Pixel Vision

Photo Gallery: Graffiti artists tagging in the sunshine at Precita Park

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Normally the sound of 20 or so artists rattling and spraying aerosol cans would be quickly followed by the sound of sirens. But Sat/19 the fades went up with gusto. 

Artists tagged free standing art boards at Precita Park for the Urban Youth Arts Festival, an event that brings the ultimate underground art into a safe space. Attendees munched on burgers and listened to some good tunes at the festival, which is now in its 18th year.

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Scare and scare alike: zombies, maggots, and more at 'BAASICS.5: Monsters'

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“We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realized they were inside us,” reads a quote often misattributed to the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. The presenters at July 14’s "BAASICS.5: Monsters" event at ODC Theater capitalized on this concept, examining both modern monsters (though not “cars and corn syrup,” as one emcee mentioned at the beginning of the event) and monsters of yore. 

In past years, the organization has explored provocative topics such as the future (more weighted toward a possible uprising of robots rather than the nagging question “What am I going to do with my life?”) and psychiatric and neurologic disorders by juxtaposing science and art. It’s easy to find the right balance between the two for these past themes, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this year’s event. 

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Purr-suit of happiness: SF SPCA aims to save more lives with its new adoption center

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Last year, the SF SPCA assisted with 5,084 cat and dog adoptions. With its new adoption center near Bryant and 16th Streets, which opened June 13, it aims to increase capacity by 20 percent — saving 1,000 more furry lives in the process.Read more »

Frameline leftovers: Audience Award-winning Barney Frank doc 'Compared to What'

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Pride's Pink Saturday offered a dynamic final morning of the massive 38th annual Frameline, the world’s largest film festival devoted to LGBT films. Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank, a doc that gives an intimate look into the private and political life of the recently retired iconic Congressman, screened to a packed and cheering crowd at the Castro Theater.

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Inspiring doc 'Keeper of the Beat: A Woman's Journey into the Heart of Drumming' airs on KQED

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“I would get the comment ‘Gosh, you play really good for a girl,’” Barbara Borden admits in the introduction of Keeper of the Beat, which chronicles her lifelong passion for drumming. The documentary, by San Francisco's David L. Brown, airs Sun/6 on KQED

The Always brand's empowering #LikeAGirl ad campaign made the rounds on the internet this week, but Borden’s musical sojourn, discouraged for a female at the time, is decidedly more inspiring (especially since it’s delivered by a badass drummer and not a corporation). 

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Grimm but not grim: SF Playhouse's winning fairy tale 'Into the Woods'

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Given all traditional parameters of critical experience, SF Playhouse’s production of Into the Woods (now playing through Sept 6) should be at least somewhat irksome. The vocal talent can be inconsistent, the accents are ambiguous, the set looks busy, and the musical is high-strung enough that it can be insufferable without expert work on all fronts. Shockingly, despite the surface-level issues, the Playhouse production is an unqualified technical success and a complete joy to take in.

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Wax on: a journey into the new Madame Tussauds San Francisco

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You probably won’t win any staring contests inside the new Madame Tussauds that opened June 26 at Fisherman’s Wharf. (Besides, I wouldn’t recommend holding prolonged eye contact with any of the wax figures, especially the Nicolas Cage one.) Like the youngest sibling in the shadow of brothers and sisters who have already established themselves, the SF branch — the fifth North American branch — tries to make a name for itself by flaunting its individuality whenever it’s convenient. Its attempt showcases eerily lifelike figures of well-known San Franciscans in themed rooms.

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A great week for (indie) sci-fi and docs: new movies!

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This week, Frameline continues (our coverage here!), plus offbeat sci-fi winners Coherence and Snowpiercer are well worth seeking out ... especially if you're not in the mood for more giant robot smash-ups from the Michael Bay factory. Plus: new docs and more! Read on.

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A benefit series aims to keep the unique Meridian Gallery afloat

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In 2001, interns at Powell Street's Meridian Gallery planned and painted a 13x48 foot mural on the wall of the SRO Hartland Hotel, a few blocks away in the Tenderloin. The mural, a colorful and sunny street scene showcasing the multiculturalism of the neighborhood, was revered by residents and and left untouched for 10 years until it was vandalized by graffiti. In response, former interns who had worked on the project came back together and, alongside the current kids in the program, repainted the piece. The artists’ lasting willingness to help Meridian in times of need reemerges in a broader sense this week, which marks the climax of the gallery’s June Benefit Series (tonight's entry: "16 Years of Meridian Music," a diverse program of new music). 

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Comedy without limits means 'No Happy Endings' for SF's Granny Cart Gangstas

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Sexy granny panties? Up-and-coming San Francisco comedy troupe Granny Cart Gangstas recently proved this isn’t an oxymoron. Taking a cue from the Kids in the Hall — one of member Ava Tong’s biggest inspirations — who were once photographed wearing bras over suits, the troupe decided to do something similar (one member flaunted a pair of leopard-print granny panties) for a photo shoot ahead of its Sat/28 show, "No Happy Endings," at SF's Little Boxes Theater. 

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