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City celebrates U.S.–Japan Cherry Blossom Centennial

Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined Consul General of Japan Hiroshi Inomata and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department on Monday to celebrate the United States-Japan Cherry Blossom Centennial by planting a ceremonial cherry blossom tree in Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden. The event celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first cherry blossom tree presented to the U.S. and the San Francisco Consulate General of Japan is commemorating the event by donating young cherry blossom trees to be planted throughout San Francisco, including in Union Square, the Japanese Tea Garden and in Golden Gate Park.


“The cherry blossom tree is a symbol of friendship and exchange between the United States and Japan,” said Mayor Lee. “We are honored to plant cherry blossom trees, a gift of friendship from the Consul General of Japan, throughout San Francisco to recognize the strong relationship our City shares with Japan and the Japanese community.”

“I can’t think of a more fitting location, given the more than 150 years of history and exchange that San Francisco and Japan share,” said Consul General of Japan Hiroshi Inomata. “We look forward to sharing this sight with all of you, and know that the cherry trees, as well as the friendship between our peoples, will be still be blooming well into the next centennial.”

“San Francisco Recreation and Park Department looks forward to continuing our partnership with the Japanese communities oversea and in San Francisco,” said General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “With the generous gift of Cherry Blossom Trees from Consul General of Japan, now many are able to reflect and gain a deeper understanding of Japan in our park system.”

Cherry blossom trees, including some of the original from 1912, bloom beautifully every spring at the Tidal Basin along the Potomac River in Washington D.C. Various events are held during the season with the cooperation of individuals and organizations from both countries. More than a million people visit Washington D.C. every year from around the U.S. and around the world to see and cherish the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Over the years, the cherry blossom trees have encouraged exchanges between the two nations as well as contributing to a deeper understanding of Japan.

2012 also marks the 55th anniversary of the founding of the San Francisco-Osaka Sister City relationship and the 45th anniversary of the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, which is the second largest festival outside of Washington, D.C. to celebrate the blooming of cherry blossoms and held at one of three remaining Japantowns in the U.S.

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New Chevron Videos Expose Evidence of Fraud Against Oil Company In Ecuador Case

Chevron Corporation today released a series of videos to demonstrate that the case against the oil company in Ecuador is based on fraud and deceit. Visit: http://www.theamazonpost.com/video

Chevron released seven videos that provide a never-seen-before look at the case in Ecuador. From the history of oil production in region to the pervasive fraud plaguing the litigation, the videos detail all aspects of the legal and scientific deceptions committed by the plaintiffs’ team in pursuit of a misguided and meritless lawsuit, according to the company.

The videos allow viewers to see new footage from Hollywood Director Joe Berlinger’s movie “Crude,” which was made and financed by plaintiffs against Chevron, but turned into their greatest weapon in proving the fraud behind the case.

Also, evidence shows for the first time, lead plaintiff attorney Steven Donziger in deposition videos personally describing how he directed a number of questionable actions that promoted the fraud against Chevron and Texaco, its predecessor in Ecuador.

Under oath, attorney Steven Donziger admits on tape that none of the recent environmental experts ever visited Ecuador or “did any kind of new site inspection,” “new sampling,” or “environmental testing of any kind.” And the new plaintiffs’ experts admitted when deposed that they relied on the data and conclusions in the discredited Cabrera Report and did not conduct any independent sampling.

Also featured in the videos are the plaintiffs’ Philadelphia attorney Joe Kohn, environmental experts from Stratus Consulting in Denver, and other plaintiffs’ experts who admit that their submissions to the court in Ecuador were falsified and that no contamination exists by Chevron.

Most importantly, the videos present unassailable evidence and admissions by the plaintiffs, on tape and in emails, that the ‘independent report’ by Richard Cabrera that found alleged contamination in Ecuador was mostly written by plaintiffs themselves. The “Cabrera Report” found on plaintiffs’ lawyers’ computers matches word-for-word the multi-billion damage assessment filed by Cabrera the next day, on April 1, 2008.

The videos reveal that the final judgment for $18 billion against Chevron in Ecuador was crafted and ghostwritten by the plaintiffs who provided it to Judge Nicholas Zambrano to make it appear as if it was the opinion of the Ecuadorian justice system.

The videos are proof positive that Chevron will likely prevail in the courts and legal systems outside of the corrupt Banana-Republic of Ecuador, which has been manipulated by the plaintiffs. Now that courts in the United States and the World Court in Den Hague are looking into the case, Chevron has a real opportunity continue to expose the fraud and turn the tables on the plaintiffs and the environmental organizations, such as Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network, that fronted for the unethical and fraudulent case concocted against Chevron.

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GMO Right to Know: Final Petition Drive

Oakland, California — Volunteers will be out in force this weekend at Earth Day events across the state in a final push for signatures to give Californians the chance to vote for the right to know if their food contains genetically engineered ingredients. The last day to gather signatures for the November ballot is Earth Day, Sunday, April 22.

“We’re confident this historic initiative will be on the ballot and we’re gearing up for a win in November,” said Stacy Malkan, media director of the California Right to Know ballot initiative. Malkan, who joined the campaign team in mid-April, is the former communications director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and a longtime strategist for environmental health campaigns.

“This is about the right to know what’s in our food. Thousands of volunteers — many of them mothers and grandmothers who are fired up about this issue more than any other – have been out on the streets gathering signatures to give Californians this fundamental right,” Malkan said.

The GMO labeling initiative campaign also welcomed a new outreach director last week. Kelly Quirke, former executive director of Rainforest Action Network, has more than 20 years experience as an advocate for health, the environment and human rights.

“A broad, growing and powerful family farm, health, environmental and consumer coalition is behind the genetically engineered food labeling initiative,” Quirke said. “An overwhelming majority of Californians agree with these groups and businesses: They want to know what’s in their food. That’s going to take us to victory in November.”

Major supporters of the genetically engineered food labeling initiative include the American Public Health Association, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, United Farm Workers, California Certified Organic Farmers, Organic Consumers Association, Consumer Federation of America, Nature’s Path, Lundberg Family Farms, Organic Valley, Eden Foods, Mercola.com, Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy Now!, LabelGMOs.org, and many others.

For more information about the California Right to Know ballot initiative to label genetically engineered foods, see http://www.carighttoknow.org/.

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SFMOMA Receives $375,000 from the Getty Foundation to establish comprehensive web resource for study of Robert Rauschenberg

Sean Martinfield, Arts Contributor

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has been awarded a $375,000 grant from the Getty Foundation for the implementation of its first online collection catalogue, featuring works by Robert Rauschenberg in the museum’s permanent collection. The grant supports further work on the Rauschenberg Research Project, the digital publication SFMOMA is developing for the Getty’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI), an effort dedicated to bringing museum collection catalogues into the digital age. Scheduled for launch in mid-2013, SFMOMA’s catalogue promises to be the largest and most comprehensive repository of Rauschenberg research available online, and will serve as a vital and highly accessible resource for the field.

Robert Rauschenberg. Collection, 1954–55. Oil, paper, fabric, wood, and metal on canvas

Robert Rauschenberg. Collection, 1954–55. Oil, paper, fabric, wood, and metal on canvas

“We are very grateful to the Getty Foundation for their generous support of SFMOMA’s Rauschenberg Research Project,” says Sarah Roberts, SFMOMA associate curator of collections and research. “Our online Rauschenberg catalogue will serve as a testing ground for the museum’s ambitious digital publishing objectives and will have global reach, both as a resource for future scholarship and as a dynamic, new model for museum collection catalogues in the digital era.”

While printed versions of scholarly collection catalogues have long been a critical part of museum publishing programs and a key resource for researchers, their high production costs and small print runs have hindered accessibility and made revised editions extremely difficult to realize. The OSCI project aims to transform how museums disseminate scholarly information about their collections, exploring the potential for catalogues to be more current, interactive, and widely available in an online environment. Three years ago, the Getty Foundation invited nine institutions, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, to work together to investigate this new frontier in scholarly publishing with the support of planning grants. SFMOMA received $240,000 to participate in the planning stage and now has been awarded $375,000 to bring its online catalogue to completion.

SFMOMA’s publication will present a seamless blend of rigorous scholarship and multimedia resources, encompassing nearly 90 Rauschenberg sculptures, paintings, works on paper, photographs, and “combines” (hybrid works of painting and sculpture). The catalogue will bring together existing materials drawn from the archives of SFMOMA and other institutions, as well as new content from ongoing research initiatives, such as visual documentation done with highly specialized technology (e.g., infrared or custom digital processing) that capture the exceptionally nuanced imagery of the artist’s works.

The publication will include 20 essays dedicated to individual artworks or series; bibliographies, provenance, exhibition histories, and conservation research for all objects; as well as artist interviews, interactive educational features, comparative images, and links to related resources. SFMOMA has commissioned leading experts on Rauschenberg as authors for the catalogue, including:

· Nicholas Cullinan, curator of international modern art at Tate Modern, who has written a book on the artist’s photographs
· Susan Davidson, senior curator of collections and exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, who sits on the board of the Rauschenberg Foundation and has produced numerous exhibitions and publications on the artist, including the 1997–98 retrospective that she organized with Walter Hopps
· Roni Feinstein, who produced a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s silkscreen paintings for the 1991 Whitney Museum exhibition
· And many others who have researched, written, or organized exhibitions on Rauschenberg

In addition to presenting deeper and richer content, the online catalogue will employ various technological solutions stemming from the OSCI project. New systems for documentation and digital publishing are redefining how information related to the collection is generated, collected, and published. These processes will allow for the publication to be integrated into a variety of digital platforms, and established templates will easily accommodate future research projects around other areas of modern and contemporary art. Ultimately, the Getty Foundation grant will make possible a new model for collection publishing that will disseminate scholarly material in innovative and accessible ways.

