Archive | Front Page

Largest San Francisco Temple defaced by swastika as Passover begins


Members of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco were shocked to find a swastika painted on their temple this morning as they prepared to observe the first night of Passover.

Police were called to the temple, located at the intersection of Lake Street and Arguello Boulevard, at about 8:30 a.m. Investigators are now looking into the possible hate crime.

Mayor Gavin Newsom was quick to condemn the defacement of the city’s largest Jewish temple.

“San Francisco is known as a city that embraces people of all faiths,” Newsom said in a statement. “We strongly condemn this act of hatred and intolerance.”

Tonight is the First Seder of Passover, and the offices of Temple Emanu-El are currently closed until Wednesday morning following the Second Seder.

Bay City News


Continue Reading

US Supreme Court rules against Bush on greenhouse gases – Jerry Brown pleased

California Attorney General Jerry Brown said today that this morning’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on greenhouse gases “is a resounding affirmation of California’s actions to address global warming.”

Brown, at a news conference in San Francisco, said the ruling is far-reaching and “makes it very clear that California has a right to regulate greenhouse gases.”

The high court said by a 5-4 vote that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from cars and that states had the right to sue over the issue.

The decision was made in a lawsuit led by the state of Massachusetts and joined by 11 other states, including California, and several health and environmental groups.

Brown said the decision is a vindication of California’s regulations and its position in lawsuits over global warming.

The attorney general’s office is currently representing the state of California in four lawsuit pending in federal courts around the nation.

In a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco, the state is suing the world’s six largest automakers on a claim that auto pollution that contributes to climate change is a public nuisance.

In another suit in Fresno, automakers are challenging California’s regulations.

Brown said he hopes to confer with automakers and said, “My goal is not more lawsuits. My goal is to reduce global warming.”

Alliance of Automobile Makers President Dave McCurdy issued a statement saying that the group believes “there needs to be a national, federal, economy-wide approach to addressing greenhouse gases.”

McCurdy said, “This decision says that the EPA will be part of the process.”

Bay City News

Continue Reading

San Francisco City Attorney files Marriage Equality brief with California Supreme Court


City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed with the California Supreme Court today the opening brief in his office’s constitutional challenge to discriminatory state marriage laws, detailing what he described as “a long and shameful history of state-sponsored persecution of homosexuality.”

The City is a lead plaintiff alongside couples throughout the state in a coordinated action before the state’s highest court that seeks to invalidate provisions of the California Family Code denying marriage rights to same-sex partners.

“A traditional injustice does not warrant perpetuation simply because it is traditional,” Herrera said.

“In making our case against marriage discrimination today, we are asking the California Supreme Court not only to assert the rights of equality and privacy uniquely enshrined in our state Constitution, but to reassert the judiciary’s rightful role in interpreting it—something the appellate court failed to do. Our state’s highest court has a long history of independence, wisdom and justice. And I am confident they will honor that long history in this case.”

The seven-member high court is evaluating three separate issues in the case: whether the marriage exclusion violates the equal protection rights of lesbians and gay men; whether the exclusion violates the right to personal autonomy protected by the privacy clause of the California Constitution; and whether the exclusion violates the fundamental right to marry protected by the California Constitution.

The court granted review on Dec. 20, 2006, following an unusual circumstance in which then-California Attorney General Bill Lockyer—a prevailing party in the Court of Appeal’s ruling upholding marriage discrimination—joined the City and same-sex couples in urging the high court to take the case.

On Oct.5, 2006, an appellate court panel issued a 2-to-1 majority opinion holding that, “Everyone has a fundamental right to ‘marriage,’ but, because of how this institution has been defined, this means only that everyone has a fundamental right to enter a public union with an opposite-sex partner.”

The Court of Appeal’s ruling overturned a previous decision by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer on March 14, 2005 that found legal provisions excluding same-sex couples from marriage unconstitutional. Kramer—who stayed his ruling pending review from higher courts—ruled that existing state marriage laws unconstitutionally discriminated on the basis of sex, and unconstitutionally impinged on the fundamental right to marry the person of one’s choice.

Herrera’s direct constitutional challenge to state marriage laws in City and County of San Francisco vs. State of California was filed on March 11, 2004, within an hour of the California Supreme Court’s order prohibiting San Francisco officials from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples at the direction of Mayor Gavin Newsom.

The lawsuit made San Francisco the first government entity in American history to challenge the constitutionality of state marriage laws that discriminate against gay and lesbian couples.

The City’s case was later consolidated with similar suits filed the following day by the National Center for Lesbian Rights on behalf of same-sex couples, Equality California and Our Family Coalition. That consolidated case was then coordinated with other constitutional challenges from Los Angeles and San Francisco before Judge Kramer.

From the outset, Herrera has said his case on behalf of the entire City and County of San Francisco “asserts the long-held principle that discrimination is not merely detrimental to the minority it singles out, but to the majority that would abide it,” arguing that “without full recognition of gay and lesbian families through marriage, San Francisco is limited in its ability to protect the equal rights of its citizens, and harmed in ways tangible and otherwise by an injustice that has no place in 21st Century California.”

Continue Reading

Grand Opening of Public Defender ‘Clean Slate’ Satellite Office


Grand Opening ceremonies for expanded Public Defender services in the Mission District will be held Saturday.

The 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. event will include free food, client testimonials and a performance by the live band “Puro Bandido.” The celebration is free and open to the public, located at 1850 Mission Street in the Arriba Juntos Community Resource Center.

The center has housed a new satellite office of Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s Clean Slate Program since November 20, 2006.


The Clean Slate Program provides legal representation to assist community members with clearing their criminal history records so that they are not an obstacle to obtaining employment, housing, professional licenses, certifications, legal immigration status and other opportunities.

The new Satellite office provides free drop-in clinics every Monday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m, for individuals to speak with an Attorney and/or Paralegal about their Criminal History Record.

The program was first developed in 1998 by the Adachi.

Since then Adachi has “continued his commitment by providing ongoing legal representation to help residents throughout the city with clearing up criminal history records,” according to a prepared statement.

Jeff Adachi brought the Clean Slate Program to the Mission District to allow residents within the neighborhood to easily access the services the program provides.

Since 1998, the Clean Slate Program’s caseload has increased to almost 4,000 cases. It participates in community outreach events and activities, including presentations to community and government organizations, job fairs, symposiums, education and outreach summits, and public hearings. In addition to its main office located at 555 Seventh Street, near the Hall of Justice, the Clean Slate Program has expanded its offices to a total of four satellite offices, including locations in Bay View, Sunnydale, Western Edition and the new Mission
District location.

The Clean Slate program received the Managerial Excellence “Team” Award from the Mayor’s Fiscal Advisory Committee in 2005, and was chosen as “Program of the Year” by the statewide California Public Defender’s Association in 2006.

“This new satellite office is really for the community,” said Demarris Evans, Clean Slate Program Attorney.

“We want to help residents in the Mission District and all individuals with San Francisco criminal records to get their records cleared up. In addition, the new satellite office is accessible for clients who are monolingual Spanish or Cantonese speakers.”

For more information, please contact the Clean Slate Program at (415) 553-9329; email; or visit our website at

Continue Reading

New Car? Plan on 52.2 cents per mile

Operating a new vehicle costs 52.5 cents per mile, a figure virtually unchanged from last year, according to a report released recently by the American Automobile Association.

That amount was based on driving 15,000 miles every year for a total annual cost of $7,823.

The statistic was based on AAA’s survey of members who own popular automobiles. The top five models in sales in three categories – small, medium and large sedans – each year are examined for accrued costs of gasoline, maintenance and repair, tires and depreciation.

Most costs remained the same over last year, AAA reported. Any savings from marginally lower fuel costs were eaten up by higher insurance, finance, licensing and registration costs, according to the report.

Gas prices used in the survey came from the December 2006 national average of $2.26 per gallon of regular unleaded. Prices are often higher in California.

AAA noted its estimated average driving costs were greater than the amount, 48.5 cents per mile, which the federal government allows businesses to deduct for tax purposes.

“The results clearly show that consumers do have an opportunity to save substantial sums of money by switching from larger models to smaller vehicles,” said Sean Comey, spokesman for AAA of Northern California.

“Another way to reduce costs is to shop aggressively for lower gas prices by using AAA’s free Fuel Finder at”

Bay City News

Continue Reading

The San Francisco Ballet Presents PROGRAM 6 – MIXED REPERTORY

– The San Francisco Ballet Presents –
Night / On Common Ground / Rodeo
7 Performances – April 4th through April 21st

By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic

Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Composer: Matthew Pierce
Choreography: Julia Adam
NIGHT is a contemporary odyssey into one woman’s nocturnal dreams, choreographed by former SF Ballet Principal Dancer, Julia Adam.

TINA Le BLANC and DAMIAN SMITH – Adam’s NIGHT. Photo, Erik Tomasson

ON COMMON GROUND – World Premiere
Composer: Ned Rorem
Choreography: Helgi Tomasson
Helgi Tomasson’s world premiere, ON COMMON GROUND, is a rich and sophisticated exploration of connectedness — a visceral response to Ned Rorem’s alternately sweet and strident score.

Composer: Aaron Copland
Choreography: Agnes de Mille
This colorful high-kicking classic celebrates the traditional American spirit of the West.

