"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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »