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@Large: Ai WeiWei on Alcatraz" highlights contemporary struggles for freedom of expression

This Week's Paper

weekSpringing from Alcatraz: Dissident artist Ai WeiWei's @Large exhibition rocks the rock, and Project Censored 2014 uncovers the year's most important (but under-covered) stories. Plus: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass lifts our blues, and Awesome Tapes from Africa taps seldom-heard sounds.  Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

The Performant: Serf's Up!

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The Weill Project and Will Kaufman’s Woody Guthrie sing out.

“A pamphlet, no matter how good, is never read more than once, but a song is learned by heart and repeated over and over.” –Joe Hill

As this year’s annual LaborFest draws to an end, and the organized labor movement is facing an uncertain future as exemplified by the recent Republican victory in Wisconsin regarding collective bargaining, and the disappointing conclusion to the Mott’s strike of 2010, it does the socialist spirit good to soothe the savage breast with music created with an ulterior motive. Political convictions as entertainment have had their misses, but it’s the hits we remember more, whether “learned by heart,” or not.

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Police say they've recovered gun used by Harding

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The San Francisco Police Department issued a statement this afternoon announcing that the gun that fired the fatal shot at Kenneth Wade Harding Jr. has been found. Read more »

Appetite: Plans of attack for SF Chefs

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SF Chefs year three starts this Monday, an event that has become San Francisco's biggest food and drink showcase – our "food and wine classic", if you will -- utilizing much of the Bay Area's best talent. (You can check out my coverage of the event from last year here).  

The event takes over Union Square for a week with events, classes, grand tastings, and nightly parties. There's something magical about a tented Union Square, especially with the cable cars gliding by and tourists casually wondering what kind of fun is going on. After hours of tastings and music, one can walk to afterparties atop the Westin or other nearby locales, taking in the city lights until the wee hours with dancing and yes, more impeccable food and drink.

But with a week full of events, how does one begin to choose what to attend? I have covered a lot of ground every year I've attended and have some specific advice on what to make sure you don't miss, depending on your preferences. Oh, and don't forget to allow your stomach some recovery time.

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Civil Grand Jury: Parkmerced tenant protections 'just talk'

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The Board of Supervisor's Government Audit & Oversight Committee heard from members of the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury this morning about a report it issued on the Parkmerced redevelopment. Read more »

Many Burning Man DJs get stuck without tickets

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UPDATE/CORRECTION: The manager for Infected Mushroom says the group does indeed have tickets.

The mad scramble for sold-out tickets to Burning Man and the subsequent price gouging by scalpers have been frustrating for burners who didn't plan ahead, but now it appears that it could impact the musical offerings on the playa this year as many big-name DJs and musicians have been stuck without tickets. Read more »

Those crazy San Franciscans

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Joe Eskenazi has an SF Weekly piece that pretty much repeats what he's been saying for years: That San Francisco has too much government. This time he goes after all the boards, task forces and commissions -- and yeah, there are a lot of them, and yeah, some of them might not be necessary. Read more »

Hot sexy events: July 27-August 3

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Ugh. There is nothing sexy about breast cancer (unless you're Annie Sprinkle). But honestly, when life gives you tumors, you give that thing tumescence – or at least, that's adult film performer Hollie Stevens' view.

Stevens was diagnosed with breast cancer this year, but it's hardly held her down. The clown porn enthusiast filmed an intense scene on societysm.com in which her head was shaved – it had to happen anyway for chemo, so why not make it someone's fantasy? This week, you can help young Stevens out in her quest for health. On Fri/29, she's hosting a low-lit lingerie roller disco, complete with an auction featuring Chuck Stevens pornography prints, and Girls and Corpses magazines – the site of Stevens' recent “Playdead bunnies” feature. Read more »

Tango at the symphony? Take a whirl

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Feeling some half-priced symphony and live tango dancing? It's a mash-up of culture this Thursday, July 28 at Davies Symphony Hall. The San Francisco Symphony will performs Antonio Vivaldi’s classic Four Seasons along with a punchier, more colorful take on the four seasons by Astor Piazzolla, Estaciones Porteñas (also known as The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), beginning at 8 p.m.

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Guardian forum July 28: Immigration, education and youth

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The next Guardian Forum on issues in the mayor's race will take place Thursday, July, when we'll be talking about immigration, education and youth issues. We've got a great panel lined up:

Sherilyn Adams, Larkin Street Youth Services
Angela Chan, Asian Law Caucus
David Campos, Supervisor, District 9
Mario Yedidia, Director, Youth Commission*
Pecolia Manigo, Coleman Advocates
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Enviro justice groups spar with SFPUC on power program

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A Pew Research Center analysis based on the latest U.S. Census data has found that Latino and African American households weathered deeper blows in the economic recession, driving the wealth gap between whites and minorities to an historic high. Read more »

What's next for San Francisco's small theaters? The Roxie has an idea...

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The Red Vic closed this week, and a recent SFgate.com article reported that Balboa Theater owner Gary Meyer will be leaving the Richmond District landmark at the end of the summer. What's a small, independent movie theater to do in these troubled times?

The Roxie, San Francisco's oldest continually operating theater (it's had a few different monikers, but the Mission District space opened in 1909; it became a non-profit in 2008), has a plan, according to a press release that landed in my inbox this morning. It boils down to a four-letter word: BEER.

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Frustrations rise with skyrocketing prices for scalped Burning Man tickets

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In the wake of yesterday's announcement that Burning Man tickets have sold out for the first time, scalpers have been offering tickets online for several times their face values – some for as much as $5,000 each – frustrating burners and raising difficult questions about what the laws of supply and demand are doing to a community that eschews “commodification” Read more »

Kim removes homeless shelter reform measure from ballot

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Under pressure from the Mayor's Office, Sup. Jane Kim today removed her sponsorship of the Fair Shelters Initiatives, effectively killing the measure that was set to appear on the November ballot, according to activists working on the issue. Sup. Eric Mar reportedly followed Kim's lead and also removed his sponsorship, telling activists he was deferring to Kim's decision.Read more »

A skate day for creative community

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At last, a weekend with weather resembling an actual summer vacation. With Saturday's moderate temperature, a soothing breeze, and clear skies I was in a great mood to head to Tha Hood Games at the African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC) on July 23 (click here to see our event preview). The vast majority of my experience with skateboarding has been watching the X Games religiously every year, so you could say that the bar was set high for day’s skating.

I didn't have a problem finding the Western Addition venue; all I had to do was follow the heart-pounding, bass-pumping beats coming from the event's speakers. Mistakingly anticipating a small crowd as I rounded the corner of Buchanan Street, it turned out the party had already started. A crowd stretched out in front of the AAACC for a lock down Fulton Street: skaters, parents, fans, everyone excited to check out the fun that was visible through the parking lot fence. Read more »

The BART cover-up crumbles

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Zusha Elinson at the Bay Citizen continues to do great work on the BART Police shooting, and today he's got a scoop: The audio of the incident gave him the names of the officers involved. OF course, BART can't confirm or deny anything, as is typical -- but the fact that we now know that the shooter was James A. Crowell, who had been on the force for just 18 months, gives some further insight into what happened. Read more »