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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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LORENZO PISONI’S HUMOR ABUSE RETURNS TO A.C.T. FOR AN EXCLUSIVE LIMITED ENGAGEMENT!

The celebrated actor and clown’s critically acclaimed one-man show tells the

incredible true story of growing up in San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus

SAN FRANCISCO (June 26, 2012)— After receiving ecstatic reviews and audience ovations last winter, Lorenzo Pisoni’s celebrated one-man show, Humor Abuse, returns to American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) for an exclusive limited engagement. Created by Pisoni and director Erica Schmidt, Humor Abuse takes us under the big top with Pisoni’s incredible true story of growing up as the youngest member of San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus. Celebrating the complicated, no-holds-barred life of a performer, Pisoni shows off the tricks of the trade he learned from his father, Pickle cofounder Larry Pisoni. A hilarious and heartfelt event that will delight audiences of all ages, Humor Abuse dazzles with unforgettable stories and mesmerizing routines. The show has been critically acclaimed throughout its runs around the country: the New York Times called Pisoni “a performer of charisma and charm with the split-second timing and aplomb of Buster Keaton;” Variety praised the show as “surprising, funny, and entirely theatrical;” and during the show’s sold-out run in January, the San Francisco Chronicle awarded the show its highest rating, hailing it as “90 minutes of nonstop hilarity . . . a tour de force of physical comedy and a gift to the Bay Area.” Humor Abuse performs August 3–19, 2012 at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Press night is Friday, August 3, 2012, at 8 p.m. Tickets (starting at $25) are available by calling the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or at act-sf.org.

About returning to the Bay Area, Pisoni—who previously appeared on the A.C.T. stage in 2005’s hugely popular The Gamester and also recently performed in Broadway’s Equus alongside Daniel Radcliffe—says: “When I was asked if I was interested in doing Humor Abuse again at A.C.T., there was no question. Being able to share the story of my father and the Pickle Family Circus with Bay Area audiences was an absolute dream come true and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to share it all again.”

Pisoni was born into the Pickle Family Circus shortly after his parents, Larry Pisoni and Peggy Snider, founded the alternative big top in 1974 with their juggling partner, Cecil MacKinnon. After Bill Irwin and Geoff Hoyle joined their ranks—creating the incomparable clown trio of Lorenzo Pickle (Pisoni), Willy the Clown (Irwin), and Mr. Sniff (Hoyle)—the Pickles became a venerable and beloved Bay Area institution. They toured the West Coast (and beyond) through the 1980s and ’ 90s and led the charge in the renewal of the American circus, exchanging animal acts, pyrotechnics, and the supersized three-ring format with daring acrobatics and its famous show-stopping group juggle, all presented on one intimate stage so audiences would not miss a single moment. Lorenzo Pisoni grew up in this hotbed of creativity, first appearing onstage at the age of two. He became his father’s clown partner not long after, and he continued to perform with the troupe during his teens. Pisoni, a natural storyteller, gives the audience a unique take on the familiar coming-of-age story and creates a moving and hilarious portrait of a father-and-son relationship. His recollections are centered around physically demanding tricks (both newly created acts as well as and reenactments of his father’s famous Pickle performances) that show off his skills as a juggler, acrobatic, clown, and physical comedian.

The creative team for Humor Abuse includes lighting designer Ben Stanton (Seminar on Broadway,  Angels in America at the Signature Theatre), sound designer Bart Fasbender (over 100 productions, including work at The Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Atlantic Theater Company), and composer Randy Craig (who is an original Pickle Family Circus member and recently composed and performed the music for A.C.T.’s production of Scapin). Humor Abuse is stage-managed by Hannah Cohen.

A.C.T.’s production of Humor Abuse is made possible by producer Marilee K. Gardner. A.C.T. would also like to acknowledge its 2012–13 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.

A.C.T.’ s 2012–13 season continues with many other incredible productions. Next up is the West Coast premiere of George C. Wolfe’s Tony Award–winning production of The Normal Heart (September 13–October 7, 2012), followed by Carey Perloff’s sweeping production of Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Elektra (October 25–November 18, 2012), featuring core acting company member René Augesen in the title role and associate artist (and Academy Award winner) Olympia Dukakis as the fiercely partisan Chorus Leader. December brings A.C.T.’s celebrated production of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol (November 29–December 24, 2012), now in its 36th year. This version of A Christmas Carol,, adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff, stays true to the heart of Dickens’s timeless story of redemption and brings a playful sensibility to his rich language. Widely considered one of the most influential plays of the 20th century, Tennessee Williams’ sultry classic, A Streetcar Named Desire (January 17–February 10, 2013) takes the stage in a sumptuous new production. Next A.C.T will present the world premiere of George F. Walker’s Dead Metaphor—a hilarious dark comedy about the hypocrisies of postwar living (February 28–March 24, 2013).  In the spirit of the beloved hit The Black Rider, A.C.T. is thrilled to continue the tradition of introducing eclectic, unforgettable musical projects to the stage with the world premiere of Stuck Elevator (April 4–28, 2013). A powerful and poignant hip-hop opera, Stuck Elevator is based on the true story of a Chinese restaurant deliveryman who was trapped in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours. As the event of the season, A.C.T. is thrilled to present the Bay Area premiere of The National Theatre of Scotland’s internationally acclaimed production of Black Watch (May 3–June 9, 2013). Written by Gregory Burke and directed by John Tiffany (who recently won a Tony Award for his inventive work on the acclaimed Broadway musical Once), Black Watch is based on interviews Burke conducted with soldiers of the legendary Scottish regiment who served in Iraq. The 2012–13 season culminates with a new production of Tom Stoppard’s masterwork Arcadia (May 16–June 9, 2013). Hailed as one of the best plays of the 20th century, Arcadia unfolds in a beautiful English country house and moves between the 19th century and the present through a series of love stories, as characters from both eras discover connections, unearth mysteries, and unravel hidden truths about the nature of heat and desire. To subscribe or to receive a season brochure, please call 415.749.2250 or visit act-sf.org.
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MAYOR LEE & LEADER PELOSI CELEBRATE $10 MILLION FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT IN MISSION BAY


New Federal Funds to Improve Transportation, Directly Support Mission Bay as Hub of Innovation, Job Growth & Neighborhood

 Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined Democratic Leader Nancy to announce a federal $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve transportation infrastructure in the City’s Mission Bay neighborhood.

The funding, called Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER), will support the Mission Bay/UCSF Hospital Multimodal Transportation Project by completing the remaining backbone transportation infrastructure necessary to support the dynamic Mission Bay community, representing $9 billion in combined investment from the State, the City and the private sector. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and San Francisco Building Trades joined the announcement.

“San Francisco’s dynamic Mission Bay neighborhood has become an international model for sustainable, transit-oriented development and a hub of innovation and job growth,” said Mayor Lee. “The TIGER grant award for Mission Bay speaks to the power of public-private partnerships. I am grateful to President Obama, Leader Pelosi, Secretary LaHood, Lieutenant Governor Newsom and our partners for making this project a success.”

Mission Bay is transforming from a blighted, abandoned rail-yard to a mixed-use, transit-oriented innovation center and thriving neighborhood. TIGER funds will complete the street grid, build pedestrian and bicycle facilities, improve the highway off-ramp and construct a short-run loop for the light rail that will enable SFMTA to double service to the area.

“San Francisco has always led the way in infrastructure investments that grow our economy and spur prosperity for local communities,” said Leader Pelosi. “This $10 million commitment for transportation at Mission Bay builds on that record: to create jobs in our city and serve as a model for sustainable development nationwide. I was proud to advocate on behalf of this worthy project and applaud Secretary LaHood for his continued commitment to rebuilding America.”

“President Obama’s support for an America built to last is putting people back to work across the country building roads, bridges and other projects that will mean better, safer transportation for generations to come,” said Transportation Secretary LaHood. “TIGER projects mean good transportation jobs today and a stronger economic future for the nation.”
“Mission Bay is revitalizing an entire sector of San Francisco and creating jobs. The TIGER grant for this project will build on state and local investment to support this important infrastructure,” said Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. “Transit-oriented development surrounding the biotech, medical and educational uses which serve as the core of this growing community provides a model for creating a vibrant and sustainable future for California.”

Mission Bay is an economic engine crucial to the region and state which, at full build-out, will be home to a projected 30,000 jobs in critical fields like healthcare, biotech and education. The Mission Bay/UCSF Hospital Multimodal Transportation Infrastructure project is shovel ready, with permits in hand and preparatory work underway, insuring that these funds will be leveraged immediately. Mission Bay includes a 43-acre UCSF research campus and state-of-the-art UCSF hospital serving children, women and cancer patients, now under construction. More than 40 private biotechnology companies – including Bayer, Fibrogen and Nektar – have moved to Mission Bay. The result is a booming economic cluster of statewide and nationwide significance, focused on innovative life science research and development.

