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American Conservatory Theater Announces One-Night-Only Staged Reading of Dustin Lance Black’s Play “8”

A.C.T. joins nationwide productions of the landmark marriage equality play by the Academy Award–winning screenwriter of Milk

 

SAN FRANCISCO (July 31, 2012) – American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), in association with the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a one-night-only staged reading of “8,” the landmark play chronicling the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. The play was written by Academy Award–winning screenwriter and AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black. The reading will take place on Sunday, October 7, 2012, at 7 p.m. at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Proceeds from the reading benefit AFER and LGBTQ youth participating in A.C.T.’s ArtReach program, which offers free student matinee tickets and theater-based pre- and post-show workshops at no cost to 23 public high schools in the Bay Area (including all 18 San Francisco public high schools) with large populations of underserved, low-income students who otherwise would have little exposure to the arts. Casting for the A.C.T. production of “8” will be announced at a later date. Tickets range in price from $50 to $100. A limited number of $250 seats are available and include premium seating and access to a post-performance reception with the cast. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.orgor by calling 415.749.2228.

“8” is an unprecedented account of the federal district court trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8. Black, who penned the Academy Award–winning feature film Milk and the critically acclaimed film J. Edgar, based “8” on the actual trial transcripts, firsthand observations of what went on in the courtroom, and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.

Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff: “There’s nothing more thrilling than a well-argued trial about a hugely important issue. We are honored to present “8” at the same time as The Normal Heart, two theater pieces that wrestle with discrimination and compassion in such visceral and palpable ways.”

“From the moment we knew our trial would not be broadcast publicly, we were determined to find a way to address the public’s appetite for the facts in our case, as argued before a court of law,” said AFER Executive Director Adam Umhoefer. “‘8’ does exactly that, and more, shedding light on the discriminatory arguments anti-marriage proponents did not want the American court of public opinion to witness, and clearly demonstrating why our fight for fairness and justice will continue to prevail.”

“I was lucky enough to watch the initial closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger in San Francisco,” says Broadway Impact cofounder Rory O’Malley (Tony nominee for The Book of Mormon). “We knew then and there that audiences needed to see and hear this story live, as we had done. ‘8’ builds on a successful tradition of documentary theater—plays like The Laramie Project and The Vagina Monologues, which inspire us with their combination of art and activism. We are thrilled to partner with AFER to bring this story to a national audience.”

The plot of “8”is framed by the trial’s historic closing arguments in June 2010 and features the strongest arguments and testimony from both sides. Scenes include flashbacks to some of the more jaw-dropping moments of the trial, such as the admission by the Proposition 8 supporters’ star witness, David Blankenhorn, that “we would be more American on the day we permitted same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.”

“People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial, if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter,” says Black. “I’ve built my career around exposing and uncovering ‘the real story.’ The goal of ‘8’ is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right and that those who would deny this basic freedom from loving, committed couples have only vitriol and baseless hyperbole to fall back on. The facts are on our side and truth always finds the light. We are doing all we can to help speed that process along.”

“8” had its heralded world premiere on Broadway on September 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O’Neill Theater in New York City. The production brought in over one million dollars to support AFER’s efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality. “8” recently had its West Coast premiere at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, where it featured an all-star cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, John C. Reilly, and Kevin Bacon.

Proposition 8 was struck down by a federal district court in August 2010. That decision was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by the anti-marriage proponents of Proposition 8. AFER’s legal team was at the Ninth Circuit in December 2011 for a hearing to urge the court to unseal the trial video—a request that was denied. In February 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling upholding the historic August 2010 decision of the federal district court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

To purchase tickets, visit act-sf.orgor call 415.749.2228. For additional information on “8”, visit: www.8theplay.com.

Follow “8” on Twitter at @8theplayor on Facebook at www.facebook.com/8theplay.

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New Ballroom Dance Party for Gay Men

A monthly social dance party begins at the newly openedVima Dance Studio in Dogpatch on Friday, August 17th.

“There are many popular ballroom dance opportunities in the Bay Area that are heavily attended by lesbian women and straight couples,” says Vima owner, Photis Pishiaras.“While gay men have a strong interest in ballroom dance, they don’t seem to attend those events. We would like to create another opportunity for men to dance.”

Vima’s new 5,300 square foot dance space provides an opportunity to accommodate more social dance opportunities.  Pishiaras hopes that the monthly dance will eventually grow into a popular dance event.

 Pishiaras, who became the North American Same Sex Dance Partner Associate (NASSPDA) 2012 US Men’s Standard Ballroom champion along with his dance partner Ron Jenkins, is hosting the first event to attract anyone interested in ballroom or learning to dance.

 The evening event includes a beginner class in Cha-Cha and Swing at 8:00 pm followed by two hours of social dancing and some performances.

 Music will be Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Salsa, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Swing, Country and more.

Vima Dance Studio, 820 26th St. (At Third)

Friday, August 17th

8:00 p.m. – beginner’s classes

9:00 p.m. — social dance and performances

$20 at the door

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SFMOMA PRESENTS CINDY SHERMAN

The Most Comprehensive U.S. Exhibition of the Groundbreaking Artist in Nearly 15 Years

Exhibition through October 08, 2012

SFMOMA PRESENTS CINDY SHERMAN

Through October 8, 2012, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will host the sole West Coast presentation of Cindy Sherman, a traveling retrospective of one of the most significant contemporary artists and arguably the most influential one working exclusively with photography. Known for photographing herself in a range of guises and personas that are by turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting, Sherman has built an international reputation for an extraordinary body of work. Tracing her career from the mid-1970s to present, the exhibition is the first major U.S. retrospective of the artist in nearly 15 years, introducing Sherman to a new generation of audiences.

Organized by Eva Respini of The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), Cindy Sherman brings together more than 150 photographs from both public and private collections, including key works from SFMOMA’s own holdings. The presentation at SFMOMA is overseen by Erin O’Toole, assistant curator of photography, and is the first major exhibition of Sherman’s work ever mounted in San Francisco.

Throughout her career, Sherman has presented a sustained, eloquent, and provocative exploration of the construction of contemporary identity, the nature of representation, and the artifice of photography. Her works resonate deeply with our visual culture, drawing from the unlimited supply of images from movies, television, magazines, the Internet, and art history. Today Sherman’s work is the unchallenged cornerstone of postmodern photography.

Masquerading as myriad characters in front of her camera, Sherman has served as her own model for more than 30 years, constructing invented personas and tableaus. To create her photographs, she works unassisted in her studio, and assumes multiple roles as photographer, model, art director, makeup artist, hairdresser, and stylist. Through her skillful guises, she has created an astonishing and continually intriguing variety of culturally resonant characters, from sexy starlet to clown to aging socialite.

“Sherman’s work is particularly relevant to today’s image-saturated culture because she reminds us to be critical consumers of what we see,” says O’Toole. “She holds a mirror up to contemporary society, calling attention to the strangeness of things we tend to see as normal, like fashion, makeup, and plastic surgery.”

Exhibition Overview

Born in 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Sherman received her BA from Buffalo State College and moved to New York City in 1977, where she has resided ever since. The exhibition showcases the remarkable range of Sherman’s photography, from her early experiments as a student in Buffalo to her recent large-scale photographic murals, which are customized to fit each installation site. The presentation examines some of the dominant themes prevalent throughout Sherman’s work, such as artifice and fiction, cinema and performance, horror and the grotesque, myth and fairy tale, and gender and class identity.

A selection of ambitious and celebrated works will be highlighted, including a complete set of the seminal Untitled Film Stills (1977–80)—70 black-and-white photographs that feature the artist in stereotypical female roles inspired by 1950s and 1960s Hollywood, film noir, and European art-house films—and all twelve of her centerfolds (1981), in addition to selections from her significant series of works: fairy tale/mythology (1985); history portraits (1988–90); sex pictures (1992); headshots (2000); clowns (2002–04); fashion (1983–84, 1993–94, 2007–08); and society portraits (2008).

The exhibition also premieres, in the U.S., a recently created photographic mural (2010–11) that represents the artist’s first foray into transforming space through site-specific fictive environments. In the mural, Sherman transforms her face digitally, exaggerating her features through Photoshop by elongating her nose, narrowing her eyes, or creating smaller lips. The characters, who sport an odd mix of costumes and are taken from daily life, are elevated to larger-than-life status and tower over the viewer. Set against a decorative toile backdrop, her characters seem like protagonists from their own carnivalesque worlds, where fantasy and reality merge. The new work included in the retrospective offers an opportunity for reassessment in light of the latest developments in Sherman’s oeuvre.

Catalogue and Exhibition Tour

A fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition, with essays by exhibition curator Eva Respini and art historian Johann Burton, as well as a new interview with Sherman conducted by filmmaker and artist John Waters.

Cindy Sherman premiered at MoMA in New York (February 26–June 11, 2012), and following SFMOMA’s presentation, it will travel to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (November 10, 2012–February 17, 2013), and Dallas Museum of Art (March 17–June 9, 2013).

Cindy Sherman is organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Major support for the San Francisco presentation is provided by the Fisher family, J.P. Morgan, and The Bernard Osher Foundation. Generous support is provided by Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein, Nion McEvoy, and the Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund. The St. Regis San Francisco is the official hotel of this exhibition. Media sponsor: San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

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Friends are the still best way to meet marriage partners

Friends are the still best way to meet marriage partners According to most studies marriage statistics for people meeting online are overstated. The leading source of meeting the partner you marry is through friends. One study says that 44.6% are introduced by friends. The next leading sources are school or work. Less than 7% meet online.

