Cover Story

Nordic track

SFIFF offers an all-too-rare opportunity to appreciate Finnish cinema


SFIFF "The greatest Finnish movie ever made" — drop that phrase on someone (at least a non-Finn) and they will most likely make some crack suggesting there can't possibly be enough of them for the distinction to matter. But Finland has had a rich and idiosyncratic filmmaking history stretching back to 1907. It hardly begins and ends with Aki Kaurismäki, the droll minimalist who was the first (and still only) Finnish director to regularly win international distribution.Read more »

Screening is believing

Five must-see documentaries at the huge San Francisco International Film Festival. Plus: Rare Finnish movies and a ton of SFIFF previews.


Short takes: SFIFF week one

You're Next, Rosie, The Kill Team, The Patience Stone, and more reviews of film fest features



April 25-May 9, most shows $10-15

Various venues

festival.sffs.orgRead more »

Indicator city

If cutting edge San Francisco can't meet the challenge of climate change and related environmental issues, are we all doomed?


When biologists talk about the health of a fragile ecosystem, they often speak of an "indicator species." That's a critter — a fish, say, or a frog — whose health, or lack thereof, is a signal of the overall health of the system. These days, when environmentalists who think about politics as well as science look at San Francisco, they see an indicator city.Read more »

The Cat Pack

Quirky felines have gone past viral status to become legitimate celebrities. Now how will they use their fame?


PETS Lil Bub does not do corporate endorsements.

"I prefer going to my local pet store, so why would Bub endorse Petco?" says Mike Bridavsky, owner of the angel-faced, wide-eyed, underbite-blessed cat from Bloomington, Indiana who is one of the most prominent members of the Cat Pack, a term Bridavsky coins during our phone interview for the cadre of felines currently owning the Internet.Read more »

Precious Metal

With the release of her dark, avant-pop sophomore album, Oakland's Metal Mother is free to pursue her primal side


MUSIC A lot of elements needed to come together to inspire Metal Mother's new record, Ionika. You can almost picture the woman behind the sobriquet, crouching in some foggy wooded wonderland, scooping up soil and critters, ancient buried treasures of forgotten societies and precious metals. Before we get into specifics, let's slip off the mask. Metal Mother is really, mostly, the glossy coating of one delicate Oakland musician: Taara Tati.Read more »

FEAST: Adventures in crabbing

An amateur's guide to DIY crustacean hunting


FEAST I'll admit, the prospect of DIY crabbing during our Bodega Bay camping trip was enough to give me pause. But the thought of a pot full of freshly caught crabs cooking over a campfire was enough to kick off a quest to add "amateur crabber" to my resume.

Taking a cue from our stomachs, my camping crew did some research. We needed advice and supplies, and a single trip to the Outer Richmond yielded both.Read more »

Spring into arts

Guardian writers select the season's most-anticipated performances, exhibits, film events, and more

It's true that San Francisco doesn't really have seasons, per se. We don't have a snow thaw, or a sudden riot of cherry blossoms, or even a perceptible change in the weather to mark calendar shifts. So grab that lightweight jacket you've been wearing since October, and use our selective guide to what music shows to see (dude ... Sparks is coming!), gallery and museum shows to hit up, films to catch, and can't-miss theater and dance performances — including, yep, a fresh take on The Rite of Spring.Read more »

On a mission

Two Mission cops decided they'd rather get jobs for gang members than keep arresting them. And it's working.


Every gang member on the streets knows Cathey and Sands. They're the cops. They've busted dozens of the young men who hang out in the Mission. They know every excuse, every trick, every way you can duck into an alley, hide in a doorway, ditch a weapon or cover up a crime.Read more »

Information, please

The Bay Area leads the revolution in information sharing. So why is it still so hard to get basic public records in San Francisco?


The concept of "freedom of information" has taken on epic proportions in the Age of the Internet. Take Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales' comments at the RSA Security Conference, which drew prominent tech luminaries to San Francisco's Moscone Center last week.Read more »