Amber Schadewald

Male lingerie: The proof is in the panties


Lingerie has long been a lady thing. Lots of lace, ribbons and girly details ideally made to display womanly humps and lumps. Dudes can easily purchase a pair of Vicky’s panties to pretty up their anatomy but not all bodies can or want to rock their cock in female style. Options do exist.

These options, of course, vary from the stereotypical intimates that women are presented with — guy lingerie, at least the kind available ready-made in San Francisco, strips away the uber femme touches and gets down to business in a more functional way.

“We sell underwear that enhances. It lifts, supports, and projects forward,” says Bill Tull, owner of Injeanious, a Castro shop with 20-plus years of catering to men’s need for awesome underthings. 

Tull tells it like it is: “Men want to look bigger.”

There are lots of chicks out there shopping for sturdy underwires and promising push-ups, and their male counterparts are looking to make their junk more visually appealing, too. Injeanious has got answers for any department that needs a little boost: padded fronts, padded backs, control tops, girdles, back-less, front-less, briefs, trunks, thongs, ball danglers, built-in jock-straps with added ass-lifting and even pairs that promise ample dick-lifting.


Injeanious employee Thomas Williams is currently obsessed with a pair of Andrew Christian briefs that feature a ‘hang free pouch.’ These hott briefs are a one-up on the traditional silk stunners—they’re made from bamboo! Earth friendly and delightfully soft.

“Underwear has come such a long way. It’s not just Hanes and Fruit of the Loom anymore.”



Color options run the gamut from stark white to naughty brights, but there isn’t a pinch of lace to be found at Injeanious. Black mesh presents a more badass choice and a few sheer, transparent fabrics (even one with polka dots) account for the more decorative options — nothing too sparkly or sweet for the family jewels. Toll says there are no plans to include such items on his shelves.

“The customers are not interested. It’s just a bit beyond the pale.”


What they do want is obvious from one glace in the store windows: plump, engorged pouches. This is why they purposely overstuff the mannequins with big ol’ wads of potential penis. Guys are visual and they want to see it — theirs or that of another, hanging out in a glorified satchel. Who needs bows and lace when you’ve got a bulge like that? It’s simply unnecessary frill. 

Wicked Grounds suspended in limbo


Coffee pots and spankings may soon cease to coexist at Wicked Grounds, San Francisco’s only kink café that announced plans to close last week due to crippling debt. Fans of the sexy space have since pleaded for a chance to help and offered up donations, but instead of accepting the cash with a hungry growl, owners have asked people to hold off and “think about it.”

No this isn’t a clever scheme to rake in even more moola with a big, slutty, pitty party — owners and husband and wife duo Ryan Galiotto and Rose White want their customers to contemplate other causes that need a boost. This from the Wicked Grounds website:

Please consider what is going on in our community, our country, our world: Bay Area’s Lyon Martin, who provide much needed health services to the queer community, is on the brink of closure; STI and HIV/Aids testing, prevention, and research is woefully underfunded; our community has yet to be awarded equal civil rights in so many areas; a series of natural disasters have made those that survived homeless and fighting for even the basics. Wicked Grounds might be an important part of our community, but so much money is needed in other places for even bare necessities.

Wicked Grounds isn’t quite refusing the money — by no means do they want to lock the doors. “We just want people’s emotions to calm down so they can think about it,” Galiotto says, noting how much they appreciate the community’s show of love. “We’re just trying to be responsible.”


Galiotto getting his hands dirty

The shop has only been open since September 2009 but its honesty and openness has harnessed a whole lot of friends and connected a community of kinks that otherwise may not have mingled, teased and whipped. Over half the evenings in each month are reserved for special munches, themed play parties, and gatherings that welcome both veterans and newbies.

“At first I thought we would just be popular with the leather family,” Galiotto remembers. But their Folsom Street neighbors weren’t the only people who started showing up. Now customers bring in “littles” color pictures to post on the back refrigerator, a submissive group meets to chat and trade secrets; “ponies” stampede around the tables. All kinds of other fetish fans and even your average vanilla folks come in for sober conversation and the beverage of choice — coffee.

“When you come in here, you don’t have to worry about your neighboring table becoming upset over your topic of conversation. We’re not open for the ‘general’ public — just the public.”

And the patrons aren’t the only people having a good time. Steam milk, pull shot, get spanked — as witnessed on a Monday morning, baristas behind the counter at Wicked Grounds have lots of options for work-related benefits. Galiotto is even supportive of employee hook-ups. “Just sanitize as appropriate,” he laughs. “As long as everything is food safe. Like I always say, we’re all about team building.”


Employees Xin Farrish and Zev Hoffman play at work

Manager Xin Farrish is broken-hearted about the possibility of closure and the elimination of a friendly third space for people to explore new ideas. Wicked Grounds has consistently been a space for education. Last week while Farrish was baking a batch of brownies she watched a visiting Norwegian couple get suspension bondage lessons. She casually comments that “it was cool.”

Farrish hopes to pull together a bake sale and is still brainstorming with the other employees and Grounds lovers for fundraising ideas. 

“It’s more of a safe space than a business. We’re not a dungeon, not a shop and not just coffee. And without this space, there will be a big hole in San Francisco.”

Galiotto is now battling a stress-induced cold and coming up with the $100k to save the place seems impossible — but so does the thought of saying goodbye. The money the couple put into the café could have bought a home and the means with which to start a family, but for him and Rose, a kink café seemed more important.  


Galiotto taking a deserved break

“It would have been selfish for us to just build a cushy home. Yes, [Rose and I] could have made decisions that would have made our life easier,” he says with watery eyes. “But we built a home for a lot of other people.”

Galiotto and White will be making a decision on the future of their kinky love child by the end of the week. 

Live Review: Warpaint at The Independent, 3/16


The anticipation was brewing: even before the the ladies of Warpaint took the stage at the Independent, a guy standing at front and center passed out. His muscle failure could have been a product of over-intoxication, but I’m guessing it was an overdose of hard excitement. I admit, I too got the jimmy-legs during the show but I managed to keep them clenched until the encore came to a wow-worthy close. And then I hit the floor with a smirk. 

The LA band of four was nothing short of stunning. The set was gorgeously long, stacked with songs from their debut, The Fool [Rough Trade, 2010] and an exceptional jam-session during the encore. The guitars were intense, the drums fierce and the bass lines sanded rough edges with impressive force. Warpaint rocks hard and yet continually taunts with such an eerie, feminine mystique. 

It’s the girly details I liked best: Theresa Wayman hugs her guitar while she sings, Emily Kokal’s hips sway while she plucks a rift, the constant and very mischievous smirk on drummer Stella Mozgawa’s lips and Jenny Lee Lindberg’s relentless wild-child energy. They laughed, they kissed and hugged and flirted– and all the while the music was still totally rad and introspective. Harmonies oozed like honey from the nest and the simultaneous head-banging kept emotions on the rail. They drew the crowd in with a taunting index finger and then pushed us flat down when we got too close. It was the perfect mix of sensual and edgy. 