Technology at SFMOMA

The development of the online catalogue furthers SFMOMA’s commitment to online culture and technological advancement, and to fostering meaningful dialogue with audiences. Reflecting the Bay Area’s renown for pioneering new technologies and ways of thinking, SFMOMA is widely acknowledged as a leader among museums worldwide for using technology to engage visitors, both onsite and online, through such projects as its award-winning website, innovative podcasts, multimedia gallery tours, and more recent mobile apps. SFMOMA has consistently forged new models of museum education by developing in-house expertise in rich-media tools that enhance public understanding of modern and contemporary art.
Click here for additional information: “>Getty Foundation

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Rita Moreno to Host Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s ONSTAGE Gala

By Bethany Rickwald, TheaterMania
Award-winning actress Rita Moreno will host Berkeley Rep‘s ONSTAGE Gala, beginning at 5:30pm on April 28 at the Four Seasons San Francisco.

The evening will feature a gourmet dinner prepared by Mark Richardson, wines and spirits, and bidding led by Fritz Hatton on getaways and culinary adventures.

The honorary committee for the event includes Gerson and Barbara Bakar, Rena Bransten, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Maria Carson, Narsai and Venus David, State Senator Loni Hancock and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown, Doug Housley, David Henry Hwang, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, Michael Mayer, Mandy Patinkin, State Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, Garen and Shari Staglin, and Michael Tilson Thomas and Joshua Robison.

Moreno won an Academy Award for West Side Story and received a Tony Award for her performance inThe Ritz. She has also won two Emmys for her work on The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files. Her performance on The Electric Company Album earned her the Grammy Award in 1972.

For more information and tickets to Berkeley Rep’s ONSTAGE Gala, click here.

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THE TOM JUDSON SHOW – Coming to New Conservatory Theatre Center May 2nd

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the San Francisco Premiere of The Tom Judson Show by Tom Judson. The show will run at 8:00 Wednesdays through Saturdays from May 2–12. All performances will take place at The New Conservatory Theatre Center (Walker Theatre), located at 25 Van Ness Avenue, near Market Street, San Francisco. Tickets are $28–$41 each, and are available at the NCTC Box Office (415) 861-8972, or online at: NCTC.org.

TOM JUDSON

TOM JUDSON

Tom Judson has performed his new cabaret show on both coasts. It was standing room only for a recent gig at The Metropolitan Room in New York City. This leg of The Tom Judson Show has been retooled specifically for the New Conservatory Theatre Center and will include a program of songs to celebrate spring. Getting back to his musician roots, Tom’s new show is reminiscent of the sparkling entertainments that were once found at every smart supper club in Manhattan. Utilizing the skills that landed him on Broadway, Tom croons at the piano in a vintage tuxedo and sings an eclectic selection of songs ranging from well-known standards to some surprising obscure gems. With material ranging from Harold Arlen to Alan Cumming to Victor Herbert, Tom peppers the musical selections with anecdotes and stories about some of the celebrities he’s crossed paths with during his career. Directed by Michael Schiralli, The Tom Judson Show is an evening of song and story so entrancing that Michael Musto writing in the Village Voice insisted, “Let’s get this man a show at the Carlyle or the Algonquin. I’m serious!”

the-tom-judson-show

Tom Judson has appeared onstage as a singer, musician, actor, and as an object of lust and adoration: “Gus Mattox”, GayVN Award-Winning adult film star. He has composed music for the off-Broadway production of Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, the film Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan, and for TV’s Sesame Street. Tom has written songs for actress/singer Ann Magnuson, playwright and actress Lisa Kron and many more. On occasion he has been accompanist and second banana to drag chanteuse Varla Jean Merman. Tom appeared in the Broadway show Cabaret, the National Tour of 42nd Street, and many off-Broadway and regional productions including the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Some Men. His one-man show Canned Ham has been touring the country for the past two years. Also an author and columnist, Tom recently published Laid Bare, a collection of his essays and magazine columns.

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A WEEKEND FULL OF ACTIVITIES FOR SAME-SEX BALLROOM DANCE FANS!

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Same Sex Ballroom dancers from all over the world will come to the Bay Area the weekend of April 27 for three days of competition, dances, shows and classes. The weekend highlight is the April Follies, the 11th annual competition and show.

Friday, April 27

Welcome Dance hosted by Trip the Light Fantastic 7-10:30 PM

Saturday, April 28

  • Competition:  10 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Community Dinner:  5:30 – 6:30 PM
  • Beginning Lessons: 6:30 – 7:30 PM
    • *Free to anyone holding a Showcase Ticket
  • Showcase of Champions:  8 – 11 PM

o Includes “A” level championship finals plus a show and social dancing!

Sunday, April 29

  • Community Meeting:  10:30 – 11:45 AM
  • Lee Fox Workshops:  12:00 noon – 3 PM
    • Intermediate country 2-step and intermediate west coast swing classes, and includes time for supervised practice
  • Sundance Saloon Closing Dance:
  • 7:15 – 8:15 PM Ballroom Dancing
  • 9 – 10 PM West Coast Swing

Daytime spectator ticket $15

Evening Showcase ticket $25 including lessons (will be $30 at the door)

Combo day and evening $30 (will be $40 at the door)

For more information on the Competition, Showcase or volunteer opportunities please visit the April Follies website.

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TJPA Attends White House Celebration of Joining Forces Initiative

White House Invites TJPA and its Contractor Webcor to Celebrate the First Anniversary of Initiative to Support, Recognize and Honor Veterans

Washington, DC (April 11, 2012) – Wednesday, Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, Executive Director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), and Webcor, General Contractor for the Transbay Transit Center Project, were invited by the White House to attend an event celebrating the First Anniversary of Joining Forces, the initiative to recognize, honor and support veterans and military families.

Late last year, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden launched an initiative to recognize and celebrate citizens, communities, and organizations who have demonstrated a deep commitment to service focused on improving the lives of military families and veterans. The TJPA has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Joining Forces Initiative since its inception.

Since the launch of the initiative, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority has entered into an historic Project Labor Agreement (PLA), which includes a provision to assist National Guard, Reserve, and transitioning active-duty military members with career training and employment opportunities through the Helmets to Hardhats and Wounded Warrior organizations. To date, the Transbay Project’s construction workforce includes nearly 2% of workers who are veterans. We are working with veteran organizations to continue to hire our service men and women.

“It was a great honor to be at the White House supporting the Joining Forces initiative and celebrating its successes,” said Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, Executive Director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. “We are proud to support our veterans with employment opportunities and new career paths as they transition back to civilian life. As we move forward into the second year of this initiative, the Transbay Project, along with Webcor, has made the commitment to increase our veterans program substantially.”

In an effort to continue to support and enhance our commitment to Joining Forces, the TJPA in conjunction with Webcor is dedicated to growing their veterans program as much as possible in the next year.

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MAITRI CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF COMPASSIONATE CARE FOR PEOPLE WITH AIDS AT BLISS 2012 GALA


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Since its founding in1987 when Zen teacher, Issan Dorsey took in a homeless student dying of AIDS during the height of the epidemic, Maitri Compassionate Care has provided end-of-life and respite care to over 1,000 low-income San Franciscans debilitated by late-stage AIDS. Over the past 25 years, great strides have been made in the treatment of HIV/AIDS but the unique care provided by Maitri continues – in 2011, 9% of AIDS deaths in San Francisco occurred at Maitri. And in spite of recent federal government funding reductions to HIV service organizations, Maitri is committed to continue its mission to ensure that “no one should suffer or die alone”.

image007 Maitri commemorates its 25th year as California’s only AIDS-exclusive hospice at its Silver Anniversary gala fundraiser, BLISS, taking place on Saturday, May 5 at 6:00 p.m. in the W San Francisco Hotel. Honorary Hosts, Senator Mark Leno, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener and San Francisco Mayoral Appointee, Bevan Dufty, will open the evening’s program emceed by international fashion designer and author, Carmen Marc Valvo and local award-winning humanitarian, Donna Sachet. Wade Preston of Broadway’s Movin’Out and San Francisco chanteuse, Connie Champagne headline the evening’s entertainment. A fashion show of Carmen Marc Valvo gowns, a silent auction and what promises to be an exuberant live auction with auctioneer extraordinaire, Lenny Broberg will keep the evening lively and fun. Other event features include a raffle, a Beauty Bar, a Magnolia Photo Booth, a History Wall/Ritual Area and Caricatures by Zach.

Guests will savor delicious fare provided by the W San Francisco Hotel, special signature cocktails courtesy of Blue Angel Vodka and other treats.

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DANIEL CURRAN and ADAM LAU – Schwabacher Debut Recitals, April 22nd

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor


San Francisco Opera Center presents the 30th season of the Schwabacher Debut Recitals on Sunday, April 22 at 5:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El’s Martin Meyer Sanctuary (Two Lake Street, at Arguello, in San Francisco). The series begins with Merola Opera Program alumni tenor Daniel Curran and bass Adam Lau performing an eclectic program of works by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, William Bolcom, Henri Duparc, Carl Loewe, Paolo Tosti and Modest Mussorgsky. Curran and Lau will be accompanied by San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow pianist Robert Mollicone.

A 2011 Merola alumnus, tenor Daniel Curran’s performance selection will include Schubert’s Nacht und Träume, Schumann’s Mondnacht, Duparc’s Phidylé and Tosti’s Ideale. While in the Merola Opera Program, Curran performed the role of “Count Almaviva” in Merola’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. His recent engagements include a collaboration with the Juilliard Historical Performance Program and the role of “Don Ottavio” (Don Giovanni) with Opera North in New Hampshire.