RORY HOHENSTEIN – Agnes de Mille’s RODEO. Photo by Erik Tomasson

Casting Announced: Wednesday, April 4th, at 7:30 PM

Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Tina LeBlanc, Ruben Martin

Conductor: Martin West
Cello: David Kadarauch
Lorena Feijoo, Davit Karapetyan, Tina LeBlanc, Joan Boada

Conductor: Martin West
Cowgirl: Kristin Long
Wrangler: Ruben Martin
Roper: Rory Hohenstein
Rancher’s Daughter: Pauli Magierek

Casting Announced: Thursday, April 5th, at 8:00 PM

Conductor: Gary Sheldon
Tina LeBlanc, Ruben Martin

Conductor: Martin West
Cello: David Kadarauch
Sarah Van Patten, Tiit Helimets, Molly Smolen, Ruben Martin

Conductor: Martin West
Cowgirl: Tina LeBlanc
Wrangler: Aaron Orza
Roper: Garrett Anderson
Rancher’s Daughter: Alexandra Meyer-Lorey

To order tickets on-line:
Wed, Apr 4, 2007, 7:30 PM
Thu, Apr 5, 2007, 8:00 PM
Fri, Apr 13, 2007, 8:00 PM
Sun, Apr 15, 2007, 2:00 PM
Tue, Apr 17, 2007, 8:00 PM
Sat, Apr 21, 2007, 2:00 PM
Sat, Apr 21, 2007, 8:00 PM

Pride Season Twelve Presents

By Edmund White

Directed by Christopher Jenkins
US Premiere
March 30th through May 6th
A famous author comes face-to-face with America’s most notorious terrorist. One has a story to write, the other a story to tell. As the clock ticks on death row, the bond between the two men grows. A haunting imagination of Gore Vidal’s relationship with Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh in a new play from one of America’s greatest living writers. Featuring Elias Escobedo and John Hutchinson.

TERRE HAUTE – At the New Conservatory Theatre Centre

To order tickets on-line: Terre Haute
Captioning for the hearing impaired: April 22nd
Community Pay As You Wish Night: Thursday, April 5, 2007
25 Van Ness Avenue at Market, San Francisco
Box Office: (415) 861-8972

Closing this week at THE EXIT !

by Lauren Wilson
Directed by Matthew Graham Smith
Final Performances: Thursday, Friday, Saturday

CHEMICAL IMBALANCE – Elizabeth Bullard, Christian Cagagil, and Gabriel Diamond

CHEMICAL IMBALANCE is a darkly comic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s DR. JEKYLL AND MR HYDE. During a particularly charming Christmas holiday, Dr. Jekyll’s macabre experiments go awry and twist his refined Victorian upbringing into unthinking evil. Repressed impulses burst their corsets as Jekyll embarks on his schizophrenic journey that threatens to reveal the bloody hands beneath the gloves of the British Empire. Murder, mayhem, and crumpets abound in this journey through an empire on the verge of collapse and a man tight-rope walking the line of aristocracy and depravity.

To order tickets on-line: CHEMICAL IMBALANCE
Tickets $15-$30 sliding scale (Thursday pay-what-you-can). Reservations: 415-563-5085. Cash only.

San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Ask him a question on . If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:

Continue Reading

Young hearts still beat in Falcon eggs rescued from Bay Bridge

One of three Falcon eggs found within the Bay Bridge nest is carefully placed into a monitor to determine if it shelters a fetal beating heart. Photos by Bill Wilson

By Brigid Gaffikin

A team of biologists recovered a clutch of peregrine Falcon eggs nested on the central anchorage of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge late Friday morning after high winds stymied recovery attempts earlier last week.

Two of the three speckled, brown hen-sized eggs were viable, meaning there’s a chance they could hatch, said Glenn Stewart, a research associate at the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Predatory Bird Research Group.

Glenn Stewart

Biologists from the bird research group will incubate the two-week-old eggs, which have a 34-day gestation period, at the organization’s research facility in Santa Cruz, Stewart said.

Eggs nestled safely in incubator

The nest site on the bridge would have been a lethal one for fledgling birds, who would have headed into the water on their first flight, he said.

Falcon eggs have hatched on the bridge in the past, but “it’s a dirty, vibrating environment” that, unlike the falcon’s natural cliff habitat, is not particularly conducive to survival, Stewart said. It takes six weeks for the young birds to grow feathers adequate for flying more than short distances, he said.

Biologists from the UCSC team that led Friday’s rescue effort are hoping Gracie, the falcon who laid the eggs on the span, will lay another clutch within two weeks or so in a safer spot somewhere in downtown San Francisco.

“I hope they don’t do it up there,” Stewart said of Gracie and her mate George. Peregrine falcons are territorial and often return to lay eggs in the same place, he said.

Gracie and George have lived in downtown San Francisco for around five years, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. spokesman Brian Swanson said.

Last year the pair set up house and laid four eggs in a planter at 201 Mission St., he said.

From 2003 to 2005 Gracie laid eggs in a nest on top of the PG&E building at 77 Beale St. and in 2005 PG&E set up a Webcam to allow fans and UCSC researchers alike to observe the birds.

The utility also paid for today’s recovery, Swanson said.

Peregrine falcons have used 77 Beale St. as a perch since the 1980s, according to Swanson.

Friday’s recovery effort was led by Brian Latta, one of a team of biologists on UCSC’s predatory bird research team.

Brian Latta


If the eggs recovered Friday end up hatching, they will be placed with a foster mother and handfed before being released off the California coast to find their own territory, according to Swanson.

Another clutch of eggs on the Oakland end of the span will have to wait to be rescued, Stewart said.

According to Stewart, there are five or six pairs of peregrine falcons in the Bay Area.

“That means that the area is rich with wildlife and birds in particular, because they eat birds,” he said.

“Pigeons would be a common-sized food … but it ranges all the way from starling to Western

The Oakland pair and George and Gracie can live in such close proximity because of Treasure Island, which effectively divides each pair’s territory.

Visual barriers and the amount of food available in an area, rather than distance, determine falcons’ territorial boundaries, Stewart said.

Bay City News

Continue Reading

Asim Abdullah continues Cyril Magnin love of San Francisco

Cyril Magnin near single-handedly kept international consulates from moving to Los Angeles and out of San Francisco during Magnin’s tenure as San Francisco Chief of Protocol, seen in top photo with grand lady Charlotte Maillard Swig Schultz, current Chief of Protocol for both San Francisco and the State of California. Continuing such love for The City, and with prescient vision of San Francisco as the world leader to watch, Asim Abdullah, center below with Sophie Azouaou and Nouri Azouaou, made it possible for the first-ever launch of a major designer line from America’s favorite City without nod to New York.
Photo Copyright by Robert Altman

Asim Abdullah, center with Sophie and Nouri Azouaou

Big tip of the chapeau and goodly bow to Asim Abdullah who last week cast his place in San Francisco history by keeping global focus on The City this world loves to cherish…

For too long, prevailing belief placed New York as premier fashion runway… That myth is now shattered, thanks to this man…

Across the generations, Abdullah stands shoulder-to-shoulder with mighty Cyril Magnin who strained heroically — and succesfully — in keeping San Francisco the West Coast capital for international consulates…

Thanks bountifully to those who labored with Abdullah to make fashion history… Claudia Ross who shared the for so long, Sophie Azouaou who brought it to world attention, Joel Goodrich and Mark Calvano who teamed to smooth the way…

San Francisco is now the cutting edge location for stem cell research, digital arts innovation, fashion, and Gavin Newsom’s multi-pronged turnback of global warming…

We have these people to acknowledge, to thank — and relish ourselves for being the very best…


See Related: FASHION


Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past eleven years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

The Choice of Professional Models
854 Folsom Street between 4th and 5th Streets
Telephone: 415-531-8353
Receive 10% Off Selected Services by Mentioning: SENTINEL


CROSS Marketing



Mr & Mrs Smith - Book Boutique Hotels

Paradysz Matera




Continue Reading

‘HOOPS’ MADNESS – The Final Four of the Big Screen

By PJ Johnston
Sentinel Film Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

I don’t know about you, but for me this is going to be Basketball Weekend. The Final Four begins Saturday afternoon – with Georgetown facing off against Ohio State, and UCLA taking on defending national champions Florida – and culminates with Monday night’s NCAA championship game.

It really ought to be a national holiday, because I know if my two picks (Georgetown and UCLA) are still in it, I’ll be far too nervous, and boastful, to do any work. Hell, when Georgetown came back from 10 down and won in overtime last Sunday – leaving me with all four correct picks in my Final Four pool – I spent the next 24 hours tracking down every one of my college buddies to remind them how mindnumbingly brilliant I am. If the Hoyas actually meet and take down the Bruins Monday night, I’ll immediately commence blowing my winnings by buying everyone at the Philosopher’s Club drinks.

Which should thrill my wife. So should the rest of my itinerary for the weekend: between basketball games, I’ll be sitting on the couch thinking about basketball, dreaming about basketball and watching basketball movies. And since I’m having such a great March Madness this year, I thought I’d take this opportunity to present to you the Final Four of basketball movies:


Western bracket: No. 1 see “White Men Can’t Jump,” with trash-talking Wesley Snipes and conman Woody Harrelson, easily blows underdog “Space Jam,” starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, off court out in Hollywood, bringing edgy, profane comedy to the big dance.


Midwestern bracket: Perennial favorite “Hoosiers,” featuring Gene Hackman as the tough coach taking a tiny Indiana high school to the promised land, is given an unexpectedly tough time by “Drive, He Said,” Jack Nicholson’s 1972 directorial debut about an Ohio college kid forced to choose between basketball and activism.


Southern bracket: Spike Lee’s underappreciated “He Got Game” – starring Denzel as an ex-con trying to cultivate his basketball phenom son – easily crushes “Blue Chips” (Shaquille O’Neal eats Nick Nolte for lunch) after “Fast Break,” my all-time favorite basketball comedy starring Gabe Kaplan (that’s right – Mr. Kotter!), is disqualified: it’s not available on DVD or VHS, and Cinemax stopped showing it when Ronald Reagan left the White House.


Eastern bracket: Devastating real life trumps over-the-top comedy as “Hoop Dreams” wipes the floor with “The Fish that Saved Pittsburg,” the wild 1979 ensemble picture that featured the amazing Dr. J and the even-more-amazing Flip Wilson.

Semi-final games: Tough, athletic “White Men Can’t Jump” upsets sentimental favorite “Hoosiers” in a nailbiter. “He Got Game” hangs in admirably with the heartbreaking drama of “Hoop Dreams” but can’t really compete down the stretch.