The Warpaint women are obviously best buds and their complimentary energies explode on stage. They’re like an upgraded version of the Babysitters Club— a hippie, feminist, grown-up version of the girl clan that could have been totally badass if they had traded all their boy-drama and horseback riding for band practice. 

I already totally loved the recorded version of Warpaint but their live performance upgraded my feelings to overflowing admiration for their mad skills, sex appeal and sweetness. No doubt this group is going to blow up and it’s totally deserved. 

Noise Pop Live Review: Dominant Legs and How to Dress Well


Synth and bass, rock and roll, some combinations are easily matched, but when you put How to Dress Well on the roster, pairings aren’t as obvious. Dominant Legs‘ mangy pop was an odd precursor to Saturday night’s How to Dress Well performance at Cafe Du Nord, but then again, what flatters eerie falsetto and awkward emotions? 

San Francisco’s Dominant Legs played like summer in a bottle. Happy guitars, lots of cowbell and rad bass made the winter weather outside melt. The only thing missing was sunshine, or lights in general. Half the band was hidden from the crowd due to a lack of lighting– particularly the adorable Hannah Hunt. One disgruntled lady in the audience voiced her disapproval by shouting, “We can’t see the pretty girl in the blue dress,” to which Hunt meekly responded, “It’s green.” Case in point. 

The band of five played three brand new songs, two cute and sleepy and one with tropical breeze, but the hits were any that picked up the pace. The real gem was as suspected– “Young at Love and Life.”

There was a brief interlude by Shlohmo and his way cool collection of old school tracks, including my personal favorite, TLC’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend”– brought me right back to Mr. Burg’s fifth grade class.

Then the stage cleared. A lazy stream of fog seeped from a small machine in the corner as Tom Krell grabbed the mic. Immediately things felt awkwardly intimate as the man behind How to Dress Well told the crowd, “This week things have been kind of tough for me,” said Krell. “But I guess we’ll see how it goes.” And it went in all kinds of ways: uncomfortable, pretty, sexy and repulsive. It was Krell, naked (only figuratively), revealing every last detail of his diary in a high-pitched squeal of sorts, accompanied by super smooth, shattering bass, electronics and R&B stylings. 

At first it seemed like a bad dream. My ears hurt. I thought slitting my wrists sounded like a nice alternative to listening to songs entitled, “Suicide Dream 1” and “Suicide Dream 2.”  I did enjoy the projected visual art and it seemed to pair well with the horror escaping his lips. I couldn’t believe all these people had paid to see this guy. Was this a joke? I turned to the dude next to me (just as his friend offered up some Flamin’ Hot Cheetos) and asked him if he ‘really liked this?” He laughed. “Uh…no comment.” Then he thought about it for a second more. “Well, I don’t hate it.”

And surprisingly by the end of his one-man show I realized I also didn’t ‘hate it’ but couldn’t quite get to the ‘liking’ part either. I grew to respect the dude for what he brought to the table. Krell has balls. Really big balls. Who else would stand up there and tell everyone that this song is about how his life “feels closed,” instead of “feeling open, like when I was young.” It was hipster poetry hour and I needed a cigarette. That’s some depressing shit, man. If only I could’ve understood the actual lyrics. Were those real words?

How to Dress Well is what it is, folks but whether it counts as live music, a band or a quality performance is still up for debate. The transition from amazing recorded material to live act still has some kinks; or maybe that’s the intention and you’re cool and totally hip if you get it. I’ve never been one to understand ‘performance art.’ Instead it seems easier to categorize this fiasco as another talented bedroom musician lured from his comfort zone, into the outdoors and onto stages. We should stop being so pushy.



Treasure Island Music Fest preview, take one


Cords. Pedals. Buttons. Plugs and pieces. What is electronic music but a soundtrack of electricity flowing from one plastic part to another; a collection of volts humming and vibrating in an ironically harmonious fashion that somehow manages to tantalize our organic bones and flesh? Treasure Island’s Saturday lineup is dedicated to the electronic elements of today’s sound waves, but the event’s artist grouping distorts the genre’s seemingly obvious definition to one that is tattered with new sound bytes and unlikely additions.

Out goes the assumption that “electronic music” equals tranquilized club kids, and in come the offshoots of chill wave, electro-pop, electro-rock, folktronica, dance rock, and all kinds of made-up names. From the dance-party infiltrators, LCD Soundsystem, to the “next level shit” of Die Antwoord, each of the 13 acts playing Saturday’s Island stage hold unique qualities. DeadMau5 and Kruder and Dorfmeister remain strictly digital; Little Dragon and Holy Fuck incorporate traditional instruments; French duo Jamaica bans synth completely, while Miike Snow and Wallpaper might consider their vintage plug-in pianos family members. When it comes to defining today’s electronic scene, DJs and professional remixers definitely count, but the full set of rules is still TBD.

Music is what frees us from our overloaded lives, cutting through our webbed-out existence with sounds that take us “away from it all,” yet electronic music seems to work as both an escape and a reminder. Aren’t we tired of hearing our computers bleep? How about those ridiculously catchy videogame noises and horrid ringtones that rot the brain? Electronically-inclined musicians are adding such sounds to their repertoire, disguising them with mustaches and wigs, tangling them with bass and dreamy melodies then handing them back in a totally rad new package.

It’s a streamlined recycling process, melting, molding, and converting junk sounds into something that injects new movement into our robot routines. No, not everything has been thought of before — here is one area where fresh sounds are being discovered.

In fact, things are so new and up in the air that some bands included in the electronic half of this weekend don’t even consider themselves part of the genre. Sarah Barthel, half of the newest blog sensation Phantogram, is one example, though she and bandmate Josh Carter use a fair amount of outlet-powered instruments like samplers, synths, beat machines, and loop machines. “Sound has so many options today. It’s mind boggling and amazing,” she says while riding in a tour van to Atlanta.

Phantogram’s mysterious electro-rock doesn’t necessarily call out “brand new” when it spins, mostly due to its throwbacks to ’90s trip-hop. But similar to a fair portion of Saturday’s bill, the duo is living somewhere off the classic genre map.

“People will ask, ‘Where’s your drummer? Why don’t you have one?” and I just tell them, ‘We don’t want one,'” Barthel says with a laugh, remembering that just moments prior she had expressed her excitement over Phantogram’s newest addition to the tour family— a real drummer to replace their box with buttons. “In general, we’re just trying to go for a different aesthetic. And typically, more traditional elements like a live drummer wouldn’t fit that. But right now, it’s totally working.”

Electronic music today is full of contradictions — as many loopholes as loops. Anything goes and nothing fits quite right, which is why Antoine Hilarie of Jamaica doesn’t even know how to answer the question, What is electronic music?

