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Thursday, February 26, 2015

When Online Dating Gets Personal: Help From the Experts

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 2:56 PM

  • Live Dating Advice
One of the main criticisms people have of online dating is that it’s impersonal — you decide you like someone based on a couple of pictures they’ve uploaded, and from there try to cultivate a relationship through messaging until you’re comfortable enough to meet them face to face. And there’s always a risk that the person you’re messaging is actually a robot.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Crowdfunding or Closure For Oakland Art Collective

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 2:38 PM

  • Courtesy of Rock Paper Scissors Art Collective
Rock Paper Scissors Collective, a volunteer-run shared space for artists on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, has announced that it will need your funds to keep the lights on and the paint flowing.

"We’ve been given so many recognitions and awards for the groundbreaking work that we’ve done over the past decade, but those plaques, banners, radio, news and ribbons don’t pay our bills," the organization's Indigogo campaign explains. As of this writing, the Indigogo campaign is at  percent of goal funding, with 11 days left to go.

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The Write Stuff: Rebecca Foust on Doing Pretty Much Everything

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 12:57 PM

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

  • Jeremy Thornton
Born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Rebecca Foust was, along with her twin brother, the first in her family to graduate from college. Following some very bad advice about what to do with an English Major, she went on to Law School and practiced for a decade before gratefully retiring to raise three kids and to work as an advocate for students with autism and other learning challenges. At age 50 she returned to grad school, receiving an MFA in from Warren Wilson in 2010. Foust is the recipient of fellowships from the Frost Place and the MacDowell Colony, and her third full-length collection, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. As the Dartmouth Poet in Residence in 2014, Foust lived in Robert Frost's house for two months, sharing living space with a bullfrog the size of her head, what was either a rat or a very large mouse, a bat, a mama bear and three cubs, and several kite-size Luna moths.

When people ask what do you do, you tell them…?

I write. And do a little teaching — more like coaching or mentoring really, and some editing work. For fun I read. And write. And take long walks and hikes.

What's your biggest struggle — work or otherwise?

Not being able to turn it off. Taking care of the physical body so it can do the mind’s work.

If someone said I want to do what you do, what advice would you have for them?

Be careful what you ask for.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Great British Bake Off Semi Finals: Blood Reckoning

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 11:07 AM

click image Let's hope petits are their forte - WIKIMEDIA
  • Wikimedia
  • Let's hope petits are their forte
Fewer words strike fear into the hearts of women named Harriet who own twelve cats in Ipswich: The Great British Bake Off Semi Finals! Chetna, Luis, Nancy, and Richard battle in out in the Thunderdome. 

Onward we go, this week with still more baking products made with filo dough. Nancy shows her Hippie side by adding mueslix to her baklava. Despite how complicated baklava looks, I don't think its that difficult to pull off. Oh wait, scratch that, they had to make their own filo dough. Hats off to that. It's a bit like making your own parchment paper since it has to be so very thin. They say that all good bakers are patient, so this was the ultimate test. In the end everyone's were lovely but biting into that much syrupy sugar had to have removed the enamel from Paul Hollywood's pearly whites. Luis' sweet little lily pad baklavas were adorable but "bone dry," as well as his rolls. Chetna's were gigantic but tasty. At this stage in the game, us viewers are so enamored with all the contestants it's hard to see any of them choke a bit. The playful music in the background, the pastel color palette, the idyllic pastoral scene outside of the tent all lend a frankly Teletubby vibe to the whole show. This is a soothing, slow paced cartoon for grown ups. 

OK, now to the technical challenge. Schichtorte, which of course sounds like a shit-torta, so the hosts had their fun with that one. In reality, its a twenty-layered grilled cake with Toaster Streudel frosting dripping down it. The layers are wafer-thin. Between this and the filo I am beginning to see a trend. In the end, all the cakes looked similar... until you cut into them. Nancy was missing two layers, Chetna 17, Richard had 20 but they were very thin; Luis also had 20 but they were a bit plump. Still, he won. 

It was down to the show-stopper. Tiny little french cakes, the kind wealthy princesses use for their play tea parties: The entremet. Everyone's looked like fantastical Tim Burton concoctions, especially Luis'. In the end, Chetna had reached her nadir. Now it's anyone's game, because Luis, Nancy, and Richard are neck and neck. 
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Monday, February 23, 2015

We're Number Six: Further Proof That San Francisco is One of the Best U.S. Cities for Singles

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 2:20 PM

Did your Valentine's Day look like this? Mainly we just thought this picture was awesome. - MONKEYWING
  • monkeywing
  • Did your Valentine's Day look like this? Mainly we just thought this picture was awesome.
Remember a few months ago when we told you about three surveys that were conducted all showing that San Francisco is one of the best U.S. cities for singles? Well, in case you weren't quite convinced, there's another survey out now which shows that our city is, indeed, one of the best places in the U.S. for the romantically unattached.

