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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Inside Daybreaker, S.F.'s Sober Pre-Dawn Dance Party

Posted By on Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 10:30 AM

  • Daniel Lee
I’ve always fundamentally disagreed with the concept of early morning — in my opinion, humans were not meant to rise before the sun, which is why beds are extra comfy when you have to get out of one.

Yet here I was in the Macy’s event center in Union Square learning the dance moves to Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)" at 6:30 in the morning. I've got a MammaChia smoothie in one hand and bottle of mango-flavored coconut water in the other, a flashing Macy's-branded rave stick poking out of my back pocket. The reason for my early rising is Daybreaker, a New York-based movement that brings pre-dawn sober dance parties to cities across the globe.

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Inside Spoke Art, the Gallery with Awesome Pop-Culture-Themed Shows

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2015 at 8:05 AM

A gallery visitor checks out the art in a Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro-themed show. - PHOTO BY ODELL HUSSEY, COURTESY OF SPOKE ART.
  • Photo by Odell Hussey, courtesy of Spoke Art.
  • A gallery visitor checks out the art in a Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro-themed show.

The large windows beckon you in at first. Inside, dozens of posters line the walls and a few pedestals hold small sculptures and trinkets. Once inside, familiar faces greet you — distinctive characters from a Wes Anderson film reinterpreted through the lens of various artists. It’s a candy shop for the pop culture enthusiast, a game of spot the character and name the reference.

Spoke Art hosted its first Wes Anderson-themed show in 2010 in a pop-up space on Polk street. The half art show half Halloween party attracted hundreds of attendees — naturally, dressed up to match the theme of the night. Now, the Wes Anderson show happens every year.

The gallery — and its sister space Hashimoto Contemporary — began as a series of pop-ups throughout San Francisco and Oakland. While it does host general contemporary art shows, it frequently takes on a lighter tone with pop-culture themed shows. These run the gamut of pop culture history, covering everything from the work of David Lynch to the recognizable face of Lil Bub (the latter even included a sterling silver ring featuring the viral cat surrounded by baby bottles, yarn and more). The last show paid homage to the movies of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, bringing to life the familiar facets of Amelie, City of Los Children and more.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Conservatory Theater Announces Fab New Season

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 12:16 PM

Avenue Q
  • Avenue Q

The food was great and the wine flowed as the venerable New Conservatory Theatre held an elegant soiree to announce its 2015-2016 season. 

NCT founder/artistic director Ed Decker took to the stage to address/entertain the crowd, leaving some to wonder why he wasn't pursuing a career in stand-up. "I need my medicine," he said gleefully, as he poured himself a drink. He held up his flask for all to see. "It's the best self-help guide," he said. "Girl, heal thyself!"

Decker could have taught Neil Patrick Harris a thing or two about hosting the Oscars!

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Monday, March 11, 2013

The Jersey Boys at the Curran Theatre: Our Boozy Backstage Interview With the Cast

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 1:48 PM

The Jersey Boys tour bus arrives at the Curran Theatre - HERM PUGAY
  • Herm Pugay
  • The Jersey Boys tour bus arrives at the Curran Theatre

If falsetto warblings make you weak in the knees, Jersey Boys could induce a seizure. The boys are back in town and opened on Saturday at theCurran Theatre, kicking off an eight-week run. On Friday night, we got the chance to quaff choice cocktails (Walk like a MANhattan or Joy-zee Juice anyone?) and talk a little dirty with the handsome-as-hell cast at a Q&A happy hour; we're still convinced the Curran Balcony's never seen that much booze.

Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons are played by Nick Cosgrove (Frankie Vallie), John Gardiner (Tommy DeVito), Miles Jacoby (Bob Gaudio), and Michael Lomenda (Nick Massi). The four "men" -- (sorry but Nick looks like a fresh-faced elfin boy, all sweet grin and fair skin) -- were all dashing in full suits, coiffed do's, and winsome smiles. They poised, preened, and waxed a bit poetic about "the process," their journeys as performers, and of course, San Francisco; they also got a little naughty. Here's a juicy little round-up of what these blue collar Broadway badasses had to say for themselves.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Q&A with Alex Koll: Another Local Comedian Heads to New York

