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Friday, July 15, 2016

SATURDAY: The Tenderloin Museum Turns One and Commemorates LGBT Rights

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 9:08 AM

  • Tenderloin Museum
It's a big month in the T.L. This Saturday, July 16, the plucky Tenderloin Museum will celebrate its first birthday with 11 hours of party time and programming dedicated to the most fascinating, most frequently misunderstood neighborhood in the city. Meanwhile, another major milestone hovers just on the next calendar page: the 50th anniversary of the Compton's Cafeteria Riot, the equivalent of the Boston Tea Party for the LGBT rights movement that occurred three years before the better-known Stonewall riot in Manhattan.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Van Jones Talks Prison Reform With Shaka Senghor, Who Spent Seven Years in Solitary

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 12:00 PM

  • Courtesy of Commonwealth Club
  • Shaka Senghor and Van Jones

If Shaka Senghor had a theme song, it should be Drake’s “Started From the Bottom,” says CNN political commentator Van Jones.

Senghor, a criminal justice advocate who works with Jones at #cut50, which aims to safely reduce the U.S. prison population by half by 2025, went to prison in 1991 for second degree murder. He spent 19 years there, about seven of them in solitary confinement.

“There’s not much lower you can go in society,” Jones said. “And he somehow transformed himself to kind of human being who touches everyone from Oprah Winfrey to [venture capitalist] Ben Horowitz to kids on the street to people who are locked up. It’s not everybody who can give a presentation that moves from everyone from prisoners to college presidents, but he does that.”

Jones, a Yale-educated lawyer who worked in President Obama’s administration, taught at Princeton, and founded various organizations working for social and environmental justice, says our prison system is clearly not working and a humongous shift is needed in what we’re doing.

“We’re spending 80 billion to lock people up and about 70 percent come home and still get in trouble,” he said. “What other industry could have a 70 percent failure rate and still be in business?”

We need lots more prevention, pathways to reentry, alternatives to incarceration and a strong jobs program, Jones says. He thinks prison should be for people committing the most serious and dangerous crimes, and we shouldn’t be sending people away for 30 years on a minor drug charge.
  • Courtesy of Shaka Senghor
“People of color and poor people go to jail for things rich white people don’t even
get arrested for,” he said. “How much dope is getting smoked in Pacific Heights this weekend and nobody gets arrested?”

Jones says hearing a story like Senghor’s about how he ended up in prison – and how he transformed through art, literature and religion (told in his book, Writing My Wrongs) can help people understand and change their minds about prisoners and realize how much potential and talent is being wasted.

Jones calls Senghor, who he met at M.I.T.’s Media Lab, a “spiritual and intellectual giant” and a great leader. He says most people would be broken by so many years in prison and in solitary confinement. And most would be spoiled by being invited to the White House and on Oprah Winfrey’s show. But Senghor is different.

“He’s just as centered and grounded now, despite all the success, as he was when I met him a couple years ago, despite all the setbacks,” Jones says. “To survive at both ends of the spectrum and be so human and so real – it gives me goosebumps. It makes you wonder how many more Shakas we have just thrown away for a mistake they made as teenagers.”

Beyond Prisons: A Conversation About Criminal Justice Reform, Shaka Senghor in conversation with Van Jones, Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, April 13, 6:30, $10-75, (415) 597-6700
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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Real(er) Alien Nation: District 9's Neill Blomkamp Appears at Alamo Drafthouse

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 8:00 AM

When District 9 opened in the summer of 2009, we went into the theater blissfully unaware of the viral marketing campaign and came out believing Neill Blomkamp might be the next great hope for science fiction movie making.

The story, adapted from his 2005 short “doc” Alive in Joburg, starts 20 years after an enormous alien ship has stalled above Johannesburg. Its occupants — a sentient, bipedal, hive species with rugged exoskeletons, antennae, feeding tentacles, and a guttural language accented by clicks — have been granted shaky refugee status. Despite the evident sophistication of their culture, human natives are repulsed, both, by the aliens’ difference and their need. The "prawns" — a pejorative nickname shared with the king crickets already considered pests in South Africa — are seemingly incapable of defending themselves against the extreme xenophobia of their neighbors or government policy, which makes the extermination of prawn broods routine.

On Sunday, April 17, after screening District 9 at the Alamo Drafthouse, Blomkamp will be on hand to share tales from the set of his first feature film and answer all your burning questions, like why the precious fuel was stored in a lunch box. (Just, please, don’t ask about Elysium.) Adam Savage, the great Mythbuster, will also be on hand to explore the viability of ARC guns, sonic blasters, and hermaphroditic copulation.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ten Tidbits from Jane Kim's Talk at the Tenderloin Museum

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 1:00 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

At lunchtime on the first Monday of every month, The Tenderloin Museum hosts a guest speaker. Former Mayor Willie Brown led off the series in March, while yesterday, it was Sup. Jane Kim's turn. In the hour-long discussion (moderated by Randy Shaw, with a Q&A), Kim got into the nitty-gritty of policy specifics while articulating her vision for the Tenderloin — which she represents — in an era of rampant gentrification and change. Here are 10 of the choicest tidbits Kim uttered.

