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San Francisco Bay Bridge collapsed connector back in use as early as Wednesay – 511.org lists Park and Ride Logs

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Photo by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Bay Area drivers can expect to be using the Interstate Highway 880 ramp that was damaged in Sunday’s tanker truck accident as early as next Wednesday, Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus said this morning.

In an effort to serve the increased number of public transit users after the collapse of part of the MacArthur Maze on Sunday morning, the regional Web site 511.org has expanded information about Bay Area Park and Ride lots.

The updated information page provides transportation options for those commuters affected by the closure of Interstate Highways 580 and 880, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Commuters can click on the scrolling “Breaking News” ticker on the Web site and find a list of Park and Ride lots that have been recently surveyed and found to have
available parking.

The site also shows users the location of each lot, which transit agency provides service to the lot, as well as additional details such as lighting or bike locker availability, the commission reported.

Park and Ride lots can also be used as meeting points for carpool and van pool, according to the commission.

The damaged section of 880 is expected to be open for traffic in five to eight days, Haus said. The highway sustained damage, but the section is still structurally sound, so Caltrans will not need to replace any steel on that part of the road.

“Right now we are concentrating on false work, which is temporary external supports that we will attach to the freeway,” Haus said.

Caltrans crews will attach long steel columns to the highway to brace the road deck,
so that crews can attach jacks and lift the freeway 9 inches. By lifting the section of road workers will be able to straighten the steel that was warped during the accident.

Crews will be repaving the road deck that was damaged by the fire at the same time as other crews are straightening the steel beams, according to Haus.

The Interstate Highway 580 ramp will be repaired in approximately 50 days, Haus said. Around nine contractors will submit bids for the repair job and the contract will be awarded the afternoon of May 7.

The contract will contain both incentives and disincentives, Haus said. The repairs should be done by June 29, and for every day before that date the repairs are finished, the contractor will receive $200,000. However, for every day after June 29 that the highway is not completed, the contractor will owe $200,000, Haus said.

The interchanges from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 and from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to southbound Interstate Highway 880, were damaged after a tanker truck crashed and exploded early Sunday morning, which caused the collapse of the freeways, according to Caltrans.

Bay City News

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Upscale econo-airline JetBlue now serving San Francisco International Airport

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Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

The first flight into San Francisco by JetBlue, touted as the most upscale econo-airline in America, landed at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) yesterday to the strains of a crooner named Bennet and an arching water cannon salute.

Airport officials and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom greeted passengers.

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Four flights daily from SFO to New York are offered at one-way fare of $164 through June 13, when fares become $189. The company aims at repeat business from those who fly frequently through comfort and attentive staff.

Phillip Pastor was the first JetBlue passenger off the airline to set foot in SFO. Pastor flew JetBlue for his firs time on recommendation of a friend. Native New York Pastor flies on average twice a month, he told the Sentinel.

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Phillip Pastor

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First time user Phillip Pastor reports, “I thought it was a fantastic plane. It was very smooth and it was very comfortable. The flight crew were great but it was actually the smoothest plan I’ve ever been on and I fly quite a bit.”

Passenger legroom is from 32-inches to 34-inches depending on flight and all seats are leather with seatback for every passenger offering satellite movies and television.

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Richard Garbarino, Mayor of South San Francisco seen at right, joins San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, left, with gentlemen preferring expansive leg room

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RIGOLETTO – SF OPERA Broadcasts on Classical 102.1 KDFC

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

San Francisco Opera and radio station Classical 102.1 KDFC are joining forces again this Sunday in a broadcast of the 2006 production of Verdi’s RIGOLETTO. The program airs at 8:00 PM free of commercial interruption. Fast on the heels of David Gockley being installed as San Francisco Opera’s General Director, Jeannik Méquet (Mrs. Edmund W.) Littlefield handed its Board a no-strings-attached gift of $35 million dollars. Everyone agreeing it came just in time, the endowment represents a loud and clear signal to The City’s cultural benefactors that SF Opera is on its way back into the Major Leagues. A dramatic demonstration of Mr. Gockley’s community outreach and forward thinking happened on Friday night, October 6, 2006 with the free simulcast of Verdi’s RIGOLETTO in Civic Center Plaza and at Stanford’s Frost Amphitheater. The event proved to be an artistic wonderment and a state-of-the-art technological triumph.

Given the several cameras placed throughout the War Memorial Opera House, the thousands of lucky outside viewers were gifted with a continuous flow of multi-varied angles, fabulous close-ups, long-shots and split-screen combinations. The House microphones carried the voices through a digital sound board which then became a balanced mix pushed through a “curvilinear array” of MILO speakers spewing-out gargantuan stereophonic separation to everyone gathered midst the sanctuary of trees decked with lit candelabra – everything under the glow of an illusive Harvest Moon. The viewers inside the Opera House, however, saw and heard something somewhat different.

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RIGOLETTO – Broadcast at Civic Center Plaza, 10-06-06. Photo by Jon Han

The overall stage direction of Harry Silverstein was static, occasionally frozen, non-sensical and very often without reason or purpose. It was the common sense and fabulous musicianship of an extraordinary cast that linked us to the plot and our understanding of particular plights and collective mania. Paolo Gavanelli’s magnificent and unqualified ownership of the role of “Rigoletto” is engrained into his body, being many times tried / tested / and proven. Gavanelli is internationally recognized and spoken of as the “Rigoletto of our generation”.

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Mary Dunleavy (Gilda) and Paolo Gavanelli (Rigoletto). Photo by Terrence McCarthy

Many opera singers sustain international careers, some for decades by repeating best and most-suited roles in a variety of houses on every continent. Performers of this stripe – along with their producers, fellow musicians, co-stars and loyal fans – understand fully the grueling demands of roles such as “Rigoletto” and everyone’s #1 priority being about The Voice. Following his SF Opera engagement Mr. Gavanelli repeated the role at the Vienna State Opera with tenor Marcus Haddock as the “Duke of Mantua”, also seen as “King Gustav” in Verdi’s UN BALLO IN MASCHERA. (KDFC broadcast scheduled for Sunday, September 2nd.) This past March he teamed with tenor Joseph Calleja under the baton of Friedrich Haider at the Bavarian State Opera. It is reasonable to assume Gavanelli’s vocal performance and stage business remains more or less the same. After all, a high-ranking, politically savvy, middle-aged court jester with a prominent hump on his right shoulder most certainly moves about in a consistent manner and (probably) retains a smart tailor.

Surrealist painter Giorgio di Chirico’s “The Mystery And Melancholy Of A Street” influences the production’s lefts and rights, stops & gos. The painting provided the basis for Michael Yeargan’s set design first seen in 1997, revived in 2001, and – budgetary catastrophes being what they were for SF Opera’s previous administration – dragged out one more time for 2006. As with Chirico’s canvas, Yeargan’s set is indeed both a mystery and melancholic piece of work. Perhaps “Monterone” can find an appropriate curse for it and David Gockley a hugely-jawed sharp-toothed shredder.

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Designs of Giorgio di Chirico and Michael Yeargan. Photo by Terrence McCarthy

Greer Grimsley’s credibility as “Monterone”, pronouncer of Rigoletto’s fatal curse, is empowered by his helden (or “heroic”) variety of baritone. Grimsley’s voice is both immensely ferocious and pointed, gliding with ease throughout the stretch of his register. As lightning flashes from above, the towering baritone becomes a whirlwind of hellish fury as he conjures his curse of retribution – casting a spell of horrific vengeance upon the licentious Duke, even swearing to haunt him as a spectral terror, for having violated his daughter and despoiling the honor of his Family. Rigoletto mocks the daughter’s fate and accuses the nobleman of boring the court with his tiresome speeches. Monterone then launches his fury towards Rigoletto, extending to him the same fateful curse. Rigoletto is visibly shaken. And so are we. Greer Grimsley is an electrifying performer, endowed with Teutonic vocal strength and a compelling manner. This August he flies off to Seattle where he takes on the title role in Wagner’s DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER.

Another surprise in the supporting cast is Adler Fellow Eugene Brancoveanu as “Marullo”. In the first three scenes of Act 1 we are introduced to the Men’s Chorus, “Rigoletto” and the “Duke of Mantua” – this season sung by Albanian tenor Giuseppe Gipali. By page 5 of the score, Verdi gives his Leading Tenor a fairly challenging aria, “Questa o quella”, with barely a chance to warm-up and packed with High A-flats. Whatever our initial response to both Gavanelli and Gipali – along with the soothing bass-baritone of Jeremy Galyon as “Count Ceprano” (cuckolded that afternoon by the Duke and with the “Countess” blushing just slightly nearby) – Eugene Brancoveanu suddenly pricked up our ears. Come scene 4 and Brancoveanu’s “Marullo” positing that the deformed “Rigoletto” is keeping a mistress – the proscenium arch was suddenly buzzing with resonance. Mr. Brancoveanu sports a strong and beautiful baritone voice that is also startlingly clear, very aggressive and seductive.

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EUGENE BRANCOVEANU and GREER GRIMSLEY

Giuseppe Gipali, as the “Duke of Mantua”, is gifted with a fine lyric tenor, beautiful phrasing and – with the assistance of Friday Night’s sound engineer and two huge towers of stadium-size speakers bouncing his voice against the granite and marble palace walls of the Civic Auditorium, the Federal Building, City Hall and the Asian Art Museum – a fine set of performance chops that seem to qualify him as a stand-in for Pavarotti. Perhaps to the folks outside, but not inside at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House and its space for 3300 ticket holders.

