Music listings


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



Crocodiles, Pens, Graffiti Island Rickshaw Stop. 8pm, $12.

Forget About Boston, Flamingo Gunfight, A Victory Nonetheless Elbo Room. 9pm, $5.

Freekbass Boom Boom Room. 9:45pm, $10.

Have Nots, Stigma 13, Flatout Annie’s Social Club. 8pm, $5.

Horror X, Boats!, Spurts, Pranks Thee Parkside. 8pm, $6.

Mother Mother, HIJK Café du Nord. 8:30pm, $10.

Partyline, Hawnay Troof, Shebeast, Schwule El Rio. 8pm, $8.

Prids, Swann Danger, Butterfly Bones Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $8.

Freddy Roulette Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $15.

Stone Foxes, Lonely H, Buxter Hoot’n Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $7.


Jackson Browne Paramount Theatre. 8pm, $39.50-59.50.


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

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

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

"Marcus Shelby Jazz Jam" Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:30pm, free.

Jonathan Poretz Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $16.

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


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

Steve Taylor-Ramírez Plough and Stars. 9pm, free.


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

Fame Bar on Church. 9pm. With rotating DJs.

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

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

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

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

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



Bare Wires, Fergus and Geronimo, Teenage Cool Kids, Vows Amnesia. 9pm, $7.

*Blowfly, Blag Dahlia Rock Legend, Mad Macka Thee Parkside. 9pm, $10.

Calmodee Coda. 9pm, $7.

Daughtry Fillmore. 8pm, $20.

Eyedea and Abilities, Kristoff Krane, Justus Bends Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $10.

Bill Magee Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $15.

Jason Movrich SNOB, 1327 Polk, SF; (415) 440-7662. 8pm, free.

San Kazakgascar, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $6.

Scranton, Luvhed, Ol’ Cheeky Bastards Grant and Green. 9pm, free.

Strip Mall Architecture, Love X Nowhere, Silian Rail Café du Nord. 9pm, $10.

Toy Soldiers, Battlehooch, Horde and the Harem, Buttercream Gang Slim’s. 8pm, $13.


"Vans Warped Tour" Shoreline Amphitheater, One Amphitheater Pkwy, Mtn View; 11am, $26.75. With NOFX, 3oh!3, Less Than Jake, Underoath, Devil Wears Prada, Chiodos, Thrice, Silverstein, and (seriously) over 40 more.


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

"Brass, Bows, and Beats: A Hip Hop Symphony by Adam Theis and the Jazz Mafia Symphony" Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10:30pm, $24.

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

Kelly Park Trio Shanghai 1930. 7pm, free.

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

"New Frequencies @ YBCA: Musicians Respond to Wallworks" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; 6pm, free with gallery admission ($5-7). With Jackeline Rago and Steve Hogan Duo/Kev Choice and Jennifer Johns Duo.

Jesse Scheinin Socha Café, 3235 Mission, SF; (415) 643-6848. 8:30pm, free.

Sony Holland Duo Café Divine, 1600 Stockton, SF; (415) 986-3414. 7pm, free.

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


Flamenco Thursday Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 8pm, 9:30; $12. With Carola Zertuche and Company.

Four Inch Pony Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:30pm, free.

Hillstomp, Slowfinger, Brothers Comatose Annie’s Social Club. 8pm, $8.

Mission Three Amnesia. 7pm, free.

Jason Movrich Blarney Stone, 5625 Geary, SF; (415) 386-9914. 9pm, free.

Saddlecats Atlas Café. 8pm, free.

Tipsy House Plough and Stars. 9pm, free.


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

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

Club Jammies Edinburgh Castle. 10pm, free. DJs EBERrad and White Mice spinning reggae, punk, dub, and post punk.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rock Candy Stud. 9pm-2am, $5. Luscious Lucy Lipps hosts this electro-punk-pop party with music by ReXick.

Ships in the Night Underground SF. 10pm, $5. Queer dance party with DJs Durt, Black, and Jean Jamz.

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



Attitude Adjustment, Beowulf, Deface, Killing California, Superbuick Thee Parkside. 9pm, $10.

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson Independent. 9pm, $25.

Tracy Chapman Fillmore. 9pm, $50.

Christmas Island, Mantels, Jonesin’, Splinters Amnesia. 9pm, $8.

Cuban Nights Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 8:30pm, $15. Latin dancing Buena Vista style with Fito Reinoso, and Eddy and Gabriel Navia.

Diego’s Umbrella Café du Nord. 9pm, $10.

Excuse the Blood, Hudson Criminal, Cycloptopus, No Need Retox Lounge. 8pm, $5.

*"House of Voodoo 10th Anniversary" Annie’s Social Club. 9pm, $5-7. With Awakening, Saints of Ruin, and DJs spinning goth and industrial.

New Up, Company Car, Run Run Run Bottom of the Hill. 9:30pm, $12.

EC Scott Biscuits and Blues. 8 and 10pm, $20.

Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, Polar Bear Club, Fireworks Slim’s. 8pm, $15.

*Tussle, Grass Widow, Psychic Reality, Royalchord Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $8.


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

Brian Belknap Socha Café, 3235 Mission, SF; (415) 643-6848. 8:30pm, free.

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

"Brass, Bows, and Beats: A Hip Hop Symphony by Adam Theis and the Jazz Mafia Symphony" Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10:30pm, $26.

Duo Gadjo Shanghai 1930. 7:30pm, free.

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

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

Natasha Miller Coda. 10pm, $10.


Aphrodesia, Bayonics, DJ Jeremiah Great American Music Hall. 9pm, $16.

Bluegrass Bonanza Plough and Stars. 9pm.

Jessica Fichot Red Poppy Art House. 8:30pm, $10-12 suggested donation.

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

"A Moment in Time" Regency Ballroom. 9pm, $30. With Beres Hammond with the Harmony House Singers and Musicans, and Culture.

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


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

Alcoholocaust Presents Riptide Tavern. 9pm, free. DJ What’s His Fuck spins old-school punk rock and other gems.

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

Deep Fried Butter, 354 11th St., SF; (415) 863-5964. DJs jaybee, David Justin, and Dean Manning spinning indie, dance rock, electronica, funk, hip hop, and more.

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

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

Gay Asian Paradise Club Eight, 1151 Folsom, SF; 9pm, $8. Featuring two dance floors playing dance and hip hop, smoking patio, and 2 for 1 drinks before 10pm.

Go Bang! Deco SF, 510 Larkin St; (415) 346-2025. 10pm, $5. Recreating the diversity and freedom of the 70’s/ 80’s disco nightlife with DJs Eddy Bauer, Flight, Nicky B., Sergio and more.

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

Loose Stud. 10pm-3am, $5. DJs Domino and Six spin electro and indie, with vintage porn visual projections to get you in the mood.

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

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

Voodoo Ballroom Annies Social Club. 9pm, $7. With live performances by Awakening and Saints of Ruin and DJs voodoo, Purgatory Mischief, and more spinning goth, deathrock, glam, and darkwave industrial.



Tracy Chapman Fillmore. 9pm, $50.

Ex-Boyfriends, My First Earthquake, Vitamin Party Thee Parkside. 9pm, $7.

*Flipper, Triclops!, Turks, Alaric Annie’s Social Club. 9pm, $10.

*Forbidden, Kehoe Nation featuring Gene Hoglan, Death Pilot Slim’s. 9pm, $20.

Jedi Mind Tricks, MC Esoteric, Reef the Lost Cauze, Bound by Honor Independent. 9pm, $17.

Kev Choice Ensemble Elbo Room. 10pm.

Lady Bianca Biscuits and Blues. 8 and 10pm, $20.

Low Red Land, Appomattox Hemlock Tavern. 6pm, $5.

Matches Fillmore. 9pm, $20.

No Hope for the Dead, Overdrive AD, Hot Heresy Thee Parkside. 2pm, free.

La Plebe, Pop Bottle Bombers, Master Volume, DJ Alberto Bottom of the Hill. 10pm, $12.

TITS, Plastic Crimewave and the Wicked Wicked Ways Hemlock Tavern. 9:30pm, $7.

Valerie Orth Band, Rachel Efron Ensemble, Mia and Jonah Café du Nord. 9pm, $12.


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

Pascal Boker and Band Savanna Jazz. 8pm, $5.

"Brass, Bows, and Beats: A Hip Hop Symphony by Adam Theis and the Jazz Mafia Symphony" Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10:30pm, $26.

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

"New Frequencies @ YBCA: Next Wave of Global Landscape" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; 8pm, $25. With Juana Molina/Amy X. Neuburg and the Cello ChiXtet.

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

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

Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers Coda. 10pm, $12.


Absynth Quintet Plough and Stars. 9pm.

Julio Bravo y Orquesta Salsabor Ramp Restaurant, 855 Terry Francois, SF; (415) 621-2378. 5pm, free.

Cabinet of Curiosities, Toby Dick, Hyperpotamus Amnesia. 8pm, $7. Fundraiser for SF Zine Fest.

Carnaval Del Sur Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 8pm, $12.

Ricardo Lemvo and Miakina Loca, DJ Emmanuel Nado Great American Music Hall. 9pm, $20.

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

Thick Soup Socha Café, 3235 Mission, SF; (415) 643-6848. 8:30pm, free.


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

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

DatA Mezzanine. 9pm, $10. With DJs Sleazemore, Sick Face, Alexander Frederick, and Eli Glad spinning futuro-disco and space electro.

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

Shine the Light Shine. 10pm, $10. With DJs Cheb I Sabbah, Mighty Dub Killaz, Janaka Selekta, and El Diablo spinning global electronic.



Arnocorps, A Band of Orcs, Untapped Fury, Dagobah Thee Parkside. 8pm, $8.

Cult Warfield. 8pm, $38.50-100.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Hank IV Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $15.

Maggie Morris, Ghosties Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $5.

Chuck Prophet and friends Knockout. 8pm, $10.

Six Organs of Admittance, Master Musicians of Bukkake Independent. 8pm, $12.

J Tillman, Moore Brothers, Pearly Gate Music Café du Nord. 8pm, $13.


Lucid Lovers Harris’ Restaurant, 2100 Van Ness, SF; (415) 673-1888. 6:30pm.

Zachary Richard Yoshi’s San Francisco. 7 and 9pm, $20.

Stanley Coda. 9pm, $7.


Fiesta Andina! Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 7pm, $12. With Eddy Navia and Sukay.

Sacred Profanities Thee Parkside. 3pm, free.

Salsa Sundays El Rio. 4:15pm, $8. With Orquesta D’Soul.

John Sherry, Kyle Thayer and friends Plough and Stars. 9pm, free.

Tippy Canoe, Five Cent Coffee, Mikie Lee Prasad Amnesia. 9pm, $7-10.


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

Dub Mission Elbo Room. 9pm, $6. Dub, roots, and classic dancehall with DJs Sep, Maneesh the Twister, and guests Roy Two Thousand and DJ Quest.

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

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

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

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

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


Culture Club Oasis, 135 12th, Oak; (510) 763-0404. 10pm, free. Funky, deep, soulful, tech, house music with DJs Kincaid, Nesto and more.



Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Jeff the Brotherhood Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $15.

Pins of Light, Libyans Hemlock Tavern. 7pm, $5.

Chelsea Wolfe, Helene Renaut, J. Irvin Dally Knockout. 9pm, $7.

Pete Yorn Fillmore. 9pm.


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

Mitch Marcus Quintet Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $10-12.


Barefoot Nellies Amnesia. 8:30pm, free.


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

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

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

Mainroom Mondays Annie’s Social Club. 9pm, free. Live the dream: karaoke on Annie’s stage and pretend you’re Jello Biafra.

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

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

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

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



Box Elders Hemlock Tavern. 6pm, $5.

Catholic Comb, Downer Party, Scott Allbright Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $10.

Fruit Bats, Death Vessel Independent. 8pm, $14.

Pharmakon, R. Jencks, Orhima Hemlock Tavern. 9:30pm, $5.

Spoon + 10, Shark Speed El Rio. 8pm, free.


Dave Parker Quintet Rasselas Jazz. 8pm.

Dogman Joe Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8pm, $12.

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

For Corners Rite Spot, 2099 Folsom, SF; 8:30pm, free.

"Jazz Mafia Tuesdays" Coda. 9pm, $7. With Felonious.

RJ Ross Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:30pm, free.

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


Song Session Plough and Stars. 9pm, free.


Drunken Monkey Annie’s Social Club. 9pm, free. With DJ Voodoo.<\!s>*

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

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

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


Hines spy?


By Rebecca Bowe

men in black.jpg

Here’s the latest twist in the fight over 113 Steuart Street, a shuttered two-story building on the city’s northern waterfront that high-profile developer Hines Interests wants to raze and replace with a tall, shiny green building called 110 The Embarcadero. A committee that’s pushing to landmark 113 Steuart is claiming that Hines has used “industrial espionage” to try and thwart their efforts.

On Aug. 4, a group called the 113 Steuart Street Landmark Committee — comprised of preservationists, historians and labor union members — held a meeting at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 34 Hall to chart their strategy for landmarking 113 Steuart, which would preclude demolition. The site is historically significant, committee members argue, because it served as the labor hall where International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) leader Harry Bridges and the Maritime Strike Committee organized the Waterfront Maritime Strike of 1934. (The ILA was the predecessor to the ILWU.)

The meeting attracted a newcomer. Committee members Ralph Schoenman and Bradley Wiedmaier told the Guardian that Daniel McGill introduced himself to the rest of the group as a “student of urban planning interested in the field” who professed a “deep interest” in the effort to preserve the building. Throughout the planning meeting, Wiedmaier said, McGill was “feverishly taking notes on everything anyone said.”

If McGill really was there as a Hines spy, we doubt he’d last a day as an FBI informant. As any good spy should know, giving your real name makes it much easier for your foes to denounce you as an infiltrator. Suspicions raised, Weidmaier consulted Google the next day and found McGill listed as an Assistant Project Manager at Hines Interests – the very development firm that aims to tear down 113 Steuart.

Sonic Reducer Overage: Lil Wayne, Green Day, Down, and more


Kimberly Chun

Les Paul, Rashied Ali – Big Daddy Death keeps claiming another one. Goddamnit. You can find me at the bar, buried in vodka tonics, till you finally find the strength to perk up, listen to Interstellar Space again, stroke your koa-wood SG, and contemplate all the live music, still kicking all around you.

Society of Rockets and Dominique Leone
The SF psychedelicists bang noggins with the congenial local, NorCal synthesist. Thurs/13, 9 p.m., $10. Café du Nord, 2170 Market, S.F. (415) 861-5016.

Solillquists of Sound
Me likee the bubbling, robo-futuristic beats of the Orlando, Fla., quartet’s new No More Heroes – and the live act is supposed to be pretty awesome, too. With 40Love and Zutra. Thurs/13, 9 p.m., $10. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. (415) 621-4455.

‘Can I buy your park?’


Saul Bloom, executive director of Arc Ecology, recently donned his best suit and a sandwich-board saying "Can I buy your park?" then headed to some of the city’s most popular open spaces: Dolores Park, Golden Gate Park, Crissy Field, and Ocean Beach.

Bloom’s quest? Pose as a developer and videotape reactions to a fictitious proposal to sell 25 percent of the parks for housing, a ruse designed to illuminate how the city and its master developer, Lennar Corp., have never been nearly that honest about their plan to get the state to sell 25 percent of Candlestick Point State Recreation Area so Lennar can build luxury condos on prime waterfront parklands.

Predictably, responses to Bloom’s poll were mainly negative, occasionally violent. "A couple of people tried to clock me over the head," Bloom recalled. "They got aggressive. They said ‘You’re an asshole, man.’ But the predominant reaction was ‘I love my park.’ People asked, ‘Why do you want to sell them?’ They feel there’s not enough open space."

Perhaps the most chilling response came when Bloom told folks about the city’s actual plan to build condos at Candlestick Point SRA in the Bayview District. "Their response was, ‘Oh, it’s in the Bayview? Who cares?’" said Bloom, who fears that apparent indifference to the plight of the Bayview may explain why the city and Lennar see Candlestick Point SRA as a development opportunity.

Arc isn’t the only group accusing Lennar and the city of not properly informing the public that a vote for Proposition G, which was billed as the "clean-up the shipyard initiative" during the June 2008 election, was also a vote to push Senate Bill 792, state tidelands legislation that authorizes the Candlestick Point sell-off.

Introduced by State Sen. Mark Leno in February, SB 792 has since been amended and approved by the full Senate and is currently scheduled for a hearing by the Assembly Appropriations Committee Aug. 19. Passage by the committee is virtually certain, given that it only delays legislation based on fiscal impacts.

But even some Prop. G supporters, including Bloom, are now raising questions about the deal.

San Francisco’s Park, Recreation, and Open Space Advisory Committee (PROSAC) unanimously approved a resolution recommending that the city’s Recreation and Park Commission and the sponsor of SB 792 require both the city and Lennar to "provide detailed accounting of the park and open space acreage in the Candlestick Project." The committee asks that no net open space in the region be lost in the transfer.

PROSAC claims it was in the dark about the deal and asked those who pushed Prop. G to "provide documentation of when PROSAC and any other relevant advisory committees were informed of the intention to purchase state parkland for the Candlestick Project." So far Lennar and the city have pointed to conceptual maps and a couple of notices of public meetings as evidence that the public was adequately informed before voting.

But according to Bloom, who studies the maps and attends the meetings, "There really is not anything other than two graphics, neither of which call out the alteration to the park boundary. You’d really have to know what you were looking for. And why would the city’s own advisory committee be asking Lennar and the city for information if they were in fact told of this plan?"

Adding fuel to the fire is a July 21 resolution by Sups. Chris Daly and John Avalos, which argues that it should be official policy of San Francisco to oppose SB 792 in its current form and remind city lobbyist Lynn Suter "to accurately represent the City and County of San Francisco policy in Sacramento."

The resolution has been assigned to the board’s Land Use Committee and likely won’t be heard until September. It contends that SB 792 is "premature and preempts the process for public input and environmental assessment since the environmental impact reports for the proposed development on Candlestick Point and the Hunters Point Shipyard will not be released until the fall of 2009."

Noting that the state "purchased this beautiful waterfront parkland for $10 million in 1977," Daly and Avalos assert that "this land represents a valuable and irreplaceable asset to the state of California that should not be disposed of for private development."

The resolution notes that many people oppose the transfer "because of the impact of environmental racism caused by selling a clean park to a private developer for condominium construction denying Bayview Hunters Point residents equal access to healthy open space as is enjoyed by other neighborhoods in San Francisco."

As Daly told the Guardian, "Everyone wants the shipyard site cleaned up, development that works for the community, and real open space opportunities on the shoreline. And Prop. G was billed as doing this, which led to a division of people who believed Lennar and those who didn’t."

