Molly Freedenberg

Bonus recipe: 10x cannabutter


Want to make one of the psychedelic concotions we mention in this week’s dine column? You’ll need Sandy Moriarty’s recipe for 10x cannabutter below.

What you’ll need:

1 lb. Grade AA butter
4 oz. green leaf cannabis trimmings
1 large stockpot


Place all the ingredients into the pot and fill with water. Place on the stove and bring to a boil; the boiling temperature should be 212-degrees.

Boil the mixture for 3 to 4 hours. At this point, the trichomes will melt off the leaf material and cling to the lipids in the butter. Cook this mixture until the liquid is evaporated. The cooked down cannabis leaves should resemble spinach, while the butter is a beautiful amber color with a nutty-taste. There should be no excess liquid.

Now, separate the mixture by pouring it through a strainer over another pot. The “spinach” mixture should collect in the strainer while the amber liquid drains into the pot. Press the green leaves until all the moisture has been drained. Next, put the leaf mixture into cheesecloth and wring it out over the pot of liquid.

Refrigerate the amber liquid overnight. The butter will rise to the top and become firm again. Scoop the butter from the top, and voila! – your cannabutter is ready to use in any of your favorite recipes as a butter or oil substitute. Keep the remaining amber liquid to cook with, as it will contain residual THC. Use it in sauces or to boil noodles – the sky’s the limit.

Seizing space


San Francisco’s streets and public spaces are undergoing a drastic transformation — and it’s happening subtly, often below the radar of traditional planning processes. Much of it was triggered by the renegade actions of a few outlaw urbanists, designers, and artists.

But increasingly, their tactics and spirit are being adopted inside City Hall, and the result is starting to look like a real urban design revolution — one that harks back to a movement that was interrupted back in the 1970s.

One of the earliest signs of the new approach emerged in 2005 on the first Park(ing) Day, the brainchild of the hip, young founders of the urban design group Rebar. The idea was simple: turn selected street parking spots around San Francisco into little one-day parks. Just plug some coins in the meter to rent the space, then set up chairs or lay down some sod, and kick it.

It was a simple yet powerful statement about how San Franciscans choose to use public space — and the folks at Rebar expected to get in trouble.

“When we did the first Park(ing) Day in 2005, JB [a.k.a. John Bela] and I were just prepared to be arrested and hauled into court,” Rebar’s Matthew Passmore told us at a recent interview in the group’s new Mission District warehouse space. “But nothing like that happened.”

Instead, City Hall called. 079_realcover.jpg Rebar’s Blaine Merker, Teresa Aguilera, Matthew Passmore, and John Bela at their carfreee space at Showplace Triangle

“We got a call from the director of city greening, who said this is great, I want to meet with you guys and talk about how the city can support this kind of activity,” Passmore said. “Much to our surprise, the city was totally responsive as opposed to shutting us down and imprisoning us.”

Bela said the group discovered that Mayor Gavin Newsom’s administration was looking for just the sort of innovative, cool, environmental ideas that were Rebar’s focus. And that connection merged with other people’s efforts — like sidewalk-to-garden conversions being pioneered by Jane Martin, the urban gardening and bicycling movements, and the unique public art that was making its way back from Burning Man. That created a catalyst for a wide array of city initiatives, from the Sunday Streets road closures to temporary art installations that began popping up around the city to the Pavement to Parks program that creates short-term parks in underutilized roadways.

“It was a single interaction five years ago, and now we have things like Sunday Streets,” Bela told us on Sept. 18’s Park(ing) Day, in which various individuals and groups took over more than 50 parking spots around town. “It’s about reclaiming the streets for people.”

Park(ing) Day itself blew up, becoming a worldwide phenomenon that is now in 151 cities on six continents, and one that the Mayor’s Office is planning to turn into a more permanent plan, with the regular conversion of some parking spots on commercial corridors into outdoor seating areas.

“You had a few guys and a girl who had an idea and now it’s an international event,” Mike Farrah, a longtime Newsom lieutenant who now heads the Office of Neighborhood Services and has been the main contact in City Hall for Rebar and similar groups, told the Guardian.

Locally, the success of events like Park(ing) Day have changed San Francisco’s approach to urban spaces, particularly on land left dormant by the economic downturn. Rebar, the permaculture collective Upcycle, and former MyFarm manager Chris Burley plan to turn the old Hayes Valley freeway property near Octavia, between Oak and Fell streets, into a massive community garden and gathering space. Plans are being hatched for temporary uses on Rincon Hill properties approved for residential towers. “Green pod” seating areas are sprouting along Market Street and there are plans to extend the Sunday Streets road closures next year. And, perhaps most amazingly, most projects are being accomplished with very little funding.

How has San Francisco suddenly shifted into high gear when it comes to creating innovative new public spaces? The key is their common denominator: they’re all temporary. As such, they don’t require detailed studies, cumbersome approval processes, or the extensive outreach and input that can dampen the creative spark.

But San Francisco is starting to prove that dozens of short-term fixes can add up to a true transformation of the urban environment and the citizenry’s sense of possibility.



Rebar began as a group of friends and artists who came together to enter a design contest in 2004. Passmore was a practicing lawyer and Bela was a landscape architecture student at UC Berkeley. They chose the name Rebar for future collaborations, the first of which was Park(ing) Day.

Passmore, who had a background in conceptual art before going to law school, discovered a legal loophole that might allow for anything from a burlesque performance to a temporary swimming pool to be installed in metered parking spaces. Bela recruited Blaine Merker, a fellow landscape architecture student with whom he’d won a design competition, to join the effort.

Park(ing) Day was a hit, getting great press and igniting people’s imaginations. “We realized after we did it, like, oh, people are really getting this,” Merker said. And Rebar was off. In the following years they added a fourth principal, graphic designer Teresa Aguilera, and took on a number of acclaimed projects: planting the Victory Garden in Civic Center Plaza, building the Panhandle Bandshell from old car hoods and other recycled parts, creating COMMONspace events (from “Counterveillance” to the “Nappening”) in privately-owned public spaces, and designing the Bushwaffle (commissioned for the Experimenta-Design biennale in Amsterdam) to help soften paved urban spaces and create a sense of play.

Through it all, the group maintained its prankster spirit. When they were invited to present the Bandshell project at the prestigious Venice Biennale festival, Rebar members showed up costumed as Italian table-tennis players (a joke that mostly baffled other attendees, they said).

They told us every project needed to have a “quotient of ridiculum.” Or as Bela put it, “That’s how we know project has evolved to the right point — when we’re on the floor laughing.”

As Rebar found success, it was still mostly a side project for members who had other full-time jobs. “We were all playing hooky all the time,” said Merker, who, like Bela, joined a landscape architecture firm after he finished school. “It just got worse and worse.”

So now, they’re trying to turn their passion into a profession, recently moving into a cool warehouse office and workspace in the Mission. “We’re shifting our practice a little to have the same sort of spirit but trying to figure out how we can make that an occupation,” Merker said.

It’s also about moving from those short-lived installations to something a little more lasting, even while working within the realm of temporary projects. As Aguilera said, “A lot of the projects we started with were creating moments to maybe think about. But we’re shifting into more permanent ways to interact with the city.”

They may not be sure where they’re headed as an organization, but they have a clear conception of their canvas, as well as the traditions they draw from (including movements like the Situationists and artists such as Gordon Matta-Clark, who worked in urban niche spaces) and the fact that they are part of an emerging international movement to reclaim and redesign urban spaces.

“We’re not the originators of any of this stuff,” Bela said. “It’s like emerging phenomena happening in cities all over the world. We just happened to have plugged into it early on and we continue to push it.”



Rebar is strongly pushing a reclamation of spaces that have been rather thoughtlessly ceded to the automobile over the last few decades. “Street right-of-way is 25 percent of the city’s land area. A quarter of the city is streets,” Bela said. “And those streets were designed at the time when we wanted to privilege the automobile.

“So basically, there’s all this underutilized roadway,” he continued. “It’s asphalt and it’s pavement, and the city wants to reclaim some of those spaces for people. That’s a thread we’ve been exploring in our work for a long time, and now it’s elevated up to a citywide planning objective.”

The short-term nature of the projects comes in part from political necessity: temporary projects are usually exempt from costly, time-consuming environmental impact reports. Demonstration projects also don’t need the extensive public input that permanent changes do in San Francisco. But there’s more to the philosophy.

