Soojin Chang

I came, I saw, I glittered: Monthly live sex show debuts in the Mission


The only other time I had been to a live sex show was in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. The thing was crude – even amid the slew of debauchery that makes up tourist Amsterdam. Mostly, that was because of the concrete venue, Eurotrash techno, and slimy men masturbating and jeering behind me. But the Saturday night debut of Cum and Glitter at an underground venue in the Mission was an entirely different experience. Hosted by the elegant and welcoming Ginger Murry of Whore Magazine, the show is the brainchild of Ava Solanas and Maxine Holloway, who started the new monthly event as an expressive outlet for the sex worker community.

The show started at a little past ten p.m. Attendees descended wooden steps to an intimate underground event space that resembled a 1920’s speakeasy. The room was dimly lit, dotted with small round tables, and overflowing with anticipation. Garter belts and playsuit-flaunting babes appeared, accompanied by the deep, warm bellows of a cello being played by the artist Unwoman that vibrated through the air. 

The series’ first performance, an enchanting strip tease by Dorian Faust, set a sexy mood that carried through the rest of the evening, despite ensuing acts that registered higher on the comedy scale. Faust looked like a mermaid in her sequined outfit of varying blue hues, and her nimble body moved in waves, creating an optical illusion that carried on until she was stripped down to just her gold and blue glitter and thong. 

Next on stage were Courtney Trouble and Maxine Holloway, the latter of whose nipples were swiftly cinched with clothes pins, mouth gagged with her brunette mane. The evening proceeded in this manner, switching off between sensual and expressive solo dances and the longer duo role-plays that involved plenty of spankings, toys, and at times, ordinary household items used in surprisingly creative ways. 

Eden Alexander’s lesson on how to be a dominatrix was awe-inspiring to say the least. She spoke with comedic conviction as she took charge of her male submissive, who was ordered to worship his mistress — when he wasn’t being used as a standing surface for her stillettoes. Alexander’s delightful sass was perfectly complemented by her — even sassier — hot pink latex floor-length dress. 

Dialogue and interactions were clearly exaggerated, and the performance was more stylized than realistic. However, the sheer and genuine excitement of the performers made the show feel unforced. The audience reaped all the usual benefits of watching a performance in a small venue, and we were able to intimately enjoy every soft moan and fleeting expression –- moments that are normally missed entirely in onscreen porn. Being eye-level with the action literally involved the audience that much more in the ecstasy of the performers — when Solanas squirted in all her glittering glory to the swells of the cello mere feet to her right, barely missing my shoe in the process, it was as if she was coming for all of us. 

It is billed as a live sex show, but don’t be misled — the first installation of “Cum and Glitter” was not simply an explicit display of intercourse as it was a series of rather light-hearted scenarios acted out by nine gorgeous women who understand how pleasurable the mix of consent and wild imagination can be.  Whether your fantasy is a naughty baby sitter, sexy shoeshine, or being gagged with a rubber chicken, there was an elated smile on everyone’s face by the end of the night — it was clear that everyone left the show feeling quite satisfied. 

Check out Cum and Glitter’s website for information on the collective’s next show 

6 great author readings in the next 12 days


Opt for a night sans sloppy drunks, covers, reality TV, or morning-after regret. Opt for a book reading — here, we’ll get you started with a list of upcoming page-turners. 

Joshua Foer: Moonwalking with Einstein

Foer investigates the inner workings of our brain by drawing on scientific research, cultural history of memory, and personal explorations of different memory techniques.  

Fri/5 7:30 p.m., free. The Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF. (415) 863-8688,

Karen Joy Fowler: The Jane Austen Book Club 

Fowler is an American science fiction and fantasy author who writes mostly about the lives of women. Her readings will be a part of Babylon Salon’s Spring 2012 reading and Performance event. 

Sat/ 3 7 p.m., free. Cantina SF, 580 Sutter, SF. (415) 398-1095, 

Joy Wilson: Joy the Baker Cookbook

Wilson loves butter, sugar, and dark chocolate, and shares her creative and delicious baking methods in her cookbook. We’re hoping she’s bringing brownies. 

Sun/4 3 p.m., free. Omnivore Books, 3885 Caesar Chavez, SF. (415) 282-4712, 

Kim Harrison: Perfect Blood

Harrison’s newest book is centered on a witch turned day-walking demon who is fleeing from human hate groups. She has fought against vampires and werewolves before, but humans are turning out to be the trickiest opponent of all.  

Mon/5 7 p.m., free. Borderlands Cafe, 870 Valencia, SF. (415) 970-6988, 

Aaron Shurin: Citizen

Shurin uses lyrical prose and visceral language as he explores the nuances of civic and domestic life in his collection of poems. 

Mon/5 7:30 p.m., free. Moe’s Books, 2476 Telegraph, Berk. (510) 849-2133, 

Pamela Druckerman: Bringing Up Bebe

Druckerman investigates cultural differences involved in American and Parisian childbearing. 

Tues/6 7 p.m., free. Bookshop West Portal, 80 West Portal, SF. (415) 564-8080,


On the Cheap


On the Cheap listings are compiled by Soojin Chang. Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.


“An Edward Gorey Birthday Party” Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission, SF; (415) 227-8666, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., free. Edward Gorey: a cool guy who not only made pop-up matchbox-sized books by hand, but also redefined the macabre nonsense that makes up children’s literature. Come celebrate the world-renowned author’s birthday with an evening of readings, interpretations, and cake.


“Path to Prison Reform: Freeing Jails from Racism Berkeley-East Baby Gray Panthers” North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst, Berk; (510) 548-9696, 1:30 p.m., free. Plenty of things go down in jails that are neither documented nor resolved. Join ACLU members and former prisoners in a discussion of how racism may be the culprit behind prison brutality.


“A Mnemosyne Slumber Party” Mechanic’s Institute, 57 Post, SF; (415) 393-0101, 6 p.m., $12. Mnemosyne is a free online journal that features art, fiction, and nonfiction work dedicated to the science of memory and the mind. Come to the premiere of their newest “Sleep and Dreams” issue, stay for a night of live readings and artist appearances.


“Diversity and Evolution of Hummingbirds” City College of San Francisco Ocean Campus, 50 Phelan, SF; (415) 239-3475, Noon-1 p.m., free. Hitchcock ruined birds for some of us, but for those who still find these flying feathered creatures non-terrifying, this is a chance to join ornithology instructor Joe Morlan as he discusses the many birds he saw in his adventures in California, Arizona, Belize, Costa Rica, Trinidad, and Ecuador.


Oakland Food Not Bombs benefit show Revolution Cafe, 1612 Seventh St., Oakl; (510) 625-0149, 7 p.m., $4-$13. Food Not Bombs is all about non-violence, consensus decision-making, and tasty vegetarian meals, distributed for free to the community. What’s not to love? Support the group’s efforts this weekend in a benefit show featuring local bands Nate Porter and Wagon Boat.


“Noise Pop Culture Club” Public Works, 161 Erie, SF; (415) 932-0955, 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., $10. Noise Pop would not be possible without the visionary artists in the music, film, art, design, technology, and food communities. This event features a discussion by Johnny Jewel of Glass Candy, artwork by Grimes, an Ableton Live workshop with Thavius Beck, a talk on animation by Aaron Rose and Syd Garon – plus a bounce lesson taught by New Orleans bounce belle, Big Freedia.