Note: The next scheduled speaker is Sup. Aaron Peskin on Monday, May 2.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Chatting With Kim Novak, Who Brings Vertigo to SF Symphony This Weekend

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 1:30 PM

  • Universal

Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo is now considered the great auteur's masterpiece, with some arguing that the 1958 romantic thriller is superior even to the groundbreaking and still terrifying Psycho. Vertigo was shot on location in a San Francisco which no longer exists — locales included Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, the Palace of the Legion of Honor and underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. The city has never looked more ghostly than in the haunting tale of mystery and dual-identities that is Vertigo. 

On Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12-13, Vertigo will screen at Davies Symphony Hall at 8 p.m. This is Vertigo as you've never seen it before — the venerable San Francisco Symphony will perform Bernard Herrmann's haunting score along with the film. And, as the icing on the cake, screen legend Kim Novak will appear on the Davies stage at 7 p.m. for a pre-screening conversation with Steven Winn. 

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Friday, January 29, 2016

An Inconvenient Truth: Dr. Bennet Omalu on Prejudice in America's Favorite Pastimes

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Dr. Bennet Omalu leads Concussion: Brain Injury and the NFL at City Arts & Lectures with Stone Phillips on Feb. 4. - COURTESY OF GREATER TALENT NETWORK, INC.
  • Courtesy of Greater Talent Network, Inc.
  • Dr. Bennet Omalu leads Concussion: Brain Injury and the NFL at City Arts & Lectures with Stone Phillips on Feb. 4.

Dr. Bennet Omalu shares more with actor Will Smith than one might think.  Not only did Smith portray the forensic pathologist, credited with discovering Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in the recent biopic Concussion, but also they've both experienced rejection from their respective industries. If the Nigerian doctor believes that he was initially discredited by the medical community and the NFL for his revolutionary finding because of racism and xenophobia, Smith feels that he was passed over for an Academy Award nomination, because of industry prejudice.

SF Weekly spoke to Dr. Bennet Omalu, who appears in conversation with Stone Phillips at City Arts & Lectures on Feb. 4, about revolutionizing neuroscience, prejudice in the medical community and Hollywood and how he'll spend Super Bowl Sunday.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

More Mercy, Fewer Victory Dances: Chatting With George Saunders

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 10:00 AM

  • Photo credit: ​Basso Cannarsa
  • George Saunders

When George Saunders daughters were young, he would tell them stories at night with a little girl (often slightly misunderstood) as the heroine, trying to work her way through things. Sometimes, she had a dopey younger brother who took credit for what his sister did. One of those stories had a little more shape, and Saunders, the author of Tenth of December, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, and Pastoralia, decided to write it down.

The story became The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, about a girl, Capable, who lives in Frip, where the three families in town make their living selling goat’s milk. Gappers, bright orange with lots of eyes, attach themselves to the goats, shrieking with joy and inhibiting their milk production. That means Capable and her neighbors have to regularly brush the gappers off the goats. In the story, the gappers suddenly abandon the neighbors and only go to Capable’s yard, which her neighbors take as a sign of their own superior virtue. Capable asks them for help, doesn’t get it, and in the end deals with the problem in a way fitting her name — and without what Saunders calls “a victory dance in the end zone.”

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

In Defense of Kim Kardashian West

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Judge LaDoris Cordell interviews Kim Kardashian West at The Castro Theatre on June 30. - PHOTO BY SONYA ABRAMS
  • Photo by Sonya Abrams
  • Judge LaDoris Cordell interviews Kim Kardashian West at The Castro Theatre on June 30.

When InForum members first learned that the Commonwealth Club's Innovation Lab would host Kim Kardashian West Live! this month, they booed, hissed and headed to the organization’s Facebook page to protest.

True, on the surface, the reality star seems to share little with the career women who've graced the speaker series' stage before her: stuffy corporate leaders such as Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington, and Marissa Mayer. But Kardashian West is a successful businesswoman in her own right, heading her own formidable empire, which earned a respectable $28 million in 2014, according to Forbes

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Airbnb's Design Talks: Designing Big Solutions in Cleverly Designed Rooms with Deliciously Designed Food

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Inside the Airbnb offices
  • Inside the Airbnb offices


Airbnb is one of the city's most fashionable startups right now, and it's riding the design wave. On Wednesday the 18th, I headed over to one of their free monthly Design Talks, a mixer/lecture at their current office in the Design District. The speaker was Patrice Martin of, whose tagline is "Let's Design A Better World With Everyone." Martin's presentation included one slide that said "Design As A Way Of Seeing The World"; she spoke about "design thinking" and how Ideo addresses social issues in "places where design can't reach."

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Ethical Tourism: Put Your Travel Money Where Your Mouth Is

Posted By on Mon, Dec 10, 2012 at 9:30 AM


Sex slaves. Obliteration of natural resources. Malnutrition. San Franciscans craving an authentic, inexpensive vacation often turn to developing countries, but low costs often mean low standards of living. Join travel experts Jeff Greenwald and Malia Everette for "Ethical Destinations," a panel on how to spend your coveted tourist dollars in meaningful ways. 

Every November, Bay Area nonprofit Ethical Traveler releases its top 10 list praising developing countries that promote locally based, sustainable tourist economies.

See also:

New Travel Series Features S.F., Is Like Sesame Street Orchestrated by the Beastie Boys

Recent Acquisitions: New Sculpture Brings Some Much-Needed Color to the Sunset District

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    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"