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Monday, July 25, 2016

Tales from the 2016 J-POP SUMMIT Festival: Space Toilets, Zombie Kitties, and the New Vocaloid in Town

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 5:09 PM


The J-POP SUMMIT Festival is a celebration of all things related to Japanese pop culture – music, food, art, film, and many points between – and it's always my favorite weekend of the year. Held on July 23-24, this year's event was the second to be held at Fort Mason, largely because 2014 was crazy-busy, a teeming crowd of humanity congregated in a few square blocks thanks to the line of food Ramen Street. As I expressed in my writeup of last year's event, I was a little bummed about the relocation because I hate it when things change, but what hasn't changed is that J-POP was once again a fun and gratifying experience.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Within Our Gates: Classic Silent Film Comes to the Castro with a New Score

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM

  • Courtesy of San Francisco Silent Film Festival
  • Scene from "Within Our Gates"
Oakland Symphony conductor Michael Morgan has done many of Adolphus Hailstork’s pieces, and he calls him the most accomplished African American composer alive today.

“The most impressive thing about them is how well written they always are,” Morgan said. “There’s nobody better at combining classical training and elements of black music into a specific voice.”

Morgan will conduct Oakland Symphony musicians and members of the Oakland Symphony Chorus in the new score Hailstork composed for strings and voice for the 1920 film, Within Our Gates, which screens as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The film, the earliest surviving one made by an African-American director, Oscar Micheaux, deals with racial violence and stereotypes in the story of an African-American woman going north to raise money for a rural school in the South.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Contemporary Jewish Museum Recalls Bill Graham and The Summer of Love

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Bill Graham and his son David, 1969 - CJM
  • CJM
  • Bill Graham and his son David, 1969

Bill Graham (1931-1991) was an impresario like no other. 

Graham was the genius behind the legendary Fillmore, the venue that still operates at the corner of Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard. Graham's work as a concert promoter at The Fillmore was pivotal in establishing the legacies of the many musical icons who came of age during the late 1960s. Legends including Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Jefferson Airplane, and numerous other performers from San Francisco and beyond made musical history at The Fillmore. 

The Contemporary Jewish Museum now pays homage to Graham's breathtaking career with Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolutioncurrently on display through July 5. The exhibition is a treasure trove of Graham memorabilia, a journey back to an era which changed the country. 

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Bowie Tributes at the Castro Theatre and Oasis Proved What We Already Knew All Along

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM

David Bowie tribute at the Castro Theatre. - PHOTO: ZACK RUSKIN
  • Photo: Zack Ruskin
  • David Bowie tribute at the Castro Theatre.

In the weeks since David Bowie’s death, the world has been in mourning. Losing Bowie was a shock, because if Marvel movies have taught us anything, it’s that heroes cannot die. His fans — a dazzlingly eclectic group of every age, ethnicity, and creed — saw him not only as a personal idol, but as an icon for every person that existed outside of the narrow categories into which our culture is so eager to sort us. Processing Bowie’s passing has been no easy task, and in trying to cope, we’ve reverted back to the only thing that can truly give us solace: basking in the immortal beauty of his work.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bebe Sweetbriar Dances To A New Beat: Drag Diva Releases "Dontcha"

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 11:00 AM

  • Photo by DOT

Bebe Sweetbriar is one of the hardest working drag queens in San Francisco. The gorgeous and glamorous diva is a singer, talk show hostess, party promoter, and activist — she's a busy girl. 

Sweetbriar is now preparing to tour in conjunction with her just released dance single Dontcha — it's her fourth record, and her first after signing with Hit Save Music. (Sweetbriar's previous releases were independently produced.) This new record, Sweetbriar tells SF Weekly, is a cover of the 2005 hit "Don't Cha" by The Pussycat Dolls.

"I have always liked the original," the singer explained. "I used to sing it around the way I heard it in my head with different harmonies and a completely different bridge where the rap used to be in the original. With my first label release, I wanted to put out a song that people were drawn to because of its familiarity and then go, 'but who is that banging out the vocals?'"

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

J-POP Update: Vast Volumes of Vocaloids in Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai Complete

Posted By on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 9:30 AM


Every genre or franchise in pop culture is a rabbit hole, and one that I’ve been enjoying falling into these past few years is that of Hatsune Miku, the Vocaloid icon. A Vocaloid is the avatar of a voice synthesizer, and Miku is by far the most popular; she’s appeared in countless videos and remixes, live in concert, and quite a few video games, including the Project Diva F games for the PS3 and PS VITA, and Project Mirai games for the 3DS. It’s the latter series that’s covered in the limited edition Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai Complete box set, which the Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi Shop is releasing in the United States this week. Among other things, it’s a swell crash course into this particular niche of Japanese pop culture. 

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Oddville, An Art Show Celebrating All Things Bizarre, Is Accepting Submissions

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  • Ezra Croft
Ezra Croft aims to challenge your conception of art shows.

For many people, the words “art show” conjure up an image a bunch of people in formalwear walking around drinking white wine and making snooty comments about $800 paintings.

Brought to you by the same guy who put on the Christopher Walken-inspired art show last year and the Nicolas Cage-themed art show in February 2014, “Oddville: A Celebration of the Awesomely Strange” is an art show designed to show you “stuff that’s really weird, but in a fun way.”

“We’re trying to turn art shows on their head,” Croft said. “I just want it to be bizarre.”

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chatting With Tony Danza About His New Act, the Ukulele, and Certain Elton John Lyrics

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 3:30 PM


For the first time in his life, Tony Danza has a mustache.

“I’m actually doing an episode of Broad City, playing Abby’s father,” he told SF Weekly. “I have a mustache, cause I wanted to look like my father. I’m looking at [a picture of] him right now, and I swear I look like him. And if I put on glasses, well, holy crap!”

The sitcom actor — and Broadway star, author, tap dancer, and one-time boxer — is in his 60s now, and still getting by on the same infectious charm that helped his alter ego Tony Micelli talk his way into the Connecticut home of a high-powered ad exec named Angela, and her sexually active mother.

Tony Danza brings his show, Standards & Stories, to Feinstein’s this weekend for three nights. It’s something of a retrospective, sprinkled with anecdotes from a long career that began when the Rat Pack was still alive and working, and it is, in Danza’s words, a “grown-up act.”

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Monday, August 31, 2015

THURSDAY: The Quieter Side of Drag, at TenderBears

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 3:00 PM

  • (me llamo) Sebastián

Miley Cyrus’ VMA set showed drag at its most bombastic, there is another dimension to gender performance that doesn’t necessarily involve confetti cannons and several seasons’ worth of Drag Race contestants. It involves poetry, acoustic guitars, and bearded ladies with all kinds of genitals.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Treasure Island Follows Outside Lands Down the Comedy Rabbit-Hole

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:00 PM

  • Ricky Tompkins

It’s official: All the cool kids are doing it. Following in the footsteps of Outside Lands and early adopters like Bumbershoot and Bonaroo, the 2015 Treasure Island Musical Festival will debut its first comedy tent in October. In partnership with humor heavyweights Funny or Die, the venue will feature over 15 comedians (with names to be announced in the coming weeks). If the packed crowds at OSL's Barbary for acts like Tig Notaro and Scott Aukerman’s Comedy Bang Bang at this year’s Outside Lands are any indication, festivalgoers will welcome this addition to one of the Bay Area’s best weekends.

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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.'"