Pixel Vision

VOTE NOW! BEST OF THE BAY 2014 READERS POLL IS HERE

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Our 40th annual Best of the Bay issue is coming Oct. 15! This year's theme is Dia de los Muertos, in celebration of true Bay Area spirit.

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Toronto International Film Festival report: in defense of the long, long movie

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The unstoppable Jesse Hawthorne Ficks keeps his eyes open 24/7 through another Toronto International Film Festival, and lives to tell the tale (but shares no spoilers!) Read on for the first in several reports back from the 39th TIFF.

Starting on a high note: Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep (Turkey/France/Germany) won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, so it arrived in Toronto with its share of hype. I can report Sleep is the director's funniest and most satisfying film to date. That said, it does run 196 minutes, and more than a few critics walked out early, which poses an ever-important question about the current trend toward slow-moving, observational, and meditative narratives: Who's actually watching 'em? 

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UPDATED Drag queens plan to protest Facebook over name-change policy

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UPDATE: Sister Roma just posted this to her Facebook page:  

"BREAKING: FACEBOOK AGREES TO FACE-TO-FACE MEETING. DEMONSTRATION CANCELED (for now)

Just got off the phone with Supervisor David Campos and representatives from Facebook. They have agreed to meet with us and members of the community for an open dialogue regarding their legal name policy. After the conversation I am more hopeful than ever that we can reach a solution. We're working together to make change and I thank all of you for your support!"

ORIGINAL POST: Drag queens throughout San Francisco and the cyberverse are planning to protest at Facebook HQ on Tuesday at 9:30am, if a meeting between Facebook representatives and Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence tomorrow yields no favorable results.

At issue: a controversial new Facebook policy that is forcing performers to use their legal names (rather than drag or other professional names) on their personal profiles on the social media site.

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Tenderloin upstart Book & Job aims to level the art-gallery playing field

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Carson Lancaster is tired of the bullshit. He’s tired of watching the same handful of mainstream galleries hang the same artists and shun a majority of San Francisco’s young, talented artists. “It’s like that scene in Scanners. You know, the one where the guy’s head explodes? That’s what it feels like every time I walk into one of those places,” he said.

Lancaster is the owner of Book & Job, an art gallery that seeks to do exactly the opposite: make San Francisco’s art market accessible to both artists and consumers. Located on Geary and Hyde Streets, Book & Job blends into the grit of the Tenderloin and in no way resembles the blue-chip megaliths huddled toward Union Square. The space is tiny. There’s no team of attractive sales people standing at the entrance, no bubbly event photographers milling around, no tuxedos, and no free champagne.

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Catching up with burlesque star and fashion icon Dita Von Teese

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With a seductive and sexy nod to the past, modern pin-up and burlesque queen Dita Von Teese has been at the forefront of reviving a once nearly lost art form for two decades.

Bringing back the sense of classic style and glamour of the golden days of Hollywood and meshing it with the tantalizing teasing of the old-time burlesque circuit, Von Teese wraps up a two-night stand at the Fillmore tonight with her Burlesque: Strip, Strip, Hooray! show, a live revue featuring not only her own titillating talents, but a host of other performers as well, including Dirty Martini, Catherine D’Lish, and Lada Nikolska from the Crazy Horse Paris.

When Von Teese (real name: Heather Sweet) first got interested in retro styles and the bawdy and risqué performances of the past, there was just a small community of performers around the world that she recalls encountering; two decades later, she has watched the scene flourish and rapidly expand.

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Joel Daniel Phillips illustrates the overlooked in 'I Am Another Yourself'

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Joel Daniel Phillips draws people. He draws them with charcoal and pencil and is known for his life-sized renderings of eccentric, seemingly homeless men and women he meets on the corner of Sixth and Mission Streets in San Francisco.

His debut solo show with Hashimoto Contemporary, “I Am Another Yourself,” opens Sat/6 (opening reception 6-9pm; the show runs through Sept. 27). I met up with Phillips to talk about his work and to see his 14 pieces in person.

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A master of observation: chatting with author Sean Wilsey

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“We used to call this Café High,” author Sean Wilsey says of Café International, our meeting spot, before letting out a hearty chortle. By “we” he means his late-80s classmates at the Urban School, the private prep school 10 blocks or so from the Haight and Fillmore coffee shop. By “high” I assume he’s alluding to marijuana in some form or another, but I’m too intrigued by Wilsey’s instant openness and nostalgia to probe. Despite four other high schools (he never graduated), myriad other cities (he doesn’t come back to San Francisco very often anymore), and 25 or so intervening years (he’s pushing 45), Wilsey still grasps the vibe of his native hood with the exactitude of a lifelong resident. 

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SF queer arts community mourns Arturo Galster, "drag queen's drag queen"

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To call seminal SF perfomer and alpha theater aficionado Arturo Galster merely a "drag queen" is to do his range -- from the legendary Vegas in Space movie and pitch-perfect live-sung Pasty Cline interpretations to his recent technicolor turns with the Thrillpeddlers -- a disservice. But his name will always call to mind that moment in the late '80s and early '90s when SF's drag scene unmoored itself from polite old school diva kabuki into a squall of gloriously punky, ironic camp.

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To boldly go...beyond the grave! This week's new movies

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A mask-wearing musician, a Star Trek alum, coming-of-age tales, a rom-com with a sci-fi twist, a rom-com with a zombie twist, and a romantic drama (rom-dram?) with a metaphysical twist are all part of the weekend movie outlook. Read on for reviews and trailers!

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American landscapes: a review of SF native Sean Wilsey's essay collection, 'More Curious'

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Midway through the introduction to More Curious (McSweeney's Books, 342 pp., $22), his recently-published collection of essays from the last 15 years, Sean Wilsey (who appears at the Booksmith Thu/21) reveals his quest to combine the styles of Thomas Pynchon and New Yorker legend Joseph Mitchell — paranoia and precision, respectively.

The introduction itself is a joyfully meta attempt at this very task. The 20-odd pages of often non-sequitorial rumination about the aforementioned authors, the triviality of the 1990s, and the first Obama election can be mistaken as “formless while still astonishingly informative” or “so intricately constructed and fact-filled that the form is too complex to be instantly identified.” The happy reality of all of Wilsey’s essays is somewhere between these two perceptions.

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