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@Large: Ai WeiWei on Alcatraz" highlights contemporary struggles for freedom of expression

This Week's Paper

feast coverFEAST: How to eat and drink your way through Rio, Paris, Italy, the California Coast, the exotic Outer Richmond, and more! Plus: Climate change protesters flood New York, and comedian Lakshminarayanan's 'Nerd Nation.' Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

Win tickets to Chinatown at Paramount Theatre October 10

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CHINATOWN (1974) - In 1937 Los Angeles, private eye Jake "J.J." Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired by Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) to undertake an investigation that leads him deeper and deeper into a web of scandal, deceit, and corruption. One of director Roman Polanski's greatest films, Chinatown hooks the viewer into a plot whose unpredictable twists and turns develop into a mind-bending and unguessable conclusion. Complex characters, pitch-perfect dialogue, and masterful acting all combine to make this one of the best noir films of all time. Read more »

Sound sneak preview: Ai WeiWei Alcatraz exhibition

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Here’s a taste from @Large, the exhibition by internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai WeiWei, which will open to the public on Alcatraz Sat/27.

This recording is from Illumination, one of the sound installations, which makes use of the prison hospital – an Alcatraz site not normally open to daytime visitors. Read more »

New protections for abortion seekers proposed, but may face rival efforts

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After a years-long saga of trying to regulate the loudest and rudest protesters outside clinics that offer abortions, a new law may finally protect patients and employees of Planned Parenthood in San Francisco from harassment. Sup. David Campos introduced a resolution yesterday [Tues/23] that would refine his previous legislation creating a buffer zone outside reproductive healthcare centers, the latest in legal maneuverings to protect free speech while sparing medical care-seekers from harm.Read more »

Anti-war groups take to the streets of SF to protest US bombing campaign UPDATED

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With the US military now bombing targets in both Syria and Iraq, and the Islamic State that we’re targeting threatening to retaliate against US citizens, the Bay Area’s anti-war movement is taking the streets today [Wed/24] and in the coming days (although the SF Chronicle apparently di Read more »

Tough decisions ahead: The Bay Area Record Fair, the Oakland Music Festival, and more

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Ever get so overwhelmed by all the awesome events in the Bay Area on a given weekend that you give up on trying to decide between any of them and find yourself just hanging with whomever you can get to come to your house to drink with you and your cats? Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, venturing 50 yards down the street to watch baseball at the closest bar with a TV?Read more »

Extended review: British prison drama 'Starred Up'

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By Haley Brucato

Scottish filmmaker David Mackenzie’s prison drama Starred Up is a brutally raw indie film starring rising actor Jack O’Connell as Eric, a 19-year-old offender who has just been “starred up,” or transferred to an adult prison due to his uncontrollable and dangerous behavior. Though he's passive when we get our first look at him, he won't be for long: One of the first things Eric does upon entering his new cell is expertly rig a shank out of a toothbrush and a shaving razor, which he then hides in an overhead light fixture. Clearly, he's done this before.

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TIFF 2014: American standouts

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Jesse Hawthorne Ficks reports from the recent 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Previous installment here!

In high school, Hal Hartley was my first cinematic battle. On paper, his existential themes of truth, his French New Wave references, and the stilted dialogue he favored seemed like they would align perfectly with my sensibilities. Like many film students of the era, I gobbled up The Unbelievable Truth (1989), Trust (1990), and Surviving Desire (1993) multiple times. But as Simple Men (1992), Amateur (1994), and Flirt (1995) graced art-house theaters, I found Hartley's films to be more and more like fingernails shrieking down a neverending chalkboard.

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SEIU Local 1021 backs motorist measure and a Republican. WTF?!?!

