and Yosemite in the Sixties” California Historical Society, 678 Mission, SF; 6-8pm, $5. Veteran Yosemite climber Denny shares photographs and recounts his experiences climbing with the 1960s icons of “Camp Four.”



Party Radar: Basement Jaxx, Outpost, Clockwork, Bardot A Go Go, more


From the wild, wild, wide world of British clubbing: People are calling the video below “the worst club promo ever,” but I kinda want to go. It’s not often you find so much abandon, bounce, tan spray, and just plain this in nightlife these days:

As astute commenters rightly point out, rave was a working class phenomenon in most of Britain. (Here, too, most of the Midwest rave kids I knew were from working class families.) This is a great reminder of it. And hey, at least they’re not all hooliganisming over football, as the stereotypes would have you believe. Besides, yes, the now-famous gabber-gabber-hey at 1:40 is so much more fun that what I’ve been encountering in American clubs lately, alas.In fact! The only place I can thinki of him popping up is in our own sweet, sweet Cali underground. 

I love him. Buzzfeed points out that his name is Sean, and he’s a 41-year-old carpenter, and he loves to dance. Perhaps you’d like to pull off your best imitation at the parties below (click on the titles for more info):



BARDOT A GO GO— So fun. A pre-Bastille Day bash celebrating the Swinging French Sixties at Rickshaw Stop. Yes there will be ooh la la.

HOT CHIP DJ SET— Those loveable introspective electro nerds take to the turntables at Mezzanine, with Juan Maclean and the Lights Down Low crew

CLOCKWORK — Very, very good ‘n thoughtful London dub-techno duo hits Monarch.

CUBCAKE — Cute, sweet, usually quite packed night for chubby young gays and chasers at Lone Star Saloon.

LAST NITE — The next time someone says, “the ’90s are back!” just roll your eyes and reference this 2000s indie dance party, which has been going strong for many a Strokes singalong moon at MakeOut Room.




BASEMENT JAXX — The irresitibly catchy freaks of funky house hijinks return after a too-long absence. Public Works will be bopping.

SF THUMAKDA — A queer Bollywod dance party. ‘Nuff said.

URULU — Nice and easy tech/deep house (diva samples included) from this budding youngster at Audio, with the Modular crew.

POUND PUPPY — Hot, scruffy guys, often in goofy outfits.

TORMENTA TROPICAL — Tropical gooves and deep fuzzy bass bangers, with special guess DJ Blass from Puerto Rico, at Elbo Room.

DARK ENTRIES 5-YEAR ANNIVERSARY — Probably the coolest label in SF, releasing rare minimal wave, proto-goth classics, and new synth tunes, celebrates five years at record store RS94109 with a slew of dark local luminaries taking over the decks.



SLOW HANDS – The truly talented tech-house Lothario is back, performing at Monarch: Be warned, there will be spandex (???)

 OUTPOST— Awesome-sounding new garage/bass/techno monthly at Underground SF featuring some real cool cats: Vin Sol, Michael Claus, CM-4.

The Selector June 11-17, 2014



Luke Sweeney

“Miss Me?” Luke Sweeney asks in the lead track from his forthcoming album Adventure:Us, and in response I’d probably deny, avoid eye contact, but then demurely say, “Um…maybe a li’l bit.” Truth be told I’ve been quite won over by the album, maybe because of the apparent shared affectation for Mark Bolan’s swinging shuffle, George Harrison’s weepsy guitar, Jeff Tweedy’s pop twang, and a little bit of Question Mark and the Mysterians mysterious…something or other. Now Sweeney is returning to SF from a California tour with a homecoming show at Monarch (of all places.) Luke, please don’t leave us like that again. (Ryan Prendiville)

With Farallons, Tidelands

9pm, $5 – $8


101 6th St, SF

(415) 284-9774




Guided By Voices

Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard is one of the most insanely prolific songwriters in rock history. Since its inception in 1983 in Dayton, Ohio, Guided By Voices has released 22 studio albums, 17 EPs, and 39 singles. Each of these records contains around 20 songs, most hovering around the one-minute mark. Within these little vignettes of genius (read: insanity) Pollard explores surrealist narratives, charmingly compact and catchy melodies, and genuine emotional impact. 30 years into their career, GBV play hard, drink hard, and make much younger rockers look washed-up and tame. The band also rarely tours, so don’t miss tonight’s show. There’s no knowing what they’ll play, but it’s going to be a night to remember. (Haley Zaremba)

With Bobby Bare, Jr.

8pm, $38

Regency Ballroom

1300 Van Ness, SF




San Francisco Black Film Festival

At a time when cultural landmarks like Marcus Books are being evicted from the historic Fillmore district, this festival, which celebrates African-American contributions to cinema, might strike a more poignant tone than ever before. Now in its 16th year, the three-day fest aims to present films that “reinforce positive images and dispel negative stereotypes” and connect Black filmmakers from around the Bay Area and beyond. This opening evening features the Life of King, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Eugene Brown, who turned his life around after 18 years in prison, funneling his passion for chess into a way to help inner-city youth in Washington, D.C. (Emma Silvers)

Through Sun/15

Prices and showtimes vary, see website for details

Jazz Heritage Center

1320 Fillmore, SF





Alice Glass

Alice Glass is one of the most dynamic frontpeople in the music industry. Half of Toronto’s infamous electro-duo Crystal Castles, Glass’ clear, piercing voice and fiercely frenetic stage presence make her a stunning vocalist and onstage force of nature. Hard-partying and un-compromising, Glass is a born performer, commanding arenas and collecting a following of cult-like fans with ease. Since she ran away at 14 to join a punk squat, fronting an all-girl crust-punk band called Fetus Fatale, Glass has been making a name for herself as a skilled musician and magnetic personality. Combining punk and hardcore aesthetics with harshly catchy electronics, Glass’ music is a unique concoction that will make you dance your ass off. (Zaremba)

With Sad Andy, 28 Mansions, We Are Isis (side room)

10pm, $17.50

1015 Folsom, SF

(415) 431-1200




Hayes Carll & Bob Schneider

“The World’s Greatest Living Songwriters of All Time” is a pretty cocky name for a tour, but this team delivers. Both singer-songwriters from the state of Texas, Carll and Schneider are performing together for the first time in their careers. Carll, from just outside of Houston, has been lauded as a modern songwriting heavyweight among the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Ray Wylie Hubbard. Carl’s songs sound timeless, although his content speaks to a modern world. Bob Schneider has been making music in Austin for decades with various bands: Joe Rockhead, the Scabs, Ugly Americans. Schneider’s output reaches across pop, rock, folk, and country, while his uncensored songwriting has some labeling his music “adult alternative.” This is a show songwriters can’t miss.

8pm, $21

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750




#MyGreatCat Pop-Up Photo Gallery

You’d be lying if you said you’ve never been victim of the Internet black hole dedicated to cats. There’s no denying that the world wide web is the best thing to have happened to our pets. Take a look at the @Cats_of_Instagram account and you’ll find 1.4 million people who are just like you! From the silly to the cuddly to the serious, these fuzzy fellows have a wide range of adorable emotions, which is why @Cats_of_Instagram are hosting a pop-up photo gallery in the middle of Union Square for your viewing pleasure. “What’s so great about a cat” is the theme of the exhibition. Last month, Instagram users were encouraged to post photos and the hashtag #MyGreatCat for a chance to be part of the exhibit. Photos by teenage pet photographer Jessica Trinh will also be on display and the founders of @Cats_of_Instagram will be at the event too. Cat lovers unite for a heart-warming night that (you’ve been warned) may leave you melted into a pile of goo. (Laura B. Childs)

11am-7pm, free

Union Square, SF




Queer Women of Color Film Festival

Now in its tenth year, the Queer Women of Color Film Festival kicks off Pride Month with 32 short films, all of which are captioned for the benefit of deaf and hearing-impaired audience members — a presentation choice that reflects the festival’s quest to empower (and entertain) its diverse community. Standout programs include the doc-heavy “Seeds of Resistance,” spotlighting themes of cultivation and community organizing; “Girl Power!,” with films celebrating the younger generation; and a panel discussion with queer cinema pioneers Cheryl Dunye and Madeleine Lim on “the art and transformative power of film.” (Cheryl Eddy)

Starts Fri/13, through Sun/15, free ($5-$10 suggested donation)

Brava Theater Center

2789 24th St, SF




Commercially, the Roland TB-303 was discontinued in ’84. Should have been obsolete, but when a trio from Chicago got their hands on the bass synthesizer the next year, they discovered something else: the sound of the future. On Phuture’s seminal “Acid Tracks” the overdriven sound that gave birth to acid house is unmistakable. Perhaps feeling the impact of their legacy on music more than ever, original members DJ Pierre and Spanky (along with Lothario “Rio” Lee) are prepping a new album and performing together again, on a tour that brings them from a recent gig at the Sydney Opera House to Sunset’s annual picturesque bayside “electronic music picnic.” (Ryan Prendiville)

With Kyle Hall, Beautiful Swimmers, Awesome Tapes from Africa, J-Boogie, Galen, Solar, J-Bird

Noon-9:30pm, $20 – $30

Great Lawn, Treasure Island




Buzz Osborne

Having earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the heaviest purveyors of down-tuned, sludgy rock as the leader of The Melvins, Buzz Osborne likely turned some heads when he announced he was putting out an acoustic album. That release, This Machine Kills Artists (Ipecac Recordings), which hit stores earlier this month, isn’t as much of a departure as one might think, however — songs like “Dark Brown Teeth” aren’t fluffy folk, they’re still vintage Osborne. When Nirvana thanked him at their Rock N Roll Hall of Fame induction, it was for good reason; he helped shape the sound that defined hard rock in the early ’90s, and he continues to do so today. (Sean McCourt)

8pm, $15

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750



Tupac Birthday Celebration

Tupac Shakur lives on — in holograms, in our hearts, and tonight, at the Elbo Room. In honor of what would have been the late rapper’s 43rd birthday, the club is hosting a birthday party featuring the music of Tupac and other special guests, hosted by Bay Area rapper/activist/event producer Sellassie. Enjoy the moving and eloquent music Shakur left behind and celebrate the impact he still has on hip-hop and culture today. (Childs)

9pm, $5

Elbo Room

647 Valencia, SF

(415) 552-7788



Yann Tiersen

Yann Tiersen wants you to know that he is more than just composer of film soundtracks. Perhaps best known for his musical score for the french film Amélie, the Breton musician’s passion lies in touring and recording studio albums. His music just happens to fit seamlessly into films. Though renowned in France for his studio albums, Tiersen remains mostly known as the guy who created the magical accordion and piano driven tunes that fuel Amélie’s imaginative adventures. However, tonight at the Regency Ballroom, Tiersen will play from his own albums, his most recent, “Ï” (aka Infinity) in particular. Those expecting a classical performance will be sorely disappointed. Heavily influenced by punk music, Tiersen’s minimalist tracks range from noisy to melancholic with his five-piece band. The musical influence of each of his nine album varies greatly, but his musical style simple and recognizable. With each album, he shows a new facet to his talent, proving that he is so much more than an orchestral composer. (Childs)

8pm, $25

Regency Ballroom

1290 Sutter, SF

(415) 673-5716

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Event Listings: May 28-June 3, 2014


Listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Selector.


