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Music, Hear This Baths: Show Preview

Baths: Show Preview

After paving a DIY path through the U.K. underground for half a decade, and after at least one U.S. tour was capsized due to visa troubles — the band hails from Scotland, with roots in Liberia and Nigeria — soul-hop…
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Music, Hear This Windhand: Show Preview

Windhand: Show Preview

Classify the lumbering wallop of Virginia's Windhand however you wish: doom metal, sludge metal, stoner metal, heavy psych. (Suggestions courtesy of their own Bandcamp page.) The songs on their new album, Soma — one of which eclipses the half-hour mark…
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Culture, Stage Theater of War: Two Shows Take Us Through Armed Conflict, but Only One Bothers to Question the Trip

Theater of War: Two Shows Take Us Through Armed Conflict, but Only One Bothers to Question the Trip

Black Watch, the penultimate show in A.C.T.'s 46th season, is being marketed as a major departure for the company. For one, the import from the National Theatre of Scotland has been touring the world since 2004. Also, the company isn't…
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Dining, Eat Drink: Session Beers: When the Best Drink Isn't the Most Extreme

Drink: Session Beers: When the Best Drink Isn't the Most Extreme

Recent trends in American craft beer have indicated a "bigger is better" mentality. Aficionados have become fixated with so-called "extreme" beers. The Top 50 list on is populated almost entirely by high-alcohol brews. One case in point is The…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist W. Kamau Bell Is a Star In Scotland! Actually, Four Stars!

W. Kamau Bell Is a Star In Scotland! Actually, Four Stars!

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has made me obsessed with stars. Not the famous kind. Although there are famous stars as part of the festival, Margaret Cho, Henry Rollins, Michael "That Dude From The Police Academy Movies Who Makes Crazy Sounds…
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Calendar, Night&Day The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants

The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants

“Bagpipes, haggis, poetry, whiskey.” The Scottish pub's website describes its 11th annual Burns Night activities tersely, and with target-map accuracy. Those four items are the main points of interest for the evening, and also the ones you'd want to be…
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Calendar, Night&Day Don't Call It Peppery

Don't Call It Peppery

Everybody knows how to attend a wine tasting: You stand there, sip, murmur thoughtfully, sip, nod expansively, sip, agree with whatever the hell people seem to be saying, swipe a bottle, and get the hell out. A whisky tasting is…
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Calendar, Night&Day You Should Be ...

You Should Be ...

At Bay Area Dance Week, there are so many events, classes, and performances, with so many local troupes, that it took us more than three minutes to scroll down the events page — this speaks to the massive footprint of…
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Calendar, Night&Day Yes We Cairn

Yes We Cairn

Scotland's favorite son, Robert Burns, appears to be one of the few cult figures who may have actually lived up to his reputation. A drinker, a ladies' man, a Freemason, and an occasional farmer, he managed, in what must have…
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Music, Hear This Get it? Glasgow + Las Vegas

Get it? Glasgow + Las Vegas

Scotland's Glasvegas is the latest in retrofuturism. The band's self-titled debut combines its hometown heroes Jesus and Mary Chain with My Bloody Valentine's shimmering walls of feedback and the surf and fuzz of '60s girl groups. There's a hint of…
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News, The Snitch

Farewell, Ferry Queen

By Alex Brant-Zawadzki One of San Francisco's finest, proudest and earliest queens may soon be laid to rest for fear it might become too flaming. The Delta Queen, currently steaming up and down the Mississippi, is "America's last proper…
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Film, Here Comes the Bride. Yawn.

Here Comes the Bride. Yawn.

In Made of Honor, Patrick Dempsey plays a conveniently rich and willfully single serial "fornicator" slowly but surely domesticated by his unspoken love for longtime BFF Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), who is on her way to Scotland to marry Mr. Right…
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Music, Drastic Elastic

Drastic Elastic

The best descriptors for Devendra Banhart's latest album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, come in pairs; one at a time doesn't do justice to its heady tensions or its creator's labyrinthine mystique. The record is kinetic yet placid, pensive yet…
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Music, Bouncer

Getting a wee bit homesick for B’Snacks

As I write this, I am in Scotland on a vacation with my mother. We rented a car and have been driving on the "wrong" side of the road for days, cheating death, munching on shortbread, squabbling, and taking in…
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Music, Going Off

Going Off

For a while there, if you wanted to bathe your ears in some truly orgasmic instrumental post-rock, you couldn't do much better than Scotland's Mogwai. Take its epic, 16-minute "Mogwai Fear Satan," for example. The opening guitar line repeats portentously,…
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Music, Reviewed Josef K

Josef K

Emerging from Scotland's late-1970s nearly post-punk scene, Josef K retains its wry, surly-dark (pre-goth) edge despite the passage of time. Comprising its complete 1980-81 output, Entomology (the band's first U.S. release, btw) presents Josef K in all its timelessly downcast…
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Music, Under the Influence

Under the Influence

Barry Burns, a keyboardist and guitarist for Scotland's Mogwai, is downright jubilant. "We've been in Rotterdam, so people have been bringing me joints all day," he announces in a brogue thickened by giddiness. When asked if his smoke intake will…
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Music, Bouncer

Beam Me Up, Jugdish

I am the proud owner of a Nichelle Nichols CD (Lt. Uhura from Star Trek). Nichols putting out a record is not that big of a stretch, because before she joined the cast of the '60s TV show she had…
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Music, House of Tudor House Of Tudor

House Of Tudor

In O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coen brothers' new movie based on Homer's Odyssey, three petty criminals played by George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Turturro escape from a chain gang to follow the words of a blind…
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Dining, Eat

Industry: Pheasant Fad

Life's gotta be tough as a Silicon Valley minute-magnate. Just when you've finished buying the 23-bedroom Mountain View mansion with the thought-controlled stereo system, the 72 tonnes of all-terrain vehicle, and the wood-bottomed yacht -- your stock price sextuples. So…
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