Championship: A clash of completely different styles, “Hoop Dreams” and “White Men” offer fans two distinct visions of why we love the game so much. Writer-director Ron Shelton imbues “White Men” with all the razor wit and authenticity he brought to “Bull Durham,” but ultimately the remarkable span and sweep of “Hoop Dreams” reigns supreme.

So your Shining Moment goes to … “Hoop Dreams.”

The art of the documentary is a tricky, largely misunderstood one, and it’s rare that a real-life drama rises above the ranks of PBS or A&E to capture a large mainstream audience. But when one does, it’s usually because some gifted, persevering filmmaker has shown us that life, when seen through a carefully angled looking glass, can be infinitely more interesting than fiction.

Steve James’ “Hoop Dreams” is just such a film. Focusing on the lives of two aspiring high school basketball players and their families, the movie is a riveting portrayal of a dream deferred – a dream of playing in the NBA.

In spite of what might seem to be a lightweight subject – high school basketball – very few films are as emotionally taxing or intellectually compelling as “Hoop Dreams.” This is not just a sports movie, although it contains moments of high drama on the court; it’s an unflinching glimpse into the heart of the American dream, and the heartbreaks of urban American reality.

In what began as a modest short film about “street basketball,” James and co-producers Frederick Marx and Peter Gilbert follow two boys from the Chicago ghetto, from eighth grade through high school graduation, in their relentless pursuit of NBA glory. What ensues between those two goal posts is nothing less than remarkable, the rich and often tragic story of two young men with talent to burn, and very little else.

Arthur Agee is a scrawny but amazingly graceful little boy when we first meet him, tearing up the competition on a playground court. He comes from a disheveled inner-city home, in which his hardworking mother struggles to provide for her children, and his father struggles with drug addiction. Arthur has the wild genius, the unpolished talent of an athletic diamond in the rough, the kind that rules on blacktop courts all over the country.

William Gates, on the other hand, is already refined and primed by the age of 13. He’s a B-ball virtuoso, the kind that comes along once in a blue moon and is coveted by coaches everywhere. He’s got a mother who instills hope and pride in him, and a rough-and-ready older brother who shows him the ropes – both of whom have placed all their eggs in William’s NBA basket.

Guards who rely on speed and ability, rather than height, Arthur and William are both recruited to a mostly white, suburban parochial school, St. Joseph’s, and given the opportunity to play for a legendary high school coach, Gene Pingatore. Pingatore coached NBA legend Isiah Thomas to a state title many years back, and that’s the carrot that leads both boys out of the ghetto on a long train ride to St. Joe’s every morning.

William, whose body is already strong and well-developed, becomes a freshman sensation almost immediately after joining the St. Joseph’s varsity squad. Arthur has a little more trouble – “Coach keeps asking me when I’m gonna grow … how should I know when I’m gonna grow?” – both on the court and in the classroom. He’s relegated to the junior varsity team, anguishes over his homework assignments, and lives in constant danger of not being able to meet his tuition payments.

Actually both boys’ families are unable to afford St. Joe’s, but Coach Pingatore finds a rich sponsor to cover William’s tuition. Arthur, whose exploits on the court haven’t come to sufficient fruition, isn’t so lucky. By the time his sophomore year is over, William is a full-fledged star, and Arthur suffers the humiliating fate of being sent back to the inner-city to attend a public school.

But life isn’t always predictable, and “Hoop Dreams” packs several wallops, the kind that only come about through patience on the filmmaker’s part, to allow events to unfold in their own time, and in their own way. There’s a Big Game all right – several in fact – but the outcome is determined by reality, not the demands of a script.

In “Hoop Dreams,” James places enough distance between himself and his subjects to allow the full picture to come into view, so that by the end we’re looking at two human beings rather than basketball players. We still want the best for them, but we’re no longer sure the Road to the Final Four is the primrose path.

In fact, it seems like a completely disastrous one, in which scores of adults – coaches, fans, college recruiters, sports writers, even parents – exploit the hopes and dreams of a few poverty-stricken young boys who possess genuine love for a streetyard game, and who are gifted enough to play it well. And they don’t play it quite well enough, these boys – who were too burdened down by the dreams of everyone around them to enjoy adolescence – are thrown by the wayside.

Generation after generation of urban Black youths see lives around them dead-end, and to many of them the only two roads out of the ghetto seem to be selling drugs and playing ball. And as Coach Pingatore demonstrates, if you can’t play ball, there’s no room for you in the suburbs.

(Pingatore and St. Joseph’s, by the way, sued the filmmakers over their portrayal in “Hoop Dreams.” Their outrage, I believe, must be the result of looking into a mirror and being shown something they didn’t want to see. Prep schools are cut-throat institutions, and St. Joe’s is but one example.)

Anyone who’s been on a blacktop court knows there are thousands of young prodigies out there – kids who can do amazing things with a basketball – but the road to the NBA is fraught with pressures and pitfalls. Thousands are out there, but only 464 men can play in the NBA.

Is this a dream or a nightmare?

PJ Johnston is president of the San Francisco Arts Commission and a former executive director of the San Francisco Film Commission. He served as Mayor Willie Brown’s press secretary and now runs his own communications consulting firm in San Francisco. A former journalist, he has written about movies for several publications, including the San Jose Mercury News and – long ago, in a galaxy far, far away – for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Email PJ at

Continue Reading

AFTER THE WAR – A World Premier at A.C.T.

By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

San Francisco, 1948. Location, a three-story boarding house in The City’s Fillmore District. A gathering of mis-matched citizenry woo and screw each other as City Commissioners red-tag the dwelling for demolition.

Mr. Goto (Sab Shimono) chastises Chet – AFTER THE WAR (Hiro Kanagawa)

Written by Philip Kan Gotanda, After the War centers around Chester Monkawa (Hiro Kanagawa). Son of the original owners and native to The City, Chet has returned from an internment camp. He brings shame to the Japanese community. He is ostracized and scorned for his political stance against the war. He is labeled as a “No-No Boy”. No – he will not sign the Loyalty Oath. Loyalty to what? To his Federal Government that has uprooted his family, seized their assets – including the family home – and then forced them into a prison camp? No – he will not be drafted into the Armed Forces and die to defend such a government of such a people. His brother, however, did. He was killed in action and, thus, is labeled “A Hero”.

Hiro Kanagawa, Steven Anthony Jones, Harriet D. Foy, Sala Iwamatsu – AFTER THE WAR

The brother’s widow, Lillian (Sala Iwamatsu), has come to live and work there. Years before, she heard Chester play trumpet in a jazz band and was charmed by his unusual talents. She remains captivated, though Chester stopped blowing a long time ago. One of her responsibilities at the boarding house is to collect the rent.

Lillian soon learns that Chester has developed particular licks for the wannabe Hollywood Blonde upstairs, Mary-Louise (Carrie Paff), who works as a (“Ten Cents A Dance”) taxi dancer when she’s not working it a little harder with Earl, (Steven Anthony Jones), the (“shiny”) Black handyman and fellow-tenant – who throws in a few pork chops for her brother Benji (Ted Welch) – and whose own blooming teen-age daughter and sister-in-law Leona (Harriet D. Foy) share quarters nearby.


More dirty little secrets! In another room, Olga (Delia MacDougall), a plump Russian Jew, has a few odd tricks of her own – including Mr. Goto (Sab Shimono). Seems Olga is simultaneously burning calories learning how to swing dance from the floozy blonde upstairs while chippying-off a Family debt with the smarmy Goto who also holds the financial reins on the boarding house. Meanwhile, another tenant, the self-described “anally-retentive and boring” unemployed accountant Mr. Oji (Francis Jue) not only speaks everyone’s native tongue, but is himself a snobbish food whore. Oji offers a gift of mochi* Lillian and then encourages unfastening the ribbons so he can indulge in his most favorite of the succulents, the “green ones”. At the House Party to inaugurate the new TV, Oji makes it known that he prefers the mochi from Sacramento. Here on this Fillmore Lot – the prejudices, the stereotypes, the borders of race and religion, recipes and politics are all too familiar under this one roof with its many ceilings … on this side of the streetcar line on Fillmore. And on any one of MUNI’s current boarding platforms and corner stops.

HIRO KANAGAWA (Chet) and SALA IWAMATSU (Lillian) – After the War

This premier production of After the War has much to commend it, including the costumes of designer Lydia Tanji and the engaging lighting of James F. Ingalls and Nancy Schertler. The set by Donald Eastman will look familiar to most San Francisco residents. It attempts to capture the exterior look and interior feel of many of The City’s taller and hastily constructed post-earthquake/single-family dwellings – many since destroyed, some carved and bolstered into present day multiple units. The mammoth structure is set upon a revolving platform and turns with each separate episode – of which there are too many. Hence, the incidental filler music of composer Anthony Brown – these many measures for 90-degree turns, more for 270-degrees, etc. Unfortunately, the tunes do not quite drown out the familiar earthquake-like knell of the structure’s disturbing creaks and groans.

Playwright Philip Kan Gotanda has opened the gates to stories of San Francisco that need to be told. He is very fortunate to have this particular cast presenting this one.

After the War plays at the American Conservatory through April 22nd.

To purchase tickets on-line: After the War

Read Seán’s recent commentaries:

THE TOWER ABOVE LOUTRO – by Robert Starkey

COLOR ME KUBRICK – starring John Malkovich

ALTAR BOYZ – In San Francisco

PASCAL MOLAT, A Stroll Through Eden/Eden

* Ask Seán for his recipe: Coconut Mochi Cake

San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Ask him a question on . If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:

Continue Reading

San Francisco universal health access to receive $24 million state funding

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced that 10 counties will receive more than a half billion dollars in new federal funds to test innovative ways of providing health services to the uninsured.

