At SFMOMA - A Hidden Picasso. This is a nifty little exhibition in the Koret Education Center showing how another complete Picasso painting was found underneath his Scene de Rue. Somebody noticed bright paint showing through the cracks in the top painting, a somewhat dreary street scene, and when they X-rayed that sucker they found a painting of a lively French nightclub underneath. Props to my friend Tim for helping to digitally reconstruct the lost image. -It was the find of a lifetime -- a Picasso buried under another Picasso. Now they're both on view at SFMOMA.
At New Langton -
Myth by Method. The gallery upstairs is lined wall-to-wall with Katrina Lamb's intricate drawings, each one made to fit a perfect small square. I loved them very much, especially how they seemed to get more raunchy as you went along. I knew there was supposed to be a multimedia portion to the show as well, provided by Lansing-Dreiden, but it was not completely in evidence at the opening last night. Something was being set up in the performance space downstairs that looked like it involved video maybe, but it wasn't ready yet so I bolted over to Stormy Leather for Suzanne's opening.
from Grist: Say you're a legendary communist leader sidelined by a secret illness. You're eager to break your months-long silence with an editorial, and you're looking for just the right topic. Do you choose ... your prognosis? Your island nation's health? Heck no. If you're Fidel Castro, you choose the U.S. infatuation with biofuels. An article printed today in the Communist Party daily Granma (not to be confused with the weekly Granpa) hints at Castro's views on ethanol and economics under the headline "More than 3 billion people of the world condemned to premature death by hunger and thirst." The recovering revolutionary says he's been "meditating quite a bit since President Bush's meeting with North American automobile makers" and slams the "sinister idea of converting food into combustibles." Instead, he says, countries should follow Cuba's lead and ... switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs! That, he says, "would give climate change a break without starving the poor masses of the world."
Zodiac: I loved almost everything about this movie. The atmosphere, the trio of fantastic lead actors, the vintage Bay Area settings, the lure of the real mystery itself. I just wish filmmakers would go back to implying violence instead of showing every greasy drop of blood hitting the windshield. Films can be plenty suspenseful and disturbing without all that nonsense.
Fighting mega-retailers: Check out Big Box Tool Kit's interactive map of the nation and find out where local business is pushing back against mega-retailers.
from Grist: San Francisco is the first U.S. city to pass a ban on non-recyclable plastic bags at major supermarkets and drugstores. Once it's signed into law, the stores will have six months to a year to sack the sacks, switching to compostable, recyclable ones made from corn or potato starch -- or reverting to recyclable paper. "We can take steps to make our economy a little more soulful," said lawmaker and ban author Ross Mirkarimi. "Hopefully, other cities and other states will follow suit." Similar bans are in place in South Africa, Taiwan, Bangladesh, and Paris. Noting that his city's businesses hand out 180 million plastic bags a year, Mirkarimi asked, "Why did we have to obligate [stores] to do this? Why didn't they do it voluntarily? It's like waiting for the auto manufacturers to increase gas efficiency." The California Grocers Association raised some half-hearted concerns -- it'll cost more! it'll confuse shoppers! compostable bags suck! -- but all we hear is that Charlie Brown teacher voice.
I'm bummed I didn't hear that Rebecca Solnit was speaking at CCA last night until it was already too late for me to make it to the lecture. She's one of my favorite local authors, and if you haven't read her book Hollow City yet, about gentrification in San Francisco, I highly recommend it. Now I need to pick up her book on Muybridge.
Rich bastards suffer, too: The Onion Network News unpacks the claim that immigrants are taking jobs from American executives.
from the Booksmith: Nearly 40 years after Captain John Bissell landed at Qui Nonh as part of the American offensive in Vietnam, he agreed to return to the country for a magazine piece his son, Tom Bissell, was writing about the war and its effects. That article, printed first in Harpers and chosen for Best American Travel Writing 2006, is the foundation of The Father of All Things, a genre-defying work that bridges the divide between continents and generations. The excerpt Bissell read Friday night referred to his time in the Peace Corps, so I was compelled to ask him during the Q&A where he had been stationed...and how long he had lasted. The answers: Uzbekistan, 8 months, and read all about it in his first book Chasing the Sea.
At various locations throughout the city - NOSO. The latest in Southern Exposure's kickass program of offsite art, Glowlab's NOSO project encourages its participants to disconnect from the social networking craze. I signed up on their site a couple weeks ago and created a profile describing all of the things that I am not. Then I picked a NOSO to attend, a meet-up in which I wasn't actually going to meet anybody. The location was Phil'z Coffee at 24th and Folsom on Saturday afternoon, and as I sat there for a peaceful 30 minutes with my cell phone switched off I tried to guess if any of the other people in the shop were fellow NOSOers. Astute readers might observe that NOSO behavior is something I practice on a regular basis in San Francisco anyway, so I wasn't really stepping out of my comfort zone to participate. But it was fun to do it so intentionally and in the name of art.