Cassandra Dallett Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck, Berk; 7:30pm, free. The author celebrates her poetic memoir, Wet Reckless.

Madison Young Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; 7:30pm, free. The author and sex-positive activist reads from her memoir, Daddy.


“BiConic Flashpoints: Four Decades of Bay Area Bisexual Politics” GBLT History Museum, 4127 18th St, SF; Opening reception 7-9pm, $3-5. A new multimedia exhibit explores the history of bisexual activism in the Bay Area since the 1970s.

“Chemical Reactions NightLife” California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park, SF; 6-10pm, $12. “Think before you drink” with author Adam Rogers (Proof:: The Science of Booze), get a close-up (like, microscopic) look at beer brewing, dance to disco with DJ BANG!, and more.


“Babylon Salon” Cantina SF, 580 Sutter, SF; 6:30pm, free. With readings by Kathryn Ma, Dave “Davey D” Cook, Porter Shreve, and Kirstin Chen, plus a musical performance by singer-songwriter Ying-sun Ho.

Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival Shattuck between Rose and Vine, Berk. 10am-5pm, free. Chalk artists compete for prizes while turning the sidewalks into eye candy — and speaking of candy, sweet tooth-ers can pick up ticket packs ($20 for 20) to sample chocolate items galore, including exotic treats like picante habañero chocolate gelato.

“Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets Family Fun Festival” Civic Center Park, MLK at Center, Berk; 10am-3pm, free. Petting zoos (baby goats!), bouncy houses, an obstacle course, puppet-making using recycled materials, a zine-making station, and more green fun.

Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days Pet Food Express, 3868 Piedmont, Oakl; (check web site for additional locations). 9am-3pm, free. Also Sun/1, 10am-3pm. Nonprofit cat-rescue organization Maine Coon Adoptions offers free adoptions of cats and kittens in honor of Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, the largest free pet adoption event in the country.


“Poetry Unbound #13” Art House Gallery, 2905 Shattuck, Berk; 5pm, $5. Reading with COPUS, Charles Curtis Blackwell, and Kayla Sussell, with a brief open mic hosted by Clive Matson and Richard Loranger.


“Invisible Hands: Voices from the Global Economy” David Brower Center, Goldman Theater, 2150 Allston, Berk; 7pm, free. The Brower Center and Voice of Witness partner for this book launch (Invisible Hands) and panel discussion on the state of labor the global economy.

“13 Crime Stories from Latin America: McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern #46” Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; 7:30pm, free. Editor Daniel Gumbiner and translators Katherine Silver and Joel Streiker discuss this new collection of work by contemporary writers from 10 different countries.

“Todd Trexler: A Solo Exhibition of His Legendary Portraits” Magnet, 4122 18th St, SF; Gallery hours: Mon-Tue and Sat, 11am-6pm; Wed-Fri, 11am-9pm. Opening reception June 6, 7-10pm. Free. Legendary poster artist Todd Trexler (the Cockettes, Sylvester, Divine) shows his work in the first exhibit of its kind in over 40 years.


“Creating Children’s Books: An Immigrant’s Story” San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin, SF; 6pm, free. Author Yuyi Morales (Niño Wrestles the World) delivers the SFPL’s 18th annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture, discussing the need for diversity in children’s literature.

James Fearnley Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; 7:30pm, free. The music biographer discusses Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues. *


Stage Listings: May 28-June 3, 2014


Stage listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at



Devil Boys From Beyond New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; $25-45. Previews Wed/28-Fri/30, 8pm. Opens Sat/31, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 28. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs Buddy Thomas and Kenneth Elliot’s campy sci-fi saga.

Each and Every Thing Marsh San Francisco Main Stage, 1062 Valencia, SF; $20-50. Previews Thu/29-Fri/30, June 5-6, and 12-13, 8pm; Sat/31 and June 7, 8:30pm. Opens June 14, 8:30pm. Runs Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through July 12. Dan Hoyle presents his latest solo show, about the search for real-world connections in a tech-crazed world.

Homo File CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; $20-35. Opens Fri/30, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 15. Eye Zen and CounterPULSE present Seth Eisen’s interdisciplinary performance about queer author and tattoo artist Sam Steward.

Macbeth Fort Point (beneath the Golden Gate Bridge), SF; $30-75. Previews Fri/30-Sun/1, 7pm. Opens Thu/5, 7pm. Runs Thu-Sun, 7pm. Through June 29. We Players performs the Shakespeare classic at the historic fortress at Fort Point.

“Savage in Limbo” Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; $25. Previews Thu/29, 8pm. Opens Fri/30, 8pm. Runs Sat/31, Sun/1, June 3-6, 8pm (also Sun/1, 2pm); June 7, 2pm. Through June 7. Rabbit Hole Theater Company performs John Patrick Shanley’s Bronx-set drama.

Triassic Parq Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson, SF; $25-36. Previews Thu/29, 8pm. Opens Fri/30, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (also June 21 and 28, 2pm). Through June 28. Ray of Light Theatre presents the Bay Area premiere of Marshall Pailet’s musical involving “dinosaurs, show tunes, and sex changes.”

Walk Like A Man Costume Shop, 1117 Market, SF; $15-35. Previews Wed/28-Fri/30, 8pm. Opens Sat/31, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through June 15. Theatre Rhinoceros performs Laurinda D. Brown’s dramedy centered around issues in the African American lesbian community.


Chasing Mehserle Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; $15-25. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm. Intersection for the Arts, Campo Santo, and the Living Word Project present Chinaka Hodge’s performance piece about Oakland in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant killing.

The Crucible Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough, SF; $10-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 15. Custom Made Theatre Co. performs Arthur Miller’s drama.

Dracula Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; $35. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm. Kellerson Productions presents a new adaptation of the Bram Stoker classic.

Feisty Old Jew Marsh San Francisco Main Stage, 1062 Valencia, SF; $25-100. Sat-Sun, 5pm. Extended through July 13. Charlie Varon performs his latest solo show, a fictional comedy about “a 20th century man living in a 21st century city.”

Foodies! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; $32-34. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. AWAT Productions presents Morris Bobrow’s musical comedy revue all about food.

The Homosexuals New Conservatory Theatre Center, Decker Theatre, 25 Van Ness, SF; $25-45. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 28. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs Philip Dawkins’ play about a young man struggling with his identity amid a new group of friends.

Lovebirds Marsh San Francisco Studio, 1062 Valencia, SF; $20-100. Fri/30, 8pm; Sat/31, 8:30pm. Award-winning solo theater artist Marga Gomez brings her hit comedy back for a limited run before taking it to New York in June.

Pearls Over Shanghai Hypnodrome Theatre, 575 10th St, SF; $30-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Extended through June 28. Five years ago, Thrillpeddlers breathed new life into a glitter-dusted piece of Sixties flotsam, beautifully reimagining the Cockettes’ raunchy mock-operetta Pearls Over Shanghai (in collaboration with several surviving members of San Francisco’s storied acid-drag troupe) and running it for a whopping 22 months. Written by Cockette Link Martin as a carefree interpretation of a 1926 Broadway play, the baldly stereotyped Shanghai Gesture, it was the perfectly lurid vehicle for irreverence in all directions. It’s back in this revival, once again helmed by artistic director Russell Blackwood with musical direction by Cockette and local favorite Scrumbly Koldewyn. But despite the frisson of featuring some original-original cast members — including “Sweet Pam” Tent (who with Koldewyn also contributes some new dialogue) and Rumi Missabu (regally reprising the role of Madam Gin Sling) — there’s less fire the second time around as the production straddles the line between carefully slick and appropriately sloppy. Nevertheless, there are some fine musical numbers and moments throughout. Among these, Zelda Koznofsky, Birdie-Bob Watt, and Jesse Cortez consistently hit high notes as the singing Andrews Sisters-like trio of Americans thrown into white slavery; Bonni Suval’s Lottie Wu is a fierce vixen; and Noah Haydon (as the sultry Petrushka) is a class act. Koldewyn’s musical direction and piano accompaniment, meanwhile, provide strong and sure momentum as well as exquisite atmosphere. (Avila)

Seminar San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post, Second Flr, SF; $20-100. Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun/1 and June 8, 2pm. Through June 14. San Francisco Playhouse performs Theresa Rebeck’s biting comedy.

Shit & Champagne Rebel, 1772 Market, SF; $25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. D’Arcy Drollinger is Champagne White, bodacious blond innocent with a wicked left hook in this cross-dressing ’70s-style white-sploitation flick, played out live on Rebel’s intimate but action-packed barroom stage. Written by Drollinger and co-directed with Laurie Bushman (with high-flying choreography by John Paolillo, Drollinger, and Matthew Martin), this high-octane camp send-up of a favored formula comes dependably stocked with stock characters and delightfully protracted by a convoluted plot (involving, among other things, a certain street drug that’s triggered an epidemic of poopy pants) — all of it played to the hilt by an excellent cast that includes Martin as Dixie Stampede, an evil corporate dominatrix at the head of some sinister front for world domination called Mal*Wart; Alex Brown as Detective Jack Hammer, rough-hewn cop on the case and ambivalent love interest; Rotimi Agbabiaka as Sergio, gay Puerto Rican impresario and confidante; Steven Lemay as Brandy, high-end calf model and Champagne’s (much) beloved roommate; and Nancy French as Rod, Champagne’s doomed fiancé. Sprawling often literally across two buxom acts, the show maintains admirable consistency: The energy never flags and the brow stays decidedly low. (Avila)

The Speakeasy Undisclosed location (ticket buyers receive a text with directions), SF; $65-100 (gambling chips, $7-10 extra; after-hours admission, $10). Wed-Sat, 7:30, 7:40, 7:50, 8pm, and 9pm admittance times. Extended through June 21. Boxcar Theater’s most ambitious project to date is also one of the more involved and impressively orchestrated theatrical experiences on any Bay Area stage just now. An immersive time-tripping environmental work, The Speakeasy takes place in an “undisclosed location” (in fact, a wonderfully redesigned version of the company’s Hyde Street theater complex) amid a period-specific cocktail lounge, cabaret, and gambling den inhabited by dozens of Prohibition-era characters and scenarios that unfold around an audience ultimately invited to wander around at will. At one level, this is an invitation to pure dress-up social entertainment. But there are artistic aims here too. Intentionally designed (by co-director and creator Nick A. Olivero with co-director Peter Ruocco) as a fractured super-narrative — in which audiences perceive snatches of overheard stories rather than complete arcs, and can follow those of their own choosing — there’s a way the piece becomes specifically and ever more subtly about time itself. This is most pointedly demonstrated in the opening vignettes in the cocktail lounge, where even the ticking of Joe’s Clock Shop (the “cover” storefront for the illicit 1920s den inside) can be heard underscoring conversations (deeply ironic in historical hindsight) about war, loss, and regained hope for the future. For a San Francisco currently gripped by a kind of historical double-recurrence of the roaring Twenties and dire Thirties at once, The Speakeasy is not a bad place to sit and ponder the simulacra of our elusive moment. (Avila)

36 Stories by Sam Shepard Z Below, 470 Florida, SF; $35-55. Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through June 22. Word for Word performs director Amy Kossow’s original adaptation of Shepard’s poetry and fiction.