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Service Employees International Union Local 1021 — which has long played an important role in San Francisco’s progressive movement, providing the money and member turnout to achieve some important victories for the left — finds itself at odds with many progressive activists in this election, particularly on the issue of transportation.Read more »

Mezcal: Mexico In a Bottle fest sets high bar for mezcal lovers

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When it comes to tasting mezcal, the experts have some generally accepted rules. Chief among them is that "you should never taste more than four together," cautioned Oaxaca's Graciela Carreño of Mezcal Real Minero at the Mezcal: Mexico In a Bottle event, held at Public Works, Sept. 14. It's usually good advice: With the spirit's alcohol content regularly topping 50 percent ABV, and its flavor components so nuanced yet so varied from one bottle to the next, it can be hard to distinguish mezcal's finer points when your tastebuds are aflame with intense spice, smoke, and minerality.

But when you're staring down nearly 20 of the world's absolute best mezcal brands in one room, each of which has at least three or four different offerings on hand (if not plenty more), heeding that first caveat is a patent impossibility.

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Live shots: Beck christens the new Masonic

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It's not often that you get to see a new venue on opening night — so yeah, even if Beck hadn't been part of the deal, we would've been stoked to spend Friday evening at the newly refurbished and rebranded Masonic.

While it's not technically a new venue, it might as well be: After months of construction (and literally years of fighting with Nob Hill neighbors) the historic Masonic temple reopened this weekend with a new sound system, completely revamped stage and seating areas, new bars and concessions, a shmancy new VIP section, you name it. Read more »

Ron Conway’s attack on Campos fails to persuade actual feminists

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Remember when deep-pocketed tech investor Ron Conway poured hefty cash into an independent expenditure committee to finance campaign mailers designed to smear Assembly candidate Sup. David Campos, by equating his vote to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi with support for murderous domestic abusers?

Well, those ads carried little sway with the National Organization for Women, California’s largest feminist organization. The statewide group’s political action committee sent out a press release Mon/22 to announce its endorsement of Campos for California Assembly District 17. In addition to listing some positive things Campos has done for women, such as creating a 25-foot buffer zone at the Planned Parenthood Clinic near St. Luke’s Hospital to protect women from harassment by anti-abortion activists, NOW’s press release specifically berated his opponents for these “misleading attacks.” Read more »

Golden Gate unions to strike this week, stall commutes

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The Golden Gate Bridge Labor coalition announced it will strike this week, impacting commutes via bridge or ferries, and perhaps both.

Thirteen unions in the Golden Gate Highway and Transportation District are members of the coalition, whose talks with the district stalled today, representatives told us.

It is still unclear which unions in the coalition will strike, but commutes will definitely be affected, Alex Tonisson, co-chair of the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition said.Read more »

Ellis Act evictor immortalized on a condom at Folsom Street Fair

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Now you can don rubbers against evictions.

Activists engaged in eviction "protection" of a different sort this Sunday at the Folsom Street Fair, as they handed out condoms with packages adorned by the face of Ellis Act evictor, Jack Halprin.

No doubt much boning ensued after the kinky leather fetish fair, and some of those copulations may have utilized the Halprin-condoms. But why are the protesters equating him with a rubber ejaculate receptacle?Read more »

The Payback: Help end family homelessness

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The Payback, a partnership between Positive Legacy and funk band the New Mastersounds, is bringing awareness and support surrounding family homelessness in San Francisco through two benefit concerts at the Great American Music Hall (GAMH) on September 26 and 27, 2014. The proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Compass Family Services.

Eddie Roberts, guitarist and leader of the New Mastersounds, lived for a period of time in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco and was personally touched by the homeless situation there.

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TIFF 2014: Foreign favorites, part two (Asia and beyond)

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Jesse Hawthorne Ficks reports from the recent 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Previous installment here!

Zhang Yimou's Ju Dou (1990) was an unofficial remake of the American film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) — and it was also a showcase for the 25-year-old Gong Li. I've grown up with each of his films over the past decades, including classics To Live (1994) and The Road Home (1999). His latest, Coming Home (China), is his most gut-wrenching film yet. 

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