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Symphony Announces Holiday Concert and Additional Season Concerts

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY HOLIDAY CONCERTS AND ADDED 2012-13 SEASON CONCERTS ON SALE JUNE 26, INCLUDING WILSON PHILLIPS, SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS, PINK MARTINI, CHRIS BOTTI, JUDY COLLINS, COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA, PETER AND THE WOLF with JOHN LITHGOW, HANDEL’S MESSIAH, NEW YEAR’S EVE MASQUERADE BALL, AND BOBBY McFERRIN

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 21, 2012 – Concerts by Wilson Phillips and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and holiday concerts with Pink Martini, Chris Botti, Judy Collins, The Count Basie Orchestra, and Peter & the Wolf with narrator John Lithgow are newly added highlights of the 2012-13 schedule at Davies Symphony Hall, announced today by the San Francisco Symphony. New additions to the holiday concert lineup also include the annual Colors of Christmas shows with Peabo Bryson, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., James Ingram, and Stephanie Mills; Handel’s Messiah with the Orchestra and SFS Chorus; Mariachi Sol de México de Jóse Hernández; screenings of The Snowman animated film with live orchestra accompaniment; ‘Twas the Night and Deck the Hall concerts; and the 2012 New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball. Vocalist Bobby McFerrin performs his “Spirit You All” program March 30.

Tickets go on sale for all added special and holiday concerts Tuesday, June 26 at 10 a.m. at www.sfsymphony.org, by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall box office on Grove Street between Franklin Street and Van Ness Avenue. Individual tickets for the SF Symphony Opening Gala Concert September 19, with violinist Joshua Bell joining Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra, are also on sale June 26. Individual tickets for all other concerts in the Symphony’s 2012-13 season, which begins September 5, go on sale Monday, July 23 at 8 a.m. at the box office and 10 a.m. at www.sfsymphony.organd at 415-864-6000.

The Symphony’s holiday concerts include several particularly suited for children and families to attend together, with several offering half-price tickets for children 17 and under. San Francisco Symphony musicians and special guests perform two Deck the Hall family concerts of holiday music December 2, followed by entertainment, refreshments, and arts and crafts for children. On December 8, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform its ever-popular Peter and the Wolf afternoon concerts, featuring John Lithgow as narrator. Ragnar Bohlinleads soprano Joélle Harvey, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson-Cano, tenor Andrew Stenson, bass-baritone Michael Sumuel, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorusand Orchestra in three performances of Handel’s Messiah on December 13, 14, and 15. The animated children’s film The Snowman will be screened December 21 at Mondavi Center at UC Davis and December 22 at Davies Symphony Hall, with live accompaniment by the San Francisco Symphony and the Pacific Boychoir. Mariachi Sol de México de Jóse Hernándezbrings Mexican and traditional Christmas favorites to Davies Symphony Hall December 21. SFS Chorus Director Ragnar Bohlinleads soprano Lisa Vroman, and members of the Orchestra and Chorus in three ’Twas the Night Christmas concerts, featuring favorite carols and sing-alongs, December 22, 23, and 24. The lobby of Davies Symphony Hall will be transformed for the holidays into an evergreen wonderland with towering trees, each one uniquely decorated with sparkling decorations made by kids from local schools and volunteers from community groups.

The female trio of Wilson Phillips performs covers of Beach Boys and The Mamas and the Papas songs and their own hits on November 17. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings bring their gritty soul and funk on November 24. On November 28 and 29, multicultural orchestra Pink Martini and vocalist China Forbes return to San Francisco for two holiday concerts with the Symphony. On November 30 and December 1, trumpeter Chris Botti performs a holiday program, playing both with his band and with the Orchestra. The annual Colors of Christmas concerts return to Davies Symphony Hall as vocalists Peabo Bryson, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., James Ingram, and Stephanie Mills sing Christmas songs and their own pop hits on December 10, 11, and 12. On December 16, The Count Basie Orchestra performs holiday hits, jazz standards, and swing. Folk legend Judy Collins sings with the Orchestra December 19.

On December 31, revelers at the city’s most elegant New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball take over Davies Symphony Hall and count down to 2013, with music from the San Francisco Symphony, soprano Heidi Stober, and Dance Through Time, and dancing to big band music with The Peter Mintun Orchestra, swinging standards with The Martini Brothers, and Neil Diamond covers by Super Diamond.

 

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY OPENING GALA CONCERT

Wednesday, September 19 at 8 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

Single tickets go on sale June 26 for Michael Tilson Thomas leading the San Francisco Symphony and special guest violinist Joshua Bell in the Symphony’s 2012-13 Opening Gala concert. Bell performs Chausson’s Poème and Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo capriccioso. The Orchestra also performs selections from Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette and Ravel’s Boléro. This black-tie evening begins with a sparkling wine reception. Following the concert, celebrate at the after-party with live music, dancing, and savory treats from the Bay Area’s finest eateries. Proceeds benefit the San Francisco Symphony’s education and community programs, providing music education to more than 75,000 Bay Area children each year. Concert tickets include access to the Opening Gala Promenade and post-concert parties.

 

WILSON PHILLIPS

Saturday, November 17 at 8 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

The four-time Grammy® nominated group Wilson Phillips takes the stage at Davies Symphony Hall, performing songs from their new release Dedicated, which features covers of The Beach Boys and The Mamas and the Papas. One of the best-selling female groups of all time, Wilson Phillips is Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson (daughters of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys) and Chynna Phillips (daughter of John Phillips and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas). The trio reinvents the songs of their parents and perform their beloved hits “California Dreamin’,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Good Vibrations,” and more, as well as their own best-known songs. In spring 2012, the lifelong friends starred in Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On, a TV Guide Network reality show documenting the group’s adventures in and out of the recording studio.

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SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS

Saturday, November 24 at 8 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

Steeped in gospel, soul, and funk, this nine-piece Brooklyn collective has continued to electrify fans the world over with its authentic, heartfelt sound. Their four critically-acclaimed albums recall an honest, analog sound reminiscent of Motown and Stax Records, and have thrust Jones, a native of Augusta, GA, and crew into the multimedia limelight. Their live show has attracted collaborators including David Byrne, They Might Be Giants, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, and Michael Bublé. The Dap-Kings’ musical chops have also been in high-demand by artists including Al Green. Jones celebrated her silver-screen debut in the Denzel Washington-led film, The Great Debaters, in which she acted, sang, and recorded the majority of the movie’s soundtrack. In June 2012, the band appeared at the Bonnaroo Festival, and heads next to Europe for a month-long tour, including dates in Denmark, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Turkey, Italy and Norway.

 

PINK MARTINI WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

Wednesday, November 28 and Thursday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

The Portland, Oregon-based “little orchestra” was created in 1994 by Harvard graduate and classically trained pianist Thomas M. Lauderdale to play at political fundraisers for progressive causes. Fronted by multilingual and multitalented China Forbes, the band plays a repertoire that consists of an eclectic blend of 1930’s Cuban dance orchestra, classical chamber ensemble, Brazilian street band, and Japanese film noir. In 2010 the band released Joy To The World—a festive, multi-denominational holiday album featuring songs from around the globe. Its previous recordings–Hang On Little Tomato in 2004, Hey Eugene! in 2007, and Splendor In The Grass in 2009—have been popular worldwide; the group made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival and in the years following went on to tour Europe, Asia, and the United States. Equally at home performing its eclectic repertoire on concert stages and in smoky bars, Pink Martini draws a wildly diverse crowd. The ensemble made its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra in 1999 and has since performed with other orchestras across the country including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the National Symphony, and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Donato Cabrera conducts.

CHRIS BOTTI WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

Trumpeter Chris Botti performs material from his new album, Impressions, with his band and the Orchestra, conducted by Brett Kelly. Impressions expresses Botti’s love for rich, evocative melodies across a wide variety of genres, and includes music by Chopin, Gershwin, Harold Arlen, R. Kelly, Randy Newman, Bob Thiele and David Weiss, Ivan Lins, Astor Piazzolla, and Cesar Portillo de la Luz, as well as a pair of songs co-written by Botti with Herbie Hancock and David Foster. Botti was persuaded to make a lifetime commitment to the trumpet when at 12 he heard Miles Davis play “My Funny Valentine.” After attending Indiana University, and studying with David Baker, trumpet teacher Bill Adam, Woody Shaw and saxophonist George Coleman, he spent his early career crafting his skills in the Buddy Rich Big Band and playing with artists from Frank Sinatra to Natalie Cole and Joni Mitchell. Botti played extensively with Paul Simon, and had an especially creative association with Sting. His records have sold more than those by any jazz instrumentalist in the world.