“I don’t have the slightest idea, to be honest,” he says, before taking it a philosophical step farther and questioning the point of my question altogether. “Genre-defining is a bit obsolete in my opinion. These days I only listen to bands I like, whether they’re rap, electronic music, rock, or folk.”

It’s a genre that can incorporate all genres, meaning it’s own definition is completely lost for words. But none of the bands on Saturday will be playing unplugged. And if the power does disconnect any of our electric artists, we’ll have a very quiet island. 


Sat/16, noon–11 p.m.; Sun/17, noon–10:30 p.m.;


Treasure Island, SF


Gryp the surgeon


MUSIC The bass. The accents. A scary little man in a hooded jacket. On first introduction to Die Antwoord via the video for their breakthrough jam, “Enter the Ninja,” I was officially freaked out: intimidated by their honest anger, rank lyrics and ultrahip haircuts. It was early February of this year when the Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er, and DJ Hi-Tek of South Africa entered my life, and only days after we met on the ‘interweb,’ I was officially obsessed.

Blowing up their videos to full-screen, I inhaled their stench, injected their music-laden virus, and swallowed mouthfuls of diseased, infectious theatrical genius for hours on end, letting all that is Die Antwoord swim to my brain, pump through my veins, and wallow in the depths of my stomach. I felt sick, happy, and addicted — and apparently, so did the rest of the world.

Die Antwoord blew up almost immediately after a couple quick posts from influential music tasters. Only six months into their new-found fame, these sick bastards have already played — and wooed — Coachella, signed with Interscope, and gained shows with MIA on their first official U.S. tour. Even gross celebrities like Fred Durst and Katy Perry have typed their praises. Their show at the Rickshaw Stop sold out in less than an hour.

They’re white trash with skills: super-slick production, extra-catchy hard core beats, and personas that should be employed by the traveling carnival. Images of sexpot Yo-Landi and her tween-like frame rotate between cracked-out fiend, a shy classmate I met in the fourth-grade, and a sexy, antiestablishment Swedish lesbian. It’s probably not OK that I find her at all attractive. The tiny-lady MC is totally cool being covered in rats, freely kisses the critters, and holds them upside down by their tails. I am quite jealous of her ability to rock wicked-short bangs.

Then there’s Ninja; a rail-thin, pasty man with a mouth as rotten as San Francisco’s Sixth Street. His collection of tattoos are horrible. My favorites include a large, erect penis; his non-gangster “very secret fairy forest”; and phrases like “If you don’t like funerals, don’t kick sand in a ninja’s face.” His prime video moment: a close-up of his seemingly giant balls aggressively keeping beat to a sick bass line, hidden only under the thin fabric of his “Dark Side of the Moon” boxers.

Die Antwoord’s third member, DJ Hi-Tek, is basically mute and/or hasn’t fully developed his character quite yet. Stay tuned.

So nasty. So raw. So are they real? The Web is stocked with videos of Max Normal TV, Ninja’s, a.k.a. Waddy Jones’, former project that included Yo-Landi Vi$$er as his assistant. They’re art punks and all their projects before now simply laid the groundwork for Die Antwoord.

People’s concern with the legitimacy of the group is out of style. Since when don’t we like people who take on alternate public personas? Would we really like them more if they were, as one Videogum writer put it, “actually borderline mentally retarded poor children from ghettos covered in generic Cheetos dust and meth crumbs?” No. Because either way they’re fokken intense, intoxicating, absurd, and pumping some serious Zef flow. (Says Ninja: “Zef = flavor, ultimate style, fokken cool, more than fokken cool. A zone. A level. And we’re on the highest level.”)

What any fan needs to figure out is how to translate the crazy-thick accent and constant use of Afrikaans slang. Yo-Landi finds it hilarious that fans attempt to sing along, unknowingly screaming absurdities that would make anyone blush. The song “Jou Ma se Poes in ‘n Fishpaste Jar” translates to “Your mother’s cunt in a fishpaste jar,” which, unsurprisingly, has a corresponding picture. Just don’t go around spouting off the lyrics in front of Grandma.


With DJ Jeffrey Paradise

Fri/16, 8:30 p.m., sold out

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011

Birds & Batteries move out of the fog and into the bright light


Part haunted house, half honky-tonk and a lot of freak funk, the sounds emitted via San Francisco band Birds & Batteriesplaying Fri/28 at Rickshaw Stop— is a mixed bag of awesome that seems to come from a questionable place. Drug trade, mental instability and disturbing sadness inhabited the streets below band member Mike Sempert’s former apartment in the Tenderloin and crept into his songwriting with dark undertones. Now that he’s officially transplanted to greener grass in Oakland, the only thing creepin’ into the band’s new tunes is a little sunshine. 

Sempert and his band of three, Jill Heinke, Christoper Walsh and Brian Michelson, have been playing as Birds and Batteries since 2005, but last year’s killer EP, Up To No Good (Eightmaps, 2009) was especially stocked with magic and spook. Electronic elements churn beneath salty guitars and rusty keys, and even the song titles, “The Villain” and “Out of the Woods” give hints of shadows in the night and goosebumps. A group of hipsters with a dark side?

“A lot of things were happening at the same time…The financial upheaval. World events. And living in the Tenderloin with my girlfriend– I was confronted on a daily basis with scary, sad things. It definitely influenced the sound a bit,” Sempert says, explaining the band’s minor feel. 

Touring, writing more songs, keeping spirits high and transporting life to a less depressing neighborhood, Sempert reports Birds and Batteries new album, to be released this summer, is more on the “dancey-quirky side.” 

“It’s a more open sound with more major keys. More folk-Americana,” he says to my disbelief, and I’m worried he’s been getting too many rays in Oakland. “It will be more uplifting.”

Like a moody teenager, Birds and Batteries feels emotions in waves– currently it’s a tidal wave of happy…with a nice bronze glow. 

“The sunshine…ahh, ya. It’s much better than the fog…and heroin addiction.”



Birds & Batteries

Fri/28, 10pm, $12

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

A close-up view of Boot & Shoe


The pies that fly out of the oven at Oakland’s Boot and Shoe Service make other dough-marinara-cheese combinations look flat and lame. Crispy, brick oven-fired crust, organic toppings and loads of flavor are partly responsible for the prized pizza goodness, but it’s also the layers of love baked into every bite.

As I wrote in this week’s article on the restaurant, Hot Slice: Oakland’s Boot and Shoe Service Wants to Love the Shit Out of You”, owner Charlie Hallowell is all about filling people’ stomachs with good stuff while simultaneously allowing them to relax, be served and drink accordingly.

I peeked around the joint shortly before they opened for dinner last week and snapped some photos. Sweet local art adorned all walls, baskets of fresh ingredients sat patiently, waiting to fulfill their duty and the staff buzzed with preparations.

