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Monday, June 29, 2015

Watch Kanye West Briefly Cover Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 3:14 PM

Kanye West's headlining set at Glastonbury this weekend didn't exactly go as planned.

Before Yeezus even took the stage he had to duck and dodge headline after headline about how 134,000+ people signed a petition saying they wanted his set cancelled and replaced with a rock band. The controversy was mostly rooted in the off-base and ignorant notion that rappers don't possess talent and that rockers do (yawn), or the idea that Glastonbury should stick with its not-so-rap roots. 

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Moment of Truth: Park Blvd Records Is a Hip-Hop Treasure Trove

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 9:37 AM

  • Adrian Spinelli

On a sleepy drag of Oakland's Park Boulevard, across the street from lively pick-up basketball games at F.M. Smith Park and a stone's throw away from Lake Merritt, hip-hop lifers Andrew "Noz" Nosnitsky and Jason Darrah have opened Park Blvd Records & Tapes. 

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Musicians React to Marriage Equality on Social Media

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 9:15 AM

Let's face it, Friday's landmark ruling on marriage from the Supreme Court was the most-perfectly timed way to kick Pride weekend up ten levels we'd never imagined. It was also, of course, a major cause to celebrate, a long-awaited relief, and a key step in the continued fight for LGBTQ equality. And it wasn't just the streets of San Francisco that erupted in celebrations — musicians did it all over social media as well. Here are some of the most glorious responses...

Miley Cyrus
  • Miley Cyrus / Instagram

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Stuck in Traffic with Those CDs Rappers on the Street Force Down Your Throat

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 1:05 PM

Stuck is Traffic is a column in which I begrudgingly review, during my car ride to work, some of the unsolicited CDs SF Weekly receives from PR hacks (or in this case random people on the street). 

Albums: Chaz's Welcome To My Awesome World and Bliss Emcee's Over Most Heads Vol. 1
Date: Friday, June 26.

I usually use this column to review music PR people shove down my throat, but this week I'm looking at a different kind of music pusher: CD bullies. You know them: they're the guys who hang around every major city in the U.S., handing CDs to tourists and then demanding money in exchange, using their friends as intimidation until the mark coughs up some dough. Yup, I'm going to review two of those CDs, which I was given on Market Street earlier this week.

*key in the ignition*

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This Week: Taylor Swift vs. Apple Music, Diddy vs. Sports Teachers, and Kanye vs. Termites

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 9:20 AM

  • Taylor Swift / YouTube/ "Bad Blood"
This week was just full of surprises... Taylor Swift managed what all manner of smaller artists couldn't, and prompted Apple to reverse its policy of not paying any musicians for the first three months of its new streaming service. (Swift has since rewarded Apple with the right to stream her music.) Possibly even more shocking is Diddy's alleged attack on his son's football coach with — of all things — a kettlebell! (Diddy has since stated that he acted in self-defense.) We were also a little taken aback this week by Lady Gaga wandering aimlessly around a New York stage in her underwear, while Dirty Pearls covered Van Halen... She's been so posh and polished of late, we're not entirely sure where this came from!

Regardless, here are the quotes of the week:

“We don't ask you for free iPhones. Please don't ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."
Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple, calling the company out on its decision to not pay artists for the three-month free trial period of Apple Music. (Tumblr)

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Man Who Died at Electric Daisy Carnival Identified as San Francisco Resident

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 6:10 PM

  • Christopher Victorio
A 24-year-old man who died at last weekend's Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas was identified today as San Francisco resident Nicholas Austin Tom, according to Billboard and other news sources.

Tom was pronounced dead at the festival at 3:25 a.m. on Sunday morning, according to LA Weekly, who cited a source at the Clark County Coroner and Medical Examiner's office.

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Big Freedia Bounces His Way to Pride

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 12:42 PM

Big Freedia brings more bounce to the ounce than Miley Cyrus. - COURTESY OF BALLIN PR
  • Courtesy of Ballin PR
  • Big Freedia brings more bounce to the ounce than Miley Cyrus.
After losing countless loved ones to violence and drugs, suffering the hardships of Hurricane Katrina, and dealing with the day-to-day challenges of growing up gay and black in the South, it's a wonder rapper Big Freedia (born Freddie Ross) hasn't bounced out of the Big Easy. But in his new memoir, Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva!, the Bounce innovator — who dropped his debut LP Just Be Free in 2014, and continues to raise ratings on FUSE's hit reality show, Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce — credits New Orleans' bounce music scene with his salvation.