Daniel Curran

Daniel Curran

A 2011 Merola alumnus, bass Adam Lau’s Schwabacher program will include Bolcom’s At the Last Lousy Moments of Love, Fur (Murray the Furrier), Song of Black Max; Loewe’s Herr Oluf, Tom der Reimer, Erlkönig; and Mussorgsky’s Song of the Flea. Lau made his San Francisco Opera debut in 2008 as a Baobab/Hunter in Portman’s The Little Prince. Recent accomplishments include winning the Portland District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions along with the audience favorite award.

Adam Lau

Adam Lau

The Schwabacher Debut Recitals continue on Sunday, April 29th with San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow Nadine Sierra. Sierra will present a program of works by Bernstein, Grieg, Rachmaninoff and Villa-Lobos with accompaniment by former Adler Fellow and pianist Tamara Sanikidze.

The Schwabacher Debut Recitals have been endowed in perpetuity by the generosity of the late James Schwabacher. A celebrated Bay Area singer, recitalist, scholar and teacher, James Schwabacher was a co-founder of the Merola Opera Program. The Schwabacher Debut Recitals have introduced the artistry of world-renowned opera singers, including Susan Graham, Anna Netrebko, Deborah Voigt, Brian Asawa and Thomas Hampson. The recitals provide an opportunity to hear a wealth of song literature ranging from Baroque masterpieces and Romantic-era classics to newly commissioned works.

MEET THE ARTISTS

Idaho native DANIEL CURRAN is an alumnus of the 2011 Merola Opera Program, where he performed the role of Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Curran performed the role of the Good Samaritan in Benjamin Britten’s Cantata Misericordium at the Florida National Convention with the University Choir and chamber orchestra. He has also had the opportunity to record for film composer John Williams along with members of the Chapman University Choir. A graduate of Chapman University, the tenor’s roles there include Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), the title role of Albert Herring, and Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi). Curran also holds a master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where he performed the Hunter in Conrad Susa’s Transformations and First Commissioner in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmélites. Other recent engagements include a collaboration with the Juilliard Historical Performance Program and William Christie in Alice Tully Hall and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) with Opera North in New Hampshire.

Bass ADAM LAU was a 2011 participant of the Merola Opera Program, where he performed the role of Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Other recent credits include Timur (Turandot) at West Bay Opera; Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro) at the Symphony and Opera Academy of the Pacific; the Bartender (Bolcom’s A Wedding) at Music Academy of the West; Masetto (Don Giovanni) at Rice University; and Dr. Bartolo (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Leporello (Don Giovanni), and King Louis XVI (Corigliano’s The Ghost of Versailles) with the Aspen Opera Theater Center. In 2008, he made his San Francisco Opera debut as a Baobab/Hunter in Portman’s The Little Prince. Lau placed second in the Western Regional finals of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In 2008, he won an Encouragement Award from the Marilyn Horne Foundation and was the recipient of the 2008 California Federation of Music Clubs Full Fellowship in Voice. In the spring of 2009, he was invited to sing in the Martin Katz master class at Carnegie Hall in the Song Continues Festival, sponsored by the Marilyn Horne Foundation. In 2010, he won first place in the Henry & Maria Holt West Bay Opera Competition and won the Portland District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions along with the audience favorite award.

Coach and pianist ROBERT MOLLICONE is a first-year Adler Fellow. He was a member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where he served on music staff for the Young Artist productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and Madama Butterfly, as well as for Don Pasquale, Tosca, and Lucia di Lammermoor on the main stage. He completed his master’s degree in collaborative piano at Boston University as a student of Shiela Kibbe. He has also studied with Maria Clodes, Robert Merfeld, Linda Jiorle-Nagy, and Bertica Cramer. His performance credits include solo engagements, as well as opera, art song, chamber music, orchestral keyboard, musical theatre, and community outreach projects. Mollicone has also performed in master classes for Martin Katz, Margo Garrett, Patrick Summers, Warren Jones, Stephanie Blythe, Phyllis Curtin and Simon Estes, and he has worked with composers Daniel Pinkham, Yehudi Wyner, Michael Friedman, Tobias Picker and Jason Robert Brown. Mollicone has served as a vocal coach and pianist for Boston Lyric Opera, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Boston Opera Collaborative, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and Opera North. He was a Spectrum Resident Artist at Virginia Opera in 2009 and a participant in the Merola Opera Program in 2010. Robert Mollicone will be working on San Francisco Opera’s productions of The Magic Flute and Moby Dick in 2012.

TICKETS & INFORMATION:

Single tickets for the Schwabacher Debut Recitals are $25; a two-recital subscription is $50. Tickets may be purchased by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office (Mon. 10 am-5 pm, Tues.-Fri. 10 am-6 pm) at (415) 864-3330. Student Rush tickets are available for $15 at Temple Emanu-El 30 minutes prior to each recital (limit of two tickets per person; valid ID is required), subject to availability. Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices are subject to change.

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Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience

This year, the Year of the Dragon 2012, the Chinese Historical Society of America revitalizes its museum with an infusion of art. CHSA has reached out to its artistic community to create works that interpret and respond to the themes presented in its history galleries. The first of these art installations, Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience, includes five artists whose works focus on personal narrative, memory and family concepts that characterize Chinese America. The exhibition, on view April 12 through December 15, 2012, features works by Nancy Hom, Michael Jang, Lenora Lee, Cynthia Tom, and Flo Oy Wong. Remnants debuts with an opening reception on Thursday, April 12, 6pm to 9pm at the CHSA Museum, 965 Clay Street, San Francisco.

The inauguration of the Remnants exhibition signals a new creative approach for our exhibition program, says CHSA executive director Sue Lee. We are always looking for ways to offer our visitors a deeper understanding of the Chinese American experience.

The centerpiece of Remnants is a site-specific installation of the set from the performance Passages by Lenora Lee Dance. A powerful portrayal of the journey endured by Lees grandmother through Angel Island and into American life, Passages presents a memorable narrative through stunning visuals. Works by Nancy Hom, Cynthia Tom, and Flo Oy Wong further explore themes of family and remembrance using a range of artistic expression, bearing unique witness to Chinese American history.

On Saturday, April 14, at 1pm, the CHSA Second Saturday program provides a deeper look into the installation “Passages: For Lee Ping To” with a performance by Lenora Lee Dance, and discussion with artist Lenora Lee (Free with Museum admission.) An Artists Q&A panel expanding on themes in the exhibition will be scheduled in June (TBA).

Founded in 1963, CHSA is the oldest and largest organization in the country dedicated to the documentation, study, and presentation of Chinese American history. In 2011, CHSA celebrates the 10th anniversary of its opening at the landmark Julia Morgan-designed Chinatown YWCA building in 2001. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational, public programming, CHSA promotes the contributions and legacy of Chinese America. The Chinese Historical Society of America is located at 965 Clay Street, San Francisco, 94108. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday 12-5pm, and Saturdays 11am to 4pm. (Closed Sunday, Monday, and Holidays.) Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $3 for students/seniors, $2 for children 6-17. The museum is free the first Thursday of the month. Further information on these and other programs at CHSA is available by calling (415) 391-1188 x101, or at www.chsa.org

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Hire Heroes Plan for Homeless Veterans

A collaboration between The Salvation Army’s Harbor House Veterans Component and Ideal Restoration’s support for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hire Our Heroes program will provide jobs for formerly homeless veterans.

Harbor House admits formerly homeless veterans with at least six months sobriety and Ideal Restoration is a disaster recovery company committed to assisting homeless veterans. The chamber is promoting the hiring of 500,000 veterans by 2014.

“The opportunity Ideal offers to hire our graduates is exactly what is needed to complete restoration of veterans to stable and productive lives,” says Harbor House Director Marcy Orosco. “Having a job means having a future with promise.”

Emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts between rehabilitation programs like Harbor House and community agencies and employers, she adds: “Uncle Sam can’t do it alone. Businesses like Ideal collaborating with the safe, secure housing and training offered at Harbor House is essential to solving the problem.”

“I have been deeply touched by the plight of homeless veterans,” says Ideal Restoration CEO Jaclyn Carpenter, “I was grateful to discover Harbor House and the outstanding work it does. I think it is incumbent on private sector employers to make an effort to help these worthy heroes who stood up to be counted in our country’s hour of need. We have established a paid intern program for veterans leading to full time employment.”

The Ideal Restoration team provides emergency response for water damaged buildings in San Francisco. The company has also extended its Hire Our Heroes initiative to Swords to Plowshares, which also serves formerly homeless veterans,

The Hire Our Heroes program will be showcased at a Wednesday dinner for community supporters of the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center at Marines Memorial Club Hotel.

“Veterans will be provided essential assistance from the collaboration between Harbor House and Ideal Restoration,” says Craig Newmark, owner of Craigslist/Craigconnects.org and an Advisory Council member of Harbor Light Center. “I’m proud to be associated with Harbor House and their work. Our veterans have given up so much. It’s time for us to give back to them.”

Ervin Marin, a successful Harbor House participant who is about to graduate is very clear about how important programs like Hire Our Heroes are. “I had reached a crossroads in my recovery,” he says. “I was clean and sober and I was mending my relationship with my daughter. But, I could not provide her with a proper home unless I found a job. Ideal gave me a chance to prove myself and now I have a full time job that I love. Lots of people talk about helping vets. Ideal walks the talk.” (Interviews with Ervin can be arranged)

“The reality is homeless vets are just like the rest of us,” Carpenter says. “We all deserve a second chance. I am honored to be able to help.”

Background facts

Harbor House

In the world of social services Harbor House is designated reentry housing.” In short, that means that a participant is ready to establish an independent residence and reenter the workplace.

A new participant must have six months clean and sober to be admitted and can stay for a maximum of two years. During the stay they must spend 32 hours per week either working or seeking a job. The rest of their time includes group and individual counseling, job seeking, resume and skills development, recovery and treatment planning. socializing with other residents, bonding between parents and children, and other tasks.