Why is this? When you meet people through friends, work, or school, you get to spend time with them and find out who they really are.  As one person put it, “I will dress completely differently for a date than for work or hanging out with friends. I am less on show and more of myself.”

Matches That Matter has found a way to recreate the best of what happens when you meet through friends. In addition their model removes the common annoyances of online dating such as, fake profiles, impersonal emails and texts, 15 minute coffee dates etc.. Instead, Matches That Matter members meet potential partners in a comfortable, fun, and interesting environment while giving back to good causes.

For a limited time Matches That Matter is offering a $49 promotional rate for people who join with a friend of the opposite sex. Everyone has a friend that is not right for them, but may be perfect for someone else. Matches That Matter brings those people together. Groups of 12 compatible singles over the age of 40 are put together to work on fun, interesting community projects where they work together and really get to know each other.

Matches That Matter began operations in May. After three years of research and testing the program was honed to appeal to the different ways over-40 singles meet and socialize. The company wanted to create experiences that emphasize companionship and a natural real life dating experience.

Research
More married couples are introduced by friends than any other source http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Relationships/Where_Couples_Met http://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2007/june/5060407.html

Marriages that start online http://blogs.wsj.com/numbersguy/how-many-marriages-started-online-764/

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The Wipro San Francisco Marathon Returns For 35th Year The City By The Bay Welcomes Runners For Another 26.2 Mile Race This Coming Sunday

The 35th running of The Wipro San Francisco Marathon® will take place on Sunday, July 29, 2012. Known for its beautiful scenic views, TSFM is the only race that runs in the roadbed of the Golden Gate Bridge. The USATF certified loop course starts at the Ferry Building, runs along the Embarcadero, over the Bridge, along the coastline, through Golden Gate Park and the Haight‐ Ashbury District and past AT&T Park before finishing in front of Cupid’s Arrow.

As the largest marathon in Northern California and the 13th largest marathon in the U.S, TSFM is also a Boston Marathon qualifier. This year’s events include the full marathon, two‐half marathons, a 5K, a progressive marathon, the Munchkin Kids Run and most notably and new to the TSFM family of events, the Worth The Hurt 52.4 Ultramarathon. The Worth The Hurt Ultramarathon participants will start at midnight on July 28th and run The SF Marathon loop twice. The elite runners will start the regular marathon at 5:30am followed by the remainder of the field with rolling start times between 5:30‐ 6:45am. It is projected that the first of the 25,000 marathon runners will begin crossing the Bridge at about 6am, with the last runner coming off by approximately 9am.

Winner of the 2011 San Francisco Marathon nationally ranked ultrarunner, Michael Wardian, will be returning this year to defend his title against local elites. Chris Mocko, a local favorite and Stanford alum, set a course record at the Napa Valley Marathon earlier this year and followed up with a win at the Oakland Marathon just 3 weeks later. He will compete with Wardian and Cheyne Inman, known as a short‐distance specialist from Vacaville, who won the Norcal Marathon last fall.

One of the many talented women to watch is Devon Crosby‐Helms, who ran the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston this January. Devon, a San Francisco local, set a course record at the Napa Valley Marathon this year and took 3rd place at TSFM in 2011. She will be participating in the full marathon again this year. Another returning woman, Emily Belli, will be back in San Francisco after a 2nd place finish last year.

“Worth The Hurt” which began as an inspired description of the famously hilly and scenic San Francisco Marathon, has evolved into a distinct challenge, and a new model of charitable giving that event producers of TSFM are beta testing this year. On July 29th, The Wipro San Francisco Marathon will welcome over 30 fund‐raisers who will run the marathon twice, back‐to‐back, in efforts to fundraise for various worthy causes.

Amy Holt will be running the 26.2 for a great cause very close to her heart. Just a day before on July 28th she will be swimming in the Sharkfest Alcatraz swim, followed by the marathon on Sunday. Her personal journey called The Rock to Bridge is an effort to raise money and awareness for the Hydrocephalus Association, a condition that her 11 year old son was diagnosed with in utero. She will be running the last 1.2 miles with her son Colin alongside!

Couple Ethan Bennett and Whitney Henderson will be taking part in the full marathon as part of their cross‐country journey, running 3,300 miles in less than 100 days. They are running in an effort to raise money and awareness to fight cancer. In 2011, Whitney completed a cross‐country run to raise money for Soles4souls and charitywater.org. She holds the record for the youngest female to run cross country unsupported. You can follow their efforts at www.runtofight.com

Come support your community, join in the fun and help cheer on the runners. There will be cheer stations, bands and forms of entertainment along the course including the San Francisco Boys Chorus, Tebucky Jones, Thrillouette and DJ Mo Skills. LoCura will be joining us again at the finish line. The community has once again pulled together for this tremendous local event so be on the lookout for San Francisco’s best cheer groups, costumes, music and fun. Please check http://www.thesfmarathon.com/get‐involved/spectator for more details.

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About The Wipro San Francisco Marathon:

Projected to draw 26,000 runners this year, the 35th running of The Wipro San Francisco Marathon will take place on Sunday, July 29, 2012. Known for its beautiful scenic views, The Wipro San Francisco Marathon is the only race that runs in the roadbed of the Golden Gate Bridge. The USA Track & Field‐certified Boston Marathon qualifier race starts at the Ferry Building, runs along the Embarcadero, over the Bridge, along the coastline, through Golden Gate Park and the Haight‐Ashbury District and past AT&T Park before finishing in front of Cupid’s Arrow. Marathon events include a Full Marathon, two Half Marathons, a 5K/Progressive Marathon and the third annual Munchkin Kids Run. For more details, please visit www.thesfmarathon.com.

About Wipro Technologies:

Wipro Technologies, the global IT business of Wipro Limited (NYSE:WIT) is a leading Information Technology, Consulting and Outsourcing company, that delivers solutions to enable its clients do business better. Wipro Technologies delivers winning business outcomes through its deep industry experience and a 360 degree view of “Business through Technology” – helping clients create successful and adaptive businesses. A company recognized globally for its comprehensive portfolio of services, a practitioner’s approach to delivering innovation and an organization wide commitment to sustainability, Wipro Technologies as 131,000 employees and clients across 54 countries. For more information, please visit www.wipro.com.

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San Francisco Herb & Natural Food Company Makes Statement on Mice Infestation at its factory at 47444 Kato Road, Fremont, Calif.

“San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company is saddened by the recent discovery of a mouse infestation at its Fremont warehouse.  Since its discovery, and in full cooperation with the regulatory authorities, the company has taken immediate steps to isolate and remedy the problem.

“The company has been under an embargo since July 11th that has ensured that no impacted goods were shipped.  Today, we are working with the California Department of Health and other authorities to issue a voluntary recall notice within the next 24 hours regarding products that may be impacted by the situation.

“San Francisco Herb and Natural Food Company has enjoyed 40 years of providing quality herbs, spices and teas to wholesale and specialty producers.  We hold ourselves to a high standard.  Unfortunately we believed this problem was under control, but it unexpectedly grew into a larger issue.  We apologize to our loyal customers and fans and will fully refund any products that have been impacted.”

This news bulletin was just issued by the company in response to media inquries and lists  Sam Singer and Adam Alberti at Singer Associates Public Affairs and Public Relations as contacts at:  Singer@SingerSF.Com and Adam@SingerSF.com.

 

 

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A.C.T. ANNOUNCES FULL COMPANY FOR THE WEST COAST PREMIERE OF GEORGE C. WOLFE’S TONY AWARD–WINNING PRODUCTION OF THE NORMAL HEART


September 13–October 7, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (July 24, 2012)—American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff announced today the casting for the West Coast premiere of The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s landmark play focusing on the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York City in the 1980s. Directed by five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe, The Normal Heart unfolds like a real-life political thriller as a tight-knit group of friends refuse to let doctors, politicians, and the press bury the truth about an epidemic ravaging the gay community behind a wall of silence. The Normal Heart performs a limited run September 13–October 7, 2012, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco.

The Normal Heart is presented in association with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C., by special arrangement with Daryl Roth.

The Normal Heart will feature original Broadway cast member Patrick Breen in the role of Ned Weeks, the fiery writer and activist at the center of the play. He is joined by noted film and television actress (and fellow original Broadway cast member) Jordan Baker as Dr. Emma Brookner, a passionate physician determined to stop the spread of the mysterious disease. The production also features Tom Berklund (Broadway’s The Addams Family) as Craig Donner/Grady, Matt McGrath (Broadway’s Cabaret, A.C.T.’s The Black Rider) as Felix Turner, Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse (Broadway’s Kiss Me, Kate, A Chorus Line, and The Light in the Piazza) as Mickey Marcus, Sean Dugan (NBC’s Smash) as Tommy Boatwright, Jon Levenson (Broadway’s The Normal Heart) as Hiram Keebler/Examining Doctor, Nick Mennell (Broadway’s A Free Man of Color) as Bruce Niles, and Bruce Altman (HBO’s Game Change) as Ben Weeks.

Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff: “The company that we’ve assembled for this San Francisco outing of The Normal Heart is extraordinary in every way—we’re thrilled to welcome our old friend Matt McGrath back to A.C.T. after his triumph in The Black Rider, and to welcome Patrick Breen and these other remarkable talents to our stage for the first time. We know these wonderful actors will deliver the vivid emotional truth of the play, and we can’t wait to share their work with our audience.”