Punk Swap Meet Speakeasy Ales and Lagers, 1195 Evans, SF; (415) 642-3371, 1

p.m.-6 p.m., free. If you thought flea markets were just for old knitting ladies, you have never been more wrong. Punk Swap Meet has tables selling records, zines, tapes, DIY crafts, clothing, and is open to all ages. There will be food by Eagle Dog, with vegetarian and vegan options available, and brew on tap for $3.

San Francisco Crystal Fair Fort Mason Center Building A, 99 Marina, SF; (415) 383-7837, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (also Sun/26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.), $6 for two-day admission. Is your chakra out of sync? Not to worry. Pacific Crystal Guild is coming with over 40 exhibitors carrying crystals from Nepal, Bali, Afghanistan, and China.

SF Flea Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center, One Buchanan, SF; (415) 990-0600, Sat., 11 am.1-6 p.m. (also Sun/26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.), $5. SF Flea is a modern public market that brings together local design, style, food, art, and entertainment.


Miss and Mister Oakland Punk Rock Pageant East Bay Rats Club House, 3025 San Pablo, Oakl; (510) 830-6466, 8:30 p.m., $5 (free for contestants). Who says you have to be a six-year-old from Georgia or proclaim world peace in a bikini to be in a pageant? Have your long-awaited tiara moment by showcasing how swiftly you can open a beer bottle with your teeth at Oakland’s very own punk rock pageant.

Stories of Old San Francisco Chinatown reading Eastwind Books of Berkeley, 2066 University, Berk; (510) 548-2350, 3 p.m., free. A long walk through Chinatown conjures ghosts – one can’t help cogitating on these streets’ secrets and history. Join Lyle Jan, a San Francisco native, for a journey through his youth spent growing up in Chinatown.


San Francisco Bookstore and Chocolate Crawl Meet at Green Apple Books, 506 Clement, SF. (415) 387-2272, Noon-6 p.m., free. Go on a walking tour of some of San Francisco’s finest bookstores, buy some books, and eat a lot of chocolate.

The Fairy Dogfather signing Books Inc., 3515 California, SF; (415) 221-3666, 3 p.m., free. In Alexandra Day’s new book, a dyslexic boy asks for a fairy dogfather instead of a fairy godfather. And we’re so glad he did, because the combination of a fedora-wearing dog-friend and a confused child makes for one adorable picture book.


Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning reading Booksmith, 1644 Haight, SF; (415) 863-8688, 7:30 p.m., free. Is it really true that an old dog can never learn a new trick? In his book Guitar Zero, NYU professor Gary Marcus chronicles his own experience learning to play the guitar at age 38, and finds that there isn’t necessarily a cut-off age for mastering a new skill.


“Pritzker Family Lecture” with Claude Lanzmann and Regina Longo Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California, SF. (415) 292-1200, 7 p.m., free with reservation. Lanzmann not only lived through the German occupation of France and fought with the French Resistance, but helped document the whole thing as the editor of Les Temps Modernes, Jean Paul Sartre’s political-literary journal. Come pick his brain as he discusses his new memoir, The Patagonian Hare, and his film, Shoah.

6 places to take a nude figure drawing class


Clothes are nothing but hindrances when it comes to drawing the human body. Strip down to the barest essentials in these nude figure drawing classes offered around the Bay Area. Most of these classes are uninstructed, so you will be on your own to explore the aesthetic beauty of the human form.

“Figure Drawing Without Instruction”

9:30-12:30 p.m. and 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Wednesdays 6:30-9:30 p.m., $16/class. 23rd Street Studio, 3747 23rd St., SF. (415) 824-3408, 

“Uninstructed gesture poses with nude art model”

Tuesdays 6:30-9:30 p.m., $15/class. Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru, Alameda. (510) 523-6957,

“Drawing from the Nude Model”

Tuesdays 7-10 p.m., $12/class. Lightning Coyote Studio, 2914 Linden, Oakl. (510) 836-0363,

“Berkeley Nude Life Drawing Group”

Wednesdays 7 p.m., $13/class. Firehouse North Gallery, 1790 Shattuck, Berk.

“Gay Men’s Sketch”

Tuesday 6:30 p.m., call for reservations. Mark I. Chester Studio, 1229 Folsom, SF. (415) 621-6294,

“Figure Drawing: Gestural Poses”

Wednesdays 9:30-12:30 p.m, $55/four sessions. The Emerald Tablet, 80 Fresno, SF. (415) 500-2323,


Riding the ‘Dark Wave’: Jay Howell comes home for a zine release


Jay Howell may have left us for the palm trees in Silverlake, but that doesn’t mean that he’s gone forever. 

You may know Howell for his zine Punks Git Cut, his drawings of people with neon faces on vintage book pages, or as that really tall guy you always used to see in the coffeeshop. Upon moving to sunny (and smoggy) Los Angeles, Howell has gotten a car, finished up doing the character development for Bob’s Burgers, and is currently working as the art director for a show on Nickelodeon. He returns to San Francisco on Sat/18 for an art show at Fecal Face Dot Gallery to celebrate the release of his new zine The Dark Wave — a 50-page comic book about the lead singer of a death metal band and his existential journey to the ocean.

On a rainy Monday afternoon, the Guardian called up Howell – who was more than likely basking beneath the Southern Californian sun – for a phone interview about writing The Dark Wave and his obsession with Harlequin romance novels: 

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Hey Jay. How’s life in Los Angeles? 

Jay Howell: LA is awesome. I love the weather. I like beach-sunny-California style stuff. It’s really cheesy but I love it. I’ve been drawing more beach themes and things like that. I moved here to work on Bob’s Burgers and then around the same time got offered a pilot deal for Nickelodeon. Our show is just about completed and I think it’s the most favorite thing I’ve ever made.

SFBG: We’re excited to have you back this weekend for your show. What’s Dark Wave all about anyways? 

JH: The lead singer of a death metal band has a panic attack on stage and runs in to the night. He runs in to the forest and finds surfing somehow. It’s pretty weird. He basically falls asleep in an empty coffin, then a flash flood spills him out of the coffin, and then the coffin lid comes off and turns in to a surfboard. There’s some writing, but the pictures mostly tell the story. I drew everything in pieces with Rapidograph pens and used Photoshop to put it all together. 

THE DARK WAVE from Eighty Four Films on Vimeo.

SFBG: Is the story all in the course of one night?

JH: It’s a wild night.

SFBG: Does this guy have a name? And are there other characters? 

JH: I just call him the singer. There are other people in the beginning but it’s usually just him and his surfboard. [The story] is all about this guy’s weird journey. He just wants to keep running and see what happens. 

SFBG: What prompted your panic attack?

JH: I don’t know. I get them all the time too. Probably living too much outside of your mind and then wondering where the hell you are.

SFBG: Why death metal and why a coffin? 

JH: I was drawing and I thought it would be really funny to have black metal dudes surfing. You know, like really morose surfers. And then I just started writing a story in my head about it. [The singer] never turns in to a happy dude, but he takes up surfing the only way that suits him. 

SFBG: You usually ditch the canvas and opt for pages off of books for your artwork. Do you have specific books that you use? 