A key element of the program is the reunification of participants with their children. Harbor House has a court advocacy component that works with the courts to insure successful outcomes. All participants at Harbor House are involved in this reunification process. They live in individual mini-apartments with their children that include a separate bath and kitchen.

The facility can house roughly 82 people including adults and their children. There is room to accommodate 29 adults both men and women.

Ideal Restoration

Ideal is a pioneer in the disaster recovery industry and was founded in 1973. The family owned business uses and often invents the latest technological tools to bring properties up to standard after such things as fire and water main ruptures. The staff has the specialized knowledge required of such work.

Services include wall drying of surfaces saturated with water after a fire or from other causes. Also included are Ideal’s expertise in damage caused by mold and sewer backups.

Ideal established Hire Our Heroes earlier this year and is geared to train up to five potential employees at a time.

Homeless Veterans Statistics (Source: U.S. Interagency Council on the Homeless )

Homeless Veterans Service Record

23% of the homeless population are veterans
33% of the male homeless population are veterans
47% served Vietnam-era
17% served post-Vietnam
15% served pre-Vietnam
67% served three or more years
33% were stationed in war zone

Homeless Vets Background Information

76% experience alcohol and drug problems
46% are white males, compared to 34% of non-veterans
46% are age 45 or older, compared to 20% non-veterans
89% received an honorable discharge
85% completed high school/GED, compared to 56% of non-veterans
25% have used VA homeless services
79% reside in central cities
16% reside in suburban areas
5% reside in rural areas

Immediate needs cited include:

45% need help finding a job
37% need help finding housing

The challenge for California:

Far and away the most homeless vets of any of the 50 states

Northern California/Northern Nevada homeless veterans any given night estimated at 12,771
Southern California/Southern Nevada homeless veterans any given night estimated at 13,847
California has a quarter of all the homeless veterans in the country.

How many homeless veterans are there?

Over the course of a year more than 200,000 veterans are homeless. On any given night the number is estimated at 104,000.

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Gold Dust Lounge New Twist: Handlery Family Asks Court to Throw Out False Bovis Claims of Deception

The Gold Dust Lounge was sued by its landlord for breach of contract, bad faith and contractual interference late yesterday.  The property owners, the Handlery family, is asking the Court to make the Gold Dust live up to its word and stop illegally operating in a space the landlord has leased to another tenant.

Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, the law firm representing the Handlerys, said that it had no choice but to file these claims on Thursday to protect its rights against the lawsuit filed first by the Gold Dust.

The Handlery family attorneys also asked the court to reject a lawsuit from bar tenants Jim Bovis and Tasios Bovis that claims their signing of a lease with an early termination clause was the result of deception.

In a new twist, Handlery spokesman Sam Singer the Bovis’s claim of trickery “doesn’t make sense.”

“The Gold Dust Lounge was operating without a lease in March 2011 when the landlord offered to extend, and the tenant accepted, a new lease that allowed the bar to stay longer and had an early termination right.  Why, when you have the immediate right to evict someone, would you hatch an elaborate scheme to throw them out in the future?

“Statements by James, Tasios and Nick Bovis that they were unaware of the early termination clause in the Gold Dust Lounge lease is absurd in that these are individuals who run three separate companies and operate bars and restaurants in San Francisco and Burlingame that have multiple contracts with vendors and purveyors. There was no deception,” Singer said.

The Handlery family is asking the court to hold the bar and its operators accountable for its failure to abide by its lease and for contractual interference with the Handlery’s lease with the new tenant.   The lawsuit names Bovis, Inc., its principals James N. Bovis, Tasios N. Bovis, and Nick Bovis, as well as other individuals to be named later for assisting them in illegally occupying in the space.

“It’s sad to see that spitefulness and hubris have overtaken the brothers, Tasios Bovis and Jim Bovis and his son, Nick Bovis, who runs Lefty O’Doul’s Bar, which the Handlery’s rent to him.  Instead of acting like gentlemen and businesspeople, they have resorted to ugliness that is unbecoming of them.  We hope that the Bovis family can redeem their good name and values and move the Gold Dust Lounge to another location to allow its customers to chance to enjoy the bar in the future,” Singer added.

“Look at Gordon Biersch Brewery. Its landlord didn’t renew their lease after 20 years. Are they trying to landmark their old space? No. Are they remaining in violation of their lease agreement? No. They are real businesspeople and professionals. They are searching for a new location so their customers can continue to enjoy their historic brew and food.”

Yesterday, the Historic Preservation Commission voted against granting historic designation to the Gold Dust, a tourist bar since 1966, by a 5-2 vote. The decision came on the heels of the city staff recommending against historic designation as well as a letter from San Francisco Architectural Heritage, which also found the bar did not have historic merit.

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SAN FRANCISCO PRIDE – Pink Brick awarded to the president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH); Community Grand Marshal announced

The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee and its board of directors announced today the results of the 2012 public vote for Individual Community Grand Marshal, Organizational Community Grand Marshal, and the Pink Brick, a faux award given to a detractor of the LGBT community.

The SF Pride Committee conducted public polling during the month of March allowing the community to vote for their choice of nominees in three categories: Individual Community Grand Marshal, Organizational Community Grand Marshal, and the Pink Brick. Having secured the highest number of votes in their category, the winners are Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in the Individual Community Grand Marshal category; the ACLU of Northern California in the Organizational Community Grand Marshal category; and Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality in the Pink Brick category.

The Pride Committee also announced that this year’s vote set a record for public participation with 3,751 votes from community members, which exceeds last year’s record by 1,015 votes. The winners in each of the two Grand Marshal categories have been named 2012 Community Grand Marshals and will be honored at this year’s SF Pride Celebration and Parade on June 23 and 24, 2012.

Sister Roma: 2012 marks Sister Roma’s 25th year as one of the most continuously active, outspoken and highly visible members of the San Francisco’s Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence. She has dedicated half of her life to serving the San Francisco LGBTQI community as an activist, fundraiser, public speaker, hostess/Master of Ceremonies, columnist, talk show host, and an arguable San Francisco gay icon. Since taking her vows, Roma has been on the front lines in the war against HIV and AIDS, homophobia, and hate crimes as the creator of the Stop The Violence Campaign. One of San Francisco’s most colorful and outspoken civil rights advocates, Roma has graced the main stages of SF Pride, Folsom Street Fair, Castro Street Fair, Halloween in the Castro and Easter in Dolores Park just to name a few. While it’s impossible to know exactly how much money Roma has raised for the global LGBTQI community it’s estimated that she has contributed her time and talents to events contributing over $1 million in 25 years of service.

The ACLU of Northern California: The ACLU of Northern California is the nation’s largest affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, protecting and advancing civil liberties, including LGBT Rights, throughout the region.

The Pink Brick is an annual award given by the Pride Committee to the nominee receiving the most votes in the Pink Brick category during public polling in March. The faux award represents the first brick thrown at the Stonewall Riots and is given to someone who has caused significant harm to the LGBT community. Former president George W. Bush, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and evangelical leader Lou Engle who has supported the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda are all past recipients of the Pink Brick.

Peter LaBarbera: Peter LaBarbera is the president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), an anti-LGBT organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group. AFTAH’s mission is to oppose “the radical homosexual agenda” while supporting what it calls a “God-ordained sexuality” and the “natural family”. LaBarbera describes himself as a conservative critic of the homosexual activist movement.

In addition to the Individual and Organizational Community Grand Marshals selected by the public, the Pride Committee’s Electoral College, which includes all past Community Grand Marshals, as well as Pride’s membership and board of directors will also make their own selections for Individual Community Grand Marshals for a total of up to five additional individual honorees.

The 42nd annual San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade takes place on June 23-24, 2012.  The theme for the event, selected by Pride’s membership at their annual meeting in September, is “Global Equality.”

The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee is a non-profit membership organization founded to produce the annual San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade. San Francisco Pride is dedicated to education, commemoration of LGBT heritage, and celebration of LGBT culture and liberation. A world leader in the Pride movement, San Francisco Pride is also a grant-giving organization through its Community Partners Program. Since 1997, SF Pride has granted nearly $2 million dollars in proceeds to LGBT, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and animal welfare nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area.
Click here for more information: <a href=”http://www.sfpride.org <http://www.sfpride.org> “><strong>SFPride.org<strong></a>

2012 marks the 42nd anniversary of the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade. The Pride Celebration and Parade will be held over the weekend of June 23 and 24. With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than twenty community-run stages and venues, the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest annual gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation. The two-day celebration is free and open to all.

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MAPLE AND VINE – Now at the American Conservatory Theater

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) continues its 2011–12 season with the West Coast premiere of Maple and Vine, written by Jordan Harrison and directed by A.C.T. Associate Artistic Director Mark Rucker. Fresh from a successful run at Playwrights Horizons in New York City, Maple and Vine tells the story of married couple, Katha and Ryu, a pair of stressed-out urban professionals who feel unfulfilled by the impersonal gadgets and fast-paced lifestyle of the modern world. After meeting a charismatic man from a community of 1950s reenactors, they decide to swap cell phones and sushi for phone trees and fish sticks by joining a community where life is slower, passion is risqué, and a cocktail is a daily accessory. In this meticulously recreated world, where retro attitudes about gender, race, and sexuality stir up powerful questions, Katha and Ryu must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice for happiness and whether the “good old days” were really that good. Maple and Vine performs a limited run March 29–April 22, 2012, at the American Conservatory Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco).
Click here to order tickets on-line: Maple&Vine

The Society of Dynamic Obsolescence

The Society of Dynamic Obsolescence (SDO) member Ellen (Julia Coffey) visits new SDO recruit Katha (Emily Donahoe)

A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff was immediately taken by how the play stirred up conversation. “When we first read Jordan’s play last year,” she says, “we were struck by not only the prescient humor he brought to this wildly entertaining notion that conveniences and evolved lifestyles have made life more complicated, but also with the lingering emotions we all felt days after we read the play! Jordan has captured a very modern world and transplanted it to a seemingly easier time, and of course we learn that, for some, modern complications turn out to be preferable for their way of life. Mark Rucker’s uncanny ability to explore American comedy and this kind of period setting makes him the ideal director for this incredible new work. In the spirit of our breakout hit from last season, Clybourne Park, and last fall’s production of David Mamet’s Race, Maple and Vine asks outrageous and provocative questions about how we live our lives today, using wicked humor to skewer our contemporary perceptions.”

