Cel mates


MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL One of the Mill Valley Film Festival’s signature if under-celebrated programs is its long-running Children’s FilmFest, which lets families enculturate their offspring with an annual sidebar of movies from around the world — non-English-language ones given live translation for those viewers not yet up to reading text at the speed of subtitles. There’s always some animation in the mix, and this year, in addition to several shorts and the French-Belgian 3D feature Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants (which was unavailable for preview), two titles measure the form’s state-of-the-art across a span of nearly 75 years.

The golden oldie, offered in a free outdoor screening at Old Mill Park Oct. 10, is 1941’s Hoppity Goes to Town — the second and last feature from Fleischer brothers Max and Dave, still best known for their cartoons starring Betty Boop, Popeye, and Superman. (The beautifully designed latter remain the movies’ most faithful representation of the original comic books.) Despite those successful series, the siblings were increasingly dogged by bad luck, internal friction, studio inference, corrupt accounting, and other factors. After Walt Disney waded into feature animation with 1937’s spectacularly successful Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the duo followed suit, uprooting their entire organization — and nearly quadrupling its size — to make 1939’s Gulliver’s Travels in the cheaper environs of southern Florida. Nonetheless, that film cost a fortune, ultimately losing money despite its healthy box-office performance. No friendly competitor, Disney purportedly snapped after seeing it, “We can do better than that with our second-string animators.”

Their precarious financial position made worse by a deteriorating personal dynamic, the brothers nonetheless moved forward with Hoppity (originally called Mr. Bug Goes to Town), an original story penned after they failed to win the screen rights to Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Life of the Bee. Its hero is a happy-go-lucky grasshopper who tries his best to relocate the insect residents of “the Lowlands” when their community is threatened by rising foot traffic — a broken fence has made this tiny patch of urban green a destructive shortcut for oblivious human beings. He also battles villainous Mr. Beetle for the hand of bee ingénue Honey.

Partway through production, debt forced the Fleischers to sell their studio whole to distributor Paramount, which kept them on under humiliating circumstances — they could be fired from finishing their own film at any moment. Its release delayed to avoid competing with Disney’s Dumbo (1941), the film finally opened on Dec. 5, 1941, exactly two days before Pearl Harbor threw the nation in a state of shock.

Hoppity never recovered from that ill fortune, falling into the public domain after its copyright was allowed to expire. As a result, it was seen for years mostly in low-quality copies by budget distributors. It’s not a great movie. The Fleischers’ antic strengths were best suited to the short format; the sentimentality and melodrama then required for a family feature came much more naturally to Disney. But it still merits the cult love gradually earned over subsequent decades, notably for then-innovative multiplane “3D” backgrounds that add a vertiginous depth to the contrasts in bug-vs.-human perspective.

One wonders what the Fleischers might have wrought if given the artistic and commercial freedom apparently enjoyed by Brazilian Alê Abreu on The Boy and the World — one of those extremely rare animated features these days that feels entirely handcrafted and personal, no matter how many umpteen illustrators and technicians get credited in the final credit crawl. This dialogue-free adventure finds a stick-figure tot wandering from his rural home in pursuit of the father forced to look for work in the distant city. The closer our wee protagonist gets to “civilization,” the more dehumanizing and nightmarish what he witnesses becomes.

One wonders what the average under-12-year-old would make of a movie that scarcely shrinks from blunt sociopolitical indictment: Its innocent’s journey encompasses militaristic fascism, garbage-foraging poor vs. infinitely privileged rich, empty consumerist distraction, and the death of traditional indigenous life. Nonetheless, this parabolic parade of injustices never feels too didactic because of the dazzlingly varied execution. Alê draws on everything from modernist painting masters to collage and (briefly) live action footage in a visual presentation that grows ever more complex and intoxicating. (Fans of Brazilian roots music will find the soundtrack by Ruben Feffer and Gustavo Kurlat equally thrilling.) The term “masterpiece” gets thrown around a little too easily, but it’s hard to think of a recent animated feature more deserving of the term than this imaginatively ambitious yet refreshingly intimate one. *


Oct 2-12, $8-14

Various North Bay venues


Foaming at the mouth


THE WEEKNIGHTER There’s a series of photos of me at Mad Dog in the Fog (530 Haight St, SF. 415-626-7279) where I am an absolute monster. I’m dressed in a wretched, beer-stained Santa suit, I have Mickey Mouse ears on, and there’s also some kind of sparkly garland thing adorning my head. In most of the pictures I’m flipping off the camera and making ridiculous faces that usually include an Elvis type lip curl. I look unhinged. I look subhuman. Goddamn, I look like I’m having fun. It was SantaCon 2011.

One of the few things I remember about our pit stop at the Mad Dog was gurgling, “I didn’t know they had a backyard here!” as we stumbled out into it. Apparently they do have one. I feel like I may have found out where the bar’s name came from as well, but that was lost, just like my sense of personhood that day. There is nothing noble about being Oscar the Grouch-level trashed. The only thing you get out of it is a bunch of photos where you look like somebody Shrek wouldn’t even fuck.

Luckily for us, Mad Dog is used to having stark, raving lunatics, in colorful garb, wasted there in the middle of the day. In fact the Lower Haight pub just had a full month of it. Mad Dog in the Fog has long been a staple for any soccer fan in San Francisco. Whether it’s the World Cup or The English Premier League or even a Las Chivas game, Mad Dog lives and breathes soccer. The doors open at 7am every Saturday and Sunday, so people can come watch their favorite team shoot goals and take flops.

I was lucky that day in 2011 that Mad Dog doesn’t serve hard alcohol. I was in a state of saying “hell yes” to pretty much everything, and who knows what would’ve happened. This lack of hard alcohol is also a blessing to serious beer drinkers: It allows Mad Dog to serve more than 150 different kinds of beer from around the world, some of which are rare and hard to get.

In fact, Mad Dog is so supportive of your beer problem that it even lets you pour your own. Yes, you read that right. A few years ago the proprietors installed a TableTender, a system of two taps that stick out of the middle of a table. You and your pals then pour all the beer you’d like from said taps and a display keeps track of how much you drink. Afterwards you settle your tab with the bar staff. I’m pretty sure they were hiding the TableTender from me and my friends that day. I would’ve if I were them.

I’d like to say that after behaving like a Garbage Pail Kid at Mad Dog in the Fog I went home and slept it off, but that would be a lie. Just like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, I was a tenacious bastard and led my party of holiday revelers to a number of other bars after that. I eventually lost them all, of course, and ended up at a house party… I think. Honestly nothing else I did later that night exists because nobody, to my knowledge, took any more photos.

But to this day, every time I walk by Mad Dog in the Fog, even when there’s a line of 50 people waiting to get in to watch a sports game, I mutter to myself, “I didn’t know they had a backyard here!” and smile thinking about that weird day back in 2011.

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


Garbage game


San Francisco elected officials frequently celebrate the ambitious citywide goal of sending zero waste to the landfill by 2020, an environmental feat widely viewed as attainable since the current waste diversion rate stands at a stellar 80 percent.

Official city numbers — based on reporting by Recology, a company that has a monopoly on trash collection and curbside recycling in San Francisco — demonstrate that only 20 percent of all city dwellers’ trash ends up in a landfill, that unenlightened dead end for matter discarded from our lives, never to be reprocessed.

Yet a lawsuit against Recology exposed some inconsistencies in the company’s record keeping. It also shed light on how some material counted as “diverted” is routinely sent to a landfill anyway, a practice that muddies the concept of the city’s Zero Waste program but is nevertheless legal under state law.

On June 17, a San Francisco jury determined that Recology misrepresented the amount of waste diverted from the landfill in 2008, enabling it to collect an incentive payment of $1.36 million for meeting the goal. The verdict compels Recology to pay the money back to the city, since it was obtained after submitting a false claim.

The outcome of this lawsuit — brought by a former manager of the Tunnel Road recycling Buy Back facility, who also claims he was retaliated against for trying to expose fraud — highlights some larger questions. Was this inaccuracy unique to 2008, or are Recology’s numbers always a little fuzzy? Are there adequate safeguards in place to prevent the company from fudging the numbers, particularly when both company and city officials have an incentive to exaggerate the diversion rate? And if what’s on paper doesn’t quite square with reality, is San Francisco really keeping as much garbage out of the landfill as the city’s Department of the Environment says it is?

Attorney David Anton, who represented the former Recology employee, Brian McVeigh, said he found it odd that San Francisco officials didn’t show much interest in collaborating to recover the bonus money, even though millions of dollars was potentially at stake. Since damages are trebled under the False Claims Act, cited in the lawsuit, Recology could ultimately be made to fork over the incentive payment three times over.

“The city’s representative in the Department of the Environment actually testified that he hoped this lawsuit would be unsuccessful,” Anton recounted. He guessed that officials remained on the sidelines because in San Francisco’s political power centers, “relationships with Recology are so close and tight. It was a very strange thing,” he went on, “to be pursuing this lawsuit, trying to get money to the city, and the city’s representatives are saying, ‘we don’t want it.'”

Recology has filed post-trial motions in a bid to have the penalty reduced, “asking the court to decide whether there was any evidence at trial that there were public funds in the Diversion Incentive Account, and if so, how much,” explained Recology spokesperson Eric Potashner. “We expect a ruling this summer.”

Department of the Environment spokesperson Guillermo Rodriguez told the Guardian that Robert Haley, manager of the department’s Zero Waste team, was unavailable for comment before press time. With regard to the lawsuit, Rodriguez noted, “The city has been following the trial closely and is awaiting the judge’s ruling on post-trial motions before determining any reaction.”



The False Claims Act is designed to recover damages to government when false statements are made to obtain money or avoid making payments. It has a provision allowing whistleblowers, such as McVeigh, to lead the charge on seeking civil enforcement action. The whistleblower may be eligible to receive a share of recovery.

Under the bonus incentive program, Recology sets aside extra cash — collected from garbage customers’ payments — in a segregated account. But it cannot withdraw funds from that account unless it hits the city’s established waste-reduction targets. Recology submitted paperwork to the city in 2008 showing that it met the diversion goals, so it was allowed to withdraw the money.

But the lawsuit demonstrated that Recology actually fell short of those goals — and apparently, nobody in city government ever followed up to check whether the reporting was accurate.

A key reason the jury ruled against Recology on this particular claim, according to Anton, was that it was found to have misclassified some construction and demolition waste as “diverted” material. Under state law, when ground-up construction debris is used to cover the top of a landfill — to prevent pests, fires, and odors, for example — it’s counted as “alternative daily cover.” Trash in this category winds up in a landfill, just like any other trash. But state law allows garbage companies to count it as “diverted,” just as if it were an aluminum can tossed into the blue bin.

The lawsuit claimed that Recology tried to count a great many tons of construction and demolition waste as “alternative daily cover” when in reality, it should have been counted as just plain trash.

Solano County records show that a landfill inspector had flagged an “area of concern” after discovering solid waste mixed in with construction debris Recology shipped to a landfill for use as that top layer. “It looks like they didn’t do a good enough job of cleaning out that material,” CalRecycle spokesperson Mark Oldfield noted as he pulled up the report from 2008 at the Guardian’s request.

Had the material gone to the landfill as just plain garbage, instead of “alternative daily cover,” Recology would have had to count it as waste sent to the landfill, instead of waste diverted from the landfill. That would have meant falling short of the waste diversion goal, hence losing out on the $1.36 million.

“Recology kept this completely secret from San Francisco,” according to Anton.

Potashner said it was actually a bit more complicated — the company challenged the inspector’s findings, he said. “The local enforcement agency in Solano County had questions about that material,” but Recology never received a cease-and-desist order, he added. “When we had talked to jurors after the fact, that was the issue that seemed to sway them. In 2008 we didn’t make that bonus by that much. They thought we shouldn’t have been able to count that as diversion because of this issue.”

Either way, the incident exposes a strange reality: When San Francisco city officials trumpet the citywide success of “diverting” 80 percent of all waste from the landfill, some portion of that 80 percent actually winds up in a landfill anyhow. Whether the construction debris counted as “alternative daily cover” has trash mixed into it or not, it’s still destined to wind up in a big, environmentally unfriendly trash heap.



The lawsuit highlighted a few other red flags, too, raising more questions about the city’s true diversion numbers. For instance, the suit claimed that Recology was involved in a system of digging up concrete from its own parking lots, to be handed over to concrete recyclers as “diverted” waste.

“Recology facilities have large areas of concrete pads,” the complaint noted. “Management of Recology … directed Recology work crews in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 to cut out sections of concrete pads and deliver the removed concrete to concrete recyclers, to falsely inflate the diversion incentive reported to SF.”

The waste management company then “solicited cement companies to deliver and dispose of excess and rejected concrete loads to Recology, to fill in the removed concrete pad sections,” according to the complaint. Those shipments were brought in on trucks that weren’t weighed at entry, and then placed in the concrete pads. Management then had work crews remove the same concrete that had been delivered, shipped it to the concrete recyclers, and reported it “as diverted from being disposed in a landfill,” the complaint noted.

This account was corroborated by a Guardian source unrelated the lawsuit, but nonetheless familiar with the inner workings of the company. “They would take the concrete across the road — right across the street,” this person confirmed.

Asked to provide an explanation for this, Recology’s Potashner said, “it is clear, and wasn’t even challenged by the plaintiff at trial, that recycled concrete is diverted, whether it had been from Recology’s lots or anywhere else.”

McVeigh’s case stemmed from his realization, while working as a manager at Recology’s Tunnel Road recycling buyback facility, that employees there were routinely marking up the weights of recyclable materials brought in, in order to pay out certain customers more than they were actually owed. The suit suggests that these routinely inflated California redemption value (CRV) tags contributed to Recology missing its waste-diversion targets, but the jury ultimately sided against the plaintiff on this question since it amounted to a financial loss for Recology, not the city.

The complaint included tag numbers and logs of scale weights that didn’t match up, showing a pattern of fraudulent dealings at the buyback center. In November 2007, for example, “ticket reports showed that 23.4 tons of aluminum CRV cans were purchased at the Bayshore Buyback Center, yet only 16.56 tons existed and were shipped.”

Asked about these claims, Potashner acknowledged that there may have been some “knuckleheads” involved in messing with the scales at the buyback center, but asserted that such activity had since been addressed. He added, “If there were any staffing issues around theft, that was actually affecting Recology’s books,” not the public.

Oldfield, the CalRecycle spokesperson, noted that a long list of paperwork violations had been recorded in 2010, but he said the company appeared to have been in compliance since then — based on logs from inspectors’ visits once a year.

Another problem uncovered in the trial, Anton said, had to do with Recology misrepresenting tons of garbage from out of county, so that it would be counted outside the parameters of the waste diversion program. Potashner said that had been corrected, adding, “the out-of-county waste is really a small volume.”

But he confirmed that yet another practice brought to light in this lawsuit is ongoing, revealing a surprising end for some of the stuff that gets tossed into the green compost bins.



According to every colorful flier sent out by Recology, the stuff that goes into the green bin gets composted. The green bin is for compost. The blue bin is for recycling. The black bin is for trash that goes to the landfill. This is the fundamental basis of Recology’s waste collection operation and, taking the company and the Department of the Environment at face value, one would assume that 80 percent of all waste was being processed through the blue and green waste streams.

Instead, some of what gets tossed into green bins makes its way to a landfill.

The green-bin waste is shipped to a Recology facility where it’s turned into compost, a process that involves sifting through giant screens. But some of what gets processed, known as “overs” because it isn’t fine enough to drop through the screens, is routinely transferred to a nearby landfill, where it’s spread atop the trash pile. Once again, this six-inch topper of neutralizing material is known as “alternative daily cover.”

Although Recology could convert 100 percent of its green-bin waste into soil-nourishing compost, the practice of using partially processed green-bin waste for “alternative daily cover” is cheap — and it’s perfectly legal under California law. Roughly 10 percent of what gets tossed into the compost bins is used in this way, Recology confirmed.

“There are some people who will say using green waste isn’t really diversion,” acknowledged Jeff Danzinger, a spokesperson with CalRecycle, which oversees recycling programs in California counties. “There’s some people who say we should stop that practice because that just incentivizes a landfill solution for green waste. But if somebody’s saying green waste shouldn’t go into a landfill and get counted as diversion, it’s an opinion.”

Nor is it something the city objects to. The Department of the Environment is aware of this practice, Recology’s Potashner told the Bay Guardian. Yet the city agency has never raised formal concerns about it, despite a mandate under its composting program agreement that the company use green-bin waste for the highest and best possible use.

But there’s no incentive for anyone in city government to complain: Recology may legally count this discarded material as “diverted” in official reporting, thus edging it closer to an annual bonus payment. San Francisco, meanwhile, may count it as part of the 80 percent that was successfully diverted — thus edging it closer to the ambitious Zero Waste program goal.

“It’s great PR to say you’re the highest recycling,” noted the person who was familiar with the company, but wasn’t part of the lawsuit. “It’s almost a movement more than reality. But who’s really watching for the public on these numbers? There’s no watchdog. It’s all about bragging rights.”


Recology is “a political business”

Recology’s political connections in San Francisco run deep. Years ago, when former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown served as speaker of the California Assembly, he also worked as a lawyer for Recology, which was then known as Norcal Waste Systems.

Campaign finance archives show that when Brown ran for mayor in 1995, he received multiple campaign contributions from Norcal employees in what appeared to be a coordinated fashion.

Brown continues to be influential in the city’s political landscape due to his close relationship with Mayor Ed Lee, who himself came under scrutiny in his capacity as head of the Department of Public Works in 1999 when he was accused of granting Norcal a major rate increase as a reward for political donations to Brown.

In 2010, when Recology submitted a bid for a lucrative waste-disposal contract proposing to haul waste to its Yuba County landfill, Lee reviewed its proposal in his then-capacity as city administrator. As the Guardian reported (see “Trash talk,” 3/30/10), Lee recommended far higher scores for Recology than his counterparts on the contract review team, a key to the company winning the landfill contract over competitor Waste Management Inc. Before Lee declared his mayoral candidacy in 2011, news reports indicated that powerful Chinatown consultant Rose Pak had worked in tandem with Recology executives on a campaign effort, “Run Ed Run,” organized to urge Lee to launch a mayoral bid. Company employees had also been instructed to help gather signatures to petition Lee to run for mayor, news reports indicated, but Pak publicly denied her role coordinating this effort. David Anton, the attorney for Brian McVeigh, emphasized that Recology’s close ties to powerful city officials might have something to do with the city’s lack of interest in targeting the company for the improperly received incentive payments. Yet Recology spokesperson Eric Potashner called this assertion “completely untrue. Recology meets with the various city departments and regulators weekly. We are constantly improving our controls and practices for handling the city’s ever-changing waste stream; often at the behest of city regulators.” Recology and its predecessor companies have maintained the exclusive right to collect commercial and residential refuse in San Francisco since 1932, and rates are routinely raised for city garbage customers, based on the company’s own reporting that its costs are increasing. “I can tell you today, there will be another significant increase on July 21, 2016” — five years after the last rate increase — “because they have a monopoly,” said neighborhood activist and District 10 supervisorial candidate Tony Kelly, who previously worked on a ballot measure that sought to have the city’s refuse collection contract go out for a competitive bid. “When you have a closed system … then it’s entirely a black box. It’ll all be self-reported. It’s too powerful of an incentive.” An industry insider familiar with Recology echoed this point, adding that cozy relationships with local officials make it easier for the self-reporting to escape scrutiny. “It’s a political business,” this person said. “In San Francisco, they’re really a political organization.” Since the rate is guaranteed, this person added, the mentality is that there’s plenty of wiggle room for financial losses and expenditures such as generous political contributions. “If you’re losing any money, you just ask for it back when you do your next rate increase. The city doesn’t have any objection. The ratepayers just get stuck with it.” (Rebecca Bowe)

Burger Boogaloo Breakdown


Thee Oh Sees

Hiatus, schmiatus. Less than six months after the prom kings of SF’s garage scene declared they’d be taking an “indefinite” break from playing — inciting local blog warfare, while they were at it, with frontman John Dwyer’s move to LA signalling that the trickle of SF musicians down south had actually become a downpour — Thee Oh Sees dropped Drop, nine tracks of reassuringly heavy, noisy, psyched-out reverb. Fans know their maniacal live show is not to be missed, and BB marks the band’s first public return to our stages (or parks, as the case may be). Can we hug and make up now? Sat/5 (Day 1), 8pm.


The Muffs

Of all the bands riding the current wave of ’90s nostalgia, The Muffs are one we’re a-okay with hearing from again. If you’ve seen Clueless, you probably know their cover of “Kids in America,” but with Kim Shattuck’s rough-hewn, little-girl-gone-bad vocals and charisma at the helm, we’ve always thought they deserved much more. This time last year, Shattuck was playing bass for the Pixies; if getting booted from that band was what it took to produce The Muffs’ first record in 10 years, Whoop De Woo (out July 29 ), we’re fine with that too. Bust out your pink Converse for this one. Sun/6 (Day 2), 6pm.



Aside from maybe hot dog-eating contests and firecracker-related injuries, perhaps nothing says “America” like a barely-clothed adult man throwing himself around on stage in a terrifying bunny mask, a coat made of garbage, and a ball gag. Luckily, we have Nobunny, the endearingly insane alter ego of veteran punk madman Justin Champlin, who promises to make this all-ages affair just a little bit of a darker experience than you’d probably want unaccompanied children to have on their own. Just like our founding fathers would have wanted. Sat/5 (Day 1), 5:15pm.