“It stands on this proposition that temporary or interim use does actually improve the character of the city,” Passmore said. “People used to think that if something is temporary or ephemeral, what good is it? It’s just here today, gone tomorrow. But I think now people are realizing that the city can be improved like this.”

And it goes even deeper than that. When people see parking spaces turned into parks, vacant lots blossoming with art and conversation nooks, or old freeway ramps turned into community gardens, their sense of what’s possible in San Francisco expands.

“What we’re remodeling is people’s mental hardware. It’s like stretching. You have to bend something a little more than it wants to go, and the next time you do that, it’s that much easier,” Merker said.

“There’s also a psychological aspect to that. When people see a crack in the Matrix open up, if you will, it can open up a whole lot more than just that one moment,” he said.

For those who have been working on urbanism issues in San Francisco for a long time, like Livable City director Tom Radulovich, this new energy and the tactic of conditioning people with temporary projects is a welcome development. “There is a huge resistance to change in San Francisco, no matter what the change is, and a lot of that stems from fear,” Radulovich said. But with temporary projects, he said, “you can establish what success looks like from the outset.”



The Rebar folks have been fairly savvy in their approach, making key friends inside City Hall, people who have helped them bridge the gap between their idealism and what’s possible in San Francisco.

“We are a process-driven city, and temporary allows you to create change without fear,” Farrah told us. He said the partnership between the Mayor’s Office and community groups that want to do cool, temporary public art really began in the summer of 2005 with the Temple at Hayes Green by longtime Burning Man temple builder, David Best.

Farrah had connections to the Burning Man community, so he facilitated the placement of the temple along Octavia Boulevard, then one of the city’s newest and least developed public spaces. Next came the placement of another Burning Man sculpture, Flock by Michael Christian, in Civic Center Plaza that fall. Both projects got funding and support from the Black Rock Arts Foundation, a public art outgrowth of Burning Man.

“I saw, after some of the temporary art and special events, how it’s changed people’s ideas about what’s possible,” Farrah said. “There has been a change in the way people view the streets.”

That got Farrah thinking about what else could be done, so he approached BRAF’s then-director Leslie Pritchett and Rebar’s Bela, telling them, “I need you to look at San Francisco like a canvas. Tell me the things you want to do, and I’ll tell you if it’s possible or not. And that’s led to a lot of cool stuff.”

Livable city advocates like Radulovich — progressives who are generally not allied with Newsom and who have battled with him on issues from limiting parking to the Healthy Saturdays effort to create more carfree space in Golden Gate Park — give the Mayor’s Office credit for its greening initiatives.

He credits Greening Director Astrid Haryati and DPW chief Ed Reiskin with facilitating this return to urbanism. “He’s really responsive and he gets it,” Radulovich said of Reiskin. “This is really where a lot of energy is going in the mayor’s office. It seems to have captured their imaginations.”

Another catalyst was last year’s visit by New York City transportation commissioner and public space visionary Janette Sadik-Khan, who met with Reiskin and Newsom on a trip sponsored by Livable City and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Radulovich said her message, which SF has embraced, is that, “There are low-cost, reversible ways you can reclaim urban space in the near term.”

The Mayor’s Office, SFBC, and Livable City partnered last year to create Sunday Streets, which involved closing streets to cars for part of the day. The events have proven hugely successful after overcoming initial opposition from merchants who now embrace it.

Then there’s the Pavement to Parks program — which involves converting streets into temporary parks for weeks or months at a time — that grew directly from the Sadik-Khan visit. Andres Power, who directs the program for the Planning Department, told us the visit was a catalyst for Pavement to Parks: “She came to the city a year ago and inspired my director, Ed Reiskin.”

“We’re rethinking what the streets are and what they can be,” Power said. “It’s rewarding to see this stuff happen and to be at the forefront of a national effort to imagine what our streets could be.”



Pavement to Parks launched last year, a multiagency effort with virtually no budget, but the mandate to use existing materials the city has on hand to turn underutilized streets into active parks. “It looks at areas where we can reclaim space that’s been given over to cars over the decades,” Power told the Guardian.

At the first site, where 17th Street meets Market and Castro, the city and volunteer groups used planters and chairs to convert a one-block stretch of street that was little-used by cars because of the Muni line at the site.

“We bent over backward to make the space look temporary,” Power said, noting the concern over community backlash that never really materialized, leading to two time extensions for the project. “But we’re now ready to revamp that whole space.”

Another Pavement to Parks site at Guerrero and San Jose streets was created by Jane Martin, whom Newsom appointed to the city’s Commission on the Environment in part because of the innovative work she has done in creating and facilitating sidewalk gardens since 2003.

As a professional architect, Martin was used to dealing with city permits. But her experience in obtaining a “minor sidewalk encroachment permit” to convert part of the wide sidewalk near a building she owned on Shotwell Street into a garden convinced her there was room for improvement.

“At that point, I was really jazzed with the result and response [to her garden] and I wanted to make it so we could see more of it,” she said. So she started a nonprofit group called PlantSF, which stands for Permeable Lands As Neighborhood Treasure. Martin worked with city agencies to create a simpler and cheaper process for citizens to obtain permits and help ripping up sidewalks and planting gardens.

“We want to de-pave as much excess concrete as possible and do it to maximize the capture of rainwater,” she said.

Martin said the models she’s creating allow people to do the projects themselves or in small groups, encouraging the city’s DIY tradition and empowering people to make their neighborhoods more livable. More than 500 people have responded, creating gardens on former sidewalks around the city.

“We’ll get farther faster with that model,” she said. “It’s really about engaging people in their neighborhoods and helping them personalize public spaces.”

San Francisco has always been a process-driven city. “We in San Francisco tend to plan and design things to death, so as a result, everything takes a very long time,” Power said.

But with temporary projects under Pavement to Parks, the city can finally be more nimble and flexible. Three projects have been completed so far, and the goal is to have up to a dozen done by summer.

“We’re working feverishly to get the rest of the projects going,” Power said.

One of those projects involves an impending announcement of what Power called “flexible use of the parking lane” in commercial corridors like Columbus Avenue in North Beach. “We’re taking Park(ing) Day to the next level.”

The idea is to place platforms over one or two parking spots for restaurants to use as curbside seating, miniparks, or bicycle parking. “The Mayor’s Office will be announcing in the next few weeks a list of locations,” Power said. “There have been locations that have come to us asking for this.”

“The idea is to do a few of these as a pilot to determine what works and what doesn’t. The goal is to use their trial implementation to develop a permanent process,” Power said. “We want to think of our street space as more than a place for cars to drive through or park.”

Rebar was responsible for the last of the completed Pavement to Parks projects. Known as Showplace Triangle, it’s located at the corner of 16th and Eighth streets in the Showplace Square neighborhood near Potrero Hill. For Rebar, it was like coming full circle.

“We started doing this stuff about five years ago, finding these niches and loopholes and exploring interim use as a strategy for activating urban space,” Bela said. “And to our surprise, what we perceived as a tactical action is now being embodied by strategic players like the Planning Department.”



The Rebar crew was like kids in a candy store picking through the DPW yard.

“These projects are all built with material the city owns already, so we had the opportunity to go down to the DPW yard and inventory all of these materials they had, and figure out ways to configure them to make a successful street plaza,” Bela said.

So they turned old ceramic sewer pipes into tall street barriers topped by planter boxes, and built lower gardens bordered by old granite curbs.

“We are trying to be as creative as possible with the use of materials the city already has on hand,” Power said. In addition to the DPW yard that Rebar tapped for Showplace Triangle, Power said the Public Utilities Commission, Port of SF, and the Recreation and Parks Department all have yards around the city that are filled with materials.

“They each have stockpiles of unused stuff that has accumulated over the years,” he said.

For her Pavement to Parks project on Guerrero, Martin used fallen trees that originally had been planted in Golden Gate Park — pines, cypress, eucalyptus — but were headed for the mulcher. Not only were they great for creating a sense of place, they offered a nod to the city’s natural history.

But perhaps the coolest material that had been sitting around for decades was the massive black granite blocks that Rebar incorporated into Showplace Triangle. “One of the most interesting materials that we used in Showplace Triangle was the big granite blocks from Market Street that were taken off because merchants didn’t like people encamping there. They were too successful as spaces, so they got torn out,” Merker said.