As a result, Daly said, people like Saul Bloom, who supported Prop. G, are coming out against SB 792. "So now, it seems, the skeptics are right," Daly said. "A lot of promises have been made. But unless you get them in writing, and have an insurance policy, Lennar is not delivering."

But Lennar Communities of California, the developer’s major political action committee, seems to be delivering when it comes to advocating for the park sell-off. In the second quarter of this year, Lennar more than doubled its spending on lobbying, including on SB 792. And Aug. 3, it alerted its Prop. G supporters that help is needed "passing SB 792 through the California State Legislature."

The e-mail blast claims that SB 792 is "straightforward and necessary legislation that reconfigures the state park boundaries at Candlestick Point and exchanges under-utilized land (most of it dirt, rubble, and a parking lot) for tens of millions of dollars of needed new improvements to the state park and a steady stream of dedicated funding to operate and maintain the improved park and open space."

But recently, there has been talk of an SB 792 compromise. According to insiders, the city and Lennar are willing to concede 20 acres of the contested 42-acres of park, although the developer insists it needs to build hundreds of condos (of which only 15 percent will be below market rate) on the 22 remaining acres of state park land if its entire 700-acre development is to pencil out.

Privately, environmental advocates say they may be unable to stop the land grab. And they worry that seven of the 20 acres Lennar is prepared to concede could be inundated by rising seas caused by global warming, as shown in a 2007 study by engineering firm Moffat & Nichol. It would be an ironic fate given Mayor Gavin Newsom’s July 30 announcement of a proposed United Nations center focused on climate change and green technology as part of Lennar’s project.

The Sierra Club opposes selling state parklands, building a bridge over Yosemite Slough, and capping a radiologically-affected dump on the shipyard’s Parcel E2. But the club does not oppose Lennar’s entire redevelopment plan. Arthur Feinstein, the group’s local representative, said, "We’re interested in saving as much land as possible. We are pushing to save the park’s grasslands. It’s existing habitat."

Noting that some amendments to SB 792 have been made, including removing proposed exchanges of parklands for shipyard land, Feinstein said that "there’s now a map that defines the project and no longer carries shipyard land."

Michael Cohen, Newsom’s chief economic adviser, said, "At Leno’s request, we’ve made amendments to address concerns, including taking steps to ensure there is no adverse impact on wildlife habitat."

Cohen called Newsom’s United Nations Climate Center "the perfect institution" for the entire redevelopment project, since it provides the shipyard with a green technology anchor. Cohen said he was unaware of the study showing the area could be flooded by global warming.

"But no one disagrees," Cohen continued, "that the state park will benefit from infrastructure and much needed capital for operations and maintenance."

Leno told the Guardian that his goal is to arrive at the best possible bill. "At the request of the opposition, we did amend the bill so that land at Hunters Point Shipyard won’t be part of any exchange," Leno said. "But it is conceivable that once the cleanup is completed, there could be a gift from the city to the State Parks Commission."

Leno said he hadn’t seen the flood map and joked, "If someone thinks they know exactly where the water is going to stop, they can place some bets now."

Assuming a more serious tone, Leno added that "the entire park system is under threat." He recalled how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed to eliminate all General Fund money for parks and said, "We fought back and were able to restore most of the money."

But with the state’s ongoing fiscal woes and political stalemate, "Anyone who believes CPRSA is going to be open and funded indefinitely is not thinking clearly … so this deal has the potential for being an opportunity for our taking responsibility for the future of our state park system."

As currently drafted, SB 792 provides millions for improvements and $700,000 annually for operations and maintenance, Leno explained. "So I’m trying to make a bad situation better in a way that brings along this bill’s opponents so that they see that they are being taken seriously."

Worth it


CHEAP EATS He signs his e-mails Romeo. I sign mine Juliet. It’s cute, but you try not to think about how that one ends.

You know … well, you probably don’t know, so I’ll tell ya: if you’re a trans woman dating men, you can spend years and years and years trying to find one who doesn’t either cream his pants or throw up as soon as you take your clothes off. And then, by some miracle of shifting continents and a spectacularly rare alignment of stars, planets, and good hair days, you do! You find, in fact, the one. Now, like everybody else in love, you have to kinda wait. And see. What happens.

There are questions. There is distance. There are Capulets and Montagues, jobs, exes, currents. There are riptides and undertows, sharks, lions and tigers and bears … and there are days when you feel like you are on Cloud 10. I like those days. They’re way better than the other ones, where you feel like you are hacking your way through a jungle of impossibility with a plastic butter knife and without mosquito repellent.

Yo, Shakey, is this what love is supposed to feel like? A million mosquito bites? Probably not, but I’ll take it. I’ll take it because it’s perfect. It’s perfect! It really is — give or take 5,822 miles and a logistical conundrum that would make Alfred North Whitehead reach for his binkie — perfect.

My head hurts. Again. (And again and again.) The last time I remember feeling really physically good, let’s see, I was sitting in my new favorite restaurant with my soccery girlfriends, eating grilled meatball and green apple spring rolls dipped in this insanely delicious orange pork sauce.

And if you think that sounds slightly odd, the next item on the menu is a grilled shrimp Popsicle on sugar cane.

No, it’s not some kind of funky fusion foofoo place, it’s Pot de Pho, Geary and Parker streets, and I love it. Yeah, it’s a little pricier than most Vietnamese restaurants, but worth it because it’s worth it, and fun. They don’t overly worry about authenticity. I like that. It’s like, let’s do Vietnamese food with all the best ingredients possible, well-researched recipes, and a sense of fun.

Our waiterguyperson, like the menu, was full of enthusiasm. He told us he was starting a new happy hour thing, making cocktails and punch and stuff using just wine and sake by way of alcohol.

The pho was good, I didn’t order it, of course, because I’d eaten noodle soup for lunch and dinner the day before, and still had a big pot of it at home in my fridge. But I did taste.

It’s $10 for a large bowl, $8.75 for a medium, and $5 child size. And, although they do offer a chicken pho, a vegan pho, and even (for a couple bucks more) an ahi tuna pho, they don’t offer tendon and tripe as options for their beef pho.

That’s the kind of thing I might have made fun of them for a few years ago — even though I would have been snickering over a bowl with just rare steak, every time.


Bean sprouts are in the soup, not on the side. Wide rice noodles instead of vermicelli. They have a Vietnamese sandwich, but in a green onion crepe instead of a crusty French roll … The authenticity snobs will complain. But you know what? The older I get, the more I couldn’t care less about words like authentic and traditional, and grammar in general.

If it wasn’t for inauthenticity and maltradition somewhere down the line, we’d all be having bananas and bugs for lunch. Thank you, I’ll try the green apple spring rolls and green onion crepes.

Speaking of crepes, I’m pretty sure the French gave pho to the Vietnamese, not to mention French bread.

That’s why Pot de Pho is my new favorite restaurant, for giving us grilled shrimp Popsicles. And because the teacups are a pretty shade of green, and the chairs there are cushy and comfortable. I need that right now. Pretty shades of green and a soft, comfy chair.


Tues.-Thurs., Sun.: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; closed Mon.

3300 Geary, SF

(415) 668-0826

Wine, beer


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

Music listings


Music listings are compiled by Paula Connelly and Cheryl Eddy. Since club life is unpredictable, it’s a good idea to call ahead to confirm bookings and hours. Prices are listed when provided to us. Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.



Barcelona, Meese, Seabird, Last Ambassadors Slim’s. 8pm, $13.

Better Than Ezra, 16 Frames Independent. 8pm, $25.

Honey Knockout. 9pm.

Illness, My Revolver, Dammit! El Rio. 8pm, $5.

Kegels, Party Fouls, Jokes For Feelings Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $8.

Lions, Black Robot, Flexx Bronco Thee Parkside. 8pm, $7.

OG Rhythm and Blues Band Rasselas Jazz. 8pm, free.

Kevin Russell Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $15.

Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players Red Devil Lounge. 8pm, $10.


Depeche Mode, Peter, Bjorn and John Shoreline Amphitheater, One Amphitheater Pkwy, Mtn View; 7:30pm, $35.50-99.


"B3 Wednesdays feat. Amendola vs. Blades" Coda. 9pm, $7.

Diana Krall Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, SF; 8pm, $79.50-125.

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

"Marcus Shelby Jazz Jam" Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:30pm, free.

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


*"All-Star Tribute to the King of Bakersfield: Buck Owens Birthday Bash" Elbo Room. 8pm, $10. With members of Red Meat, 77 El Deora, B Stars plus Mississipi Mike Wolf, Doug Blumer, and more.

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

Dan Reed, Manda Mosher Café du Nord. 9:30pm, $15.

Carlos Reyes Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; 1-866-468-3399. 8pm, $30.

Unwed Fathers Plough and Stars. 9pm, free.


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

Fame Bar on Church. 9pm. With rotating DJs.

Fringe Madrone Lounge. 9pm, free. With DJs subOctave and Blondie K spinning indie rock and new wave music videos.

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

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

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

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

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

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



Buttercream Gang, Raised By Robots, M. Bison Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $6.

Commisure, Room for a Ghost, An Isotope Annie’s Social Club. 8pm, $6.

Dramarama Red Devil Lounge. 8pm, $20.

Tinsley Ellis Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $18.

Glenn Labs, Greening, Johnny Walnut Grant and Green. 9pm, free.

Photons, X-Ray Press, Huff This!, Chasing Shapes Kimo’s. 9pm.

Skin Like Iron, Young Offenders, Never Healed, Airfix Kits, Dirty Cupcakes Knockout. 9:30pm, $5.

Slowfinger, Orchid, Nylon Heart Attack Slim’s. 9pm, $13.

Society of Rockets, Dominique Leone, Reptiel Café du Nord. 9pm, $10.

Solillaquists of Sound, 40Love, Zutra Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $10.

Trainwreck Riders, Fucking Buckaroos, Pretty Boy Thorson and Fallen Angels Thee Parkside. 9pm, $5.


Kenny Brooks Coda. 9pm, $7.

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

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

"New Frequencies @ YBCA: Musicians Respond to Wallworks" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; 6pm, free with gallery admission ($5-7). With Lisa Mezzacappa and Nightshade/Shimomitsu.

Karen Segal Socha Café, 3235 Mission, SF; (415) 643-6848. 8:30pm, free.

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


Brazil Vox Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:30pm, free.

Jesse DeNatale, Indiana Hale, Petracovich Amnesia. 9pm, $8.

Flamenco Thursday Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 8pm, 9:30; $12. With Carola Zertuche and Company.

High Country Atlas Café. 8pm, free.

Gregory Isaacs, Native Elements Independent. 9pm, $28.

Shannon Céilí Band Plough and Stars. 9pm, free.

Summer in the City: Meet MoAD Museum of African Diaspora, 685 Mission, SF; (415) 358-7200. 6pm, $10. Featuring live Cuban music and dancing.


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

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

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

DJ John Lynch Infusion Lounge. 9pm, free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Bad Friends, Complaints, Keeners Annie’s Social Club. 5pm, $5.

"Bowie Ball: Celebrating All Things Bowie!" Great American Music Hall. 8:30pm, $20. With Barry Syska’s Fantasy Orchestra, 5 Cent Coffee, and DJs MzSamantha and Skip.

Burnt, Simpkin Project Grant and Green. 9pm, free.

Conquest for Death, N.N., Acephalix, Ruidos Thee Parkside. 9pm, $5.

*Down, Melvins, Danava, Weedeater Regency Ballroom. 8pm, $30.

Fling, Moller, Nightgowns, Facts on File Knockout. 9pm, $7.

Gomorran Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Khi Darag!, Brian Kenney Fresno, DJ K-Tel Bottom of the Hill. 10pm, $10. With Last Night’s Fling All-Star Burlesque.

Inspired Flight Otis Lounge, 25 Maiden Lane, SF; (415) 298-4826. 9pm, free.

Larry McCray Biscuits and Blues. 8 and 10pm, $20.

*New Thrill Parade, Al Qaeda, Dalmacio Von Diamond and the Enochian Keys, Droughter Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $8.

Quantic and His Combo Barbaro Slim’s. 9pm, $20.

Jonahs Reinhardt, Tussle, Windsurf Amnesia. 9pm, $7-10. With Okay-Hole on the records.


Vienna Teng TheatreWorks at Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; 8pm, $35.

Wendy Darling, Pinstripe Rebellion, Refunds, Loudmouth Yank Fox Theater. 7pm, $10.


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

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

Larry Carlton Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; 8pm, $47.50.

8 Legged Monster Coda. 10pm, $10.

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

Jack Jones Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $35.

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


Cuban Nights Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 8:30pm, $15. Latin dancing Buena Vista style with Fito Reinoso, and Eddy and Gabriel Navia.

Georges Lammam Ensemble Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 10:30pm, $15.

JimBo Trout and the Fishpeople, Misisipi Rider Plough and Stars. 9pm.

Sekouba Bambino Diabate Independent. 9pm, $25.

Sila and the Afro Funk Experience Fillmore Center, Fillmore at O’Farrell, SF; (415) 921-1969. 6pm, free.

Spring Creek Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez, SF; (415) 545-5238. 8pm, $15-17.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Free Funk Friday Elbo Room. 10pm, free. With DJs Vinnie Esparza, B-Cause, and guest Asti Spumanti.

Gay Asian Paradise Club Eight, 1151 Folsom, SF; 9pm, $8. Featuring two dance floors playing dance and hip hop, smoking patio, and 2 for 1 drinks before 10pm.

Go Bang! Deco SF, 510 Larkin St; (415) 346-2025. 10pm, $5. Recreating the diversity and freedom of the 70’s/ 80’s disco nightlife with DJs Eddy Bauer, Flight, Nicky B., Sergio and more.

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

Lovebuzz Annie’s Social Club. 9pm, $5. Rock, classic punk, and 90s with DJs Jawa and Melanie Nelson.

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

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

VSL Friday Vessel, 85 Campton Place, SF; (415) 433-8585. 9pm. With DJ Eve Salvail.



Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers Great American Music Hall. 9pm, $16.

Elin Jr, Minks, Claire El Rio. 4pm, $10-15.

50 Million, Shellshag, Screaming Females, Kreamy Lectric Santa, Reaction Thee Parkside. 9pm, $5.

Fighting Supaks, Paleface, Ledbetter and His Best Bet, Justin Gordon and the Wrecking Ball Café du Nord. 8:30pm, $12.

Git Some, Secret Wars, Olehole Bender’s Bar, 800 S. Van Ness, SF; 10pm, $5.

Havespecialpower, Midnight Strangers, Girl With the Violent Arts Li Po Lounge. 8:30pm, $7.

Iron Maidens, Oreo, Sticks and Stones Annie’s Social Club. 8pm, $15.

Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Eric Krasno and Chapter 2 Fillmore. 9pm, $25.

Leopold and His Fiction, Spyrals, Candy Apple Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $6.

N.A.S.A. Independent. 9pm, $18.

Octopus Project, Birds and Batteries, Don’ts Bottom of the Hill. 10pm, $12.

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

Wild Child Slim’s. 9pm, $20.


Alphabet Soup Coda. 10pm, $10.

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

Larry Carlton Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; 7 and 9:30pm, $47.50.

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

Jack Jones Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $35.

"New Frequencies @ YBCA: Next Wave of Global Landscape" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; 8pm, $25. With Tanya Tagaq/KIHNOUA.

Mary Redente Socha Café, 3235 Mission, SF; (415) 643-6848. 8:30pm, free.

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


Ember Plough and Stars. 9pm.

Evening with Accordions Café Royale, 800 Post, SF; (415) 441-4099. 8pm, free. Featuring Rob Reich and Marie Abe.

Here Comes a Big Black Cloud, Fast Love Amnesia. 9pm, $7.

Lucas Revolution Amnesia. 7pm, free.

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

Orquesta Rumba Café The Ramp, 855 Terry Francois, SF; (415) 621-2378. 5pm, free.

Tanya Tagaq with Kihnoua Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; (415) 978-2787. 8pm, $25.


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

Booty Bassment Knockout. 10pm, $5. Booty-shaking hip-hop with DJs Ryan Poulsen and Dimitri Dickenson.

Cock Fight Underground SF. 9pm, $6. Locker room antics galore with electro-spinning DJ Earworm and hostess Felicia Fellatio.

Fred Everything and Olivier Desmet Vessel, 85 Campton Place, SF; (415) 433-8585. 10pm, $10.

Fire Corner Koko Cocktails, 1060 Geary; 885-4788. 9:30pm, free. Rare and outrageous ska, rocksteady, and reggae vinyl with Revival Sound System and guests.

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

Industry Mighty. 10pm, $25. With DJs Jamie J Sanchez, James Torres, Russ Rich, and more.

Saturday Night Live Fat City, 314 11th St; 10:30pm.

Saturday Night Soul Party Elbo Room. 10pm, $10. With DJs Lucky, Phengren Oswald, and Paul Paul.



Half Handed Cloud, Red Pony Clock, Boat Hemlock Tavern. 9pm, $6.

Loop! Station, Jill Tracy, Nicki Jaine Café du Nord. 8pm, $10.

Love is Chemicals, Aim Low Kid, Solar Powered People Bottom of the Hill. 8pm, $8.


Larry Carlton Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; 7pm, $47.50.

Lucid Lovers Harris’ Restaurant, 2100 Van Ness, SF; (415) 673-1888. 6:30pm.

Stanley Coda. 9pm, $7.


Emily Anne, Devine;s Jug Band, East River String Band Amnesia. 9pm, $7-10.

Mindia Devi Klein St. John Coltrane Church, 1286 Fillmore, SF; (415) 673-7144. 7pm, $10-25.

Marla Fibish, Erin Shrader, Richard Mandel and friends Plough and Stars. 9pm, free.

Fiesta Andina! Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; (415) 646-0018. 7pm, $12. With Eddy Navia and Sukay.

Grooming the Crow, Lariats of Fire Thee Parkside. 4pm, free.

Rolando Morales Quintet The Ramp, 855 Terry Francois, SF; (415) 621-2378. 5pm, free.

Salsa Sundays El Rio. 4:15pm, $8. With Julio Bravo.


Toby Keith, Trace Adkins Shoreline Amphitheater, One Amphitheater Pkwy, Mtn View; 7:30pm, $20-74.


August T-Dance Ruby Skye. 5pm, $25. With the Perry Twins.

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

Dub Mission Elbo Room. 9pm, $6. Dub, roots, and classic dancehall with DJ Sep, Ludachris, and guest Ross Hogg.

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

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

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

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

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



Can’t Find a Villain, King Robot, Construct Existence Crew, Paulie Rhyme, Beta Central, Monica Ramos Elbo Room. 9pm, $5.

Dicky Betts and Great Southern Slim’s. 8pm, $30.

