Express staffers Ellen Cushing and yours truly will be at First Friday this evening, probably at 23rd and Telegraph. We'll be taking your suggestions and feedback about the paper, and we'll raffle off a gift certificate to a local watering hole. So stop by and say "hi"!
Just a few months after bacteria-gate caused major hysteria in the Bay Area transit system, BART seats — a few of them, at least — are finally getting a new makeover. Thank local guerilla knitter Streetcolor, who launched her first city beautification project last year, by knitting sweater sleeves for signposts outside Cheeseboard Pizza and Saul's Restaurant and Delicatessen. Recently Streetcolor made a fitted slipcover to put on her BART seat whenever she rides the train. It should help guard against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or other unsavory elements — and it looks good, to boot. "I thought the clear colors would be a good contrast to the sagging grey look of the benches," Streetcolor wrote, proudly displaying her handiwork in a recent e-mail. She continued: "I know that Bart is doing many interactive seminars about new types of seats — I liked the idea of using yarnbombing to create a personal solution."
Plan the next 72 hours of your life with help from our critics. Herewith, the five unmissable events going down this weekend in the East Bay.
How does one become America's ubiquitous go-to gal on the subject of sex? For Susie Bright, it started with Catholic Mass and Girl Scouts, then segued into radical high-school politics; in 1984, she co-founded the first-ever female-focused sex magazine, On Our Backs. Bright tells all in her memoir Big Sex Little Death, which she discusses at Diesel (5433 College Ave., Oakland) on Saturday, Apr. 10. 3 p.m., free. DieselBookstore.com — Anneli Rufus
Nurse your St. Pat's hangover Get ready for the weekend by checking out our critics' choices.
Host Nato Green runs his Iron Comic competition like a well-oiled machine. Last night's event at San Francisco Punchline featured one visitor and four local favorites, with Sean Keane defending the title. The idea is simple: five comics compete for three rounds, doing extemporaneous material on whatever topics they are given. They're judged by a panel of — ahem — experts on wit, creativity, carriage, cadence, delivery, posture, and humor. The final two go head-to-head in a death match, in which the audience votes by applause. Then they have to answer questions about what's important to them and how they would change the world. (Just kidding, Green handles that part.) Last night's judge panel included San Francisco supervisor David Chiu, comedian Ali Wong, and yours truly. It was a night for bloodsport.
Monologist Mike Daisey will open a new performance at Berkeley Repertory Theatre this Sunday, to coincide with his current production, The Last Cargo Cult. The new play hones in on the life and work of Apple CEO Steve Jobs , who just announced a medical leave of absence this week, one year after undergoing a liver transplant for pancreatic cancer. Daisey expressed sympathy for Jobs in a blog post published yesterday, but insists that the show must go on. In characteristically pungent prose, he promised a show that will rival Cargo Cult in scope and shrewdness. He'll use Jobs as a launchpad not only to discuss vicissitudes in the tech industry, but also to show its global impact — specifically in the factories of Southern China, which he investigated in the process of researching this play.
A 7 p.m. zoning board meeting in Berkeley tonight will address the possibility of rezoning Berkeley's UC Theater, which has been empty since Landmark Theatres abandoned it in 2001, to allow it to be converted into an all-ages, multi-genre live music venue. Business partners David M. Mayeri and Dawn Holliday, who run Slim's in San Francisco, will request a use permit modification from the zoning board tonight, according to the Berkeley Daily Planet. They've also encouraged members of the public to speak in support of the project at tonight's meeting. It takes place at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, on the second floor.
Celebrity gossip site TMZ.com reported minutes ago that pop singer Michael Jackson has died after suffering cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles residence around noon this afternoon. He was fifty years old. ABC News reports that Jackson was not breathing and had no pulse when paramedics arrived. He was rushed to UCLA Medical Center while CPR was performed, but doctors were unable to revive him. The news comes just weeks before Jackson was schedule to perform a series of fifty sold-out concerts at London's O2 Arena.
A band was robbed of instruments, equipment, and a computer in Oakland on Sunday and desperately needs its gear back before going on tour, according to an email just received: "On the morning of Sunday, August 17, 2008, alternative-Latino group MEZKLAH were robbed of several essential pieces of equipment from a vehicle parked in front of lead singer Angel Garcia's home in Oakland. Among the stolen goods were a sampler, a MacBook computer, and a Gibson guitar. The band needs these essential items before they depart for a Japanese tour this Thursday. ... If you have any knowledge of any of the equipment's whereabouts or location, please call Matias Pizarro, (562) 544-9798, or email the band at firstname.lastname@example.org."
The list of stolen gear is as follows: "ROLAND SPD-S SAMPLER, with slight scratches on the sides. GIBSON SG 1981, BROWN WOODSTOCK, all natural wood brown guitar with silver humbucker pickups.XIO NOVATION MIDI CONTROLLER KEYBOARD. ROLAND PD 80 PAD, with small tear along the black rubber rim. BOSS DD-3 DIGITAL DELAY PEDAL. WHITE APPLE MAC BOOK 2.4 COMPUTER, slightly scratched on the scroll pad. Top of the computer has a sticky black tape mark. NOVATION GIG BAG. SWISS ARMY BACKPACK, with a SunStudios patch sewed on it. Various cables and Roland SPDS Manual inside bag."
Victor Sila of SF-based funk group Sila and the Afrofunk Experience told the Express today through email that he was involved in a triple-rollover car accident in the wilds of Kenya during the middle of the night on January 29. Sila, who was in the country to visit family, was riding in the vehicle with his sister and a couple friends when its front two tires burst, causing it to roll three times before resting upside down near the edge of a cliff. The passengers suffered only minor injuries. Further details about the cause of the burst tires or the speed at which the car was traveling are unknown at this time. Sila did report that he was the only one not wearing a seatbelt.
Sila went on to explain that he and the other passengers hung upside down in the car "for what seemed like an eternity fearing for our lives" -- not only because of the accident, but also because of stories he'd heard about criminals in Kenya staging accidents such as this in order to rob the victims as they lie helpless. He also worried that "ordinary people" may seize the opportunity to rob Sila and his family and friends.
According to Sila, numerous cars drove by without stopping, while a few drivers paused to ask questions without offering any assistance. Finally, a British man who came across the upturned vehicle stopped and helped to open its back door. He stayed at the scene until police arrived. The car was totalled, and police were shocked that injuries had not been more severe.
"Surviving an accident like that has taught me a valuable lesson: kindness and generosity to your fellow man/woman is good karma," wrote Sila at the end of his email. "Life is short, live it up and dance." Words of wisdom from a lucky man who was recently featured on the cover of the San Francisco Examiner. Also: Probably best to avoid driving through the wilds of Kenya in the middle of the night.