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  • Best Movie Theater for the Full Schwarzenegger

    The Coronet

    Searing dramas of infidelity and betrayal set in quaint yet haunted English manor houses manned by sinister, half-mute stepservants have their place -- the sixth shoebox to your left at the Zircon Octoplex 3 comes to mind -- but when it comes to Arnold (or Jet or Harrison) saving somebody for the sake of something or other, you want a… More >>
  • Best Programmed Rep Cinema

    The Roxie

    The Castro does great stuff with live stage shows and in-person tributes, but it likes to run single movies for a couple of weeks at a time. The Red Vic tends to rely on recent releases (although its cozy atmosphere is admirable and enjoyable), and the Lumiere can get caught up in the same old rep-circuit rut.… More >>
  • Best (and Sometimes Only) Reason to See a Mamet Play

    Kevin Karrick, Actor

    We'll go anywhere and see anything (even bad Mamet) if Karrick is acting in it. He gave the performance of the year in 1999 as John Tanner in Shaw's Man and Superman (a Shotgun Players production -- Karrick is a company member), while his Mercutio in Shotgun's Romeo and Juliet was hugely entertaining. And as we've already indicated, Karrick's golden… More >>
  • Best Under-appreciated Play From an Obscure Corner of the Continent

    The Glace Bay Miners Museum

    This show about a coal-mining family in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, played to capacity crowds of about 35 every night of its run at the matchbox-sized Phoenix II, but the cast had enough talent to fill a major hall. Especially Emily Ackerman -- she did a loud, dead-on version of Maggie, the scrappy heroine who's watched a local mine claim… More >>
  • Best Theater Facilities

    New Conservatory Theater Center

    We have to admit the New Conservatory Theater Center has some kick-ass facilities. Housed in the basement of the 25 Van Ness building and thus insulated from San Francisco's ever-present din, the NCTC has three theaters of superb quality and flexibility. The largest, the Decker, with a standard proscenium arch, seats 130. The two smaller "black box" theaters, the Walker… More >>
  • Best Little Theater That Could

    Exit Theater

    The Exit already manages the theater-bistro combination with an almost Parisian hospitality, but when the current expansion finishes this summer, it'll have three black box spaces of various sizes in its warren of rooms on Eddy Street, as well as a new bistro. This will turn it into the busiest, most congenial little theater in town. However: See our next… More >>
  • Worst Martini at a Theater Bar

    Sake Martini

    As much as we like to take in absurdist shows over a brie quesadilla at the Exit, the sake martini available behind the bar is just about the worst thing we've ever tasted. Unheated sake is not ideal; it's even worse on ice, and a drop of vermouth carries the flavor in entirely the wrong direction. Add a nice pickled… More >>
  • Best Way to See a Musical

    42nd Street Moon Theater Company

    Best-of-Broadway regulars can't really be faulted for believing that musical theater consists entirely of Lloyd Webber, Wildhorn, and Rodgers & Hammerstein (Richard Chamberlain is Capt. Von Trapp!), since that's mostly what's served. But those who think musicals should be more than sentimental spectacle thank God for 42nd Street Moon. The company's staged concert versions of classic or little-known shows display… More >>
  • Best Video Rental Without Leaving Your Apartment

    After you've logged on to Kozmo, there's no going back to your typical chain video store, whose stock of new rentals is always depleted and whose indie hard-to-finds are never found. Kozmo will not only deliver the video to your door, but will also bring you a candy bar and popcorn if you so request it -- and schedule a… More >>
  • Best Video Rental Without Leaving the Planet

    Le Video

    Perennial winner Le Video isn't just San Francisco's favorite video rental -- it's also one of the globe's top sources for obscure, unusual, underappreciated, and esoteric films. With over 45,000 titles in stock, it's not surprising film buffs from around the world turn to Le Video for almost anything they could think of wanting. The store's Web site even features… More >>
  • Most Rentable Movie About the San Francisco Ethos

    San Francisco (1936)

    Vertigo could only have been made in this here city, but its themes are universal and nonspecific. The Maltese Falcon, while faithful to Dashiell Hammett's plot, isn't really about San Francisco the way the novel is. Bullitt has some wonderful time-capsule snatches of local color, but they're mostly surface. OK, San Francisco is half the movie these others are, but… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up a Break Dancer

    "Eklectic" at Rico's

    S.F.'s most happening jungle party boasts treats of all accord every Thursday night. For the break dancer (or voyeur of the flexible young things) the first floor often becomes an arena. Felix the Dog and other rotating DJs spin downtempo, hip hop, and breaks while the chillens writhe, twist, and -- look out, break dancing terminology ahead -- do head-spins,… More >>
  • Best Movie Theater Food

    Red Vic

    Why would anyone want to eat a meal and watch a movie at the same time? The whole concept's an insult to eyes and stomach alike. By the time you look down, spear a honey-seared sea scallop from your platter, and convey it to the old gullet, you've missed Orson Welles' entrance in The Third Man or Grace Kelly's in… More >>
  • Best Club to Scope Out Exotic British DJs