Stereo Freakout, Drunken Hu?, Serenity Now! Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $8.


Third Eye Blind Fox Theater. 8pm, $29.50.


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

Yellowjackets with Mike Stern Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $20-26.


Free Bluegrass Monday Amnesia. 6:30pm, free.


Arcade Lookout SF, 2600 16th St., SF; 8pm, free. With DJs Jory and Johnny B spinning alt. 80’s and new wave.

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

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

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

Mainroom Mondays Annie’s Social Club. 9pm, free. Live the dream: karaoke on Annie’s stage and pretend you’re Jello Biafra.

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

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

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

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



Antioquia, Sex With No Hands Elbo Room. 9pm, $7.

Fat Tuesday Band Biscuits and Blues. 8pm, $15.

Pissed Jeans, Mi Ami, How to Make Swords Bottom of the Hill. 9pm, $12.

Scrabbel, Pregnant, Imra Hemlock Tavern. 8pm, $6.

Emiliana Torrini, Anya Marina Great American Music Hall. 8pm, $20.

Max Tundra Café du Nord. 8:30pm, $12.


Dave Parker Quintet Rasselas Jazz. 8pm.

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

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

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

Yellowjackets with Mike Stern Yoshi’s San Francisco. 8 and 10pm, $20-26.


Misterioso Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF; (415) 642-0474. 8:30pm, free.

Slow Session with Vince Keehan and friends Plough and Stars. 9pm, free.


Drunken Monkey Annie’s Social Club. 9pm, free. With DJ Blackstone.

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

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

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


Stiglitz: Stimulate or Die


Here is our monthly installment of Joseph E. Stiglitz’s Unconventional Economic Wisdom column from the Project Syndicate news series. Stiglitz is a professor of economics at Columbia University, and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, is co-author, with Linda Bilmes, of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Costs of the Iraq Conflict.

Stimulate or Die

By Joseph E. Stiglitz

NEW YORK – As the green shoots of economic recovery that many people spied this spring have turned brown, questions are being raised as to whether the policy of jump-starting the economy through a massive fiscal stimulus has failed. Has Keynesian economics been proven wrong now that it has been put to the test?

That question, however, would make sense only if Keynesian economics had really been tried. Indeed, what is needed now is another dose of fiscal stimulus. If that does not happen, we can look forward to an even longer period in which the economy operates below capacity, with high unemployment.

Lords of drift and discovery


The drift. In 2006, Scott Walker used that phrase as an album title. It’s an apt tag for music of the electronic and digital eras. As inferred by another idiosyncratic singer and surfer of the vanguard, Chelonis R. Jones, electronic sound is dislocated sound. And only through its drift — the drift — does one happen upon a discovery.

Here are some lords of drift and discovery. These five electronic musicians are innovators, even inventors. They’ve been around for decades, but like sound waves echoing back from deep space, their older recordings have returned to reach new listeners. Monoton is a Kraftwerk the masses don’t know about. The meditative sounds of J.D. Emmanuel are inspiring musicians who weren’t even born when he was creating tape loops. Time is only just now catching up with Bernard Szajner’s conceptual and compositional talent. Cluster continues to unite and fragment in studios and on stereos and stages. And like a ghost from a pop memory that never quite formed, Riechmann floats into this past-haunted present moment to deliver a chilly kiss.

The drift? Catch it. (Johnny Ray Huston)



MONOTON Modern music has its share of accidental holy grails — the heretofore-undiscovered missing artistic link; the crate-digger’s trade secret; the record that launched a thousand unknowing imitators. Somehow these records make the most overworked clichés seem like fresh descriptors. So I am willing to stand by my hyperbolic claim that the records Austrian multimedia theorist, researcher, and artist Konrad Becker released in the early 1980s as Monoton are some of the best electronic music albums you’ve probably never heard.

Such was the consensus of British canon-building screed The Wire almost 10 years ago when they nominated Monoton’s 1982 limited release album Monotonprodukt 07 as one of its "100 records that set the world on fire (when no one was listening)." Now, thanks to a steady stream of reissues on Canadian experimental electronic imprint Oral — starting with Monotonprodukt 07 in 2003 — it is easier to hear why.

Like the glistening streets in a film noir, there is an aura of mystery — even menace — to the song-sketches Becker crafts from his relatively simple palette of dubbed-out drum machines, five note arpegiated bass lines, and reedy synth drones, all slicked with reverb. Monoton’s sound is wholly self-contained, yet it is not hard to hear strains of electronic music’s divergent future paths — Basic Channel’s heroin techno, Raster Norton’s tonal asceticism, Pole’s digital dub washes — even as it slips in air kisses to contemporaries like Throbbing Gristle, Cluster, and Brian Eno.

As with many other great musical experiments, Monoton was born from frustration: "Nobody else was doing this kind of thing," Becker explains via e-mail, "So if I wanted to spin something like that on a record player, I would have to do it myself." Working with admittedly "low-end equipment" — borrowed synths and a 4-track — Becker started making music that was "not ‘composed,’ but deciphered from nature, like Fibonacci numbers, pi, Feigenbaum, etc. [These are] embedded physical or natural constants with values and proportions that can be expressed in frequencies." The titles of many Monoton tracks ("Soundsequence," "Squared Roots", "p") are matter-of-fact explanations for their stochastic origins.

But the records were only one part of Becker’s larger project researching synesthetic experiences and the psychoacoustic properties of music. He’s put together several site-specific multimedia installations in spaces like underground medieval chapels and blackened tunnels covered in fluorescent paint. It’s a testament to his preternaturally prescient aesthetic that his decades-old comments about "building acoustic spaces" and "treating sound in an architectural way" could have been pulled from any number of recent interviews with drone-metal act Sunn O))).

Becker’s tireless curiosity continues to yield interdisciplinary projects that look and listen to the future. As the current director of the Orwellian-sounding "cultural intelligence providers" Institute for New Culture Technologies and the World-Information Institute, he has less time for sound-based performances. But the remastering and reissuing of his early, quietly pioneering musical work ensures that Monoton will keep setting the world ablaze, one listener at a time. (Matt Sussman)



J.D. EMMANUEL Over the course of 40 years, the sun has risen and set and risen again within the music of J.D. Emmanuel. "I was talking to a buddy before Christmas," the man says on the phone from Houston, where he lives. "I realized that I started making music in August of 1979, and my last piece of music that I ever created was in August of 1999. I don’t know why there is a 20-year cycle."

Now, in August 2009, adventurous listeners can bask in the slo-mo beauty and consistent warmth of Solid Dawn: Electronic Works 1979-1982 (Kvist), a collection of Emmanuel tracks accompanied by gorgeous sunrise and sunset photos, another one of his specialties. Over the course of a few decades, customer service workshop gigs kept Emmanuel on the road and in the air — he estimates he has logged 1.5 million miles. "If I was seated by a window, I’d take out my camera and see if I could find something fun," he says, with characteristic lack of pretense. "I was very fortunate to see a lot of beautiful things from six, seven, (laughs) eight miles high."

And we are fortunate that he took pictures, and even more lucky that he’s created the sonic equivalent of natural wonders — songs like Solid Dawn‘s "Sunrise Over Galveston Bay," a water-swept and windblown chime dream that makes reference to Emmanuel’s childhood surroundings in its title. Personal and universal wonder is at the core of Emmenuel’s meditative outlook. "For whatever reason, when I was a little kid, around eight or nine, I discovered how fun it was to put myself into an altered or dream state," he remembers. "I would go into my grandmother’s bedroom, close the curtains to make the room as dark as possible, turn on the air conditioner and just lay down. I’d take these one hour naps that were just delightful — little trips."

The second sunrise of Emmenuel’s musical career began when his second LP and favorite recording, 1982’s Wizards, was reissued a few years ago. It’s already out of print and rare once again, but Solid Dawn offers more than a glimmer of its powerfully elemental and yet understated pull, a magnetism that has influenced the sound of recent artists such as White Rainbow. The ingredients can be reduced to instrumental gear: a Crumar Traveler 1 organ, an Echoplex, a Pro-One and Yamaha K-20 synthesizers, and a Tascam 40-4 reel deck. They can be traced to influences ranging from "Gomper" off the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request (Decca, 1967) to Roedelius and Tangerine Dream tracks heard on a radio show by Houston radio DJ Margie Glaser. But ultimately, the source is Emmanuel. His music has a unique sense of being. It’s also warmer than German electronic music of the era. Must be that Texas sun. (Johnny Ray Huston)



BERNARD SZAJNER Somewhere between Brian Eno and Marcel Duchamp rests Bernard Szajner (pronounced shy-nerr). The elusive French electronic sound innovator and visual artist has always been living in the future. After creating a Syeringe or laser harp (an instrument where light triggers sound) in the 1970s, he put out five albums between 1979 and 1983, then left the music scene unexpectedly. Now two of those albums — 1980’s Some Deaths Take Forever and 1981’s Superficial Music — have been digitally remastered and reissued (with bonus tracks) by James Nice’s legendary U.K.-based label, LTM Recordings.

"I never left the music scene," Szajner says via e-mail from Paris, where he’s been getting very little sleep while preparing for a solo exhibition "Back to the cave" at Galerie Taiss. "I just decided that I had to become ‘invisible.’ In the same way, I never left the visual art scene. I just felt that I had to work for a few years … before reappearing."

The installations at Taiss will start with a huge sculpture, Mother, that begins visitors’ ascent from light on the first floor into darkness on the third. The overlapping M’s could be seen as an experimental musical score for light. Whether working in sound or vision (he sees the two "forces" creating a "third force that is stronger than any one of the two"), Szajner’s genius is in making the act of storytelling as relevant as the story itself. The reissues both present journeys. Some Deaths Take Forever‘s layers of synths and distortion eventually reach a celestial, radio-frequency climax. Superficial Music is literally a half-speed, backward journey through his first album, Visions of Dune , followed by a metallic triptych called Oswiecim, the Polish name for Auschwitz. Szajner’s parents were Polish Jews who came to France via Germany, and Superficial Music was partly an effort to evoke the "impressions and sensations of my parents’ storytelling."

When these albums were first heard, Szajner notes, "they appeared strange to most listeners. It took some 20 years to discover that my music might be of interest." Was it hard to come back to a musical landscape where digital music-making software had proliferated? "My opinion is irrelevant because the proliferation is inevitable," he writes. "When I became visible again, I had to cope with an entirely new problem: how does a ‘cult musician’ — like I am supposed to be — get in touch with labels when they receive about 500 demos a week?"

Szajner donated his old synths to an art school some time ago, and he now uses computers just like everybody else (although he claims not to listen to music: "I never, really never, listen to any music, not even my own once it is finished"). Labels eventually started contacting him, asking about reissues. "I chose LTM because it is the most serious proponent of my genre," he says.

An argument for the abolition of torture and the death penalty, Some Deaths Take Forever slowly coheres in the mind. As Szajner puts it in the liner notes/art: "Terms of reality /New body form /The difference is not all that great." Life, after all, is not essentially political. How can you argue with emptiness? (Ari Messer)



CLUSTER Cluster is known to the German state as Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius. Roedelius, 74, and Moebius, 65, are elder statesmen of electronic music and appropriately dignified in their old age. When I saw them at the Great American Music Hall in May 2008, they performed behind glasses of white wine, much as I imagine they’ve always done. But the whooshing, cartilage-shaking sounds emanating from the sound system bore only a passing resemblance to the intricately sequenced music they are best known for. Whether you hear prime-era records like Zuckerzeit (Brain, 1974) or Soweisoso (Sky, 1976) as krautrock, protoambient, kosmische, or plain electronic, the duo knew how to build bridges. Thirty-eight years after their beginnings as Cluster — an early incarnation of the band, spelled with a "K," included Conrad Schnitzler and formed two years earlier — the band has just released Qua (Nepenthe), a record whose surface strangeness reveals a band plunging again into the primordial waters they tested with their debut.

Pioneer status is always shaky — krautrock reissues in particular seem to be coming fast and thick. Still, Cluster (Philips, titled Cluster 71 for Water’s 2006 reissue) is more than an assemblage of cleverly processed sounds (few synthesizers were used), it’s a successful stab at a new language — one that incorporates academic experiments and pop music textures but doesn’t really belong in the company of other records. From their sophomore album, Cluster II (Brain, 1972) through 1979’s Grosses Wasser (Sky) Moebius and Roedelius structured their early experimentation by splitting the difference between the former’s ambient washes of sound and the latter’s baroque and whimsical sense of melody. Counting contemporary releases in collaboration with Neu!’s Michael Rother (as Harmonia) and Brian Eno, these dudes broke a lot of ground in their first decade of existence.

Zuckerzeit‘s "Hollywood" is a good summary of what synth/loop questers like Arp or White Rainbow draw from the band’s working methods: percussion is built around an unquantized loop, giving the woody guitar burps that ride above a tumbling momentum and the icy euro synths that bleed down from higher frequencies a strange tilt. Look close enough and you can’t miss the gaps that let the warmth in. Despite the obvious futurism of their work, Cluster were also secret classicists — Michael Rother’s solo work of the same period, or the Berlin techno that followed in its wake, appear like cold, rationalized Le Corbusier edifices compared to Cluster’s rambling sense of space.
What Qua drives home is the sense that while Cluster never comes across as mechanized, neither does it come across as particularly hospitable. The straight lines of Rother’s music or the subperceptual, soft contours of Eno’s still give a sense of movement toward a better, more human world — naturally so, considering these were some of the principals of early new age. With the exception of album closer "Imtrerion," billowy and warm like the coda to some forgotten shoegaze record, most of Qua is made up of sketches that skew toward the dark and circular — the downtempo time-warp of "Na Ernel" is more Bristol than Berlin. Although the album is filled with miniatures, it’s probably the closest in feel to the formless expanses of their debut. Possibly, the band’s returning to where it started because few of the people it has influenced have done the same. Just as likely, they’re far enough ahead of the competition to be standing behind them. (Brandon Bussolini)



RIECHMANN When he powdered his face a morbid, ghostly white for the cover of his debut solo album Wunderbar (Sky, 1978), how could Wolfgang Riechmann know that he would soon be dead, the victim of a knife attack? This tragic irony is at the core of Riechmann’s story, a little-known one that may attain cult status thanks to Wunderbar‘s reissue 31 years later.
Riechmann the solo artist deserves a cult following for Wunderbar‘s title track alone, a stately and slightly mischievous instrumental track for a movie never made. Somewhere between Ennio Morricone’s whistling spaghetti western rallying calls and Joe Meek’s merry and slightly maniacal anthems for satellites and new worlds of the imagination, "Wunderbar" gallops and lopes, and then floats — better yet, drifts — into orbit. It is glacial, yet seductive.
Listening to Riechmann’s sole solo effort, it’s impossible not to ponder what might have been. If his suave corpse pallor seems to arrive in the wake of Kraftwerk’s automaton image, right down to similarly slicked-back hair, it also prefigures Gary Numan’s android routine. A peer of Michael Rother’s, Riechmann possessed Rother’s gift for instrumental grace. A series of green glowing transmissions from an alien planet, alternately alluring and slightly sinister, Wunderbar calls to mind Rother’s Fernwarme (Water, 1982) — except it arrived four years earlier.
Who was Wolfgang Riechmann, and what exactly happened to him one fatal night? These questions lurk behind the photo of Riechmann’s painted face on Wunderbar‘s cover, with a dearth of text providing any solid answers. Perhaps we’ll know more as the album’s reputation is revived, and canny journalists ask the likes of Rother about a one-time peer. Lords of drift and discovery float in from the past and float out toward the future. (Huston)

Summer of ’69


When Dylan wrote "Forever Young," he surely didn’t reckon on something that would make even the most yoga-limbered original hippie feel old: Easy Rider turning 40. But it just did, an occasion commemorated by the restored print playing the Red Vic this week. Disregarding the tragic social-commentary ending, one can ponder "Where would Captain America and Billy be now?" — then watch 2007’s Wild Hogs for one depressing possible answer.

Easy Rider has been lionized and analyzed as the single film that most changed — or eroded — old-school Hollywood. It was made well under the radar for a pittance, by the blind leading the naked — Peter Fonda had never produced a film, and Dennis Hopper had never directed one. Real rednecks hired as bit players really did want to beat up the longhaired crew, who really were frequently on the drugs ingested on-screen. Hopper dithered for a year before delivering a three-hour edit. (Surprisingly, he approved of the 95-minute final version others hastily cut.)

By the time Rider finally came out, some thought the biker genre was already finished. Despite all that, it became a phenomenon, "defining the sixties" and inducing the studios to chase that elusive magic by green-lighting innumerable other first-time filmmakers’ equally loose, indulgent features.

Looking at Easy Rider now is like rereading Hermann Hesse or Carlos Castaneda 40 years later — do it at your own peril, because what seemed so profound then might be revealed as pretentious, vague, and awfully dated. The mystique transcended the movie long ago. But this tale of two hippie dudes smuggling coke (scored from Phil Spector as "the Connection"!) cross-country only to discover they "blew it," has innumerable parts greater than its sum: it gave us Jack Nicholson (who was about to quit acting before being asked to replace Rip Torn), cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, all-rock soundtracks, the inimitable Karen Black, and many more. As phrase and symbol, Easy Rider still evokes a dream.


Wed/5–Sat/8, check Web site for times, $6–$9

Red Vic Movie House

1727 Haight, SF

The Moss Room


The basement restaurant is an odd duck — odder still if the basement is in a museum in a relatively remote park. Yes, my 16-ton hints do pertain to the Moss Room, the venture orchestrated by Loretta Keller and Charles Phan that opened last fall in a subterranean sector of the new Academy of Sciences building in Golden Gate Park.

A word, if I may, about that building, which faces its nemesis, the DeYoung Museum, across the concourse the way Minas Tirith faced Minas Morgul in The Lord of the Rings: one fair, the other sordid. The Academy of Sciences building is, for me, the far superior design because it subtly but unmistakably refers to its predecessor and because, with its expanses of glass and filaments of steel, it sits in its sylvan setting far more lightly. It does not imperially impose itself on its surroundings. Also, it has the Moss Room.

Strange to say, but the restaurants the Moss Room most resembles are both downtown, where the Academy should have been moved. One is Shanghai 1930, a similarly elegant basement, like a lavish bunker. The other is Bix, above ground but with underwaterish light and a bold staircase. At Bix, the staircase rises to a mezzanine; at the Moss Room, it descends from a cafeteria to the subterranean sanctum and adjoins a channel-like aquarium and a wall garden.

These design details suggest the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability, and as weary as sometimes one grows in using that word, it’s probably worth repeating with respect to a place that is inside a science museum in the middle of a large urban park. If any restaurant should be attentive to food’s ecological dimension, it should be the Moss Room. And it is, with the passion extending all the way to the wine list, which is organized under the rubrics "organic," "biodynamic," and "sustainable."