Candida Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School, Lafayette; $20-32. Fri-Sat and June 12, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 14. Town Hall Theatre performs the Shaw classic.

The Color Purple Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 East Hillsdale, Foster City; $23-38. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm; Sun/1, 2pm. Hillbarn Theatre closes its 73rd season with the musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s classic novel.

The Crazed Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; $15-28. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through June 23. Central Works performs Sally Dawidoff’s play, based on Ha Jin’s novel about coming of age in Communist China.

Daylighting: The Berkeley Stories Project Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; $20-35. Previews Wed/28-Thu/29, 7pm. Opens Fri/30, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm (June 22, show at 2pm). Through June 22. Shotgun Players present Dan Wolf’s new play inspired by real-life tales from Berkeley residents past and present.

“Fringe of Marin” Angelico Concert Hall, Dominican University, 20 Olive, San Rafael; $10-20. Schedule varies. Through Sun/1. Fringe of Marin celebrates its 33rd season with 11 original one-act plays presented in two programs.

The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; $14.50-89. Tue, Thu-Sat, 7:30pm (also Thu/29, June 26, and all Saturdays in June, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through June 29. Berkeley Rep performs the West Coast premiere of Tony Kushner’s latest play.

The Letters Harry’s UpStage, Aurora Theatre Company, 2081 Addison, Berk; $28-32. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Extended through June 8. American playwright John W. Lowell’s The Letters harkens back to Stalinist days and some unspecified ministry, where a dutiful staff goes about censoring the personal and openly homoerotic correspondence of an iconic Russian composer (Tchaikovsky). Directed by Mark Jackson for Aurora Theater’s new upstairs black box, the two-hander unfolds in the small but tidy and dignified office belonging to the ministry’s director (an imposing Michael Ray Wisely). He has summoned one of his employees, a widow named Anna (a taut Beth Wilmurt), for reasons not immediately clear to her or us. A careful dance around a minefield of protocol, sexual innuendo, and hidden agendas ensues, as a dangerous and deadly scandal surrounding the aforementioned letters makes itself felt. Given the Ukraine crisis, the ramping up of Cold War II, and Russia’s increasing authoritarianism — including its new law against homosexual “propagandizing” in the cultural realm, and a Ministry of Culture vowing to withhold funding from art lacking in “spiritual or moral content” — it’s all a remarkably timely little time warp. And Lowell’s story is cleverly crafted for the most part. Unfortunately, the production’s two capable actors have a hard time conveying a lifelike (if however strained) relationship or the perspiration-inducing tension the drama purports to carry. At the same time, the drama’s dialogue, at least as played here, can stretch the bounds of verisimilitude by veering from flinty, cagey ducks and jabs to outright insubordination, sarcasm, and ineffectual blustering — the latter outbursts seeming to leave the pressure pot of the Great Terror far behind. It’s still a long way from Tom and Jerry, but as a cat and mouse game the stakes, and the arc of the story, feel more fantastical then pressingly contemporary. (Avila)

Mutt: Let’s All Talk About Race La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; $10-20. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 8. Impact Theatre and Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company present the world premiere of Christopher Chen’s political satire.

Nantucket Marsh Berkeley MainStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; $25-100 (all tickets include a picnic dinner). Thu and Sat, 7pm. Through June 14. Acclaimed solo performer Mark Kenward presents his “haunting yet hilarious” autobiographical show about growing up on Nantucket.

Not a Genuine Black Man Osher Studio, 2055 Center, Berk; $30-45. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm. Brian Copeland brings his acclaimed, long-running solo show to Berkeley Rep for a 10th anniversary limited run.

Other Desert Cities Barn Theatre, 30 Sir Francis Drake, Ross; $10-26. Thu, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 15. Ross Valley Players perform Jon Robin Baitz’s Pultizer-nominated drama about a tense family holiday.

South Pacific Cushing Memorial Amphitheater, 801 Panoramic Hwy, Mill Valley; $20-60. Sun and June 7, 2pm (arrive one hour prior to showtime). Through June 15. Mountain Play Association performs the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; $37-65. Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Saturdays in June, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm. Through June 21. Center REP performs the Tony-winning musical by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin.


“Alaska is a Drag” Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission, SF; Wed/28, 7pm. $5-15. The Big Table Read hosts this staged reading of Shaz Bennett’s screenplay.

“The Amazing Acro-Cats” Fort Mason Center, Southside Theater, Marina at Laguna, SF; Thu/29-Sat/31, 8:30pm; Sun/1, 2 and 5pm. $24. Samantha Martin and her performing cat troupe, including “the only cat band in existence” (with a chicken on tambourine), take the stage. As its press release insists, “Yes, this is real!”

“Auto(SOMA)tic: Creative Responses to the SOMA” Arc Studio and Gallery, 1246 Folsom, SF; Sat/31, 10am and 2pm. $30. Kearny Street Workshop and Shaping San Francisco present Allan S. Manalo’s interactive performance bus tour.

Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; June 17, 22, 29, July 12, 19, and 27, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.

“Dash: Improv in a Flash” Un-Scripted Theater Company, 533 Sutter, Second Flr, SF; Sat, 10pm. $15. Ongoing through Aug 30. A late-night, free-form improv show with Un-Scripted Theater Company.

“Dogeaters” ACT’s Costume Shop, 1119 Market, SF; Mon/2, 7pm. Free. Magic Theatre’s 2014 Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Series presents this staged reading of Jessica Hagedorn’s satirical soap opera.

“Dream Queens Revue” Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, 133 Turk, SF; Wed/28, 9:30pm. Free. Drag with Collette LeGrande, Ruby Slippers, Sophilya Leggz, Bobby Ashton, and more.

Feinstein’s at the Nikko 222 Mason, SF; This week: “Michael Feinstein with Paula West, in Celebration of Feinstein’s at the Nikko’s One-Year Anniversary,” Sun/1, 7pm, $80.

“Gender Assimilation: A Rebuttal” Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; Thu/29, 7:30pm. $10. Jaq Victor performs a cheeky coming-out tale as part of the United States of Asian America Festival.

“Hysteria” Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; Fri/30-Sat/31, 8pm; Sun/1, 7pm. $20. BodiGram takes on Dissociative Identity Disorder in this satirical performance work.

“Magic at the Rex” Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF; Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $25. Magic and mystery with Adam Sachs and mentalist Sebastian Boswell III.

“Mais Oui” 2946 Third St, SF; Sat/41, 6:45-10m. $8. The San Francisco Bicycle Ballet performs.

“Out of Line Improv” Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; Sat, 10:30pm. $12. Ongoing. A new, completely improvised show every week.

“San Francisco Comedy College” Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; $5-10. “New Talent Show,” Wed-Thu, 7. Ongoing. “The Cellar Dwellers,” stand-up comedy, Wed-Thu, 8:15pm and Fri-Sat, 7:30pm. Ongoing.

“Spring: Water Ritual” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Grand Lobby, 701 Mission, SF; Sat/31, 1-2:30pm. Free. Artist Dohee Lee performs a celebration of “the regenerative power of the ocean.”

“Threepenny Opera” Phoenix Annex Theater, 414 Mason, Ste 406, SF; Sat/31, 7:30pm; Sun/1, 2pm. $15-25. Waffle Opera performs the Weill and Brecht classic.

“Walking Distance Dance Festival — SF” ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; Fri/30-Sat/31, 7:30pm (also Sat/31, 3, 4, 6, and 9:30pm). $25 (festival pass, $65). ODC Theater’s fringe-style fest presents samplings of contemporary dance from around the world.

“Yerba Buena Gardens Festival” Yerba Buena Gardens, 760 Howard, SF; Free. Through Oct 26. This week: Will Magid Trio, Wed/29, 12:30-1:30pm; Ensemble Mik Nawooj, Sat/31, 1-2:30pm.


“After Juliet” Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, Oakl; Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm; Sun/1, 2pm; June 8, 2 and 8pm. $5-25. Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre performs Sharman Macdonald’s drama.

“MarshJam Improv Comedy Show” Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; Fri, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Improv comedy with local legends and drop-in guests.

“The Expulsion of Malcolm X” Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakl; Thu/29-Sat/31, 7:30pm (also Sat/31, 2:30pm). $30-40. A play exploring the rocky relationship between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad.

Risa Jaroslow and Dancers, Peiling Kao Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, 2704 Alcatraz, Berk; Fri/30-Sat/31, 8pm; Sun/1, 4pm. $15-18. The choreographers present What’s the Upshot and Ludic Numerologies.