He's excited to bring his trademark bounce and booty-popping to the Main Stage at Civic Center Plaza on Sunday. SF Weekly spoke to Big Freedia about SF Pride, the struggles of gay blacks in the south today, the Charleston church shooting, and twerking with pride.

What can we expect from your SF Pride set?

The show is definitely going to be a lot of energy. We come in to bring it and to make people happy. It's Pride, so we want everyone to have fun, be free and turn it up with us. Unfortunately, my set is not too long, so I'm gonna have to bring it really quickly.

What did you learn singing in the choir that you bring to your career today?
Mostly the interaction with the fans. In choir, I had to interact with my actual choir, and same thing in bounce music. Now I'm interacting with my fans, and my fans are like my choir. They're my backup singers, and I'm the director and still have my choir behind me. Now it's just a big bounce choir. 

In your new memoir, Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva!, you speak about some of the struggles you experienced growing up amid extreme violence and surviving Hurricane Katrina. How has bounce helped you weather this storm?
Growing up in New Orleans is really rough, and being black and gay is even more rough. So definitely my mom kept pushing me out there to stand up and be a man and be whoever you choose to be and be the best you can be at it. That kept me encouraged and in positive things and away from negativity and off the streets.

I started in gospel, but once I discovered bounce, it was another type of joy that I brought to people. Bouncing around different clubs, the sound of my voice would do that for a lot of different people. Over the years, I've grinded and grinded and started busting my butt show after show and then started getting recognition and the props I deserve for the hard years of work I put in. Bounce music is dedicated to where my story is now and helping me on that journey. I started meeting tons of other people in that world. But it was still a kind of feeling of bringing excitement and happiness for people. It was the same thing with gospel: happiness and a feeling of a spirit. Bounce music does the same thing, but in a different sound of music.

You're in a minority of male rappers that truly elevate women.
I definitely bring some stability to women and let them feel free in their space and let them know that they're protected and can be themselves. That's important to a lot of my fans, and creating that safe space for the women has always been my thing. Even when I started rapping, if boys were trying to touch the girls on their asses or slapping them on their cheeks, I would protect the girls. I will continue to be that way.

As the star of the most viewed show on Fuse, Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce, you undoubtedly keep the channel's electricity running. Why are you so watchable?
People love the interaction that I give. They respect my hustle and my grind. People respect me, in general, because of my character and who I am. So I stay humble and continue to do things off the grace of all of the blessings that He's put in front of me.

We've seen some of your ups and downs with your boyfriend, Devon, on the show. What is your current status?
We're good for right now. But today is a rough day.

Your hometown of New Orleans has certainly had its unfair share of rough years. What's life like in The Big Easy today?
It's still going through so much stuff with all of the killings and the nonsense violence that happens here. We're really pushing and praying for the city to make some positive things happen. But it's New Orleans and it's home, so you know the things that've been happening since you were a kid and come with the territory. For example, you might see a person today and then they're gone in the next hour or so. But it's New Orleans, and I love my home and there's no other place I'd go to bat for.

How has the Charleston church shooting impacted you?
It's just very disturbing. All of the things that've been happening around the world, all of the tragedies, all of the disasters — it's really disturbing that you see all of this, and you're like, "Is this even real? Is this happening?" You think you're in a movie when you see all of this stuff. My heart goes out to all the people and their families who have to put up with this stuff in different cities. We just lost a police officer who was killed here. Within the weekend that I was gone, we lost 10 people. You never hear anything positive; you always hear the negativity and see the bad things. It makes you frustrated to even turn on the news.

In 2015, how hard is it to be black and gay in the south?
Well, it definitely has changed. People are very much more open-minded. The spirit of people around gay people has changed. There will always be homophobia or some person who will have an issue with it because they have issues with themselves. But for the most part, I don't get any slack. People respect me and the gay people that I'm around, because we continue to work and grind and hustle.

