Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lil B's I'm Gay Has Total Buy-In from Lupe Fiasco

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Berkeley rapper Lil B may have taken a lot of heat for the title of his new album, I'm Gay, but he apparently has total buy-in from popular Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco, who tweeted in support of the album this morning. "I actually think calling his album "I'm Gay" is GENIUS & Revolutionary, the cover is Genius, some brave shit...AND he spittin REAL shit," Fiasco tweeted, catching the attention of tabloid bloggers. Fiasco went on to characterize I'm Gay as "controversial, independent, fearless with a massive movement built off a crazy work ethic...sounds like #Winning to me. Why hate on that???" Indeed. I'm Gay dropped today, and it's currently charting #8 on iTunes.

Lil B unveils his album title at Coachella:

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Latest from Hottub

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 12:22 PM

So...Kreayshawn got tapped to direct a Red Hot Chili Peppers video. V-Nasty is muscling for tabloid fame. You ask yourself: Is it really time for a female rap renaissance in Oakland? Actually, we're not so sure. But here's the latest from another all-girl outfit, Oakland's Hottub, which appears to be an homage to J. J. Fad:

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Cold Steel Prevails at the San Francisco Regional Air Guitar Championships

by Rachel Swan
Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Okay, here's the problem with the San Francisco regional air guitar competition: It's actually split into two separate contests, one on Friday and one on Saturday, each with its own winner. That's policy, that's tradition, it's not clear who made it that way, but that's the way it is, and pretty much everyone accepts it. But this year it skewed the results. There was a giant talent gap between the Friday show, which was pretty underwhelming, and the Saturday show, which — according to everyone present — was totally freakin' amazing. Even retired champ and Friday night judge Hot Lixx Hulahan noticed it.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

The East Bay Has Pride, Too

by Rachel Swan
Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 1:49 PM

For those who've spent the last week in some kind of hermetically-sealed no-news bubble, yes, it's Pride Week, and not just in San Francisco. If you recoil at the thought of a crowded BART train, or a traffic jam on the Bay Bridge, there's always the Hella Gay party at Uptown Nightclub (1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland). Launched two years ago as a birthday party, this monthly house music event has skyrocketed in popularity — and not just among gay people. Pride edition features DJs GStar, Astro, plus special guests. It happens *tonight,* Friday, June 24. Only $5 before 10 p.m., or $7 thereafter. Go forth and be fabulous.


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

Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 5:58 AM

Happy Pride! Happy summer, officially! Happy National Catfish Day on Saturday! Much to celebrate this weekend; plan accoridngly with help from our esteemed critics.

Slaughter by the Water
Though local black metal outfit Ludicra is sadly no longer on the bill, Slaughter by the Water should be the Bay Area's metal event of the year. Organized by Nicholas Gomez of Zombie Holocaust and Brian Montague, the festival aims to rectify the region's unfortunate absence of big metal shows, despite its abundance of metal bands. Now in its second year, the event has branched out beyond the thrash genre to include a bigger and more diverse lineup, including NuclearAssault, Autopsy, CattleDecapitation, Whiplash, Zombie Holocaust, Warbringer, Undivided, Vindicator, Dread, Hatchet, Insanity, Exmortus, and Witchaven. There will also be a "heavy metal expo" featuring vendors likely to appeal to the crowd (skateboarding companies, record labels, clothes, etc.) and the heavy metal food truck, Grill 'Em All. Should be a sausage fest. At the Craneway Pavilion (1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond) on Saturday, June 25. 2 p.m., $32, $35. — Kathleen Richards

Benicia Gantner's semi-abstract collages are as beautifully ambiguous and richly ambivalent as her title, Eos, Greek for "dawn," (remember the proto-horse Eohippus?), which invokes both past and future. While her material may be computer-cut vinyl, her designs come from drawing; her intricate floral assemblages, also suggestive of fireworks, derive their simplified shapes, flat backgrounds, and overall patterning from Kandinsky/Pollock modernist abstraction — but also, perhaps, from quilting and embroidery. (Jean Lipman made that heretical point about Formalism and craftwork in her 1975 book Provocative Parallels.) "Unfolding Florescence," "Mariner," "Memorial," Nebullita," and "Vis Viva" (i.e., life force), each a virtuoso improvisation without prior design, proffer clearly artificial, metaphorical visions of nature while simultaneously commenting on its historical depiction in arts and crafts work. Catalog available.Eos runs through July 9 at Traywick Contemporary (895 Colusa Ave., Berkeley). 510-527-1214 or — DeWitt Cheng