A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events—many of which are presented free of charge—in association with Maple and Vine 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 Featuring Director Mark Rucker: Tuesday, Apr. 3, at 5:30 pm. Get inside the artistic process at this lively preshow discussion with director Mark Rucker.
• Bring What You Can/Pay What You Wish: Thursday, Apr. 5, at 8:00 pm. Pay any amount for your tickets when you bring nonperishable food donations for the San Francisco Food Bank. Patrons are limited to two tickets per donated item, two tickets per person. Tickets go on sale at 6 p.m. the day of the performance.
• Theater on the Couch: Friday, Apr. 6, following the 8 pm performance
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., Apr. 10, at 7 p.m. | Sun., Apr. 15, at 2 p.m. | Wed., Apr. 18, 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.: Wednesday, Apr. 11, following the 8 pm performance. The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular afterparty. Click here for information about how to subscribe to OUT nights throughout the season:
OUT
• A.C.T. Family Series Workshop: Saturday, Apr. 21, at 1 pm. A new theater experience for young adults and their families! Come before the 2:00 matinee for a lively, interactive workshop. Note: due to sexual situations and partial nudity, Maple and Vine is recommended for audiences ages 14 and up.

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Mayor Lee appoints Cecilia Chung and Belle Taylor-McGhee to the Health Commission

Mayor Edwin M. Lee has appointed Cecilia Chung and Belle Taylor-McGhee to the Health Commission. Chung is a nationally recognized Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community advocate and current Human Rights Commissioner. Taylor-McGhee is an internationally-recognized leader in women’s reproductive health, a public speaker and published writer.

The seven-member Health Commission oversees the City’s largest budget of nearly $1.6 billion and serves as the policy-making body for the Department of Public Health, San Francisco General Hospital, emergency medical services and other key City functions.

“The San Francisco Health Commission plays an important role in improving the health of our City’s residents. Now, more than ever, our policy decisions must build upon our landmark universal healthcare access, the rebuilding of a new, safe San Francisco General Hospital and bring our healthcare systems into the 21stcentury,” said Mayor Lee. “The Health Commission will greatly benefit from Cecilia’s experience in community health policy and human rights and her understanding as a person living with HIV. Belle’s international advocacy and activism for women’s reproductive health and freedom in the Bay Area, across the U.S. and around the world will ensure the health needs of our City’s women remain at the forefront of the public health discussion. I’m proud to appoint both Cecilia and Belle to the Health Commission, and I am grateful for their dedication to the community and willingness to serve all of our City’s residents.”

Cecilia Chung is a nationally recognized civil rights leader and is a recognized speaker on HIV/AIDS awareness and LGBT equality. Cecilia Chung served seven years as a Commissioner on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. In 1994, she was a member of the Transgender Discrimination Taskforce, which released a groundbreaking report by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, documenting widespread discrimination against transgender people. The report led the City to adopt many pioneering anti-discrimination ordinances and policies.

An immigrant from Hong Kong, Cecilia has lived in San Francisco for over 20 years and has dedicated herself to the advancement of equality and justice and ending stigma, discrimination and violence against all communities. Chung is the former Deputy Director of the Transgender Law Center, former HIV Program Coordinator for the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum and former Assessment and Placement Officer for the DPH Treatment Access Project, counseling multiple-diagnosed SFGH patients for treatment placement.

Chung is an active board member on many local, national and international organizations. She was President of the Board of Directors of San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and a founding producer of Trans March. She has recently served on California Attorney General-Elect Kamala Harris’ Civil Rights Enforcement Workgroup. She has served on a number of planning bodies including the San Francisco HIV Health Services Planning Council, Transgender Community Advisory Board for UCSF TRANS and the Visioning Change Initiative of the California HIV/AIDS Research Program.

Chung holds a Bachelor’s degree from Golden Gate University in International Business Management. She has been recognized by the State of California LGBT Legislative Caucus and received the KQED Local Hero Award, A&PI Wellness Center Public Policy Award and Saint Francis Hospital Foundation Community Hero Award.

“I am thrilled by the Mayor’s selection of Cecilia Chung to the San Francisco Health Commission,” said Supervisor Christina Olague. “Her leadership and advocacy on HIV/AIDS and critical issues that impact the transgender community are unrivaled. Her perspective will benefit the health of all our residents.”

Last week Mayor Lee also appointed Belle Taylor-McGhee to the Health Commission. In 2010, Taylor-McGhee reported from Tanzania and Uganda, Africa on the high rate of maternal mortality and how communities and governments in Africa are addressing the problem. In a three-part series published in the 2010 spring, summer and winter issues of Ms Magazine, Ms. Taylor-McGhee wrote about the challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goal Five – to reduce maternal mortality by 75 percent.

Taylor-McGhee is the former President/CEO of the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health (PIWH); the former executive director of Pharmacy Access Partnership, a center of the Oakland-based Public Health Institute; and the former Executive Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women – appointed by former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.

Taylor-McGhee is currently the Vice President of Strategic Communications for JLM Management Group, a multi-disciplinary consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, media and public relations, and business development. Taylor-McGhee has extensive expertise in media and public policy having served as Director of Communications for NARAL Pro-Choice America in Washington, D.C. She is a former investigative television news reporter with more than a decade of broadcast journalism experience in Seattle, Tampa/St. Petersburg and Alabama markets.

Taylor-McGhee serves on the Board of Directors for EngenderHealth, an international NGO working to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women and men worldwide. She also serves on the national steering committee to advance over-the-counter access for oral contraceptives in the U.S. Additionally, Taylor-McGhee serves as national communications chair for Trust Black Women, a national partnership working to protect and promote reproductive autonomy for African American women.

Taylor-McGhee holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in broadcasting and journalism. She completed the 2004 “Women and Power: Leadership in a New World” Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Chevron Appeal of Contra Costa County Property Tax Bill Set for Monday

The illegal bullying tactics of Country County Assessor Gus Kramer are coming back to haunt him and County Costa County this week.

A Contra Costa County property assessment appeals board will release its decision Monday on Chevron’s challenge of its Richmond refinery values. Kramer was accused of fabricating evidence and ordering his employees to destroy the paper trail of his wrongdoing in the Chevron case, according to legal documents filed with the County.

The Chevron Richmond Refinery seeks refunds up to $73 million in property taxes from 2007 through 2009, slightly more than half of what the company was assessed for its 2,900 acre Richmond property which it has owned since 1902.

Gus Kramer, Contra Costa County Assessor

Gus Kramer, Contra Costa County Assessor

Kramer’s actions could have serious impacts for each of the 143 public agencies in the county that could be required to pay back $73 million to Chevron if the Appeals Board rules in its favor. A prior challenge by Chevron resulted in an $18 million refund for the Richmond Refinery for overpaid taxes in 2004-2006.

The county and cities, along with fire, parks and other dozens of other special districts, will bear the burden of any repayment at a time when most public agencies have already experienced years of declining budgets.

Chevron said on Friday that if it wins its appeal, it will not press the County and its 143 agencies for immediate repayment. Instead the oil company would like a fair and reasonable system of tax assessments, for Kramer’s illegal bullying tactics to end, and for stability and honesty from the County in how its taxes are calculated.

Chevron argued that Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer and his staff acted illegally and unethically and intentionally miscalculated the final numbers for its tax assessment.

In response, Kramer accused the oil company of costly appeals and lawsuits in an effort to lower its taxes.

If the three-member appeals board sides with Chevron, it will be the refinery’s second victory in its nearly eight-year fight with Kramer over its tax assessments.

To date, Chevron has been victorious over Kramer and his department and their tactics in calculating the worth of Chevron’s Richmond property.

The panel in 2010 ordered a repayment of $17.8 million on the refinery’s 2004-2006 appeal, a figure short of what the company sought. Chevron subsequently filed a lawsuit, which is still pending.

Chevron has also appealed its 2010 and 2011 property values.

Refinery spokesman Dean O’Hair said the company remains eager to negotiate with the county a settlement of all the appeals and the lawsuit.

If the appeals board orders a refund on Monday, O’Hair said Chevron will again work with the county to minimize the financial impact on the public agencies including a phased-in repayment schedule and a waiver of interest.

The public appeals board hearing begins at 9 a.m. in the Contra Costa County administration building, 651 Pine St., Martinez.

Chevron has detailed the wrongdoing it says led to its unfair assessment of its Richmond Refinery and submitted it as evidence in the case. The refinery operation said that the 2007-2009 roll values were fabricated by assessor Kramer in violation of California property tax laws. In addition, the refinery submitted evidence that:

–Mr. Al wise, formerly senior appraiser in the assessor’s office, testified that he instructed Ms. Jenny Ly to enroll specific values for each lien year based on instructions Mr. Wise had received from his boss, assessor Kramer. The assessor offered no evidence to rebut Mr. Wise’s testimony.

–Ms. Ly admitted that taxpayer information was either deleted or altered in order to get the total taxable amounts to come out equal to the values she was directed to enroll. The assessor offered no evidence that the roll values were based on anything other than the arbitrary directives of assessor Kramer.