Alerts: June 25 – July 1, 2014




Climate Forum: Confronting Oil, Coal and Gas, Direct Action Movements at the Point of Extraction

The Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, 518 Valencia, SF. 6:45pm, donation requested. The oil and natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has become one of the most pressing issues in the Bay Area and California. It is a major cause of water and air pollution and is highly resource-intensive. Nevertheless there is low awareness about its harmful effects, and state policies still allow its proliferation. This panel will discuss fracking and other hazardous resource extraction processes in the U.S. and educate participants in the first steps for taking action.


Plastic Paradise: Film and discussion

Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo, Berk. (510) 548-2220, 7-9pm, free. Plastic Paradise is a new documentary about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This event helps prepare for Plastic-Free July—an annual event originating in Australia—that aims to educate the public about how much plastic we use, and explains how we can eliminate as much as possible from our lives. The film screening will be followed with a discussion led by Beth Terry, author of Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. Sponsored by Green Sangha, the City of Berkley, and My Plastic-Free Life.



Trans March youth and elder brunch

Dolores Park, 19th and Dolores, SF. 12-3pm, free. Right before the Trans March, this brunch gives LGBTQ youth and elders the opportunity to learn from each other. There will be food, games, icebreakers, an art station, face painting and more. The sober event is designed for self-identified LGBTQ people, ages 24 and under. Hosted by LYRIC, OpenHouse and Trans March.

Sunday 29


Meeting: Syria — Eyewitness Report

Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave, Oakl. 10:30-12:30pm, free. Rick Sterling, a founding member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, spent two weeks in Syria as part of a peace and reconciliation delegation, and he returns to discuss the conflict there and why it matters to progressives in the United States. For a firsthand account of the hostilities in the region—at no cost—be sure to stop by the Niebyl-Proctor library early to ensure you get a seat.


Jury finds Recology cheated in waste diversion bonus program

A jury has determined that Recology, San Francisco’s garbage collection contractor, was not honest with the city when it collected a bonus payment of $1.36 million for successfully diverting waste from the landfill.

Brought by a former employee, the lawsuit claims that Recology misrepresented the amount of diverted waste in order to qualify for the bonus money. This is especially significant because San Francisco is recognized nationwide as a leader in its quest to send zero waste to the landfill as an environmental goal.

Jurors deliberated for more than a week before issuing their determination, and ultimately found on June 17 that the waste management company had made a false claim and therefore must pay the city $1.36 million to compensate for the amount it improperly received.

The False Claims Act, the California law under which the suit was filed, provides that violators can be made to pay three times the amount collected under false pretenses, with interest tacked on to boot. That means Recology could ultimately wind up paying out an amount closer to $5.5 million.

Under an incentive program set up by the city, Recology may reap additional bonus profits above what it normally earns from the business of collecting and processing San Francisco customers’ trash if it effectively meets targets for keeping the trash out of the landfill, the most environmentally harmful waste disposal method. Under the program structure, Recology may withdraw this extra money from an account it maintains, containing funds derived from rates paid by garbage customers, if it meets the city’s established waste diversion targets.

The lawsuit, filed in 2010, claims Recology used several schemes to manipulate waste diversion records when it submitted records the San Francisco Department of the Environment in 2008, in order to be granted permission to withdraw the bonus money. The suit claimed this happened in three other years, too, but the jury only ruled against Recology for this one year.

The primary way this occurred, according to attorney David Anton, involved misclassifying demolition and construction waste. Under state law, ground up raw construction material that is labeled as “fines” can legally be used to cover up the top of a landfill – in order to prevent pests, fires, and odors, for example. When construction waste is ground up and used this way, it counts as “alternative daily cover” – like a layer of frosting on a giant cake of garbage – and strangely enough, the state allows waste disposal companies to count that frosting as “diverted waste” even though it’s actually part of the landfill.

The lawsuit claimed that Recology tried to count a great many tons of its construction and demolition waste as “fines” when in reality it should have been labeled just plain garbage, because the tons of stuff that they were shipping to the Solano County landfill wasn’t being processed to a fine enough grade to comply with state requirements for what constitutes “fines.”

The difference between “fines” and regular old construction and demolition waste is that for the latter, the company would have had to pay a fee to dispose of it – and would have had to count it as waste sent to the landfill, rather than waste diverted from the landfill. Had it been counted as plain old garbage, Recology would have missed its diversion targets in 2008, thus losing out on the $1.36 million bonus payment.

“The construction material that they were sending – they were telling SF was qualified to be used for this beneficial purpose at the landfill,” said Anton, “when in fact, the county and the state had said it was not qualified for it, it can’t be used that way, and it can’t be accounted that way.” He added, “Recology kept this completely secret from San Francisco.”

Recology spokesperson Eric Potashner told us the company plans to appeal this finding, because the violation Recology received in regard to the “fines” was only the start of a lengthy process. “The local enforcement agency in Solano County had questions about that material,” he said, noting that Recology went through a formal process of challenging an inspector’s assessment of the material. He said that at the end of the day Recology was never issued a cease-and-desist, nor was it made to revise company records to count it as anything other than “alternative daily cover.”

Another problem uncovered in the trial, Anton said, had to do with Recology misrepresenting tons of garbage generated in San Francisco as having originated in a different county, so that it could be counted outside the parameters of the waste diversion program. Potashner called that “an oversight” that had since been corrected, and added that it would not amount to enough to “move the needle” on hitting the diversion goals.

Finally, Anton noted, it came out in the course of the trial that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of what residential customers chuck into their green compost bins actually winds up in the landfill at the end of the day.

Where happens to the stuff that goes in the green bin? “What we found out in this trial,” Anton said, “is that it’s sent to a place where they can compost it, but this place doesn’t necessarily make it into compost. Recology owns the composting place. And the composting place happens to be at a landfill. And it happens to be the law that a landfill has to cover the garbage that it gets every day. It’s got to cover it with dirt – six inches of dirt. Every day. A lot of landfills buy dirt to cover it – but the state allows you to … take mulch or green waste, if it’s chopped up fine, and cover a landfill with it. Well, Recology decided that they made more money and did better if they took a bunch of your green bin material, and put it on their landfill, rather than buying dirt.” As a result, he said, some of that green-bin waste “gets put in a landfill every night.”

Which really isn’t what most people would expect would happen after they’ve chucked some yard clippings into a compost bin.

When San Francisco set up the green-bin composting program, Anton said, a specific policy was created against this sort of practice. Nevertheless, “San Francisco knew that the company was doing that,” he said, and permitted it despite the formal policy because “they wanted to help out the company.”

Potashner said it is perfectly legitimate under state law for green waste to be used as alternative daily cover. “The Department of the Environment watches this, and knows we’re doing this,” Potashner said.

All of which underscores a point that Anton said he found to be somewhat confusing, or perhaps telling: “It was a very strange thing,” he said, “to be pursuing this lawsuit, trying to get money to the city, and the city’s representatives are saying, ‘we don’t want it.’”

He said he found it odd that a representitive from the San Francisco Department of the Environment, which oversees the city’s Zero Waste program, even made a statement in the course of the trial suggesting that he hoped the suit wasn’t successful.

Anton guessed that the city remained on the sidelines of this case because its “relationships with Recology are so close and tight.”

The Department of the Environment did not return the Bay Guardian’s request for comment.

Invisible no more


We all want to be responsible for our environment. We sort our trash. We put the right things into the right containers, and feel good when we see them at the curb on trash pickup day.

Then the trash disappears. End of story.

But really, it’s not the end. Not only does the trash go somewhere, but people still have to sort through what we’ve thrown away. In a society full of people doing work that’s unacknowledged, and often out of sight, those who deal with our recycled trash are some of the most invisible of all.

Sorting trash is dangerous and dirty work. In 2012 two East Bay workers were killed in recycling facilities. With some notable exceptions, putting your hands into fast moving conveyor belts filled with cardboard and cans does not pay well — much less, for instance, than the jobs of the drivers who pick up the containers at the curb. And the sorting is done almost entirely by women of color; in the Bay Area, they are mostly immigrants from Mexico and Central America, as well as some African Americans.

This spring, one group of recycling workers, probably those with the worst conditions of all, finally had enough. Their effort to attain higher wages, particularly after many were fired for their immigration status, began to pull back recycling’s cloak of invisibility. Not only did they become visible activists in a growing movement of East Bay recycling workers, but their protests galvanized public action to stop the firings of undocumented workers.



Alameda County Industries occupies two big, nondescript buildings at the end of a cul-de-sac in a San Leandro industrial park. Garbage trucks with recycled trash pull in every minute, dumping their fragrant loads gathered on routes in Livermore, Alameda, and San Leandro. These cities contract with ACI to process the trash. In the Bay Area, only one city, Berkeley, picks up its own garbage. All the rest sign contracts with private companies. Even Berkeley contracts recycling to an independent sorter.

At ACI, the company contracts out its own sorting work. A temp agency, Select Staffing, hires and employs the workers on the lines. As at most temp agencies, this means sorters have no health insurance, no vacations, and no holidays. It also means wages are very low, even for recycling. After a small raise two years ago, sorters began earning $8.30 per hour during the day shift, and $8.50 at night.

Last winter, workers discovered this was an illegal wage.

Because ACI has a contract with the city of San Leandro to process its recycling, it is covered by the city’s Living Wage Ordinance, passed in 2007. Under that law, as of July 2013: “Covered businesses are required to pay no less than $14.17 per hour or $12.67 with health benefits valued at least $1.50 per hour, subject to annual CPI [consumer price index] adjustment.”

There is no union for recycling workers at ACI, but last fall some of the women on the lines got a leaflet advertising a health and safety training workshop for recycling workers, put on by Local 6 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. There, they met the union’s organizing director, Agustin Ramirez. “Sorting trash is not a clean or easy job anywhere,” he recalls, “but what they described was shocking. And when they told me what they were paid, I knew something was very wrong.”

Ramirez put them in touch with a lawyer. In January, the lawyer sent ACI and Select a letter stating workers’ intention to file suit to reclaim the unpaid wages. ACI has about 70 sorters. At 2,000 work hours per year each, and a potential discrepancy of almost $6 per hour, that adds up to a lot of money in back wages.

The response by ACI and Select was quick. In early February, 18 workers — including all but one who’d signed onto the initial suit — were called into the Select office. They were told the company had been audited by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency of the Department of Homeland Security a year before, and that ICE had questioned their immigration status. Unless they could provide a good Social Security number and valid work authorization within a few days, they’d be terminated.

Instead of quietly disappearing, though, about half the sorters walked off the lines on Feb. 27, protesting the impending firings and asking for more time from the company and ICE. Faith leaders and members of Alameda County United for Immigrant Rights joined them in front of the ACI office. Workers came from other recycling facilities. Jack in the Box workers, some of whom were fired after last fall’s fast-food strikes, marched down the cul-de-sac carrying their banner of the East Bay Organizing Committee. Even San Leandro City Councilman Jim Prola showed up.

“The company told us they’d fire anyone who walked out,” said sorter Ignacia Garcia. But after a confrontation at the gate, with trucks full of recycled trash backed up for a block, Select and ACI managers agreed the strikers could return to work the following day. The next week, however, all 18 accused of being undocumented were fired. “Some of us have been there 14 years, so why now?” wondered Garcia.

In the weeks that followed, East Bay churches, which earlier called ICE to try to stop the firings, collected more than $6,500 to pay rent for nine families. According to Rev. Deborah Lee, director of the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, “after they had a chance to meet the fired workers and hear their stories, their hearts went out to these hardworking workers and parents, who had no warning, and no safety net.” Money is still coming in, she says.



Because cities give contracts for recycling services, they indirectly control how much money is available for workers’ wages. But a lot depends on the contractor. San Francisco workers have the gold standard. Recology, whose garbage contract is written into the city charter, has a labor contract with the Teamsters Union. Under it, workers on its recycle lines are guaranteed to earn $21 an hour.

Across the bay, wages are much lower.

ACI is one battle among many taking place among recycling workers concerning low wages. In 1998, Ramirez and the ILWU began organizing sorters. That year 70 workers struck California Waste Solutions, which received a contract for half of Oakland’s recycling in 1992. As at ACI, workers were motivated by a living wage ordinance. At the time, Oakland mandated $8 an hour plus $2.40 for health insurance. Workers were only paid $6, and the city had failed to monitor the company for seven years, until the strike.

Finally, the walkout was settled for increases that eventually brought CWS into compliance. During the conflict, however, it became public (through the Bay Guardian in particular) that Councilman Larry Reid had a financial interest in the business, and that CWS owner David Duong was contributing thousands of dollars in city election races.

Waste Management, Inc., holds the Oakland city garbage contract. While garbage haulers have been Teamster members for decades, when Waste Management took over Oakland’s recycling contract in 1991 it signed an agreement with ILWU Local 6. Here too workers faced immigration raids. In 1998, sorters at Waste Management’s San Leandro facility staged a wildcat work stoppage over safety issues, occupying the company’s lunchroom. Three weeks later immigration agents showed up, audited company records, and eventually deported eight of them. And last year another three workers were fired from Waste Management, accused of not having legal immigration status.

Today Waste Management sorters are paid $12.50 under the ILWU contract — more than ACI, but a long way from the hourly wage Recology pays in San Francisco. Furthermore, the union contracts with both CWS and Waste Management expired almost two years ago. The union hasn’t signed new ones, because workers are tired of the second-class wage standard.

To increase wages, union recycling workers in the East Bay organized a coalition to establish a new standard — not just for wages, but safety and working conditions — called the Campaign for Sustainable Recycling. Two dozen organizations belong to it in addition to the union, including the Sierra Club, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Movement Generation, the Justice and Ecology Project, the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, and the Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy.

ILWU researcher Amy Willis points out, “San Francisco, with a $21 wage, charges garbage rates to customers of $34 a month. East Bay recyclers pay half that wage, but East Bay ratepayers still pay $28-30 for garbage, recycling included. So where’s the money going? Not to the workers, clearly.”

Fremont became the test for the campaign’s strategy of forcing cities to mandate wage increases. Last December the Fremont City Council passed a 32-cent rate increase with the condition that its recycler, BLT, agree to provide raises. The union contract there now mandates $14.59 per hour for sorters in 2014, finally reaching $20.94 in 2019. Oakland has followed, requiring wage increases for sorters as part of the new recycling contract that’s currently up for bid.

Good news for those still working. But even for people currently on the job, and certainly for the 18 workers fired at ACI, raising wages only addresses part of the problem. Even more important is the ability to keep working and earn that paycheck.



When ACI and Select told workers they’d be fired if they couldn’t produce good Social Security numbers and proof of legal immigration status, they were only “obeying the law.” Since 1986, U.S. immigration law has prohibited employers from hiring undocumented workers. Yet according to the Pew Hispanic Trust, 11-12 million people without papers live in the U.S. — and not only do the vast majority of them work, they have to work as a matter of survival. Without papers people can’t collect unemployment benefits, family assistance or almost any other public benefit.

To enforce the law, all job applicants must fill out an I-9 form, provide a Social Security number and show the employer two pieces of ID. Since 1986 immigration authorities have audited the I-9 forms in company personnel records to find workers with bad Social Security numbers or other ID problems. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) then sends the employer a letter, demanding that it fire those workers.

According to ICE, last year the agency audited over 2,000 employers, and similar numbers in previous years. One of the biggest mass firings took place in San Francisco in 2010, when 475 janitors cleaning office buildings for ABM Industries lost their jobs. Olga Miranda, president of Service Employees Local 87, the city’s janitors union, charges: “You cannot kill a family quicker than by taking away their right to find employment. The I-9 audits, the workplace raids, E-Verify, make workers fear to speak out against injustices, that because of their immigration status they have no standing in this country. They have criminalized immigrants. They have dehumanized them.”

One fired janitor, Teresa Mina, said at the time, “This law is very unjust. We’re doing jobs that are heavy and dirty, to help our children have a better life, or just to eat. Now my children won’t have what they need.”

Similar I-9 audits have taken place in the past two years at the Pacific Steel foundry in Berkeley, at Silicon Valley cafeterias run by Bon Appetit, at South Bay building contractor Albanese Construction, and at the Dobake bakery, where workers prepare food for many Bay Area schools. All are union employers.

Sometimes the audits take place where workers have no union, but are protesting wages and conditions. Like the ACI workers, in 2006 employees at the Woodfin Suites hotel in Emeryville asked their employer to raise their wages to comply with the city’s living wage ordinance. Twenty-one housekeepers were then fired for not having papers. Emeryville finally collected over $100,000 in back pay on their behalf, but the workers were never able to return to their jobs.

Last fall, as fast-food workers around the country were demanding $15 an hour, several were fired at an Oakland Jack in the Box for being undocumented. “They knew that when they hired us,” said Diana Rivera. “I don’t believe working is a crime. What we’re doing is something normal — we’re not hurting anyone.” The Mi Pueblo Mexican market chain also fired many workers in an immigration audit, during a union organizing drive.

Because the audits are not public, no exact total of the number of workers fired is available. ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice would not comment on the audit at ACI. In response to an information request, she stated: “To avoid negatively impacting the reputation of law-abiding businesses, we do not release information or confirm an audit unless the investigation results in a fine or the filing of criminal charges.” Neither ACI nor Select Staffing responded to requests for comment.

San Francisco became a leader in opposing the firings in January, when the Board of Supervisors passed unanimously a resolution calling on the Obama administration to implement a moratorium on the audits and on deportations. Other cities, like Los Angeles, have also opposed deportations, but San Francisco added: “End the firings of undocumented workers by ending the I-9 audits and the use of the E-Verify system.”

Gordon Mar, of Jobs with Justice, urged the board to act at a rally in front of City Hall. “When hundreds of workers are fired from their jobs,” he declared, “the damage is felt far beyond the workers themselves. Many communities have voiced their opposition to these ‘silent raids’ because they hurt everyone. Making it a crime to work drives people into poverty, and drives down workplace standards for all people.” Like many Bay Area progressive immigrant rights activists, Mar calls for repealing the section of immigration law that prohibits the undocumented from working.

The Board of Supervisors urged President Obama to change the way immigration law is enforced, in part because Congress has failed to pass immigration reform that would protect immigrants’ rights. The Senate did pass a bill a year ago, but although it might eventually bring legal status to some of the undocumented, other provisions would increase firings and deportations.

Like the Board of Supervisors, therefore, the California Legislature has also passed measures that took effect Jan. 1, to ameliorate the consequences of workplace immigration enforcement: AB 263, AB 524, and SB 666. Retaliation is now illegal against workers who complain they are owed unpaid wages, or who testify about an employer’s violation of a statute or regulation. Employers can have their business licenses suspended if they threaten to report the immigration status of workers who exercise their rights. Lawyers who do so can be disbarred. And threats to report immigration status can be considered extortion.

It’s too early to know how effective these new measures will be in protecting workers like the 18 who were fired at ACI. While a memorandum of understanding between ICE and the Department of Labor bars audits or other enforcement actions in retaliation for enforcing wage and hour laws, ICE routinely denies it engages in such retaliation.

Yet, as difficult as their situation is, the fired recyclers don’t seem to regret having filed the suit and standing up for their rights. Meanwhile, the actions by the cities of Oakland and Fremont hold out the promise of a better standard of living for those still laboring on the lines.


Coachella for agoraphobics: How to do the festival without leaving your house


Fun fact: I’m bad at festivals. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, per se: there’s live music, the outdoors, fried food, great people-watching.

It’s just that — well, okay, I lied, I usually don’t enjoy them. I’m not 22 anymore. I don’t like waiting in long lines for disgusting Port-a-Potties. The sound is often unpreventably terrible. Trying to see all the bands you really care about becomes a headache-inducing feat of scheduling Sudoku. And the people-watching, while entertaining, often devolves into being so annoyed at/dismayed by the people around me that I’m too distracted to enjoy the music.

I’m great at parties, I promise!

Here’s the thing: I truly love a lot of the acts on the lineup at Coachella this year. OutKast, The Dismemberment Plan, come on. And the fact that I’m not going to see the Replacements tonight makes me feel all kinds of superfan failure feelings (see: the name of my column).

I can’t be alone in my competing excitement about this year’s artists and total lack of desire to physically be on the hot, crowded premises for their shows. Thus, without further ado — before your social networks start blowing up with pictures of your friends having The Time of Their Lives there — a step-by-step guide to doing Coachella this weekend from the comfort of your own home.

Step 1: Get dressed. Ladies, you’re gonna want one of these.


On the bottom, go for the timeless, comfortable class of cutoff shorts that let the entire bottom half of your ass hang out the leg holes (you can Google image-search that one yourself). Pair with tall, furry boots. If you’ve been working out lately — or even following the Coachella diet — and really want to show off your complete lack of self-awareness, try appropriating the rich, storied culture of a persecuted people with your headgear. Guys, you can do this one too.




Step 2. Hit the hardware store and garden supply center. You want a high-powered space heater and several bags of very dry dirt — we’re in a drought here, after all. On the way home, collect a full trash bag of empty beer bottles, used condoms, and other detritus from the street. (Optional, depending on personal preference: Buy drugs.) When you get home, turn the heater on full blast and close the windows; then scatter dirt and garbage everywhere.

Step 3. Invite some friends over. You’re not into big crowds, but come on, you’re not anti-social. Bonus points if you can get a local celebrity, like John Waters, Rider Strong, or the Tamale Lady. Instagram the shit out of everything they do, such as taking selfies, taking more selfies, and sitting on their bodyguards’ shoulders, smoking blunts.




