Psychedelic 'Mirror Maze' is a hidden gem deep within popular San Francisco tourist trap

My friend Mark Krawczuk recently discovered an under-appreciated attraction at San Francisco's Pier 39, Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze.

In his latest newsletter (which is a delightful find itself), he describes it:

There’s something about the atmosphere at Pier 39 that set me and my friend Julie on edge. Something about the ingenuous tourist trap consumer culture that they’ve been able to refine to its purest form. We nearly turned back before we got to this marvel. I’m so glad we pushed through.

It’s unlike anything I’ve ever been to before: it evokes joy, awe, glee, fascination and terror at the same time. It’s premise seems so simple, but it truly blew my mind. I truly enjoyed my time there, but I have to admit I was glad when we solved the way out. I highly recommend it! And a bargain at $5.

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Three national corporations control nearly all of San Francisco's live music

Jamie Zawinski (previously), who owns San Francisco's amazing DNA Lounge venue, does a postmortem on the announcements from Slim's and the Great American Music Hall that they have "partnered" with Golden Voice, a division of Anschutz Entertainment Group, a $8 billion company that is the world's largest owner of sports teams and events; owns Coachella and ten other large festivals, and is in turned owned by a Fundamentalist, homophobic, climate change denier. Read the rest

San Francisco comedy club offers the Drug Mule, a 'cannabis-infused' cocktail (that won't get you high)

My pal Moe went to go see W. Kamau Bell at the Punch Line comedy club in San Francisco on Tuesday night and noticed something unusual on the drink menu: a cocktail made with cannabis-infused vodka. I had to investigate.

The $14 drink is called the "Drug Mule" and it's a take on the Moscow Mule (which they offer for $14 too).

Yes, recreational weed is legal now here in California but I wondered if the club needed a license to have this on the menu. So, I tried calling them. It went right to voicemail.

Then I sat here wondering if it actually had THC (the psychoactive part of pot) in it at all or if it was only CBD (which won't make you feel stoned). After shooting off a note to a friend in the local cannabis business to find out, I realized that "Humboldt's Finest" wasn't just a boastful descriptor but the actual brand name of the vodka. Digging further, I discovered that Humboldt's Finest vodka is both THC-free and legal in all 50 states.

They use hemp which has no more "than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis" of THC.

As this 2016 Mashable article reports, "Although this isn't enough THC to get you high, the 40% alcohol will surely get you drunk."

Then why drink a "cannabis-infused" beverage at all? Well, the same article explains:

Humboldt Distillery owner and head distiller, Abe Stevens explains that "It does, however, retain an herbal and aromatic quality reminiscent of fresh cannabis, and we’ve found it works very well in place of gin, giving classic cocktails a fresh new spin."

So, it smells like weed. Read the rest

SF peeps: Paint the town white with the 'Brides of March'

Michele Michele

The Ides of March will soon be upon us. In San Francisco, that means it's once again time to don a a white wedding dress to paint the town white with other "brides."

Now in its 20th year, the annual "Beware the Brides of March" gathering was started by Burning Man co-founder Danger Ranger (previously) who thought of the idea while in a thrift store:

I saw a rack of used wedding dresses and realized how often the dream of an ideal marriage had failed and how so much of this dream has been fabricated in order to fuel the ever-increasing consumption of new products. I thought it would be funny to take the primary symbol of this sacred institution and twist it around, much like what the Cacophony Society did with the Santa Rampage. This is classic Situationist ‘Detournament’, the hijacking of a message.

Want to be part of this bridal party? On Sunday, March 18th, arrive promptly at 2:30 PM at Bar Fluxus (18 Harlan Place at Grant Ave, SF):

We’ll have a few rounds of drinks at the bars and wait for late arrivals. By 3:30 PM we’ll be suitably liquored up for a stroll around town, with stops at our favorite Formal Wear store, and diamond importer. From there, we’ll continue on Grant and turn onto Maiden Lane, Stopping for a photo op at the gates of Maiden Lane. Then we’ll race across the street to Union Square and gather around our edifice of desire, the monolith of John Dong Long.
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To do in San Francisco Jan 28: Kim Stanley Robinson and Cecelia Holland at SF in SF

The next installment in the extraordinary lecture/reading series features Hugo-winning environmentalist author Kim Stanley Robinson and prolific historical novelist Cecelia Holland: $10 donation at the door, no one turned away for lack of funds. (Images: AllyUnion, CC-BY-SA; Other Change of Hobbit) Read the rest

