Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ashkon Davaran, MC Hammer Put It Down for Ed Lee

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 2:25 PM

This campaign plug is pretty funny, regardless of your political persuasion:

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tinie Tempah Descends on the Bay Area, by way of AT&T

by Rachel Swan
Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 11:38 AM

In an effort to gain more street cred, AT&T is producing a spate a free concerts this summer — free for its customers, that is. The Bay Area edition, which stars South London rapper Tinie Tempah, happens at The Regency Ballroom tomorrow, and a limited amount of tickets will be available to fans who RSVP on the company's "Music for You" Facebook page. Fans who cannot attend will still be able to connect with artists via live Facebook chats.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Got Milk" Ads Pulled After Feminists Cry Foul

by Rachel Swan
Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Here's one for all the feminists who cried foul over the controversial "Got Milk" campaign launched by San Francisco ad agency Goodby, Silverstein, and Partners, which touted the drink as a cure for PMS (and female bitchiness). According to Bay Citizen, the California Milk Processing Board just pulled its 10-day old campaign, which initially linked to a web site called (It was presumably addressed to male victims of PMS fallout, and others who suffer the wrath of milk-deprived women.) Now the link redirects to a new site,, which is apparently the organization's attempt at damage control. The home page of the site says: “Over the past couple of weeks, regrettably, some people found our campaign to be outrageous and misguided — and we apologize to those we offended.” It also quotes praises from people who found the campaign "cute" or "educational." Talk about mixed messages.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Crass New "Got Milk" Campaign Targets PMS Symptoms

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Got PMS? A glass of milk should do the trick. So says San Francisco ad agency Goodby, Silverstein, and Partners, whose new campaign touts the curative powers of milk, particularly with respect to monthly mood swings. The campaign's web site includes a global PMS meter, a "sensitivity vocabulator," a "video apology enhancer" (to help the user extricate himself from an irrational argument), and other tacky features. The agency's executive director says it's funny and self-effacing. Uh, yeah. Ha ha.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Facebook Introduces Video Chat to Compete with Google

by Rachel Swan
Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Evidently, the rising popularity of Google + Hangouts — a video chat system that allows users to interact with many people at once, via a computer screen — is giving Facebook a run for its money. That was certainly the intent, anyway. But yesterday Zuckerberg upped the ante by announcing a new partnership with Skype, which would allow users to video-kick-it with friends without ever leaving the social network. Called Facetime, Facebook video chat is available as a mobile application — meaning you can purchase it at the Mac App Store for .99. The price tag distinguishes it from Skype, which is free, but unlike Skype, Facetime offers seamless transmission. Technology buffs applaud Google + Hangouts for having a similarly user-friendly system, because it's integrated with the browser.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

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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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hot Fashion: Sweater Couture from the Cosby Show

by Rachel Swan
Wed, May 18, 2011 at 11:38 AM

This morning Pandora tweeted gleefully about a new Tumblr site launched by someone with unbounded creativity — and too much time on his or her hands. Called "The Cosby Sweater Project" it spotlights all the fine fabrics sported by characters on The Cosby Show, from a diamond-shaped sweater vest pattern that Dr. Huxtable wore in Episode 1, to Rudy's stripey, blue and purple getup in Episode 5 of Season 2. The creator offers small mock-ups of each pattern, alongside a screen shot that shows the sweater in action. As one commenter averred, he or she is doing god's work.

Some nice sweater vest action, as Mr. Huxtable gives Theo a dressing-down:

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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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Friday, April 15, 2011

95.7 FM to Switch from Country to Sports Programming

by Ellen Cushing
Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 12:31 PM

As if country fans in the Bay Area don't suffer enough! Today brings sad news for followers of the 95.7 The Wolf, formerly the Bay Area's home for contemporary country music: according to the Chron's sports blog, as of 10 a.m. today, the station switched to an all-sports format and will soon be changing its name from The Wolf 95.7 to the much-less-evocative SportsRadio 95.7. Per Susan Slusser at the Chron, "the station promises A's and Sharks' programming, with on-air personalities and other programming to be announced at a later date." Execs from Entercomm, the station's parent company, are also apparently in talks to broadcast from Stanford and Cal.

Insert achey-breaky heart reference here. But on the real: RIP, The Wolf. You will be missed.


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

Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 12:01 AM

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.

21 Projects
When Elizabeth Bernstein and Carrie Hott opened the Royal NoneSuch Gallery (4321 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) two and a half years ago, they knew they wanted to create the kind of space where people could really interact with the art. And, indeed, in its short two years, the gallery has presented a slew of multisensory, multidisciplinary, interactive, and occasionally risky shows, workshops, and community events that often have little in common with the prototypical passive white-walled gallery experience. In that sense, the gallery's current undertaking, 21 Projects x 21 Days x 21 Hours, is the natural extension of that impulse. The concept is simple: take 21 artists, broadly defined, and give each of them exactly an hour to do whatever they want with the gallery. "It was kind of like a dare: If you had one hour and a blank space, what would you do?" Bernstein said. Thus far, the answer to that question has been, well, just about everything. The first project in this year's series, Dan Graham's "2011 Zevon Awards," was a borderline absurdist performance piece that placed elaborately characterized genre authors at a fake science-fiction awards ceremony; two nights after that, Aaron Terry invited guests to wear hand-sewn "Urban Yetti" outfits while he documented their actions as part of a meta-social experiment. The remaining half of the series, which ends Sunday, April 17, promises to be equally manifold, with projects including drawing sessions, a citrus tasting, and workshops both utilitarian (how to make your own paint) and less so (how to speak with a convincing fake accent). Check website for full schedule; free. — Ellen Cushing

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