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Summer Daze: August Movie Preview

Summer is slowly winding down, giving Hollywood just a few more weeks to unload the last of its annual sequels, prequels and remakes before Oscar season begins in earnest. The bad news, for some: School will be back in session soon. The good news: August packs a promising lineup of big-screen spectacles, including:

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
(Aug. 5)
The primates: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis

Filmmakers Reject Banking to Explore Tantalizing Possibilities of 'Another Earth'

What if there were another planet, seemingly identical to our own, orbiting the same sun, populated by alternate versions of ourselves? That’s the question Mike Cahill and Brit Marling ponder in Another Earth, a quietly engaging drama that sounds, on the surface, like a sci-fi puzzle, one of those Isaac Asimov-inspired brainteasers bound to trip over its own complicated logic.

A Guide to Stand Up Paddling in Tahoe and the Bay Area

Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has been reeling in some A-list devotees for some time now, likely because of its toning promise. Balancing on the board keeps your legs and core engaged while paddling adds cardio and strength training for a low impact, full body workout.  SUP started decades ago in Waikiki as a way for beach guides to keep tabs on tourists, and is now one of the fastest growing sports in the world. It's easy to learn, versatile and great exercise. And above all, it's a ton of fun. 

Below, our guide to getting out for a paddle in Tahoe and the Bay Area's waters:


The best place for beginners to start is Tahoe. Warm temperatures and relatively calm waters make it easy to get comfortable on the board and familiar with the technique.

Subtle Luxury and A Gorgeous Golf Game at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Everyone loves Santa Barbara. Perfect weather, California coast, quaint town. But explore further. Head up the canyon 45 minutes and don't look back. Enter the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. Founded in 1923, give yourself at least two days and two nights to lap up laid-back luxury, play the premier championship 18-hole golf course that spans the original contours of the Ojai valley, and inhale the sweet lavender-infused air.

Forgotten Dishes: Lamb Chops at Dosa and Other Plates Chefs Wish You Would Order

In the industry, it's widely known that chefs put a lot of items on the menu that they don't necessarily get a kick out of making anymore. These are the nachos, tuna tartares and flatbreads of the world. Without a doubt, they are the menu staples, and they certainly do please a whole hell of a lot of people. But while you're happily digging into something cheesy and easy to make (at least for a pro cook), the chef is getting his thrills by putting a few more adventurous, unexpected dishes on the menu. Think chicken foot skewers, whole braised fishes and—gasp—lamb chops at an Indian dosa restaurant. I asked chefs at some of the more popular spots around town what they wish you'd order, even though you really just want the nachos. Give these dishes a shot. You might just learn something. 


Lalique Interior Design and Trunk Show at Gump's

French glassware designer René Lalique, who died in 1945, carries on his tradition of creating beautiful and intricate glassware through his successful firm, named after himself. This August, Gump's will be hosting Lalique's only interior design exhibition and trunk show in Northern California, featuring lighting, highly detailed panels and meticulously crafted furniture. Come enjoy the enduring sensibility of Lalique — luminosity, rich sculptural craftsmanship and highly detailed designers from August 9-August 28th.

Ask the Parking Guru: What's the Difference Between "No Stopping" and "No Parking"?

It's no secret that parking in the city is a bitch. So we've enlisted local parking guru and author of  Finding the Sweet Spot, David LaBua, to dish out weekly tips on navigating the ins and outs of city parking.

Dear Parking Guru,

I just got a ticket for "no stopping".  I tried to nicely ask the officer what "no stopping" meant.  I told him I wasn't parked. He became frustrated with me quite quickly as though I had asked him a ridiculous question. He didn't couldn't explain it well, but said that I definitely was guilty.  So, I am turning to you, the parking guru to find out just what "no stopping" and "no parking" mean.
Thanks, J.P.

Ask A Vet: What's Up With Doggie Birth Control?

Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on They've enlisted their Co-President, Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, to answer your questions every week. Got a question for Dr. Scarlett? Ask away in the comments!

Q: Aside from spaying and neutering, are there any other good contraception methods for pets? What's your take on doggie birth control?

Last Call SF: The 2011 Ultimate Late-Night Dining Guide

A San Franciscan's lament is often that there's no late-night dining in this town. But there is—and it reaches far beyond Nopa and greasy spoons. In fact, today it's standard for restaurants to (try to) stay open late.

Following is an impressively diverse list of restaurants that serve food—good food—until midnight, at least a couple nights a week, and often beyond.

Craving a late night snack of dumplings, pizza, meatballs, deviled eggs, kimchi ramen, pupusas, sushi … ? The city is your oyster. Come and get it.

Signifies restaurants serving food past midnight at least a couple nights a week.

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar (Civic Center)
Eats: Beef tartare, California Lam Shoulder Confit, Coq Au Vin
Last call for food: midnight, Tues–Sat (Mon closed)

Betelnut (Marina)
Eats: lettuce cups, pork confit with scallion pancakes, Happy Buddha dumplings 
Last call for food: 11 pm, Sun–Thurs; midnight, Fri and Sat

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