Bela said they couldn’t believe their eyes: “We saw these stacks of five-by-five by one-foot deep black granite. Just extraordinary. If we were to do a public project today, we could never afford that stuff. There’s no way. But the taxpayers bought that stuff back in the ’70s and now it’s just sitting there in the DPW yard. It’s a crime that it’s not being used, so it was great to get it back out on the street.”

Radulovich said the return of the black granite boxes to the streets represents the city coming full circle. He remembers talking to DPW manager Mohammad Nuru as he was removing the last of them from Market Street in the 1970s, citing concerns about people loitering on them.

“To see them put up again in JB’s project was symbolic of where the city went and where it’s coming back from,” Radulovich said. “It’s almost like the livability revolution got interrupted and we lost two decades and now it’s picking up again.”

Back in the 1970s, Radulovich said the city was actively creating new public spaces such as Duboce Triangle. It was also creating seating along Market Street and generally valuing the creation of gathering places. But in the antitax era that followed, public sector maintenance of the spaces lagged and they were discovered by the ever-growing ranks of the homeless that were turned loose from institutions.

“The fear factor took over,” Radulovich said. “We did a lot to destroy public spaces in the ’80s and ’90s.”

But by creating temporary public spaces, people are starting to realize what’s been lost and to value it again. “These baby steps are helping us relearn what makes a good public space,” Radulovich said.

For much of the younger generation, building public squares is a new thing. As Aguilera noted, “We don’t have a lot of public plazas anymore or places for people to gather. When Obama was elected, where did everyone go in the city? Into the streets. So we’re trying to give that back to the city.”



Perhaps the most high-profile laboratory for these ideas is the Hayes Valley Farm, a temporary project planned for the 2.5 acres of freeway left behind after the Loma Prieta earthquake. The publicly-owned land between Oak and Fell streets is slated for housing projects that have been stalled by the slow economy.

“The site’s been vacant for 10 years. They came up with a beautiful master plan. And the moment they’re ready to move on the master plan, there’s an economic collapse, so nothing is happening,” Bela said.

In the meantime, the Mayor’s Office and Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association pushed for temporary use of the neglected site. They approached the urban farming collectives MyFarm and Upcycle. Later, Rebar was brought in to design and coordinate the project.

Now the group known as the Hayes Valley Farm Team has an ambitious plan for the area: part urban garden, part social gathering spot, and part educational space. There will be an orchard of fruit trees, a portable greenhouse, demonstrations on urban farming, and a regular farmers market.

“The different topography of ramps allows for different growing conditions. These ramps are prime exposure to the south,” Merker said. “They create these areas that can produce some really great growing conditions, so it’s kind of funny that this freeway is responsible for that. The ramps actually create different microclimates.”

Most remarkably, the whole project is temporary, designed to be moved in three years. “We’re interested in developing infrastructure and tools and machinery and implements that are sort of coded for the scale of the city: a lot of pedal-powered things, a lot of mobile infrastructure, and smaller things that are designed to be useful in a plot that is only 2.5 acres,” Bela said. “Then when we need to move on, we’ll be able to do that. It’s about being strategic with some of the investments so we can take some of the tools we develop here and move it to the next vacant lot down the street.”

The project has lofty goals, ranging from creating a social plaza in Hayes Valley to educating the public about productive landscaping. “We’re getting away from ideas of turning parks into food production — it can be both,” said David Cody of Upcycle. “We want to just crack the awareness that cities can be multi-use and agriculture doesn’t mean farm.”

This is perhaps the most ambitious temporary project the Mayor’s Office has taken on. “Rebar pushed the envelope on what is possible. I told them it would be a tough one,” Farrah said of the project. But he loves the concept: “You can argue that putting gardens in temporary spaces changes attitudes.”

Symbolically, this land seems the perfect place for such an experiment. “This really is a special spot. If you look at a map of the city, Hayes Valley is in the very center, and this is right in the heart of Hayes Valley,” Aguilera said. “And right now, in the heart of a neighborhood in the heart of the city, there’s this vacant, fallow reminder of what used to be there. We’re looking to turn it into a new beating heart that brings together lots of different parts of the community.”



Activating dormant spaces in the city isn’t easy, particularly for properties with pending projects. In Hayes Valley, for example, the Rebar crew was required to develop a detailed takedown plan.

“A lot of development is hesitant to get involved with these interim uses because at the end, they’re worried that it’s going to be framed as the evil, money-hungry developer coming in to kick out artists or farmers,” Passmore said. “But the reality is, they are very generously opening up their space is the first place.”

With last year’s crash of the rental estate and credit markets, development in San Francisco stalled, leaving potentially productive land all over the city. “As the city has gone through an economic downturn, like now, the city has a lot of vacant lots with developer entitlements on them, but nothing is being built right now. Those are spaces the public has an interest in,” Merker said, citing Rincon Hill as a key example.

Michael Yarne, who facilitates development projects for the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, has been working on how developers might be encouraged to adopt temporary uses of their vacant lots.

“How can we credit them to do a greening project on a vacant lot?” Yarne asks, a problem that is exacerbated by the complication that neither the developers nor local government have money to fund the interim improvements.

He looked at the possibility of using developer impact fees on short-term projects, but there are legal problems with that approach. The courts have placed strict limits on how impact fees are charged and used, requiring detailed studies proving that the fees offset a project’s real cost and damage.

“But there is other value we can give as a city without spending a dollar — and that is certainty,” said Yarne, a former developer. He said developers value certainty more than anything else.

Right now, developers have to return to the Planning Commission every year or so to renew project entitlements, something that costs time and money and potentially places the project at risk. But he said the city might be able to enter into developer agreements with a project proponent, waiving the renewal requirement for a certain number of years in exchange for facilitating short-term projects.

“Everyone wins. We get a short-term use, and the developer gets certainty that they won’t lose their rights,” Yarne said, noting that he’s now developing a pilot project on Rincon Hill. “If that works, that could be a template we could use over and over.”

Radulovich is happy to see the new energy Rebar and other groups are infusing into a quest to remake city streets and lots, and with the use of temporary projects to expand the realm of the possible in people’s minds: “Let’s get people reimagining what the streets could be.”

Hello, cello


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Tues/17, 7 p.m.

Bazaar Café

5927 California, SF

(415) 831-5620


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

Blue Macaw

2565 Mission, SF

(415) 920-0577


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

The Uptown

1928 Telegraph, Oakl.


Nov. 25, 8 p.m.; free

Blue Macaw

2565 Mission, SF

(415) 920-0577

Hot sex events this week: Nov 4- 10


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Twinkle Toes McGee, seen here at Hubba Hubba Revue: Post-Apocalypse, teaches a series of sexy, sweaty classes during Burlesque Boot Camp.


>> Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop
Gina de Vries hosts this workshop for current and former sex workers who want to share their writing and get honest, non-judgmental feedback.

Wed/4, 6-8pm
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF


>> Nasty
Suzan Revah hosts this filthy fun-raiser for AIDS Emergency Fund, including Nasty Boys playing Stick It In, dirty dancing, dirty demos, and free massage by Alex of Club Eros.

Fri/6, 10pm
1347 Folsom, SF
(415) 552-8689


>> Red Hots Burlesque
Celebrate the birthday of Ruby White, part of the cast of SF’s first Red Hots Burlesque show, along with Dottie Lux, Honey Penny, Lady Satan, The Fying Fox, Peggy Sue, and Ruby H-white.

Fri/6, 7:30pm
El Rio
3158 Mission, SF


Dia de los Awesome


By Molly Freedenberg

Airbrush work by Jessica Atreides and Andrew Jones at last year’s Dia de las Muertos event at Five & Diamond. Photo courtesy of

With all the Halloween hullabaloo, it’s easy to get distracted from that other awesome holiday that comes this time of year: Day of the Dead. In fact, many revelers prefer the Mexican holiday, with its beautiful rituals and sincere honoring of the dead, to our bastardized American one, with its inebriated masses in slutty costumes. Lucky for all of us, we don’t have to choose just one or the other. So how should you celebrate on Monday, November 2?

The cornerstone of San Francisco’s Dia de los Muertos celebration is, of course, the procession in the Mission that concludes at the Festival of Altars. Meet at 24th and Bryan streets at 7pm for the lively parade, or at Garfield Park (26th and Harrison) at 8:30pm for the festival. (

But first, we’re going to stop by Dia de los Muertos with Five & Diamond, a reception celebrating the store’s second anniversary, featuring airbrush makeup by SOHA Collective and altars to beloved friends, and then join a procession to the larger parade on 24th Street. (5-7pm, free. 510 Valencia, SF.