Treasonable doubt: Bill Maher to Bush: "New rule—traitors don't get to question my patriotism."
At SFMOMA - New Work: Sylvie Blocher. This exhibition consists of two recent video pieces French artist Blocher has added to her Living Pictures series, Je et Nous and the SFMOMA-commissioned Men in Gold. In the latter, Blocher has a number of men who have made their fortune in Silicon Valley talk to camera about their success, money, and their legacy. The interviews are fascinating in a voyeuristic sort of way, since I have very little in my life that relates to theirs. The subjects of Je et Nous are much more sympathetic, a wide range of volunteers from a marginalized neighborhood of Paris that one-by-one face the camera in T-shirts bearing words they want to say, some of them quite unexpected: "I would not like to be white but I would like to have balls"; "Often, I feel different from what my entire family sees of me"; "I cannot afford to speak of beauty because I have no money". Blocher is not interested in creating fictions with her camera, but rather in capturing the truth one moment in time can offer. -press images -Searching their souls - on camera: Exploring Silicon Valley's definition of success
At Lisa Dent -
Whitewash: New Works by Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry. Artists McCallum and Terry work together in a number of different media. For their Cut project, they use video to turn the process of cutting each other's hair into a rivetingly sensual experience, while stark photographs document the end results. Whitewash is a series of paintings taken from black-and-white photographs of racially-charged moments both familiar and unfamiliar, where transparent painted screens overlying the canvases add another layer of perception. And the Endurance project uses video and photography again, this time to capture the lives of street kids. I was impressed with the strength and beauty of their work taken as a whole.
Things have been a wee bit stressful at work since I got back from Florida, so I jumped at the opportunity yesterday afternoon to participate in Rebar and Southern Exposure's Paraformance : The Nappening, especially since it was taking place just down the street from my office. Who wouldn't want to sneak out of work for a 20-minute nap? Rebar had taken over one of the many privately-owned public spaces that are scattered around San Francisco's downtown, this time a pleasantly sunlit atrium at 55 Second Street, and had set up a calming napping area. A concierge signed me in and pointed me to the coat check, where I took off my shoes and grabbed some earplugs. Mission Pie was on hand with milk and cookies for a naptime snack, and then I headed to a bank of modern lounges along one wall, sheltered from the rest of the room by a floor-to-ceiling scrim. Blankets were provided, as well as a soothing soundtrack of running water and chirping critters. At the end of my nap shift I was roused by a peaceful bell, and headed back to the Mission Pie stand for some coffee. Rebar claims that 1 in 3 Americans would nap at work, but I would wager that number is actually much higher.
Then last night I went to a rare screening on the Berkeley campus of the 1924 silent film Three Weeks, starring Aileen Pringle as a Balkan queen who enchants an impressionable English fellow while they are both on holiday. Even though the film was shown without a musical accompaniment and many of the titles were damaged, it was worth seeing for the scene where the queen seduces young Paul on a tiger skin alone. The film is based on the novel by Elinor Glyn, she of It fame, who apparently approved of casting Pringle because she thought they shared a resemblance.
Tomorrow night, Saturday, March 24, KALX presents Chow Nasty, The Trucks, and Jenna Riot at Thee Parkside, 1600 17th Street in San Francisco. 9pm / 21+ / $8, with DJ a.rock spinning old school hip hop, funk and soul all night. You'll find me at the bar.
How fair is that tax cut? Responsible Wealth designed this calculator so that you can see how the Bush tax cuts affect you. The real eye-opener comes when you compare your tax savings to those who make twice or three times your salary and those who only make half your salary.
At Varnish - Michael Page and Thomas Wargin. I haven't been yet, but I'm going to pop in on my way to the bus one of these evenings. Maybe next time I see Matt Gonzalez on his way in, as I've bumped into him in that alley twice already. Anyway. I was planning to go yesterday already but then ended up having to drive into work because Cardiff had a check-up at the vet yesterday. Very good results: he seems to be totally healthy, pH levels good and no dangerous crystals in his urine. We're going to talk about his diet though. The little porker.
This is David Hicks's world: David Hicks is an Australian citizen who has been detained by U.S. forces at Gitmo for over five years. Only this week he faced a military tribunal for the first time. Amnesty International Australia has built a replica of the prison cell he spends his life in. Peter Murphy has created a virtual model you can visit from your computer.