In 2005, Gipali sang 3 performances as the “Mantua” with Conductor Zubin Mehta at the Munich State Opera. Its total sound-absorbing body count – 1773 seats, 328 standing – amounts to two-thirds at the War Memorial. We can assume the critics did not go after Giuseppe Gipali’s smallish voice. In the spring of 2006 he sang three performances as “Cavaradossi” in TOSCA at the Opéra de Monte Carlo – 520 seats, located in Monaco’s famed Casino. Less than one-sixth the capacity of the War Memorial. No doubt he delivered an audibly fantastic performance. More than likely, come the duets and ensembles, the assigned leading lady did not drown him out … as did the effortless and shimmering resonance of our compelling and luminous soprano Mary Dunleavy, “Gilda” – innocent daughter of “Rigoletto” and sexual victim of the vain “Duke of Mantua”.

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MARY DUNLEAVY – Curtain Calls at Civic Center Plaza, 10-06-06. Photo by Jon Han

Mary Dunleavy is a stunning example of a strong and flexible lyric soprano. Her upper register is both warm and bell-like, dancing with ease throughout the coloratura of “Caro Nome”, brightening the balance of the famed “Quartet”, poignant and celestial in her final dreams of Heaven. As “Gilda”, Mary Dunleavy displays incredible musicianship and glorifies the art of Bel Canto singing. With simple ease and grace she commands our attention and is a giving companion to her fellow cast members. Mary Dunleavy is a love that is here to stay.

Thank you, Jeannik Méquet Littlefield, for your generous vote of confidence and support of General Director David Gockley’s vision for San Francisco Opera. Bigger budgets allow for bigger opportunities and bigger chances to secure the biggest and the best and – which always means a bigger bang for our bulging or borrowed bucks.

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MARY DUNLEAVY (Gilda) signs Rigoletto Playbill for SEÁN MARTINFIELD. Photo by Jon Han

Next month’s SF Opera broadcast on Classical 102.1 KDFC – Sunday, June 3 at 8pm – Tchaikovsky’s Joan of Arc. Tchaikovsky’s rarely performed work showcases the artistry of mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick as Joan of Arc, along with tenor Misha Didyk (Charles VII) and baritone Rod Gilfry (Lionel). Donald Runnicles, conductor. Christopher Alexander, director.

See Seán’s recent articles and interviews:
NORMA SHEARER – Headlines the 12th ANNUAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL
JERSEY BOYS – Smashing Records At The Curran Theatre
DON QUIXOTE – An Impossible Dream at SF Ballet
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall
JEANETTE MacDONALD – First Lady of “San Francisco”
ALTAR BOYZ – In San Francisco
An Interview with PASCAL MOLAT – Principal Soloist, San Francisco Ballet
TERRA HAUTE – An Interview with The Stars, John Hutchinson and Elias Escobedo

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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 over 2,000 responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing tecniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, visit Broadwaybelters.com, email Seán at seanmartinfield@att.net.

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Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead memorabilia auction preview begins today

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Head stock on a Jerry Garcia custom made electric guitar by Doug Irwin 1971. Mother of pearl inlay depicting eagle. Some 120 lots of instruments played on stage by the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia are previewed beginning today through May 18 auction.
Photos By John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Much of the magic of the Grateful Dead goes on auction in a few days, with fans invited to bring recallable memories today for an closeup preview.

Public preview of 120 lots runs until May 18 auction at Bonhams & Butterfields in San Francisco, the third largest art dealer in the world, located 220 San Bruno Avenue.

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Massive banner of Jerry Garcia used at his memorial service in Golden Gate Park, August 13,1995

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Jerry Garcia electric guitar by Travis Bean, circa 1975

Spotlighted in the sale are Jerry Garcia-played instruments. The circia 1975 Garcia electric guitar made by Travis Bean was seen in numerous photos, played on several stages, and used in recording sessions.

As well as memories, acidic or otherwise, fans are advised to bring a fulsome wallet. The Travis Bean electric guitar is expected to bring from $250,000 to $300,000.

In addition to instruments, other memorabilia will be auctioned including clothing, posters, and photos from the era.

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A Boston Celtics jacket signed by team members gifted to Ram Rod by Bill Walton 1980s

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Jerry Garcia acoustic guitar by Alvarez-Yairi and Modulus, 1991. Custom made

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Original album cover “Live Dead” 1969

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Large collection of wine left over from backstage at numerous Grateful Dead concerts, 1970′s-1990′s. Approximately 125 bottles

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A vocal microphone gate opener mat used onstage, 1980s-1990s

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Ram Rod Shurtliff guitars – left and right- 1920′s acoustic guitars by C.F. Martin and Co., center – acoustic guitar by Gibson

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A Ram Rod 12 string Acoustic guitar by Taylor, 1980s

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Gold records

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A Jerry Garcia electric guitar by Gibson. (L-5 S) Circa 1974

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Color photos

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Jerry Garcia color photo. circa 1968

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Jerry Garcia paintings, this one “Footprints in the Sands of Time” signed and limited edition. 1990s

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A Ram Rod Shurtliff Washburn banjo, circa 1980s

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Ram Rod custom made leather jacket

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Ram Rod Harley Davidson Sportster/ Superglide motorcycle, 1971. Background – paintings by Jerry Garcia

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Merry Pranksters/Grateful Dead concert poster. Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco, Oct. 31, 1966

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Project Homeless Connect receives national 2007 Acts of Caring Legacy Award

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Judith Klain, second from left, accepts recognation as Director of San Francisco Project Connect, with Barbara Garcia, Director of San Francisco Community Health Programs within the Department of Health; Barbara Garcia, Director of Community Health Programs, San Francisco Department of Public Health; Colleen Landkamer, President, National Association of Counties (NACo). Seen at far left is Preston V. Lee, Jr, Director Industry Relations for Freddie Mac which sponsored the event

An organization representing the nation’s 3,066 counties has awarded Project Homeless Connect the 2007 Acts of Caring Legacy Award for Excellence and Innovation.

Project Homeless Connect, modeled in 107 American cities, began in San Francisco which is both a City and a County. The program offers centralized services to homeless persons from any public or private organization or individual willing to participate.

The award is giving annually by the National Associations of Counties, founded in 1935, which remains the only national group focused on county governments, needs, and achievements deemed worthy of consideration by other counties.

“We are incredibly honored that the National Association of Counties has recognized our efforts to address the suffering of, and in many cases end, homelessness, efforts that have inspired municipalities across the country” notes San Francisco PHC Director Judith Klain.

“Our program relies on 90% volunteer and in-kind support, and we owe our program’s success to our volunteers and partner businesses.”

Klain, with Barbara Garcia, Director of Community Health Programs, San Francisco Department of Public Health, accepted the award at the April 27th event held in Washington, D.C. NACo and Freddie Mac representatives presented Project Homeless Connect with a crystal award along with a $1,500 contribution.

Used as a national best practice model, San Francisco’s PHC program is now being implemented in 26 states including Oregon, Nevada, Texas, Missouri, New York and Florida. PHC programs are even in place in Canada, Puerto Rico and Australia.

“However, even the original San Francisco program is evolving rapidly, with a first-ever Bayview District event scheduled for Friday, June 8th, 2006,” noted Klain.

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City and San Francisco State University partner to address declining African-American population in San Francisco

From the Mayor’s Office of Communications

Today Mayor Gavin Newsom announced a partnership with San Francisco State’s College of Ethnic Studies to provide research assistance and analysis in support of the City’s effort to preserve the current African-American population and look at ways to attract new African-American residents and businesses.

Over the past several years San Francisco has seen a steep decline in the number of African-Americans. Whilethe decline generally reflects a similar trend experienced in other Bay Area cities and other urban areas around thecountry, the rate of decline in SF exceeds other jurisdictions with similar demographic and characteristics.

“This is an issue of deep concern to my administration,” said Mayor Newsom.

“African-Americans have made and continue to make important contributions to this City so to sit back and watch while their numbers continue todwindle is simply unacceptable.”

District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell notes, “San Francisco is working toward creating a climate that is welcoming and encouraging to African-Americans and that helps to foster African-American businesses.”

The scope of work for San Francisco State will include an analysis of census and other data to get a better pictureof who is leaving and where they are going; it will also include a survey of best practices in other jurisdictions and surveys of current and former African-American residents of the city.

“We felt strongly that we needed a partnership that could bring academic rigor to the research phase and objectivity to the recommendation phase,” said Mayor’s Office of Community Development Director, Fred Blackwell.

“The College of Ethnic Studies is a perfect match on both of those fronts,” added Blackwell.

“San Francisco State is proud to be a part of this important effort,” stated Kenneth Monteiro, Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies.

“We are glad to see that the Mayor’s Office is taking it seriously and we are very excited to be
able to lend our expertise.”

Once the research phase is complete Mayor Newsom and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell will convene a Task Force to work over the summer to look at the data and develop a set of recommendations for the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors.

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BUSINESS: One Brick joins Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans

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San Francisco-headquartered nonprofit, One Brick, is holding its first national volunteer trip, joining the efforts of Habitat for Humanity as it helps rebuild St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans.

Volunteers from One Brick’s four regional chapters, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC will all travel to New Orleans from May 6-11, to spend a week helping with reconstruction projects in one of the areas most affected by Hurricane Katrina.

One Brick sources volunteers for local non-profit organizations by creating a unique social and flexible volunteer environment for those interested in making a tangible difference in the community. The New Orleans project marks the first national project undertaken.

“New Orleans is starting to look forward to a future again, but there is a huge amount of urgent work that still needs to be done,” said Dave Shefferman, Co-founder of One Brick San Francisco.