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

  • Mindy Tucker
  • Alex Koll

One of the most visible, prolific, and best of San Francisco's stand-up comedians, and a co-founder of The Business (SF Weekly's 2012 Best Night of Cheap Comedy), Alex Koll is, well, leaving us. Though raised in L.A., he has lived in the Bay Area since he was a teenager, and this is where he cut his teeth as a comic.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

San Francisco filmmaker Sari Gilman on her Oscar-Nominated Documentary Kings Point

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Sari Gilman
  • Sari Gilman

Sari Gilman has been editing other people's documentaries for 15 years. Last year, she made one of her own. An attentive group portrait of five people living at a Florida retirement resort, Kings Point marks an impressive debut, not least because it earned its maker a nomination for an Academy Award. The film itself seems innately modest, just half an hour long and neither technically nor narratively showy. What distinguishes it, though, is Gilman's clear-eyed point of view. Kings Point isn't the place to look for reassuring bromides about riding off into the sunset of life. Gilman's subjects aren't just adorably wrinkly wisdom dispensers; they're people, with wounds and worries, who've lived long enough to speak very frankly about the hardships of human connection. "Everybody's a user here," one resident says. "Self-preservation is number one," says another. Gilman, who lives in San Francisco, spoke with us by phone recently about how the film came to be, what her Oscar nomination feels like, and where she hopes to take our cultural conversation about growing old.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Se Llama Cristina at the Magic Theatre Bends Time, Reality, and Parenting

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Sarah Nina Hayon and Sean San José in Octavio Solis' Se Llama Cristina at Magic Theatre through February 17 - (PHOTO: JENNIFER REILEY)
  • (Photo: Jennifer Reiley)
  • Sarah Nina Hayon and Sean San José in Octavio Solis' Se Llama Cristina at Magic Theatre through February 17

In Octavio Solis' new play, Se Llama Cristina, which had its world premiere at the Magic Theatre on January 30, a man and a woman wake up in a room with no memory of who they are or how they got there. And they have a sneaking suspicion they might be parents.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Paul F. Tompkins on Podcasting for Free, and Why Sketchest Is like Summer Camp

Posted By on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM


By Emilie Mutert

Paul F. Tompkins is, as his official bio states, a comedian. Besides having a handful of comedy albums, stand-up specials, and stints on Mr. Show with Bob and David and Best Week Ever, he's become internet-famous in the comedy podcast boom era. You'll hear him most often on Comedy Bang Bang! or his own The Pod F. Tompkast in character as one of a handful of his quasi-celebrity alter-egos: rapper and SVU-er Ice-T, cake boss Buddy Valastro, or director Garry Marshall, among others.

Tompkins has stepped outside stand-up, cobbling together comedy and storytelling and old-fashioned variety shows in live performances, web videos, and particularly podcasts, a medium that he says has found its footing and has started to be taken seriously. He's coming to San Francisco from his Los Angeles home base to partake in his at-least-eighth SF Sketchfest. We talked to him about his many projects, following in Adele's musical footprints, and what's worth seeing at this year's festival.

See Also: Six Must-See Under-the-Radar Events at SF Sketchfest

SF Sketchfest Announces 2013 Lineup: A Feast of Comedy Like No Other

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Live-Action Puzzle Game in S.F.: Can You Escape from the Mysterious Room?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM


It's about 5 p.m. on Sunday, January 20. The 49ers just secured a place in the Superbowl, but I'm not out celebrating, because I'm locked in a room with 11 strangers. Inside the room is a desk, a couch, art, and some random furniture. There are two doors, and both of them are locked. One with a padlock, and the other with a regular door knob. We have one hour to escape.

See Also: Black Friday: SF Weekly Takes Masochism to a New Level, Spends 24 Hours at Walmart

Columnist Anna Pulley Flies Through the Air with the Greatest of ... Fear, but She Beats It

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Videos of the Day: The 10 Best Views in S.F. and Oakland

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM


Say what you will about the prevalence of human feces and sky-rocketing rents -- the Bay Area is still an indisputably beautiful place. These videos by Shia Productions capture some of the natural and man-made wonders of San Francisco and Oakland that are rife for exploration, cheap dates, or just to gawk at the sheer loveliness of our hilly homes.

See Also: Hundreds of Starlings Fly through Downtown San Francisco (Video)
What Gay Men Think About Vaginas (Video)

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    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.'"