JH: I generally buy the same brand of book every time. They’re called Harlequin novels and they have a romance series. I was in a thrift store maybe six months ago and I noticed that the titles in these books were just so funny. I was doing all these drawings about people reading books with funny titles [because] I really like making up fake names and fake book titles. Then I saw those books and it was just so perfect. It turned out that there were hundreds and hundreds of these books published in the 1970s and ‘80s. So I bought them on eBay 40 or 50 at a time. 

SFBG: Back to Dark Wave. Is it much different from Punks Git Cut

JH: Definitely. It’s way more of a comic book. I’ve been reading tons of comic books lately and I’ve been doing some comics myself. I’m moving away from the zine format a bit and I’m even working on a full, proper comic book right now. I just kind of want to get more in to that kind of stuff.

SFBG: I noticed that a lot of your usual humor was toned down for television. What can readers expect from Dark Wave?

JH: Dark Wave is all about sex and drugs. Yeah, it’s nasty. It’s definitely an adult comic for sure. I’m really excited for people to see it. My buddy Scott – he’s in a death metal band in San Diego – even wrote a theme song for it.

“Midnight on the Sun” zine release and art show

Sat/18 6-9 p.m., free.

Fecal Face Dot Gallery

2277 Mission, SF

(415) 500-2166 


On the Cheap Listings


On the Cheap listings are compiled by Soojin Chang. Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.


Radical Directing Lecture Series: Shari Frilot San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut, SF. (415) 771-7020, 7:30 p.m., free. Shari Frilot is the curator of the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier Program. In this lecture, she will discuss the cinematic works that are being created at the crossroads where art, film, and new media technology meet.


“Coloring Outside the Lines: Black Cartoonists As Social Commentators” panel discussion City College of San Francisco John Adams Campus, 1835 Hayes, SF. (415) 239-3580, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., free. Cartoonists are like modern jesters — they poke fun and offer criticism, but we can’t help but love them. Nowhere is this more apparent than in funnies that deal with race in our society. Join curator Kheven LaGrone and guests in a discussion of how black cartoonists have brought in a wide range of perspectives to racial issues and social prejudices.

“Project Censored with Mickey Huff” book release event Modern Times Bookstore Collective, 2919 24th St, SF. (415) 282-9246, 7 p.m., free. Mainstream media seems to air more stories about cats running onto soccer pitches and M.I.A.’s middle finger than relevant news. Author Mickey Huff presents the top 25 underreported news stories you may have missed, and delves in to censorship issues in the relentless fight against Big Media.

“Beyond Cage-Free” panel discussion Port Commission Hearing Room, Ferry Building, 1 Embarcadero, SF. (415) 291-3276, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., $5 suggested donation. The cage-free label promises eggs from unpenned hens, but can belie farm environments that are much more tragic than the happy picture on cartons would lead us to believe. Join the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture in a panel discussion with Lexicon of Sustainability founder Douglas Gayeton, Ferry Plaza farmers, and local ranch owners.

San Francisco Childhood: Memories of a Great City Seen Through the Eyes of Its Children author discussion Green Arcade, 1680 Market, SF. (415) 431-6800, 7 p.m., free. This city has always been a hoot. Editor and author John van der Zee has put together writings dedicated to the magic of San Francisco by figures like Joe DiMaggio, Jerry Garcia, Margaret Cho, and Carol Channing. Come hear about how the city felt to them, and reflect on whether it’s the same for you today.


SF Beer Olympics Impala, 501 Broadway, SF. (415) 982-5299, 8:30 p.m., $10. To start the night, compete in a game of flip cup, beer pong, and relays with strangers, friends, and soon-to-be friends. Afterwards, Olympic champions and losers are welcome to meander upstairs for free admission to the Impala night club.

A night with photographer Robert Altman Wix Lounge, 3169 22nd St, SF. (415) 329-4609, 7-10 p.m., free. Robert Altman not only survived the 1960’s but photographed some of the best parts of it. He will be talking about his work for Rolling Stone and his experiences photographing icons like Mick Jagger and Bill Graham. Come hang out with this all-around cool dude.


“A Love Supreme” Harlem Renaissance art celebration First Unitarian Church of Oakland, 685 14th St, Oakl. (510) 893-6129, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., donations accepted. The Harlem Renaissance brought on an explosion of culture and redefined music, art, and literature in American history. Join local queer poets of color in a delicious potluck dinner and music-poetry session to celebrate how cultural richness and literary splendor have not stopped growing.

The Dark Wave book release party Fecal Face Dot Gallery, 2277 Mission, SF. (415) 500-2166, 6-9 p.m., free. You may know Jay Howell from his zine Punks Git Cut! where he sketched out an assortment of naked people, dogs, and boners. Howell is now bringing his majestic artwork as the backdrop of his new book — a literary tale of a black metal band’s disenchanted lead singer.


Art Beat Bazaar music, poetry, and pop-up indie-mart Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck, Berk. (519) 841-2082, 3-7 p.m., free. This is the first of the monthly community event Art Beat Foundation will be hosting as a way to showcase local musicians, spoken word artists, comedians, and visual artists. Let folk-rock band Upstairs Downstairs be the musical soundtrack to your trip to the quirky pop-up store, where you will find handmade treasures by artists like Cori Crooks and Brownie 510

Yiddish sing-along with Sharon Bernstein Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California, SF. (415) 292-1200, 5-6:30 p.m., free. This musical event is one part of KlezCalifornia’s Yiddish Culture Festival, a three-day event for anyone who is interested in Yiddish literature, interactions between musical cultures, klezmer music, and/or Eastern European Jewish history. Lyric books will be provided.


Open mic night with Les Gottesman and Bill Crossman Bird and Beckett Books and Records, 653 Chenery, SF. (415) 586-3733, 7 p.m., free. Les Gottesman and Bill Crossman are poets, activists, and professors who are coming to share their latest and favorite works in this literary night. Gottesman’s words are said to be goosebump-invoking and Crossman’s smooth piano skills are not to be missed.


“Laissez les bons temps rouler” Mardis Gras party Jazz Heritage Center, 1320 Fillmore, SF. (415) 346-5299, 5 p.m., $5 for wristbands. Make it a merry Fat Tuesday this year by going out to the Fillmore District for a neighborhood party of stilt walkers, jugglers, and face painters. 10 Fillmore Street venues will have live music and Mardi Gras-themed drinks and treats for under 10 dollars.

“Youthquake: High Style in the Swinging Sixties” American Decorative Arts forum and exhibit Koret Auditorium at de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden, SF. (415) 750-3600, 7 p.m., $15. Long hair and bellbottoms marked the fashion and music scene during the 1960’s, and a similarly defiant idiosyncrasy took over home décor. Join Mitchell Owens of Architectural Digest in a lecture on the bold and innovative interior style moves that were made during the exuberance of the youthquake.

“Feast of Words: A Literary Potluck” SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, SF. (415) 552-1770, 7-9 p.m., $10 in advance; $5 with a potluck dish; $12 at door. Writers are often thought of as caffeine junkies who survive off of coffee and cigarettes. But hey, we eat just like any other Joe Schmo. At this literary event, foodies and writers unite to share (both food and literature) and learn about local cultures and flavors.

