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Have Yourself A Downbeat Alt. Rock Christmas?

“It can’t be all cheer and happiness, there has to be some suicidal depression and family hatred and alcoholism,” Aimee Mann told the crowd at Bimbo’s Sunday night at the scene of her Third Annual Christmas show. She then launched into her “hit” of sullen melancholy, “Save Me.”

Depression, alcoholism and hatred are what you might expect from Aimee Mann, holiday cheer and jovial whimsy, not so much. But apparently she’s been doing these Christmastime variety shows all over the place and it’s a charming way to espy another side of the subdued singer songwriter.

All Aboard!

It's been one strange year for the travel industry. First, gas prices rose to an all-time high, topping out above $5 a gallon here in California. Then, they were the lowest they have been in years, but thanks in part to a recession (and perhaps a heightened awareness of the environment), people have been driving less, thus keeping the supply-and-demand factor in favor of the consumer. Air travel became increasingly more difficult, what with the ridiculous addition of fees--baggage fees, paying-for-exit-row-seat fees, purchasing-tickets-via-phone fees, sky-high fuel surcharge fees, anything the airlines could come up with really. And long-distance buses...well, who takes those anyhow? They're crowded, slow and unreliable.

Twilight Author Stephenie Meyer on Her Favorite Kind of Vampire

Connecticut-born author Stephenie Meyer never planned to become a full-time writer.

Not that her passion for literature was some sort of fleeting fancy. After attending high school in Scottsdale, Arizona – Meyer’s family relocated to Arizona when she was four – she used a National Merit Scholarship to help pay her way through Brigham Young University, where she majored in English. But Meyer never envisioned herself as a bestselling author, much less watching the cinematic adaptation of her first novel, Twilight, dominate the holiday box office to the tune of nearly $140 million in its first two weeks.

On the unusual trappings of fame:

Where's the snow?

With the Sierra snow pack at 2 percent of average for the date and no storms in the near forecast, skiers and snowboarders are terrified. What if it doesn’t snow this year? What if we have to suffer through a gray SF winter without an escape to that sparkling white powder?

If New York has the LES, then San Francisco has the LESMD

The Lower East Side of the Mission District (this would be East 24th Street) is blossoming. I’m sure the gentrification whistle blowers are up in arms, but personally I love it when a neighborhood starts mixing it up. (And my money is on the fact that the whistle blowers are the exact hipsters that frequent Pops, anyhow.) Stagnancy is not what thriving cities are made of: Sushi, tortas and gourmet donuts located within a one block radius are.

Storeroom Holiday Shop Pops Up in the Fillmore

Important notice for procrastinators everywhere: There's officially no excuse to buy a lame present this year. Starting today and for the remainder of the holiday season, the good folks from CITIZEN:citizen have put together a pop-up department store in the Upper Fillmore, offering chic fashion and quality design goods at warehouse prices.

Tim Gunn Hosts Fashion Show at Macy's Union Square

As the sage mentor who counsels young designers on Bravo TV’s Project Runway, Tim Gunn is anything but the typical reality TV star that has made a small screen career out of behaving badly. In fact, the personable style expert, who breezed through town on Tuesday for a fashion show promoting the Monet jewelry line at Macy’s Union Square, showed up exactly on time for our interview and—just like his TV persona—spoke thoughtfully and candidly about his take on all things fashion. Here’s what we learned about the former Parsons The New School of Design fashion chair, Chief Creative Officer for Liz Claiborne, Inc.

Northern California Hotels Make Holiday Travel More Affordable

It's true there's no place like home for the holidays...but sometimes you just want to get away from it all before the chaos ensues (or rather family togetherness--or in-laws--becomes just too much to bear). The current state on the economy has put a damper on many people's travel plans, but hotels are beginning to take note of this by significantly lowering their rates to an affordable level and creating packages that allow you more bang for your buck this holiday season. Check out these amazing opportunities before it's too late.

Acrimony Decks its Halls with Makr Pop-Up Shop

Hayes Valley boutique Acrimony is getting in on the pop-up shop action just in time for the holidays. In the spotlight? Makr leather accessories and canvas bags by designer Jason Gregory. Set up within a temporary eight-by-eight-feet space inside the Gough Street store, Makr offers its latest hand-sewn wallets, totes and small leather goods.

Guest Blogger Jamie Lauren: Kitchen Tale #1

Introducing the first of our guest food blogger series. For six weeks, Tuesdays are your chance to get inside the mind of everyone from a Top Chef contestant (yes, like Jamie) to a food stylist to a dishwasher to a farmer. Get to know how they live, breathe and, most importantly, eat San Francisco.

Being a chef is not as glamorous as it might seem. Unless you’re Daniel Boulud or Eric Ripert with a full-on entourage, it’s early mornings and late nights spent in the kitchen trying to retain some semblance of control.

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