“Our goal is to bring volunteers together from around the country, so we can assist Habitat for Humanity, at least in a small way, with the vital work they’re doing day in, day out, to help the people of New Orleans.”

Project details:

Volunteers from each of One Brick’s 4 chapters will be joining Habitat for Humanity’s St. Bernard Build Project from May 6 – 11.

They will be staying at, a volunteer camp located in Violet, Louisiana, in St. Bernard Parish. Since June 1, 2006, Camp Hope — formerly W. Smith, Jr. Elementary School — has housed volunteers assisting residents in their recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Business Wire

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JERSEY BOYS – Smashing Records At The Curran Theatre

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

JERSEY BOYS – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons landed as a smash-hit success at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre on December 10, 2006. Stepping into the spotlight at the final curtain call, two of the original Jersey Boys – Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio – another one of those “Only in San Francisco” happenings. The champagne corks must still be flying because the show has been extended through September. JERSEY BOYS and its San Francisco cast – is the singular most amazing piece of entertainment you are likely to find in The City right now and for more seasons to come. There are standing ovations during the acts! The performances are superb, rivaling the original Broadway cast, maybe the Four Seasons. In the guise of a “musical”, JERSEY BOYS is the working definition of Theatre.

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WALK LIKE A MAN – Christopher Kale Jones, Erich Bergen, Deven May, Michael Ingersoll

As Frankie Valli, Christopher Kale Jones has the true vocal chops of a Tenor Pop Star. Warmed up and in full throttle by the introduction of “Sherry“, Jones captures Valli’s signature falsetto with full-calendar authority. Not the heady tones of the vibrato-laden countertenor (or “male soprano”), Christopher’s high Pop/Treble is solid, totally secure, hot and inviting. Jones has the authentic easy-sweet and inviting presence of the edgy and elegant ’60s Lead Pop Singer.

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JERSEY BOYS – Michael Ingersoll, Christopher Kale Jones, Erich Bergen, Deven May

In an entirely other vocal strata, keeping his voice in a normal placement throughout an exquisite solo, “Cry For Me“, Erich Bergen is the perfect choice for the role of songwriter Bob Gaudio. Bergen radiates steady and reserved confidence of the multi-gifted baritone member who claims to not give a damn about “the Jersey neighborhood”, eventually leaving the singer’s spotlight and concentrating on such masterful compositions as “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You“.

When Frankie and Bob are finally getting it at that DeVito (Deven May) has ruined them financially, that the big-suited “bosses” are wanting their money, the two come to a private understanding.

Bob Gaudio: [To Frankie Valli] Maybe we should make an investment.
FV: In what?
BG: Us.
FV: What do you mean?
BG: Well, you got the voice. I got the songs.
FV: Yeah, so?
BG: So, we make a partnership. I give you half of everything I write, you give me half of everything you record outside the group.
FV: OK, I’m in.
BG: Great! So, should we like have somebody draw up a contract?
FV: What, you mean sign a piece of paper from a lawyer?
BG: I guess.
FV: You want to do this thing?
BG: Yeah, I just mean….
FV: So we do it! You want a contract? [FV offers his hand to BG.] Here. A Jersey contract. [They shake.] Hey! Things work out – think we could talk about a saxophone?
BG: Hey! If things work out, we can talk about a whole horn section.

This sound of this quartet sparkles because these four singers are matched perfectly. When cut down to a trio for “Stay“, the mellower tones of Michael Ingersoll (as Nick Massi) anchor the flow of the song. Later in Act II, Ingersoll delivers a fabulous monologue in which he details the hygienic habits of the group’s creator, Tommy DeVito – “For ten years!” As the hotel roommate, Nick has endured DeVito’s obsession with usurping every available towel while consuming those teeny bars of soap, yet not changing his underwear for three days while double-ironing his dress shirts. As with the songs, Michael Ingersoll’s monologue received a round of well-deserved applause. Ingersoll’s speaking and singing voice is beautiful; his presence on stage is sturdy, his sense of humor is light and dry. We feel his basic truth for leaving the group – he needs to be a father to his children.

Deven May is brilliant as Tommy DeVito. As the thrust behind the creation of The Four Seasons, the beefy Deven May is clearly “the heavy”, a sort of in-the-ballpark “guido”, with a beautiful baritone voice and a very handsome mug. His character is an obvious schmuck; he is the cause and central core of the group’s hardships – and a classic version of the guy you love to hate. In the group’s early days with DeVito constantly changing its name (including Frankie Castelluccio becoming Frankie Valli) and booking them into every dive and bowling alley, “The Lovers” wind up at a joint called The Four Seasons – its name ablaze in red and blue neon. “Look at that!” declares the awe-struck DeVito. “It’s a sign!”

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JERSEY BOYS – The Four Seasons

JERSEY BOYS is a clear sign that well-written material withstands the Test of Time. The music of Bob Gaudio and the lyrics of Bob Crewe (played by John Altieri) are timeless, straight from the garden, motivating, romantic, danceable and quickly taken to heart. Frankie Valli says Jersey Boys is a taste of reality. “It’s about four guys that grew up in a certain way, in a certain period of time who – with all odds against them – became successful.” It makes total sense when you hear the music of The Four Seasons sung by these four fresh and new equally studly gents. Jersey Boys is not a nostalgic look back, or a PBS fund-raiser, nor an obligatory retro-fitted musical dinosaur demanding attention.

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JERSEY BOYS – The Finale

Bob Gaudoni spoke about a friend who came to see the show and exclaimed, “You know, I think this show is going to be bigger than you guys were.” Gaudoni’s response? “Terrific!”

Given its simple and effective choreography by Sergio Trujillo and under the vital and meticulous direction of two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff – JERSEY BOYS is working its “way back to you”.

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TEAM JERSEY BOYS – (left to right) Rick Elice (book), Bob Gaudio (composer), Marshall Brickman (book), Des McAnuff (director)

Jersey Boys has been extended through September 2007. Your eyes will adore them!
To order tickets on-line: JERSEY BOYS

See Seán’s recent articles and interviews:

See Seán’s recent articles and reviews:

LA VIE EN ROSE (La Môme) – Biography of Edith Piaf A Sensation at the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival
SPIDER-MAN 3, An All-American Cinematic Marvel
RIGOLETTO – SF OPERA Broadcasts on Classical 102.1 KDFC
JERSEY BOYS – Smashing Records in SAN FRANCISCO
NORMA SHEARER – Headlines the 12th ANNUAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL
DON QUIXOTE – An Impossible Dream at SF Ballet
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall
JEANETTE MacDONALD – First Lady of “San Francisco”
An Interview with PASCAL MOLAT – Principal Soloist, San Francisco Ballet
TERRA HAUTE – An Interview with The Stars, John Hutchinson and Elias Escobedo

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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 AllExperts.com . 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: seanmartinfield@att.net.

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Damaged connector to collapsed MacArthur maze open in 7 to 10 days, reports California Governor Schwarzenegger

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File Photo by Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photographer

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced on Wednesday that the damaged connector from Interstate Highway 80 to Interstate Highway 880 in the MacArthur Maze in Emeryville will be fully open to traffic within 7 to 10 days.

Speaking at a news conference in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger said engineers have determined that the lower deck that bore the brunt of the collapse can be repaired and does not have to be scrapped and rebuilt.

In an effort to further speed repairs, the governor issued a directive to the California Department of Transportation to use incentive-based contracts.

According to a press release issued by his office, Schwarzenegger told reporters, “Progress on repairing the collapsed freeway connectors is moving at lightning speed. By creating immediate action and cutting the red tape, traffic will flow sooner, so we can move goods and people and protect California’s economic power.”

Schwarzenegger said, “I thank all of the state agencies and local partners for their quick response and I also appreciate the patience of Bay Area motorists during the repairs.”

The explosion early Sunday morning collapsed a section of Interstate Highway 580 near Oakland onto a lower deck, which was the Highway 80 to Highway 880 connector ramp below, causing the worst Bay Area transportation disaster since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

If all goes according to plan, the two-lane Highway 880 connector ramp will only have been closed for 15 days or less since following the fiery tanker-truck crash.

Bay City News

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STREET VIOLENCE: Dead before the clock strikes midnight

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Police are investigating a homicide that occurred around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night, San Francisco police dispatch said today.

Officers responded to reports of a shooting at the intersection of 26th and Harrison streets, where they found the victim, dispatchers said. He had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.

The victim is described at this time as a Hispanic man in his 20s, according to police dispatchers.

Bay City News

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PHOTOGRAPHY – San Francisco prances in line for Conan O’Brien

THROUGH THE LENS OF DAVID TOERGE

SAN FRANCISCO PRANCES IN LINE FOR CONAN O’BRIEN

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Ticket holders waited in line 3 deep and three blocks long to get into the Orpheum Theater May 2, 2007, for the taping of NBC’s Conan O’Brien Late Late Show.

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Ticket holders sporting their favorite hair prance to the back of the line.

FEDERAL PHLOGGING

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Steel workers erect the skeleton of the new Federal Building in downtown SF. photographed January 29, 2004.

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The new federal building sits on the corner of Mission and 6th streets but its visual impact is felt from many blocks around.

It sits there, a cold unfeeling building much like the bureaucracy contained within it’s walls. It seems omnipresent, like the federal government it houses, always there and always watching over it’s people.

Thom Mayne, an LA architect has built a rather impressive structure commissioned by the General Services Administration with a decade old program conceived to eliminate boring, tired, and unimaginative federal buildings across the country. The problem, in my opinion, is that he went way too far in “trying to be imaginative” and doing things for sake of being creative.