Apple, Google add 45 minutes to commuter-bus run to avoid 280 highway, where the buses' windows keep getting smashed

No one's sure how the windows on commuter buses between San Francisco and Silicon Valley keep getting smashed on a stretch of the 280 -- maybe it's a pellet gun, maybe it's thrown rocks -- but Apple and Google have informed employees who use the service that their commute is about to get 45 minutes longer as they take alternate routes to avoid that highway. Read the rest

50 years later, nearly-forgotten all-girl 'Summer of Love' band cuts their first album

Over fifty years ago, an all-female rock band based out of San Francisco played to "Summer of Love" crowds. The popularity of Ace of Cups grew quickly and, thanks to a good manager, they were soon on the same bill as Steppenwolf, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, The Band, Jefferson Airplane, and other popular acts at that time.

In fact, the weekend after Monterey Pop Festival, they opened for Jimi Hendrix at a concert in Golden Gate Park.

Despite their early success, the dynamics of the band changed when the women started having children. Never signed to a record label, they simply didn't have the resources to continue playing music together like their brother bands did.

This short documentary by KQED Arts shares their story:

The Ace of Cups didn’t set out to be an all-girl band. The group’s original five members — Mary Gannon, Marla Hunt, Denise Kaufman, Mary Ellen Simpson and Diane Vitalich — came together guided by the communal spirit that blanketed Summer of Love-era San Francisco. Up to that point, most all-female bands had worn matching outfits and played cover songs. But with original songs that reflected their circumstances, the Ace of Cups played with groups like The Band, Jefferson Airplane, and even Jimi Hendrix, an avowed fan.

Despite their impact in San Francisco, in the intervening years the Ace of Cups were relegated to footnote status, all but written out of history books.

Until now, that is.

Four out of the original five band members, all in their seventies, have come back together to record new and old music together. Read the rest

San Francisco SPCA uses a robot to chase away homeless people, because cruelty to humans is just fine

The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals bought a "security robot" to harass homeless people at its Mission District offices, a move that the city has banned and threatened $1,000/day fines for. Read the rest

San Francisco Board of Supervisors rules that if you're rich enough to own a private sidewalk, you don't have to worry about overdue taxes

Presidio Terrace is a private, gated street in San Francisco that has housed the likes of Nancy Pelosi and the UK Consul General; their neighborhood association failed to notify the city of San Francisco that they'd changed contact addresses for tax bills related to their private street and sidewalks, so after years of delinquency, their street, sidewalks, trees, and assorted miscellanea were put up for auction and purchased by out-of-town property speculators for the sum of $90,100. Read the rest

Announce your pronouns with these gender-positive patches and merit badges

The Degenderettes, who describe themselves as a "friendly international feminist & genderqueer agitprop club," have created a badass line of patches and merit badges that leave the guesswork out of pronoun identification. However you may identify, they probably have a patch for you.

In order to procure one of these badges -- which are crudely embroidered on "dumpstered" fabric -- you first must make a selection on their "Income-Category-Adaptive Pricing Schedule," as follows:

Yup, people who don't identify as men are charged less. That means if a patch is $5, women are only charged $3.95. That's 79 cents to the dollar, ie. the current wage gap that exists between men and women in the United States. Folks who identify as Non-Binary Gender pay $3.50 for that same patch, and People of Color pay $4.50.

As you can see from the pricing schedule, there is a way to earn patches. Their Facebook page shares that those "who stand up to the Gender Police" can win them.

This Mask Magazine interview with Scout, one of the group's founding members of the San Francisco chapter, sheds some light on this process:

On your Facebook, you say that “Degenderettes who stand up to the Gender Police win Merit Badges.” How may a Degenderette may stand up to the Gender Police?

The Toronto chapter says each of their members define what they need to do to earn a badge, and then tell each other about it. LA chapter is like, “Are you shutting down the transphobic shithead who’s somehow always at the 7-Eleven at the same time you are who doesn’t shut up about how you’re being gendered in a way that makes him uncomfortable?

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San Francisco may finally get decent internet access, thanks to municipal fiber

American cities have some of the slowest, most expensive internet access in the world, and the biggest, wealthiest cities are some of the worst-provisioned, including San Francisco, ground zero for the tech revolution and home to a cable/telco duopoly whose underperforming infrastructure is especially galling for the city's techie residents. Read the rest

Racists cancel San Francisco rally

The racist bigots planning to rally in San Francisco's Crissy Field have cancelled their event, citing fear of violence and the fact that they'd be far out-numbered.