Fueled by love, anger, hope, and pride, The Normal Heart centers around a circle of friends struggling to contain the mysterious disease ravaging New York’s gay community. First produced in 1985 by Joseph Papp at New York’s Public Theater, the show immediately became a critical sensation and a seminal moment in theater history. Kramer’s unapologetic tackling of the AIDS epidemic, gay marriage, and our national healthcare system casts theatrical light on issues that are as present in today’s national discourse as they were when the play first premiered a quarter of a century ago.

Wolfe’s 2011 Broadway staging received universal acclaim and was the recipient of three Tony Awards, three Drama Desk Awards, and the Outer Circle Critics Circle Award, all naming it Best Revival of a Play. The show was also awarded the Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics Circle.

The Normal Heart reunites members of the Broadway revival’s design team, including scenic designer David Rockwell, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, lighting designer David Weiner, sound designer and original music composer David Van Tieghem, and projection designer Batwin & Robin. Joining the team is restaging director Leah C. Gardiner.

Tickets for the limited engagement of The Normal Heart are now available online at www.act-sf.org <http://www.act-sf.org>  and by phone at 415.749.2228. Subscribers to A.C.T.’s 2012–13 season will receive priority seating to this highly anticipated production. To order a subscription, visit www.act-sf.org/subscribe or call 415.749.2250


 

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West Portal Restaurants Offer a Passport for World Cuisine Just a MUNI Ride Away

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Promotion through September 30

 SAN FRANCISCO – (August, 2012)  Four restaurants in the West Portal neighborhood are offering San Francisco residents a passport to world cuisine that lies at the end of the K, L, and M MUNI lines.

“We have a world of dining just a MUNI ride away,” according to Pankaj Shah, manager of Roti Restaurant.  “We created this promotion to remind locals that our four-block neighborhood packs a world class punch.”

Beginning for two months on August 1, passport holders who come to any of the four participating restaurants on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evenings will receive a 15% discount and a passport stamp.   Diners collecting five stamps by September 30 will be included in a drawing for one free meal at all participating restaurants.  Second and third place prices include other dining opportunities in the neighborhood.

To get a copy of the passport, anyone can go to the link at the participating restaurants for a free download.  Participating restaurants include:

Roti (Modern Indian)   www.rotibistro.com

Fresca (Peruvian) www.frescasf.com/west-portal

Spaizao (Italian) spiazzoristorante.com

El Toreador (Mexican)

Promotion is free to everyone.  For additional information, contact any of the above-mentioned restaurants.

 

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The Hula Show — 5 PERFORMANCES ONLY at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

Patrick Makuakāne and his award-winning dance troupe, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, return to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco for The Hula Show 2012, with 15 world premieres featuring traditional hula and Makuakāne’s renowned hula mua, which brings the ancient Hawaiian dance form into the modern realm by setting traditional hula movements to non-Hawaiian music.

Performances of The Hula Show 2012 are Saturday, October 20 at 8 p.m., Sunday, October 21 at 3 p.m., Friday, October 26 at 8 p.m., Saturday, October 27 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 28 at 3 p.m. A special children’s matinee will take place on Sunday, October 28 at 12 p.m.  Tickets are on sale now through City Box Office at 415-392-4400, on the web at cityboxoffice.com and at all tickets.com locations.

The opening suite of dances was inspired by King Kalakaua’s jubilee in 1886, celebrating his 50th birthday. King Kalākaua reigned from 1874 to 1891 and is credited for the revitalization of hula in Hawaii. Makuakāne created the suite of dances from a collection of chants commemorating the jubilee. The tribute to King Kalākaua will also feature historic photos from the jubilee.

The show will include the world premiere of “The Little Black Dress Hula,” a smoldering, jazzy hula suite derived from a collection of songs that range from jazzy, contemporary Hawaiian to bluesy, swampy, soul. Other dances honor one of the most famous beaches in the world – Waikiki.

“There is a freedom in hula mua that allows me to fuse not only the past and future, but also traditional hula movements with contemporary music,” says Makuakāne. “We are excited to present The Hula Show 2012 to fans throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Tickets for the opening night performance on Saturday, October 20 will be followed by a champagne reception. Tickets may also be purchased for the Gala Benefit on Saturday, October 27 at 5:30 p.m., featuring a pre-performance Lū‘au, with food from favorite San Francisco restaurants, live Hawaiian music and VIP seating to the 8 p.m. performance. A special children’s matinee (one-hour performance) will take place on Sunday, October 28 at 12 p.m. Tickets are on sale now through City Box Office at 415-392-4400, on the web at cityboxoffice.com and at all tickets.com locations.

About the Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu

Founded in 1985, Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu (“the many feathered wreaths at the summit, held in high esteem”) is committed to the preservation and education of the Hawaiian culture through hula.  It has a performance group of nearly 40 dancers and offers classes to students in the beginning and intermediate levels.  The organization holds educational workshops throughout the year in Hawaiian language, history, and arts and crafts.





For further information on Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, call 415-647-3040 or visit www.naleihulu.org.


 

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MAYOR LEE ANNOUNCES SAN FRANCISCO AWARDED FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDS TO IMPROVE MUNI

More than $21 Million in Federal Funding to Further Modernize Muni Fleet & Improve SFMTA Transit Service throughout City

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced San Francisco awarded more than $21 million in U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Livability and State of Good Repair grants to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) for frontline Muni service enhancements and new, low-floor biodiesel-electric hybrid buses – critical investments that will optimize existing Muni transit service and improve the customer experience.


“As the FTA makes a tremendous investment in public transit across the nation, we are pleased are highlighting San Francisco, as we are making significant changes to improve transit service for Muni riders and sustain our system for many years to come,” said Mayor Lee. “I want to thank the Obama Administration and FTA Deputy Administrator McMillan for providing critical funds for San Francisco’s transit future and our Congressional delegation for their support in creating a 21st Century transportation system.”


“President Obama’s support for an America built to last is putting people back to work across the country modernizing our nation’s public transit systems,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood. “By investing in the transit infrastructure people depend on to get where they need to go each day, we will keep our economy moving forward well into the future.”


FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan was in San Francisco today to announce the $45.7 million in federal funding for the San Francisco Bay Area regional transit agencies including San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit), Monterey-Salinas Transit in Monterey, San Mateo County Transit District and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, to replace aging buses and transit vehicles that will improve service for hundreds of thousands of people who take public transit every day.

“From San Jose to Oakland, these funds go a long way to put more comfortable, efficient, clean-fuel vehicles on the road to meet rising demand for service,” said Deputy Administrator McMillan. “These awards are a big win for everybody because they will reduce highway congestion, improve air quality, and help this region continue to offer balanced transportation options for millions of residents.”


“The SFMTA thanks the City’s leadership, Mayor Lee and Supervisor Campos, especially in his capacity as Chair of the County Transportation Authority, for their focus on improving Muni as well as the FTA for these funds that are so crucial to furthering our goals for making transit more reliable and efficient Citywide,” said SFMTA Board of Directors Vice Chairman Cheryl Brinkman. “A greener fleet, more efficient Muni system means less congestion, a reduction in harmful emissions and improved quality of life.

”Both grant awards, more than $6 million for improved bus facilities via the Livability Initiative and $15 million for new low-floor, biodiesel-electric hybrid buses via the State of Good Repair program, support and further the SFMTA’s plans for improved frontline transit service throughout San Francisco.

“Investments in optimizing existing service and enhancing the customer experience will not only help us better serve our current customers, but also will help attract new customers,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “Underscoring San Francisco’s Transit First policy, the SFMTA will direct these funds to frontline Muni service.”

With the oldest bus fleet in the nation, Muni needs to upgrade and update its fleet and will do so over the next eight to 10 years. The $15m State of Good Repair grant will allow the SFMTA to replace 18 20-year-old buses that will play an important role in expanding Muni’s Rapid Network service.

The new buses will be 40-foot low-floor biodiesel-electric hybrids that are 30 percent more fuel efficient, emitting 95 percent less particulate matter, 40 percent less nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide and 30 percent less greenhouse gas. These modern hybrid buses will begin the replacement of 45 Gillig 40-foot standard diesel buses that were first put into service in 1993.

Due to their flexibility, large passenger capacity, and durability, the 40-foot biodiesel buses are critical to the SFMTA’s ability to provide support service on any route or line, including other bus routes, light rail lines, the historic streetcar line, and the cable car lines. This type of flexibility is especially critical during large civic events, such as the America’s Cup races in 2013 and 2014.

The SFMTA expects to begin receiving the first of these buses in early 2013.

The Livability Initiative grant is part of the Fiscal Year 2012 Bus and Bus Facilities Program. The award of $6.4 million will fund the SFMTA’s 8X Mobility Maximization project. The project is part of a the Rapid Network that will target existing transit service along the most heavily travelled corridors of the city to improve service reliability, reduce travel time, and enhance customer experience. The 8X Corridor has more than 30,000 daily customers.

Funding will be used to implement:
  Coloring of existing dedicated transit lanes;
Transit signal priority;
Pre-payment fare collection;
Information panel and transit arrival prediction signs;
Vehicle branding and enhanced stop identification;  Cameras on buses to capture vehicles illegally occupying transit-only lanes.

By fostering the development of a premier service, the SFMTA will provide more transportation choices, support and value existing communities and neighborhoods, promote lower transportation and living costs, and enhance economic competitiveness. Assuming funding in Fall 2012, the project is anticipated to be completed in Spring 2014.