 

DECK THE HALL CHILDREN’S HOLIDAY CONCERT AND PARTY

Sunday, December 2 at 11:00 and 3:00 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

The San Francisco Symphony’s annual Deck the Hall event celebrates the holiday season with a magical stage show designed for children ages three to 10. Members of the cast of Beach Blanket Babylon,
Dance Through Time, San Francisco Boys Chorus, and SF Jazz High School All-Stars Orchestra perform. Inaugurated more than 30 years ago by the late Louise M. Davies, this holiday classic is a Symphony tradition. The post-show party in the lobbies includes a variety of entertainment, arts and craft activities for children, and refreshments. Special Angel Packages are available with premium concert seating and a pre-concert reception with gourmet treats, holiday crafts, and special time with Santa Claus for the kids.

 


PETER AND THE WOLF with JOHN LITHGOW and the

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY YOUTH ORCHESTRA

Saturday, December 8 at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

Actor John Lithgow joins the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra as narrator in two performances of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. The Orchestra will also perform Lithgow’s The Bandshell Next to the Zoo, and festive holiday songs for the whole family to sing. SFSYO Music Director and conductor Donato Cabrera conducts.

 

COLORS OF CHRISTMAS
Peabo Bryson, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., James Ingram, and Stephanie Mills with the San Francisco Symphony

Monday, December 10, Tuesday, December 11, and

Wednesday, December 12 at 8:00 p.m. in Davies Symphony Hall

Peabo Bryson, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr, James Ingram and Stephanie Mills celebrate at the annual Colors of Christmas concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, performing traditional Christmas favorites and their individual hits. Bryson’s soft-rock/R&B hits include the Top 10 hit “If Ever You’re in My Arms Again,” the Grammy® Award-winning “Beauty and the Beast” (with Celine Dion), and “A Whole New World (Aladdin’s Theme)” with Regina Belle. McCoo and Davis are best known for their hits with The 5th Dimension, including “Aquarius,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” and “Last Night (I Didn’t Get to Sleep)” and R&B crooner Ingram had major hits with songs including “Baby, Come to Me,” “I Don’t Have the Heart,” and “Yah Mo B There.”

 

HANDEL’S MESSIAH With the San Francisco Symphony and SF Symphony Chorus

Thursday, December 13, Friday, December 14, and Saturday, December 15
at 7:30 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

The Grammy® Award-winning SF Symphony Chorus, conducted by Chorus Director Ragnar Bohlin, is joined by soloists Joélle Harvey, soprano; Jennifer Johnson-Cano, mezzo-soprano; Andrew Stenson, tenor; Michael Sumuel, bass-baritone; and the Orchestra in these holiday performances of Handel’s glorious Messiah oratorio.

 

THE COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA

Sunday, December 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

The Count Basie Orchestra embodies swing, style, rhythm and soul, and the ensemble brings its classic brand of big band jazz to Davies Symphony Hall for a night of jazz and pop standards, and its unique, foot-tapping take on favorite Christmas carols.

 

JUDY COLLINS WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

Wednesday, December 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

The folk and pop vocalist and songwriter Judy Collins joins the San Francisco Symphony for a performance of her timeless songs and hits as well as some holiday favorites. Collins’ Grammy® award-winning contemplative songs, paired with her creamy voice and heartfelt delivery, have been entertaining and enthralling fans for many years. In this special holiday performance, Collins takes the audience on a journey showcasing her legendary, wide-ranging vocal talents, performing ballads from her vast songbook, along with special holiday songs, all delivered in her singular style.

MARIACHI SOL DE MÉXICO DE JÓSE HERNÁNDEZ

Friday, December 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

The 14-piece Grammy®-nominated ensemble Mariachi Sol de Méxicode Jóse Hernández returns to Davies Symphony Hall for a colorful celebration of Mexico’s Christmas traditions. Mariachi Sol de México has performed with artists including Selena, Juan Gabriel, Jose Feliciano, Luis Miguel, Vikki Carr, Rocio Durcal, Lucha Villa, Maria Conchita Alonso, Paloma San Basilio, Emilio Navaira, Lola Beltran, Vicente Fernandez, The Beach Boys, and Willie Nelson. The music of Mariachi Sol de México has been heard on the soundtracks of Sea Biscuit, The Old Gringo, American Me, Don Juan de Marco, Disney’s The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, A Million to Juan, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. They have recorded more than a dozen CDs, including the Latin Grammy-nominated Tequila con Limón and the 25th Anniversario Jóse Hernández y Su Mariachi Sol de México, also nominated for a Grammy® Award.

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THE SNOWMAN

Animated film and sing-along with the San Francisco Symphony

Friday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Mondavi Center, UC Davis,
Saturday, December 22 at 11:00 a.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

This charming animated 26-minute film (Dianne Jackson, 1982) tells the tale of a young boy’s poignant friendship with a snowman. The San Francisco Symphony performs the score to this family-friendly movie, led by Resident Conductor Donato Cabrerawith the Pacific Boychoir. After the movie, hear Christmas favorites performed by the Orchestra. The audience is invited to sing along with the Orchestra to some great holiday chestnuts.

 

TWAS THE NIGHT
Carols and sing-alongs with members of the SF Symphony Chorus and Orchestra

Saturday, December 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 23 at 4:00 p.m.
 Monday, December 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

This special Christmas concert offers conductor and SF Symphony Chorus Director Ragnar Bohlinleading soprano Lisa Vroman, members of the San Francisco Symphony, and members of the SFS Chorus in beloved Christmas carols and favorite childhood Christmas songs, plus audience sing-alongs and traditional favorites.

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE MASQUERADE BALL WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

Monday, December 31
Doors open and pre-concert entertainment begins at 8:00 p.m.
Orchestra concert begins at 9:00 p.m.

Ring in the New Year at the city’s most elegant celebration, the New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball with the San Francisco Symphony. The December 31 event stars the San Francisco Symphony, conductor Michael Francis, soprano Heidi Stober, and members of Dance Through Time. Everyone attending the event receives a complimentary mask as they enter the beautifully decorated lobby. Beginning at 8 p.m., The Martini Brothersentertain and perform their “swingin’ cocktail music” in the lobby. Starting at 9 p.m., the Orchestra performs polkas, waltzes, and dances onstage in Davies Symphony Hall. Following the concert, guests are invited to celebrate and dance on stage to The Peter Mintun Orchestra. Super Diamond, covering the hits and gems of the one and only Neil Diamond, entertains in the First Tier lobby. Enjoy complimentary sparkling wine and desserts as the clock strikes midnight, 2,013 colorful balloons cascade from the ceiling, and the crowd welcomes in 2013.

A special pre-concert dinner package includes a cocktail reception beginning at 6 p.m. followed by a sumptuous three-course dinner (wine included) in the lobby of the War Memorial Opera House. The dinner package also includes sparkling wine served in the Loge Level lobby at intermission. Dinner packages begin at $160. Call the Davies Symphony Hall box office for more details on the special pre-concert dinners at (415) 864-6000, or visit sfsymphony.org/newyears.

BOBBY MCFERRIN

Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 8 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall

With a four-octave range and a vast array of vocal techniques, Bobby McFerrin is no mere singer; he is a true musical Renaissance man, a vocal explorer who has combined jazz, folk and a multitude of world music influences–choral, a cappella, and classical music–with his own ingredients. A ten-time Grammy Award winner, he is also a world-renowned classical conductor, the creator of “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” one of the most popular songs of the late 20th century, and a passionate spokesman for music education. McFerrin sings his “Spirit You All” program, an homage to his father (the opera singer Robert McFerrin, Sr.) and the generations of Americans who sang of our shared joy and pain through the songs commonly known as Negro spirituals. His recordings have sold over 20 million copies, and his collaborations, including those with Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock, have established him as an ambassador of both the classical and jazz worlds. As a conductor, he has worked with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Vienna Philharmonic.

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MAYOR LEE ANNOUNCES NEW FUNDING FOR TECHSF INITIATIVE TO TRAIN S.F. RESIDENTS FOR HIGH TECH JOBS

U.S. Department of Labor Grants Provide Additional Funds for San Franciscans to

Receive Job Training for New Economy

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded San Francisco with an additional $3 million in Workforce Innovation grants to train and reskill San Francisco residents for the City’s growing number of technology and IT jobs. The City’s TechSF Initiative received $5 million from DOL in March.