One of my fans hit me up on the DM and said, "I don't know how to deal with people picking on me and calling me 'gay' and so forth." My advice to him was when I was young and people used to say, "Oh, you fat faggot," or "You fat sissy," I would say, "Thank you" and keep walking. It would shock them that I would turn it around. They thought that I would fuss with them and battle, but I would say, "Thank you" in the nicest way with the biggest smile on my face. It would mess people's heads up. There are always ways to get around stuff and still be yourself and not entertain them with the foolishness, because things are happening so quickly, and you can have your life taken just for an argument or looking at someone the wrong way. So I want my gay people to stay mindful of their surroundings and think about how they're interacting with people or responding, because some people can't take responses and end up getting violent.

What makes you proud?
Just being myself, all of the hard work, all of the love and support, my family, my grind, and my hustle make me feel proud.

Speaking of grinding, a lot of your fans are probably going to attempt a twerk during your SF Pride set. What advice can you give them, so they don't end up looking the fool like Miley Cyrus at the 2013 VMAs? 
Practice makes perfect. I tell people that using the mirror helps to see your body and the way that you can make it move. You can do a lot in the mirror with your body motions. Practice and use the mirror to create what makes you feel comfortable, sexy, and proud. 

Big Freedia plays SF Pride's Main Stage at Civic Center Plaza on Sunday, June 28. Free;
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The Top 5 Parties in San Francisco This Weekend: Horse Meat Disco, Derrick Carter, Honey Soundsystem, and More

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 11:41 AM

Derrick Carter heads a stacked lineup for Pink Mammoth's block party at Mighty, Saturday June 27. - STEVE STILLS
  • Steve Stills
  • Derrick Carter heads a stacked lineup for Pink Mammoth's block party at Mighty, Saturday June 27.
There are three times a year San Francisco's party schedule goes topsy-turvy: Halloween weekend (meaning the weekend folks celebrate Halloween, regardless of what day of the week Oct. 31 is), New Year's Eve and Day, and the last weekend in June, better known as Pride weekend. Accordingly, this column takes a slightly different tack during these three weekends, as the city's Party Rules go mostly out the window, and it can be tough to tell the wheat from the chaff. Each party is weighted equally, and you can rest assured any or all of the shindigs featured herein will be a cut above the rest.

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10 Musician Fragrance Commercials That Make One Direction's Seem Totally Fine

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 9:56 AM

  • One Direction / YouTube
It's alright, everybody. You can calm down and lay back inside the scent of manufactured-boy-band masculinity now, because the cheeky tykes of One Direction have a new fragrance out. A fragrance the band is choosing to advertise with this little slice of AREN'T-WE-HILARIOUS-EVERYONE?! "comedy." It includes an "organic apricot from space," among other self-conscious nonsense. Watch below:

Terrible, right?

Well, actually, it occurred to us a couple of minutes after seeing this for the first time that perhaps One Direction's attempts at humor might not be as bad as every other commercial for a musician fragrance ever. Because all perfume advertising is totally fucking stupid on every level. And it just gets worse when there are singers involved. Here are 10 ads that make One Direction's efforts seem totally reasonable. 

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Down and Outlaws' New Video Takes You on a Trip Around SF in a Bear Costume

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 8:53 AM

  • Joshua Shultz
San Francisco's Down and Outlaws released a new music video yesterday for their apathetic anthem, "I Don't Care (I Don't Care)."

The track, off the band's upcoming debut album Above Snakes, recorded at Dave Grohl's Studio 606 in Los Angeles, is a burst of Black Rebel Motorcycle-esque rock 'n' roll that comes with a double shot of DGAF. 

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  • SF Pride Parade 2015
    A sea of spectators gathered along Market Street on Sunday, June 28 for the SF Pride Parade. Photographs by Calibree Photography.
  • Trans March 2015
    The San Francisco Trans March celebrated its 12th year, along with the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage, which was voted in favor of gay marriages across the nation, on Friday, June 26, 2015. Photographs by Michael Ares.