“Counties have delivered forward-thinking proposals to provide primary and preventive care to uninsured Californians, which will help ease the burden on our overcrowded emergency rooms. By promoting health and wellness, covering the uninsured and increasing affordability, California can create a model that the rest of the nation can follow,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

Approximately 180,000 low-income, uninsured individuals will be served through enrollment in health coverage programs in these selected counties. The programs and allocations are subject to federal approval. The selected counties and annual allocations are:

San Francisco City and County

(Health Access Program)

Alameda County Health Care Services Agency

(Alameda County Excellence)

Contra Costa County/Contra Costa Health Services

(Contra Costa Health Care Coverage)

County of Orange

(Medical Service for Indigents Coverage Initiative)

County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency

(Safety Net Access Program)

Kern Medical Center

(Kern County Camino de Salud Network)

Los Angeles County Department of Health Services

(Healthy Way LA)

San Mateo Medical Center

(WELL-Plus Initiative)

Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System

(Valley Care)

Ventura County Health Care Agency

(Access Coverage Enrollment Program)

The allocation of $540 million comes as a result of legislation, SB 1448, signed last year by the Governor. Seventeen proposals representing the majority of the state’s counties were submitted and included three-year plans for serving low-income uninsured adults. Ten proposals were chosen by a panel of state officials and health care experts.

“This initiative will help ten of California’s counties implement health care programs that include preventive and primary care services to uninsured persons who have chronic health care conditions or high health care costs,” California Department of Health Services Director Sandra Shewry said.

The health care coverage initiative programs are designed to:

* Expand the number of Californians who have health care coverage.

* Strengthen and build upon the local health care safety net system, including hospitals that serve a large number of uninsured and Medi-Cal populations, and county and community clinics.

* Improve access to high-quality health care and health outcomes for uninsured individuals.

* Create efficiencies in the delivery of health care services that can lead to savings in health care costs.

* Maximize the use of federal funds.

* Ensure long-term sustainability of the programs beyond the term of the federal allocation.

See Related: HEALTH CARE

Continue Reading

Newsom, Fong ask state funding for violence reduction

From the Mayor’s Office of Communications

Sacramento, CA – In a meeting today with other California Mayors and Law Enforcement officials, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Police Chief Heather Fong called on Governor Schwarzenegger to assist with funding ($5 million) for San Francisco’s current comprehensive and strategic approach to Prevention, Intervention and Suppression to stop gang violence.

“With state support, San Francisco can take our recent achievements to a new level and stop gang and turf violence on our streets,” Mayor Newsom said. “We need funding to expand our existing comprehensive citywide approach that has the capacity to go beyond current strategies and develop approaches that are sustainable over the long term.”

Mayor Newsom and Chief Fong requested $5 million dollars in state funding for a comprehensive initiative to engage in targeted prevention, intervention and suppression strategies in San Francisco’s five key gang violence “hot spots.” This will allow for the full development of our burgeoning multiagency collaboration and the development of desperately needed services and nterventions tocompliment law enforcement.

In addition, San Francisco proposes to use the $5 million dollars to:

• develop a multi-agency collaboration;

• strengthen street outreach and neighborhood youth programs;

• expand victim advocacy and case management services for street involved youth and adults; and

• strengthen the City’s gun and gang law enforcement efforts.

In the last three years, San Francisco’s law enforcement efforts have significantly impacted important aspects of gang violence. From 2004 to 2006, Black on Black-related gang homicides dropped 61 percent. As well, since 2004, the District Attorney’s Gun and Gang Unit has secured 223 felony convictions related to gang activity. In this time period, the SFPD Gang Task Force Unit, with support from Operation Triggerlock, Project Gunstop, and the City Attorney’s civil gang injunction, has been able to more effectively target known and active gang members in specific geographic locations.

Additional dedicated staff in the DA’s Office has also enhanced their prosecution efforts. The City’s new Community Response Network, a community-based street outreach, crisis response, and case management program for at-risk youth, is also helping to de-escalate street conflicts and steer youth away from gangs and violence.

Other Mayors and Police Chiefs invited to meet with Governor Schwarzenegger today included: the city of Oakland, the city of Los Angeles, the city of Fresno, the city of Santa Ana and the city of San Diego.

Continue Reading

Silicon Valley middle class struggling

By Jason Bennert

Middle-class families in Silicon Valley are not enjoying the benefits of the upsurge in the region’s economy, according to a new study released today by an organized labor group.

The Life in the Valley Economy 2007 study by San Jose-based Working Partnerships USA found that middle-class families in Santa Clara County face challenges such as stagnant wages, which have grown less than 3 percent since the dotcom bust, while the costs of staples such as gas, child care, health care and housing have grown at more than 10 times that rate.

“Their income is not going up to meet the cost of living,” study co-author and Working Partnerships Policy Director Bob Brownstein said.

The study also found that job levels have not returned to pre-bust levels, with employment in the area below 1997 levels and more than 150,000 fewer jobs in the region in February 2007 than in February 2001.

“What we’re seeing now is that the problems with the Silicon Valley model are not just cyclical and short-term — there are some fundamental flaws,” Brownstein said. ”

More and more, the regional economy is simply producing too few quality jobs for the middle class to be able to survive and prosper in Silicon Valley.”

The report praises a number of actions taken during the last decade by local government leaders, including the building of 14,500 new units of affordable housing since 1999, mostly in San Jose, and the 2001 Children’s Health Initiative, which has provided health coverage for 124,000 county children.

Local governments are the key to maintaining a healthy middle class in the region, according to the study’s authors.

“Something else has to be added to the equation and what we think
that something else is, is a revitalized public sector,” Brownstein said.

The full report is available online at

Continue Reading

March Update on legislative, regulatory, and political issues affecting commercial real estate

By Ken Cleaveland

BOMA Salutes Mayor Gavin Newsom March 29th @ Transamerica Pyramid
Don’t miss it! The BOMA SF Political Action Committee, in conjunction with BOMA Member Scott Seligman (Seligman Western Enterprises) and Steve Adams (Sterling Bank & Trust) are hosting a fundraising salute to the Mayor and you are invited! The event is being held Thursday evening, March 29th, on the 40th floor of the Transamerica Pyramid, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Reservations requested. Call or email Ken Cleaveland for a copy of the invitation. (415) 362-2662×11 or Email:

See the Giants & Support BOMA’s PAC on April 4th!
The BOMA SF Political Action Committee is sponsoring its annual outdoor BBQ behind the China Basin Landing building Berry Street (across the street from AT & T Park) on Wednesday, April 4th, beginning at 4 p.m. Special thanks are extended to the BOMA Associates Committee for making all the arrangements, and to RREEF and McCarthy Cook & Company for providing such an excellent venue for a party! Members and guests may purchase tickets to the BBQ and the ballgame, but only 250 game tickets are available! Go to to download a reservation form.

San Francisco Treasurer Issues New Rules for Parking Tax Affecting Commercial Office Buildings
The City’s Treasurer issued new regulations on March 20th expanding the scope of the parking tax regulations in San Francisco. The new interpretation extends tax liability to commercial property owners who have provided parking spaces as part of a lease with no separate financial transaction. This new extension of the parking tax will not be retroactive, according to his deputy, David Augustine, but owners are advised they do have an obligation to pay the parking tax on such spaces moving forward. For a full text of the announcement,

San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement Issues New FAQs on Sick Leave Ordinance
The city’s voter-approved mandate to provide paid sick leave to all employees, full time, part-time, and temporary, went into effect February 5, 2007, but will not be fully implemented (meaning useable) until June 4th. However, employers must accrue sick leave now on the basis of one hour for every 30 hours worked. To assist employers the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement has issued an updated Frequently Asked Questions bulletin which BOMA members may find useful and may wish to bring to the attention of their tenants. There are other items BOMA members may wish to share with tenants including a copy of the ordinance, a copy of the signage required, and a copy of OLSE’s Fact Sheet on the paid sick leave ordinance. All are available at For more information, email your questions to or call 415-554-6271. Donna Levitt is the Manager of the OLSE.

BOMA National Issues Conference in Washington, DC Brings Commercial Real Estate Issues to Capitol Hill
Delegates from across the country went to Washington, DC March 12-13 to visit with our Federal representatives and to carry a message that the commercial real estate industry needs attention on a number of issues. Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco’s Director of Government and Public Affairs, along with Michael Oddo, Metro Maintenance, visited the offices of Speaker Pelosi, Representatives Woolsey, Lantos, Lee, Tauscher, and Senators Boxer and Feinstein. Top issues that were discussed included:
• Extension of the 15% leasehold improvements depreciation schedule
• Extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA)
• Extension and enhancement of the energy tax credits law for Commercial Buildings
• Creation of Federal Risk Insurance Coverage for catastrophic natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, etc.
• Reform of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Codes
For more information on the BOMA International legislative agenda and position on a variety of issues, please go to

San Francisco Fire Department Issues Notice on Firewatch Requirements
At a recent meeting of the BOMA Codes and Regulations Committee, San Francisco Fire Marshal Barbara Schultheis defined what a firewatch was, and when it was required. She said:
“A firewatch is a person or persons who have the sole duty of watching for the possibility of fires. As you may imagine, a firewatch is not something that we want to rely on under most circumstances, due to human nature. However, occasionally, we are put in the unfortunate position to require one. For example, if a fire alarm in a building is out of service and repair will take some time, we may require a firewatch. This would be someone who walks the building and looks out for fires and is able to call the fire dept and notify the occupants to get out of the building. The details of who and how, etc. would be determined on a case by case basis.”

“I want to clarify that when a building is undergoing alteration and the building is sprinklered, the following section of the CFC applies:
8705.2 Fire-protection systems. When the building is protected by fire-protection systems, such systems shall be maintained at all times during alteration. When alteration requires modification of a portion of a fire-protection system, the remainder of the system shall be kept in service. When it is necessary to shut down the entire system, a fire watch shall be kept on site until the system is returned to service.”

If you have further questions about this, please contact the Fire Marshal at (415) 558-3320.