Can’t make it out on Monday night? Visit SOMArts later in the week for its 11th annual Day of the Dead Exhibition, featuring more than 50 artworks inspired by the Mexican tradition still on display through November 7. The gorgeous entries span cultures, mediums, and scale, filling the large front space with a maze of moving, reverent art. The gallery is open Tuesday-Friday, 2:00 – 7:00 pm, and Saturday, 12:00 – 5:00 pm.
(934 Brannan, SF. 415-863-1414,

Beer Here: Q&A with Magnolia’s Dave Mclean


By Molly Freedenberg

In this week’s issue of the Guardian, we talk about reasons to drink craft beer made locally and discuss someof the masters making noteworthy brews. But the Bay Area craft brew scene is so vibrant and varied, we could only touch on some of what makes it great. In coming weeks, we’ll post longer interviews with experts at brewpubs, better beer bars, and breweries on this blog. Also keep an eye out for a story about seasonal brews in our Holiday Guide and a follow-up to this week’s “Beer Here!” article, both coming out in November.


For our first installment of our online beer series, we’d like to give a nod to Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery and David Mclean, the award-winning brewmaster/owner of the Haight-Ashbury destination spot. Here’s the transcript of our Q&A with him:

SFBG: How long have you been around?

DM: 12 years next month

SFBG: Why is Northern California so good for brewing beer?

DM: It’s one of the birthplaces of the modern, American craft beer movement, giving it a 30-40-year head start over many other regions in the country. Not only does that mean that there are many talented brewers here but also that we have a well-educated customer base who appreciate the diversity of flavors and styles brewed in the area. The many facets of the Bay Area’s artisan food and beverage culture dovetail together, impacting both the way brewers think about their craft and the way local beer drinkers embrace local beer.

SFBG: Why is it important to drink beer made locally?

DM: On one level, it’s just a good idea to support local businesses in general. More specifically, when talking about craft beer, there is a sense of local identity and local pride that comes from drinking beer made in one’s community. And, from both an environmental and flavor
standpoint, it’s nice to not expend resources shipping beer great distances. Most beer tastes best when fresh and though that doesn’t mean you can’t get fresh beer from farther afield (or stale local beer), you greatly improve your odds drinking local. That’s especially true if you drink beer at your local brewpub, where the beer only travels from the physically attached brewery to your glass.

Hot sex events this week: Oct 28 – Nov 3


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Michelle L’amour, Miss Exotic World 2005, performs at Lucha VaVOOM at the Fillmore on Friday.


>> Sex & Memory: Writing from your own experience
Jen Cross teaches this course on documenting the amazing experiences you have in (and out of) bed, whether for your lover or a publisher. Then stay for the Erotic Reading Circle!

Wed/28, 5:30pm
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF


>> Erotic Reading Circle
Carol Queen and Jen Cross host this monthly gathering in celebration of longtime writers, newly inspired daydreamers, and non-judgmental listeners of all orientation.

Wed/28, 7:30pm
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF


>> See Me, Hear Me, Drink Me
This hetero-centric event gives men and women a chance to find out what the opposite sex thinks, make some new connections, and explore difficult topics, thanks to a 90-minute kick-off of free-flowing communication followed by a fun and playful cocktail party. The topic tonight? Slow sex and Intimacy, brought to you by OneTaste’s Robert Kandell.

Wed/28, 7:30pm
$5/women; $15/solo men; $10/men with female friend
Authentic SF
115 10th St, SF


>> Rock Strip n’ Roll
Hubba Hubba Revue’s Kingfish hosts this scintillating night of rock and performance, featuring Live Evil, Electric Vagina, Gods of Rock, Honey Lawless, Hot Pink Feathers, and more.

Thurs/29, 9:30pm
1500 Broadway, SF


>> Thrillville’s Halloween Gore ‘n’ Snorefest
Halloweenie-movie and burlesque freaks will love Thrillville’s event, featuring surf punk music by The Deadlies, tassel-twirling goodness from Lady Monster, and two super sleazy rock’n’schlock cult classic films: Chainsaw Hookers and Zontar: The Thing from Venus!.

Thurs/29, 7:30pm
Balboa Theater
3630 Balboa, SF


Beer here!


It all started with Stella.

I’d made my weekly (OK, sometimes twice or thrice-weekly) stop at Amnesia and ordered a pint of the Belgian lager not-so-affectionately known among beer snobs as "British Budweiser." Why Stella? It’s light, easy to drink a lot of, and feels classier than PBR. So when I’m not on a $2-a-beer budget, Stella Artois is often what I order.

This time, however, the mustachioed bartender Matthew Harman didn’t simply poor me a glass. It was earlier than usual. He had some time. And he knew me well enough to guess I might be open to the speech he was about to give.

"Do you really want a Stella?" he asked. "Because there are better beers that aren’t shipped halfway across the world and owned by InBev." I consented to let him give me tastes of alternatives and eventually settled on a slightly more hoppy but equally drinkable lager from Sudwerk brewery in Davis.

I enjoyed the beer. But better yet, I enjoyed the wake-up call. Though I’ve become accustomed to buying groceries, clothing, gifts, coffee, and even liquor from local, independent manufacturers and retailers, when it comes to beer, I’ve been lazy. I don’t think before I drink.

What’s worse? I live in the land of craft brews. Though there are now 1,500 craft breweries nationwide, the movement started in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington — with flagship brands like Anchor, Pyramid, and Anderson Valley within driving distance (or, in the case of Anchor, a stone’s throw) from my office. And as the industry has grown and changed, there are ever more options for a range of palates — and purses. In short: there’s little excuse for thoughtless imbibing.

So why drink local? First, there’s the environmental reason: it requires a lot of energy to ship all those heavy bottles and kegs full of liquid across the country and around the world. Then there’s wanting to support the local economy: money spent on Bay Area businesses stays in the Bay Area. There’s the more intangible concept of local pride. "We support our lousy local sports teams," says Lars Larson, master brewer at Berkeley’s Trumer Brauerei. "Why not support our local brewing excellence?" And perhaps most important is taste: beer, like produce and dairy products, is best when fresh.

But the world of beer-making is complex. When it comes to assessing a brewery’s greenness, for example, the question often becomes: how green? If you grow your own hops but send them to Wisconsin for brewing, is that still environmentally sound? Or if a brewery is based in Seattle but makes beer in Berkeley, does it still support the local economy? The answers vary and can be subjective. But the good news is that whatever the reason for wanting to choose brews more thoughtfully, there’s a nearby option — or 12 — to satisfy it.

If you still just love the taste of Stella, or want an import that has no local substitute (like Guinness), or appreciate that the Budweiser you’re sipping was probably made in a brewery 60 miles away, well, more power to you. Even Harman won’t argue (though he’ll happily give tastings of alternatives to anyone who stops by the Valencia Street bar Sundays at 6 p.m.). The real point is to use the same criteria for choosing beer — values, politics, and palate — you do for food and wine. Here’s hoping our guide to some of the Bay Area’s famed and favorite breweries will help you make that decision.


This landmark brewery has existed in one form or another since 1896, making it the granddaddy of Bay Area brewing. Its current identity comes to us with thanks to Fritz Maytag, who bought 51 percent of the operation in 1965 and is still the driving force behind the company best known for its unique Anchor Steam beer. We love Anchor’s handcrafted brews, commitment to the community, and willingness to experiment with new ideas, including distilling gin and whiskey.

1705 Mariposa, SF. (415) 863-8350,


This pillar of the Bay Area craft brew scene has been building its reputation on balanced, drinkable options like Boont Amber since 1987. Other favorites include the nearly hopless Summer Solstice, the oh-so-hoppy Hop Ottin’ IPA, and the Brother David line of abbey-style ales (named for Toronado owner David Keene). But we’re particularly excited about the 2009 Estate Fresh Hop beer, produced with hops grown on brewery grounds (where, by the way, all water is taken from wells on the property and all beer is made in a facility that’s 40 percent solar-powered).

