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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mario Lopez Opens Up About His Hispanic Heritage

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Viva La Raza: Mario Lopez wants you to take pride in your Hispanic heritage. - PHOTO BY ALAN NOMURA
  • Photo by Alan Nomura
  • Viva La Raza: Mario Lopez wants you to take pride in your Hispanic heritage.

There are plenty of ways that Mario Lopez (best known as Saved by the Bell's A.C. Slater) can rev up a crowd — aside from taking off his shirt. He could wow them with stories about becoming a successful actor, bestselling author or Broadway star. He could inspire them by talking about achieving a fourth-career renaissance as host of Extra. Hell, he could stimulate them with Saved by the Bell stories that would make their toes curl.

But on Oct. 3, halfway through Hispanic Heritage Month, Lopez, along with Reggaeton star Don Omar and beauty expert Angel Merino, stopped by Macy's Valley Fair, in Santa Clara, to incite Hispanic pride. SF Weekly asked Mario Lopez about his Hispanic role models, why there are comparatively so few Latinos on television and any misconceptions about Hispanics that he'd like to break. 

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Bay of the Living Dead: Halloween Horrors Around Town

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 2:00 PM

  • November Fire
  • DVD Box Cover
Welcome, Great Pumpkins. It's October, and Halloween will soon be upon us. All Hallow's Eve is the High Holy Day for ghouls and goblins, and there's plenty of fun things happening around town to satisfy your bloodthirsty appetite. 

Now underway at the charming Balboa Theatre: a week long celebration of the life of Jack Pierce. Pierce (1889-1968) was a make-up artist extraordinaire during Hollywood's Golden Age. Though he worked within a variety of genres—Pierce was the make-up artist for TV's classic sitcom Mr. Ed—Pierce is best remembered for his groundbreaking work on the Universal Monster movies of the 1930s. Legendary creatures like Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman and The Mummy are all the handiwork of Jack Pierce.

Balboa's Jack Pierce tribute coincides not only with the commencement of this year's Halloween season, but with the DVD release of Jack Pierce: The Man Who Made the Monsters,, the extraordinary new documentary by Bay Area resident Strephon Taylor. The 82 minute film screens at the Balboa at 7pm every night through Thursday October 8. Taylor's film will be sandwiched in between big screen showings of classic chillers like Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman (1943), House of Dracula (1945) and James Whale's extraordinarily gay-centric masterpiece he Bride of Frankenstein (1935). 

Jack Pierce: The Man Who Made the Monsters is an extraordinary tale in its own right. Taylor follows Pierce from his youth in Greece to his teen years right here in San Francisco—where he survived the Great Quake of 1906—to Hollywood, where his amazing talent was discovered. The documentary is strong on film clips and stills, and is partially told in Pierce's own voice. Taylor found an audio interview that Pierce granted to KHJ TV in Los Angeles in 1962. As a series of stills illustrates his words, its Pierce himself who explains the process by which he designed the terrifying face of the Frankenstein Monster. 

The film follows Pierce through his twenty year tenure at Universal to his days as a freelancer, working in B movies during the 1950s. No matter if he was working on a major studio production, a piece of drive-in shlock or a TV sitcom, Pierce was the consummate artist. Jack Pierce: The Man Who Made the Monsters is an important work, required viewing for classic horror buffs and film historians of all stripes.

The Balboa Theater is at 38th Avenue and Balboa Avenue in the Outer Richmond. The week's full schedule can be seen at the Balboa's website: 

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Asia Week San Francisco Bay Area: It's Even Bigger Than You Might Think

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Chang Dai-chien - Detail of Blue Lotus - Lithograph on paper - 22 x 30 inches - 1973 - ASIA WEEK SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
  • Asia Week San Francisco Bay Area
  • Chang Dai-chienDetail of Blue LotusLithograph on paper22 x 30 inches1973

When planning an event that focuses on Asian art, it’s difficult to represent the expansive continent properly. But props to Millbrae’s contemporary gallery, Nanhai Art, which this weekend presents the inaugural season of Asia Week San Francisco Bay Area. Nanhai brings together the area’s top museums, galleries, and lecturers and for a whopping 27 exhibitions and events in total from around 10 regions ranging from China and Japan, to Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

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Bill and Giuliana Rancic Talk San Francisco Fashion

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Models showcase garments made by the Project Runway designers using items from Macy's prop room. - SIMPLE2C PHOTO
  • Simple2C Photo
  • Models showcase garments made by the Project Runway designers using items from Macy's prop room.