It appears assessor Kramer attempted to cover-up or disguise this illegal process by tasking his staff to generate a new analysis for the hearing and then hide or destroy the original roll value workpapers, according to Chevron’s legal filings.

“If a decision is made in our favor, we will notify the County Auditor Controller’s office to hold any tax refund, and forego any interest, while we continue to work with the County Assessor’s office on negotiating a settlement. Our goal is to achieve a fair and transparent process for calculating our taxes going forward, which will bring greater stability to Contra Costa County’s local communities and agencies, and help mitigate the impact on local agencies,” said the refinery’s spokesman O’Hair

“We fully appreciate the challenges facing the County and local communities and the potential impact this could have on you / your constituents. We have spent more than 8 years trying to negotiate a settlement to prevent this unnecessary stress on public organizations that are concerned about having to repay the taxes that the County overcharged,” O’Hair added. 

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PIER 36 – Demolition project underway for construction of new Brannan Street Wharf

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the Port of San Francisco has announced the beginning of the demolition of Pier 36 and the Bulkhead Wharf between Piers 30-32 and 38 to prepare for the June 2012 beginning construction of the new Brannan Street Wharf along the City’s waterfront in the South Beach neighborhood. The demolition brings new 57,000 square foot Brannan Street Wharf Public Park to South Beach waterfront neighborhood.

“The Brannan Street Wharf project is another great example of how San Francisco is leveraging the resources, energy and excitement of the 34th America’s Cup for jobs and public benefits in our City,” said Mayor Lee. “We are already creating jobs in San Francisco, upgrading our investment in infrastructure and enhancing public recreation spaces along our iconic Embarcadero as we prepare our waterfront for the upcoming America’s Cup races.”

view-of-pier-36-looking-north
View of Pier 36 looking north

“Demolition of the deteriorated Pier 36 not only removes navigation and environmental hazards, but opens the door for enhancing the connections between San Franciscans and our beautiful waterfront,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “The Brannan Street Wharf, with its public spaces and new park, will become another jewel along our Embarcadero and I have been proud to fight for federal resources to ensure this success.”

The removal of Pier 36 and the deteriorated Bulkhead Wharf is required prior to construction of the Brannan Street Wharf. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has begun demolition of Pier 36 and the adjoining wharf between Piers 30-32 and Pier 38 on The Embarcadero. Demolition work is expected to continue through June 2012.

“We are very pleased to announce that the construction of the Brannan Street Wharf public open space project will soon begin,” said Port Commission President Doreen Woo Ho. “On behalf of the Port Commission, I want to acknowledge the hard work and perseverance of so many community members and to thank our funding partners for making this long awaited public benefit a reality.”

The Brannan Street Wharf will be a major new open space over the water in the heart of the South Beach neighborhood. Located on the Embarcadero Promenade between Pier 30-32 and Pier 38, and replacing Piers 34 and 36, the Wharf will provide 57,000 square feet of new open space along its 830-foot length. In addition to seating, viewing and plaza spaces, the Brannan Street Wharf will feature a one-half acre neighborhood lawn and interpretive exhibits featuring labor history and immigration.

The Port and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) both called for the development of the Brannan Street Wharf when these two agencies reached an historic agreement in 2000, establishing consistent policies for the San Francisco waterfront. The Port working with BCDC and a 23-member citizen advisory committee developed a concept design for the Wharf.

perspective-view-facing-northeast
Perspective View Facing Northeast. Project drawing.

“Those of us who live here are unbelievably excited to see work finally begin towards the realization of the Brannan Street Wharf,” said South Beach-Rincon-Mission Bay Neighborhood Association member Katy Liddell. “Now that Pier 36 is being taken down, we see visual proof of this project going forward. We couldn’t be happier.”

The Brannan Street Wharf is funded through a combination of Port funds, the City’s 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, and the Federal Water Resources Development Act of 2007. The cost of the project, including demolition and construction, is $25.9 million and completion is scheduled for June 2013. The construction project, subject to the Local Hire Ordinance and Local Business Enterprise Subcontracting, will create approximately 150 jobs.

Click here for more information: Brannan Street Wharf

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THE MET LIVE IN HD: “Der Ring des Nibelungen” – At SF Bay Area Theatres

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

The Metropolitan Opera will present worldwide movie theater screenings of Robert Lepage’s new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, as well as Wagner’s Dream, a new documentary chronicling the creation of this ambitious new staging. The series begins on Monday, May 7th with a screening of the documentary, directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Froemke, and continues on May 9th with Das Rheingold, the first opera in the cycle. Participating theaters in San Francisco include Cinearts Empire 3 (85 West Portal Avenue) and (845 Market Street, 5th floor of Westfield Shopping Centre). The entire four-part Ring cycle and documentary will be screened in many countries this spring and summer, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Click here to find other Bay Area locations: THE MET Live in HD

WAGNER’S DREAM – A documentary by Susan Froemke
Monday, May 7 at 6:30 pm. 1 hour, 52 minutes
Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
The stakes could not be higher as one of the theater’s finest stage directors teams up with one of the world’s leading opera companies to tackle opera’s most monumental challenge: a new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle—the four-part, 16-hour work that the composer first presented in 1876. Wagner’s Dream takes you deep into the artistic and musical challenges of the epic work. Visionary director Robert Lepage begins a five-year journey to create the most ambitious staging in Metropolitan Opera history, featuring a 90,000-pound set (“The Machine”) designed to realize all of Wagner’s scenic instructions. The film follows heroic singers from rehearsals to performance as they take on many of the most daunting roles in opera. An intimate look at the challenges of live theater and the risks that must be taken, the documentary chronicles the tremendous creativity and unflagging determination behind this daring attempt to realize Wagner’s dream of a perfect Ring.

das-rheingold-e28093-the-met-live-in-hd

DAS RHEINGOLD – The Met Live in HD. Photo, Ken Howard

DAS RHEINGOLD (The Rhine Gold)
Wednesday, May 9 at 6:30 pm. 2 hours, 50 minutes, no intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by James Levine. Starring Wendy Bryn Harmer (Freia), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Richard Croft (Loge), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), Eric Owens (Alberich), Franz-Josef Selig (Fasolt), Hans-Peter König (Fafner)
In the first opera in the Ring cycle, the gods of Valhalla clash with underworld dwarves and brawny giants, with disastrous consequences. The evil Alberich steals gold from the Rhine and uses it to forge a ring of unimaginable power. Wotan, the king of the gods, uses magic to steal the Ring, but Alberich places a curse that guarantees misery for whoever wears it. Wotan’s unwillingness to part with the ring leads him to break a contract with the giants who have built the gods’ new castle in the sky, setting in motion a chain of events that will end in his own destruction.

Die Walküre (The Valkyrie)
Monday, May 14 at 6:30 pm. 259 minutes, including 1 intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by James Levine. Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), Hans-Peter König (Hunding)
The mysterious hero Siegmund finds shelter in the strangely familiar arms of a lonely woman named Sieglinde. Their forbidden love leads Wotan’s daughter, the warrior maiden Brünnhilde, to defy morality and intervene on behalf of the hero. Brünnhilde’s transgression forces her father to choose between his love for his favorite daughter and his duty to his wife, the formidable goddess Fricka. Overcome with grief, Wotan takes away Brünnhilde’s godlike powers and puts her to sleep on a mountaintop, surrounded by a ring of magic fire that can only be crossed by the bravest of heroes.

stephanie-blythe-fricka-and-bryn-terfel-wotan

STEPHANIE BLYTHE (Fricka) and BRYN TERFEL (Wotan). Photo, Ken Howard

Siegfried
Wednesday, May 16 at 6:30 pm. 258 minutes, including one intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by Fabio Luisi. Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Patricia Bardon (Erda), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Gerhard Siegel (Mime), Bryn Terfel (The Wanderer), Eric Owens (Alberich)
The young hero Siegfried grows up in the wilderness, raised by Alberich’s conniving brother Mime. He puts together the broken pieces of the sword Nothung, uses it to slay the fearsome dragon Fafner, and takes the Ring for himself. To fulfill his destiny, he must overcome one more opponent—Wotan, now disguised as the Wanderer, who knows the world of the gods is coming to an end—and cross through the magic fire to awaken his true love, Brünnhilde.

Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)
Saturday, May 19 at 12 pm. 287 minutes, including one intermission.

Cinearts Empire 3
Century 9
Conducted by Fabio Luisi. Starring Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Wendy Bryn Harmer (Gutrune), Waltraud Meier (Waltraute), Jay Hunter Morris (Siegfried), Iain Paterson (Gunther), Eric Owens (Alberich), Hans-Peter König (Hagen).
Siegfried and Brünnhilde’s love is torn apart by the curse of the Ring. A trio of scheming humans separates the two heroes in a desperate attempt to steal the Ring for themselves. Their villainous plan fails, but they succeed in murdering Siegfried. Heartbroken, Brünnhilde takes the Ring and leaps into the hero’s funeral pyre, causing a global cataclysm and the twilight of the gods.

jonas-kaufman-siegmund-e28093-eva-maria-westbroek-sieglinde

JONAS KAUFMAN (Siegmund) – EVA-MARIA WESTBROEK (Sieglinde). Photo, Ken Howard

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San Francisco receives $2.7 million in housing vouchers for formerly homeless veterans


Mayor Edwin M. Lee has announced that San Francisco has been awarded 200 vouchers to the San Francisco Housing Authority to provide permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans in San Francisco. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) award of $2,728,301 represents one full year of budget authority with each subsequent year subject to annual appropriations, allowing the City to move forward with a groundbreaking adaptive re-use project that will house veterans in need.

