Live Shots

Black Choreographers Festival takes flight

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This weekend, go watch some dance. Sam Love and I stopped by Dance Mission this week to check out a final rehearsal of a piece choreographed by Gregory Dawson and left feeling elated. Dawson has gathered a group of ridiculously limber and supremely talented dancers for refined, minimalist, yet achingly beautiful pieces that pulse with a strong, affirming spirit. His company is just one of several featured at the Black Choreographers Festival, a celebration of African American dance, art and culture. The piece we saw clearly stemmed from classical ballet roots, but also found inspiration in contemporary dance, creating a performance that displayed awe-inspiring athleticism (those extensions!) as well as thought-provoking drama, tension, and story. Go get your tickets already. It will be fabulous! Read more »

Live Shots: Soundgarden at the Fox Theater

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It took Soundgarden a full 10 songs before it began to flex its muscles at the Fox Theater on Tuesday night, before the band dialed in and proved what out-and-out Badmotorfingers the four musicians can be. I doubt that the enamored (and now half-deaf) crowd leaving the Fox would have agreed with me on this point about the band’s early setlist sluggishness. Soundgarden delivered in a big way, and you would have been hard-tasked to find an audience member complaining after the dynamic, eardrum-crippling, 27- song performance.

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Bay Area fashion set celebrates release of Liz Caruana's photo book

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Photographer Liz Caruana has put Bay Area fashion designers on the other side of the lens – and they look pretty damn good. Select photographs Caruana shot for her new book, The Bay: Creators of Style were unveiled last Friday at the book launch and opening reception for her solo exhibit at Valencia Street’s Carte Blanche Gallery, on display through Feb. 13.Read more »

Live Shots: Wovenhand at Bottom of the Hill

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Although the notoriously devout David Eugene Edwards would probably be appalled to hear it, attending his shows is about as close to a religious experience as I ever get.

The ferociously intense frontperson of Wovenhand (as well as the former 16 Horsepower), Edwards was instrumental in the foundation of the hyper-localized alt-Americana/gothic-folk genre known as the Denver Sound, a category filled with moody ballads of shaken faith and raucous, C&W-tinged fire-and-brimstone.

And there’s just something about the sheer unapologetic bombast of his live presence that makes me want to don sackcloth and ashes on the spot and follow the path of the righteous — a feeling which lasts at least until I manage to break away from his sermon on the mount (or any rate, the Bottom of the Hill) to stumble home, still a sinner. Read more »

Boning and binding spines (the old-fashioned way) at SF Center for the Book

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When was the last time you sat down and made a book? You know what I'm talking about -- those beautiful bound things that are filled with words and pictures.

They're pretty awesome, in my opinion, and they are seriously celebrated and loved at the SF Center for the Book. For years I had been wanting to take a class from them and last week the opportunity arose to join in on an intro to bookbinding class, taught by Nina Eve Zeininger-Byrne. It was fun to hear, after a few quick introductions, that most students in the class had also had an inkling to take a class at the SFCB for years and were finally taking the leap.

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Live Shots: Jessie Ware at the Rickshaw Stop

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It’s only a matter of time before British R&B-pop sensation Jessie Ware outgrows the small, cozy Rickshaw Stops of the music world. Last Thursday, at her first-ever SF show, Ware’s commanding, poised performance showed massive potential, more befitting of a full-on diva for the 21st century than a blog-popster du jour.

While her stateside popularity hasn’t yet caught up to her reputation across the pond, Ware captured the full attention of the indie-music press with her debut LP, Devotion, released last year. Influenced by her earlier work with producers like SBTRKT, the album demonstrated a level of artfulness and musical nuance, atypical of your average vocal pop album. Much like Katy B and AlunaGeorge, Ware has raised eyebrows by integrating big, upfront, Sade-esque vocals into the music-first world of bloggy electronica.

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Do brew: Coffee class with the author of 'Left Coast Roast'

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Hanna Neuschwander loves coffee. She adores it so much, that she's written a whole book about coffee roasters called Left Coast Roast. On a chilly evening this week, she had a small crowd of equally excited coffee aficionados join her for a home brew coffee class at 18 Reasons in the Mission.Read more »

Pinback delights fans at annual Bimbo's show

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The audience at Pinback’s sold-out show this Saturday night filled Bimbo’s with a pleasant air of mellow enthusiasm. The eclectic (albeit extremely white) crowd was excited without being obnoxious, and its quiet, genuine appreciation was the perfect match for Pinback’s own casual expertise.Read more »

Estamos atentos: Photos and lessons from Friday's anti-violence march in the Mission

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It's hard to say if the march of neighbors from the 16th Street BART station, to Valencia Street, to 24th Street, and back down Mission Street will stop attacks like the January 6th assault on 23rd and Guerrero Streets that inspired last Friday's anti-violence demonstration and walk. But for a community that feels nervous about walking one's own sidewalks at times due to an ongoing spate of sexual assaults, that wasn't really the point. 

"No violence, no police! From the bathroom, to the streets!" went the crowd's chant, led by an ambulatory drum circle past the 1,000 new restaurant seats on Valencia and the tourists snapping photos of the massive, swaying protest puppets above our heads. Making the violence visible? Check. A disempowering situation turned into a show of strength? Check. Read more »

Pitting before dinner: Trash Talk, MellowHype, Sabertooth Zombie, and Antwon at DNA Lounge

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By Greg Weissel
All photos by Matthew Reamer

A half hardcore, half hip-hop bill at 6pm on a Monday in San Francisco. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing, in fact, did go wrong – and the writhing masses wreathed in weed smoke hovering over the concrete dance floor at DNA Lounge proved that mixed bills can make for the most energetic live shows.

The mood for the night was one of joyful irreverence, marked by the line of young men and women lined up on 11th Street, holding their skateboards, wearing Odd Future or punk rock shirts, cutting in line and hassling the strict bouncers. Read more »