Step 4. Put on some tunes. To get that special “festival” sound, try turning the volume and bass up until every single element is distorted, then wrap your speakers in heavy blankets. Follow up by either standing with your ear smashed against them or walking half a mile away. Here’s a playlist featuring all of Friday, to get you started:

Step 5. Sometime around 5am (your mileage may very depending on drugs of choice), try going to sleep. Hey, look at that — you’re in your own bed! If you want to get that authentic camping feeling, make your friends stay over and sleep in super-cramped positions next to you. Ideally, you’ll wake up to the sound of someone vomiting five feet away from your head. I’m lucky enough to have a bedroom window facing 16th Street; again, YMMV.

But don’t think about that now. Get a little bit of rest. Drink some water. Tomorrow’s another long, glorious day of the best music festival you’ve ever been to, and if you want to have document the Time of Your Life, you’re gonna need your energy.

[More seriously — we do have a photographer at Coachella this weekend, check back here for cool photos that are not the result of me gleefully Google image-searching “Coachella headdress terrible.”]

Locals Only: Teenager


If the music industry gave out awards for patience or persistence, Bevan Herbekian would have a healthy handful of trophies to his name. The multi-instrumentalist has lent his songwriting and frontman skills to everything from loose punk bands to a highly orchestrated indie pop quartet over the course of the past decade and a half, in addition to playing bass on other people’s songs — at the moment, he’s part of fellow Berkeleyite M. Lockwood Porter‘s band — so he’s no stranger to the realities of trying to “make it” as a musician. But Teenager, the moniker under which Herbekian has decided to release his first truly solo album, represents something new for the songwriter: A chance to blend every genre he’s ever loved, to talk about his travels to New York and subsequent, requisite disllusionment with it, a musical space where he doesn’t have to bend to anyone else’s desires.

The resulting joy is contagious — The Magic of True Love, which comes out April 29, is full of unabashedly earnest, tightly crafted pop songs with seriously big instrumentation. There are head-bobbers, there’s high-flying falsetto, there are shout-along soul choruses. His voice carries the energy of someone very young, but these aren’t songs written by a newbie. Herbekian decided to realease one new song off the album each week leading up to the release, which means you can listen to quite a bit of it online. To be real, though, you should probably buy it. It’s catchy as shit, and the guy’s been at it long enough.

We caught up with him this week to hear about songwriting influences, going solo, and exactly how much time he spent listening to Nevermind.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Your bio says you’re from a small Northern California town. Where, exactly?

Bevan Herbekian I was born in Bennett Valley and raised there until I was 13. It’s that small stretch of countryside/small town between Petaluma & Santa Rosa proper that hides behind the hills off the 101. When I was in junior high, my family moved to Avila Beach, which is a tiny beach town on the central coast. It’s got two streets and a population of a few hundred. It made Bennett Valley look like a real urban center.

SFBG When and how did you first start playing music? What instrument was the first? How many do you play now?

BH I started playing music when I was about 12. My dad taught me the riff to Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” and I urgently learned the rest of the album on an acoustic guitar. It was one of those aha! moments for me. I was totally hooked and immediately wanted to start a punk band, but everyone I knew played guitar, so I hopped over to bass. Since then I’ve taken to the other rock ‘n’ roll instruments — piano, organ/keyboards, simple synth stuff, various percussion — I humor myself on drums and basically anything else I can get my hands on.

SFBG What’s the first record you really remember loving?

BH Unquestionably, Nirvana’s Nevermind. Around the same time I picked up the guitar, I borrowed a cassette of Guns & Roses’ Use Your Illusion from a friend’s ‘cool’ older brother — he was in high school so he was automatically cool. My dad caught me walking through the front door with it and said something along the lines of ‘you don’t want to listen to that garbage’ and took the tape, but not in the normal parents-are-a-drag sort of way. An hour later he gave it back to me having recorded Nevermind over it. I remember sitting on the floor of my room hearing those drums kick in and thinking what is this?! It was so loud and aggressive and passionate and vulnerable and somehow just as catchy as the early Beatles stuff that I loved as a little kid. Overnight, I became obsessed. I couldn’t stop listening to it. I literally listened to it every day before school for a year.

SFBG Can you name some of the bands you’ve been in before? The last time the Bay Guardian checked in with you, you were in The 21st Century.

BH Yeah, I’ve spent much of the last 15 years playing in bands. Prior to Teenager I was leading The 21st Century which was this highly orchestrated Indie-Pop/Rock octet with horns and harmonies and big songs in general. Before that I was working on solo stuff similar to what I’m doing now and playing in a fun experimental art-rock(?) band called The Tea Set and of a band/friendship club called World’s Best Dad. Right now, I’m also playing bass in M. Lockwood Porter which is a really sweet Americana/rock ‘n’ roll band led by fellow 21st Centurier Max Porter.

SFBG How was making an album on your own different from with a group? What made it feel like time to do that? It’s interesting, because so many people, when they decide to “go solo,” put out a really stark and stripped-down album, but this record sounds really BIG on all levels, in the best possible dramatic power-pop sense….got some ’70s arena-rock guitar riffs, soul jams with big backup vocals, some choruses that sound like younger (less cheesy) Billy Joel stuff.

BH Ha, that’s funny and pretty true! Yeah, this album came on the heels of being in a band with a lot of people. As is the case whenever working with a large group, there are many competing ideas and opinions. This can be a tremendous strength, but the songs that became this record were incredibly personal and I just found myself wanting to work on them in a solitary way. I had a strong sense of where I wanted to take them — kind of a ‘more is more’ philosophy — and when you have that sort of clarity, it’s best to do it yourself. It’s true, many of these songs are BIG and that’s been something I’ve been chasing for a few years. These songs grew out of some very big feelings so it seemed like the right way to bring them to life. There’s love and loss and desire and deep disappointment running through them so I wanted them to sound as large as it all felt.

SFBG On that note — how would you describe your genre on this album? Who would you point to as your biggest influences?

BH I love so much music and I like trying my hand at a lot of different types, so there’s a handful of genres represented here. I see this album almost like a mixtape of my life. There’s nods to many of my musical loves. There’s some rock ‘n’ roll, ’60s soul, indie pop, folk, and ’90s alternative (do people still say that?). In terms of musical influences, I gravitate towards songwriting. I love the melodies and arrangements of Brian Wilson and Motown. The literary and lyrical precision of Leonard Cohen and Belle & Sebastian blow my mind. Bands like The Pixies, Big Star, Harry Nilsson, and Beck — they’re all staples too…and like many of us, I was indoctrinated at an early age into the ultimate Beatles fan club by my dad so that’s a part of my musical DNA too.

SFBG Where does the moniker Teenager come from?

BH With The 21st Century, I was unapologetically ambitious. Even the band name was a kind of over-the-top statement of bravado and staking claim on something bold and large. Coming out of that, I veered the opposite direction. I thought, what’s one of the more misunderstood, under-appreciated, and generally dismissed groups around? And I arrived at Teenager. I think it was also a chance to acknowledge how long I’ve been writing and recording music at home. In a lot of ways, I’ve been doing the same thing for about 16 years so I thought in a way, my time as a musician and songwriter is dead center in those teenager years. Given the pair of meanings, it somehow felt strangely appropriate.

SFBG Plans for the next year? 

BH Well, I’ve been putting together a new lineup to play these songs out. I’m quite excited about that. I’m eager to tour come early Fall. Also, because this album was such a labor of love and took such a long time, I’m sitting on a lot of backlogged material. My hope is to get into the studio and cut it all by the end of the year and then whittle it down — maybe to a double album. I’ve never made one and have always been a bit against them in principle — I like editing – -but I think it might be time to give it a try.

SFBG Where do you live in the Bay Area? How does being from Northern California/living here influence your music?

BH I lived in San Francisco for a few years and had a stint in Oakland, and now I’m living in Berkeley. Honestly, I’m not sure how Northern California plays a part in my music. To me, it’s home and sometimes it’s hard to see your home for what it really is. But I love the city and the redwoods and the ocean and the mountains. Being surrounded by all that beauty can really instigate some large dreams and make you feel like the world is an astounding place.

SFBG Bay Area meal/restaurant/food item you couldn’t, hypothetically, live without?

BH Without hesitation, La Taqueria followed by banana cream pie and a cup of coffee from Mission Pie. I’ve dubbed it the ‘double threat’ and there are times when I do it twice a week. No joke, I did it today.


On the Rise: Friction Quartet


Opening for infamously iconoclastic, 40-year-old Bay Area contemporary music heroes Kronos Quartet, as the young Friction Quartet did earlier this year, might launch even the most experienced string player into a bow-snapping fit of nerves. But the Friction foursome was built on determination and fearlessness. “I wanted to start a contemporary string quartet since I was in high school,” co-founder and violinist Kevin Rogers explained. “Doug [Machiz] and I decided that if he ever moved to San Francisco, that we would form one together. A year later, we founded Friction Quartet.”

Cellist Machiz, who hails from Washington, D.C., had his own contemporary music conversion high in the Italian Alps with Rogers, playing Philip Glass’s third string quartet with Rogers at the Zephyr Music Festival. (They opened for Kronos with an exhilarating take on Glass’s fifth string quartet). Friction’s other members — Alaskan violist Taija Warbelow and violinist Otis Harriel, from Arcata — joined for a breathless, edgy past two years, featuring a run of festival dates, 26 commissions, and 22 premieres. Highlights include Transmediation, “a ground-breaking exploration of composer-performer-audience interaction through technology”; Unmanned, a resonant, war-themed environmental-electronic piece by Ian Dicke; and the odd haunting Radiohead cover here and there.

“Initially, finding other like-minded musicians was difficult,” Rogers said, but now the quartet seems up for anything — including reaching a larger audience with their upcoming debut studio album EQM. “It stands for Electronic Quartet Music, a play on the Electronic Dance Music genre, and reflects our interest in all kinds of music.” In May, the quartet will perform “A Show of Hands” at ODC Theater with dance company Garrett-Moulton Productions, and June will see an appearance at the Switchboard presents series. Oh, and they’re also involved in “Little Opera,” an after-school program that guides children through the process of creating an opera, from music to story to costumes.

Rogers summarizes the friction between life and art that sparks creativity and draws many to contemporary music: “Despite, or possibly because of, growing up in the South, I was opposed to a lot of the ideas from the culture. Specifically the conservative ideas about how one should act, or what political party they should follow. I always stuck out a little bit, being this guy that played violin and wrote poetry and advocated for the rights of those who were different. What better place to move to than San Francisco?”

What musicians or works of music have inspired you?

Taija: March from The Love of Three Oranges by Prokofiev — I used to listen to it endlessly on repeat. The work ethic of Midori and Hilary Hahn. Cat Empire also makes me very happy.

Otis: Henryk Szeryng’s Bach Ciaccone, watching violinist Jascha Heifetz’s first movement of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, Justice, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Doug: Radiohead, Tortoise, and Bang on a Can All Stars are huge influences for me. Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture” is the piece that inspired me to study the cello.

Kevin: My three major teachers; Nan Hudson, William Terwilliger, and Bettina Mussumeli; Radiohead, Johnny Greenwood, Gidon Kremer (violinist), Kronos Quartet, and eighth blackbird.

What’s the most underrated local act that people should know more about?

Kevin: The Living Earth Show, another post-classical group. They are an electric guitar and percussion duo that slides easily between the realms of the most esoteric contemporary art music and the dirtiest rock-influenced traditions. Check out “north pacific garbage patch” on Soundcloud.

The future of civic engagement is here (so far it’s not pretty)

Last week, we wrote about San Francisco City Hall’s foray into “civic innovation,” to foster greater governmental openness through web-based technology.

We spotlighted the OpenGov Foundation’s partnership with the city to upload the entire municipal code to a website,, to make local laws readily accessible for anyone (regardless of city of residency, apparently) to comb through, offer comments, or suggest legislative tweaks.

Sup. Mark Farrell trumpeted the open city code website as a great way to incorporate citizen feedback to improve government. It earned a mention the San Francisco Chronicle and other news outlets after Farrell proposed doing away with a silly law that effectively bans bicycle storage in garages, prompted by a comment left on

In and of itself, the idea is not bad – transparency and openness are laudable goals.

That being said, judging by the quality of “civic engagement” happening so far, there’s a long road ahead before this particular experiment in digital democracy takes us anyplace we’d like to go.

There’s the guy who rails against the law about curbing the wheels of your car when parking on an incline, who wants it known, sir, that “I resent and object to getting a near $70 fine for not curbing the wheels on my 2011 Prius.” (He argues that the grade of the incline the rule applies to only made sense in a bygone era, when parking brakes and manual transmissions were more likely to fail.)

Other brilliant insights from cantankerous “innovators”: What do we need San Francisco General Hospital for, anyway?

Another comment calls for writing a new law: “I think news racks should be outlawed as people leave garbage around them, graffiti and vandalize them all the time. I have never seen a group of news boxes / racks that were in a good shape anywhere in the city. They just make the city ugly and cluttered.”

I know, I know – this civic innovation experiment is still in a test phase. And after all, anyone is free to comment, and more stimulating ideas could still be on the horizon. 

But still. This is what citizen empowerment through technology looks like, in San Francisco?

Music Listings: Jan. 15-21, 2014




Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. Connan Mockasin, Disappearing People, Faux Canada, 9 p.m., $10-$12.

El Rio: 3158 Mission, San Francisco. Nobunny, King Lollipop, Pookie & The Poodlez, 9 p.m., $7.

Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco. The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, The Sloths, Beachkrieg, DJ Sid Presley, 9 p.m., $8.


Beaux: 2344 Market, San Francisco. “BroMance: A Night Out for the Fellas,” 9 p.m., free.

The Cafe: 2369 Market, San Francisco. “Sticky Wednesdays,” w/ DJ Mark Andrus, 8 p.m., free.

Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco. “Bondage A Go Go,” w/ DJs Damon, Tomas Diablo, & guests, 9:30 p.m., $5-$10.

Club X: 715 Harrison, San Francisco. “Electro Pop Rocks,” 18+ dance night, 9 p.m.

The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Tainted Techno Trance,” 10 p.m.

F8: 1192 Folsom St., San Francisco. “Housepitality,” 9 p.m., $5-$10.

Harlot: 46 Minna, San Francisco. “Qoöl,” 5 p.m.

Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco. “Indulgence,” 10 p.m.

Lexington Club: 3464 19th St., San Francisco. “Friends of Dorothy,” w/ DJ Sissyslap, 9 p.m., free.

Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco. “What?,” w/ resident DJ Tisdale and guests, 7 p.m., free.

Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “Rock the Spot,” 9 p.m., free.

Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “Burn Down the Disco,” w/ DJs 2shy-shy & Melt w/U, Third Wednesday of every month, 9 p.m., free.

MatrixFillmore: 3138 Fillmore, San Francisco. “Reload,” w/ DJ Big Bad Bruce, 10 p.m., free.

Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Booty Call,” w/ Juanita More, Joshua J, guests, 9 p.m., $3.

Showdown: 10 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Nokturnal,” w/ DJs Coyle & Gonya, Third Wednesday of every month, 9 p.m., free.


Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco. “Mixtape Wednesday,” w/ resident DJs Strategy, Junot, Herb Digs, & guests, 9 p.m., $5.

Slate Bar: 2925 16th St., San Francisco. “Special Blend,” w/ resident DJs LazyBoy & Mr. Murdock, 9 p.m., free.


Cafe Divine: 1600 Stockton, San Francisco. Craig Ventresco & Meredith Axelrod, 7 p.m., free.

Club Deluxe: 1511 Haight, San Francisco. Happy Hour Bluegrass, 6:30 p.m., free.

Fiddler’s Green: 1333 Columbus, San Francisco. Terry Savastano, Every other Wednesday, 9:30 p.m., free/donation.

Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco. Shawn Colvin, Through Jan. 16, 8 p.m., $45.


Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. Gaucho, Eric Garland’s Jazz Session, The Amnesiacs, 7 p.m., free.

Burritt Room: 417 Stockton St., San Francisco. Terry Disley’s Rocking Jazz Trio, 6 p.m., free.

Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Charles Unger Experience, 7:30 p.m., free.

Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco. The Cosmo Alleycats featuring Ms. Emily Wade Adams, 7 p.m., free.

Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco. Michael Parsons Trio, Every other Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., free/donation.

Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco. “Cat’s Corner,” 9 p.m., $10.

Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. Fran Sholly, 8 p.m.

Top of the Mark: One Nob Hill, 999 California, San Francisco. Ricardo Scales, Wednesdays, 6:30-11:30 p.m., $5.


Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco. Timba Dance Party, w/ DJ WaltDigz, 10 p.m., $5.

Cafe Cocomo: 650 Indiana, San Francisco. “Bachatalicious,” w/ DJs Good Sho & Rodney, 7 p.m., $5-$10.

Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco. Cafe Latino Americano, 8 p.m., $12.


Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Tommy Odetto, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $15.

The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Big Bones & Chris Burns, 7:30 p.m., free.

The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Little Jonny & The Giants, 9:30 p.m.


Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco. Coward, Vibrating Garbage, Jacob Felix Heule, 8:30 p.m., $6.


Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. “Soul Train Revival,” w/ Ziek McCarter, Third Wednesday of every month, 9:30 p.m., $5.



Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. Joshua Cook & The Key of Now, Be Calm Honcho, Drivers, 9 p.m., $10.

The Chapel: 777 Valencia St., San Francisco. Papa M (performing Whatever, Mortal), Guy Blakeslee, 8 p.m., $18-$22.

Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco. Bad Bad, Talk of Shamans, Banshee Boardwalk, 8:30 p.m., $6.

Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. Rich Girls, Go to Hell, 7 p.m., $5.

Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco. Cody Canada & The Departed, American Aquarium, 8 p.m., $16.


Abbey Tavern: 4100 Geary, San Francisco. DJ Schrobi-Girl, 10 p.m., free.

Aunt Charlie’s Lounge: 133 Turk, San Francisco. “Tubesteak Connection,” w/ DJ Bus Station John, 9 p.m., $5-$7.

The Cafe: 2369 Market, San Francisco. “¡Pan Dulce!,” 9 p.m., $5.

Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco. “Throwback Thursdays,” ‘80s night with DJs Damon, Steve Washington, Dangerous Dan, and guests, 9 p.m., $6 (free before 9:30 p.m.).

The Cellar: 685 Sutter, San Francisco. “XO,” w/ DJs Astro & Rose, 10 p.m., $5.

Club X: 715 Harrison, San Francisco. “The Crib,” 9:30 p.m., $10, 18+.

DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. “8bitSF,” w/ The Glowing Stars, Ovenrake, Tonight We Launch, 8 p.m., $8-$11.

Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco. “Afrolicious,” w/ DJs Pleasuremaker, Señor Oz, and live guests, 9:30 p.m., $5-$8.

F8: 1192 Folsom St., San Francisco. “Beat Church,” w/ resident DJs Neptune & Kitty-D, Third Thursday of every month, 10 p.m., $10.

Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco. “I Love Thursdays,” 10 p.m., $10.

John Colins: 138 Minna, San Francisco. “SoLuna,” w/ resident DJ Miquel Penn, Third Thursday of every month, 9 p.m., free.

Laszlo: 2532 Mission, San Francisco. “Werk It,” w/ DJ Kool Karlo, Third Thursday of every month, 9 p.m., free.

Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “Night Fever,” 9 p.m., $5 after 10 p.m.

Monarch: 101 6th St., San Francisco. Justin Martin, Nick Monaco, 10 p.m., $10 advance.

Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Throwback Thursday,” w/ DJ Jay-R, 9 p.m., free.

Raven: 1151 Folsom St., San Francisco. “1999,” w/ VJ Mark Andrus, 8 p.m., free.

The Tunnel Top: 601 Bush, San Francisco. “Tunneltop,” DJs Avalon and Derek ease you into the weekend with a cool and relaxed selection of tunes spun on vinyl, 10 p.m., free.

Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco. “Bubble,” 10 p.m., free.

Vessel: 85 Campton, San Francisco. “Base,” w/ J.Phlip, 10 p.m., $5-$10.


1015 Folsom: 1015 Folsom St., San Francisco. 2Racks Rap Contest, hosted by Sellassie, 8 p.m., $20.

Eastside West: 3154 Fillmore, San Francisco. “Throwback Thursdays,” w/ DJ Madison, 9 p.m., free.

Showdown: 10 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Tougher Than Ice,” w/ DJs Vin Sol, Ruby Red I, and Jeremy Castillo, Third Thursday of every month, 10 p.m.

Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco. “Peaches,” w/ lady DJs DeeAndroid, Lady Fingaz, That Girl, Umami, Inkfat, and Andre, 10 p.m., free.


Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco. Acoustic Open Mic, 7 p.m.

Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco. Emperor Norton Céilí Band, 9 p.m.

Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco. Shawn Colvin, Through 8 p.m., $45.


Blush! Wine Bar: 476 Castro, San Francisco. Doug Martin’s Avatar Ensemble, 7:30 p.m., free.

Cafe Claude: 7 Claude, San Francisco. Mad & Eddie Duran Trio, 7:30 p.m., free.

Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Eugene Pliner Quartet with Tod Dickow, First and Third Thursday of every month, 7:30 p.m., free.

Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco. Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums, 7:30 p.m.

The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Charlie Siebert & Chris Siebert, 7:30 p.m., free.

Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco. Savanna Jazz Jam with Eddy Ramirez, 7:30 p.m., $5.

Top of the Mark: One Nob Hill, 999 California, San Francisco. Stompy Jones, 7:30 p.m., $10.

Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco. Barbara Ochoa, 7:30 p.m., free.


Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco. “Pa’Lante!,” w/ Juan G, El Kool Kyle, Mr. Lucky, 10 p.m., $5.

Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco. “Jueves Flamencos,” 8 p.m., free.

Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. Gary Flores & Descarga Caliente, 8 p.m.

Verdi Club: 2424 Mariposa, San Francisco. The Verdi Club Milonga, w/ Christy Coté, DJ Emilio Flores, guests, 9 p.m., $10-$15.


Pissed Off Pete’s: 4528 Mission St., San Francisco. Reggae Thursdays, w/ resident DJ Jah Yzer, 9 p.m., free.


50 Mason Social House: 50 Mason, San Francisco. Bill Phillippe, 5:30 p.m., free.

Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Syl Johnson, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $20.

The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Chris Ford, Third Thursday of every month, 4 p.m.; Charles Wheal, 9:30 p.m.


The Parlor: 2801 Leavenworth, San Francisco. “Twang Honky Tonk & Country Jamboree,” w/ DJ Little Red Rodeo, 7 p.m., free.


Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. Sophistafunk, 9:30 p.m., $10-$15.


Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “Sugar Snap,” w/ DJ JZA, Third Thursday of every month, 6 p.m., free; “Soul: It’s the Real Thing,” 10 p.m., free.



Abbey Tavern: 4100 Geary, San Francisco. Hairstrike, 9:30 p.m., free.

Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. The Hundred Days, Cosmic Suckerpunch, Blackout Party, Dogcatcher, 9 p.m., $10-$12.

Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco. The Criminals, VKTMS, The Rinds, 10 p.m., $8.

Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco. Vela Eyes, The Surgeon Generals, Ghost Parade, Lemme Adams, 8 p.m., $13.

Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco. Weedeater, Black Cobra, 9 p.m., $15.


1015 Folsom: 1015 Folsom St., San Francisco. Mimosa, Lee Bannon, Gladkill, Sugarpill, Bogl, DJ Dials, Releese, DJ Balance, 10 p.m., $15-$17.50 advance.

Audio Discotech: 316 11th St., San Francisco. Teenage Mutants, Human Life, J. Remy, 9:30 p.m., $10 advance.

Cafe Flore: 2298 Market, San Francisco. “Kinky Beats,” w/ DJ Sergio, 10 p.m., free.

The Cafe: 2369 Market, San Francisco. “Boy Bar,” w/ DJ Matt Consola, 9 p.m., $5.

The Cellar: 685 Sutter, San Francisco. “F.T.S.: For the Story,” 10 p.m.

DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. “So Stoked: Frequency 8,” w/ Christopher Lawrence, Klubfiller, Mars, Sausee, Blix Cannon, Saphyre, Angoscia, more, 7 p.m., $20-$30.

The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Fever,” 10 p.m., free before midnight.

The Grand Nightclub: 520 4th St., San Francisco. “We Rock Fridays,” 9:30 p.m.

Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco. “Escape Fridays,” 10 p.m., $20.

Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco. “HYSL,” 9 p.m., $3.

Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “That ‘80s Show,” w/ DJs Dave Paul & Jeff Harris, Third Friday of every month, 9 p.m., $5.

Manor West: 750 Harrison, San Francisco. “Fortune Fridays,” 10 p.m., free before 11 p.m. with RSVP.

MatrixFillmore: 3138 Fillmore, San Francisco. “F-Style Fridays,” w/ DJ Jared-F, 9 p.m.

Mighty: 119 Utah, San Francisco. DJ David Harness, 10 p.m., free before midnight with RSVP.

OMG: 43 6th St., San Francisco. “Release,” 9 p.m., free before 11 p.m.

Public Works: 161 Erie, San Francisco. Ida Engberg, Ben Seagren, Brian Knarfield, Max Gardner, John Kaberna, in the main room, 9 p.m., $13-$20.

Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Pump: Worq It Out Fridays,” w/ resident DJ Christopher B, 9 p.m., $3.

Ruby Skye: 420 Mason, San Francisco. Max Graham, 9 p.m., $20 advance.

Sip Bar & Lounge: 787 Broadway, San Francisco. DJ Marc deVasconcelos, 10 p.m., free.

Slate Bar: 2925 16th St., San Francisco. “Darling Nikki,” w/ resident DJs Dr. Sleep, Justin Credible, and Durt, Third Friday of every month, 8 p.m., $5.

Temple: 540 Howard, San Francisco. Roger Shah, Mitka, John Beaver, Reverse, DJ Tone, DJ Von, 10 p.m., $15.

Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco. “Bionic,” 10 p.m., $5.

Wish: 1539 Folsom, San Francisco. “Bridge the Gap,” w/ resident DJ Don Kainoa, Fridays, 6-10 p.m., free; “Depth,” w/ resident DJs Sharon Buck & Greg Yuen, Third Friday of every month, 10 p.m., free.


EZ5: 682 Commercial, San Francisco. “Decompression,” Fridays, 5-9 p.m.

John Colins: 138 Minna, San Francisco. “Juicy,” w/ DJ Ry Toast, Third Friday of every month, 10 p.m., $5 (free before 11 p.m.).

Mezzanine: 444 Jessie, San Francisco. DJ Drama, DJ Amen, DJ Sean G, 9 p.m., $15-$20.

Showdown: 10 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Fresh to Def Fridays: A Tribute to Yo! MTV Raps,” w/ resident DJs Boom Bostic, Inkfat, and Hay Hay, Third Friday of every month, 10 p.m.


Mercury Cafe: 201 Octavia, San Francisco. Toshio Hirano, Third Friday of every month, 7:30 p.m., free, all ages.

Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco. “Bluegrass Bonanza,” Third Friday of every month, 9 p.m., $6-$10.

The Sports Basement: 610 Old Mason, San Francisco. “Breakfast with Enzo,” w/ Enzo Garcia, 10 a.m., $5.


Atlas Cafe: 3049 20th St., San Francisco. Jazz at the Atlas, 7:30 p.m., free.

Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant: 1000 Great Highway, San Francisco. Johnny Smith, 8 p.m., free.

Bird & Beckett: 653 Chenery, San Francisco. The Third Quartet, Third Friday of every month, 5:30 p.m., free.

Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. Ike Stubblefield Quartet, 9:30 p.m., $20 advance.

Cafe Claude: 7 Claude, San Francisco. Jerry Oakley Trio, 7:30 p.m., free.

Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Charles Unger Experience, 7:30 p.m., free.

The Palace Hotel: 2 New Montgomery, San Francisco. The Klipptones, 8 p.m., free.

Red Poppy Art House: 2698 Folsom, San Francisco. Emily Asher’s Garden Party, 7:30 p.m., $15-$20.

Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco. Emily Anne’s Delights, Third Friday of every month, 8:45 p.m., free/donation.

Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco. Savanna Jazz Trio, 7 p.m., $8.

Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. David Jeffrey Jazz Fourtet, 9 p.m.

Top of the Mark: One Nob Hill, 999 California, San Francisco. Black Market Jazz Orchestra, 9 p.m., $10.

Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco. Joyce Grant, 8 p.m., free.


Asiento: 2730 21st St., San Francisco. “Kulcha Latino,” w/ resident selectors Stepwise, Ras Rican, and El Kool Kyle, Third Friday of every month, 9 p.m., free.

Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco. Qumbia Qrew, Third Friday of every month, 8 p.m.; “Paris-Dakar African Mix Coupe Decale,” 10 p.m., $5.

Cafe Cocomo: 650 Indiana, San Francisco. Taste Fridays, featuring local cuisine tastings, salsa bands, dance lessons, and more, 7:30 p.m., $15 (free entry to patio).

Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco. “Gigante Temblor,” w/ DJs Kidd Sysko & Tori, 10 p.m., $5.

The Chapel: 777 Valencia St., San Francisco. Sila, Lagos Roots, Non Stop Bhangra DJs, 9 p.m., $17-$19.

Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco. Cuban Night with Fito Reinoso, 7:30 & 9:15 p.m., $15-$18.


Gestalt Haus: 3159 16th St., San Francisco. “Music Like Dirt,” 7:30 p.m., free.


Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Syl Johnson, 7:30 & 10 p.m., $22.

Lou’s Fish Shack: 300 Jefferson St., San Francisco. Eldon Brown, 6 p.m.

The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. West Coast Blues Revue, 4 p.m.; Henry Oden, 9:30 p.m.


Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. “Hella Tight,” w/ resident DJs Vinnie Esparza, Jonny Deeper, & Asti Spumanti, Third Friday of every month, 10 p.m., $5.

Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “Loose Joints,” w/ DJs Centipede, Damon Bell, and Tom Thump, 10 p.m., $5-$10.


Edinburgh Castle: 950 Geary, San Francisco. “Soul Crush,” w/ DJ Serious Leisure, 10 p.m., free.

The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco. UnderCover Presents Sly & The Family Stone’s Stand!, w/ guest music director David Möschler, Jan. 17-19, 8 p.m., $25-$30.

The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. “Oldies Night,” W/ DJs Primo, Daniel, Lost Cat, and friends, Third Friday of every month, 10 p.m., $5.

The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Freddie Hughes & Chris Burns, 7:30 p.m., free.



Bender’s: 806 S. Van Ness, San Francisco. Flexx Bronco, Antique Scream, 10 p.m., $5.

Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. Crooks on Tape, Fever the Ghost, Carta, 9:30 p.m., $10-$12.

The Chapel: 777 Valencia St., San Francisco. Toy, Cellar Doors, Wymond Miles, 9 p.m., $12-$15.


Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. “Pance Darty,” w/ Jjaaxxnn & Duke, Third Saturday of every month, 9 p.m., $7.

Cafe Flore: 2298 Market, San Francisco. “Bistrotheque,” w/ DJ Ken Vulsion, 8 p.m., free.

Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco. “New Wave City: Depeche Mode Night,” w/ DJ Shindog, Tomas Diablo, Andy T, Fem Mystique, 9 p.m., $7-$12.

DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. “Bootie S.F.,” 9 p.m., $10-$15.

The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco. “The Show,” w/ Ben Seagren, Dean Samaras, and guests (starts 2 a.m. Sunday morning), Third Saturday of every month.

Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco. “Social Addiction,” Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., $20.

Lexington Club: 3464 19th St., San Francisco. “S.O.S.,” w/ DJ Andre, 9 p.m., free.

Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco. “Bounce!,” 9 p.m., $3.

Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “Fringe,” w/ DJs Blondie K & subOctave, Third Saturday of every month, 9 p.m., $5 (free before 10 p.m.).

Mighty: 119 Utah, San Francisco. “Eighth Annual Icebreakers Ball,” w/ DJ Icey, Zach Moore, Motion Potion, Matt Haze, Phleck, U9lift, Professor Bang, more, 10 p.m., $15-$20.

Milk Bar: 1840 Haight, San Francisco. “The Queen Is Dead: A Tribute to the Music of Morrissey & The Smiths,” w/ DJ Mario Muse & guests, Third Saturday of every month, 9 p.m.

Monarch: 101 6th St., San Francisco. “Sound Department 009,” w/ Stimming, DJ M3, Martin Aquino, Nick Williams, 9 p.m., $10-$25.

Powerhouse: 1347 Folsom, San Francisco. “Beatpig,” Third Saturday of every month, 9 p.m.

Public Works: 161 Erie, San Francisco. “Icee Hot: 4-Year Anniversary,” w/ Levon Vincent, Joey Anderson, Floating Points, Jason Kendig, Jackie House, Ghosts on Tape, Low Limit, Shawn Reynaldo, DJ Will, 9 p.m., $15 advance.

Ruby Skye: 420 Mason, San Francisco. Sick Individuals, Donald Glaude, 9 p.m., $20 advance.

Slate Bar: 2925 16th St., San Francisco. “Smiths Night S.F.,” w/ The Certain People Crew, Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., $5.

Slide: 430 Mason, San Francisco. “Luminous,” w/ DJ Zhaldee, Third Saturday of every month, 9 p.m.

Sub-Mission Art Space (Balazo 18 Gallery): 2183 Mission, San Francisco. “Requiem,” w/ DJs Xiola, Calexica, and Callum McGowan, 9:30 p.m., $6.

Temple: 540 Howard, San Francisco. “Crush,” 10 p.m., $20.

Vessel: 85 Campton, San Francisco. Tristan Garner, Tommy Beringer, 10 p.m., $10-$30.


111 Minna Gallery: 111 Minna St., San Francisco. “Shine,” Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m.

Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. Alphabet Soup with DJ Logic, 9:30 p.m., $15 advance.

Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco. Schaffer the Darklord, Adam WarRock, Tribe One, Dual Core, 9 p.m., $10.

John Colins: 138 Minna, San Francisco. “The Bump,” w/ The Whooligan, Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., free.

The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. “The Booty Bassment,” w/ DJs Dimitri Dickinson & Ryan Poulsen, Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., $5.

Showdown: 10 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Purple,” w/ resident DJs ChaunceyCC & Party Pablo, Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m.

Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco. “Night Swim,” w/ resident DJ Mackswell, Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m.


Atlas Cafe: 3049 20th St., San Francisco. Craig Ventresco and/or Meredith Axelrod, Saturdays, 4-6 p.m., free.


Cafe Claude: 7 Claude, San Francisco. The Monroe Trio, 7:30 p.m., free.

Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Bill “Doc” Webster & Jazz Nostalgia, 7:30 p.m., free.

The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Jules Broussard, Danny Armstrong, and Chris Siebert, 7:30 p.m., free.

Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco. Savanna Jazz Trio, 7 p.m., $8.

Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. The Robert Stewart Experience, 9 p.m.


1015 Folsom: 1015 Folsom St., San Francisco. “Pura,” 9 p.m., $20.

Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco. “Paris-Dakar African Mix Coupe Decale,” 10 p.m., $5.

Croatian American Cultural Center: 60 Onondaga, San Francisco. Táncház: Hungarian Dance House, 3 p.m., free.

The Emerald Tablet: 80 Fresno St., San Francisco. Howard Alden & Almir Côrtes, 8 p.m., $15 suggested donation.

Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “El SuperRitmo,” w/ DJs Roger Mas & El Kool Kyle, 10 p.m., $5 before 11 p.m.

Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco. Eddy Navia & Pachamama Band, 8 p.m., free.

Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco. Go Van Gogh, Third Saturday of every month, 9 p.m., free/donation.

Space 550: 550 Barneveld, San Francisco. “Club Fuego,” 9:30 p.m.


Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Syl Johnson, 7:30 & 10 p.m., $22.

Lou’s Fish Shack: 300 Jefferson St., San Francisco. Jim Moore & Funktional Soul, 6 p.m.

The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Tony Perez & Second Hand Smoke, Third Saturday of every month, 4 p.m.; Curtis Lawson, 9:30 p.m.

St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church: 2097 Turk, San Francisco. David Jacobs-Strain, Rev Rabia, 8 p.m., $17-$20.


Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco. Randy Rogers Band, Wade Bowen, 9 p.m., $16.


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: 701 Mission, San Francisco. Dohee Lee: Winter Ritual – Mago, noon, free.


Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco. “Saturday Night Soul Party,” w/ DJs Lucky, Phengren Oswald, and Paul Paul, Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m., $10 ($5 in formal attire).

The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco. UnderCover Presents Sly & The Family Stone’s Stand!, w/ guest music director David Möschler, Jan. 17-19, 8 p.m., $25-$30.



Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco. Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits, The Haymarket Squares, The Crux, 8 p.m., $8.


Beaux: 2344 Market, San Francisco. “Full of Grace: A Weekly House Music Playground,” 9 p.m., free.

The Cellar: 685 Sutter, San Francisco. “Replay Sundays,” 9 p.m., free.

The Edge: 4149 18th St., San Francisco. “’80s at 8,” w/ DJ MC2, 8 p.m.

Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco. “Dub Mission,” Sunday night excursions into the echo-drenched outer realms of dub with resident DJ Sep and guests, 9 p.m., $6 (free before 9:30 p.m.).

The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco. “T.Dance,” 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; “Sunday Sessions,” 8 p.m.

F8: 1192 Folsom St., San Francisco. “Stamina,” w/ DJs Lukeino, Jamal, and guests, 10 p.m., free.

The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. “Sweater Funk,” 10 p.m., free.

Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco. “Jock,” Sundays, 3-8 p.m., $2.

MatrixFillmore: 3138 Fillmore, San Francisco. “Bounce,” w/ DJ Just, 10 p.m.

Otis: 25 Maiden, San Francisco. “What’s the Werd?,” w/ resident DJs Nick Williams, Kevin Knapp, Maxwell Dub, and guests, 9 p.m., $5 (free before 11 p.m.).

The Parlor: 2801 Leavenworth, San Francisco. DJ Marc deVasconcelos, 10 p.m., free.

Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Gigante,” 8 p.m., free.

Ruby Skye: 420 Mason, San Francisco. “Hero,” w/ DJs Moto Blanco & Manny Lehman, 6 p.m., $25 advance.

Slate Bar: 2925 16th St., San Francisco. “She Said…: A Queer Affair,” Third Sunday of every month, 4 p.m., $3-$5.

Temple: 540 Howard, San Francisco. “Sunset Arcade,” 18+ dance party & game night, 9 p.m., $10.


Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. “Return of the Cypher,” 9:30 p.m., free.

Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco. Hopsin, DJ Hoppa, Dizzy Wright, 8 p.m., $21-$24.


The Lucky Horseshoe: 453 Cortland, San Francisco. Bernal Mountain Bluegrass Jam, 4 p.m., free.

Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “Spike’s Mic Night,” Sundays, 4-8 p.m., free.

The Rite Spot Cafe: 2099 Folsom, San Francisco. Conspiracy of Beards, Peter Whitehead, Volunteer Plum, 8 p.m., free.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church: 1755 Clay, San Francisco. “Sunday Night Mic,” w/ Roem Baur, 5 p.m., free.


Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Bill “Doc” Webster & Jazz Nostalgia, 7:30 p.m., free.

Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “Sunday Sessions,” 10 p.m., free.

Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco. Jazz Revolution, 4 p.m., free/donation.

The Riptide: 3639 Taraval, San Francisco. The Cottontails, Third Sunday of every month, 7:30 p.m., free.

The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Lavay Smith & Chris Siebert, 7:30 p.m., free.


Atmosphere: 447 Broadway, San Francisco. “Hot Bachata Nights,” w/ DJ El Guapo, 5:30 p.m., $10 ($18-$25 with dance lessons).

Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco. “Brazil & Beyond,” 6:30 p.m., free.

Thirsty Bear Brewing Company: 661 Howard, San Francisco. “The Flamenco Room,” 7:30 & 8:30 p.m.


Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. HowellDevine, Third Sunday of every month, 8:30 p.m., $7-$10.

Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. The Brat Pack, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $15.

Lou’s Fish Shack: 300 Jefferson St., San Francisco. Nat Bolden, 4 p.m.

The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Blues Power, 4 p.m.; Silvia C, 9:30 p.m.

Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. Bohemian Knuckleboogie, 8 p.m., free.

Swig: 571 Geary, San Francisco. Sunday Blues Jam with Ed Ivey, 9 p.m.


Pier 23 Cafe: Pier 23, San Francisco. Hot Pocket, Third Sunday of every month, 4 p.m., $5.


Delirium Cocktails: 3139 16th St., San Francisco. “Heart & Soul,” w/ DJ Lovely Lesage, 10 p.m., free.

The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco. UnderCover Presents Sly & The Family Stone’s Stand!, w/ guest music director David Möschler, Jan. 17-19, 8 p.m., $25-$30.



The Chapel: 777 Valencia St., San Francisco. Pure Bathing Culture, La Luz, 8 p.m., $12.

Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco. “Americalia,” w/ Mark Matos & guests, 9 p.m. continues through Jan. 27, $7.


DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. “Death Guild,” 18+ dance party with DJs Decay, Joe Radio, Melting Girl, & guests, 9:30 p.m., $3-$5.

The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. “Disorder,” w/ Bright Future, Manics, Percy’s Music, plus DJs Nickie, Brynna Ashley, and James David, 9 p.m., $5.

Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Wanted,” w/ DJs Key&Kite and Richie Panic, 9 p.m., free.

Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco. “Vienetta Discotheque,” w/ DJs Stanley Frank and Robert Jeffrey, 10 p.m., free.


Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. Windy Hill, Third Monday of every month, 9 p.m., free.

The Chieftain: 198 Fifth St., San Francisco. The Wrenboys, 7 p.m., free.

Fiddler’s Green: 1333 Columbus, San Francisco. Terry Savastano, 9:30 p.m., free/donation.

Hotel Utah: 500 Fourth St., San Francisco. Open Mic with Brendan Getzell, 8 p.m., free.

Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “Sad Bastard Club,” Third Monday of every month, 7:30 p.m., free.

Osteria: 3277 Sacramento, San Francisco. “Acoustic Bistro,” 7 p.m., free.

The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Peter Lindman, 4 p.m.


Cafe Divine: 1600 Stockton, San Francisco. Rob Reich, First and Third Monday of every month, 7 p.m.

Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Eugene Pliner Quartet with Tod Dickow, 7:30 p.m., free.

Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco. Le Jazz Hot, 7 p.m., free.

Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. City Jazz Instrumental Jam Session, 8 p.m.

The Union Room at Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. The Session: A Monday Night Jazz Series, pro jazz jam with Mike Olmos, 7:30 p.m., $12.


Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco. “Skylarking,” w/ I&I Vibration, 10 p.m., free.


The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. The Bachelors, 9:30 p.m.


Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “Whiskey River,” w/ DJ Handlebars & Pretty Ricky, Third Monday of every month, 10 p.m., free.


Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “M.O.M. (Motown on Mondays),” w/ DJ Gordo Cabeza & Timoteo Gigante, 8 p.m., free.



Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. Max Bemis, Matt Pryor, Perma, Merriment, Allison Weiss, 7:30 p.m., $14-$17.

The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. High Anxiety, Butt Problems, Apogee Sound Club, DJ Fred Thrillhouse, 9:30 p.m., $6.


Aunt Charlie’s Lounge: 133 Turk, San Francisco. “High Fantasy,” w/ DJ Viv, Myles Cooper, & guests, 10 p.m., $2.

Monarch: 101 6th St., San Francisco. “Soundpieces,” 10 p.m., free-$10.

Otis: 25 Maiden, San Francisco. “Vibe,” w/ Binkadink, Third Tuesday of every month, 6 p.m., free.

Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Switch,” w/ DJs Jenna Riot & Andre, 9 p.m., $3.

Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco. “Shelter,” 10 p.m., free.

Wish: 1539 Folsom, San Francisco. “Tight,” w/ resident DJs Michael May & Lito, 8 p.m., free.


Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. Farallons, 9:15 p.m. Starts . continues through Jan. 28, $7.

Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco. Songwriter in Residence: Tom Rhodes, 7 p.m. continues through Jan. 28.

Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco. Seisiún with Autumn Rhodes & Pat O’Donnell, 9 p.m.


Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant: 1000 Great Highway, San Francisco. Gerry Grosz Jazz Jam, 7 p.m.

Blush! Wine Bar: 476 Castro, San Francisco. Kally Price & Rob Reich, 7 p.m., free.

Burritt Room: 417 Stockton St., San Francisco. Terry Disley’s Rocking Jazz Trio, 6 p.m., free.

Cafe Divine: 1600 Stockton, San Francisco. Chris Amberger, 7 p.m.

Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Clifford Lamb, Mel Butts, and Friends, 7:30 p.m., free.

Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco. Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, 7 p.m.

Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco. West Side Jazz Club, 5 p.m., free; Panique, Third Tuesday of every month, 8:30 p.m., free/donation.

Tupelo: 1337 Green St., San Francisco. Mal Sharpe’s Big Money in Jazz Band, 6 p.m.

Verdi Club: 2424 Mariposa, San Francisco. “Tuesday Night Jump,” w/ Stompy Jones, 9 p.m., $10-$12.


Cafe Cocomo: 650 Indiana, San Francisco. “Descarga S.F.,” w/ DJs Hong & Good Sho, 8 p.m., $12.

The Cosmo Bar & Lounge: 440 Broadway, San Francisco. “Conga Tuesdays,” 8 p.m., $7-$10.

Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco. “Porreta!,” all night forro party with DJs Carioca & Lucio K, Third Tuesday of every month, 9 p.m., $7.

F8: 1192 Folsom St., San Francisco. “Underground Nomads,” w/ rotating resident DJs Amar, Sep, and Dulce Vita, plus guests, 9 p.m., $5 (free before 9:30 p.m.).


Milk Bar: 1840 Haight, San Francisco. “Bless Up,” w/ Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi, 10 p.m.


Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Daniel Castro, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., $15.

The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Lisa Kindred, Third Tuesday of every month, 9:30 p.m.


Center for New Music: 55 Taylor St., San Francisco. sfSoundSalonSeries, w/ George Cremaschi, Katherine Young, and sfSoundGroup, 7:49 p.m., $7-$10.


Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “Boogaloo Tuesday,” w/ Oscar Myers & Steppin’, 9:30 p.m., free.


Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “Lost & Found,” w/ DJs Primo, Lucky, and guests, 9:30 p.m., free. 2

A look back: The “Candlestick Swindle” in ’68


San Francisco spent this week saying goodbye to its beloved foggy stadium, Candlestick Park. Amidst the farewells, the Guardian spotted a post from sports blog Deadspin, which reprinted one of our articles from 1968  titled, “Before We Build Another Stadium… The Candlestick Swindle.” 

When we saw the post, we started thumbing through our archives looking for the article. Though Deadspin said it was from 1972, we found it in Vol. 2, Issue no. 10, May 14, 1968, it’s a down and dirty tale of intimidation, bypassing voters through dummy corporations, profiteering, and racism. Candlestick has a colorful history, to say the least. 

The author, Burton H. Wolfe (Burton, not “Mr. Wolfe,” he wrote via email), gave us permission to re-publish it in full here. Just for fun, we’re also embedding the original issue as a PDF, which can be download and printed. Looking through the issue, it’s heartening (and disheartening) how much, and how little, changes.


The Candlestick Swindle

It all began early in 1953. Mayor Elmer Robinson’s administration—and local businessmen—decided to import big league baseball for San Francisco’s economic and recreational benefit. A downtown stadium was adequate for San Francisco’s AAA minor league club, the Seals, but not for major league fare.

Hence, Robinson asked the Board of Supervisors to approve a $5 million bond proposition to construct a new stadium. Among the supervisors in approval: George Christopher, soon to become mayor; Gene McAteer, headed for the state senate; Francis McCarty, a future judge; Harold Dobbs, restaurateur and budding Republican candidate for mayor, and John Jay Ferdon, future district attorney.

In July of that same year, 1953, a local multi-millionaire contractor named Charles Harney purchased 65 acres of land at Candlestick Point from the city of San Francisco for $2,100 an acre.

Next year, a band of publicists headed by Curley Grieve, S.F. Examiner sports editor, beat the drums and called the natives to pass this bond issue proposition:

To incur a bonded indebtedness in the sum of $5 million for the acquisition, construction and completion of buildings, lands and other works and properties to be used for baseball, football, other sports, dramatic productions and other lawful uses as a recreation center.

Major league baseball, they proclaimed, would bring untold wealth to the city for a mere $5 million, a price that would be returned many times. After voters approved this in November, 1954, the search began for a site. If there were any doubts the stadium would cost more than $5 million, they were dispelled in a personal meeting between Robinson’s successor, Mayor Christopher, and the owner of the New York Giants, Horace Stoneham.

In April, 1957, Christopher and McCarty flew to New York to talk Stoneham into bringing the Giants to San Francisco. The Giants were losing money in New York, and scouting the country for a new home base.

To prove San Francisco’s support for professional baseball, Christopher waved the $5 million stadium bond issue at Stoneham. According to testimony reported by the 1968 grand jury investigation, Stoneham replied contemptuously:

Any figure other than 10 or 11 million dollars shouldn’t even be discussed because there would be no possibility or probability of a major club moving to that particular community.

Back in San Francisco, Christopher reported the need for more money to other city leaders and businessmen. Since the proposition suddenly to double the original bond issue might run into trouble with the voters, they decided to create a non-profit corporation called Stadium, Inc., as a legal arm of the city.

Bypassing the Voters

Operating through this dummy corporation, the Christopher administration could bypass the voters to raise more money.

Harney and two of his employees were selected as the first board of directors of Stadium, Inc. Christopher told Harney that he would be the contractor to build the new stadium, and his 41 acres of Candlestick land would be the heart of the 77-acre location.

In 1957, Harney sold back 41 acres of the parcel he had purchased from the city in 1953 at $2,100 an acre. The 1957 price the city paid to Harney for its own former land was $65,853 an acre. That’s a crisp total of $2.7 million.

The city’s Real Estate Department approved the deal even though other land adjacent to Harney’s was bought at about the same time for just $6,540 an acre. Harney made a profit of $2.6 million on the four-year land ownership switch.

Not so, Christopher and Harney later contended. Harney had graded and filled the land, and so naturally he was paid for his improvements. One fact raised doubts about that explanation: a $7 million fee awarded to Harney to construct the new stadium included $2 million for stadium construction, $2 million for grading and filling and $2.7 million for real estate.

Had it not been for the creation of Stadium, Inc., the Christopher administration would have been required to hold open, competitive bidding for the contract, and voters would have seen the price tags.

By operating through Stadium, Inc., Christopher was able to evade the city charter and arrange the contract in a privately negotiated deal.

Through the same apparatus, his administration was able to float another $5.5 million bond issue without voter approval. The interest rate on these bonds was set at 5% whereas the interest on the original $5 million bond issue was only 2.4%, a difference that would eventually cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Evading an Investigation

In February, 1958, Harney and his employees were removed from the board of Stadium, Inc., after, as the grand jury report later pointed out, “Three influential men then were substituted to represent the city’s interest—Alan K. Brown, W.P. Fuller Brawne and Frederic P. Whitman.”

The maneuver came too late to prevent Henry E. North from instigating a Grand Jury investigation into the strange transactions.

North, like Christopher, was a Republican and a conservative member of the San Francisco business community. Until his retirement, at 70, he had been executive vice-president of one of the largest property owners in the city: the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He had a strong sense of civic duty, however, and the Candlestick Park deal smelled to him of garbage.

The report North issued, as the result of the Grand Jury investigation, was potential dynamite. It showed that, shortly before the city purchased Harney’s land at $65,853 an acre, adjacent pieces of tideland were sold by the city for less that $4,000 an acre. It did not make sense that Harney’s land, partly under water, should have brought $61,000 more from city coffers.

On Dec. 2, 1958, the San Francisco Chronicle carried partial coverage of the Grand Jury report. On page 5, the year Harney purchased the city land was stated as 1933 rather than 1953. Of course, the 20-year difference would provide a reason for the tremendous increase in value, because the initial purchase price would have been at depression levels.

Undoubtedly, it was a typographical error. And no doubt it was by unintentional omission that other salient features of the Grand Jury report were omitted altogether and never printed by the Chronicle or any other major newspaper.

North charged that all bond issues negotiated by Stadium, Inc. were illegal evasions of the city charter. Bond payments had to be made from city funds, not the dummy nonprofit corporation, and so the whole deal amounted to legal subterfuge; a way to make taxpayers foot the bill without letting them vote on it.

The report, drafted by North and signed by 18 other citizens, estimated annual payments on the bonds of $990,000 for the first 15 years of the debt period. Against that, the city was to draw $225,000 a year in rent from the Giants and $225,000 a year from advertising and parking revenues, leaving a balance of $640,000 to be paid annually from taxes or city funds. It was estimated that the city could make up the balance by commanding the juicy television rights; instead, Christopher arranged for rights to go exclusively to the Giants.

Altogether, it was a marvelous deal for the Giants. In their last New York season, attendance at the Polo Grounds plummeted to 684,000. The club had gone broke and it was almost impossible to give away its stock. After the Giants first season in San Francisco in 1958, attendance tripled over its last year in New York, and their stock soared to $1,000 a share. In terms of revenue, the increase in gate receipts alone meant $3 million the first year.

While the Giants were reaping enormous profits at taxpayers expense, City Hall and the local newspapers were trying to make it appear that San Francisco, too, was earning money. The News-Call Bulletin, the now defunct Hearst paper, once stated that when all returns are in, the season just ended (1960) will have yielded the city about $530,000. The fact was that the sole revenue to the city was $50,000 received to maintain buildings and grounds.

The other Hearst paper, the Examiner, stated, on the other hand: City Hall officials said $375,000 of the revenue figure will be used to pay the annual cost of the city’s $5 million bond issue. The Chronicle published this figure: Of the remaining $527,000, the first $375,000 must go toward payment of the city’s $5 million stadium bond issue.

The fact was that all revenues from the ball park and its parking lot had to be used to pay off the $5.5 million worth of bonds issued by Stadium, Inc., with the exception of the $50,000 maintenance income. The other $5 million worth, issued by the city, had to be paid off through real and personal or property taxes collected by the city.

The result: a projected loss, not profit, of $640,000 the city must pay from taxes or other general city revenues (according to the Grand Jury report), and a loss this year of at least $360,000 (according to figures supplied to The Guardian by the city controller’s office and Mike Barrett, the Bank of America executive who handles Stadium, Inc.’s trustee account.)

Some annual loss on Candlestick Park will continue until 1993, when the stadium will finally be free of debt and owned completely by the city—unless, it is torn down before then or reconstructed, which will add more debt.

There was another interesting development at Candlestick: Stevens California Enterprises, which got the food and beverage concession at the ball park, bought all its milk until two seasons ago from Christopher’s milk company, Christopher Dairy Farms. The Borden Co. now has the lucrative contract.

Even though City Hall and the newspapers were misstating facts about the Candlestick story, San Francisco restaurateurs, hotel owners and shopkeepers at least began to realize that they were not making any money from the ball park, as promised by the ballyhooers. Only the Giants, Harney, and Christopher were making money. The Giants were attracting few additional tourists to San Francisco, and area fans who journeyed to isolated Candlestick Point, several miles away, did not stop to patronize downtown establishments. Some downtown business men were angry, and if North’s crusade were given time and publicity, they might cause an uncomfortable controversy.

Christopher sent emissaries to North, but he would not be wooed or pressured from his stand. To the contrary, he made even more vigorous attacks on Christopher and the ball park deal. The lives of future generations had been mortgaged by this shoddy piece of business, he maintained. Christopher was diverting city funds from various departments: $1.4 million from street improvement bonds, $1.2 million from state gasoline taxes given to the city for road improvements, $1.5 million from sewer bonds for services to the Giants ball park.

A Hidden Payoff?

Already the cost was $15 million, and it might exceed $20 million when various exits, entrances, widened access streets and the like were built to handle the anticipated large crowds. Privately, North informed civic and business leaders that there was an underhanded payoff in the deal, and he intended to expose it.

Christopher reacted viscerally to North’s charges. With newspapermen present, he asserted North was drunk, incoherent, and fixable. The description was published in the newspapers.

North went to Nate Cohn, one of the foremost criminal lawyers in California, and they filed a $2 million libel suit against Christopher. In a pre-trial hearing, Christopher’s attorney filed a thick brief with 45 motions for dismissal of the suit, hoping to tie up the case inextricably. In just an hour and a half, Superior Court judge Preston Devine threw out all 45 motions, indicating clearly that Cohn and North had a good case.

Breaking Down North

Christopher’s friends in the business community went to work on North. The publisher of one of the three daily newspapers, North told me, called on him and said, “Henry, why don’t you play ball? You’re giving the city a bad name, stirring things up like this.”

At the Pacific Union Club across the street from the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, where North was already in disfavor for bringing Jewish guests despite the no-Jews-allowed policy, fellow Republican business executives started a snub-North routine. One day, for example, an old business friend greeted North:

“Say, Henry, I see in the papers there’s some fellow named Henry North filing a suit against the mayor and stirring things up. Must be another Henry North in this town, huh?”

“No, that’s me,” North told him.

“Is that so?” the old friend said. He turned his back on North and never spoke to him again.

I talked to North several times during the siege because I was publishing articles about Candlestick Park in my magazine, The Californian (now defunct). In those days he was full of fight, willing to take on City Hall and the entire business establishment even if it meant losing every friend he had. He promised to tell me the names of the men involved in the payoff, and he excoriated Christopher.

“You know what I call men like George Christopher? Black Republicans. Men who never did anything in their lives for the good of the common people. They’ve never realized that this country as a whole is no better off than the great masses of its people.”

The Fateful Fifth

Then they went to work on his wife. Unlike Henry, she was not involved in politics and her life revolved around her friends and social affairs. Her friends snubbed her and she no longer received invitations. She cried, she pleaded, she begged Henry to call off the ball park investigation and the lawsuit, when that did not move him, she threatened him with divorce. Henry began hitting the bottle.

On June 2, 1960, shortly after I published a detailed article by Lewis Lindsay called “The Giants Ball Park: A $15 Million Swindle,” the press broke the story that North had buried the hatchet with Christopher. In its first edition, the Chronicle correctly reported that North and Christopher had drunk a fifth and a half of Scotch together at Christopher’s home, and praised each other for publication. “He’s a great mayor,” North said—and agreed that legal entanglements were finished. The Chronicle dropped mention of the Scotch in later editions that went to most of its readers.

Cohn was outraged. “We had this suit won,” he told me. “North assured me he was going through with this no matter what happened. But they got to him through his wife, the poor old bastard. You see how they do things in this city? It’s so goddamned rotten you can’t believe it.”

When I called on North again, I found a complete transformation in his appearance. The look of a peppery fighter with ruddy cheeks had given way to a physical wreck; a baggy-eyed, tired, meek looking man weighed down by defeat.

The saddest part of the story was that his wife divorced him anyway. Not long afterward, North died of a heart attack. Harney died in December, 1962.

With North out of the way, with the daily newspapers blacking out the most important parts of the Candlestick Park story, with The Californian reaching only a few thousand citizens, it looked as though the scandal would never be investigated. In an effort to stir up something, I personally appeared before the Finance Committee of the Board of Supervisors and urged their help. One committee member, Al Zirpoli, had said before that he would favor an investigation.

No committee member challenged any facts I presented. When I finished, John Jay Ferdon, Committee Chairman, said only that he would not favor an investigation. He did not say why. (Six years later, when he had become District Attorney, he told me I was right about Candlestick.) Zirpoli, later to become a federal judge and the judge to hear draft resistance cases, said, “I agree with what Mr. Ferdon says.” He suggested, “If there is wrongdoing, your best course of action is a taxpayers’ suit.”

I went looking for wealthy liberals to finance a taxpayers suit, but none were in season. Cohn would have taken the suit if I could have found somebody to pay him for his time. All that he could do now was take me to business friends and introduce me.

The typical reaction came from Sam Cohen, owner of a plush restaurant on Maiden Lane said:

“Sorry, Burton, I can’t get involved. Do you know what Christopher can do to me with his power at City Hall? A Health Department inspector can find something wrong with this restaurant any time he wants. A door is too narrow, my stove does not meet regulations, anything to run me out of business. That’s how they do it. You can’t fight them.”

Since nobody in the city would fight, I asked Sen. Estes Kefauver, chairman of the Antitrust and Monopoly Sub-Committee of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, to investigate. He replied: “As interesting as a study of how the San Francisco ball park deal took place would be, I do not conclude that it is a matter that should be gone into on the federal level. I think that it is entirely a local or state matter, and that the Subcommittee would perhaps be criticized if it moved into this area.”

Now Another Ballpark

Here we are eight years later, with a Candlestick Park that enrages so many people that a new mayor, Joe Alioto, wants to scrap it for a new stadium. His announced philosophy is that great public projects should not be waylaid just because all of the people aren’t getting enough spaghetti and zucchini. And no doubt many San Franciscans believe that a ball park is a great public project, greater than a school, housing complex or a modern transportation system. That attitude could be the most tragic part of this story.


Last stand at the Bulb


As the squatter residents of Albany Bulb make one final push against being evicted from their home in a former landfill, the city of Albany is pushing forward with its plan to change the untamed space into a waterfront state park (see “Battle of the bulb,” Sept. 24).

The first signs of the transition came on Nov. 22, when a temporary shelter was set up for residents whose camps would be cleared. The shelter came after a disappointing week in court left the 50 to 60 residents of the Bulb without the stay-away order their advocates had sought, which they intended to use to keep the city and police at bay during the winter.

On Nov. 18, the residents and their attorneys received word that the stay-away order was denied by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer. After the decision and an Albany City Council meeting later that evening, campers and area activists set up a permanent settlement against the eviction after marching through the streets of Albany.

Barricades made of rocks were set up at the Bulb to resist police getting into the camps. However, the rain that followed for a few nights inhibited their efforts, according to activists involved in the action. And the police, using a backhoe, destroyed the rock barricades. The city of Albany, according to a press release, is calling the transition “ACT” which includes, “Assistance to homeless, including housing-centered outreach, transitional services, support, and shelter; Cleanup and maintenance of the Bulb; and Transfer of the Bulb to McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.” “As part of the City Council’s Strategic Planning Process conducted in 2012, the City Council identified key goals for the City,” Albany City Clerk Nicole Almaguer wrote in an email to the Guardian. “One of which is to ‘Maximize Park and Open Space’ including developing a plan to transition the Bulb into Eastshore State Park, and to improve accessibility for general public use of all of the Albany Bulb as a waterfront park.” Almaguer stated that part of the plan included a temporary shelter and support services, which started this summer and is headed by Berkeley Food and Housing Project. The BFHP also provides case management for the Albany campers interested in securing housing outside of the Bulb.

While the city has provided a housing subsidy program to help Bulb residents with rent, a portion of it will also need to be covered by the tenant. Many of the Bulb residents are only supported through government programs such as SSI, and cannot afford housing costs.

In addition, most residents, and their attorney Osha Neumann, who is also a longtime contributor to art at the Bulb, say that the city does not have any affordable housing in which the residents can transition into. Managed by Operation Dignity, a nonprofit designed to help homeless veterans, the transitional shelter is set up by Golden Gate Fields racetrack near the entryway into the Bulb.

“I was out… talking to people and was overwhelmed by the fragility and vulnerability of many of them, as well as their strengths,” Neumann said of the residents in an email to the Guardian. “The portables are awful. You look at the Bulb and all the life and beauty that’s out there, and then you look at those anonymous utilitarian boxes, and really you expect it all to be stuffed into those containers? 22 men in one, eight women in the other? It’s all really appalling.” According to the shelter’s posted rules, the doors for the shelter open at 5:30pm and close at 8:30am. Showers may be taken 8:30-9:30pm, and breakfast is served 7-8am. The sexes are separated, and pets must stay in kennels outside of the shelter. There are also no “in and out privileges” and if a person doesn’t return by 8pm they are not admitted into the shelter. No one stayed in the shelter the first three nights it was available, according to city reports. Amber Lynn Whitson, a Bulb resident, said that access to the shelter is difficult for people, and doesn’t address the need for people with disabilities to access a bed during the day. “At least two individuals were turned away at the door to the shelter, due to their names not being on ‘the list’, she said in an email. “Both were told that they could stay in the shelter, despite their names not currently being on ‘the list,’ but only after getting ‘a voucher’ from BFHP.” The transitional shelter came to the residents’ lives after Breyer rejected the campers’ request for an injunction to block the eviction with a temporary restraining order. A lawsuit also filed by the residents against the eviction remains open, according to Neumann.