“Making sure that San Franciscans receive the skills and training they need to compete in the 21stcentury job market is a cornerstone of my economic strategy and critical to our City’s economic recovery,” said Mayor Lee. “I thank the Obama Administration for investing in public-private partnerships that strengthen workforce training and bridge the skills gap between our residents and the good paying jobs that many of our tech companies are creating right here in San Francisco.”

“The Workforce Innovation Fund was created to cultivate and test innovative approaches to workforce training and encourage the replication of evidence-based practices in the workforce development field,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Developing new and creative strategies and expanding existing programs we know work will help make the workforce system more effective to unemployed Americans and employers looking for qualified employees.”

The DOL Workforce Innovation Fund, in part, focuses on partnerships with specific industry sectors to develop programs to provide current and future job skill needs and the grants help develop the most effective strategies in workforce development. San Francisco was one of only 26 grant recipients nationwide.

Mayor Lee launched the TechSF initiative in March. The new $3 million funding will pilot the TechSF—Workforce Innovation project to transform workforce service delivery by leveraging and building upon San Francisco’s tech industry and TechSF Initiative. TechSF—Workforce Innovation uses best practices and pilots technological innovations and non-traditional workforce training methods in the IT and digital media sectors to bridge the current skills gap. The initiative will be replicable beyond the IT sector; relevant to other labor markets throughout and beyond the regional economy; and will diversify the workforce.

The City will work with industry employers to identify job needs—including mentoring, internships, interviews, curriculum development and co-teaching.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson: SFPUC LEEDs to Platinum


SFPUC’s new building at 525 Golden Gate Avenue

San Francisco, CA— Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) officially unveiled its completed headquarters building at 525 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco. The 525 Golden Gate Headquarters is one of the few buildings in the world built to LEED Platinum standards and is also one of the greenest buildings in North America.

“We built 525 Golden Gate to save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars, create jobs in our construction industry and demonstrate to the world best practices for energy efficiency and water conservation,” said Mayor Lee. “Built ahead-of-schedule and on-budget, using a local workforce, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s new headquarters represents forward-thinking and San Francisco ingenuity at its best.”

With 13 floors, the new skyscraper in Civic Center plaza can comfortably house more than 900 occupants. Employees from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will gradually move into the new building in July and August.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission built 525 Golden Gate in San Francisco with local San Franciscans performing 40 percent of the construction work. The building cost $146.5 million to construct. Total project costs including design, permitting, planning and moving was $201.6 million. The Department of Public Works served as project managers, with construction provided by Webcor Builders and design provided by KMD and Stevens & Associates.

The view from the 12th floor facing north

The 525 Golden Gate Headquarters achieves the City’s commitment to fiscal responsibility for ratepayers and the commitment to responsible environmental stewardship.

The SFPUC currently leases office space for 900 employees at 1145 and 1155 Market Street. The SFPUC estimates that building and owning 525 Golden Gate, will allow the department to save ratepayers approximately $3.7 billion over the anticipated 100-year life of the building ($500 million in 2011 dollars).

The 525 Golden Gate Headquarters will also allow the SFPUC and the City of San Francisco to share best practices for water conservation and energy efficiency. 525 Golden Gate is on-track to achieve LEED certification 6-12 months after the building becomes operational.

525 Golden Gate consumes 32% less energy than similarly-sized office buildings.
• Clean, greenhouse gas-free Hetch Hetchy power is the building’s main source of energy.
• An integrated, hybrid solar array and wind turbine installation can generate up to 227,000 kWh/year or 7% of the building’s energy needs.
• A state-of-the-art raised flooring system incorporates the building’s data and ventilation infrastructure and reduces heating, cooling and ventilation energy costs by 51%.
• Maximizing daylight harvesting and minimizing artificial lighting saves electricity.
• Lighting and work station equipment shutoff automatically after-hours.

A view of the wind turbine from the 12th floor

525 Golden Gate consumes 60% less water than similarly sized buildings.
• One of the first buildings in the nation with treatment of gray and black water.
• An onsite “Living Machine” reclaims and treats all of the building’s wastewater to satisfy 100% of the demand for the building’s low-flow toilets and urinals.
• The Living Machine(r), technology by Living Machine Systems, L3C, treats 5,000 gallons of wastewater per day, and helps reduce per person water consumption from 12 gallons (norm) to 5 gallons.
• The building’s rainwater harvesting system can store up to 250,000 gallons of water per year for use by the exterior irrigations systems.

525 Golden Gate’s carbon footprint is 50% less than similarly-sized buildings.
• Features a green concrete mixture using environmentally-friendly materials.
• Parking is limited to four spaces to promote alternative transportation and lower greenhouse gas emissions as part of SF’s Transit First policy.

Mayor Ed Lee answers media questions after a tour of the new SFPUC building
“The unique hybrid wind-solar installation combined with the use of onsite, recycled wastewater makes 525 Golden Gate one of the most self-sustaining buildings anywhere in the world,” said SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington. “We did not spare any detail to demonstrate the water-saving and energy efficiency revolution that all of us must start to embrace.”

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AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF KANDER AND EBB’S THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS

Tickets now on sale through Sunday, July 22

Due to popular demand, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) has announced the extension of the Bay Area premiere of The Scottsboro Boys, the critically acclaimed musical based on a tragic chapter in American history. Tickets are now on sale through Sunday, July 22. Preview performances begin Thursday, June 21, with opening night scheduled for Wednesday, June 27. Tickets for all performances are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.org or by calling 415.749.2228.

Nominated for twelve 2011 Tony Awards, 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 will serve 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 denied appeals. 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.

Based on the notorious 1931 “Scottsboro Case,” The Scottsboro Boys tells the story of nine African American teenagers—ranging from 13 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, denied appeals, and long-delayed pardons for a crime they did not commit. Reclaiming the framework of a minstrel show, the musical—through high-energy dance numbers and upbeat music—courageously addresses one of the most abhorrent episodes in American history.

The Scottsboro Boys had its world premiere in February 2010 at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City. The show moved to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in July 2010, where it played to sold-out houses, before moving to Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre in October 2010. Hailed as “a masterwork, both daring and highly entertaining” (New York Post) and “a theatrical triumph” (Philadelphia Magazine), the show was nominated for twelve 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and was the recipient of the 2010 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the 2010 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical. The show was also nominated for nine 2010 Drama Desk Awards and received a Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Production of a Musical.

Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff: “Susan Stroman is an American treasure whose work has never been seen on the A.C.T. stage. It’s such an honor to welcome her to San Francisco with this seamless, passionate, and imaginative staging of Kander and Ebb’s fascinating tale. With The Scottsboro Boys, Stroman manages to fuse astonishing dancing with heartfelt and complex storytelling in a unique and masterful way that will provide a wonderful complement to A.C.T.’s history of edgy musicals like The Threepenny Opera, Urinetown, Sweeney Todd, and last season’s production of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.”

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.”

The cast of The Scottsboro Boys features Hal Linden as The Interlocutor, Clifton Duncan as Haywood Patterson, Jared Joseph as Mr. Bones, and JC Montgomery as Mr. Tambo. The cast also includes David Bazemore as Olen Montgomery, Cornelius Bethea as Willie Roberson, Nile Bullock as Eugene Williams, Christopher James Culberson as Andy Wright, Eric Jackson as Clarence Norris, James T. Lane as Ozie Powell/Ruby Bates, Clifton Oliver as Charles Weems/Victoria Price, Clinton Roane as Roy Wright, and C. Kelly Wright as The Lady, with Audrey Martells as an understudy for The Lady and Shavey Brown and Max Kumangai as swings.

A.C.T.’s production of The Scottsboro Boys reunites the original creative team of Jeff Whiting (associate director and choreographer), Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Toni-Leslie James (costume design), and Ken Billington (lighting design). The creative team also includes Jon Weston (sound design), Eric Santagata (assistant choreographer), Rick Sordelet (fight director), Janet Foster, CSA (casting), and Joshua Halperin (stage manager). This production of The Scottsboro Boys is presented in association with The Old Globe.

A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events—many of which are presented free of charge—in association with The Scottsboro Boys that will give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while making a whole night out of their evening at the theater:

• Audience Prologue: Tue., June 26, at 5:30 p.m.
Get inside the artistic process at this lively preshow discussion with Scottsboro Boys associate director and choreographer Jeff Whiting and a member of the A.C.T. artistic staff.

• Theater on the Couch: Fri., June 29, at 8 p.m.
Led by Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at San Francisco’s Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, this exciting postshow discussion series explores the minds, motives, and behaviors of the characters and addresses audience questions.

