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Monday, August 10, 2015

Ask a Lesbian (and a Hilarious Person) With Cameron Esposito

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2015 at 10:45 AM

  • Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito is poised for world domination. The Chicago-born comedian (est. 1981) recently released a critically acclaimed CD, Same Sex Symbol, on the extra-extra-cool Kill Rock Stars label, and she's also grabbed eyeballs with Buzzfeed's hilarious Ask a Lesbian series. (As a theology major in college, she's kind of an expert).

Over the weekend she performed at the Outside Lands festival's comedy tent with Pete Holmes, Nate Bargatze and DJ Real, which she crammed into a summer that also included working on a new comedy album, acting in a few movies, writing a book, and watching action movies. (Phew.) If you missed her set at Outside Lands, she's also appearing Oct. 25 at the Independent in San Francisco. She somehow made time for some of our questions.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Sunday's Finest: A Church Service for the Non-Religious

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Jonathan April

If you love the idea of going to church for some fellowship and music, but aren’t necessarily super-jazzed on the whole organized religion aspect, then break out your Sunday finest on August 2 for San Francisco’s newest non-religious church service, the aptly named Sunday’s Finest. Mustafa Khan, the brains (with a badass name) behind Midnight Brunch, Silicon Valley Fashion Week, and other events that exude the spirit of S.F., intends for this event to be essentially “a variety show with the structure of a church service.”

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Keith Haring's Permanent San Francisco Art Work

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:18 PM

  • Instagram: @yakkogirl1

San Francisco has hosted some of the world's greatest and most provocative masterpieces. Currently, the de Young museum is hosting a temporary retrospective collection of one these artist's works: Keith Haring. Now in its final weeks, the collection of more than 150 pieces will travel elsewhere next month, but — you may not know — there's one Haring piece that's been living in San Francisco all along. Haring has a piece that is an important and permanent fixture in San Francisco (and this week's Tourism for Locals feature): "The Life of Christ" adoring the AIDS Interfaith Memorial Chapel in Grace Cathedral. 

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tourism for Locals: Dressing Up St. Paul's Catholic Church for Sister Act

Posted By on Thu, Oct 9, 2014 at 10:30 AM

This Noe Valley parish was dressed up to look like it belonged in Hunter's Point. - FICKR/ HERCWAD
  • Fickr/ hercwad
  • This Noe Valley parish was dressed up to look like it belonged in Hunter's Point.

It's finally October and, with Halloween quickly approaching, we're planning our costume. Yet donning costumes isn't only a characteristic of human beings, but also inanimate objects; more specifically: San Francisco architecture. 

In 1992, a local San Francisco church was transformed to look like it was part of a run-down neighborhood for a Hollywood production that would become one of the most financially successful comedies during the 1990s.

The film? Sister Act. The house of worship? St. Paul's Catholic Church in Noe Valley. 

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Q&A: With Life of Pi, Director Ang Lee Films the Unfilmable

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Lost at sea, Pi (Suraj Sharma) Patel begins to make an extraordinary connection with a fearsome Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. - 20TH CENTURY FOX
  • 20th Century Fox
  • Lost at sea, Pi (Suraj Sharma) Patel begins to make an extraordinary connection with a fearsome Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Director Ang Lee doesn't like to make the same kind of movie twice, as he proved with films like Sense and Sensibility, a period drama, The Hulk, an action film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, a martial arts movie, and Brokeback Mountain, a love story between two cowboys.

Lee wants to do projects that scare him, and his latest film, Life of Pi, fits that bill nicely. The film contains big philosophical questions about God and faith, and a big chunk of the story centers on a teenage boy, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, on a boat with a tiger.

See also:

Interview: Ira Glass on His New Film Sleepwalk with Me

Talking with '80s Sweetheart and New Author Molly Ringwald About Her Debut Novel

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Friday, August 24, 2012

The Sweet Spot: S.F. Pussy Riot Organizer Speaks Out

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 12:33 PM

  • Zarina Zabrisky

On February 21, five women wearing masks and bright colors stormed the priests-only section of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior and staged a punk prayer protest. Among candles and gilded altars, they danced, genuflected and called out to the Virgin Mary. Were they praying for husbands, health, a record deal? No. They were the members of Pussy Riot, an art-collective branch of the larger art-collective Voina ("war" in Russian) founded in 2006 to protest the existing Russian government and President Vladimir Putin through art. Voina has performed dozens of provocative and politically charged conceptual art performances. More than a dozen criminal cases have been brought against the group.