Feeling in the mood? Get there early to avoid the wait, order it all and get a little love for yourself.



3308 Grand Ave., Oakl.

(510) 763 2668


May the tastiest critter-friendly cupcake win


Your chops sink into the rich, sweet fluff and your lips are left with a coat of luscious frosting; cupcakes are the things dreams are made of and especially the dozens that will be up for tasting this weekend at the Rock Paper Scissors Collective‘s 2nd Annual Vegan Cupcake Bake-off. No butter, no eggs people– all that delicious and they’re animal friendly…pretty sure that will be my excuse for chomping well over five cups.

This bake-off isn’t meant for observation– four bucks gets you a napkin, fork, plate, and a chance to nimble and snack on a the tantalizing entries of frosted vegan treats. Try them all and then vote for your poison. Will it be chocolate drizzle or peachy keen? Oh, the choices we must make.

vegan cupcakes

Last year’s winner, Laurie Ellen, dazzled taste buds with her vegan strawberry-lemonade cupcakes and earned not the typical loads of ridiculous fame and fortune, but a sweet sense of local pride and a good, sugary feeling on her insides. Yum! The taste testing, the baking and more taste testing– I’m guessing the labor of a baker is quite hard to bear and if only I were best friends with one of these candied cooks, I could surely help out.

This baker’s triumph needed to be further explained and luckily Ellen was up for hinting at a couple of her yummy secrets. 


SFBG: Tell me about the crafting of your Strawberry-Lemonade recipe? 

Laurie: The recipe last year came out of a last minute dinner at a friends house. I decided to make some cupcakes using lemons from the meyer lemon tree in my backyard that had been fruiting gloriously and some strawberries a coworker brought into work which I had recently made into preserves. It was a union between making something seasonally relevant and making something with items in my pantry.

SFBG: How many cupcakes did you eat in preparation?

Laurie: Well, I usually eat one from every batch and I made about 6 batches leading up to and including the competition, so 6, at least.

SFBG: Who else ate them?

Laurie: Friends, coworkers, strangers, anyone who wanted one, I was itching for feedback.

SFBG: What was the best part about your winning cupcake last year?

Laurie: The people that came up to me after the competition telling me it was the first vegan baked good they had eaten and that it really surprised and challenged the notion of what they thought a cupcake was or could be.

SFBG: What drink would pair best with the strawberry lemonade cakes? Vodka? Milk? 

Laurie: An icy cold Arnold Palmer.

SFBG: Do you always bake vegan?

Laurie: About half the time. Although I am not vegan I have friends and family in my life who have a variety of dietary differences and if I am making something, especially dessert, I want everyone to be able to enjoy it. I think it has come in pretty handy and people are surprised and excited when they realize that they can enjoy dessert too.

SFBG: Any hints as to what you’ve whipped up for this year’s contest?

Laurie: You’ll have to come out to RPSC to check it out, it is a refreshing summer cupcake, I hope people will enjoy it.


Besides the bake-sale itself, Paper Rock Scissors will have a bunch of crazy-cupcaked themed events, good for distracting sugar teeth from the pans of goodies. A cookbook of all the vegan treat recipes will be for sale, meaning you can attempt to replicate your favorites. Bring-Your-Own-Tee shirt/totebag or whatever and get it branded with a lovely screen printed cupcake or grin with your mouth full in the cupcake photo-booth. 


2nd Annual Vegan Cupcake Bake-off!

Sat/22, 2-5pm, $4

Rock Paper Scissors Collective

2278 Telegraph, Oakland


Hot slice


Check out more photos of Boot and Shoe Service here.

DINE Interviewing a pizza guy: predictable banter about perfect crusts and luscious tomatoes, right? But restaurant owner Charlie Hallowell completely caught me off guard with a mouthful about life and the oven that sustains it. His new Boot and Shoe Service joint is a short walk from Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater and a neighborhood away from his other popular pizza hub, Pizzaiolo. Hallowell loves pizza, like, really loves it, and now he’s going to use it to love you.

“I want to love the shit out of [customers],” he says, chomping on his lunch amid tables covered with chairs, as the dinner-only resto fires up its oven.

Two dozen tables and bar seats and a first-come, first-served, no reservation policy, means the place has been continually packed since it opened in December. The 800-degree oven toasts the fluffy, handmade crusts a crisp golden brown with a little doughy squish in the middle. Toppings like wild arugula, Monterey Bay squid, calabrian peppers, rosemary, mint, and pancetta (all 100 percent organic) make each of the fluctuating menu choices a full-on pleasure.

The peculiar name pays homage to the building’s former shoe repair tenants and ink drawings on the walls show leggy slices wearing kicky boots. Hallowell’s intentions for the new place were pretty simple: employ some talented young cooks, hang friends’ art, sell Bourbon, play Otis Redding, and hire hot girls with tattoos to run the food. And make damn good pies.

“It’s a fucking pizza — a circle of dough with shit on top of it. But there’s something beautiful about doing something over and over again,” he says of the process of slinging pies day in and day out. Spin a little dough lasso-style, smear on the sauce, throw on some cheese … um, not quite. Hallowell says it’s about building a special relationship with the oven and the fire.

“If you’ve had a fight with your girlfriend, or you haven’t been laid in awhile, or your mom’s dying from cancer and you try to throw in a log — the log will roll off the fire, maybe it won’t catch, or it lands on a pizza,” he says. “When you’re not there and you’re not present, the pizza burns.”

Hallowell has dedicated his life to pizza — and sometimes that freaks him out. Making pizzas may feel mundane at times, but he believes that the three most important things in life — fucking, eating, and sleeping — can all have a tendency to feel that way. So he kneads in a little extra love and hopes it comes through.

“I feed people. I fuel people. I cook with love so people can keep living. They can go home after dinner and make love to their wife and look after their children. They can wake up a happy human being.”

His main concern is helping his customers relax. He tells me he’s tired of how insecure this world makes people feel and he points the blame at the male anatomy.

“It’s all about your dick. It’s all about the size of your dick,” he starts shouting at me. “Your dick isn’t big enough.” He repeats the phrase about six times, louder and louder, and when I look around to see if anyone else is put off by the phrase and the sheer volume of his voice, not one of the chefs looks up from their work.

All this insecurity, Hallowell says, is what make people question if they’re truly lovable.

“Are you lovable?” he shouts to one of his chefs.

“Hell yeah, I’m lovable!” the chef shouts back.

Hallowell turns back to me. “Your mom doesn’t love you. Your dad doesn’t love you. Your friends … ” He lists off more people in my life, locking his eyes on mine. I put my notebook over my head and jokingly mutter to the chefs, “I’m getting a little nervous and maybe this interview isn’t going as planned.”

“And this is all why I promise to love the shit out of people,” Hallowell calms down. “They deserve love and respect. The business part is for the birds.”