The Moss Room’s look doesn’t suggest its kinship to Keller’s other restaurants, Bizou and Coco500. The former was like the best restaurant in a quaint Provençal town, while the latter offers a slightly deracinated spareness meant to appeal to urban youth. The food, though, is another matter. Keller has long been a leading exponent of a cooking style I associate closely with Zuni Café: the cuisine of Italy and the south of France, fluffed and freshened. We could call this style "rustic" or "lusty," to use two clichés much favored in a certain cliché-choked competing venue — but let’s not. How about "lustic"? Or perhaps "lustique"?

Because the Moss Room, despite being below the water line, is a more elegant venue than either Bizou or Coco500 — a carpeted hush, dim lighting, high ceilings, the zen spectacle of drifting aquarium fish and herbs growing from the wall above them — there is a certain tension about the food. Should it be elegant or lustic? Can it be both? When you try to be both, you risk being neither.

The small plates reflect a certain restlessness. They range from a humble plate of hummus and pita bread ($10) — glistening like naan — embellished with roasted red-pepper and manouri cheese, to the more elaborate batter-fried squash blossoms ($9) zipped up with goat cheese, mint, and roasted-garlic aioli.

A bowl of corn chowder ($8) did strike me as quite Kelleresque. The corn came from Brentwood, and the chowder was made with chicken and shrimp stocks, along with bits of bacon for deeper flavor. Summer corn is famously sweet, of course, and shrimp stock can intensify this effect. So can under-salting. Luckily, fate provided us a small bowl of sea salt.

Equally Kelleresque was a bowl of squid-ink spaghetti ($12) tossed with a meaty mix of squid and sun-dried tomatoes sharpened with chili flakes and what the menu called "herbs." This dish was visually striking, with the zinfandel-colored strings of pasta looking like a clump of kelp, and its flavors glowed with a steady dark heat.

I caught a milder wave of the same effect with the local albacore ($26), a pair of seared chunks looking like roulades embedded on a textured carpet of roasted eggplant shreds and tomato quarters, with a pale green purée of summer squash piped around the perimeter. Albacore is wildly underrated and is worth searching out.

As for salmon: I like it but don’t love it, and when our server explained that the wild Alaskan version ($23) consisted not of a filet but of flaked flesh tossed with English-pea cavatelli and a north African blend of radish, mint, and preserved lemon, I silently cheered. Salmon can be overbearing and rich, but here the kitchen induced it to cooperate with its platemates.

Speaking of platemates: Greg’s cookie plate ($9) offers a petit-fours-like array of tiny treats. It’s ideal for sharing, and you get lots of bites with not much heft. For the heft-minded: a roasted-peach tart ($9), accompanied by a lump of crème fraîche custard and grainy peach sorbet. Close your eyes and think of the Stairmaster.

<\!s>Le boo-boo: In a recent piece about Bistro St. Germain (July 22) I described Paris’ Faubourg St. Germain as being on the Right Bank of the Seine. Well, no, it’s actually on the Left Bank. *


Mon.–Tues., 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.;

Wed.–Sun., 11 a.m.–10 p.m.

55 Music Concourse (in the California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park), SF

(415) 876-6121

Wine and beer

Not noisy


Wheelchair accessible

Ammiano’s Sacramento livestock report


Today’s Ammianoliner:

What do Green Acres, the Roseann Barr show, and the governor’s mansion have in common?

A pig named Arnold.

(From the weekend answering machine of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, back in action after helping deliver one of the worst budgets in California history.) B3

Best of the Bay 2009: Sex and Romance




Editors Picks: Sex and Romance


While the Folsom Street Fair has grown into an international destination for kinksters and the tourists who ogle them, the Up Your Alley Fair has become increasingly important as a more intimate oasis for local leatherheads who remember the scene’s old days. The fair — better known as Dore Alley Fair, though the event was named when it started in 1985 on a different street — has brought much-needed attention to the oft-overlooked SoMa neighborhood. We love the organization’s dedication to supporting groups and charities like the Episcopal Community Services, AIDS Emergency Fund, and Transgender Law Center. What we don’t love is that this event may be the next target on the Police Department’s Death of Fun Crusade. Show your support this year so that Up Your Alley doesn’t go the way of Castro Halloween.

Last Sunday in July, Dore Alley, between Folsom and Howard.


Having sex doesn’t take much: a partner (or not), a place, a modicum of desire. But feeling sexy isn’t always so easy — especially if you’re in a relationship that has reached the sweatpants, TV–dinner, oral-sex-what? stage. Enter Intima Girl, the Marina’s boudoir of a boutique. The small, upscale shop stocks a variety of items meant to up the ante in the bedroom, from sex toys to lotions to lingerie, most geared toward girls (and their partners) who want a little class in their kink. Think sleek vibrators, high-end candles, silk bondage ropes, and sex books that could sit on your coffee table. But Intima Girl doesn’t skimp on the fun. Adventurous types can head home with an edible candy bra, assless panties, and metallic condom compacts for stylish safe-sex on the go. Best of all, the owner and staff are as knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful as you always wished your big sister would be.

3047 Fillmore, SF. (415) 563-1202,


Dim, crimson lighting. The Stones on the sound system. Attractive youngsomethings lounging languidly on plush couches. And there, across the room, a tall, lean brunette, sipping a PBR, staring through the haze. Will Amber, the worker-owned watering hole with stiff drinks and legal cigarette smoking (thanks to labor law loopholes), be the setting of your "How We Met" story? Are those the tears of love at first sight? If you’re not a smoker, your eyes might just be irritated or you might be frustrated knowing tonight’s bar clothes will smell when you wear them to work tomorrow. But for those brave (stupid? nah) few who still toke the tobacco stick, this Duboce Triangle destination is a sexy, sultry, smoky oasis in a world that’s become increasingly cold (literally) to the dwindling minority. Just for this moment, in this beautiful bar out of time, nothing exists but you and your beloved. Not work. Not cancer. Maybe not even a future for your relationship. But what does it matter? Since the first release of studies on the dangers of smoking, people who continue to puff have lived in the here and now. And at Amber, there’s no better place to be now than here.

718 14th St., SF. (415) 626-7827


You’re getting married to the love of your life, and every member of your extended families will be in attendance, including your Aunt Jolene, who lives in an RV in the Nevada desert and talks to inanimate objects, and your future spouse’s Harvard-educated litter, all flying in from Martha’s Vineyard. How are you going to pick a wedding band that will get everyone — from your lumpy litigator father-in-law-to-be to your own Crazy Uncle Cletus — on their feet dancing? Tainted Love, the best ’80s tribute band since The Wedding Singer, is the answer. This talented seven-piece act regularly draws sold-out crowds to venues like Bimbo’s and Red Devil Lounge, while also happily playing private parties, corporate events, and, yes, weddings. Now that ’80s music is almost the golden oldies, you can count on the fact that Love’s renditions of "Purple Rain," "Sweet Child o’ Mine," and, of course, "White Wedding" will appeal to all the guests on your list — no matter how far they traveled (or how much they put in for the ceremony).

(510) 655-7926,


What’s wrong with loving a product for its design? That’s really why Apple fanatics love all things "i." And that’s why we lust after sex toys from Jimmyjane, the Potrero Hill pleasure purveyors whose vibes, games, and accessories would look as natural in a museum gift shop as they would in your minimalist, modern bedroom. The Form 6 vibrator looks like a cross between a stylized pen and a high-end electric toothbrush, while the Little Chromas model has the sleek grace of a bullet, or a small cigar (we refuse to make that joke). And Jimmyjane’s Usual Suspects line is nothing short of inspired — celebrating both form and function by interpreting classic toys, in flawless white. Yes, the company does seem to cater to Audi drivers and iPhone users — collaborating on expensive special editions with well-known designers and bragging about appearances on cable TV shows. But we can’t argue with the nontoxic materials and the unprecedented one-year warranty. And the fact that they just look so cool. Available at Good Vibrations, various locations.


The problem with mainstream porn is that most of it is made in the San Fernando Valley by brainless douche bags and lazy ex-cheerleaders looking for a quick buck. But this is San Francisco. This is the art capital of the world, the home of the free thinker, the land of the awesome. Can’t we get some porn made for us? Yes, we can! Yes, we can! If you’re as sick of Barbie Doll smut as we are, then you should know about local filmmaker-producer-writer-artist Courtney Trouble. Trouble is the founder of a queer porn site called ("queer" as in not just homo, but alternative as well). She’s the final word when it comes to smut with attitude, character, and soul. Not only is No Fauxxx the oldest running queer porn site on the Internet, it’s also the only spot that mixes alt, gay, lesbian, straight, trans, kink, and BBW content. It’s sexy, artsy, entertaining, all-inclusive, and totally DIY. In a word: ours.


The Masturbate-a-thon is an annual pledge drive for the Center for Sex and Culture during which people gang up in a hot and sweaty room to watch each other jerk off for an entire day. Sounds like fun, right? But what if you’re not an exhibitionist? No worries. The whole show (held in May, which is Masturbation Month) is broadcast live on the Internet so that shy people can join in too. Categories include "Most Money Raised," "Most Orgasms," and "Longest Squirt," and the winners in each division receive sexy prizes from Good Vibrations (and perhaps a lifetime of wishing Google and YouTube were never invented). Score! Exhibitionists, porn addicts, and the rest of us are encouraged to ogle, vote, and even participate alongside certified wank-masters such as Dr. Carol Queen, Fellatio Brown, and Masanobu Sato, a Japanese toymaker who holds the world record for "Longest Time Spent Masturbating" (to be fair, it should be noted that his company, Tenga, makes masturbation cups for men). The time to beat next year is nine hours and 58 minutes, so fire up now and start practicing. You can be sure that’s what Masanobu is doing.


The place where Broadway meets Lyon and dead-ends into the edge of the Presidio is almost always empty. Here, the steep angle of the land affords swoon-inducing vistas of the Marina, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the bay, and tranquility hovers amid the perfectly manicured gardens and the improbably large and ornate houses to which they are attached. The drawback? If you’re not in the mood for a workout on the Lyon steps, there’s not really anything to do here except park, which, if you’ve brought an attractive friend along for the ride, is no drawback at all. If there’s an ounce of chemistry, the solitude and stunning view will have you two making out in the backseat of your car. In fact, come here with someone for whom you have feelings that run deeper than lust, and you may just be inspired to make things official. There are few better spectacular, proposal-inducing viewpoints in our spectacular, proposal-inducing city that haven’t been completely co-opted by tourists. Relationship-phobes and impulsive romantics, consider yourself forewarned.

Broadway at Lyon


Burlesque is bawdy. It’s lowbrow. It’s often political, and always boundary- pushing. But sexy? Not necessarily. As the new burlesque movement merges with circus and performance arts, it sometimes sacrifices the delight of the tease in favor of mere shock and awe. But Rose Pistola knows how to balance her solo performances so they get your panties wet and in a bunch. The classic beauty has graced stages in an octopus skirt, an Elvis costume, a mullet, a Victorian mime outfit, and a full tulle gown (that she rolled out of) — always mastering a blend of humor and class. But it’s not just her performances at places like Hubba Hubba Revue and Bohemian Carnival that rev our engines — Pistola also designs costumes, including tiny hats, vinyl corsets, and almost all of her fabulous stage get-ups. What could be sexier than a woman with pasties and a pincushion? How about one who plays with fire? Oh yeah, Pistola does that too.


Not big on commitment? At Lindy in the Park, the weekly swing dance party that’s been uniting partners with fancy footwork since 1996, change companions as often as you change your mind. With free lessons starting at 11 a.m. and open to the public, it’s the perfect place to flirt with fellow Lindy Hop fans and then flee. But this outdoor event near the de Young Museum isn’t just for eternally happy singles. Couples know the best thing about the swingout is the swing-back-in. And once you’ve seen your honey doing the sugar push, you might just find that your hip-to-hip leads to lip to lip.

JFK Dr. (between 8th and 10th avenues), Golden Gate Park, SF.


Whatever your definition of cockblocking — whether it’s using a friend to pose as a lover to deter unwanted advances, or stopping a fellow suitor from stealing your paramour with their charm and free drinks — the idea is clear: there’s a third-party penis, and its plans must be thwarted. What better name, then, for a dance night geared toward girl-on-girl love? But it’s not just clever nomenclature that fuels our love for Cockblock, the monthly lesbian dance party at the Rickshaw Stop. It’s the fact that these get-togethers feature infectious music, cheap drinks, good vibes, and that rare chance for girls-who-like-girls to get together without sweaty heteros trying to get in the way (or cast them in their personal porn fantasies). Plus, queer ladies should have at least one surefire place other than the Lex to scope out a hottie.

Second Saturdays, Rickshaw Stop,155 Fell, SF.


Masturbation need not be a covert mission reserved for solo artists behind bedroom doors or within shower stalls. If you’re the type who is more of a team player, you might like SF Jacks, a group of like-minded men who appreciate a good circle jerk. The group has been perfecting its "loose and goofy environment" for 26 years, regularly drawing as many as 70 Jacks and Joes who want to lose their clothes — and their inhibitions — together. Meetings are held every second and fourth Monday at the Center for Sex and Culture, where lube and refreshments are provided. Just show up with your $7 donation (though no one’s turned away for lack of funds), ready to do the hand jive. But just remember to follow the rules. You can touch your dick, but don’t be one.

Second and fourth Mondays, 7:30-<\d>8:30 p.m. $7. Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission, SF. (415) 267-6999,


Dinner and a movie, a night at the bar, a drive down the coast — all these date options have their merits. But when you’re trying to plan a partner activity that’s off the beaten path, consider renting bikes from Golden Gate Park Bike and Skate and exploring less charted territory (especially on Sundays, when Golden Gate is closed to car traffic). For just $5 an hour, you can check out hidden trails, watch the legendary bison do whatever it is bison do, and take a breather by the ocean. Not only will you get beautiful views (of park and partner), but the chemicals you release while exercising will bring you and your paramour closer together. This is an especially good thing if you’re looking to take your relationship to the next level, because producing endorphins together might just lead to … uh … producing endorphins together.

3038 Fulton, SF. (415) 668-1117,


Unbeknownst to pretty much everyone, Dogpatch Studios, the nondescript warehouse on Tennessee Street marked by a benign and vaguely cutesy flag featuring a black Labrador, is where the Mitchell Brothers filmed Behind the Green Door, the first feature-length hardcore porn film to be widely released in the United States. Today, with enough green of your own, you can host a private event inside this historic sex landmark. While the venue still welcomes movie shoots, your options are unlimited. Dogpatch Studios will provide you with flexible floor plans, kitchen facilities, wireless internet, lighting services, staffing, and just about anything else you require, whether it’s for a sedate corporate retreat, a no-holds-barred bacchanal, or even a wedding. Because nothing says everlasting love quite like tying the knot where Marilyn Chambers (R.I.P.) filmed money shots.

991 Tennessee, SF. (415) 641-3017,


Remember when the Castro was just a big boys’ club? That’s changed somewhat, thanks in no small part to Femina Potens, the nonprofit art gallery dedicated to women, transgendered folk, kink, and the sex worker community that anchors the corner of Market and Sanchez. Cofounded by renaissance porn star and queer BDSM queen Madison Young, the cozy spot has been hosting exhibits, workshops, spoken word performances, film screenings, and readings by queer literary and artistic legends like Michelle Tea, Annie Sprinkle, and Inga Muscio since 2001 — and recently has added health and wellness programming into the mix. With showcases tackling topics from body image to safer sex, suicide prevention, and breast cancer awareness, there’s no question that what Femina Potens does is important. But we think art shows about bondage and performances about breasts are also just damn sexy. Plus, it’s about time the Castro got a little more double-X (chromosome) action.

2199 Market, SF. (415) 864-1558,


Dark Tasting is the most unintentionally kinky thing to happen to dining since the invention of the hot dog. The very concept sounds like something out of a Marquis de Sade novel. The San Francisco group believes that sight deprivation heightens the sensory experience of having a meal, from the taste, smell, and feel of your food, to the sound of your company’s voices. Before the meal is served, diners are blindfolded and rendered submissive. (Doesn’t that alone sound like something out of a deliciously depraved Japanese bondage flick involving nyotaimori?) Sponsored by TasteTV and held at a different venue once every two months, Dark Tasting events offer gourmet multicourse meals with wine parings, with the caveat that you have to pay $95 per person and can’t see what you’re eating. Events are described as a "sensual dining experience," and given that no one can see what a pervert you are, you can freely grope your partner under the table without eliciting "Get a room!" remarks from fellow diners. If you’re into BDSM, we highly recommend Dark Tasting as a romantic prelude to being hog-tied in a cage (where the real fun begins).



Best of the Bay 2009: Shopping






Sure, you can buy anything you want on the Internet, but there’s still a certain charm in entering a store whose items have been carefully chosen to delight the eye in three dimensions. That’s the idea behind Perch, Zoel Fages’s homage to all things charming and cheeky, from gifts to home décor. Do you need a set of bird feet salt-and-pepper shakers? A rhinoceros-head shot glass? A ceramic skull-shaped candleholder that grows "hair" as the wax drips? Of course not. But do you want them? The minute you enter the sunny, sweet Glen Park shop, the obvious answer will be yes. And for those gifty items you do need — scented candles and soaps, letterpress greeting cards, handprinted wrapping paper — Perch is perfect too. We’d recommend you stop by just to window-shop, but who are we kidding? You can’t visit here without taking something home.

654 Chenery, SF. (415) 586-9000,


How many environmentalists does it take to change a light bulb? None: LED light bulbs last longer than environmentalists. If you think that joke’s funny — or at least get why it’s supposed to be — you might just be the target market for Green Zebra. Based on the idea that environmentally aware consumers like to save money as much as their Costco-loving neighbors, this book melds the concept of a coupon book with the creed of environmental responsibility. It’s a virtual directory of deals at local businesses trying to work outside the world of pesticidal veggies and gas-guzzling SUVs. Anne Vollen and Sheryl Cohen’s vision now comes in two volumes — one for San Francisco, and one for the Peninsula and Silicon Valley — featuring more than 275 exclusive offers from indie bookstores, art museums, coffee houses, organic restaurants, pet food stores, and just about anywhere else you probably already spend your money (and wouldn’t mind spending less).