“The men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces deserve the greatest respect and dignity for having sacrificed so much for our country, and San Francisco is committed to making sure our veterans returning home get the services they need, including permanent supportive housing,” said Mayor Lee. “Thank you to President Obama, Leader Pelosi, Secretary Donovan, Secretary Shinseki and our partners for making veterans a priority.”

“Just as our soldiers leave no one behind on the battlefield, we must ensure that no veteran is left behind when they come home. Thanks to President Obama and Democratic efforts in the Congress, 10,000 more homeless veterans will get off the street and into permanent, supportive housing,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “I have been proud to join with Mayor Lee, Bevan Dufty, Swords to Plowshares and the Chinatown Community Development Center in fighting to secure these necessary vouchers which will allow us to transform a surplus City-owned building into permanent, affordable rental housing for chronically homeless and senior veterans.  For San Francisco, this voucher award is a true victory: showcasing our national leadership in addressing veterans homelessness and paving the way for the hallmark Veterans Commons project at 150 Otis.”

“It’s a national disgrace that one out of every six men and women in our shelters once wore a uniform to serve our country,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “But we know that by providing housing assistance and case management services, we can significantly reduce the number of veterans living on our streets. Working together, HUD, VA and local housing agencies are making real progress toward ending veteran homelessness once and for all.”

“Under the leadership of President Obama, we have made significant progress in the fight to end homelessness among veterans, but more work remains,” said U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “The partnership between the federal government and community agencies across the country has strengthened all of our efforts to honor our veterans and keep us on track to prevent and eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015.”

This funding is part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to end veteran and long-term chronic homelessness by 2015. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness serves as a roadmap for how the federal government works with state and local agreements to confront the root causes of homelessness, especially among former servicemen and women.

Some of the vouchers will be used to provide veterans with rental assistance throughout the City through the San Francisco Housing Authority. The balance of the vouchers will be used to support the Veterans Commons housing project at 150 Otis Street, a new permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless, senior veterans in San Francisco. Spearheaded by community-based non-profit organizations, Swords to Plowshares and Chinatown Community Development Center, the Veterans Commons housing project will provide 75 chronically homeless and senior veterans with permanent homes and wrap-around care.

The property for Veterans Commons, a 95-year old City landmarked building was originally built in 1913 as a juvenile detention center building and recently used by the City’s Human Services Agency as an emergency temporary housing and storage center, was made available through the City’s Surplus Property program and has been supported by the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Human Services Agency and the Department of Public Health. Funders for Veterans Commons include the Corporation for Supportive Housing, the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program and HUD.

Swords to Plowshares, in conjunction with the San Francisco VA Medical Centers, will provide all services onsite at Veterans Commons, promoting independent living in a highly supportive environment. They will partner to develop wrap-around services ranging from mental and physical health care to employment, benefits, and legal counseling. The San Francisco VA Medical Centers will provide onsite case management services to all VASH voucher recipients at no charge to the resident or to the property. Community rooms, management offices, and supportive service spaces will maximize interaction between residents and staff, encouraging personal development while promoting community.

The HUD-VASH announcement comes directly after the recent tour with Mayor Lee and HUD Assistant Secretary Mercedes Marquez of the construction progress of the Veterans Commons project in February.

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Chinese Historical Society of America Museum Presents new exhibition Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience

This year, the Year of the Dragon 2012, the Chinese Historical Society of America revitalizes its museum with an infusion of art. CHSA has reached out to its artistic community to create works that interpret and respond to the themes presented in its history galleries. The first of these art installations, Remnants: Artists Respond to the Chinese American Experience, includes five artists whose works focus on personal narrative, memory and family – concepts that characterize Chinese America. The exhibition, on view April 12 through December 15, 2012, features works by Nancy Hom, Michael Jang, Lenora Lee, Cynthia Tom, and Flo Oy Wong. Remnants debuts with an opening reception on Thursday, April 12, 6pm to 9pm at the CHSA Museum, 965 Clay Street, San Francisco 94108. www.chsa.org

“The inauguration of the Remnants exhibition signals a new creative approach for our exhibition program,” says CHSA executive director Sue Lee. “We are always looking for ways to offer our visitors a deeper understanding of the Chinese American experience.”

The centerpiece of Remnants is a site-specific installation of the set from the performance “Passages” by Lenora Lee Dance. A powerful portrayal of the journey endured by Lee’s grandmother through Angel Island and into American life, “Passages” presents a memorable narrative through stunning visuals. Works by Nancy Hom, Cynthia Tom, and Flo Oy Wong further explore themes of family and remembrance using a range of artistic expression, bearing unique witness to Chinese American history.

On Saturday, April 14, at 1pm, the CHSA Second Saturday program provides a deeper look into the installation “Passages: For Lee Ping To” with a performance by Lenora Lee Dance, and discussion with artist Lenora Lee (Free with Museum admission.)

An Artists’ Q&A panel expanding on themes in the exhibition will be scheduled in June (TBA).

Founded in 1963, CHSA is the oldest and largest organization in the country dedicated to the documentation, study, and presentation of Chinese American history. In 2011, CHSA celebrates the 10th anniversary of its opening at the landmark Julia Morgan-designed Chinatown YWCA building in 2001. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational, public programming, CHSA promotes the contributions and legacy of Chinese America.

The Chinese Historical Society of America is located at 965 Clay Street, San Francisco, 94108. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday 12-5pm, and Saturdays 11am to 4pm. (Closed Sunday, Monday, and Holidays.) Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $3 for students/seniors, $2 for children 6-17. The museum is free the first Thursday of the month. Further information on these and other programs at CHSA is available by calling (415) 391-1188 x101, or at www.chsa.org

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International Design Competition Announced for San Francisco’s Rainbow Honor Walk

What should be the design of a globally important public art installation to LGBT heroes and heroines? That question is about to be answered by an international competition to create an iconic design for the Rainbow Honor Walk (www.rainbowhonorwalk.org), a tribute to historic LGBT figures in San Francisco’s Castro district. Last year, the first 20 names for The Rainbow Honor Walk were announced. The contest, which will run from February 2 – May 2, 2012 will solicit design proposals from around the world. Four finalists will be selected, judged by a jury comprised of curators from San Francisco’s leading cultural institutions plus LGBT community leaders and a member of the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Civic Design Committee. The four finalists will be presented to the Rainbow Honor Walk board that will select the winner. The designer of the winning submission will receive an honorarium of $1000.

“This is a project of worldwide significance, and deserves a world class design,” said Rainbow Honor Walk Co-Founder and Chair David Perry. “The design of the plaques for the Rainbow Honor Walk needs to be beautiful, memorable, durable and unique.”

Envisioning the Rainbow Honor Walk, a volunteer committee of community leaders received the unanimous support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Eventually, the Walk will stretch from the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on 19th Street at Diamond down to Castro. On Castro Street — the LGBT community’s “Main Street” – the walk will continue up to Market Street with additional wings along 18th Street. On Market Street, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, the Walk will continue to the LGBT Center at Octavia Boulevard.

“The Rainbow Honor Walk will not only be an inspiring educational tool for future generations, but an important, ongoing and permanent part of San Francisco’s cultural landscape,” said Tom DeCaigny, Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission. “We are honored and pleased to support this project, and look forward to assisting in any way we can.”

After the design is selected by the Rainbow Honor Walk board, it will then be presented for approval by the San Francisco Arts Commission in accordance with San Francisco’s Charter which requires all structures placed on public property to be approved by the Arts Commission. When that has been completed and the funds have been raised, the plaques will be fabricated and installed in the sidewalks.

Design parameters:

1) Designs must include the name of the individual to be honored, their birth and death dates, and a brief description of their contributions

2) Size: 3 feet wide x 3 feet long (depth to be determined based upon engineering recommendations)

3) Materials: bronze and/or terrazzo

Individuals and/or design teams interested in participating in the design competition should contact the Rainbow Honor Walk by mail. Each submission must include:

1) A $100 non-refundable submission fee payable to “The Rainbow Honor Walk.” *

2) A one page description (no more than 500 words) of why this design is appropriate along with the qualifications of the designer.

3) A CD with documentation of completed and installed public artwork or similar projects. No more than three (3) projects should be submitted although there may be multiple images of each project from different perspectives to show the design, the materials and the context in which the work is located. A maximum of 10 jpeg images may be submitted.

4) One 1 foot by 1 foot color design concept in the format of a drawing, painting or photo montage. Actual fabricated models will not be accepted. Please do not deviate from the standard submission format. Applicants may only submit one design.

5) The applicant agrees to allow the Rainbow Honor Walk to use the images of his/her submission for promotional, educational and informational purposes.

6) The winning applicant will be required to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rainbow Honor Walk organization to allow her/his design to be implemented and to agree to consult on details related to the materials utilized for fabrication of the Walk of Fame plaques.

* The submission fee will be waived for one student from each school in the San Francisco Unified School District, to be determined by that school.

The information above should be mailed to:

The Rainbow Honor Walk Design Contest

584 Castro Street, #113

San Francisco, California 94114

Incomplete submissions or those without an entry fee or student waiver will be discarded. All submissions will become the property of the Rainbow Honor Walk. The Rainbow Honor Walk is not responsible for the loss of or damage to any materials. The materials must be hand-delivered or post-marked by midnight PST, May 1, 2012. Late applications will not be accepted. Eligibility: This competition has no geographic restrictions regarding the eligibility of its applicants. For information, please email contest@rainbowhonorwalk.org

Following are the first 20 names selected for inclusion on the Rainbow Honor Walk:

· Jane Addams (1860-1935), Social worker, first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, 1931.

· James Baldwin (1924-87), American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, civil rights activist.

· George Choy (1960-93): Activist for Asian & Pacific Islander youth and people with AIDS.

· Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), Spanish poet, playwright, political activist.