“34th Annual Planetary Dance” Santos Meadow, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley; Sun/1, 11am. Free. This year’s theme of Anna Halprin’s annual participatory performance is “Remember the Children.” *


This Week’s Picks: May 28 – June 3, 2014




Brody Dalle

There is a serious deficit of female fierceness in punk rock at the moment. The music industry as a whole is a boys’ club, and it’s incredibly difficult for women to make a name for themselves in rock. Not only has Brody Dalle done this, she’s done it three times over, fronting beloved LA punk bands the Distillers and Spinnerette, and now as a solo artist, with her new record Diploid Love. She’s an inspiration in many ways — as a formidable frontperson, gifted musician, badass artist, and mother — and now, over 15 years since the Distillers began writing and performing, her work is tighter than ever. Diploid Love is a departure from the straightforward punk aesthetic of the Distillers and the pure rock ‘n’ roll of Spinnerette — the songs range from ballads and torch songs to angry rockers, all of them solid and heartfelt. Dalle’s versatility is impressive, but I’m happy to say that through it all she manages to keep her trademarked sonic sneer that made us fall in love with her to begin with. (Haley Zaremba)

$14, 8pm


333 11th St, SF

(415) 255-0333




On May 21, 1979, Dan White was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to just seven years in jail for assassinating Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. Thirty-five years ago today, the city took to the streets in outrage over the lenient sentence of a murderer. The White Night riots began with a march down Castro Street, continued into violent protests at City Hall and finished with police retaliation, tear gas, vandalization, and injury. Needless to say, Harvey Milk lived on as a hero of the gay rights movement in San Francisco and around the country. In honor of this anniversary, the Castro Theatre is celebrating Milk’s legacy with a special screening of Gus Van Sant’s Academy Award-winning Milk, starring Sean Penn as our favorite gay rights activist. The film chronicles the last eight years of Milk’s life, and how he changed this city for the better. (Laura B. Childs)

5:30pm and 8pm, $11

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6350





The Acro-Cats

If you attended either the Roxie’s or Oakland’s cat video festival a couple weeks ago and have been in feline withdrawal ever since, have no fear — the cat circus is here. Yes, it’s the Acro-Cats, an all-kitty circus troupe, complete with a cat rock band, that’s touring the country. Feats of derring-do will include cats jumping through hoops, cats jumping on tightropes, cats riding on skateboards, cats balancing on balls…you get the idea. They also arrive in a “Cat Car.” Founder Samantha Martin has taken in over a dozen stray or orphaned cats and found homes for 130 more in her lifetime; a percentage of ticket sales will go to kitty rescue programs. Sounds like a purrr-fect evening to me. (Emma Silvers)

Through Sun/25, 8:30pm, $24

The Southside Theatre at Fort Mason Center, SF



Black Flag

Legendary punk band Black Flag blazed the path for underground music in the United States during the 1970s and ’80s with its rigorous work ethic, groundbreaking recordings, and relentless touring that built a network and foundation for independent artists that still exists today. Recently resurrected by Greg Ginn, the founder-guitarist-primary songwriter and sole continuous member, the band released its first new record in nearly two decades last year, and is once again hitting the road and ripping through the new tunes along with old favorites like “TV Party,” “Six Pack” and “Rise Above.” (Sean McCourt)

With HOR, Cinema Cinema and Violence Creeps

8pm, $20-$25

Brick and Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission, SF

(415) 800-8782



Rock ‘n’ roll history: ‘American Jukebox’

“Plug into this jukebox and see the face and figures behind the greatest American Music,” says the co-founder of City Lights Bookstore, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, about American Jukebox. For Christopher Felver’s newest photography book, 240 photographs from tours and encounters with musicians over the past 25 years have been compiled into a photographic journey chronicling the heritage of American music and capturing its lively spirit. Scattered between playlists, autographed lyrics, record sleeves, and anecdotes are portraits of musicians caught in action on stage or posed under Felver’s lens. From Doc Watson to John Cage and Sonny Rollins to Patti Smith, American Jukebox celebrates the vitality of the music industry and its rich history. The photographer will appear in person to read and sign books. (Childs)

7pm, free

Books Inc. Bookstore Opera Plaza

601 Van Ness, SF

(415) 776-1111




The Avengers

One of the best bands to come out of the San Francisco punk scene in the late 1970s, the Avengers mixed impassioned politics and social commentary into their potent blend of dynamic and invigorated music. Fronted by singer Penelope Houston, they secured themselves a place in history when they opened for the Sex Pistols’ final gig at Winterland in January of ’78 and threatened to steal the show. Though they lasted only a couple of years before they broke up, the group made a lasting impression — and now, 35 years later, Houston and original guitarist Greg Ingraham are back and better than ever. (McCourt)

With Kicker and California

9pm, $15

The Chapel

777 Valencia, SF

(415) 551-5157




They might not have ever achieved widespread mainstream success, but the Sacramento-based band Rocketship had enough of a devoted following in the ’90s that news of their reunion for this year’s Popfest caused more than a little ripple of excitement among indie-pop lovers. This Slumberland Records showcase, part of the little indie-fest-that-could’s special weekend of bringing fuzz- and grunge-pop favorites from the ’90s and aughts back together, has a pretty stellar lineup from start to finish — you’re sure to see some cardigan-sporting superfans out in full force. (Emma Silvers)

With The Mantles, Bouracer, and The Softies

8pm, $18-$20

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, Sf



“The Hop”

Looking for a blast from the past party for this holiday weekend? Then check out Handsome Hawk Valentine’s “The Hop,” which will feature rockabilly bands including guitar slinger extraordinaire Deke Dickerson and his Ecco-Fonics and Kay Marie, along with Sin Sisters Burlesque. Slick back that pomp or put on those stilettos and get gone — but if you don’t have time before you get there, don’t worry: You can get in on some free retro hairstyling and photos, and then hoot and holler for the Bettie Page Clothing “Rockabilly Prom King and Queen” contest before you dance the night away. (McCourt)

9pm, $12

Elbo Room

647 Valencia, SF

(415) 552-7788



International Beer Festival

In the 30 years since the first International Beer Festival, a lot has changed. It all began with a selection of five beers (Pabst being one of the highlights) to now over 100 international and local craft brewers. Expect local brews from SF staples and Bay Area bites from local gems like the O-inducing Pizza Orgasmica. For over three decades, this beer festival has served as the perfect excuse to drink for a good cause — two birds, one stone — since the festival is entirely organized and staffed by parents of Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School students. The proceeds are donated to Tel-Hi’s preschool, which will fund the school’s programs for the entire year. Now that’s drinking responsibly. (Childs)

7pm, $75

Festival Pavilion

Fort Mason Center, SF



‘Grease’ Sing-A-Long

Whether you’re more of a fast-talkin’, gum-smackin’ Pink Lady or a dead ringer for Olivia Newton-John’s good girl Sandy, your stylistic choices will be welcome at this Castro Theatre tradition. Get ready for “Summer Lovin’,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “Beauty School Dropout,” and boatloads more overt sexual innuendo — a lot of which sounds pretty damn un-PC by today’s standards (“Tell me more, tell me more, did she put up a fight? Wait, what?!”) — than you probably noticed when you and your friends were all obsessed with this movie and crushing hard on John Travolta back at theater camp. The good news: Frankie Avalon was a teen-dream idol for a reason, Stockard Channing’s Rizzo is still the coolest of them all, and your hair goop is safe here. (Silvers)

2:30pm and 7pm, $16

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6350




Perfect Pussy

One of the buzziest bands of 2014, frenetic Syracuse-based punk rockers Perfect Pussy didn’t need the shock-value band name to make headlines — but it hasn’t hurt. The hype around the five-piece reached a fever pitch sometime around SXSW, when it became clear that vocalist Meredith Graves’ unusually confessional, literate writing (for noise punk) and take-no-bullshit delivery translated into a seriously mind-screwing live show, music blog darlings or no. She’s also been pretty articulate about feminism in interviews. In short: probably not a flash in the pan, and well worth seeing live. (Silvers)  

With Potty Mouth, Wild Moth, Crabapple

8pm, $10-$12, all ages

Rickshaw Stop 155 Fell, 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, 225 Bush, 17th Flr., SF, CA 94105; or e-mail (paste press release into e-mail body — no attachments, please) to 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.

Pow! Zap! Free comic book day with Ace of Geeks


Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day was like Christmas morning for comic lovers, and San Francisco is blessed with an abundance of comic book stores to celebrate from. Luckily for us, podcast Ace of Geeks decided to take a video tour of a few of SF’s most beloved dens of geekery on the beloved nerd holiday.  

Watching the Ace of Geeks crew (Mike, Jarys and Mae Linh) tour some of our city’s comic shops is a reminder of our bounty of nerdy-goodness, as each store has a distinct flavor.

Reflecting the Richmond district neighborhood, Cards and Comics Central has almost as many toys and collectibles as they do comics. Their anime and manga figurine collection alone is worth checking out (Neon Genesis Evangelion! Naruto!), and it’s one of the few places in the city you can find a stuffed Yoshi outside of Japantown.  

Ace of Geeks tours some of SF’s comic book shops.

The salesperson the Ace of Geeks crew talked to, Darrel, even has a Spider-Man themed New Era 59-50 flat brimmed hat (something a b-boy might wear before breakin’) that feels right at home in a neighborhood with schools like Washington High, attended by SF natives from the ‘hood. 

On the flipside, Hayes Valley is home to the ever-hilarious James Sime’s Isotope Comic Lounge, a comic shop with a hip, indie feel to it. Luckily, it predates the gentrification of the Hayes Valley ‘hood, and keeps the San Franciscan weird flavor alive (check out Sime’s hair, whoo!). But past its looks, Isotope is awesome because Sime is always trying something new. As he says in the video: “I get bored easily.” 

Two surprises on comic book day made Sime’s shop the one to beat. Firstly Isotope’s “featured” comic book artist was an adorable 11-year-old named Aidan Hernacki, who sat a table signing copies of his comic Onion Bros

But that’s Isotope, always trying to help out the little guy. 

The second surprise was a visit from J.J. Willliams III, the ultra-talented artist behind Promethea, Batwoman, and the new Sandman: Overture. Williams III donned a vest and was a hidden “shop boy” at Isotope, helping people find comics and answering questions. When a customer happened to actually buy a copy of Sandman: Overture, he whipped out his permanent marker and gave it a free autograph. 

Two Cats Comics in West Portal, Amazing Fantasy in the Inner Sunset and Comix Experience on Divisadero also made the tour. Check out the video to see the flavors of SF’s comic shops for yourself. 