Mayor Newsom Appoints Green Building Task Force – City to Look at New Mandates
The Mayor recently appointed a task force to study ways in which the city could promote the incorporation of “green” building standards, such as LEED and Energy Star, into requirements of City Planning and the Department of Building Inspection. The first meeting was held March 15th, and the Mayor is hoping to get solid recommendations on possible new incentives, as well as voluntary and mandatory requirements the City could adopt. BOMA is represented by Ken Cleaveland, and Ken Seibel of Tishman Speyer; the design community is represented by Margie O’Driscoll, the AIA/SF Executive Director, and Kirsten Ritchie of Gensler, while construction is represented by Phil Williams of Webcor. Several other consultants and a number of representatives from the City’s Building Department, Planning Department, and the Department of the Environment are also participating. BOMA will push for incentives and voluntary guidelines for adopting and installing “green” technology, but the association is against mandates, especially if applied to existing buildings.

BOMA International to Address Creation of a “Green Lease”BOMA International has established a task force to review the environmental issues surrounding carbon emissions created by office buildings, and what our industry must do to reduce them. Part of the task force’s mission is to create a draft “green lease” for review by the BOMA International Energy and Environment Committee when it meets in New York City in July. BOMA and its members have done much to promote sustainable practices in our industry, including significant reductions in energy consumption, water consumption, indoor air pollution, and garbage, but more can be done if tenants are actively engaged in complying with building rules on conservation. If anyone wishes to submit items or ideas for inclusion in a “green lease”, you are encouraged to do so, and submit them to Karen Penafiel, SVP for Government Affairs at BOMA International. Her email: Check out BOMA International’s new G.R.E.E.N. website too at

36 Buildings To Compete At BOMA San Francisco Earth Awards Luncheon April 26th.
Don’t miss this exciting BOMA Earth Awards luncheon April 26th, being held at the Hotel Nikko beginning at 11:30 a.m. Guest speaker George Denise, facilities manager of Cushman & Wakefield’s award-winning platinum LEED certified Adobe Systems headquarters in San Jose will present the message that “going green can green your bottom line”. $21,000 will be distributed as cash prizes to the best large, medium and small commercial properties at this luncheon. A special BOMA Earth Awards/San Francisco Business Times supplement will also be distributed at the luncheon and mailed to all subscribers that same week. To register for this amazing event, go to For a complete list of all entries, contact Ken Cleaveland.

City 311 Service to Start
City 3-1-1 information hotline will be launched March 29th. 3-1-1 is a reserved three number dialing service established by the Federal Communications Commission in 1998 for local non-emergency government services. The San Francisco 311 Customer Service Center is accessible by dialing 3-1-1 from landline and wireless telephones in the San Francisco 415 area code. The call is toll free for those customers. Many office buildings offer their local dial tone through building switches – usually PBXs purchased from Avaya, Cisco, Lucent, Nortel, Genisys or a myriad of other companies. Therefore, the city is requesting building managers contact their telecommunications support companies to ensure that 3-1-1, as well as the other N-1-1 services, can be passed through their switches. BOMA members with switchboards are advised to contact Heidi Sieck at or by phone at 415.701.3150. The San Francisco 311 Customer Service Center is a full service, non-emergency government services call center using advanced technologies and highly trained customer service representatives to provide better access to local government services.

San Francisco Water and Sewer Rates to Increase July 1st
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is considering raising water rates 15% and wastewater rates 9% effective July 1, 2007. The new rates will have a lower base rate but a higher cost allocation based on actual consumption. A new $1,300 per dwelling unit connection fee for water will also go into effect. 90% of the increase is ascribed to capital improvements of system. Members are encouraged to attend the Rate Fairness Board Meeting 4/11/07 @ 5:30pm in City Hall Room 263 and Commission Meeting 5/8/07 @ 1:30pm in City Hall Room 400. For more information contact the SFPUC at 415-554-3155.

Business Groups Request CPUC to consider Direct Access
BOMA has been part of several meetings with California Public Utilities Commissioners to promote the idea of re-opening electricity markets to direct access for all customers. Recent meetings were held with Commissioners Dian Grueneich, John Bohn, Commission President Michael Peevey, and Andrew Campbell, the chief advisor to Commissioner Rachelle Chong. While the reception was positive, no specific date or agreement to consider DA was given. Direct access ended in California September 20, 2001, unless customers had pre-existing contracts which they have maintained since then. BOMA San Francisco had a power pool to purchase electricity for several years during de-regulation, and saved members millions of dollars on the commodity price of electricity by being able to negotiate with energy service providers on the open market.

San Francisco Building Inspection Commission Seeks Volunteers for Building Department Advisory Boards and Committees
BOMA members are encouraged to apply for a variety of volunteer seats on advisory committees under the supervision of the SF Building Inspection Commission. These openings include seats on The Access Appeals Commission, The Board of Examiners, the Code Advisory Committee and the Unreinforced Masonry Board. Forward your resume to Ann Aherne, Secretary to the BIC, at For more information on the Unreinforced Masonry Board, call Gary Ho (415-558-6083), for more information on the Code Advisory Committee, contact Alan Takagawa at 415-558-6688. For more information on the Board of Examiners, contact Hanson Tom at 415-558-6157 and for the Access Appeals Commission contact Neil Friedman, Senior Building Inspector, at 415-558-6168.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Announces Sustainability PlanThe SFPUC is engaged in developing an organizational Sustainability Plan. In August 2006, the SFPUC posted on its website the first of four key deliverables, its Sustainability Indicators and Best Practices Report. SFPUC staff and consultants had reviewed over 400 comments on the draft report, revised the indicators and used them to develop this second deliverable, the Draft Sustainability Baseline Assessment, which is now available online for your review. It will be posted for public comment through Monday, April 16. BOMA members can review this report at [SFWATER.ORG : Sustainability Plan].

Upcoming Events of Potential Interest to BOMA Members
 Don’t miss the special Disaster Experience – A Shelter in Place Exercise workshop sponsored by BOMA on Friday, April 20, 2007. This morning half-day program is an interactive workshop for building operations and management teams and major tenants. It will outline and walk participants through an mock explosion from a “dirty bomb” and how buildings close by must react in such a circumstance. Register at
 March 30 – BOMA San Francisco Monthly Luncheon @ Palace Hotel – 11:30 a.m. Register at

“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.” Mark Twain

Ken Cleaveland is Director of Government and Public Affairs for the Building and Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of San Francisco.

Continue Reading

San Francisco campaign website user driven

By Caroline Boussenot

I recently had the chance to speak with Brian Purchia of Act Locally SF, a website sponsored by Mayor Gavin Newsom which gives San Francisco residents a platform to share their ideas about policy and local issues. The website is brand new, it launched last week and is already filled with insightful articles and blogs about current issues including homelessness, sustainability, and public transportation.

CB: Can you tell me more about Act Locally SF and how it came about?

BP: The idea behind it is that politicians don’t necessarily have the best ideas for forming policy. We feel that average San Franciscans have great ideas and we want to get them involved in forming the policy that will shape the future. The site gives San Franciscans the opportunity to voice their opinion on a variety of issues and also come up with solutions for issues like homelessness, potholes, you name it. We’re trying to find the best ideas out there and let people decide which ideas they think we should move forward on.

CB: How are you getting people to the site?

BP: Right now we’re just starting off, we launched on Thursday, so it’s very new, we’re still tinkering with stuff, it’s like the Google beta stage, we’re adding things and taking them away. We sent out an email to San Franciscans asking them to get involved with the site, that was one way. We’ll start doing some advertising, we started on Google. Our best advertising really is the mayor, getting him to talk about it. When he’s in front of the camera or in a meeting with local residents we try to have him tell people that we want them on the site to help shape policies. But the way that we’re really going to get this to grow is by word of mouth.

CB: So you guys just launched on Thursday, congratulations!

BP: Thank you.

CB: All the content you have on the site right now, is it written by editors or…?

BP: No, all the topics and blogs are user-generated content. The idea that we don’t have the best ideas is what we believe in, so we’re reaching out to other people to write the policies, to write the articles, to write the blogs. We have two sections, where we write, (the people from the campaign), in Talking Points, Taking Action, but the vast majority of content is written by other people, who aren’t affiliated with the campaign.

CB: It’s really interesting how similar our two sites are.

BP: Yes, it’s the same concept; I’ve come to the realization that it’s the way of the future. We’re just getting started.

CB: It is about creating a community online.

BP: It is, and it’s not the easiest thing to do, as you probably know too, but you have to get started somewhere. You hope that you’re doing a good job; you hope that it grows, you hope that people like it. We think that people care about politics and care about their city so…

CB: Now, is Act Locally SF eventually going to be an “Act Locally” in every city of the US or is it specific to San Francisco?

BP: Well you know, we’re starting it here. We think it’s a great idea, and people we talk to think it’s a great idea as well. We would like it to go that route, but what we care about first and foremost is San Francisco. So we’re trying it here and hope it catches on.

CB: When you say “we” who do you mean?

BP: It’s a campaign website, it’s funded by Mayor Gavin Newsom’s campaign. He’s a strong proponent of the idea, he’s always looking for new ideas, it’s a great way to get these new ideas in front of him. We hope that this will exist after the campaign, that it does become a model as a way to form policy.

CB: Interesting… so what’s your role specifically with Act Locally SF?

BP: Well I’m the editor of the site, so I help get content for the site, which means I serve as a policy advisor as well, trying to get people to write on different topics, and find people who have an interesting viewpoint and get them involved on the site. Same thing with bloggers, I try to get bloggers involved as well, but also what the site looks like, how it operates, how it functions, and all that kind of nitty-gritty stuff too. I also shoot the video at different events.

CB: Brian, what’s your background and when did you become involved in politics?

BP: I’ve always loved politics, it’s always been the conversation piece around my house, my grandfather and my mom talked about it, and I was always interested. When I was in college I majored in International Relations, with a Political Science minor, I graduated in 2002. It’s always something I’ve cared deeply about. I knew I wanted to work and live in DC for a while, and right after college I got a job in DC working as a broadcast journalist for Voice of America. [Here’s a story Brian did on the only African American Rugby team in the US.] I was involved in policy and media, Voice of America is a government-run agency, I’ve been in political media since I’ve started working. So I worked in DC for a little over three years, doing a nightly TV show as a reporter, interviewing senators, congressmen, going to hearings.