17700 Hwy 253, Boonville. (707) 895-2337,


Beer drinkers looking for a truly local, truly independent brewery need look no further than this Sonoma County one-man operation. Well-respected brewer Brian Hunt established the tiny business in 1992 and still delivers his keg-only offerings like Death and Taxes black beer, Reality Czeck pils, and Homegrown Fresh Hop Ale himself. Hunt also has been growing a share of his hops onsite since 2003.

Santa Rosa. (707) 528-2537,


One of the first craft breweries to appear on the public’s radar, this Seattle-based company also has been operating out of its Berkeley brewery and alehouse since 1997. Until recently, Pyramid operated as a publicly-owned company; now it is part of the Independent Brewers Union. Under this arrangement, the brewery is owned by East Coast brewers Mad Hat but conducts its business as an autonomous unit. The company also has revamped its image, renaming classics like Pyramid Hefeweizen (now Haywire Hefeweizen) and Pyramid Apricot Ale (now Audacious Apricot Ale) and introducing a host of new offerings — some only available at Pyramid brewpubs. But with locations in Sacramento, Walnut Creek, and Berkeley, that means plenty of access to exclusives like the nitrogenated Draught Pale Ale or the session beer Crystal Wheat Ale.

901 Gilman, Berk. (510) 527-9090,


Now based in Santa Rosa, the brewery most famous for its Pliny the Elder Double IPA used to be owned by Korbel Champagne Cellars. Vinnie Cilurzo and his partner bought the business in 2003, but have continued to combine aspects of both industries, including a line of beers that are aged in used wine barrels from local wineries. Look for tasting nights of this special line, nicknamed the "’Tion" beers, at pubs like Toronado.

725 Fourth St., Santa Rosa; (707) 545-BEER,


The big news surrounding the Chico-based brewery that introduced much of America to Pale Ale is its upcoming Estate Harvest Ale, inspired by the winemaking of its Napa and Sonoma neighbors and made with hops and barley grown onsite. Also exciting? Two collaborations with Maryland-based brewery Dogfish Head — Limb and Life, released on draft this month, and Life and Limb, due out in 24-oz bottles and limited draft in November.

1075 E. 20th St., Chico. (530) 893-3520,


Many beer drinkers gravitate to Speakeasy because of the distinctive, noir-feeling of its packaging and stay for the big, satisfying taste of classics like Big Daddy I.P.A. and Prohibition Ale. Though the Bayview-based brewery’s offerings are available on tap and in the bottle all over the Bay Area, we suggest visiting a Firkin’ Friday happy hour open house at the brewery from 4 to 9 p.m. every week.

1195 Evans Ave, SF. (415) 64-BEER-1,


This Berkeley brewery encompasses what’s advantageous about imported and local beers. The only non-Austrian outlet for this 400-year-old recipe gets many of its ingredients from its sister company in Salzburg. But bottles, packaging, and, of course, the beer, all are made in the East Bay. What makes Trumer special is a process called "endosperm mashing," which means brewers separate the barley husks from the starchy endosperm during milling, then reintroduce them at the end of the process to highlight the warm, toasty flavor of the malt. Trumer also uses a process called krausening, a slow, secondary fermentation that helps build natural carbonation. (One reason for its signature glassware is to show off the tiny Champagne-like bubbles.)

1404 Fourth St., Berk. (510) 526-1160


This Prohibition-themed South Park brewery has been getting lots of attention lately for its canned craft beers — Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer and Brew Free! Or Die IPA — and for good reason. Though cans are the best way to keep beer fresh (since sunlight can’t penetrate metal), convenient for carrying, allowed at locales where glass isn’t, and (let’s face it) good for shotgunning, the delivery method has long been associated with cheap, watery beer. But this stigma seems to be slowly eroding, thanks in no small part to forward-thinking breweries like 21st Amendment.

563 Second St., SF. (415) 369-0900,

We realize that this list is only a tiny glimpse at the myriad breweries, alehouses, brewpubs, and better beer bars in and around the Bay Area. Indeed, Northwest Brewing News lists more than 100 such places between Bakersfield and Blue Lake — and we’re willing to bet there are many more. Check our Web site for information and extended interviews about breweries like Bear Republic, Shmaltz, Thirsty Bear, Triple Rock, and Magnolia, plus recommendations from beer experts at Toronado, City Beer, and Healthy Spirits.

Still think we’re missing someone? Let us know.


Light beer’s plight

I like to drink beers. Plural. I’m the guy the ad men were thinking of in that classic jingle, the one that goes "Shaefer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one." One summer a few years back, my friends and I polished off 1,000 cans of beer over a four-day weekend on Lake Shasta; there were only about 10 of us drinking. Do the math on that one, and you get a sense of my taste for the blessed amber fluid.

But that was then, and this is now. And today I have two kids who wake up at 6 a.m. and keep me on the go day and night; I’m not as young as I used to be; and I can’t handle the intoxication the way I once did.

But I still drink beers, plural, every day, and I’m not about to give it up. What I’ve done is switched to light beer. Correction: "Light" is a bad word. Among serious drinkers, it’s called "session beer."

It’s a choice more and more people are making in this country — beer with lower alcohol content is one of the fastest growing parts of the industry. But it presents a problem: how do you drink local (and high quality beer) when most of the craft breweries and brewpubs focus almost entirely on the heavy and the strong?

Quick definition here: light beer is generally promoted and advertised as having fewer calories than regular brew. But I could care less about beer making me fat (I can always give up food). What I’m talking about is what’s known in the business as ABV; that’s alcohol by volume. Typical American beer — say, Budweiser — runs about 5 percent. Typical craft brew — say, Anchor Liberty Ale — is about 6 percent. The more serious stuff is even stronger — Lagunitas Maximum India Pale Ale, for example, clocks in at 7 percent.

Typical light beer — say, Bud Light, at 4.2 percent ABV — has almost 20 percent less alcohol than Bud, 30 percent less than Liberty Ale, and only about half as much as some of the more extreme brews.

And for those of us who would rather have four light beers than two Imperial Red Ales (and really — in America, is that even a choice?), the craft brew pickings are fairly slim. Especially in Northern California.

"You are living in the land of the IPA," Bill Manley, communications coordinator for Sierra Nevada brewery, which makes no lighter beers, told me.

It’s not as if we’re without choices. Anchor makes a Small Beer (with the leftovers from it’s brutally strong Barleywine Ale) that comes in at about 3.5 percent ABV, but you almost never see it in stores. The 21st Amendment brewpub makes an excellent Great American Bitter that meets the session-beer standard of less than 4.5 percent. Magnolia makes an English Mild, and there’s Stone Levitation Ale (4.4 percent). But again: check out most liquor stores and none of those are on the shelf.

Across the country, that’s starting to change. Lew Bryson, a beer writer and blogger in Pennsylvania, has started the Session Beer Project ( to share information about full-flavored, high-quality brews that don’t knock you silly after a bottle or two. "There are more people like us than most craft brewers would credit," Bryson told me.

The term "session beer" comes from England. By some accounts, it dates back to World War II when pubs were only open for short "sessions" so the workers could get back to the munitions plants in a relatively functional state. By Bryson’s definition, a session beer has an ABV below 4.5 percent and doesn’t overwhelm the party.

There are distinct advantages to lower-alcohol beers. "I was at a session brew festival two years ago and went through six pints in about two hours," he said. "I keep a Breathalyzer in my car, and when it was time to go home, I blew .02" — well within the legal limit in every state in America.

A brewpub near Bryson’s house on the outskirts of Philly sells a Belgian ale called Mirage with an ABV of just 2.9 percent. "I can have a couple of pints with lunch and it doesn’t blow my entire afternoon," he said.

Yet the reluctance remains. "A lot of brewers, they hear low-alcohol and they think light beer — and that’s the enemy," Bryson said.

Mike Riley, marketing director at Anderson Valley Brewing that makes no beer with less than 5 percent ABV, added: "It’s one of those stigmas that’s gone on for a long time."

In fact, I could only find one craft brewer in the country that actually makes a "light" beer: Minhas Brewery in Monroe, Wis., which makes Huber Light and Minhas Light. "People were asking for it," Gary Olsen, the brewery manager told me. "Our first reaction was, why make something that doesn’t taste like anything? But we found out you can make a very good lighter beer."

Yes, indeed. And when Anchor starts making (and marketing) Liberty Ale Light, I promise — I’ll give up Bud Light forever. (Tim Redmond)

Hot sex events this week: Oct 21-27


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Missing Persons are among the impressive number of bands, live acts, and special appearances at Saturday’s Exotic Erotic Ball.