The perforated metal skin that covers one half of the south facing side looks like the screen door of an Appalachian shack. I can’t wait to see it in ten years. On the north side, there are vertical, skinny panes of green glass jutting out perpendicular to the actual windows.

Those windows actually open too, a rarity in modern office buildings. Too bad that the view is that of sixth street also known affectionately as the “wine country”. On a good note, the “ Mayne attraction” is very eco-friendly. Gentle breezes flow through the building eliminating the need for air conditioning and the steel panels on the exterior act like a warming blanket enveloping the entire structure.

It just seems to be like the city’s sore thumb building visible from everywhere. Of course, this architectural marvel (said with a slightly sarcastic tone) will soon be completely outdone when those HUGE green glassed towers are completed. It’s beginning to look a lot like Kuala Lumpur in this city. Didn’t there used to be a height limit here?

The Thom Mayne federal building has become an obsession with me. It has turned into a love-hate relationship.

I have tried to photograph it from every conceivable angle but the light is rarely good on it and the security guards don’t like me taking pictures fearing me to be some kind of terrorist. No, not me. I just hate your building. No, I love your building. No, I’m just confused just like they want me.

THE SAN FRANCISCO WAY OF A SUNNY DAY APRIL 28 2007

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If you found yourself wondering where all the people were on Saturday -A great many could be found enjoying the beautiful weather in Dolores Parkwith a City view to match.

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Someone who prefers the shade in the hammock gets a helping hand from another tree dweller.

HOBART BUILDING A SAN FRANCISCO JEWEL APRIL 26 2007

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The HOBART building on Market at Montgomery was designed in 1914 by Willis Polk the leading architect in San Francisco after the Great Quake of ’06. He designed mostly residences with this building being one of his only office structures. Today, it is surrounded by it’s contemporaries but is still seen as a jewel today and is also a national landmark.

GOLDEN GATE PARK EASTER LILY GOOD FRIDAY 2007

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Good Friday 2007 a lily of the Cala variety at San Francisco Golden Gate Park

SPRINTIME FOR PARROTS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO EMBARCADERO

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Spring fever hits the famous parrots of North Beach as two find a little cozy comfort in a tree today near Embarcadero 2.

SUNSET BREAKS THROUGH RAINY DAY AT OCEAN BEACH

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A recent Tuesday at Ocean Beach after a wet afternoon gave way to a beautiful sunset. The man pictured is trying to regain his hold on shredded plastic washed up on the shore.

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When David Toerge left a career in photojournalism that had spanned over twelve years and started in a new direction of commercial photography he blended the editorial style with a more corporate look. David led the way in that new style garnering many awards for his work. Communications Arts has honored him over six times. Based in San Francisco, David shoots projects on location all over the US for various corporations and a multitude of magazines and always brings back great images. He has a keen sense of light, color, and composition and delivers to his clients assignments done with passion. He has climbed bridges hundreds of feet in the air, shot in caves hundreds of feet below, dived with sharks and driven the track with Indy drivers. He has shot earthquakes and firestorms but loves walking the streets with his camera just photographing the everyday life of his city. Visit Toerge Photography at toerge.com, email david@toerge.com, or telephone 415-730-3824

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Medical Examiner confirms suicide by killer of San Francisco Police Officer Bryan Tuvera

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Photo By John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

A San Francisco medical examiner’s investigation has confirmed speculation that the killer of a San Francisco police officer turned his gun on himself, contradicting original reports that police killed him.

Marlon Ruff, a 33-year-old San Bruno man, used the same gun to kill San Francisco police Officer Bryan Tuvera in a Sunset district garage two days before Christmas last year as he used to take his own life, according to the medical examiner’s report.

Police originally reported that an unnamed officer who followed Tuvera into the garage had shot Ruff in the head.

The shooting occurred at about 8:15 p.m. after police followed Ruff into the garage of an occupied home in the 1600 block of 25th Avenue.

According to police, after leading Tuvera up to the home, Ruff kicked down a side door to the home’s garage and ran inside. When Tuvera followed Ruff through the broken door, Ruff opened fire on him, fatally striking Tuvera, 28, in the head.

Another officer came through the door and opened fire, but it was the bullet from Ruff’s gun that led to Ruff’s death. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to state prison officials, Ruff was wanted for escaping a minimum-security work camp in Humboldt County. He was rated a low security risk even though he was convicted of a violent armored car robbery.

Bay City News

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An issue returning passion to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom re-election

BELIEVE IT OR WHAT
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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher

Look for color to return to Gavin Newsom’s face… Finally, his supporters (most San Franciscans) can feel passion again for his re-election as San Francisco mayor… Long time supporters still had their shoulders to the wheel… But the passion was evaporating… There’s no one else, a spotty yet echoing resignation…

It’s the streets, stupid… Paraphrasing Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign synthesis of voter primary concern… Streets are vile and root cause fatigue weights the caring… Even cum-by-yah District Attorney Kamala Harris made noises this week about now(!) sending prosecutors to real courts for quality of life prosecutions…

Comes now The Gav’s insistence on replacing existing no-judge, no-prosecutor community courts with real judges presiding over neighborhood courts. Modeled after New York where impressive number of defendants actually show up for rehabilitation or community services ordered…

That engenders passion…

Today Newsom’s homeless czarina Angela Alioto and The Gav convene a City Hall media roundtable on the passion issue which handed Newsom the mayoralty first time around… The idea of ‘care not cash,’ then despised by entitlement grant of immuners… It worked… It worked politically and it worked in housing the homeless… So well it became world model…

Huge strokes for them… Go away to the naysayers…

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CHANGING BEATS

Suzanne Herrel, former San Francisco Chronicle City Hall beat reporter now editing SFGate, is inches away from becoming a San Francisco police officer…

Lane Kasselman, deputy director of policy development for the Newsom administration, soon leaves for national press office of Hillary Clinton…

Charlie Goodyear, another Chron City Hall beat memory and now Sam Singer Associate, smiles spontaneously noting he left the Chronicle because “you can see the way newspapers are going”… Ouch… Goodyear is a direct descendant of Michael de Young Chronicle owner…

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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 ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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Movie theater quality entertainment added to San Francisco Hilton guest rooms

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The San Francisco Hilton Hotel has launched 30 home theatre-like “sight and sound” guest rooms, hotel spokesmen announced today

“Travelers desire more digital entertainment options in the hotel guest room than ever before” said Hilton CEO Tom Keltner. Twenty-five such theatre rooms also are available at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

“Featuring a wide-screen, high definition, television, a digital surround-sound system, and an easy-to-use connectivity panel for music, videos, games and laptops, the sight and sound rooms will enable guests to connect, watch, and experience their favorite entertainment,” said Tim Harvey, chief information officer, Hilton Hotels Corporation.

“This cutting-edge, fully enabled high definition system with a stunning selection of high definition movies, TV channels, and interactive menus, features home theatre-like qualities of surround sound from Yamaha, a 42-inch plasma screen, as well as sports packages and Monster Cables for easy connectivity.”

Business Wire

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San Francisco Bay Area public transit use swells – Oakland joins with CHP for maze collapse patrol

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Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums

Bay Area Rapid Transit ridership swelled by more than 13,000 people during Tuesday morning’s commute, according to BART officials.

According to BART, 158,000 people boarded BART from the start of service until noon Tuesday, marking a nine percent increase compared to the average of 145,000 commuters during the same period.

According to BART spokesman Jim Allison, the figures for the Tuesday evening commute period won’t be available until midday today.

Since a portion of the MacArthur Maze collapsed following a fiery tanker crash Sunday morning in Emeryville, Bay Area leaders have urged commuters onto public transit to ease potential freeway backups. On Monday, transit was free across the Bay Area.

On Tuesday, commuters returned to paying for their transit tickets, but that didn’t stop them from filing onto BART trains. BART officials have been running longer trains and more frequent trips Monday and Tuesday and increased service is expected to continue today.

BART is lengthening trains by adding cars and is increasing the number of train trips during the peak commute period. For example, all trains of the Dublin/Pleasanton to San Francisco International Airport line will be 10 cars long and longer trains will service riders on other lines as needed.

On an average weekday, 340,000 people take BART. According to a statement from Allison, without BART, the number of cars on the Bay Bridge during morning commute would double from 30,000 to 60,000.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said Tuesday that he’s asking for the City Council to pass an emergency resolution declaring a state of emergency in his city due to the collapse of a major section of the MacArthur Maze.

If it’s approved, the resolution will make it possible for Oakland to get reimbursed by the state and federal governments for special costs stemming from increased police services and other city expenses related to the collapse of the freeway section.

Dellums said, “I expect this will pass unanimously” at tonight’s City Council meeting.

Joining Dellums at a news conference on the steps of City Hall, De La Fuente said, “We’re prepared tonight to support this so the city can respond as quickly as possible” to traffic issues and other problems associated with the freeway section collapse.

Police Chief Wayne Tucker said the city needs to approve the resolution to apply for reimbursement for emergency relief costs.

Tucker said the resolution also will give the city emergency power to respond quickly to any urgent problems and circumvent normal decision processes that can delay action for weeks.

A state of emergency has already been declared by Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties as well as by the state.

Some of the traffic that normally would flow on the MacArthur Maze has been diverted to Oakland city streets until repairs are made to ramps connecting Interstate Highway 80 with Interstate Highway 580 and Interstate Highway 880.

California Highway Patrol officials said Tuesday that they will provide extra officers to help the Oakland Police Department control increased traffic on Oakland streets that’s resulted from the collapse of a section of the MacArthur Maze.