Based on information obtained in court documents, $570,000 was allocated to remove the Bulb residents, based on a Albany City Council decision made on Oct. 21, with $171,000 spent on the cleanup of the campsites and the remainder spent on the two portable trailers with bunk beds to serve as transitional housing for six months. As of now, the shelter’s efficacy to get the campers off the Bulb, as well as the residents’ efforts to resist the transition, remains unclear.



The Albany Bulb, a wild shoreline space near Golden Gate Fields and a former landfill for BART construction and other industries, is well known for its art. Now that a transitional shelter looms over the entrance as part of the city’s plan to remove the residents from the Bulb, campers, activists, and artists came together this past weekend for a festival of resistance against the eviction.

The rubble and sculpture filled space will soon be transformed into part of the Eastshore State Park system. The event drew around 60 people, according to resident Amber Whitson. She led an art walk on Nov. 29, giving the history of the art at the Bulb and explaining why it’s important to preserve it as a cultural resource.

“Some things should remain sacred, and Sniff paintings are out on the Albany Bulb,” she said, referencing works by a group of Oakland-based artists.

Other prominent Bulb artists, such as Osha Neumann and Jason DeAntonis, who built massive sculptures made of found wood and parts along the shoreline, were on hand to speak about their contributions and the personal significance the Bulb holds for them.

While residents have come and gone throughout the years, the art has remained a constant draw. Graffiti artists practice their craft, and sculptors work undisturbed, using debris that is scattered around. Even some of the campers’ shelters, makeshift shanties of concrete, wood and tarp, could be considered artistic.

Once the transition of the Bulb from untamed outcrop to a state park of well-kept trails is further along, the city plans to remove most of the art currently installed there.

The campers and activists organized the art walk as part of a three-day festival of trainings, workshops, and music, to enjoy the space, but also to educate residents and others about how the space could be kept in its current state. “I know that organizing is continuing, and again, the shape it takes will depend on how the city goes about the planned evictions,” said Neumann in an email to the Guardian.

For now though, the art stands, in between garbage, rubble, trees and shrubs, a constant reminder that artists and Bulb dwellers are still around.

This stuff’ll kill ya


FILM Clad only in a dingy T-shirt and tighty-whities, with an overgrown beard and a hollow look of defeat in his eyes, shut-in Ian (Adrian DiGiovanni) spends his days channel-surfing and plotting ways to commit suicide. When his beloved vintage TV (“His name was Kent,” he tells the camera, in the first of many direct addresses) fizzles, smokes, and goes dark, he finally takes action.

But after he’s lurched off the couch and dumped enough household chemicals into his bathtub to kill several hundred depressed agoraphobics, he falls and hits his head. When he wakes up some time later, groggy and bleeding from the mouth, he realizes his grimy bathroom has a new inhabitant: a talking pile of mold that immediately starts spouting Tony Robbins-like encouragement at our sad-sack hero.

A lot happens in the opening act of first-time feature director Don Thacker’s Motivational Growth. Delightfully, and sometimes gruesomely, the rest of the film keeps pace, even though we never leave Ian’s apartment. Unwelcome visitors (a wacked-out TV repairman; a snarky delivery girl; Ian’s angry landlord) and a series of surreal hallucinations, in which Ian imagines he’s appearing in the shows he used to watch on Kent’s screen (the best one: an alien buddy-cop drama that looks straight outta Troma), are troubling — though the pretty neighbor he glimpses through his apartment peephole offers brief moments of relief.

But Ian’s main focus, of course, is Motivational Growth‘s title character (voiced with purring bravado by the great Jeffrey Combs). The mold — it insists on referring to itself in the third person — looks like a Krofft Superstar Hour prop that fell into a sewage tank; it has barely-discernable features beyond an expressive mouth that never stops talking (and “when the mold talks, you listen,” it says, sternly). Though the mold encourages Ian — who hasn’t left his apartment in over a year, to tidy up and set a course for “Successville” — there’s also something undeniably sinister about Ian’s increasingly bossy new buddy.

With its pleasingly retro vibe, including a bleep-blorp video game-y soundtrack, Motivational Growth is quirky without getting in your face about it — though it may inspire you to rush home and scrub every inch of your bathroom. It’s a high point in the 10th annual Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, produced by SF IndieFest and stuffed tighter than a turducken with indie horror, sci-fi, and fantasy flicks.

The fest offers a sprinkling of classics (for all you Room 237 obsessives out there, it features screenings of both 1980’s The Shining and projection-booth stunt “The Shining Forwards and Backwards” — talk about a labyrinth). But mostly, it’s a showcase of new films that might be having their only local theatrical screenings, including several intriguing imports.

Billed as the Philippines’ first-ever indie zombie movie, T.A. Aderto’s The Grave Bandits has a few major flaws, including an overload of bodily-function jokes and some of the worst mad-scientist acting ever captured on film. But its young leads — particularly Marti Sandino San Juan as the slingshot-wielding Peewee — and some gushing gore effects mitigate most of The Grave Bandits‘ more unfortunate elements.

The premise: Two scrappy ragamuffins (Peewee and his slightly older buddy, played by Ronald Pacifico) make their living robbing corpses, a survival strategy that makes them unpopular enough to be chased by angry mobs. They’re able to steal a small boat and escape to one of the country’s tiny islands — unluckily, it happens to be the same place a gang of pirates acted the wrong way around a giant gemstone tainted by “an alien virus, dormant for over 100 years.” Ergo, a new angry mob to evade — one made up of flesh-ripping zombies.

Elsewhere among the international selections is French Canadian filmmaker Renaud Gauthier’s Discopath. The writer-director is clearly a fan of cult-horror nasties — 1980’s Maniac and 1979’s Don’t Go in the House, and to a lesser extent 1977’s Suspiria, seem to have influenced this stylish, self-assured creepfest. After witnessing a terrible tragedy as a child, shy loner Duane (Jeremie Earp) can’t stand music, particularly that newfangled genre called disco. For whatever reason, he agrees to go to a dance club with a girl he’s just met — with disastrously bloody results. Fast-forward a few years, and he’s fled New York City for Montreal. Living under a fake name, he’s working as a handyman at a Catholic girl’s school and wearing hearing aids that mute out the dreaded sound of music (insert your own “Disco sucks!” joke here).

But once a psychopath, always a psychopath, and heads soon start rolling (and spinning on turntables, in fact). If Discopath‘s plot is familiar to the point of homage, its synth-scored commitment to detail reaches exceptional heights: period-perfect clothes, cars, tabloid newspapers, décor (including a giant remote control that Motivational Growth‘s Ian would covet), and carefully-calibrated amounts of garbage scattered on NYC’s Me Decade sidewalks. *


Nov 29-Dec 12, $12

Balboa Theater, 3630 Balboa, SF

New People Cinema, 1746 Post, SF


Activists organize, and some journalists chronicle, a progressive resurgence in SF


While Mayor Ed Lee jets around the world, still too focused on fueling the economic fire that is gentrifying San Francisco and displacing its diverse population — and as the San Francisco Chronicle and other downtown boosters niggle on the margins of the city’s biggest issue — local activists and some media outlets are paying attention and pushing back.

The New York Times ran an excellent Sunday piece about the growing populist backlash here against Mayor Lee’s economic policies and his friends and benefactors in the tech industry, a story that the Santa Rosa Press Democrat also put on its front page, but which the Chronicle only briefly mentioned today on its business page in a short story wrapping all the high-end housing now coming online. Instead, on Sunday the Chron ran this pro-landlord garbage

Meanwhile, as we report in tomorrow’s edition of the Guardian, more than 20 local organizations have combined forces this year to organize and promote tomorrow’s (Wed/27) annual memorial march marking the 1978 assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Sup. Harvey Milk in City Hall, which will this year focus on their legacy of advocating for renters and keeping this city affordable by and welcoming of the working class and outsiders of all types.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: this is a struggle for the very soul of San Francisco, and it’s a struggle that we at the Guardian renew our commitment to with every issue we print. See you all on the streets tomorrow night starting at 7pm in Milk Plaza and Castro and Market.    

Move freely


Was Kunst-Stoff’s 15th anniversary concert this past weekend its last show in town? Perhaps, perhaps not. Yannis Adoniou, who founded the company with Tomi Paasonen, chooses his words carefully a couple of days before the shows. He acknowledges talking with local presenters about maybe “having an annual season here” and about “stabilizing our presence here.”

But for the time being, Kunst-Stoff is gone. The questions are “why?” and “why now?” In some ways, Adoniou has become a victim of his own success. He, together with La Alternativa and the Off Center, has run a successful studio space — the envy of many a struggling company — which has become what he calls a “sanctuary.” Besides classes and workshops the place has offered performance opportunities, not just for local artists but also for dancers from abroad like Anthony Rizzi and Constantine Baecher. “These conversations have been fantastic,” Adoniou says. “I could stay here as institutionalized Kunst-Stoff, but that’s what not what I am supposed to be doing. I have not done a major work in a theater for a long time because I have wanted to be available [to the artists working here].”

Adoniou, a ballet dancer originally from Greece, came to the Bay Area in 1993 after having seen Alonzo King set Without Wax on the Frankfurt Ballet. What impressed him was the equality between the sexes in King’s work. “I wanted to dance,” he remembers, and he knew that most ballet repertoire (at the time) reduced the male dancer to support the ballerina. He also liked that the Bay Area “does not have institutionalized names and technique as there are in New York and Europe.” So this was a good place for him as a young artist — but like many others, he finds it “very, very hard” to get support once you have developed beyond a certain level. So back to Europe it is, where he feels he can take his own work where it needs to go.

The easy riding 98-13, the second of the three pieces which formed the 15th anniversary retrospective, offered a good overview of Adoniou’s perspective on dance. He has long passed the restrictions of his ballet training not be rejecting but by transcending it. Some of 98-13’s individual moments did ring a bell — Repetika, Less Sylphides, the moment you stood — but for the most part they toppled over each other as if spilled from a bag of toys. This was an affectionate, lighthearted look at the past.

The fun was in seeing the dancers take shape. Leyya Tawil resembled a huge bird on the tip of her toes. Daiane Lopes da Silva is a fierce mover but also a comedian. Katie Gaydos told us that giving birth is no more difficult than doing a rond de jambe en l’aire. I’ll take her word for it. Parker Murphy, as the only male, of course got to lift some obstreperous females. In the end, Adoniou, in a business suit, offered an intricate, determined walking combination that included a lovely arabesque. Maybe he was taking measure of what has passed, or perhaps of what lies ahead.

If 98-13 was full of surprises, the trajectory for the opening Solo for Yannis could be foreseen. Strongly danced by Lopes da Silva with the assistance of Widon Yang, Ivo Serra, and Tomi Paasonen, the piece posed questions about navigating unstable ground if you have no point of reference. Blinded by a hooded garment, she rolled, stretched, and recoiled on a rug that kept being yanked away, her fingers becoming antennas, her head sniffing the air. Precarious for the men and the dancer, Solo derived its interest from the tiny shifts of give and take, limitations set and rejected. The moral of this story? Keep going even if you end up being naked, vulnerable, and alone.

Paasonen’s ironically named Those Golden Years may have been inspired by a dream about his mother but it also threw a mirror at Adoniou. The work opened with composer Yuko Matsyama, a flower garden in motion, carefully tracing a path along the edge of a mound of what turned out to be crumpled sheets of gold and silver Mylar. Her rhythmically intriguing score, which included a narration by Paasonen, set the tone for what became a seductive, but also touching visual feast.

Predictably, Adoniou emerged from this heap of plastic — one limb at a time. Yet Golden’s airy, glittering artifice contrasted seductively with the solidity and warmth of the human body. The dancer smashed, admired, hugged, and hid in it. He donned it as a fairy prince’s garment but also as a garbage bag. Eventually he too was left naked — even deprived of his manhood. *


Spinning a precise web


DANCE Israeli-born choreographer Idan Sharabi pays meticulous attention to detail, but serendipity still has a place in his creative process. His Spider on a Mirror receives its world premiere as part of Zhukov Dance Theatre’s sixth season at the SFJAZZ Center this weekend. The work will be paired with Enlight, the latest piece by company artistic director Yuri Zhukov.

Take the way Sharabi chooses his music. For the last couple of years, romantic music — think Chopin — has “often been in the back of my mind when starting a new work,” he explains in a post-rehearsal conversation at the Zhukov studio space on Folsom Street. That’s how late 19th-century Russian maverick Alexander Scriabin popped up for Spider. But then Sharabi went clubbing and happened to encounter Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” The pop hit had good beat, melodies, and it was fun. “Besides,” he says, “it was all over the place.” So that’s how a Russian wild man met MTV.

Serendipity of a less entertaining kind also kicked in when Sharabi came to work with Zhukov’s dancers. On his first trip to San Francisco, he stayed in Pacific Heights. On his return, living south of Market Street, he got a much grittier vision of the streets of SF. Sharabi drew on this eye-opening experience for Spider. “I am not talking about the difference between rich and poor, but about not having a roof over your head, where people’s skins acquire the gray color of the streets,” he explains.

Trained at Juilliard, where he won the Zaraspe Prize for Best Juilliard Choreographer of 2006, Sharabi has spent his working life in Europe as a freelance choreographer, and as a dancer and choreographer for Nederlands Dans Theater and Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company.

Working on refining Spider — he put the bones together during a four-week residency in June — Sharabi is solicitous of, and aware of, the dancers’ individuality. Yet the process is very detail-oriented. Flailing on the floor, Doug Baum at first looks like a bug fallen on its back. But then trembles and shakes seem to throw him into death throes, tearing his body apart. Sharabi encourages a differently angled knee and fingers that extend into a line. Nick Korkos works on a dropping-wrist gesture that, as the choreographer demonstrates, releases energy to travel up the arm and down the side of the body to pull the dancer to the ground. A limb-entangling duet for Christopher Bordenave and Jeremy Neches finally breaks apart — except, as Sharabi insists, they stay glued together through their big toes.

The exactitude with which Sharabi puts Spider together seems to infuse a sinewy strength into fractured choreography that can look convulsive — sometimes to the point where one becomes conscious of how tenuously these wildly shaking body parts are connected to the skeletal structure.

At the end of the afternoon, the dancers are thoroughly spent. Yet they clearly have what Sharabi always looks for: passion and curiosity. Those are the qualities, he says, that allow superbly trained dancers to go beyond their training and step into unknown territory.

In his own life, Sharabi has encountered and worked with three choreographers who have inspired him to pursue his own path with passion and curiosity. In Jirí Kylián, Czech-born founder of Nederlands Dans Theater, he saw what he calls a “tragic vision.”

“Kylián’s choreography is often quite dark, dealing with death,” he says. “And yet it’s always so elegant. He can take garbage or cans being squashed on the floor, and make them look elegant.” Smiling broadly, he adds, “I am actually a dark person myself,” something he attributes to having suffered a serious injury, and one that may have affected his own perspective on the dancing body. One of the distinguishing marks of his choreography is the extensive and imaginative use of the floor. He views it as more than just something to hit and bounce off; instead, it offers a way to embrace what contact with the earth can offer.

The work of Ohad Naharin, the artistic director of Batsheva Dance Company, remains an intriguing puzzle. With just a touch of embarrassment, Sharabi admits “I still don’t know whether I am supposed to try to understand his work or just go with the sensations.” But about the American-born but Europe-based William Forsythe, who has been rethinking ballet’s fundamental principle, Sharabi is clear: “It’s the math. I love his mind, the clarity of his complex and never compromising thinking.”

What about artists outside dance? Without hesitation Sharabi answers “Quentin Tarantino.” While he is comfortable with Tarantino’s sense of time and even his films’ violence, Sharabi reveres the details (always the details), the sheen, the completeness of the design, the wholeness of the vision, and the absolute control Tarantino exerts over his product. “It’s not the amount of blood that counts,” he says. “It’s the way the blood flows.” *


Oct 29-30, 8pm, $25-$55

SFJazz Center

201 Franklin, SF



Below you’ll find our annual update on the state of nude beaches in Northern California, along with detailed guides and directions to some of our favorites. For details on dozens more, please see our complete Nude Beach Guide at, which we are in the process of updating.

While researching clothing-optional beaches in Jamaica in November, my girlfriend and I noticed that native Jamaicans don’t think anything of stripping down to their underwear to take a dip in a waterfall on a hot day — our driver did just that near one of the nation’s biggest cities, Ocho Rios — while visiting tourists can go topless or nude with hardly a complaint on Negril’s seven-mile long shoreline of shimmering white sand, at the west end of the country.

It made me wonder, what if the same tolerance existed here, where each beach has its own traditions and its own set of rules? Sometimes, it takes as little as a person moving some sand or staying after sunset to annoy our cops. In Jamaica and many other parts of the world, that would never happen.

For example, law enforcement actions recently hit two Bay Area nude beaches — Marin’s Red Rock and Steep Ravine — while most access to a third site, fan favorite Muir, near Stinson Beach, has been closed by authorities until November.

The good news: visits by rangers to both skinny dipping coves mentioned above have died back, while anti-nudity patrols at Monterey’s Garrapata Beach, which erupted in 2011, have been discontinued. And the Guardian is publishing three “secret” alternate ways that die-hard visitors can use to reach the nude section of gorgeous Muir Beach.

Red Rock was rocked by a ranger who reportedly used a crowbar to remove part of a sunbathing “terrace” that beach regulars had built by moving sand to create more “towel space.” He also cited two male beachgoers for violating Title 14, Section 4307, of the California Code Of Regulations, which bans removal of “earth” or “sand” from state parks.

The men are appealing their penalties, while their friends at the beach are asking for donations to pay for their legal fees. “We’re going to take up a collection,” says Stinson Beach attorney-teacher Fred Jaggi.

The ranger’s boss, Bill Lutton, a state parks superintendent for the Marin area who visited the beach after the busts, told us that “altering” and “changing the features” of the beach is a serious offense. “We consider ourselves the guardians of seven generations of users of California’s park system,” he says, “so we must protect the parks’ cultural and natural resources.”

Meanwhile, instead of being charged with destroying park property, several people at nearby Steep Ravine Beach, which is open from 7am until dusk, were cited last fall for soaking in its dangerous-to-reach nude hot springs after sunset by the same ranger who raided Red Rock. “A guy was handcuffed after mouthing off to the ranger, so he really deserved it,” says former springs frequent visitor Michael Velkoff, of Lucas Valley. “He almost took a girl away too.”

Citing “safety and lack of lighting” concerns, Lutton says the after-dark curfew at rock-strewn Steep Ravine, where numerous users have slipped and sustained cuts, bruises, and other injuries, “will be strictly enforced.”

And at Muir Beach, which is used by nudists as a gateway to a nude beach that begins on its north end, visiting hours have been officially eliminated until November 15, while crews improve its parking, toilets, and watershed.

“Don’t even think about visiting the beach,” urges Golden Gate National Recreation Area public affairs specialist Alexandra Picavet, who points out that users won’t have access to the beach, ocean, parking, restrooms, or garbage cans. “Find a new experience — the Bay Area has plenty — to try this summer and then you’ll really appreciate Muir Beach when it reopens.”

Because the main portion of Muir is blocked by fencing and being patrolled by rangers, anyone trying to reach Little Beach, as the nude area next to Muir is also known, will have to hike anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to reach the shore and then continue walking to the naked area. Picavet says that if you stop for any length of time in front of the non-nude part of Muir, even to stand and admire the view or take a dip in the water, you’ll be cited.

While cops are tightening the use of beaches in Marin, they’re relaxing their hold in Monterey County. In fact, nudists at Garrapata Beach, close to Carmel, have something to celebrate: “nudie” patrols by rangers have ended, in part because the state ran out of money to fund them and because not a single complaint has been received in 2013.

“We’ve been complaint free,” says Sean James, who became acting state parks superintendent for the area in April and appears to be fairly tolerant of naturists. “I don’t see how just being nude would be threatening.”

Please be careful at our beaches. Two women in their 30s died June 30 after they were swept into the ocean by a wave near another popular nude beach, Bonny Doon. They were with two men when the wave swept the foursome into the water. The two men were rescued by a Coast guard helicopter after being stranded on some rocks and surrounded by a rising tide.

Of course, you don’t have to go to the sea to be nude. Our listings include naked lakes, rivers, waterfalls, reservoirs, and at least one meadow. Or how about hiking while wearing only your birthday suit? Au naturel “Full Moon Hikes” have been happening for several years. But the world’s first-ever “Supermoon Nude Hike” (named after a new or full moon which occurs with the moon within 90 percent of its closest approach to Earth) took place right here in the Bay Area the night before the brightest moon of 2013.

“I’ll never forget the hike,” said Raj, one of the walkers, after making the trek in the East Bay Hills, near Castro Valley, June 22. “I will think of it every time I see a full moon.”

Agrees Dave Smith, of San Leandro, who led it: “It was spectacular — one of the greatest hikes ever. Keep in mind we did it in moonlight, while even having to scramble on all fours down some rocks. I felt like Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit.”

Want to join in the fun? More “Full Moon Hikes” will take place July 20 and August 18 (see our online listings below for Las Trampas in Contra Costa County).

