Pixel Vision

Flaming Lotus Girls bring SOMA to Pier 14

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Following in the tradition of Burning Man artworks returning to San Francisco for temporary public installations, my beloved Flaming Lotus Girls have installed their colossal steel and light sculpture SOMA at Pier 14. And this Friday, Aug. 1, they’ll be hosting a dance party reception from 5-9pm to celebrate the occasion.Read more »

“How to Cook a Frog” at CounterPulse

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What’s cooking?

You may well ask, as towering gourmand Julia Child (Annie Danger) appears at Counterpulse tonight and tomorrow, walking her studio audience through a classic recipe with a decidedly contemporary flavor.

If frog doesn’t sound like your thing, consider that we don’t always know we like something until we try it. Or consider the way this surveillance state being forced down your throat goes right to your ass. Or consider that Dalton Trumbo (following Emile Zola) once referred to his time (the time of McCarthy and other manifestations of totalitarian creep) as the Time of the Toad — an era in which maintaining indifference to the injustice and horror around you was tantamount to learning how to swallow a whole wet one each and every day.

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The Rock gets mythological, ScarJo turns scary-smart, Woody's tepid latest, PSH's final role, and more: new movies!

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In case you missed the cover of this week's paper, the 34th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival kicked off last night and runs through Aug. 10 at an array of Bay Area venues. Get the whole schedule and info on tickets here; check out our commentary here and here

From the glittering (and otherwise) land of Hollywood, a raft of new releases also await. Read on for reviews of Hercules, Lucy, Magic in the Moonlight, A Most Wanted Man, and more!

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More reviews from the SF Jewish Film Festival

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If Instagram is anything to go by (read: it’s not), anyone can make a short film — just slap a filter on it and call it a day! Thankfully, the protagonists in Anywhere Else and Swim Little Fish Swim, two films featured in the 38th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, work on creative projects that can pull their own weight — sans filters — even if the length exceeds 15 seconds from the sidelines. Short DIY clips, not integral to the plotlines, are interspersed throughout of each film and are a breath of fresh air, even if the overall film itself is a hit or a miss.

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Photo Gallery: Graffiti artists tagging in the sunshine at Precita Park

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Normally the sound of 20 or so artists rattling and spraying aerosol cans would be quickly followed by the sound of sirens. But Sat/19 the fades went up with gusto. 

Artists tagged free standing art boards at Precita Park for the Urban Youth Arts Festival, an event that brings the ultimate underground art into a safe space. Attendees munched on burgers and listened to some good tunes at the festival, which is now in its 18th year.

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Scare and scare alike: zombies, maggots, and more at 'BAASICS.5: Monsters'

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“We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realized they were inside us,” reads a quote often misattributed to the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. The presenters at July 14’s "BAASICS.5: Monsters" event at ODC Theater capitalized on this concept, examining both modern monsters (though not “cars and corn syrup,” as one emcee mentioned at the beginning of the event) and monsters of yore. 

In past years, the organization has explored provocative topics such as the future (more weighted toward a possible uprising of robots rather than the nagging question “What am I going to do with my life?”) and psychiatric and neurologic disorders by juxtaposing science and art. It’s easy to find the right balance between the two for these past themes, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this year’s event. 

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Purr-suit of happiness: SF SPCA aims to save more lives with its new adoption center

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Last year, the SF SPCA assisted with 5,084 cat and dog adoptions. With its new adoption center near Bryant and 16th Streets, which opened June 13, it aims to increase capacity by 20 percent — saving 1,000 more furry lives in the process.Read more »

Frameline leftovers: Audience Award-winning Barney Frank doc 'Compared to What'

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Pride's Pink Saturday offered a dynamic final morning of the massive 38th annual Frameline, the world’s largest film festival devoted to LGBT films. Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank, a doc that gives an intimate look into the private and political life of the recently retired iconic Congressman, screened to a packed and cheering crowd at the Castro Theater.

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Inspiring doc 'Keeper of the Beat: A Woman's Journey into the Heart of Drumming' airs on KQED

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“I would get the comment ‘Gosh, you play really good for a girl,’” Barbara Borden admits in the introduction of Keeper of the Beat, which chronicles her lifelong passion for drumming. The documentary, by San Francisco's David L. Brown, airs Sun/6 on KQED

The Always brand's empowering #LikeAGirl ad campaign made the rounds on the internet this week, but Borden’s musical sojourn, discouraged for a female at the time, is decidedly more inspiring (especially since it’s delivered by a badass drummer and not a corporation). 

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Grimm but not grim: SF Playhouse's winning fairy tale 'Into the Woods'

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Given all traditional parameters of critical experience, SF Playhouse’s production of Into the Woods (now playing through Sept 6) should be at least somewhat irksome. The vocal talent can be inconsistent, the accents are ambiguous, the set looks busy, and the musical is high-strung enough that it can be insufferable without expert work on all fronts. Shockingly, despite the surface-level issues, the Playhouse production is an unqualified technical success and a complete joy to take in.

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