This art will move you: 1AM SF Gallery’s homage to truck graffiti


“Graffiti is anti-corporation,” says Optimist, a long time Bay Area street artist in a Guardian phone interview. “Whereas advertisements on billboards are trying to sell you something, graffiti is trying to open your eyes to see who else is alive out there.” Spurred by this love of street art, Optimist partnered up with fellow street artist Plantrees to curate “Truck Show SF,” a group show which opens at 1AM SF gallery on Fri/10.

At the root of graffiti is an earnest longing for social emancipation, self-expression, and communication. Sadly, graffiti writers are often misunderstood, seen as vandals or gang members. “Truck Show” was put together to fight these stereotypes. The group show is a look at graffiti writers’ move from tagging on subway trains to box-style delivery trucks, and how this transition represents the ceaseless human desire for self-expression and unrestricted communication.

By making the show a charity event, Optimist says he wants to show that graffiti isn’t about “the ego or the fame of the name,” but is something that has the potential to serve as a creative outlet for the youth. “Truck Show SF” will feature 80 Bay Area writers. All profits will be dedicated to the non-profit organization Visual Element, a visual arts program in East Oakland that uses graffiti and mural painting programs to empower high school students.

The graffiti writers in the show range from burgeoning young artists to people who have been involved in graffiti for over 20 years. The sheer number of different individual artists who are coming together for a greater cause is notable. “People always say graffiti writers are taking away from society and they’re selfish,” adds Optimist. “This is a chance for graffiti writers to still do graffiti but at the same time give back to the younger generation who really needs the help.”

Graffiti has been around forever, of course. But long after the cave painting days, the art form experienced a rebirth in the 1970s and ‘80s in New York when a miserable economy bred social dissatisfactions in inner-city neighborhoods. During that era, the idea of the subway train as a moving canvas that could extend writing to the farthest corners of a city took hold. But due to transit regulations and chemical buffering methods which made it nearly impossible to spray on subways, graffiti had to conquer new ground. Optimist says that “the art of graffiti [has transitioned] from underground to up above ground and in to the streets.” Nowadays, you’ll see more graffiti on delivery trucks, which zoom through inner cities all throughout America.

“Graffiti is mostly concerned with letters and hand writing, so it’s all about inventing your own style to express yourself through the confines of the letters,” Optimist continues.

With “Truck Show,” Optimist wanted to show just how completely those confines could be ruptured. The exhibit showcases not only classic letterings, but the emerging style of graffiti shown in galleries.

One of the show’s artists Leon Loucher gets self-referential — he painted an entire night scene as the backdrop behind a figure spraying the first stages of his graffiti piece on a truck. Another artist, Alex Pardee, is more set on experimenting with surrealism. He paints insect-like creatures that burst out of trucks. Artists like Saze used the opportunity to make humorous responses to anti-graffiti sentiments, creating cut-outs of infamous buffers like Jim Sharp, placing the images in front of toy models and paintings of trucks.

“Graffiti is all about the moment,” says Optimist. And although the gallery is removed from the city streets, the pieces it will feature aim to capture the dynamism, action, and spontaneity that drive street art. To emphasize the liveliness of the art form, the actual sides of tagged trucks were brought in and placed amongst a collaged installation to grace the walls of 1AM.

In addition to the obvious similarities of a graffiti-themed art exhibition, Optimist was able to connect the street scene with his 1AM show by virtue of limited resources. “Graffiti writers usually have to deal with their work being next to or in the same space as [pieces done by] people they dislike.” He hopes that this show will achieve something the streets often fail to do, which is to create “a collective of graffiti writers who are joining forces to give back to something much greater – the youth.”


“Truck Show SF” opening reception

Fri/10 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., free.

1AM Gallery

1000 Howard, SF

(415) 861-5089


Cheap dates!


VALENTINE’S Whether you’re hopelessly in love, completely philophobic, or somewhere in between, here’s a sweet slew of events on the horizon that won’t tap you dry. We’ve chosen our favorites that are all less than $20 (except for a couple worthwhile charity fundraisers). Now go out and get starry-eyed, you kid.  




Aphrodesia Afterhours Valentine’s Day Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, 100 John F. Kennedy, SF. (415) 831-2090, 6 p.m.-10 p.m., $10. Chocolate is hands down the best part of Valentine’s Day. Join local chocolatier TCHO’s chief chocolate guru, Brad Kintzer, for his demonstration on how to transform beans into bliss. Afterwards, grab a love potion from the Cocktail Lab, frolic amongst the orchids, and enjoy a live performance by Le Quartet de Jazz. Remember to take a picture in the photobooth — a night dedicated to chocolate is a night to remember.

Love on Wheels dating game Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. (415) 932-0955, 6 p.m., $5 for SF Bicycle Coalition members; $10 for non-members. The cutest people always seem to be railing past each other on their bikes. The SF Bicycle Coalition is going to sit all you guys down so you can date already. Lovebirds will quiz three potential dates (hidden from view) and go on a date provided by one of the sponsors. This annual tradition is a cute hoot.




“Animal Attraction” NightLife aquarium gallery and sex talk California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse, SF. (415) 379-8000, 6 p.m.-10 p.m., $12. Cal Academy’s weekly Thursday evening party, NightLife, is launching a new gallery for fish-lovers (and friends!) with a series of reproduction-themed talks. Various experts will be talking about mating strategies in the animal kingdom, penis bones of different species, and the sex life of Zodiac signs. Dr. Carol Queen from Good Vibrations will be sharing her knowledge about the science of orgasms. So let’s do like they do on the Discovery Channel.

“Cupid’s Back” sixth annual Valentine’s Day party Supperclub, 657 Harrison, SF. (415) 348-0900, 8 p.m.-midnight, $30-35. Gay charity impressario Mark Rhoades is back — like Cupid, you might say — with this popular shindig that brings together oodles of hot men. DJ Juanita More will fluff the crowd, and it all goes to help out our invaluable GLBT Historical Society. Shoot your arrow and it goes real high …

“Go Deep” lube wrestling for the boys El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF. (415) 379-8000, 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m., $10–$15. What says romance more than watching half-naked queer boys with fantastical monikers like Yogzar and Red Dragon wrestling in a vat of lube? Slide your way into V-Day at this monthly (second Thursdays) grip ‘n slip put on by neo-Vaudevillian troupe SF Boylesque, with DJ Drama Bin Laden, a performance by the Bohemian Brethren, and Cajon food from Family Meal available on the back patio.






Bardot A Go Go Pre-Valentine’s Dance Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF. (415) 861-2011, 9 p.m., $10. “Music by French people for everybody” is the motto of the neato longtime roving Bardot A Go Go — and that includes a bubbly beretful of cute folks who revel in 1960s pop glamour filtered through contemporary va-va-voom. Live band Nous Non Plus is très adorable, and DJs Pink Frankenstein, Brother Grimm, and Cali Kid bring French kisses galore. Plus: free hairstyling by Peter Thomas Hair Design, d’accord.

I Heart Some Thing The Stud, 399 9th St., SF. (415) 863-6623, 10 p.m.-late, $8. “We love love! We just love it!” scream the awesome queens of Some Thing, the mind-altering weekly friday drag show and party at the Stud. You may detect a hint of the sardonic in there, but the smart Some Thingers always cover their bases with a healthy dose of sincerity to go with the staged pop culture send-ups. heart-shaped performers include Glamamore, Manicure Versace, Cricket Bardot, and Nikki Sixx Mile. Afterhours dancing, too.