3308 Grand Ave., Oakl.

(510) 763 2668

Watch out sexy Oysters! The Raveonettes are gonna eat you…


When I saw that the Danish rock-duo, The Raveonettes, are playing this weekend’s SF Oyster Fest— Sat/15 at Fort Mason– I was quite curious how the two band members felt about the animal/food at the heart of the party. Strangely enough, I found a blog post that lifted the mystery and erected another.

Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are an interesting pair of slightly awkward and wonderful creatures who pluck out stellar ’50s summer-style pop hooks, add in tainted surf guitar and sweetly sing lyrics that aren’t afraid to address the shitty things in life: rape, drugs addiction, betrayal and other Debbie Downers. I can imagine their sound blasting under the San Francisco sun to an outdoor crowd, but thought it was funny to imagine them strumming at an event created for the consumption of bivalve molluscs, or easier known as oysters or shelled ocean friends. I wondered if their publicist/tour manager had to ask them if they liked eating these slimy things before agreeing to take the stage?

raveonettes dining

Due to the fact that a quick internet browse came up with a blog post from Wagner and Foo themselves, I’m guessing there were no hesitations. The post explains an evening dining experience in New York, chomping on none other than oysters. The photos were obviously taken via camera phone and apparently their waitress “was the best part about the meal.” But here’s what the post had to say about shells:

Foo: “We love oysters. It’s always so interesting to try different oysters at different restaurants.”

Wagner: “They were really great! Well served, fresh, with a nice little sauce that went with them.” 

Foo: “Well also, the fact they’re an aphrodisiac, we’ll have to deal with that later on too…”

raveonettes oysters

Have to “deal with that later?” Aphrodisiacs? What??? Foo didn’t believe him either and writes something about not “feeling anything yet” while chugging her glass of wine. But with another quick interweb click, I discover that oysters are in fact a sexy food. Here’s how described this weird fact:

“Many foods (bananas, asparagus, carrots, avocados) are considered aphrodisiacs because they resemble the penis or testicles. Oysters resemble a vagina. The Romans placed the oyster high on their list of prized aphrodisiacs. Casanova, the legend goes, would eat 50 raw oysters for breakfast. Yet interestingly, oysters (and pine nuts, another ancient aphrodisiac) are high in zinc, which is necessary for sperm production. Raw oysters are also high in D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, which increased testosterone levels in one study on male rats, which could in theory increase libido, according to Karen Boyle of Johns Hopkins Hospital. “The data is questionable and mixed, but oysters do make a nice appetizer,” she said.”

Oysters resemble the female genitalia? Well, ok yes. Eat up San Francisco…

oyster vag


The Raveonettes w/Cake, Jackie Greene, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Sat/15, 11am, $30

The Great Meadow at Fort Mason

(Intersection of Bay and Laguna Streets)


Mission possibility


Meklit Hadero’s voice exudes music. A casual conversation over morning coffee can feel like an impromptu personal performance by the San Francisco jazz musician, because even her speaking voice has rhythm.

Assured with the spoken word, Hadero pauses at all the right times, naturally crafting an underlying melodic or poetic content to her dialogue. The intonation floats up and down like a line from one of her songs, as the buzz of the bean grinder, the clanking ceramic cups, and pings of a cash register replace traditional percussion. Opening and closing her eyes between thoughts, she carefully constructs each sentence.

“There is an art to not saying things too quickly,” she blushes when I call her out on this distinct way of speaking. “You have to be open to letting the words come. If there’s too much conversation in your head, the poetry runs away.”

Hadero is all about feeling out the right tempo. And whether it’s in regard to speech or daily duties, she’s established a beat. But as her musical career has grown in the past couple years due to residencies at both the Red Poppy Art House and the de Young Museum, her to-do list has simultaneously matured into a demanding beast, distracting her creative process and throwing off her internal metronome. When she does get a day off, it’s all about coffee and taking time to breathe.


“I’ll sleep in, enjoy the view from my apartment, and trick myself into not using my computer — I hide it in my car. Well, just kidding … but maybe I should do that.”

It’s on these days that Hadero is able to create music. Soul-filled vocals dance with jazzy, playful bass for a sound that references Nina Simone and suggests a more vibrant Norah Jones. This week she releases her debut album, On A Day Like This … (Porto Franco), a collection of plush, bright songs woven from the world of influences Hadero’s been collecting throughout her 30 years of life.

Hadero was born in Ethiopia, spent her childhood in Brooklyn, and has since lived in a dozen other places, including Germany; Washington, D.C.; Iowa City; Seattle; Miami; and New Haven, Conn., where she earned a degree from Yale. While she’s most comfortable in “nomad mode,” if there’s anywhere that’s home for her in this country, it’s here, Hadero says.

“The artistic community here is not something to take for granted. I’m coming on six years here in San Francisco — that’s the longest I’ve spent anywhere,” she pauses to reflect on this realization. “I will always be a person with multiple homes — because for me, home isn’t a physical place.”

For Hadero, home is made up of the people who inhabit a space and the rich exchanges that happen among them. It’s the diversity. The mountains. The water. The coffee shops and the music. On A Day Like This … is her ode to California.

“All the songs were written in San Francisco — they’re a culmination of my first period here. My Mission community of artists are all on this album, all the people I’ve been working and playing with for years. These are my moments in the Mission.”


With DJ Jeremiah Kpoh, and art by Great Tortilla Conspiracy

Thurs/13, 8 p.m., $15–$18

Bimbo’s 365 Club

365 Columbus, SF

1 (877) 4FL-YTIX


Eyes of the city


STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO Two packs of beer, five cameras, and a ridiculous amount of camera equipment are hauled up the narrow staircase and onto the Guardian’s sunny rooftop on Potrero Hill. The four members of Caliber, a talented group of Bay Area photographers, immediately strap on their cameras and secure their lenses.

Running to the edge of the roof, spinning in circles, pointing up, down, and side to side, they take snapshots. The sunset, the traffic, the sidewalk below — Caliber shows that it’s possible to find a beautiful angle in every direction.

“It’s like we’ve never taken a picture before,” says Caliber member Julie Michelle, smirking after a series of shots. A couple of minutes of later, beer lures the rest of the pack — Stuart Dixon, Travis Jensen, Troy Holden, and his visiting brother, Dylan — around the picnic table to talk about their love for street photography.

Photo by Julie Michelle

The group met through Flickr in October 2009, after admiring each other’s varied styles. They decided to collaborate in an independent fashion, putting up a Web site filled with genuine San Francisco moments only residents can experience. When they aren’t lurking with a camera in alleyways or roaming along sidewalks and through parking lots, Caliber’s male members work 9-to-5’s, while Michelle races around the city photographing for her own Web site. Caliber’s images are a sheer labor of love.