Another idea to meet and socialize with fellow naturists: drop by Santa Cruz’s Bonny Doon Beach on September 21 or Lake Tahoe’s Secret Harbor Creek Beach on June 7, 2014, when visitors will be getting together to keep them clean by finding and removing trash.

Finally, you can help beachgoers and the naturist community by sending me your new beach discoveries, trip reports, and improved directions (especially road milepost numbers), along with your phone number to or Gary Hanauer, c/o San Francisco Bay Guardian, 71 Stevenson, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105.

Our ratings: “A” signifies a beach that is large or well-established and where the crowd is mostly nude; “B” indicates places where fewer than half the visitors are nude; “C” means small or emerging nude areas; and “D” depicts spots that are in use, but not recommended.




North Baker’s neo-hippie revival is continuing for a third straight season, with more art work springing up on the USA’s largest urban nude beach. Guitar- and drum-playing was added to the scene last year. This summer, a second so-called “art tree” made of driftwood and festooned with seaweed has appeared. “I call it the Sea Hag,” says Santosh, an organizer of alternative activities at the beach who also produces San Francisco’s annual How Weird Street Faire. “Anybody can add things to it. They bring mementos, flowers, anything you can think of. I tend it, but it attracts a life of its own. Several tourists per day usually drop by. One child looked up at the things dangling from it and asked, ‘Is it some kind of voodoo?'” Baker’s own “beach language” is also evolving. Last year, “duney,” which describes the site’s tent-like, shade-providing structures without walls, and “Baker Day” (when the sun’s out and it’s not too windy) came into usage. “Now, we’ve added ‘rock block’ and ‘cosmic volleyball,'” adds Santosh, who describes the former as any stretch of three Baker Days in a row, while cosmic volleyball allows visitors “to keep playing, even if the ball bounces off one of our driftwood poles.”

Directions: Take the 29 Sunset bus or go north on 25th Avenue to Lincoln Boulevard. Turn right and take the second left onto Bowley Street. Follow Bowley to Gibson Road, turn right, and follow Gibson to the east parking lot. At the beach, head right to the nude area, which starts at the brown and yellow “Hazardous surf, undertow, swim at your own risk” sign. Some motorcycles in the lot have been vandalized, possibly by car owners angered by bikers parking in car spaces; to avoid trouble, motorcyclists should park in the motorcycle area near the cyclone fence. Parking at Lincoln’s 100 or more nearby parking spaces was limited to two hours recently. But through June, there had been no reports of cops actually writing tickets for parking too long.



One of the better locales in the Bay Area to enjoy a little naked sunning without many people present, a visit to the little cove off Geary Boulevard known as Land’s End may make your worries melt away, at least during a quiet afternoon. Cops only occasionally visit it. But don’t be shocked if you see more clothed visitors than nudists — many locals and tourists who wander down to the sand don’t realize it’s a clothing-optional beach. Tip: on hot days, arrive before noon or there may be no unoccupied sand left on the little, semi-rocky shoreline. If possible, try to use one of the rock-lined windbreaks left by previous sunbathers. Pack a warm covering in case the weather changes.

Directions: Follow Geary Boulevard to the end, then park in the dirt lot up the road from the Cliff House. Take the trail at the far end of the lot. About 100 yards past a bench and some trash cans, the path narrows and bends, then rises and falls, eventually becoming the width of a road. Don’t take the road to the right, which leads to a golf course. Just past another bench, as the trail turns right, go left toward a group of dead trees where you will see a stairway and a “Dogs must be leashed” sign. Descend and head left to another stairway, which leads to a 100-foot walk to the cove. Or, instead, take the service road below the El Camino del Mar parking lot 1/4 mile until you reach a bench, then follow the trail there. It’s eroded in a few places. At the end, you’ll have to scramble over some rocks. Turn left (west) and walk until you find a good place to put down your towel.



Mostly a gay male cruising scene, “Nasty Boy Beach” is also visited by some straight men and women. Though fairly rocky and packed with people on hot days, everyone seems to enjoy the trio of coves you can find by walking along the shore. Oh, and did I mention the view? If you want to feel immersed in a picture postcard of the famous bridge, then this is the place to plop down. On warm days, some users even swim in the usually chilly, undertow-plagued water. “You can sometimes go out over 100 feet during low tide,” says a woman.

Directions: from the toll booth area of Highway 101/1, take Lincoln Boulevard west about a half mile to Langdon Court. Turn right (west) on Langdon and look for space in the parking lots, across Lincoln from Fort Winfield Scott. Park and then take the beach trail, starting just west of the end of Langdon, down its more than 200 steps to Golden Gate Bridge Beach, also known as Marshall’s Beach. Despite recent improvements, the trail to the beach can still be slippery, especially in the spring and winter.



Known as Fort Fun by its fans, this Golden Gate National Recreation Area sun spot, located south of Ocean Beach, attracts hang gliders, dogs and their walkers, and even from time to time a few naturists, the latter of which sometimes tuck themselves between the dunes on the shore. But not all is fun on its magnetic sands and the cliffs above them. A few months ago, a tussle between two dogs ended when a canine was stabbed by the owner of one of the pets. Besides pugnacious pooch protectors, watch out too for sharp winds, especially in March and October. And to stave off hassles from rangers, disrobers should stay away on weekends or when families or rangers are near. If anyone seems upset or gripes about you being au naturel, be sure to suit up fast since the authorities will bust naturists if they see them or they receive complaints. The good news: usually, only a few citations a year are issued at Fort Funston, so if you are discreet and stay in the dunes, you may be rewarded with a suntan without lines.

Directions: From San Francisco, go west to Ocean Beach, then south on the Great Highway. After Sloat Boulevard, the road heads uphill. From there, curve right onto Skyline Boulevard, go past one stoplight, and look for signs for Funston on the right. Turn into the public lot and find a space near the west side. At the southwest end, take the sandy steps to the beach, turn right, and walk to the dunes. Find a spot as far as possible from the parking lot.




Imagine tromping in the East Bay Hills naked at night, guided only by your flashlight and a representative of the Bay Area Naturists group, plus a few fellow travelers. And yes, mooning during America’s only Full Moon Hikes is permitted. “Those who haven’t experienced these incredibly beautiful, if slightly challenging hikes to the ridge at sunset really ought to put this on their calendar this year,” says organizer Dave Smith, of San Leandro, who’ll be leading trips starting at a Castro Valley nudist club on Saturday, July 20, leaving at 7pm (there will be a potluck earlier), and Sunday, August 18, departing around 6:30pm.

“It’s one of the greatest hikes in the Bay Area, rivaling any I know of,” tells Smith. “It’s right up there with the Palomarin Trail (from the Bolinas area, passing Bass Lake and Pelican Lake, to Alamere Falls, on the coast), the Cascades, and others. The walk is not hard, but it is challenging. We take it slow so everyone can make it. So far, no one has ever been hurt.”

“We usually leave an hour and a half before sunset and hike up to the top to catch the sunset and moonrise and then come back down in the moonlight,” he adds.

“Whether you are clothed or not, participating in the Full Moon Hike is a big treat,” says past hiker Jurek Zarzycki, who suggests walkers bring good hiking shoes, a flashlight (“Most of the time you won’t need it, because of the moonlight”), and bug spray. “And don’t forget to have some baby carrots with you to give to the horses that sometimes come out at night, so close that you may even feel their breath. Don’t worry, though, they’re very friendly.”

Organized by the Sequoians Naturist Club and the Bay Area Naturists, based in San Jose, walkers leave the property of The Sequoians fully clothed at dusk and walk through meadows and up hills until the moon rises, before heading back down the slopes completely nude, with their clothes folded neatly into their backpacks.

Directions: Contact the Sequoians ( or the Bay Area Naturists ( for details on how to join a walk. Meet at the Sequoians. To get there, take Highway 580 east to the Crow Canyon Road exit. Or follow 580 west to the first Castro Valley off-ramp. Take Crow Canyon Road toward San Ramon .75 mile to Cull Canyon Road. Then follow Cull Canyon Road around 6.5 miles to the end of the paved road. Take the dirt road on the right until the “Y” in the road and keep left. Shortly after, you’ll see The Sequoians sign. Proceed ahead for about another .75 mile to The Sequoians front gate.




Despite the opening of the Tom Lantos Tunnels on March 25, 2013, nearby Gray Whale Cove, also known as Devil’s Slide, continues to function — and may, state officials think, soon attract even more visitors than in previous years. The reason: crowds soon will be coming not only to the beach, but also to a mile-long stretch of the old Highway 1 that was circumvented by the tunnels and is being turned into a walking and biking trail; it’s expected to open soon. To handle the larger attendance, workers will build new parking lots on either side of the highway, giving Devil’s Slide a parking area on the ocean side for the first time. The current parking lot on the east side of Highway 1 is still open. “We will also be improving the stairway (leading down to the beach),” says San Mateo coast state parks sector superintendent Paul Keel. Best of all, traditional use of the beach for clothing-optional sunbathing has been continuing, with few problems. “We’re not having an increase in (complaint) calls there,” says Keel.

Directions: Driving from San Francisco, take Highway 1 south through Pacifica. Three miles south of the Denny’s restaurant in Linda Mar, at 500 Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica, and just past and south of the Tom Lantos Tunnels, turn left (inland or east) on an unmarked road, which takes you to the beach’s parking lot on the east side of the highway and to a 146-step staircase that leads to the sand. Another lot will “eventually” be opened on the ocean side (please see above). Coming from the south on Highway 1, look for a road on the right (east), 1.2 miles north of the old Chart House restaurant in Montara. Most naturists use the north end of the beach, which is separated by rocks from the rest of the shore. Wait until low tide to make the crossing to the nude area.



Now in its 47th year of operation, America’s oldest nude beach even has its own website and live webcam at The privately-run site is located next to San Gregorio State Beach. The beach often draws a large gay crowd, along with some nude and suited straight couples, singles, and families. On your first visit, though, you may be a little shocked by the provocative behavior that is sometimes happening in the driftwood structures on the slope leading down to the beach. Their walls aren’t completely closed. Some users even want passersby to observe them having sex inside the so-called “sex condos,” including Kerry, from San Francisco, who told us about her October 2012 visit with her partner, Lisa: “It was an exciting time. We’ve been to the beach six times. We have had men wander by and try not to stare. Other times, we have had men that more or less sneak up and peek through the wood at us while we are having sex. One time, we had three men who stood 15 feet away and watched intently as we went at it. We have not met anybody that we consider creepy. In fact, there have never been any words exchanged at all.”

Directions: From San Francisco, drive south on Highway 1, past Half Moon Bay, and, between mileposts 18 and 19, look on the right side of the road for telephone call box number SM 001 0195, at the intersection of Highway 1 and Stage Road, and near an iron gate with trees on either side. From there, expect a drive of 1.1 miles to the entrance. At the Junction 84 highway sign, the beach’s driveway is just .1 mile away. Turn into a gravel driveway, passing through the iron gate mentioned above, which says 119429 on the gatepost. Drive past a grassy field to the parking lot, where you’ll be asked to pay an entrance fee. Take the long path from the lot to the sand; everything north of the trail’s end is clothing-optional (families and swimsuit using visitors tend to stay on the south end of the beach). The beach is also accessible from the San Gregorio State Beach parking area to the south; from there, hike about a half-mile north. Take the dirt road past the big white gate with the Toll Road sign to the parking lot.




Are you looking for a gorgeous place to have a picnic? If you’re in the Bay Area, you won’t have to travel far to find the Golden State’s version of the Garden of Eden, a creekside skinny-dipping spot located in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, between Santa Cruz and Felton. Used even more by suited swimmers and sunbathers, many hikers are surprised when they come across naturists at the stream. Eden gets mixed reviews by visitors: some parts of the trail may be slippery, so watch your step and keep your eyes out for poison oak. To find Eden and two other clothing-optional swim holes on San Lorenzo River, check for vehicles pulled over on Highway 9, alongside the state park, which forbids nudity but only occasionally patrols the creek with rangers.

Directions: From Santa Cruz, drive north on Highway 9 and look for turnouts on the right side of the road, where cars are pulled over. The first, a wide turnout with a tree in the middle, is just north of Santa Cruz. Rincon Fire Trail starts about where the tree is, according to reader Robert Carlsen, of Sacramento. The many forks in the trail all lead to the river, down toward Big Rock Hole and Frisbee Beach; Carlsen says the best area off this turnout can be reached by bearing left until the end of the trail. Farther up the highway, 1.3 miles south of the park entrance, is the second and bigger pullout, called the Ox Trail Turnout, leading to Garden of Eden. Park in the turnout and follow the dirt fire road downhill and across some railroad tracks. Head south, following the tracks, for around .5 miles. Look for a “Pack Your Trash” sign with park rules and hours and then proceed down the Eden Trail.

Ox Trail, which can be slippery, and Eden Trail both wind down steeply to the creek. “The path continues to the left, where there are several spots for wading and sunbathing,” Carlsen says. The main beach is only 75 feet long and 30 feet wide, but fairly sandy. Carlsen’s favorite hole is accessible from a trail that starts at the third turnout, a small one on the right side of the road, about 4.5 miles from Highway 1 and just before Felton. A gate marks the start of the path. The trail bends left. When you come to the road again, go right. At the railroad tracks, go right. From here, look for the river down the hill on your left; many paths lead to it. Says Mike: “Within 10 yards, you can be in the water.”



Were anti-nudity signs really recently posted at Bonny Doon Beach, whose north end has been used for clothing optional sunbathing for decades? Yes, but officials took the warnings, which were placed at two trailheads leading to the sand, down just two months later. “We’re not planning to change anything,” says Chet Bardo, superintendent of state beaches in the Santa Cruz district. “The truth is that we get complaints on all sides of this issue. It’s not uncommon to get calls from people. This is California, after all, so what to local people might seem not that unusual sometimes turns out to shock people who are visiting from Iowa, who find it (nudity) a bit disconcerting.”

“The way I see it, unless there’s a problem (happening at the beach), it’s not a problem to us,” he adds. In fact, the only problem at Bonny Doon this year is that it has less sand than usual. A 15-foot long rock on the sand, along with a sloping cliff with rocks that jut out, separate the two sides of the cove — one clothed for clothed visitors and the other for nudes — known as Bonny Doon.

“In the short term, things at Bonny Doon are destined to continue the way they are,” says Kirk Lingenfelter, sector superintendent for Bonny Doon and nearby state beaches. “Ultimately it would be nice to see some level of improvement, maybe trail work or stair work,” adds Lingenfelter. “But before we’d even do that, there would need to be a General Plan or an Interim Use Plan, which we don’t have. And we also don’t have any funding for it.”

As for nudity, Lingenfelter says his rangers, who periodically patrol the beach, haven’t issued a single warning or citation for nudity since the state approved the acquisition of the beach in 2006. “We’ll respond to complaints we receive,” he explains, “but I can’t recall (receiving) a single complaint.”

Directions: From San Francisco, go south on Highway 1 to the Bonny Doon parking lot at milepost 27.6 on the west side of the road, 2.4 miles north of Red, White, and Blue Beach, and some 11 miles north of Santa Cruz. From Santa Cruz, head north on Highway 1 until you see Bonny Doon Road, which veers off sharply to the right just south of Davenport. The beach is just off the intersection. Park in the paved lot to the west of Highway 1; don’t park on Bonny Doon Road or the shoulder of Highway 1. If the lot is full, drive north on Highway 1, park at the next beach lot, and walk back to the first lot. Or take Santa Cruz Metro Transit District bus route 40 to the lot; it leaves the Metro Center three times a day on Saturdays and takes about 20 minutes. To get to the beach, climb the berm next to the railroad tracks adjacent to the Bonny Doon lot, cross the tracks, descend, and take a recently improved, sign-marked trail to the sand. Walk north past most of the beach to the nude cove on the north end. Alternately, Dusty suggests parking as far north as possible, taking the northern entrance, and, with good shoes, following a “rocky and steep” walk down to the sand.



Aptly named 2222, a mini-nude beach that takes its title from the house across the street, is still beautiful, still hidden from most passersby, and still attracts a small crowd of regular visitors who are in good enough shape to handle its sketchy, foreboding-looking path.

One of America’s smallest nude beaches, 2222 is so tiny it could probably fit in your yard. And that’s what makes it such a special place. You won’t see many people on the sand, which takes scrambling to reach and isn’t recommended for children or anyone who isn’t a good hiker. However, those who are able to make it down a sharp-angled cliff and past several concrete blocks on the way down may like the quiet and solitude that the beach offers. The most dependable trail begins on the southeast corner of the hillside overlooking the site. Even though there’s a walking path just above it, the beach can’t be seen from there. College students like to hangout here and, if they’re lucky, get a glimpse of a local juggler who sometimes practices his routines on the sand. Tip: for great accommodations, check out the West Cliff Inn, 174 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, a bed and breakfast inn located a few blocks to the south; it’s somewhat pricey, but truly enjoyable.

Directions: The beach is a few blocks west of Natural Bridges State Beach and about 2.5 miles north of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. From either north or south of Santa Cruz, take Highway 1 to Swift Street. Drive .8 miles to the sea, then turn right on West Cliff Drive. 2222 is five blocks away. Past Auburn Avenue, look for 2222 West Cliff on the inland side of the street. Park in the pullout with eight parking spaces next to the cliff, on the west side of the road. If it’s full, continue straight and park along Chico Avenue. An overlook with two benches facing an interesting obelisk-style sculpture — where my girlfriend and I sat last year — is located between the parking area and the edge of the cliff. Bay Area Naturists leader Rich Pasco suggests visitors use care and then follow the path on the side of the beach closest to downtown Santa Cruz and the Municipal Wharf.



Want to visit a beach with great sand and surf, plus a mix of suited and naked users? This year, the charge remains $100 — or $50 if you live nearby — for all the visits you want to make to Privates, which is one of the county’s best beaches, until May 31. If you go daily for a year, that’s about 27 cents a day. But there are also several ways people have used to circumvent the fee, which we explain below. Visitors include nudists, surfers, families, and local residents. “Everyone gets along,” says Brittney Barrios, manager/buyer of Freeline Design Surf Shop, which sells up to 600 beach passes to Privates a year. “It’s always very peaceful.”

“There’s a great swell happening here,” says a surfer we interviewed this summer. Security guards plus a locked gate keep most troublemakers out. With almost no litter or loud noise, and less wind than most local beaches, the site almost always provides a pleasant atmosphere for users. Do you want to bring your dog? It’s OK too.

To catch a game of Nude Frisbee or to start one, when you reach the bottom of the beach stairs, walk to the left until you see some people who aren’t wearing part or all of their swimsuits.

Directions: 1) Some visitors walk north from Capitola Pier in low tide (not a good idea since at least four people have needed to be rescued). 2) Others reach it in low tide via the stairs at the end of 41st Avenue, which lead to a surf spot called the Hook at the south end of a rocky shore known as Pleasure Point. 3) Surfers paddle on boards for a few minutes to Privates from Capitola or the Hook. 4) Most visitors buy a key to the beach gate for $100 a year at Freeline (821 41st Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-476-2950) 1.5 blocks west of the beach. Others go with someone with a key or wait outside the gate until a person with a key goes in, provided a security guard is not present (they often are there). “Most people will gladly hold the gate open for someone behind them whose hands are full,” says Bay Area Naturists leader Rich Pasco. The nude area starts to the left of the bottom of the stairs.




“The lake was great,” says regular user Dave Smith, of San Leandro, about his visit to Bass Lake, near Bolinas, this year. “It was during spring break, so there were a lot of people on the trail that day. But we weren’t the only ones who were naked in the water. Several people were skinny dipping besides us.” Others, who don’t necessarily go nude, love Bass too, which, by the way, does not have any bass. San Rafael resident Marie described her November visit as “awe-inspiring” on a message board. She said the walk to get there “was worth every minute … the water while cool was exhilarating. I can’t wait to go back.” And Cindi, of San Anselmo, found the setting to be “rejuvenating, awesome, stunning, orgasmic … I would do it again and again.” Bass doesn’t attract as many nudists as it did 10 years ago. “When I first went, everybody was nude,” says Smith. “Today, though, you have to feel pretty comfortable with your own nudity to swim that way at the lake.”

Directions: Allow about an hour for the drive from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. From Stinson Beach, go north on Highway 1. Just north of Bolinas Lagoon, turn left on the often-unmarked exit to Bolinas. Follow the road as it curves along the lagoon and eventually ends at Olema-Bolinas Road. Continue along Olema-Bolinas Road to the stop sign at Mesa Road. Turn right on Mesa and drive four miles until it becomes a gravel road and ends at the Palomarin parking lot. On hot days the lot fills quickly, so come early. Says Smith: “We once saw hundreds of cars.” A sign at the trailhead next to the lot will guide you down scenic Palomarin Trail to the lake. For directions to incredibly beautiful Alamere Falls, 1.5 miles past Bass Lake, which empties onto a beach at the sea, please see “Elsewhere In Marin” in our online listings.