>> Underwear Party
Every Thursday this month, Powerhouse hosts this panty-themed event, featuring a wet underwear contest, drink specials, and a chance to exchange your old underwear for a free drink.

Thurs/22, 10pm
1347 Folsom, SF
(415) 52-8689


>> Exotic Erotic Expo and Ball
The two-day Expo celebrating flesh, fetish, and fantasy has lots of sexy exhibits, great food, interesting lectures, and previews of Saturday night’s Ball, which is part Mardi Gras, part burlesque, and part rock concert. Live acts include Impotent Sea Snakes, Coolio, Missing Persons, Minikiss, Unauthorized Rolling Stones, and many more.

Cow Palace, SF


>> Hubba Hubba Revue: Oktoberfest!
SF’s favorite burlesque show brings a bit of Deutschland to DNA with this tassel-twirlin’, hip-shakin’ Bavarian party. Featuring Vienna La Rouge, SF Boylesque, Wiggy Darlington, The Baron Meatball von Tease, and more Bay Area favorites.

Fri/23, 9pm
DNA Lounge
375 11th St, SF


“Burning Opera”: The fire’s almost out


By Molly Freedenberg. Photos by Michael Rauner.

Time is running out on the beloved (and only a bit controversial) Burning Opera: How to Survive the Apocalypse, the Mark Nichols/Erik Davis vehicle that attempts to both explain and capture the ethos of SF’s favorite (and favorite to ridicule) festival: Burning Man. The wildly popular show that opened October 5 at Teatro Zinzanni ends its three-week run (extended an extra week due to demand) tomorrow (Wed, Oct 21) night, with a limited number of tickets still available for tonight and tomorrow’s shows.

Librettist Erik Davis opens the Burning Opera by transforming from middle-aged geek to heckling dessert bunny “Bulldada,” whose commentary throughout the show is not only funny, but accurately captures one element of playa culture: irreverence for everything, including Burning Man itself.

Despite some technical difficulties (sound is hit-or-miss, and some lyrics are hard to decipher) and occasionally coming off as unpolished, the show has been delighting audiences with its remarkable range, combination of history and present-day culture, inside jokes, and a surprising mix of earnestness and irony.

Of course, most of those delighted are burners – people who get the jokes. If Burning Man were a summer camp (and in many ways it is), this opera would be what the counselors do for each other at the end of the year talent show – if the counselors were trained in musical theater. Which is exactly what makes it fantastic and hilarious, but potentially off-putting to non-burners, jaded old-schoolers, and anyone who doesn’t genuinely enjoy musicals and satire. I’d also argue that the longer one has gone to Burning Man and the more one knows about it, the more you’ll get from the show. (In particular, even my veteran burner friends had questions about historical references, most of which I could answer because I’d read Brian Doherty’s fantastic book This is Burning Man.)

Hot sex events this week: Oct 14-20


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Artist Laurel Lee hosts a fine art class geared towards women, lesbians, and female-identified people on Saturday.


>> CSC Film Night: Happy Endings?
CSC presents an intriguing exploration of the Asian massage parlor industry in Providence, Rhode Island.

Wed/14, 7:30pm
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF


>> Barbary Coast Burlesque
Wear a costume, wine a prize, and enjoy drink specials while Virginia Suicide hosts this monthly show, featuring Mae Western, Cupcake, Kitty Von Quimm, Balla Fire, and more.

Wed/14, 8pm
Annie’s Social Club
917 Folsom, SF


>> Sensual Chemistry
Beyond Education and The Pleasure Course present this installment of BEing Talks, meant to help you realize your deepest desires.

Thurs/15, 6:45pm
Call for location
(415) 308-9580


Hot sex events this week: Oct 7-13


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg


Celebrate seamen with Fleet Week, done the Lusty Lady way.


>> Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop
Gina de Vries hosts this weekly workshop for current and former sex workers who want to share their writing with a non-judgmental audience.

Wed/7, 6-8pm.
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF


>> Ask Our Doctors: Cock Rings
Dr. Charlie Glickman tells you everything you want to know about playing with these amazing, sexy toys, including talks about the anatomy of the penis, different types of rings, and tips on how to use ’em.

Wed/7, 5:30pm.
Good Vibrations Berkeley
2504 San Pablo Ave, Berk
(510) 841-8987


>> Fleet Week at Lusty Lady
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, or civilian, it’s your patriotic duty to see some (unionized, worker-owned) booty! The Lusty Lady is open 24 hours a day, with the Pink Angels dancing 11am-3am in honor of seamen.

Thurs/8-Tues/13, dancing 11am-3am
No cover
Lusty Lady
1033 Kearny, SF


Hot sex events this week: Sept 30-Oct 6


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

It’s all about sexy fun and subversive games at Barnaby’s World of Wonderment at Castro Street Fair on Sunday. Photo by Jashiro Dean.


>> FEED Auditions
Lux Killmore is casting his savory, sensual, slasher love story about a charming celebrity chef with a double life. Check Website for details.

Wed/30, Thurs/1, and Sat/3
Times and locations vary, SF


>> Arse Elektronika
Johannes Grenzfurthner organized this four-day festival looking at sexuality, gentics, biotech, wetware, body mods, and more issues concerning sex and technology. Events include speakers, performers, and talks at Roxie Theater on Thursday, Center for Sex and Culture on Friday, PariSoMa all day Saturday, and Noisebridge all day Sunday. Check Website for times and details.

Times and locations vary, SF


>> Burlesque Bail-Out
Support struggling dancers during difficult times while enjoying live music by Fromagique, raffles, a bake sale, and, of course, performances by Bombshell Betty, Red Velvet, Wiggy Darlington, and more.

Thurs/1, 8pm. $10.
Annie’s Social Club
917 Folsom, SF


Tornado Rider: Don’t call ’em mellow cello


By Molly Freedenberg

(From L to R): Graham Terry, Rushad Eggleston, and Scott Manke cast “sound tornados all over the world.” Photo by Guru Khalsa.

Tornado Rider isn’t just a great band name – it’s an apt metaphor for the three-piece musical phenomenon led by vocalist, cellist, and force of nature Rushad Eggleston. The often spandex-clad frontman wields his sticker-covered cello the way many before him have done with electric guitars – including leaps, jumps, and dramatic perches upon speakers – as he and Scott Manke (drums) and Graham Terry (bass and vocals) produce a unique, danceable sound that has more in common with punk rock than any other musical genre. Afraid you’ll have a hard time taking a punk band led by a classical instrument seriously? Don’t worry – Tornado Rider, though seriously virtuosic musically, delivers every show with an eye for spectacle and a sense of humor. After all, crowd favorites include songs with the lines “Oh no here comes a dinosaur!” and “I am the goat God,” and all band members perform in some version of outrageous (and usually uncoordinated) costume. Catch the whirling sound dervishes, if you can, before they head out on their national tour.

Tornado Rider
Fri, Oct 2, 9pm
Red Devil Lounge
1695 Polk, SF.

Hot sex events this week: September 23-29


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Strap ’em on, lace ’em up, and grease ’em down: It’s time for every leather-head’s favorite holiday.


>> Leather Week at Chaps
Visit the home of leather, gear, kink, and cruise during the days leading up to The Big Event. Get Cheap Ass drink specials if you wear your jockstrap to Locker Room on Wednesday, celebrate the HellHole Club Inferno DVD release at Red Hanky on Thursday, join the 2nd annual Stompers Boot Pig Party on Friday or the HotBoots annual party on Saturday, and recover on Monday with drink specials.

Wed/23-Mon/28, times and prices vary.
1225 Folsom, SF


>> Leather Week at Powerhouse
Gear up for Sunday with dirty, sexy demos, gear, and hands on training with Mr. S Leather on Wednesday, have a boot-lickin’ good time on Thursday, ogle titleholders on Friday, get some Nips in the Afternoon on Saturday before gettin’ Strapped and Ready later that night, and then start your Sunday right by stopping by at 10am.

Wed/23-Sun/27, times and prices vary.
1347 Folsom, SF


>> Naughty Piano Bar with Kitten on the Keys
Hear the talented singer/songwriter perform the songs that made her famous on the international burlesque scene.

Thurs/24, 8:30pm. Free.
Rite Spot Cafe
2099 Folsom, SF


Hot sex events this week: September 16-22


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Kick off Leather Week with the Leather Walk on Sunday.


>> Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop
Gina de Vries hosts this workshop for current and former sex workers who want to share their writing and get honest, non-judgmental feedback.

Wed/16, 6:30pm. $10-$20
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF


>> IXFF Independent Erotic Film Competition Premiere
Before the film rolls, step into the Pleasure Lounge upstairs, where the drinks are cold, the dancers are hot, and guests spin to win free prizes to the sounds of live jazz and sultry burlesque.

Thurs/17, 7-10pm. $10.
Castro Theatre
429 Castro, SF
>> Couple’s Massage Workshop
Join Anya Drapkin and Maggie Richardson for a two-hour workshop on massage for couples. Bring a lover or a friend.

(415) 370-6499
For information or registration, email


PARK(ing) Day


PREVIEW Screw the consumerism of Christmas, the war imagery of Independence Day, and the inevitable disappointment of New Year’s Eve. Our favorite holiday of the year is PARK(ing) Day, when individuals and groups around the world turn metered parking spots into the playgrounds of their dreams. Started in 2005 by the SF art and design collective Rebar, the event takes advantage of a legal loophole that allows any (legal) use of parking spots as long as the meter gets paid. (Think of it as miniature, short-term space rental.) Want kiddie pools and pink flamingos on Valencia Street? Sod and benches outside a Haight Street shop? A mobile grassy knoll taking up residence in the mayor’s parking spot? It’s all fair game. Nearly five years in, the idea has become so popular that, on certain city boulevards, a stroll on PARK(ing) Day can feel like a street festival — minus the annoying commerce (if people are playing by Rebar’s rules). One part fun, one part frivolity, and two parts commentary on the way we use urban space, this open source project makes an ordinary workday … ahem … a walk in the park.

PARK(ING) DAY Fri/18. Find information, maps, and instructions on how to construct your own park at>.

Hot sex events this week: September 9-15


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

It’s a week of film, fun, and frolic at the Independent Erotic Film Festival, starting Saturday.


>> Secret Desires: Playing with Erotic Edges
Cleo Dubois, BDSM educator and creator of the Academy of SM Arts, will help you explore your erotic edges and demonstrate ways to play with the ones you find most exciting.

Wed/9, 8pm. $25-$30/pair.
Good Vibes Valencia Store
603 Valencia, SF
(415) 522-5460


>> Red Hots Burlesque
Dottie Lux brings a different show of dazzling performers every week.

Fri/11, 7:30pm. $5-$10
El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF


>> Jeeti Singh Art Opening Reception
FP Edge and Madame S present body image in a new light with an exhibition of artwork by painter Jeeti Singh, whose subjects face their insecurities. Exhibit runs through December 12, with special reception this Saturday.

Sat/12, 7-9pm. Free.
Madame S, 385 Eighth St, SF


>> Independent Erotic Film Festival
Good Vibrations’ week of films and events kicks off with a party at El Rio (Sat/12, 9pm. $7. El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF), continues with a vintage movie night hosted by Dr. Carol Queen (Sun/13, 9pm. $8. Amnesia, 853 Valencia, SF), and features BDSM – It’s Not What You Think screening and Q&A with director Erin Palmquist (Tue/15, 7:30pm. $10. Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission, SF). Check the website for more information and the following week’s events.

Sat/12-Sept 17. Times, locations, and prices vary.


>> Sacred Pain: The Heroine’s Journey
Omg it’s a BDSM musical. Seriously. The performing arts group Sacred Pain presents an edgy blend of musical theater and avant garde performance, including clever musical covers, parodies, and originals – all produced and written by former Cockettes member Jack Killough.

Sat/12, 9pm. $30.
Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory
1519 Mission, SF.

Hot sex events this week: September 2-8


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg


This yummy image may be a still from next week’s Erotic Film Festival, but it makes us want to get frisky a little early. Check out some bare torsos this week at Nipple Play at Powerhouse.


>> Nipple Play
First Wednesday means time to take off your shirt, pull out some cash, and enjoy drink specials like the $3 Pink Nipple Cocktail or the $1 Twisted Nipple Shot.

Wed/2, 9pm. Free.
1347 Folsom, SF
(415) 552-8689


>> Open Eyes Queer Film Night
Get ready to rock out to some seriously gay music videos in this month’s installment of local artist’s provocative, critical, and/or engaging films curated by Stephanie Yang (and enhanced with discussion, popcorn, and beer).

Fri/4, 7:30pm. $10-$15.
Femina Potens
2199 Market, SF


>> School of Shimmy: Red Hots Burlesque Showcase
Graduates of Dottie Lux’s popular burlesque series perform alongside SF veterans.

Fri/4, 7:30pm. $5.
El Rio
3158 Mission, SF


>> Jeeti Singh Art Exhibit at Madame S
FP Edge and Madame S present body image in a new light with an exhibition of artwork by painter Jeeti Singh, whose subjects face their insecurities.

Runs Sept. 7-Dec. 12, 11am-7pm.
Madame S
385 Eighth St, SF


>> Ask Our Doctors: the Prostate
With a little know-how, you can have lots of prostate fun – either on your own or with a partner. Dr. Charlie Glickman will tell you everything you need to know to get started on this overlooked and undervalued pleasure spot.

Tue/8, 6:30pm. Free.
Good Vibrations Valencia Store
603 Valencia, SF
(415) 522-5460


Independent Erotic Film Festival


By Molly Freedenberg


PREVIEW Good Vibrations and Vibratex co-present this year’s celebration of girls (and boys, and bois, and, well, everyone) on film, and we can’t decide what we’re more excited about — the movies themselves or the parties organized to honor them. The week kicks off Sept. 12 with a burlesque-tastic party at El Rio that includes a screening of Courtney Trouble’s Speakeasy; moves straight to Dr. Carol Queen’s peep show, naughty puppets, and vintage erotic cinema at Amnesia Sept. 13; thrusts into the next week with April Flores’ Love Toy Art Show; and slides on into Sept. 17 with a 1960s-style cocktail party-themed competition premiere hosted by Peaches Christ. And that’s just a cross-section of the sultry, sexy events the organizers have planned for the festival’s fourth year. If you can’t find something in this week of fun and film that revs your engine, you might want to get your motor checked.

INDEPENDENT EROTIC FILM FESTIVAL Sept. 12–17, 2009. Locations, times, and prices vary.

Hot sex events this week: August 26-September 1


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

i deserve this_082609.jpg

>> I Deserve This
Beth Lisick and Tara Jepsen team up with Erin Markey for four nights of laugh-tastic characters, monologues, and familiar weirdness, as could only be expected from artists known for performances at Homo-a-Gogo or venues like The Cock.

Wed/26-Sat/29, 8pm. $12-$20.
Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission, SF


>> FEED — a FUN-draiser for LuxKillmore Entertainment
The creator of Terror of Titty Town has a new project and needs money to make it happen. Support this savory, sensual, slasher love story about a cannibal serial killer celebrity chef, where all characters are homo or trans. Thursday’s event features performances by Miss Honey Penny, Dottie Lux, Kentucky Fried Woman, and many more.

Thurs/27, 7pm. $10.
Climate Theater
285 Ninth St, SF


>> Red Hots Burlesque
Dottie Lux brings a different show of dazzling performers every week.

Fri/28, 7:30pm. $5-$10.
El Rio
3158 Mission, SF


Fall fairs and festivals


AUG 28-30

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival Golden Gate Park, SF; 12-10pm, $89.50-$225.50. SF’s best alternative to That Thing in the Desert is back for its second year, with headliners Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, and Tenacious D playing for you and two thousand of your closest friends.


Eat Real Festival Jack London Square, Oakl; Fri, 4-9pm; Sat, 10am-9pm; Sun, 10am-5pm. Free. Buy from your favorite street food vendors, sample microbrews at the Beer Shed, or shop in the market for local produce at this sister event to La Cocina’s Street Food Festival.

AUG 29-SEPT 20

SF Shakespeare Festival Presidio’s Main Post Parade Ground Lawn, between Graham and Keyes; Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2:30pm, free. The genius of Shakespeare in SF’s most relaxed setting.

SEPT 1-30

Architecture and the City Times, locations, and prices vary. The American Institute of Architects San Francisco chapter and the Center for Architecture + Design host the sixth annual fest, featuring home tours, films, exhibitions, dining by design, and more.