Dixon is all about using “weird gear” and putting a new spin on classic shots of the bridge, Bay landmarks, and traffic. The group describes Jensen as a legit street photographer who captures kick-flips, drug trades, and intimate portraits of wizened or withered people. Holden “defaults to high buildings,” abandoned warehouses, and construction zones. Michelle loves architectural details and stumbling upon “lonely” timeless moments.

Photo by Travis Jensen

“As a group, we’re not taking Hallmark postcard pictures. This is the San Francisco we live in. It’s not a sunset at Crissy Field or the Painted Ladies,” Michelle says.

“It’s the nitty-gritty city stuff,” Jensen clarifies.

Every day, the Caliber Web site features a minimum of four new photos, a click from each member caught in their digital nets while walking to work, riding the bus, or on a Sunday morning stroll. From intimate portraits to the beautiful cityscapes, Caliber’s photos capture the real San Francisco from the dirty ground up.

Photo by Troy Holden

“Getting the perfect shot is very mathematical. And this is me being nerdy, but it’s recognizing when every element is in its right place,” says Troy, noting that sometimes it takes a hundred snaps of a single scene to get it right.

“It’s like panning for gold, finding the nugget,” adds Michelle. “And all you need is one.”

Lookin’ hot in the bike lane: Two-wheel tips from Meli of ‘Bikes And The City’


Meli Burgueno is the woman pedaling hard behind the killer San Francisco blog, Bikes And The City and after catching a glimpse of her always adorable road-friendly attire, it was time to get behind the chains and cranks to get a few style fashion-dos from the bicycle lover herself. Poking in and out of her favorite stores on Polk Street, Meli shows ladies the rules for hot cruisin’…of which she says there are none.

She rolls up on her companion of choice, “Frenchie” and parks her next to the coffee shop. Meli is sporting her usual cute; a flirty spring dress, black cardigan, gray tights and low black heels; the epitome of fearless femininity on wheels. As a biker myself, Meli and I agreed that looking lady-like in the bike lane often attracts glances from the other riders and drivers alike– there seems to be an assumption that biking requires spandex, jeans or some other bike ‘intended’ fabric. This is not true. 

“The key to bike fashion is finding stylishly comfortable pieces, which is basically anything,” says Meli with a shrug. “If you can walk comfortably in that shirt, dress or pants, you can bike comfortably in it, too.”


We step into Tedda Hughes and Meli’s grin goes ear to ear. “I’m a terrible shopper, but I love this store,” she says while flipping through the racks. Meli has been biking since 2003, making cycling her main mode of transportation and a huge part of her life. She encourages other women to hop on wheels and quit fussing over the details. 

“You have to get over your questions and just try it. Sometimes my shoes get dirty, but they can always be washed. And yes, sometimes I get sweaty– but isn’t that what bodies are for?” 

She picks out a frilly black skirt, made by store owner Tedda Hughes herself. Meli never wears jeans. “I have a pair, yes, but I haven’t worn them for about four years. I can’t believe people bike in jeans…but then again, I don’t think they’re comfortable to walk in.”


We spot this lovely Gentle Fawn jumper, which is perfect for riding around town on a summer day– comfy, sweet and ideal for modest girls won’t have to worry about flashing their panties. 


Meli loves bright colors, which not only look stellar, but they’re great for visibility reasons; get attention from sexy bike lane buddies and angry taxi drivers alike. This red, polka dot baby doll adaptation is another Tedda Hughes creation and Meli was drawn to the light, breathable fabric. 

“I also really like wool. It’s a great fabric for absorbing sweat and it dries fast.”


These marine blue, suede pumps by Charlotte Ronson may look a bit freaky compared to the average bike sneaks, but Meli assures that heels are totally cool for cycling, as long as you can stand on them at the stoplight. The heel hooks around the pedal and acts like a clip, making them surprisingly ok for riding. The heels on Meli’s toes have rubber soles, which are also complimentary for her pedal style and help with grip. 



We walk down the block and browse through another of Meli’s must-visit shops, Picnic, which is filled with fun wares, gifts and chunky accessories. Meli is all about layers and being prepared for the various micro-climates in the city. These Tullette finger-less mitts are an ideal friend for evening rides. And then she spots the basket of tights. 

“I’m a tights whore,” she says digging through the pack and making comments about each gem she finds.


A fine day of shopping and it’s time to hit the road. Unlocking her bike, Meli has one final bit of advice to tote before jetting off into the sunset.

“Basically I think you should just wear it– no hesitations, no questions. If you like pants or whatever you feel good in, you should wear it and just ride.”


Catch more of Meli

Draw hot ladies on cycles at Dr. Sketchy’s


Get out your crayons, pencils, pens and chalk and pretend like you know how to draw for Dr. Sketchy’s 2nd annual Cute Girls on Bicycles tonight (5/11). Three lovely SF bike ladies will pose on their favorite pair of wheels while the crowd is free to oogle and sketch for 20 minute intervals. Sweeeeet!

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School is a monthly gig that allows anyone to join in on a night of drinking and drawing. This month’s theme coincides with Bike To Work Day— Thurs/13– and along with the lovely ladies, the stage will feature four hot rides for participants to express their artistic skills, including a sassy orange mixte from PUBLIC bikes

The lovely models include bike blogger, Meli Burgueno of BikesAndTheCity, Pelican builder Constance Cavallas and Amanda Lanker, leader of the Pushbike Ladies Ride. No they won’t be naked, you dirty fools, but they may sport a sexy helmet, grip gloves, blinkies and a messenger bag, all great objects to test your creative mind. Don’t worry if you’re not an A+ art student, this event is for sketchers of all abilities– sexy stick figures on bikes are welcome, too.



Check out this Chick and Bikes blog for some pre-Sketchy’s inspiration…


Dr. Sketchy’s Cute Girls on Bicycles

Tues/11, 7-10pm, $10

111 Minna Gallery

111 Minna, SF

Celebrating Queen’s Day with some bitchin’ SF Royalty


Today is Queen’s Day in the Netherlands, meaning millions of people all across that cute little country are partying in the streets, wearing orange, and getting trashed in the name of Royalty. America at large has yet to pick up on the awesomeness of this Dutch holiday, but thank the gay gods San Francisco cherishes her Queens year-round. So while Amsterdam is going wild for Queen Beatrix, now is a good time to honor some of our city’s own brand of prime royalty. It’s time to bow to the Queen…

Pollo Del Mar

Pollo Del Mar,  a.k.a. “The Notorious P.D.M.” or Glamazon, doesn’t just rock the ‘hot drag queen’ title alone; she’s a performer, personality, emcee, magazine cover girl, journalist and even reigned as the 2007 Miss Trannyshack

SFBG: What are you the Queen of?
PDM: A little over a year ago, the San Francisco Bay Guardian declared me “The Queen of San Francisco Media.” It’s a title I hold proudly. I know that bitch Perez Hilton calls herself the “queen of all media,” but maybe my next goal should be to become the “DRAG Queen of All Media”?! LOL!!