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Slideshow: Matt and Kim at the Fox

Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Photographer Richard Haick got some great pics from Saturday's Matt and Kim show, reviewed here. Check 'em out below.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thrasher Magazine Co-Founder Commits Suicide In Front of Mission Police Station

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 2:53 PM

The man who shot himself in front of San Francisco's Mission police station on Monday was identified as Eric Swenson, co-founder of the popular skateboarding magazine Thrasher , the Examinerreports. Swenson was 64 years old when he chose to end his life, perhaps because of perennial pain spawned from a motorcyle injury that happened when he was about 20. He is hailed as one of the guiding forces behind High Speed Productions, Inc., which includes such hip pop culture magazines as Juxtapoz and Slap, in addition to Thrasher. He also helped launch a local skateboard part manufacturer called Independent Trucks, now 33 years old. Swenson is survived by his wife Linda, sister Rebekah, and many admirers who credit him for incubating San Francisco's skateboard culture.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

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

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Hopefully you've all recovered from the massive hangovers you undoubtedly incurred on Bloomsday and are ready to rage once again. Herewith, our critics' picks for weekend entertainment:

The Oakland Standard: Felt
If you grew up far from a farm and feel a little sheepish around livestock, say baaah-bye to your misgivings at Felt, the first event in The Oakland Standard's Seed Circus series, organized by the Oakland Museum of California. The four-part program aims to acquaint urbanites with nature through discussions and hands-on demonstrations, and this first installment focuses exclusively on man's fleecy friend the sheep. The event features sheep-shearing demonstrations by a real live farmer, the construction of a giant felt rug, bicycle-powered wool carding, and more, followed by a screening of the documentary Sweetgrass (you can probably guess what it's about). At the Oakland Museum (1000 Oak St., Oakland) on Sunday, June 19. 1 p.m., free with museum admission. 510-238-2200 or — Cassie Harwood

Bestiae Mundi
Los Angeles sculptor Ron Pippin has a longstanding interest in integrating human culture, past and present, into the natural world, so combining animal skeletons with scientific/mechanical apparatuses seems a natural evolution of his personal mythology. Bestiae Mundi (Animals of Earth) simulates an old-school natural history museum with its bottles, vitrines, and labeled specimens, but its mechanized-looking skeletal bobcats, rats, turtles, snakes, warthogs, wallabies, goats, and storks, some inscribed with the names of endangered species, are decidedly contemporary (though perhaps not for all contemporaries); they're assemblages of "dark materials" that serve as "visual prayers." Don't miss the small, suspended "Icarus," a skeletal bird posed as if falling, reminiscent of a splayed Archaeopteryx fossil atop its limestone bed, sporting leather wings. Book signing for Noah Charney'sTracks and Signs of Insects on June 16; bone-cleaning workshop by Ron Cauble on June 30. Bestiae Mundi runs through August 3 at Bone Room (1573 Solano Ave., Berkeley). 510-526-5252 or — DeWitt Cheng

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pandora Goes Public, Provoking Joy and Consternation

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Despite reservations from SF Weekly columnist (and prominent tech reporter) Dan Mitchell, Pandora appears to be doing well since going public today. Like, really well. It's generated $235 million to investors, thus far, and the company is now valued at $3 billion. The New York Times reports that shares opened at $20 and rose as high as $26 over the course of the day. Still, the Weekly's music editor Ian S. Port has his doubts. He and Mitchell both pointed out that the cost of music royalties will probably always exceed the company's ad revenue, and that Pandora is always doomed to be a profit-losing operation. But try telling that to its underwriters — Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorganChase. Or any other investors enjoying the contact high of fast-growing Internet companies, many of which are defying expectations on the stock market. No one's forgotten the dot com bubble, but for now, shareholders are remarkably sanguine.

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Brent Weinbach Asks: Can You Really Dance to a Video Game?

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Comedian Brent Weinbach failed to land on American Idol with his heartfelt interpretation of "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. (Apparently, his sister Laura fared batter singing the theme song from Pocahontas.) That said, Weinbach's musical talents are still pretty legit. Before going into comedy full time, he did a stint as a hotel lounge pianist — that doesn't say "street cred," I don't know what will. Now he's hosting an American Bandstand-style video game dance show on the web site Funny or Die. If you ever wanted to watch a bunch of squares shake their hips to the latest grooves by Hiroki Kikuta and Mari Yamaguchi, here's your chance:

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