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News, Sucka Free City

A Rebranding Miracle!: The Most San Franciscan of Christmas Trees

A decade ago, the pope — who ought to know such things — expounded on the symbolism of the Christmas tree. Its evergreen, unchanging nature, per John Paul II, "exalts the value of life." Gifts beneath it epitomize "Christ, God's…
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Film, "Pacific Rim": Robots and Monsters and the Little People That Scurry

"Pacific Rim": Robots and Monsters and the Little People That Scurry

Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro's gift for crafting inventive monster-mash spectacles is on glorious display throughout this saga, in which Earth's last hope against the colossal beasts known as "Kaiju" is a ragtag collection of resistance fighters…
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Calendar, Night&Day Law of Desire

Law of Desire

The apocalypse has arrived, not with a bang but with the whimper of wind whistling through tall grass, in Kaneto Shindo’s mesmerizing 1964 fable, Onibaba (The Hole). An unflinching tale of wartime survival and carnal hunger, this impeccably composed black-and-white…
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Calendar, Night&Day Doing Harm

Doing Harm

When we first heard about Joe Powers the tango harmonica player, we did some laughing. Wacky! And perfect, since tango people tend to take themselves fairly seriously. Maybe the homey little instrument could put a smile on the scene's straight…
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Calendar, Night&Day His So-Called Life

His So-Called Life

Memoirs about quitting smoking haven’t lit up like ones about drugs or stripping or working at Vogue, and let’s hope our luck holds: The last thing we need at the gasping end of the memoir era is some hotshot igniting…
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Film, 17 + 6 - 5 + 1 - 3 + 7 = 23!

17 + 6 - 5 + 1 - 3 + 7 = 23!

The Number 23 grips hold of one stupid idea and runs so far with it, in so many directions, to such little purpose, that it nearly won me over from sheer berserkoid effort. In a nutshell, this nutso movie observes…
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Film, Familiar <i>Ring</i>

Familiar Ring

The press notes for Pulse would have you believe that it predates many of the recent Japanese horror films that have been remade for American audiences, but that doesn't seem to be true. It predates the U.S. remakes, yes; but…
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Culture, Stage Political Puppets

Political Puppets

Lunatique Fantastique's Executive Order 9066 is an unusual kind of concentration camp play. There are no verbatim testimonies from real-life prisoners to give the work a veneer of journalistic vérité; no graphic scenes of guard brutality to make viewers run…
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Calendar, Night&Day Cloud Burst

Cloud Burst

A 300-foot flame rose into Nevada's pre-dawn desert sky on July 16, and 100 onlookers stood transfixed, watching the moonlike landscape brighten under a fiery mushroom cloud. The genesis of this jaw-dropping spectacle? Six large fans rigged with nozzles spraying…
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Film, Zoom Lens Zoom Lens

Zoom Lens

The fourth annual "Neo-Eiga" series achieves a spectrum of tastes, genres, and ideologies that makes it the local Asian -- and not just Japanese -- film event of the year. Eight movies, made (with one notable exception) between 2002 and…
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Calendar, Night&Day Blowup


The true age of shock and awe was ushered in almost six decades ago, when members of the covert Manhattan Project detonated a sphere of plutonium over the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945. The world's first nuclear explosion…
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Suspicious Minds

Listening to history can be as cheap and easy as handing over 50 cents on a Saturday afternoon. One of the scratchy old records I bought on the street is called "I Can Hear It Now ..." -- "The history…
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Calendar, Night&Day


wednesday may 31 Abraham Verghese In My Own Country, Dr. Abraham Verghese documents his experience as the local AIDS expert in Johnson City, Tenn., one of many places in America where the disease and those who have it are ignored.…
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