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Letters to the Editor

Public Trust-Busting Cleats and cheats: Cheers to Matt Smith for yet another excellent article . The depth of the piece and the historical perspective that it provides puts it head and shoulders above anything I've seen in…
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News, Letters

Letters to the Editor

Union Boosters A longshoreman unloads: The article "Off the Waterfront" (Matt Smith, June 5) could not have been more appropriately titled. It is obvious that the author didn't spend 15 minutes "on the waterfront" doing his research. Let's begin with…
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Film,

Cinema Paradiso

What's best about film festivals isn't necessarily the movies shown. It's the combined energy of hundreds of people all hoping to see something transporting -- sharing a discovery with their friends or with strangers they've met in line or in…
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Calendar, Night&Day Groovy Marcia!

Groovy Marcia!

Two of the more rarefied musical realms, the lounge and the garage, are on gaudy display in a three-part series at Yerba Buena, "The Secret Cinema." The first two nights, "Exotica Music Films," feature an enticingly bizarre tour of the…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Range Rovers

Westerns lack the cultural cachet of film noir or even racy pre-Code movies, but the genre has shown surprising resiliency under the multiple assaults of camp, feminism, and spaghetti westerns, as demonstrated in Yerba Buena's well-titled "Strange on the Range."…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Mega Watts

If the sight of a pre-South Park Isaac Hayes in a chain-mail vest singing "God Is on Our Side" isn't enticement enough to see Wattstax, how about a middle-aged Rufus Thomas in pink knickers and white vinyl boots presiding over…
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Calendar, Night&Day

This Is Your Brain on PSAs

At some point when no one was looking -- though it was probably in the hazy '70s -- attention deficit disorder went from clinical condition to cognitive norm. Cultural critics and behavioral scientists say Americans' inability to focus on anything…
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Calendar, Night&Day

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

For spacey jazzman and word magician Sun Ra, the official idea of "history" (which he denigrated as "his story") was always less interesting than the more personal "my story." Sun Ra's story is one of several irresistible tales in the…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Jad Fair Drives Women Wild

Edith Massey said it, in her ditty "Punks Get Off the Grass!": "Sincerity counts when you're talking to me." And who can argue with Edith Massey? Not Jad Fair, certainly, who outsinceres even Jonathan Richman in his plaintive wails about…
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Calendar, Night&Day

High Art, With Lowbrow Appeal

Celebrated experimental filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh is an anomaly even by the strict standards of the avant-garde, and "Peggy's Playhouse: A Peggy Ahwesh Retrospective," comprising six of her works spanning the past decade -- is a cultural space that's equally playful…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Factory Footage Captures Pop Life

"Resurrection" doesn't quite capture it; excavation might be a more appropriate word. Cinematheque's "Pop Resurrection: A Warhol Weekend" consists of four choice entries from the staggering 4,000 films (the most recent estimate) made by the true King of Pop during…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

Train 86, Where Are You? Pop culture's given us glory trains, cocaine trains, trains to nowhere, and hell-bound trains, but Argentine director Gustavo Mosquera manages to wrap them all into one in this masterful science-fiction mind-fuck. While some of the…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Pixel Cut

A secondary market for Pixelvision -- Fisher-Price's failed "kiddie camcorder" from the late '80s -- is the last thing anyone would have predicted. But artists and filmmakers in surprising numbers have responded to this disarmingly simple machine for its ease…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

"Lost" Black Independent Cinema When we think of "lost films," it's usually images of Hollywood movies of the silent era -- "lost" through studio negligence or melted down for the silver content -- that come to mind. But "lost" also…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Lock and Keys

This week's opening of Ernest Dickerson's Blind Faith (see our Movie Capsules in the Film section), combined with Media Alliance's monthlong "Critical Resistance: Prison Film Festival," provides a crash course in that peculiarly American blight: the prison industry -- who…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

A Tribute to William Friedkin The gifted, elusive William Friedkin is one of cinema's more curious cases. The creator of hugely popular, indeed groundbreaking films like The French Connection and The Exorcist, he's now fatally linked to the excesses of…
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Boys Keep Swinging

For Pierre & Gilles, known affectionately as P&G, growing up means growing old, and if they can't stop this process in life, they can at least do so in their art by freezing moments of robust youth and beauty. This…
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Calendar, Night&Day

Love Hurts

It's surprising, and a little dispiriting, that John Cassavetes' last film, Love Streams (1984), looks more like a true independent feature than most of what passes for such today. Cassavetes was an authentic innovator. From his mostly improvised first feature,…
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Film,

Zoom Lens

Tranny Fest '98 San Francisco is the land of the niche film festival, and the Tranny Fest must be one of the niche-iest. Now in its fourth year, this daylong event celebrates drag kings and queens, transsexuals, intersexuals, and more…
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Film,

Second Time Around

Celebration of Sludge For hipsters bored by the lounge, there's a new cultural space to reinhabit -- the grindhouse, as a five-film retrospective of the Al Adamson oeuvre returns us briefly to the gloriously dank movie palaces of 1960s Times…
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