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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Miranda July's New App: Let a Stranger Verbally Deliver your Text Message

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 12:25 PM

  • YouTube/Somebody

What if someone sent you a text message and it arrived in person, delivered by a stranger, with the works — crying, hand holding, and colorful language. This may seem like some weird idea for a movie — and it is that — but it's also a very-real app. You can send and deliver these in-person text messages in San Francisco through Miranda July's Somebody App

We've become accustomed to Miranda July's public-involved art pieces, it was just last year we opted into her email exchange between famous people and their friend and families on various life topics titled "We Think Alone," but you may be more familiar with her 2005 full-length film Me and You and Everyone We Know. And this app, and accompanying short film, are very much July — the film is a good place to start in understanding this odd app.

The short film starts out with a freckle-faced, red-headed teenage girl sending her boyfriend a break-up message while he readies a picnic (presumably for the two of them) in a park; a nearby "somebody," in this case an athletic black man, receives the text for Caleb, along with his image, and proceeds to sit down at the edge of the blanket and (through fake tears) read her message. The movie continues on from there, unrolling features of the app as it goes, such as rating the message delivery-person, and including items the message delivery-person should do, such as fist bump, hug, and even kiss, the friend/lover/enemy you're sending the message to.

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Are You a Good Cook? MasterChef Casting Call

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 10:55 AM

  • MasterChef/FOX
You know you make a great potato salad, everyone tells you that it's the best — even better than grandma's — and you've just been waiting to share your culinary talents with the world. Well, you're in luck. MasterChef is looking for you. 

The casting agents are coming to San Francisco on September 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Prescott Hotel, 545 Post) to find contestants for the fifth season of the show. If you've been living under a rock, the show is hosted by Gordon Ramsay and focuses on plucking amazing cooks from their kitchens and transforming them into staples in the culinary scene; this of course if achieved through a series of  cooking challenges that whittles down the contestants until there is one cook who is crowned the MasterChef. According to the Mirror, many winners from the UK version of the show have gone on to lucrative careers in the cooking world. 

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Love in the Time of Rent Control: Q&A with "Love Is Strange" Director Ira Sachs

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Left to right: Alfred Molina, John Lithgow and Director Ira Sachs - PHOTO BY CLAY ENOS, COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Here's a peculiar idea for a charming end-of-summer movie that just might work: Write and direct an intimate portrait about an older gay couple in Manhattan who finally marry after nearly four decades of loving devotion only to face unexpected economic turmoil soon after.

Sound appealing? Well it should because Ira Sachs' latest film Love Is Strange is that perfect slice of counter-programming that serious yet fatigued filmgoers yearn for in a summer movie season mostly ruled by an intergalactic talking raccoon and lovestruck tweens. 

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The Write Stuff: Alia Volz on Not Settling and Being Difficult to Manipulate

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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

  • Kevin Hunsanger
Alia Volz’ stories and essays are found in Tin House Magazine (forthcoming), ZYZZYVA, Defenestration and The Writing Disorder’s “Best Nonfiction of 2012” anthology. She lives on the foggiest block in her hometown of San Francisco with a bewhiskered bookseller and two rabbits. Alia has recently completed her first novel, a mean little cowboy noir in which all of your favorite characters die. Stalk her at or @aliavolz on Twitter.

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

I’m a Spanish interpreter by trade, so I usually start there. I might also wiggle my fingers in what I think of as the universal sign for writing. It probably looks like I’m threatening a tickle attack.

What's your biggest struggle — work or otherwise?

I’m a perfectionist. It can be positive, in that it forces me to craft sentences carefully. But it slows me down. I over-analyze and agonize over inessential details. I spent four years on a novel another writer could have done in two. I am learning to let go, but it’s hard.

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

Travel. Get lost. Don’t wait until you have enough money in the bank; just sell your shit and go. Buy a plane ticket and trust yourself to scrape cash together in time. It may feel like you’re living in the world, but you’re only living in one version of it, one paradigm among infinite possibilities.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Burning Man in the Bay, Idea Five: SF Mime Troupe Take on Tech Boom With "Ripple Effect", Close Season

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 12:57 PM

(l-r) Lisa Hori-Garcia (Jeanine Adenauer), Velina Brown (Deborah Johnson), Keiko Shimosato Carreiro (Sunny Nguyen) in - Ripple Effect. - FLETCHER OAKES
  • Fletcher Oakes
  • (l-r) Lisa Hori-Garcia (Jeanine Adenauer), Velina Brown (Deborah Johnson), Keiko Shimosato Carreiro (Sunny Nguyen) inRipple Effect.

