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Friday, December 4, 2015

The Girl King: The Real Queen Christina

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  • Wolfe Video
Mika Kaurismaki's new film The Girl King might surprise viewers who are familiar with Queen Christina, the 1933 historical drama starring Hollywood legend Greta Garbo. The highly romanticized Garbo film presents the young 17th-century Swedish queen as a heterosexual in love with a Spanish envoy, who was played by John Gilbert, Garbo's real-life partner. Completely ignored in 1933 was the fact that the Queen was a lesbian. The Girl King tells the rest of the Queen's story.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Free Leonard: The Story Behind the Bay Area's Famous Sign

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM

click image CT YOUNG
  • CT Young

We’ve all seen the bright red “Free Leonard” signs while driving through the East Bay – they’re impossible to miss. The signs, typically lacking any information beyond “Free Leonard,” are a staple along Bay Area roads and have been around so long that they're pretty much folk art.

After years of passing them by, wondering who the hell Leonard is, I decided to finally do some research.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Watch This Video of 1955 San Francisco (Including the Cliff House Sky Tram)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 10:30 AM


Here’s a fun, 21-minute-long, 1955 Cinemascope presentation that explains San Francisco to people who’ve never heard of it — and without showing the Tenderloin, the Mission, or a single moment of fog. Beautifully oversaturated and overwritten in that ‘50s style (“it is from the east that the city reveals its famous profile, framed by the silver towers of the Bay Bridge”), this excursion down the Embarcadero Freeway and all over town yields glimpses of architectural icons in different visual contexts, along with things that are now long-gone. And there’s so little traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, even in broad daylight!

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Tourism For Locals: William McKinley Monument Stands as Local Legacy of San Francisco-Born Sculptor

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 2:02 PM

A testament to a great man and we're not talking about the president it's dedicated for actually. - JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda
  • A testament to a great man and we're not talking about the president it's dedicated for actually.

As much as we love our local history, San Francisco seems to love erecting monuments to the most important and random of achievements and individuals. Some are warranted, like the alley that inspired the birth of the hard-boiled detective drama; yet, there are other's that seem like complete head scratchers, like this week's Tourism for Locals highlight: The William McKinley Memorial Monument in Golden Gate Park's panhandle.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hometown Glory: A Look Back at the Year in Documentary Film

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 7:55 AM

Let the cameras roll. - SHUTTERSTOCK/WELCOMIA
The Bay Area has served as backdrop to some of the most iconic films in history. (Think Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Mrs. Doubtfire and Vertigo.) But as the year comes to a close, we wanted to note the wonderful documentary films that were produced in the Bay Area and hit theaters in 2014. 

See also: Year in Film: 2014's Finest, Strangest, and Most Nonexistent Movies 

The subject matters explored by these filmmakers range from civil rights issues abroad (Alex & Ali) and at home (Documented), inside looks into the beautiful minds of the young (The Internet's Own Boy) and the old (The Genius of Marian) and a kaleidoscopic history lesson of the modern age phenomenon known as the teenager (Teenage). 

SF Weekly
caught up with these Bay Area filmmakers throughout the year and discussed everything from inspiration to desperation and the fierce dedication needed in order to tell those personal yet universal stories that matter most.

Q&As embedded in the titles below. 

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Monday, December 22, 2014

LGBT Military Expert Leads Discussion on "The Imitation Game"

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 10:34 AM

click image Alan Turing - ODC THEATER
  • ODC Theater
  • Alan Turing

Many are familiar by now with the name of it-boy British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, however, few might recognize the name of the man he portrays in the critically-lauded biopic The Imitation Game.  

Cumberbatch plays mathematician Alan Turing, who as the film depicts, was highly instrumental in the development of the model that broke Nazi Germany's Enigma code and eventually won World War II for the Allies. Turing's iconic work set the foundation for what would later be known as computer science. Despite his influence, Turing was later tried for and convicted of homosexual acts and ordered to undergo chemical castration as an alternative to prison.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rediscover SF's Lost History At The Potrero Hill History Night

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM

  • San Francisco Maritime Museum
  • Irish Hill c. 1890

If you're like us, you're up for checking out the city's always-unique neighborhoods any day of the week. Lucky for those of you who will be milling around SoMa area on Saturday, there's something cool to see: The Potrero Hill's History Night at the International Studies Academy. 