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AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER’S Young Conservatory Presents AfTER JULIET

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Young Conservatory Director Craig Slaight is proud to present After Juliet, a play that explores what happened after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.  Written by Sharman Macdonald, After Juliet is based on an original idea by MacDonald’s daughter, Keira Knightley, who asked “What happened after they died?” after seeing a production of Romeo and Juliet at the age of 13. Presented in stunning blank verse, After Juliet follows the friends of the famous star-crossed lovers as they grapple with love and loss. After Juliet performs July 20–August 4, 2012, at Hastings Studio Theater, located at 77 Geary Street, Sixth Floor, San Francisco.  Tickets are $15 and are available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org.

When After Juliet opens, the Montagues and Capulets— saddened by the tragedy that has befallen their children—declare peace between the families, but the feud simmers as Rosaline plots to avenge her beloved Romeo’s death and several characters stand on trial for their involvement in the horrific events.  Inventively mixing the classical with the modern, After Juliet presents a fresh look at characters from Shakespeare’s famous work.

Says Slaight: “I’ve always felt that Romeo and Juliet, along with Sophocles’ Antigone (which we produced in the fall), is one of the all-time great teen dramas. Here Macdonald, who has previously written for the A.C.T. Young Conservatory (Broken Hallelujah), extends the drama’s complexities as the friends must grapple with untimely death and lingering feelings that still divide the two families. The rich, heightened language pushes our young actors to stretch their techniques, and the bracing muscular tension among the characters rings true to our contemporary world, reminding us that the egregious acts of senseless adults are reflected in the actions of the youth.”

Featuring direction by Domenique Lozano, this provocative play features a talented young cast from across the Bay Area. The cast includes Bonnie Castleman (Livia), Michael Dinardo (Lorenzo), Diyar Eyuboglu (Alice), Dori Goldberg (Gianni), Alexandra Hearn (Juliet), Ethan Haslam (Valentine), Marc Hills (Benvolio), Owen Keith (Petruchio), Alexandra Lee (Bianca), Isabel Schroedel (Rosaline), Amy Shapiro (Angelica), and Janie Weaver (Helena).

Craig Slaight is a resident artist and the director of the Young Conservatory at American Conservatory Theater. Slaight assumed the leadership of the Young Conservatory in 1988. During his time at A.C.T., he has taught in all of the conservatory programs and served as a director on A.C.T. mainstage productions and as a member of the artistic team of the company. Slaight began the Young Conservatory’s New Plays Program in 1989 with the mission to develop plays by outstanding professional playwrights that view the world through the eyes of the young. To date 37 new plays by leading American and British playwrights have been developed and produced. With A.C.T.’s Jack Sharrar, Slaight has edited numerous anthologies of scenes and monologues for actors and is the editor of five volumes of New Plays from A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory. Before coming to A.C.T., Slaight was an award-winning professional director in Los Angeles. He has also directed in England at the National Theatre and Theatre Royal Bath.

Domenique Lozano has directed A Christmas Carol on the A.C.T. mainstage for the past five years.  A resident artist at A.C.T., Lozano teaches in numerous programs and has directed many projects with the Young Conservatory and M.F.A. Program. Her Young Conservatory projects include the world premiere of the new musical Homefront; the American premiere of After Juliet; the world premieres of Sarah Daniel’s Dust and Constance Congdon’s Nightingales; a coproduction with the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Zürich of Paul Steinmann’s Only Victory; and the West Coast premieres of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Korczak’s Children and Wendy MacLeod’s School Girl Figure. Her directing work with the M.F.A. Program includes Caught with Her Pants Down, Richard III, and numerous graduating class showcases and Will on Wheels touring Shakespeare productions, as well as the M.F.A. Program/Young Conservatory coproduction of Amy Herzog’s The Wendy Play. Other directing credits include The Countess with Center REPertory Company; Two for the Seesaw with Marin Theatre Company; Inspecting Carol and the West Coast premiere of Jane Martin’s Anton in Show Business with San Jose Stage Company; and The Norman Conquests, Holiday, The Real Thing, and She Loves Me with Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, of which she was a founding member and associate artistic director. Acting credits include work with such theaters as California Shakespeare Theater, where she is an artistic associate, A.C.T., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Lozano has also taught throughout the Bay Area at such institutions as Saint Mary’s College, UC Davis, California Shakespeare Theater, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

The A.C.T. Young Conservatory offers a broad range of theater training for young people aged 8 to 19. The ten sessions of classes and eight public productions offered throughout the year are designed to develop talent and creativity, as well as communication and cooperation skills, for young people with all levels of theater background. Working professional actors and directors lead students in a spectrum of classes, including acting, directing, voice and speech, musical theater, audition, and improvisation. Call 415.439.2444 or visit act-sf.org/conservatoryfor applications and information.

After Juliet is made possible by a generous grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation and donors to A.C.T.’s season gala.
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TICKETS FOR INDIVIDUAL SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY 2012-13 CONCERTS ON SALE MONDAY, JULY 23 AT 8 A.M. AT THE DAVIES SYMPHONY HALL BOX OFFICE AND AT 10 A.M. ONLINE AND BY PHONE

Program updates for 2012-13 season announced

The San Francisco Symphonyannounced today that tickets for individual concerts in the 2012-2013 season, which begins September 5, will go on sale Monday, July 23. Tickets will be on sale at www.sfsymphony.org, 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall box office for all of the Symphony’s concerts that have been available so far only by subscription package.

The Orchestra’s first season in its second century combines a commitment to new and rarely heard music with in-depth explorations of core classical repertoire and composers. The San Francisco Symphony’s 101st season opens Wednesday, September 5, when Russian guest conductor Semyon Bychkov joins the Orchestra for two concert weeks. Pinchas Zukerman performs Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Orchestra, and Bychkov leads the musicians in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. During the second week of concerts, the Orchestra performs Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11, The Year 1905 with Bychkov.

Michael Tilson Thomas

On Wednesday, September 19, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra perform the annual Opening Gala, joined by guest violinist Joshua Bell in works by Saint-Saëns and Chausson. Other highlights of the San Francisco Symphony’s fall concert season include Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra in Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 and a new work by Samuel Carl Adams; András Schiff performing Bach masterworks in the first concerts of a two-year residency; conducting debuts by Vladimir Jurowski and Jaap van Zweden; and visits by Yuja Wang and Lang Lang to perform with MTT and the Orchestra. In October, Wang performs Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, in advance of her Asian tour with the Orchestra.

Among the major highlights of the 2012-13 season are Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra’s explorations of music by Stravinsky and Beethoven. The programs trace the composers’ early musical influences and ideas, from rarely performed pieces forward through their later, well-known works. MTT, now in his 18th season with the Orchestra, also will create an original video installation for Beethoven’s Missa solemnis and a new staged concert production of Peer Gynt, featuring music by Grieg, Alfred Schnittke, and Robin Holloway. MTT will lead the first-ever concert performances by an orchestra of Leonard Bernstein’s complete music for West Side Story.

The Orchestra premieres new work by contemporary composers, including performances with MTT of a new SFS commission by Robin Holloway with soprano Renée Fleming, a re-imagining for orchestra of Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées, based on Paul Verlaine’s poems. SFS Assistant Concertmaster Mark Volkert premieres his new work Pandora with MTT and the Orchestra in December.

Baritone Matthias Goerne will perform Wagner’s Wotan’s Farewell from Die Walküre and “Die Frist ist um” from The Flying Dutchman with conductor Christoph Eschenbach and the Orchestra, in place of Detlev Glanert’s orchestrations of Brahms’s Four Preludes and Serious Songs. For Yefim Bronfman’s performances with the Orchestra in December, Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto replaces the SFS co-commissioned Jörg Widmann piano concerto, which will be premiered in a later season.

The Orchestra also announced the musicians and programs for its chamber music concerts at Davies Symphony Hall and at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. In June 2013, the Orchestra and Chorus perform a tribute concert to SF Symphony President John D. Goldman. Also announced today and on sale July 23 is a concert with Gipsy Kings at Davies Symphony Hall on March 29. (Editors, please note: The SF Symphony is not performing on this concert).

Tickets are available for all SF Symphony concerts in the 2012-13 season beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, July 23 at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office (on Grove Street between Van Ness and Franklin) and at 10 a.m. online at www.sfsymphony.organd by phone at 415-864-6000.

Click hereto view the complete, revised San Francisco Symphony 2012-2013 Season concert calendar, including all current program updates. For more information, please contact the San Francisco Symphony Public Relations Department at publicrelations@sfsymphony.orgor (415) 503-5474, or visit the website at www.sfsymphony.org/press.

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BOCCE TOURNAMENT TO RAISE MONEY FOR SENIOR’S BREAKFAST PROGRAM

 The Old World Sport of Bocce has come full circle, as Gen Xers have gotten the Bocce Bug.  24 teams of four will be competing on  September 22  at the Marin Bocce Federation in San Rafael to raise money for San Francisco’s Curry Center that provides meals, healthcare and housing for hundreds in the heart of the city.  All monies raised at the Bocce tournament will go toward the breakfast program that feeds 150 seniors 7 days a week in San Francisco.

Bocce, a national pastime in Italy is gaining in popularity, as the average age for Bocce lanes has dropped exponentially over the past five years.  The team’s participating on Saturday includes several seniors, who have played bocce for years, and first time teams.

For additional information or to create a team, contact Arlo Bushnell
 at 415-292-1064

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Two Teens Trek 40 miles through the Marin Backwoods to raise money for African AIDS Orphans

Two Bay Area Teens are taking part in the Golden Gate Shadow Walk to raise money for the Makindu Children’s Program, a 501c-3 whose mission is to care for AIDS Orphans in Kenya.  The Shadow walk will take place simultaneously with the bi-annual Proper Walk that will occur in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya.

