Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Liberating Liberace: Oakland Filmmaker Chris Vargas Remixes the Life of a Gay Idol

by Toshio Meronek
Wed, May 11, 2011 at 6:33 AM

Somewhere in Hollywood, Michael Douglas is smothering on lip gloss to prepare for a heavy make-out session with Matt Damon. Douglas is set to play Liberace (and Damon his young lover) in the gay-for-pay Oscar bait that is sure to be the upcoming Steven Soderbergh biopic on the flamboyant pianist (due out in 2013). Meanwhile, in Oakland, artist Chris Vargas is readying his own version, Liberaceón, which reimagines the over-the-top musicmaker as an outspoken AIDS activist, rather than the closeted Nancy Reagan-lover he was.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bay Area Musicians Protest Ill-Advised Grammy Cuts

by Rachel Swan
Tue, May 10, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Apparently the Grammys got super-lean this year — down from 109 award categories to a meager 79. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) cut the awards by one-third, mostly to ensure prestige, said Neil Portnow, the organization's president, at an April 6 press conference in Los Angeles. Portnow contends that narrowness of scope is the only way to keep the Grammys from becoming too diffuse or collage-like. Yet, many musicians and record producers are protesting the decision, arguing that the cuts disproportionately affect world, Latin, African-American, and non-mainstream music. Mexican and Tejano got consolidated into one category, as did banda and Norteño music. R&B dropped from 8 categories to 4. Classical and American roots music lost 4 categories, while pop, Latin, country, and rock lost 3; meanwhile, the awards for best pop instrumental, best Native American album, best Hawaiian album, and best rap or Gospel album will be eliminated entirely. Outraged Bay Area musicians met yesterday at Oakland Yoshi's for a press conference hosted by percussionist John Santos, who has been leading the local campaign for Grammy reinstatement. They're currently circulating a petition to protest the "ill-advised" hatchet job. With more than 2,500 signatures thus far, it may actually have an impact. Check out Portnow's press conference below:

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Outside Lands Releases Food and Wine Vendors List

by Ellen Cushing
Mon, May 9, 2011 at 4:57 PM

and it's pretty impressive: almost 40 local restaurants will be selling tacos, oysters, barbecue, pizza, falafel, and damn near anything else your drunk music-loving little heart desires, and thirty or so wineries will also have booths. The fourth-annual festival goes down August 12-14 at Golden Gate Park, and three-day tickets are still on sale. Check out the full list of food and drink vendors below:

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekender: The Top Five Things to Do Over the Next Three Days in the East Bay

Fri, May 6, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Still trying to figure out what to do this weekend? Don't trip; our critics have your back.

Sequoia Trail Race
To run amongst the redwoods, one can travel seventy miles to the Santa Cruz Mountains, or hundreds more to the North Coast or the southern Sierra. But East Bay residents may be better off driving, biking, or riding public transportation to Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park and adjacent Redwood Regional Park — squint your eyes a bit and you’ll hardly tell the difference. On Sunday, May 8, the two parks host Pacific Coast Trail Runs’ Sequoia Trail Race, which is actually four races in one. Participants are welcome to try their hand — err, feet — at 10K, 20K, 30K, or 50K courses; all four travel through both parks, but only the longer three visit the picturesque French Trail. 8:30 a.m., $40-$85. — Nate Seltenrich

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bill Graham Exhibit Opens Today

by Kathleen Richards
Thu, May 5, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Most Bay Area residents know the name Bill Graham, a concert promoter in the 1960s who was responsible for making names like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane huge. His legacy continues today in venues (the Bill Graham Civic) and promotion (Another Planet Entertainment, whose CEO, Gregg Perloff, was once president and CEO of Bill Graham Presents). But who was the man behind the music? That's the subject of a new exhibit on Graham, opening today, called Presenting: Bill Graham.

In his own words, the exhibition follows Bill from his childhood in war-torn Germany to a new life in New York City, his emergence as a concert promoter in psychedelic San Francisco, his enduring influence on the way rock music is still presented, and his life-long passion to bring about social change by raising money for an endless variety of good causes.

Where: Lush Life Gallery at the Jazz Heritage Center
1320-1330 Fillmore Street, San Francisco
Lush Life Gallery Hours: Weds - Sat 3pm - 10pm
Sun 2pm - 8pm • Mon/Tues: By appointment only


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How to Ball on a Budget, by Glitter Wizard

by Rachel Swan
Tue, May 3, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Wendy Stonehenge of the East Bay rock group Glitter Wizard gave SF Weekly reporter Rae Alexandra some helpful tips on how to be a rock god — when you're not actually ballin'. Some personal favorites:

1. Dress Like a Rock God: ""Our secret is to figure out where the local strippers (the classy ones) donate their hand-me-downs."
We might suggest, there's still an Out Of the Closet on University Avenue, though you might prefer the one on East 18th Street.

2. Lose the groupies: Specifically, by "talking about your latest D&D campaign." Well, some chicks are into that. Alternatively, you could perhaps name-check this guy.

3. Eat well at home, because "it all balances out when you're living off of the dollar menu on tour." Another helpful hint: If you get hungry on tour, you can always bite your fingernails, or make some spit in your mouth and suck on it.

Glitter Wizard performs Friday, May 6 at Cafe Du Nord (2170 Market St., San Francisco), 8 :30 p.m., $8,

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