This Week’s Picks: May 7 – 13, 2014




Science Talk: “The Mysteries of Sleep”

Wonderfest, “the Bay Area Beacon of Science,” is a nonprofit that has been organizing fun, funky science events and meet-ups for nearly two decades, and best of all, most of them are free. This talk, presented at the SoMa StrEat Food Park (with all of the delectable food truck and beer options that entails) will tackle one of the last great biological mysteries — something we spend one-third of our lives doing, yet something scientists still understand very little about. Matthew P. Walker, an associate professor of psychology at Cal, will describe the latest research that suggests sleep is actually a highly active process, necessary for improving our learning processes, memory, creativity, and emotions. So grab a friend, grab some grub and get your education on, then go home and get a good night’s rest — you’ll be smarter for it. (Emma Silvers)

7pm, free

SoMa StrEat Food Park

428 11th St, SF




Bike to Work Day 20th Anniversary

Got a bike? Ride it. Today marks the 20th anniversary of San Francisco’s Bike to Work Day, and it’s never been more rewarding to be a two-wheeled commuter. With thousands of cyclists on the road today, not only do tailpipe emissions decrease dramatically, but the visible presence of cyclists encourages motorists to share the road. What’s more, many small businesses will have special treats for bikers, and the SF Bicycle Coalition will have safety classes, workshops, parties, raffles, and energizer stations (snacks, beverages, and goodie bags) throughout the city. If you’re a two-wheeling newbie, don’t fret. The Coalition will also have Commuter Convoys leading you through the city. Keep an eye out for bike-friendly businesses: Yoga Tree is offering a free class to anyone who shows up on two wheels. Don’t forget your helmet! (Laura B. Childs)

All day, free

Various locations throughout SF



“The New Forty-Niners” and “Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure-Hunting”

For centuries, stories of treasure hunters and great explorers have dominated American history. From the Gold Rush millionaire Samuel Brannan to Huck Finn to Lewis and Clark, the thirst for adventure and wealth is a building block of the American Dream. Tonight, Rayko Photo Center presents two exhibits based on this dream. “Scavenger: Adventures in Treasure Hunting,” by Jenny Riffle, documents one man’s treasure hunt, accompanied by his metal detector. Riffle romantically captures the mythical adventurer as he ventures out into rural Washington like a 21st century Mark Twain character. The second exhibit, Sarina Finklestein’s “The New Forty-Niners,” is a four year-long photo project chronicling modern-day gold prospectors in California. In gritty and rugged photographs, the exhibit reveals a small self-sustaining society dependent on gold mining, reminiscent of the original Gold Rush. (Childs)

Opening reception 6pm-8pm, free

Exhibits on display through June 21, 2014

Rayko Photo Center

428 Third St, SF

(415) 496-3775





Katherine Hawthorne’s ‘The Escapement’

Last November choreographer Katharine Hawthorne premiered Timepiece at the Joe Goode Annex. Bringing a background in physics and dance to her artistic practice, she had created an intricately structured and intriguing piece of choreography in which she explored the concept of time — not just dance as a time-based art, but time as a way of structuring the way we live our lives and think about the world. In the new The Escapement, she continues that process by examining the way clocks have enabled us to divide time into regular intervals. The invention of the “escapement” mechanism, apparently, was central to the process. Performing with Hawthorne will be Jesse L. Chin, Katherine Disenhof, Suzette Sagisi, and Megan Wright. (Rita Felciano)

May 9-10, 8pm, $15-25

Joe Goode Annex

401 Alabama St., SF




#GIRLBOSS book signing with Sophia Amoruso

With advice like “money looks better in the bank than on your feet,” #GIRLBOSS is one giant kick in the butt. The CEO, founder, and self-proclaimed “chief troublemaker” at the online fashion retailer NastyGal, Sophia Amoruso isn’t your typical CEO. Before reaching meteoric fame with her $100 million brand, Amoruso was an anarchist who survived off dumpster-diving and shoplifting. Dubbed the “Cinderella of tech,” Amoruso started an eBay store while living in San Francisco, selling old clothes; some eight years later, it’s a global marketplace specializing in scandalous and trendy clothing for 20-somethings. Filled with quick-whips and snarky illustrations, #GIRLBOSS covers all the nitty-grittiness of owning a company, and demystifies any ideas that because you were popular in high school, you’re guaranteed success — you have to work for it. (Childs)

7pm-9pm, free

Books Inc. Bookstore Opera Plaza

601 Van Ness, SF

(415) 776-1111




Black Sabbath may be past their prime, but Berlin’s Kadavar is keeping the ’70s heavy metal dream alive — psychedelic, snarling, seething, dope-smoking, and very hairy. Drawing heavily —very heavily— from Sabbath and Pentagram (with some nods to Zeppelin), Kadavar have joined the time-travelling ranks of Electric Wizard and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats in producing some seriously killer heavier metal tunes. Though Kadavar wears its influences on its sleeve, as these guys are singing through their prodigious facial hair about wizards, witchcraft, and lost souls, they are undeniably genuine. Their love for the music is clear, and entirely impossible not to headbang to. (Zaremba)

With The Shrine, Mondo Drag, DJ Rob Metal

9:30pm, $12

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St, SF

(415) 626-4455





Cat fight: Battle of the feline film fests

If you are a cat fan — or simply fond of Internet kitty videos — today is basically Christmas, Hanukkah, your birthday, Talk Like a Pirate Day, and every other awesome holiday rolled into one. In SF, the Roxie rolls out its “First Annual San Francisco Intergalactic Feline Film and Video Festival for Humans,” a meow-thful of a name befitting a fest that promises “a two-week film festival in the span of 12 hours.” In Oakland, OakCatVidFest presents an entire day of pussy magic; in addition to outdoor screenings, there will be cat-themed bands and dance performances, plus adoptable cats and the chance to sign up to be a kitten foster parent. Superstar Internet feline Lil Bub (of documentary, talk-show, and tongue-wagging fame) will appear at both events. And so should you! (Cheryl Eddy)

Intergalactic Feline Film and Video Fest

Noon, $12 ($30, all-access badge)


3125 16th St, SF




20th Anniversary Serial Mom Tribute with Ricki Lake

“I don’t like to read about movies. They’re so violent,” picture-perfect suburban hausfrau Beverly R. Sutphin (Kathleen Turner) tells a couple police officers during a brief non-lethal moment in Serial Mom. John Waters’ 1994 comedy about a secretly demented wife and mother with very, very high etiquette standards — you really do not want to wear white after Labor Day around he r— remains his personal best since the breakthrough of Hairspray (1988). That film’s discovery Ricki Lake, cast as Sutphin daughter Misty, will appear in person for Peaches Christ’s “Mother’s Day celebration to die for,” also featuring a pre-show performance with D’Arcy Drollinger and “the erotic dance stylings of SexiTude.” There will be blood. (Dennis Harvey)

8pm, $35-55

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6120



Old 97’s

Reassuring us all that growing up doesn’t mean you have to lose your sense of humor, the Old 97’s — the solid, steady fathers of alt-country, who never quite exploded (or imploded) like some of mid-’90s their counterparts did — are currently touring the country with their tenth studio album, Most Messed Up. The tour also functions as a 20th anniversary party for the band, and the record serves as perfect accompaniment: Never have songs about the ravages of road life and the slights of middle age sounded so fun. The band’s die-hard fans know they’re in for a helluva rocking live show, too, though the guys claim to never rehearse; if you’ve only heard a few radio singles, this is your chance to see what the fuss is actually all about. (Silvers)

With Nikki Lane

8pm, $25

The Fillmore

1805 Geary, SF






Let’s start with the burning question: Is this guy for real? Part of the intrigue of Riff Raff’s over-the-top, ultra-campy hip-hop persona is that it might be totally genuine. This caricature-like white guy from Houston with a BET tattoo, a grill, and cornrows, who raps about Dolce and Gabbana, could be an elaborate joke. Nut authentic or not, Riff Raff is a hot commodity; “Feat. Riff Raff” seems to be the most popular phrase on iTunes. He’s tight with Drake, Justin Bieber, has over 50 million views on YouTube, and scored some seriously solid guests for his upcoming record Neon Icon — Action Bronson, Childish Gambino, and Diplo, to name just a few. Love him or hate him (it’s one or the other) Riff is undeniably fascinating, and this performance won’t be one you forget any time soon. (Zaremba)

With Grandtheft

8pm, $25

Regency Ballroom

1290 Sutter, SF



The San Francisco Moth StorySLAM

You know the upside to life’s hideously embarrassing moments, right? Like that time you broke your ankle by slipping on a banana at the Muni station, at rush hour, and had to have Muni employees help you off the platform while covered in banana mush? And also you were headed to a job interview? (Note: this recently happened to an actual friend.) The upside, of course, is that you have an awesome story to tell, and this monthly “story slam,” based on the award-winning New York-based series The Moth, rewards naked honesty as much as it does storytelling flair. Fact-checkers won’t be on hand, but stories must be true and take five minutes or less to tell; contestants can’t use notes or cheat-sheets of any kind. But beyond that, anything goes, so start your storytelling engines.(Silvers)

7:30pm, $8

The Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell St, SF


Ms. Lauryn Hill

Sure, she’s had her share of troubles over the years: prison time for tax evasion, comments about race that gave PR people across the nation simultaneous heart attacks, a laundry list of tardiness and other diva-tastic behaviors. But at the end of the day, Lauryn Hill is still among the most gifted musicians of the last two decades; her Grammy-sweeping album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which turns 16 this August, still graces many a Top 10 list (this critic’s included). Live, she’s been experimenting with a more reggae-fied and big band sound over the last few years, giving hits like “Doo Wop (That Thing)” the weight of a pseudo-religious revival experience. And if the new music she dropped following her release from prison in the fall of last year is any indication, this tour should be a good one. She might be late, she might be ornery — she won’t be boring. (Silvers)

With Daniel Bambaata Marley

8pm, $49.50-82.50

The Warfield

982 Market, 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, 225 Bush, 17th Flr., SF, CA 94105; or e-mail (paste press release into e-mail body — no attachments, please) to 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.

Drinking with DiMaggio


THE WEEKNIGHTER Weekends are for amateurs. Weeknights are for pros. That’s why each week Broke-Ass Stuart ( will be exploring a different San Francisco bar, bringing you stories about the places and people who make San Francisco one of the most phenomenal cities in the world. Who wants a drink?

“It’s like we’re doing a double play tonight,” Anna said as she, Wes, and I sat down at the bar. “Oh! That’s good, are you gonna use that? If not I will,” I replied. We had just come from Prubechu, a new Guamanian restaurant on Mission Street where we’d had dinner. Anna is the food editor at SF Weekly so she was researching it for work, and since I am, in some capacity, a professional barfly, this was work for both of us. Wes is food photographer and the cat behind Wes Burger, but on this evening he was just along for the ride.

None of us had spent any time at the Double Play Bar and Grill (2401 16th St, SF. 415-621-9859) before so we didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping for weird looking old guys who’d been in the Mission their whole lives and still referred to Cesar Chavez as Army Street. Maybe cats who were old enough to have seen a game at Seals Stadium, the ballpark that had once been across the street but was now a shopping center housing a Safeway, a Boston Market, and a 24 Hour Fitness that always smells like chlorine and sweaty balls. It’s a terrible smell, really.