One of America's favorite couples was in San Francisco for two events that brought to the forefront the topics of fashion and small business in the City. Bill Rancic, winner of the first season of The Apprentice, real estate developer, restaurateur, and speaker to small businesses, and Giuliana Rancic, entertainment journalist, fashion expert, TV personality, fashion designer, and entrepreneur, know both realms quite well, and shared their views on what San Francisco brands can do to become major players nationally.

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Leggy Space Blondes and a Drunk Dr. McCoy in Star Trek Live! at Oasis

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

Star Trek lasted only two-and-a-half seasons, but its hold on our collective conscious has never waned. Who among us didn’t think about the Enterprise’s five-year mission to explore strange new worlds upon hearing that Mars had liquid water? We’re not a warp-capable civilization yet, but while you’re waiting, head to Oasis at full-impulse power for Star Trek Live!: Mudd’s Women, a hilarious version of the classic episode directed by D’Arcy Drollinger and Laurie Bushman.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Meeting the Ladies of AsiaSF: Transcendent Ep. 1 Recap

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 2:36 PM


“Me and my girlfriends work at a crazy cabaret club called AsiaSF where we dance and do our own thing.”

The premiere episode of Fuse’s Transcendent, a docu-series following five of the performers from San Francisco’s only transgender cabaret, aired this week. It’s short and rather to the point, introducing Nya, Xristina, Bambiana, Bionka, and L.A., a recent hire who’s just at the start of her transition, with lots of jump cuts around town. L.A. is introduced during a performance montage as a plucked-from-the-audience eagerness spreads across her face, quickly establishing herself as the show's heart.

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Architecture and Design Films at YBCA

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 2:30 PM

  • First Run Features

If all architecture is shelter, what is it that we’re really trying to keep safe? The soul of civilization? That does seem vulnerable, and precious, in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ second annual, monthlong Architecture & Design Films Showcase.

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THIS WEEKEND: Go See Mariinsky Ballet's Cinderella at UC Berkeley

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 1:30 PM

  • Vladimir Baranovsky

Splendid visuals, polished dancing, lush orchestration and a 1930s-style torque on Charles Perrault’s 17th century fairy tale lifted Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra’s West Coast premiere of Cinderella to contemporary spectacle.

The production commissioned and premiered by the centuries-old Mariinsky in 2002 arrived Thursday night at CAL Performances’ Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley looking anything but dated.

Bolshoi Ballet-trained Alexei Ratmansky’s sleek choreography and the marvels of Prokofiev’s score handled boldly by the orchestra and deftly by conductor Gavriel Heine, added luster to the production’s glamour. But surprisingly, opening night was a time of magic rising largely from less-often celebrated onstage collaborators.

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Kathleen Neal Cleaver Remembers Her Time with the Black Panthers

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Kathleen Neal Cleaver, Communications Secretary, Black Panther Party, Oakland, 1968. - COURTESY OF JEFFREY BLANKFORT
  • Courtesy of Jeffrey Blankfort
  • Kathleen Neal Cleaver, Communications Secretary, Black Panther Party, Oakland, 1968.

When Kathleen Neal was recruited to join the Black Panther Party in 1967, it was political and personal for the college student. On one hand she wanted to spread consciousness about black oppression and exploitation. On the other she was madly in love with party member Eldridge Cleaver, and he needed her to help save founding member Huey Newton from the death penalty. It's this humanity underneath the black berets and at the heart of the black leather trench coats that award-winning documentarian Stanley Nelson aimed to capture in The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. This comprehensive, well-balanced documentary chronicles the history of the revolutionary organization from its formation in Oakland in 1966 to its tragic implosion. SF Weekly spoke to Kathleen Neal Cleaver, today a faculty member of the Emory University School of Law, who also holds an appointment at Yale University’s African American Studies Department, about the film, which opens Oct. 2, finding love amid the turmoil, and the Panthers' legacy.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sukkah City and Hester Street: Nice Jewish Films on Disc

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 4:00 PM

  • First Run Releasing
  • DVD Box Cover

First Run Releasing's low key documentary Sukkah City is a sometimes fascinating look at the holiday of Sukkah, one of two low-key holidays which immediately follow the Jewish High Holy Days. Sukkah (the film) is a remembrance of the 40 years Jews spent wandering in the desert after God led Moses in freeing the Jewish people from slavery in Ancient Egypt. Sukkah (the holiday) is now underway and concludes with the Simchat Torah celebration on Oct. 4 and 5, a commemoration of the day the Jews acceptance of the Torah from God.

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