Cover Story

Digital Warrior

Remembering an internet activist and innovator who fought to liberate knowledge in our annual Freedom of Information coverage

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Few have shaped the Internet like Aaron Swartz. A programmer and Internet freedom advocate, Swartz’s activism challenged the notion that information should be owned. An open web, he argued, is key to the betterment of humanity.

His life ended abruptly, at the age of 26. Many hail him as a hero. Fighting through his demons, Swartz pioneered technology dedicated to free and open access to information. He helped inspire an ongoing national movement against online censorship.  Read more »

Goldies 2014

OUR 25TH GUARDIAN OUTSTANDING LOCAL DISCOVERY AWARDS CELEBRATE BAY AREA ARTS

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The Goldies are silver! The San Francisco Bay Guardian celebrates the 25th annual Goldies — if you're new here, that stands for Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery Awards — with a special issue celebrating nine emerging Bay Area artists and groups who're producing exciting, intelligent, provocative work. Gazing into our glittery crystal ball, we predict great things ahead for their careers. And that's not all: We also honor one veteran performer whose wide-reaching influence has been a beacon of inspiration for over three decades.Read more »

Staying power

San Francisco tenants' movement rises up and sets the agenda

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rebecca@sfbg.com

Despite the rain on Feb. 8, organizers of a citywide tenants' convention at San Francisco's Tenderloin Elementary School wound up having to turn people away at the door. The meeting was filled to capacity, even though it had been moved at the last minute to accommodate a larger crowd than initially anticipated.

"Oh. My. God. Look at how many of you there are!" organizer Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee, called out as she greeted the hundreds in attendance. "Tenants in San Francisco, presente!"Read more »

Q up

Era-defining local legend DJ Qbert scratches out his first album in 16 years, Extraterrestria

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MUSIC "I always wanted to know how music sounded in outer space. And with certain types of crystals you can supposedly tune into different frequencies, receive other transmissions. Often I meditate with crystals, go to sleep, and dream about music from outer space. Then I wake up, make stuff like that on the turntables, and take it from there."Read more »

The secret life of Sylvia Fein

The 94-year-old painter comes to terms with her surreality in a new retrospective

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Rise of the machines

CAREERS AND ED: From flipping burgers to making sexy, robots are catching up

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joe@sfbg.com

CAREERS AND ED As digital gizmos invade our pockets and our lives, the fear of machines replacing human work is as pervasive as ever. But of course that fear isn't unique to the computer age.

As far back as the 1800s folk legend John Henry competed against a great railroad-building machine, hammering holes for railroad tracks in dirt and rock with the power of his arms.Read more »

The Rise of Candidate X

The absolutely true story of how a complete unknown rocketed from political obscurity, electrified the city, tackled real problems, and beat Ed Lee in 2015. 

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EDITOR'S NOTE:

As we move through tumultuous times in San Francisco and start a year with infinite political potential, we decided to stretch our imaginations a bit. While this is clearly a work of satire that appropriates some local media voices and perspectives, we hope that even its most fantastical moments will give this parable some resonance with our readers. Happy new year!

BGeditRead more »

Fieldwork

New book 'Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies' looks at the sorry state of migrant farmworker health care -- and its larger implications in the global economy

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marke@sfbg.com

After two more hours of hiking, we stop in a dry creek. One of the younger men enlists help pulling large cactus spines from one of his legs. We sit in a circle sharing food. The tastes link us to loved ones and Oaxaca...Read more »

Page turners

BOOKS ISSUE: Short reviews of great books and comics

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THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED GORE

By Dan West (Self-published, 184 pp., $13)Read more »

On the veg

BOOKS ISSUE: Isa Chandra Moskowitz is back with 'Isa Does It,' a vegan cookbook for working stiffs

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arts@sfbg.com

LIT The first thing you need to know about Isa Chandra Moskowitz is that she's a punky legend in the global vegan community. She started the DIY Post Punk Kitchen public access show in Brooklyn and (perhaps more importantly) created the vegan hub website of the same name exactly 10 years ago. While maintaining PPK she has authored or co-authored eight popular cookbooks, right up to this fall's unfussy workday vegan cookbook, Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week (Little Brown, 320 pp., $30).Read more »