    "Release" at Ten 15

    Goodbye, guitarists -- the new special on the board is DJs. "Omigod -- are you in a band?" has been replaced with "OMG -- what do you spin?" Techno, trance, breakbeat, ambient, whatever: If you spin it, the girls (and boys) want it. And if you can work those decks, then you can -- uh, we'll stop there. The point… More >>
  • Best Gay Bar

    The Endup

    Move over, Café: Your time as the Castro's reigning gay bar is over. In fact, the entire Castro is a bore, a relic of the past -- and besides the Café's puny boogie space, there's nowhere to dance. Head to SOMA, where the straight folks know how to put on a party, at least on Friday nights, when the Endup… More >>
  • Best Bar for Fag Hags

    The Café

    If the sight of a male couple snogging makes you purr, "Aw, how sweet," then you are guilty as charged, and you may as well take advantage of what the Café has to offer. Every night of the week this joint is throbbing with hot young things asking -- even begging -- for hags to call their very own. They… More >>
  • Best Ass-Grabbing

    The Top

    This never actually happened, because touching strangers' behinds is illegal and wrong. But if it had, and if someone wanted to replicate the experience, this is how she would do it: Get to the Top (a Lower Haight DJ/dance bar) early, snag the lone table on the smallish, empty dance floor, then chill until around 11:30 or so. Slowly but… More >>
  • Best Unabashed Male Horniness

    Polly Esther's

    As some may recall, there was a bit of a flap over the award we gave Polly Esther's last year (Best Reason to Thank God We're in the '90s). Apparently displeased, Polly's struck back in its weekly, half-page ad, accusing "a whiney [sic] editor that got thrown out for inappropriate behavior" of writing the item, which isn't entirely accurate, so… More >>
  • Best Advice We Can Give the Unabashedly Horny Males at Polly Esther's

    Hey, buddy. Psst, over here. Well, it looks like someone's been striking out, big time, at Polly Esther's. Don't worry, there's nothing wrong with being horny. It's a matter of how you share this special gift of yours with the world. While nightclubs aren't always the best place to find love, luck, or whatever it is you're looking for, it's… More >>
  • Best Alfresco Dance Party

    Swing Dancing at the Golden Gate Park Band Shell

    Every Sunday, around 10 or 11 in the morning, a few dozen terpsichoreans gather in the park's concourse, slip some Basie into a boombox, take to the stage, and dance. It's all very casual and unofficial, and the dancing reflects it: The moves aren't rigidly flashy, like you see in ballroom dance competitions, but free and easygoing with a lazy… More >>
  • Best Subliminal Pot Endorsement

    Stage Left Balcony, Great American Music Hall

    There are many good reasons to take in a show at the Great American Music Hall. Standing outside the venerable venue is a treat in and of itself -- the full flower of Tenderloin nightlife is there for the viewing, and of course there's the voyeuristic pleasure of watching men exit the Mitchell Brothers Theater next door, a little shaky… More >>
  • Best Way to Eat and Drink for Free

    First Thursdays

    The annoyingly well-heeled rub shoulders with incorrigible cheapskates (oh yeah, and maybe an artist or two) on the first Thursday of every month, in pursuit of new art, free snacklets, and wine by the plastic cupful. While shameless boozing without the requisite round of art appreciation will make you no friends, it's hard to make enemies at what is essentially… More >>
  • Best Place to Rave After Work

    "Qoöl" at 111 Minna Street Gallery

    This Wednesday after-work dance tradition is in its fourth year and the lines out the door attest to its popularity. From the hours of 5 to 9 p.m., it's the hoppin'-est early weekday dance session the city has to offer, and even though it's barely evening, the dance floor goes off in high-frequency fashion. The techno/house tunes bump up the… More >>
  • Best (Now Defunct) Movie Theater Architecture

    The Alhambra

    The Alhambra dates back to the days when every movie theater had to have an overarching architectural theme -- be it Mayan, Hawaiian, or, in the case of Oakland's Paramount, pure, unadulterated deco. (The Chinese and Egyptian theaters down in Hollywood are prime examples of the genre.) Here the inspiration is Moorish, specifically as interpreted at the 14th-century Granadan palace… More >>
  • Best Reason to Go Out on a Monday Night

    "Lithium Lounge" at 26 Mix

    OK, so it was a wild and crazy weekend, and now that it's Monday, you can't think of anything more unappealing than dragging your hungover body out at night again. Still, the "Lithium Lounge" at 26 Mix, a normally DJ-only dance club at 26th and Mission, is so enticing that even a hangover is no excuse to miss it. Featuring… More >>
  • Best Reason to Go Out on a Tuesday Night