The Proper Walk covers 200 miles over 10 days in Kenya,” according to Shadow Walk Organizer Dennis WIninger, who did the entire Kenya trek in 2006 and 200808.  “As a once in a lifetime experience, I wanted to organize the Shadow Walk for my son and his friend Sarah so they can have a similar experience and then they can go off to college with a bit more of a world view.”

The two teens who will join Wininger and Lou Engle, the Stateside Executive Director of MCP (Makindu Children’s Program) are Sarah Thomas (Berkeley High, where she studied Swahili), Clark WIninger (Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep).

The four hikers are committed to raise $5000 to support Makindu Children’s Program, which funds the centre in Makindu.  The centre provides education, basic medical care, and feeds the orphans affected by the sub-Saharan AIDS Pandemic.

The Shadow Walk will cross the Golden Gate bridge, climb into the Marin Headlands where the team will spend an evening at the Marin Headlands Hostel.  The next two days will cover nearly 40 miles as they hike and camp their way through some of the most beautiful, undeveloped land in the Bay Area – hiking up to peaks with breath taking views of San Francisco, walking amidst giant redwoods, while battling the elements of a Northern California coastal summer.

To donate or for additional information, contact Wininger at 415-271-0917

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San Francisco church rejoins Lutherans years after inclusion of gay pastor

(FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER)   A local congregation rejoined the Lutheran Church on Sunday after 17 years of separation brought on by its inclusion of a gay pastor.

Members of the First United Lutheran Church in Cathedral Hill unanimously voted for the reunion. The move now gives the local church a vote and a voice in the larger church.

“It’s a hard decision to make,” the Rev. Susan Strouse said, “but it gives us a voice and it’s a huge opportunity to look at the denomination and say, ‘You made the right decision and that’s good, but there’s more to do.’”

In 1995, First United Lutheran Church and St. Francis Lutheran Church, another San Francisco congregation, were expelled from the denomination for ordaining an openly gay pastor and two lesbian pastors, respectively. The decisions went against the beliefs of evangelical Lutherans. Both congregations continued practicing independently.

Then in 2009, the leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to change bylaws by adopting a constitution that allows openly gay men and women to serve as pastors. Following that change, the leaders asked the San Francisco churches for forgiveness and to rejoin the denomination.

St. Francis voted to rejoin the church last year. And on Sunday, First United’s 60-member congregation also took the steps to rejoin by voting to rescind its bylaws and adopt those of the larger church.

Though it took two years for First United’s congregation to come to grips with rejoining a church they were once expelled from, members say this is a good move.

“We’ll have more chances to affect change internally,” said church member Mike Barrows, 64. “And it’s an important vote for practical reasons.”

Those practical reasons include the church being able to call on ordained Lutheran pastors to lead their congregation and having a vote in regional councils.

For the 200 Lutheran churches in Northern California, known as the Sierra Pacific Synod, welcoming the two San Francisco congregations is more of a homecoming.

“It’s like we’ve been without a part of our body,” said Nancy Nelson, assistant to the synod’s bishop, the Rev. Mark W. Holmerud. “This is a time to celebrate a painful period in our church coming to a close.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

 

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Restaurant Defies Foie Gras Ban

(By Laird Harrison, Reuters) – Housed in a converted infantry barracks on a former U.S. Army base, the Presidio Social Club never attracted much attention from San Francisco’s avid gourmets — until Saturday night.

That’s when foie gras lovers descended on the restaurant to have their first taste of the delicacy since California imposed a ban on July 1.

Animal rights activists fought for the law because they detest the way foie gras is made: farmers force-feed ducks or geese to fatten their livers. Some fans of traditional French cuisine find the ban just as hard to swallow.

The restaurant owner, Ray Tang, and its general manager, Maureen Donegan, reasoned that the restaurant can legally ignore state law because the Presidio, now managed mostly as a national park, has remained federal property even after being decommissioned by the Army. Businesses on federal property must adhere to federal regulations, which trump state ones, they say.

Tang and Donegan timed their event for Bastille Day — the French national day — hired a publicist and sent out a press release.

“There are a lot of people who are upset about not being able to do something they have a right to do, so we just decided to go ahead and do it,” Donegan told Reuters. “The next step was to celebrate independence.”

By Saturday the drab clapboard building was on the map as never before, with diners claiming every one of its 117 seats, a dozen activists chanting outside and park service police — some of them on horseback — struggling to make sure the two groups didn’t clash.

“Helpless ducks are force-fed,” the protesters chanted. “Eat somewhere else instead.”

Dana Portnoy, 32, a resident of nearby Oakland and member of the Animal Protection and Rescue League, organized the demonstrators, who held banners and placards displaying photographs of brutalized birds.

“We’re here to educate consumers that they care more about serving a cruel delicacy than abiding by the law,” she said.

Portnoy described horrific conditions in a foie gras facility she had visited: ducks too sick to stand up, asphyxiating on their own blood from feeding tube wounds, or choking on the corn they were forced to swallow.

Tang responds that the restaurant is getting its foie gras from a humane source in New York’s Hudson Valley. “Birds of that type naturally gorge themselves,” he said. “I do not believe they suffer.”

The restaurant planned to continue serving foie gras, Donegan said.

QUESTION OF AUTHORITY

Portnoy rejects Tang’s legal reasoning along with his ethics and has asked the federal agency managing the park, the Presidio Trust, to enforce the state ban.

The trust has yet to state its legal position. On Friday, Executive Director Craig Middleton issued a statement: “I met with Mr. Tang on Wednesday and encouraged him to reconsider his decision” but did not say what would happen if Tang kept serving foie gras.

Enforcement of the foie gras law in San Francisco falls to the Animal Care and Control Department, and its director, Rebecca Katz, was unsure what authority she had in the Presidio.

“It’s not an unusual question to raise,” Katz said, citing an ongoing dispute about dog leash laws in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The state attorney general’s office also withheld opinion. “We have not looked into it,” spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said.

Others have tried to work around the ban. Thirty miles (50 kilometres) away in Mountain View, California, Chez TJ restaurant was serving foie gras without listing it on the menu.

“It’s given away by the chef as a complimentary gift at his discretion,” said General Manager Jessamine McLellan, noting that the law bans the sale and production — but not the possession or consumption — of foie gras.

Back at the Presidio Social Club — which, contrary to its name, is a public restaurant with no membership — diners figured they would enjoy their loophole as long as it lasted. Tang ordered enough foie gras for 560 two-ounce (57-gram)servings.

“It’s stunning,” said Greg Pelling, 52, who was enjoying a $20 plate of foie gras sliders. “The pineapple adds a slight acidity, and paired with the sauterne (wine), it’s amazing.”

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Eric Beech)

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SAN FRANCISCO BALLET THRILLS A SOLD-OUT AUDIENCE IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO

July 8 performance receives thunderous applause and a

protracted standing ovation at the Sun Valley Pavilion 


San Francisco Ballet, performing for the first time in Sun Valley, moved the enthusiastic audience from tears to thunderous applause during an electric, sold-out performance on Sunday, July 8.

“I’ve never experienced a more passionate performance,” said Dan Drackett, Chair of the Sponsors Committee for SF Ballet in Sun Valley. “The enthusiasm and appreciation of the audience was palpable, and so was the response from the dancers.” SF Ballet Board Trustee Bob Smelick, organizer of this performance, commented, “There was an incredible energy inside the Pavilion last Sunday and this carried over into dancers and sponsors being applauded in local restaurants and to excited and animated conversations among patrons who lingered after the performance, exuding praise for specific dancers and dances. I feel very, very fortunate to have been a part of this.”

“Performing for the first time in Sun Valley was a delight for the Company,” said SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. “Not only was the outdoor venue beautiful, but the audience was extremely enthusiastic.”
17 Company dancers—accompanied by 12 members of the SF Ballet Orchestra, a Company pianist and principal conductor—presented a one-night only performance of seven works, ranging from classical ballets such as a pas de deux from Don Quixote, to dramatic, contemporary pieces such as Forsythe’s in the middle, somewhat elevated. Rounding out the program was a pas de deux from Bintley’s critically acclaimed The Dance House, van Manen’s charming Solo, Tomasson’s 7 for Eight, a spellbinding pas de deux from Wheeldon’s After the Rain, and Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.

The majestic 1,600-seat Sun Valley Pavilion is one of the most beautiful and technically sophisticated outdoor performance venues in the world. To augment audience capacity and accommodate demand for performance seating from locals, and from visitors who came from as far away as Chicago, New York, Florida and San Francisco, the Pavilion’s adjacent park area was opened up for audience members to enjoy the stage action from a large LED screen with beautifully amplified performance music.

SF Ballet’s visit was made possible by the generous donations of the performance sponsors. Proceeds from this performance, comprised of donations and ticket sales revenue, are expected to exceed performance production costs, and all excess funds will be donated to Wood River Valley arts organizations and recognized charities who helped make this performance possible; including Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, The Sun Valley Summer Symphony, The Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and other local organizations.

The Sun Valley engagement is part of SF Ballet’s summer/fall tour that includes visits to Hamburg, London, Moscow, and Washington, D.C.