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Old SF Glory: Presidio Officers' Club Is Now Open to the Public

Posted By on Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 9:41 AM

San Francisco's most historical building finally open to the general public. - JUAN DE ANDA/ SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
  • San Francisco's most historical building finally open to the general public.

City and industry leaders trumpet incessantly about the innovation and progress happening in San Francisco. But let's take a moment to think of our past, a past that makes us realize that our City was founded on the ideals of exploration, curiosity, and risk-taking. Sadly, many of our early historical markers have crumbled over time, but one relic remains standing.

First established in 1776 by Spanish conquistadors, the adobe Presidio Officers' Club stands as San Francisco's oldest edifice, even predating Mission Dolores. Throughout the 20th century, the building was an exclusive gathering place for Army brass and their families. Now, it has been transformed into a multifaceted cultural destination that not only welcomes the residents of San Francisco, but anyone who has the privilege of visiting. 

From 2011 to 2014, the Presidio Trust conducted a comprehensive restoration of the 36,895 square-foot Presidio Officers' Club. The project has protected and revealed the building's defining characteristics, restored the original adobe, and enabled public access to long-closed spaces. 

Inside one of the rooms of the Officers' Club - JUAN DE ANDA/ SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
  • Inside one of the rooms of the Officers' Club

The 230-year-old building is amalgam of adobe, wood-frame, concrete, and steel structures, with additions built over the course of its existence. Over time, the edifice has housed Spanish, Mexican, and American soldiers and been converted into a mess room, ballroom, and restaurant bar. The property has also hosted famous guests such as former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, General Omar Bradley, and former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore.

After the United States Army departed in 1994, the Presidio became part of the national park system and therefore part of the public domain. In keeping with the ideals set forth by the National Park System, the Presidio Officers' Club houses a cultural museum with artifacts from the building's different eras, an education resource center for children and parents, and open access to the historical rooms and libraries inside.  There is also a new restaurant, Arguello, now open in the Officers' Club.

The Presidio Officers' Club is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at 50 Moraga Avenue at Arguello Boulevard, on the Presidio's Main Post. 

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finding History in a San Francisco Mailbox: The Clay Street Massacre of 1955

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 12:45 PM

  • Mollie McWilliams
Earlier this week we found mail delivered to our address — 55 years ago. Now we're looking at the last piece we pulled from the mailbox, John Abraham's running-platform poster,  which served as an introduction to one of the worst car crashes the City has ever seen: the Clay Street Massacre. 

While the Death Rides S.F. Streets running-platform poster didn't make a strong argument for his election: "John [illegible middle name] Abraham demands halt to slaughter pledges strong vehicle safety inspection code for City," (sorry Abraham, we think we know why you lost), it did inspire us to dig into the history behind something the City would call a massacre, but was, yet, something we'd never heard of.

This of course isn't the first time we've learned about the dark side of San Francisco history lost to time; last year Joe Eskenazi wrote about the worst sporting disaster ever, which happened in San Francisco in 1900. In this sad story sport spectators clamored onto a factory roof to watch a football game at Recreation Park and subsequently fell to their death when the roof collapsed. The story is much more gruesome than just a simple roof collapse — the spectators fell onto a furnace and some became entrapped between rods and the furnace, while others who had broken bones from the fall were unable to move. And while it may seem unimaginable that a story like this and the Clay Street Massacre were able to be lost to time, all we have to do is remember the stories that have followed in their wake — the Zodiac killer, the Zebra murders, the Jonestown Massacre, and so on — and it's easy to see how time creates a barrier between the tragic stories of the City's past and one's personal knowledge of San Francisco history. 

And so, here's what happened that fateful day, May 27, 1955, when a furniture truck lost its brakes on top of Nob Hill and sparked the beginning of the Clay Street Massacre that would end with seven dead; according to the AP (spelling mistakes included):

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Monday, April 8, 2013

50 Children Tells the Inspiring True Story of an Unlikely Rescue

Posted By on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM


The phrase "We must never forget" has long since passed into the realm of cliché, especially given its overuse and appropriation by bumper-sticker manufacturers post-9/11, but its core remains true: When atrocities occur, there are things we really need to remember, not the least of which is the people who did the right thing when few others would. San Francisco filmmaker Steve Pressman is helping us to remember with his documentary 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus, premiering April 8 on HBO.

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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.'"