By now you’re probably as burned out on Burning Man as the Burners at la playa. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t stick it out til the end, right? And what better way to spend those last few hours of Burning Man in the Bay than at Dolores Park enjoying a free live performance by the San Francisco Mime Troupe for its closing shows of "Ripple Effect".

The Tony-award winning, SF Mime Troupe closes out it’s 55th season with "Ripple Effect", a musical comedy that catches three unsuspecting, culturally different women in an intersection of beliefs and ideas that reflect tensions present in San Francisco today. A cast of four play multiple characters, and tell the story of three very different women in a quick-change fashion, full of singing and dancing and political critique.

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Looking Back in San Francisco Until November, Be an Extra

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 9:29 AM

  • HBO

A source told us they ran across the Looking crew yesterday, and that one member of the HBO staff said they'd be in town until November filming new scenes for the upcoming season. And this morning we came across a call on the Project Casting site for various roles while they film in the Bay Area (from 9/3 to 11/20). The series is currently looking for extras to work in San Francisco, Oakland and Guerneville (if you're unfamiliar with this Russian River town, it's a popular gay vacation destination in Sonoma County).

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Full House Revival In the Works: Whatever Happened to Predictability...

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 8:30 AM

If you were a child in the late '80s/early '90s chances are you  loved TGIF and Full House. While time likely traded your love for TGIF to Netflix marathons, but if you're like us, you still have a fond spot in your heart for the Tanner family. And now — 19 years after the show went off the air — the Tanners may return to TV. 

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Singer and Comedienne Meow Meow Brings Glamour, Sequins, and Joy to the Berkeley Rep

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 8:05 AM

  • Photo by Magnus Hastings
  • Meow Meow
Kamikaze cabaret. Post-post-modern diva. A cross between Liza Minnelli, Lady Gaga and Lucille Ball. Describing the singer and comedienne Meow Meow and what she does seems to leave people a little breathless. She’s performed at venues including Lincoln Center, the Apollo Theatre, and the Sydney Opera House. David Bowie and Mikhail Baryshnikov have curated solo shows for her. She has performed Schubert and Schumann with an orchestra, toured with the punk band Amanda Palmer and The Dresden Dolls, and starred on London’s West End in Michel Legrand’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

And now she’s coming to the Berkeley Repertory Theater with a musical play she wrote, An Audience with Meow Meow, directed by Emma Rice, who recently did The Wild Bride at Berkeley Rep. In this show, she promises hilarity, sequins, songs, dancing boys and possibly the splits. She took a break from rehearsals to talk about her influences, constructing identities and artists who never stop creating.

Why did you decide to write this play for Berkeley Rep?

I was forced to. I was paid a huge amount of money. As we all know there’s a massive amount of money in the arts. I was begged and begged repeatedly, so I succumbed to economic and global forces. Usually I do prefer it when people do things for me, but in this scenario it’s quite a joyful thing.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New San Francisco Documentary Focuses on Housing and Tech: Golden City

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 12:04 PM

  • YouTube/Golden City

Do you consider yourself a part of San Francisco's middle class?

According to Mayor Ed Lee, the middle class are those making between $80k-$150k; but as the trailer of a pending documentary points out, S.F. teacher salaries top out at $82k. So if you're a teacher in S.F., you're likely not in Mayor Lee's middle class. This begs the question — how is S.F. functioning when city and county employees are priced out of the middle class, and the squeeze is only tightening? Filmmaker and tech worker (yes, tech) Walter Thompson is looking to addresses these questions, and others, in a documentary about the current state of San Francisco — and where it's headed as the tech industry continues to steamroll its way into S.F.  

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What Not to Do at a Speed Dating Event

Posted By on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Maybe these couple met at a speed dating event? We'll never know! - SHAYNE HILL
  • Shayne Hill
  • Maybe these couple met at a speed dating event? We'll never know!

Let’s face it — dating is super awkward, especially dates with someone you haven't met in person before the aforementioned event. Whether you go out with someone you met online or someone your friend set you up with, there isn’t really any way to get past the initial sheer awkwardness — except for, you know, copious amounts of alcohol. But even if you’re hammered, you’re still stuck with the person no matter how awkward the date is, at least for as long as it takes for the check to come.

Unless, of course, you’re at a speed dating event. And then you can have 15 awkward dates for the price of one! Or, if you’re lucky, 14 awkward dates and one decent one.

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