  • Zarina Zabrisky

On August 17, Pussy Riot perfomers Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Ekaterina Samucevich were charged with public hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison. 

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Friday, May 25, 2012

The Sweet Spot: What a Pretty Pussy You Are

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 7:30 AM


"It is not clear in the Bible what Jesus thinks about lesbians, but it is pretty clear that he is okay with prostitutes." That is a rip-roaring line indeed, but writer and performer Maura Halloran already had me at Pussy, the title of her one-woman show that is part of DIVAfest, a theatrical festival that celebrates the work of established and emerging women writers, directors, and performers. 


The show, which tells of the love "triangle" between three women and a cat, is not subtle in employing metaphorical and actual explorations of "pussy" in all its forms. As one audience member said of the show, "It was meow."

The amorous conflicts of a soft spoken, Christian woman who likes girls is a sweet story but the show also defies what many have come to expect from a one-woman show: therapy masquerading as art. The writer's sexuality is not the issue here, the details are not factual, and there are no torrid tales of childhood abuse.

Says Halloran, "In the post-Mike Daisey era, it seems imperative be totally transparent about solo work, so I feel I should state outright: I am not a cat. I also don't ID as lesbian. The story is inspired by true events and fleshed out by my own experiences of romantic love, but it's not autobiographical or documentary. It's just a story."

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Communists! Drive-In Movies! The Seven Female Erotic Zones! Estus Pirkle Saves Us

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2012 at 9:30 AM


While the previously discussed Blood Freak is the high point of turkey-themed ultraviolent Christian Scare Film, there are other, non-turkey-themed ultraviolent Christan Scare Films to consider, and none is more considerable than 1971's If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?, produced and directed by Ron Ormond and starring a Baptist minister named Estus Pirkle. So let's consider it. (The clips are largely NSFW.)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Catholic Corpus Christi Protesters Beware: Any Publicity Is Good Publicity

Posted on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

James Brandon as Joshua in Corpus Christi - MIKKI WILLIS
  • Mikki Willis
  • James Brandon as Joshua in Corpus Christi

Back in 1985, Jean-Luc Godard released a movie called Hail Mary that made Catholics breathe fire. (Paradoxical metaphor noted.) It was a modern-day retelling of the immaculate conception where a woman named Marie gets pregnant even though she is a virgin. But it was also a French experimental film, so Marie has a number of unholy attributes, including a rather foul mouth. She uses words such as "cunt" referring to her own anatomy, and she appears wholly (not holy) unclothed. (Oh, the blasphemy!) I saw Hail Mary at the Roxie in 1985. Why? Because the Catholics were out in force trying to steer people away from it. Would I have seen it otherwise? Not a chance. Did I like it? Not really (hey, I was 18), but I liked seeing it because I got to cross a picket line of religious zealots and tell them just where they could stick their thought-policing.

The Catholics protesting a documentary called Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption could take a lesson from this: They risk sending more people to see the film by making noise about it, especially in San Francisco, a city that contains Catholics who are openly queer and don't feel one bit guilty about it. (Now there's a stand-off we'd love to see: red-state Catholics vs. San Francisco out-and-proud Catholics.)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Religion for Atheists' Alain De Botton Shuns Fundamentalism -- From Both Sides

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Alain De Botton
  • Alain De Botton

"The Atheist and the Believer" is a tale as old as time, and a controversy as relevant this election year as ever. But author, philosopher, and entrepreneur Alain De Bottom proposes a middle ground and asks questions that blur the distinction between the two sides. What if we reject the notion of a deity, but personalize a kind of playlist of religious ideas that suit us best? Are we still atheists if we have religious-like philosophies in our life? De Botton address these questions in his latest work, Religion for Atheists, explaining that even if an atheist rejects religion, religion can still serve as a platform for good morals and ethics as well as a better life. We chatted with De Botton, who appears Thursday at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, to talk about his own beliefs, visiting San Francisco, misinterpretations of his book, and discovering the balance between atheism and religion.

The philosophy you share in Religion for Atheists, is it something you've practiced for a while? When did this idea come into your life, and how?

I was brought up an atheist and taught to think that all religion was nonsense from start to finish. Gradually I've lost that sarcastic attitude toward religion, and while I still don't believe, I've grown more curious and sympathetic toward certain religious attitudes and behaviors. While fully aware of the pain and bloodshed religions have been responsible for, I've also become more impressed by their high points, especially their attitudes to ethics, to aesthetics, and to ritual.

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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.'"