• Audience Exchanges: Tue., July 3, at 7 p.m. | Sun., July 8, at 2 p.m. | Wed, July 11, at 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors and artists who create the
work onstage.

• OUT with A.C.T.: Wed., July 11, following the 8 p.m. performance
The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular afterparty. Visit www.act-sf.org/out for information about how to subscribe to OUT nights throughout the season.

• A.C.T. PlayTime Workshop: Saturday, July 14, before the 2 p.m. performance
Get hands-on with the art of theater with the artists who make it happen at this interactive preshow workshop. Doors open at 12:45 p.m.; the workshop will begin promptly at 1 p.m.

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All-New Circus Production Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

Tickets on Sale for Oakland and San Jose Shows Starting Saturday

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents DRAGONS is a once-in-a-millennium event that honors The Year of the Dragon!  Circus performers from the farthest reaches of the earth have assembled for Ringling Bros. Presents DRAGONS to showcase their astounding acts of bravery and astonishing athleticism. Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson presides over this fantastical celebratory tournament of circus champions that brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats. DRAGONS is a never-before-seen circus adventure of renowned legends and real-life spectacle that is comingto the Bay Area for sixteen action-packed shows from August 8 – 12 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland and August 15 – 19 at the HP Pavilion at San Jose. Tickets will go on sale this Saturday, June 23rd for both venues – available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or visit the Oracle Arena or HP Pavilion Box Offices.

The anticipation builds throughout Ringling Bros. Presents DRAGONS as Children Of All Ages® bear witness to one phenomenal Ringling Bros. circus act after another, from Shaolin Kung Fu Warriors, charging Cossack riders, magnificent Asian elephants, fierce tigers to the frenzied motorcycle Globe of Steel. As the audience observes these and even more real-world displays that pay tribute to the dragon, their continued excitement will bring glimpses of the elusive beast. But, the big question remains; will the audience have the Strength, Courage, Wisdom and Heart to lure a true dragon from its golden lair?

Be sure to arrive early to join us for several exciting interactive elements before the show starts!  In both Oakland and San Jose, all Bay Area guests are invited to tour the Animal Open House (open 90 minutes prior to each performance) to get up-close with our amazing animals and chat with our animal care team members directly to ask questions and learn all about our animal stars.  Then one hour before show time, families can step onto the arena floor for the interactive All Access Pre-Show, FREE admission with your ticket!  Join   Pre-Show Host Andre McClain to participate in hands-on experiences such as learning juggling and balancing skills, get performer autographs, see one of Ringling Bros. majestic Asian elephant’s paint a one-of-a-kind masterpiece and meet the Ringling Bros. Clowns, whose side-splitting spoofs and absurd antics are guaranteed to keep audiences roaring with laughter!

Showtimes:
Oakland Oracle Arena
Wednesday, August 8 – 7:30 PM
Thursday, August 9 – 7:30 PM
Friday, August 10 – 7:30 PM
Saturday, August 11 – 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
Sunday, August 12 – 1:00 PM & 5:00 PM

Ticket Prices: $15, $20, $25, $40 (VIP),
$65 (Front Row), $100 (Circus Celebrity)

HP Pavilion at San Jose
Wednesday, August 15 – 7:30 PM
Thursday, August 16 – 7:30 PM
Friday, August 17 – 7:30 PM
Saturday, August 18 – 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
Sunday, August 19 – 1:00 PM & 5:00 PM

Ticket Prices: $15, $20, $25, $45 (VIP),
$70 (Front Row), $105 (Circus Celebrity)
Opening Night Ticket Special – tickets available for only $15 each (limit 6 per order; not valid on VIP, Front Row or Circus Celebrity levels)

For more information, visit www.Ringling.com, Facebook and YouTube.

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MAYOR LEE LAUNCHES IMPROVESF FOOD JUSTICE CHALLENGE FOR CENTRAL MARKET

Second ImproveSF Challenge Addresses Residents’ Need for

Access to Healthy Foods in Central Market/Tenderloin Neighborhoods

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the second ImproveSF challenge centered on food justice in Central Market, challenging the innovation community to find social justice solutions to improve access to healthy foods for residents in the Central Market/Tenderloin neighborhood.

“Access to fresh, healthy food is a tremendous challenge in some of our neighborhoods, particularly for those most vulnerable in areas like Central Market and the Tenderloin,” said Mayor Lee. “This ImproveSF challenge allows us to use innovation to focus resources and develop real solutions that we can use throughout the City.”

The Central Market food justice challenge was designed in partnership with Supervisor Jane Kim, the Office of Economic & Workforce Development, Episcopal Community Services, the North of Market Community Benefits District, the Department of Public Health and Hub Mission. The challenge is sponsored by Zendesk, the cloud-based help desk software provider that recently relocated to Central Market.

“Providing access to nutritious food and fostering healthy eating habits within our community is a key component of the social justice work that we have undertaken with our Tenderloin and South of Market community leaders,” said District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim. “Whether it’s addressing a lack of access to a kitchen facility or to affordable fresh produce, our residents are actively engaged in piloting new ways to achieve food justice. ImproveSF is an exciting opportunity to fuse their experiences and ideas with on-going tech innovations. I’m looking forward to joining our residents in picking the next ImproveSF challenge winner.”

“The ImproveSF challenge further cements our long-term commitment to help revitalize the Central Market neighborhood,” said Zendesk CEO Mikkel Svane. “We are fans of the ImproveSF platform and love that technology can play such an innovative role in how civic leaders and residents can solve city issues together.”

Solutions to the challenge are due July 20, 2012 and participants will compete for two prizes: a “Dream Day in SF,” provided by Zendesk and a Hub Mission membership and mentorship opportunity from Hub Mission.
Zendesk has also added rewards to the ImproveSF Civic Store, where participants redeem points for voting and commenting on submissions.

“The Hub Bay Area is excited to be a part of an ongoing collaboration with the Innovation Department of the City of SF,” said Hub Bay Area CEO Cory Smith. “We’re entering a new era of bottom-up, community-driven solutions in San Francisco.”

Mayor Lee launched the first ImproveSF challenge with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in April.

About ImproveSF
ImproveSF is an online platform that empowers citizens to apply their expertise to civic challenges. Each challenge is launched through a partnership with a City agency, a corporate sponsor and community partners. Citizens respond to the challenge by submitting ideas, voting, sharing and commenting. Each challenge awards prizes for winning submissions, and as additional incentive for participation.

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MAYOR LEE LAUNCHES U.S. MAYORS OPEN GOVERNMENT INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP

Mayor Lee Joins the White House to Urge Mayors Across the Nation to Pledge

Innovation-Led Drive for Job Growth, Improved Government Efficiency & Greater Collaboration

Today, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, as Chair of the first U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Technology and Innovation Task Force, announced the Open Government Innovation Partnership – a call to action to help cities advance and prioritize innovation to drive job growth, economic development, improved efficiency and collaboration. The USCM Technology and Innovation Task Force will be asking Mayors to join the partnership as active and committed partners to help build an ecosystem that will help cities advance and prioritize innovation to improve government.

“This is a time for cities to confront challenges by taking risks and embracing innovation,” said Mayor Lee. “In San Francisco, we are using technology and innovation to improve city services that impact our everyday lives, from transportation to education to civic engagement.”

The USCM Open Government Innovation Partnership will:
· Strengthen and increase civic use of innovation, cross-collaboration and improved accountability through open government initiatives;
· Showcase the leadership of cities highlighting innovation and creative best practices to increase opportunities for collaboration with the private sector;
· Secure commitments that will make city governments more efficient, effective, and responsive by embracing the use of open government innovation; and
· Empower private sector organizations to partner with government to make services more efficient, effective, and responsive to residents.

The action plans promote transparency, support a marketplace for entrepreneurship, energize civic engagement and collaboration, and leverage new technologies.

Last week, Mayor Lee hosted a forum recognizing the critical role that technology and innovation play in cities by sharing best practices to enable innovation at the 80th Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Orlando, Florida. The forum included former White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer and former San Francisco Chief Information Officer Chris Vein and Code for America Executive Director Jen Pahlka.

The USCM Technology and Innovation Task Force also passed a resolution to support open government and the release of data at all levels of government to spur entrepreneurship, foster economic growth and create jobs. The mayors resolved to work closely with Congress and the Obama Administration to expand funding to support initiatives that direct resources to harness the capability of local economies nationwide in developing regional industry, innovation and export clusters.

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100 Saints You Should Know Extended Through the End of the Month

Theatre Rhinoceros’ production of 100 Saints You Should Know now extended to July 1st, 2012 at Thick House.