· Allen Ginsberg (1926-97), American poet. San Francisco Beat poet/ Free speech activist.

· Keith Haring (1958-90), American artist and AIDS activist.

· Harry Hay (1912-2002), English born writer, gay rights activist. Founder of The Mattachine Society, 1950.

· Sylvester James (1947-88), American disco star, soul singer, San Francisco performer.

· Christine Jorgensen (1926-89), Pre-eminent American transgender pioneer and advocate.

· Frida Kahlo (1907-54), Mexican artist whose work has been celebrated as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition.

· Del Martin (1921-2008), American feminist, gay rights activist. Founder Daughters of Bilitis.

· Yukio Mishima nee Kimitake Hiraoka (1925-70), Japanese playwright, poet, actor, film director.

· Bayard Rustin (1912-87), American civil rights leader.

· Randy Shilts (1951-94), San Francisco journalist, biographer.

· Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), American novelist, essayist, playwright.

· Alan Turing (1912-54), British scientist who broke the Nazi’s Enigma Code and father of the modern computer, cryptanalyst, logician, mathematician.

· Tom Waddell (1937-87), American athlete, physician, founder of the Gay Games.

· Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish playwright, poet, novelist, essayist.

· Tennessee Williams (1911-83), American dramatist, poet, novelist.

· Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), English novelist, essayist, publisher.

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JONATHAN PRYCE – In Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker”, opens 3/28 at the Curran

Sean Martinfield Arts Contributor

Jonathan Pryce, the two-time Tony Award-winning actor of stage and screen, stars in a new production of Harold Pinter’s acclaimed play, THE CARETAKER opening Wednesday, March 28th at the Curran Theatre and running through April 22nd. With this production, Pryce joins the pantheon of legendary actors who have played the part of the enigmatic drifter, “Davies”. Directed by Christopher Morahan, the play opened first at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre in October 2009 and then moved to London’s West End. It has been acclaimed as one of the finest versions ever produced.

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Jonathan Pryce (right) and Alex Hassell. Photo, Shane Reid

Harold Pinter – described as an original, disturbing, and arresting talent – brings the play’s three characters to life in one of his greatest psychological dramas. An elderly tramp finds lodging in the derelict home of a mentally challenged younger man and his brother. Their interactions expose struggles and fears which alternate between terror and hilarity. The result: something close to the unbearable.

ABOUT JONATHAN PRYCE

Jonathan Pryce is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning actor, known for his outstanding performances on both stage and screen. Pryce was awarded an honorary doctorate from Liverpool University in 2006, and in 2009 he was awarded the C.B.E in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

His theatre work includes Comedians (Tony Award/Best Actor), Hamlet (Olivier Award/Best Actor), Miss Saigon (Tony, Drama Desk, Olivier and Outer Circle Critics Awards/Best Actor in a Musical), Oliver! My Fair Lady, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? Glengarry Glen Ross, Dimetos and his recent landmark performance as “Davies” in The Caretaker.

jonathan-pryce-and-harold-pinter

JONATHAN PRYCE and HAROLD PINTER

Pryce’s film credits include: Voyage of the Damned, Breaking Glass (Evening Standard Awards/Best Newcomer), Something Wicked This Way Comes, Barbarians at the Gate (Emmy and Golden Globe Nominations/Best Actor), The Age of Innocence, Glengarry Glen Ross, Carrington (Cannes Film Festival and Evening Standard Awards/Best Actor and BAFTA Award nomination), Evita, and three films directed by Terry Gilliam: Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Brothers Grimm. He also played James Bond villain “Elliot Carver” in Tomorrow Never Dies. More recent film credits include: Hysteria, Bedtime Stories, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, My Zinc Bed, Leatherheads, De-Lovely, What A Girl Wants and The Affair of the Necklace. Pryce is also recognized as “Governor Weatherby Swann” in the Pirates of the Caribbean productions: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End. Jonathan recently filmed G.I. Joe: Retaliation.

Pryce’s television work includes: The Man from the Pru, Selling Hitler, Great Moments in Aviation, Baker Street Irregulars, Thicker Than Water and “Mr Buxton” in Cranford: Return to Cranford (Emmy Nomination /Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama).

Click here to order tickets on-line:

THE CARETAKER

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SEC Says Wells Fargo Should Be Forced meet Supoenas

BLOOMBERG — Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) failed to hand over documents demanded in U.S. subpoenas and should be forced to cooperate with a probe into its sale of almost $60 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities, regulators said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission asked a federal judge to compel the bank, the largest U.S. home lender, to deliver documents it agreed to produce under subpoenas dating from September, the agency said yesterday in a statement. The SEC said it’s looking into possible fraud by the San Francisco- based company and hasn’t concluded that anyone broke the law.

“Up until now, Wells has escaped some of the accusations that most of its competitors have suffered,” said Guy Cecala, publisher of the Inside Mortgage Finance newsletter. “It’s a credit to them that they’ve escaped as many lawsuits or challenges as they have. This may knock them off their pedestal.”

Almost four years after mounting mortgage defaults prompted unprecedented government bailouts of the financial system, regulators are still examining how banks packaged and sold home loans to investors. The SEC is looking for evidence that firms failed to disclose underlying credit weaknesses in mortgage pools and delinquencies, and has also told Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) that they may face civil claims.

The agency’s request, if granted, would give Wells Fargo 14 days to hand over 1,365 e-mails and attachments it has withheld from the SEC, according to a court filing. The bank said in a statement that enforcement action is unwarranted and that it will defend itself in court.

The watchdog is examining whether Wells Fargo misrepresented or omitted facts in offerings from September 2006 to early 2008, according to the statement. While the bank reviewed a sampling of loans and excluded those that failed to meet its standards, Wells Fargo may not have taken steps to address flaws in the remainder of the pool, the agency said.

Investigators are seeking information on the bank’s underwriting guidelines and on due diligence, according to the statement. The agency filed its request in federal court in San Francisco. Marc Fagel, the head of the SEC’s office in that city, declined to comment on the request.

“Wells Fargo believes the subpoena enforcement action is inappropriate and unwarranted and will vigorously defend itself in court,” Mary Eshet, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. The bank has cooperated with the agency and believed it had an understanding on the requested documents, which was violated by yesterday’s filing, she said.
“Wells Fargo is also confident that the SEC staff has inaccurately described its conduct with regard to residential mortgage-backed securities,” Eshet said.

Wells Fargo said in its annual report filed Feb. 28 that it received a so-called Wells notice from the SEC warning the bank that it may face civil claims tied to the sale of mortgage- backed securities. SEC lawyers send the notices when they intend to recommend that the agency take action.

Four days before, on Feb. 24, the SEC told the lender that it was considering enforcement measures, the agency said in yesterday’s court filing. The bank has attempted to use that as an “excuse to avoid complying with the subpoenas,” the SEC said in the filing.

Wells Fargo’s lawyer told the SEC that given the Wells notice, “We assumed the investigation was over and we had moved to a different phase,” according to the filing. The lawyer told the SEC that he might agree to “revisit the issue of any additional document production” after the SEC reviewed the bank’s submission.

The passages were quoted from an e-mail sent to the SEC by Wells Fargo’s outside counsel, Michael Missal of K&L Gates LLP, according to a copy provided by spokesman Ancel Martinez. Missal declined to comment.

“There is no basis for Wells Fargo’s refusal to comply with the subpoenas because a Wells notice, such as the staff provided, does not terminate the commission’s investigative power,” the SEC said in its filing yesterday.

The scope of the SEC’s probe “involves not just Wells Fargo’s own potential violations of the securities laws, but the roles played by other persons associated with the bank’s residential mortgage-backed securities offerings,” according to the filing.

The SEC said it has sent Wells notices to two individuals associated with the bank’s mortgage offerings. They weren’t named.

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Another Reason to Love SF: Condom Company Supports Racing Vibrator Start Up

San Francisco’s Tastee’s Condoms, the original flavored condoms that are manufactured in California, is announcing its sponsorship of a local startup venture that is producing fun vibrator racing tracks.

“As a Californian condom manufacturer, we are keen to help other local and small businesses grow,” David Ashforth of Tastee’s Condoms said. “We want to support American trade, manufacturing and the community in which we are based.”

Tastee’s Condoms has sponsored local entrepreneur Raymond Tuzi by buying manufacturing equipment in order for him to launch his business and by helping Tuzi push his product to the market by offering it to distributors who already have a business relationship with Tastee’s Condoms.

“Sponsoring Raymond’s vibrator racing track business is a win-win, buying his manufacturing equipment and introducing him to our distributors will ensure his business is a success,” Ashforth said.

These racing vibrators on racetracks will be amusing and cutting-edge entertainment for bachelorette and bachelor parties, nightclubs, bars, and college dorm parties. The Vibrator Racing Tracks are handcrafted in Northern California. Each is packaged separately and customers must self-assemble the track. No extra tools are needed, but a small screwdriver is supplied. Assembly takes about 5 to 10 minutes and the instructions are included in the package.

For more information about the Fun Vibrator Racing Tracks, view the product on the web at www.vibratorracingtrack.com.

For more information about any of Tastee’s Condom’s products, call 888-852-2833 or buy condoms on the web at http://tasteescondoms.com.

About Tastee’s Condoms

Located in San Francisco, Tastee’s Condoms is one of the best-selling condoms in the U.S. and is known to be the first creator of flavored condoms. The Tastee’s Condoms brand was acquired in 2011 by a San Francisco adult novelty company with 12 years of experience in the industry. Tastee’s Condoms is expanding its market and will soon be introducing a natural condom, a ribbed and studded condom, an Atomic Sour flavored condom and more.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/3/prweb9325666.htm

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/03/24/prweb9325666.DTL#ixzz1q49XxOZm

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