Mortified’s Annual Doomed Valentine’s Show DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., SF. (415) 626-1409, 7:30 p.m., $14 adv; $21 at door. Do you remember your first kiss when you went in for the gold, missed completely, and your lips puckered mid-air? Well, the folks at Mortified sure do. They have sorted through the oldest and nerdiest notebooks, letters, photos, and shoeboxes so that they can share with you their most humiliating romantic encounters. Reinvigorate your disdain for this holiday by taking comedic comfort in the mishaps of these thick-skinned Valentine’s veterans.

Ninth Annual Food from the Heart Festival Ferry Building Marketplace, 1 Ferry Building, SF. (415) 983-8000, Through Saturday. 5:30-8 p.m., free entrance. Nothing says “I love you” like food. Give the gift of a happy stomach to your lover this Valentine’s in the candlelit Grand Nave of the Ferry Building, with a night of dancing and eating. Revel in the magic of the waterfront, sip on wine poured by local Napa Vinters, and taste a scrumptious hors-d’oeuvre or five.

“On The Edge 2” erotic photography exhibition Gallery 4N5, 863 Mission, SF. (415) 522-2400, Through Sunday. Gallery hours Fri., 4 p.m.-9 p.m.; Sat., 11 p.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m., free. Valentine’s Day may be about romance for some people, but for us it’s about getting naked. (And eating, but mostly getting naked.) This group exhibition features 400 pictures of artful sexiness taken by 25 erotic photographers who bring on the nudes.




“Drunk with Love” with Carol Peters The Emerald Tablet, 80 Fresno, SF. (415) 500-2323, 8 p.m., $10. Carol Peters, a.k.a. “Velvet Voice,” is known for her passionate and amorous renderings. For one steamy night in light of Valentine’s Day, Peters will grace the stage to croon sensual tunes that capture the many dimensions of love.

Valentine’s Surprise SF Lindy Ball Womens Building, 3543 18th St., SF. 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., $22 This Lindy Hop and Swing ball is actually the centerpiece of a three-day swing summit in celebration of romance (check the website for full line-up) — because what says, “I love you” more than artfully mopping the floor with your partner? We sure don’t know. Hoppin’ workshops and technique tune-up sessions complement the ball, which consists of a Lindy contest, live swing music, and a surprise 91st birthday celebration for classic movie star Ray Hirsch. Lessons offered!

Watson’s “Naked at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt” Legion of Honor, 34th Ave, SF. (415) 750-3600, Through Sunday. 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m., $20. Who said museums had to be tame? Bring a lover or friend this weekend to the Legion of Honor for a sexy scavenger hunt. You will scope the halls for studly sculptures, titillating paintings, bathing beauties, and many sexy inanimate objects more. Museums will never be the same again.




SF Mixtape Society’s “Under The Covers” music exchange and contest The Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, SF. (415) 440-4177, 6 p.m., free with mix. Don’t have someone to make a mixtape for this year? It’s OK. Your ex’s music taste was awful anyways! Put that playlist you love on a CD, cassette, or USB drive and have it land right in the ears of a random yet lucky someone. You’ll end the night with someone else’s coveted mix, and everyone will get to vote for the playlist with the best track listings and artwork.




Litquake Literary Festival presents: Love Hurts readings of grief-stricken passages of love and lust The Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, SF. (415) 440-4177, 7 p.m., $10. Ten Bay Area writers will give their own cynical (and mostly hilarious) twists on the forlorn words of some of the most melancholic and/or melodramatic novels ever written. Come sort out the parallels between drug dependency and romance in Valley of the Dolls, the masochistic plotline of The Story of O, and many more classics that well forewarned of broken hearts.




Club Neon’s Eighth Annual Valentine’s Day Underwear Party The Knockout, 3223 Mission, SF. (415) 550-6884, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $5, free with no pants before 11 p.m.! This is THE event for fresh and nubile indie heartbreakers, stripping down to make you all “damn!” and stuff. One of our favorite annual pantsless throwdowns, with steamy rock DJs Jamie Jams and EmDee making you want to take it all off.

The Fifth Annual Poetry and Music Battle of ALL of the Sexes Uncle Al and Mama Dee’s Cafe at POOR Magazine, 2940 16th St, SF. (415) 865-1932, 7 p.m., $5-$20 suggested donation for dinner and show. Instead of scribbling your words in to a Hallmark card, show off your love this Valentine’s in rhyme and verse. All proceeds will support POOR magazine, a local arts organization that advocates education and media access for struggling communities. The theme is 1950s, but the beats will be timeless.

Love Story film showing and gala with Justin MX Bond Castro Theatre, 429 Casto, SF. (415) 621-6120, 8 p.m., $10 film only; $25 for gala tickets. Relive the drama, the tragic heartaches, and the swooning love story of the 1970 film classic. Ali MacGraw will be at the Castro mezzanine in person, “Theme from Love Story” will be sung by Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, and special guest Mx Justin Vivian bond will be doing a “sorry” medley.

Passion Punch Valentine’s day kickboxing class UFC Gym, 1975 Diamond, Concord. (925) 265-8130, 6:30 p.m., free. Valentine’s got you foaming at the mouth? Let it out. This 60-minute class will incorporate dynamic boxing moves so that you can punch away all the annoyances you will be feeling by the end of this day.

The Crackpot Crones present “I Hate Valentine’s Day” sketch comedy and improv show The Dark Room, 2263 Mission, SF. (415) 648-5244, 8 p.m., $20. Outrageous duo Terry Baum and Carolyn Myers are providing a public service for the romantically challenged. They will be making fun of everything Valentine’s related — especially silly little concepts like true love and soul mates. Belt along to the song, “The Twelve Days of Being Dumped,” and give your best evil cackle at this sketch comedy show.

Valentine’s Day Party with T.I.T.S and Uzi Rash Hemlock, 1131 Polk, SF. (415) 923-0923, 9 p.m., free. There is no need for all the fuss, the fancy gifts, the cutesy ribbons, or the overpriced dinner. If you’re sick of the pink, come dance your anti-heart out at this doom punk show. Flowers wilt anyways.

Lookin’ good


BODY If your New Year’s resolution is flagging, here are some budget boosts to kickstart your makeover (or de-stress) ambitions. Never give up! Deals are for February: call ahead for more details or restrictions information.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center 1200 Arguello, SF. (415) 681-2731, Find your center at this Inner Sunset nonprofit that’s run by world peace-inspired volunteers. Get your first class for free, and 50 percent off the 10-class ($95-115) or monthly unlimited pass ($110). Individual classes are $10-15 each.

Planet Granite 924 Mason, SF. (415) 692-3434, An indoor climbing gym and yoga studio in the Presidio that boasts of the best views in the Bay Area. A belay lesson for $34 comes with free gear rental and one-day pass.

START Fitness 1625 Bush, SF. (415) 225-5715, These Pacific Heights bootcamp workout programs are designed by an army fitness trainer. START claims to be the oldest program of its kind in the country. Four-week bootcamp $199, from regular price of $290.

