Review

To twerk at the symphony: Tipping on the tightrope with Janelle Monae

|
()

There was a moment at Janelle Monae's show at the SF Symphony last night when it looked as if the diorama of world-class musicians behind the diminutive person in black-and-white striped shoes, pompadour, and endless progression of tailored tuxedo jackets was a natural growth. If the trombone-and-oboe look isn't an every day occurance for Monae, she did not let on as the final moments of Prince's "Take Me With You" surged around her. The andro-android turned her back to the audience and almost subconsciously, began waving her arms, a sudden conductor. 

And then by the end of the next song the entire spangly gown crowd was on their pave-jeweled feet, twerking in the aisle. Maybe Monae can't always have a back-up symphony, but the Symphony should always have a Monae in front of it. Read more »

Suck on this: Guardian staff reviews aphrodisiac lollipops

|
()

Hey Valentines. Did you need a libido boost to buoy you through this week of boner-killing commercialized love-things? Meet Pandora's Pops, then, a little venture headed up by Jena Chambers, a body worker who once ran a massage school and clinic in Asheville, North Carolina for six years. Chambers recently launched a Kickstarter to fund large-scale production of her pops, which are vegan, organic, herbal -- all the things.

They also purport to give you feelings. Read more »

Horizons expand for the e-book with new literary app

|
()

When you think about it, e-readers haven’t done much to change the reading experience. Besides their portability and the easy access they provide to catalogues of titles, the level of interaction, font, even the physical motion involved with turning pages are pretty much identical to "brick and mortar" books. E-readers and their e-books, especially compared to the world of apps, can seem downright ordinary. But bored tech-novel enthusiasts have cause to rejoice. An app-literary project launched yesterday, from the minds behind McSweeney’s -- and backed by everyone's favorite radio nerd, Ira Glass -- named The Silent History aims to change up the e-reading experience. Read more »

Shall we dance? Our review of Naked Sword's SF sex party

|
()

“At this San Francisco sex party, service comes with a smile”

I watched his engorged, throbbing penis emerge at the opening of the glory hole. Staring felt awkward, but I couldn’t peel my eyes away. Men were all over the room, some casually looking on, some men lounging naked on the couch. One guy was doing a nude figure drawing of his next conquest.   Read more »

The truth hopes: A preview of the Magic Johnson ESPN doc

|
()

The votes are in: Magic Johnson is one of the most amazing human beings to walk the earth. The basketball player's announcement on November 7,1991 that he had the HIV virus forever changed the face of the disease. As the Nelson George-directed ESPN documentary, The Announcement -- which premieres Sun/11 -- tells us, after Johnson came out, suddenly everyone knew someone with HIV. Read more »

Green Film Fest shorts: Just Do It

|
()

Activist ire need a jump start? The Green Film Festival takes over Japantown's San Francisco Film Society Cinema now through Wed/7. Go for tidings on the fight for our planet around the world -- documentaries, expert panel presentations, and short films will be taking place. Check out Ali Lane's previous reviews from the festival here.

Just Do ItRead more »

Green Film Fest shorts: The Global Catch

|
()

Chins up, enviros -- this week there's a slew of movies showing that prove that you're not alone in fighting the good fight. The Green Film Festival takes over Japantown's San Francisco Film Society Cinema now through Wed/7, and includes looks at exciting new forms of activism, as well as the film work from intrepid whistleblowers the earth over. Drop through for tidings on the fight for our planet around the world -- documentaries, expert panel presentations, and short films. And be sure to check out the rest of Ali Lane's reviews of Green Fest flicks.

Sushi: The Global Catch

The opening of this film shows Tokyo chef Mamoru Sugiyama carefully placing gorgeous transparent and artistically sliced pieces of nigiri atop perfectly formed mounds of vinegar rice, in his Michelin-starred restaurant kitchen. If you’re the kind of person who loves sushi, this scene makes your mouth water. It’s such a cruel tease. The film proceeds to tell you all the reasons why your San Franciscan appetite for sushi, so geographically remote from the land of its creation, is actually a very destructive thing. Read more »

Green Film Fest shorts: You've Been Trumped

|
()

Activist ire need a jump start? The Green Film Festival takes over Japantown's San Francisco Film Society Cinema now through Wed/7. Go for tidings on the fight for our planet around the world -- documentaries, expert panel presentations, and short films will be taking place for the next six days. Check out Ali Lane's review of Blood in the Mobile (screening Sun/4), and stay tuned for more Green Film Fest reviews next week. 

You’ve Been Trumped

If you needed another reason to hate Donald Trump, besides the crazy hair and enormous ego, this is the film to watch. Turns out he’s destroying Scotland! The documentary follows the land preservation efforts of the town of Aberdeen in Scotland, in the face of the development of Trump’s new multi-million dollar golf resort. The entire project is based on international tourism, bound to generate huge carbon costs associated with jetting people to what Trump claims will be the “world’s greatest golf course.” Read more »

Green Film Fest shorts: Blood in the Mobile

|
()

San Francisco is, famously, home to film festivals that wanna make a difference. The Transgender Film Festival, the Anti-Corporate Film Festival, the Bicycle Film Festival -- the list and cameras roll on. There's a reason for all these cinematic communes. The power of a film festival to make people sit down and hang out with open eyes and enough snacks to keep them in one place is formidable. It's prime time to absorb information -- or just catch that activist flame that the whipping winds of a presidential election year can threaten to extinguish. 

This week, the second annual Green Film Festival hits the big screen starting today, from Thu/1-Wed/7, taking over the must-see-if-you-haven't-yet SF Film Society Cinema in the basement of Japantown's New People mall. So thrilled were we by its enviro-conscious, better world-making fervor (and its capable, enjoyable program of films) that we will be running brief reviews of its offerings for the next four -- business, c'mon now -- days. Here's the first of these, a Sun/4 screening that explains the connection between conflict and Africa and your cell phone. Read more »

Live Shots: Mara Hruby at Yoshi's Oakland

|
()

The nice thing about playing a major stage in your hometown is that you can count on support from old friends. On the other hand, it also means that those same people can shout out whatever they want during the mic breaks. “Man, they just had to bring out my childhood nickname,” a slightly blushing Mara Hruby said Wednesday night, responding to a slightly inaudible call from someone from way back in the back of the sold-out crowd at Yoshi’s Oakland. Read more »