Seals Stadium had been a part of baseball history: It’s where the first West Coast MLB game took place when the Giants thrashed the Dodgers 8-0 in 1958. It was also the stadium where Joe DiMaggio played as a member of the San Francisco Seals, where Willie Mays played his first game as a San Francisco Giant, and the home stadium of the San Francisco Seals that Lefty O’Doul managed 1937-1951. In fact when Lefty heard they were building a new stadium at Candlestick Point he said it was, “…the most ridiculous site for a ball park I’ve ever seen. When I was a child, the wind would blow the sheep I was herding off Candlestick Hill.” Considering the Double Play Bar first opened in 1909, it had been witness to all of this.

Walking in the other night we were greeted by walls that were literally covered in sports memorabilia. There were old mitts, vintage photos, ball caps, and even original signage from Seals Stadium. There were also TVs broadcasting various sports highlights, a whole bunch of police badges framed, and even more sports memorabilia. What there wasn’t, though, were people.

“Does this place ever get busy?” I asked the bartender looking over at the three or four random drunk people at the short end of the bar. “Oh yeah,” she replied. “During the day it gets pretty slammed. We get a lot of people from the surrounding businesses who come in here for lunch and then from pretty much three o’clock till it gets dark we have a pretty steady crowd. Lots of union folks.” I suddenly realized that, if having a union job means getting to start drinking at 3pm, I’d chosen the wrong field.

As I got up to scope the place out and gawk at the walls, Wes asked the bartender, “Isn’t there some big backroom here?” Apparently there was one but it had gotten torn down so that the property owner could build new condos. The backroom had had a giant meticulously painted mural of a ball game at Seals Stadium; it had taken up the entire room. As I was sitting down back on my stool the barkeep was already closing up. “What time do you close?” I asked looking at my phone. It was 9pm.

“It varies,” the barkeep told me, “Usually around now. But you should really try coming by here at three.”

Can’t win ’em all.

Stuart Schuffman aka Broke-Ass Stuart is a travel writer, poet, and TV host. You can find his online shenanigans at

Two views of the waterfront


The Golden State Warriors’ announcement that its planned 18,000-seat basketball arena would be moved off the San Francisco waterfront was fresh in everyone’s mind when former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos visited the Bay Guardian office on April 23, and he was electrified by the win.

“I resent anyone suggesting that this is not a genuine people-powered victory — again,” Agnos said. “Because that’s what it was, bottom line.”

The former mayor has traveled up and down the city in recent months promoting Proposition B, an initiative on the June 3 ballot that may well have cleared the Warriors Arena from its proposed waterfront perch at Piers 30-32 had the team not announced that it would be taking that step independently.

If it passes, Prop. B will require voter approval for any development project along city-owned waterfront property that exceeds height limits set by the Waterfront Land Use Plan approved in 1997. Such a rule would have squarely targeted the Warriors’ proposal.

The sports arena had been slated for a 13-acre parcel a stone’s throw from the Bay Bridge that is now a parking lot, where it would have hovered above the water like a floating spacecraft. Across the street, at a site known as Seawall Lot 330, the Warriors had proposed installing shops, parking, a condo tower, and a hotel.

Agnos and the backers of Prop. B hadn’t anticipated the Warriors’ announcement that its waterfront venue would be moved to private property, a 12-acre lot in Mission Bay purchased from tech giant

“We thought, because people at the top of this city’s government told us so, they would prevail,” Agnos said of Mayor Ed Lee and others championing the waterfront arena. “They didn’t.”

Agnos and his allies say it was the prospect of voters having to sign off on a proposal that was hatched behind closed doors that caused the Warriors to choose a more appropriate location.

“We helped them go to a different place where we now support what they’re doing — because it makes more sense for this city, and for our bay, as well as our waterfront. That’s what the issue is,” Agnos told us. “The spin doctors had their ass handed to ’em … had their ass handed to ’em, by a low-income group of allies, over their $20,000–$30,000, gold-plated contracts per month. And so now, they understand.”

They understand that the waterfront of San Francisco is a battleground and the people are willing to fight to ensure the public interest trumps private profits.


A rendering of proposed development at Pier 70, envisioning tech offices and housing.


A historic map hanging in a corridor at the Port of San Francisco building, in a rehabbed terminal at Pier 1 along The Embarcadero, traces the original curve of a coastline that once separated the city from San Francisco Bay.

The existing waterfront juts out considerably from where its natural edge once fell, and today’s urban landscape features a mix of entire neighborhoods, tall buildings, parks, restaurants, merchant corridors, and transport terminals, all perched atop fill covered by layers of concrete.

Its shipping days long gone, much of San Francisco’s human-constructed waterfront now serves as a draw for visitors, the iconic subject of countless tourist photographs. But at other locations along the shoreline, vacant waterfront parcels are hotly contested land-use battlefronts.

“We’re clearly in a period of significant controversy,” the Port’s Special Project Manager Brad Benson told us. The Warriors Arena, Benson said, had been an opportunity for the Port to rehabilitate and generate revenue from Piers 30-32, which originated as two finger piers constructed in 1912, joined by a concrete slab in the 1950s.

Despite being in control of some of the most valuable real estate along the West Coast, the Port of San Francisco remains in a perpetual financial pinch, due to its need to fix up crumbling piers and aging infrastructure. The Port is governed by a Waterfront Land Use Plan, outlining possible uses for each parcel, and it also conducted a survey to identify properties that could be developed to help generate revenue.

“The Port has a big capital need,” Benson said, noting that many of the “piers and buildings were beyond their useful life when they were transferred to the city” from the state in 1968. Facing nearly $2 billion in capital needs, the Port’s modus operandi is to seek out private developers to partner with on development projects for parcels under its ownership, in order to secure funding that would go toward backlogged improvements.

That didn’t happen with the Warriors, however — the sports team approached the city out of the blue, and the project quickly won the fervent backing of Mayor Lee, who has appointment power over the five-member commission that governs the Port. At one point, Lee even claimed that this flashy sports arena would be his “legacy project.”

To longtime grassroots activists who are deeply involved in how land-use decisions are made on valuable waterfront parcels, it looked to be yet another example of what Prop. B supporter Jennifer Clary called “kneejerk development” — out of sync with carefully thought out shoreline planning efforts.

“The Port gets jerked around by every mayor,” said Clary, president of San Francisco Tomorrow, part of the coalition backing Prop. B. “Every mayor comes up with some stupid project.” She ticked off a list of failed waterfront developments (such as Mills Mall, proposed for Piers 27-31; and a 50-story U.S. Steel Building that would have towered over the Ferry Building), only to have them voted down or halted by grassroots neighborhood activists who viewed them as inappropriate designs fueled by greed and greased by political connections.

Behind the objection to Prop. B, Clary added, “is that the mayor will have to think a little more” before backing projects of this nature.

Whether opponents of the Warriors Arena plan looked at it and saw a traffic nightmare, an inappropriate use of public land, or a bad financial deal for a city needing to contend with ever-growing pressures on its critical infrastructure, members of the coalition that’s backing Prop. B feared the public would have little sway when it came to the final decision-making. A bid to restore that balance, by arming voters with veto power under the law, was the impetus behind Prop. B.

City Hall has ignored the will of regular folks who collectively own Port land along the shoreline, said Agnos, campaign consultant Jon Golinger, and Prop. B proponent and Sierra Club volunteer Becky Evans — listening only to the Mayor’s Office and deep-pocketed developers who stand to make millions by building on extremely valuable land that’s held in the public trust under California law.

“The people are putting the developers in touch with the values of this city, and what we want in this city,” Agnos said, thumping his index finger on the table to emphasize the point. “Prop. B puts people in the room who have not been there, and now [developers] have to pay attention.”

The task of developing Piers 30-32 would have required expensive substructure modification, requiring the involvement of bureaucratic agencies such as the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Bay Conservation Development Commission, and the State Lands Commission. The Warriors estimated that it would invest $120 million in improvements such as seismic upgrades and an elevation grade to deal with the looming problem of sea-level rise, but the threat of having to win voter approval represented yet another hoop to jump through. So when a new option opened up offering greater certainty, the Warriors pulled the plug on Piers 30-32.

Even though Lee’s “legacy project,” the main physical target of Prop. B, is no longer a factor in the June election, backers of the initiative say the measure is still important to restore democratic balance in a development process that freezes out ordinary citizens. Opponents, meanwhile, say the initiative threatens to undermine a complex planning process that engages the public and needn’t be tampered with.



Prop. B would prohibit city officials from approving taller buildings than are currently allowed under zoning for Port-owned waterfront parcels, unless voters give those height increases a green light at the ballot box.

Since many of the properties in question are already built out, or preserved by historic landmark designation, Prop. B would impact only a handful of waterfront lots that remain in play as potential sites for new development. Among them are Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 351, the site of the 8 Washington luxury condo tower that the electorate flushed down the tubes in a decisive ballot referendum vote last fall, despite Board of Supervisors’ approval.

The same group that opposed 8 Washington launched Prop. B. Last year’s ballot referendum — also named Prop. B, and buoyed by the campaign slogan No Wall on the Waterfront — asked voters whether they favored increasing building heights above the zoning limit at the waterfront site where the luxury condo project would have gone.

San Francisco voters, in no mood to support a high rise for the superrich at a time when anger over skyrocketing rents was bubbling over and droves of low-income residents were being edged out by eviction, shot it down. Many political observers took the outcome as a signal that City Hall politicians are out of touch with voters.

Simon Snellgrove, the developer of the failed 8 Washington project, is reportedly working on a new building design. But since any new plans for 8 Washington are embryonic at best, and the fate of Piers 30-32 is anyone’s guess, the Prop. B ballot measure has immediate implications for two waterfront developments in particular.

One, on and around Pier 48, is being pushed by the San Francisco Giants. The other lies farther south, at Pier 70, a sprawling strip of waterfront that runs behind Illinois Street, from The Ramp restaurant at Mariposa to the old Potrero Power Plant.


The Giants’ planned development would be a short distance from AT&T Park. 

During World War II, some 18,500 workers built ships at Pier 70 for the war effort, in brick and metal warehouses that still stand vacant and dilapidated. The site also housed a coal-fired power plant that was later converted to natural gas, leaving behind toxic residue that is up to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to remediate. Farther north along Pier 70, BAE Systems conducts ship repair, a task that has been performed at the site since 1868.