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A Night At The Oscars: NPH, LOL, and WTF

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 10:46 AM

click image FLIKR
  • flikr
Each year we anticipate this show. We make seven-layer dip and come up with clever trivia games for our parties. We argue about who will win and who will lose.

And then it arrives, The Academy Awards Show, and it's always the same: duller than a mid-'60s student-made French art film. So dull, in fact, that the producer didn't even try to think out of the box at all this year and just went with Neil Patrick Harris (or NPH, as he is known, which admittedly sounds like a highway between West Hollywood and Venice Beach). Harris has hosted The Tony Awards a few times and is the perfect blend of ta-da and snark for such an affair. I'm sure some viewers thought this was a good carry over to the Oscars and found his song and dance number to be the cat's meow, the bees knees, or whatever else people over the age of 80 say these days. He did start off with a good joke though when he said the night was full of the "best and the whitest" — oops, he meant brightest. 

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Close-Knit Group Goes to Poland to Work on Antigone

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 9:06 AM

Antigone (Madeline H.D. Brown) talks with her sister, Ismene ( Hannah Donovan) - PHOTO BY CHASE RAMSEY
  • Photo by Chase Ramsey
  • Antigone (Madeline H.D. Brown) talks with her sister, Ismene ( Hannah Donovan)
Paige Rogers, who co-founded the Cutting Ball Theatre with her husband Rob Melrose, would like to go off and get a Master in Fine Arts. But she doesn’t have that sort of luxury right now. So she asked her husband for a list of plays he’d give someone to direct who was trying to get their MFA. The one that kept pulling at her was Antigone, Sophocles play about the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, who buries her brother even though Creon, the king and Jocasta’s brother, has forbidden it.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

You Had Us at “Vampire Mockumentary”: Talking with Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 2:10 PM

  • Unison Films
Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s new comedy is not the first-ever funny movie about vampires, but it clearly is the best such film ever to present itself as a documentary portrait of immortal maladjusted parasites sharing a house in Wellington, New Zealand. (Read our review here.)

A sort of unreal reality show, and a deadpan sendup of the undead, What We Do in the Shadows was co-written and co-directed by the adorable Kiwi duo — who, along with several of their fellow Flight of the Conchords alumni, also co-star. The other day, they called us up to briefly chat about it.

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Multiple Perspectives On and In the Black Choreographers Festival

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 11:05 AM

Maurya Kerr; dancers Babatunji Johnson & Megan Wright; photo credit Stephen Texeira
  • Maurya Kerr; dancers Babatunji Johnson & Megan Wright; photo credit Stephen Texeira

Thirteen choreographers from around the Bay Area present work as part of the 11th annual Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now Feb. 21 to March 1 at Dance Mission Theater. Now entering its second decade, the BCF has increased its scope every year in its project to showcase African American dance by local and national artists during Black History Month.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Write Stuff: Jon Sindell on Giving One Another a Fair Listening

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 11:11 AM

The Write Stuff is a series of interview profiles conducted by Litseen, where authors give exclusive readings from their work.

  • Chris Novak
Jon Sindell is the author of the flash–fiction collection The Roadkill Collection (Big Table Publishing, 2014), the story collection Family Happiness (coming in 2015), and over seventy published short stories. Jon is a fulltime personal humanities tutor and a writing coach for business professionals. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and near fledglings, curates the San Francisco reading series Rolling Writers, and ends his bios with a thud.

When people ask what do you do, you tell them…?

I’m a fulltime personal humanities tutor and a writing coach for business professionals. And I write.

Do you have a favorite ancestor? What is his/her story?

My grandpa, Abraham Chapman, was sixteen in Tsarist Russia at the time of the pograms, and his mother wanted to get him the hell out of Russia before he was conscripted for a term of twenty-five years as cannon fodder. He undertook a perilous overland and overseas journey to get to America. Speaking no English, he found a job rolling cigars in Chicago. His wife-to-be, my grandma, had tuberculosis, and Grandpa was the only suitor willing to move to Los Angeles for her sake — because of the clean air! He peddled fruit from a pushcart, saved enough to help bring his brothers and sisters over, and eventually, with his brothers, started a successful company that manufactured carpet pads. That’s his backstory. The Grandpa I knew was a strong, kind man with a twinkle in his eye, a warm voice, and sandpaper cheeks. I never heard him utter an unkind word. When Grandpa would arrive at the park, his old cronies at the putting green would holler “Hey Chappie!” Everyone loved him.