The beach is in good shape this year. Warmer than usual weather in spring brought more people — 80 on one day — onto the sand earlier than usual, but, due to higher gas prices and a rough economy, crowd sizes remain down from a decade ago. “We’ve had fewer gawkers too,” says veteran visitor Fred Jaggi. “The beach is the mellowest it’s ever been.” If gawking remains down, then it would bring welcome relief. A 2012 visitor estimated the site had “25 percent nasty creeper grossness.” In another improvement, the trail is getting rave reviews. Foliage along the path has been pruned back since last year. “It’s clean of poison oak,” says Jaggi. “It’s a really easy walk now,” adds another visitor, Michael Velkoff. “You can’t beat it. I wear my sandals down there (instead of hiking shoes) while carrying a chair and backpack. If I can walk back up the trail at the end of the day, anyone can do it.” Rock climbing continues to be popular. Ultimate Frisbee, Double Disc Court (you throw two Frisbees at once), Befuddle (players toss the first disc softer and the second one harder), Nude Hearts, and Naked Scrabble are some of the other favorite pursuits on the sand. Tips: visit when the tide is low or early in the day; come before noon for the best parking. For the most sand space, drop by on a Monday, known as “Club Day” to the repeat visitors who like to gather then. And, if possible, bring a folding beach chair.

Directions: Go north on Highway 1 from Mill Valley, following the signs to Stinson Beach. At the long line of mailboxes next to the Muir Beach cutoff point, start checking your odometer. Look for a dirt lot full of cars to the left (west) of the highway 5.6 miles north of Muir and a smaller one on east side of the road. The lots are at milepost 11.3, one mile south of Stinson Beach. Limited parking is also available 150 yards to the south on the west side of Highway 1. Or from Mill Valley, take the West Marin/Bolinas Stage toward Stinson Beach and Bolinas. Get off at the intersection of Panoramic Highway and Highway 1. Then walk south .6 mile to the Red Rock lots. Follow the long, steep path to the beach that starts near the Dumpster next to the main parking lot.



Although the public part of Muir Beach has been closed since July 8, the small, quarter-moon shaped, clothing-optional beach just to the north of it is still technically open. This summer, the site was attracting 30-40 people a day, although it may get 100 on hot days. It’s one of the only Bay Area nude beaches that receives nearly as many female visitors as males. A variety of people share the cove, which has a more serene and less social atmosphere than nearby Red Rock. Finding it is usually easy: you park at the main Muir lot, walk north on the sand, cross over some rocks, and you’re there. Now, though, during improvement work lasting until November, visitors can’t park near Muir or enter it by foot. To reach the naked beach, you’ll need to hike up to several hours and not be able to use restrooms or garbage cans, which are ringed with fences. Once there, you must continue to the nude beach without stopping on the main beach, even to admire the view or swim in the water, or you will be cited.

Directions until 11/10: 1) Take the Coastal Trail to Muir Beach from the Tennessee Valley trailhead, then walk north until you come to a line of rocks marking the start of the nude area. Walk over the rocks. The roundtrip loop is just under 8 miles. See our web listings for details. 2) A hike of up to 30 minutes on the Coastal Trail begins at the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, at 1601 Shoreline Highway, off Highway 1 just south of Muir Beach. But the Center’s parking lot is tiny, costs single-occupant drivers $5 to use on Sundays (when participation in the Center’s program is requested) and isn’t open to the public on weekdays or Saturdays, so staff are strongly discouraging its use for Muir access during the beach’s closure. Our online report has more info. 3) If you live on Cove Lane, near Pacific Way, you can still access the beach from Cove. Nonresidents can’t park on Cove Lane, Pacific Way, or other nearby streets during the closure period. Starting 11/10: From San Francisco, take Highway 1 north to Muir Beach, to milepost 5.7. Turn left on Pacific Way and park in the Muir lot (to avoid tickets, don’t park on Pacific). Or park on the street off Highway 1 across from Pacific and about 100 yards north. From the Muir lot, follow a path and boardwalk to the sand. Then walk north to a pile of rocks between the cliffs and the sea. You’ll need good hiking or walking shoes to cross; in very low tide, try to cross closer to the water. The nude area starts north of it.



In a 1998 movie, visiting Jamaica was How Stella Got Her Groove Back. But if you’d like to revitalize your life, all you may need to do is spend an afternoon at awe-inspiring RCA Beach. Even though the site is isolated, don’t try to have sex on the sand; rangers ticketed at least one person for engaging in public sex here last fall. A single stopover at this relaxing oasis of tranquility will probably inspire you to keep coming back. “It hasn’t changed in decades,” says regular visitor Michael Velkoff. One problem: the cove is exposed to the wind. The good news is that there are lots of nooks that are sheltered from the wind. Some nooks, though, provide good shelter from the periodic breezes. Plus there’s so much driftwood on the sand that many people build windbreaks or even whole forts. Suited and unsuited men and women and families visit the shoreline. The beach seems far bigger than its one mile length because everyone is usually spread out on the sand. Adds Velkoff: “We’ll see six people on a Sunday. Everybody’s 30 yards apart. It’s amazing.”

Directions: From Stinson Beach, take Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway) north toward Calle Del Mar for 4.5 miles. Turn left onto Olema Bolinas Road and follow it 1.8 miles to Mesa Road in Bolinas. Turn right and stay on Mesa until you see cars parked past some old transmission towers. Park and walk .25 miles to the end of the pavement. Go left through the gap in the fence. The trail leads to a gravel road. Follow it until you see a path on your right, leading through a gate. Take it along the cliff top until it veers down to the beach. Or continue along Mesa until you come to a grove of eucalyptus trees. Enter through the gate here, then hike .5 miles through a cow pasture on a path that will also bring you through thick brush. The second route is slippery and eroding, but less steep. “It’s shorter, but toward the end there’s a rope for you to hold onto going down the cliff,” tells Velkoff.




Would you like to walk a mile wearing nothing but your smile? At lovely Limantour, in Point Reyes National Seashore, you can do just that. Bring a pair of binoculars for watching birds, seals, and other wildlife. “I’ve been going there this year since the spring,” says Lucas Valley’s Michael Velkoff. “There are always whales and dolphins off shore, but recently we’ve been seeing porpoises too. It’s so beautiful at Limantour. I just head away from any people and put my towel down in the dunes or against a wall. A friend went a few days ago. Even though it was windy, she was very comfortable in the dunes. The best thing is that nobody bothers you. Of course, I carry a pair of shorts, just in case I need to put them on. I love it at Limantour. Plus it has tons of nice sand.” The long shoreline is one of America’s most beautiful beaches, yet few visitors realize the narrow spit of sand, between Drakes Bay and an estuary, is clothing-optional. The site is so big — about 2.5 miles in length — you can wander for hours, checking out ducks and other waterfowl, shorebirds such as snowy plovers (if you are lucky enough to see these endangered birds on the north end of the beach), gray whales (including mothers and their calves during spring), and playful harbor seals (offshore and at the north edge of the sand). Dogs are allowed on six-foot leashes on the south end of the beach.

Directions: From San Francisco, take Highway 101 north to the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard exit, then follow Sir Francis through San Anselmo and Lagunitas to Olema. At the intersection with Highway 1, turn right onto 1. Just north of Olema, go left on Bear Valley Road. A mile after the turnoff for the Bear Valley Visitor Center, turn left (at the Limantour Beach sign) on Limantour Road and follow it 11 miles to the parking lot at the end. Walk north a half-mile until you see some dunes about 50 yards east of the shore. Nudists usually prefer the valleys between the dunes for sunbathing. “One Sunday we had 200 yards to ourselves,” Velkoff says. But lately, the dunes have been more crowded.






















































Selector: June 12-17, 2013



The Trashies

What would you get if you paired those slimy Garbage Pail Kids with primal 1960s garage rock band the Monks? It’d probably turn in to something like the Trashies. A few weeks back, the Bay Guardian premiered a new video from the sloppy Seattle-and-East Bay act, featuring the band writhing in the mud at the Albany Bulb, screeching and freaking out psychedelically on guitars, and yelping “I’m a worm!/watch me squirm.” If it all sounds a bit familiar, this beach squelch shimmy, it’s because Uzi Rash frontperson Max Nordile also has a hand in Trashies, lending his particular style to the band’s intoxicating sounds. (Emily Savage)

With Buffalo Tooth, Scrapers

8:30pm, $7

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF

(415) 923-0923



Queer Women of Color Film Festival

Five vibrant screening programs, 57 short films, and a particular focus — “Bridge To Truth: Queer SWANA/AMEMSA Communities” — on the feminist threads weaving through recent revolutions in Southwest Asian, North African/Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities: if this year’s festival doesn’t open your eyes to some amazing things happening in the world of queer women of color, well, here’s a loaf of Wonderbread, go nuts. “From the intoxicating first kiss to candlelit prayer rugs, from transmen of color dating to Navajo beauty pageants, to the ebb and flow between parents and children, this festival is awash with films that fill our spirits,” QWOCMAP, the great local arts institution that produces the fest, promises. Three days of flicks culminate in a party, 9pm on Sun/16 at Slate Bar, with DJs Wepa and AlmiuX and a host of friendly faces. (Marke B.)

Through June 16

Various prices and times Brava Theater

2789 24th St., SF


Date Palms

There’s this sense of impending doom ever-present in any given Date Palm piece. The instrumental band — which once described its sound to me as “psychedelic minimalism with Eastern tinged melodies driven by cyclical, distorted bass patterns” — has thriller cinematic appeal. Without the distraction of vocals, the mind is left to wander in these unsettling patterns, wobbling toward the deep unknown, creating eerie visions. In this way, it’s the soundtrack to the mini movies fluttering through your brain. This is never more apt than in single “Dusted Down,” off new album, Dusted Sessions, out this week on Thrill Jockey. And yet, one needn’t conjure a mind-flick for that particular track. There’s already a video, and it’s as trippy as deserved, with blurry visions of the band, analog video feedback, and a looping rainbow of madness. (Savage)

With Jackie O-Motherfucker, Soft Shells, Lady Free Mountain

9pm, $7

Night Light

311 Broadway, Oakl.


The Bats

New Zealand rockers the Bats got their start 30 years ago, and have stayed together all this time, with all four original members still in the fold, an almost unheard of feat these days. The cult Kiwi favorites released their latest album, Free All The Monsters (Flying Nun Records) in 2011, imbued with an almost ethereal sound and feel, which could be partly due to the fact that it was recorded in a former lunatic asylum. The video for the single “Simpletons” shows haunting scenes of the aftermath of the major earthquake that struck the Bats hometown of Christchurch that year — but like their fellow countrymen, the band is as resilient as ever. (Sean McCourt)

With the Mantles, Legs

9pm, $15–$17-

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011


Monster Drawing Rally 2013

There will be no Grave Digger, no Bigfoot, no Mean Green Machine. There will be no Mud Tractor Pull (pull … pull …pull …) — or mud for that matter, either. But you never know what else will arise from the annual, hugely popular Monster Drawing Rally at Southern Exposure Gallery. A honkin’ 120 artists rev their creative engines in one hour shifts of 30 artists each to produce spectacular works, instantly available for sale at $60 each. Meanwhile, spectators can egg these MONSTER ARTISTS on while enjoying the inspirationally arty yet danceable sounds of DJs Juan Luna-Avin and Joshua Pieper and food from select street trucks. It all takes place at underground-feeling Mission design warehouse the NWBLCK, and proceeds go to Southern Exposure’s community art programs. Gentledrawers, start your engines. (Marke B.)

6pm-11pm, $15

1999 Bryant, SF

(415) 863-2141


Papa Bear and the Easy Love

Papa Bear and the Easy Love create a river of music and then go for a swim inside it. Some artists wear their music like accessories, a backdrop to their eccentric selves. Some become one with it, creating a pleasant unity on stage. Others stomp on top of the sound, trying to resuscitate the riffs and beats as they plunge from the speakers to the ground. With Papa Bear and the Easy Love, beautiful harmonies and soft finger-picking acoustics become the mantra on stage — and it is beautiful to watch. It makes the crowd wish to go for a dip as well. (Hillary Smith)

With Big Tree, Song Preservation Society, City Tribe

9pm, $17

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750



Dear San Francisco Art Institute,

You’re forgiven for the questionable taste shown in the naming of your annual student fashion show because I anticipate that its runway lewks will be fantastic. We are known as a fabulous city to live in (if one — or one’s parents — can afford it), but not to launch a high fashion career. The walls of your institution have long been a holding container for bright style stars who light out after graduation for more apace fashion worlds. And so: while the SF style scene continues to grow, your event remains one of the year’s more exciting chances to see high fashion here in the city. I for one am excited. Sincerely, (Caitlin Donohue)

7pm, $20–$50

San Francisco Design Center

101 Henry Adams, SF


Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

Everything about the story of Aly Spaltro’s transformation into Lady Lamb and the Beekeeper seems old and out of time. In the Maine town where she went to high school, she practiced in the basement of that bygone establishment, a video store, and produced her first recordings through another, an independent record store. Then there’s her alter ego, the name of a Victorian woman who came to her in a dream (for real), which maybe that explains the biggest leap of time: Spaltro performs far beyond her 22 years. With her preternatural understanding of human feeling and her unique ability to sing about it, the very old and young Lady Lamb should not be missed. (Laura Kerry)

With Torres, Paige and the Thousand

8pm, $10

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011


Tracy Morgan

Getting his first major mainstream exposure on the TV show Martin in the mid-1990s, Tracy Morgan quickly went on to join the cast of Saturday Night Live based on the strengths of his hilarious comedic talents. On SNL, he created classic characters such as animal expert “Brian Fellows” and the moonshine-swilling “Uncle Jemima” and performed a host of side-splitting celebrity impersonations. Now that 30 Rock — where he poked fun at his own celebrity in the guise of “Tracy Jordan” — has ended its cult hit run, Morgan is hitting the stage for a series of live gigs ahead of his new TV project, Death Pact, which is slated to air on FX.


8pm, $35.50

Palace of Fine Arts

3301 Lyon, SF

(800) 745-3000


The Front Bottoms

The Front Bottoms’ shows are usually teeming with fans who are just as excited as them — we’re talking double rainbow excited. The New Jersey indie-punk group’s sarcastic and humorous lyrics guarantee a sing-along show. “And you’re so confident, but I hear you cry in your sleeping bag,” scream the die-hards along with the Front Bottoms. Though the Ludo-esque vocals sound great and the songs are quite catchy, a good part of the energy comes from the party atmosphere provided on stage. Going to a Front Bottoms concert is like going to a house show, but with an above average band playing the gig. You still get to go bat-shit and get weird, just to good music instead. (Smith)

With Weatherbox, Night Riots

8pm, $12

Brick and Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission, SF

(415) 800-8782


“A Radio Silence Live Tribute to Buddy Holly”

With all legend surrounding his untimely death, one tends to forget the most important thing about Buddy Holly: the bespectacled kid (age 22) had a serious knack for songwriting. He was a prolific musician who wrote a bunch of timeless rockabilly-blues blended rock’n’roll juke classics in his relatively short career. (“That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “True Love Ways,” “Crying, Waiting, Hoping,” “Everyday.”) As a small gesture to correct the collective direction of remembrance — and to prove the music didn’t really die that day on the “Winter Dance Party” tour — local lit mag Radio Silence presents a tribute night to the songs of Holly. There’ll be Greil Marcus, an icon of rock journalism, reading from his as-yet-unpublished new book, plus conversations with and performances by Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces, Van Pierszalowski of Port O’Brien and WATERS, and singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen. As with any proper SF event, there’ll be DJs and food trucks as well. (Savage)

7pm, $20

Public Works 161 Erie, SF (415) 779-6757


Brooke D.

Brooke D. is a solo artist — but unless you’ve seen her live you wouldn’t have a clue. The San Francisco native’s loops of soft hums and harmonies alongside simple beats offer a full backdrop (not that it’s needed) to her gentle, poignant vocals. And yet, the subtle empty spaces in D.’s tracks lend a withholding quality that is altogether alluring. The result is a refreshingly captivating performance. Worth seeing for the a capella novelty alone, D.’s show is also impressive because of her freestyle harmonies in which she flawlessly reaches high notes unattainable to most. She delivers a unique and skilled three-person performance for the price of one. (Smith)

With Sea Lioness, Doncat, Tendrils

9pm, $8

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF

(415) 626-4455

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Heads Up: 7 must-see concerts this week


Dear 2 Chainz: we’d like to formally apologize on behalf of our city, if you were indeed robbed at gunpoint (details are a bit murky at this point). Terrible things happen in every city, and San Francisco is no exception. But we must trundle forward, as a city of sonic fiends who love this place called home, always exploding with new bands, and welcoming traveling acts from around the world.

This week, we celebrate a particularly beloved member of own pack: Sonny and the Sunsets has a new record, and it’s a leap in yet another direction for the singer-songwriter and his crew. There’s also a Date Palms album release, a visit from New Zealand rockers the Bats (locals the Mantles open), the return of Cold Cave, some existential slop-punk from the Trashies, and a tribute to “rock‘n’roll specialist” Buddy Holly. Music lives on, despite despair.

Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:

Sonny and the Sunsets
It’s the record release party for Sonny and the Sunsets’ newest, Antenna to the Afterworld. The confessional record, which hints at Modern Lovers and Silver Jews (a shift from country break-up record Longtime Companion), opens with Sonny Smith talk-singing a call-and-response conversation, “Something happened/I fell in love/but it was weird/Real weird.” “Good weird?” the voice on the other side implores.
With Burnt Ones, Cool Ghouls.
Tue/11, 8pm, $7
Eagle Tavern
398 12th St., SF

The Trashies
What would you get if you paired those slimy Garbage Pail Kids with primal 1960s garage rock band the Monks? It’d probably turn in to something like the Trashies. A few weeks back, the Bay Guardian premiered a new video from the sloppy Seattle-and-East Bay act, featuring the band writhing in the mud at the Albany Bulb, screeching and freaking out psychedelically on guitars, and yelping “I’m a worm!/watch me squirm.” If it all sounds a bit familiar, this beach squelch shimmy, it’s because Uzi Rash frontperson Max Nordile also has a hand in Trashies, lending his particular style to the band’s intoxicating sounds.
With Buffalo Tooth, Scrapers
Wed/12, 8:30pm, $7
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk, SF
(415) 923-0923

The Bats
“New Zealand rockers the Bats got their start 30 years ago, and have stayed together all this time, with all four original members still in the fold, an almost unheard of feat these days. The cult Kiwi favorites released their latest album, Free All The Monsters (Flying Nun Records) in 2011, imbued with an almost ethereal sound and feel, which could be partly due to the fact that it was recorded in a former lunatic asylum. The video for the single “Simpletons” shows haunting scenes of the aftermath of the major earthquake that struck the Bats hometown of Christchurch that year — but like their fellow countrymen, the band is as resilient as ever.” — Sean McCourt
With the Mantles, Legs
Fri/14, 9pm, $15–<\d>$17-
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell, SF
(415) 861-2011

Date Palms
There’s this sense of impending doom ever-present in any given Date Palm piece. The instrumental band — which once described its sound to me as “psychedelic minimalism with Eastern tinged melodies driven by cyclical, distorted bass patterns” — has thriller cinematic appeal. Without the distraction of vocals, the mind is left to wander in these unsettling patterns, wobbling toward the deep unknown, creating eerie visions. In this way, it’s the soundtrack to the mini movies fluttering through your brain. This is never more apt than in single “Dusted Down,” off new album, Dusted Sessions, out this week on Thrill Jockey. And yet, one needn’t conjure a mind-flick for that particular track. There’s already a video, and it’s as trippy as deserved, with blurry visions of the band, analog video feedback, and a looping rainbow of madness.
With Jackie O-Motherfucker, Soft Shells, Lady Free Mountain
Fri/14, 9pm, $7
Night Light
311 Broadway, Oakl.

Cold Cave
Your two favorite parties (120 Minutes and Lights Down Low) come together this weekend for one spooky-special mashup of noise, ideas, and freaks, with live performances by darkwave duo Cold Cave backed by underground post-punk legend Boyd Rice, R&B/dance music-mixer Brenmar, and Jokers of the Scene, who are known to “craft epic nine-minute Salem remixes or rave out with their own anthemic tracks.” With 120 Minutes residents S4Nta_MU3rTE and Chuncey_CC, Lights Down Low residents Sleazemore and Richie Panic.
Sat/15, 9pm, $15-$20
Public Works
161 Erie, SF

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper
“Everything about the story of Aly Spaltro’s transformation into Lady Lamb and the Beekeeper seems old and out of time. In the Maine town where she went to high school, she practiced in the basement of that bygone establishment, a video store, and produced her first recordings through another, an independent record store. Then there’s her alter ego, the name of a Victorian woman who came to her in a dream (for real), which maybe that explains the biggest leap of time: Spaltro performs far beyond her 22 years. With her preternatural understanding of human feeling and her unique ability to sing about it, the very old and young Lady Lamb should not be missed.” — Laura Kerry
With Torres, Paige and the Thousand
Sun/16, 8pm, $10
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell, SF
(415) 861-2011

“A Radio Silence Live Tribute to Buddy Holly”
With all legend surrounding his untimely death, one tends to forget the most important thing about Buddy Holly: the bespectacled kid (age 22) had a serious knack for songwriting. He was a prolific musician who wrote a bunch of timeless rockabilly-blues blended rock’n’roll juke classics in his relatively short career. (“That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “True Love Ways,” “Crying, Waiting, Hoping,” “Everyday.”) As a small gesture to correct the collective direction of remembrance — and to prove the music didn’t really die that day on the “Winter Dance Party” tour — local lit mag Radio Silence presents a tribute night to the songs of Holly. There’ll be Greil Marcus, an icon of rock journalism, reading from his as-yet-unpublished new book, plus conversations with and performances by Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces, Van Pierszalowski of Port O’Brien and WATERS, and singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen. As with any proper SF event, there’ll be DJs and food trucks as well.
Sun/16, 7pm, $20
Public Works
161 Erie, SF
(415) 779-6757