Bianchi Fitness 566 Dolores, SF. (415) 218-7045, Year-round outdoor fitness training in the Castro that takes advantage of the Bay Area’s natural beauty, offering group and individual classes. Take as many classes as you want during a two-week period for $75.

Body Mechanix Fitness Cooperative 219 Brannan, SF. (877) 658-4757, An independently-owned fitness cooperative in SoMa offering innovative training programs. $49 for a $120 certificate.

ODC School and Rhythm and Motion Dance Program 351 Shotwell, SF. (415) 863-9830, This Mission District mainstay offers classes in all styles of dance, from ballet to hip hop, at every level of ability, from amateur to professional. $14 per dance class, $7 for seniors and teens.

Chestnut Pilates 1877 Chestnut, SF. (415) 673-3280, Run by dancer Cathie Caraker, this Cow Hollow studio guides students to toned abs and inner peace through a better understanding of the body. $60 for $80 certificate.

Primal Health and Training 1074 Folsom, SF. (510) 432-9648, At his SoMa studio, Khalid Kohgadai teaches how to overcome inertia and unwanted weight gain through the methods that worked for him. $50 for two sessions.

Caitlin Weeks Nutrition and Personal Training 2435 Polk, Suite 8, SF. (415) 624-5121, In Russian Hill, Weeks teaches methods for battling obesity gathered from her personal experience of dropping 80 pounds and keeping it off. $75 for a $100 certificate.

Yoga Garden 286 Divisadero, SF. (415) 552-9644, This tucked-away studio is committed to teaching safe, accessible classes in Iyengar, Asthanga, Vinyasa, Hatha and pre-natal yoga in the Lower Haight. Get a four-week introductory membership for $65. First timers score an hour-long massage for $49. Get a class-a-day membership plus monthly massage for $120/month.

Jamz Trainings 292 4th Street, Oakl. (415) 857-5269, In Oakland, James Robinson customizes personal programs specializing in weight loss, athletic performance, motivation, and strengthening. $50 for $75 certificate.

Bridges Rock Gym 5635 San Diego, El Cerrito. (510) 525-5635, This El Cerrito gym offers indoor “bouldering,” relatively short climbs full of obstacle arrangements designed to test problem-solving skills. $25 for a three-visit pass and climbing gear.



The Barber Lounge 854 Folsom, SF. (415) 934-0411, This 2012 industrial warehouse approximation of an old-fashioned barbershop caters to men and women in sunny, art-bedecked loft space. $15 brow-shapings, Mon.-Fri. 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Book a cut and color and receive $20 off a facial or massage of at least 60 minutes.

John Francis Spa Martin De Porres Medical Building, 4200 18th St., Suite 101, SF. (415) 861-3000, The staff at this Castro spa offers holistic massage, waxing and skin care, plus mineral makeup, and tension relief foot treatments. Glycolic peels are reduced from $75 to $35 when combined with a facial. Registered clients receive 20 percent off on facials on their birthdays. $20 off when combining facial and massage on the same day.

Shear Bliss Salon 275 Gough, SF. (415) 255-8761, These Aveda-trained stylists use eco-friendly styling techniques and products. The salon focuses on straight perms, coloring, extensions, and curly hair. New clients receive $20 off hair coloring.

San Francisco Community Acupuncture 220 Valencia, SF. (415)675-8973, Affordable acupuncture is offered here in a comfortable, calm group setting. Pay $25-50 per treatment, sliding scale. Yelp users can receive a $40 gift certificate for $25.

Love Your Face SF 1075 Pacific, Suite A, SF. (415)529-2368, Curious about semi-permanent eyelash curling or eyelash-eyebrow tinting and ditching the daily regimen? LYF is the place to check out. Also: Ayuvedic ear treatments for wax removal and nourishment of the ear canal and drum. Refer a friend for $5 off your next service. Purchase five services and get one free. Yelp users get $50 worth of treatments for $35.

Earth Body 534 Laguna, SF. (415) 552-7200, This organic skin care spa takes a holistic, sustainable approach that draws on ancient traditions of healing. First time clients receive $15 off any treatment Mon.-Fri. Add a supplemental foot therapy, facial massage, or heated neck therapy to your session for free.

Chez Sylva 1310 8th Ave., SF. (415) 242-1100, Salon offers waxing, threading, and a number of signature facials, but is best known for electrolysis and permanent hair removal. New clients receive a 10 percent discount on first treatment. Mention its website and receive an additional 5 percent discount.

Flourish Skin and Wax 1905 Union, SF. (415) 370-6559, Cheerful pastel walls and mellow music here eases the usual pain of waxing. Perfectionist waxers can satisfy even the most sensitive skin types. Book a Flourish facial and receive a complimentary cleanser; book a Brazilian wax and receive a complimentary brow wax.

Rincon Chiropractic Massage and Acupuncture 101 Howard, Suite D, SF. (415) 896-2225, Rincon focuses on the relationship between the structure and function of your spine. It provides a wide range of services, like rehabilitation therapies, mother-to-be, and stress-relieving massages. $25 off for students who bring in a valid student ID. Yelp users can get a $90 specialty massage for $50.

Tiptoes Nail Spa 300 De Haro, Suite 336, SF. (415) 626-9637, This swanky Potrero Hill spot uses vegan and DBP, touelene and formaldehyde-free nail polish as well as botanical-based, petrochemical-free products. Go for a relaxing ambiance, cool chairs, and free Red Vines. Early bird special: mani-pedis for $35 before 3 p.m.

Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon 350 Alabama, SF. (415) 861-2515, Ally likes big hair and monster movies. Jerry likes cheeseburgers and tight fades. Both have trained with Vidal Sassoon, Bumble and bumble, and Kevin Murphy. Both have devoted clients who come back time and time again for bold cuts and sexy styles. Receive $20 off a cut or color with either stylist.

On the Cheap Listings


Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.


“Singing the Golden State” early Californian music exhibition Society of California Pioneers, 300 Fourth St., SF. (415) 957-1849, Through Dec. 7. Gallery hours Wed.-Fri., 10-4 p.m.; $2.50 for seniors and students; $5 general admission. The Frederick Sherman Collection and the private collection of James M. Keller join musical forces to bring to you two floors of sheet music and recording samples of songs composed in California from1849 through the 1930s. This is equivalent to striking gold for any music lover, especially those who are nostalgic for the sounds of California pre-Katy Perry.

“Acknowledged: Portraits of Project Homeless Connect” exhibition opening San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin, SF. (415) 557-4400, Through March 25. Library hours Mon., 10-6 p.m.; Tue.-Thurs., 9-8 p.m.; Fri., noon-6 p.m.; Sat., 10-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.; free. A picture is worth a thousand words — and you need would need even more than that to describe what it’s like to be homeless in San Francisco. Photographer Joe Ramos has partnered up with Project Homeless Connect to feature 55 program participants in this powerful look at our society’s unhoused.


“Bourbon and Bull” NightLife at the Academy California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse, SF. (415) 379-8000, 6-10 p.m., $12. Mix a shot of George Dickel Whisky and a sample of Bulleit Bourbon with the acoustic tunes of Jeanie and Chuck’s Country Roundup. Now add an electric bull to the mix. Sounds like our dream cocktail.

