Friday, September 27, 2013

Free Sunday Events

Image: Rik Olson
A few free events all happening this Sunday the 29th: Cal Performances holds its lively Fall Free for All, a family-friendly day of performing arts on the UC Berkeley campus. The diverse offerings include shadow puppets, flamenco dance, the New Century Chamber Orchestra, SF Opera's Adler Fellows & student groups. The Morrison Artists Series at SF State begins its season with the Alexander String Quartet & clarinetist David Shifrin performing the Mozart & Brahms clarinet quintets, plus a world premiere. Pre-concert talk at 2p, concert at 3p, cookies at intermission. The California Academy of Sciences has free admission in celebration of the 90th anniversary of its Steinhart Aquarium. One hopes the albino alligator is on display. Between 11a & 4p, the SF Center for the Book has its annual Roadworks event, a wacky block party in which an actual steamroller is used to make large linoleum block prints. Sunday Streets in the Excelsior turns the streets around Mission & Ocean into a bike & pedestrian mall between 11a & 4p. And no doubt there will be a lot of great photo ops at the Anime Festival in Japantown from 11a - 4p.

Book Sale at Fort Mason photo IMG_20130926_115243_zps727dc57b.jpgSunday is also the last day of the humongous used book sale at Fort Mason, put on by the Friends of the SF Public Library. All books go for $1 on this closing day. Besides appearing at the Fall Free for All, the New Century Chamber Orchestra opens its season this weekend with a program of works by Michael Daugherty with amusing titles. Not free, but it sounds fun.

§ Fall Free for All
Cal Performances
Sun, Sept 29, 2013
10:30 am-6 pm
Venues: Zellerbach Hall, Hertz Hall, Wheeler Auditorium, Alumni House Toll Room and Patio, Bancroft Studio, and outdoor stages across the UC Berkeley Campus

§ Alexander String Quartet with special guest David Shifrin, clarinet
Morrison Artists Series
Sunday, September 29, 2013 3:00pm
San Francisco State University
Creative Arts Building, McKenna Theatre

§ Happy 90th Anniversary, Steinhart Aquarium!
September 29, with free admission to the Academy
California Academy of Sciences

§ The 10th Annual Roadworks
Steamroller Printing Festival
Sunday, September 29, 2013, 11:00am-4:00pm
Rhode Island Street in Potrero Hill between 16th and 17th Streets

§ Japan Center Malls Anime Festival
September 29, 2013, 12:00-4:00pm
Japantown Peace Plaza

§ Sunday Streets in the Excelsior
September 29, 2013
11am to 4pm

§ 49th Annual Big Book Sale Friends of the San Francisco Public Library
September 25-29, 2013
10 AM-6 PM
Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion

§ New Century Chamber Orchestra
Daugherty Perspectives
Thursday, September 26, 2013, 8pm, Mountain View Center for Performing Arts
Friday, September 27, 2013, 8pm, First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Saturday, September 28, 2013, 8pm, Yerba Buena Center for Performing Arts, San Francisco
Sunday, September 29, 2013, 5pm, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, San Rafael

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Waiting for the iPhone 5

In defiance of the tech pundits, there was a lone queuer waiting outside the Apple store in the Marina this afternoon.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Andrew Sean Greer at Mechanics' Institute

Sean Andrew Greer at the Mechanics' Institute photo IMG_20130910_183534_zps08707702.jpgTuesday evening local author Andrew Sean Greer spoke at the Mechanics' Institute about his new novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. The protagonist, after receiving electroshock therapy, finds herself living the same life but in 3 different time periods: 1985, 1918 & 1941. Mr. Greer explained how he stole the time-shift idea from an advance description of another author's book, which later turned out to have a completely different plot. We learned that the protagonist was originally male, but Mr. Greer switched him to a woman when he discovered that men's lives hadn't changed much compared to women's in that time period.