CHP Capt. Jim Leonard said his agency will provide two officers on both West Grand Avenue and Seventh Street during the morning and afternoon commute hours for at least the next 60 days.

Joined by Oakland police officials at a news conference at CHP offices in Oakland, Leonard said, “Our concern is the volume of traffic as there could be up to 70,000 cars a day” on city streets while the MacArthur Maze section is repaired.

The extra CHP officers will focus on traffic enforcement, traffic mitigation and crime prevention, he said.

“We want to help motorists, citizens and businesses and provide safety for children and pedestrians,” Leonard said.

Bay City News

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STREET VIOLENCE: Another Market Street Murder

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Police said today that a 31-year-old man was murdered Monday night in San Francisco over the robbery of a video game system.

According to police Sgt. Steve Mannina, the killing suspect had taken a video game consol from the victim near the intersection of Seventh and Market streets just after 9 p.m.

One of two women who were walking with the victim ran after the robber and confronted him.

She yanked the video game system from his hands just as her other two friends arrived.

According to Mannina, an argument broke out and the robber took out a knife and stabbed the man.

The women took the victim, identified as Hani Attia, to Saint Francis Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police are still searching for the suspect.

Bay City News

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‘The Da Vinci Code’ Church reveals 600 year old musical code

A Scottish church which featured in the bestselling novel “The Da Vinci Code” has revealed another mystery hidden in secret code for almost 600 years.

A father and son who became fascinated by symbols carved into the chapel’s arches say they have deciphered a musical score encrypted in them.

Thomas Mitchell, a 75-year-old musician and ex-Royal Air Force code breaker, and his composer and pianist son Stuart, described the piece as “frozen music.”

“The music has been frozen in time by symbolism,” Mitchell told European media, which details the 27-year project to crack the chapel’s code.

“It was only a matter of time before the symbolism began to thaw out and begin to make sense to scientific and musical perception.”

The 15th Century Rosslyn Chapel, about seven miles south of the Scottish capital Edinburgh, featured in the last part of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” — one of the most successful novels of all time which has been turned into a Hollywood film.

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Stuart Mitchell said he and his father were intrigued by 13 intricately carved angel musicians on the arches of the chapel and by 213 carved cubes depicting geometric-type patterns.

“They are of such exquisite detail and so beautiful that we thought there must be a message here.”

Years of research led the Mitchells to an ancient musical system called cymatics, or Chladni patterns, which are formed by sound waves at specific pitches.

The two men matched each of the patterns on the carved cubes to a Chladni pitch, and were able finally to unlock the melody.

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MENS FASHION: How to wear white in San Francisco without looking like Colonel Sanders

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Photos by Ethan Hill

A dark vest adds formality to a light suit. Opt for plain cotton to match the rest of the ensemble.

On Akiva Elstein, twenty-eight, restaurateur, Employees Only: Two-button cotton jacket ($615) by Calvin Klein Collection; cotton vest ($305) by Paul Smith; cotton shirt ($165) by Gant, exclusively for Jeffrey’s; silk tie ($125) by John Varvatos.

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The texture of the pants and jacket can be different — feels less formal that way.

On Carter Jackson, thirty, actor, writer, and theater producer: Two-button cotton jacket ($1,750), cotton shirt ($495), and cotton trousers ($875) by Giorgio Armani; silk tie ($91) by Oliver Spencer; leather shoes ($290) by Paul Smith.

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If a suit jacket seems too formal (or inhibits your cricket swing), layer a classic cream-colored cardigan over a cotton oxford.

On Jeff Forney, thirty-eight, photographer: Cashmere shawl cardigan ($398), cotton piqué vest ($165), and cotton shirt ($145), Polo by Ralph Lauren; cotton jeans ($270) by Diesel; suede shoes ($325) by Ralph Lauren Footwear.

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Complement an all-white suit with a bold but dashing print shirt.

On Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett, forty, co-owner, Tea & Sympathy tearoom: One-button linen jacket (part of suit, $1,190) and cotton shirt ($350) by Etro; wool tie ($118) by Hickey.

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A fine pale-gray mattress stripe is the ideal way to conceal the inevitable wrinkles in a cotton suit.

On Thomas Fuchs, thirty-eight, illustrator: Two-button cotton jacket ($1,200) by Prada; cotton shirt ($500) by Thom Browne; silk tie ($135) by John Varvatos.

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Contrast a white jacket with a pair of pale-colored pants. Icy blues in particular will soften the edge of pure white.

On Tavit Geudelekian, twenty-three, video-game producer, Atari: One-button cotton jacket ($1,625) and cotton shirt ($550) by Dolce & Gabbana; cotton trousers ($271) by Oliver Spencer; leather shoes ($420) by Tod’s.

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Pair similar but not identical hues (like pale blues and grays) or go full contrast with dark denim.

On Jackson, left: Three-button cotton jacket ($570) and cotton trousers ($230) by C. P. Company; cotton shirt ($89) by Gant; leather shoes ($1,395) by J. Lobb.

On Elstein, right: Two-button cotton jacket ($2,690) and cotton vest ($490) by Bottega Veneta; cotton shirt ($65) by J.Crew; cotton jeans ($160) by Diesel; leather boots ($250) by Bally.

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The golden rules of stripes: Never more than two at a time, and make sure the finer stripes are on your shirt.

On Jollyon Carter, twenty-three, artist: Two-button jacket ($1,646) and cotton shirt ($325) by Gucci; cotton 501 jeans ($46) by Levi’s.

Casting by M. L. Mccarthy and Suze Lee for urban productions. Grooming by Vanessa Mitchell for privé. set design by John Power.

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PHOTOGRAPHY – Federal Phlogging

THROUGH THE LENS OF DAVID TOERGE

FEDERAL PHLOGGING

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Steel workers erect the skeleton of the new Federal Building in downtown SF. photographed January 29, 2004.

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The new federal building sits on the corner of Mission and 6th streets but its visual impact is felt from many blocks around.

It sits there, a cold unfeeling building much like the bureaucracy contained within it’s walls. It seems omnipresent, like the federal government it houses, always there and always watching over it’s people.

Thom Mayne, an LA architect has built a rather impressive structure commissioned by the General Services Administration with a decade old program conceived to eliminate boring, tired, and unimaginative federal buildings across the country. The problem, in my opinion, is that he went way too far in “trying to be imaginative” and doing things for sake of being creative.

The perforated metal skin that covers one half of the south facing side looks like the screen door of an Appalachian shack. I can’t wait to see it in ten years. On the north side, there are vertical, skinny panes of green glass jutting out perpendicular to the actual windows.

Those windows actually open too, a rarity in modern office buildings. Too bad that the view is that of sixth street also known affectionately as the “wine country”. On a good note, the “ Mayne attraction” is very eco-friendly. Gentle breezes flow through the building eliminating the need for air conditioning and the steel panels on the exterior act like a warming blanket enveloping the entire structure.

It just seems to be like the city’s sore thumb building visible from everywhere. Of course, this architectural marvel (said with a slightly sarcastic tone) will soon be completely outdone when those HUGE green glassed towers are completed. It’s beginning to look a lot like Kuala Lumpur in this city. Didn’t there used to be a height limit here?

The Thom Mayne federal building has become an obsession with me. It has turned into a love-hate relationship.

I have tried to photograph it from every conceivable angle but the light is rarely good on it and the security guards don’t like me taking pictures fearing me to be some kind of terrorist. No, not me. I just hate your building. No, I love your building. No, I’m just confused just like they want me.

THE SAN FRANCISCO WAY OF A SUNNY DAY APRIL 28 2007

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If you found yourself wondering where all the people were on Saturday -A great many could be found enjoying the beautiful weather in Dolores Parkwith a City view to match.

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Someone who prefers the shade in the hammock gets a helping hand from another tree dweller.

HOBART BUILDING A SAN FRANCISCO JEWEL APRIL 26 2007

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The HOBART building on Market at Montgomery was designed in 1914 by Willis Polk the leading architect in San Francisco after the Great Quake of ’06. He designed mostly residences with this building being one of his only office structures. Today, it is surrounded by it’s contemporaries but is still seen as a jewel today and is also a national landmark.

GOLDEN GATE PARK EASTER LILY GOOD FRIDAY 2007

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Good Friday 2007 a lily of the Cala variety at San Francisco Golden Gate Park

SPRINTIME FOR PARROTS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO EMBARCADERO

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Spring fever hits the famous parrots of North Beach as two find a little cozy comfort in a tree today near Embarcadero 2.

SUNSET BREAKS THROUGH RAINY DAY AT OCEAN BEACH

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A recent Tuesday at Ocean Beach after a wet afternoon gave way to a beautiful sunset. The man pictured is trying to regain his hold on shredded plastic washed up on the shore.

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When David Toerge left a career in photojournalism that had spanned over twelve years and started in a new direction of commercial photography he blended the editorial style with a more corporate look. David led the way in that new style garnering many awards for his work. Communications Arts has honored him over six times. Based in San Francisco, David shoots projects on location all over the US for various corporations and a multitude of magazines and always brings back great images. He has a keen sense of light, color, and composition and delivers to his clients assignments done with passion. He has climbed bridges hundreds of feet in the air, shot in caves hundreds of feet below, dived with sharks and driven the track with Indy drivers. He has shot earthquakes and firestorms but loves walking the streets with his camera just photographing the everyday life of his city. Visit Toerge Photography at toerge.com, email david@toerge.com, or telephone 415-730-3824

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Disaster field training exercises credited for integrated regional response to San Francisco Bay Bridge maze collapse

MONDAY COMMUTE LIGHTER THAN EXPECTED – TANKER DRIVER CRIMINAL RECORD CITED

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
Photo By John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Disaster training sessions prior to collapse of the MacArthur Maze Sunday smoothed the way for integrated regional response, Mayor Gavin Newsom stated in San Francisco today.