SFBG: If you ruled as Queen, what would be your first order?
PDM: I’d like to order a two piece and a biscuit, please, as long as it’s Tuesday. That’s the 99-cent special at both Popeye’s AND KFC. Seriously, in this economy, that’s just smart meal planning, honey. Oh, yeah, and be good to yourself and others. If you don’t respect yourself, why should anybody else?

SFBG: Who is your ideal King?
PDM: To be honest, Barrack Obama isn’t too far from my ideal King. He’s sexy, powerful, socially conscientious and has a bangin’ body under those business suits. That Michelle is one lucky woman!

queen pollo

SFBG: What song would be your court’s anthem?
PDM: For the past several year’s, I’ve been closely associated with Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater” for obvious reasons. It just seems appropriate to keep that tradition alive. :::giggles:::

SFBG: Of what Queen would your reign most resemble? Elizabeth? The Queen of Hearts? Would you rule naughty or nice?
PDM: Honey, I’m definitely no ‘Virgin Queen,’ so that’s out! I say be beautiful, respectful and conscientious in public and be as nasty as you want to be once those bedroom doors are closed. And anyone who kisses and tells…Off with their heads!

SFBG: Our majesty, what are your most prized possessions?
PDM: To be possibly too serious for a moment, I kicked a daily drug habit six years ago, and the peace of mind, serenity and faith that comes with sobriety is the thing in my life I cherish most — well, that and my little Jack Russell Terrier, Piggy Del Mar! He’s the love of my life and, unlike any other man I’ve met in my life, annoyingly loyal!

SFBG: And your most adored, cherished wardrobe pieces?
PDM: Several years ago, I was given an amazing necklace and earring set as a gift from a friend. It’s something I could never have afforded on my own, and it’s so gorgeous that I feel elegant every time I wear it. For sentimental reasons, I also have a pair of faux fur boot covers I wore the night I won the Miss Trannyshack Pageant in 2007. They get raves every time I put them on — and remind me of a kick-ass night, too.


Her Royal Highness, Queen Cookie Dough.

Cookie Dough is a scorpio and one wild woman who isn’t afraid to wow audiences with her vivacious character. She’s an attention whore with a passion for film, leading her to star in films, documentaries, cabaret shows and all kinds of ridiculously wild acts that push boundries way beyond with her own CookieVision.

SFBG: What are you the Queen of?
Cookie: The Monster Show – The Longest Running Drag Show In The Castro

SFBG: If you ruled as Queen, what would be your first order?
Cookie: Rock And Roll All Night, and Party Everyday

SFBG: Who is your ideal King?
Cookie: My husband, DJ MC2


SFBG: What song would be your court’s anthem?
Cookie: Let Me Entertain You – by Queen

SFBG: Of what Queen would your reign most resemble? Elizabeth? The Queen of Hearts? Would you rule naughty or nice?
Cookie: The Red Queen – Off with their heads

SFBG: Our majesty, what are your most prized possessions?
Cookie: My Husband, & Kitties – Lulu Fishpaw & Wolfgang

SFBG: And your most adored, cherished wardrobe pieces?
Cookie: My Shoes – 8 inch heels with a 4 inch platform


If you’re in the mood to celebrate, hit up one of these San Francisco equivilants– just make sure to wear orange and treat your date like the Queen she/he is…


Queen’s Day at SupperClub

Fri/30, 6:30pm Happy Hour, 7:30pm First Course, 9:30pm Party, $55-$65


657 Harrison, SF


DJ Marcus’ Queen’s Day w/ Eurocircle, NLBorrels and The Dutch Consulate General

Fri/30, 8 p.m., $10/$20.

Apartment 24, 440 Broadway, SF.


Friday electronic triple dip: Lemonade, Active Child and Solid Gold


TGIF, right? Tonight’s (Fri/30) dance-dance lineup at the Rickshaw is hotter than Topanga in a crop top. Ambient synth, sharp electronics, disguised sadness, choral talents and acid-friendly bangers promise to make the evening wet and wild– but only if that’s your drug of choice.Tonight’s PopScene event features three bands with stellar mentalities; uber chill, you can dance if you wanna and spun out bliss is key. Sometimes the grooves make my toes tap or inspire a head nod and sometimes I wanna sway and shake all over the place. Mostly I just feel a sense of amazingness in my veins whenever I hear one of the evening’s bands. Even without actually taking drugs, the music is sure to put your bones at ease and produce a similarly awesome sensation for your senses.


From SF to Brooklyn, the guys of Lemonade have an aggressive coast to coast approach to dance music, connecting polar opposite sounds with beautifully organic bridges. The electronics flirt and grind with bubbling sensations, plenty of chimes, cranks, whistles and drips for a dreamy yacht party on the ocean.

Active Child

The layers of L.A.-based songwriter Pat Grossi’s keyboards diffuse any sense of body and allow your little head to float far, far away from cluttered, hoarded emotions. It’s a bit creepy and haunting, but oh so necessary, and a few tracks later you find yourself in an echoing cave, critters and characters cooing you with hums and moans.

Solid Gold

Minneapolis gods with an impeccable way at making the most depressing lyrics danceable and downright sexy. Video installations back in MPLS always included visions of pouring pills, a rainstorm of delusion and confusion. The laid-back, summer cool melodies make for good accompaniment to any high.


Lemonade, Active Child and Solid Gold

Fri/20, 9pm, $12

The Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

Big package in the Castro


While walking through the Castro I was pleasently surpised (well, sort of surprised) to catch a glimpse of this big, hard package chillin’ in the middle of the street. There are numerous sex toy havens within a few blocks of one another and somebody picked up a big, fat treat this afternoon. Apparently the new owner couldn’t wait until reaching home to unwrap this Wildfire “Real Man Bangin’ Boner”, skipping the ‘Try Me’ test material on the side and undressing that bad boy right there on the 18th Street sidewalk. I wish I could’ve seen their face as the plastic ripped open– I’m imaging a huge goofy smile, Christmas-morning, under-the-tree style.

Instead, I was treated with a look of shock and confusion from a passing tourist and his wife as they watched me take a photo of the cock casing. I giggled awkwardly and hoped he too would snap a shot with the camera hanging from his neck– he did not.

Wild Fire

My curiousity burned and as soon as I got to a computer I googled the missing man shape. Mystery solved: This is the boner who previously inhabited the massive plastic shell. Standing tall with eight and a quarter insertable inches, he vibrates and dances, meaning someone in the neighborhood had or is still having, a superb afternoon with their new friend. Jealous?

Earth Day sex feels even better than recycling


Helping out endangered animals, picking up trash, composting– all this talk of sustainable, natural goodness is hot. My body is aching to get in on the action, so who’s down for getting eco-friendly with some private parts tonight? My sheets are organic?

