Arts + Culture
Skyline, in which an army of airborne aliens comes up with the novel idea of storming Los Angeles in search of fresh human brains, shatters the unintentional comedy scale with its clunky dialogue and laughably straight-faced treatment of B-movie schlock.
As a showcase for brothers Colin and Greg Strause, visual-effects specialists with a single directorial credit to their names– the middling Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) – the film confirms their ability to create a diverting spectacle on a limited budget, but speaks little to their storytelling acumen.
Here's some local knowledge to send you on your merry way this Friday afternoon: The Salvation Army Holiday Kettle campaign started back on the San Francisco wharfs in 1981. The first buckets? Crab pots.
San Francisco has no shortage of reliable record shops. In fact, this city is so inundated with dusty vinyl gems, it's nurtured some of the biggest music snobs on the planet. So when they feel like unloading their precious vinyl collections upon the rest of us, you'd best be there to scoop up the good stuff.
In the vein of Larry Clark, Ryan McGinley, the late Dash Snow and the Mission School of art, Dave Schubert's photography documents his day-to-day life spent on the underbelly. Considered a "quiet leader" in the documentation of underground cultures, his world is populated by weirdos, libertines, clowns, artists and randoms caught in the blink of an eye living in the "beautiful grime" of city life and really not giving a hoot. His fleeting subjects are surreally captured, often mid-mischief, in a hazy wash of colors on film processed by hand.
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 La Bua, to dish out weekly tips on navigating the ins and outs of city parking.
If you have to be at a regular place at a specific time each day or even one day a week and it’s typically a hassle finding parking, then this tip is for you. But you have to guess first! Check back in a few hours for the real answer.
After reporting on the publishing experiments turning up around San Francisco, we asked the city’s writers what they’re reading these days, and they were happy to share. Look for Required Reading every week.
Sasha Wizansky is a founding editor of Meatpaper, the print quarterly about all things meat and carnivorous culture. She is author of Your New Glass Eye.
Magazines: I've always been interested in periodicals, especially the quirky and independent ones, and it seems my subscription list keeps growing: Cabinet, Esopus, Bidoun, Gastronomica, Print, Diner Journal, The Believer, McSweeney's, and The New Yorker. My life would be pretty different if the New Yorker ceased to exist. An ideal rainy day activity is curling up on the couch with a pile of print, which, it turns out, is nowhere near dead.
Novels: I haven't really caught on to micro-blogging or other short-form communication, and too much onscreen reading makes me dizzy. A good chunky novel still has the power to seduce me, especially when it spins an old-fashioned yarn. I keep up with Jonathan Lethem's novels for his vivid and offbeat storytelling. I loved the characters and slippery satire of Chronic City.
In April 2003, a falling boulder pinned Aron Ralston to the wall of Utah's remote Blue John Canyon for nearly five days, forcing the 27-year-old mountain climber to amputate his right arm in a desperate bid to survive.
In bringing his story to the screen, Danny Boyle deftly avoids the obvious stumbling blocks, transforming a mostly one-man show with a well-publicized ending into arresting drama that speaks not only to Ralston's implacable will but also to the durability of the human spirit. Boyle has described 127 Hours as an action movie about a man who can’t move, and the description is apt. Ralston’s existential struggle seems almost to sprint to its grisly conclusion.
The fifth San Francisco International Animation Festival kicks off tonight at the Embarcadero with Here Comes the Waves: The Hazards of Love Visualized, a colorfully eccentric interpretation (by four different artists) of the acclaimed 2009 album by indie-rock stalwarts The Decemberists. The festivities wind to a close Sunday with Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, Brent Green's moving tribute to a Kentucky hardware-store clerk who, during the 1970s, built a crazy-quilt house to cure his wife's cancer. Elsewhere:
Monsters lurk in all of us, especially those of us whose personalities were invented by Shakespeare. Known for its uniquely San Francisco-leaning interpretations of the infamous bard - and for a raft of local Best Of awards - Cutting Ball Theater opens its season with a three-person chamber version of The Tempest.