The book is full of historical detail which Mr. Greer researched while living in New York on a Cullman Center fellowship at the New York Public Library. I enjoyed hearing him talk about exploring the library's resources, which include literary oddities such as Charles Dickens's letter opener, which has a handle made from his pet cat's paw. Mr. Greer speaks engagingly & has an intense imagination for emotion. There was an informal audience of about 15, including Mr. Greer's husband & a fan who declared Mr. Greer a writer he could trust.

§ The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
Andrew Sean Greer
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 6:00pm
Mechanics' Institute

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mill Valley Film Festival 36

Tuesday morning, in the plush Dolby Screening Room, the Mill Valley Film Festival held a press conference for their up-coming festival, October 3 - 13. Mark Fishkin, Executive Director, & Zoë Elton, Director of Programming, ran through the highlights. Senior Programmer Janis Plotkin covered the world cinema selections, & Senior Programmer Karen Davis talked up the US films. Opening night features Nebraska, a road movie by Alexander Payne. Its stars, Bruce Dern & Will Forte, will attend. Also on opening night is a film adaptation of The Book Thief with Geoffrey Rush, who will likewise be present.

Spotlight films include 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, an AIDS-themed story set in the 1980s & starring Matthew McConaughey & Jared Leto, & Effie Gray, starring Dakota Fanning. Ms. Fanning, all of 19 years old, will receive a festival award. The 80-year-old Costa-Gavras will receive a tribute & be interviewed on stage by Peter Coyote. Closing night will be Ben Stiller's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, with Mr. Stiller in attendance. The festival program also encompasses documentaries, shorts & children's films, as well as a 30th anniversary screening of Return of the Jedi.

Mill Valley Film Festival Press Conference photo IMG_20130910_102302_zps52a9f891.jpgThe press conference included a demonstration of the immersive Dolby Atmos sound system, & we saw a preview screening of Michele Josue's documentary Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine, which premieres at the festival on October 4th.

§ Mill Valley Film Festival 36
October 3 - 13, 2013

Sunday, September 08, 2013

America's Cup Finals

This weekend the 1st 4 races of the America's Cup finals took place in San Francisco Bay. From the Marina Green I watched Emirates Team New Zealand handily beat Oracle Team USA by almost a minute in the 2nd race on Saturday.

The weather was clear & warm. There's definitely been a lot more tourists in the neighborhood. I've been hearing a lot of accents that I take to be either Australian or New Zealand.

The course runs relatively close to shore, so it's easy to follow the race even without good binoculars.

Video screens offer an even better view of the race. The high-tech broadcast includes computer-enhanced aerial shots & views from onboard cameras.

There are 17 finals races scheduled through September 21st. The 1st team to win 9 is the cup winner, but the Oracle Team received a shaming 2-race penalty due to cheating, so it must win 11 to claim the trophy.

§ America's Cup 2013

Sunday, September 01, 2013

SF Zine Fest 2013

SF Zine Fest 2013 photo IMG_20130831_131208_zps96804423.jpgSaturday afternoon I checked out the zines, books, comics & art at the SF Zine Fest in Golden Gate Park this weekend. The artistic level is high. I was impressed by Nikki Thompson's finely crafted artists' books, especially her booklets made from a single folded sheet of paper. Andy Warner's bold red print of an elephant cavorting with rabbits demanded to be looked at.  I also saw a lot of cute stationery.

SF Zine Fest 2013 photo IMG_20130831_121926_zpsc40de30f.jpgComics creator & phenomenon Justin Hall is one of this year's featured artists, & he was interviewed by Liz Mayorga about the breadth & diversity of his work. Mr. Hall's comments somehow ranged from bara manga to Nabokov. The audience was particularly intrigued when he said he is working on a graphic novel set in the Armory Studios of

I've been going to Zine Fest regularly, & it's been fun getting to know some of my favorite zinesters. I was both alarmed & flattered when Jason Martin informed me that I make a cameo appearance in his story for a comics anthology that will debut at SPX. Apparently I have achieved immortality through comics.

§ San Francisco Zine Fest
Aug 31st + Sept 1st 2013

San Francisco County Fair Building
1199 9th Ave and Lincoln Way
(in Golden Gate Park)

Free Admission!