Field exercises conducted over the past year familiarized state, county and local emergency service providers with one another as well as protocols for disaster response used by each agency, Newsom related in an 11:30 a.m. San Francisco City Hall press conference.

The training paid off Sunday, he said.

“The value of our field exercises paid off immeasureably,” reported the San Francisco mayor.

“Everyone recognized everybody. Everyone had protocols well established.

“There was familiarty to the effort and that was because of the regional training that we had been doing, both inhouse exercises that we call ‘tabletop’ exercises, as well as the field exercises.

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Photo from the Office of the California Governor

“That’s important – the notion of constancy. You got new players. You got a new mayor in Oakland. You got a new mayor in San Jose. You got a new directors of emergency services.

“So we’re constantly have to train, retain, train.”

No breakdowns in communication occured Sunday as did during a California tsunami warning in June, 2005, Newsom stated.

Laura Phillips, Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, echoed the value of training.

“It’s the drills. It’s the tabletops. It’s the relationships in advance of emergency, knowing each other, knowing how to communicate with each other effectively — I think that’s really the key to this,” Phillips noted.

“It’s a marriage somewhat in the super-urban area in working together.. and really pull together effectively and really turn things on.”

Workers began stabilizing the damaged sections of the interchange Sunday evening, California Department of Transportation spokesman Bob Haus said today.

“It sounds kind of ironic, but … before they tear it down, they have to shore it up,” Haus said.

“As soon as they clear the wreckage from the top deck, then they can clear the wreckage from the bottom deck” and see what work needs to be done,” he said.

Caltrans estimates the cost of the demolition work will run around $2 million, agency spokesman John Cunliffe said.

Prior major emergency repair projects such as construction on state Highway 1 at Devil’s Slide in San Mateo County have ended up being fully funded by the federal government, he said. But it’s too early to know how the costs of the Maze repair project will be divided, he said.

A connector ramp in the Maze that moves traffic from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 collapsed after a tanker carrying around 8,600 gallons of gasoline slammed into a guardrail and ignited around 3:45 a.m. Sunday.

The tanker was headed westbound on Interstate Highway 80 toward southbound Interstate Highway 880 when it crashed and set off a blaze so intense that a stretch of the Highway 80 to Highway 580 connector around two-and-a-half football fields in length, above the ramp, gave way and tumbled onto the roadway below.

Haus didn’t want to estimate how long it would take crews to clear the wreckage from the lower ramp but said it was more than a matter of days.

Contractor Cleveland Wrecking, which has been working on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge retrofit project, pulled some of its equipment over to the Maze to help with demolition, Haus said.

Heat from the fire Sunday reached temperatures as high as 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if the section of Highway 880 where the collapsed section fell seems OK at first glance, structural engineers will still have to test the integrity of the steel throughout the roadway to see what repairs need to be made, he said.

That assessment can’t take place until the damaged roadway is cleared away and engineers can inspect what remains, Cunliffe said.

Additionally, estimates of the project’s cost and the timeline of repairs can’t be made until then, he added.

“There’s a lot of unknowns here,” Haus said. In a worst case scenario pillars that support the ramps would have to be replaced, adding to the cost of the project, he said.

On Sunday Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said the entire repair project could, “unofficially,” take months.

Haus said he believed the steel required for the project had been secured but had no estimate of the cost.

Caltrans secured an emergency contract Sunday evening to get to work right away on the repairs.

Some Caltrans workers have been pulled off other projects, but it doesn’t look like the agency will have to look for workers for this project from outside its current pool of staff. That said, “resources are not unlimited,” Cunliffe said.

The availability of steel could determine how quickly repairs are made to the portion of the MacArthur Maze that collapsed after a fuel tanker crashed and ignited Sunday morning, Caltrans Director Will Kempton also reported today.

“We will be searching the countryside for steel that will be used for the upper structure” that collapsed, Kempton told reporters at a briefing near the site of the crash and spectacular fire that reached temperatures as high as 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit.

He said, “You can’t just buy steel off the shelf at the hardware store.”

Kempton said Caltrans hopes to find a U.S. source for the steel needed for the project but will consider buying steel overseas if necessary.

He said Caltrans hopes to complete an assessment of the damage to the I-880 connector by the end of the day on Tuesday.

Kempton said he hopes the damage to the I-880 connector is “minimal,” in which case it could be repaired and reopened “in a relatively short period.”

But “all bets are off” if the damage is severe and there are structural problems, he said.

Kempton said Federal Highway Administration officials were at the explosion site today. He said he’s hopeful the officials will agree that the repair work is eligible for federal emergency relief funds.

He said members of California’s congressional delegation tentatively are expected to tour the site on Friday.

Kempton said Caltrans is assessing the strength of the I-880 connector in a variety of ways, including visual inspections, x-rays and gauging its tension to see what kinds of loads it can support.

“We won’t put people on an unsafe structure,” he said.

In related developments, both morning and evening commutes today were lighter than expected, officials reported.

And several news organizations are reporting tonight that James Mosqueda, the driver of the tanker truck involved in the MacArthur Maze collapse, struggled with drugs and has been convicted of a property-damage hit-and-run among more than a half dozen arrests and several convictions, citing court documents.

He was convicted in 1981 in Yolo County for burglary of an inhabited dwelling and in 1991 for residential burglary, according to reports.

He pleaded guilty in 1993 in Sacramento County to possessing hypodermic needles stemming from a 1993 police stop in which officers said that they found heroin and needles. He was sentenced to three years of probation.

Later in 1993, Woodland police arrested him in a parking lot on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine. No conviction is noted in the file.

He pleaded guilty in 1994 to receiving stolen computers and was sentenced to four years probation.

He was caught with drugs twice in 1996, the second time with heroin. He pleaded guilty to drug possession in Sacramento County as part of a plea bargain to serve two years and eight months in state prison.

Other arrests since 1974 include petty theft, possessing marijuana for sale, and carrying a loaded firearm. It was unclear if he was charged or convicted in any of those cases.

Mosqueda’s last criminal court record dates to 1996. In 2004, he appears to have tried to have the receiving stolen goods expunged from his record. The Sacramento County District Attorneys Office opposed the action.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer said Monday she will make a visit later this week to the portion of the MacArthur Maze that collapsed after a fuel tanker crashed and ignited Sunday morning.

Boxer will be joined by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and members of the California congressional delegation on the Friday visit, according to a statement from Boxer’s Web site. Boxer spent part of Monday in a conference call with Peters and the head of the Federal Highway Administration, Richard Capka.

See Related California Governor Schwarzenegger declares maze collapse state of emergency

Bay City News contributed to this report

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California Governor Schwarzenegger declares maze collapse state of emergency

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File Photo by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel


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Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

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Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today declared a state of emergency in order to reimburse local transit agencies for free public transit.

Schwarzenegger said the state would also provide funds to accelerate the reopening and restoration of the damaged infrastructure and to cover overtime costs for the California Highway Patrol and California Department of Transportation employees.

“We will take the same extraordinary measures the state took after the Northridge earthquake to ensure construction happens as quickly as possible,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement after issuing the declaration Sunday. “… the state will take every action possible to minimize the impact on commuters and repair the overpass as quickly as possible,” he said.

As part of the emergency declaration, the state will reimburse local public transportation agencies, including Bay Area Rapid Transit, AC Transit, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the $2.5 million it will cost to give rides away for free.

Schwarzenegger last nightalso praised the work of a local wreckage company that has already started to take parts of the destroyed roadway.

Following a site tour, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said that once a thorough analysis of the situation is in place, a plan will go forward with the goals of safety and efficiency in mind.

“We’re all in one in being grateful that no human life was lost in this situation,” he said.

Dellums said that as of now, people will need to seek other ways to get to work, find carpools and use public transportation. “Our hope is people will be patient, that they’ll deal with each other with dignity and patience,” he said.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom also spoke and said that local and state authorities can do as well or better in repairing the current devastation as the quick rebuilding of bridges and roads that occurred following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

However, he said that it’s going to be a difficult time for the upcoming days, weeks and even months.

As an example of progress, Newsom noted that while there is normally only one ferry making 13 trips between Alameda, Oakland and San Francisco, on Monday there will be 4 ferries making 52 total roundtrips during peak commute hours. Muni, which normally runs 70 lines at peak commute time, will run 79 lines on Monday.

Bay Area Rapid Transit will run longer trains all day Monday, adding more cars for increased capacity, according to BART spokesman Jim Allison. Additional trains between the Pleasant Hill and Montgomery Street stations, and the Daly City and Richmond stations, will run during commute hours, Allison said. BART riders will travel free of charge Monday and BART officials will meet Monday to determine plans for Tuesday.

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As parking at many BART stations is in high demand, Allison urged commuters to carpool or take the bus to BART stations and to arrive early or leave for work a little later, if possible. Parking will be free at BART stations, except for parking in reserved lots. BART police will enforce reserved parking regulations, according to Allison. BART recommends parking at North Concord/Martinez, Richmond, Coliseum/Oakland Airport, Hayward, South Hayward, Colma, South San Francisco, San Bruno and Millbrae parking lots.