About San Francisco Ballet
As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson for more than two decades, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. Recent highlights include a tour to the People’s Republic of China, the celebration of Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s 25th anniversary with the Company, and the United States premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, which was broadcast internationally, as well as nationally on PBS’s Great Performances “Dance in America” in December 2011. In 2012, SF Ballet embarks on an ambitious tour schedule that includes engagements in London and Washington, D.C., as well as first-time visits to Hamburg, Moscow, and Sun Valley, Idaho.

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SF Symphony and SF Classical Voice Partner to Launch Community of Music Makers Chamber Music Convening Website

SAN FRANCISCO, July 13—The San Francisco Symphony has partnered with classical music website San Francisco Classical Voice to launch a chamber music convening website, comm.sfcv.org, as part of the Symphony’s Community of Music Makers program. The new website supports chamber music performance in the community and serves as a clearinghouse to help individual players and ensembles find each other, as well as communicate among each other and with the San Francisco Symphony.

“Both SFCV and the SF Symphony are incredibly rich sources of material for classical music lovers. Together, I hope we can connect musicians to each other and to the Community of Music Makers program for further guidance and playing opportunities,” said Lolly Lewis, program administrator for SF Symphony’s Community of Music Makers program. “I cannot think of a better partner than San Francisco Classical Voice with which to launch this chamber music website.”

The website welcomes musicians of any level to either browse listings from other members looking to form chamber ensembles, or create a profile to post their own listings to find chamber music partners. The site also contains resources for chamber music ensembles, including scores, audio clips, video and readings on select works, as well as information on other chamber music workshops and festivals. Resources for additional repertoire will be continually added.

In addition to the new website with SFCV, Community of Music Makers has already hosted three choral workshops, one string ensemble, one wind and brass ensemble, and one chamber music workshop. During the 2012-13 season, there are two workshops each scheduled for amateur choral, strings, and wind and brass musicians. Four chamber music workshops are also planned. The first instrumental and chamber workshops of the season take place in October, and the first choral workshop takes place in November. Visit www.sfsymphony.org/musicmakers to sign up for news about upcoming workshops and other related events.

Community of Music Makers (CoMM), a San Francisco Symphony Centennial Season initiative, serves amateur adult musicians and promotes active participation in music-making and lifelong learning, with Davies Symphony Hall as a hub of music activity. CoMM extends the Symphony’s role beyond its historic performance and teaching model by creating opportunities for SFS concertgoers to participate in music-making under the auspices of the SFS and with the support of SFS players and artistic staff.

San Francisco Classical Voice is a not-for-profit website dedicated to intelligent, professional and thorough critical coverage of the Bay Area’s rich classical music scene. SFCV was launched in 1998 by former San Francisco Chronicle classical-music critic Robert Commanday and San Francisco composer and philanthropist Gordon Getty. Since its inception, SFCV has published more than 3,500 concert reviews of Bay Area classical music groups.

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Lulu by the Bay: Louise Brooks is legend in Pandora’s Box

FROM SF GATE BLOG BY THOMAS GLADYSZ —  On Saturday July 14th, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival will show Pandora’s Box. Today, it is considered one of the great films of all time, largely in part because of the stunning performance given by Louise Brooks in the role of Lulu. Saturday’s event marks the second time in the Festival’s 17 year history that G.W. Pabst’s 1929 masterpiece has been shown. However, it is the first time that this very special version of the film has been seen anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pandora's Box poster
Pandora’s Box screens Saturday

For locals, and for Louise Brooks fans everywhere, this San Francisco screening is a must attend event. That’s because the San Francisco Silent Film Festival is showing a new and true, frame-by-frame, digital restoration of Pandora’s Box. And by all reports, it is gorgeous. Not available on DVD, this restoration has only been shown twice before anywhere in the world. And what’s more, the team responsible for the restoration are local residents Angela Holm, David Ferguson and Vincent Pirozzi. They will be introducing the event at the Castro theater.

Controversial, censored, cut, and critically disregarded when it first debuted, Pandora’s Box is today considered one of great silent films. This restoration, the Festival’s centerpiece event, was funded by silent movie enthusiast and Louise Brooks partisan Hugh Hefner. It may come as close as we will ever get to director Pabst’s original vision – and Brooks’ original luminescence.

This screening is also significant as it marks something of return for the character of Lulu, whose creator was almost born in San Francisco. As most filmgoers know,Pandora’s Box is based on two plays, Earth Spirit (1895) and Pandora’s Box (1904), by the German writer Frank Wedekind (1864 – 1918). Today, he is best known as the author of Spring Awakening (1891), which six years ago was turned into a hugely popular Broadway musical.

What’s little known is that Wedekind’s parents were European immigrants resident in San Francisco in the years following the 1849 Gold Rush. His German father was a physician and progressive democrat whose participation in the Revolutions of 1848 (in the German states) led him to exile in America. Wedekind’s Swiss mother was an attractive singer and actress twenty-three years his junior. This unlikely and unconventional union has led some scholars to speculate that the relationship between Wedekind’s parents could have served as a model for the similar, unconventional relationship between the older and respected Dr. Schon and the much younger showgirl Lulu in Pandora’s Box.

 

A scene from Pandora's Box

 

Of course, such things are open to interpretation. However, what we do know is that Friedrich Wedekind and Emilie Kammerer’s second child – the future writer – was conceived in San Francisco, and born in what is now Hanover, Germany. According to Wedekind’s biography, early in the pregnancy the homesick couple risked a return to their homeland, and stayed. And that’s where Benjamin Frank(lin) Wedekind, named for the free-thinking American writer, was born in 1864.

To mark the occasion of the first ever showing of the restored Pandora’s Box in San Francisco, what follows is a brief, discursive history of the film’s reception in the United States and the greater Bay Area.

Pandora’s Box had its world premiere in February of 1929 at the Gloria–Palast theater in Berlin. German reviews of the time were mixed, even dismissive. (See the essay in the Festival program for a fuller account.) Some months later, when Pandora’s Box opened at a single theater in New York City, American newspaper and magazine critics were similarly ambivalent, and even hostile.

In its now infamous review, the New York Times critic stated, “In an introductory title the management sets forth that it has been prevented by the censors from showing the film in its entirety, and it also apologizes for what it termed ‘an added saccharine ending’.” Adding salt to the wound, the Times critic noted, “Miss Brooks is attractive and she moves her head and eyes at the proper moment, but whether she is endeavoring to express joy, woe, anger or satisfaction it is often difficult to decide.” Ouch.

Despite poor reviews, the film drew crowds. The New York Sun reported that Pandora’s Box ” . . . has smashed the Fifty-fifth Street Playhouse’s box office records,” and was held over for another week. With its brief run completed, Pandora’s Box fell into an obscurity from which it barely escaped.

newspaper advertisement for Pandora's Box

Things have changed since the late 1920s, and the reputation of Pandora’s Box has continued to grow. The film has been screened numerous times in the last few decades, and perhaps nowhere more often than in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chances are if you are still reading this article you saw an earlier print at the Castro Theater in San Francisco or the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, where between those two venues the film has been shown nearly two dozen times since the mid-1970s.

As far as I have been able to document, the first screening of Pandora’s Box in the City of San Francisco took place at the old Surf Theater in January of 1974, as part of a double bill with The Last Laugh. A couple of years earlier, in October of 1972, the Pacific Film Archive had screened it in Berkeley in what could have been one of the film’s earliest East Bay screenings.

One of those early East Bay screenings was likely prompted by film critic Pauline Kael, who was then living in the Bay Area and had a hand in local film exhibition. At that time, Kael was also corresponding with Louise Brooks, who was living in Rochester, New York. On at least one occasion in their exchange of letters, Kael implored Brooks to come to the Bay Area to be present at a screening of Pandora’s Box. But Brooks, who was reclusive, wouldn’t budge.

newspaper advertisement
Louise Brooks made a rare personal appearance at the American Theater in Oakland while in the Bay Area filming the now lost 1927 comedy, Rolled Stockings.

In all likelihood, the very first screening of Pandora’s Box in the Bay Area took place in 1962, when the Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey screened a print ofPandora’s Box as part of its Peninsula Film Seminar. The event was organized around a visit by Brooks’ early champion and friend James Card, who brought with him a small collection of rare films, including a messy, unrestored version of the Pabst masterpiece.

Card’s print of Pandora’s Box was probably one of the very few prints of the film in the United States. And in all likelihood, Pandora’s Box and the other films shown at the Seminar were works the attendees had only heard of but not seen.

According to newspaper reports of the time, the Peninsula Film Seminar was a big deal in local film circles. And notably, it was attended by Bay Area cognoscenti like Pauline Kael, future San Francisco poet Laureate Jack Hirschman, a few East Bay film promoters involved with the Berkeley Film Guild, and others.

And there, in Monterey, the seeds were first sown for the film’s now large reputation in the Bay Area. Follow this link to see a list of all known screenings of Pandora’s Box in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you know of other early screenings of this historic film, please send an email.

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival takes place July 12 through 15 at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. More info, including a compete program of films, can be found at www.silentfilm.org

Thomas Gladysz is a Bay Area arts journalist and early film buff, and the Director of the Louise Brooks Society, an internet-based archive and international fan club devoted to the silent film star. Gladysz has contributed to books on the actress, organized exhibits, appeared on television and radio, and introduced Brooks’ films around the world. He will be signing copies of his “Louise Brooks edition” of The Diary of a Lost Girl following the screening of Pandora’s Box at this year’s San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

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OUT OF CHARACTER: DECODING CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY

Asian Art Museum Exhibition Uses Contemporary Lens to

Explore Important Collection of Rare Chinese Masterworks

Chinese calligraphy—long considered the most sublime art form in China—is like a carefully choreographed dance, its steps guided by tradition. By manipulating a brush with varied movements and pressures, calligraphers create sensuous strokes: their ink dances across surfaces of silk, satin, or paper, presenting balance within a character, harmony among words, and rhythm across lines of text. With mind and hand in accord, calligraphers express the strength of their character through their characters.

