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Scenes of the City: Cal Bears at AT&T Park

This for week's Scenes of the City we hung out inside and outside of AT&T Park for a couple odd events. One was the aforementioned Cal Bears football team playing in the park (they will be playing most of their home games there because of renovations to their home field). The other is the first-ever water polo match in McCovey Cove. As part of effort to garner support for their sport, the UC Berkeley Alumni Water Polo team vs. The Olympic Club Water Polo team played a match in the somewhat frigid waters of the bay.

Alex Shakar Reads From Acclaimed New Novel "Luminarium" This Week at The Booksmith

The effusive mainstream reviews—from the likes of Dave Eggers and The New York Times—for Alex Shakar’s second novel Luminarium might put off the very audience who would appreciate it the most. Can a book blessed by the highest echelons of the literary establishment really be that good? Yes, it can. A dense, lyrical speculative novel, Luminarium explores the intersection of technology and spirituality in a riveting story that’s as much about the bond between brothers as it is about virtual worlds and Hindu cosmology.
 

An Exhilirating Ride into the Hollywood Cesspool: Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive'

In Drive, the hypnotic new thriller from Bronson and Valhalla Rising director Nicolas Winding Refn, Ryan Gosling remains preternaturally calm even as he stomps a mobster’s flunky to a bloody pulp. Rarely does his voice rise above a whisper, much less betray any emotion. He is the essence of cool, breaking a sweat only when his passions boil over in short, shocking outbursts. We all go a little mad sometimes.
 

Indie Theater Roundup: 7 Movies to See This Week

Hot and bothered? Head to the Castro next Thursday, Sept. 22, for the sixth annual IXFF Indie Erotic Film Festival, hosted by Peaches Christ and Dr. Carol Queen, and featuring the most titillating shorts from around the globe. The festivities will be preceded by a "pre-party" party at the Barbary Coast, with live music, bawdy burlesque, door prizes and (of course) cocktails. Until then:

1
. Connected
Where: Embarcadero Center Cinema, 1 Embarcadero Ctr., 415-352-0835

Ryan Gosling Driven to Make Movies Your Parents Don't Want You to Watch

It might seem odd to find Ryan Gosling, the onetime Oscar nominee best known for critically acclaimed indies including Half Nelson (2006) and Lars and the Real Girl (2007), cracking skulls in the riveting new thriller Drive, playing the kind of role once reserved for iconic tough guys like Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen.
 
Yet for Gosling, who grew up watching “four movies a day,” it is the culmination of an ambition born, much to the chagrin of his concerned parents, after watching Sylvester Stallone in First Blood as an impressionable preteen.
 

Professor of Comedy: Brainiac Demetri Martin At the Palace of Fine Arts Tomorrow Night

The father of an old friend once shared some sage wisdom with me, albeit reluctantly, lowering his voice as if he were divulging an insider’s stock tip: “When meeting someone for the first time, usually the first sign of intelligence is a sense of humor.” His thesis still seems far-fetched some ten years later, but then I talk to someone like Demetri Martin, a Yale graduate and a former NYU Law student who also happens to be one of the funniest people on the planet.

Fernet Graduates from The Shot Glass

San Franciscans are the most avid drinkers of Fernet-Branca outside of Italy (where it's made) and Argentina (where it's the unofficial national drink). A bitter digestivo that includes myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile and saffron among its many herbacious and aromatic ingredients, Fernet has forever been the not-so-secret handshake for local bartenders. 

First brought to the West Coast by Italian immigrants, Fernet-Branca actually survived the Prohibition Era by billing itself as a "medicinal elixir." Now old Italian grandfathers do it. Hipsters do it. Even my Earth mother, holistic pharmacist at Pharmaca—the very picture of clear-skinned health—tells me it's the only thing she drinks. Jason King, owner of The Broken Record puts it simply: "It's an industry drink, and people look to bartenders for cues on what to drink. It started getting so popular three years ago that I couldn't stock it fast enough." Recently Fernet on-tap and Fernet desserts have become a thing. It seems like our love knows no bounds. 

Prepping for One of the Biggest Design Shows All Year: SF 20/21 at Fort Mason

I love design shows: Getting dressed up, wandering the aisles sipping champagne, and drooling over gorgeous art, imaginative booths and exceptional furniture. What's not to like?

This year, one of my very favorite shows, SF 20/21—formerly focused only on 20th century pieces but recently expanded to include contemporary artists and designers as well—invited us to participate.

Dreamscapes, A Group Show Featuring Tabitha Soren at Johansson Projects

MTV VJ turned artist? Tabitha Soren joins photographer Brice Bischoff and multimedia artist Ellen Black in a group show at Johansson Projects. The three create surreal manipulations of otherwise ordinary environments like the Sutro Baths, Ocean Beach, and the Bronson Caves in LA, in a sense illustrating the power and mystery of Mother Nature. Bischoff's vibrant colors for the Bronson Cave pieces are juxtaposed with stark black-and-white contrast in his residue prints. Soren illustrates the foreboding doom inherent in an unpredictable sea, and Black imagines apocalyptic landscapes in dreamy video scapes.

A Breakdown Of SFMTA's Newest Texting-Based Solution for Parking Nightmares

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.

As we all know, the SFMTA implemented its SFpark demand-responsive pricing on the streets. With all of SFpark's pros and cons not yet resolved, it now has implemented the demand-responsive pricing model in eight city-owned SFpark garages, with six more planned for the coming months. Since the SFpark approach is based on parking occupancy, some city-owned garages that are underutilized will see rates go down, and some will see rates go up. The Fifth & Mission Garage rates fell from $3.50 to $3 per hour before noon and after 6 pm. Rates in these SFpark garages vary by time of day and are adjusted quarterly based on occupancy.
 
Yesterday, the SFMTA launched their latest effort to get you a driving while distracted ticket: A text message service for SFpark garages. Customers can receive parking availability and pricing information for the 14 SFpark garages (see list below), along with garage locations and hours of operation. To get started, customers can text "SFpark" to 877-877.  When you text the code for a particular garage, it'll send you the info.

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