I came out to California about a year and a half ago, my fiancée wanted to go to law school so she brought me to California with her. I didn’t know what I was going to do out here, so I got into local TV in Sacramento for awhile, for Fox 40, I didn’t like that at all.

I got into mobile media about this time last year. A year ago, I started a job developing a mobile television network. A lot of money was being thrown at people watching TV on their cell phones, like Mobi TV. So I got a job with this company called WeatherNews, which is a Japanese company that wanted to put American content on cell phones. I was in charge of a production team and they sent me to Japan, to make American content. I was in Japan from April until July.

CB: Making American content, you mean American TV shows or…?

BP: Yes, little TV clips, or shorts.

CB: Did you have professional American actors while you were shooting in Japan?

BP: We had a studio with a green screen, that’s how their studio was set up. I went over there with an editor, a designer, and an anchor. And we would do a daily feed on weather-related topics, it was a little random but it was a fun experience. They wanted me to stay, and I decided over the summer I wanted to get into politics. I’d always known that I wanted to be on the political side of things, so I got a job running a campaign called, “Flunk Arnold,” which was an online video-driven, user-generated content site. We got college students from the CSU (California State University) system to create short 30-second commercials making fun of Arnold for not having a good education track record.

CB: Interesting,

BP: It’s in the news a lot right now with CSUs and CFA (California Faculty Association) it looks like there’s going to be a strike. Anyway, I got that off the ground and from there I moved on to the Newsom campaign.

CB: So I imagine that this is one of many efforts in the campaign?

BP: It is definitely one of many, but it is a major thing, we’re trying something new that we’re trying to accomplish, a lot of energy is being put into it.

CB: Do you work directly with the rest of the campaigning efforts?

BP: I do.

CB: It must be quite a fascinating experience.

BP: It is, it’s a lot of weekend work and what have you, but it’s great, I’ve never worked on a campaign per-say before and I really wanted to.

CB: Tell me more about your experience in Japan.

BP: It was awesome! I don’t know if you follow baseball at all?

CB: Uh, not really.

BP: I’m a big baseball fan,

CB: They love baseball in Japan!

BP: Yes, they love baseball there. I was in a city called Makuhari, this is where the championship team from the Japanese baseball league plays. The former NY Mets manager is the current coach of this Japanese team, so that was pretty cool, I got to go to a lot of games. Going to a Japanese baseball game is like the happiest place on earth, it’s incredible. Everyone cheers for every single player, they all know the players, and they stand the whole time. There are beer girls that run around the stadium with kegs of beer on their back, they have fire work shows at the seventh inning…everyone lives by the book during the day, and it’s just incredible to see them going wild. There’s no negative cheering or anything like that, it’s just not allowed and not done, and after the game they have a concert outside the stadium and the players come out and they’re singing and there’s craziness and that of course leads to karaoke, it’s awesome. John Denver, they love John Denver. You wouldn’t think that but…

CB: Actually I would, I’m not surprised. I spent seven months in Vietnam last year, and the music the people loved and gravitated towards surprised me at first, but I ended up loving them as much as they did.

BP: The number of times I sang, “Country Road,”

CB: At the top of your lungs?

BP: Yeah, at 4 or 5 in the morning…

CB: Feeling the happiest you’ve ever felt…

BP: Then the next day everyone comes to work and sleeps, Japanese think that you’re a good worker because you’re always working and you’re sleeping because you work so hard.

CB: People just sleep at their desk…

BP: Oh yeah, people just pass out all over the place.

CB: That’s hilarious! They do the same thing in Vietnam, but they have official naptime. I called it “national naptime,” but it was true! You would go somewhere and people would be sleeping in all kinds of positions on any kind of surface.

BP: They stay there until ten o’clock or so, so they have to nap. What were you doing in Vietnam?

CB: I was teaching English and traveling.

BP: Ah. There were a lot of people teaching English in Japan as well. My buddy works for Reebok and he goes to Vietnam all the time.

CB: There’s a pretty significant ex-pat community both in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City.

BP: So how was that? It must have been pretty cool.

CB: It was. I have to say it was probably one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences, on many levels. So, while you were working with WeatherNews, creating American content, were you working directly with a Japanese crew as well?

BP: Yes, it was pretty ridiculous. We had a three-man crew over there, so it was me as the producer person, the host, another person who helped create the graphics and do some other things, but getting them to operate the cameras directly, it was a challenge! I learned a couple words, but it was tough, I’ll be honest, it was tough.

CB: I can completely relate to that! And on a different note, Brian, if you had one chance to do something where you knew you could only succeed, what would that thing be?

BP: One thing I could do in my life? Good question. I always go back to the idea of making sure that my family’s happy. It’s easy to think really big, but making sure that your family’s ok and that your kids are raised correctly, and that you are okay is first and foremost in my book.

CB: What you’re saying is really interesting, I’ve been doing research on my own about finances—about being more financially wise, knowing what to do with my money, where to invest and how to best prepare for the future—and one thing that really comes up in a lot of books, or from speakers, is you have to take care of yourself first. And that idea is really similar to what you’re saying about acting locally, or taking care of your family. It really comes down to the core, and before you can accomplish big dreams, it has to start with yourself and preparing your own path so that you are able to help others. That idea is prevalent in so many aspects of our lives.

BP: This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, there will always be major problems in the world, but if you can tackle your own and your family’s that is the first step to solving the bigger issues the world faces.

CB: What are you most proud of in your life?

BP: The Red Sox winning the world-series.

CB: (laughing) Something that you’ve done!

BP: Oh, personally? I was involved in that.

CB: Oh were you? Were you out on the field?

BP: I was cheering. Supporting them emotionally.

CB: Right right, sending the good vibes.

BP: I can’t say that?

CB: Of course you can, you can say whatever you want. Tell me one person you admire and why.

BP: I’d say my grandfather. He is a first-generation Italian-American, he worked in the FBI for over twenty-five years, in one of the most undercover projects to date called Operation Solo. It had a double spy-in with Stalin throughout the Cold War, which helped us get us to where we are. It’s not really talked about that much, but it was a pretty cool covert operation that the FBI did.

I’ve always looked up to him as someone who kept the family together. He was a Yankees fan, and I was ok with that. We’d always see each other, and he passed away a year ago. It was a little sad, but he was someone I always looked up to, spent summers with, spent a lot of time talking about baseball with, he was someone that was there.

CB: Encouraging people to voice their opinions about what’s going on politically, and to be pro-active in regards to changing policy, also pertains to educating kids and involving them in politics at an earlier age. What kind of efforts do you think are happening on that level, or what do you think needs to happen?

BP: It’s really tough, I go to these events we have with the Mayor and we call everyone who lives in the district, and it’s always the same age group that comes, around 55 or 60. It’s difficult; I’m trying to figure that out. One thing that was successful was the “Flunk Arnold” campaign, which was fun and involved the YouTube generation in politics through making videos and online media. We’ve only been up for a little bit but we’re reaching out to the colleges and to the editors of the different papers of the city, trying to involve them that way, but that’s something we’re trying to figure out on the campaign. We’re thinking of talking to democratic clubs at various schools, but as I said, we just started getting going. Do you have any ideas?

CB: I think, from my personal opinion, I think it needs to start even younger than that. By the time kids get to college and they start having an interest, a lot of years have past where kids could have been more intimately involved, whether that’s through mock-elections in schools or extending campaigns such as “Flunk Arnold” to high school students, and seeing what kind of content is received.

BP: I’ve been doing research about all the high schools in the area and brainstorming on how to get them involved.

CB: You know who would be good to contact? There’s a nonprofit called SF YouthWorks, under JCYC (Japanese Community Youth Council). They place high school students in paid internships throughout the city departments of San Francisco. The students attend a pre-employment training before they start their internship; this is a first time job experience for most of these students. They work for two hours after school for minimum wage, and get paired up with a mentor in the city department they work in. Another one to look into is MYEEP, (Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program), which provides low-income high-school aged students jobs and community-involvement opportunities. Both YouthWorks and MYEEP have representatives that go to job fairs at high schools throughout the city. You could go and talk to the kids when they’re getting trained for their employment or you may get a handful of kids who are excited to do something for extra credit.

Act Locally SF will be contributing articles on a weekly basis. My favorite so far is from Christopher Gardner, author of the autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, called Homeless but not Hopeless in San Francisco.


Continue Reading

San Francisco annual homeless count shows steady decline

Mayor Gavin Newsom released today the results of the city’s 2007 homeless count that was conducted January 31. The count occurs once every two years as required by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order for the city to receive homeless assistance grants.

This year’s count identified 2,771 homeless people living on the streets of San Francisco, with an additional 3,606 people living in locations like transitional housing, stabilization rooms, resource centers, hospitals, jails and emergency shelters, according to the report. The majority of the total of 6,377 homeless people were found to be single white men and single black men.

The last homeless count in 2004 recorded 2,655 homeless people on the streets and 6,248 homeless total. Those numbers were down from 2002 numbers in which 4,535 homeless people were found on the streets and 8,640 homeless people were found in total.

A survey that accompanied this year’s count found that almost one-third of people surveyed had first become homeless outside of San Francisco and then moved to the city. In addition, 36 percent of survey respondents are considered chronic, long-term homeless individuals, while 25 percent have been homeless for less than one year.

San Francisco General Hospital reported 48 homeless patients, according to the mayor’s office.

“I am pleased that we were able to conduct a complete city count that provides the most comprehensive data to date on our homeless population. This homeless count is not only an essential component by which we measure the effectiveness of our homeless services and programs. It also reflects the city’s continued commitment toward our goal to end chronic homelessness in San Francisco,” Newsom said.

“As the Chair of the Ten Year Plan Council, I am pleased with the progress that the City has made over the past few years. If we continue to expand our efforts as the Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness dictates, we will get closer to ending the disgrace of chronic homelessness,” stated Angela Alioto.

The Mayor praised Angela’s commitment to ending chronic homelessness.

“Her energy and passion for this issue is incomparable and she has provided the leadership necessary to challenge the status quo,” stated the Mayor.