Today, a 28-acre parcel of Pier 70 that is proposed for development by Forest City is home to nothing more than pigeons, feral cats, and the occasional hawk that swoops into a cavernous metal-roofed structure that stands near the waterfront and dates back to 1941, barely visible from the street. Someday in the not-so-distant future, developers imagine it will be populated with tech office workers (Google is used as an example of an anchor tenant in slides presented to the city), makers and small vendors, and thousands of residents who would call the place home.

The site is zoned with a 40-foot height limit, but developers are considering plans with a range of building heights that would be on a similar scale to Mission Bay. Part of the improvements to the property will require raising the elevation grade to deal with sea-level rise. Forest City has planned for a minimum of around 1,000 residential units — the majority market-rate, but with a mix of affordable housing as well.

Representatives from Forest City said that if Prop. B passes, “We’ll be prepared to seek voter approval with a dynamic project guided by … a community-based master plan,” and had not taken an official stance on the ballot measure. If voters were to reject an increase of the 40-foot height limit at the site, which is zoned for heavy industry, the project would no longer be financially feasible.



At Seawall Lot 337, a parcel near the Giants’ stadium which is primarily used as a parking lot during baseball games, the team is backing a project that would include 3.5 million square feet of new residential, office, and retail development, possibly including a 380-foot tower. Across the way at Pier 48 would be a new Anchor Steam brewery, and about five acres of open space.

The Giants plan resulted from the Port’s request for potential development partners to submit bids for that property, which went out in 2007.

“They very quietly have been pushing a plan that Prop. B made public,” Golinger said of the Giants’ plans. “They screamed at everyone involved in our coalition during the signature drive to get us to drop it. They funded a lawsuit … to get it kicked off the ballot.”

The Guardian independently confirmed that the team is part of the group that has challenged Prop. B in court. That legal challenge was unsuccessful in getting the initiative struck from the June ballot, but a judge could take up the question again if Prop. B is approved.

The parcel where the Giants have pitched a rental housing, office, and retail complex with a maximum height limit of 380 feet is zoned with a height limit of zero, zoned for open space in city plans. Nevertheless, “The [Port’s request for qualifications] called for developing up to 300 feet,” Benson explained, calling the current zoning “a remnant of the old Mission Bay plan,” which envisioned a park with wetlands and open space. The Port’s request for proposals went out after a subcommittee was formed, and public hearings were held on the design plans.

Asked why the Port would bake such a tall height limit into its RFQ, Benson responded, “There was a desire to avoid replicating the heights at Mission Bay,” the nearby redevelopment area characterized by lower, boxy buildings that seem to be universally regarded as ugly and lacking charm.

Few people are as intimately familiar with Mission Bay as Corinne Woods, whose houseboat is enveloped on either side by the sprawling development. When Woods first claimed a berth at Mission Creek for her floating home in 1985, “it was surrounded by open empty fields, abandoned warehouses, and lots of fennel,” she said. “We had wonderful parties.”

Outside her dock just off Channel Street is a community garden, a strip of green space shaded by willow and eucalyptus trees where night herons take refuge. Just beyond that is the Mission Bay South redevelopment area, a sprawling construction site that’s ushered in building cranes, swirling dust, pile drivers, and more recently, a five-alarm blaze that required the entire Fire Department to extinguish.

The fledgling neighborhood that now occupies the already-built part of Mission Bay might as well have dropped out of the sky, and the building profiles are wide and flat. “I would rather see slim, articulated towers, with more open space,” Woods admitted.

In the years between 1985 and today, Woods has fought the Port on behalf of her live-aboard community to be allowed to remain floating in place, becoming an unlikely expert on the byzantine process of waterfront planning along the way.

As a key member of half-dozen or so community advisory groups formed to weigh in on major waterfront developments, Woods has ardent faith in the civic engagement aspect of the planning process. She fears Prop. B could upset years of careful neighborhood negotiations by limiting the discussion to nothing more than a conversation about height limits.


Corinne Woods opposes Prop. B.

Woods is a plaintiff in the lawsuit the Giants are funding to challenge Prop. B, aligned with developer-friendly housing activist Tim Colen and building trades head Michael Theriault on the side that opposes Prop. B. But despite the millions of dollars that are on the line, Woods insists she has no dog in this fight. “I can’t even get free tickets to Giants games,” she said.

She does hope for the five-acre park that the Giants plan would install as part of the Seawall 337 / Pier 48 plan, a short walk from her houseboat. But she says her opposition to Prop. B is rooted in her experience of a traditional planning process that rewards neighbors who have the patience to sit through hours of grueling advisory group meetings with negotiating power vis-à-vis developers. Asked directly what the problem is with letting voters weigh in, Woods responded, “Because they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about!”

But that leave-it-to-the-experts attitude is just the thing that Prop. B’s backers say is dangerous for waterfront planning, since it places final decision-making in the hands of profit-seeking real estate interests, a public agency in dire need of funding, and a mayor with political ties to developers.



Given that the thrust of Prop. B is to democratize the planning process, few are in a hurry to align themselves with the formal No on B campaign — most of the opposition money seems to have been funneled into the Giants’ lawsuit, even though the Giants have officially taken a neutral stance on Prop. B. However, the message from opponents of Prop. B is that the initiative would kill sorely needed housing.

The Port of San Francisco, which is legally barred from taking a position on the initiative, reported in a February analysis to the Department of Elections that it could have the effect of leaving between 1,990 and 3,690 new housing units “delayed, reduced, or abandoned,” including between 268 and 596 affordable units. Those figures are based on early project proposals brought by the Warriors, the Giants, and Forest City, assuming those planning proposals would be “delayed by a need for a vote, or rejected by the voters” under a Prop. B regime.

A nonbinding Giants term sheet notes that the team would build rental housing, 15-20 percent of those units affordable, while Forest City’s Pier 70 proposal includes 1,000 new housing units with on-site affordable that would exceed the 12 percent required under city law.

Targeting housing “is a scary message,” campaign consultant Golinger said, charging the opposition with preying on voters’ fears to encourage people to vote down a measure that would democratize waterfront planning.

“This myth that we’re trying to stop housing is just that,” Agnos chimed in. “It’s just a political ploy by those who want to build high-end, high-rise, luxury condos — a la 8 Washington, a la Giants — on public property.”

The housing question is key. At a time when so many people are facing eviction or being priced out, the refrain that building more housing is the only solution to relieve pressure is oft-repeated, particularly by developers. However, these projects would introduce far more market-rate units than affordable projects, plopping down well-to-do neighborhoods in spaces that have sat on the margins in recent history, further changing the social character of the city. And proponents of Prop. B question whether the waterfront is really the right place to add new affordable units.

Meanwhile, the affordable housing community seems to be aligned in its support of Prop. B. The San Francisco Tenants Union, the Affordable Housing Alliance, the AIDS Housing Alliance of San Francisco, and other organizations that have aligned to push for stronger tenants’ rights and promote affordable housing have all endorsed the measure.


Given the popularity of a measure that fundamentally seeks to democratize the planning process, all development teams with skin in the game have declined to take a position on the measure. So have Mayor Lee and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who each played significant roles in recent waterfront battles, with Lee championing the Warriors Arena and Chiu opposing 8 Washington and assisting with the signature-gathering effort to stop it.

Sup. David Campos, in contrast with Chiu and Lee, has taken a stance on Prop. B. In a recent interview, he outlined his reasons for supporting it.

“I think that something has happened in City Hall, where I think the approval process is such that it has led to certain projects being approved that don’t really reflect the reality of what this city needs, and that have truly left the public out of the process in a meaningful way,” Campos told us. “And 8 Washington passed 8-3 at the Board of Supervisors, with a supermajority. The fact that the voters overwhelmingly rejected that project tells you that there has been a disconnect between what the board and folks in City Hall are doing, and where the public actually is.” To correct that imbalance and allow more San Franciscans to shape the city’s waterfront, Campos said, “I think it’s appropriate for us to go to the ballot and let the voters decide.”

This Week’s Picks: April 16 – 22, 2014





Fourth Annual Spring Book Sale

Got a spare couple of bucks? Stock up on a year’s worth of reading! Fort Mason Center and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library are hosting one of the city’s largest book sales this week. Some 250,000 books ranging from classic prose to contemporary reads can be purchased for just a few bucks: $3 hard-covers, $2 paperbacks, and $1 DVDs, CDs, and books on tape. Dig through thousands of new and used books and you’ll find some truly awesome treasures. Imagine the wise words of Tolstoy, poignant social commentary of Austen, and lively stories by Twain, all under one roof. Surely you can scavenge for a copy of the Twilight series too, if that’s your thing. (Laura B. Childs)

Through April 20, 10am-6pm, free

Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion

2 Marina Blvd., SF

(415) 345 7500



The 1975

It’s not often that high school bands make it much further than senior prom, but the four members of The 1975 met when they were just hitting puberty. Ten years later, the British foursome released its self-titled album that debuted at the top of the UK Albums Chart — ahead of Nine Inch Nails’ comeback album nonetheless. The band struggled for years to find a label that understood its unique sound and identity. Self-proclaimed fans of ’80s pop and experimental music, The 1975 combines musical influences spanning several generations, resulting in an alternative rock sound with honeyed vocals, synth-pop beats, and gritty lyrics about modern youth. (Childs)

8pm, $25

The Fillmore

1805 Geary Blvd., SF

(415) 346 6000



William Friedkin’s thriller Sorcerer (1977) is a classic example of a movie that was sneered at upon its release — it had a troubled production with a runaway budget, and the bad fortune to open opposite eternal crowd-pleaser Star Wars — but is now considered a bona fide cult classic. This Georges Arnaud adaptation (previously tapped by Henri-Georges Clouzot for 1953’s The Wages of Fear) follows a group of reckless ne’er-do-wells (including 1970s icon Roy Scheider) as they truck nitroglycerine across perilous South American backroads. Here’s your chance to catch it on the Castro’s huge screen in digitally-remastered form — and yep, that includes Tangerine Dream’s memorable score. (Cheryl Eddy)

7pm, $11

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF



Queens of the Stone Age

This isn’t exactly a great moment for straight-up hard rock, so it’s a particularly good time for a fresh flurry of activity from Palm Desert’s finest. Like Clockwork, QOTSA’s first new disc since 2007 — a period marked by one former member’s death and leader Josh Homme’s near-miss after a botched operation, among other things — has been considered one of their best, coming complete with contributions from frequent collaborators Dave Grohl and Mark Lanegan, as well as guests including Trent Reznor and the unlikely Elton John. Who knows who might show up for this latest tour, which features yet another new incarnation of the core band lineup. For stylistic and gender contrast, trance-ier LA psych-rock quartet Warpaint open. (Dennis Harvey)