(415) 346-2361,


So you need a salad spinner, some kitty litter, a birthday card for your sister, and a skein of yarn, but you don’t feel like going to four different stores to check everything off the list? Face it, you’re lazy. But, you’re also in luck. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Standard 5 and 10, a one-stop wonderland in Laurel Village that caters to just about every imaginable whim, need, and desire of serious shoppers and procrastinators alike. Don’t be fooled by the large red Ace sign on the storefront — this is not merely a hardware store (although it can fulfill your hardware needs, of course). It’s an everything store. Walking the aisles here is a journey through consumerism at its most diverse. Greeting cards and tabletop tchotchkes fade into rice cookers then shower curtains, iron-on patches, Webkinz, motor oil…. It’s a dizzying array of stuff you need and stuff you simply want.

3545 California, SF. (415) 751-5767,


Maybe we don’t have flying cars yet, but with video chatting, iPhones, and automated vacuum cleaners, we’re pretty close to living in the imaginary future The Jetsons made magical. Is it any wonder that, while loving our new technologies (hello, Kindle), we’ve also developed a culturewide nostalgia for simpler times? A perfect example is the emergence of steampunk — perhaps familiar to the mainstream as jewelry made of watch parts and cars crafted to look like locomotives. There also seems to be a less expensive, less industrial trend for the pastimes of yore: Croquet. Talk radio. And board games. The last of which is the basis of Just Awesome, the Diamond Heights shop opened by Portland escapee Erik Macsh as a temple to old-fashioned charms. Here you can pick up a myriad of boxes full of dice, cards, and plastic pieces. Head home with Clue, one of the Monopoly iterations (was Chocolate-opoly really necessary?), or a new game that came out while you were distracted by Nintendo Wii. You can even open the box and try a round or two in the shop. How’s that for old-world service?

816 Diamond, SF. (415) 970-1484,


The nice thing about having a sister, a roommate, or a tolerable neighbor who’s exactly your size is that there’s always someone else’s closet to raid when your own is looking dismal. But what to do when you live alone, your neighbor’s not answering your calls, and you desperately need an attention-getting outfit right now? Make a new best friend: Shaye McKenney of La Library. The friendly fashionista will let you borrow a pair of leather hot pants for a Beauty Bar boogie or a German knit couture gown for that gold-digging date to the opera, all for a small pay-by-the-day price. You can even bring your makeup and get ready for the evening in front of the antique mirrors in her socialist street shop. It’s all the fun of sharing, without having to lend out any of your stuff.

380 Guerrero, SF. (415) 558-9481,


Need clothes a rockstar would wear but a starving musician can afford? Look no further than Shotwell, whose blend of designer duds and vintage finds are worthy of the limelight and (relatively) easy on your budget. Think jeans with pockets the size of guitar picks, sculptural black dresses, handpicked grandpa sweaters, and reconstructed ’80s rompers that can be paired with lizard skin belts or dollar sign boots, all for less than the cutting-edge designer labels would suggest they should cost. And it’s not just for the ladies. Michael and Holly Weaver stock their adorable boutique with clothing and accessories for all chromosomal combinations. The concept’s become such a success that Shotwell’s moving from its old locale to a bigger, better space. All we can say is, rock on.
320 Grant, SF. (415) 399-9898,


The best stores are like mini-museums, displaying interesting wares in such a way that they’re almost as fun to peruse as they are to take home. Park Life takes this concept one step further by being a store (wares in the front are for sale) and a gallery (featuring a rotating selection of local contemporary artists’ work). No need to feel guilty for window-shopping: you’re simply checking out the Rubik’s Cube alarm clock, USB flash drive shaped like a fist, and set of "heroin" and "cocaine" salt-and-pepper shakers on your way to appreciating the paintings in the back, right? And if you happen to leave with an arty coffee-table book, an ironic silk-screen T-shirt, or a Gangsta Rap Coloring Book, that’s just a bonus.

220 Clement, SF. (415) 386-7275,


In a world replete with crates, barrels, Williams, and Sonomas, it’s easy to forget there’s such a thing as an independent cooking store. But Cooks Boulevard is just that: an adorable, one-stop shop for reasonably priced cooking paraphernalia, from a pastry scale or Le Creuset to a candy mold or stash of wooden spoons. And if the shop doesn’t have what you need, the friendly staff will order it for you. In fact, this Noe Valley gem has everything the big stores have, including online ordering, nationwide shipping, and a well-kept blog of missives about the foodie universe. It even offers cooking classes, on-site knife sharpening, community events such as food drives and book clubs, and CSA boxes of local organic produce delivered to neighborhood clientele. With knowledgeable service and well-stocked shelves, the Boulevard makes it easy for home cooks and professional chefs to shop local.

1309 Castro, SF. (415) 647-2665,


No sleep ’til Brooklyn? Fine. But no style ’til you reach the Big Apple? We just can’t give you license for that kind of ill, especially since the Brooklyn Circus came to town last July. With its East Coast–style awning, living room vibe, and indie hip-hop style, this boutique might just be the thing to keep those homesick for NYC from buying that JetBlue ticket for one … more … week. Want to save your cash just in case? You’re welcome to chill out on the leather sofas and listen to Mos Def mixtapes. At the store you can soak in the charm of the Fillmore’s colorful energy and history, while checking out the trends that blend Frank Sinatra and Kanye West almost seamlessly. Sure, you could visit the Chicago outpost before going to the original in the store’s namesake city, but why bother? Next year’s selection will include an expanded line of locally produced goodies — all available without having to brave a sweltering Big City summer.

1525 Fillmore, SF. (415) 359-1999,


I know. It’s July. The last thing you want to do is think about that stupid holiday shopping season that’ll dominate the entire universe in about three months. But the gift baskets at La Cocina are worth talking about year-round, not only because purchasing one supports a fantastic organization (dedicated to helping low-income entrepreneurs develop, grow, and establish their businesses) but because the delightful packages really are great gifts for any occasion. Whether it’s your boss’s birthday, your friend’s dinner party, or simply time to remind your grandmother in the nursing home that you’re thinking of her, these baskets full of San Francisco goodness are a thoughtful alternative to flower bouquets and fruit collections ordered through corporations. Orders might include dark chocolate-<\d>covered graham crackers from Kika’s Treats, spicy yucca sticks, toffee cookies from Sinful Sweets, roasted pumpkin seeds, or shortbread from Clairesquare, starting at $23. Everything will come with a handwritten note and a whole lot of love.


Aqua Forest Aquarium has reinvented the concept of fish in a bowl. The only store in the nation dedicated to a style of decorating aquariums like natural environments, Aqua Forest boasts an amazing display of live aquatic landscapes that seem directly transplanted from more idyllic waters. With good prices, knowledgeable staff, a focus on freshwater life, and a unique selection of tropical fish, the shop is not only proof that aquarium stores need not be weird and dingy, but that your home fish tank can be a thriving ecosystem rather than a plastic environment with a bubbling castle (OK, a thriving ecosystem with a bubbling castle). Part pet store, part live art gallery, Aqua Forest is worth a visit even if you’re not in the market for a sailfin leopard pleco.

1718 Fillmore, SF. (415) 929-8883,


Remember when we all joked that Whole Foods should be called Whole Paycheck? Little did we realize the joke would be on us when the only paper in our purses would be a Whole Pink Slip. In the new economy, some of us can’t afford the luxury of deciding between organic bananas or regular ones — we’re trying to figure out which flavor of ramen keeps us full the longest. Luckily, Duc Loi Supermarket opened in the Mission just in time. This neighborhood shop is big, bright, clean, well stocked, cheap, and diverse, with a focus on Asian and Latino foods. Here you can get your pork chops and pig snouts, salmon and daikon, tofu and tortilla chips — and still have bus fare for the ride home. In fact, young coconut milk is only 99 cents a can, a whole dollar less than at Whole Foods.

2200 Mission, SF. (415) 551-1772


Some people go their entire lives buying replacement 20-packs of tube socks from Costco, socks whose suspicious blend of elastic, petroleum products, and God-knows-what signals to wearers and viewers alike: Warm, shwarm! Fit, shmit! Style, shmyle! Other people, even if they keep their socks encased in boots or shoes, want to know that their foot coverings are just one more indicator of their fashion — and common — sense. Those people go to Rabat in Noe Valley, where the sock racks look like a conjuring of the chorus of "Hair": "curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty, oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen, knotted, polka-dotted, twisted, beaded, braided, powdered, flowered, and confettied; bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied." Furthermore, the socks are mostly made from recognizable materials like wool, cotton, or fleece. As for you sensible-shoe and wingtip types, not to worry. Rabat also stocks black and white anklets and nude-colored peds.

4001 24th St., SF (415) 282-7861.


Don’t let the small storefront at Alexander Book Company deter you — this three-story, independent bookstore is packed with stuff that you won’t find at Wal-Mart or the book malls. We’re particularly impressed with the children’s collection — and with the friendly, knowledgeable staff. If you’re looking for a birthday present for your kid’s classmate, or one for an out-of-town niece or nephew — or you just generally want to know what 10-year-old boys who like science fiction are reading these days — ask for Bonnie. She’s the children’s books buyer, and not only does she have an uncanny knack for figuring out what makes an appropriate gift, chances are whatever the book is, she’s already read it.

50 Second St., SF. (415) 495-2992,


If you think Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads are the only places to trade your Diors for dollars, you’re missing out. Urbanity, Angela Cadogan’s North Berkeley boutique, is hands down the best place to consign in the Bay. The spot is classy but not uppity, your commission is 30 percent of what your item pulls in, and, best of all, you’d actually want to shop there. Cadogan has a careful eye for fashion, choosing pieces that deserve a spot in your closet for prices that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. Want an even better deal on those Miu Miu pumps or that YSL dress? Return every 30 days, when items that haven’t sold yet are reduced by 40 percent. But good luck playing the waiting game against Urbanity’s savvy regulars — they’ve been eyeing those Pradas longer than you have.

1887 Solano, Berk. (510) 524-7467,


Ever wish you could be a character in a period piece, writing love letters on a typewriter to your distant paramour while perched upon a baroque upholstered chair? We can’t get you a role in a movie, but we can send you to the Perish Trust, where you’ll find everything you need to create a funky antique film set of your very own. Proprietor-curator team Rod Hipskind and Kelly Ishikawa have dedicated themselves to making their wares as fun to browse through as to buy, carefully selecting original artwork, vintage folding rulers, taxidermied fowl, out-of-print books, and myriad other antique odds-and-ends from across the nation. As if that weren’t enough, this Divisadero shop also carries Hooker’s Sweet Treats old world-<\d>style gourmet chocolate caramels — and that’s definitely something to write home about.

728 Divisadero, SF.


If Hayes Valley’s indie-retailer RAG (Residents Apparel Gallery) bedded the Lower Haight’s design co-op Trunk, their love child might look (and act) a lot like Mission Statement. With a focus on local designers and a philosophy of getting artists involved with the store, the 18th Street shop has all the eclectic style of RAG and all the collaborative spirit of Trunk — all with a distinctly Mission District vibe. Much like its namesake neighborhood, this shop has a little of everything: mineral makeup, fedoras adorned with spray-painted designs, multiwrap dresses, graphic tees, and more. Between the wares of the eight designers who work and play at the co-op, you might find everything you need for a head-to-toe makeover — including accessorizing advice, custom designing, and tailoring by co-owner Estrella Tadeo. You may never need to leave the Valencia corridor again.

3458-A 18th St., SF. (415) 255-7457,


Beer-shopping at Healthy Spirits might ruin you. Never again will you be able to stroll into a regular suds shop, eye the refrigerated walk-in, and feign glee: "Oh, wow, they have Wolaver’s and Fat Tire." The selection at Healthy Spirits makes the inventory at almost all other beer shops in San Francisco — nay, the fermented universe — look pedestrian. First-time customers sometimes experience sticker shock, but most quickly understand that while hops and yeast and grain are cheap, hops and yeast and grain and genius are not. Should you require assistance in navigating the intriguing and eclectic wall of beer, owner Rami Barqawi and his staff will guide you and your palate to the perfect brew. Once you’ve got the right tipple, you can choose from the standard corner-store sundries, including coffee, wine, ice cream, and snacks. Chief among them is the housemade hummus (strong on the lemon juice, just the way we like it). Being ruined never tasted so good.

2299 15th St., SF. (415) 255-0610,


When is a junkyard not just a junkyard? When you wander through its labyrinth of plywood, bicycle tires, and window panes only to stumble upon an intricately carved and perfectly preserved fireplace mantle which, according to a handwritten note taped to it, is "circa 1900." This is the kind of thing that happens at Building Resources, an open air, DIY-er’s dream on the outskirts of Dogpatch, which just happens to be the city’s only source for recycled building and landscape materials. Maybe you’ll come here looking for something simple: a light fixture, a doorknob, a few pieces of tile. You’ll find all that. You’ll also find things you never knew you coveted, like a beautiful (and dirt cheap) claw-foot bathtub that makes you long to redo your own bathroom, even though you don’t own tools and know nothing about plumbing. No worries. That’s what HGTV is for.

701 Amador, SF. (415) 285-7814,


It’s impossible not to be impressed with the selection at Collage, the tiny jewel-box of a shop perched atop Potrero Hill. The home décor store and gallery specializes in typography and signage, refurbished clocks and cameras, clothing, unique furniture, and all kinds of objects reinvented and repurposed to fit in a hip, happy home. But what we like best is owner Delisa Sage’s commitment to supporting the local community and economy. Not only does she host workshops on the art of fine-art collage, she carries a gorgeous selection of jewelry made exclusively by local woman artists. Whether you’re looking for knit necklaces, Scrabble pieces, typewriter keys, or an antiqued kitchen island, you’ll find ’em here. And every dollar you spend supports San Francisco, going toward a sandwich at Hazel’s, or a cup of joe at Farley’s, or an artist’s SoMa warehouse rent. Maybe capitalism can work.

1345 18th St., SF. (415) 282-4401,


There’s something grandmothers seem to understand that the Forever 21, H&M, Gap generation (not to mention the hippies in between) often miss: the value of elegant, tailored, designer classics that last a lifetime. Plus, thanks to living through the Great Depression, they know a good bargain. Luckily, White Rose got grandma’s memo. This tiny, jam-packed West Portal shop is dedicated to classy, timeless, well-made style, from boiled wool-<\d>embroidered black coats to Dolce handbags. Though the shelves (stacked with sweaters) and racks (overhung with black pants) may resemble those in a consignment or thrift store, White Rose is stocked full of new fashions collected from international travels, catalog sales, or American fabricators. In fact, it’s all part of the plan of the owner — who is reputed to have been a fashion model in the ’50s — to bring elegant chemises, tailored blouses, and dresses for all sizes and ages to the masses. The real price? You must have the patience to sort through the remarkable inventory.

242 W. Portal, SF. (415) 681-5411


It seems you can get yoga pants or Lycra leotards just about anywhere these days (hello, American Apparel). But elastic waists and spaghetti straps alone do not make for good sportswear. SF Dancewear knows that having clothes and footwear designed specifically for your craft — whether ballroom dance, gymnastics, theater, contact improv, or one of the good old standards like tap, jazz, or ballet — makes all the difference. This is why they’ve been selling everything from Capezio tap shoes to performance bras since 1975. The shop is lovely. There are clear boxes of pointe shoes nestled together like clean, shiny baby pigs; glittering displays of ballroom dance pumps; racks of colorful tulle, ruched nylon, patterned Lycra; and a rope draped with the cutest, tiniest tutus you ever did see. The store is staffed by professional dancers who’re not only trained to find the perfect fit but have tested most products on a major stage. And though your salesclerk may dance with Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet or have a regular gig at the S.F. Opera, they won’t scoff at middle-aged novice salsa dancers or plus-size burlesqueteers looking for fishnets and character shoes. Unlike the competitive world of dance studios, this retail shop is friendly and open to anyone who likes to move.

659 Mission, SF. (415) 882-7087; 5900 College, Oakl. (510) 655-3608,


We weren’t sure it could get any better — or weirder — than Paxton Gate, that Mission District palace of science, nature, and dead things. But then the owner, whose first trade was landscape architecture, opened up Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids down the street, and lo and behold, ever more awesomeness was achieved. Keeping the original store’s naturalist vibe but leaving behind some of its adults-only potential creepiness, this shop focuses on educational toys, vintage games, art supplies, and an eclectic selection of books sure to delight the twisted child in all of us. From handblown marbles to wooden puzzles, agate keychains to stop-motion booklets, and Lucite insects to Charlie Chaplin paper doll kits, everything here seems to be made for shorties from another time — an arguably better one, when kids rooted around in the dirt and made up rules for imaginary games and didn’t wear G-string underwear.

766 Valencia, SF. (415) 252-9990,


San Francisco sure does love its trunk shows: all those funky people hawking their one-of-a-kind wares at one-of-a-kind prices. The only problem? Shows happen intermittently (though with increasing frequency in the pre-<\d>Burning Man frenzy). Lucky for us, Miranda Caroligne — the goddess who makes magic with fabric scraps and a surger — co-founded Trunk, an eclectic indie designer showcase with a permanent address. The Lower Haight shop not only features creative dresses, hoodies, jewelry, and menswear by a number of artists, but also functions as an official California Cooperative Corporation, managed and run by all its 23 members. That means when you purchase your Kayo Anime one-piece, Ghetto Goldilocks vest, or Lucid Dawn corset, you’re supporting an independent business and the independent local artists who call it home.

544 Haight, SF. (415) 861-5310,


Skate culture has come a long way since its early surfer punk days. Now what used to be its own subculture encompasses a whole spectrum of subs, including dreadheaded, jah-lovin’, reggae pumpin’ riders. And Culture Skate is just the store for those who lean more toward Bob Marley than Jello Biafra. The Rasta-colored Mission shop features bamboo skate boards, hemp clothing, glass pipes, a whole slew of products by companies such as Creation and Satori, and vinyl records spanning genres like ska, reggaeton, dub, and, of course, good old reggae. Stop by to catch a glimpse of local pros — such as Ron Allen, Matt Pailes, and Karl Watson. But don’t think you have to be a skater to shop here: plenty of people stop by simply for the environmentally-friendly duds made with irie style.

214 Valencia, SF. (415) 437-4758,



Best of the Bay 2009: Arts and Nightlife




Editors Picks: Arts and Nightlife


A gut-spewing zombie drag queen roller derby in honor of Evil Dead 2. An interview with The Exorcist‘s Linda Blair preceded by a rap number that includes the line, "I don’t care if they suck their mother’s cock, as long as they line up around the block!" A virtual wig-pulling catfight with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. All this and more have graced the proscenium of the Bridge Theater as part of the jaw-dropping (literally) Midnight Mass summertime B-movie fun series, brought to us by the always perfectly horrific Peaches Christ. Her wigs alone are usually enough to scare the jellybean-bejeezus out of us, but Peaches combines live craziness with wince-worthy flicks to take everything over the top. After this, her 12th season of disembowelled joy, Peaches is moving on from Midnight Mass to become a director in her own right — she just wrapped up filming All About Evil with Natasha Lyonne and a cast of local fleshbots. Look for it in your googleplex soon, and know that Peaches still stumbles among us.