After Dark: Heartworks Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon, SF. (415) 563-7337, 6-10 p.m., free with museum admission. With Valentine’s Day looming annoyingly close, many are already weary at any mention of the word “heart.” But before writing off love as an esoteric fib, join the Exploratorium for a hands-on experiment with a man-made metal heart — and maybe leave with a more tangible understanding of what makes your ticker skip a beat.

Bicycle Bingo fundraising event and launch party Actual Cafe, 6334 San Pablo, Oakl. (510) 653-8386, 7-9 p.m., free. Make Thursday night a bingo night and win an assortment of prizes while giving back to the Bay Area community at the debut of this weekly charity funtacular. All bingo card proceeds, along with 10 percent of cafe revenues, will go directly to the nonprofit of the week. Tonight, play for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. Next week: Rebuilding Together Oakland.


Secession from the Broadcast: The Challenge to Create on the Same Scale as We Can Destroy film screening and director presentation YBCA, 701 Mission, SF. (415) 978-2787, 7:30pm., $6–$10. Gene Youngblood has been talking about alternative cinema and media democracy since the 1970s. He used to write about things like the Beatles and George Lucas — tonight you can join him as he talks about the new shriek-inducing fad, the Internet.

UrbanYenta launch party Roe Nightclub, 651 Howard, SF. (415) 227-0288, 6-8 p.m., free. Did your last online date just completely freak you out? Now when dates goes wrong, you have an actual human matchmaker to go cry to, instead of frantically checking off comment boxes home alone on a Saturday night. UrbanYenta hopes to match you not just with a pixilated image, but a partner who will do you right.


“The Uncomfortable Zones of Fun” experimental performance workshop Temescal Art Center, 511 48th St., Oakl. (510) 526-7858, 8 p.m., free. “Uncomfortable” and “fun” are often hard to use in the same sentence. But leave it Frank Moore, world-known performance artist, to pair the two in his improv dance, acting, and music class. Bring your instruments and sense of humor.

Little Song sonnet writing workshop Pro Arts Gallery, 150 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakl. (510) 763-4361, 1-3 p.m., free. Poetry is said to be a way of taking life by the throat — take hold and express your soul’s desires in this sonnet workshop. There will be a limit of 30 people and seating will be first-come, first-served.

Upcycle Ball San Francisco Yellow Bike Project fundraiser and dance party Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF. (415) 861-2011, 8 p.m., $10 presale; $12-25 at door. A bike-enthusiast’s version of what prom never was. Raise funds for the volunteer-powered community shop while you dance your wheels off to live performances by maus haus, Hottub, DJ Deep, and Mr. Pillz.

Bernal Yoga Literary Series author readings The Bernal Yoga Studio, 461 Cortland, SF. (415) 643-9007, 8 p.m., $5 suggested donation. A literary event packed with breathtaking readings from local authors. The evening will feature writers Jeff Hoffman, Li Miao Lovett, and Peter Orner, plus local authors Tom Comitta, Lara Durback, and Marisela Treviño Orta.


Year of the Dragon celebration Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin, SF. (415) 581-3500, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., free. Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with lion dancers, a chance to listen to dragon tales, arts and crafts, and even a yoga flow session at the end of the day. This event is perfect for people who already gave up on their New Year’s resolution and want a re-do.


The Right to Love: An American Family film premiere Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, SF. (415) 621-6120, 4 p.m., $10; free for students. Bay Area filmmaker Cassie Jaye follows Jay and Bryan Leffew, a legally married gay couple living in Santa Rosa, and their two adopted kids, Daniel and Selena. The family became a YouTube sensation after posting their home videos on a channel called “Gay Family Values.” Meet with the awesome Leffews at the first public screening of their documentary.


Exit Strategies Granta & Zyzzyva literary event and launch party City Lights Books, 261 Columbus, SF. (415) 362-8193, 6:30 p.m., free. Do you find yourself repeatedly scratching your way out of the hole you dug with your own hands? Daniel Alarcon zooms in on this conundrum in his latest novel rightly titled, Exit Strategies. He will be followed up by ZYZZYVA, who will present their latest winter issue, which includes 200 pages of poetry, prose, and visual art made by West Coast writers and artists.

The sex heard ‘round the world: [SSEX BBOX] documentary premieres


Scenes from [SSEX BBOX], the global sexuality documentary project whose long-awaited first episode will premiere at the Center of Sex and Culture on Mon/30:

One. A protest in Berlin, where a presentation is being made on the 16th century physical punishments that religious institutions imposed on sexually “immoral” people. 

Two. A conversation between two transgendered men living in Brazil.

Filmed in the form of interviews and group discussions, [SSEX BBOX] is a social justice film project that takes viewers on tour through the different understandings of gender and sexuality from around the globe. The documentary engages the ongoing conversation regarding the cultural, social, and even linguistic implications that are intertwined within sexuality. It will air 15 10-minute episodes bi-weekly from January to August 2012 — but the Mon/30 screening will offer the chance to talk face-to-face with the team behind the project. 

[SSEX BBOX] sexuality out of the box! from SSEX BBOX on Vimeo.

Priscilla Bertucci, the executive producer and director of [SSEX BBOX], holds that in an environment where something so primary as a noun is categorized as male or female, sexism and strict gendering become strongly embedded in cultural perceptions of sexuality. Looking back at the project, she commented to the Guardian in a recent phone interview:

SF and Berlin are pioneering cities in that there is a lot of sexual education and many years of work have been [put into those places towards] bringing about awareness. [Exploring sexuality] is definitely more difficult in Barcelona and Brazil where there are still a lot judgments.  People perceive gender as male or female, straight or gay, and don’t really think of what may be outside of this divided box. 

On location with [SSEX BBOX]. Photo by Danila Bustamante

When shooting in Sao Paulo, Bertucci encountered numerous individuals who had never been exposed to the idea of alternative sexual orientations. That lack of experience wasn’t a surprise to her — she was raised there:

I grew up in Brazil and I experienced a gap in information first hand. In places like Sao Paulo, there is a huge lack of sex education in schools and sex educators in general. When I was very young, I was aware of the gay and lesbian community. But at some point, I started not fitting in the box because I would sometimes be attracted to men and I didn’t really identity as bisexual. But later, I became aware that I could identify as queer or gender queer. But it took me a long time and I had to go out and learn a lot of things on my own. A project like [SSEX BBOX] helps people understand that they don’t have to choose [from] a binary.

Bertucci’s film features interviews with sex activists, educators, psychotherapists, and average citizens from all over the spectrum of sexuality. The documentary was mostly edited here in San Francisco, but its crew was comprised of a globetrotting crew of directors and cinematographers traveling through Sao Paulo, Berlin, and Barcelona. 

The international affair was made possible through efficient Skype meetings and Dropbox, and [SSEX BBOX] will continue to embrace the web as a way to distribute their films. The team also launched a pocket-size zine in fall of 2011 that included photography, personal narratives, cartoons, paintings, and writings on gender expression which you can order online in digital or paper form.


[SSEX BBOX] documentary premiere 

Mon/30 7:30-11 p.m., free. 

