For some moviegoers, only reality does the trick. That’s why SF DocFest — the all-documentary film festival run by SF IndieFest — is so popular. You don’t have to cross that nasty bridge to get there, either: Just pull up to Landmark’s Shattuck in downtown Berkeley starting today and get your fill of nonfiction.
Sally Blake’s Peep Culture — about the effects of reality-based pop culture on indivoduals and society — opens DocFest today at 12:30 p.m. As the East Bay arm of the festival spins out over seven days through October 20 (it's also playing at San Francisco's Roxie Theater, where it'll continue through October 27) you can take a bath in real life with a cavalcade of docs, all at the Shattuck. Like With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story (Thursday, October 20, 9:30 p.m.), Will Hess’ profile of the monolithic comics creator; Bess Kargman’s First Position, a peek into what really happens when kids take up ballet (Saturday, October 15, 7:15 p.m.); and The Greenhorns, the inside story of America’s young farming community and their efforts to break the industrial food cycle (Wednesday, October 19, 7:15 p.m.). One of the major highlights is Left by the Ship, an Italian-produced examination of the plight of Amerasian kids in the Philippines, fathered and left behind by U.S. servicemen, and the efforts of a few of them to stand up and be counted. It’s a heartbreaker. The film, by Emma Rossi Landi and Alberto Vendemmiati, screens at the Shattuck this Saturday, October 15, 12:30 p.m.
Hundreds of yoginis packed the Landmark Albany Twin on Tuesday, September 6 to see the Bay Area premiere of YogaWoman—an independent documentary that is as much about women and yoga as it is about the Bay Area’s leadership in all things yoga.
Touring the world to interview exemplary female yoga teachers, the film’s directors set out to explore themes as varied as the traditional exclusion of women during yoga’s development and the transformative role yoga can play in hormonal regulation, cancer treatment and prison rehabilitation. While men were visible in footage of classes, an explicit aim of the film was to have only women talking about women. This isn’t necessarily a feminist statement—as the film notes, 85% of students in yoga classes in the United States today are women.
The SF International Film Festival is a beloved 54-year-old cultural tradition; a 188-film juggernaut encompassing films of all lengths, origins, and genres; and a massive, multi-day, multi-city celebration of the Bay Area's — and, indeed, the world's — celluloid awesomeness. Also, apparently: sort of a bitch to organize! This week, our intrepid film writer, Kelly Vance, checks out both the back-end rush and the front-end rewards of this year's festival, both of which are copious; he also manages to wade through it all and recommend quite a few flicks worth checking out. Read all about it here.
Much gnashing of teeth has occurred over the Parkway Theater's persistent state of closure, and it's not about to end anytime soon. That's news to Parkway fans who have been waiting for all year to hear that J. Moses Ceaser, the Oakland entrepreneur who has made a noble mission of reopening the revered theater, had finally signed a lease. Somewhere. Anywhere. But as of yesterday afternoon, the latest is this: Not one, not two, but three potential deals seem to have fallen apart. Now Ceaser's back on the street, $415,000 in seed money in hand, just looking for a place to spend it.
We've said it before, but this time we really mean it (we think): The New Parkway is likely weeks away from signing a lease. This should put the theater (or at least a new one in its image) on track to reopen in Oakland by the end of the year. There's just one problem: With negotiations continuing at two promising new locations — one in Temescal, in the old Omni Nightclub; the other in Uptown, in a warehouse at Broadway and 23rd — plus the sudden return of the Parkway Theater to the fold this week after months of harrowing back and forth with the landlord and a denied lease offer as recently as late last month, J. Moses Ceasar of The New Parkway faces a difficult decision.
If you've been following the Parkway saga, you know how it's been: confusion, miscommunication, frustration. And that's just in the last few months. J. Moses Ceaser, the Oakland entrepreneur who's become a bit of a local hero for his tireless efforts to reopen the Parkway Theater since late last year, told us last week that his working relationship with theater owner Yan Cheng had yet to improve. In fact, at this point it seems to have all but ended — before it ever really had a chance to begin.
After the success of recent fund-raising efforts, they’ve got money. They’ve got friends in high places within Oakland’s City Council and Redevelopment Agency. They’ve got business acumen, unparalleled community support, and months of negotiations and planning under their belt. But there’s one thing J. Moses Ceaser and his The New Parkway partners still lack in their quest to reopen the celebrated theater on Park Boulevard: a lease.
Hollywood film producer Bryan Zuriff has pumped $148,000 into a new committee that is backing Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan’s candidacy for mayor, campaign finance records show. The new committee was formed by Oakland Port Commissioner Michael Lighty and the California Nurses Association, which also has reported spending $66,000 on Kaplan's behalf. The $214,000 in last-minute spending for Kaplan represents the first major outside expenditures for a mayoral candidate other than ex-senator Don Perata.
Gary Coleman, the child star and actor who graciously consented in 2003 to allow this newspaper to run him for governor of California, has died of intracranial hemorrhaging at age 42, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
Vince Matthews, the state administrator of Oakland public schools, will take over as the new superintendent of San Jose Unified School District on July 1, the Mercury News reports. Matthews accepted the position last night, which means that State Superintendent Jack O’Connell will have to hire a new state administrator for Oakland Unified. The new administrator, however, will have a limited role — much like Matthews did — because the school district is now back under local control and has its own superintendent: Tony Smith.