Joey Gibson, the rally’s organizer and the founder of the conservative group Patriot Prayer, said that he believed that “tons of extremists” would be coming to his event and that it could become dangerous.

“We’re not going to have a rally at Crissy Field,” Gibson said in a Facebook Live broadcast. “It doesn’t seem safe. A lot of people’s lives are going to be in danger tomorrow.”

Another rally in Berkeley on Sunday will go on, Gibson said, citing a conversation he had with Amber Cummings, the organizer of that event. “We’re excited to go into Berkeley. We’re going to put our effort and our resources into Berkeley,” Gibson said.

He blamed politicians like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee for characterizing the San Francisco rally as a white nationalist event, which he said would attract people with extreme views.

“After several conversations with the police and understanding the situation of what’s going on, we’ve decided that tomorrow really seems like a setup,” Gibson said. “We decided to go ahead and take the opportunity to not fall into that trap.”

And some protesters could still show up at Crissy Field on Saturday even with the official event called off.

The “free speech” rally had attracted a broad backlash from residents and local leaders since deadly violence broke out at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month. Read the rest

2017 EFF Pioneer Award winners: Chelsea Manning, Mike Masnick and Annie Game

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Pioneer Awards, "which recognize leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier." They are whistleblower Chelsea Manning, Techdirt editor Mike Masnick and free expression defender Annie Game. Read the rest

Real-estate speculators bought the road and sidewalk in a gated wealthy San Francisco enclave

Presidio Terrace is a "block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions" dating to 1905, where the homeowners are obliged to pay the city $14/year for property tax on their sidewalk, road and traffic islands. Read the rest

Pretty drone footage of San Francisco Bay's vibrant salt ponds

If you've ever approached San Francisco's airport from the south during landing, you may have noticed the colorful salt ponds along the southern shore of San Francisco Bay. Read the rest

Summer of Love 'trading cards' hit San Francisco bus stops

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the city of San Francisco has created a trippy 13-poster series of "trading card" posters.

Conceived by Kate Haug and produced by Ivan Uranga, both Bay Area artists, the groovy posters feature the "all-stars of 1967s counterculture and political scene," including the likes of Joan Baez, Timothy Leary, Jerry Garcia, Sly Stone, Sonny Barger, Bobby Seale, Lenore Kandel, Allen Ginsberg, Janis Joplin, Reverend Cecil Williams, Janice Mirikitani, Joan Didion, and even Ronald Reagan.

According to a press release from the San Francisco Arts Commission:

Haug collaborated with Ivan Uranga to produce the poster’s bold graphic style. Drawing from the vernacular of trading card, black and white photographs of each personage is set against a vibrant background, reminiscent of the era’s psychedelic rock posters. Each figure is given a title that reflects his/her role in the Summer of Love. For example, Leary appears under the title “Psychedelic Evangelist” along with his famous call from the Human Be-In, the prelude to the Summer of Love, to “Turn on, tune in, and drop out.” The use of the trading card format suggests that these diverse legacies have been commodified, gaining and losing value through the passage of time.

The series includes other details that are the artist’s own invention. For example, a price is included on the bottom of each card, which was not standard trading card practice. She also uses the figures’ birthdates for their serial number. For instance, Allen Ginsberg is number 26, because he was born in 1926.
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Kink.com is selling off their adult film set props to the public

BDSM porn establishment Kink.com will soon leave the massive Armory building in San Francisco to move its operations to Las Vegas. In the meantime, they are selling off furniture and props from their adult film sets.

Their Craigslist ad reads:

As the armory transitions into being a full time event space we are in the process of selling years of accumulated furniture and props that are no longer needed for the space. Come join us from 12-5pm the 15th to view and purchase a piece of SF kinky history. No drop ins we need to have a name to give to our security team so please contact me if you would like to be a part of this historic occasion.

I visited a few years ago, and I can attest that there is some strange stuff in there.

Gotta get your hands on some pieces of "SF kinky history"? The sale started on Thursday, June 14 and resumes again on Saturday, June 17th from 12 PM to 5 PM.

Thanks, Dixie!

(SFist) Read the rest

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