Kids, really, don’t try this at home. Don’t hook up your two-player Dance Dance Revolution game to a row of flamethrowers. Don’t rig said game to blast your dance competitior with a faceful of fire in front of an adoring crowd if they miss a step. Don’t invest in enough propane to fuel a small jet, a flaming movie screen for projecting all those awkward dance moves onto, and a booming sound system to play all the Japanese bubblegum techno you could ever hope to hear. Leave the setup to Interpretive Arson, whose Dance Dance Immolation game has wowed participants and spectators alike from Black Rock City to Oaktown — and will scorch Denmark’s footsies this fall. Do, however, seek out these intrepid firestarters, and don a giant silver fireproof suit with a Robby the Robot hood. Do the hippie shake to the mellifluous tones of Fatboy Slim and, and prepare yourself to get flamed, both figuratively and literally.


Penguins are damn funny when you’re drunk. They’re pretty entertaining animals to begin with, but after a couple martinis those little bastards bring better slapstick than Will Ferrell or Jack Black. But tipsily peeping innocent flightless birds — plus bats, butterflies, sea turtles, and manta rays — is just one of many reasons to attend Nightlife, the stunningly rebuilt California Academy of Sciences’ weekly Thursday evening affair. This outrageously popular (get there early) and ingenious party pairs gonzo lineups of internationally renowned DJs and live bands with intellectual talks by some of the world’s best-known natural scientists. Cocktails are served, the floor is packed, intellects are high — and where else can you order cosmos before visiting the planetarium? Another perk: the cost of admission, which includes most of the academy’s exhibits, is less than half the regular price, although you must be 21 or older to attend. Come for the inebriated entertainment, stay for the personal enrichment.

Thursdays, 6 p.m., $8-<\d>$10. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr., Golden Gate Park, SF. (415) 379-8000,


Retain a fond nostalgia for the 1990s swing revival scene? Swing Goth is the event you’ve been waiting for. Not quite swing and not even remotely goth, Swing Goth gives swing enthusiasts the go-ahead to boogie-woogie to modern tunes at El Rio. This isn’t your grandmother’s fox trot: rock, rap, ’80s, alternative, Madchester, Gypsy punk, and almost anything else gets swung. Held on the first and third Tuesday of each month and tailored for beginners, this event draws an eclectic crowd that includes dudes who call themselves "hep cats," Mission hipsters, and folks who rock unironic mom jeans and Reebok trainers. If you’re new to swing, arrive at 7:30 and take a one-hour group lesson with ringleader Brian Gardner, who orchestrates the event, to get a quick introduction to swing basics before the free dance. Lessons are $5, but no extra charge for ogling the cute dykes who call El Rio their local watering hole. Swing? Schwing!

First and third Tuesdays, 7 p.m., free. El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF. (415) 282-3325,


Who can take a sunburst of boomer rock inspirations — like The Notorious Byrd Brothers–<\d>era Byrds and Meddle-some Pink Floyd — sprinkle it with dew, and cover it with chocolaty nouveau-hippie-hipster blues-rock and a miracle or two? The fresh-eyed, positive-minded folks of Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound can, ’cause they mix it with love and make a world many believed had grown hack and stale taste good. Riding a wave of local ensembles with a hankering for classic rock, hard-edged Cali psych, Japanese noise, and wild-eyed film scores, the San Francisco band is the latest to make the city safe once more for musical adventurers with open minds and big ears. What’s more, the Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound’s inspired new third album, When Sweet Sleep Returned (Tee Pee) — recorded with help from Tim Green at Louder Studios — has fielded much press praise for space-traveling fuzzbox boogie blowouts like "Drunken Leaves" and blissed-out, sitar-touched jangle rambles such as "Kolob Canyon." Consider your mind burst.


You can’t miss him. He has legs like tree trunks and arm muscles that ripple like lava. When he leaps you think he’ll never come down, and his turns suggest the power of a hurricane. He is dancer Ramón Ramos Alayo, Six years ago he founded the CubaCaribe Festival that now packs in dance aficionados of all stripes, and he’s one of the shaping forces behind the wild San Francisco Carnaval celebration. He runs Alayo Dance Company, for which he choreographs contemporary works with Afro-Cuban roots, and he teaches all over the Bay Area — as many as 60 people show up for his Friday salsa classes at Dance Mission Theater. But Ramos is most strikingly unique as a performer. Ramos is as comfortable embodying Oshoshi, the forest hunter in the Yoruba mythology, as he is taking on "Grace Notes," a jazz improvisation with bassist Jeff Chambers. No wonder Bay Area choreographers as radically different as Joanna Haigood, Sara Shelton Mann, and Robert Moses have wanted to work with him.


Toshio Hirano packs a mean sucker punch. At first glance he’s a wonderfully eccentric Bay Area novelty, a yodeling Japanese cowboy playing native songs of the American heartland. Yet upon further inspection, it becomes as clear as the skies of Kentucky that Toshio is the real deal when it comes to getting deep into the Mississippi muck of Jimmie Rodgers-<\d>style bluegrass. Enchanted by the sound of American folk music as a Japanese college student, Toshio soon ventured stateside to spend years traveling and playing from Georgia to Nashville to Austin before finally settling in the Bay Area. Today, Toshio plays once a month at Amnesia’s free Bluegrass Mondays to standing-room-only crowds. Stay awhile to hear him play Hank Williams’s "Ramblin’ Man" or Rodgers’s "Blue Yodel No. 1(T for Texas)." It’ll clear that Toshio’s novelty is merely a hook — his true appeal lies in his ability to show that there’s a cowboy lurking inside all of us.


A collective howl went up in 1995 when it was announced that the annual festival Black Choreographers: Moving into the 21st Century at Theater Artaud was ending due in part to lack of funding. But two East Bay dancers, Laura Elaine Ellis and Kendra Kimbrough Barnes, actually did something about it, working to ensure that African-American dancers and dance-makers received attention for the range and spirit of their work. It took 10 years, but in 2005, Ellis and Kimbrough Barnes helped launch Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now, which takes place every February in San Francisco and Oakland. The three-week event is a fabulous way for a community to celebrate itself and to invite everyone to the party. While the choreographers’ range of talent and imagination has been impressive — and getting better every year — the performances are merely the icing on the cake. Master classes, mentoring opportunites for emerging artists, and a technical theater-training program for local high school and college students are building a dance infrastructure the next generation can plug into.


San Francisco can always use another all-female band — and Grass Widow satisfies that need beautifully, cackling with brisk, madcap rhythms and rolling out a happy, crazy quilt of dissonant wails. Drummer-vocalist Lillian Maring, guitarist-vocalist Raven Mahon, and bassist-vocalist Hannah Lew are punk as fuck, of course — in the classic, pre-pre-packaged noncodified mode — though many will instead compare the trio’s inspired, decentered pop to dyed-in-the-bluestockings lo-fi riot grrrl. Still, there’s a highly conscious intensity to Grass Widow’s questioning of the digital givens that dominate life in the late ’00s, as they sing wistfully then rage raggedly amid accelerating rhythms and a roughly tumbling guitar line on "Green Screen," from their self-titled debut on Make a Mess: "Flying low into trees. We exist on the screen. Computer can you hear me? Understand more than 1s and 0s?" Grass Widow may sweetly entreat the listener, "Don’t make a scene," but if we’re lucky, these ladies will kick off a new generation of estrogen-enhanced music-making.


Karaoke is one of those silly-but-fun nightlife activities that always has the potential to be awesome but usually isn’t. The song lists at most karaoke bars suck, the sound systems are underwhelming, and no matter where you go there’s always some asshole bumming everyone out with painful renditions of Neil Diamond tearjerkers. Well, not anymore! Steve Hays, a.k.a. DJ Purple, is a karaoke DJ — or KJ — who has single-handedly turned the Bay Area’s once tired sing-along scene into a mother funkin’ party y’all. DJ Purple’s Karaoke Dance Party happens every Thursday night at Jack’s Club. Forget the sloppy drunks half-assing their way through Aerosmith and Beyoncé songs. DJ Purple’s Karaoke Dance Party is all about Iron Maiden, Snoop Dogg, Led Zeppelin, and Riskay. No slow songs allowed. An actual experienced DJ, Hays keeps the beats running smooth, fading and blending as each person stumbles onstage, and even stepping in for saxophone solos and backup vocals when a song calls for it. And sometimes even when it doesn’t.

Thursdays, 9 p.m., free. Jack’s Club, 2545 24th St., SF. (415) 641-5371,


In this age of continual retro, it comes as a surprise that listening to mainstream ’90s alternative rock can give you, under the right inebriated circumstances, the kind of pleasure not experienced since heroin went out of vogue. Debaser at the Knockout has become one of the best monthly parties in San Francisco, largely because it gives ’80s babies, who were stuck playing Oregon Trail in computer class while Courtney Love and Kat Bjelland were rocking it out in Portland, the chance to live out their Nirvana-era dreams. Debaser promoter Jamie Jams is the only DJ in San Francisco who will spin the Cranberries after a Pavement song, and his inspired mixology is empirically proven to induce moshing en masse until last call, an enticingly dangerous sport now that lead-footed Doc Martens are back in style. Sporting flannel gets you comped, so for those still hung up over Jordan Catalano and the way he leans, Debaser is rife with contemporary, albeit less angsty, equivalents.

First Saturdays, 9 p.m., Knockout, 3223 Mission, SF. (415) 550-6994,


The shaky economy’s probably put your $60 concert plans on hold and relegated those high-rolling VIP nights to the back burner. So it’s a great time to return to the simpler forms of social interaction, such as shaking some dice and screaming, "Yahtzee, bitches!" or guffawing maniacally every time some poor fool attempts to pass your two hotels on Boardwalk. Fortunately, game night at On the Corner café on Divisadero fills your staid Wednesday evenings with enough card-shuffling, Pop-o-matic popping, I-want-to-be-the-thimble classics to sink your battleship blues. Plus, there’s coffee and beer. Working in collusion with the colossal collection of neighboring Gamescape, On the Corner provides a plethora of gaming options to fit its large tables and vibrant atmosphere. Stratego, Scattergories, and other trivial pursuits are all available, and the 7 p.m.-<\d>to-<\d>closing happy hour includes $2.50 draft beers and sangria specials. The tables fill up quickly, though — arrive early so you won’t be sorry.

Wednesdays, 7–10 p.m., free. 359 Divisadero, SF. (415) 522-1101,


Perfect moments are never the ones you work hard to create. Too much effort kills the magic. Instead, the moments we treasure are those that steal up on us, slipping past our defenses to reveal, for just an instant, the sublime wonder of the universe. This is precisely what happens during one’s first encounter with the Lexington Street disco ball, innocuously spinning its multifaceted heart out on a quiet neighborly block in the heart of the Mission District. One moment you’re just walking down the street minding your own business — perhaps rehashing the "should have saids" or the "could have beens" in the muddled disquiet of your mind — when suddenly you spot it, the incongruously located disco ball suspended from a low-hanging branch, throwing a carpet of stars across the sidewalk for anyone to enjoy. All is still, but the music in your heart will lead you. Hold your hands in the air, walk into the light, and dance.

Lexington between 20th and 21st streets, SF


Amandeep Jawa’s bright blue, sound-rigged party-cycle — Trikeasaurus — is our bestest Critical Mass compadre and bike lane buddy, and an essential component of his impromptu FlashDance parties. This three-wheelin’, free-wheelin’, pedal-and-battery-powered funk machine has been bringing the party to the people — and leading spontaneous Michael Jackson tributes — from the Embarcadero to the Broadway tunnel for the past two years. Even if you’re just out for a stroll or a bit of that ephemeral San Francisco "sun"-bathing, when Trikeasaurus comes rolling along you just have to boogie on down the road, bust a move, get your groove thing on, let your freak flag fly, and insert ecstatic cliché here. We can pretend all we want in the privacy of our own hip sancta sanctorum that Destiny’s Child or OutKast will never move us, but somehow when Trikeasaurus comes bumping by, we just can’t help but bump right back. Don’t fight the feeling! Join the 500-watt, 150-decibel velolution today.


If you’ve done ketamine, you know what it’s like to get lost in the cosmic K-hole. To those who have entered the mystical D-hole, however, your ketamine story is child’s play. The Donuts dance party, thrown at various times and locations throughout the year by DJ Pickpocket and visual artist AC, provides adventurous club-goers with that most delicious of drugs: donuts, given away free. First timers, be careful: these potent little sugar bombs are highly addictive and can often lead to an all-night binge of ecstatic power-boogie, which can result in terrible withdrawal symptoms. Like many other popular club drugs, donuts are offered in powdered form, though they can also be glazed, which leaves no tell-tale residue around the mouth. But as long as you indulge responsibly, entering the Hole of the Donut is perfectly safe. Amp up your experience to fever-pitch perfection with Donuts’ pulse-pumping Krautrock, new wave, retro disco, and dance punk live acts and beats.


If there’s one thing all Slovenians have in common, it’s that they know how to deck a muthafunkin’ hall, y’all. It stands to reason then that Slovenians run one of the biggest and best halls in town. The Slovenian Hall in Potrero Hill is available for all your partying needs — birthdays, anniversary bashes, coming-out fests, etc. The rooms inside the hall are spacious and clean, the kitchen and bar spaces are outfitted to serve an entire army, and there are plenty of tables and chairs. But it’s the decor that makes this place unique: Soviet-era and vintage tourism advertisements are sprinkled throughout the place and banners promoting Slovenian pride hang from the ceiling. The hall also hosts live music events — recently an Argentine tango troupe took up residence there, making things border-fuzzingly interesting, to say the least.

2101 Mariposa, SF. (415) 864-9629


Odds are you’ve not yet heard of East Bay teen hip-hop talent Yung Nittlz — but one day soon you will. The ambitious, gifted Berkeley High student has already amassed five albums worth of smooth and funky material that he wrote, produced, and rapped and sang on. In August 2007, when he was just 13, the rapper born Nyles Roberson scored media attention when Showtime at the Apollo auditions came to town and he was spotted very first in line, having camped out the night before. And while Yung Nittlz wasn’t among the lucky final few to be picked, he did make a lasting impression on the judges with his strong performance of the song "Money in the Air" and choreography that included him strategically tossing custom-made promo dollars that he designed and made. The gifted artist also designed the professional-looking cover for his latest demo CD, which suggests fans should request the hit-sounding "Feelin’ U" on KMEL 106 FM. Stay tuned. You’ll likely be hearing it soon.


The crappy economy has ruined many things. It’s the reason both the Parkway and the Cerrito Speakeasy theaters — where you could openly drink a beer you’d actually purchased at the concession stand, not smuggled in under your sweatshirt — closed their doors this year. But even a bummer cash crunch can’t dampen a true cult movie fan’s love of all things B. Deprived of a permanent venue for his long-running "Thrillville," programmer and host Will "The Thrill" Viharo adjusted his fez, brushed off his velvet lapels, and started booking his popular film ‘n’ cabaret extravaganzas at other Bay Area movie houses, including the 4-Star and the Balboa in San Francisco, and San Jose’s Camera 3. Fear not, devotees of film noir, tiki culture, the swingin’ ’60s, big-haired babes, Aztec mummies, William Shatner, the Rat Pack, Elvis, creature features, Japanese monsters, and zombies — the Thrill ain’t never gonna be gone.


Much like travel agents, beepers, and modesty, pinball machines are slowly becoming relics of the past. But it’s difficult to understand why these quarter-fed games would fall by the wayside, since they’re especially fun in a bar atmosphere. What else is there to do besides stare at your drink, hopelessly chat up the bartender, constantly check your phone, and try to catch that one cute patron’s eye. At the Castro’s Moby Dick, pinball saves you from such doldrums. Sure, the place has the requisite video screens blaring Snap! and Cathy Dennis chestnuts, and plenty of hunky drunkies to serve as distractions. But its quarter-action collection — unfortunately whittled down to three machines, ever since Theater of Magic was retired due to the difficulty of finding replacement parts — is a delightful retro rarity in this gay day and age. So tilt not, World Cup Soccer, Addams Family, and Attack from Mars fans. There’s still a queer home for your lightning-quick flipping.

4049 18th St., SF.


Founded in 2002, the many-membered Brass Liberation Orchestra has been blowing their horns for social justice all over the Bay Area — from the San Francisco May Day March and Oakland rallies for Oscar Grant, to protests against city budget cuts and jam sessions at the 16th Street BART station. Trombones out and bass drums at the ready, this tight-knit organization of funky folk recently returned from New Orleans, where they played to support community rebuilding projects in the Lower Ninth Ward. With a membership as diverse as they come, the BLO toots their horns specifically to "support political causes with particular emphasis on peace, and racial and social justice" — especially concerning immigrants’ rights and anti-gentrification issues. But the most joyful part of their practice is the spontaneous street parties they engender wherever they pop up, and their seemingly impromptu romps through neighborhoods and street festivals. Viva la tuba-lution!


Is your idea of hell being trapped in a room with a white, collegiate, spoken-word "artist" — or worse yet, being forced to wear an Ed Hardy t-shirt? Are you a veteran of the 30 Stockton and the 38 Geary, with the wounds and the stories to prove it? Can you just not help but stare at someone who somehow can’t resist an act of street corner masturbation? Then you’re ready to lend an ear to Ali Wong, the funniest comedian to stomp onto a San Francisco stage in a long time. Some people get offended by Wong, which is one reason she’s funny — comedy isn’t about making friends, and she’s not sentimental. She draws on her family history and writing and performing experience in implicit rather than overt ways while remaining as blunt as your funniest friend on a bender.


Take a picture, it’ll last longer. Especially if you take it to — or even at — RayKo Photo Center, a large SoMA space that boasts a studio, a shop stocked with new and used cameras, a variety of black-and-white and color darkrooms, a digital imaging lab (with discount last-Friday-of-the-month nighttime hours), and classes where one can learn the latest digital skills as well as older and arcane processes such as Ambrotype (glass plate) and Tintype (metal plate) image-making. Devoted in part to local photographers, RayKo’s gallery has showcased Bill Daniel’s panoramic yet raw shots of a post-Katrina Louisiana and has likely influenced a new generation of shutterbugs affiliated with groups and sites like Cutter Photozine and Photo Epicenter. One of its coolest and truly one-of-a-kind features is the Art*O*Mat Vending Machine, an old ciggie vendor converted into a $5-a-piece art dispenser. And of course RayKo has an old photo booth, so you can take some quick candid snapshots with or without a honey.

