Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST BOOMBOX AFFAIR

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The spirit of the underground is still alive in Larry Gonello Jr.'s world. The ace renegade soulful house and techno DJ was everywhere this year — from official street festival to not-so-official one, from licensed afterhours loft party to extralegal sunrise beach rave — joining in the fabulous mobile soundsystem tradition pioneered by great tricyclist Amandeep Jawa's speaker-wired Trikeasaurus Rex, Monkeylectric's Off-Grid Party Trailer, or anyone whose strapped an old transistor radio onto a bike during critical mass and rocked the freak out to Michael Jackson. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST PLAYING FIELD LEVELER

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One game has the player land on a purple planet and get asked out on a date by a giant sea monster. Another has you shimmy a bumble-bee's booty in the right sequence to win. Some of the games touch serious subjects like coming out for the first time, or dealing with poverty. And you can make one, too! The games on DIY text-based gaming platform Twine are wild and varied, but they're always first person narratives. Remember "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? It's kind of like that. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST DANCE SEANCE

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Everybody's saying the feisty, freaky soul of San Francisco is dying. Finally someone did something about it, in the form of resurrecting one of the city's most treasured cult arts figures, Ed Mock. A black, gay, free-spirited improvisational dance pioneer who died of AIDS in 1986: welp, you can't get much more "vanishing San Francisco" than that. (Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf... premiered in his studio. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST BURST OF PAN-ASIAN PRIDE

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In 1973, Japantown's Nihonmachi Street Fair was devised along the lines of community protest — in the face of sweeping neighborhood redevelopment, the celebration of Japanese heritage was a line in the sand, a declaration that one of SF's unique neighborhoods would not be erased by the vagaries of urban renewal. (Nihonmachi means, roughly, "Japantown.") Forty years later, it is an enduring statement of the power of community, and the festival considers itself a representation of the Pan-Asian cultural experience in San Francisco. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST "HOUSE" MUSIC

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Hang out with rad musicians like Peter Case, Alejandro Escovedo, Nataly Dawn, Sean Hayes, The Mother Hips, Ben Kweller, Heather Combs, John Vanderslice, and Chuck Prophet at a genial house party — and then watch them play a full concert in the living room? This convivial scene (you may actually be able to pet a cat while singing along) is what KC Turner's House Concert series is all about. Here, nothing separates the performers from their patrons, save a few extra inches of legroom and the use of a microphone. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST GAYMER HANGOUT

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Gay gamers often have friends they can brag to about their Xbox Live gamerscore. And they often have friends they can take to the club. And never shall those two groups of friends meet. Yet for one glorious weekend in Japantown last August, LGBT nerds united to celebrate indie queer games and to dress in Princess Peach drag (her five o'clock shadows were fetching). Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST PET SOUNDS

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Different Fur Studios is esteemed by the current generation of music fans for churning out a staggering variety of hip music from San Francisco — A B & the Sea, Main Attrakionz, Lilac, the She's — and beyond. Given the storied studio's long history, however, it's no wonder it's still helping define the sound of the Bay. It was founded in 1968, at the height of San Francisco sonic weirdness, by Patrick Gleeson, an energetic electronic music composer who brought in the likes of Herbie Hancock, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Stevie Wonder. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST PUNK-LIT SPIT 'N SHINE

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Oh, how we love Sister Spit — that incubator of radical feminist artists and punk-lit creators, host for two decades of some the best Bay Area spoken word performances. But the performance series (birthed by Michelle Tea and Sini Anderson back in 1994, and then again in 2006) may well hold more significance to those outside of the Bay. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST YEARLY WIDDERSHINS

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How long does it take to make a tradition? Surely a longevity spanning four decades denotes a yearly gathering that has taken hold of a group's psyche. If this is indeed the case, consider the pagan faction Bay Area Reclaiming's Spiral Dance a full-blown, locally born folkway. The rite takes place each year during the Halloween season, or Samhain, as the pagan holiday of death and regeneration is best known. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2013: BEST GAY LEATHER BIKER ROCK AND ROLL RESURRECTION

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When it was announced in 2011 that legendary Soma gay leather biker bar the Eagle Tavern was closing, much of the queer population was stunned. Sure, although charitable Sunday afternoon beer busts and renowned Thursday Night Live local rock showcases were packed, the large bar and patio were not exactly swarmed the rest of the time — and the owners had recently sunk much of their money into the revamped Hole in the Wall Saloon. But the Eagle's closure became a flashpoint for what many saw as the homogenization of SF's gay population and the gentrification of traditional queer spaces. Read more »