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Potential Mayors vs. the Music and Entertainment Industry

When you realize that Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival hosted more people than four sold out Giants games, or that Hardly Strictly Bluegrass accommodated an estimated 800,000 people (the same sum of people inhabiting San Francisco), it really drives home how important the music and entertainment industry is to our city.

These were just a few of the points made by hip hop artist Lyrics Born last night at the Fillmore. It was the potential mayors vs. the entertainment industry, a noteworthy forum presented by The Recording Academy San Francisco Chapter and the California Music and Culture Association.

Following a performance by cellist Zoe Keating, CBS News correspondent Priya David Clemens moderated three rounds of discussion. First, each mayoral candidate was asked to come onstage accompanied by the song that best describes him or her. Bevan Dufty proved to be the most charismatic “performer” of the evening as he busted onto the stage dancing to disco and yelling “C’mon, work it!” He added, “I’m happy to be here because I love to go out!” Joanna Rees chose “Where is the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas and joked, “The mayor’s race just became totally worth it now that I can stand on the Fillmore stage.”

The second portion continued with a candidate Q & A in which the contenders answered each other’s randomly selected questions. In Dufty vs. Rees, he asked, “Do you support extending hours in bars in SF?” She somewhat surprisingly replied with a resounding yes to “lift the moratorium on fun here.” In Yee vs. Dufty, Leland Yee got some laughs when he prefaced his question by informing Dufty, “At my family gatherings, half of my gay relatives say you’ve dated them or you’re currently dating them!”

In the showdown of Jeff Adachi vs. David Chiu, Adachi asked how Chiu would increase and expand the number of live music shows in San Francisco. Chiu was adamantly sick of riding BART to Oakland or driving to San Jose for big shows, and stated “we need to figure out how to bring big acts to San Francisco," and pointed to the use of venues like the Masonic Auditorium and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Tony Hall, who was allegedly the cabaret performer of the year in 1976, saved his question for current mayor Ed Lee, who wasn’t on stage with the rest and had to be brought in from the side. He was also furiously chomping on gum, or so it appeared (gotta love that ‘stache though). Hall’s agenda focused on deregulation, streamlining the permit process for nightlife venues, and pointing out that he was a nightclub performer for 40 years. He acted a bit odd by staying in his seat on stage after all of the others left while Bob Mould performed. Um, okay…?

The last part of the forum was a Q & A with the audience. In response to a question posed about the spotlight the America’s Cup would put on San Francisco, Bevan Dufty nearly flew out of his seat stating, “San Francisco needs a black agenda,” and pointed to the importance of sustainably supporting and promoting businesses in neighborhoods often overlooked by tourists including Bayview and the Mission. 

All in all, Bevan Dufty, Leland Yee, David Chiu, and Joanna Rees were by far the most dynamic personalities on stage last night. And so the mayoral race continues…

 

Photos by Hanna Quevedo. See more of Hanna's work here.