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The threat to San Francisco bookstores goes beyond Amazon and ebooks to rising rents and demand for commercial space

This Week's Paper

coverWide Angle Lens: During turmultuous conflict, the SF Jewish Film Fesitval shows multiple perspectives. Plus: Central American child refugees flood SF, GRMLN, head of Sunday Streets steps down and more. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

The internet reacts to Sgt. Ernst's bicyclist memorial tantrum

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A memorial (and informational event) at the 6th and Folsom corner where bicyclist 24-year-old Amelie Le Moullac was fatally run over by a truck last week was interrupted by a tense confrontation with SFPD Sgt. Richard Ernst, when he showed up to block the bike lane with his cruiser to lecture the cyclists.

SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum told the Guardian in a story Wednesday that SFPD Sgt. Richard Ernst showed up to make his apparent disdain for “you people,” bicyclists.Read more »

The robot apocalypse, Mr. Darcy, outlaws, and revolutionaries: new movies!

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Let's Boo-Boo! Edgar Wright's latest bromance-in-genre-clothing, The World's End, opens today, and it's a riot. Elsewhere, there's a rom-com about Jane Austen obsessives, Hollywood's latest supernatural-teen fantasy, and an indie horror flick critic Dennis Harvey calls "a very bloody good ride." (Check out those reviews below).

Longer features this week include my interview with director David Lowery about his neo-Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints, and Harvey's take on artist-couple doc Cutie and the Boxer. Read more »

Chronicle: Don't question the City College takeover, just submit to the flawed ACCJC

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I have very low expectations from editorials in the San Francisco Chronicle, which generally share a worldview with the Chamber of Commerce and carry water for some powerful Establishment figure or another. Read more »

Lone stars

Old-fashioned 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' claims a new genre: neo-neo-Western noir

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FILM "This was in Texas," reads the hand-lettered opening of Ain't Them Bodies Saints. It's a fittingly homespun beginning to a film that pays painstaking homage to bygone-era cinema. After its Sundance Film Festival premiere, writer-director David Lowery's first high-profile release earned frequent comparisons to 1970s works by Robert Altman and Terrence Malick. That's no accident; Saints openly feasts upon the decade's intimate, sun-burnished neo-Westerns.Read more »

Scenes from a marriage

'Cutie and the Boxer' showcases one artistic couple's functional dysfunction

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FILM At least since Grey Gardens in 1975 provided a peek at mother-and daughter eccentrics living in squalor — distinguished from your average crazy cat ladies by being closely related to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — there's been a documentary subgenre devoted to, well, weirdos. Errol Morris and Werner Herzog have devoted a sizable chunk of their output to them, those people who might make you nervous or annoyed if they lived next door but are fascinating to gawk at for 90 minutes or so. Read more »

Party Radar: Flume, Symbiosis, Monster Show, Simian Mobile Disco, Escort, more

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As always, the party cup overfloweth in SF as burners make their annual migration into the sea of funfur and sparklepants. Besides the great shindigs listed in the paper in this week's Super Ego nightlife column, here are a few more stones to throw at your Exodus hangover ... 

Read more »

The other thing Chelsea Manning said, and more updates

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By now, we all now that Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years on Aug. 21 for leaking classified U.S. government documents, would like to enter the next phase of her life as a woman named Chelsea. “I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in a statement. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.”Read more »

SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera sues to keep City College open

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City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a suit today to block City College of San Francisco’s accreditation agency from closing down the school.Read more »

Solomon: Oiling the war machinery, from Oslo to Heathrow to Washington

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Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” Information on the documentary based on the book is at www.WarMadeEasyTheMovie.org.

In Oslo, the world’s most important peace prize has been hijacked for war.

In London, government authority has just fired a new shot at freedom of the press.

And in Washington, the Obama administration continues to escalate its attacks on whistleblowers, journalism and civil liberties.

As a nation at peace becomes a fading memory, so does privacy. Commitments to idealism -- seeking real alternatives to war and upholding democratic values -- are under constant assault from the peaks of power. Read more »

Memorial for cyclist marred by SFPD harassment

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A memorial and informational event this morning at the 6th and Folsom corner where a bicyclist was fatally run over by a truck last week was marred by a tense and unsettling confrontation with an SFPD sergeant who showed up to block the bike lane with his cruiser, lecture the cyclists, and blame the victim.Read more »

One thousand surveillance cams in SF and counting

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If you walk through densely populated commercial corridors on a regular basis, chances are you’re being recorded. Based on information compiled by CommunityCam, a data visualization project plotting the location of security cameras, there are at least 1,100 surveillance devices installed throughout San Francisco – and possibly many more.Read more »

Fizzling energy

Political stalemate impedes green power program

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A plan for a municipal power program that would offer 100 percent green energy to San Francisco customers was stalled on Aug. 13, prompting Sup. John Avalos to explore what legal options might be available to bring the program to fruition without further delay.Read more »

Sublime nonsense: extended interview with Wet the Hippo's John Gilkey

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Note: this is an extended version of an interview that appears in this week's paper.
 
The sets are gone, and the costumes, and that giant blue-and-yellow tent. Master clown and performance maker John Gilkey has ended his fourth stint with Cirque du Soleil since 1996. But if the wiry, often wild-haired Gilkey and his Muppet-like mug are no strangers to the big time, they move just as ferociously through a bare stage in a small venue wearing not much more than, these days, a bushy beard.
 
It’s been three years since Gilkey last performed in San Francisco — flanked by comedians Alec Jones-Trujillo and Donny Divanian, the deadpan naïfs of his avant-comedy trio, We Are Nudes. Just as the very funny yet vaguely unnerving, off-center style of Nudes occupied some indeterminate territory between sketch comedy and Dadaist destruction, Gilkey’s latest venture — the Los Angeles–based eight-member improvisational ensemble known as Wet the Hippo — takes its audience beyond the usual endpoints of improv.

Read more »

Activists say a pair of Spades could beat culture and small business in the Mission

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[UPDATE: The Board of Appeals last night voted to 3-2 that Jack Spade should be considered a formula retail business, short of the four-vote supermajority that activists needed to sustain their appeal.]Read more »

Product placement

Yummy stereo goods at Dijital Fix, giant sheep party, Soul Clap, Wolf + Lamb, Maurice Fulton, more nightlife

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SUPER EGO Anyone who's gone to grab my ass and resurfaced 20 minutes later with a handful of vintage Safeway plastic bags and several torn free condom wrappers holding pre-chewed wads of Gonzo Grape Bubblicious knows I'm not really into "bling," as the kids these days say in 1997. Who needs $525 Alejandro Ingelmo gold-trimmed "Tron" sneakers when you can just wear discarded DSW boxes! Cheap and proud lady right here.Read more »