7:30pm, $45

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

99 Grove, SF

(415) 974-4060



An Evening With Bob Saget

Alamo Square’s famous Painted Ladies may be the most well-known Full House relic San Francisco has to offer, but for one magical evening, they might just be upstaged — by the unpredictable, sleazy, somehow both repellent and strangely alluring comedic stylings of Danny Tanner himself, aka Bob Saget. It’s been years since the comedian shed his family-friendly veneer, so if you haven’t seen him since he was narrating stupid pet tricks on America’s Funniest Home Videos, don’t expect too many heartwarming, PG-rated anecdotes — a point he apparently delights in driving home: The book he’s promoting on this tour is called Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian. Nothing like adults-only night at the JCC. (Emma Silvers)

7pm, $25-$35

JCC of San Francisco

3200 California St, SF



Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze

How’s your head, hesher? Finally recovered from October 2010 and the first Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze? Get ready to sacrifice your skull yet again, for Oakland’s Tankcrimes Records is back with another round of mind-melting (the press release actually says “face-raping”) music. And since this weekend includes the High Holy Day of 4/20, anything can and will happen — and you won’t remember any of it. Tonight and tomorrow at the Oakland Metro, bands include Ghoul, Cannabis Corpse, and Final Conflict (Fri/18), and Municipal Waste, Negative Approach, and Fucked Up (Sat/19). Sun/20, head to Eli’s Mile High Club for a show headlined by the almighty Brainoil. Nice knowing ya! (Cheryl Eddy)

7pm, $24

Oakland Metro

630 Third St, Oakl.




UnderCover Presents: Graceland

Nearly three decades after its release, there’s no denying the influence of Paul Simon’s most widely-loved album, a work that brought the sounds of South Africa to audiences around the world — and influence is what UnderCover is all about. For the past five years, the collective has been curating ambitious shows in which local musicians celebrate a classic album by re-interpreting, arranging, and performing it live — one song per artist — in a showcase of some of the Bay Area’s best talent. This rendition, featuring a diverse lineup of John Vanderslice, Diana Gameros, Afrofunk Experience, DRMS, Bill Baird, the Pacific Boychoir, and many others, got Paul Simon fans almost too excited: Its debut weekend, at the JCC, sold out, so organizers added tonight’s East Bay encore. Lucky for you. (Emma Silvers)

7pm, $26

Freight & Salvage

2020 Addison St, Berk.

(510) 644-2020




You lose some, you gain some. With RAWdance relocating the 15th incarnation of their Concept series, the dancers don’t have to worry about hitting their head on the ceiling, or knocking over a viewer in a misjudged stride. Audience members, for their part, may no longer have to move the chairs for different seating arrangements but then with RAWdance you never know. The change to Joe Goode’s Annex allows for aerial dancing, a popular discipline in these parts, and you may even find a parking space. Performing this time will be Flyaway Productions, Christian Burns, Risa Jaroslow & Dancers, Erik Wagner / Crawl Space, Lindsey Renee Derry / L I n s d a n s, and RAWdance. Most importantly, the free popcorn will still be on the menu. (Rita Felciano)

April 18, 8pm; April 19, 3pm and 8pm, pay what you can

Joe Goode Annex

401 Alabama St, SF

(415) 686-0728




Liberating Legacies

Pillars of the queer community Celeste Chan and KB Boyce bring their latest Queer Rebels production, Liberating Legacies, to a free, all ages platform. It’s easy to praise popular media for its increase in queer representation, but queer and trans people of color are still often absent from the arts and entertainment that is most accessible. As ever, Queer Rebels are striving to shine the spotlight on those underrepresented artists and stories. Liberating Legacies will feature performers young and old, locally and internationally known, with a variety of talents including music, poetry, film and more. From globally known blues singer Earl Thomas, to Bay Area favorites and Queer Rebels alumni Jezebel Delilah X, Joshua Merchant, and Star Amerasu, Liberating Legacies stands to be a powerful gathering of talent. (Kirstie Haruta)

2pm, free

San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium

100 Larkin, SF

(415) 581-3500


Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics 40th Anniversary Party

Forty years ago, two poets founded The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics as part of Chögyam Tungpa Ribpoche’s 100-year experiment. Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman envisioned a school dedicated to cultivating an innovative and contemplative approach to literary writing. The Jack Kerouac School is part of the Buddhist-inspired Naropa University, nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains, and the school’s name and curriculum pay tribute to the iconic novelist and poet best known as the face of the Beat Generation. So of course City Lights is throwing a party for the experimental college’s 40th birthday! The independent bookstore will host an evening of readings by JKS faculty and other special guests.

5pm, free

City Lights Bookstore

261 Columbus, SF

(415) 362 8193



David Crosby

If you missed rock icon David Crosby’s February shows at Great American Music Hall, don’t worry — he did too. Touring in support of Croz, his first solo album in more than 20 years, Crosby suffered tour-interruptus: emergency cardiac catheterization on Feb. 14. Crosby’s bona fides include founding membership in the Byrds and, of course, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, both gigs earned him entry to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His medical resume is also packed: liver transplant (1994, paid for by Phil Collins), alcohol and drug addictions, and type 2 diabetes, in addition to his recent “life-saving” heart procedures. But the legendary 72-year-old singer seems to have more lives than an alley full of cats. Back on the road, Crosby has said, “It seems I am once again a very lucky man.” (Kyle Patrick O’Brien)

8pm, $60

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell St, SF

(415) 885-0750


The Men

Calling all people who read Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 and loved it: The Men are coming to San Francisco. Playing alongside ’80s SST worshippers Gun Outfit and sludgy rockers CCR Headcleaner, the band is unquestionably influenced by the likes of Meat Puppets and Husker Du at times. But as The Men have progressed more in recent years, they have become a quintessential rock band, taking nods to Neil Young and Big Star (the cover of their latest album, Tomorrow’s Hits, even appears to be an homage to Alex Chilton’s most widely known band). That said, if you would like to see if the spirit of aggressive indie rock is alive and well — this is the event for you. (Erin Dage)

With Gun Outfit, CCR Headcleaner

8pm, $12 Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011

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, 225 Bush, 17th Flr., SF, CA 94105; or e-mail (paste press release into e-mail body — no attachments, please) to 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.

Events: April 9 – 15, 2014


Listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Selector.


Poetry reading Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 649-1320. 7:30pm, free. With Raina Leon, Erica Lewis, Alexandra Mattraw, and Val Witte.

Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; 7:30pm, free. The fashion bloggers discuss Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me: Tom and Lorenzo’s Fabulous and Opinionated Guide to Life and Style.


Arlo Crawford Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; 7:30pm, free. The author discusses A Farm Dies Once a Year: A Memoir.

Emma Donoghue Alexander Book Co., 50 Second St, SF; Noon-1pm, free. The author reads from her new mystery novel Frog Music, with musicians Patrice Haan and Tony Marcus playing tunes that were popular during San Francisco’s Barbary Coast days.

Leslie Jamison City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, SF; 7pm, free. The author reads from her new essay collection, The Empathy Exams.

Fred Martin BookShop West Portal, 80 West Portal, SF; (415) 564-8080. 7pm, free. The author discusses his new book, Abraham Lincoln’s Path to Reelection in 1864.

“Off the Grid: Twilight at the Presidio” Main Post, Presidio, SF; 5-9pm, free. Every Thursday through June 26. This ongoing evening event features lantern-lit dining cabanas, cocktails, fire pits, and food trucks galore.


“Chomp! They Came from the Swamp” Conservatory of Flowers, 100 JFK Dr, Golden Gate Park, SF; 10am-4pm, $1.50-8. Tue-Sun through Oct 19. Explore the oddly alluring world of meat-eating plants at this exhibit, starring California’s own cobra lilies and the ever-popular Venus flytrap. Who’s hungry?

“An Evening with Nightboat Books: Mostly New Work” Green Arcade, 1680 Market, SF; 7:30pm, free. With Brian Blanchfield, Laura Moriarity, George Albon, Brandon Som, and Kevin Killian.

“Walk to Work Day” SF; Hoof it to work today and get a reward (snacks, Clipper cards, etc.) at a number of “hubs” stationed around SF. All of the supervisors will be hanging out in cafés in their districts (7:45-9am) to encourage walkers; check the website for more deets.

“YBCA Teen Night 2014: Visions of an Abolitionist Future” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; 6-10pm, free. Youth-created performance and exhibition that looks at the crisis of mass incarceration in America.


Berkeley Bay Festival Berkeley Marina, Berk; 11am-4pm, free. Live music, environmentally-themed exhibitors, boating, and “green” vendors highlight this event celebrating the bay.

“Jack of All Trades” Jack London Square, 55 Harrison, Oakl; 11am-5pm, free. Treasure Island Flea hosts this gathering of local makers, indie designers, artists, and more.

“Nicolas Cage Art Show” Balancoire, 2565 Mission, SF; 8pm, $8-10. Group art show paying tribute to the many nuances of the Oscar-winning, delightfully odd actor.

Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Japantown, SF; April 12-13 and 19-20, free. Celebrate Japanese culture and the Japanese American community at this 47th annual street fair, boasting food booths, live music, martial arts demonstrations, and more.

“SiteWorks: Archaeologies of San Francisco Performance, 1969-85” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; 3-4:40pm, free. Artist Nick Kaye discusses an ongoing, site-specific Google Maps project gathering “archival remains of past ephemeral art and performance in the present city of SF.”

“Writers with Drinks” Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, SF; 7:30-9:30pm, $5-10. With Eileen Gunn, April Sinclair, Caitlin Donohue, Nona Caspers, and Siouxsie Q.


“Foster Family Fun Day” Habitot Children’s Museum, 2065 Kittredge, Berk; 2-5pm, free. Foster, kinship, and adoptive families are welcome to visit the museum and enjoy free, exclusive access to the hands-on exhibits and creative art activities.

Darick Robertson Two Cats Comic Book Store, 320 West Portal, SF; 3pm, free. The comics artist (Transmetropolitan, The Boys, Marvel Knights) discusses his work with Comic Vine’s Corey Schroeder.


Market Street Kiosk Youth Poster Series Bus kiosks along Market Street, SF; Through July 7. Budding photographers working with San Francisco Arts Commission photo-mentoring program First Exposures exhibit scenes snapped in their neighborhoods — the Tenderloin, SoMa, and Central Market — in public displays along Market Street.


Matthew Zapruder City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, SF; 7pm, free. The poet celebrates the release of his new collection, Sunbear. *