Gettin’ naked is as green as it gets and Mother Nature is all for frisky romps in the sack, but today is a good reminder that your love for animalistic humps can coincide with your love of the environment. Playing by Earth’s rules is easy– just let it all cum naturally: think dirty (pollution), nasty (landfills) thoughts and you’ll be sure to make the sexiest decisions. Here are some green tits and tricks:

-When shopping for new bedroom toys and teasers, look for products that were manufactured somewhere nearby, or at least ones that don’t require being shipped overseas.

-Choose natural materials and organic ingredients, just as you would for a feast– treats that won’t harm your insides or the Earth’s pretty parts.

-Look for long-lasting toys that won’t clog up the ol’ landfill next year– products with little, or recyclable, packaging.

Need some physical convincing? Check out Good Vibration’s Earth Day Sale: 20 percent off all Ecorotic Toys at





Avi Buffalo: Young enough to sound old


Only one member of Avi Buffalo— playing Fri/23 at the Independent and Wed/28 at Amoeba– has reached drinking age, but the SoCal band’s sound is drenched in aged whisky and cheap beer. A shot of their genuinely ’70s rock burns in your chest but tastes smooth on your tongue, making it hard to believe such a vintage sound can come from a group with fresh ink on their high school diplomas.

Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg, who goes by Avi, grew up skateboarding around his hometown, but never seemed to calm his shaky knees. Looking for a hobby that didn’t threaten cuts and bruises, Avi picked up the guitar and started taking lessons from the local blues guy in town. That bluesy attitude stuck to his strings and is still rooted beneath the band’s psychedelic guitar groves today, along with the sounds of his fellow schoolmates, now bandmates, on drums, keys and bass.

The self-titled debut release [SubPop, 2010] came out earlier this month; a clover-sweet collection of ten tracks that sound like somewhere between a chill version of MGMT’s first record and a more intimate version of Band of Horses. I’m in love with “What’s in It For?”, a mellow, mock-epic number that’s simple lyrics contain just enough self-absorbed wisdom to make me tick. I’m completely in love with the simple innocence of this band. “What’s in in for someone with nothing to do? What’s in it for me?” Avi sneers on the track with his scratchy young voice, frustrated over a worthless love. But my ultimate favorite line: “Your lips are tiny and look like little pieces of bacon.”

Check this uber intimate version of the song– I smile every time his little voice squeaks on the high notes and even more so when he giggles awkwardly at the end.


Avi Buffalo w/The Japandroids

Fri/23, 9pm, $15

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

or check out their in-store performance:

Wed/28, 6pm, Free

Amoeba Records

1855 Haight, SF

Big kids appreciating little movies — “Celestial Navigations” explores the work of Al Jarnow


It was science disguised by fun, flashy animation, and people everywhere ate that stuff up like it was a bowl of chocolate-covered bran. Filmmaker Al Jarnow is a dude who managed to make learning fun on Sesame Street and far more intersting than the overbearing bird and crabby monster in a can. Most people had no idea who was creating the incredible shorts that appeared on that show, but if you were a kid or parented one in the past 50 years, you’re bound to recognize his work. And now with an escavation of over 45 films, Celestial Navigations — playing Thurs/22 at Red Vic Movie House — brings Jarnow’s magic back for some instant reminiscing.

Colors flashed, stop motion and time-lapse techniques mystified, and simple, beautiful cartoons turned every day objects and topics into a beautiful experiment gone right. Jarnow’s films played for years and expanded minds in the wee morning hours prior to the school bell’s ring and the punch of the time card. Jarnow educated through psychadelic hypnosis, the eyes of eager audiences glazed over while the fast-paced, brightly-colored animations whizzed across the television screen. I was an ’80s tyke who rolled out of bed excited to watch Sesame Street’s “cool” movies (and Kermit, of course) and when I found them years later on You Tube, the situation is nearly identical: bowl of cereal, blanket, couch and eyes glued to the flashing screen.

Celestial Navigations is the Numero Group‘s first foray into the world of cinema and they’ve collected, color corrected and remastered a flashy bunch of classic Jarnow. The film also includes a 30-minute documentary on Jarnow’s creative process, which I’m hoping boils down his steps in a 3-2-1 Contact Style.


Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow

Thurs/22, 7:15pm, 9:30pm, $6-9

Red Vic Movie House

1727 Haight, SF


Live Shots: Passion Pit, The Warfield, 04/15/2010


Immediately as Passion Pit took the stage, I felt like I stepped into hipster church for the masses. The synths hummed as the band members took their places, the electronic buzz replacing a pipe organ’s call before mass. The over-produced stage lighting blinded my retinas like a messiah’s second coming and shone a halo of white above front-man Michael Angelakos (even his name sounds heavenly). The kids roared with excitement, shouting hallelujahs in the form of song titles, all hands in the air, praising the dance party to rain down the beats.

The set began with “Moth’s Wings”, followed by “The Reeling” and “Little Secrets.” With unwavering energy, the all-but-happy tracks sounded incredibly similar to the band’s recorded sound and people were eating up each note with shovel-sized spoons. Angelakos got the crowd extra pumped when he announced that they were filming the evening’s performance and needed everyone to dance extra hard. The congregation answered his prayer with more cheering, a whole lot more dancing and even a bit of crowd surfing. Prior to the encore, the crowd begged for “Sleepyhead” and when the band returned for their final two, request granted! Everyone may have came in a sinner, but we all left as sweaty saints. 

Live Shots: The xx and Hot Chip, Fox Theater, 04/16/2010


Cooler than their cucumber sound, The xx took a laid-back approach to their Friday night performance, showing little, if any, enthusiasm. The British three-piece is chill, totally sexy and anything but poppy on their recorded work; no one expected a party and yet fans were left with much to desire come the end of the show.

Smoke bellowed throughout the entirety of the set, swallowing up the three musicians in mysteriously delightful clouds of purple and gray. Heads bounced to the wavering bass, hips swayed, and lips pursed as Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim took turns whispering vocals back and forth. I loved watching middle-man, Jamie Smith, work the electronics atop the boxes marked with large x’s. His fingers moved mad-fast, tapping out drum parts, synth melodies and setting up the band’s liquid loops. 

When they had played through their debut album, adding in a new song or two, The xx left the stage, sending the sold-out crowd into a furry of hoots and claps. An encore was surely expected, but no– we got totally stood up. After a few minutes of intense cheering, the stage crew crept out into the light with heads down and shrugged their shoulders. The crowd responded with some major boos. How rude, xx! Denied! 

Hot Chip followed with quite a contrasting sound and evoked a wild uproar of spastic dancing throughout the Fox. Dance circles popped up in every aisle and stairway, making drink and bathroom runs nearly impossible and all too personal with sardine-crammed strangers. Hot Chip’s pop fizzed and sparkled, and while I personally wasn’t feeling the transition between opener and headliner, the rest of the room was totally down.