428 Third St., SF. (415) 495-3773,


The great myth about cab drivers is that they’re a bunch of underappreciated geniuses who write poetry and paint masterpieces when they’re not busy shuttling drunks around. Most cabbies, however, aren’t Picassos with pine-scent air fresheners. They clock in and out just like we all do, and then they go home and watch reality TV. There are, however, a few exceptions to the rule: true artists who have deliberately chosen the cabbie lifestyle because it allows them the freedom to pursue their passions on the side. MC Mars is such a cabbie. A 20-year veteran on the taxi scene, Mars is also a hip-hop performer, a published author, and an HIV activist. You can check his flow every Wednesday night at the Royale’s open-mic sessions. Or, if you’re lucky enough to hail his DeSoto, you can get a free backseat show on weekends. And don’t forget to pick up his latest CD, "Letz Cabalaborate," available on Mars’ Web site.


The Bay Area knows poetry. And people in the Bay Area who know poetry today realize that the San Francisco Renaissance, the Beats, the Language poets, and even the New Brutalists might inspire contemporary writers, but they don’t own them. You can encounter proof in places like Books and Bookshelves, and read it in publications like Try. As the Bay Area Poetics anthology edited by Stephanie Young made clear in 2006, Bay Area verse is enormous and ever-changing. One year earlier, David Larsen established a space for it in Oakland with his New Yipes Reading Series, which frequently paired poets with filmmakers. He’s since moved to the East Coast, but Ali Warren and Brandon Brown re-energized the concept, simplifying its name to The New Reading Series and refining its content to readings with musical interludes. It’s the best place around to hear Tan Lin and Ariana Reines and confront notions of the self through Heath Ledger. It’s also hosted a kissing booth, for all you wordsmiths who aren’t above romantic trappings.

416 25th St., Oakl.


For 15 years, the much-loved and lovable warm weather Sunset parties have shaken various hills, isles, parks, patios, and boats with funky, techy house sounds. Launched by underground hero DJ Galen in 1994, the outdoor Sunset gigs have amassed a huge following of excited party newbies and familiar old-school ravers — and now even their kids. Early on in the game, Galen was soon joined by fellow Bay favorite DJs Solar and J-Bird, and the three — collectively known as Pacific Sound — have kept the vibe strong ever since. This year saw a remarkable expansion on the Sunset fan base: attendance at the season opener at Stafford Lake reached almost 4,000, and Pacific Sound just launched an annual — and truly moving — party on Treasure Island that had multiple generations putting their hands in the air. The recent Sunset Campout in Belden drew hundreds for an all-weekend romp with some of the biggest names in electronic music — true fresh air freshness.

According to murky local legend, sometime in the early ’90s a Finnish archaeologist named Mr. Floppy passed through Oakland on a quest to find an inverted pyramid rumored to hold the secret to eternal life. He didn’t find anything like that, of course, but he did discover a really cool apartment complex run by an obsessive builder named George Rowan. The sprawling place, which housed multiple dwelling units as well as an outdoor dance area and an out-of-use bordello and saloon famously frequented by Jack London in the 1800s, was an interconnected maze of rooms decorated with found objects and outsider art. It was a perfect spot to throw underground raves, which is exactly what Floppy and Rowan did until the day they got slapped with a fire-hazard citation. Nobody really knows what happened to the psychedelic archaeologist after that, although his spirit lives on: Mr. Floppy’s Flophouse has recently re-opened as a venue for noise shows, freaky circuses, and all-night moonlit orgies.
1247 E. 12th St., Oakl



Mitchell Bros’ stripper’s timely tell-all book


Text by Sarah Phelan

Image by Charles Gatewood.

If you are tracking the case of Danielle Keller, who law enforcement officials say was killed July 12 with a baseball bat by her ex-boyfriend James Rafe Mitchell, or if you are a patron or follower of the sex industry, now might be a timely moment to check out “9 ½ years behind the green door” (Mill City Press, Inc., 2007).

The book is a tell-all account by Simone Corday, (her stage name), of working at the Mitchell Brothers O’Farrell Theater in the 1980s, being the lover of Rafe’s uncle, Artie Mitchell, a friend of writer Hunter S. Thompson—and a disbeliever in the theory that Artie’s 1991 killing by Rafe’s father, Jim, was an accident. But in case you are wondering, Corday, as she notes on her acknowledgements page, is not the woman in her book’s cover photo.

“I wanted an image that gave the feeling of the girls who do shows at Mitchell Brothers and other adult clubs, ” Corday said.

Corday is on the left of Hunter S. Thompson. Photo credit: Michael Nichols / National Geographic Image Collection.

In her book, Corday details how in 1991, Jim Mitchell Sr. parked three blocks away from Artie’s house, had a rifle, a knife and another gun and an extra box of ammo on his person, and slit the tires of Artie’s car before he entered his brother’s house through an unlocked door, and started firing a .22 rifle, which, as Corday points out, is the quietest gun on market.

Simone Corday picketing in April 1994, at the California State Court of Appeals, the day Jim Mitchell Sr.’s appeal was heard. She picketed again, at the Marin County courthouse, the day Jim was sent to prison in October 1997.

“Artie was in bed that night with another dancer Julie Bajo, his alcoholism had been getting worse,” Corday told the Guardian. “He heard a noise and got out of bed, while his girlfriend hid in the closet and dialed 911, which is how the shots ended up being recorded.”

“Jim claimed he was over there trying to take Artie’s gun away and force him into rehab,” she added, “He spent $1 million on his defense, but he did not win his appeal and sent to San Quentin in 1997, where he served less than three years. And Mitchell matriarch Georgia Mae defended Jim killing her other son.”

Corday, who had on-again, off-again romance with Artie that began in August 1982 and ended when Jim shot Artie in 1991, also had first-hand experience of the Mitchell Brother’s children—Jim had four kids, Artie had six—because she hung out with them in the 1980s at brothers’ weekend ranch in the East Bay.

Rafe Mitchell is barely visible in this photo that shows Artie Mitchell and Simone Corday and a mixture of Artie and Jim’s kids in Moraga, in the 1980s. Rafe is on the left of Simone, blocked from full view by another Mitchell kid.

Behind the Mitchells’ door


When James Raphael Mitchell, 27, son of the late porn film director and strip club owner Jim Mitchell, was charged with murder, domestic violence, kidnapping, and child abduction and endangerment last week, my first reaction was to wonder if he suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder.

I had run into met James in October 2007, at which time he sported a military-style buzz cut and told me he was in the Marines. And now I was reading reports that he had shown up at the home of his one-time fiancée, Danielle Keller, 29, the mother of their one-year-old daughter, Samantha Rae, killed Keller with a metal baseball bat, and fled with Samantha. He then led police on a five-hour manhunt that ended in Citrus Heights.

I later encountered James at the O’Farrell Theater, the club his father Jim and uncle Artie opened 40 years ago. At the club, the brothers produced porn films, battled with former Mayor Dianne Feinstein’s vice squad, and entertained members of the city’s political elite before Jim shot Artie in 1991.

Jim’s attorneys described the killing as an "intervention gone awry," while Artie’s kids believed it was a wrongful death. In the end, Jim served less than three years of a six-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter at San Quentin. After his release, he continued his involvement with Cinema 7, the corporation the Mitchell brothers formed to oversee their porn empire, until he died of a heart attack in July 2007.

Shortly after Jim’s death, his eldest daughter, Meta, became the O’Farrell Theater’s general manager. In fall 2007, Christina Brigida, a childhood friend of Meta, contacted me to see if I’d be interested in "a column about the reality of what the sex industry is like for females (both strippers and non-strippers)" and "female managers in adult entertainment." She proposed that she and Meta write the article. "The notion that the O’Farrell Theater is run by old white men pimping out women for money with no regard as to their treatment and/or well-being is just flat out not true," Brigida wrote.

In her piece, Meta recalled: "Growing up in my family there was a distinct line between the boys and the girls. The boys got to go on special outings with my dad and uncle, while the girls were left at home. As I grew older, so did my resentment. I continued to hate being left out. I felt like it all had to do with my dad’s business. The boys could go inside, and I couldn’t. I grew to hate the theater for taking my dad away from me."

Meta went to school and got a job as a mortgage consultant in San Ramon until 2004, when she began to recognize the club "as something that had taken care of us through the years."

And that’s how I came to be drinking coffee one morning in the club’s upstairs room, talking to Meta, a petite woman with a black bob, brown eyes, knee-length leather boots, a tiny dog, and a massive lime-green handbag. It was then that I met her younger brother, James, who his friends call Rafe.

I was seated in front of a photo of Pope John Paul II greeting Fidel Castro in Cuba, and a painting called Night Manager. The conversation somehow turned to war, at which point Rafe turned and told me he was in the Marines.

Meta resumed our conversation, which included my asking about a class action suit the O’Farrell dancers had brought against the club and Meta’s talking about her innovations, which included theme nights and costumes. At that point, Rafe interrupted, observing that "guys get drunk and just want to have fun and don’t care about costumes."

Clearly there was tension between Meta and James. And clearly Meta wanted to control the content of any story about the club. Although she promised me an interview that Halloween and mentioned that she "might be in costume," I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t hear back.

When I read the news about James, I called former San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan, who is representing James and is a long-time friend of the Mitchell family. Hallinan had just returned from Mitchell’s arraignment in Marin County, where he is being held without bail.

"James feels terrible about what happened," Hallinan said. When asked about the possibility of James having PTSD from his time in the Marines, Hallinan said, "I don’t know if he’s been overseas or not."

I then got a hold of a copy of the permanent restraining order Keller had secured on July 7, five days before she was killed. From it, I discovered that James had not been deployed overseas. In fact, according to the allegations in the court order, he had abused Keller for almost two years, beginning a month after the couple met — claiming the abuse was his way to avoid Iraq.

The court filing also revealed that James brought his gun everywhere and usually kept it in his jeans until his siblings, including Meta, filed their own five-year restraining order after he pulled it out during a family business meeting at the O’Farrell Theater in November 2007 and "waved it around in a threatening manner."

Keller’s statement also charged that James has mood swings, used cocaine, had a meth addiction, and was arrested for domestic violence in February 2008 when Keller was four months pregnant.

The couple’s penultimate fight took place March 4 when Keller told him she was going to live with her mom. After that incident, James was arrested for vioutf8g his probation, and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris recommended putting James behind bars for three months. But 11 days before Keller’s killing, Superior Court Judge Mary Morgan sentenced him to two days and stayed the sentence.

Warren Hinckle, a veteran Bay Area journalist and long-time Mitchell family friend, observes that people can’t imagine what it was like to have grown up in this "battle-prone family."

"Sure, I knew Rafe, and obviously something very bad and weird happened," Hinckle told the Guardian. "People forget that the Mitchells spent a lot of the money that they made on First Amendment battles, and that they were on mob territory."

Keller’s attorney, Charlotte Huggins, said she wants to make sure there’s money set aside for Samantha. But that may be tricky because James was living on trust fund money. Following a 2008 settlement of the dancers’ class action suit against Cinema 7 — in which the corporation agreed to pay $2 million in legal fees and $1.45 million toward the dancers’ claims — Cinema 7 president Jeffrey Armstrong claimed in court filings that the corporation "is not able to pay the entire amount up front."

Instead, Mitchell matriarch Georgia Mae and John P. Morgan, co-trustees of the Jim Mitchell 1990 Family Trust, which holds two-thirds of Cinema 7’s shares, pledged stock certificates as security interest.

Jim Mitchell’s four adult children receive $3,000 a month from the trust. They have the right to withdraw 50 percent when they turn 30, and the remainder when they turn 35.

Court files show that Meta, who turned 30 last year, along with Justin and Jennifer Mitchell, are trying to wrest control of the trust from their grandmother, Georgia Mae, 85. Instead, they would like to appoint their mother and Jim’s ex-wife Mary Jane Whitty-Grimm as the successor trustee. A hearing is set for September.

A stripper who used to dance at the O’Farrell Theater under the stage name Simone Corday wrote the book 9 1/2 Years Behind the Green Door (Mill City Press, Inc. 2007), in which she recalls Artie Mitchell as her lover. Corday told the Guardian that when the Mitchell brothers shared a house in Moraga, Artie worried about Jim’s child-rearing techniques.

In Corday’s book, Artie is quoted saying, "You know how Jim has Rafe dressed as Rambo so much? Now they’re calling Rafe ‘the enforcer.’ If any of the kids use a swear word — even mine when they’re over there — Rafe is supposed to attack!"

Corday said she was shocked by Keller’s killing. "It’s been disturbing. What with his name being the same as Jim’s, and both being held in the Marin County Jail. It’s eerie."

Hold the pickle


SUPER EGO Enough with the gourmet street food carts, already. What this joint really needs is some gourmet street cocktail carts. I can barely see it now: fixie-powered blenders, home-brewed Fernet shots, "shit coke" smuggled Cuban rum margaritas with powdered-sugar rims and laminated dollar-bill straws, bacon-wrapped hot dog martinis, 5-HTP power boosts … Anyone for an heirloom finger banana and Prather Ranch taurine daquiri? No?


DJ Richie Panic promises "cupcakes, piñatas, condoms, fashion tragedies, and those that understand the power of songs like ‘Surfin’ Bird’ recontextualized for these fucked-up times" at this tastelessly amazing Wednesday banger. Trust.

Wednesdays, 10 p.m., free. Beauty Bar, 2299 Mission, SF.


Mashups — in or out? The scene’s still lively, and this SF360 Film + Club night brings together SFs top mashers Adrian and Mysterious D and London’s Eclectic Method, with a screening of mashup doc RiP: A Remix Manifesto.

Thu/23, 7 p.m., $12–$17. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.


The leader of the legendary, decade-old Turntables on the Hudson party just dropped the stellar, border-hopping Sun People (Eighteenth Street) disc, full of interesting, upbeat tribal tracks. "Positivity" is no longer a dirty word.

Fri/24, 10 p.m. –4 a.m., $10. Paradise Lounge, 1501 Folsom, SF.


The heartthrobs of glitch-hop, now whittled down to a trio, bring their effed-up laser sound to Mezzanine’s tables, with L.A. future bass pioneer Daddy Kev opening up. Gangsta rap meets Burning Man? You better believe it.

Sat/25, 8:30 p.m., $22.50 advance. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF.


The night before the raucous and naughty Up Your Alley fair, get your big gay fetish on with this giant man-meet for charity. Am I scared of the kiki party music by DJs Ted Eiel and Luis Cintron? Yes, sir! But scared equals horny here, hello.

Sat/25, 10 p.m. — 4 a.m., $40–$50.181 Eddy, SF.


It’s the 12-year reunion of promoters Ramiro Gutierrez and Mikey Tello’s progressive house and chunky techno outfit — get that post-old-school rave feeling back with good ol’ Doc Martin headlining and a roster of other well-knowns.

Sat/25, 9 p.m.- 4 a.m., $15. Six, 66 Sixth St., SF.


To the Batmobile (let’s go)! Wonder Woman Underoos are totally go at this huge, charitable outdoor affair. Heroic tunes by Opulent Temple, Afrolicious, Supersonic Salsa Collective, Pacific Sound, Smoove, and more mutant decks X-Men.

Sat/25, 1 p.m.–midnight, $10 with superhero costume, $20 without. Indiana and Cesar Chavez streets, SF.


This massive gathering of pretty much every Bay techno and house crew benefits, which helps AIDS-affected African kids. Staple, Green Gorilla, Stompy, Dirty Bird, Om … 15 DJs, 14 hours, perhaps a few oxygen tents.

Sun/26, noon–2 a.m., $10–$15. Cafe Cocomo, 650 Indiana, SF.


They don’t come any cheaper than drag queens Anna Conda and Monistat — or do they? We’ll find out when they host this koo-koo pageant where all the contestants must put themselves together (and fall apart) for less than the price of an, er, Estonian bride?

Tue/28, 10 p.m., $10. EndUp, 401 Sixth St., SF.

Bistro St. Germain


Few neighborhoods in Paris are more full of cultural flavor than the Faubourg St.-Germain, the Right Bank district whose main thoroughfare, the Boulevard St. Germain, is the home of the Café Flore (the original!) and the Deux Magots. Picture Sartre thoughtfully smoking a clove cigarette, with a demitasse emptied of espresso sitting on the table in front of him.

Although the Faubourg St.-Germain is very near the Sorbonne, its bohemian life is mostly a relic. These days the area is expensively residential, and its shops and restaurants reflect this affluence. So when our own bistro impresario, Laurent Legendre, recently opened his latest venture on lower Haight Street under the name Bistro St. Germain, was he looking backward or forward, toward nostalgia or aspiration?

If the lower Haight can’t quite claim anyone of Sartre’s stature as part of its boho past, it can claim that it has kept something of a boho present. The neighborhood retains elements of true grit and is full of young people, and its restaurants still tend toward the cheap. But the area’s socioeconomic furniture has been rearranged in recent years, and since the opening of nearby RNM in 2002, the upmarket trend has been palpable. Last year saw the arrival, in the next block, of Uva, a sleek enoteca, and now there is a proper bistro.

Legendre isn’t the only propagator of neighborhood bistros in San Francisco — nearby L’Ardoise, for instance, was launched by Thierry Clement — but he is a force majeure. His previous undertaking, Le P’tit Laurent in Glen Park, is unusually authentic. Before that, he was a longtime principal in Clémentine (in the old Alain Rondelli space) and Bistro Clémentine, both in the inner Richmond.

I do find myself wondering how many traditional French bistros we need in this city, which, as it happens, is not Paris, home of the traditional French bistro. Are others wondering the same thing? The evidence, at least at Bistro St. Germain, suggests not. The place has the boxy spaciousness of a swimming pool or a pool hall, yet it fills up quickly with people and noise. (Sartre: "Hell is other people.") Are the crowds drawn by the tasty location, the huge wall mural (a silhouette of the Paris skyline, including such familiar spectacles as the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre), or the crisply executed, fairly priced food? The answer to this sort of trick question, or trick rhetorical question, is almost always, all of the above.

The food does not disappoint, certainly. From the arrival of the first basket of bread at the table, it’s clear that care is being taken in the kitchen. The bread is a simple sweet baguette, still warm from the oven, sliced and presented with a pat of softened butter. The addictive properties of warm bread have, I believe, been under-investigated. Your bread basket will be endlessly, cheerfully replenished, but try to save some slices for mop-up duty in the event you have mussels — and you should have mussels. At $9 for a sizable platter, they aren’t expensive and can be had in a number of sauces, among them a basquaise of white wine, tomato, and peppers. Hugely soppable. And don’t forget some frites ($3.50) — sublimely crisp — for some additional counterpoint.