Including the ladies. I remember his old painter friend, Starr, a real Old Country character with the stub of a stogie always dangling from his mouth, saying, “Hey Chappie, you getting any lately?”

He was (this was after Grandma passed, for the record).

Who did you admire when you were 10 years old? What did you want to be?

Sandy Koufax, the great pitcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers. My Giants-fan friends forgive me my benighted childhood. I guess I wanted to be Sandy too; I certainly wanted to be a baseball player. Baseball was the love of my life, and the thing that gave me joy and self–esteem during a rough childhood. I was crushed when Sandy retired early due to an elbow condition. For years I would dream that Sandy had not retired (“Come back, little Sheba!”).

What’s wrong with society today?

I’m glad you asked. Instead of an extensive catalogue of problems, I’d like to discuss a few foundational problems.

Ignorance. A recent survey indicated that only 36% of American adults can name the three branches of government. That’s appalling. We all want to make things better, but how can we do that if so many of us have no idea how government works? Likewise, before the Iraq War, a survey showed that about two-thirds of us did not know where to find Iraq on the map. No wonder we were so easily snowed! Evidently some people thought we were within range of the supposed WMD’s. An ignorant populace is easily misled.

Lack of critical thinking. The horrifying beauty of social media is that you can see what everyone is thinking. And often it isn’t pretty. The ratio of uninformed to informed opinions is depressing. On the issues of the day, we constantly see people reacting in a reflexive manner, with little concern for reserving judgment until the facts of complex controversies are discovered and understood. The best thing about law school — and believe me, there weren’t many great things about it — was that it disciplined me to reserve judgment and honor facts. Lately I’ve been asking my friends, have we always been this foolish, or is it just more obvious now due to social media? My positive­-negative spin is that our general foolishness is simply more visible nowadays.

Incivility and Disrespect. It will take informed, rational discourse to work towards solutions to our social, political, and practical problems, but the extreme incivility and disrespect for others shown on social media, message boards, and blogs chills and even kills such discourse. Let’s give one another a fair listening while reserving judgment, remembering that we are all just fellow passengers on the way to the grave, as Dickens says. You never change anyone’s mind by insulting them anyway — quite the opposite.

Hey, nice job of uncorking my inner curmudgeon!

What would you like to see happen in your lifetime?

I will not live to see a peaceful world full of harmony and prosperity for all. It’s just too far off. But I would like to see a commitment on everyone’s part to work hard towards it.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve just finished the novel Lawrence, about a super-sweet, super-loving, super-slow-witted boy and his super-smart, super-assertive, socially conscious older sister who serves as his protector and mentor. Lawrence leads with his heart, Mercy with her head. To give you the idea, Lawrence takes literally the prescription “turn the other cheek” — and does just that after a bully slaps him on the playground. The invited second slap bloodies him. Mercy, thirteen, thrashes the thug. She’s a fighter, he’s a lover, and both become crusaders — fighting, for instance, to defend gays and animals; but they go about it in radically different ways. The Chaparinos are San Francisco kids of Chinese, Mexican, Jewish, Italian, and Navajo ancestry, and the book follows them through twelve childhood years — and before you ask, I’d written most of it before I ever heard of Boyhood. Which I loved.

With the novel written, I think I’ll go back to writing flash for a couple of months.

What kind of writing do you most admire?

I most admire compassionate writing that does something useful: that elevates, enlightens, or inspires. I love writing where you can tell that the writer loves people. In terms of the “bad” characters in fiction, I use “love” in the sense of “hating the sin but loving the sinner,” as Christians say (I’m not religious, but I know a good idea when I see one). There have got to be all the necessary elements of craft at a high level, but if there’s no love of humanity in a story, I’m out.

What can you do with 50 words?

50 words on the nose (title excluded):

Online Prelude

“I want and need.”

I want and need.”

Daylong pause.

“I receive, return goodness.”

“I suppress I, prefer We.”

Enchanted pause.

“The personal We, or universal?”

“First personal, luv, then expanding outward.”

“I’m flute! :o)”

“I’m guitar! ;o)”

“Strum softly?”

“Play sweetly?”

“Meet Park today, three?”

“At bandstand—sweet music!”

What are some of your favorite smells?

Cut grass on a ballfield. Onions frying.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook. This interview was conducted by Evan Karp. Follow Litseen at @Litseen.
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