A comedy-drama penned by one of America’s most sensitive playwrights, 100 Saints touches on family love, homosexuality and adolescence.  Theresa is estranged from her family and working as a cleaning woman when she finds herself surprised by the unexpected desire to learn how to pray. Matthew, the priest whose rectory she cleans, is stunned and heartbroken by the realization that he no longer knows how to talk to God. When he disappears one day, Theresa feels compelled to track him down, and her search changes both of their lives.

Talkback! Nightly!

After every regular performance  of 100 Saints You Should Know there will be a talk back with the Director and/or Cast/Crew Members of the show. Talkbacks begin immediately after the show (approximately at 9:45 on W/TH; 10:15 on F/SAT; 5:15 on SUN) and are covered by the price of your ticket. This program is funded by the Hewlett Foundation.

Kate Fodor (Playwright)

Kate Fodor’s latest play, RX, was produced Off-Broadway as part of Primary Stages’ 2012 season. Her plays have also been produced by Playwrights Horizons, Epic Theatre Ensemble, San Jose Repertory Theatre, London’s Courtyard Theatre, and Chicago’s TimeLine Theatre Company, among others. She has been a resident playwright at New Dramatists since 2008. Kate’s play Hannah and Martin received the Kennedy Center’s Roger L. Stevens Award, a Joseph Jefferson Citation, an After Dark Award, and a finalist position for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. 100 Saints You Should Know received the National Theatre Conference’s Stavis Award and was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award, as well as being named one of the 10 Best Plays of 2007 by Entertainment Weekly and Time Out New York. Her plays are published by Dramatists Play Service and have been anthologized and excerpted in a number of volumes from Smith & Kraus. Kate’s work has been developed at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Hartford Stage and Centre Theater Group. She has been named one of “Eight to Watch” by The New York Times and is currently at work on commissions from Chautauqua Theater Company and The Playwrights’ Center, where she is the recipient of the 2011-2012 McKnight National Residency. -

John Fisher (Director)

John Fisher’s plays include The Joy of Gay Sex, which was produced Off-Broadway, and Medea: The Musical, which was produced in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and as part of the HBO Comedy Arts Festival. Recent projects include Fighting Mac!, named by the Bay Area Reporter as one of the best productions of 2011, SexRev: The José Sarria Experience (a Theatre Rhino production at CounterPULSE), and Red Scare on Sunset at ACT. John is a two-time winner of the Will Glickman Playwright Award, and a recipient of the NEA Project Grant, a GLAAD Media Award, two L.A. Weekly Awards, a Garland Award, two Cable Car Awards, a San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie Award, and five Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards. He holds a Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from the University of California, Berkeley and has taught at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and at the Yale School of Drama. He has been Executive Artistic Director at Theatre Rhinoceros since 2002. Theatre Rhinoceros, America’s longest running professional queer theatre, develops and produces works of theatre that enlighten, enrich, and explore both the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of our queer community.

Thick House 1695

18th Street @ Arkansas  (Muni: 22 and 33 Bus Lines)

San Francisco, CA 94107

www.TheRhino.org or (800) 838-3006

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FRAMELINE36: SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL LGBT FILM FESTIVAL SHARES TRANSFORMATIVE STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

San Francisco, CA—Frameline, the world’s largest LGBT media arts nonprofit organization, is proud to announce Frameline36: the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. This year’s internationally renowned showcase for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) cinema runs June 14 – 24, with San Francisco screenings at the historic Castro Theatre (429 Castro Street), Roxie Theater (3117 16th Street) and the Victoria Theatre (2961 16th Street), and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (2966 College Avenue).

The tagline for Frameline36, Find Your Story, is a direct action statement inviting you to look through the 104 programs and 217 films in the Festival. During the 11 days of Frameline36, tens of thousands of people from the Bay Area and all across the globe will come together to see the best of new LGBT cinema with more than 30 countries represented including Iran, Chile, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey. Tickets for Frameline36 will be on sale through www.frameline.org to members on Friday, May 25, 2012 and to the general public on Friday, June 1, 2012.

The 36th Festival will open with VITO by Jeffrey Schwarz, an empowering documentary about the inexhaustible gay activist and film author Vito Russo, chronicling his work and influence on the LGBT community. Russo, a film lover and founding member of both GLAAD and ACT UP, is known for his groundbreaking book The Celluloid Closet, which changed LGBT cinema forever.

Following VITO, the worldwide LGBT film community will come together at Temple Night Club for a glittering Opening Night Gala. Film lovers will mix, mingle, dance and flirt their way through three floors of culinary delights, signature cocktails and effervescent beverages from our Gala Partners.

Frameline36 will feature a retrospective on 1990s New Queer Cinema during this year’s festival, celebrating twenty years since film critic and academic B. Ruby Rich coined the term in 1992. Featured films in the retrospective include Gregg Araki’s THE LIVING END, Cheryl Dunye’s THE WATERMELON WOMAN, Alex Sichel’s ALL OVER ME, and Ana Kokkinos’ HEAD ON. In conjunction with the New Queer Cinema retrospective, Frameline will present the annual Frameline Award to B. Ruby Rich.

The Centerpiece Documentary film at Frameline36 will be Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s CALL ME KUCHU, a groundbreaking documentary about the LGBT rights movement in Uganda and the activist David Kato. CALL ME KUCHU was a recipient of the Frameline Completion Fund in 2010. The Centerpiece Narrative film is Ira Sachs’s much acclaimed drama, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON, which tells the moving story about the ten-year relationship of a couple living in New York City. Both CALL ME KUCHU and KEEP THE LIGHTS ON were winners of this year’s Teddy Awards for Best Documentary and Best Feature at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The laughs are plenty when straight girl, Jenn, and her gay best friend, Matt, decide to have a baby “the old fashioned way” in Jonathan Lisecki’s irreverent romantic comedy, GAYBY. Iranian female director Negar Azarbayjani’s remarkable first feature, FACING MIRRORS, is also the first Iranian narrative film with a transgender protagonist. In Alexandra-Therese Keining’s KISS ME an uptight, engaged woman quickly falls in love with her free-spirited, future stepsister, and must decide between burying her feelings and losing those who love her. Bavo Defurne’s NORTH SEA TEXAS is a coming-of-age story set along the Belgian coastline in the early 1970s. Pim is a boy unafraid of his predilection for dressing up in women’s clothes, putting on makeup or pining for the handsome, older boy who lives next door.

Macky Alston’s latest documentary, LOVE FREE OR DIE, deftly unwinds the riveting story of Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay, partnered bishop fighting for LGBT inclusion in the Episcopal Church. The Bishop is expected to attend the screening. Homophobia in urban London affects the lives of two best mates—a black lesbian stud and her gay male sidekick—and they are forced to reevaluate everything they know about love and friendship in Campbell X’s STUD LIFE. Brothers Mo and Rashid are growing up in a traditional Egyptian household in a modest London flat in Sally El Hosaini’s MY BROTHER THE DEVIL. As they each confront their different inner demons and phobias, they must learn it is love and understanding that take real courage—before they are torn apart.

Frameline is also proud to showcase films finished with the assistance of the Frameline Completion Fund. In addition to CALL ME KUCHU, GAYBY and VITO is WILDNESS from director Wu Tsang. Exploring the common urban problem of community, visibility and gentrification, the film is a love story between a young, idealistic transplant and the magical bar that takes him in and helps him grow up.

Of course, Frameline36 would not be complete without outstanding shorts programs. This year’s short programs include the ever-popular FUN IN GIRLS SHORTS, FUN IN BOYS SHORTS, and TRANSTASTIC! programs that feature the funniest and most touching queer short films from all around the world as well as our own backyard with BAY AREA BUFFET.

Speaking of which, Frameline36 has plenty of new works either by local filmmakers or about the Bay Area. A few highlights are Travis Matthew’s I WANT YOUR LOVE, Julie Wyman’s STRONG!, Jack Curtis Dubowsky’s SUBMERGED QUEER SPACES, and Mark Freeman’s TRANSGENDER TUESDAYS: A CLINIC IN THE TENDERLOIN.

The Closing Night film for Frameline36 will be Thom Fitzgerald’s CLOUDBURST, a funny, romantic and moving film starring Oscar winners Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck) and Brenda Fricker (My Left Foot) as an elder lesbian couple who break free from a nursing home and head to the Canadian border to get married.

Sending off guests and visitors in style, Temple Nightclub will play host to the dazzling Closing Night Party. Enjoying delicious bites, signature cocktails, and sophisticated wines, cinephiles will celebrate the Frameline36 AT&T Audience Award Winners.

Frameline36 is honored to announce the return of AT&T as Grand Sponsor in 2012. AAA Travel also returns as Premier Sponsor.