This year’s count covered the entire geographic area of the City for the first time ever and utilized twice the number of volunteer counters compared to prior efforts. A direct comparison of analogous routes used in the 2005 and 2007 counts reveals a 7 percent decline in the number of homeless on the street.

Although the total number of homeless identified in this year’s count represents a 2 percent increase over the number identified in 2005, this increase is largely attributed to the fact that this count covers the entire geographic area of the City.

In total, at least 374 individuals included in this year’s count would not have been included using the methodology employed in 2005.

In 2007, for the first time ever, the entire City was covered, including freeway on-ramps, underpasses, and all 189 City parks. By comparison, in 2005 just known areas of concentrated homeless populations were covered and final numbers were adjusted to estimate the count in uncovered areas.

Additionally, this year’s count was conducted by 500 volunteers – twice as many as in 2005 – and included trained homeless outreach professionals.

During his tenure, Mayor Newsom has launched a number of ambitious initiatives to address homelessness.

Since 2004, 2,907 homeless individuals have been placed in permanent supportive housing through several ambitious City initiatives. During this time span, another 1,864 homeless persons left San Francisco to be reunited with friends or family members in other parts of the country through the City’s Homeward Bound Program.

In total, since 2004 through the end of January 2007, 5,224 individuals have exited homelessness through various initiatives.


The City will continue moving forward with initiatives that have proven effective in reducing homelessness as the Mayor’s proposed budget will include funding for the following:

• Expansion of the number of homeless street outreach workers to provide city-wide coverage to transition the homeless from the street into housing

• Increasing the number of permanent supportive housing units through the City’s Housing First and Direct Access to Housing Programs

• Opening a One-Stop Employment Center for recently housed homeless

• Establishing a Community Justice Center, in partnership with the District Attorney and Superior Court, to engage quality of life violators in services and housing

• Implementing programs supported by this year’s record $19 million federal McKinney Homeless
Assistance Grant

The 2007 Homeless Count Report can be accessed on the San Francisco Human Services Agency website at

From Bay City News and the Mayor’s Office of Communications

Continue Reading

A San Francisco Mayor In Ridicule

CHARLES KHALISH – Khalish, Green Party longtimer and early Matt Gonzalez for Mayor insider, in bandido work flow.
Photos by John Han

By Pat Murphy

Too much ice cream aches the sweetest tooth, one winces in the toddler terrible-twos.

And honies, the toddlin’est town around finally got her toothache…

But aah, it’s good to walk away…

Walk away from lifesblood of bandido officialdom, turned rank in ridicule of a mayor they fixate…

Cluck… CLUNK…

Again, they turned out to humiliate the mayor, think tankers for San Francisco Board of Supervisors bandidos Jake McGoldrick, Ross Mirkarimi, Aaron Peskin, Tom Ammiano, and C. Edward Daly…


They shouted him down, and shouted him down again, and mad laughed the man to boot…



When shout ran low, The Gav picked up right where perseverance had been stiffed..




And kept to his promise of fully two-hour explanation for precedent setting universal health care access, a possibility Gavin Newsom revived after legislation author Tom Ammiano backhanded small business collaboration…


Ammiano withheld his presence from the event, although asked by Newsom to attend.. In Ammiano’s strategized absence (his lifebloodsters might disapprove), Newsom credited Ammiano… with … leadership…

Meanwhile, the woman Daly once bright-eyed predicted would replace Ammiano – Renee Saucedo – prepared solar plexus slam bang… Wallop turned train wreck, a lefty commentator noted…


Fully two hours they got, ending on scheduled time, with 60 questions answered…

Two chickens needing street maps, one Saucedo afrothing, one Greenie aflogging, and an anemic movement hanging in a pared tree…

End the banditry… Just end it.

Continue Reading

The Tower Above Loutro A story of awakening by resident author Robert Starkey; illustrated by seraph Rob Villacari

By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Bob Starkey is well-known throughout many circles of San Francisco. Within these bright and expanding colorful rings are political activists, philanthropists, world travelers, spiritual guides and enlightened healers, creative writers, graphic artists, musicians, and those greening the paths leading to healthier climates – in the mind, for body and soul, and (starting with nicotine-free air) on the street where you live.

LIVANIANA. Illustration by Rob Villacari

In his introductory notes Bob writes, “My intention was to tell a story of something that actually happened to me, but to tell it in a way without injecting my personal judgment. In doing that I am allowed to understand the different ways in which others interpret the story in the context of their own lives. This allows me to see the incident in even bigger, clearer terms. I can understand now, how the interpretation of life can be a very subjective experience most of the time. I can see that many of the differing interpretations of what I experienced could have created a different personal path. If I had seen it in a way that some have interpreted it I would most likely be a Catholic or Orthodox priest by now. But my personal experience was more secular in nature.”

In San Francisco – there’s always something in the wind. The magic of The City’s springtime and the brace of its days commemorating ancient religious passages are celebrated in Nature’s weather patterns borne throughout the year. It can be misting on Mardi Gras, freezing for the equinox, overcast when the paschal moon is full, blustery during Passover, or pouring-down come Easter dawn. For some, Spring Break means getting outta town and retreating to a wealth of self-indulgence, while others practicing Lenten traditions skim back the self-pampering and isolate into their heads. Whether at the beach, on holy grounds, or in the deserts of the mind – the seeker will always find someone waiting.

The Tower Above Loutro. Illustration by Rob Villacari

“The silhouetted ruins of the castle on the hill were like a constant beacon, pulling us ever closer. Soon we made our first pilgrimage. The grounds were cloaked in an utter and age-old silence. All around us were silvery olive groves clinging to the rugged mountain terrain. Not a single person, neither sight nor sound of modern civilization, marred this unchanged landscape. It was a typically hot September day, so Rob and I decided to lie down and rest in the shadow of an olive tree. As my back came into contact with the earth I was plunged into a timeless place where the separation between dreams and reality united under the incandescent Cretan sun. I was awakened by the gentle sound of goat bells from the distant hillside. The sun was now repositioned behind the western mountains. A gentle breeze encouraged us to rise and continue on our journey with a newfound sense of strength and perception as we, like so many other wayfarers before us, traced the ancient mountain path back to Loutro.”
The Tower Above Loutro, Robert Starkey

During this season, fifteen years ago, Bob Starkey and his partner Rob Villacari journeyed to the Mediterranean, to the southern shores of the Isle of Crete, to a town called Loutro – a quick glance suggesting an inlet somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area – and then hiked up into its hills, to the crumbled ruins of a Venetian fortress.


“Loutro is a very different place before the Easter holidays,” Bob observes. It’s the only time villagers actually outnumber tourists during the season. It’s a special breed of traveler who comes to the south coast of Crete at this time of the year. One must be willing to trek along the mountain path for two hours from Sfakia when the sea is too rough for boats or ferries. When it rains there is no chance to get warm unless you hang out in Stavro’s taverna, the only restaurant open and the only public stove in the village. The lack of choices makes one remember what it means to be humble. A good book and a hot cup of coffee or tea become intimate companions.”

The road to Loutro. Illustration by Rob Villacari

Into this rarified atmosphere come two strong Gay men – yogis, each with a face resembling some icon of a Joshua or a Jesus seen somewhere – toting backpacks, notepads, pens, and colored pencils. The same shores and peaks of this ancient lookout have supported the gods and their priests, their servants and warriors. The winds sweeping in have already passed through the corridors and around the columns of nearby monasteries, temples, sacrificial altars, palaces and tombs. For the next few days, these vacationing luminaries will contribute to and be visited by the echoes and shadows of prevailing wisdom, the energies of carnal desire, the courage and resolve of self-acceptance. There is nothing else to do except breathe, stay in your skin – and get acquainted with Whoever else is there.

“One difficult thing for me over the years has been to protect myself from the influence of those who judge the legitimacy of spiritual experiences. I have never cared for attempts to psychoanalyze such events. The fact is, these kinds of things happen to people all the time! I feel attempts to prove they are real versus imagined are very unfair. What I am grateful for is the fact that my own life experiences led me to accept such things without feeling the need to destroy them. The bottom line for myself in my secular way of interpretation is that this experience was something that brought both joy and peace into my life. It was a natural, perhaps divine, experience that makes me understand how our minds do have a capacity to reveal the great mysteries of life. The personal choice we each have is to accept it or reject it! In my own personal point of view I believe that it has everything to do with spirituality and absolutely nothing to do with religion. That, I admit, is my own personal prejudice.”

On-line: The Tower Above Loutro, By Robert Starkey
To learn more about the adventure and the man: Robert Starkey

Read Seán’s recent articles on:
COLOR ME KUBRICK – starring John Malkovich
ALTAR BOYZ – In San Francisco
PASCAL MOLAT, A Stroll Through Eden/Eden

San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Ask him a question on . If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:

Continue Reading

Health officials address possibe San Francisco kindergarten meningitis death

San Francisco health officials are expected to address parent concerns about a Megan Furth Academy kindergarten student who died Monday of what doctors believe was a meningococcal meningitis infection.

Megan Furth Academy, 2445 Pine Street, San Francisco, 11:00 a.m.

Contact Eileen Shields for the Department of Health at 415-554-2507 or Principal Nicole McAuliffe at 415-346-9500.

Continue Reading

Study said to document efficacy of medical marijuana

Marcus Conant, MD

Results of a study said to document the medical benefits of marijuana will be the focus of a Conant Foundation sponsored Community Forum to be presented Tuesday.

Dr. Donald Abrams, from the University of California at San Francisco, will present details of the “comprehensive study proving conclusively that marijuana is effective in use for medicinal purposes.”

“Where Do We Go From Here?” is the theme of a panel discussion following Abrams’ presentation.

The 6:30 p.m. event will be held at the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center, 1800 Market Street at Octavia Street.

Participating are Senator John Vasconcellos , Dean Emeritus of the California Legislature and Founder of The Vasconcellos Project; Allen Hopper, Esq, Senior Attorney, ACLU Drug Law Reform Project and Bruce Mirken, Director of Communication, Marijuana Policy Project.