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AC Transit buses will be operating on a normal schedule Monday and all available buses and personnel will be available, according to spokesman Clarence Johnson. All riders will travel for free, Johnson said. AC Transit does not have many extra buses or drivers available to substantially increase its service between the East Bay and San Francisco, Johnson said.

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However, he added, the current bus lines normally have between 40 and 50 percent of their capacity unfilled, and should be able to accommodate additional passengers tomorrow, Johnson said.

According to Johnson, bus lines into San Francisco will stop at all regular stops, but the buses may use alternate routes to avoid congestion on Interstate 80. Because many buses make more than one trip to San Francisco during the morning commute, later trips leaving the East Bay may be delayed if the bus has to use a longer route to return to the East Bay, Johnson said.

However, AC Transit plans to attempt to make all scheduled trips, even if they are delayed.

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Local routes may also be affected during the day on Monday by traffic that is diverted from the freeways onto local streets. According to Johnson, Monday’s evening commute from San Francisco to the East Bay will be significantly affected and bus lines that normally use eastbound Interstate 580 will be rerouted. There will also be additional buses available in San Francisco to try to keep the schedule on track for the afternoon commute, Johnson said.

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Alameda-Oakland Ferry service between Oakland and San Francisco will be doubled from 13 to 26 ferries for the morning and evening commutes, San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority spokeswoman Maggie Lynch said.

Passengers on using the SFMTA will also ride for free Monday.

Lynch also encouraged East Bay commuters to use the Casual Carpool Program in San Francisco during the afternoon rush hour. It is located on the east side of Beale Street between Howard and Folsom streets, and offers service to Hercules, Fairfield, Vallejo, North Berkeley, Orinda, Lafayette and Oakland/Lakeshore, according to Lynch.

The San Francisco Police Department at the SFMTA will monitor on-and off-ramps during the morning commute and will assist traffic flow at freeway entrances during the afternoon commute, Lynch said.

While the westbound roadways from Interstate Highway 580 and Interstate Highway 80 to the Bay Bridge remain open, drivers trying to reach eastbound Interstate Highway 580 from the Bay Bridge will have to find alternate routes, according to the California Highway Patrol.

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CHP officials today recommended several alternate routes for drivers traveling to locations throughout the Bay Area.

For drivers traveling from San Francisco to Hayward, take eastbound Interstate Highway 80 over the Bay Bridge to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

For drivers going from San Francisco to Walnut Creek: after the Bay Bridge, exit eastbound Interstate Highway 80 at West Grand Avenue, take a left on Northgate Avenue, then enter the on-ramp to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 towards state Highway 24, and take eastbound state Highway 24 to Interstate Highway 680.

Four other alternate routes from San Francisco to parts of the East Bay are recommended:

– Take eastbound Interstate Highway 80 and exit the Albany/Buchanan off-ramp, turn left under the freeway, left onto westbound Interstate Highway 80, and follow to eastbound Interstate Highway 580.

– Take southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the eastbound San Mateo Bridge (state Highway 92) to Interstate Highway 880 north or south.

– Take southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the eastbound Dumbarton Bridge (state Highway 84) to Interstate Highway 880 north or south.

– Take northbound U.S. Highway 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge on eastbound Interstate Highway 580.

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For drivers going from Richmond to San Jose: take westbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580, then take westbound Interstate Highway 980 to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

Going from Richmond to San Francisco, drivers can take westbound Interstate Highway 880 to the Bay Bridge without any detours.

Going from San Francisco to Sacramento, drivers can take eastbound Interstate Highway 880 to Sacramento without any detours.

Caltrans director Will Kempton said tonight that he hopes to begin reconstruction work for the collapsed section of the MacArthur Maze within a few days.

Kempton said demolition work has already begun and it’s expected to take a few more days.

He said Caltrans will also conduct an engineering analysis to determine the extent of the replacement work that will be needed.

“Once we can look at the (freeway) deck, we can make a better assessment of the work that will be needed,” Kempton said.

At this point, the destroyed section of highway in Oakland’s MacArthur Maze appears to be “pretty severely damaged,” he said.

Once the reconstruction work begins, workers will work around the clock, seven days a week, Kempton said.

But he said that at this point, he couldn’t estimate whether that would be weeks or months.

2007 MACARTHUR MAZE FREEWAY COLLAPSE

1989 CYPRESS FREEWAY COLLAPSE

See Related Disaster field training exercises credited for integrated regional response to San Francisco Bay Bridge maze collapse

KCBS and Bay City News

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San Francisco Film Festival goes online

‘INTERNATIONAL ONLINE’ BRINGS FESTIVAL FILMS TO WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE

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The San Francisco Film Society today announced six films now playing at the 50th San Francisco International Film Society will be available online.

Graham Leggat, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, and Gaurav Dhillon, Chief Executive Officer of Jaman, Inc., ‘a premier online community for world cinema,’ said the first International Online will focus on showcasing some of the Bay Areas most pre-eminent filmmakers, Robert Arnold, Les Blank and Rob Nilsson. The complete schedule of films and screening times can be found at jaman.com/festivals/sfiff

“The International Online is a ground breaking and visionary programming initiative synonymous with the San Francisco International Film Festival’s tradition of excellence,” said Gaurav Dhillon, CEO of Jaman, Inc. “We are extremely please to pay tribute to the pioneers of “social cinema” by showcase films from the vibrant San Francisco Bay Area film and media scene to Festival fans across the country and around the world.”

Unveiled as a new element of the landmark 50th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 26 – May 10), The International Online will offer online screenings of SFIFF feature films at better-than-DVD quality for viewing on Macs, PCs and home entertainment systems.

The six films selected for The International Online will be available worldwide for download to a limited number of viewers during an exclusive 24-hour window following their last SFIFF theatrical screening. Also, fans that register to view the International Online screenings will also be registered to win a 42” plasma TV from Jaman.

Schedule:
Thursday, May 3, Starting 9 am, EST
All in This Tea, directed by Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht (70 minutes, 2006). This absorbing documentary follows adventurer and world-renowned tea importer David Lee Hoffman as he travels through China in pursuit of the best handcrafted teas. After seeing this film, you’ll never drink a cup of tea the same way again.

Sunday, May 6 Starting 9 am, EST
The Key of G, directed by Robert Arnold (59 minutes, 2006). Robert Arnold’s moving documentary chronicles the life of a developmentally disabled 22-year-old who has difficulty integrating what he hears, sees and feels because the two halves of his brain do not communicate well.

The following four films for The International Online are recent works by Rob Nilsson who is featured in the Cinema By the Bay program, Carved Out of Pavement: The Work of Rob Nilsson.

Monday, May 7 Starting 9 am, EST
Winter Orange (73 minutes, 2000), set on a small island off the coast of Hiroshima focuses on a local resident torn between a desire to move to Tokyo and work in the theater or stay on the island with his wife who is expecting their first child.

Tuesday, May 8 Starting 9 am, EST
SAMT (72 minutes, 2001), shot in Jordan in collaboration with ZENID, a Jordanian social development institute run by Farah Daghistani. SAMT concerns a modern young woman named Ashtar who wishes to attend a youth conference and lies to her father in order to do so. In a broader context, it studies the role of women in Jordanian society.

Wednesday, May 9 Starting 9am, EST
Security (81 minutes, 2005), made for the Pacific Film Archive with the help of UC Berkeley students, examines the murder of a street person. The work leads to a broader exploration of the violence in Iraq and the nature of security in an insecure world.

Thursday, May 10 Starting 9 am, EST
Opening (85 minutes, 2006), an ensemble piece shot in three days about a diverse group of people confined to a Kansas City art gallery when tornadoes hit the city. Questions about art and its importance to particular communities are raised and explored.

For tickets and information go to www.sffs.org, call 925.866.9559 or visit the Main Ticket Outlet at the Sundance Cinemas Kabuki (1881 Post Street). For additional information telephone 415-561-5000.

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San Francisco Bay Area more than twice as humane to pets as other cities

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San Francisco Marina District Walkies

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2007) – The Bay Area ranks first in compassion for animals according to a new comparison of the largest U.S. cities, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced today.

The San Francisco Bay Area didn’t just win — it is more than twice as humane as the average large city. The Humane Index, an effort to determine America’s most humane city, ranked the nation’s largest 25 metropolitan areas.

“Our society’s treatment of animals has so many facets, and the Humane Index is an attempt to measure a wide range of conduct that has implications for animals. We hope the Index inspires individuals and entire communities to strive to do better to make the world a more merciful place for animals,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.

“This is a wonderful honor that I proudly accept on behalf of all the pet and animal lovers living in San Francisco,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

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Gavin Newsom
Photo by Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photographer

“Pets play a significant role in the culture and social landscape of our city. There is an undeniable love and respect for our pets that often gives them equal status as a beloved member of the family.

“From pet-friendly hotels to world-class veterinary facilities, we are a compassionate city dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and take great pride in being the best place in the country to live for animals and animal lovers alike.”

The first-ever Humane Index is comprised of a dozen factors selected to provide a basis for comparing the relative humaneness of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The Index includes topics related to pets, farm animals, wildlife, animals in entertainment and advocacy for animals and demonstrates that Americans extend their compassion beyond the millions of pets who share our homes.

The full results are available online at humaneindex.org . The interactive web site allows visitors to view details on each index item, see how various cities rank, compare two cities, and learn how they can take action to make their city more humane.

The Humane Index revealed several positive aspects about the treatment of animals in the Bay Area, which makes the top five in all but four categories and the top ten in all but two.

– Puppy savers. San Francisco is the top city in avoiding the cruelty of puppy mills, with only nine percent of pet stores selling puppies from commercial operations that breed dogs in shockingly poor conditions.