MISSION OF THE FESTIVAL
As the world’s oldest and largest LGBT Film Festival, Frameline36 shares transformative stories through groundbreaking documentaries, entertaining features, touching short films, and cinematic classics. Frameline’s mission is to strengthen the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and further its visibility by supporting and promoting a broad array of cultural representations and artistic expression in film, video and other media arts.

About Frameline36: The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival
Frameline36: the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival screens June 14-24, 2012 at the Castro Theatre, (429 Castro Street), Roxie Theater, (3117 16th Street), and the Victoria Theatre, (2961 16th Street) in San Francisco, and in Berkeley at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood, (2966 College Avenue). The Frameline Box Office, located inside Superstar Satellite, (474 Castro Street between Market and 18th) opens Friday, May 25 for Frameline member ticket sales, and Friday, June 1 for the general public. Box Office hours are 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily. Box Office is closed Monday, May 28 for Memorial Day. Tickets are also available online (www.frameline.org) and via fax (415-861-1404).

Unless otherwise noted, tickets for matinee screenings, (Monday-Friday, 5:00 pm and earlier), are $9.00 for the general public and $8.00 for Frameline members, while evening and weekend shows are $11.00 for the general public and $10.00 for members. Castro Passes, good for admission to all screenings at the Castro Theatre, other than Opening Night and Closing Night, are available for $200. Weekday Matinee Passes, good for admission to all weekday matinee screenings starting at 5pm or earlier at the Castro Theatre are available for $40 for the general public and $35 for members. For more information, visit www.frameline.org.

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Stern Grove 2012!

San Francisco’s original music festival, Stern Grove Festival, announced  its 75th Season of admission-free concerts, Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from June 24 through through August 26, 2012 at Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19 Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco.

This landmark summer season features a mix of performers as diverse as the city it calls home. This summer’s 10-week concerts series features an array of pop and jazz music greats, including ANITA BAKER, SHEILA E, AL JARREAU, OK GO, OZOMATLI, PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND, MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO as well as the City’s three classical institutions—the SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY, BALLET AND OPERA. Stern Grove Festival is the only venue in the world where all three of these renowned cultural institutions perform every summer, completely admission-free.

June 24 – The Big Picnic Benefit and Concert

Starring Anita Baker The Family Stone and Glide Ensemble

Stern Grove Festival will inaugurate a new tradition–The Big Picnic, An Opening Day Benefit and Concert to launch the summer season. This special event begins with a benefit party followed by the admission-free concert featuring Anita Baker, The Family Stone, and Glide Ensemble. These three acts, well known for getting the audience out of their seats, will set the tone for a dynamic summer at Stern Grove Festival.

Glide Ensemble, a San Francisco institution, opens the concert with an inspiring blend of gospel, jazz, blues, pop, and soul. The Family Stone, featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and original founding members of Sly & The Family Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico, continues the soul-stirring music with their funk-infused sound. And to close the day, Stern Grove Festival is proud to present ANITA BAKER—multiple GRAMMY winner, composer, producer, and all-around superstar, this R&B legend is known for her hit-making sound and smooth vocals.

The performance is dedicated to the memory of Rosalie M. Stern, donor of Stern Grove to San Francisco and founder of the Stern Grove Festival Association. The Big Picnic is presented by Wells Fargo. Concert Sponsors are Sutter Health, Parkmerced, PG&E, Bvlgari, Northern Trust, AT&T, Recology, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.

July 1 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Stone Foxes

It is particularly fitting to have the acclaimed Preservation Hall Jazz Band return to Stern Grove Festival with the sounds of the Big Easy. Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been a significant part of Stern Grove Festival throughout the years and generations of San Franciscans have fond memories of their concerts. This summer’s performance will feature a special commissioned piece celebrating Stern Grove Festival’s 75th year.

Continuing the Bay Area connection for this concert, local San Francisco band The Stone Foxes open the afternoon with their roadhouse-ready blues and rock sound. Founded in 2005, the band’s gritty sound has won them fans throughout the Bay Area.

Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.

July 8 – San Francisco Symphony with Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas

and Members of the SFS Chorus

Stern Grove Festival is proud to present what promises to be an extraordinary performance with the San Francisco Symphony. For the first time in over ten years, SFS Music Director and Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will conduct a concert in the Grove, also featuring members of the SFS Chorus. The histories of Stern Grove Festival and the San Francisco Symphony have been linked since June 1932 when the Symphony performed the first-ever concert at the Grove. This summer’s program, part of the Symphony’s centennial season and marking Stern Grove’s 75th anniversary, will feature Beethoven’s timeless masterpiece, Symphony No. 9, among other works. To mark this milestone, KDFC Radio, 90.3 FM will broadcast this July 8 concert live, further underscoring how performances at Stern Grove Festival are accessible to everyone.

Today’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Rhoda H. Goldman, Festival Chair from 1968 to 1996. Concert sponsored by Sutter Health, Sonoma County Visitors Center, Galleria Park Hotel, and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Rex.

July 15 – Nitin Sawhney and Meshell Ndegeocello

A producer, composer, DJ, multi-instrumentalist and all-around Renaissance man Nitin Sawhney brings cross-cultural cool to the Grove. One of the most talented and recognized producers and songwriters within the British electronic and fusion music scene, Nitin Sawhney is also a respected actor, writer, and scriptwriter.

Also performing is singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello with her eclectic blend of folk, jazz, hip-hop, funk, and rock. Since hitting the Billboard charts with a cover of “Wild Night” with John Mellencamp, Meshell has received ten GRAMMY nominations, performed around the world, and collaborated with artists ranging from Madonna and Basement Jaxx to The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.

July 22 – The E Family Featuring Pete, Sheila E, Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo

Featuring the first family of Bay Area Latin music, The E Family brings the beat in this one-of- a-kind performance featuring the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, The E Family Band with Pete, Juan, Peter Michael, and Sheila E, and a special performance by Sheila E.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Kabuki Springs and Spa.

July 29 – San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet returns to Stern Grove Festival with artists of the Company performing a selection of works from their current repertory. Renowned for its incomparable level of innovation and exuberance, San Francisco Ballet is one of the premier ballet companies in America.

Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo and Kabuki Springs and Spa.

August 5 – Ozomatli and SMOD

Latin alternative rockers Ozomatli return to Stern Grove Festival with their high-energy, danceable blend of hip-hop, rock, and modern Latin sounds. A Festival favorite, the group will also present a kid-friendly performance at KidStage at noon before the concert.

From Mali, the trio SMOD opens the afternoon with a hip-hop hybrid of West African vocal styles, old school rapping, and modern beats. Their debut album, produced and recorded with international star Manu Chao, was released in 2010 in France.

Concert Sponsor is AT&T and Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Carlton. Media sponsor is SF Weekly.

August 12 – Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio and Mara Hruby

Re-creating a legendary San Francisco recording session, Al Jarreau and The George Duke Trio reunite for an afternoon of jazz classics.

Jarreau’s career started in San Francisco, where he performed with the George Duke Trio as the house band at the Half/Note jazz club, leading to the 1965 album, Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio- Live At The Half/Note. Since then, with fans worldwide, Jarreau has racked up seven GRAMMY nominations and scores of international music awards for his signature vocal stylings.

Born in San Rafael, George Duke was a mainstay on the 1960’s San Francisco jazz scene and studied at the Conservatory of Music. A respected musician, song-writer, music director, and producer, Duke has worked with greats like Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, and Dizzy Gillespie and contemporary R&B artists like Jeffrey Osbourne, Gladys Knight, and Anita Baker.

Opening the afternoon and rounding out the Bay Area focus of this concert is Oakland-based neo- soul singer Mara Hruby, a fast-rising star with a smooth, jazzy vocal sound and a singular style. After performing as a dancer and singer backing other Bay Area artists, she recently released her debut EP, From Her Eyes.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced and Hotel Sponsor is Galleria Park Hotel.

August 19 – San Francisco Opera

Stern Grove Festival is proud to welcome back the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. The afternoon’s program features soprano Leah Crocetto, tenor Michael Fabiano, and more soloists performing a selection of operatic favorites.

Today’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Elise S. Haas, Festival Chair from 1956 to 1968. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Vitale.

August 26 – OK Go and The Family Crest

Known for their viral videos and quirky sound, alternative rockers OK Go close the 75th Season

in celebratory style. At the forefront of an emerging class of creative entrepreneurs making art in both digital and physical spaces, the GRAMMY-nominated group’s self-directed videos have been viewed over 150 million times on YouTube. Their most recent video, which debuted during the Super Bowl, received 200 million hits in less than 24 hours the next day.