The event will be moderated by Dr. Marcus A. Conant, a leader in the fight against HIV infection and AIDS for over 25 years. Conant prevailed in a case against the United States Government when the United States Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision that doctors have the right to discuss any treatment, including marijuana, with their patients.

Several recent decisions in court cases, pending legislation in Illinois and New Mexico could all be affected by results from this study. In California , a judge ruled earlier this month in favor of a club which sells marijuana. Also in California , a judge ruled against an 80 year old woman who uses the drug for its medical benefits.

This Community Forum is free. Sponsored by The Conant Foundation, it is also hosted by the San Francisco Medical Society, the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project and the Marijuana Policy Project.

CONTACT Allen White at 415-255-0806

Continue Reading

Color Me Kubrick: a True…ish Story

By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Color Me Kubrick: A True…ish Story is a truly delicious and colorful odyssey. John Malkovich stars as the real-life “Alan Conway” – a man who gained fleeting satisfaction by periodically venturing out and featuring himself as the not so-easily-recognized and socially reclusive film director, the great Stanley Kubrick.


The screenplay by Andrew Frewin (assistant to Mr. Kubrick for the films Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, and 2001: A Space Odyssey) is perfection. With clockwork timing and an acidic sense of humor, Andrew Frewin has fashioned an irresistible cruise, a mythical rendezvous – a “true…ish” voyage – that carousels through, around, and upside-down the virtual realities of an eccentric individual who mirrors achievement, teems with panache, and swindles the unwary. Enter British comedian Jim Davidson as “Lee Pratt” – the quintessential Pop Idol pretender – the wealthy lounge lizard. Conway promises Pratt the grandest of Las Vegas showrooms. All Pratt has to do is pony-up the funds. Done! Pratt (a fantastic blending of William Shatner, Merv Griffin and Liberace) has his own retinue of luxury-accustomed sycophants. Unfortunately, following a casino’s worth of fine binging and boozing, one of them suggests to “Stanley” that he demonstrate his sense of good taste by picking up the tab. Conway pratfalls.

JIM DAVIDSON and JOHN MALKOVICH – dreaming Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Hand-in-glove with Conway’s basic need to be something larger than his actual parts, is the weightiness of going out in style – everyday – for free … up to and including his final breath. Mission accomplished. [The Management requests that you not reveal the ending.] But to achieve that, Conway must be enabled by the bedazzled wannabe, the mid-level achiever who perceives him as the real Stanley Kubrick. Once ensnared – voila! – the pants are off, the wallets and vodka bottles emptied, and private jets fueled. After all, “It’s Stanley f-ing Kubrick!” Fame, at last, is staring them in the face. (Or was it Stanley Kramer?) Hornswoggled, wooed and spewed – each of the participants (and everyone in the audience) is lifted into the winds of Do Not Pass Go and pushed to the Final Degree of Separation between fulfillment and failure. One pair of onlookers, however, knows a fifth-rate vaudevillian when they see one. Leave it to New York Times theatre critic Frank Rich and his wife Alix (fleshed-out by William Hootkins and Marisa Berenson) and their deftness with a borrower’s card to the New York Public Library.

WILLIAM HOOTKINS and MARISA BERENSON – portray Frank and Alix Rich

The partnering of Mr. Malkovich’s prodigious theatrical instincts with the wide and watchful eyes of director John W. Cook (assistant to Kubrick in Eyes Wide Shut and Barry Lyndon), drive Anthony Frewin’s imaginative tale straight to the winner’s circle. John Malkovich turns in a shining performance, perhaps the most ingratiating role of his multi-faceted career. As “Alan Conway” Malkovich is erotic, appetizing, repulsive, worldly-wise, moronic, romantic, pedantic, pathetic, cruel, cogent, conceited, copious and captivating. Frewin’s script is eerily Kubrick…ish. The energies and personae of the famed director’s leading men are imbued in his fashioning of “Alan Conway”. Dashing through a precarious maze of fleeting realities and sporting an endless supply of fantasy wardrobe (costumes by Victoria Russell), Malkovich reflects the perversity of Malcolm McDowell (“Alex de Large”, A Clockwork Orange), the concentration of Jack Nicholson (“Jack”, The Shining), the parlor foppery of Ryan O’Neal (Barry Lyndon), the probing wariness of “Hal 9000″ (2001), and the lilting steps of Peter Sellers (Dr. Strangelove).

JOHN MALKOVICH – as the imposter Alan Conway. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Likewise, the Kubrick touch on the soundtrack – the memorable snippets from the Overtures to “The Barber of Seville” and “William Tell” (A Clockwork Orange), the humor and nostalgia of Johann Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz” (2001), and the elegant voice of Ray Bowley with Ray Noble and His New Mayfair Dance Orchestra in the haunting melody, “Midnight, The Stars and You” (The Shining). Rounding out the psychological underpinnings are songs by Bryan Adams. Especially memorable, “I’m Not The Man You Think I Am” (available on his CD, ANTHOLOGY – Bryan Adams).

John Malkovich is an actor’s actor – but for many a viewer, an acquired taste. Color Me Kubrick represents the role of a lifetime. As written, the role of “Alan Conway” offers the last nth of a degree between what an actor knows he can do and being lauded in the theatre for doing it. Some argue that such an opportunity came about for Laurence Olivier as “Archie Rice” in The Entertainer. John Malkovich and “Alan Conway” have arrived together, tastefully, and on time. The partnership and co-operation between Frewin the writer, Malkovich the actor, and Cook the director has produced a stunning homage to Stanley Kubrick and a befitting affirmation to the director’s vision and sense of style. Twinkling in the indirect glow of this projected light, the eyes of Alan Conway.

D’ya see, Alan? Right there – on the screen, in the same paragraph? You made it.

Color Me Kubrick: A True…ish Story – playing now at:
1572 California Street
San Francisco
Show times: 2:00 pm, 4:45 pm, 7:00 pm, 9:15 pm
Phone: 415-267-4893
Running time: 1 hr. 27 min.
MPAA Rating: (NR)

See Seán’s recent articles:
ALTAR BOYZ – A Venial Sin at The Orpheum Theatre
PASCAL MOLAT, A Stroll Through Eden/Eden

San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Ask him a question on . If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:

Continue Reading

California Prop 13 cap on municipal fees needed

By Pat Murphy

Feelers are going out to the San Francisco small business community… To see how many would join local restaurants in a one day shutdown to protest the skyrocketing cost of doing business in America’s favorite City…

This journal would join such a protest by publishing nothing new for one day…

More effective, this corner suggests, would be pooling one day’s profits to launch a California ballot initiative capping municipal fees…

A one day strike might arouse public sympathy, which would be heard by government leaders… But it wouldn’t matter…

Governments have become, particularly in San Francisco, mechanisms for diverting funds from people who earn money to people who don’t have money…

The entire power structure, locally and statewide, would line up against a cap on fees…

Half the power structure stay in office by diverting money and the other half grin on the way to the bank…

But everyday folk, the people united, are deadly sick of being nickled and dimed by the hundreds of dollars…

Decapitate it… Cut it off at the head…

End it.

Continue Reading

San Francisco Western Addition Champions All

Photos by John Han and Bill Wilson

By Pat Murphy

The San Francisco Western Addition rose to greatness today as a community united strutted its proudest dribbling stuff, in a March Gladness Basketball Tournament where everyone was a champion.


Community youth and neighborhood leaders headlined team make-up with much older gentlemen — Western Addition elected representative Ross Mirkarimi and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom — huffing their best shots.

Ross Mirkarimi


Gavin Newsom

The event was hosted by Newsom and sponsored by private sector firms in Ella Hill Hutch Community Center.





A series of fifteen minute matches comprised the tournament.


Every age group imbided life’s pleasures as champs emerged, barbeque was relished, raffle winners cheered, and the older set recalled their youth.






Bikes among raffle takehomes











Continue Reading

Hotel Council fetes employees at Fourth Annual Hotel Hero Dinner

The Hotel Council of San Francisco will honor employes March 27, with weekend hotel stays, dining certificates, Giants tickets, airline tickets, and an original Hotel Hero Award Culpture by local artist Douglas Brett.

Winners are selected by a five member panel made up of representatives in the hospitality industry. Winners will receive an original Hotel Hero Award Sculpture by local artist, Douglas Brett, and other prizes such as airline tickets, Giants tickets, dining certificates and weekend hotel stays.

The event will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the Palace Hotel.

The Hotel Council of San Francisco is a non-profit organization representing all segments of the lodging industry. It includes as its members, major San Francisco hotel properties, large and small as well as allied members representing companies who work with the hotel industry.

For more information on the Hotel Heroes please visit

Continue Reading

New compost annex returns nutrients to vineyards and farms

San Francisco’s nationally acclaimed urban compost program has opened an annex that can handle food scraps and yard trimmings from local homes and restaurants, a program spokesman said.

The Organics Annex, located on Tunnel Avenue in Visitacion Valley, will accommodate the growth of the Food Scrap Compost Program, said Robert Reed, spokesman for the program.

“The annex was created to provide infrastructure to continue to grow the program. There’s 2,100 restaurants and 75,000 homes providing us food scraps and yard waste, but there could be even more,” Reed said.

About 90 percent of the compost is given to local vineyards. The rest goes to small farms and landscape supply yards.

“It’s a way for people in the city to return nutrients to farms. There aren’t a lot of opportunities like that,” Reed said. “People who work in kitchens — prep cooks, busboys — are now environmentalists. That’s a role reversal, because historically farmers have served cities.”

San Francisco’s garbage companies began the Food Scrap Compost Program in 1996 as a test program. It was formally adopted by the city in 2001, Reed said.

It has since become a model for similar programs throughout the country.

“A lot of people recycle bottles, cans and paper. This is really the next step,” Reed said.

San Francisco Recycling and Disposal, Inc., owns and operate the annex. Sunset Scavenger and Golden Gate Disposal and Recycling run the collection trucks, and Jepson Prairie Organics near Vacaville and South Valley Organics in Gilroy make the finished compost.

Bay City News

Continue Reading