Arts + Culture
I came upon the Banksy piece that dwells on Commercial Street in Chinatown this past weekend, and boy was it hard to miss. There were bunches of elderly people taking a gander at the thing, taking photos in front of it and discussing it fervently. What I couldn't help noticing was the fact that local residents had drilled a panel of plastic over it along with a cautionary sign to prevent would-be intruders from tagging over it. Way to preserve this work of art for the rest of us, Chinatowners! Now it's shielded from the elements as well as sneaky kids looking for the glory of defacing a Banksy piece.
Tony Stark may be self-obsessed and troubled by mortal thoughts – rightly so, considering the mechanical heart that’s keeping him alive is slowly polluting his body with lethal toxins – but he’s no Bruce Wayne. As played by Robert Downey Jr., he combines a sly sense of humor with natural showmanship. He enjoys being a superhero, and soaks up the spotlight with a narcissist’s glee.
It’s refreshing. Stark has a dark side, well-watered with cocktails, but he is hardly morose. He is intoxicated by the adoration of his fans, and tickled by the trappings of fame and obscene wealth. And he’s not afraid to toot his own horn. As he brags to a less-than-smitten Senate committee, “I have successfully privatized world peace.”
The SF-bred Benjamin and Peter Bratt’s affection and affinity for the Mission District comes through with crystalline clarity in La Mission. The brotherly team, with Peter writing, directing and producing and Benjamin starring, have much of the vibe down: the way the sun bounces off the concrete; the wildly imaginative and brightly hued murals winding off 24th Street; the bodegas, produce shops and mom-and-pop businesses lining the streets; the kids in black hoodies who slouch on out on front stoops; and some of the district’s funky diversity -- one that encompasses blue-collar Latino families, college-age hipsters, the bikers, and spiritual searches. You feel get a bit of a thrill just seeing those familiar sights -- Balmy Alley, Muni buses, Folsom Street basketball courts.
The Freelance Whales have managed to craft one of those songs that gets in your ears and won't quit. It's called "Generator^1st Floor", and I'm not just speaking for myself. Other indie forces like the Antlers and Aislyn (a side project of Passion Pit's keyboardist Ian Hultquist) have remixed and recut the song in their own oblique homages to the original's acoustic delicacy and swelling, textural layers of banjos, Micro Korgs, tambourines and vocal harmonies.
San Francisco's city center is going to get a temporary facelift on May 12 in the form of a gargantuan three-headed, six-armed Buddhist statue entitled, err, Three Heads Six Arms by the international art phenom Zhang Huan. For the massive work of art's world premiere as an outdoor adornment to the Joseph L. Alioto Performing Arts Piazza (across the street from City Hall), the city and good old Gavin Newsom are rolling out the welcome mat with a public ceremony at 10 a.m.