This fall, the Asian Art Museum presents Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy, a compelling new exhibition examining the complexities of this time-honored art form through 40 calligraphies—including 15 noted masterworks, many on public view for the first time—all borrowed from the significant collection of Bay Area entrepreneur Jerry Yang. The calligraphies are supplemented with three major abstract expressionist paintings by Brice Marden, Franz Kline, and Mark Tobey, plus a newly commissioned video installation by acclaimed international contemporary artist Xu Bing. Together, these artworks offer a stimulating exploration of creativity expressed within the constraints of artistic discipline.

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive catalogue featuring essays by leading calligraphy experts, as well as a multimedia tour—including the perspective of Jerry Yang—and other public programs.

Out of Character is on view at the museum October 5, 2012, through January 13, 2013. The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of the exhibition.

After its presentation at the Asian Art Museum, the exhibition is scheduled to tour to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 2014.

“Through the centuries, a complex set of rules and conventions evolved in this art form, governing scripts, styles, formats, content, and context, and impacting every aspect of the Chinese calligrapher’s practice,” said Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum. “The unique mix presented in Out of Character—classic calligraphies complemented by modern and new works—offers a framework for understanding that within these constraints, creativity and self-expression remained the goals of the calligrapher.”

The first major exhibition of Chinese calligraphy in the U.S. since 1999, Out of Character is organized by the Asian Art Museum and curated by Dr. Michael Knight, the museum’s senior curator of Chinese art, and Dr. Joseph Chang, senior research fellow at the museum’s Research Institute for Asian Art.

In organizing the exhibition, the curators—with input from several noted scholars from both China and the U. S.—drew upon superb calligraphies from the Guan Yuan Shan Zhuang (The Mountain Villa for Gazing Afar), a significant collection of more than 250 works owned by Yang. Many of the artworks will be on public view for the first time, offering museum visitors a rare opportunity to see such masterworks as Lotus Sutra, a late 13th-to-early-14th-century handscroll by Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322). On view also will be the earliest dated calligraphy outside China by Dong Qichang (1555–1636).

“There aren’t many opportunities for people to experience firsthand the complexity and diversity of Chinese calligraphy,” said Jerry Yang. “For me, understanding and appreciating Chinese calligraphy has been a journey of discovery, inspiration, and fulfillment. I’m proud for the Asian Art Museum—known for its scholarship and pursuit of cultural understanding—to share these works with the broader community, enabling others to more fully appreciate the complex beauty and significance of this art form.”

“There is no question that an essential aspect of Chinese culture is its language and writing,” said Robert Y. C. Ho, Chairman of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, “Chinese calligraphy is a highly complex, beautiful and sometimes inscrutable system that has evolved over several millennia and is central to China’s political, cultural and social development. It captures and defines virtually every aspect of Chinese history and culture in a way that perhaps no other art form can.”

Viewers will encounter the bold, streamlined presentation of Out of Character in three key sections: first, an introduction provides an overview of tools, materials, and techniques critical to understanding and appreciating Chinese calligraphy. This section features 25 calligraphies illustrating key elements including format, script, styles, content and context; in the second section, 15 featured calligraphies illustrate in depth the elements presented in the introduction; and third, a contemporary response by artist Xu Bing offers a cultural perspective on the nature of calligraphy.

 

ABOUT THE ASIAN ART MUSEUM

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life, while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity, and new thinking.

 

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AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER TO OFFER OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE OF THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS

 American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) is pleased to offer an open captioned performance of The Scottsboro Boys, the critically acclaimed musical based on a tragic chapter in American history, on Saturday, July 21, at 8 p.m., at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Special seats have been reserved for hearing-impaired audience members who would like an optimal view of the digital screen. These tickets (located in the Orchestra section) are $34 per person and available by visiting act-sf.org/scottsboro <http://www.act-sf.org/scottsboro>  and entering the code CAPTION or by calling A.C.T. at 415.749.2228.

The use of open captions in theater has gained worldwide attention and support for its ease of integration and program enhancement and has introduced a wave of new audiences to the theater. Open captioning displays text alongside live speech, dialogue, and singing. It does not require patrons to use special equipment for viewing the text.  Open captioning services for A.C.T. are provided by Turner Reporting and Captioning Services.

The West Coast premiere of The Scottsboro Boys opened to rave reviews from Bay Area audiences and critics alike. Karen D’Souza of San Jose Mercury News called The Scottsboro Boys “scorching musical theater,” while Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle hailed it as “electrifying!” Nominated for 12 Tony Awards in 2011, The Scottsboro Boys features music and lyrics by the legendary Broadway songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman), book by David Thompson (Steel Pier, Chicago), musical direction by Eric Ebbenga, and direction and choreography by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Contact). Jeff Whiting serves as associate director and choreographer. Tony and Emmy Award winner Hal Linden (Barney Miller, The Rothschilds on Broadway) joins the stellar cast as The Interlocutor.


Based on the notorious Scottsboro trials of the 1930s, The Scottsboro Boys tells the story of nine African American teenagers—ranging from 12 to 19 years old—convicted of raping two white girls on a Southern Railroad freight train while hitching a ride to Memphis in search of employment. Despite the fact that one of the original complainants later denied that any rape had occurred, the nine teenagers were subjected to years of brutal imprisonment, death-sentence verdicts, and a denied appeal. Reclaiming the framework of a minstrel show and “turning the taboo form on its head,” explains Stroman, the musical—through high-energy dance numbers and exuberant music—courageously addresses one of the most abhorrent episodes in American history.  


The Scottsboro Boys marks the fourth and final collaboration for John Kander, Fred Ebb, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson. Previous collaborations included the 1987 off-Broadway revival of Flora, The Red Menace, the 1991 off-Broadway production of And the World Goes ’Round, and the 1997 Broadway production of Steel Pier. Looking at famous trials of the 20th century as inspiration, the four were immediately drawn to the compelling story of the Scottsboro Boys trials. Says Kander: “As a young boy growing up in Kansas City, I remember when the Scottsboro Boys were first in the headlines. I remember the conversations with my parents about what the trials meant. I am sure there were similar conversations at kitchen tables across the country. I also remember when the headlines began to fade and the Scottsboro Boys gradually disappeared from the national spotlight. As we began to write The Scottsboro Boys, it was immediately apparent why it was so important to tell their story. Behind the headlines, the spectacle, the ongoing trials, and the histrionics of politicians and lawyers was the story of nine young African American boys, determined to prove that they mattered.”

A.C.T.’s production of The Scottsboro Boys is sponsored by Deloitte and Farella Braun + Martel LLP. The Scottsboro Boys is made possible by executive producers Lesley Ann Clement and Barry Lawson Williams and Lalita Tademy; producers Rose Hagan and Mark Lemley, Marcia and Jim Levy, Terry and Jan Opdendyk, David and Carla Riemer, Bert Steinberg and Lucia Brandon, Lorenzo Thione and David Palmer, and Larry and Robyn Varellas; and associate producers Anne and Jerry Down, Robert Hulteng, Christine and Stan Mattison, Maria and Jeff Spears, and Judy and Bill Timken.  A.C.T. would also like to acknowledge its 2011–12 season company sponsors Ray and Dagmar Dolby, Frannie Fleishhacker, Ambassador James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen, Koret Foundation, Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation, Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Mary and Steven Swig, Doug Tilden, and Jeff and Laurie Ubben.

The Scottsboro Boys
will play its final performance on Sunday, July 22, 2012, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary St.). Tickets for all remaining performances are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.org <http://www.act-sf.org> or by calling 415.749.2228.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson: SFO Control Tower Groundbreaking

Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Acting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael P. Huerta, and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Director John L. Martin to officially break ground on SFO’s new air traffic control tower between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, east of the existing tower.

Transportation Secretary LaHood, SF Mayor Lee, Airport Director John Martin and William Withycombe FAA Western-Pacific region Administrator wield the shovels in a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony.

“The construction of SFO’s new air traffic control tower will provide the Airport with the most technologically advanced facility in the nation,” said Mayor Lee. “We are investing in our City’s critical infrastructure, providing a world-class International Airport and putting our residents back to work.”

“We’re building a world class tower for a world class airport,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood. “Hundreds of Bay Area construction workers will be employed in well-paying jobs while building this project to the strictest seismic standards.”

“The new tower will serve this growing airport for decades to come,” said Acting FAA Administrator Huerta. “Air traffic controllers will have a thoroughly modernized facility with better airfield views and the most up to date equipment.”

“San Francisco International Airport is extremely pleased to be partnering with the FAA on the construction of this landmark facility,” said Airport Director Martin. “The new air traffic control tower will not only meet or exceed the strictest seismic standards and contain the latest technology, but it will also be an iconic symbol of the Airport for generations to come.”

The new control tower will be 221 feet tall and will feature a 650 square-foot controller work area. The tower will sit atop a three-story, 44,000 square-foot base building, which will house administrative offices, computer equipment, a backup generator and secure corridors through which passengers can transit between terminals. The current tower, which the FAA commissioned in 1984, is about 180 feet tall and has a 520 square-foot controller work area.