    You'll Beat the Crowds

    A couple of years ago, the nightlife scene took a dizzying turn: Thursdays became the new Fridays. And just the other Wednesday night, as yet another happy hour turned into many hours, we were taken aback by the sheer number of those out and about, seemingly oblivious to the next day's impending work schedules. "Wednesdays are the new Thursdays," explained… More >>
  • Best Reason Not to Miss BAM


    When BAM abruptly shut its doors a little over a year ago, the Bay Area lost a major outlet for reporting on the local music scene. In its waning years, the magazine suffered from limp writing and lazy reporting, though it occasionally worked up the energy to do focused work on how record-industry consolidation affected the home front, and pointed… More >>
  • Best Reason to Stay Up Late Saturday Night


    Leaving the club just before last call, you clutch your coat around you and head up the street to where your car hopefully has not been vandalized. It's one of those nights when you think you would have had exactly the same amount of fun lying on your back on the living room floor with a bottle of bad… More >>
  • Best Salsa Radio Show

    Con Claves, with Chata Gutierrez

    Before our love affair with Chata began, Saturdays were a void of passionless hours, whiled away in hungover and dejected despair. And then she spoke to us from the bottom of her soul and turned our hearts on to salsa. Blending a fiery mix of both local and international salsa talent, cut with a mild dose of Afro-Latin and straight… More >>
  • Best Led Zeppelin Tribute

    Get the Led Out

    "Misty Mountain Hop." "The Immigrant Song." "In the Evening." "Over the Hills and Far Away." "Black Dog." "The Battle of Evermore." "Heartbreaker." "What Is and What Should Never Be." "Bring It on Home." "Dazed and Confused." "Going to California." "Kashmir." "All My Love." "Ramble On." "Rock and Roll." "Whole Lotta Love." "Travelling Riverside Blues." "Stairway to Heaven." "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp." "South… More >>
  • Best Way- Back Machine

    Musée Mecanique

    Travel back in time to the San Francisco of a century ago (without any help from Peabody and Sherman) at this fun, gadget-filled annex of the Cliff House. Drop a quarter or a dime (or even a penny) into one of the many robotic gizmos and the days of Sutro, London, and "Sunny Jim" Rolph will emerge fully formed. There's… More >>
  • Best Local Tourist Trap Locals Should See

    San Francisco Cable Car Museum

    Can you imagine the palpitations the Board of Supervisors would go through if somebody proposed the idea of a cable car in this day and age? "How many people would fit on this contraption?" About 50. "How will they be seated?" Some in the cabin, but many will hold on to poles while going up steep hills, inches away from… More >>
  • Best Hollywood Big Shot Who's Not George Lucas or Francis Ford Coppola

    Ruby Yang

    San Francisco's certainly got its fair share of Hollywood notables. But filmmaker and editor Ruby Yang has avoided the spotlight, even as her projects have become box office hits. Yang, who just relocated her offices to the film incubator in the Presidio, has made a number of short and industrial films. The testament to her filmmaking power, though, is her… More >>
  • Best Free Film Acting Class

    The Tenderloin Y Group

    With Sundance and Cannes award-winning film director Rob Nilsson as your thespian guru, how can you lose, especially when no cash is required for enrollment? Would-be film starlets and aspiring stage stars alike can perfect their Method acting skills in this fab class where middle-class Marina-types mingle with downtown folks fresh out of the methadone clinic. Explore the depths of… More >>
  • Best Funny, Clean Theater Improvisations

    Bay Area Theatersports

    Extremely funny actors and actresses have been competing for laughs on a regular basis at BATS since the '80s. Weekend nights, the thespians arrange themselves in teams, as kooky judges sit out front with a scoreboard. The audience suggests words and themes for the improvisations and the stage hounds jump into on-the-spot, stream-of-consciousness playlets that can be really, really funny… More >>
  • Best Experimental Theater Company

    Art Street Theater

    All Bay Area theater troupes are quirky. Some are deliberately weird. On the theatrical fringe you find actors and companies pushing the definition of "play" toward opaque, dancelike dreams, over-the-top comedy involving fire hoses, or incomprehensible mélanges of music and furniture destruction. Some of this is even funny. But none of it has the consistency or discipline of productions by… More >>
  • Most Overrated Theater Company

    American Conservatory Theater

    OK, OK, we greatly admired The Invention of Love, and The Threepenny Opera, while uneven, had some commendable features, but what was Two Pianos, Four Hands doing at ACT? (Maybe the company meant it as a light sorbet to cleanse the palate between The Invention of Love and The House of Mirth. It tasted more like a cheap, sticky gumdrop.)… More >>
  • Most Intrepid Theater Company

    The Shotgun Players

    Berkeley's best-known shoestring troupe has taken its act from the basement of a pizza joint to an octagonal church hall to various East Bay parks, from parking lots and jails to Eastern Europe. It hopes to settle by 2002 in a new building not far from the better-established Berkeley Rep, but hopefully that won't kill the company's vagrant sensibilities. The… More >>

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