– Grabbing cameras, not shotguns. In California, there are 20.9 wildlife watchers for every hunter.

– Eating their veggies. The Bay Area places first for humane dining, with 40 vegetarian/vegan restaurants.

Seattle, Portland, Washington and San Diego follow San Francisco in order of humaneness. The HSUS examined data from the largest 25 metropolitan areas, the results of which are detailed in an interactive web site that allows visitors to view the details on each index item, see how various cities rank, compare two cities, and learn how they can take action to make their city more humane.

HSUS chief economist Jennifer Fearing conceived of and developed the Humane Index project over the last several years with research support from the Seattle-based Humane Research Council. The 2007 edition of the Humane Index is the first attempt to determine how America’s biggest metro areas—making up 41 percent of total U.S. population and including nearly 5,000 cities and towns—rank in terms of animal protection issues and will provide a baseline for future reference.

“With its wealth of vegetarian restaurants, a dozen institutions that have adopted cage-free egg policies, and only ten fur retailers, it’s no surprise that San Francisco, which is named for the patron saint of animals, is America’s most humane city,” said Fearing. “But despite its excellent record, there is always room for improvement.”

Other ways that San Francisco shows its celebration of the human-animal bond include the following notable characteristics:

– Thanks in large part to the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and its endorsement of the ProtestSeals campaign, there are 86 Bay Area locations participating in the Canadian seafood boycott to help end the slaughter of baby seals in Canada.

AT&T Park, home of baseball’s San Francisco Giants, offers veggie dogs and burgers for sale at concession stands. McAfee Coliseum, home to the Oakland Athletics, also offers veggie dogs and burgers.

The Art Institute of California-San Francisco’s Katie Smith was a finalist in The HSUS’ 2006 Cool vs. Cruel contest, which challenges fashion students to create animal-friendly reinterpretations of designer fur garments.

At the same time, the Bay Area has room for improvement in the following areas:

– San Francisco has numerous markets where turtles, fish, frogs, and other live animals are sold for food. In 2000, a law was passed to protect frogs, turtles and birds under California animal cruelty statutes that prohibit stores from skinning and dismembering live animals or storing and displaying them in ways likely to result in injury, starvation, or suffocation.

– Pitbulls and pit mixes are by far the most frequently confiscated dogs in Oakland—and are also the breed most often euthanized at shelters across Alameda County. Animal control officers usually pick these dogs up roaming the streets, many of them abused, scarred and unfit for adoption. According to the interim director of Oakland Animal Services, backyard breeders are the heart of the problem.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization—backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty – on the web at humanesociety.org.

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DON QUIXOTE – An Impossible Dream at SF Ballet

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

Something was in the air at the Saturday night opening of DON QUIXOTE and it was more than the awesome razor-sharp gravity-defying leaps of Principal Soloist Davit Karapetyan as “Basilio”. Where was his complimentary partner from this Season’s previous programs and as established in the 2006 production of SWAN LAKE — Lorena Feijóo? Among the topmost treasures of San Francisco Ballet is internationally acclaimed prima ballerina Lorena Feijóo. Throughout the 2007 Season the Intermission chatter has included the “just you wait” of watching the luscious Cuban-born beauty repeat her now legendary interpretation of “Kitri” and – depending on how the casting cards were dealt by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson and one’s own personal ticket karma – the supporting embrace and determined drive of Leading Man Joan Boada. As of this publication, neither of their names appears on the schedule of remaining performances.

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DAVIT KARAPETYAN and VANESSA ZAHORIAN – in Tomasson-Possokhov’s DON QUIXOTE. Photo by Erik Tomasson

Details 2BAnnounced, no doubt. But the on-stage intelligence was screaming loud and clear – through the invisible 4th Wall, past the orchestra pit and dubious baton of guest conductor David LaMarche – “The show must go on”. Our antiphonal response of “we know that you know that we know” surely penetrated to their back wall, even past those silly lightning bolts of Lisa J. Pinkham. The Intermission exchanges, however, were far more articulate – puzzled-faces checking watches, the switching back-on of cell phones, text-messaging, yawning, eye-rolling, and more aggressive moaning from those who tolerance of tutu-ballets was being stretched too-too thin. Come the house fade of Act Three, a number of seat-holders had faded from the house – the SROs filling-in by lights-out. At the curtain call, a handful of the bound & determined (to get their money’s worth) actually got up to applaud. But for the Opening Night veterans (from farther back than my head could turn) and those who hold out for theatrical miracles (such as whoever/whatever those dreary fairy “Driads” of Act II were choreographed to conjure) the applause and scattered shouts were about the occasional displays of daunting footwork, along with our plaudits of gratitude to an ingratiating ensemble, and an “Adieu” to Muriel Maffre. Unfortunately, there are no photos available of Ms. Maffre as the tempestuous “Mercedes” or of her handsome partner Moises Martin as “Espada”. Even dear Pascal Molat as “Sancho Panza” – nothing. What we have all caught onto are those deliberately pathetic put-down dweeby thumb-nail barely recognizable yearbook photos in the published Programs. Time for Change!

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DAVIT KARAPETYAN – as Basilio, DON QUIXOTE. Photo by Erik Tomasson

The Company identified as the San Francisco Ballet is celebrated as “World Class”. It follows that this is a particular group of Musical Athletes who are astonishingly beautiful, whose disciplined bodies and dazzling auras are not only in constant centerfold readiness but represent the very definition of Superstar. In days of yore, names of such accomplished Artists appeared above the Title – certainly above that of the artistic director or resident choreographers, and even above such second-ring composers as Ludwig Minkus. Every corner Newsboy would be shouting out the Block-Letter Headlines of Who was dancing that night … or not. And why. [But then, as recently stated on more than one episode by TV's favorite GILMORE GIRLS, one of The City's printing-press dailies is "a terrible newspaper".]

Without a true Latin Leading Lady – one who brings her life’s blood and blazing spirit to the arms of her impassioned lover – the Tomasson/Possokhov DON QUIXOTE is nothing more than a dancer’s showcase held together by the palest thread of a plot. San Francisco Ballet prides itself in its bevy of similarly qualified Principal Dancers. Four pairs of principals are teamed for the remaining seven performances. How does this fact inform our perceptions of this particular vision of a heretofore much-loved opus within Classical Repertoire? This DON QUIXOTE is extremely ordinary, often inconsistent, and occasionally clunky. Even the horse and donkey were nonplussed. Overheard in the audience – “Are they real?”

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LUDWIG MINKUS, Composer – SANCHO PANZA and DON QUIXOTE, by Picasso

Stepping up to the plate for Saturday’s opening, the lovely and extremely gifted Vanessa Zahorian. She deserves her place in the Spotlight. But Lorena Feijóo deserves her place in the Sun. In the world of Theatre – that place, that light is Opening Night.

To order tickets on-line:
Tue, May 1, 2007, 8:00 PM
Conductor: David LaMarche
Kitri: Tina LeBlanc
Basilio: Gonzalo Garcia

Wed, May 2, 2007, 7:30 PM
Conductor: David LaMarche
Kitri: Molly Smolen
Basilio: Tiit Helimets

Thu, May 3, 2007, 8:00 PM
Conductor: David LaMarche
Kitri: Tina LeBlanc
Basilio: Gonzalo Garcia

Fri, May 4, 2007, 8:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Kitri: Vanessa Zahorian
Basilio: Davit Karapetyan

Sat, May 5, 2007, 2:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Kitri: Kristin Long
Basilio: Gennadi Nedvigin

Sat, May 5, 2007, 8:00 PM
Conductor: David LaMarche
Kitri: Tina LeBlanc
Basilio: Gonzalo Garcia

Sun, May 6, 2007, 2:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Kitri: Vanessa Zahorian
Basilio: Davit Karapetyan

See Seán’s recent interviews and articles:
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall
JEANETTE MacDONALD – First Lady of “San Francisco”
ALTAR BOYZ – In San Francisco
An Interview with PASCAL MOLAT – Principal Soloist, San Francisco Ballet
TERRA HAUTE – An Interview with The Stars, John Hutchinson and Elias Escobedo
Agnes de Mille’s RODEO – at SAN FRANCISCO BALLET
COLOR ME KUBRICK – starring John Malkovich

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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 AllExperts.com . 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: seanmartinfield@att.net.

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Newsom plans for additional City vehicles and staff for public transit in wake of maze collapse

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced he will be working with City and regional transit officials to ensure transportation needs of the region are met, following a fiery crash that collapsed 250 yards of the MacArthur Maze approaching the San Francisco Bay Bridge Sunday morning.

Newsom reported officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the San Francisco Police Department will be working together through a Department of Operations Center that has been activated to monitor traffic and deploy resources as needed.

Newsom said assistance may include parking control officers and police officers to assist with access and egress on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Newsom reported that tonight, steps will be taken to promote additional casual carpool arrangements that will leave from Beale Street between Folsom and Howard streets.

Today and throughout the week, Newsom reported the city would support local transit agencies with extra vehicles and staff.

As part of the emergency declaration, the state will reimburse the local public transportation agencies including Bay Area Rapid Transit, AC Transit, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the $2.5 million it will cost to give rides away for free today.

However, the economic impact the collapse may have on the city of San Francisco is not yet known.

“This accident will cause some inconvenience, but I want to make it clear that we will do everything we can to ensure that San Francisco’s civic, business and cultural institutions continue to operate without interruption. We have systems in place to prepare for challenges such as this and these systems are responding to the situation at hand efficiently and smoothly,” Newsom said in a statement.

Bay City News

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