The current air traffic control tower no longer meets current seismic standards and it is not cost effective to retrofit the facility. The seismic design for the new tower allows for the structure to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake. The top of the tower has also been designed to not sway with wind loads to ensure better comfort for the controllers. It is estimated that more than 400 construction jobs and more than 200 support positions will be created during the construction of the tower and associated facilities.

Although the tower design is visually appealing and unique, it was actually designed based on strictly prescribed FAA functional requirements. The flared shape at the top of the tower shaft and below the cab provides room for state of the art FAA electronics and personnel necessary to operate. The cab offset on the tower was required for critical sight lines to the airfield directly below.

 

Model of the new Control Tower

The project goal is to achieve LEED Gold. Part of that initiative will be to provide solar panels, integrate eco-friendly mechanical and technical systems wherever practical, use sustainable building materials and construct the facility in the most environmentally responsible manner. The construction of the new tower is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014 and fully operational by the FAA in the fall of 2015.

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FREQUENT SF BALLET COLLABORATOR AND TONY AWARD WINNING DESIGNER MARTIN PAKLEDINAZ HAS DIED

Frequent SF Ballet collaborator and celebrated costume designer Martin Pakledinaz died on Sunday, July 8, at the age of 58, after a long illness. Pakledinaz, known for his work on Tony Award winning musicals such as Kiss Me, Kate; Thoroughly Modern Millie; and Anything Goes; collaborated frequently with SF Ballet, beginning in the early 1990s.For SF Ballet, he designed for choreographers such as Mark Morris, SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, and Christopher Wheeldon.

“Martin was not only a wonderful collaborator but also a good friend. For over fifteen years, I’ve had the privilege of working with him and seeing his extraordinary designs come to life on stage,” said Tomasson. “For San Francisco Ballet, his diverse body of work included notable ballets, both short and full-length, such as my most recent productions of Nutcracker and Don Quixote, Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour, and Mark Morris’ Sylvia, to name a few. Martin was incredibly talented and original and he will be greatly missed.”

As a costume and scenic designer, Pakledinaz worked in theatre, dance, opera, and film. His work has been seen in New York, the United States, and all over the world. He was nominated 10 times for the Tony Award, winning twice in the Best Costume Design category for the 1999 revival of Kiss Me, Kate and in 2002, for the original production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. His designs for opera include “Rodelinda” for the Met; Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” for Seattle Opera; “L’Amour De Loin” (directed by Peter Sellars) for Opera Salzburg and the Chatelet; as well as productions at New York City Opera, Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Canadian Opera Company. Memorial donations may be made to: The Martin Pakledinaz Scholarship, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, 721 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10003.

About San Francisco Ballet

As America’s oldest professional ballet company, San Francisco Ballet has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia. San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States. Guided in its early years by American dance pioneers and brothers Lew, Willam and Harold Christensen, San Francisco Ballet currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson for more than two decades, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. In 2005, San Francisco Ballet won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement in Dance” and in 2006, it was the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year” in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll. In 2008, the Company marked its 75th anniversary with a host of initiatives including an ambitious New Works Festival. Recent highlights include a tour to the People’s Republic of China, the celebration of Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s 25th anniversary with the Company, and the United States premiere of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, which was broadcast internationally, as well as nationally on PBS’s Great Performances “Dance in America” in December 2011. In 2012, SF Ballet embarked on an ambitious tour schedule that includes engagements in London and Washington, D.C., as well as first time visits to Hamburg, Moscow, and Sun Valley, Idaho. * * *

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Marcum creates accounting practice targeting gay, non-traditional couples

Accounting firm Marcum established a practice focused on LGBT and other non-traditional families to help these clients navigate the complex and often-changing tax and financial landscape.  The practice is headed by Nanettee Lee Miller, who is based in Marcum’s San Francisco office, where she’s also a partner-in-charge of assurance services.

Marcum, among the nation’s 15 largest accounting firms, is among the few accounting firms to establish a practice focused on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It’s territory traversed earlier by wealth managers and personal finance advisers.
Marcum, based in New York with 23 offices primarily on the East and West coasts, has 40 professionals out of 1,100, with special training to deal with issues facing non-traditional families.  Miller says Marcum’s new practice will provide LGBT clients with a range of services that include trust and estate planning, business formation and, of course, tax issues.

“Whether they are married, single, domestic partners or divorced, LGBT and non-traditional families deals with tax and financial issues that are byzantine, at best,” Miller said. “LGBT and non-traditional family accounting matters can be legislated by national, state or local government groups, or by regulation or judicial decision, requiring true expertise to navigate this complex web.”

Tax returns for California same-sex couples, for instance, have their income split between them since the federal government recognizes that property rights are determined by state law. But the federal government doesn’t allow joint returns since the federal government doesn’t recognize their unions.  Or as one Californian in a same-sex marriage described it, “Imagine living in a world where the response to the question ‘Are you married?’ is ‘It depends on who is asking?’”  Miller says even qualifying for a mortgage presents challenges as lenders try to interpret these tax returns to confirm income.  She recognizes the initiative might be controversial with some, especially in light of last month’s controversy that Kraft (NYSE: KFT) stirred up with its Oreo cookie featured on Facebook, (NASDAQ: FB) with rainbow-color creme filling to recognize gay pride month. Several of the more than 20,000 comments were positive, but some were not.

“Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness,” Kraft spokesman Basil Maglaris, told Reuters. “We feel the Oreo ad is a fun reflection of our values.”
Miller, who successfully made the case to Marcum to debut the new practice, said she and her colleagues have to keep up with the latest laws and court decisions affecting non-traditional families and assess their impact.

Marcum’s creation of a national practice on LGBT and other non-traditional families doesn’t bode well for clarity or equality to these relationships coming soon.  ”We would not have built a national practice on an issue that would be resolved in a year or two,” Miller said. “This is a long-term issue.”

 

(From San Francisco Business Times  by Mark Calvey, Senior Reporter)

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Blu Homes Protest Greets 30,000 at Pacific Coast Builders Conference Opening Day in San Francisco

The 30,000 attendees today at the annual Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) were greeted by a major protest from the employees of a green home building company seeking unionization of its northern California production facility.

More than 100 Blu Homes employees and members of the Carpenters Union Local 180 armed with giant 30-foot tall inflatable effigies of The Grim Reaper and a pig leafleted outside the largest gathering of the home building industry in the western United States today, the opening day of PCBC.

Blu Homes’ production workers are in a labor dispute with Blu Homes after company management has refused to recognize the union even after 38 of 45 workers at the company’s Vallejo signed a petition this year demanding representation by the Carpenters Union. More than 17 unfair Labor Charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board against Blu Homes.

The Carpenters Union charges that Blu Homes’ President Bill Haney and his behavior toward its workers and environmental practices do not match the pro-environment and pro-worker projects that have marked Mr. Haney’s career or the efforts of people on the company’s Board of Advisers, including Robert Kennedy, Jr., whose father played a pivotal role in the unionization of California farm workers.

Blu Homes Inc., a Massachusetts-based company that designs and builds pre-fabricated single family green homes, opened a new facility inside Vallejo’s historic Factory Building 680 on Lennar Mare Island in December 2011.

Shortly thereafter, workers approached Carpenters Local 180, asking for help in resolving issues of poor bathroom facilities, lack of gender specific bathrooms, job safety and the lack of a retirement plan.  The overriding factor was a lack of respect for the workers from management, according to Carpenters representatives.

Haney has been described in the NY Times as one of America’s leading environmental entrepreneurs.  In addition to his business and investment successes that made him a multi-millionaire, he is also a documentary filmmaker, taking his camera to places where social injustice was met with resistance by those on the ground.

From the Dominican Republic, where he focused on the struggle of Haitian sugar workers in “The Price of Sugar,” to the mountains of West Virginia, where he chronicled a community’s fight against mountain top removal mining, Haney’s films emphasize the power of ordinary people. Along the way, he has spoken forcefully against the evils of corporate greed, against environmental degradation and union busting, and for the powers of workers organizing into a union.

Haney, being interviewed about his documentary, “The Price of Sugar” and the struggle of Haitian sugar workers in the Dominican Republic said: “…one of the most interesting things that took place for me was to be present at the birth of a union. It was extraordinary to see the power and vitality of a union and how desperate these workers were without it and what improvements could be ripped from the plantations owner’s hands if there was one…”

Haney, commenting on Massey Energy and the fight against mountaintop removal mining: “…you know, there are miners working there who are getting a pathetic fraction of what they would have gotten even 10 years ago when they had protection with the unions. So, they’ve destroyed the unions, they’ve beaten up on the environment, they’ve violated federal health and safety standards, to what appears to be really the enrichment of a very small number of people, primarily the executives of the company.”

The Carpenters’ union thinks Haney is a hypocrite. Haney has positioned himself as a champion of the environment, an ally of the poor, and a defender of unions. So one must ask: why can’t he live up to his own words at his own company?

The Blu Home workers in Vallejo have overwhelmingly petitioned for union representation and they are being denied this right by the very same man that encouraged unionization in the Dominican Republic and in the hills of West Virginia. That’s not irony–that’s hypocrisy, some on the picket line said today.

In March 2012, Blu Homes raised $25 Million in Capital from new investors Brightpath Capital Partners and The Skagen Group in the Netherlands. According to the company, this brings total investment in Blu Homes to $50 million since 2007.

One can only hope that Mr. Haney and Robert F. Kenney Jr. and the other board members will recognize the right of workers to organize and have decent and safe working conditions and benefit from the growth of Blu Homes.

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