San Francisco

Noise Pop 2013: The Crystal Ark at the Mezzanine


"Dude, a satchel? That's the gayest shit I've ever seen."
"What?" I asked.
"Your purse," he said, pointing to my camera bag, as his apparent girlfriend giggled and tried to cover his mouth. "That's so fucking gay. Are you from America?"
"Thank you," I said, as I finished putting in my ear plugs, mostly disinterested but half curious what he made of the two guys making out 10 feet across the dance floor.

Given that the last time I was in this situation, at Mezzanine to see NYC's disco band the Crystal Ark supported by "San Francisco's coveted queer DJ collective" Honey Soundsystem, was during Pride weekend, this was an odd encounter. But I'd already expected the crowd to be a little off, given that it was seemingly a late addition to the Noise Pop Festival and had to compete with packed, sold-out events in the vicinity. Read more »

Noise Pop 2013: The Thermals and Dirty Ghosts at Rickshaw Stop, Bender's happy hour


I first learned of the Thermals in 2005 from the DVD series, Burn to Shine, in which bands play a house that's set to be demolished. In an unlucky Portland, Oreg. home, the pop punk trio – by then together for just under three years – bounding with energy, played exclusive single "Welcome to the Planet.” That particular Burn to Shine installment also featured live, untouched performances by Sleater-Kinney, Mirah, the Decemberists, and the Gossip. A basic slice of life in Portland that year, all under one soon-to-be-gone roof.

Friday's Noise Pop show at the Rickshaw Stop celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Thermals' very first album, More Parts Per Million (2003, Sub Pop). And while it's now all these years later, and the band has since released a decade's worth of records building to 2013's Desperate Ground, the Thermals have maintained a joyful, power-pop exuberance and nasally shine. The Rickshaw crowd pogo'd off its feet to every song, nearly in unison, matching the excitement of the band on stage, even causing a brief kerfuffle near the end. Read more »

The happiest city -- for some


Not to go all gloomy on a day when it's finally not cold and the sun is out and San Francisco was just named the happiest city in America, (based on things like the number of shopping centers and cultural events), but really: Let's not all jump up and down and celebrate. This is a very happy city for people who have money; it's becoming a very anxiety-filled city for everyone else.Read more »

Heading East: Artists in flux

One art collective joins a wave of San Franciscans who are moving to the East Bay


San Francisco isn't an easy place to live for artists and others who choose to fill their souls at the expense of their bank accounts, particularly with the comparatively cheap and sunny East Bay so close. And with more of these creative types being lured eastward, Oakland and its surroundings are getting ever more hip and attractive — just as San Francisco is being gentrified by dot-com workaholics.Read more »

Heading East: The musician

Andy Duvall found room to grow in Oakland


This week's Guardian takes a look at San Francisco versus Oakland -- and asks whether the big city may have lost its caché to the East Bay

tredmond@sfbg.comRead more »

Heading East: The photographer

Sasha Kelley moved to SF looking for artistic community -- and she moved away for the same reason


This week's Guardian takes a look at San Francisco versus Oakland -- and asks whether the big city may have lost its caché to the East Bay

Sasha Kelley grew up in the East Bay. The 22-year old photographer moved to San Francisco for the love of art — but she moved back East for the same reason.Read more »

San Francisco's loss

Heading East: San Francisco is losing much of its diversity, cultural edge, and working class to the East Bay -- can anything be done?


San Francisco is increasingly losing its working and creative classes to the East Bay and other jurisdictions — and with them, much of the city's diversity — largely because of policy decisions that favor expensive, market-rate housing over the city's own affordable housing goals.

"It's definitely changing the character of the city," said James Tracy, an activist with Community Housing Partnership. "It drains a big part of the creative energy of the city, which is why folks came here in the first place."Read more »

Heading East: The flight from San Francisco

Oakland's cultural ascendance is an indicator of SF's short-sighted prioritization of the rich


EDITORIAL There is no simple free-market solution to gentrification and displacement. There's no way a crowded city like San Francisco can simply rely on the forces of supply and demand to protect vulnerable populations. And there's no way the city's flawed housing policy can prevent the loss of thousands of San Franciscans — particularly young, creative people who help keep a city lively — from fleeing to a town where they can actually afford the rent.Read more »

Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum adds Great American Music Hall show


The elusive Jeff Mangum – he of reverentially adored experimental folk act Neutral Milk Hotel – rarely  tours. This, compounded by his strangely personal and dream-provoking lyrics, has caused a boiling fervor over the singer-songwriter that's rarely seen outside of Morrissey and teen pop stars. Read more »

Impertinent question: Will Mayor Lee take on the Bank of America for unethical behavior?


Mayor Ed Lee moved with lightning speed to suspend Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi without pay on misconduct charges and unethical behavior  in a spousal abuse case and continue the costly, distracting, divisive  media and City Hall circus.Read more »