Center for Sex and Culture

1349 Mission, SF

(415) 902-2071

This is our country, too: Fred Korematsu’s daughter on her father’s civil rights legacy


“One never knows after someone dies what happens to their legacy. Sometimes it becomes a part of history and sometimes it grows,” Karen Korematsu -remarked in a phone interview with the Guardian this week. Her father, civil rights activist Fred Korematsu, will be honored statewide with his own official day on Mon/30. You can celebrate his legacy locally at the Oakland Museum of California’s Lunar New Year event on Sun/29, where Karen will be speaking about her dad’s contribution to our cultural heritage.

“In the case of my father, his legacy seems to be growing,” Karen continued. “His story resonates and remains important to people.” Last year was the first time California celebrated the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. This year, events from a photo exhibition in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, panel discussions, and teacher workshops in Humboldt, San Diego, Davis, San Francisco, and San Jose will commemorate his work.

The Oakland Museum of California’s celebration will be especially meaningful — Korematsu was born and raised in Oakland.  The event will include remarks from Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, a talk by Karen, performances by students from the Korematsu Discovery Academy in Oakland, vocalist Shirley Kazuyo Muramoto, and koto player Brian Mitsuhiro, and a screening of the Emmy Award-winning Of Civil Wrongs and Rights: the Fred Korematsu Story.

The elder Korematsu was a civil rights hero who refused to be incarcerated in the Japanese internment camps during World War II. When President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 requiring Japanese Americans to be placed in internment camps, the 23-year-old Korematsu refused to report. He attempted to continue his life as a normal American citizen, but was spotted and arrested in San Leandro three months later. Convicted for violating military orders, he lived for several months at the Tanforan assembly center in San Bruno and subsequently was transferred to Topaz, Utah — one of the 10 incarceration camps that were set up for Japanese Americans during WWII — where his family was also being held. 

Korematsu refused to let go of the belief that his civil liberties as guaranteed by the constitution were being directly violated. He appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court to no avail. 

That is, until 1983, when researcher Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga and professor Peter Irons brought to light previously-suppressed documents detailing the FBI and military intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Japanese Americans were not threats to national security. 

Korematsu’s case was re-opened by a legal team of pro bono attorneys and at long last, his conviction was overturned in a federal court in San Francisco. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice released an admission of error in the case of the Japanese American internment camp. 

Karen is disappointed that her father didn’t live to see the apology. But she sees the confession as an important step towards bringing “accountability to people in government who need to take responsibility in making sure that decisions are always in the best interests of all Americans.”

She holds that actions like those of her father are especially relevant today, in these times of anti-immigrant sentiment. “He took a stance against racial profiling in issues such as national security and immigration,” she said. 

Following 9/11, Fred, along with the Japanese American Citizen League, spoke out against the national security measures the U.S. government was taking towards Muslim inmates being held at Guantanamo Bay. He became an active member of the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations. He assisted in the passage of a bill that prompted an official apology from the U.S. government, granting $20,000 for each surviving Japanese American who was incarcerated.

Today, Fred’s legacy lives on through the work of the Korematsu Institute. Founded in 2009 through the Asian Law Caucus, the institute’s mission is to advance pan-ethnic civil and human rights through education. 

Karen said that one of the many ventures of the institute is creating supplemental curriculum for K-12 schools to provide historical information that is missing in textbooks. She believes that her father’s story is an important lesson for children. “It tells the truth about American history, the Constitution, and their own backgrounds,” she said. 

Sensitive to the current financial troubles of California’s school system, the Korematsu Institute raises funds independently to create educational kits that it distributes to schools free-of-cost. 

Upon her father’s death, Karen believed that she had been passed on the torch in terms of challenging prejudice through education — so that nothing similar to the Japanese internment camps will ever happen again. “It’s heartwarming to tell my father’s story and see his legacy grow,” she concluded.


Lunar New Year celebration

Sun/29 noon-4:30 p.m., free with museum admission

Oakland Museum of California

1000 Oak, Oakl.

(510) 318-8400




The bad kind of pain: Kitty Stryker talks sexual abuse in the BDSM community


In a culture where pain equates to pleasure and sexual power is deliberately manipulated for ecstatic highs, how far is too far? Kitty Stryker and Maggie Mayhem are two local activists who are confronting rape and abuse within the BDSM community. The two are gearing up to take a workshop they’ve prepared on the subject called “Safe/Ward” on the road. You can support their educational tour at a Center for Sex and Culture fundraising event on Tue/24.

Stryker and Mayhem have been spreading word about their efforts through blogs and online confessionals, which — Stryker was proud to tell the Guardian in recent interview — has helped to open up a dialouge about these issues in the sex-positive community. The workshop Kitty and Maggie hosted locally in August was a huge success, and the duo have been invited to present their project at Momentum, a feminist sexuality conference taking place March 30 through April 1 in Washington, D.C. 

On Tuesday, the sextivists will be hosting a mini-workshop-party to help raise funds for the big journey. They promise nothing short of titillating raffles, awesome art and performances, tasty drinks — there’s even rumors of a kissing-spanking booth. Read on to learn more about what inspired the “Consent Culture” tour, and what it’s like to bring up these issues in the sex-positive community.


San Francisco Bay Guardian: What is “Safe/Ward” and inspired this project? 

Kitty Stryker: “Safe/Ward” is a workshop that Maggie Mayhem and I put together. The purpose is to talk about consent culture. Basically, we realized that we have had very similar negative experiences in the BDSM scene. When we started talking about these abusive situations more, we realized this was more of a widespread problem. It wasn’t just us. So we started a workshop talking about consent and abuse in the BDSM community and how to promote a more consensual environment. 


SFBG: What goes on in these workshops? 

KS: We generally like to ask the people who come to talk about their experiences.  We also watch a lot of videos regarding consent and we discuss how abuse is generally never seriously confronted. For example, consent — especially in regards to kinky sex — is joked about and made a punch line. These jokes about safe-wording have a darker undercurrent since essentially we are laughing about the lack of consent. We like to talk about why this is problematic. And one of the main issues we’ve noticed is that many people don’t feel comfortable going to their community leader or dungeon monitors about their sexual assaults. In the workshop, we provide some actual steps that party hosts can make to make their space safer.


SFBG: What is a major issue that you find important to address?

KS: The concept of safe-wording. I wrote a piece called “I Never Called it Rape,” and the responses were very intense. There’s this “victim blaming attitude” people like to take. Many people responded saying that maybe if I safe-worded, I wouldn’t have been abused. But there’s not always a definite time to safe-word sometimes, because such unexpected and out of the ordinary situations come up. And who really is going to safe-word in a culture where the person who safe-words is called a wimp?  Sex is supposed to be fun. It’s not a competition. And there’s this attitude that if you are a submissive who safe-words, you’re a difficult submissive. When it should be that you are a better submissive because you are communicating. It’s kind of surreal that people are being so defensive about it. 


SFBG: What is one crucial aspect of consent culture that “Safe/Ward” encourages people to become aware of from the workshop? 

KS: That BDSM is not about who is the most able to withstand torture. It’s about consent and respect. We talk about consent all the time, but it’s a little bit more nuanced within the BDSM community. We’re playing with sex and power, and neglecting the possibility of rape and abuse is symptomatic of our unwillingness to talk about consent and the reality that it’s not always there. 


“Consent Culture” fundraiser 

Tue/24 7-10 p.m., donation suggested

Center for Sex and Culture

1349 Market, SF

(415) 902-2071