San Francisco indie orchestral collective, The Family Crest, opens the afternoon with their fusion of rock, classical, folk, and jazz. Their debut LP, The Village, was pre-released at SXSW this year and will be released nationally this summer.

Concert Sponsor is Parkmerced, AT&T, and Sonoma County Visitors Center. Hotel Sponsor is Hotel Tomo.

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Family Demands StoneMor Cemetery Buy Back Mausoleum After Son’s Ashes Stolen in California

 Gonzales Family Blames StoneMor Partners (NYSE: STON) Cemetary for Desecration and Theft of Son’s Tomb

Lafayette, Calif. – A family is demanding a StoneMor California cemetery take back a $3.2-million mausoleum once containing their son’s ashes.

The family of technology pioneer and Commerce One founder, Thomas Gonzales II, says pure negligence allowed thieves to plunder the family’s mausoleum at the Oakmont Memorial Park Cemetery in Lafayette, Calif., in January of 2011 and steal an urn containing Gonzales’ remains.

Thieves walked off with the remains only days after an initial break-in attempt went unreported by the cemetery to police.

Now the $3.2-million marble mausoleum in the Lafayette cemetery stands empty with only broken glass on the floor—relatives say it’s a cold reminder of their son’s tragic and untimely loss. Gonzales died on Dec. 5, 2001 at the age of 35, after an eight-month battle with gastric cancer.

The Gonzales family poured four years and multi-millions into the design and custom-build of a white marble mausoleum befitting their son’s memory.

“Now, the mausoleum has no value to my family,” said Gonzales’ father, Tom Gonzales, Sr. “The sight of it causes my family so much pain and suffering we think it’s only right for Oakmont to be held accountable.”

The family sued StoneMor California, a division of StoneMor Partners LP (NYSE:STON), on Tuesday (6/12/12) for a minimum of $3.2 million, accusing the national cemetery operator of negligently allowing thieves to walk off with their son’s remains and for failing to alert the family of a previous security breach.

Days prior to the January 16, 2011 theft, a groundskeeper at the Oakmont Cemetery noticed damage to the mausoleum’s steel frame doors. Yet, no one from Oakmont cemetery notified the Gonzales family.

Three days later, thieves once again broke onto the property and stole the bronze urn containing Gonzales’ remains. Police never recovered the ashes, despite a full-scale investigation and a large reward, which the family still is offering today.

“The sheer lack of regard for the Gonzales family and the unconscionable negligence of the StoneMor operators has led to this tragic theft,” said the Gonzales family attorney Harvey Stein of Oakland.

“No monetary value will be enough to compensate the family for the pain caused by this tragedy. The sadness of Thomas’s early death is only compounded by the desecration of his tomb,” Stein added.

Gonzales and his father co-founded Commerce One Inc., a pioneering Internet company in Pleasanton that became one of the fastest-growing firms in Nasdaq history.

 

 

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SAN FRANCISCO, CHINA’S NDRC SIGN AGREEMENT TO STRENGTHEN TIES IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY & SUSTAINABILITY

Groundbreaking First-Ever MOU Between Chinese Central Government Body & U.S. City

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that San Francisco signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the 3rd Annual US-China Energy Efficiency Forum in Beijing, China with the Chinese government’s top economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). San Francisco’s signing partner for the MOU about sustainable development and energy efficiency is NDRC’s National Energy Conservation Center (NECC). U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke, NDRC Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua, and U.S. Department of Energy Acting Under-Secretary David Sandalow joined the MOU signing.

“This marks the first MOU between a Chinese central government entity and a U.S. city, demonstrating the importance San Francisco plays as a global leader in energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Mayor Lee. “The agreement provides high-level Chinese central government support for cross-border investment into sustainable development projects and energy efficiency technologies, while also encouraging an increase in joint energy efficiency research and demonstration projects to support a more sustainable planet.”

“We believe this historic MOU provides a unique opportunity for Chinese cities to learn from San Francisco and to more generally deepen ties between our two nations,” said NECC Director General Li Yangzhe. “We couldn’t be more pleased to sign the MOU with the City and Country of San Francisco.”

ChinaSF initiated San Francisco’s relationship with NDRC and NECC during the Bay Area’s 2nd U.S.–China Energy Efficiency Forum last year. The U.S.–China Framework for the Ten-Year Cooperation on Energy and Environment, a collection of initiatives announced in 2009 by President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, resulted in both the MOU and the Forum.

“The energy efficiency and sustainable development industries are key for San Francisco and China’s economic development. Establishing a bi-lateral agreement with China’s central government around these themes is a major accomplishment for our City,” said San Francisco Office Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) Director Jennifer Matz, who led a delegation of San Francisco government and private sector leaders in energy conservation to the Beijing forum and signed the MOU on behalf of the City of San Francisco.

“This is a great honor and opportunity for San Francisco to share our insight with the most populated country in the world as they try and manage their energy demand,” said San Francisco Department of Environment Director Melanie Nutter, whose office will implement the MOU for San Francisco with OEWD.

“ChinaSF congratulates all parties on this landmark achievement. We look forward to utilizing this unprecedented agreement to guide more Chinese investment and businesses into our City, state and country while also helping facilitate the exchange of best practices in energy conservation,” said ChinaSF Executive Director Darlene Chiu Bryant.

About ChinaSF
With offices in Beijing, Shanghai and San Francisco, ChinaSF is a public-private initiative of the San Francisco Center for Economic Development (SFCED) in close partnership with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), supported by funding from private sector partners. Its goal is to attract and retain Chinese investment and business expansion into San Francisco and the Bay Area, and to also support regional businesses in their business efforts in China. For more information, go to: www.chinasf.org
<www.chinasf.org> .

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MAYOR LEE & PRESIDENT CHIU INTRODUCE MEASURE TO REFORM SAN FRANCISCO’S BUSINESS TAX STRUCTURE TO SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH, END ANTI-JOB PAYROLL TAX

Proposed Measure for November 2012 Ballot Based on Months of Inclusive, Transparent Outreach to City’s Diverse Business Community, Raises $13 Million in New General Fund Revenue for Affordable Housing

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Board President David Chiu today introduced a proposal to reform the City’s current anti-job business tax structure for the November 2012 ballot. After months of thorough analysis by the City Controller, economic modeling by the City Economist and inclusive outreach to San Francisco’s diverse business communities, Mayor Lee and Board President David Chiu proposed a gross receipts tax as an alternative to the City’s current payroll tax, which punishes companies for growing and creating new jobs in San Francisco. The measure also raises $13 million in new General Fund revenue through increased business license fees for affordable housing.

“San Francisco is the only city in California with a payroll tax and it’s time to reward companies for creating jobs in our City, not punish them,” said Mayor Lee. “After months of inclusive, transparent outreach to the City’s diverse business community and many others, President Chiu and I are proposing comprehensive business tax reform for this November that ends our tax on jobs, protects small business and will bring stable, growing revenue for vital City services and affordable housing for the future.”

“As a former co-founder of a small business, I have long understood the business community’s complaint that our current business tax discourages hiring by directly taxing payroll,” said Board President Chiu. “By creating a more equitable gross receipts system, this proposal moves us in a better direction and will directly encourage job creation.”

San Francisco currently imposes a tax on the payroll expense of persons who conduct business in the City. The tax is levied at a rate of 1.5 percent against a business’s taxable payroll expense, which includes all compensation a person pays to individuals for services performed in the City. The City exempts small businesses with less than $250,000 in payroll expense.

The proposed Gross Receipts Tax Ordinance imposes a gross receipts tax and a gross expense tax on businesses in San Francisco, phased in over five years beginning in tax year 2014 to reduce the business payroll expense tax rates based on the amount of gross receipts tax collected, establishes business registration fees based on gross receipts and gross expenses, and amends the current business registration fees to generate $13 million in additional revenue for the City’s General Fund.

Under the proposal, small businesses that earn less than $1 million annually in gross receipts are exempt from business tax, with progressive rates and schedules for gross receipts over $1 million based on business activity and total gross receipts, or revenues. More than 30 other California cities and most other large cities, including Los Angeles and Oakland, levy gross receipts taxes on local businesses.

The legislation enacting the gross receipts tax would phase-in the new tax at increasing rates, over a five year period. In the first year, the City would impose a small gross receipts tax, and a slightly reduced payroll tax. In subsequent years, the gross receipts tax would increase according to the approved schedule, while the payroll tax would be cut according to a formula described in the legislation. The formula would reduce the payroll tax rate based on how much gross receipts tax revenue was generated in the previous year, with the goal of revenue-neutrality in each year.

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