SEPT 5-6


Millbrae Art and Wine Festival Broadway Avenue between Victoria and Meadow Glen, Millbrae; (650) 697-7324, 10am-5pm, free. The Big Easy comes to Millbrae for this huge Labor Day weekend event.



Antiques and Collectibles Faire Alameda Point, Alameda; 9am-3pm, $5. California’s biggest and best antiques and collectibles extravaganza is back with 800 outdoor booths, with something for everyone.

SEPT 9-20

Fringe Festival Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; 931-1094, Times and prices vary. An ever-changing collection of unusual and lively experimental theater pieces will be showcased over the course of 18 days.

SEPT 12-13

Chocolate Festival Ghirardelli Square; 1pm, free. Indulge in chocolate delicacies, sip wine, and enjoy chocolate-inspired family activities at this annual event benefiting Project Open Hand.

Power to the Peaceful Festival Speedway Meadow, Golden Gate Park; 9am, prices vary. Michael Franti and Guerrilla Management present the 11th annual festival dedicated to music, arts, action, and yoga. With Alanis Morrisette, Sly & Robbie, a special after party at the Fillmore, and workshops all day Sunday.


Mountain View Art and Wine Festival Castro Street between El Camino Real and Evelyn Ave, Mountain View; (650) 968-8378, 10am-6pm, free. More than 200,000 art lovers will gather for the 38th installment of one of America’s top art festivals, featuring crafts, live music, food, and drink.


Brews on the Bay Jeremiah O’Brien at Pier 45; 929-8374. Times, locations, and prices vary. The American Institute of Architects San Francisco chapter and the Center for Architecture + Design host the sixth annual fest, featuring home tours, films, exhibitions, dining by design, and more.

SEPT 17-21


Symbiosis Gathering Camp Mather, Yosemite; $180, includes camping. This synesthesia of art, music, transformational learning, and sustainable learning is quickly becoming one of NorCal’s favorite fall festivals. This year’s headliners include Les Claypool, Yard Dogs Road Show, Bassnectar, and the Glitch Mob.

SEPT 19-20

Autumn Moon Festival 667 Grant; 982-6306, 11am-6pm, free. Chinatown’s annual street fair features continuous Asian entertainment, lion dances, costumed artisans, cultural demonstrations, arts and crafts, and food vendors.


Folsom Street Fair Folsom Street between Seventh and 12 St; 11am-6pm, free. The world’s largest leather event covers 13 city blocks with entertainment, vendors, and plenty of spectacle.

OCT 2-5

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Speedway Meadow, Golden Gate Park; Check website for times. Free. Natalie MacMaster, Emmylou Harris, Aimee Mann, Neko Case, and many more perform for free in Golden Gate Park.


LovEvolution Civic Center Plaza; 12pm, free. The event formerly known as Love Parade may have a new name, but the music, color, and fun remains.

OCT 3-4

World Veg Festival San Francisco County Fair Bldg, Lincoln and Ninth Ave; 273-5481, 10am-6pm, $6. The San Francisco Vegetarian Society and In Defense of Animals present the 10th annual award-winning festival featuring lectures, cooking demos, vegan merchandise, and entertainment.


Castro Street Fair Castro at Market; 11am-6pm, free. The festival founded by Harvey Milk returns with the theme "Come Get Hitched in the Center of the Gay Universe," in an effort to keep the embers burning in the fight for equal rights.

OCT 9-17

Litquake Locations vary; Times vary, most events free. To commemorate its 10-year anniversary, the storytelling festival kicks off with the "Black, White, and Read" ball and continues with nine days of lit-themed programming.

OCT 11

San Francisco Decompression Indiana Street; Break our your still-dusty Burning Man costumes and welcome hard-working BMORG staff back to "Real Life" with this BRC-themed street fair and festival.

OCT 15

West Fest Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park; 9am-6pm, free. 2b1 Multimedia Inc., the Council of Light, and the original producer of Woodstock 1969 team up to celebrate Woodstock’s 40th anniversary with a free show featuring Country Joe, Denny Laine, Alameda All Stars, Michael McClure, and tons more.

OCT 16

WhiskyFest San Francisco Marriott, 55 Fourth St; 896-1600, 6:30-9:30pm, $95. America’s largest whisky celebration returns to SF for the third year with more than 200 of the world’s rarest and most expensive whiskies.

OCT 17

Potrero Hill Festival Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, 953 De Haro. 9am-5pm. This benefit for the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House features a jazz brunch catered by students of The California Culinary Academy and continues with a street fair along 20th Street between Missouri and Arkansas.

OCT 17-18

Treasure Island Music Festival Treasure Island; Fri-Sat, 11am. $65-$249. The Bay Area’s answer to Coachella (minus the camping, heat, and Orange County douchebags) is back, this year featuring The Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, Yo La Tengo, The Streets, and about 100 other indie favorites and up-and-comers.


Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival Main Street at Highways 1 and 92, Half Moon Bay. 9am-5pm, free. Jim Stevens and Friends will return to the world famous festival featuring music, crafts, parade, and children’s events.

OCT 23-24
Exotic Erotic Expo Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva; Fri, 2-10pm; Sat, 12-6pm; $20. Part Mardi Gras, part burlesque, and part rock concert, this two-day fest is a celebration of human sexuality and freedom of expression, with its crowning event the Exotic Erotic Ball on Saturday night.
Day of the Dead Starts at 24th and Bryant, ends at Garfield Park; 7pm, free. Celebrate this traditional Latin holiday – and SF institution — with a procession and Festival of Altars.
NOV 13-15
SF Green Festival San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 Eighth St; Fri, 12-7pm; Sat, 10am-7pm; Sun, 11am-6pm. $15-$25. A joint project of Global Exchange and Green America, this three-day event features the best in green speakers and special events.
NOV 27-DEC 20
Great Dickens Christmas Fair Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva; Fri-Sun, 11am-7pm. Check website for ticket prices. Channel Charles Dickens’ Victorian London with this 90,000 square-foot theatrical extravaganza.

Independent Erotic Film Festival


PREVIEW Good Vibrations and Vibratex co-present this year’s celebration of girls (and boys, and bois, and, well, everyone) on film, and we can’t decide what we’re more excited about — the movies themselves or the parties organized to honor them. The week kicks off Sept. 12 with a burlesque-tastic party at El Rio that includes a screening of Courtney Trouble’s Speakeasy; moves straight to Dr. Carol Queen’s peep show, naughty puppets, and vintage erotic cinema at Amnesia Sept. 13; thrusts into the next week with April Flores’ Love Toy Art Show; and slides on into Sept. 17 with a 1960s-style cocktail party-themed competition premiere hosted by Peaches Christ. And that’s just a cross-section of the sultry, sexy events the organizers have planned for the festival’s fourth year. If you can’t find something in this week of fun and film that revs your engine, you might want to get your motor checked.

INDEPENDENT EROTIC FILM FESTIVAL Sept. 12–17, 2009. Locations, times, and prices vary.

Hot sex events this week: August 19-25


Compiled by Molly Freedenberg

Tie me up, tie me down: This week is bondage-a-licious, thanks to tonight’s Pirate Party and Saturday’s “Art of Restraint.”


>> Bondage A Go Go: Pirate Party
The weekly sadistic disco hosts a costume party for pirates, slaves, sluts, and scalliwags, featuring the Bootie Beauty Contest ($200 for first prize) and treasure hunts.

Wed/19, 9:30pm. Free with pirate attire until 10pm. 520 4th St, SF


>> Positions for Pleasure
Sex educator Jamye Waxman has been doing research for an upcoming DVD and video game on sex positions and wants to take you on a back-bending, mind-expanding, stand up, sit down, lay back ride through positions for pleasure.

Wed/19, 8-10pm. $25-$30. Good Vibrations Valencia, 603 Valencia, SF; (415) 522-5460,


>> Thrillville’s Satanic Sci-Fi Schlock-O-Rama
See the live retro-rocket heat of Red Hots Burlesque, plus rare 35mm prints of Missile to the Moon — all hosted by Will the Thrill and Monica Tiki Goddess.

Thurs/20, 7:30pm. $12. 4 Star Theater, 2200 Clement, SF; (415) 666-3388,


>> Sex Workers’ Writing Workshop
Gina de Vries hosts this workshop for people working or who have worked in the sex industry as a way to share their writing about anything.

Thurs/20, 5:30-7:30pm. $10-$20. Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission, SF;