The menu ranges gracefully across the French classics. There are snails ($6.25 for six), served on a dimpled earthenware plate and redolent of raw garlic. There is a roast poussin ($14), beautifully bronzed yet with moist white meat — a quiet miracle — and served with a large stack of frites. Duck confit ($16) is nicely done, with a crisp crust still faintly sizzling; it is set on a broad bed of lentils that are the proper gray-green color but are too big to be the traditional Puy variety. As lentil-cookers will likely agree, a large virtue of Puy lentils is their determined resistance to overcooking. They don’t easily turn to mush. The bigger sorts have to be handled more carefully, but Bistro St. Germain’s kitchen passes this test.

I found a bourride ($17) — a seafood stew, complete with aioli-smeared rounds of toasted bread — to be defined by the presence of what I took to be some form of cheeks, perhaps halibut cheeks. The rest of the players, including shrimp, mussels, and chunks of salmon, I could easily identify by shape, texture, and flavor. The suspected cheeks, however — rectangular tabs of flesh, thumb-sized — offered a strong, almost cheese-like flavor. Can fish be gamey? I offered tastes around the table as a cross-check, and the reactions returned were mild. Nonetheless, I hesitated for a bit before finishing the last piece.

Vegetarians can find French cooking a tough go, but Bistro St. Germain is accommodating. The meatless choices are explicitly identified and aren’t shabby — a shallow bowl of ravioli ($15), say, stuffed with squash purée and bathed in a mushroom cream sauce. Not quite legendary, perhaps, but pretty good.


Dinner: Tues.–Thurs. and Sun., 5:30–9:30 p.m.;

Fri.–Sat., 5:30–10:30 p.m.

Brunch: Sun., 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

518 Haight, SF

(415) 626-6262

Beer and wine


Very noisy if busy

Wheelchair accessible

“Common sense is radical” on Reverend Billy Day


By Steven T. Jones
Photo by Brennan Cavanaugh

Reverend Billy Talen isn’t just a Green Party candidate for mayor of New York City and performance artist-turned-pastor of the Church of Life After Shopping. He’s also a creative product of the San Francisco’s rich tradition of political theater. And for all these reasons, the Board of Supervisors plans to declare today Reverend Billy Day at its afternoon meeting.

“WHEREAS, Reverend Billy and the Church of Life After Shopping teach that consumerism, commercialism, privatization, and corporate greed are destroying our cities, nation and planet,” reads one of the whereases.

If you want to see Rev. Billy in action, stop by board chambers in City Hall this afternoon around 3:30 p.m. or attend his political fundraiser tonight at the DNA Lounge, where a bevy of Bay Area performers will round out the evening’s entertainment. In the meantime, here’s more of the extended interview I did with Rev. Billy in his SoHo campaign office a few months ago.

Park it on the free way



FREE ISSUE/SONIC REDUCER Free. To be you and me. From sea to shining sea. As the wind, as the air, as information, as that music you downloaded through Lime Wire. Careful with the mellow, but the last time we checked our sparsely filled-out wallets, we all realized we can use a little free these days.

And considering the grand triad of free open-air shows in San Francisco — one encompassing the underground gatherings at Toxic Beach/Warm Water Cove and Potrero del Sol Park and the well-funded and organized massives like Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and Stern Grove (Altamont doesn’t count, grandpaw, ’cause the Speedway is outside city limits), Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival’s first free, all-ages, outdoor concert at Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in John McLaren Park is, honestly, looking pretty awesome.

Full disclosure: I’ve been sitting in at MCMF meetings of late and helping out where I can. But even if I was looking in from the outside, I’d be swayed by the event’s Bay-dominated lineup: Kelley Stoltz, Persephone’s Bees, Bart Davenport, the Moore Brothers, and Leopold and His Fiction, as well as the newly added Birds and Batteries and the Aerosols. Los Angeles’ Dead Meadow will rock the green grasses of the park in the headlining slot, Canada-via-SF combo the Rubies hold down the middle, and Spain’s Xoel Lopez, who some have dubbed the Beck of Spain, teams with chumster Bart Davenport for an intimate turn in the spotlight, but otherwise this local-centric show with an emphasis on psychedelia-tinged indie rock (judging from his freewheeling ways, Garcia might approve) could be considered the leafy spot where the underground meets the overground.

"You can go with a bunch of your friends and hang out and drink wine and enjoy the show," as MCMF producer Kymberli Jensen puts it. She organized the show along with Neil Martinson of SMiLE! "Personally that’s something that’s really appealing for me, and it’s accessible — especially in these hard economic times. People need something to lift the spirit."

And it’s remarkable that it gets done at all, during this nu-depression. Back to those MCMF meetings — rambling affairs consisting of a multitude of eager voices, much wine and snackings, and a slew of passionate opinions. Sponsorship of the fest has been hit particularly hard as a result of the economic meltdown, and few Mission District merchants have coin to spare. As a result, Jensen says MCMF has made a "conscious decision to do fund-raising throughout the year. The economic times have hit everybody — and have hit us very hard. We made a commitment to do this park concert, and many times we were asked to scrap it. But we worked six months on this, so we’re going to do the best we can."

As a result, Jensen and Martinson have put up their own cash to make this free show happen — hoping to recoup some of the costs with a raffle and donations. The dream: that one day of free music extends to two or three next year, with an emphasis on emerging performers and accessibility for music- lovers of all ages and income brackets. Because no one, especially Marlo Thomas, wants great music to become the exclusive reserve of elite patrons able to shell out for cardholder or VIP privileges. After all, MCMF isn’t about the money, as Jensen reminds me. "None of us get paid," the second-year producer explains. "We break even, if that. But we see it as an investment in Mission Creek, and also music in San Francisco."


Sat/18, 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m., free

Jerry Garcia Amphitheater

John McLaren Park, Mansell and John F Shelley, SF




The NorCal/NW avant-indie supergroup of sorts — including John Shiurba, Quasi’s Sam Coomes, Gino Robair, Scott Rosenberg, and Kyle Bruckmann — settles in for a good skronk in honor of its self-titled double-LP/CD on Sickroom. Wed/15, 6 p.m., free. Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight, SF. Also Thurs/16, 9 p.m., $6. Hemlock Tavern, 131 Polk, SF.


Buttoned-down Cage is still finding his rage on Depart from Me (Definitive Jux). Fri/17, 9 p.m., $16. Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell, SF.


The SF MC-producer grilled Reinventing the Eel (442) completely on computer. With Melina Jones, Orukusaki, Gigio, Linkletterz, Substitute Teachers, and DJ Animal. Sat/18, 10 p.m., $10. Cafe du Nord, 2170 Market, SF.


The new-twee revolution begins with best name to come down the pike since Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits. Tues/21, 7:30 p.m., $12. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF.

Superior sounds


In the dead of last winter, the enigmatic and bombastically-titled "The Very Best" Mixtape (Ghettopop) cracked the frozen-over music blogosphere, thanks to its barrage of blasts straight from the center of an African sun. Self-baptized as The Very Best, European production/DJ duo Radioclit (another unfortunate name) teamed up with the Malawian born, London-based singer Esau Mwamwaya. The resulting left-field effort virtually burned through rigid or frigid genre horizons, blending multilingual African vocals, synth-heavy indie pop, thunderous polyrhythms, and an outer-national pastiche of celebratory dance thumpers.

Riding high on an internet buzz that is still multiplying, The Very Best has been hard at work on its upcoming official debut, The Warm Heart of Africa (Green Owl), scheduled for release this fall. If Internet leaks can predict anything, the recording expands on Radioclit’s worldly sensibility. Brace yourself for hazardous dance floor anthems well-fed on the homegrown African sounds of high-life and marabi, as well as bass-laden pop grooves from, well, all over the globe. Mwamwaya’s pipes wander and work wonders over Radioclit’s multitextured, voracious production. Versatile melodies and subtly intricate lyricism uplift the percussive hymns to create a remarkable sonic balance between earthly thrust and airy lightness. In addition to The Very Best’s core dynamism, the debut also promises guest collaborations with MIA (on the enchanting "Rain Dance") and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig (the hypnotically incandescent "Warm Heart of Africa"). Ah, the revival of spasmodic, sun-drenched Afro-pean music. My year looks brighter already.


With Bersa Discos

Fri/17, 9 p.m., $15.

Mighty, 119 Utah, SF

(415) 762-0151

Magic man



A young musician’s sojourn after a successful debut album is often a grueling lesson about the fickleness of fans. But U.K. producer, DJ, and multiinstrumentalist Bonobo — also called by his more earthly moniker Simon Green — has transcended expectations and narrow definitions since his first full-length LP Animal Magic (Tru Thoughts, 2001). Once lauded by critics and listeners as the sanguine monkey king of downtempo "chill," Green has refined and filled out his inspired sonic vision long after the dissolution of that nebulous genre.

"There’s definitely a jazz sensibility [to Bonobo’s music]," Green tells me on the phone from Montreal, at the dawn of a North American tour. "Jazz is the main ingredient and then it swings off into different genres." But Green quickly qualifies his statement, pointing out that his music feeds hungrily on electronic narratives and a hip-hop aesthetic for mixing samples and loops. Dial ‘M’ For Monkey (Ninja Tunes, 2003) highlights just this talent for arranging sample cuts and live instrumentation into textured narratives. Composed of languid keyboard loops, horn blares, spacey flute riffs, and programmed atmospherics, the sensually percussive sound travels like moonlit waves. Green forged stronger and more intricate compositions in his most recent release, Days To Come (Ninja Tunes, 2006). This record sees Green’s younger somnambulant drive mature into the insightful introspection and passion conveyed by human rhythms and voices. A collaboration with the incredible vocalist Bajka emboldens Bonobo’s paradoxical balance between ephemeral and earthly wavelengths.

Today, Green is still following the elusive muses into realms of experimentation. He just finished producing an acoustic folk project for songstress Andreya Triana (of Fly Lo’s alluring "Tea Leaf Dancers"). "I think you can get bogged down with one way of working," Green says. "I like the idea of trying something else away from making my own music, because it expands [my] boundaries." For Triana’s upcoming debut Lost Where I Belong (Ninja Tunes), Green abandoned sampling for tabula rasa song production. The lo-fi, sparse arrangements emphasize the fullness of Triana’s effusive voice.

Green came out of the bottom-up recording experience rejuvenated and ready to write stories into tracks. He says his next effort will strive for cinematic orchestration. "I want to make sure it’s a progression from the last one," he says. "One tune has three different tempos and hugely different arrangements as it progresses." But adventurous strands of jazz continue to shift within Bonobo’s music. He’s still writing tales of love and isolation. We listen, navigating infinite horizons, and yes, more days to come.


With Andreya Triana

Sat/18, 9 p.m., $25


119 Utah St, SF

(415) 626-7001

Corporations co-opt “local”


HSBC, one of the biggest banks on the planet, has taken to calling itself "the world’s local bank." Winn-Dixie, a 500-outlet supermarket chain, recently launched a new ad campaign under the tagline "Local flavor since 1956." The International Council of Shopping Centers, a global consortium of mall owners and developers, is pouring millions of dollars into television ads urging people to "Shop Local" — at their nearest mall. Even Wal-Mart is getting in on the act, hanging bright green banners over its produce aisles that simply say "Local."

Hoping to capitalize on growing public enthusiasm for all things local, some of the world’s biggest corporations are brashly laying claim to the evocative word.

This new variation on corporate greenwashing — local-washing — is, like the buy-local movement itself, most advanced in the context of food. Hellmann’s, the mayonnaise brand owned by the processed-food giant Unilever, is test-driving a new "Eat Real, Eat Local" initiative in Canada. The ad campaign seems aimed partly at enhancing the brand by simply associating Hellmann’s with local food. But it also makes the claim that Hellmann’s is local, because most of its ingredients come from North America.

It’s not the only industrial food company muscling in on local. Frito-Lay’s new television commercials use farmers to pitch the company’s potato chips as local food, while Foster Farms, one of the largest producers of poultry products in the country, is labeling packages of chicken and turkey "locally grown."

Corporate local-washing is now spreading well beyond food. Barnes & Noble, the world’s top seller of books, has launched a video blog under the banner "All bookselling is local." The site, which features "local book news" and recommendations from employees of stores in such evocative-sounding locales as Surprise, Ariz., and Wauwatosa, Wis., seems designed to disguise what Barnes & Noble is — a highly centralized corporation in which decisions about what books to stock and feature are made by a handful of buyers — and to present the chain instead as a collection of independent-minded booksellers.

Across the country, scores of shopping malls, chambers of commerce, and economic development agencies are also appropriating the phrase "buy local" to urge consumers to patronize nearby malls and big-box stores. In March, leaders of a buy-local campaign in Fresno assembled in front of the Fashion Fair Mall for a kickoff press conference. Flanked by storefronts bearing brand names such as Anthropologie and the Cheesecake Factory, officials from the Economic Development Corporation of Fresno County explained that choosing to buy local helps the region’s economy. For anyone confused by this display, the campaign and its media partners, including Comcast and the McClatchy-owned Fresno Bee, followed the press conference with more than $250,000 worth of radio, TV, and print ads that spelled it out: "Just so you know, buying local means any store in your community: mom-and-pop stores, national chains, big-box stores — you name it."


In one way, all of this corporate local-washing is good news for local economy advocates: it represents the best empirical evidence yet that the grassroots movement for locally produced goods and independently owned businesses now sweeping the country is having a measurable impact on the choices people make.

"Think of the millions of dollars these big companies spend on research and focus groups. They wouldn’t be doing this on a hunch," observed Dan Cullen of the American Booksellers Association, a trade group which represents about 1,700 independent bookstores and last year launched IndieBound, an initiative that helps locally owned businesses communicate their independence and community roots.

Signs that consumer preferences are trending local abound. Locally grown food has soared in popularity. The United States is now home to 4,385 active farmers markets, a third of which were started since 2000. Food co-ops and neighborhood greengrocers are on the rise. Driving is down, while data from several metropolitan regions show that houses located within walking distance of small neighborhood stores have held value better than those isolated in the suburbs where the nearest gallon of milk is a five-mile drive to Target.

In city after city, independent businesses are organizing and creating the beginnings of what could become a powerful counterweight to the big business lobbies that have long dominated public policy. Local business alliances — such as San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance, Stay Local! New Orleans, and Phoenix’s Local First Arizona — have now formed in more than 130 cities and collectively count about 30,000 businesses as members.

In San Francisco, the buy-local movement is strong. Voters and elected officials have erected bureaucratic barriers to new chain stores, and citizens have used those tools to fend off even respectable chains such as American Apparel, which earlier this year tried unsuccessfully to open a store on über-local Valencia Street. The San Francisco Small Business Commission runs a buy-local campaign that was created in December by such unlikely partners as the Guardian, Mayor Gavin Newsom, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce (see "Shop local, City Hall," 5/6/09).

Through grassroots buy-local and local-first campaigns, these alliances are calling on people to choose independent businesses and local products more often. They also are making the case that doing so is critical to rebuilding middle-class prosperity, averting environmental collapse, keeping more money in the local economy, and ensuring that our daily lives are not smothered by corporate uniformity.

Surveys and anecdotal reports from business owners suggest that these initiatives are changing spending patterns. While the federal Department of Commerce reported that overall retail sales plunged almost 10 percent over the holidays, a survey in January by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (where I work) found that independent retailers in cities with buy-local campaigns saw sales drop an average of just 3 percent from the previous year. Many respondents attributed this relative good fortune to the fact that more people are deliberately seeking out locally owned businesses.


None of this has slipped the notice of corporate executives and the consumer research firms that advise them. Several of these firms have begun to track the localization trend. In its annual consumer survey, the New York–based branding firm BBMG found that the number of people reporting that it was "very important" to them whether a product was grown or produced locally jumped from 26 to 32 percent in the last year alone. "It’s not just a small cadre of consumers anymore," said founding partner Mitch Baranowski.

Corporate-oriented buy-local campaigns that define "local" as the nearest Lowe’s or Gap store are now being rolled out in cities nationwide. Some represent desperate bids by shopping malls to survive the recession and fend off online competition. Others are the work of chambers of commerce trying to remain relevant. Still others are the half-baked plans of municipal officials casting about for some way to stop the steep drop in sales tax revenue.

Many of these Astroturf campaigns are modeled directly on grassroots initiatives. "They copy our language and tactics," said Michelle Long, board president of the San Francisco–based Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and executive director of Sustainable Connections, a seven-year-old coalition of 600 independent businesses in northwest Washington state that runs a very visible and — according to market research — very successful local-first program. "I get calls from chambers and other groups who say, ‘We want to do what you are doing.’ It took me a while to realize that what they had in mind was not what we do. Once I realized, I started asking them, ‘What do you mean by local?’ "

Examples abound. In Northern California, the Arcata Chamber of Commerce is producing "Shop Local" ads that look similar to the Humboldt County Independent Business Alliance’s "Go Local" ads, except they feature both independents and chains. Spokane’s "Buy Local" program, started by the chamber, is open to any business in town, including big-box stores. Log on to the "Buy Local" Web site created by the chamber in Chapel Hill, N.C., and you will find Wal-Mart among the listings.

But there’s a huge difference — even on strictly economic grounds — between shopping at a local chain store and a locally owned store. Studies have shown that $45 of every $100 spent at locally owned stores stays in the community, helping other local businesses and supporting government services, whereas only about $13 of every $100 spent in chain stores remains local.

When the city of Santa Fe, N.M., decided to launch a campaign to encourage people to shop locally, the Santa Fe Alliance, a coalition of more than 500 locally owned businesses that has been running a buy-local initiative for several years, signed on. At the kickoff in March, the alliance’s director, Vicki Pozzebon, emphasized the economic impact of shopping at a locally owned business versus a chain.

"After that, the city asked me not to push the $45 versus $13, but just say ‘local.’ " Pozzebon said.

The city’s message, according to Kate Noble, a city staffer who runs the program, is that shopping at Wal-Mart is fine, as long as it’s not But Pozzebon said, "It has only diluted our message and confused people."

These sales tax–driven campaigns may well be doing more harm to local economies than good, according to Jeff Milchen, co-founder of the American Independent Business Alliance. "If you encourage people to shop at a big-box store that takes sales away from an independent business, you’re just funneling more dollars out of town."

The irony of trying to solve declining city revenue by trying to get people to shop at the local mall is that the mall itself may be the problem. While many California cities are facing budget cuts and even bankruptcy, Berkeley has managed to post a small increase in revenue. Part of the reason, according to city officials, is that Berkeley has more or less said no to chains and is instead a city of locally owned businesses that primarily serve local residents. That creates a much more stable revenue base. Berkeley hasn’t benefited from the temporary boom that a new regional mall might create, but neither has it gone bust.
Stacy Mitchell is a senior researcher with the New Rules Project ( and author of Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses (Beacon, 2006). This story was commissioned by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN), of which the Guardian is a member, and is also running in other AAN papers this month.